Things That I Like

Hi blog! How have you been this past… month? Jeez.

Well, I have been excellent, thank you so much for asking! So many things happening- all the things really. And it’s all really exciting and big and to-be-revealed-shortly ina  cloud of glitter confetti and champagne and rainbows and shit, but in the meantime, it makes my brain mushy by the end of the day and capable of processing only images.

So here are some images I like, or images of things I like! That’s all I’m capable of right now.


Happy Friday!



Your Official Permission Slip

Sometimes, you feel like you can’t or shouldn’t do something- something that really, there’s no reason for you not to do. Dye your hair. Quit your job.  Sign up for the rollerderby. Go back to school. Quit school. I don’t know what yours is, but you probably have one or two. We all have Can’t s and Shouldn’ts that we think about all the time anyway. That’s just human nature. But! Is there really a good reason not to?

Think about it. Think hard. Think about your worst-case scenario. Imagine yourself in It, vividly. Swim around in It for a little while. Is It really so bad, so irreparable? Is It something you couldn’t pull yourself out of? Is the fear of It worth stagnating and looking back with regret?

So you know what? If you know the words, sing along with me here:




This is your official permission slip (brought to you by yours truly and Kanye West*), to do whatever that thing you want to do is, and to do it guilt-free. Print it out if you want. Make it your desktop background. Or just repeat it to yourself a few times a day. Because you guys, not to be trite, but we’re all only going to live this all once (at least, as far as any of us know for sure). It’d be a shame to spend it half-assing it. Put your full ass in it. (Maybe that’s what I should have put on this thing instead?)

And here’s a blank one, for you to fill out yourself:

So, what’ll it be? What are you going to give yourself permission to do this year? Tell me, ’cause I wanna know!

*Although… listen, Kanye, I’m just going to tell you this for your own good- that blonde dyke? The one you’d do anything for? She’s just never going to be into you like you’re into her. You’re better off with the Klondike Bar.
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The Ladies Fancywork Society

Hi there! You’re back again! Good, I’m glad. Because you may have found me through the Ladies Fancywork Society. Or you may have found me randomly and wondered what the eff is up with my name. So, I thought it would be good to have a little background on this thing I do, that I get my name from, that takes up most of my days and nights and that is slowly forcing all of the elasticity out of my finger joints but that I would never have any other way.


Ladies Fancywork Society Group Shot


In short: What began as an underground Society of street-artist crocheters bent on spreading fiber art throughout Denver has grown into an artist collective capable of putting together large-scale projects, international art shows, and installations.

We like to think that what we do makes people happy when they see our pieces on the street. But even if it doesn’t, we’re happy just to be putting skirts on the world.


Ladies Fancywork Society Tagging

We started out as your every-day yarn-bombing group (and hey, look at that- we’re in the Wikipedia links!) Except we never called it that- we prefer the term crochet tagging. Or just tagging. But what we did- and still do- was craft up some cute little crochet swatches and tie them up around town. Park benches and street lights, gritty bus stops and ornate signage- nothing within the orbit of our tallest member’s 5’8″ reach was safe. It was fun, and exciting, we were getting press, and most of all we were taking part in changing our urban landscape, bit by bit.


Ladies Fancywork Society Valentines Tags


But the truth is, you can only put crochet shit on other shit for a few years (two, it turns out) before you start to lose some of the initial thrill. We longed for something bigger, that posed more of a challenge, that more people would see. We’d been talking about tagging the Dancer’s sculpture for years, half-joking, half-scheming, and one day, without any real catalyst, we just decided well, okay, lets really do it.


Ladies Fancywork Society Legwarmers


So we did. We crocheted ourselves some seven foot legwarmers. We got the tallest ladders we could, zip ties the size of tree branches, and somehow talked a local news channel into covering us while we banged around the statues three AM and dropped heavy metal poles on each others’ heads (Sorry, Maxine) and ultimately forced those statues into legwarmers, much the way I imagine parents have to force toddlers into socks and shoes.


Ladies Fancywork Society Fence Flower Garden

And it was amazing. It was such a big thrill- it was to scale, really, in terms of how exciting it was for us. Hearing feedback from people on the train that passed by it, from people who worked in the city office of cultural affairs (who kindly salvaged them and sent them to a women’s shelter), from people who saw it on  TV and in the paper. It became the first of many ginormous, challenging, maddening, and rewarding large-scale installations. We were hooked.


Ladies Fancywork Society Big Blue Bear

Since then, we’ve managed to balance large-scale crochet installations, both commissioned and rogue, with the smaller tags that are still the bread and butter of the LFS. So keep an eye out for us, because there’s always something big and fuzzy looming on the horizon, and you never know when the next one will drop!


Ladies Fancywork Society Deer Head

No-Sew DIY Elbow Patch Tutorial

Heart Elbow Patches

*Taking a photo of your own elbow is harder than you think.

This tutorial is so easy, I almost feel silly making it- but here it is, all the same! Crafting doesn’t have to be hard to make you happy. Consider this my Valentine’s Day present to you. Click to enlarge, and feel free to print it and pass it around.

Heart Elbow Patch DIY Tutorial

And if you don’t have fusible interfacing (and make sure, if you’re out shopping, that you do get the fusible kind. Otherwise, the heat does nothing and all it is is another layer), you can sew it on with needle and thread and a simple blanket stitch. But that won’t be as sturdy. If you want the decorative border of a blanket stitch, though, I’d suggest using some fusible interfacing and ironing it on like in the tutorial before you embellish anyway.

When Arrows Don’t Penetrate, Cupid Grabs A Pistol

Some of you might not like Valentine’s Day (you crazy fools), but I ask you this: Do you also hate Outkast? And candy?

I didn’t think so- I knew you were cool! So just go have some heart shaped confections,  listen to Big Boi and Andre 3000 lay it down for you, and once your blood sugar is good and peaked, check back here for some DIY goodness. I got somethin’ for ya, boo.

Maybe You’re The Hasenpfeffer

You know the Laverne and Shirley song? This one?   (Of course you do, because you exist in the world just like I do.) And the part in the beginning where they chant “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”?

I don’t remember where, but I recently had the concept of schlemiel and schlimazel explained to me, and it was explained like this: In yiddish, a schlemiel is the kind of person who spills soup at a fancy party, and a schlimazel is the kind of person the soup gets spilled on. Hasenpfeffer, meanwhile, is a kind of soup. 

And then today a friend of mine, with whom I exchange Grooveshark playlists from time to time, made me a mix that opened with this song. Which is weird because (and yes, it’s probably weird on its own too really, but also because:) this is the second time this week that this schlemiel/schlimazel thing has come up for me. It’s an oddly recurring theme, and sums up a lot for me right now. Particularly: which one of these two options, if either, am I? And does anyone want to invite me to a fancy party with soup so that I can find out?

But I told  my friend about this theory, and his answer was awesome:

Maybe you’re the hostess of the fancy party! Maybe you’re the chef! Maybe you’re the Hasenpfeffer!

Maybe I am the hasenpfeffer. Although now that I’m thinking about it, here’s an alarmingly relevant true story: Today I spilled soup in my purse. For real. So… maybe I’m all three of these things.

Or maybe I spend too much of my time trying to decide how a 70s TV show theme song best reflects my current life state. Maybe that one.

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Well hello! It’s nice to meet you!

I’m Esther Fancy, 1/5th of the badass international crochet street art crew, the Ladies Fancywork Society.

I like yarn, ukuleles, glue guns, street art, kittens, glitter,  fireflies, office supplies, sewing, spray paint, magic, mash-ups, mixtapes, punk rock, bluegrass, The Sound of Music, Buffy, tortoises, tea, tiny things, grass, bike rides, big boots, breaking the law, sticking it to the man, stickers, popsicles, public pools, public libraries, musty book stores, writing things, and making stuff.

And I don’t know what I’m doing with my life but I’m planning to figure it out here, one angst-ridden, offensively-cutesy, elevatedly-lowbrow and over-adjectived arts-and-crafts project at a time.

The time has come to turn your heart into a temple of fire.


(And oh yes, pretentious quotes that ring true all the same- those will be here too.)

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