Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I have been so inspired by the packaging over at Oh, Hello Friend lately that I just needed to share one of her images with you. Check out the other ideas if you are in need of last minute wrapping ideas since many of them are gorgeous ways to use things you have around the house.

And with that, I'm signing off of the blog until January 4th. I'm heading home to NJ and will be spending time with my family, with friends and in NYC and the Catskills. I hope you all have lovely relaxing and joyful holidays and I look forward to seeing you back here in the New Year.

P.S. I finished one of the quilting projects I've been working on, just in time to go under the xmas tree, so you can expect to see that in January!

Recycled Ornaments by Becca, Katie, Kim, Suzi and Pam

Becca Huben
City/State: Guilford, CT
Ingredients used: pipe cleaners, Easter chicks, glue, audio tape
General instructions for making: I started out by knitting the audio tape (yes, knitting!) into i-cord (it's like a tube) and made a small circle / nest. The Easter chicks sit inside, and have pipe cleaner "hats" - one a Santa style, the other is a Rudolph / Reindeer style. More pipe cleaners were used to make the wreath and the hanger.

Katie Clemons
Berlin, Germany
1 toilet paper roll, paint, and string
1. Paint the outside of the toilet paper roll.
2. When dry, cut out three rings roughly 3/4" wide and fold them into Vs.
3. Bring the bottom point of each V together and wrap with string to attach them to one another
4. Open the pedals of your new flower.
5. Tie a string through one of the pedals to hang from the tree.

Katie Clemons
Berlin, Germany
2 security envelopes, paste, and string
1. Cut out circles and fold in half, patterned side in.
2. Paste semi-circle pieces together one at a time.
3. Before adding the last circle, add your piece of string to hang the ornament.

Kim Woodward
Rock Island, Illinois
Ingredients: Cardboard ornament from Michael's (.50), ribbon, scrapbook paper, Modge Podge, eye rings, photos
1. Purchase simple, circle cardboard ornaments from Michael's
2. Add coordinating blue scrapbook papers as a base on each side with Modge Podge.
3. Add circle-shaped photos to one side of each ornament.
4. Modge-podge several layers for a glossy finish.
5. Add a ribbon around the edges to cover the remaining cardboard.
6. Add a small eye-hook from a hardware store to the top to add a hook or ribbon to hang.

Suzi Jackson
Guntersville, Al 35976

Shabby Chic Angel Ornament
materials: 4 full size all white paper towels. 1 empty bathrrom tissue roll. 1 button, two toothpicks, 6 inches yarn for hair in your choice of color, 6 inches gold yarn for halo, 4 inches white narrow ribbon, Mod Podge.

Fold two paper towels in half and tear to leave uneven edge. Coat top of tissue roll with Mod Podge and place one half paper towel around top to form dress.coat with MP. Fold second half length wise, coat with MP and allow to partially dry, while tacky place around bottom of dress to form ruffle. Mod Podge ribbon over seam. Coat two half pieces of PT with Mod Podge and shape into wings. Fold in top sides of tissue roll and place wings into each fold. Staple or paper clip in place until dry. Fold two short pieces of PT, coat with Mod Podge and shape into arms. Place arms on front with hands together. Mod Podge button where hands meet. Shape one full piece of PT into angels head and coat with Mod Podge. Place toothpick into head and into neck, snip yarn into short lengths and Mod Podge onto head for hair. Draw eyes and mouth. Coat gold yarn with MP and shape into halo, attach to second toothpick, attach to back of neck. Allow to dry and attach hanger.

Pam Harris
Vancouver, Washington

Recycled version of yarn star ornaments

Cardboard shipping boxes
yarn saved from a failed project
re-used gift tag
all the bent sewing pins fished out of my box of pins
glue or Mod Podge
needle with large eye for yarn
re-used aluminum foil, foil paper or wrapping paper

See full tutorial here

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recycled Ornaments by Ruthanne, Deanna, Tracie, and Alyson

Ruthanne Dolezal
Here is an ornament I made this morning with 2"corners of a Christmas card envelope. The wire from a used 6" twist tie joins the top and bottom points and serves as a hanger. Thread and glass beads pull the horizontal points together.

I think there is a miniature world of origami possibilities using envelope corners. I hope to find time to explore it.

Deanna Shouppe
Midlothian, TX 76065

This is my recycled Christmas ornament. I have been recycling glass jars b4 I knew that is what it was called. A list of what was used:
empty cleaned small glass jar (saved it from a travel vaca many years ago, it is a single serve condiment jar) jingle bell--from another project
gold top taken from the jingle bell a few inches of red ribbon- I had a piece left over from another project it was about 7 inches long and I kept it long so I could make sure I could tie many knots so the ribbon would not pull thru the hole in gold bell topper strong glue, I used e6000 that I had on hand but any super glue will do. red glitter paint/gel

First clean the jar very well, I always clean any glass surface with rubbing alcohol, gives me a really clean surface. I poured the red glitter paint, (I had this on hand, just the very end of the bottle, but one could use clear acrylic and glitter I suppose) and swirled it inside of jar with my finger so that I could be sure entire inside was covered with sparkle. After dry, which did not take long. Then I placed red bell inside jar. Meanwhile, jar was drying I "painted" with my finger the lid of the jar. When dry, I screwed lid on top. I used an a screwdriver to punch a hole into top of jar/center as best you can so ornament will hang well. Then double ribbon, and thread thru the underside of lid , thru the hole in gold bell topper and knot knot knot. I then placed a bead of glue onto ribbon to make sure knot will hold and then bead of glue around edge of gold bell topper and place
On top of jar lid. Viola, there you have a beautiful, wonderful ornament for zero money!

I hope you enjoy it. I hope I win! But if not, it is still worth it because you pushed me, my mind and imagination.

The brown snowman are sea beans that I collected on the beach after Hurricane Ike. I love rustic, natural look too. From one extreme to the other! LOL. My brown snowman was also free, I used a drill bit and kitchen twine. And came up with many other ideas but dh reminded me that I had gifts to make for our children so I had to get busy! Thanks again. If these pics are good, would you mind letting me know how I can take a better pic for web viewing. Oh yeah, my ornament holder, you are gonna love this, is an old, just had to have it, impulse item, a head massager, lol makes a great art piece!

Pinckney, Michigan
Plastic Bottles and some natural baby pine cones
Cut various plasitc bottle into circles then heated the circles up with a heat gun. Cut the bottom of a plasitc bottle then cut out the inside of it to make a "ring" shape. Hot glued the circle chips around the "ring" added the baby pine cones as well as some fishing line in order to hang on the tree

Alyson Lamanes
Hamilton, Ontario Canada!

Ingredients used
cardboard box, paint, recycled notebook, pen, paper, glue, paint chips, yarn

General instructions for making
1. Draw a shape on the back of the notebook. Cut it out, then trace on the thicker cardboard. I used a thicker snack box, but any sturdier piece of cardboard will do. Make sure you cut a hole at the top so that you can attach a string or hook to hang it on the tree.
2. Draw a picture on the notebook side of the cardboard, and then trace it over with a piece of paper so that you have the same image of the two pieces of paper. Then lightly paint the cardboard so that the image doesn't show through as much.
3. Cut out each piece of the picture, trace it onto brightly coloured paint chips. Cut out larger pieces first such as the faces and hats, then layer them on top. (I'm a designer at heart, so every time I go to a hardware store, I always grab paint chips. They're always so bright, and I never find a use for them!)
4. Glue the pieces securely in place, and then glue the two pieces of cardboard together.
5. Feel free to do the same with the back, or decorate freely. On the back of mine I drew a heart, painted it red, and wrote "Je t'aime, I love you."
6. When dry attach string and hang!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Recycled Ornaments by Tammy, Fawnda, Vicki, and Abbie

Tammy James
I made this star from recycled clam shell packaging.
I traced a chipboard shape onto the thick plastic and cut out the star design, then put a slit into each star so they could fit together.
I mod podged the plastic surface and used it to apply a single layer of a paper napkin.
Once that dried I coated the whole lot with a glitter paint for some shimmer.

I joined the two sections, pierced a hole in the top, added a hanging cord and tied a bow and Volia!

Fawnda Norman
St Paul
State: Minnesota

Ingredients Used: Old Christmas Cards, double sided tape, Paper cutter, Scoring tool, Wallet sized Photos, reused twine or ribbon, chunky bead

1.) Cut your cards in to 3X3 inch squares and group them by color. You need 6 squares for each ornament.
2.) On the back side of each square find mark the midpoint on each side (at 1.5 inches)
3.) Score a diagonal line connecting your midpoints. You should have 4 score lines. Your score lines should make a tilted square inside your big square. Do this on each square.
4.) Fold on your score lines.
5.) Choose two squares to be your top and bottom. Find the middle (I drew lines across from each corner to find mine) and use your Exacto Knife to cut a whole in the center.
6.) Use your double sided tape to connect your 2 of the corners of 2 of your squares (Not the top or bottom- put those aside for now) You will be sticking the "wrong" sides together.
7.) Continue connecting until you have 4 of your squares together that make a square "tube". (it should look like a pointy cube with the top and bottom missing)
8.) Choose the bottom and sting your twine or ribbon through the hole and attach onto the bottom of your "tube"
9.) Pull your twine up through your tube and through your top piece. Connect your top piece to the rest of the ornament.
10.) Tie a loop on the top. And tie a bead onto the bottom.
11.) cut out your photos (about 2X2 inch square) and attach it to one of the sides.

Vicki Flinchum
Round Rock, Texas

Zutter Bind It All
Spellbinders Nestabilities

Vintage Sheet Music
Modge Podge
Ranger Glossy Accents
German Glass Glitter
Zutter ½ inch Owire, red
Miscellaneous Ribbon

Before starting, remember: Measure twice, cut once.
Cut seven (7) circles out of vintage sheet music with Nestibilities. Lay them on wax paper and cover one side with Modge Podge. Let dry, turn over, repeat.
Trace outer edge of circle with Glossy Accents and sprinkle with German Glass Glitter. Let dry, turn over, repeat

Abbie White
New York, NY

recycled green and black paper
mod podge, of course (just in the back, not to seal)
embroidery hoop
some stickers
masking tape

Cut out the circle and bird. mod podge bird to circle. tape (low-budget) to embroidery hoop. add yarn. Hang on tree.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recycled Ornaments by Kelly

Here are two ornaments that were made and sent in by Cadley's mom. Can you imagine the fun they must have in that house?!

“Festive Frosty”
by Kelly Jackson
Guntersville, Alabama

This Festive Frosty was made of clippings and scraps swept from my workroom floor! I never throw anything away!

Materials: scrap of velvet upholstery, white
Mod Podge
White glitter
Scraps of paper, orange, decorative
Tulle clippings
Small piece of faux fur cut in circle
Scrap of yarn
Pipe cleaner
Paint, black, pink
Wad of fiberfill
Hot glue

Process: Make a large “yo-yo” and stuff with fiberfill or any recycled stuffing (plastic shopping bag)
Stitch closed. Smear all over with Mod Podge, sprinkle with glitter. Dry.
Paint eyes in black, cheeks in pink. Dry.
Hot glue orange paper nose (folded into triangle)
Hot glue pipe cleaner to top of head (this is hanger), glue yarn wad on top of this, glue hat (folded into triangle: deco paper) on top of this.
Gather tulle into a ruffle, glue under neck.
Glue fur scrap under tulle.

Retro Rudie Ornament by Cadley Jackson

Yes, I know, this is awesome. This ornament comes from Cadley Jackson of Guntersville, Alabama, where, from what I can tell, she and her mom Kelly have a fantastic time being creative together. (You'll be seeing Kelly's ornaments soon!) Cadley is 12, which I point out because I find this ornament to be extremely sophisticated and well executed. And I love the mix of materials that Cadley used. Here's how she made her Retro Rudie:

Materials: 1 toilet paper tube, old book pages, “whales” cracker box, Mod Podge, pipe cleaners, sticks & twigs, oil paints, scrap of ribbon, Christmas garland scraps, colored markers, spray glitter, one real red berry, hot glue

How to make: Cover toilet paper tube with Mod Podge and glue on the old book pages.
I cut out a head shape from the Whales box. The inside is brown. Cut a slit in the tube and insert head. Add some Mod Podge to hold it in place. I cut an ear shape from the Whales box and covered it with old pages paper. Cut out an eye shape. Color eye with markers. Glue ear and eye to head. Then I poked holes in the tube for the pipe cleaners. I used one pipe cleaner for front and one for back legs. I used hot glue to hold the legs in place. I used oil paints to rub color onto the body, legs, face and ribbon. I like to make things look old. Then I hot glued on snips from Christmas Garland as trim on the head and neck. I hot glued on the red berry as a nose. I hot glued on twigs as antlers. A paper wad is glued on as the tail. Last, I sprayed the whole thing with spray glitter. I just love it! I hope you do too!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recycled Ornament Contest Winner Annoucement!!!

After looking through all of the entries, the other Amy and I have decided that the winner of our Handmade, Recycled Ornament Contest is Candy Glendening of Redlands, California!!! These are her mod house ornaments, which just blew us away. Here's a look at one up close:

Candy makes art quilts, so it's no wonder that she found herself with loads of brightly colored fabric scraps to work with. Here's how she made them:

Scraps of hand dyed fabrics
Thread (for sewing and for the loop on top)
Hot glue gun

(As a an art quilter I can always use the fabric scraps SOMEWHERE, I had this huge bag of small oddly shaped scraps of peltex that has been sitting in my closet for just such a recycling project as this!)

General instructions for making:
I cut each house shape out of the peltex pretty much by eye. Then fused the fabric to the peltex, inside in out. I then created small, abstract art quilts on each side by collaging more of the fused fabric and then free motion quilting for emphasis. I then fused the sides together using strips of the fabric, glued the roof on with hot glue and stitched a loop through the top!

You know that I'm a quilter, so I was naturally attracted to these- and the other Amy has been working with fabric since she was 10- but we were both really impressed by the execution and the idea. Congrats Candy! We'll be sending your prize to you asap!

And now for the two runners up!

The mini terrarium by Sarah Wolfgang of Des Moines, Iowa!
Sarah used a Gerber baby food jar, buttons (for the flowers! how genius is that!), wire, and Mod Podge. She was aiming to replicate a live terrarium and I think she did a great job, particularly with the jar sitting on top of a little log. She cut a hole in the top of the jar and pushed a loop of ribbon through to be able to hang it, and secured it on the underside of the lid with a knot.

And the second runner up is Becca Dulgarian from West Jordan, Utah for her paper mache Christmas Ornaments! Amy and I LOVE the polka dots and bright colors on these ornaments, and that she gave new life to things sitting in a thrift shop and around her house.
"I'm completely in my element when I can create something wonderful out of old material so when I got word of this contest I was thrilled! I am a GREEN girl and love how this project turned out!"

Ingredients used:
Recycled Glass Christmas Bulbs! (I bought a 24 pack at my local Thrift Store for 50 cents! SCORE!!)
Mod Podge and Water
Ribbon for hanging

Basically you rip thin strips of newspaper, dip them in a one part water, one part Mod Podge solution and cover the glass bulbs completely with the strips. Let them dry over night and then paint them! I used simple paint techniques and bold colors. I string mine on Ribbon and hang them through out my home on door knobs and cupboard doors! I also have them displayed on my Door as a Welcoming Holiday Greeting! (See the full tutorial here.)

We had a terrific response to this contest and I'll be sharing the rest of the entries with you between now and Christmas because they are just too good not to post. Check back tomorrow for a very special ornament from the next generation of crafters who's going to take the blog world by storm in a few years, I can just tell!

Special thanks to Amy of Mod Podge Rocks for being the most awesome co-hostess!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ornament Contest Winner Will Be Announced Tomorrow!

Happy Friday everyone! Okay, since you are all so amazing and we got a veritable pile of entries, it's going to take until tomorrow to go through them and announce the winner. After we do that, I will use most of my posts from then through Christmas to share all of the entries with you since Amy and I are so impressed with your efforts. It's just not fair to keep them to ourselves!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Embroidered Happy Cow Ornaments

Oh my heavens, how darling is this guy? With our recycled/repurposed holiday ornament contest coming to a close today (hurry and send your submissions if you haven't yet!), I have tree trimmings on my mind. Kristin Evihan (who lives in Istanbul) has an etsy shop filled with adorable handmade cows and sheep.

They come in different colors, different materials, each with a unique attitude. And some of them even have bells on them. They kind of remind me of the puppets in The Sound of Music, which is just icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.

I mean, so cute! I actually would love to have one of these hanging in my craft room (which is technically the guest room, but it's really just where I go to sew).

Make sure to check back tomorrow to find out the winners of the ornament contest!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Minute Gift Idea: Sea Inspired Calendar

I am a little shocked and excited that Christmas is just over a week away. I have a few packages that I need to get into the mail, but I am pretty ready apart from my one outstanding crafting project to finish. Jo Bradford of Green Island Studios sent me a link to her signed artwork calendar which I just love. It's 12 unbound sheets printed with a 5x5 photograph and the month below. Which means that at the end of each month, you can trim off the dates and you have a lovely image to frame.

Jo has been nice enough to offer free shipping on all 5x5 prints and the calendar if you mention THINGSWEMAKE as a discount code at checkout through December 31. Easy way to check off another person or two from you list!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Handmade Holidays: Patchwork Stocking

This is the secret project that I've been working on for the past two weeks or so and I am absolutely thrilled to share it with you today. As you know, my quilting projects tend to take a long time (as in years), so starting and finishing something within a month is positively thrilling. You should have seen me when I finished this—I could hardly contain myself I was so excited.

My Grandmom Palanjian knit stocking for my immediate family, each one with our name and birth year knit into them (though my Dad's says Noel since he was a December baby). I'm bringing Josh home for the holidays and when I realized that we needed a stocking for him, I decided to carry on the handmade tradition by making one for him. As I'm not the best knitter, I went with patchwork since that is what I know. I found this tutorial from Maggie Makes and used it for the basic instructions and for the template. I cut my squares to be the size I liked, with a few rows of tiny squares for added interest.

The fabric is an old corn feed sack bag that I found when I first moved here, which with its red and green letters, seemed like a great fit (and also, Josh is a writer and an English/Lit professor, so the letters seemed appropritate). The trim fabric was a fat quarter picked up at Amana and the backing fabric was linen leftover from another project. Which means that the whole thing cost less than $5.

Eventually I need to embroider his name onto one of the top panels but I might not get to that this year. But I'm not worried about confusion on Christmas morning since this is the only patchwork stocking that will be hanging by the fire.

I didn't keep track of how many hours this took, but I would guess around 15, which seems like nothing given how much joy it's already brought to my life. That said, if I could figure out a way to do these faster, I'd totally turn this into a side business!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Baking with Huckleberries

This is my first winter in Iowa and while it was the first thing anyone who lived here warned me off when I got to town, I completely didn't understand. What I mean is that I thought winters in New York City were tough—I mean you have to walk everywhere and you can't rely on your car to keep you warm during your commute. I was so silly. This past week we got 15 inches of snow in what was being called a blizzard due to the winds and it was -6 one morning as I waited for the bus to go to work—because my car was stuck in my garage behind a 3-4 foot wall of snow and I stupidly had not invested in a shovel. I hereby take back all of my doubt. Winters here are very dramatic and I now respect that. But, I am also learning to enjoy things in new ways because of this perspective. Here are two:

1. Josh's mom sent me frozen huckleberries that she collected this summer while in Montana. While I was at home enjoying a snow day, I baked a batch of whole wheat huckleberry muffins, which have been the perfect afternoon snack since then, and this morning I made huckleberry cornmeal pancakes. The brightness of the flavors, the feeling of tasting summer in the middle of the cold, is incredibly appreciated given the mounds of snow outside.
2. I really like walking outside on the weekends and guess what? They snow blow the walking paths here! Which means it's possible to go for a long weekend walk without getting wet feet or seeing too many people because of the temperature. Today, we went to Gray's Lake, which was somewhat frozen. With the afternoon sun setting, it was quite the scene.

I have been working away on my surprise holiday gift that I showed last week and I am very nearly finished. It's actually not a surprise anymore since I was so excited about the progress that I told Josh what it was...which I'll tell you tomorrow!

Don't forget, you have until Thursday to enter the re/upcycled ornament contest co-sponsored by Mod Podge Amy and I!

Image via Brownie Points, a terrific food blog I just discovered.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Inspired Image: Michelle Tauber of Recycled Rings

Hello, my name is Michelle Hartney

You can find me at

This image comes from a great photographer named Simen Johan

It inspires me because it causes my mind to go in many different directions after looking at it.

I particularly love the look on the little boy's face.

It makes me feel curious. I wonder about the loss of curiosity as we age and how that effects the world we live in.

The 3 words it conjures up are innocence, life, death.

I'm totally amazed by Michelle's choice and I agree that it totally makes me think about curiosity. I think some of her interest in that comes through in the jewelry and accessories that she sells. Here's a peak at some of my favorites of hers, including rings that are hand sewn and beaded and mostly made with recycled older rings, a walnut shell necklace and one of her awesome clutches. Definitely wouldn't mind getting one of these under the tree!

Have a great weekend everyone. I have baking and sewing on my to-do list and I couldn't be more excited about it. I might even try to go sledding or something that makes the most of the 15 inches of snow that we got earlier this week. That, or I'll just drink hot chocolate and stay warm indoors!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Make: Fabric Garlands

Last week I taught a class at Ephemera on how to make fabric garlands and I wanted to give you the instructions on how to make one for yourself. They are super easy and are a great way to use up scraps of paper and fabric you might have in your house. Above is the one that Cara made with vintage fabric she brought from her stash, and here you can see two that I made.

This is us in the class in the back of Ephemera, which is just a fantastic space to be creative, if I do say so myself.
You'll need:
A range of jars (to trace circles, I used three sizes that ranged from small condiment jars to wide mouth quart jars)
File folders or card stock
Mod Podge
Assorted fabric

1.) Use the jars to trace 9-12 circles onto the cardstock. Cut them out and use a sponge to spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over each and adhere to your fabric. Allow to dry slightly, placing under a heavy book to ensure flatness. (I suggest using an old book, or a phonebook that you don't mind getting glue on since it will likely happen.)
2.) Cut out your new circles, using Mod Podge to adhere any edges that are fraying or not completely glued down.
3.) Lay out your ribbon at a length that you like for a garland (4-6 feet is usually plenty) and arrange your circles on top of it.
4.) Depending on how much time (and effort) you'd like to expend, you can either use the Mod Podge to attach the circles directly to the ribbon (again placing under something heavy to secure as it dries), or you can sew them together using a needle and thin yarn or thread.
5.) Hang vertically over a door, from the mantle, or around your tree. You can also make this craft small and use them to embellish packages, or, as someone at the class suggested, these could be pretty great ribbon headbands!

If you're going through your crafting supplies and recycling bin to make these, why not whip an entry in our Handmade Holiday Recycled/Repurposed Ornament contest while you're at it?! You could win a great big pile of fantastic crafting books and create a new heirloom (or gift) for your family.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Holiday To-Do List

I am amazed that Christmas is nearly two weeks away and I've realized that it's about time I kick my preparations into gear! This post is going to serve two purposes, to let you know my plans for gifts and to help me get a better handle on what's left to do. Last year, I made all of my gifts, which is impressive now that I've had some distance and realize what a major time investment that was. This year, I'm making two of them and I have a feeling that it's going to come down to the wire. Here's my plan:

1. Make a batch of granola to send to family I won't see over the holidays.
2. Finish my mom's quilt.
3. Finish the project that is above, which will remain a secret for now! Though I will say that I'm patchworking an old feed sack bag as part of the process.
4. Make holiday cards (I'm planning to use fabric, Mod Podge and paper with a method I used in this card).
5. Decide how I'm wrapping my presents.
6. Decide on the two remaining men in my life I need gifts for.
7. Decide what I'm doing for my coworkers. This will likely be a food gift.

What about all of you? What do your holiday preparations look like and what things are you planning on making?

I am currently looking out my window at a pile of snow, so depending on how the snow removal goes today, I might actually get to work on one of these projects for a bit. It's a busy time at work so I doubt I'll get to take a full snow day, but I'm going to see if I can fit in a snow hour or two!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Q&A: Christy & Ronnie of Lucha Workshop

I'm always on the hunt for new sources of inspiration, and as soon as I saw this bag, I was immediately transported to a time when I was younger when I proudly combined bright colors and accessorized boldly. There's nothing like channeling that type of energy, so I had to find out more about the makers.

Name: Christy Felisgrau and Ronnie Rivera
Location: Miami, FL

Tell me a little bit about what you make.
We turn our drawings into designs that we then sell in the form of t-shirts, art prints and handmade bags.

How and when did you start the company?
We were looking for a way to put our work out there and we thought t-shirts we would a great way to do that. After doing some research we taught ourselves how to screen-print and opened our shop.

Was it hard to decide what type of products to focus on?
Not really, we decided early on that t-shirts would be a great affordable way to sell our designs. The handbags and art prints came later on.

How does your collaboration process work?
When one of us has an idea we'll get together and have a brainstorming session. That usually leads to us either chucking out ideas that don't go anywhere or fleshing out ideas that we're excited about.

Where do you do your work?
Design and clerical work takes place in a converted garage in our home. The printing studio is a converted shed in our backyard.

Is this your full-time work?
Not at the moment but we're working on making it our fulltime job.

What inspired the design of your new bags- particularly the lines?
Our previous line of handbags were very simple. I (Christy) didn't know how to sew or make patterns so the first bags were a result of trail and error. This time around we knew we wanted to focus on color and pattern. After dyeing and printing the fabric the bags felt like they were visually lacking something. The woven lines were the result of some experimentation.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere really. Music, books, other artists, each other.

What have you learned about yourselves and each other since you started working together?
We've learned what our strengths and weaknesses are and how to rely on each other when one of us is stuck or when inspiration is lacking.

Are you working on something right now that has you particularly excited?
Right now we're designing a couple of album covers for two of our favorite local bands, The Electric Bunnies and Raffa and Rainer. We're also working on a project for our shop assistant iBarnabas, who's been with us for a couple of months.

What's the best part of your day?
Although we don't have them daily, I would have to say our brainstorming sessions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snowy Mornings

Happy Monday everyone. I spent the weekend in Chicago (well, part of the weekend was spent in the car to and from Chicago, belting out tunes from Glee and the Indigo Girls) attending Renegade Craft Fair and the One of a Kind Show for work. While at Renegade, which I got to just as it opened and before it became too crowded, I found a new favorite photographer in Kitty Rogers. This picture, Solitude, is one of my favorites of hers and I treated myself to a handful of her postcards with the intention to frame 2 for myself, and to give 2 to others. Since it snowed a few inches here last night, this picture seems to fit the feeling of the day that's starting in Iowa. Silent, serene and just a little bit serious.

P.S Don't forget to enter our recycled/repurposed ornament contest!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Inspired Image: Sarah Stover Hannevik

Hello, my name is Sarah Stover Hannevik

You can find me at Sarah Smiles (my blog), my portfolio, and my etsy shop

This image comes from my friend Kiley Arial who takes amazing pictures with her Holga camera.

It inspires me because it reminds me that the hunt for something amazing is always possible. You can always find a treasure in these small curio shops in China, Korea and Japan. This image seems to capture the ancient dusty mystery of China. The markets in many cities in China, this one is from Beijing, are a history lesson in the handicraft of the country. Many of the small glass bottles shown here are painted from the inside, totally incomprehensible and beautiful.

I particularly love the variation of color of all the little bottles and figures all displayed in a dim, fuzzy light, it looks like this picture was taken as the sun was setting.

It makes me feel dreamy, and curious. So much fun to find some amazing treasure in a shop like this, something that will always remind you of the mystery of this place.

The 3 words it conjures up are mystery, beauty and curiosity

I am a huge fan of Sarah's work and couldn't consider this post finished without showing you some of my favorites of hers. Sarah, who lives in South Korea, makes mixed media designs with fabric, paper and stitching. This first one is my absolute favorite for the mix of colors and textures.