Stephanie Weber of Pickle Things has lived in Portland for the past five years. In her own words, ‘I love it here. Of all of the places that I have lived, I feel the most at home here. I like that it is so beautiful, has a great neighborhood/community feel, progressive and eco conscience and has fabulous restaurants.’ She lives with a dog, birds, fish and soon a cat and roommates who actually own all the animals. A self-described independent, perfectionist who cannot sit still, Stephanie loves fabric (specifically vintage patterns), cool glass jars, 70s embroidered wall hangings, screwball comedies from the 30s-40s, macaroni and cheese, vegetable gardens and rain. Don’t miss Stephanie’s shop and her blog.
Patricia Woodhouse is the owner of Bead Obsessions, Old Town Alexandria’s first bead shop. She’s also been a designer and needlework artist for more than fifteen years. Although she has been making things her whole life, her journey towards bead obsession began in the early ’90s, when she took a class on knitting with beads.
She fell in love with the technique, and quickly became interested in all types of needlework and embroidery, but especially any that involved beading. She formed a beading group with women she met in class, and together they experimented with design, and shared techniques, stitches, and sources for the best materials.
Since learning how to weave and embroider with beads, Patricia has favored extremely detailed work featuring hundreds of seed beads. She compares seed beads in bead work to pixels in a photograph: the more per inch, the more vibrant and interesting the final image.
Patricia has never been interested in selling her work; embroidery and beading and all her needlework was only ever a hobby, but one she adored. However, in 2005 she became weary of working in an office, and frustrated with the frequent buyouts and uncertainty that went along with the corporate world. At the time, there was no other bead shop in Alexandria, Virginia, and Patricia saw her opportunity.
Bead Obsessions was opened in 2005, with the goal of catering to beaders like Patricia: artists who loved to focus on the details, and wanted to create complex, decorative arts pieces in addition to wearable jewelry and accessories.
In addition to a wide variety of seed beads, Patricia’s store stocks glass, lampwork, and semiprecious beads, craft and precious metal wire, plus all the tools, notions and books and magazines needed to create art with beads.
Bead Obsessions is also all about getting others obsessed with beads, and therefore there is a class going on nearly every day! Patricia teaches many of the classes herself, but also recruits locally and nationally famous bead artists to teach classes as well. The day I visited, bead artist Amy Katz was leading a small group in making a bracelet. The bracelet, an original design of Amy’s, features glass pearls and seemingly millions of seed beads. The technique uses a peyote stitch to create bezels around the pearls, and is incredibly labor-intensive, but produces incredibly gorgeous results.
The extensive class schedule includes sessions for all levels of beaders, and does not focus only on embroidery and needlework. You’ll also find classes on making chain maille, knotting and stringing beads, metal work, wire work, and wire crochet.
Bead Obsessions is located in Alexandria, Virginia at 619 South Washington Street, and is open six days a week.
Are you ready for a fiesta? I know I am! Cinco de Mayo (if your Spanish is rusty, that means the Fifth of May) is a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican army’s defeat of the French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. So, now that you know what you’re celebrating, let’s get to the handmade stuff!
What is Cinco de Mayo without some good Mexican food? Kitchen Stories has an easy solution for you! Not only will their Mexican Spice mix make your enchiladas, tacos, and fajitas easier, but the cute graphic tin will look great in your kitchen!
Now your food is looking good, so it’s time to make sure you look good too! I love this Fiesta Brooch from Frank Creations. What a colorful way to show your Cinco de Mayo spirit!
From a Mexican feast to Mexican elements for your home, this cool handmade mosaic shrine by Blue Terracotta was inspired by funerary temples in Mexico. It would look exceptionally beautiful in an entry way or living room.
Another way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is by supporting Mexican artists. I found two wonderful illustrators whose fabulous work will help to make any room feel more cheery. First up is Geninne’s Art Store. This wonderful print of a puppy has a cool collage feel.
Next is Rosie Music whose shop is filled with fanciful watercolor illustrations. This example of her work, from her umbrellas series, is just the right thing for that empty bit of wall that you have.
Another piece that was inspired by Mexico is this amazing photograph from Jen Murray Photography. The vibrant colors could liven up even the darkest space.
Last but not least is my favorite item of this week’s batch, an eco-friendly Frida Kahlo softie created by Sew Sew Suck Ur Toe. What a fabulous way to bring Frida Kahlo, and the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, into your home!
I hope that you all have a fabulous Cinco de Mayo fiesta! Join me next week when we send some not so subtle hints to spouses and kids everywhere as we spotlight some of the best handmade Mother’s Day gifts!
Delicate flowers may wish to avert their eyes, but the rest of you must bravely soldier on and see the great work in daspetey’s shop.
About the Zombie series: my obsession with the walking dead seems limitless. i have written songs, animated short stories, and now made paintings and block prints of them. maybe when the zombie apocalypse happens, i will be spared by the discerning undead, and made custodian of their legacy. at the very least, i can beat the zombies back with canvases bearing their likeness. this is a 6″x6″ hand-pulled block print on textured paper. it is not a real zombie. it cannot harm you.
Words to live by. Check it out.
Satanica Batcakes has lived in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles since 1995 and loves it. She says, ‘I wouldn’t live anywhere else in this city. We have trees and parks!’ She has a 17 year old son, Jordan, and two cats named Pixie and Battle Cat. Satanica describes herself as ridiculous, hilarious, imaginative, nurturing, fearless, polarizing and flexible. Some of her favorite things are the circus, vintage costumery, hanging out with clowns and making puppets. Without a doubt, Satanica is among the most unique crafters out there. You can find her shop here. You can also find Batcakes products at MediaNoche in Los Angeles and Fedora Primo in Santa Monica. [Read more…]