Tag Archives: handmade

A Simple Cookie BasketDecember 20, 2013

Yesterday I posted this little project to Instagram. It was so simple (and delicious), I thought I’d share the recipe and how-to for you last-minute gifters like me.

  • Chocolate peppermint cookies: I’ve been making this Martha recipe for years, and they’ve become my most requested recipe. Lucy helped by having fun smashing candy canes.
  • Paper plate baskets: I used baker’s twine in place of washi tape and it holds together just fine.
  • Final touches were bits and bobs from around the house: unbleached parchment paper, plain tags, and some greens cut from our Christmas tree.

I even got to making some more with Lucy last night, though we dressed hers up with some watercolors, pretty ribbon, and tissue paper (we used sandwich bags for her to package the cookies). With our baked goods in the freezer, we can put together a cookie basket when she’s ready to gift.

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Heath Holiday 2013December 17, 2013


Each year, I’ve pared down the clutter of holiday decor to make way for fresh-cut branches and simple ornaments here and there. However, perhaps a few new toys wouldn’t hurt, eh? Last year I was swooning over Schoolhouse Electric‘s German holiday folk decor (my favorite is available again this year!), and these wooden pyramids from Heath Ceramics continue my desire to start collecting. I wasn’t sure what I loved so much about it last year, but I started to think about why I could validate my attraction even further…

Despite both my maternal and paternal grandmothers coming from different cultures and backgrounds (Grandma was a Philly gal born in Belfast and Mom-mom was a Polish girl from New England), I remember lingering on some folksy holiday decor in both of their homes. Each of them also had great respect for items of quality. So it is no surprise that I became an uber fan of Heath Ceramics and most everything they offer, especially these new additions to their classic holiday collection:

“Our hand-crafted wooden holiday decorations are made by a cooperative of artisans in the town of Seiffen, Germany, known as “toy village,” where woodworking has been a part of the local trade for hundreds of years. These pyramids continue a centuries-old tradition of portraying various winter country scenes that celebrate the season. Heat from the candles rises, causing the propeller to spin for a fun and quaint centerpiece.”

Of course, they will always remind me of Cousin Eddie, but that only makes it better.

 1. Deers & Large Tree Pyramid | 2. Mini Shepard Pyramid | and see more here.

Images & quote from Heath Ceramics.

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Proudly MadeJuly 8, 2013

Terrain’s blog, The Bulletin, features some great DIYs, recipes, and general eye candy. My favorite series has been Proudly Made, highlighting the passion and affection poured into these American-made brands and products. I only wish there were more posts! Stop over there sometime and see or yourself. Here are a few of my favorites:

Folk Fibers – Austin, TX 

Jacobsen Salt Co. – Netarts Bay, OR

Peg & Awl – Philadelphia, PA

All photos from Terrain’s original posts.

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curating the ROASTING shopDecember 14, 2012

It’s been a work in progress but the shop is really shaping up! Reclaimed pine countertops are installed, vintage chairs and tables have replaced the dining table (just in time for holiday dinners, too!), and a final installment of shelves are under way. And while Pop was taking care of those things, I’ve been curating a small collection of handcrafted items from some favorite vendors for the season:

Chase Studios: Fellow coffee addict, Heather Ossandon, invited me into her studio to co-design the custom mugs for the shop. She also brought in some of her recent pieces – vases, carafes, mini cups – and has some more exciting things in the works for us. Currently based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, but she’s actually a native of the Medford area where the shop is located. Small world!

Chez Sucre Chez: Kimberly Scola’s “handcrafted miscellany” has been on my fave list for years. Her embroidery work is simple and perfect every time, but she’s been getting some high praise lately from Martha herself with her pretty and functional sewn goods. But I don’t need Martha to tell me that her bowl covers, mulling spices, and other goodies are great, because I already knew that. And it happens to be that this Thornton, Pennsylvania, transplant is yet another native of the shop’s location. Even smaller world!

Melo Studios: I met co-owner Olivia Lotz through Craigslist. After an exchange of quality furnishings, we soon realized our meeting was meant to be – her husband, a contractor, and I started networking for future projects, and I knew I’d find a way to get her candles into my possession (muah-ha-ha). She and her partner, Jess Lee, hand pour each candle in their Germantown studio – not Medford, but still local.

To put it all together, I spent an afternoon with Stacy Jackson at Meadowsweet Vintage in Manayunk poring over her treasures. The various crates and hardware drawers assembled on the wall are from her shop, as well as the Neapolitan flip coffee pots added for good measure. So one wall down, one wall to go! 

 

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A Schoolhouse HolidayNovember 12, 2012

I’ve been oddly attracted to German folk art lately – in ceramics, embroidery, wooden objects, etc. (perhaps all the general store research I’ve been up to?) So I was happy to stumble upon Schoolhouse Electric Co.‘s assemblage of Dregano pieces in their holiday section. I grew up with little smokers like these around the house, though I never remember them being used. I also have waited years to find the perfect treetopper. It’s thisclose to being in a virtual cart and shipped to my house.

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creature comfortsJune 7, 2012

Bloom Room debuted a truly revolutionary line of high quality furniture… for pets. The French line, called Chimère, consists of a rocking birdcage, a kitty litter box, a “sofa” for small furry friends, fishbowl, and a hutch for even smaller furry friends (think bunnies, hamsters, and mice), appealing to lovers of all creatures, great and small. My favorite is the hutch because so little attention is ever paid to the habitats of tiniest furballs, often left to live in mud rooms and other places only seldom visited by its owners (I’m referring to the children who pinky-swore they would take care of a new pet).

Perhaps what us good parents need is a better way to incorporate the family pets into our living spaces… and add a not-so-subtle reminder to feed or clean the cage before picking up the remote. Chimère‘s sophisticated dwellings offer a new perspective on making all the members of your family live in harmony and beauty.

Via Fast Company

 

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FIELD TRIP – Clover MarketMay 18, 2012

Last year I heard so many wonderful things about Clover Market but had conflicts with almost every date. So yesterday I fought my way through the traffic of Philadelphia to get to Ardmore and see things for myself. It was a lovely day to be out and about, so lovely that I made it a family affair with Tom and Lucy. I met some new local vendors with handmade and vintage wares, including Made by Liddy, whose paper Kusadama balls made me want to get an early start to Christmas shopping (I’ve done it before).

I even loved her signage, which was the nailhead-and-string effect that I’ve been noticing a lot lately. Nevertheless, Liddy’s booth was simple and inspiring – I’m looking forward to what she cooks up in the future!

(more…)

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Feeling Patriotic…March 13, 2012

This image greeted my this morning in my mailbox from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., making me wish for sunshine, fresh flowers, and brunch with friends and family. Despite springtime palettes on my Pinterest boards, this shiny black is doing the trick. All handmade in the US of A, too? Bruce would be proud.

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Colette BreamDecember 6, 2011

Colette Bream = Oeuf + Donna Wilson, yes? Yes. And I love it. Handmade in the US with Scottish lambswool, her playful shapes and muted colors are full of fun and whimsy. I’m pretty sure I need a few of these knitted pillows, and Lucy requires a fox tail and party hat for her evening dance parties.

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FIELD TRIP: Art Star Craft BazaarNovember 23, 2011

I hadn’t planned to get to Art Star Craft Bazaar this weekend. In fact, as most things do these days, it sort of snuck up on me. However, after fellow Philly creative Susan over at Fleurishing kept tweeting about such lovely things, I squeezed a little time out of my Sunday afternoon to get over there and experiment with my new camera. Yeah, I looked all sorts of official with a camera – too bad I was so busy chatting that I didn’t notice my focus was way off.

It was the end of the weekend for the slew of talented crafters when I arrived – hour 14.5 of 16, to be exact. They were tired but still quite friendly, eager and willing to share stories of their process and love of their particular talent. Let’s meet a few, shall we?
 
Skylark Studio – I had seen Karen’s work before but it was lovely to see and touch it in person. She explained to me her continuous development of designs that have outlasted the indie scene’s anticipated expiration date, such as the birds and antlers that still seem to dominate sales. My favorite piece was a simple pendant with a new variation of her fish-scale design. Unfortunately, my camera skills were off to a rocky start and the photos didn’t quite turn out. No worries, though, as I was having a lovely time chatting with her! Quality time with an artist is worth a few blurry shots.
 
Kin Ship Press – They were featured etsy sellers this summer, where they share the inspirations and process. By the way, I need this mug to remind me to actually enjoy my coffee.

 
Gioconda Padovan – “Feel free to try!” came a pretty little voice, inviting me to use her custom-made stamps designed with her original drawings of buildings, people, and objects. A simple concept made popular in recent years by Yellow Owl Press – infinite possibilities for customers to create their own works of art. (Photo from GP site)
Meerwiibli – This coat stopped me dead in my tracks! I loved the color, the collar, the pattern, the pockets – everything. I watched as a waify little thing tried it on with her cool colored tight and rugged boots, then asked her if it was as warm and cozy as it looked. When she replied, “yes,” I knew I had to move on because I went any closer, it would have some home with me.

 
Brainstorm – They were working with a paying customer when I wandered up (I promised Tom I wouldn’t spend any money, but I surely took some notes for Santa). I love to see what this team dreams up, and am always happily impressed with the quality and rich color they accomplish with their prints.
 


 
Forage – Anything made by Shauna and Stephen is infused with their sense of humor, romance, and impeccable craft – Forage is no different. This was my first encounter with the bowties, and, as expected, could have scooped up a few if only I had the kind of gent who’d brave the bowtie. I’ve decided to hone in on my husband’s cousin who is getting married this spring… Matt, there’s a handsome green gingham with your name on it! And the wedding party would look dashing, dear boy! Let’s pair it with some Whitney Deal dresses for some homespun matrimony. (Photo from SHiH – mine were quite awful.)

 
Gilbert & Leona – Another item on the Christmas list – the bucket bag. Made of recycled and/or post-manufactured leather, it would have been a total step up from my days with the diaper bag. I’m just about done those and am in the market for a new one. Not too heavy, wonderful color, and I’m sure it would patina quite nicely…

Diamond Tooth Taxidermy – The feathery headpieces here were so elegant and pretty, I almost wished I had some fancy place to go wear it. But fancy means finding a babysitter, shaving my legs, and staying up past my bedtime… how about I just wear it around the house with a cocktail?
Concrete Polish Studio – I’m normally attracted to simple jewelry with little to no detail, but these chunky, sparkly rings drew me right into the booth. Perhaps I need to shake things up, and go straight to the double finger quartz knuckle duster? Yup, I think so. (Photo: CPS)
Farmhaus – This was the first public debut of their works at the craft fair. I was getting pretty handsy with all the cutting boards – great qualilty and a simple, modern design with crisp edges and a convenient hole at the corner for hanging. But my favorite piece was a (sold) hunk o’ wood, sanded and waxed up, on a trio of big red castors. If Lucy has been there, she’d be riding that around the place fo’ sho’.

 

Penelope Rakov – I had two questions for this vendor: How do you make that? and Do you like your name? The latter had more to do with taking advantage of meeting my first Penelope, a name I can’t seem to explain nor question why I like – I just do. More importantly, do you see those earrings? I had to ask how she does it – was it clay and resin, I asked? No, no – glass! In her Philadelphia studio, she plays with stupid hot glass, stretching and combining colors and patterns to create really stunning pieces. The resulting jewelry has depth and personality breathed into each piece.
Diane Koss – Cutesy But Not Too Cutesy added some frickin’ awesome baby hoodies to make your little one an adorable monster. Also a good gifts for wee ones of friends and relatives who would never, ever admit that their kid IS a little monster.
Namoo – Where were these quilts when I was planning my nursery? Actually, that’s exactly what I said to owner / maker Insung Kim, before telling her that this just re-enforces why I need to have another kid ASAP (just kidding! Let me graduate first). Her color and textile pairings were neutral and fresh, and she was sweet as pie, telling me about her desire to incorporate with more organic and natural fabrics. All the better, Insung! All the better…

Lil Fishy – This booth just had the darnedest baby gear – because every tot needs a scarf with a penguin on it! Plus their tagline is “It’s important to be little.” Well stated.
Girls Can Tell – I’ve seen these neat diagrammatic linens and lunchbags around the webs, and I had just seen their ad for their new shop in Grid. So I stopped in, chuckling aloud at a few illustrations (magical unicorns and Chicago architecture, specifically). The tea towels were so soft I could have bought a stack right then and there… but put them on my Christmas list instead.
knitknit – The embroidered felt necklaces here are so elegant and charming. The soft autumn palette only compliments the woodsy animal folk Nguyen Le draws and embroiders free-hand. (Photo: KK)
Huldra Press – Marianne was fresh out of business cards when I got to her at the end of the day – a sign she was in quite the demand this weekend! When I asked her about her work, she gushed to me about her craft, telling me her favorite creations often came from crisp metal letterpress on recycled kraft papers. Her mellow color schemes and simple forms made quite a palatable collection for the show.
Solidio – Wood buckles, frames, and jewelry all made from custom furniture scraps. Mitch was kind enough to tell me a little bit about the company and their commitment to reducing waste by using scraps for these finely crafted accessories (or to feed the wood stove and keep warm!). (Photo: Solidio)
Red Prairie Press – I only had time to quickly pass through the racks here and fell in love with the soft raglan Arrow sweatshirt, taking note of the size I’d need for Santa (medium). Then I moseyed on over to the site, where I read up a little on Rachel Bone, who creates it all herself in her house. Crazy, right? I also found this awesome Eagle print pullover with a rad Lenape Indian folk art inspired design. I’d look pretty awesome in it. (Photo: RPP)
There were many more but these were a few favorites among the bunch. Glad I stopped by – lovely to meet everyone! Hopefully my photo class at Project Basho next weekend will get my skills up to par for next time.
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