| April 19, 2012 | 9:59 pm
I never properly introduced Templeton Goods, and I’m sorry about that. When Colleen and I were writing the blog together I didn’t want to take up post space with personal advertisements, and she didn’t have a craft line she produced, so anyway… I never introduced my craft line and etsy store properly.
Templeton Goods is named for the infamous Templeton the rat from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web because (almost) everything I use for materials is reclaimed or repurposed. I’ve never been very good at buying new materials anyway, so this is really just comes naturally to me. Last year I really focused on men’s wear fabrics: herringbone, houndstooth, chambray, cotton shirting. These fabrics are so abundant and universally stylish I just loved working with them. If you came to Crafty Mart last year I’m sure you saw me hawking them.
This year I’ve moved onto a new fabric to work with. Colleen brought me over a coffee bean bag which she bought from a local coffee shop. The fabric was just so cool! It had prints from the countries the beans were grown in. Some of the bags had rainforest alliance logos printed on them. The weave is loose and summery. I was very inspired. I’ve made some coffee cup sleeves out of the material, which are with a vendor waiting to be sold so I can’t photo them. But the crown jewel of accessories I’ve made with these coffee bags are the purses and totes.
I am in love with them. They are fun to sew (though they create a large quantity of dust). And each one turns out different! I’ve been pairing the totes with fabrics I’ve collected from my favorite trash-dive, Zero Landfill.
I’m so excited about the way these are turning out it hasn’t been hard to stay motivated in the sewing room. Expect more combinations to be revealed soon! And head over to Templeton’s FB page and like me. You’ll be updated when new items get posted in the store.
| September 30, 2011 | 2:22 pm
It’s chilly here today, so what I should be writing up is a post about amazing hand knit/crochet items, but one of my new favs can’t be posted yet, and the other isn’t photographed. It’s too gloomy to get the light right today but I might even post up a crochet pattern for you once I get a sunny day.
In the meantime, I have just enough time to write up this tutorial on how to turn a men’s shirt into a mitered square cloth napkin before I have to run car pool. This project is a great way to use up scrap fabric in prints you love, too. And it’s an awesome project for beginners.
Read more »
| July 14, 2011 | 11:12 pm
I’ve been composting for the garden for years, but I was using this make-shift system of tossing everything compostable into one of two trash cans and kinda rolling them around every so often to get them turned. As you can imagine, this system was a major fail. I never had compost at the beginning of the season, and by the end of the season the cans got so heavy it was really hard to access the compost I finally had. Something needed to be done!
So I got three untreated (as far as I can tell) oak pallets from someone who didn’t need them anymore and put them to work. I cut them with my hand saw into three 4′ x 4′ squares and nailed them together like this:
Then with the 1 1/2′ x 4′ pieces left over I nailed one to the bottom half of the open front, and just stacked the second piece on top of the bottom piece. It’s held on by a bungie so that I can easily get in and out of the composter to turn it and shovel compost out. Already my compost is breaking down more quickly, and it just looks so much better! Yesterday I found Olivia pulling dandelions on her own and tossing them into the bin, so it’s basically a win-win-win-win situation now. Plus, the whole project cost me a whopping $2 for nails and 2 hours time! Unbeatable!
| June 8, 2011 | 2:13 pm
Akron/Cuyahoga Falls locals should put this date on their calendars. June 24th from 9am-4pm there will be a Barn Sale (as in buying things in a barn, not buying barns) at my good friend Mary Beth’s Portage Trail Barn.
Mary Beth is a crafter/repurposer extraordinare! There are items to fit anyone’s fancy, whether you are a cottage crafter or a hipster.
I’ve been eyeing her aprons and flowers. Those are right up my alley, and I’m in need of a new apron to match my new kitchen.
| February 17, 2011 | 11:39 pm
Olivia is in Kindergarten, which means that our whole family is blazing new trails. She is reading and making friends. I am being asked to be the craft mom for holiday parties.
OK, her accomplishments are a little more ground breaking than mine. True. But I do have to struggle to keep to my ideals of crafting– upcycled, useful, valuable, beautiful, etc.– while making a craft that 24 six year olds can do in 15 minutes. And it’s a bonus if no one cries.
Which reminds me! Have I ever shared my ethos on children’s crafting? People have often asked me to teach crafts to children. Upon seeing what I have planned to do they tell me that kids can’t do such and such. I’ve sewn with 3 year olds, made stained glass with pre-schoolers, and finger knit with Daisy Scouts. And I believe that kids can do all of it, just not as well as an adult can do it. They may not finish. It might not be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. It might even get thrown away on the way out the door. But if the children were able to keep themselves busy doing the work you gave them, and no one cried, it was a well planned craft. The kids could do it, and they learned something new. End rant.
Well, for the Valentine’s Day party I designed these little magnet clips for the kids to make. We used felted sweaters for the hearts, glued them to clothes pins with magnet strip on the back. To decorate the hearts I punched out heart shapes from my Zero Landfill wallpaper books and the children added their pictures. No one cried, and all the clips looked great hanging on the white board while they dried.
I can’t wait until the next party!
| January 18, 2011 | 2:31 pm
I’ve been working on what I’ve been calling my “Secret Project” for about 5 months now. And now is the time to come out of the craft-closet with what it is. I’m writing a learn to sew book, of 20 projects, which reuses clothing items as the materials for the projects. I’m not sure of how much info about the book is good to share, so I’m going to take the less-is-more approach.
To even be standing on the threshold of a project of this size is a dream of mine, considering before I was a “professional crafter” I was an English Major who intended to write creatively. And although the scope is huge, I have tackled all the pre-writing tasks and now it’s time to begin the manuscript and illustrations. It’s also time to find a publisher (and that’s the part that is the most daunting!).
So to get myself off on the right foot. I cut out the first project from one of my husband’s favorite shirts that had become too worn to wear. I’m hoping the good vibes from the memories in the shirt will carry over into my work. And thus starts my biggest creative adventure. Wish me luck!
| January 7, 2011 | 5:48 pm
medicine viles used for bead storage
Awhile back I posted some nontraditional bead storage ideas. Here’s another idea…old medicine viles. It’s not my idea. A friend gave these to me with the bead supplies already in them. I wonder what else I can do with the viles though! They’re so unique. Have any good ideas?
| January 6, 2011 | 10:26 pm
Every time I visit a friend for lunch I am asked, “Do you use these salad boxes for anything?” And I always say, “I have a ton, but thanks.” I love these boxes because they supply enough greens to last a week, and they’re made from post consumer waste. Plus, they’re see-through so if you store things in them you don’t have to label it.
Well here’s a post Christmas idea to put your salad box stash to good use. As I undecorated my tree, I put the ornaments into these boxes. Looks nice, huh? And now I can stack them up on my shelf in the basement and know what’s in here. They nest, too, which is extra useful for storage.
I like to make good use of what I already have for the good of the environment and the budget. This year I challenged myself and was determined not to buy any wrapping supplies but only to use what I already had. Since I save every piece of ribbon, I had plenty to make the gifts look lovely. We were going to be driving from Florida to Ohio and I wanted all the gifts to be in boxes for easy & safe transport. I kept a few boxes that new shoes came in as well as check boxes and any other box that I thought would work.
After I packed each gift in the smallest box possible (many of them without tissue paper- I decided it was unnecessary), my husband did the wrapping. I was then the finisher and decorator of each gift. I made gift tags using the front of Christmas cards we received in years past, white business cards that were leftover from a work project, rubber stamps, fabric, tags I bought at the office supply store, and of course, leftover ribbon.
One of my favorite gifts this year is a yellow & white fabric wrapping containing handmade cards & stationary, with a tag made of a Christmas card front that has been circulating my family for years.
I should mention that my husband’s family birthday tradition generally involves gifts wrapped in pillowcases to avoid using wrapping paper. Because her birthday is Christmas Eve, I always wrap my sister-in-law’s birthday gift in paper. This year hers is wrapped in heart paper and the tag is from the front of a Christmas card she made & sent us a few years ago.
I enjoyed the challenge this year and will definitely be saving ribbon and cards this Christmas to use next year.
| December 4, 2010 | 9:42 am
This post on the Red Thread (very cool blog I just found) has a different take on the paper wreath. She used cardboard for the wreath form, which I think is a better structure than the twisted paper and floral wire I used. Mine is starting to sag. I should glue some cardboard to the back. She also used Chinese paper for the poofiness.
Paper Wreath by the Red Thread
I had a big group of moms over for brunch on Friday and my friend Megan suggested using song sheet music. I don’t have a whole lot of sheet music but I do have some old books that I’ve already cut up which have that great old book crumply paper. I am considering making all new Christmas decorations this year because I am tired of all the ones we’ve had. Only the Christmas village that Rob’s Grandmother made is really interesting to me. Perhaps this year will be a paper wreath and garland decorating year.