NighBluey: I am not an artist or a designer of anything but I am told that I am artistic. Still not sure what that means. Maybe I am an artisan. I would like to be called that – it would be flattering.
When “I grow up”, I will own a flower shop. Arranging twigs, branches and stems all day – that would be my dream come true.
I live with an infinitely patient man, two dogs and three cats in a little community on an Ontario lake (which freezes in the winter and becomes home to thousands of ice huts and our annual by-the-shore rink). I am a “country yuppie” you might say. For years, I lived in big cities but I am already busy shedding my big city attachments. In the summer, I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors, including in my garden looking low to the ground and high into the trees, as well as sailing and taking bike trips. My partner, Kevin, and I are also trying to get rid of all the “things” we accumulated over the years, boats, old cars and powertools we will never use.
Nothing reminds you that Spring is here better than the little birds chirping away outside of your window.
Bird motifs are everywhere in fashion and home decor right now. They represent many different things in many different cultures such as: joy, happiness, luck, love, and freedom. The bookends pictured above, made by graphicspaceswood, are handcrafted in their family’s wood shop and are just one of several different adorable woodland creature products that they create. Each of their products is laser cut and assembled from a mixture of different types of wood to create a layered and modern look. Perfect for a nursery or children’s room or to add a little charm to a bookshelf anywhere in your home.
As I’m sure you know, it is very common for different areas in your home to accumulate a mixture of loose papers such as mail, appointment cards, to-do lists, etc. Add a small memo board to your space and force yourself to rummage through your pile to only hold onto the important pieces and pin them to the board. The clutter will cause you stress every time you walk by…so lose the trash and clear your mind! The burlap message board above is the perfect size to hang in any area of your home where you tend to collect papers. Find this and many other bird and vintage inspired home decor in the shop of nextdoortoheaven.
I came across this delightful and functional little project sack for our readers out there who love to knit and/or crochet! Handmade in Europe from all natural linen, KnitterBag carries all different sizes of these lovely project bags as well as wristlet pouches, and needle organizers to keep all of your supplies neat and organized. The owl bag shown above even comes complete with pockets for your knitting needles…could it get any more cute?
Have I ever told you the story about the crazy lady who read my palms in the spring of 2008? If so, skip ahead…if not, here goes….
Carnival – Vintage Paper and Recycled Cardboard Uber Cuff (above) by butternutsquash
My son had somehow convinced me to take him to a mini-carnival/fundraiser thing that he had heard about through a friend at school. Admission, food and games were all by donation, so when we got there I just gave them twenty bucks and told them to give me as many tickets as they saw fit. Apparently, $20 gets you quite a bit at one of these things because we were given tickets for hot dogs, drinks, popcorn, cotton candy, games, face painting and a coupon for a 15 minute session with the palm reader.
Palm Reading Chart on Upcycled Dictionary Page by Collage-o-Rama
After we ate, played a few games of skill and wandered around for a while, my son decided to watch some sort of martial arts demo and I figured it was time to go see “Madam X”. I should go on the record as saying that although I am not against psychics in general, I don’t place that much stock in them and I doubt that I would actually pay to see one. I am sure that there are plenty of nice people out there with “enhanced intuition”, but what are the chances of finding one in a parking lot in New Westminster, BC?
Cotton Candy Upcycled Patchwork Armwarmers by Smarmy Clothes
Anyway, I sat down and it took me about 13 seconds to realize that this woman was either legit or completely nuts (or both), but I gave her my hands and the benefit of the doubt. She was all over the place, and at first I wondered if she was ever going to get going with my reading before my time ran out (she was even more random than me; which is saying something), but she eventually did and it was actually rather interesting.
Letterpress 100% Recycled Cardstock Fortune Teller by Sycamore Street Press
At the time, I was struggling with whether or not I should leave Vancouver and move back to my hometown, Winnipeg. I was at the tail-end of a relationship that really wasn’t worth putting any more effort into, but at the same time I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being a quitter. Of course, it was the first thing that she brought up and her advice, for what it was worth, was to leave. She said that I had done what I needed to do on the West Coast and I was ready to return to go home.
Dream – Recycled Magnetic Locket Set by This Years Girl
What really struck me most about my conversation with her was her insistence that if I made the move, I would become very active in my community and would work for a cause that I was very passionate about. Ever the literal one, I assumed at the time that she was referring to a physical “community”, like a neighbourhood. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a little on the apathetic side when it comes to civic politics, so I was curious (and a little doubtful) as to how that prediction would play out.
Recycled Billboard Banner Journal by NottyPooch
I realize now that the cause I am passionate in is handmade goods (and eco-friendly ones in particular) and the community that I have become active in is the wonderful crafts community, both locally and globally, thanks to this site. Not only am I happy making and selling my own goods, I am thrilled to be part of the fantastic Winnipeg crafts scene and get excited each and every week that I get to come here and feature a handful of makers from around the world.
I am still on the fence about whether or not the parking lot palmist could really see into my future, but I’m glad she planted the seed in my head and made me *want* to take an active role in something that I believe in. Well worth my $20, I’d say!
Eco-friendly Thank You Cards with Recycled Brown-Bag Envelopes by Tucci Paper Company
I’m head over heels for this week’s artwork by Paola Zakimi. You know watercolors are my favorite painting medium but have I ever told you that when sketch lines show through in the work I simply melt into a puddle of happiness? I’m being a bit silly but seriously, isn’t the above piece fantastic? The yellow lifts my spirit and the humble use of fleshy pink on the girls face excites me to no end. For me, it’s all in the details.
I’m fond of this piece for several reasons. The entire painting is understated and free. The floating illustrations evoke a peaceful, dream-like emotion. Also, the little fox befriending the tree on the right is so sweet.
This bird must be the way to travel. Grab some friends and jump onto this feathered friend! Again, the details draw me in. The birds beak, string thin feet, spotted back and the girls hats with twigs and leaves all leave my eyes scurrying over each inch of this illustration. The textured background…don’t even get me started…there is so much to appreciate!
You will find not only the featured artwork in Paola’s shop but also some amazing art dolls. Prints and originals are available!
Cartoons! I watch tons of cartoons.
That was Mike from Skudfisher‘s response when I asked him what inspired his fun plushies. How can you argue with such enthusiasm?
Everything from Invader Zim to Rocky and Bullwinkle (both of which are responsible for huge chunks of my sense of humour). I also pretty obsessively try to absorb as much cool art as possible from the internet. Flickr has so many amazing independent artists that it kind of blows my mind sometimes. I can spend hours just going from artist or artist on flickr. I have some pretty amazing people on my contact list on there that I really admire.
Mike has been obsessed with drawing silly characters and monsters since he was little. Then 2 years ago he decided to try and make one of his monsters into a toy for his nephew as a birthday gift, lucky kid. It only took that one toy to turn sewing into an obsession and he’s been making plushies ever since. Each monster has it’s own story along with it’s likes and dislikes to ensure monster/child compatibility.
There is something very satisfying about coming up with an idea, cutting out the fabric and sewing everything together, into something you can hold in your hands, that I just don’t get from drawing. I still love drawing though!
Mike’s current favorite is Acorn! He thinks she is just so adorable and huggable and really loves working with faux fur material. And as I was working on this, my 2 1/2 year old son told me he wanted THAT monster – so I guess she’s not just Mike’s favorite!
Currently Skudfisher’s plushies are only sold through Mike’s shop, but after many years of attending craft fairs and enjoying Montreal’s great craft scene he hopes to get involved as a vendor there soon. So if you’re in the Montreal area, keep your eyes peeled.