Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Learn Basic Embroidery

by Sharon Fischer of Stray Notions

On February 27 I will be teaching an intro to basic embroidery class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. We'll take inspiration from traditional stitch samplers to create a tea towel or wall hanging. There is still room for a few more in the class. Hope to see you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Orleans Night

Whew! I just returned from almost a week in New Orleans feeling refreshed, recharged, and inspired. When we got in around nine and headed straight to Bourbon Street. It was overwhelming after a long day of travel and I could see how it would get old fast but I loved all of the energy and craziness block after block.

No age discrimination on Bourbon St

Yes please.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stay Warm with Etsy!

by Leah of cricicis design

I have been coming across some really adorable cold-weather accessories on Etsy recently and had to share. Some great ones are from our own Boston Handmade members- but there are a ton of handmade mittens, scarves, blankets, and more available. So check 'em out before spring comes along!

reversible fingerless gloves by White Noise Maker

peppermint stripe scarf by Boston Handmade member Jessica Burko
(aka Reclaimed To You)

rainbow cotton crochet blanket by rocket and bear

ivory gloves by Stylish Knitting

And if you want to do some knitting yourself, check out this beautiful merino wool from Boston Handmade member Diane Ivey (aka Lady Dye)! What are your favorite cold-weather accessories to brighten up your winter wardrobe?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Doing it Big!

Yes...doing it BIG is what Lady Dye is doing. I am thrilled to be able to create some amazing hair pins and headbands with my hand-dyed and hand-spun yarns. For a while I have been contemplating how to expand my fiber arts business and as a woman with this amazing Afro :) I found it suiting to expand into hair accessories for women and men from all different backgrounds who are not only proud of their hair but believe in my new hair motto: the BIGGER. the BOLDER. the BETTER!

About six years ago, I made the decision to go natural with my hair and I have not looked back. It was one of the best decision I have made in my life and I feel true and honest with myself and confident in my own identity. I want other women and men to feel the same way. Besides, I sometimes feel our society has been so conservative when it comes to what's acceptable for hair accessories. Lady Dye is here to say yes! It's acceptable to have knitted decorations in your hair! From one big hair to the other!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nature Inspires and Challenges

by Jen Parrish of Parrish Relics

I had a very abrupt and major change recently that made me re-evaluate what was important in my life, what I wanted more of. I get so much joy just being in nature, walking hiking paths through the many green places in our area, even in the winter there is beauty to be found.

Hiking with a group recently in the Middlesex Fells, I found new paths, faced and conquered a great fear of heights.

What it Inspired: Leaves of Stained Glass

I would highly recommend utilizing Meet Up Groups as a great resource of finding new adventures. A recent outing to my favorite Audubon Sanctuary for a Wolf Moon hike in the dim light of the moon was an experience I will never forget. Seeing deer at rest, beavers swimming, silently soaring owls and hearing coyotes howl with a great group of people and exploring the park normally closed at night with a very knowledgeable leader was such a privilege. The exercise is an added bonus! I am not brave enough to venture out in the deep snow or extreme cold, but I will be watching the weather for the next mild day to get out once again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Standard Magazine

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Standard Magazine is a super nice magazine and as they put it "every page of every issue reflects our high standards of sustainability". I was approached by the magazine to feature one of my sawdust fired cups and the issue is out now! Issues of Standard are available in print, and you can also view the issue online. Check out my cup on page 29 of the Winter Adventure 2012 issue.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coming this Spring…

by An Li Liu of An Li Liu

I know it’s been an unusually mild winter, but with the recent cold temperatures and brisk wind, I’m already longing for warmer weather. I checked my mail yesterday and happened upon a wee package with some samples of my spring-like note card that is being published by Calypso Art Editions Cards right here in Massachusetts.

Keep an eye out for it this spring at retailers nation-wide!

Oh, and I have been a busy bee working away on new shirt designs, so I’ll post pictures as soon as I can!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Work in Progress: Kanzashi and Shisha Embroidered Hat

by Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudhri of ElephunksTrunk

Creating miniature pillbox hats that sit off center on your head has become my new favorite millinery process. These tiny hats are held in place with a hat elastic that sits under your hair, and thus can be worn by anyone. They can be an elegant accessory or a platform for spunky decoration, depending on my mood. Here you can see my newest design in progress. I have built the pillbox frame out of buckram and wire, and am now working on the fabric that will cover the frame. In the past I have covered the frame with my chosen fabric, and then set about decorating it once the fabric is in place. By sewing the fabric and elastic on first, I can place the decorations on the hat while modeling it in front of the mirror. However, sewing flowers or feathers to a hat once the fabric is on the frame can be difficult. This time I am trying to decorate my fabric before placing it on the hat. This means that I have to trust my imagination and design skills to place things well without being able to try it on, but the construction process will be easier.

This particular mini-pillbox hat will be covered in shimmering silver dupoini silk. I have made a black silk kanzashi flower, which will feature a small mirror in the center. Kanzashi is a traditional Japanese art form in which fabric is folded and sewn into intricate flowers. Geisha often wore kazazhi in their hair. I like to combine different kinds of craft forms in my hat. My kanzashi flower will be anchored to my hat using a form of embroidery from India, called shisha, in which bits of mirror are sewn into the garment.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


By Arthur of Arthur Halvorsen Ceramics

Have you heard of the newest online community called Pinterest? If not then I am here to tell you about it! It a really great members-only (you have to be invited, wait for an invitation by a friend of your, or do what I did and wait like 3 days for the Pinterest people to invite you... I asked for an invite!) site where you make boards (could be anything, some of mine are ceramics, inspiration and men's fashion.) of images that you find online! I am constantly collecting images I find online for when that day FINALLY happens that I am a visiting artist somewhere and I have to give a power point presentation about my work which will include a sources section.

I love being able to post images that I find interesting and seeing what other people find interesting too! You also have the option to like, comment or repin. A few of us from Boston Handmade are on pintrest and you should follow us! Well there's me, Arthur Halvorsen, Jen Parrish, Leah Ammerman, Kerry Hawkins, Sharon Fischer, Allison Fraske, Karen Mahoney and of course Boston Handmade has our own pintrest boards you can follow! I think its a really get way to share what your looking at online for inspiration, you don't have to just pin photos that are existing online you can upload your own images as well! I just wanted to share a few of the photos that I have pinned! HAPPY PINNING!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Unique Home Organization Tips

By Jennifer T. by MaJenta Designs

Living in Boston, space is definitely a commodity... that's why I'm always looking out for better ways of organizing and storing things around the house.

Now that the holidays have ended, this is a clever idea by Martha Stewart on storing all your ornaments again, using tupperware and cups.

I like this Real Simple suggestion of repurposing jewelry boxes into helpful storage compartments in your catch-all drawer.

I love this idea by Better Homes & Gardens of using a wine rack to store some craft supplies.

This is my favorite storage idea from Country Living about upcycling an old dollhouse into a clever storage for laundry and bathroom supplies.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Spring Color Trends

by Kerrie of Cody's Creations

The New Year is upon us what a better way to welcome the New Year than by shopping for supplies to make new items?

I was curious to see what the 2012 Spring Colors were so I consulted the Pantone Color Report, after all you want your pet to be in fashion as well don't you?

Tango Tangerine is the Color of the Year:

and for Spring, be on the lookout to see:






Sodalite Blue

Solar Power


Sweet Lilac

I will be incorporating several of these colors into some new products, what color will you be most excited to see this spring?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

5-minute Tasks for Social Media Greatness

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed to You

Those who know me know that I love Twitter and that I feel Facebook is a necessary evil. There, I said it.

Deciding what your relationship will be with social media is one thing, but maintaining and strengthening that relationship is a big commitment. I definitely encourage all of my marketing clients to start a blog, launch a Facebook page, or open a Twitter account, but I clarify that my advice is IF AND ONLY IF they pledge to actually keep the blog/tweets/Facebook updates current, vibrant, and interactive. This is my advice for any social media that a client of mine decides to undertake, and the primary reason for the advice is that if one starts down a social media path and then doesn't follow through it can become a stressful task on the to-do list, and can become more trouble than it's worth.

So how can you easily maintain a social media presence and actually have the effort work for you? Some great advice from arts marketing maven Alyson B. Stanfield is to spend only 5 minutes per day on social media tasks, and the regularity of the efforts will keep you updated, relevant, invested, and will also keep you out of the black hole that sometimes becomes social networking. Stanfield recently sent a list of "5-Minute Social Media Tasks" to her email subscriber list. Her advice: "The reasons for keeping such a list nearby are to remind you of little tasks that can have a big impact and to help you stay on task and not get sidetracked on these sites. Remember, just spend 5 minutes on these social media tasks, and then get back to work. You have bigger, more important things to accomplish."

• Upload a new image to your Facebook fan page and respond to comments on your page.

• Comment on Facebook pages where you want to be noticed (e.g. galleries, niche markets, and museums). Remember to comment as your page on other pages.

• If you haven’t switched over to the new timeline format on Facebook, read how: http://mashable.com/2011/12/15/facebook-timeline-how-to . It’s quick and painless, and it won’t be an option in the future, so you might as well join the party.

• Add an event or two to your timeline on Facebook – especially if it’s about your art.

• Share someone else’s blog post or article on Google+.

• Leave an insightful comment on someone else’s blog.

• Respond to comments on your blog.

• Recommend someone on LinkedIn and leave a recommendation on a business page on Facebook.

• Send a current Twitter update and retweet two others from your Twitter stream.

• Post-date three tweets using your favorite scheduling service, like HootSuite or TweetDeck.

• Review your profile on one of your social media sites. Can you freshen it up by adding a colorful word or deleting a ho-hum one?

• Streamline the photo albums on your Facebook fan page. Do the album categories make sense? Is it time to delete some of the images?

And don't forget Pintrest and all the other social networking outlets out there. Make the commitment to these short tasks in 2012 and watch your online presence blossom.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Artists Crossing Gallery Party

Boston Handmade had the great pleasure of exhibiting work by several of our group members at Artists Crossing Gallery this winter. The gallery opened in 2008 and has maintained a presence in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood of Boston since then with regular gallery exhibits of local artists.
There will be an art reception this Thursday, January 19th from 5 pm to 7 pm at Artists Crossing for their latest featured artist, painter Diana Sironi, who creates a variety of artwork from antique wallpaper, egg tempera and oil paint. Using methods learned from local artists and abroad, her pieces represent New England and the world. You can find her from spring through fall at art fairs around the Boston area. Her artwork is in private collections in Europe, Asia and the United States. She lives in Peabody, MA with her husband Eric and her dog Doonie Doodles. For more info on this work and the gallery visit www.ArtistsCrossingBoston.com.

Artists Crossing Gallery is located at 505 Washington Street (across from Eddie Bower), Boston, MA 02111.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stuffed magazine - on the crafting of Softies!

by Anne-Claire of HibouDesigns

Check out the new issue of Stuffed magazine! You can get your copy online right now!

For those of you who don't know this magazine yet it is "THE" magazine to read if you are looking for information on the crafting of "softies" also called "plush". It is packed with fun and amazing creations from some of the best plush artists around.

Well they did it again... Look at this cool cover! this is another great issue packed with lots of dolls and plushy goodness.

So it comes as no surprise that I am really proud to be part of it and even more so because I got a 3 page feature this time on my "Let Them Eat Cake" owl king and queen of France plush. Check it out :)

So hurry up to get your copy and pass the word around :)


Saturday, January 14, 2012

My 2011 Knitting Resolution Update

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Last January I wrote about my resolution to learn how to knit in 2011. Further more, my resolutions included finishing my project I was learning on, and knit something with alpaca yarn.

In 2011 I did learn to knit. In fact, this beginner is kicking butt! Not only did I finish my learning project quickly, I rocked out another nine projects last year! I did not however knit a single thing with alpaca yarn, my whole reason for wanting to learn in the first place. While I didn't meet that goal, I'm not too worried about it because I was so productive otherwise. Also, Diane has some alpaca yarn stashed away for me and I have a pattern in mind for it, so the time will come.

How did your crafty 2011 resolutions go? Did you make any for 2012?
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