Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Roots of Hip Hop

Thought I would throw in a different topic today- Hip-Hop. Why not? At my day job, I am the administrative element and a creative element to a partnership of 2 seemingly disparate musical genres- Old-Time music and Hip- Hop. You know Old-Time music: got some banjo, maybe a fiddle and singer, throw in some wonderful and repetitive melodies and lyrics (for dancing!!) and that is a very basic overview of Old-Time. Well, Hip-Hop has some roots in there, let me tell you!

One day my friend I came up with the Roots of Hip Hop idea as a way to really get to where kids are RIGHT NOW. It is the only way to really teach anything- meet people where they really are.
As a fiber/textile artist, I will be experimenting with a graffiti art component that I know will overlap my own work. I can feel the thrill of new creativity coming!

So, meet the artists: Akil Esoon keyboardist of Formula 412 and Emily Pinkerton by going their myspace pages and websites and keep checking back for news on our exciting progress!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Marbles, Marbles, Marbles

Were you like me when you were a kid and collected EVERYTHING shiny, interesting, that made good sound when it hit something else?

A short list of my collections is:

antique photographs
those poodle sculptures that supposedly predicted the weather by changing colors
old bottles (especially those dug up from icky old trash dumps from torn down houses)
and marbles.

Marbles are the best! They come in a multitude of colors, sound GREAT when they smash into each other, have existed for a long time, you can play games with them. I mean, whoa! Cool, stuff.

Anyway, as I become less of a pack rat and more of a person who makes things out of other things conscientiously, I decided to make jewelry out of my collection of marbles. Earrings, Necklaces, bracelets coming soon... Check out some of the collection at

Featured Etsy Treasury!

Whoo hoo! I made it into this lovely treasury! Check out the great blues and black and white photographs- really quite lovely.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Treasury Love!

I got an Etsy Treasury! I tried to find work that was unusual either with its technique, design, or materials. Check it out!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fabric Scrap Insulation?

My love and I are trying to buy a new home. In our price range we can get a nice fixer upper, or some land with nothing on it. After months of looking outside of the city, we realize we need a middle step home- some place in a safer neighborhood that has better insulation so we can be warm in winter (oh, the idea of that make me so happy!). A home that gives us more of what we need and puts us in a better position to find our dream home in the country.

Anyway, my point is that when I mentioned to my boyfriend that I am launching my 100% USED campaign, he thought that maybe my fabric scraps could be used as wall insulation! I have been doing some research and found this simple, but to the point article on eco-friendly insulation. Cotton fiber is on the list, though it is treated by borate to be mold resistant/insect resistant.

Hmmm....Seems like an interesting direction to go with some of my fabrics! Let me know if you have any resources about eco-friendly construction products (that aren't crazy expensive), or even if you know of somebody who is looking at selling or swapping their house in the country, or in Pittsburgh...Why not ask??

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A little info about recycling

I remember recycling as a kid. One kind of plastic, glass and newspapers. That's it. Our small town made a little money by selling off the recycling they collected, taxes weren't raised as quickly and resources were not burned so fast. Now, there are many kinds of plastic to recycle, paperboard (thank goodness!), magazines and all the old staples. I would think we, as Americans and citizens of the worlds, could feel good about the impressive number of items we can recycle AND DO.

However, and there is always a however in this section of American lives, there is a down side. Read this well put together article in the Pittsburgh City Paper. Did you know that most of our recycled goods get shipped using diesel guzzling ships and planes to other countries? umm...Another part to the same problem right there. So, I don't butcher the article by trying to explain it in my words, read the article if you have a minute. It will probably convince you, as it did me, that the best solution is to use less and/or re-use what you already have and support others who do the same.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Xmittens- 100% Used Series

When I opened my latest online shop , I figured it would be a good place to showcase my Xmittens line of fingerless gloves and accessories, but then, I brainstormed a little further and realized I also needed a venue for my recycled/upcycled goodies and a place to really go all out with my personal Manifesto of recycled, reduce, reuse and responsible living. SO, I decided to launch the 100% USED campaign.

The 100% USED campaign is a documentation of my efforts to use, or recycle 100% of ALL materials that come into my studio. This includes, fabric, little pieces of thread, receipts, packaging, Everything!

So far the hardest items to use have been the little itty bitty piece of fabric that gets cut off by my serger when I create clothing. I mean, less than 1/2" of fabric???

My solution is Fabric and Paper Collage Pockets! The photos are some examples. These 4"x 3" pockets of goodness are each a part of the Pocket Series. Give a home to your library card! Need a place for those secret words you cut out of magazines? Need a gift tag? Need a secret place for money in your purse?

There are so many ways to use these! I am going to organize my little stashes of cool fabric inside them and pin them to my bulletin board, plus stuff them full of business cards and use them to enhance my packaging for neat-o items.

Leave a comment about how YOU would use these!

Monday, May 12, 2008


Thanks to everyone who entered the Recycled Scarf Contest!

The winner is...

Jennifer M. in Auburn , Indiana!

Congratulations! I will create a recycled fabric scarf just for you!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ok, New Blog Contest!

I really want to give stuff away, apparently, so, NEW BLOG contest!

Want to know what you are entering to win?

A Recycled Fabric Scarf in your choice of warm, cool, or combination of colors!
See those pictures up there? Those are some examples of the kind of scarf- each is one of a kind and made with scraps of fabric left over from other projects. Silk, cottons, linen, patterns and plain, who know what fabric will be included? If you win, you can decide which color scheme you would like!

Hot to enter:

Leave a comment on this blog from May 7- May 9, 2008 and make sure to leave your email address, so I can get a hold of you.

Two ways to enter! Join my email list and automatically get a 10% off coupon good in any of my online shops AND get entered into the blog contest.

I will randomly draw a name from all eligible entries Saturday, May 10, 2008 and will announce the winner on this blog!

Good Luck!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Day Job

As with most creative types, I have to have a day job. However, unlike most creative people I know, I actually enjoy mine. Currently, I am the School, Outreach and Office Manager (oh, non-profits and the multi-level job descriptions) for Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society. Established over 30 years, ago Calliope promotes and enhances folk music by providing opportunities for local, national and international folk musicians to perform. The definition of folk music spans the genres of Irish traditional, Appalachian bluegrass, Old-Time and even Hip-Hop.

Ok, that is the spiel- what I really want to say is that this here day job gig helps me to expand and challenge other creative parts of myself. I am learning how to play the guitar, I am facing my fear of performing and microphones (slowly, baby steps) and I am learning how to excel as an arts administrator which really only helps me as an arts business owner.

If you are in the Pittsburgh, PA area on Thursday- check out the Calliope Student Showcase at the Shadow Lounge near Whole Foods. Many of our most recent classes and several Calliope teachers are performing. I know I am going to dance!

Monday, May 5, 2008

My crazy cat!


SO, here she is. Crazy, a bit senile and totally awesome... Tasha Mao is my friend.

Today, she decided she was oh-so-needy and, as I got dressed, would look pitiful and reach out her one paw and try to get me to pet her. Sometimes, I have to remind her that I go to work, so that I can afford to feed her, but it does no good.

Anyway, I was reminded this morning, too, about how Tasha Mao contributes to my fiber art. She left me a big 'ol clump of her fur the other day that I can add to my collection of her other fur that I use sometimes in my non-wearable art projects. Some day I hope to make a giant thread art installation made entirely out of spun fur! For some, this might be a little gross, but I get a little giddy just thinking about it!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dyebaths Dyebaths Dyebaths

Sometimes, I feel like an alchemist with my dye chemicals, hardcore respirator and colorful dyebaths! I made 14!! the other day, all different colors, each with it's own dowel rod stirrer that I would twist the fabric around with, making sure each received an equal amount of color...I stand there like an old-school witch, wondering what will happen next...

I love to work in my dyeing studio to create fabulous colors, adding fabric as I go...Most of the time, I decide what colors to make as I go "what am I in the mood for?" and hope that my customers will feel it, too.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spring in two places


NY then Pittsburgh

I have basically lived in two different areas of the country- around the Lake Erie area of western NY (not upstate, never upstate NY) and Pittsburgh, PA. Some may think that these 2 places are too close in geography to be much different, but there is actually quite a bit of difference.
Recently, I traveled around my 2 homes, on the same day, and took are the results of Spring in 2 places. Pittsburgh is south enough to have tons of flowering trees in bloom and green green green backyards! Western NY had little hidden pockets of wild flowers, but was still on the edge of winter. Inspiring colors, shapes and experiences in both!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Recent Feature


So, I started offering custom recycled and/or revamped clothing and my very first taker on this was a great gal who featured me on her blog! Above is a great picture of her wearing her unique made-for-her-ReVamped Shirt and the link to her blog as well!

I really enjoyed the collaborative spirit that goes into custom orders. You have ideas, I have ideas, where do they meet? Fun Stuff!

Check out the Introductory Prices for Recycled/Revamped clothing at my Etsy shop: