Hello, my name is Kelly Massey and this is my line of handmade wearables, Pretty Penny.
I live in West Hollywood with my husband and fantastic, fun, little girl who is seven. They put up with my piles and piles of fabric and leaning towers of ink jars relatively cheerfully because they are often busy making things too.
Lately, I have been screen printing and sewing scarves and clothing out of bright and soft bamboo and cotton knits.
Mandinka Designs: Our process begins with the Hunt. We love to go hunting in thrift shops for gorgeous suit coats with fabulous linings and labels.
The labels are like little works of art in and of themselves. We “ooh” and aah” loudly while people look at the two strange women flipping through the men’s suit rack. Once we get the coats home we “fillet” them into the various parts- sleeves, collars, pockets, etc.
Then the real fun begins as we collage them into the varying styles of handbags, totes and accessories. Of course, no part of the coat should be wasted, so we make our adorable bugs out of the leftover sleeves.
Are you ready? Today I’m fortunate to be able to announce the newest contributor to Try Handmade: Ciaran Blumenfeld! You may know her as Momfluential or as the creator of Francie Pants, or through Popshopology, but I know her as the new Handmade Baby and Child author. Welcome her and leave a comment to say hi!
“Please Mom, I swear I will walk them every day.”
“They just followed me home.”
“I promise they’ll be no trouble at all.”
I’m a complete sucker when it comes to whimsical stuff like these dogs-for-your-dogs Chihuahua shoes from EmandSprout. They are not technically children’s shoes and the artist states this on her site, which is prudent. There are a lot of small parts on these that might not be safe for babies. But your size 4 wearing tween on the other hand, is a perfect candidate.
When it comes to Twitter, either you “get it”, or you don’t. For those who haven’t joined the flock, Twitter seems like a colossal waste of time. To the uninitiated, the four-year-old micro-blogging site is full of people with nothing better to do talking about what they had for breakfast and other pointless minutia. Most users, however, see it as much more than that. Sure, there are plenty of tweets about “nothing”, but there’s plenty of good information and fun to be had, too; that just depends on who you choose to follow. Most of the people that I follow are using it to network, stay in touch with friends, promote their products (or themselves) and, in some cases, just to be cute, clever or funny. I like to say that I’m there for all of that, but really, let’s be honest…it’s all about the shopping.
In the world of DIY, the “I” stands for just about everything; from making to marketing. Social networking sites like Twitter give makers a cheap (read: free) platform for promoting their products, keeping up with the trends, and connecting directly with their customers. Savvy sellers can list a product in their shop and instantly promote it to their followers and, in some cases, their followers’ followers, too. That’s how I first found out about Jen Mullen’s shop Tiny Art by J Mullin. I was scrolling through tweets one day and came across a “retweet” about a sale on Jen’s fabulous chair collages. Two or three clicks later, and I was the proud owner of “In My Place”. (What can I say…they had me at “sale”.) Since then, I have been a huge fan of Jen’s work, like the piece above, and a loyal follower on Twitter. You can follow her, too: twitter.com/jennifermullin.
Reclaim, reuse, recycle…retweet? Thanks to Twitter, we have a fourth “R” in our vocabulary and Katherine of reiter8 does it all. Her shop is filled with a fun and eco-friendly collection of unique accessories upcycled from reclaimed sailboat sails. Her pillows, like the ones pictured above, are a fabulous way to add a touch of sporty, summery style to your home or cottage. And, if you have sails that you are looking to get rid of (don’t we all?), you can donate them to Katherine and she’ll send you a tote in return! Check out Katherine’s tweets and retweets at: twitter.com/reiter8.
Casey of IKC Designs has a shop full of some of the coolest, upcycled goods I’ve ever come across. Cleverly finding new uses for everything from valve knobs to vintage trophy figures, Casey makes pieces that all share a fresh, uncomplicated aesthetic and a modern appeal. Staying up-to-date with the latest from the IKC Designs shop is as easy as going to twitter.com/ikcdesign and clicking “follow”.
Tracy Melton’s tree ring paintings (above) are each a little slice of awesome. Tracy uses a chainsaw to cut each one from a dead elm tree, then carefully sands, clear-coats, paints and clear-coats again to produce her beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. The paintings are sold in sets of three, but Tracy encourages customers who visit the Focus Line Art shop to buy more than one set to create their own unique assemblage. I, for one, probably wouldn’t need much convincing; like Twitter, I think collecting Tracy’s paintings would quickly become addictive. Follow Tracy into the woods via her Twitter feed: twitter.com/tracymeltonart.
I love to read tweets by artists and artisans who are passionate about their work. Taryn of Talking Squid is no exception. Twitter gives you 140 characters to get your message across, but Taryn manages to create excitement in less than half of that. Of course, when you see her rugs, you see why! At first glance, you’ll want one for your home, but when you find out that each one is made up of strips of super-soft t-shirt fabric, you’ll want to sink your toes into one…stat! Follow Taryn to get the scoop on all of the exciting news (and deals!) from the Talking Squid studios: twitter.com/talkingsquid.
Shopping aside, the thing that I love most about following artisans on Twitter is getting a peek into the “behind the scenes” stuff. In addition to marketing their goods, my favourite tweeters keep it interesting by giving their followers little glimpses into their lives, too. I hope that you’ll get to know this week’s featured sellers by visiting their shops and following them on Twitter. And, while you’re at it, you can follow me, too: twitter.com/zenbecca.
Ok, back to shopping…are you dying to know where to get a handmade Twitter coffee mug, like the ones pictured above and at the top of this article? Look no further! They are available at Mug Revolution and can be customized with your very own Twitter name. How cool is that? For a peek into potter Owen’s world, you can follow the mug-maker himself at (not surprisingly): twitter.com/mugmkr.
Please welcome Amy to Try Handmade! She blogs at Handmade Evolution and she also has an Etsy shop called Field Trip. Amy is our new Design & Style columnist, and I think you’re going to just love her posts.
Here’s a little something to distract you from the less than stellar weather outside your door! Or if you’re in the Pacific Northwest – perhaps the warmer temperatures have you feeling like it’s time to look ahead to updating your wardrobe and decor for spring? It’s a month or so until spring will arrive officially – but there’s no harm in planning ahead!
These brightly colored finds remind me that as practical as my wardrobe and home are, perhaps it’s time to spice it up a bit – and what better way to do it than with primary colors like these.
The marigold yellow print from Tessyla featured at the top of this post sets just the right tone, don’t you think? Spring is all about letting go just a bit and living life more freely outdoors, happily anticipating that summer is just around the corner!
I am particularly impressed with the clothing from ThimbleandAcorn – Eve works to include both recycled and upcycled fabrics into her line. She’s got a wide range of items in her shop with everything from modern takes on classic looks to highly unique items with truly innovative details.
Not only does Upstyle have lots of fun fabric clutches to choose from – she will also create a custom purse for you or your bridal party!
Having grown up in Portland I love finding shops from fellow Oregonians – first drawn to all of the cute headbands in her shop I enjoyed reading that the line was inspired by a spring painting of poppies by Susan Hazard.
It’s going to be hard for me to pick just one piece of jewelry from the Round Rabbit shop – so many beautiful choices!
I’d love to hear what’s on your shopping list for Spring, and the handmade finds you’re planning to buy to freshen things up just a bit! Anything in particular caught your eye? I think I’ll need to set a budget because there are just too many things I’d happily scoop up!