Friday, July 31, 2009

A Mermaid's Day

By Crystal Hanehan of Vintage by Crystal

Photos above were taken by Janet and Heidi.

When I was a little tadpole, my mom would tell me stories about the time she was mermaid.. She lived in the ocean until my grandfather, a scuba diver, found her and took her home. I was skeptical but still enchanted by her tall tales, for I myself, like so many little girls, longed to be a mermaid.

So when blog friends Heidi of Birds of a Feather and Janet invited me to Mermaid Cache, a wonderful workshop/tea party at Heidi's gorgeous home, I jumped at the chance! It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon under the trees. They had a gorgeous spread complete with old bottles, seashells, glitter, sand and delicious treats. There were 15 or 20 of us and we happily decorated these old bottles with said seashore materials. She also supplied wonderful mermaid images to use as the focal point of the piece, but Heather and I were a little rebellious and did monograms instead..

Al dente! We also did a little contest and mine won "Most Unique"! Yippee!!

Rosie helped us out a bit.

Now my pretty bottle lives in the bathroom with some of my other seaside treasures. Thank you so much Heidi and Janet for a wonderful little party!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Join Boston Handmade at our FINAL 1st Thursdays of 2009!

by Jen of Blue Alvarez Designs (photos by Kerry Hawkins Photography)

Thursday, August 6th will be the last 1st Thursdays for the 2009 season! Come visit from 5-8 pm as we gather in force to celebrate the last days of summer with a plethora of hangmade goodness! Every shop, gallery, and restaurant along Centre and South streets in Jamaica Plain stays open late too and hosts special exhibits and musicians. So there's something for everyone!

Boston Handmade will be outdoors in front of Curtis Hall, which is located at 20 South St Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, right at the intersection of Centre and South streets, across from the monument. For directions, click here.

You can get more information about 1st Thursdays at the JP Centre/South St. website. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bo Studios

by Brooke Pickering of Bancroft Studios

It’s always exciting to watch someone start something new. My friend Betty Panagakos, ceramic artist and lead designer at has branched out and started Zoo Zoo portraits by Bo studios (named after her beautiful and sometimes naughty cat). With her love of everything furry, feathered and scaled, she takes a photo of your favorite pet, expertly captures it’s unique personality and recreates it in ceramics. You won’t find her tweeting, text ing or surfing…..but a quick phone call and an actual conversation will get the ball rolling.

Info is as follows:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


by Betsy of Stonehouse Studio

I was browsing the Etsy forums the other day and came upon a thread about how someone decided to try polymer clay, because, and I quote: "I thought, how hard could it be to roll out a couple of flat globs and cookie cutter out some circles and rubber stamp em and bake em, right? HOW HARD could that be?? Well, if someone can tell me how to get the polymer clay boogers off of my little plastic rolling pin and work surface and rubber stamp, I *might* be able to clean up and throw the stuff away! urg!!". It never fails to amaze me how some people think they can try something for the first time and be perfect at it. And, incredibly, how it is the medium's fault when it doesn't come out right!

All of which made me think about a trait that most dedicated artists and craftspeople have in common, and that is persistence. You hear about passion and creativity and vision, but it's the dedication to keep working at something until you get it right that sets them apart. Or conversely, being comfortable in going in another direction if that's where it takes you.

I'm sure glad I didn't "throw the stuff away!" after my first try! Here is a photo of some of my early, and very amateurish, attempts at polymer. And another of my humongous reject jar (it is 24 inches tall and 3/4 full):

Because I'm a persistent person and dedicated to good craftsmanship, my work has progressed to where I feel I'm in control of the medium, instead of the other way around. But I still contribute regularly to that big reject jar in the corner of my studio!

And because I simply can't leave you only with examples of my "learning experiences", here's a collage of my latest work:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Free sewing patterns on Burdastyle


Last summer in my quest for the perfect baby bootie pattern I finally took the time to check out which is a spin off of Burda sewing patterns based in Germany. I was quite taken with Burdastyle not only for their free patterns and their how-to section but I especially liked their blog with daily updates on all sorts of nifty sewing news. They even have a forum where you can get sewing advice when you need it.

What more could you ask for? How about this: BurdaStyle headquarters used to be in shared office space with Etsy. BurdaStyle members, who also have Etsy sites, can upload their Etsy-mini shop onto their personal homepage. Voila!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Last Chance for Concord!

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

After a successful season, the Concord Arts Market will be open one last time- TODAY- until next season. The award winning market is the first weekly, juried, outdoor art market in New Hampshire started by Boston Handmade's very own Katy Brown.

Among the 25 artists and craftsmen participating in today's market will be 3 BH members- Louise of the Hole Thing, Nicole of 83 West and Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography (me!).

Need more? How about-
*Aerialist Sara Greene performs throughout the day
*singer-songwriter Rose Gray from 9-11am
*folk artist Mike O'Donnell from 11am-1pm

For more info, please visit the market's website. See you there!!!
(photos courtesy of the Concort Art Market website)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tactile Baby's Natural Collection Expands

by Colleen Baker of Tactile Baby

I happened to be travelling a new route to my son’s favorite playground the other day when I happen to pass a lumber yard. Stopping in to take a looksy I was impressed by the fact that:

#1 I was greeted warmly upon entering (I’ve been ignored in lumber yards before) and
#2 I was told that I could go into the workshop and take a look at the stock.

I’ve been loyal to a lumber yard closer to home since I started my business. I would tell them what species I wanted and they would pull a board for me to inspect. Sure, I could decline and have them pull another – but I never was able to peruse them en masse!
When I entered the mill I was immediately taken to the neatly organized stacks of lumber and told to take as long as I needed! I was in heaven. I walked out of there with enough wood to last me until the holidays! Anxious to cut into some beautiful cherry I got to work right away; expanding my natural collection on rolling animals to include a dog, elephant and dinosaur.
All items in my natural collection are hand cut, hand sanded and finished with organic flax seed oil, which in addition to being naturally non-toxic and scent and taste free also helps bring out the beautiful natural grain of the wood. Next up will be some natural puzzles, so keep checking back. I hope to have added 6-10 by the fall – just in time for the holidays!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boston Handmade Represents at SOWA

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

On July 12, just one day after the Boston Handmade Somerville Marketplace, I was at the South End Open Market. I had done this show twice before, both times with BH. The first was the October show last year, and the second was this June.

July 12th was different. I was alone. Even though I was alone, there was enough BH at the show to make me feel at home. I had Marla of SeaGlass Things across the aisle and two booths down from me, very comforting to have her in my sights at all times.

I had Chroma Lab almost directly across from me in the next row over. Tony from Chroma Lab manning the booth.

Alicia from Chroma Lab was helping her neighbor Fussy Gussy, when I got the opportunity to take some pics. I love this booth!

Betsy of Stonehouse Studio was there, too. I had to look for her as she was not so close to my booth, but there she was!

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, especially later on when my hubby and friends arrived so that I could walk around and check out the other vendors (and take the pictures). My friend Suzanne took this one of me in my booth.

I have 4 more SoWa dates this summer before the next Boston Handmade show on October 18th. I am really looking forward to them all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Marimekko Madness

By Alicia of Chroma Lab

Like everyone with a small business, we at Chroma Lab run a lot of errands to get supplies, and some destinations are more fun than others (hint: the hardware store). Our favorite errand by far is to pick up upholstery fabric at the Marimekko store. Marimekko, as I am sure many of you know, is a Finnish purveyor of high quality, colorful, and modern textiles that was founded in 1951. Their designs are iconic and never go out of style. The fabric we used on our Flower Power Chair, Unikko, was designed in 1964 and is still going strong:

Those of us in the Boston area are lucky, since the Marimekko store in Cambridge (350 Huron Ave.) is one of only three in the country. Last week Tony and I jumped at the chance to meet one of our custom clients there so we could help her pick out some fabric for a set of chairs we're restoring for her.

The Marimekko concept store stocks a whole range of products by the company, from textiles and housewares to clothing and accessories. Here is Tony sneaking in a look for some things to use in our own house:

One of the best features of the store is the wide selection of fabrics that are available to purchase on the spot. You can also special order any style of fabric from the Marimekko line, and it will be sent from Finland in about three weeks. Doesn't all this color just make you smile?

If you're picking up some fabric for a project you have planned, but still want some instant gratification (and it's hard not to want some instant gratification here), there are housewares ready made and available in the store, like pillows, linens, towels, placemats and napkins, and dishware for the kitchen.

The staff of the Cambridge store is extremely knowledgable about the company's designs and products and they are always ready to help. If you need some advice on combining patterns and colors, ask for Eliana, a seamstress who has a background in fashion design.

If you haven't been, I suggest you go take a look. And if you're interested in having Chroma Lab help you with a furniture project and like what Marimekko has to offer, you know we'll meet you there with pleasure!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Long ago... Out Tucson, AZ

by Kerry of Khawkinsphoto

San Xavier del Bac Mission - Nine miles south of Tucson, AZ
I just purchased an Epson scanner that scans negatives. I used to have a darkroom of my own. I have hung on to all my old negatives. I have been experimenting with the scanner and picked this set of photos. I had taken these photos over ten years ago. It is nice to revisit the desert.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Haute Summer Nights ~ A Sunset Soiree for Boston Socialites to Benefit Rosie's Place

by Marla Kunselman of Sea Glass Things

I love supporting causes - and when I was asked to be a part of this fashion show to benefit Rosie's Place in Boston - of course the answer was YES! This is the second year Special Events Manager, Natalie Pietrzak, has put together this show. With such a huge success from last year - this year is sure to be bigger... more advertising... more attendees and more money raised for a good cause.

A night full of fashion, music, sweet treats has been planned... oh and don't forget the shopping and fun! Designer Lyn Evans of Potpourri will be supplying items from her summer and fall clothing lines. One to two pieces of my (Sea Glass Things) jewelry will be on each of the 10 models - coordinating with Lyn's designs.

Mix 98.5 will be there... there free giveaways all night and one lucky person could win Coldplay tickets! Kick Ass Cupcakes will be supplying festive treats such as their Margarita Cupcakes. Miss USA delegates and WHDH representatives are also said to be attending. Shop, sip some drinks and listen to the music of The Jackson Wetherbee Band!

So - come see Sea Glass Things - and newly created jewelry for Summer '09 that will make their debut at this event!

Where: Outdoor Marina Bay Beach Club in Quincy, MA
When: July 25th

Time: 6pm-9pm

Cost: $10 advance $15 @ door -
Purchase here in advance

Friday, July 17, 2009

Davis Square Tiles Project

by Allison of Fraske Designs

If you have ever taken Boston's Red Line to or from the Davis Square stop in Somerville, MA, you have probably seen the many tiles in the brick walls in the corridor on the way to the train's platform. These tiles were created by students at the Powderhouse Community School in the 1978-1979 school year.

At, the personal histories of the school children who created these tiles is being collected as a way to help share the history of Somerville and connect the history of the neighborhood with its present. Check out the link to go back in time!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to Make an Etsy Banner

by Jennifer Tang of "MaJenta Designs"

I'm so excited to have finally updated my Etsy shop banner to include images of my actual items for sale in the shop! I often read in Etsy forums how important it is to have an eye-catching banner, since it is the first thing potential buyers see, and often its your banner and avatar that first draws people in!

Etsy Banner - with pendants

Thanks to "BlissbyHeather" blog for their helpful tutorial, it was very easy to make my new banner! You dont even need Photoshop, I just used the free program, "Gimp," instead! Here is the step-by-step instructions all copy/pasted for those who want instant gratification:

1) On the GIMP toolbar, click on "File" then "New"

2) a box will pop up that says "Create New Image"

3) In the box beside "Width", type in the numbers "760"

4) In the box beside "Height", type in the numbers "100", click on the box that says "OK"

5) A rectangular shaped box will pop up. This is your banner.

6) If you want to add text to your banner, go back to the GIMP toolbar and click on the icon that looks like a capital letter "T".

7) If you look at the bottom half of the toolbar you can see that there are options to adjust the size of your font, the style of letters etc.

8) Click on your banner where you want the text to show up. Start typing!

9) To add other pictures to your banner, you can go to the GIMP toolbar and click "File", "Open" and browse through the files on your computer to find pictures that you have already saved. I found that in order to get a product to fit onto my banner I had to shrink the size of the picture first. I did this through an online site: . I chose "shrink the photo by 75%" and then for some photos, I had to go back and do "shrink the photo by 25%". This was how I added the purse and wallet pictures to my banner.

10)After the photos were resized and saved, I went to "File", "Open" and found where I'd saved them. Then in order to add them to my banner, I went to the GIMP toolbar and clicked on the icon in the top left hand corner (it looks like a grey rectangle). I used this to select the areas of the resized photo that I wanted to use on my banner, and then I copied it and pasted it on my banner. (To copy, click on the piece that you want to copy, and hit the control button and the letter C on your keyboard. To paste, click on the banner where you want the item to be, and hit the control button and the letter V on your keyboard). If you want to move the picture that you just pasted on your banner, click on it and moved it.

11) To save my banner, I chose "File", "Save As". A grey box that says "Save Image" will pop up. Click on the cross icon beside "Save File Type by Extension". A white box will show up at the bottom, scroll down and choose "JPEG image" and then click on the "Save" bottom in the bottom right hand corner.

12) A grey box that says "Export file" will pop up. Click on the "Export" box.

13) A grey box that says "Save as JPEG" will pop up. You will want to move the bar to the right, so that it says 100 in the white box and click "OK".

14) You're finished!

15) To upload your new banner, sign into your etsy account, click on "Your Etsy", in the left hand colum under "Shop Setup", click on "Appearance". Under the heading "Banner" you can click on the "Browse" button and find where you saved your banner. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Save Changes". That's it :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Split Personality

by Kathy of Weller Wishes

Well the time has come again -- I have apparently out of business cards. I loathe business cards.... well, not the cards themselves, but the process of figuring out how I want to commit to presenting myself on them. It shouldn't be so hard, yet every time I run out and it's time for a redesign, it sets me into first-panic-then-procrastination mode.

Truth is, I've needed new business cards for months now. But the eternal dilemma I run into is always the same -- how to create an all-inclusive business card without having it scream "kitchen sink"? I often resort to having separate cards for different creative interests. I know a lot of creative professionals also have their hands in many different things, so I know that my dilemma is not an isolated one. Instead of having separate business cards for each of the creative' hats' I wear, I'd really rather simplify my life and just have ONE card that works on ALL levels.

This sounds so easy, yet it's not so easy to pull off successfully. For one thing, you run the risk of being viewed as a "jack of all trades, king of none". The other thing is what I'll call the possibility of 'aesthetic clash'. Your different outlets may allow you to flex creative muscles that complement your process of each individual outlet. But visually, they just might not marry well together. This would not be a situation conducive to an all-inclusive b-card.

I'm a designer for crying out loud. I should be able to figure this out. Yet here I am again, faced with this dilemma again, unsure of the solution... again....

...Got any ideas?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fresh from the Farmers Market

'Tis the season to participate in your local farmer's market or patronize it.

Kirsten Bassion recently spent her Saturday at the Marblehead Farmer's Market with the artists from her studio the North Shore Clay Studio.
We brought a wheel to do throwing demonstrations and about 10 artist from the studio all selling their own work. It created quite a crowd and there is nothing better than a crowd to encourage people to buy. Supporting your local FM is a great way to build your local business and community contacts!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Die-Hard Sports Fans Guide to Boston

by Allison of Fraske Designs

The next time you are in a book store, be sure to check out The Die-Hard Sports Fans Guide to Boston written by Christopher Klein and published by Union Park Press. I am excited to have been chosen as a contributing photographer to the book. Check out my Souvenirs Sign picture in the color section!

A bit about the book from the Union Park Press website:

"Forget the Freedom Trail and the Swan Boats—the real heart and soul of Boston lives among the fans at Fenway Park, the mobs lining the route of the Boston Marathon, the tailgaters at Boston College, and the crowds celebrating yet another the championship for the Pats, Sox, and Celtics. With Boston home to some of the greatest legends in sports history and such venerable traditions as the Head of the Charles and memorable settings as the Green Monster, it’s no wonder that the city isn’t just passionate about sports—it’s absolutely obsessed.

Paying tribute to Boston’s rich and storied sports history, The Die-Hard Sports Fan’s Guide to Boston is the first and only comprehensive guide to the incredible range of spectator sporting events in and around the Hub. From minor- and major-league baseball, football, basketball, and hockey to soccer and college teams, here’s the practical information that devoted fans need:

  • How to get tickets (even at the last minute)
  • How to save cash
  • Where to eat
  • The best spots for autographs
  • Sports landmarks around the city
  • Itineraries for out-of-town pilgrimages
  • Worldwide listings of Boston sports bars
  • The “Top Ten Things All Boston Fans Must Do Before the Fat Lady Sings”
It really is an amazing book jam-packed with great info about Boston and the sports in and around us. Any sports fan will not be able to put it down. It makes a great gift, too! (I don't get royalties, it is just that good!)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Somerville Marketplace TODAY!

in Union Square, Somerville, MA will be held today from 3-7pm
Hooray for sunshine! We kept the rain at bay so you could join us at this joyful local event!Enjoy more than 25 independent exhibitors, two live Boston bands, craft demonstrations from the Common Cod Fiber Guild and The Eliot School of Jamaica Plain, and a whole afternoon of supporting YOUR local arts economy!
See you there!

Click HERE for directions
Click HERE for more show info

Senior Art Fest

by Chris O'Brien of Christine Marie Art

Last week I was invited to be a guest artist at Ledgewood Rehab and Nursing Care as part of their Summer Arts Fest. The residents (and lucky guests!) were treated to a fabulous music performance by We Are America. Those girls can sing! Afterwards I shared some of my art, and had a chance to enjoy the artwork created by Ledgewood residents (see the sampling above). Their work was amazing considering the various physical challenges faced by each artist.

Ledgewood is part of Kindred Healthcare which has facilities all across the country, and where art is a part of their daily activities. They have an annual arts contest where winning poetry and art are compiled in a publication called "Kaleidoscope." Some of the entries are from younger patients, but many are from talented seniors like the ones I recently met. Although the online version is from a few years back, it's worth a look!

Nice to see that art does not have a retirement age!
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