Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause
“It started with a pillowcase dress…and grew into a worldwide movement: crafters using their passion to help those in need. The Craft Hope blog-which organizes crafters to make handmade items for charities-has attracted followers around the world. This book, written by the site’s founder and featuring crafting’s hottest start, celebrates the cause and encourages others to join in.
Each project is matched with a specific charity, with alternative suggestions for local places to contribute the item. The projects-all with beautiful photographs, step-by-step instructions, and templates-include: cheerful quilts for hospitalized children, soft dolls for Nicaraguan orphans, tug toys for animal shelters, knit gloves for homeless shelters, a cloth backpack for schoolchildren in Africa, a stylish purse for women moving out of abusive relationships, and knit scarves for fostercare teens heading off to college. Contributors range from fabric designers Amy Butler and Heather Bailey to popular authors and bloggers such as Amanda Soule (www.soulemama.com, Handmade Home), Karri Meng (French General), Amy Ray (Doodle Stitching), Celine Dupuy (Simple Sewing with a French Twist), Vickie Howell (Craft Corps), Cathie Filian (Creative Juice), Susan Wasinger (Eco Crafts), and Betsy Greer (Knitting for Good).
In addition, there are plenty of helpful tips on how to give locally and globally, how to give thoughtfully and appropriately, and how to empower those you are helping.” → more info
I love the colors in these hand-cast resin bracelets.
Resign: Hello, and welcome to my little world of resin. I’m an Aussie currently living in the US, with my husband and 2 children. I have always loved the sensuality and imperfection of hand cast resin, but upon moving to the States, I was unable to find anything like the pieces I desired. So, with time on my hands, I decided to make them myself. After much research, experimentation and encouragement from family and friends, here I am, sharing my passion with you.
I’ll admit it – I have really been slacking on my workouts lately. My running log has more blank pages than I care to mention and I can’t remember the last time I saluted the sun. With the new year, though, comes a fresh start and a chance to get back on-track. Step one of my recommitment to fitness took place this morning when I signed on the dotted line, smiled for my ID photo and joined a wellness-center. After perusing their catalogue of classes and workshops, I realized just how much I miss taking Yoga and the balance that it brought to my body and mind.
If you have ever taken a Yoga class, you are most likely familiar with the salutation “Namaste”. A composite of two Sanskrit words (Nama = “bend/bow” and Te = “you”), it is commonly spoken at the end of class as a gesture of respect and honor. With the two hands pressed together and held near the heart, teacher and student gently bow to one another and say “Namaste”. When I came across this gorgeous hand-knit shrug (pictured above), I knew by it’s name, Namaste, that there was a Yoga-fanatic responsible for its creation. Manuela of Lunamuse Fibers is not only a talented fiber-artist, but also a passionate Yoga instructor and regular blogger on yogajournal.com. Check out the Lunamuse Fibers shop to see more of Manuela’s gorgeous hand-spun yarns and knits and be sure to visit her Yoga website to learn more about her teaching of the ancient practice.
Thinking back on the classes that I have taken in the past, made me reflect on the ways that practicing Yoga helped me work through some challenging times. One symbol of overcoming struggles in life and achieving enlightenment is the Lotus flower. Starting out in the mud at the bottom of a pond, the lotus grows up through murky water, optimistically reaching toward the light. When it reaches the surface of the pond, it blooms into a beautiful flower. These Samsara Lotus Flower earrings (above) handmade by Lauren of Lala Design Studio perfectly capture the essence of that symbolism with darkened, twisted stems leading to a polished, shining blossom.
The beauty of Yoga is that it one really requires little in terms of equipment to practice it. While all the fancy accessories are nice, all I require (besides something comfy to wear) is an extra-long “sticky” mat and a good bag to carry it in. I love this eco-friendly, upcycled Yoga mat bag (above) made from old sails. Anyone who has ever struggled to get their mat back into a traditional bag will appreciate the unique, easy to use design by the talented mother/daughter team behind RAGGEDedgeGear. And, as someone who practically grew up on a sailboat, I can vouch for the durability of the materials used to create the bags. If sailcloth can withstand the punishment of the seas, it can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it. I have no doubt that your one of a kind Ragged Edge bag will see you through years of downward dogs and mountain poses.
I’ve always said that I do my best thinking when I run, but it’s during Yoga that I do my best “un-thinking“. Taking an hour or so to focus on my balance and breathing gives me a chance to disconnect from the demands of the world and re-connect with my own needs. It might sound a little selfish to the uninitiated, but it has been my experience that the more I nurture my own body and mind, the better equipped I am to nurture others. I always find that my most satisfying classes are those that challenge me both physically and mentally and then conclude with a long, well-deserved Savasana, or “corpse pose”. It is during this time of total stillness that the mind is allowed to enter a higher state of awareness and is said by some to be better than sleep. Sometimes, though, even in Savasana it is hard to calm a racing mind. During those times, the remedy can be as simple as applying a soothing eye-pillow filled with organic lavender and kamut, such as the ones pictured above from Vancouver’s Stitchella. Ahhhhh….serenity now.
MissMalaprop.com is where modern handmade meets sustainable design. On my website, I spotlight the best in independent designers & artists, eco-friendly and sustainable products, New Orleans & Gulf Coast based businesses and issues, and people & organizations who are working to make the world a better place.
My own creations reflect those same principals. I began selling my creations under the name “dismantled designs” in 2004, after arriving home from a study abroad program in London where I saw the amazing artists at Portobello Market and where I was inspired to begin selling my own reconstructed clothing & accessories.
My designs are all one-of-a-kind, handmade and original. Most are made from used or vintage clothing, or remnant fabrics and trims. Each piece is meant to have a slightly unfinished, rough-hewn, well-loved look about it. I hope you enjoy!
The upcycled purse above is from Sparky Jones
Sometimes I get my greatest inspiration from other bloggers. This week was no exception – when I visited Going Home to Roost to see what Bonnie is up to these days I came across a post she had written recently on shopping ethically. I know this isn’t always the most popular topic, even amongst those of us in the handmade community, and I’m sensitive to that. At the same time it seems to me that the blogosphere is a great place for us to write about these types of things, and to learn from each other and share our thoughts openly. I hope that these virtual discussions can enlighten, encourage and challenge us. From week to week Bonnie gives us a glimpse into her world and shows us the joy that can come from living more harmoniously with the environment and exploring our creative passions.
Bonnie’s post on shopping ethically included a great checklist – questions that she asks herself before making a purchase:
– do i really need this?
– will i be able to use this for long time, then recycle it?
– how far did this have to travel to reach me?
– who made it and how were they treated?
– is it labeled honestly or with clever marketing?
Key rack above is from Half Pint Salvage
The issues surrounding these questions are actually what led me to blog in the first place, so reading them in point form on Bonnie’s site was refreshing. As my friends and family know – I love design, in any form – from a candy bar wrapper, to fashion, home décor and everything in between. But at some point I realized that my love of design and “things” was contributing to systems that reward unethical treatment of workers in foreign countries and hurting the environment.
Napkin holders above are from A Remark You Made
I can’t say that I’d give myself an A+ now as a conscious consumer, but I know over the last couple of years I have managed to reduce my consumption and now buy more goods that are made in ethical conditions. My heroes are the individuals who have really taken it to the next level, and I hope that these are areas I’ll personally continue to improve in.
iPad case from Chicken Willow
Today, inspired by this post, I’m taking my hat off to a few Etsy artists who do a wonderful job of upcycling and recycling. I hope you enjoy what I’ve found and as always I’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues!