Fluted ceramic little wren flower vase by little wren pottery
This fluted vase was handmade from white Devonshire stoneware clay. Its outwardly curving shape was created by working with my potters wheel, a throwing rib was used to skim the surface of this pot as it was being created to give a smooth finish.
The perfect necklace
This beauty is made from hand forged pieces linked together to make the perfect necklace.
Jasmine, Lilac and Freesia Hand Rolled Soap
This alluring soap is a blend of jasmine oil with just a touch of lilac and freesia to deepen and really bring out the scent of the jasmine. This is an all-natural, detergent free vegan soap made with organic ingredients. details »
April 22nd is Earth Day. For 40-years, activists and non-activists have been using it as a platform to raise environmental awareness. It has evolved over the years into a month-long event, where on any given weekend in April, you can volunteer to help clean up the parks, beaches, forests, any green stretch of earth; or plant new earth.
Here at Try Handmade we have our own resident Going Green guru, but in the spirit of Earth Day, I decided to find out for myself what fabulous things other people do in the spirit of recycling and renewing.
The most popular act (aside from separating recyclables) that anyone can do is to bring your own market bag shopping with you, passing on plastic bags whenever possible. There are so many options to choose from, like this cool, upcycled coffee bag tote from Its Our Earth. Similar to Sea Bags (one of my favorite shops, located in Maine; they create bags from discarded sails), Its Our Earth uses discarded burlap coffee bags to create everyday bags.
If you want something less earthy, but still 100% repurposed, there’s a bag for you, too, like this tote, that uses a vintage army laundry bag, repurposed leather straps, and vintage blue and white cloth.
Some people happily recycle their trash, but aren’t as quick to buy recycled and refurbished products because they think they look used. Some of the most fabulous finds are these exact products. These white baskets from Tuuni are one example.
Some items aren’t what they seem at all, but still exquisite. This stunning chandelier from Metamorphosi is made of recycled plastic.
Crafters are some of the best resources you can find for people who creatively repurpose, recycle, and recreate. I’m repeatedly amazed at the outcome.
When I was in grade school the city held an annual Halloween costume parade at the local park. Adults would walk around and give a one dollar bill to the kids with the best costumes. The first year I remember the parade, I dressed up as a crayon box with a red pointy hat. I must have been pretty convincing because I got a dollar and a pat on the head! Every year after that for as long as the costume fit, I was perfectly content to be a crayon box, fully expecting to get a dollar at the parade. My mom was happy to oblige as it saved her the trouble of making a costume.
This sweet and clever costume from Embroider Me Boutique is sure to get some special recognition. The felt outfit pulls over the child’s head, making it easy to put on and comfortable to wear. It is stuffed with batting for a three dimensional shape and can be customized with your little one’s favorite color icing and sprinkles.
Once I outgrew my crayon box costume, I always wanted to be the characters from my favorite stories and fairy tales. This sweet Little Red Ridinghood costume by Lover Dovers Clothing has some great details that even an adult can appreciate. The red and white gingham dress features a sweet blue bow and matching apron with rows of blue ric rac and sweet floral ribbon. A red hood lined in white ric rac can be purchased separately to put the finishing touch on the costume.
How adorable is this feathered costume by DIP Designs? It can be ordered in white or yellow for a baby chick or pink for a flamingo–how clever! The outfit includes a beak hat, leggings and little orange feet–just precious!
All of these sweet and original costumes are sure to make your little one’s Halloween memorable. Next week, we’ll pick a few Halloween costumes out for the little boys.
**The Little Goblins Folk Art print featured at the top of this post was created by Kims Cottage Art.
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!
Tie dye is classic hippy style, but I don’t actually always like it. I think it works best when you’ve got subtle shades of the same colour happening, rather than as many different bright colours you can throw onto a t-shirt at once. Shades of pink from bright to pale to white looks girly and pretty and can be quite fairy-like. Ocean blue greens look lovely together and remind me of summer holidays and mermaids.
When I was pregnant with my first child, we were kindly given lots of hand-me-down baby clothes, including several baby-grows and vests that were once white, but were now stained and looked a bit grubby. Apart from that, they had plenty of life left in them, so we bought a couple of packets of dylon and set to work making various patterns. Not yet knowing the sex of the baby, we went for purples. We got so many compliments on those baby grows – I wish I had set up a hand-dyed baby grow business there and then. Oh well! Never mind, other people thought of it too and you can now buy some fabulously dyed outfits for babies.
A dark colour and black always looks good too; especially purple or red. This often has a pagan or witchy feel about it and is great on long dresses.
You’ve also got to be careful of the pattern. My preference is when the fabric has been scrunched and dyed for an all-over random effect. Lines across the item of clothing usually look good, but be warned of circles – the technique where you put a marble or something into the material and tie up the area around it so that afterwards you’re left with circles spreading from a central point. For some reason on men’s t-shirts, the point is right in the middle, highlighting even a slightly over-weight stomach. On women’s tops, two circles seem to always highlight the nipples – fine if you’ve got the confidence for this eye-catching look, but not so good when one of the tie-dyed circles is a bit wonky!