Saturday, June 18, 2011

ex-freakum dress.

whoa! two blogs in one day? i must be bored or something. (i am.)

lately my sewing projects have consisted of fixing things for other people and making alterations to my own clothes. have you gone through your closet and said, "well, i'd wear this more if it didn't gape here" or "this would look so much better if it were just two inches shorter"?

i decided to go through my closet and do just that. i still have a pile of things that need snaps and slight length alterations. if i don't feel comfortable in something, i'm not going to wear it -- and fixing clothes is so much cheaper and easier than buying new ones!

i've hemmed a few dresses, shortened sleeves on a shirt, and added some snaps and buttons. (i'm modest. what can i say?)

here's a before shot of a dress i got a pitaya. i knew when i bought it that it would be slightly revealing on top (considering what i'm working with), but i got it anyway because i loved the design, and it was on sale (bonus!).

(me, cousin holly, sister trisha)  

(sister trisha, mama patty, me)

see what i mean? i was on vacation in florida when these photos were taken, so i didn't care as much about my business being all over the place, but it quickly became known to trisha and me as my "freakum dress" for obvious reasons. 

i haven't worn it in a while because of the way it fits, so i decided to do something about it: it originally came with a removable sash around the waist. i turned the sash into a bow and attached it where i needed it most, and now i have a garment that i could actually wear in public without mothers shielding their children's eyes. 

 (close-up: i actually prefer the look of the elastic band to the sash.)

(much classier, i think. and more comfortable!)

 (happy camper! bare feets!)

 most of my other alterations aren't as exciting as this one, so i probably won't post any more about them. i'd love to do a workshop for girls who have similar issues and help them make their clothes fit right instead of buying new ones. think i'd have any takers? 

porter flea.

hey, world! jessica and katie (the two lovelies who graced me with their presence last weekend) are pioneering a new frontier in nashville, tennessee: alternative craft fairs!

well, make that "fair" (singular). they've come together with some pals at friendly arctic printing & design to bring nashville Porter Flea, the first of its kind in the area. nashville is artistic in so many ways, and it's time that the indie crafters get a little love.

Porter Flea
Saturday, July 9
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
715 Porter Ave., Nashville, TN

they are still accepting vendor applications! do it! do it! they're also accepting patrons, so if you're in or around the nashville area, head on over to porter avenue and have yourself a ball.

check it out! and spread the word!

Monday, June 13, 2011

my first IHE main event.

saturday was indy's biggest craft event of the year: the Indieana Handicraft Exchange! it was the first time i was actually able to attend the summer event (i went to a smaller winter "mini" last year), so i was super pumped!

as an added bonus, my wonderful friend jessica from nashville (possibly the funniest person i know) had a booth again this year, and she stayed with me for the weekend!

jessica's shop is called pinestreet makery, and she makes adorable linocut and letterpress prints, cards, towels,  and totes.

the pinestreet makery display:

i snagged one of jessica's prints - green houses! i can't wait to frame this little gem: 

i meant to bring my camera with me and take more photos during the day, but i forgot it at home. woops! my sister joined me for her first alternative craft fair shopping experience, so i took advantage of a kodak moment (via my non-smart phone), but that's it! 

here we are with our matching "midwest is best" tanks by megan lee designs! just slightly different styles for slightly different sisters.
ps. megan lee is the cutest girl! i bought a matching "midwest is best" tote bag last year at the renegade store in chicago, so i'm glad i got to meet her in person this time. (i promise i'm not creepy, megan lee.)

i got a couple post cards from rar rar press that i also plan to frame and keep: 

i mean, i love the midwest. what can i say?

i picked up a stack of cards from colette paperie. 6 for $12? yes, please. funny phrases? mmhmm.
(here are just a couple: recipients have already been confirmed.)

my friend talia of conduit press was there selling her beautiful handbound journals and book safes. since i was attempting to pinch my pennies, i went for one of her cute cards. typewriter city!

there were so many cute earrings at the IHE! the only problem is that i'm (more than) slightly insecure about wearing dangly earrings, no matter how much i love them. so i went with these little crocheted flowers from muggy tuesday

as a thank-you for hosting them for the weekend, jessica and her friend katie got me this print (because they said the doggy reminded them of gretta). what sweetie pies!

i had a grand time! i probably made 5 laps around to all the booths, wishing i could have one of everything. there are so many talented crafters in the midwest! (it's the best, remember?) i can't wait til the next IHE!

since i'm on the topic of new treasures, i thought i'd share some that i got yesterday from my gal pals annie & jessica for my belated bday. 

some precious bow earrings from modcloth!

and this totally rad necklace from modcloth, too! when i saw first saw it, annie said "sewing scissors!" they know my heart. thanks, frands!

i can't wait to send all of these cards and parade around in my new jewelries and shirt and get tons of boyfriends from being so kewl and stylish. heyyy boyyys. 

(sidenote: there are always lots of cute boys at alternative craft fairs, but be careful, girls. take a quick glance their left or right: you'll always see his girlfriend within arm's reach. what gives? single boys: alternative craft fairs are your ultimate chance to meet cool single ladies. just sayin'. get out there!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

baby charlotte.

on monday my dear friends andy and beth welcomed their second baby girl into the world. miss charlotte rae long was born into a wonderful family, including big sister edie who is not quite 2 yet!

(i mean, she just gave birth, and she still looks gorgeous. yeah, girl!)

i was so excited to receive some adorable photos a couple days later of baby charlotte sporting a hand-me-down baby treasure that i gave to edie when she was tiny! 

(it kind of looks like a little hat because she's so tiny! she weighs 5 lb. 10 oz.)

sleepy treasures! 

i'm so glad that one of edie's headbands has made its way back into circulation with baby charlotte. i know it's just a headband, but it warms my heart that my friends would put it on their newborn and send me photos. i just love it. 

here's little edie when she was a wee babe:

i'm so excited to watch this family grow and that (at least for a little while longer) we live in the same town so i can see them. babies!

Monday, June 6, 2011

shea's bridal collection.

whoa! i have been absent from blogville for such a long time! for my triumphant return, i am going to show you some treasures i made for my dear friend shea for her wedding.

chris & shea - so cute! (courtesy of emma williams photography)

shea and i met when we were both camp counselors in the summer of 2005 and have remained buds ever since! now she lives in cincinnati and, as of march 12th, is a married lady. i wasn't able to attend the wedding because i was in texas for SXSW, but i was there in spirit via hair accessories. (wink!)

shea sent me an idea of a bridal piece from another etsy seller (woops!), and i took the idea and went with it: 

the rosettes are made from scraps of shea's dress. the jewels are all different pearl-ish beaded earrings. the "doily" underneath is cut from a vintage blazer, and, of course there are satin leaves and russian netting blusher.

a little glimpse of shea's bridal treasure as she walks down the aisle with her mom:

shea wore the piece with the rosettes in the back and the blusher toward her face. so cute!

umm...their reception was a SKATING PARTY! how awesome is that? i'm so bummed that i couldn't be at this celebration. 

i wanted to tie in the rosettes of shea's bridal piece with her bridesmaids' treasures. their dresses were all different shades of navy and dark purple, so i went with the green from shea's leaves to complement them. the boys' boutonnieres had peacock feathers in them, so i included them for the bridesmaids, too, as the "leaves" for their rosettes! 

they all ended up being slightly different in size, and so did the feathers. they are all tiny metal alligator clips.

(if you look very closely, you can see some bridesmaid treasures!) 

wedding treasures are my favorites to make, especially for friends! i really wish i could have been at this joyous celebration, but i'm glad i still had a little part in it despite my absence.

congrats, shea & chris!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

hipster animals.

my friend shanti shared this image with me today from the hipster animals blog:

on a scale of 1-to-awesome, this image is just the tops! (i want to bring back oldtimey phrases like "the tops." join the revolution!)

my response to shanti: i WISH i could be a full-time etsy crafter. maybe someday when i retire and have a zillion dollars. then i'll be able to afford an exact replica of this outfit and become the illustrated hipster owl i was born to be! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

magazine design.

here's a magazine i designed for my law portfolio. this is as crafty as it gets in journalism grad school! i wrote all the stories and packaged them together with sidebars. i feel like i'm learning a lot about design just through trial and error, and i'm excited to share my work here!

i tried to embed my prezi magazine presentation on this here lil blog, but i can't get it to work right. so if you click here, you should be able to see all 20 pages swish back and forth with the click of a button. you can also see it on my wordpress site along with full text versions of the stories and links. ps. if you've never used, you need to! i don't think i'll ever use powerpoint again!

here are the images in case you're not into clicking links and stuff:

i'm taking a couple days off from stress. and bad luck. and sleeplessness. have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

my arts issue essay.

i wrote this essay a few weeks ago for my arts reporting class. the assignment was to write an essay on the arts topic of my choosing. this is an issue i've been thinking about since the beginning of the semester in this class. i don't think i presented any revolutionary insight or anything, but it was fun to argue a point that i actually care about. plus i got an A. hooray!

Art vs. Craft: A Class War
In the world of handmade goods, there are two kinds of people: artists and crafters. Artists get to make art – we “ooh” and “ahh” at their sculptures, the paintings we often only pretend to understand, and their cutting-edge mixed media presentations. We hold their works up on a pedestal, the pedestal of the museum or gallery, which lets us know that these are works of art.

Crafters get to make crafts – macaroni necklaces, glitter-painted sweatshirts, and macramé oven mitts – or at least that’s an answer you might get from someone on Team Artist. In actuality, the world of craft goes far beyond kindergarten-level collage assembly to encompass an endless amount of inspired, aesthetically pleasing, and dare I say – artistic – objects and entities. Why, then, is there such a distinction, a class hierarchy, if you will, between artists and crafters?

Before attempting to answer such a question, it is important to understand the makeup of these two categories of creators. Artists are painters, sculptors, potters, printmakers, and filmmakers. Often referred to as “visual artists,” they are trained in the discipline of creating objects to behold, forsaking any means of functionality.

Craft, though, is a commonly used synonym for “skill.” Crafters are woodworkers, weavers, metalsmiths, knitters, fashion designers, and, like some artists, mixed media creators. They are trained to create pieces that, along with their form, often provide a function, and therein lies the fundamental difference between art and craft. The usefulness of a handmade object has become the determining factor for its social standing among creators.

Are the worlds of art and craft really so different, though? Both usually involve an element of natural talent, and both often require some level of formal training to develop necessary skills. The traditional labels and separations between “fine arts” and “everything else” create an unnecessary barrier between these different groups of creators. But maybe with some more awareness, more conversation will circulate to provide a little more legitimacy to crafting.

A common misconception is that art is emotional and craft is cerebral. These sweeping generalizations miss the mark on both disciplines, as both art and craft require both emotion and thought. A painter must feel a connection to the image he paints, but he must also thoughtfully consider technique, color, and composition. Likewise, a knitter applies careful deliberation to decisions about color, texture, and pattern, but also connects emotionally with the act of creation itself.

Ask a woodworker if he puts his heart and soul into the ornate chairs or shelves he creates; I guarantee he will answer with an emphatic “yes.” Does the fact that a person can keep warm with a knitted blanket or sit in a handcrafted chair really make these objects any less artistic?

Affordability is another issue that has contributed to the existing wall between art and craft. Often handmade objects that qualify as craft are far more financially accessible than works of art in a gallery. Craft fairs and festivals exist as an avenue for crafters to sell their goods, as do handmade shops like On the other hand, the price of a painting or sculpture is what dictates its status, and the owner adopts that same status upon purchasing it. While handmade items sold at craft fairs may fail to deliver a similar message of value and worth, they still maintain the same qualities as expensive works of art: vision, skill, imagination, and style, and should, in return, receive the same respect and admiration so often showered upon fine artists.

As a crafter, I have said on multiple occasions that I am not an artist, but crafting is as close as I will ever come to being one. I don’t create art for a living, but I do sew some of my own clothes. I don’t anticipate that I will ever create something that will be on display in a museum, but I do take pride in assembling my own unique handmade home décor. With creation comes a constant mingling of cathartic release and nervous excitement – What will this item turn out to be? – a question, I’m sure, professional artists frequently ask themselves as they work.

So am I really just a crafter? Is a fashion designer just a fashion designer or a weaver just a weaver and neither of them artists? Perhaps looking beyond traditional titles and labels to the heart of creation will lead you to answer “no” instead of insisting on perpetuating stereotypes or viewing the world of craft as an inferior category.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

my BHM purchases.

yesterday was the spring Bloomington Handmade Market, an event i have looked forward to since the fall/holiday market back in november. this time i went to shop (of course) and also to interview some vendors who live in town for a feature article on the BHM for my arts reporting class. i'm really excited about writing it, and i will definitely share it with you when i'm finished!

for now i'll just share my purchases with you. please forgive me - i only remember a few of the vendors' names. woops! by the time i did my shopping, i had thrown my journalism skills to the wind and decided to forget any important information! rebellion!

fabric-covered button earrings! eee! i can't remember the name of this vendor, but he had lots of cool guitar straps and camera straps. on an unassuming table, he had these precious earrings i couldn't believe were still around by the end of the BHM. i sure did snatch 'em up!

i had a great time interviewing katie vernon yesterday. her illustrations are unique and playful (the caption on the back of this postcard is "you warm my heart"). she called it a hipster card. perfect! you can buy her cards and prints at chipmunk cheeks on etsy and see much more of her work at

i stumbled upon another card print that i had to have. (can't remember the name of this vendor! ahh!) i have a thing for dandelions. it's a long story, but i'd love to tell it sometime if you're interested. it's what inspired me to get my tattoo. anyway, i knew i had to have this print when i found it, and i think i will frame it and add it to my dandelion art collage in my room.

i absolutely love vendors who use only recycled and upcycled materials to create their wares. i perused the reuse first table at the last minute and just couldn't part with this adorable upcycled card catalog mini notebook. (maybe it's the secret nerdy librarian in me i've been harboring all these years.)

the pages are made from repurposed paper, so the back of each page has either random text or photos. (i chose one of my favorite pages to display here. mmm sammich.) i love having a little notebook with me to jot down ideas or just use when i'm bored, waiting somewhere. i'm pretty happy about this little guy. go to the re-use first etsy store to see more!

that wraps up my purchases. i didn't spend more than $5 on a single item and only spent $22 total, a small price to pay for local handmade OOAK (i hate when people use that acronym) items that i already love and cherish. 

i will leave you with a few BHM observations: 

1. i purchased from two male vendors. two out of four! more boys should be crafty. dear crafty boys, i am here waiting for you. let's get in love and make things all the livelong day. i'm serious. you know where to find me.

2. this event could be so much bigger! yo BHM, there are zillions of vendors who would die to do this show if they knew how cool it is. i can honestly envision it doubling in size and drawing a much bigger crowd. advertise and attract the masses!

3. i've heard that bloomington was recently ranked one of the rudest cities on the U.S. i refuse to believe such a thing and will base it on clear evidence of all the friendliness i witnessed yesterday. everyone i interviewed was super nice, and the mood in the convention center was all-over jolly. keep it up, bloomington. 

that's all for now. stay tuned for my BHM feature article. hooray!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

emily's birthday present.

yesterday was my friend emily's birthday. she is a rare find in this world of ours. few people spread joy like she does -- santa claus is the only other person i can think of off the top of my head. it's pretty perfect that we found each other in grad school.

emily travels a lot, and i adore her thirst for adventure. it seems like no matter what life throws her, she always makes the best of it and inspires other people to do the same. i wanted to make her something for her bday that would communicate this little notion, so here's what i came up with:

(a little 6"x6" canvas covered in brown calico. i got the floral ribbon at an antique store in bloomington and used scraps of other calicos to make the piecemeal heart to go along with the theme of the quote. i used my typewriter to type the quote on brown paper.)

(i stumbled upon this virginia woolf quote and knew immediately that it was perfect for emily. also - i glued the heart pieces together, then sewed them around the edges. i glued everything to the canvas instead of actually assembling them with my sewing machine - good choice.)

(the back: i used felt to cover up the yuckies, and unfortunately i only had white. oh well. i typed a little note on brown paper and placed it in the inset on the back of the canvas.)

(one time we took a picture of ourselves in our fake glasses in front of a christmas tree. it looks slightly weird, but that pretty much sums up what everybody thinks about us anyway.)

i'm so thankful for the people God has put in my life during my time here in bloomington. i am blessed beyond measure.