Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jumping ship -- introducing my new online store

Jumping off the Etsy ship

When I opened my online store almost 5 years ago, offered quirky collections of handmade wares created by humble artists and craftspeople. It wasn't trying to compete with Amazon. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

Got paper? Make a book. A meander book.

meander journal
One reason that handmade books are so cool is their fancy names -- like "accordion," "tunnel," and "flutter." This week in my collage workshop, we made something called a "meander" journal. 

We started with a single sheet of watercolor paper and ended up with a work of art.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Curse you, zipper! An upcycled purse with an unsightly zipper

purse made out of Mickey Mouse pants
The more I sew, the more I realize that I may have missed a few things when my mom was teaching me the basics. It wasn't her fault -- I was an impatient, snotty little kid who refused to admit my mistakes and burst out in tears when she told me to rip out my seams.

So I'm not surprised that a simple zipper could be my undoing.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

No more plastic grapes -- practicing painting by being a copycat

Painting a still lifeI've been taking painting classes for a few years now, at the same art school. In fact, I've been there so long that I've gone through every prop in the "still life prop" closet. Plastic fruit, second-hand bowls and vases, gnarled driftwood. You name it, I've tried to paint it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Put a button on it! Reducing my stash one button at a time

My theme for this year (lifetime?) is DESTASH -- grabbing every opportunity I can to whittle down my many collections of waiting-to-be-upcycled stuff. In a previous post, I described making an entire purse out of fabric scraps

This time, it's buttons! I have jars and jars of old buttons, bequeathed to me by my mother and grandmother. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Etsy -- I can't sell with it, I can't sell without it

Like many longtime Etsy sellers, I'm thinking about forsaking the platform and building a new online shop for my upcycled creations. Ever since the original founders sold Etsy a few years ago, it's felt less artsy and more corporate. Many indie makers were upset when Etsy relaxed the requirement that sellers had to make their own goods.

But my concern is more selfish -- I'm losing sales. Far fewer people visit my store than in the past. And for those who do visit, I fear they get lost in my large inventory. My shop is hard to navigate thanks to Etsy limitations. But before I jump ship, I've decided to try a few workarounds.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Patchwork shoulder bag made from fabric scraps

Artist or hoarder? That's what I think whenever I see the tower of large plastic bins in my sewing room closet. It started innocently, with a simple desire to repurpose thrift shop garments and save the world by transforming jeans, kids jumpers, designer skirts, and men's dress shirts into tablet cases and bags.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Painting with a friend -- how sweet it is!

Two chefs

My BFF Sarah and I have a lot in common. We like to make art, we like to bake, and we especially like dessert!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It's a dog's life…collages that go woof

My friends call me a crazy cat lady (hey, I only have 3!) But this August I got to spend time with a very special dog -- Breezy, the Australian Cattle Dog! 

She traveled all the way to Seattle from New York, along with her minder, my good friend Eriko. Eriko and Breezy hiked all over Western Washington. I joined them on a few easy hikes. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gelli plate to the rescue! Turning an old book cover into abstract art

Turning old Trixie Belden book into abstract artI'm obsessed with finding cool vintage books and giving them new life as tablet cases. But I've come to realize, not all book covers can be saved.

Like this Trixie Belden cover. Way back when I made this case, the image on the front blinded me to the sad state of the binding. This case would never last!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Altered photo book project, part 6 -- detached eyeball, holy toast, and more

Yep, I'm still at it. Here's the last set of altered photos from an old guide to Florence. I'm going to combine all my collages (100+) in an online flip book. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

See Dick grin. See Jane scowl. Notecards made from old Dick and Jane readers

upcycled notecards made from vintage elementary readers
I love it when one of my customers comes back for more. Last December, Amy Jo from Ohio bought a set of my "Dick and Jane" notecards. A few weeks ago she asked for more, so I was happy to comply. Here are some of the cards I made for her. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

DIY Postcard Kit

Map of Colorado
A few weeks ago, a good friend and her 11-year-old son (my unofficial godson) moved from Chicago to Boulder, CO. I remember moving away from my own best friends when I was about his age (we went from Ohio to Oregon). I thought he might want to write to his friends and family in the midwest.

I looked around for a "make-your-own-postcard" kit at local toy stores and bookstores but had no luck. So I made one. It turned out to be a perfect use of papers from my stash.