Fascination Chainmail Earrings
Bright, shiny chainmaille earrings with a most definite 80s feel. Best worn with moussed hair and neon leggings. You’ll look so totally bodacious!
Brass and Sterling Silver Spinner Ring
This 13mm (1/2″) wide spinner ring is made from textured brass sheet with 2 patterned sterling silver rings spinning freely around the inner ring.
NY Black & White Snickerdoodle
Nurture, condition and brighten your skin with this decadent soap, infused with the aromatic notes of warm vanilla sugar, sweet butter and cinnamon. This soap is a unique and lovely combination of my two favorite cookies; the NY black and white and snickerdoodles! Just like the cookies, this soap… details »
I have always had a special affinity for owls. One of the living room walls in my childhood home was home to my mother’s extensive collection and it was literally covered with images of all sizes and types of the beautiful birds; from simple pen-and-ink drawings to beautiful oil paintings. I could sit and stare at them for hours and I’m sure my wide-eyed stillness mirrored the very pictures that I was so fascinated by. It was years, however, before I saw a real, live owl in the wild and, even then, it was just a glimpse. I have seen only a handful since then, but that initial thrill still hasn’t worn off.
My favourite species of owl has always been the fittingly-named Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa). Bold and beautiful, the Great Grey Owl was made the official bird of my home province, Manitoba, in 1987. Said to be the largest species of owl in North America, the Great Grey Owl boasts a wingspan of up to 5 feet; however, even for such a large bird, sightings are rare. Standing at a mere 3” tall, this needle felted depiction of Strix nebulosa (above) makes up in cuteness what it lacks in stature. The tiny creature was handmade by Melanie Anne Green and is a member of the fabulous flock found at The Felt Menagerie. Melanie Ann is also the artist who created the lovely owl print at the top of this article. Her illustrations and prints can be found in her other shop, Ink Me Up.
Although they have been depicted in art for thousands of years, owls have recently moved up the ranks of pop-culture, thanks in part to the young Mr H. Potter and his schoolmates. Easy to identify by his pure white colouring*, Harry’s own owl, Hedwig, is a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). Living up to their name, Snowy Owls are well-suited for life north of the 60th parallel, with their thick plumage and heavily-feathered feet. Should you find yourself in a northern clime, a good pair of woollen mittens like these ones from For My Darling (pictured above) will keep you toasty-warm. Upcycled from a pre-loved sweater, they also feature reinforced leather palms; perfect for gripping both steering wheels and flying brooms! (Be sure to check out For My Darling’s shop for adorable upcycled owl toys, as well.)
I am sad to say that my mother has long given up “her owls”. Once people found out that she collected them, she was inundated with owl trinkets and tzotchkes from well-meaning friends and family. Rather than allow her carefully curated collection to be sullied by dollar-store “treasures”, she packed up her art and replaced it with a very large picture of an empty branch; a rather symbolic move, now that I think about it. I would love to get her back into it, though, but on a much smaller scale. I know that she would love this beautiful 8×10” watercolour by Italian artist DIMDi, pictured above. I think this painting perfectly captures the sweet expression of the Barn Owl (Tyto alba), which are recognizable by their heart-shapes faces and lack of “ear tufts”.
*While the male Snowy owls are as white as the driven snow, the females’ feathers have dark markings. Now you know!
When I am looking for pre-loved clothing to upcycle, I almost always turn to menswear. Not only are the lines simple and the cuts generous, I flat-out love working with the fabrics. Their classic patterns and textures and the inherent durability of the fibres make them perfectly suited (pun intended) to restyling. Other than maybe having a dated silhouette and a few worn spots, most pieces that I come across still have a lot of life left in them. With a little imagination and skill, jackets and trousers can be deconstructed and deftly transformed into all sorts of dapper garments and accessories, like the fabulous belt by God’swear, pictured above. Upcycled from a men’s suit jacket, the one-of-a-kind belt features a handy side welt pocket and can be custom-fitted to your measurements. This week, as a special bonus, Molly of God’swear is offering 15% off to Try Handmade readers. Be sure to mention “Going Green” in the message-to-seller at time of purchase.
Fall is unquestionably the season for accessorizing. As soon as the crisp bite of autumn suddenly appears in the air, my first impulse is to grab a warm scarf to ward-off the chill. This one by Scrap Sister Soul Sista (pictured above) combines cozy, dove grey fleece with upcycled 100% wool suiting in a variety of plaids and solids, perfect for a sista or a mista.
Fall is also sweater season and if you’re like me, your wardrobe is stocked with a few good, but basic (read: boring) turtlenecks. I am always looking to dress them up a bit, though, and I think these cuffs by Stacy Leigh Atelier (above) would do just the trick. Cleverly made from a carefully chosen collection of recycled wool and cotton materials, the cuffs can be worn with their ruffles either towards the hand or at the wrist, whichever suits you best.
It’s perhaps a little ironic that suits, which seem to be designed to make their wearers blend into the crowd, are so often used to create stand-out, unique accessories. The natty handbags from Australia’s greenolive design are made from the finest quality pure wool jackets and are designed with the original details and design elements in mind. Making use of the entire garment, designers Martine & Drew give as much thought to the inside of the bag as they do the outside; adjustable straps allow you to wear the bag over the shoulder or across the body.
Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials
Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about myself; just ask my fella. He knows firsthand that it’s one of my favourite topics of conversation. When it comes to this column, though, I prefer to shine the spotlight away from myself and towards the dozens and dozens of talented artisans and crafters that I come across on the web and in person. Save for the one upcycled pillow of my own that I managed to sneak into a piece, in the 11 months of writing my weekly “Going Green” articles I have pretty much resisted the urge to toot my own horn…until now. I have recently joined a local crafters cooperative and with the recent opening of our brick and mortar shop, I am absolutely bursting to tell you all about it.
Taking over a former art gallery space in Winnipeg’s funky South Osborne neighbourhood, the Mozy Rue ECO Collective opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, June 13th. The collective itself is made up of several members of Winnipeg’s art and craft community, who met through local craft shows and Etsy street-team events. The collection of handmade goods on the shelves will be constantly changing and evolving (much like the people who make them), which will give shoppers a completely new shopping experience with every visit. Organized into little “boutiques” within the bright, open space, customers can browse for everything from jewelry to furniture and, believe me, everything in between. The only commonality (besides their inherent coolness, of course) is that all items are handmade and “eco-friendly” in some way, either created from new, natural, sustainable materials, or upcycled/recycled/repurposed from discarded items. This is just a small sampling of the many members and consigners at the shop, but it should give you a taste of what we’re all about.
The shop takes its name from Jody, aka Mozy Rue, the visionary ECO-crafter who brought us all together and has been working tirelessly to make the shop a reality. In addition to being the driving force (and muscle) behind the venture, she is an talented artisan as well. Visitors to the Mozy Rue ECO Collective shop will be both surprised and impressed by Jody’s eclectic collection; her line of upcycled goods runs the gamut from boots made from men’s suits and repurposed leather (pictured above) to pendants cut from bottles, which are also available in Jody’s online shop.
Regular readers of this column will recognize EmmsgEMs from previous mentions, as well as a recent full-length interview . In that feature, I introduced Emily’s new line of eco-friendly jewelry, which makes use of natural and sustainable materials. When I found out that Emily had signed on as a member of the collective, I was thrilled…but a little worried. It’s definitely going to take a lot of willpower for me to work my shifts in the shop with lovely things like the ones in the EmmsgEMs display case tempting me. I know I will be unable to resist her recycled glass earrings, like the ones pictured above. Visit the EmmsgEMs shop to see what I mean…and, really, don’t even bother trying to “just browse”.
When you move into a house, you hope for good neighbours. Well, the same goes when you set-up shop in a new place. My own hopes for “good neighbours” at the ECO Collective store were more than exceeded when I saw the display right beside mine. It is a rare that I am speechless (again, just ask my fella), but that’s exactly what happened when I saw dconstruct’s beautiful (and beautifully presented) line. Working in feather-light concrete and 40% recycled resin, the award-winning team behind dconstruct create jewelry pieces that are simple, stunning and, well…simply stunning. I absolutely love the resin cuffs with embedded natural materials and concrete pieces, pictured above.
Needless to say, I am thrilled to be in such great company and part of what is promising to be a very exciting (ad)venture. As for my own little “shop-within-a-shop”, I have filled my space with all sorts of upcycled goodies, like my signature Domino Pins (below), collage mirrors and upcycled t-shirt pillows. I have already begun expanding my line, though, and I am sure that being surrounded by so many talented and like-minded women and men is going to be a fantastic inspiration for me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds…
The Mozy Rue ECO Collective is open for business at 531 Osborne Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba. If you can’t make it out to say “hi” in person, please visit our online shops, or visit our blog for more info.