Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

     WHOO HOO, Today is my favorite holiday of the year.  Heck it's my favorite day of the year.  It's the day I can be myself and no one says a word about it.  However for many stressed out folks, it's a day of driving all over the place trying to find a costume on those stripped racks of Halloween goodies.  Well never fear, my friends at Instructables have some quick last minute ideas.  Blast over to their site  and save yourself some heart burn.  And get a costume you can use again. 
     Unfortunately all our costumes are gone, but the sewing machines are a blazing and we get to create some fun stuff for New Years Eve.  We always have feather eyelashes available, and 20inch clip in hair extensions.  By the way, most hair extensions you find are 10-12 inches long, but with 20 inch ling extensions you can cut them to match your own hair length.    We have synthetic and human hair So very cool.  But the cream of the crop are those 3D tattoos that glow under black light.  I know you have read my blog about these, but man what a deal.  These are reusable, they come with the mineral spirits you need to apply them, and the mineral spirits remover.  They last an incredibly long time if you take good care of them.  Mine are over 3 years old and look brand new.   With several styles to choose from, you really should be thinking about New Years Eve parties.
     I hope everyone has candy in store for the little ones.  My real challenge is keeping my hand out of the candy dish.  Well here's a last minute laugh for you.  This man gets up every morning, dons a different  costume just to wave good bye to his son.  Here's the link, and maybe you will start saving those Halloween costumes for some daily weirdness of your own.  Maybe you can get a Halloween idea from all that as well.

     Enjoy your holiday, and let those kids have fun but be safe....light them up somehow, flash light, glow sticks, reflective tape or a head lamp.  Nothing takes the fun away like an injury.  So injuries aside, lets all have a fun night.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Special Thursday Blog

     At Oaktopia Design we are now hosting FREE tutorials by other DYI crafters.  These should inspire you and get those creative juices going. Our first lovely DYI comes to us via The Perfect Pear:

Lace Hoop Earrings DIY

hi friends, im still in the wilderness, doing the who roughin-it-toughin-it, out back thing! but, i made this DIY before I left so you'd have something pretty to do while i was gone!

Enjoy this tutorial and more to come in the future.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Special Tuesday Blog

As soon as Halloween is over we will be putting up our real logo. Please don't let this confuse you. We are still the same group. This is our Logo that Special K did on his free time for our Burning Man camp. This, we all decided should be the logo for those same people who lived in that camp and now work together to make Oaktopia Design successful.  So when you visit you will no longer see the CAT-O-LANTERN, but our neighborhood tree.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Ideas coming to life

     With Halloween just next week,we can hear the click of the hammer on the starting gun for Oaktopia Design to kick it into high gear.  It means that there will be Christmas and New Year's Eve. right around the corner.  That also means stiff competition in the real world.  Even though many of our customers are linked into the Black Rock Community, we also have to remember that every customer in that category is being courted by easily a hundred other sites.   Not to mention we also serve a larger base of customers who are not part of that community.   What that means for us is creative thinking and crafting. 
     The makeup bag above is a new item that I am working on.  It is smart as well as functional.  People want unique one of a kind (OOOK) creations that are priced within their budget.  That's where we are headed.  What feedback I have gotten from customers is that they like being the owner of something that no one else in the world has, that is why so many of our new items will be just that.  So when you see OOOK in the title or description of an item, you know that there will never be another of the same.
     Also, thanks to the Oaktopia community, we now have a vintage area of the shop.  It's mostly evening bags right now, but there will be vintage jewelry and other items.  Right now evening bags are in high demand because of the holiday season.  Vintage bags not only have character, they make us feel like Hollywood movie stars.  They are not cheaply thrown together like evening bags of today, but they were crafted  at a time when America took pride in the goods it produced, and somehow holding that in our hands transfers that pride to us.  Most of these will be OOOK simply because of the passage of time.  We have strict requirements for our vintage products, they must be in good shape, clean, free from external blemishes, and basically well loved. 

  On a different note, this is a hat that I created for a special event.  I got so many compliments that I am considering doing a line of high end top hats for the Holidays.  Many people love top hats, and well designed hats are sure to be a hit.  It's a thought I am playing with so give me some feedback here.
     Corney as it sounds, hats off to my readers, and I hope your week is great.  Remember to come by the shop and see what we have added.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween is right around the corner

     Oh my favorite time of the year, Halloween!  Where I can be anything, isn't that a freeing experience.  Many folks run to the store and pick over what is left of the Halloween costumes, I have been guilty of this myself.  However my mom, a wonderful person, taught me to use a sewing machine in about the 7th grade.  We NEVER wore store bought costumes, but ones that my mom had spent precious time making for us.  We won costume contests, and I suppose that's why my sewing machine has been out for over a month. 
     The Costumes we offer at Oaktopia Design are hand made with that same love mom put into her designs.  As a matter of fact, the first costume I sewed for the shop was a french maid outfit.  My mom made me one for a Halloween party I attended in the 7th grade.  I thought Pops might bust a vein over it, but I promised to be a good girl (and I was) and I think I won my Pops trust that night.
     Anyways, I know that not all of us are a standard size, and so I make costumes in all sizes, even into the XXL.  This way every one gets a chance to have a hand made costume that will last for years and years.

     Well with the season fast approaching, I wanted to let my readers know that I will make special trips to the post office so that they can get their costume in time. So please visit our ETSY shop at  That way every one can have a happy Halloween, I know I will.  Lots of love to all of you, NJ

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Columbus Day from Oaktopia Design

     Today is 10/10/11 and I know more than a couple of folks who have a birthday today.  So I thought that I would use that as my inspiration for today's blog.  The temporary tattoo you see above was the beginning of Oaktopia Deign.  Even though we had all discussed doing a web page to show off our creations it was Kevin who plucked up the courage to show off his designs first.
      Kevin has been making these tattoos for some time, but they were mostly for friends, and for personal use.  They glow in black light and it seems that every club in the area has some black light in the room.  I know personally every time I wore my tattoos that he made for me, I got tons of complements and everyone wanted to know where to get one.  But the best thing about these little buggers is that they are reusable.  That's right you can wear them out, peel them off and store them for future use.  I have had mine for over 3 years, and I even wore them at Burning Man.  They came home quite dusty, but a little bit of soapy water cleaned them right up.

     A couple of months ago Kev wore his first tattoo out to the art murmur in Downtown Oakland, and people were astonished at how long he had held on to his tattoo and how great it looked after several years, and many trips to Burning Man.  The trick he said was to keep it clean, use spirit gum to place it and mineral spirits to remove it.  They seemingly last forever if you follow his advice and take are of them.  So it was only natural for these fun little guys to make it to the site first.  They come with a bottle of spirit gum and sell for $26.00 which is more than fair for an item that you can wear over and over again.  After 3 years of use mine still look as good as the day he gave them to me.  So go check them out at our ETSY store at Design  If the link doesn't work, then copy and paste the site in your browser and that will get you there.  Have a great Monday and I'll see you next week.

Happy Columbus Day from Oaktopia Designs

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome to Oaktopia Design

     This is my first time to blog, and my first adventure following a dream to turn my creations into an online shop.  Let me give you a little background about Oaktopia Design.  First of all it was not my idea, but a neighbor of mine came up with the idea, designed our logo, and our ETSY shop.  So a big thanks goes out to Special K.  Oaktopia Design is a group of artisans in Oakland, most of whom  live right in my very own neighborhood.  Even though we have often talked about a group venture together it took the downturn of the economy to get us off our rears and in motion.  One of us was injured (requiring a spinal fusion), one of us was laid off after years of loyal service to his employer, another works freelance, and we even have a member who is so close to retirement he can taste it.  Oaktopia is more than just a bunch of folks who no longer participate in the 9 to 5 rat race, we are an extended family. 
     A few years ago on a camping trip, a good friend of mine Ben gave our neighborhood the nickname of Oaktopia and it just stuck.  Mostly because that's how we all feel about our neighborhood, it's a little slice of Utopia right here in Oakland where you least expect it.  We are a very tight community here on the hill, and we take care of each other.  All of us are part of the hard working middle class of America; fire fighters, Oakland Police Department, software designers, a teacher, City and County employees,  a bio-chemist, a nurse and a pediatrician.  We go camping together, we go to Burning Man together, and we even sit down to dinner at least once a week together.  We liked the name Oaktopia so much that one night we scurried around the neighborhood with city letters and nailed the name down every telephone pole in the neighborhood.  It was great fun.  There was a thrill of doing something that marked our territory as ours, and yet if you didn't know what to look for you would never see our name because it blends right in with the city markings (although the cable man noticed it when he came to install cable at my house).  I am unable to disclose where we got the city letters from, all I can say is "thanks dad".
     So it is with great excitement that I invite you to follow our blog and visit our shop at and check us out.