Monday, May 30, 2011

On the Road - The Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg

It was officially "stuff made out of stuff" day at the Brooklyn Flea. Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture and Napoleon's Retreat and I were were sharing a tent. Grace offered both her hand stitched "clothes made out of clothes" and a nice variety of vintage treasures and I displayed my upcycled jewelry. I always enjoy showing with Grace because our goods really compliment each other and boy, do we have a lot of fun!
dynamic duo
A view of the Manhattan skyline provided a picturesque backdrop to the bustling market. 
a flea with a view
more stuff
walkin' through Williamsburg

Before the crowds arrived, I did a quick go-around to see the other vendors. As soon as I saw bunnies and cats, I had to check out the t-shirts by Vivian at Valt Line. I flipped through the racks of adorable apparel and knew I just had to walk away with something. It was an easy choice for me. I got a ringer t-shirt in the best shade of purple with a Brooklyn kitty cat on it. I was a happy camper with my new shirt! Valt Line carries t-shirts and onesies with dogs, bees, and a whole variety of animals. Check 'em out!
love my new shirt

make a bee line for Valt Line
I enjoyed getting to know our neighbor Taliah Lampert of Bicycle Paintings. I was mighty impressed that she biked her tent, display, and goods over to the flea on her custom made bicycle with a cart built into the frame (especially on such a hot day).  I found the perfect birthday gift for my dad at her tent. Being an avid cyclist, I knew he would appreciate her bicycle prints, cards, and clothing with bold bike silhouettes. I ended up getting my dad a fabulous matted print and greeting card. I enjoyed hearing about Taliah's work, her boyfriend's bike shop, and bike events where she shares her artwork. If you are into cycling or need a gift for someone who love bicycles, I highly suggest checking out her unique OOAK paintings and prints on her website.
Talia of Bicycle Paintings
shirts and onesies
I got my dad a smaller print of this fabulous image.

Some may say it's difficult to eat on hot days, but not for me -  especially when surrounded by such great food! For lunch I had my favorite go-to meal from the Brooklyn Flea: chicken and cod papusas. Grace noshed on a lovely slice of crusty bread topped with freshly carved prosciutto, olive oil, herbs, and creamy ricotta from Salvatore Bklyn. Of course there's always room for a few snacks. At four for a buck, we couldn't resist the light and sugary donut holes from Dough. I later cooled down with the most delectable apricot salted caramel popsicle from People's Pops and of course I couldn't leave the flea without one bite-sized strawberry cupcake from Kumquat Cupcakery. I guess you could say I didn't leave hungry.

Grace displayed some newly-found vintage toys that had folks reminiscing and playing, including vibrant a green tin gun in pristine condition and a lovely old box of wooden ten pins. As always, people were impressed by her hand-stitched OOAK dresses and tunics. A nice variety of her playthings, clothes, bags, and vintage wares went to very happy homes.  
all fun and games
and a hat at that
I met so many great local artists/designers who were walking about the flea, including Jennifer Rae Beck, the vintage-inspired interior designer from Chalk Farm Home and "chaos conqueror" Jeanie Engelbach of Photo/Apartment/Party Jeanie. I especially loved meeting shoppers from abroad. I had several pieces go off to Australia and Japan including two of my favorite art supply inspired necklaces: Esther-onomy and A Fine Fineline.
A Fine Fineline
After loading the car back up, Grace and I recharged our batteries before heading back to Connecticut. We stopped by Il Porto and shared the most delectable white pizza, a Cesar salad, and a wholesome bowl of pasta bolognese. With full bellies and a full day behind us we hit the road back home. What a fabulous day at the flea!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Love, Love, Love : Cafeteria Trays

Back in the days of Western Elementary School, I can vividly remember waiting in line for lunch. For an impatient, hungry kid, the line leading to the cafeteria seemed to stretch on for days. You would be welcomed into the cafeteria by the "clack clack" of  trays being pulled off a tall pile by the lunch ladies. Our school had an endless supply of plastic, colorful lunch trays with confetti-like specks and swirls melded into them. Though I'm sure my mind was mostly set on scarfing down my food and chatting with my friends during our short lunch period, the patterned trays left a strong impression on my early memories.

 I recall most of them being a muted pea-green or pale pink-orange color. The flecks of yellows, blues, pinks, tans, and greens danced around the trays in a carnival-like display when not obscured by the Friday pizza or sloppy Joe spillage. Perhaps the colors were there to add a little life to our tan palette of food.

eat your greens
I hadn't thought about cafeteria trays in years until I started making jewelry. I had one pale green tray that I would pull out on occasion to sort out small mixed supplies or plan out materials for a necklace. As the tray got used more and more, I started looking for more at tag sales and thrift stores. As my collection grew, I branched out onto Ebay for more of a selection. When I did a search for cafeteria trays online, familiar images from my childhood flashed on the screen. Vintage speckled trays came up under searches for Fire King, Prolon, Melmac, Spatterware, and confetti. I found the identical trays I once used in elementary school plus a whole other world of color combinations. 

bling buffet
wild game for dinner
work lunch
Many auctions later, I have a happy collection of 7 confetti trays (and counting) that have been elevated to my "special occasion ware." I pull them out every once in a while for inspiration and when I need a little burst of color in my life. Lately, I have found myself drawn to confetti beads and using food charms in my thimblism necklaces. I can't help but think of lunch lady hairnets, half pints of milk, and my early "culinary experiences" when creating these pieces.  
a feast for the eyes
made from 100% recycled clown (or so I've heard)
Spring Carnival - with vintage Japanese confetti beads
thimbilism necklace from my very own craft-ateria
Though my prized confetti tray collection will not be used to sort materials like my other trays, their fanciful flecks will have a lasting impact on my design. You just never know what will serve up inspiration!

You can find me at these upcoming shows:

Sunday, May 29th - The Brooklyn Flea - Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, June 26th - Smith Street Sunday Fun Day - Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, July 9, August 6, August 13 - Greenway Open Markets - Boston, MA

Sunday, May 22, 2011

On the Road - BKCC's Shop the Archway

May 21, 2011 was a rapturous day. I was prepped and ready to go for Brooklyn Craft Central's Shop the Archway market in DUMBO 'neath the glorious Manhattan Bridge.

It was my birthday (and Mr. T's by the way), plus a little thing called "Judgement Day" was supposed to happen, say - around 6:00ish. After hearing that cataclysmic earthquakes were predicted, I felt great relief in knowing that I was underneath one of the world's strongest structures and if all were to end, I would go out surrounded by handmade crafts and delicious food.

Manhattan Bridge
pre-show arch
Thom and I drove out early and met Grace Napoleon at the Archway. Grace's Folk Couture booth was set up next to mine. This was my first time seeing her amazing new clothing display in use. When she did Craft Boston back in March, she commissioned her friend Steve Thompson of Junk Lab Design to create a fanciful, fully functional combination clothing display and dressing room constructed out of pipes. Steve created a jungle gym of curiosities that surprisingly sets up and breaks down in a breeze. I was quite impressed. I also loved seeing Grace's new chairs-out-of-clothes. She found the cutest little chairs and worked her "Grace magic" on them by sewing on fabulous patterned fabrics, vintage buttons, bold images, and fun trim. They definitely caught many eyes at the show.

Folk Couture by Grace Napoleon and display by Junk Lab Design

three cheers for two chairs
ready to go
In honor of Judgement Day, Grace proudly displayed her rapturous Blondie dress and I put a special ring out, front and center.

Thom caught up in a rapture...and Grace's new chair
don't leave earth without one
I enjoyed walking around before the crowd arrived to meet new people and say hello to familiar faces. It was great to see Julie from Bugsella and Rocks and Salt, who were just at Twist several weeks ago. I dropped off one of my thimbilism necklaces at the raffle table. All proceeds from the tickets went to a great pet adoption organization called Ready for Rescue. They had a mobile adoption truck set up by the archway filled with furry friends.

just some of the fabulous prizes
My breaks screeched to a halt when I came to SepiaLepus' table. Bunnies, bears, and other wildlife with whimsy abounded in Carrie's work. She offered a great variety of original whimsical illustrations, prints, cards, and magnets. My favorite of all were her OOAK wooden brooches with animals. It was hard for me to decide which brooch to take home, but in the end, I think I made a great choice. I asked Carrie if she had ever illustrated a children's book and she said she had one in the works that was being shopped around to publishers. I am hoping to see more of her soon on the shelves of my local bookstore.

Carrie of SepiaLepus Illustrations
I loved every brooch. I ended up getting the apple shaped brooch with the bear and squirrel (at 9:00).
Next to Carrie was Liz of Liz Rodriguez Ceramics. She presented  hand crafted mugs, chopstick/bowl sets, and plates, which swam in lovely shades of blue with floral designs and bird accents. Her flower vessels really caught my eye because of their unique bulbous design and scalloped openings. Her use of color, texture, and pattern really made her pieces stand out and gave a perfect burst of brightness in the archway.
Liz of Liz Rodriguez Ceramics
beauty in blue
With a name like McFlashpants, I had to check out the booth and the person behind it. I got a warm and wacky welcome from Jen who creates jewelry and accessories out of spoons, forks, knives, and other tableware. Jen does things with silverware that I have never seen done before. She fashions rings, belts, hair picks, necklaces, bracelets, and you-name-it out of every, and I mean every part of the utensil. My favorite pieces were her Inro Box Pendants, made from the hollow ends of knives. With a 90 plus acre farm, a 4 year old, a husband, and goats on the way; I am amazed she musters the creative energy to do what she does. Phew!
Jen of McFlashPants
so forkin' amazing

I got sweet birthday wishes from two fabulous NY friends. Dana of Danamade swung by to spread joy to me and her other vendor friends at the show. I loved her handmade ring and smile to match! It's always pure joy to see Karen Seiger of Markets of New York. There was so much going on that she and her husband James divided to conquer and cover all of the fabulous weekend markets. Check out her great slideshow of the archway below and definitely visit her blog if you are a fan of NYC markets. 
Want the ring dontcha? Well DanaMade it!

Thom worked up a major appetite by going for a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and looping back around the Manhattan Bridge. When he returned, we enjoyed Pollo Tingo tostadas from our neighbors Hermelinda and shared a big ol' bottle of fresh lemon brew from Kombucha Brooklyn. I met so many nice customers who showed enthusiasm for upcycling and sold a variety of pieces, including my favorite springtime necklace called "Blossom Bliss." 

Blossom Bliss
At the end of the day, somehow we managed to load up the car just seconds before it started to downpour (just good old fashioned rain - no fire, brimstone, or toads). Grace, Thom, and I headed to Chez Oskar in Greenpoint for a post-show, non-apocalyptic, birthday dinner. From fresh strawberry mimosas to a mouth-watering cod dinner, everything was delicious and just right after a busy day. The grand finale was a trio of desserts delivered with a champagne glass that sprayed a plume of sparks. Thankfully, that was the only explosive thing to happen on this memorable day. 
graced with Grace on my b-day
a toast to my love
May 21st did end with a bang!
I was surrounded by the people and things that I love on my birthday. Now that's what I call rapture!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Love, Love, Love: Horseshoe Magnets

There's something alluring about the shape and color of vintage horseshoe magnets. When I started dabbling in upcycled jewelry last year, I created a necklace with a toy magnet and a four leaf clover tassel. It was the first piece I sold at the Bust Holiday Craftacular in 2010. I was a little bummed to see it go but happy that it went to a good home.
"Lucky You"
Since then, I have been on the lookout for more magnets at tag sales, flea markets, and online. I am in the process of making new OOAK necklaces with the pieces below.

positive vibes

"Laws of Attraction" - work in progress

Having a junk drawer-aesthetic allows me to experiment with interesting materials. I never know what will pull me in next, but that's half the fun!

What kind of objects are you attracted to?

You can visit me at these upcoming shows:

Saturday, May 21st – Shop the Archway – DUMBO – Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, May 29th - The Brooklyn Flea - Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, June 26th - Smith Street Sunday Fun Day - Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, July 9, August 6, August 13 - Greenway Open Markets - Boston, MA