Friday, November 30, 2007

Boston Handmade THIS Weekend!

TONIGHT! Friday, November 30th are TWO opportunities to see and purchase work by members of Boston Handmade...

The Taft School located at 16 Granite Street in Uxbridge, MA is having it's first ever Vendor Fair to benefit the Uxbridge Special Education PAC for Uxbridge Schools. Creatively Anew will have journals, NEW fabric scarves made from lush fabrics, bottle cap necklaces, collage tins, and mini-art quilts available for purchase. Come and visit the show and mention this blog post and you will receive 10% off your Creatively Anew purchase.

Also TONIGHT, a Holiday Gift Sale Trunk Show at 1 Lenox Street in Norwood, MA, 5-8pm

Featuring handmade holiday cards, gift tags and journals by Boston Handmade member Jessica of Reclaimed To You and jewelry made by Etsy seller Little Wishes. This trunk show is conveniently located right next to the Commuter Rail and the show venue has parking available.

And THIS WEEKEND CRAFTLAND begins in Providence, RI and will feature work by several members of Boston Handmade including Elizabeth Brennick Designs, Mimi K, and Pogibabies.

Craftland rund from December 1st through the 22nd. See for details about show times and directions. Craftland 2007 features an eclectic assortment of fine craft and handmade kitsch by more than 150 artists and craftspeople from Providence and beyond.

Discover fresh and funky gifts for the home, your uncle, the wardrobe, the kids, and even yourself! New treats like holiday ornaments, felted jewelry, handmade neckties, cozy knit wear, silk screened stationery, one of a kind wearables, ceramic dishware, original prints & paintings, pet toys, fresh comic books, DIY kits, unique stuffed animals, oodles of stocking stuffers, and so very much more. Stop by and be surprised!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Recycling...

...with JHill Design

You can imagine that when you design calendars, sometimes you end up with a few extra at the end of the year. This year a good friend made a great suggestion. Recycle the calendars into limited edition gift tags, so that is what we did.

Each gift tag set includes 12 tags, a different pattern for each, with a colored ribbon for hanging. Besides adorning holiday gifts they would be perfect to add color to a Christmas tree. They are available on JHill Design's etsy store for $8.00 a pack. There are only a few to go around so act fast!

Buy Handmade this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Workspace Wednesday...

...with Betsy of Stonehouse Studio

"I'm working on a polymer clay jewelry project in pink, magenta, purple and black, which is a stretch for me because I prefer desaturated earth tones. It'll consist of image transfers from magazine clippings combined with custom colors. The colorful strings of beads on the right are color scales that help me get the proportions right when color mixing."

Tune in next week for another Workspace Wendnesday with Boston Handmade!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sewing Workshop with Elizabeth Brennick

On Saturday, November 10th Beth (in the pic to the right, showing her craft apron) of Elizabeth Brennick Designs led a few Members of Boston Handmade in a sewing workshop at Jessica's house. We made craft aprons and it was fun, educational, and a great bonding experience!

Below is a pic of Lisa (Glamourpuss Creations) showing off her chosen craft apron fabric that was a generous gift from Kris of Relaxation Works from a group fabric swap a few months ago.

Beth taught us all really well and showed us some great ironing, fabric cutting, and fabric handling tips. Betsy of Stonehouse Studio however has been sewing for so many years on her own that she didn't need as much 'special attention' as Lisa and I did.

We all finished lovely aprons in just a couple of short hours. Mine is on the left and Betsy's is on the right.

I was so inspired by the apron success that the next day I picked up a book given to me by a weaver friend of mine named Claudia Mills and I sewed my very first tote bag from a pattern! I definitely recommend the book (see the pic below, book on the left and the tote I made is on the right). The patterns for the various projects are included, the instructions are easy to follow and I had fun making my tote! I have also made pot holders from this book which are a good short project too - and great for gifts. Anyhoo - thanks to Beth for leading this workshop and for sharing her amazing sewing skills with us!

Photos and article by Jessica of Reclaimed To You

Mosaic Monday - Buy Handmade!

It's definitely holiday shopping time. Black Friday has passed, Hanukkah begins on December 4th (you heard right), and Christmas is right around the corner.

Get that gift buying all tied up with a few clicks of your mouse on some of our very own Boston Handmade Etsy shops! Buy Handmade this holiday season and your friends, co-workers, and loved ones will not be disappointed.

Featured in this fine mosaic:

Reclaimed To You, Elizabeth Brennick Designs, Amy Olson Jewelry, Mimi K Dolls, Paper Menagerie, Creatively Anew, Stonehouse Studio, thirteenth story

Happy shopping!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Boston Handmade THIS Weekend!

Jaye of thirteenthstory will be at the The Americal Civic Center in Wakefield this Saturday, November 24th from 10am-2pm for the Holiday Fair.

It will be at 467 Main Street, Wakefield, MA. This show is kid-friendly with plenty of parking. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Boston Handmade wishes you and your family a Thanksgiving holiday of warmth and good cheer.

This note card is handmade by our very own Paper Menagerie. The card is printed on 100% recycled kraft paper cardstock, which has a natural, textured feel. Blank inside, the card is 5.5" tall and 4.25" wide and comes with a matching envelope. It is shipped in a cello envelope and flat cardboard mailer to ensure it arrives in pristine condition.

Please buy and give handmade this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Workspace Wednesday

Jaye of thirteenthstory:

Someday I'm going to buy a real drafting table. Until then, I use this ergonomically designed board to clip my paper to and draw comfortably. It also helps to have a fire in the fireplace, to keep my hands warm and keep me relaxed over the details of each piece.

Tune in next week for another Workspace Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beading for Preservation

Lush Beads Donates Tree to be Raffled Off

There are a lot of ways an organization can raise money for its cause.
Some people in the city of Methuen has come up with a very interesting
way: solicit businesses, civic groups and individuals to donate fully
decorated Christmas trees, build a beautiful festival around these
trees, and sell tickets to raffle them all off to lucky winners! The
organization uses the money it raises for historic preservation

For 14 years, The Methuen Festival of Trees has been a lovely way to
ring in the holiday season. Starting just before Thanksgiving and
running until the beginning of December, this festival now boasts over
200 fully decorated Christmas trees up for auction, several mini trees
for silent auction, and a whole other room full of items up for
auction. The competition is fierce - awards are given out for Best in
Show, Best Use of Theme, Best Tree Topper, Most Traditional, etc.

I found the festival in 2004, when I saw an ad in a local paper. I
was intrigued - it sounded like a lovely idea, but would the execution
be as wonderful as the ad made it sound?

Walking in, it is a magical Christmas wonderland. The lights, the
decorations, and the creativity are all stunning. People were so
excited about the trees and the atmosphere, and they were buying a lot
of raffle tickets! I decided then that I needed to be a part of this.

This is my third year donating a tree to the festival. My theme this
year is "A Christmas Ball". The tree has beaded garland and beaded
ornament balls all over it. On the top is a giant beaded ball. The
tree skirt is red and has ornaments pinned to it. Almost all of the
beaded ornaments were done by me. (The rest were done by my friend
Kathy). It took a lot of time and effort but, as the photos show, the
results were worth it!

The show runs from November 17 thru December 1. Admission is $8. Visit their website for more details (note that the website is only friendly to Internet Explorer):

I hope to reproduce some of the ornaments to sell in my Etsy shop, so keep your eyes open for those to appear in a week or so!

Happy holidays!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving and Family

A Monday Mosaic in preparation for the holiday week.

Thanks to Mimi K for putting it together!

This Mosaic Features work by:

Betsy of Stonehouse Studio
Dawn of Creatively Anew
Mimi of Mimi K Dolls
Jaye of thirteenth story

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Boston Handmade Holiday Showcase

Boston Handmade is having its first annual Holiday Showcase! This year it is going to be held at Dalia's Bistro and Wine Bar in Brookline, MA (1657 Beacon Street, in Washington Square). Featuring the work of nine artists from the Boston Handmade group, the Holiday Showcase will take place THIS Sunday, November 18th, from 12-5pm.

There will be a variety of items for sale including mixed media, stationery and paper art, fine ink drawings, handbags, and jewelry. Each of the artists have an Etsy site where you can preview their lines. These are the artists who will be showcasing their work on Sunday:

Angela from
Jaye from
Betsy from
Besty from
Jessica from
Amy from AmyOlsonJewelry.etsy
Dawn from
Nicole from
Lisa from

When: Sunday, Nov. 18
Where: Dalia's Bistro and Wine Bar and Bistro
1657 Beacon St. Brookline, MA
Time: 12-5

The first fifty people to arrive will receive a promo bag full of goodies! And of course, complimentary wine and finger foods!
Hope to see you all there!

Posted by, Amy Olson Jewelry

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lexington Avenue of the Arts

a review by, Reclaimed To You

On Saturday, November 3rd, eight members of Boston Handmade participated in the first ever Lexington Avenue of the Arts at the Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, MA. Unfortunately, it was also the occasion of a lovely New England phenomenon called a Nor Easter which is a big, messy, wet storm similar to a hurricane. Needless to say, the poor weather kept the expected throngs of people away and led to a day of low sales and dampened spirits. All that aside however, we were all together, we had a chance to chat, and to see each other's latest handmade creations...

This first pic is the display by Paper Menagerie

Nicole of Designs by Lulubelle and Angela of Paper Menagerie

Display by Designs by Lulubelle

Here is Karalee of Karalee Designs

Display by Zesty Betsy

Jewelry Display by Liz of Lush Beads

Etsy giveaways and an art display by Reclaimed To You

Louise from The Hole Thing

Display from Thirteenth Story - who had a very successful day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Workspace Wednesday

With Mimi K

"The chaos on my desk is reflecting how scattered I am, working for the Holiday selling season. The mess also means lots of work is getting done. I don't usually stop to cleanup until I've run out of steam!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the thirteenth with thirteenthstory: an art retreat

Last winter was a mild one for Boston, but despite the lack of
blizzards, by the end of March I was sick of being inside. At work I
had been saving up my vacation time to someway-somehow devote a large
chunk of time to making art. It was all I wanted, to see what it felt
like to be a full time artist, even for a little while. Ski season
was over, but the leaves had not even begun to grow back on the trees.
So I went online and found a fabulous deal on a Vermont Hotel. It
was perfect. With my car packed full of paper, paints, inks, brushes,
spray bottles, pencils, and project ideas, I headed northwest for an

The artwork I created on that trip is among some of my most popular
pieces, and when I got home I had enough original material that when I
was asked to participate in a show in the the springtime it was easy
to say yes. Since then, many have asked me some advice for creating
their own art get-a-way. My only tip is to plan well.
  • Choose a time when your family will be okay without you for a little while; find a deal on a hotel during an off-season period (or if a hotel is too pricey, perhaps ask a friend or family member if you can use some corner of their place for a quiet retreat).
  • Bring a good amount of your supplies. Its a great time to experiment with some new method, but not a great time to find an art supply store.
  • Research the area online before leaving. Find any galleries or other art exhibits they have available while you will be in town. Going on an art excursion during a retreat like this is sometimes necessary to combat loneliness or get your creativity kick-started on a slow day.
  • Bring more than one project. I brought a whole folder full of ideas I'd been collecting for years, as well as a book about creativity with suggested projects inside. Having options kept each moment full of opportunity, and I never needed to wonder if I was making a mistake by trying to make art full time.
  • Bring your creature comforts- and not just groceries, clothing, and a camera. It may be surprising, but your favorite mug, blanket, jacket, or music collection can make many places feel like home. At least enough like home so that you're comfortable enough to create. Which is what its all about.

Perhaps you've seen people relaxing in restaurants on a weekday, with
their head bent over a notebook or sketchpad, a cup of coffee or tea
constantly refreshed for them. For a few days I was that person, the
world of the nine-to-fivers whizzing by me, the sun rising and setting
without me ever looking at a clock. My pencil, pen, and paintbrush
were the only things keeping my focus. It was an important time for
me, and since then I look back with thanks that I was able to feel
that freedom.

It began to snow as I was packing up my car to head home to Boston. I
was darting in and out of the hotel lobby with boxes of art supplies
and finished projects covered in plastic, and I noticed a gentleman
parked near me doing the same thing. Except his boxes were all white
file boxes, marked with legal codes and courtroom trial terminology.
I guess everyone needs to get away sometimes, just to concentrate,
just to be with your work. I hope you can, too.

-by Jaye of

Monday, November 12, 2007

Trees and Leaves...

tree/leaf Boston Handmade
Originally uploaded by Mimi K
...are on our minds in November and featured in this Monday Mosaic.

This lovely mosaic was put together by our very own Mimi K. and features work by:

Stonehouse Studio
Mimi K.
Paper Menagerie
Muchacha K.
Creatively Anew
JHill Design
Amy Olson Jewelry
Thirteenth Story
Reclaimed To You

Have you gone for a fall foliage walk yet?
Check out the Arnold Arboretum it's a great place right in Boston to see some of nature's beauty of the autumn season.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mass.Market at MassArt - A Review

On Sunday October 28th 2007, two of Boston Handmade’s members participated in the Mass.Market at MassArt. The event reflected the former Punk Rock Flea Markets that had been held at MassArt over the past several years. The Mass.Market featured over 40 vendors and DJs which made for an exciting venue chock full of crafters such as button makers, paper crafters, book makers, artists, clothing designers, djs, vegan and vegetarian bakers, and more. Amberly of alt_cross_stitch and Allison of Fraske Designs set up at neighboring tables in the middle of the action to sell their wares. Both Amberly and Allison agree that the Mass.Market was a great selling experience and look forward to future fairs held at MassArt!

Review by, Allison of Fraske Designs

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

THE HOLE THING trunk show

ANNOUNCING the 2nd Annual Trunk Show for Boston Handmade member Louise Cady-Fernandes and her line THE HOLE THING: whimsical felted wool sweaters and accessories.

Thursday November 8th
125 Shade Street
Lexington, MA

The show also features two artisans from Vermont: Sheri Deflavio who will be showing her jewelry and Anni Mackay will be exhibiting handmade hats.

Alpine Home, a wonderful store from Stowe, VT will also be at the show with luxury holiday items. Please join us for shopping, food and drinks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Inspiration: the stories behind our work

by, Allison of Fraske Designs

I always like to know the story behind things… particularly stories behind the personal creations of others. Everyone in Boston Handmade is gifted in her craft, and learning what inspires each item makes the piece all the more meaningful! Below are a few of our members’ pieces of work and the stories behind them.

Betsy of Stonehouse Studio explains the inspiration behind one of her pieces of jewelry:

“It's been so unseasonably warm lately that I've been very worried about the effects of global warming. I was inspired to create a line of jewelry featuring flowers, trees and leaves. Because if we keep melting the polar icecaps, we may not have much of the real thing left!”

Katy of Muchacha K explains the story behind her Custom Clutch:

“There's a certain kind of gift box...when it's flat it looks like a rectangle with half moons on the end curving outward, then you fold the half moons in to create volume, and the little ends curve in slightly and stay put. I LOVE those boxes, and I wish I was the genius that came up with that simple design. I was thinking about those little boxes one day when I was designing a clutch pattern and it's now my classic clutch pattern that I use for bridal orders. To create that same kind of volume though, in the middle of each side I put darts, instead of just folding the fabric (because obviously fabric doesn't hold shape the same way cardboard does). In fact, the whole thing made me a little dart-crazy, and I started putting them in a lot of my patterns, to the amusement of my bag-making friends.”

Nicole of Designs by Lulubelle touches us with another inspirational clutch:

“My family was recently touched by the diagnosis of breast cancer, so for I've created a clutch (Hope) to help raise awareness and funds for research. Five dollars from the purchase of each clutch benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure.”

And Jessica of Reclaimed to You explains the meaning behind her quilts:

“The buttons represent the wishes I imagine the women have made, and they are positioned on the quilts beneath the women's feet as the foundation on which they stand and up in the starry sky above their heads. The inspiration for my mini photo quilts comes from a collection of antique photos of women that I have gathered for the last ten years, and from the many wishes that I have made on stars, wishbones, trains over bridges, and blown-out candles. In this way I feel like I am connecting to generations past through hopes and dreaming.”

Learning the background of these special items certainly makes me appreciate them so much more. Would you like to share what inspires your creativity? Leave a comment!

Monday, November 5, 2007

One Season Ends & A New Season Begins

The Monday Mosaic is taking a little autumn vacation this week, but will return in full force next week so stay tuned!

Today Boston Handmade is acknowledging a change of season for artists, artisans, and crafters. We are making the big switcharoo from outdoor fairs to indoor holiday shows. We bid an exhausted farewell to pop-up tents and say hello to cheery offers of free gift wrapping. Stay tuned to the blog this week for some recent show reviews and upcoming show previews in addition to our usual array of eclectic topics about creativity.


October 28th was the last South End Open Market of the 2007 season. The SEOM is an upscale artisan market - the only market of its kind in Boston - and runs from May through October each year in the South End neighborhood of Boston.

The show on the 28th was also host to the annual SEOM costume contest and brought out some of the regular Boston Handmade members as well as a guest star from the Etsy Mothership.

Beneath this exceptionally well crafted chicken outfit is Katy of Muchacha K Handmade who is the on-site Manager for the SEOM. Katy says:

"This is past season was my second year at the market, and my first year as market manager. As market manager I run the market each weekend as it is happening. Chris, the market director, does the behind-the-scenes planning, networking and scheduling. I'm the one that juggles vendors and assigns them to their booths when they arrive, fields questions from vendors and visitors, keeps the market running smoothly during the day, and yes, cleans up the whole thing after everyone leaves--even if I happen to be dressed like a chicken at the time!"

In addition to these responsibilities, Katy schedules and coordinates the two booths that the market donates each week to new Etsy sellers, "I enjoy scheduling the Etsy sellers because I remember what it was like to be a new vendor and have a lot of questions... and how exciting it is the first time you do an outdoor show."

WonderAmy came for a visit during this last market as a representative from Etsy and she manned an Etsy booth and spread the word of the joys of buying and selling handmade. Amy also shared news of the new on-line Handmade Pledge that is sweeping the nation!

Other Boston Handmade members making an appearance at the last market were Stonehouse Studio and Pogibabies Handmade.

Of the South End Open Market Katy says, "The best thing about all of it is that I get to meet lots of cool new creative people every week, in one place, that I wouldn't have the opportunity to meet otherwise. It's an adventure every week, for sure, with so many people and so many personalities!"

And I think we can all concur. See you at the market next season!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Boston Handmade THIS Weekend!

Katy of Muchacha K Handmade took this awesome pic:

A giant stack of fabric! “It's my pile of goodies I'm working on for an upcoming holiday show, this weekend, November 3-4, at 66 Long Pond Road Dunbarton, NH. The show is Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm. The fabric stack consists of what will become: 40 coin pouches, 12 key pouches, 20 makeup pouches, 4 large, very cool totes and 10 fancy clutches. As you can see, I have been spending the week stitching!”

Also this weekend, six Boston Handmade members will be showing their handmade jewelry, journals, cards, clothes, accessories, housewares, photography, and art at the Lexington Avenue of the Arts:

Boston Handmade members at this show will be: Reclaimed To You, Lush Beads, Designs By Lulubelle, Karalee Designs, Paper Menagerie, The Hole Thing

And on Saturday The Hole Thing will have work at the Red Door Gallery Artists and Artisans Sale in Dover, MA from 10am – 4pm

Come see us THIS WEEKEND!! And you can see us all the time on our Etsy shops :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Photography Workshop

article and photos by, Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You

After much discussion on what makes a good product photo, and requests for some help in achieving item photo greatness for our Etsy shops, Liz of Lush Beads stepped up and led a photography workshop for Boston Handmade members this past Sunday.

The workshop was held in Jessica’s studio in Boston’s South End and workshop participants were Mimi K, Zesty Betsy, Ann of Buddy System Productions, Angela of Paper Menagerie, Jessica of Reclaimed To You, and we had a special visitor from the Mother Ship = Etsy Labs in Brooklyn, NY, via her own studio in Philadelphia, PA… WonderAmy!

Amy came for a visit to Boston to see participate in the South End Open Market, and she also wanted to see what Boston Handmade was all about. Amy very kindly gave us tons of Etsy swag that we will hand out at upcoming shows and mail out to customers, and she also discussed with us all some of our questions, concerns, and joys of being sellers.

The photo workshop was very helpful and we all came away having learned more about ways to get good photos of small objects and ways to get enough light onto our items of all sizes. Liz distributed a handout with some basic tips:

Creating a Light Box

Photographing small objects in a box glowing with light is a great way to get enough exposure for your images and to make sure that the light is distributed evenly. There are several setups you can use for your photography “box”. There are a couple of resources on the web to consult… Rubbermaid container with clip-on lights, and Cardboard box with tracing paper and standing lights.

Background for Your Items
A smooth and simple background (example: white posterboard) makes for a nice setting that does not take away from the piece, but if a colored background enhances your piece, by all means use it! Whatever you choose, make sure it does not detract from the object you are trying to photograph. People want to see and buy your item, not just your cool artsy photograph.

Lighting your Items

You need a lot of light! More than you think! The light should be indirect, or filtered, for best effect. You need it to be the right color or hue – light has a color temperature, so make yourself aware of the variables. Also, make sure you have enough lighting and that it is evenly distributed to avoid shadows.

Your Camera
White Balance – Set this properly to get the true colors of your objects. Consult your camera manual to find out how to adjust this setting, or look on line for information about your specific camera’s settings. Exposure – Most times, you want to OVERexpose your photos so that they will be bright enough. But, be careful not to overexpose too much, how to figure out the happy medium? Experiment, experiment, experiment. Take several shots, and see what works!

When taking your photos
Use a tripod to avoid blurry pictures. Include a swatch of black/white/grey in your photo, so that you can adjust the levels and contrast in photo editing software more easily. Do not use your flash! This will add shadow where you have worked so hard to eliminate it.
Take several photos at different exposures to make sure you have the best shot.

When editing your photos

Adjust “Levels” using the black/white/grey swatch in the photo as a guide. Making sure the black and white are true should fix any problems with the color of your item. Also, adjust “Brightness/Contrast” as necessary, crop your photo to get rid of unnecessary background, and if the photos are blurry, retake them!

Here’s Liz’s photo of her spider broach that she shot and edited at the workshop:

Thank you for the workshop Liz!!
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