Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, all! I leave you with this bit of silly [via]. I'm off to be merry and recharge for 2013. Thank you all for making this year spectacular and for following along here with the adventure. I hope you have a wonderful and festive holiday season with plenty of time spent with family and friends. See you in the new year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Snow Day

Take a walk with me … 
… powder and wind …
… make stripes on the trees … 
Doesn't it just make it all so festive? Hooray for snow days. This the first of the season.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Maine Lobster Float-Rope Mats

You know I'm a sucker for all things water, fish or Maine related, right? Well, earlier this month I found myself in a Maine-themed treasury on Etsy right next to this beauty: the Maine rope mat. I couldn't resist. 

The mats from Susan of Maine Rope Mats are made from recycled float-rope used by lobstermen. The rope was used to tether multiple traps together on the ocean floor but has been banned because it can entangle whales. Maine lobstermen are now required to replace float-rope with sink-rope. This has left millions of pounds of unused float rope. Susan works with the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation (and makes a donation for every mat sold) to make a dent in the stockpile with these beautifully designed mats. Her color sense is wonderful and they are incredibly sturdy. I love good design for a good cause. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


It's official: I've hit the craftermath. After a busy season of craft shows and making, I'm ready to dive into the disaster that is our home.

I'm still filling orders and dealing with little bits of business, but at a much less harried pace. There are bits of paper—stacked mail, punched holes, cut corners, trimmed edges—everywhere. Not to mention the dust. I'm also planning a few afternoon fires with book in hand. It does feel a bit like a treat that there is still a little over two weeks left in the year. Plenty of time to clean up, get festive and plan for the new year. Are you with me?!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

But wait … there's more!

While I'm in recovery mode from a full and fabulous holiday craft show season (whew!), the festivities carry on. There is still time to check out some great local (and not-so-local) events and shopping venues. 

Ornamentacular 2012 at Naka in Ferndale

For the second year, Naka will have a festive holiday tree trimmed with ornaments from over a dozen local crafters and artists. I dropped off twelve of my recycled misprint ornaments to be included. $1 from every ornament sale will benefit the Gleaner's Community Food Bank.

212 Arts Center Holiday Art Sale in Saline

You can also find more Sloe Gin Fizz items along with work of a host of local artists and crafters at the 212 Arts Center Holiday Art Sale now through Saturday, December 15.

I also have work included in the BBAC Holiday Shop which runs through Sunday, December 16.

Indie Craft Experience Holiday Pop-Up Shop
at Criminal Records in Atlanta, GA

AND … if you happen to be in Atlanta, the Indie Craft Experience Holiday Pop-Up Shop at Criminal Records runs through December 30! Monday-Saturday - 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. * Sunday - 12 noon to 7 p.m. I would love to see this in action in person, so if you go — please report back!!! 

That's it for now. I'll be getting back to a regular blogging schedule shortly, including more updates of makers, goodies and finds I've found along the craft show trail this fall and winter. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Show time: DIYpsi

DIYpsi is this weekend! Another two-day show, Saturday 11-7 and Sunday 12-6 at the Corner Brewery in Ypsi. This is my last show of the season and it promises to be a great one: 36 vendors, plenty of beer and tasty food from the Lunch Room. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Detroit Urban Craft Fair 2012

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the Masonic Temple this weekend for the Detroit Urban Craft Fair. It was a great success and so much fun. The event draws such a vibrant crowd of shoppers and vendors and really has a party atmosphere. It was so great to visit and catch up — oh, and sell some stuff.

The five powerhouse creative women of Handmade Detroit are the reason this event is such a blast year after year. And as some of you may know, Stephanie Tardy announced that she is leaving the group. So sad. As a going away gift for Stephanie, they asked me to do this little drawing. Best of luck to the Phantom Limb in the next chapter of her crafty endeavors! … and then there were four.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Support local crafty business: Postbound

I wrote last week about Postbound, a local start-up in Ann Arbor running a Kickstarter campaign to fund their handmade friend-sourced book business. Friends and family submit letters, thoughts and photos that get turned into a beautiful handcrafted "thoughtbook." There's just a little time left on their campaign and they have just over $1,000 to go. Consider supporting this crafty DIY business—even just $10 can make a big difference. For $35, you'll be able to have a book made in time for the holidays. Thank you!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Logo: Chicalookate

I just finished this logo for my friend Kate, aka chicalookate. Kate is an avid photographer with a great sense of humor. She makes notebooks and notepads from recycled materials, sells prints of her photos … and scours the earth for the funniest quotes around. She prints these in typewriter style on magnets, mirrors and more. Hence the typewriter.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Show time: Detroit Urban Craft Fair

This weekend! DUCF! I'll be among the over 100 vendors there! You should come! Bring a friend! Get your holiday shopping on! Saturday and Sunday! WOW!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Turkey of Christmas Past

In 1995 I started what would become an annual tradition: I sent my family and friends a simple black and white postcard with a drawing for the holidays. I was not long out of college, with a low-paying internship and it was an inexpensive way to send out my greetings for the year. I would have them printed on card stock at the local print shop around the corner from my office. Several years in a row they did the job for free because it was such a small quantity as compared to their industrial-sized print jobs. (Can you imagine that at Kinko's?!?)

The postcard tradition lasted until I started Sloe Gin Fizz in 2008 and I started sending "real" cards — with an envelope, full letter postage and everything. That's thirteen years of postcards … except for 2003. I missed that year and had so much guilt about it (my family is very big on traditions) that I sent this Turkey of Christmas Past just in time for the following Thanksgiving to make up for the missing greeting. I couldn't let a year pass! I looked through all the old postcards recently and it has me thinking maybe I should rekindle the tradition.

In honor of the Turkey of Christmas Past and in the holiday spirit, I'm offering my blog readers a special 15% discount throughout my Etsy shop now through Monday, November 26. Simply use the code: TURKEYLURKEY.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Don't be crewel, Anthropologie

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw this photo on the Anthropologie web site last night. It's an incredible hand-stitched pillow covered in funky colorful birds of all shapes and sizes and backed in luscious orange. Super cute, right? Well, let me show you why I was shocked … have a look at this photo from our old apartment:

Notice anything familiar in the upper left corner? How about a closer look:

Shocker, right? My mom stitched this crewel work piece in the 1970s and it hung in our room as kids. It's one of my most treasured possessions and now here it is at Anthropologie. The web site says it is a one-of-a-kind creation by the fair trade artisans of August Morgan. This apparently is the company of Kate Hersch who transforms vintage needlework into one-of-a-kind pillows and furniture. So is there really only one? Where did she find it? I know my mom's was from a kit, but it's still amazing to see it brought back in this new form.

Update: Kate of August Morgan saw this post and contacted me (she was unable to comment here). She clarified that the pillow is, in fact, one of a kind. She found a vintage kit and had just that one stitched by a fair trade organization in India and then hand-sewn into a pillow in Austin, Texas. Kudos, Kate! 

The crewel birds were the inspiration for my popular Three Masked Birds design.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Business Tuesday: An Everlasting Meal

An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler seems a most appropriate thing to talk about right before a holiday so focused on the meal. This is the only book in recent memory that I checked out of the library, read cover to cover and then immediately purchased for myself. It is a wonderful meditation on cooking, eating and living well.

"Cooking with Economy and Grace" is the subtitle and it describes this book fully. There are eloquently written passages spelling out the wisdom of stretching the ends of one meal into the beginnings of the next and learning to truly appreciate the value of cooking.

It is about the magic of transforming the most humble of ingredients into a full and satisfying meal: Soaking a few slices of red onion in some wine vinegar with a pinch of salt transforms fresh ricotta on toast into a luscious sandwich. Add a few herbs and a drizzle of olive oil and it's heavenly. And don't throw away those onion skins or herb stems, here's what to do with them …

This is everyday cooking at its finest presented with intelligence and charm. And yet there is so much more in this book … I can't say enough about it. Read it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Sarah Elizabeth Shop

I have to tell you that I've been snatching up lots of goodies this fall during my travels and at craft shows. I'm feeling the nesting urge and what better things to add to our home than those made by the hand of someone I've met and visited with. I have many to show you, but thought I would start with this gorgeous block printed lobster hanging.

It was printed by artist Julia Garrison at The Sarah Elizabeth Shop in Rockport, Massachusetts. I visited with Julia at the shop where they have been producing original block printed fabric and other items on an historic Acorn Press in Rockport since 1974. 

The history of the shop and its designs dates back even further to the late 1930s. The shop's namesake, Sarah Elizabeth Holloran was a member of "The Folly Cove Designers," a collective of designers that emerged from a design class taught by non other than Virginia Lee Burton. She is one of my favorite illustrators and storytellers of all time. You may know her from some of my favorite children's books: The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. 

Both of the pieces I bought were designed by the  vivacious apprentice designer Isabel Natti who worked alongside Sarah Elizabeth until Sarah Elizabeth's death in 2009. Isabel continued designing and printing her own work as well as Sarah Elizabeth's until her own death in 2011. Now Julia, a local painter and fabric artist, continues the tradition of offering original designed block printed fabric of her own as well as of the women who inspired her and taught her how to print. 

If you are ever in the area, I encourage you to check out this charming shop. I wanted to buy up everything in sight. In the meantime, you can also check out the Sarah Elizabeth shop on Etsy

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Show time: Ridge Fine Art & Handmade Wares Show

This Saturday I will be in Ferndale for the Ridge Fine Art & Handmade Ware Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is a wonderful show organized for many years by Siouxsan Miller and brings a great mix of vendors. Come on down and get a jump on your holiday shopping! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Business Tuesday: Postbound

Let's get down to business! Book Business Tuesday, that is. This week I have a project I've been bursting to tell you about while I waited for it to go live.

There is a new company launching in Ann Arbor called Postbound that creates custom handmade, hand-bound, hand-crafted books (by hand!) filled with personalized messages, letters and thoughts for that special someone. You simply invite other friends, family, whomever to contribute their messages to the book and Postbound puts it altogether in no time.

I worked with Jeff Brun and his team at Postbound to put together the above video to explain the process. This is such a unique gift idea — I love it! You can read more about Postbound over on their Kickstarter campaign page. By supporting their launch, you have the opportunity to have a book made in time for the holidays. I hope you'll check it out!    

Friday, November 09, 2012

Weasel Friday

I'm wrapping up this week on the blog with young Mr. Weasel. He's a multi-tasker at heart, whipping down the street with his book-laden skateboard while slurping down an ice cream cone. My friend Amanda taught a silkscreening workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library this fall and asked if I could draw up a fun image for the workshop. This is what she got. In exchange, I got this awesome printed tea towel — AND a fun tote bag with young weasel. Thanks so much, crafty lady! See? you should be watching your AADL calendar more.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Craft Shows and Country Living

Have you seen this month's Country Living magazine? 

 It has a nice little article about visiting indie craft shows this holiday season.

The article features write-ups of seven shows around the country, including Renegade Craft Fair, Art vs. Craft, Crafty Wonderland, No Coast Craft-o-rama, The Big Crafty, Craftland and Crafty Supermarket.

I was contacted by one of the editors at Country Living a few months back about some photos from various craft shows they saw right here on this blog. And so … that little photo above of the gorgeous necklaces from Off the Beaten Path at Crafty Supermarket in Cincinnati was taken by me. Shazam! This makes me very happy.

Run out and pick up an issue of Country Living on newsstands or your favorite bookstore to see it for yourself!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Holiday cards

I know it may seem early—it being Election Day and all—but the other holidays will be here before you know it. Stock up on cards now so you have plenty of time to write out thoughtful notes to your loved ones far and near. Now available in the shop: Holiday Geese and Holiday Sledding.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Black sheep in the family …

Happy Monday morning, everyone. This weekend was a whirl. Thanks to everyone who came out to Craft Circus on Saturday. It was a blast! I got to draw this sheep fella recently as a tattoo design. I was going to wait to show you until it was on actual skin, but I just help myself … Isn't he bold!?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Pez Visitor Center

As promised, I'm back with more photos from my stop at the Pez Factory Visitor Center in Orange, CT. They opened the center about a year ago, though the factory has been in that location just off of I-95 for decades. The center has an impressive collection showcasing the largest public display of Pez memorabilia in the world, including the world's largest Pez dispenser, views onto the Pez production line, cases of Pez and Pez dispensers embedded in the floor, amusing vintage Pez advertisements and displays. So much fun and color! Have a look around …