Monday, May 13, 2013

Upcycling with the Brownies

Creating with kids is the best! These past 2 weeks, I've had a chance to do two more Brownie jewelry workshops with crates and crates of fun junk. Piles of plastic and wooden game pieces, old refrigerator magnets, squirting plastic flowers, little toys, Scrabble tiles, and old greeting cards were torn into by clever hands. The result: pure genius. These gals left the workshops with playful rings, pins, and necklaces.  Check out these fabulous first and second grade upcycled gems.

First Graders

Second Graders

I look forward to seeing these trashionistas sport their accessories at school. Way to go girls!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On the Road - Craftopia - Pawtucket, RI

The first craft show of the season feels very much like the first day of school. There's a lot of excitement, build up, and butterflies about jumping back into the crafty life after a long winter of being cooped up inside. You frantically create new pieces to sell, make a million to do lists, and pack (and repack) your car with a little voice in the back of your mind saying, "I just know I forgot something." As soon as I pulled up to Craftopia in Pawtucket and got a bunch of hugs from my creative friends, all that tension just melted away and I felt ready to play again.
A royal welcome from Craftopia's Kim in a Heart of Assemblage crown.
Craftopia 2013
This was my second time participating in Craftopia at Hope Artiste Village. The long hallways and greenhouse room were packed to the brim with talented artists, crafters, and makers from all over the northeast. I got a fun surprise visit from my pal Stacey. She looked incredible in her Folk Couture dress and received compliment after compliment from visitors at the show.
Zooguu and SepiaLepus at Craftopia
Stacey working it in Folk Couture
Whenever I see Red Staggerwing Designs at shows I am mesmerized by the array of gorgeous fabrics. Lisa DeMio puts clever twists on classic bag shapes and accessories with careful attention to detail. Since 2009, this New Hampshire artist has been sewing up a storm for her line. Vibrant patterns, clever textile combinations, and high quality hardware sets her designs apart from the everyday. At Craftopia, my eyes instantly gravitated toward her bright red and orange poppy clutch with digitally printed fabric unique to her collection. Her Urban Tote Bags were real show stoppers. Their spacious size, durable design, and patterned linings make them the ultimate go-to bag for work and play. It's always a joy to see Lisa at shows because she's such an upbeat and friendly gal. When I met her son Matt at the show, it came as no surprise that he too was a real gem (Thanks for the taco run Matt!). Shop Red Staggerwing on Etsy and visit their Facebook page to see where you can find these fab bags during the spring and summer craft show season.
Lisa DeMio of Red Staggerwing Design
Poppy clutches pop with vibrant color.
Beautiful form meets function - Urban Tote Bags
A basket of soft, smiling, striped kitties. It's enough to make anyone melt on the spot. Visit Arlette Laan Fiber Creation's booth and you too will be caught up in some serious cute. This Massachusetts artist, originally from the Netherlands is a real globe trekker who has a passion for sewing and photography. I got to hear about her recent adventures in Patagonia and Antarctica (Too cool, right?). Arlette loves to tinker with fabric and takes inspiration from the colors and patterns around her. Each of her sock dolls' personalities are revealed in the hand stitched details. Bold button eyes, expressive lips, clever embroidered features, and whimsical hair make each one unique. I picked up a striped Kitty and Smiley doll with long ears for an upcoming baby shower but the longer I have these dolls, the more I want to keep them for myself! It really goes to show you that Arlette's soft toys are perfect for kids of all ages. Swing by her website, Facebook page, and Flickr gallery to explore Arlette's whimsical world.
Arlette Laan of Arlette Laan Fiber Creations
kitten smitten
a lineup of quirky characters
I was so excited to display new Twitch and Whiskers pieces at Craftopia. A steady stream of friendly shoppers kept the day exciting. Thimblism necklaces, rouge compact lockets, protractor necklaces, and Fun 'n' Games rings went home with many happy customers at the show. One special gal loved the Sealtest Big Top TV Circus necklaces made out of vintage tin tab pins and Bakelite buckles. She wanted to wear them as pins on her coat, so I took them home, removed the bails, and turned them back into pins. How's that for re-upcycling?
Twitch and Whiskers at Craftopia
Megan of Apiary Designs in a rouge compact necklace with hidden bee.
Welcoming in the spring with a protractor necklace and winning smile.
Fun 'n' Games rings
From pins to necklaces to pins!
Thanks to everyone at Craftopia for starting my spring craft show season off with a smile. Visit Twitch and Whiskers on Etsy and Facebook for new creations and updates.  I have a great show season ahead and look forward to seeing all of you out and about.

June 1 - Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA
June 15 - Arts Fest Beverly - Beverly, MA
June 23 - TBA
June 29 -
Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 

July 13 - Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 
July 20 - TBA
July 27 -
Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 

August 3 - Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 
Other dates in the works!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One Very Crafty Weekend with Brownies, Trashionistas, and Craftland

After a long winter, I was eager to emerge from my crafty hibernation and get out into the world again. This past weekend provided several wonderful opportunities to celebrate upcycling with some local kids and get back into the swing of things.
upcycling with the Brownies
digging through treasures
On Friday after school, I got to present an upcycled jewelry workshop to one of our 3rd grade Girl Scout troops. The best part of it was working with students who were in my class last year.  Each third grader made a ring, pin, and necklace out of game pieces, paper scraps, and other doodads. It made me giddy to see the girls wearing their pieces in school after the workshop.
rook ring
Glue is a Girl Scout's best friend.
pawn and pom pom rings
Two GO pieces make the perfect Oreo for one hungry dino.
a burst of spring

bulls eye brooch

triomino ring

Saturday was filled with trashion and travel. It started with the annual Trashy Fashion Show at Fairfield's Earth Day Celebration. My Roots & Shoots students, ranging in age 7 to 12 were paired up with Warde High School Fashion students for our seventh show together. From the Queen of Hearts and a savvy business man to a fan tailed coffee filter dress and woven newspaper attire, there was an impressive array of eco-friendly costumes. I'm so proud of the kids! 
trashionista extraordinaire
the earth-friendliest
Burr Roots & Shoots Member and Warde Fashion Students
a magical day at Farifield's Earth Day Celebration
Click here to see a fun slideshow of the event.

Right after the fashion show on Saturday, I hit the road for Providence. First stop was the always-exciting Craftland. I was in their holiday show this past winter and they continued to carry my Twitch and Whiskers pieces in their shop after the show. I went to drop off a fresh batch of Thimblism necklaces and several protractor necklaces. I was greeted by the very friendly Catherine and heard a pretty dang funny story about a poetry open mic. If you're lucky, maybe she'll share it with ya the next time you're at Craftland!
Craftland - Providence, RI
gifts galore
Twitch and Whiskers at Craftland
the lovely Catherine
I was excited to see the Joseph Aaron Segal exhibit. I fell in love with his hypnotizing cat shirts a few year ago when I visited the Bust Craftacular and I became an even bigger fan when I watched him on the recent season of Project Runway. His stacked pillows with dozens of dimensional kitty eyes really struck just the right chord with my inner Little Edie.
Joseph Aaron Segal at Craftland
As always, I enjoyed perusing the handmade wares from many of my favorite local artists. Before I left, I treated myself to a stunning turquoise ring from Nervous System. Their 3D printed rings and bracelets were such eye-catchers and I cannot wait to don mine for the spring. 
Nervous System rings and bracelets at Craftland
Up next was a visit with a great artist/friend Carrie Wagner of SepiaLepus. Carrie, her husband Jim, and Corgie Frannie let me crash for the night at their comfy pad. Carrie and I were going to be participating in the spring Craftopia show the next day. After catching up and filling our bellies with comfort food, I got to see some of her new pieces including a mind-blowing North American Cryptid map and three hand painted wooden bears. Cute!

Jumping back into spring with both feet was just what the doctor ordered. Check back soon for a post about Craftopia!

Here are my upcoming shows for spring/summer 2013:

June 1 - Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA
June 15 - Arts Fest Beverly - Beverly, MA
June 23 - TBA
June 29 -
Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 

July 13 - Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 
July 20 - TBA
July 27 -
Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 

August 3 - Greenway Open Market - Boston, MA 
Other dates in the works!

Visit Twitch and Whiskers on FB and Etsy!