Friday, November 27, 2009

Novelty Kitten

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

I have had the great fortune of meeting a number of really awesome local crafters over the course of my two and a half year tenure with the Washington DC crafty scene, and Shayne Rioux of Novelty Kitten has been a friend of mine for just about every minute of it. The original founder of the DC Craft Mafia, Shayne has been crafting for years and years and years. Nestled in her Maryland abode with a menagerie of animals and a mythical crafty room that I've only heard about, yet never seen, the things that Shayne turns out is the kind of stuff that makes you giggle maniacally or makes you think, "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?" Funny, irreverent, snarky and maybe a little weird, Novelty Kitten is chock full of stocking stuffers and last minute impulse items that will please friends, loved ones and all of your sarcastic buds.

Using every crafter's favorite machine, the Gocco printer, as well as a number of other mediums, Novelty Kitten boasts a bevy of inspirational delights. Recently, Shayne has added a number of vintage image collections perfect for mixed media collages; she's even gone to the trouble of grouping them by theme! I can imagine turning them into a series of snarky greeting cards, especially the images from the Handsome Gentlemen series (mostly with mustaches!). She also carries an ever-expanding line of 1" pins, perfect for hats, backpacks or your lapel. Everything from commentary on gnomes, to a jiggly homage to canned cranberry sauce, to Peeps and succinctly expressed apathy - there's something for everyone. Novelty Kitten features a line of silly and irreverent paper products, too! Periodic Table of Monsters, Express Your Apathy Cards (I handed out a few to coworker recently and was met with UPROARIOUS laughter), and even eggs in party hats! There are times when I'd like to climb into Shayne's brain, settle down in a lawn chair and watch things happen. It's always exciting.

Whether you're shopping for your nerdy brother, a precocious kid, your grumpy sister in law or even for a White Elephant-style work gift exchange, just about everyone I know would be pleased to own a treat from Novelty Kitten. The fact that I know the woman behind the craft only enhances my love for the entire line of products. She's a true and loyal friend with a fabulous sense of humor. Want to win her over? Send her something gnome related - she shoots through the roof! I can't recommend Novelty Kitten enough, and I hope you swing by and grab a few things to turn your holidays into a giggling groan fest.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

leiva * jewelry

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

The craft scene is filled to the brim with jewelry artisans and designers, using every possible medium to bring their creative visions to life. Having been immersed in that over the past two or so years has helped not only clarify my personal style, but it has really challenged me to find beauty in things that are completely different than what I normally desire. Additionally, it has given me a deeper appreciation for fine artistry and the time and dedication quality jewelry making requires. I was pleased to add Leiva to my group of sponsors for that reason - I am a colorful and bright personality yet her delicate yet bold jewelry spoke to me in ways I never expected. I'm so excited to share her work with you!

Mandy Carroll-Leiva is the mastermind behind Leiva jewelry. Trained at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in jewelry and metalsmithing, Mandy spent many years honing her skills as a production assistant and manager in New York City for rather prestigious jewelry designers. Somehow, through what I would consider a beautiful twist of fate, she escaped to Argentina where she fell in love and undoubtedly drew an infinite amount of inspiration from the beauty and culture available in Buenos Aires. She returned home and is now settled with her husband up north, developing her exciting collection of jewelry. Her line now extends to a number of delicate and sweet designs for weddings and other romantic events. On top of that, Mandy is currently making available an extremely refined and jaw-dropping line of colored diamond rings - they are unlike anything I have ever seen! Available in greens, peaches, pinks and even black, these rings are perfect for the off-the-beaten path kind of gal, and also ideal for GLBTQ folks who are in the process of becoming engaged or planning a commitment ceremony. To wear something truly unusual and one of a kind is a perfect complement to the special love involved in all of the relationships in the queer community, in my honest opinion.

Leiva is celebrating her one year anniversary through Monday November 30th, and I sincerely hope you consider spending some of your "Cyber Monday" dollars at her shop where you can get 10% off (except the diamonds!). From hand forged metalwork to rutilated quartz rounds, jade and turquoise, pearls and finely sculpted oxidized sterling silver earrings, Leiva's line has something for every woman in your life. The artist herself is sweet as can be and I feel so genuinely honored that she stumbled upon this little blog and said hello. I cannot wait to watch her collection evolve. Please visit Leiva - you'll be glad you did!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kick dust and take names.

Portuguese designer Cabracega developed this installation, Make Household Not War, for the Coca-Cola Light exhibition space in Portugal's ExperimentaDesign Biennale. I'm confident that if a Queer Housewife like myself were to develop her own line of household products, they would certainly honor the warrior within. BAM BOOM POW!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's a Stitch

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

It's a treat to find someone, anywhere, with so much genuine and unending enthusiasm and glee about crafting and community. That's what I found a few months ago when I met Malarie, designer and owner of It's A Stitch. Nestled in her little hideaway studio in the wilds of suburban Washington DC, Malarie creates two distinct lines: the first is full of quaint and adorable jewelry and home accessories; the second is sultry and seductive. I can only imagine that in person, Malarie is a very precise combination of all of those qualities. Marry all of this with her ever evolving interest in fashion and style and her top notch photography, and It's a Stitch is a crafter on the move up up up!

It's a Stitch designs combine whimsy with clean lines, which is often hard to come by when navigating Etsy for affordable and unique jewelry. Using vintage and vintage-inspired components, a variety of metals and gemstones, the pieces easily translate from day to night, casual to fancy. Additionally, It's a Stitch offers a line of ever-evolving totes and accessories using an unusual technique - she uses various stencils and bleaches the color from the fabric to highlight the edges and turns them into completely original pieces. Her third very special endeavor is a line of jewelry both gothic and refined in its inspiration. Spooky Chandelier features studs, necklaces and rings in rich, inviting colors. Many of the pieces available at Spooky Chandelier also feature more intricate wire wrapping and stones. And my favorite pieces, the itty bitty studs, come in such lovely deep shades of orange, pink, green and blue. There is quite honestly something for everyone in both shops!

So often the pieces available out in the crafty world are one notes and statement pieces, things that people will notice if you wear them more than once to the office or to class. But It's a Stitch pieces are special in that they have daily appeal. That's a wonderful compliment to Malarie's well-trained eye and her innovative, fresh approach to crafting. Find It's a Stitch and Spooky Chandelier at Etsy, where Malarie is also an active member of the Lab Rats Team. She's working on kick starting her own blog, and she updates regularly at Twitter, sharing a whole slew of interesting and exciting links and tidbits about fashion, music, jewelry and her crafting endeavors. You can also become a fan on Facebook which could prove fruitful in the future if she does another giveaway! I'm looking forward to how It's a Stitch evolves and grows; I'm confident it only gets better from here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bust out your Day Planners, kids.

This is it! Oh Ginger's show schedule for the month of December. I've packed in four shows in three weekends, just in time for you to get all of your favorite Oh Ginger goodies in time for the holidays. Links to all of the shows are available under this handy dandy calendar I made just for you! Can't wait to see your darling faces.

What is all this for, you ask?

I suppose that a number of people are curious about this onslaught of crafter review posts and why I've dedicated myself to sharing their work with you. Well, if you missed the original post, this is my first test group of sponsors and I couldn't be more pleased with the folks who chose to share their time and work with Queering Domesticity and its readers. One of the components of my arrangement with these enormous talents is that we'd work together to pull a giveaway together for you. And that's the point. I'm having a giveaway! A HUGE GIVEAWAY!

[click to embiggen]

Check back here at QD the morning of December 1st for all the details and pictures. You won't believe what I have in store for you. The giveaway sign up will last a week and the winner will get all of the amazing treasures just in time for the winter holidays. Thanks to my lovely sponsors and to my readers for inspiring me!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pretty Little Fings!

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

When Pang, the mastermind behind Pretty Little Fings, and I were introduced last year, I had no idea we'd be where we are at this very moment. A fleeting connection, a random and delightful crafty trade, a mutual love of bacon and fuzzy stuffed had potential but I never knew if it would work. Skip ahead about 11 months and here you have one of the most special friendships I've had in a long time. She's someone who manages to see the world around her and interpret it in the most astounding ways - turning her brilliant and ever-expanding imagination into beautiful works of plush art and photography. Self-taught and home grown, Pang of Pretty Little Fings is a fabulous friend and and even better crafter. In fact, there are days when I don't know if I could've done this (this whole crafty thing) without her!

Nestled in my favorite American town, Pretty Little Fings creates plush creatures inspired by all the things most people love: food, nature and that childlike sense of glee that you experience when you see or feel something totally fantastic. With a meticulous attention to detail, an eye for color and a precise understanding of the emotions behind each and every one of her creations, every fing that comes out of her studio will warm your heart and make you giggle. Not limiting herself to just making treats for her shop, Pang is the consummate artist, working hard to get seen and noticed nationwide. Recently, she had the great fortune of displaying her more detailed creations at Artomatic in downtown Washington DC and at the prestigious Plush You! in Seattle! She also contributes specialized delights for charitable auctions and creates personalized treats for her friends and loved ones. I mean, look at everything she has made in just a few short years!

I was dubious, at best, about the neverending sea of plush products in the indie craft world. I felt like there was entirely too much duplication and a kind of cute I couldn't quite wrap my head around. But when I saw all these pretty fings that Pang creates, I was won over. Every ounce of dedication and perspiration she puts into her pieces reflects in the final product. Loved by kids and adults alike, you can find a one of a kind and affordable gift for anyone on your list at her shop. She also blogs regularly about her crafty endeavors at the Pretty Little Fings blog, keeps her fans updated on Facebook and spends what seems like every moment of her day documenting her inspired life in pictures. She's started to parlay her love and skill of photography into a side business, taking commissions for photography sessions. Her work with this recently engaged couple is stunning and an indication how she can bring out the excited little kid in just about everyone.

What I like to consider a Whole Package kind of artist and crafter, Pretty Little Fings is cuddly and sweet as well as a force to be reckoned with! Come check us out at Booth #20 on December 5th - we'll be selling our wares together at the Holiday Shop-n-Stroll in Silver Spring, or what I like to call Handmade Mart Part Deux!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A renewed love for polymer clay...

Because I've been exposed to crafts almost every day of my life since infancy, I remember when polymer clay entered my life and became an obsession. Almost weekly, I asked my mom to take me to Total Crafts in Chantilly to scan the shelves for the hottest new color of Sculpey and the latest tool to create innovative and interesting accessories. I can't remember when I stopped fiddling with polymer clay. I imagine it coincided with becoming a teenager, and spending more time fashioning an intricate social life instead of imitation millefiori beads. The Sculpey and tools were discarded or put away for another day, and I moved on. And then I felt like polymer clay became obsolete - that it was both out of fashion and unappealing to crafters. The only things I saw made from the stuff were woefully outdated or just plain ugly.

To my shock and delight, polymer clay has made a resurgence over the years, especially thanks to the indie craft movement and inspiration on websites like Etsy. When you do a search at Etsy for polymer clay, the search yields over 54,000 results! I couldn't possibly share every seller and their lovely wares with you here in this post, but I have selected four of my absolute favorites. All four have unique and expertly honed techniques that manage to create astonishingly beautiful collections.

[From top left, clockwise]

JooJooLand - combining an almost anime-inspired aesthetic (for some pieces) with a stunning spectrum of colors, JooJooLand has cultivated a collection of accessories and functional decorative elements. Brooches, earrings, figurines and even terrarium accents all make you squeal with delight. I can't help but love the teeny tiny worm on a limb magnet. JooJooLand has managed to inject buckets of personality in her simply stunning pieces.

Block Party Press - this Baltimore-based crafter has pulled together a line of accessories no doubt inspired by the world around her. Touches of urban starkness meld with natural beauty in her pieces - everything from pendants to earrings to magnets for your fridge. My favorite collections offered by Block Party Press are the Out on a Limb series and those inspired by city life. She creates all the stamps for her pieces by hand and texturizes them using acrylic paint and distressing techniques. Many new pieces even have a Seussian quality to them, which warms my book-loving heart. Brilliant!

momochas - Hailing from a tiny peninsula at the tippy-top of Spain, I fell in love with momochas designs not only because of the rich and indulgent color choices, but because of the intense intricacy of the pieces. Whether completely constructed from polymer clay, or embellishments on top of existing, vintage-inspired settings and findings, it's hard to imagine the size of the magnifying glass this artist must use. momochas offers a variety of one of a kind pieces in various styles - brooches, pendants, earrings and rings. Something for everyone, indeed.

boltsandbots - For the nerd in your life, or the purveyor of all things incredibly adorable, boltsandbots is a dream come true. I stumbled upon this shop while searching for variations on the theme of abominable snowman (ahem, snowbot!) and I stayed for the wide array of bitty bots. I can imagine a collection of bots lining the top of my computer monitor at work, or in a tiny corner shelf of an office or reading nook. Everything from Princess Leia Bot to Christmas Tree Bot to Harry Botter - oh my!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fabulous fiber with misshawklet

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

A few years ago, when I was first crawling into the craft world, I somehow met a fine lady on LiveJournal who seemed to share quite a bit in common with me. It just so happened that our meeting coincided with my renewed interest in crocheting and knitting, rendering me completely incapable of controlling my wallet around her shop. I stitched up whatever I could with my meager skills...a scarf here, a neckwarmer there. What amazed me the most was how lovely and perfect the yarn translated into my haphazard and inconsistent knitting. Since that day, I have remained steadfastly committed to supporting misshawklet (and Holly, the shop owner) ever since. She is an inspirational artist, crafter and person in general. Let me tell you why.

As far as misshawklet is concerned, every fibrous inch of what Holly sells is eco-friendly, organic if possible, and filled with personality and color. According to Holly, she purchases "farm or what I call 'animal friendly' wool and mohair from a small rescue farm in Wisconsin, where I know the sheep are spoiled rotten!" Whether she's spun up a single ply batch in a soft and demure colorway, or twisted a festive and varied "scraptacular" skein together, misshawklet yarns are inspirational. Soft as can be, saturated in color, and smooth on the needle - what more could a novice or expert knitter as for?! misshawklet also sells, from time to time, a variety of supplies and doo-dads, hand-stitched coptic bound journals, and even roving for folks who like to spin themselves. While I am not as well-versed in yarn lingo as I'd like to be, I can tell you that when I receive a skein of misshawklet yarn in the mail, I can't help but press it gently to my cheek and nuzzle in its warmth and fuzziness. Perhaps this sounds strange to you, but have you ever had a misshawklet skein in your hands? You should!

After a recent show at Stitches East, misshawklet's stock is a bit depleted but FEAR NOT! She will be adding stock soon enough, and you can always browse her sold items to get an idea of what she will have available in the near future. Keep up to date with the shop's goings-on on her blog or on Facebook. You can also get a taste of the full expanse of Holly's life up on her little Nashua, NH homestead, which she's turned a house into a home and a blank-slate of a yard into a garden. The fruits and vegetables collected from her garden are incredible, and her commitment to sustainable living, inspirational. Sometimes I imagine swinging on a hammock in her backyard, listening to the birds tweet and noshing on some of her gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. As someone who likes to buy high quality, ecofriendly yarns now and again, I am never disappointed with misshawklet's stock. Inspired by nature and designed to support it, misshawklet is THE place to shop!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

QuicKutz Letterpress Machine

Paper Source stores nationwide will be hosting free holiday demonstrations and "make & take" workshops this coming Saturday and Sunday, November 14th and 15th*. Though just about everything about Paper Source is fabulous, the best part about these workshops is that they will include an exclusive opportunity to see and potentially use the latest addition to their line: the QuicKutz Letterpress Machine!

This letterpress machine is a home-crafter's dream come true. Create greeting cards, scrapbook pages and accents, merchandising accessories and even business cards with your own special touch! It is reasonably priced, though I can't speak to it's usability or quality just yet, at $149.95 and fits onto any table top. The price also includes an array of accessories that really make the deal even sweeter: letterpress tool, Epic 6 machine, clear packing mat with packing sheet, ink brayer, ink base, black letterpress ink, letterpress paper (10 sheets of A2 flat), paper positioning guides, printing plates, printing plate adhesive. Paper Source also has a few printing plates and ink selections to choose from, and I'm sure more are on the way!

If you've tried the QuicKutz, let me know in the comments! I'm off to write Santa a letter.

* Remember, supplies are limited and available on a first come first serve basis, so get there early!

Harper Perennial Olive Editions

For the book nerd and/or color enthusiast, Harper Perennial has a relatively new imprint called Olive Editions which feature bold colors and cover illustrations by Milan Bozic. The "pocket" sized books are available in a variety of titles - the two I've laid my eyes on were Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. (To be honest, I found that to be one of the most hilarious combinations of books ever - stick your head in the oven with good, healthy food!)

They're sturdy, squat and seem to be a perfect marriage between the bourgeois trade paper and the affordable, utilitarian mass market. My only complaint, as someone who has been in the book industry off and on for close to 10 years, is that these small imprints never publish enough titles in order to justify their acquisition for aesthetic purposes. You couldn't turn your entire library into a homage to the Olive Edition, but they would look quite cute stacked up on your nightstand or on a small bookshelf in a reading nook. Their spines feature groupings of horizontal lines which appear to be handrawn in the color featured on the cover with a small, tidy title/author reference. Olive Editions are priced at or around $10, though many of them seem to be out of print at this point and might be available for much less or even at your local used bookstore.

ETA: Erica from The Olive Reader left a comment and gave this very helpful information about the Olive Editions. Thanks, Erica!
"we're publishing/have published the olives as limited editions. the first three (the unbearable lightness of being, everything is illuminated, and mysteries of pittsburgh) were published last fall and are now out of print, but the response we got was so awesome that we did another three this fall (fast food nation, bell jar, and crying of lot 49) that are available now for a limited time."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Broken Plate Company

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

My grandmother was notoriously frugal (I imagine some of my relatives might interject and call her cheap) and one of her weaknesses was "free with purchase" things. In the 1950s, grocery stores would offer pieces of dinnerware collections based on the number of points you collected or dollars you spent. She managed to acquire over 18 place settings of this particular line of dinnerware, including many serving pieces. 'Twas a pleasure indeed to hear that these were all being passed down to me (*groan*). They still sit in a box, neatly packed away because I have no room for a fancy-looking setting of dinnerware in my life.

Here's where Juliet Ames comes in. The Broken Plate Company, her brainchild, is where boxed up fancy dishes from your Nanny and memories come alive and are given a renewed purpose. Juliet breaks each and every plate with love...and force...crafting them into a collection of inspired and versatile pieces. Did you break your Great Aunt Myrtle's favorite serving plate? No bother! Send it her way and she can craft a bevy of wearable delights with which to adorn yourself and ol' grumpy Myrtle. Don't have a plate but still need something upcycled to give your favorite friend, who happens to be a whiz in the kitchen or a hostess extraordinaire? The Broken Plate Company has what you need.

What I love about The Broken Plate Company is that every single piece has its own unique personality. Everything from a grown-up variation on the "best friends forever" theme of our childhoods, to cufflinks for the dapper dudes in your life, to a cocktail ring the likes of which has never been seen at any holiday party you've ever attended. She also offers custom packages for weddings and events. I can imagine a custom package would be a great gift for a family reunion, too! There's even a Pendant of the Month club, for cryin' out loud. A broken plate pendant has even been featured on more than one occasion around Rachel Ray's neck on her show 30-Minute Meals! I have to admit, I now watch the show with my finger rested on the pause button, ready to catch a broken plate pendant sighting. To top it all off, Juliet runs another facet of her empire called Mutha Crafter, a line dedicated to Rosie the Riveter inspired shirts and other apparel for moms to be. She even created a special "I'm So Crafty I Make People" shirt for pregnant folks in the queer community with, you guessed it, a rainbow color palate at my behest.

Juliet's pieces are remarkable and nostalgic in a very special and unique way. I plan on finally digging through that box of dishes this year and shipping a few plates up to to Baltimore to turn them into memories my whole family can cherish, which is something hard to do when only one family member has the whole lot of dishes. With the striking combinations of settings and color, style and design, The Broken Plate Company has something for just about everyone. When you're shopping for friends and family this holiday season, please stop by The Broken Plate and pick up a few things or have your pieces custom made. You won't regret it.

P.S. - I can't publish this review without showing you Juliet's enduring commitment to her craft. This woman just had an intricate rendering of a favorite plate design tattooed on her arm. Stunning.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Very Zombie Christmas with Tina Seamonster

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

Two years ago, I was lonesomely navigating the exciting and bumpy waters of crafting here in Washington DC. I stumbled upon a blog written by a local woman who made the most fantastically unusual zombie and yeti crafts I had ever seen. Actively involved in all things craft here in the nation's capital, including Crafty Bastards, Hello Craft and the Craft Mutiny, Tina Seamonster is the funniest and most original zombie/seamonster/yeti crafter out there and a constant inspiration ever since! She also blogs at I Like Seamonsters and is an active co-host on the Television Zombies podcast. To top it all off, Tina's mom to twin girls with the most active imaginations I've ever encountered and no doubt a source of constant inspiration.

Featuring Tina Seamonster at the kick-start of the holiday season was an easy decision - where else will you get your zombie Christmas cards?! She offers a unique and hilarious assortment of cards perfect for anyone who raises an eyebrow to holiday cheer, elves and even the baby Jesus. Even your grumpy husband, cousin or dude down the street would do a double-take once they see these! Did you know that zombies hate cats AND that you are awesome? I sure didn't.

What many people would consider a Haunted Hallmark, her shop is a bevy of Gocco-printed, hand-stitched and duct-taped delights - everything from stuffed zombie ornaments (with dainty little bells!) to wallets to silly shirts for your precocious kids that read "STOP EATING UNICORNS!" Her line of shirts, cards and prints featuring President Obama are perhaps my favorite - there is nothing more amusing than seeing the 44th president of the United States clock a zombie upside the head! POW!

If you're looking for something strange, inspired and unlike anything you've ever seen, I highly suggest you stop by the Seamonster Shop. There isn't a nerd I know that wouldn't fall all over themselves to get her crafty creations. Oh, and did I mention that Alastair the Grumpy Gnome would like you to keep it in your pants? Yes, thank you. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What a nog out!

(Ok, that was horrible. Good thing I don't get paid.)

Though Em is the resident egg nog aficionado in our house, I can't keep myself from lusting after this vintage Hazel Atlas milk glass set. The perfectly preserved little cups and bowl. The horse drawn carriage scene in a cheery red. The delightful and nostalgia-filled shamrock green script telling you what belongs inside. The visions of whiskey being sneakily poured into the bowl when no one is looking. Oh wait, I need to focus. If there is some magical Santa fairy waiting out there, ready to give presents before Christmas, please put this on my list.

The Garbologist's Wife

[This is the first in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

The fashion landscape is often grim for us larger gals - we've either got to choose from a bevy of ill-fitting business casual ensembles in black, gray and dark purple or there's the modern and hip clothing that doesn't last more than a season because of its lack of quality. And what for the eco-conscious lady, interested in clothing her curves with something sustainable or upcycled? I don't think I'm the first person who groans at the thought of finding an entire wardrobe at a thrift store. Impossible! That was me, anyway, until I clicked a link shared by friend for a brand new skirt she was acquiring on Etsy.

The Garbologist's Wife is a one-woman sewing machine based out of Baltimore, committed to designing and creating ecologically friendly clothing for all women. Her sizes range from small to 3x and manage to be equally adorable and jaw-droppingly flattering. Her skirts come in a range of styles: a casual wrap, a neat and tidy a-line, and even a fun pleated and structured piece that would complement the curviest of curves or the squarest of hips. Her Sweetie Pie dress made my best friend gasp in delight and she also has a line of vintage button accessories. Her color choices are inspiring, considering that she rescues all of her fabric from vintage, preexisting bolts and other pieces that she digs up at consignment shops, thrift stores and tag sales. She compares herself to Fraulein Maria, who managed to make an entire wardrobe out of a few panels of curtains. With her delicate, feminine and unique collection, she is both a fashion inspiration as well as a motivational designer. I'm confident that she makes all women look beautiful in the skin they're in.

I've elected to write about The Garbologist's Wife first not only because she is top notch, but because I think that we should all endeavor to incorporate one of her pieces into our holiday wardrobe or gift-giving plans - and sewing takes time! She takes custom orders quite enthusiastically and offers detailed sizing information on both her website and Etsy shop. She was one of the busiest vendors I saw at this year's Crafty Bastards, and I can imagine she will stay just as busy at her appearances at the Craft Mutiny's Holiday Booty Market on December 19th and Pittsburgh Craft Mafia's Handmade Arcade on December 12th.

You can also keep track of this lovely lady by reading her blog or following her on Twitter! She is also a member of the venerable Baltimore Etsy Street Team! The Garbologist's Wife is a breath of fresh air and I assure you that you will be just as happy as I am to have discovered her.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The BEST apple?

NPR did a taste test recently to determine the apple that most skillfully and deliciously tolerated heat. Growing up in Virginia, there was no contest - any apple that came off the tree at a orchard was ten times better than a store bought apple, and Granny Smiths are overdone and too tart! While the NPR taste test results yielded an admiral result, the Honeycrisp, I have to tell you...the best apple to nosh on or bake with will always, ALWAYS be the Stayman-Winesap. Available as one or the other or a heritage varietal, these apples are top notch and my autumns never feel complete without sinking my teeth into one.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Framing impermanence.

From top left, clockwise:
Chalkboard Sticker Frame (also available in rectangle) - $6.95
Pin-Up Frame by MollaSpace (in black, white or clear) - $28
Taylor & Wood Frames Wallpaper (per roll) - $40
Exhibit Your Art Pad (sticky notes) - $12

Sometimes I find myself spinning around in circles in my living space, wondering if what I've put in a frame here and there is just right or perfectly suited to the space or my temperament at the moment. While I often admire people that can decide on something and stick with it, I'm also given to whims and flights of fancy. There is a certain freedom in impermanence and flying by the seat of your pants. The frame finds featured in this post help facilitate that - they are all flexible and full of potential.
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