Sunday, November 27, 2011

Monday Meet Up With Alex

My friend Alex stopped by Hot Cup o' Handmade back in early November. She had been poking around my blog and Etsy shop for a while and finally decided upon the one piece she wanted to get in person. Of course, it was the one piece I didn't bring with me to the show! We fixed that problem by meeting up after school/work last Monday. I was met by Alex and her adorable son Ehren - who is quite the talented photographer.

Alex and Ehren
Alex tried on "Welcome Home Embrace" and it looked nearly perfect on her. We decided to add a few inches of vintage chain in the back for more length. After the small adjustment, she looked like a million bucks! 

Alex couldn't look more lovely!
Alex was also kind enough to pass to me some vintage jewelry, buttons, and components. That's one of the best parts of upcycling - you never know where your treasures will come from! I cannot wait to delve into my new materials for inspiration. This was definitely one of the best Monday's I've had in a good long while.
love these pieces to pieces
Now is the time to grab something from Twitch and Whiskers.  I am having a Small Business Saturday Sale going on from Saturday November 26th to Saturday December 3. Visit my Etsy shop and enter "HANDMADEHOLIDAY" at check out for a 15% discount. Spread the word!
Lockets and all jewelry on sale!
 Here's another chance to catch me locally before the holidays. Come visit me (and 3 other amazing artists):

Hot Cup o' Handmade - Sunday, December 4 from 12-4 at Molten Java in Bethel, CT. 

One more local trunk show is in the works. Check back soon! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On the Road - Wellesley Marketplace

In true "on the road" fashion, Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture and I miraculously fit two displays-worth of materials into the back of her car with not an inch to spare. We hit the highway on Friday night and headed to Cambridge to stay with her daughter Siena. It's great having a friendly face and nice place to go to when in the Boston area. 
And there was even room for us!
Bright and early on Saturday we set up for the Wellesley Marketplace at the Wellesley Middle School. It was the 35th year of the annual event to benefit the Wellesley Hills Junior Women's Club and their community service projects. The event is always well-attended and offers a great variety of handmade and manufactured goods. Displays were spread out throughout the school's cafeteria, gyms, and hallways. There was a great buzz in the air when the doors opened at 9 am and enthusiastic shoppers came rushing through.
Twitch and Whiskers in the lower gym
Folk Couture in the hallway
Set up next to me was Zandra Zuraw of Zeal: Handmade Home. Zandra's decoupaged trays, coasters, frames, and map ornaments were a big hit at the show. Her use of unique papers, bold colors, and eye-catching graphics made her pieces a standout. Birds, whales, and vintage labels were cleverly collaged onto her wares and made everyday items not-so-everyday. Zandra also does custom orders where she can create trays using maps with specific locations, for the world-traveler in your life. I especially loved her use of Japanese papers with bold floral prints. If you are looking for the perfect hostess gift or holiday present that would make any home more vibrant, visit her website or go see her in person at one of her upcoming shows. You'll absolutely love her stuff!

Zandra Zuraw of Zeal
birds of a feather
a variety of great gifts
Karen Capralos Grant of Simply June is simply wonderful! We briefly met each other before the show began and quickly learned that we loved each others work. Karen hand-embroiders pendants with floral bursts and bees and makes vintage-inspired, asymmetrical necklaces to accompany them. She also creates framed embroidered art, and most impressively, she offers the unique service of turning your child's artwork into an embroidered pillow (you can see the tiger sample in the pic below). Before we left I traded her one of my rouge locket necklaces with a bee inside for one of her embroidered bee necklaces. I wore it out to dinner that night because it matched my black and yellow dress perfectly. Visit her website for a touch of handmade whimsy and bee impressed! 
Karen Capralos Grant of Simply June
box o' surprises
two bees (or not two bees)
When Carrie Sullivan of Sheabella Tutus came to visit my table, my eyes were instantly drawn to her bold ribbon necklace with bold red and turquoise beads. Upon further investigation, I learned that the beads were actually made of gumballs! Carrie carefully strings the bubblicious beads onto grosgrain ribbon with a touch of tulle. She offers all sorts of fanciful, handmade tutus with adorable embellishments and light fairy wings. When I visited her website, I saw that she even offers mermaid tails in the summer. Now, why weren't those around when I was a kid? Twirl on over to Sheabella Tutus and you will find the perfect gift for the sparkly one in your life.
Carrie Sullivan of Sheabella Tutus
good enough to eat
a flight of fancy
At Wellesley, I got to try out my newest favorite thrift store find - a small suitcase. It was the perfect sized display for my REcap bracelets. Some of my more colorful compact necklaces went home to happy ladies including: Owl Moon, Mirror Mirror, and Last Call. I was thrilled to find out that many of my Thimblism necklaces, REcap bracelets, and Fun 'n' Games rings were going to be holiday gifts for kids. My favorite moment was seeing a 4 year old walking away wearing a necklace with a toy airplane hidden inside a compact. I'm definitely inspired by kids and couldn't be happier when they wear my pieces!

REcaps to go
a happy customer with Owl Moon
Last Call
Mirror Mirror
Grace's Folk Couture racks emptied of many dresses, sweaters, and tunics. Lots of ladies were drawn to her carefully constructed and composed clothes with mixed patterns, textures, and surprise details. She had an incredible dress with a growling bear graphic on top and iridescent formal dress bottom. It really found the perfect gal. She still has a busy season ahead and you can catch her in the weeks to come at Festival Fete, SoWa Holiday Market and Hot Cup o' Handmade.
style 'n' smile maker
Folk Couture
The night ended with friendships (old and new), smiles, and a great dinner. You really can't beat sharing your passion with others and knowing that many will be getting gifts - handmade with love this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving from Twitch and Whiskers! 

My last holiday show will be Hot Cup o' Handmade in Bethel, CT. Hope to see you there!

Hot Cup o' Handmade - Sunday, December 4 from 12-4 at Molten Java in Bethel, CT.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On the Road - Twist in Northampton, MA

This past week was one of my favorite handmade show - Twist in Northampton, MA. Just the mere mention of it conjurers up images of amazingly curated wares, talented designers, fun customers, and a party-like atmosphere. There is really nothing else like it around! Thom and I headed up on Friday and couldn't wait for the show to begin!
Just moments before the doors opened on Friday. Ready to go!
The first night brought hellos from friendly neighbors. I was set up near two of my friends from last year: Chrissy of Chrissy Ann Ceramics and Abby of Abby Berkson Ceramics. It's always great to catch up and spend two days next to such creative and talented gals.
Crystal of Popko Shop, Abby of Abby Berkson Ceramics, Chrissy of Chrissy Ann Ceramics, and me!
Just diagonal to me was the very talented jewelry designer Crystal Popko of Popko Shop. I have always been in awe of her handcrafted necklaces and earrings with real butterfly wings. She wore a blue morpho pendant all day that looked breath-taking every time it caught the light. Crystal's designs combine a unique elegance with bursts of color and iridescent sheen. Her display stopped many people in their tracks at Twist. I betcha there are going to be a lot of happy gals this holiday season when they receive one of her pieces. I couldn't resist getting one of her Glitter Pop Party Rings in bright pink and I can't help but smile when I wear it. If you are looking for a radiant, nature-inspired gift then visit her online shop to find the perfect treasure.

Crystal Popko of Popko Shop
beauty takes flight
Couldn't fit an ounce more of bling in these rings!
One of the best parts of doing craft shows is meeting fabulous artists and designers. When husband Thom was walking about, he discovered the most clever necklaces carefully collaged and embedded with individual letterpress type. From above they reminded me of an aerial view of skyscrapers in a crowded city. When I had a chance to pop over to the table, not only did I discover the amazing jewelry, but I also met the incredible artist behind them. Nicole Monforti of Headcase Press works out of an 100-year old former textile mill in New Bedford, MA and I can only imagine how cool her space is. It was fascinating to hear how she moved her monster of a letterpress machine up an old freight elevator into her studio. In addition to jewelry, she creates wickedly funny cards and journals. Her offerings are well-crafted, and truly unique. Check out Headcase Press!

Nicole and her Dad
my type
Why yes that is a card with a hand knit square. BE impressed!
Back when I did my very first craft show, I remember seeing a colorful display that left a lasting impression - And that would be the honeycomb-like shelves from Jen Gubicza of Zooguu. This North Boston native makes whimsical plush toys to die for. Monkeys and foxes and penguins...oh my! Jen and her husband Brian make their huggable friends to order. You can choose from a wide variety of sizes, patterns, colors, and unique features so your squishy friend fits your every need. Zooguu has a loyal following of kids of all ages and adds several new critters to their collection each year. Most recently, a narwhal with twisty horn and beguiling black eyes joined the lot. This past October, when Jen did SoWa's Market of the Living Dead, she created a zombie narwhal costume to match. How could you not love that? Once you explore the world of Zooguu, there's not turning back!

Kara and Jen
a bunch of animals
there's no place like combs
It always puts a smile on my face when I see ladies donning my jewelry at shows. Lucy and Mel drove up to Twist from CT. I was so pleasantly surprised to see Lucy wearing my blinking doll eye necklace. She looked dazzling! I was also thrilled to see Julie of Bugsella. The last time I saw her was at Brooklyn Craft Central's Shop the Archway where she was displaying her joyful children's onesies, quilts, and accessories. This time she was shopping and I got the special treat of meeting her adorable daughter Ella. They both left with locket necklaces and couldn't have looked prettier.
Lucy and Mel
Ella and Julie
One of the many great things about Twist is its location.  Northampton brings in many supporters of the arts. My customers were all so enthusiastic and fun to chat with. Many of my favorite OOAK pieces went home with folks, including several rouge locket necklaces, a bicycle headbadge necklace, and my favorite protractor necklace called "No Peking."
Mums the Word (left) and Loves Me Loves Me Not (center) left the building.
A happy customer in "No Peking"
A vintage bicycle headbadge necklace called "Spring Carnival" pedaled off.
Twist gave me the perfect opportunity to pick up special holiday gifts for my friends and family.  I visited Chrissy Ann Ceramics and Abby Berkson Ceramics for some hand crafted ceramic treasures. Little Birch Farm provided me with a nice array of fragrant natural body care products that I know will be loved by all. Jar of Wonder had amazing handmade cloth play food and I went home with a dainty delight. Migration Goods was right across from me at Twist so I got to ogle at Eling Chang's colorful ornaments and hair accessories all day. It was hard to choose what to get from her table, but I think I made the perfect choice for my friends' kids. MB by Brigid knitted a special custom-made gift on the spot for me and it was finished in time before we left. How's that for dedication? I wish I could post pics, but that would ruin the surprise for a lucky few, wouldn't it?

Twist my arm. I still won't show ya what I bought as gifts!
OF COURSE I also treated myself at the show. How could I not? Last year I bought a pack of candy button stationary from Heather Jeanny and I bee lined straight to her booth for more. I love my bar of Marian's Mint soap at home from Little Birch Farm so, I decided to grab an orange/cinnamon ball of soap before heading home. This past summer I was set up next to Heather Wells of Bright Lights Little City at the Smith Street Sunday Funday Event in NYC. I regretted not buying her headband with a vintage fruit cluster on it so imagine my excitement when I found she had made another. Guess what I wore the whole second day of the show! My list was topped off with a blossom clip from Migration Goods, a cool card from Headcase Press, a skateboard bangle from Coob Originals (got one last year as well), and my pink Glitter Pop Party Ring from Popko. Oh joy!
Mine all mine! Bwa ha ha!
In a nutshell, Twist = bliss. I so enjoyed the show, the people, and Northampton. I can't wait for the next one!

Here is where you can find me next:

Wellesley Marketplace - Saturday, November 19 at the Wellesley Middle School in Wellesley, MA.

Hot Cup o' Handmade - Sunday, December 4 from 12-4 at Molten Java in Bethel, CT.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

On the Road - Hot Cup o' Handmade at Molten Java in Bethel, CT

There's nothing like being on your home turf when doing a show. Not only is traveling a breeze but you also get to see many familiar faces. This was definitely the case at Hot Cup o' Handmade last Tuesday. It was great to see many friendly visitors from around town, and my school. Plus, I was surrounded by some of the most talented local craftinistas in my favorite coffee shop - Molten Java in Bethel, CT.
Molten Java - hot stuff!
Michele and Jeanny stopped by to say hi.
Sue and Mark perked me up!
Lys Guillorn of Little Cowgirl was saddled up next to me at the show. This creative gal really does it all, and her table was a great reflection of her many super powers. Besides being a very talented photographer, Lys sews bags with whimsical prints, creates a cornucopia of kitchy tiny pins with vintage ephemera, and fashions colorful jewelry out of buttons. I am now the proud owner of one of her button necklaces in red with a white heart detail. My husband Thom couldn't resist getting a few pins as well. In addition to exploring the wide world of crafts, Lys is a gifted songstress and performer. You can find her next at the Hot, Rock, & Holiday Party in Windsor, CT. Behold the power of Lys' crafts and music!

Lys Guillorn of Little Cowgirl
pin up!
Lys' photography is indeed the BESTEVER!
The clothing designer extraordinaire (and my often time craft show travel companion), Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture, represented with racks and racks of new and amazing designs. Her hands have been on overdrive getting ready for the upcoming holiday season and it was great seeing all of her new sweaters and dresses in person.  Everyone at Molten Java was treated to a little fashion show every time someone tried on her unique "clothes out of clothes." The only thing that was missing was a red carpet! She's all over the place in the weeks to come, including Wellesley Marketplace in MA, Festival Fete in RI, and SoWa Holiday Market in MA. Visit her on Facebook to see where else you can find her in the weeks to come.

Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture
roses n' ruffles
Folk Couture's recent display at Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh. Love the bear!
When you walk up to Jen Matlack's table you feel like you're strolling through an enchanted garden. Milly Gilly House and Garden (aka Daisy Chestnut on Etsy) offers mysterious terrariums with hidden treasures, hand-stamped vintage platters, and a whole variety of hand illustrated note cards/paper items. What Jen is best known for is her garden marker spoons and silverware garland. She embellishes vintage silverware with lovely hand drawn illustrations of herbs, vegetables, and plants.  Her items are so treasured that she got on Etsy's front page as a featured seller! Dontcha just love it when a local gal goes big? I fell in love with one of her terrariums in a mason jar, and just had to bring it home. You can really see and feel the amount of care and detail that go into each and every piece. If you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for the garden/nature lover in your life, take a romp through Jen's world.

Jen Matlack of Milly Gilly House and Garden
the right utensils for the job
pleasant under glass
At Hot Cup o' Handmade, I displayed a lot of new pieces and many went to great homes. My friend Karin swung by and treated herself to an early birthday gift. She looked fantastic in the vintage rouge locket necklace called "Feather in the Heather." Two of my favorite pieces also went to familiar faces:  "Eye-Lash-Ine" with a 1920's tin, monocle, and diorama & "Oh Deer, Oh Deer" which held a nature scene with two gold tone deer in a watch parts tin. Many thimblism necklaces went a-jinglin' out the door and several folks requested custom necklaces made with their own thimbles. I just love making pieces out of other people's treasures!

the birthday beauty
"Oh Deer Oh Deer"
on the flip side
Wendy, the owner of Molten Java was there to partake in the crafty festivities. Most recently, she shared the exciting announcement that Molten Java will soon be relocating down the street into an amazing Victorian house. She's been hard at work painting, uncovering the beautiful wood floors, and getting the space ready for its opening. Read all about it here in the Bethel Buzz News. I'm so proud of Wendy, that I just want to stick a giant gold star in the middle of her forehead. 'Like' Molten Java on Facebook to get the most up-to-date info on the big move.

I love Wendy for many reasons. Giving me a zombie finger puppet just added to the list.
Molten Java's soon-to-be new location! Oooh! Ahhh! Ohhhh!
a sneak peek of the new space - colors abound

And finally...drum roll please...I am excited to announce that Hot Cup o' Handmade will be returning for a holiday show on Sunday, December 4th! We are still hammering out some of the details but will post more info soon. In the meantime, save the date and spread the word. Thank you to all who came out to the show and supported the local craft scene. Hope to see you again come December!

You can find me at these upcoming holiday shows:

Wellesley Marketplace - Saturday, November 19 at the Wellesley Middle School in Wellesley, MA.

Hot Cup o' Handmade - Sunday, December 4 from 12-4 at Molten Java in Bethel, CT. Facebook invite to follow soon. Follow Twitch and Whiskers on Twitter or Facebook to get the official announcement.