Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lala's Fleamas Necklaces - A Very Special Custom Order

Custom orders give me a unique opportunity to connect with family artifacts and histories. Earlier this winter my friend Dorna, the Library Media Specialist at my school, asked for my help with a special project. Her family has a much-loved holiday tradition that was started about 30 years ago by Thor Persson, Dorna's father-in-law. This talented man of Swedish descent was known for his fine woodwork and pieces created out of repurposed wooden crates. His handcrafted furniture was always the most coveted gift of the holiday season by the Persson clan. In the spirit of repurposing and Thor's love of flea markets, the holiday of "Fleamas" was born. 

This annual Persson family tradition pulls together Thor's passion for turning the old into new and traditional Swedish food and song. Though Thor passed several years back, his tradition continues strong with the Perssons. Each year, family members bring a handmade gift for an assigned family member. Gifts range from silly songs, poems, and stories to beautifully made gifts with meaningful family connections. When a gorgeous bag of costume jewelry from Thor's sister Lala was recently handed down to her, Dorna thought that Fleamas would be the perfect opportunity to turn Lala's gems into new necklaces for her family members. When Dorna shared with me two large bags of colorful beaded necklaces and vintage brooches, I knew this was going to be an exciting project!
Lala's lovely brooches
Lala's beaded necklaces
My eyes were first drawn to three beaded glass necklaces made in different shades of blue. I removed the beads from their strings and rewired them to make a triple strand bead chain necklace. To complete the gift, I mounted the necklace atop a collage with a children's picture book image and Swedish stamps. The stamps came from my college semester abroad in Sweden (over 15 years ago!). I picked them up at a flea market in Stockholm so I knew they just had to be used with this Fleamas gift. I called the final piece, "Scandinavian Blue."
Scandinavian Blue
custom made collage for Scandinavian Blue - including Swedish stamps
Scandinavian Blue by Twitch and Whiskers
The second necklace was made out of three gold-tone brooches. I carefully removed their pins, sanded down rough spots, and fixed them together in a bib-style necklace. This piece was also mounted on a collage. The faded pink letters came from a vintage board game. I named this piece "Lala's Laurel" because of it's garland-like shape.
Lala's Laurel
custom made collage for Lala's Laurel
Lala's Laurel by Twitch and Whiskers
I presented the final necklaces to Dorna and she wrapped them in the Sunday comics (the traditional Flea wrapping paper, of course!). According to Dorna, the necklaces and presentation cards were a big hit with the family. I was proud to be a part of Dorna's Fleamas this year and adored every moment of creating a new family heirloom out of Lala's old treasures.

I am always up for designing custom pieces out of family keepsakes. Contact me if you're interested. Want to see a few more Twitch and Whiskers custom designs? Check out these past blog posts.

There are two more chances to catch Twitch and Whiskers in person this winter. You can find me at the SoWa Winter Market in Boston on March 1st and April 12th. There's always a great line up of designers and vintage vendors.

As always, you can pop by my Etsy shop and Facebook page to check out new creations. My spring and summer show schedule show will be coming soon!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

On the Road - Opening Week of the SoWa Winter Market and SoWa Wearables Market- Boston, MA

Winter. It's usually a time for me to hunker down in a pile of blankets, stay indoors with projects, and count down the days until outdoor craft show season. This year, something quite wonderful pulled me out of crafty hibernation - the SoWa Winter Market. This much-loved Boston show is keeping the market momentum going from February through April. It's giving everyone a good reason to get outta the house and shop handmade.
SoWa Winter Market - Boston, MA
The smiles 'n' smarts behind Zooguu, Stonehouse Studio, and 9000things
Over 50 New England designers and artists filled a spacious gym with handmade and vintage goodness. Just in time for Valentine's Day, I featured necklaces made out of 1940's novelty pins with smooches and sass.
Twitch and Whiskers - SoWa Winter Market Opening Week
Will you be mine?
Ali Horeanopolis' mind is swimming with ideas - ideas that involve wallpaper samples, repurposed leather, recycled colorful wire, and upcycled jewelry. It's no wonder this designer has named her business 9000things. Ali offered a great array of unique designs at SoWa Winter Market, including her laser cut Boston Skylines with contrasting wallpaper patterns. These one of a kind wall hangings are a perfect gift for locals and come in endless, colorful combinations. As a fellow upcycler, I really enjoyed Ali's use of vibrant vintage beads in her whimsical earrings and baubly necklaces with mixed metal chains. My favorite pieces from 9000things came from Ali's Fringe line. Ali collected leather donated from other crafters, cut them into fine strips, and fashioned them into chevron-shaped pendants. One can only guess what Ali will come up with next. Visit 9000things' shop, blog, and Facebook page to see what's cookin' and to get your hands on on Ali's creations.
Ali Horeanopolis of 9000things
colorful vintage bead earrings
on the fringe
bright upcycled baubles
I always enjoy meeting folks in my booth who love vintage treasures as much as I do. Necklaces and rings made from kitschy pinback buttons, tin cars, and blinking doll eyes went home with happy customers. The first week of SoWa Winter Market brightened up Boston with a good dose of handmade and I couldn't wait to see what week two would bring.
Looking adorable in a Tonsils Out Club duck necklace
An eye-catchin' beauty
U-Turn necklaces - beep beep!
Fun 'n' Games rings
SoWa's second week featured a fashion-friendly themed Wearables Market. The space was packed with fabulous clothing, jewelry, accessories, and vintage wares including dazzling dresses from Folk Couture. I brought a quirky cast of characters on statement necklaces made out of bold brass drawer pulls, rhinestones, and vintage brooches.
SoWa Wearables Market - Boston, MA
Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture
Gumby, Ice Capades, and Bears...oh my!
Brooklyn based Rocks and Salt is a well-known favorite in the northeast for hats, skirts, and bags. Sarah Hull and Phil Miner are the creative power duo behind the name. Since 2005, they have been designing their wearables using high quality wool, cashmere, cotton, linen, and bamboo. I love their clever twists on classic shapes and unique fabric selections. It's the thoughtful details, like the faux leather tab adorned with metal snap on their knit slouchy hat, that make their accessories memorable. A real stand out at the market was the Rocks and Salt belt bag. Forget everything you know about the traditional, bulky fanny pack. This bag gracefully hangs off the hip, contours to the body, and has the perfect amount of space to hold your phone and other necessities. Visit Rocks and Salt's website, Etsy shop, and Facebook page to see their amazing selection of goods for all seasons. I'm sure you'll find the perfect piece for your wardrobe!
Phil Miner and Sara Hull of Rocks and Salt
caps for sale!
little details = big impact
belt bags packed with style and functionality
Nothing makes me happier than sending lovely ladies on their way donning Twitch and Whiskers pieces and smiles. These gorgeous gals looked amazing in their upcycled jewelry, including Fun 'n Games rings, a rouge compact locket, and a protractor necklace.
hot stuff!
picture perfect in a protractor
so pretty in a rouge compact locket
bewitching in a boogie man ring
My two Saturdays in Boston officially shook off the winter cold and filled my weekends with handmade goodness. SoWa Winter Market is well worth visiting if you're in the Boston area. Each Saturday brings a new lineup of fabulous designers and vintage vendors. I'm counting down the days 'til my next market. 

I will see you at SoWa Winter Market on March 1st and April 12th. My spring and summer craft show schedule is starting to shape up. Stay tuned for dates. Until then, visit Twitch and Whiskers on Facebook and Etsy for new creations and updates.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

On the Road - SoWa Holiday Market - Boston, MA

Here we go...the final holiday show recap from 2013! What better way to end the holiday season than in Boston? I was thrilled to be a part of the 10th Annual SoWa Holiday Market. It was my second time returning to the Benjamin Franklin Institute for this two day extravaganza. The gym and hallways were lined with talented artists and designers from all over New England. I came to the show with many new pieces, including Hob Knob rings, constructed out of vintage guitar knobs, rhinestones, and Bakelite poker chips. Once the doors opened on the first day, there was a buzz of holiday excitement in the air.
love the holiday buzz
Twitch and Whiskers at SoWa Holiday Market 2013
Hob Knob rings - turn up the volume

For many of the artists at the show, it was their last hurrah of the 2013 holiday season. Behind those beautifully handcrafted goods and tired grins were heaps of heart and hours of dedication. It made me proud to be part of a group of folks who make the holidays merry and bright for others. Hellos from friends (old and new) made the two day show a breeze. You know what else kept me going? Decadent Union Square Donuts. YUM!
John McCarthy (epic beard) and Crystal Popko of Popko Shop
Abby Berkson of Abby Berkson Ceramics and Carrie Wagner of SepiaLepus Illustrations
Jen Gubicza of Zooguu and Lisa DeMio of Red Staggerwing Designs
Stacey Caplinger of Creative Hands Boston and Heather Parker DeSimone of LeetieLovendale wear a "Shmoo-o" (duo of Shmoo) rings
Union Square Donuts? Yes, PLEASE!

Lianne and Paul Stoddard, the dynamic duo behind Swirly Designs work absolute magic with polymer clay. This clever husband and wife team combine their creative super powers to make a whimsical world of ornaments. I was lucky to be next to them at the market because I got an up close look at their finely detailed, limited edition pieces. Think Christmas and beyond, because they offer new ornaments for each season. Their winter collection has a flurry of snowmen with brightly wrapped gifts. Spring will bring you glittery bunnies atop of cream colored eggs. Summer sparks with a patriotic Fourth of July owl. Fall, my favorite time of year, creeps and crawls with Halloween witches, devils, and pumpkin heads. From their delicate dusting of glitter and crimped cupcake papers to their characters' curious expressions and carefully painted features, you will love every detail of Swirly Designs. Visit Lianne and Paul's website, blog, and Facebook page for more information. Start your collection today!
Lianne and Paul Stoddard of Swirly Designs
Owl be home for Christmas...
Christmas cheer for your tree
Hiya pumpkin!
The weekend at SoWa Winter Market provided a steady stream of holiday shoppers. It was wonderful seeing so many return customers from the Boston area and meeting new people at the show. I was excited to send home lots o' handmade goodies including protractor necklaces, Vari Vue necklaces, blinking doll eye necklaces, and kitschy pinback button necklaces. Fun 'n Games rings continued to be the holiday stocking stuffer favorite of the season. 
fabulous friends in Twitch and Whiskers
baseball Vari Vue necklace - home run!
Fun 'n' Games rings
eye catching blinking doll eye necklace
vintage pinback button necklaces
Many thanks to SoWa Holiday Market for ending my holiday season on such a high note. What an unforgettable show! There are great shows ahead for 2014. You can catch me at the SoWa Winter Market on February 8th, March 1, and April 12th. February 8th features a specially themed SoWa Wearables Market. Don't miss out!

My spring and summer show schedule is starting to shape up. Until then, swing by Twitch and Whiskers on Etsy and Facebook for updates. 

WHOOPIE a discount!
Pst...use code "whoopie15" between now and Friday, February 7th for a 15% discount off your Twitch and Whiskers Etsy order. Get your Valentine (or yourself) sumthin' special!