Saturday, November 29, 2008

Congratulations, Block Party Press!

Check out Tamara as the Featured Seller on Etsy! Congratulations!

Wrangle Up Those Crafty Kids

And take them to Amazing Glaze in Mt. Washington to create their own ceramic treasure! OK, so the ceramic part is all taken care of, but you can choose from hundreds of vessels, tchotchkies, and functional or decorative wares just waiting for your child's artistic touch.

I have fond memories of drawing on a melamine plate when I was younger. I think. I might have fabricated this memory... who knows. Anyway, in my mind, I thought it was so awesome that my drawing would be made permanent. I felt so special, and my work so important. When my daughter was born, I couldn't wait until she was old enough to take her to this ceramic workshop we passed every time we went to the grocery store. I forgot all about it, because, you know, things get a little crazy when you add a baby to the mix.

Enter the terrible twos. These are the days when we just have to escape. Get out of the house! Do something unexpected, for no reason at all. This is when I remembered. It was perfect. Messy, but perfect. And my daughter painted a Christmas ornament that I hope will last forever. Her grandparents are going to be so psyched and proud when we give it to them!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Don't Forget Bazaart!

Saturday • November 29 • 10AM-5PM: BAZAART: Artful Holiday Shopping

A Holiday Marketplace of original creations by 50 regional artists and craftspeople. Painting, sculpture, papercrafts, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, mixed media, and other work that simply defies categorization. FREE ENTRY. American Visionary Art Museum, Jim Rouse Visionary Center 3rd Floor

More info at AVAM's website.

Friday Finds- Laptop Sleeves

It’s crazy; I have the cutest MacBook, but for some reason, I lug it around in this floppy old bag. After seeing too many cute laptop sleeves, I am now in the market for a real laptop sleeve.

First, I saw this one. It has a very cute pattern, is well-padded, and I love the strap!

Funky flower padded laptop bag by Jennifer Ladd

I like the contrast of the two types of fabric on this sleeve.

LAPTOP SLEEVE in Coriander Sea Green and Oatmeal linen by Tilly Moss

This one has a different, envelope shape which I love, and again, a really great pattern.

MacBook Envelope by fernfiddlehead

This sleeve had me at green and orange. Plus look at the cute coordinating button!

MacBook Sleeve 09090801 by Food Fabric & Paper

Finally, this may be the most interesting one I found, since it was made from over 30 plastic bags, and lined with upcycled t-shirt material. Very cool.

I Just Need To Be Held Eco Laptop Sleeve by curiousdoodles

post written by Benny and Heidi

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Shop Local for Black Friday

Beat the insanity of the mall and still get your shopping done! Stop by Hampden tomorrow morning!

Happy Thanksgiving!

thank you card by miscelena

BEST members took some time to think about what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving:

I'm thankful for all the beautiful people in our lives. My Pepita is growing up surrounded by love and true friends. We are a very lucky family to have so many strong relationships. - Shannon of Sweet Pepita

I am thankful for the opportunity to do what I love and take care of my family. I am thankful to the girls of BEST for lending support when I think I can’t handle the above opportunity. I am thankful for our new president. I am thankful for breakfast sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies. I am thankful for naptime crafting. - Juliet of The Broken Plate

I'm thankful for everything. I know it's cliche but I am. Whether it's good, bad painful, stressfull, anything, i'm glad I can be able to experience life in it's entirety and have the knowledge to pass it on to my children. - Anita of Anita Crafty Creations

I am thankful for my husband, our families, and my cat who are all very supportive and awesome!
- Tricia of T Lane

I'm thankful I am close to so many creative people. Not only do they bring beautiful things into my life, they bring out the best of my own creativity, which in turn makes me feel great. - Megan of VW Studios

I'm thankful for America's hopefullness as evidenced by the election of Obama. I'm also thankful for so many other things, but this is two sentences. - Barbara of Barbara Giles Jewelry

I'm thankful for community, love, hope and the promise of change in the new year.
- Dana of GreenStar Studios

I am thankful for my new grandson, Gareth, born on November 23.
- Donna of Robot Z

I'm thankful for my friends and family, my hands and mind which allow me to create everyday, a new president and a new day!
- Tamara of Block Party Press

I'm thankful for my wonderful family and friends, and for the time to enjoy them. I'm thankful for my husband, who believes in me enough to let me pursue this dream of making things and raising our family. And potato chips and dip are pretty great too. - Jen of The Littlest Bean

I'm thankful for my new crafty friends and the support of the creative community that has helped me on the way to achieving my goals! And the start of the holiday season, my favorite time of year!
- Lauren of Jersey Girl Design

I'm thankful for having the sweetest children, the kindest husband, and a small (but deliciously cozy) roof above all of our heads. - Vicki of Three Wheels Design

I am thankful for this festive season of crafting, holiday prepping, spending time with family and dear friends, and being able to hear the Macy's Thanksgiving parade in the background as I prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. I am also grateful to Bob Dylan and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. - Monica of Sugar Paperie

In this world of chaos and uncertainty, I am thankful for my healthy children, my loving family and my caring friends. Because in the end, there’s nothing more important than health, love and friendship! - Erica of CEK Custom Designs

I am thankful for the ability to fully appreciate and recognize the small joys of everyday life. - Jen of Yummy and Company

This Thankgiving, as at every other, I am thankful for the love of my family, especially from my now-nearly-18-year-old son who is a source of constant amazement, wonder, humor and joy for me. This year I'm also very thankful (after having been laid-off for lack of work over the summer) to have landed an interesting and challenging job with friendly, helpful and patient colleagues and all sorts of unexpected perks. My favorite blessing this year has been the connections I've made in the Baltimore and DC Indie Craft communities - the beauty and creativity is so inspiring! - Anita of Miscelena

I'm thankful for friends, family, health, cats, Bravo TV, sushi, Sirius radio, CuteOverload and do-overs in life! - Karen of Benny and Heidi

I am thankful for gas under $2 a gallon! But above that, I'm thankful for a roof over my head, work to do, and family & friends to love. - Jussara of Spa Therapy Works

Of course, I am thankful for my family, my daughter, my mom and dad, sisters, and in-laws, everyone. I could not ask for a more supportive family. I know how lucky I am to be surrounded by such a great family.
I am grateful to my customers who have made it possible for Brett and I to sustain our modest lifestyle this year after really taking the leap to have our business. But this year I am really taken by the hard work and dedication this B.E.S.T. team has put forth. I am thankful to each of you who support this group, blogging, organizing, coming through and delivering beyond expectations. Our collective enthusiasm and talents have been recognized after just one year of solidarity. Thank you, each of you are helping in our success. I know there is strength in numbers, but this year I have seen it play out beyond my wildest dreams! - Allison of TigerLilly Shop

We are all thankful for you, the community that allows us to share the things we love. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Last Chance to Win!

This is our biggest giveaway yet! A collection of gift certificates worth $200!

All you have to do is join our mailing list (if you have not done some already) AND visit a participating artists shop and leave a comment on the original post about your favorite item(s). Winner will be chosen at random on Thanksgiving Day (that's tomorrow!!) - just in time for Cyber Monday! Good Luck!

image courtesy of

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BEST supports the Maryland Food Bank

With Thanksgiving and the holidays fast approaching, the members of BEST want to take the time to give a little something back to our community. Several members will be donating money from the sale of the their items to the Maryland Food Bank.

The Maryland Food Bank provides nearly 14 million pounds of food annually to 1,000 Network Partners - including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, low-income day care centers, after-school programs, senior centers, rehabilitation centers, and other feeding programs. They supply food for over 50,000 Marylanders each week who otherwise would go hungry or not eat enough, including families with children, the elderly, the homeless, the homebound, low-income workers, the recently unemployed, and people with AIDS and other health problems. For every $1 contributed to the Maryland Food Bank, they are able to provide 3 meals to Maryland’s needy families and individuals.

From November 27th through December 11th, the following participating BEST members will be donating the following:

  1. - 10% from entire store

  2. - 10% from entire store

  3. - 10% from entire store

  4. - 10% from the entire store

  5. - 10% from the entire store

  6. from entire store

  7. 15% from all soap sales

  8. - 10% from entire store

  9. 10% from entire store

  10. - 10% from entire store

  11. 2% of all sales from store and shows

  12. - 10% of all earring sales

  13. - $5 from each sale of Holiday Theme Plates

Take some time to visit these fantastic Etsy shops, support handmade and know that when you make a purchase between Nov. 27- Dec. 11th, you will be helping to provide food and services to someone in need this holiday season. Here are some other ways to support the MD Food Bank:

  • Deliver the food directly to the Maryland Food Bank at 2200 Halethorpe Farms Road. Please call 410-737-8282 to arrange your delivery.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Made in Baltimore

Thank you, Baltimore Magazine, for this amazing holiday shopping issue! It's practically a directory of indie crafters in Charm City, and it is so gratifying to see all of our friends together in one slick looking mag. Get a copy now, before we buy them all up!

Thanks, Rachel, for the image :)

Bazaart, This Weekend!


Even when I was attending tons of craft shows, this was one of my favorite to attend. Bazaart at the American Visionary Art Museum is a wonderful collection of artists ranging from folk to funky. This year, members of BEST will be there, which adds to my excitement! Here's the details.

Friday Evening • November 28 • 5:30–8:30PM: Bazaart PREVIEW PARTY & SALE
An opportunity to get the first shot at the original creations by 50 regional artists and craftspeople prior to the Saturday Bazaart extravaganza. Spend a relaxing evening strolling among Bazaart artisans and their wares while nibbling light fare, and perhaps enjoying a beverage. Music TBA. Location: American Visionary Art Museum, Jim Rouse Visionary Center, 3rd Floor. Admission to Preview Party & Sale: $20 at the door.

Saturday • November 29 • 10AM-5PM: BAZAART: Artful Holiday Shopping
A Holiday Marketplace of original creations by 50 regional artists and craftspeople. Painting, sculpture, papercrafts, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, mixed media, and other work that simply defies categorization. FREE ENTRY. American Visionary Art Museum, Jim Rouse Visionary Center 3rd Floor

image courtesy of briansacawa

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hmmm.... What to do with all those leftover bits...

Making patchwork is a fun and creative way to use up scraps of fabric you still love. One traditional patchwork combination is the Log Cabin square. Here’s how to put one together.

All you need is to be able to cut, measure, and sew a seam! Here's how you make one log cabin square.

First, get a set of strips of fabric. They should all be 1.75 in wide. A quilter's rotary cutting tool, cutting mat, and one of those hard plastic rulers are indispensable!

Cut the following 9 pieces in a mix of pattern and color that you like: 2 X 1.75 in., 2 X 3 in., 2 X 4.25 in., 2 X 5.5 in., 1 X 6.75 in.

Begin with the 2 squares. Put them right side together and sew a .25 in. seam like this:

Then, turn your new piece upside down and press the seams apart and flat so you should have something that looks like this:

Next, take a 3 in piece and place it right side together with the piece you just made. They should fit exactly. Sew another .25 inch seam.

Continue adding pieces, from small to large, going around a circle, being sure to always touch part of the most recent piece you added--I mean, go clockwise or counterclockwise, but be consistent.

You will end up with a square that could be used any number of ways—maybe as fabric coasters, in bags or pillows, as part of a quilt or wall hanging—anything you can come up with!

Post written by BennyAndHeidi

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Finds- Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving is almost here! And here's some of my favorite things to put you and your family in a holiday mood...

I love the retro feel of this apron, by jnsweeney.

The color on these napkins is so luscious, and perfect for an autumnal table. (I'd probably use my sleeve instead, though.) By margotbianca.

Sweet felt garland, perfect decor for a doorway or mantle, by miesmama.

I can't stand how much i love these acorns. These would be amazing scattered on your dinner table. By truLuxe.

This Indian Paintbrush wreath is so striking - what a great way to welcome your guests. By dancingcircle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Classic Rocks! MICA Wearables at the Walters

Check out BEST's own DandelionBlu a.k.a. Sherry Insley at The Walters Art Museum! In a collaborative effort, students of Jewelry Design and Experimental Fashion created wearables inspired by the Walters Ancient Collection. The works, which premiered at the Art Blooms Jewelry Fair, will be featured at the reception in a documentary video, alongside select displays.

Chatelaine with Watch, 18th century from the collection of the museum

The pieces will be debuting in a runway show tonight during a private party for The Walters' members. There will also be a reception this Saturday morning. Work and a video of the event will be on display at the museum through Thanksgiving weekend, so if you get a chance, come check it out!

Classic Rocks! MICA Wearables at the Walters
Morning Reception with Video, Artifacts and Refreshments
Saturday Nov 22 2008 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am at The Walters Art Museum.

600 N. Charles St., Baltimore , MD 21201
Ancient Gallery Lobby, Second Level
Charles Street Entrance
Admission is Free!

Twenty Things - BennyandHeidi

  1. I started sewing as a way to help myself quit smoking, and it stuck.
  2. I have a polydactyl cat.
  3. Guilty pleasures: Celine Dion, Cheetos, Law & Order reruns.
  4. I was once served a guinea pig for lunch and I ate it.
  5. I am good at spelling and remembering names.
  6. I have spent time on every continent except Antarctica.
  7. I love the way it looks when people have gaps between their front teeth.
  8. I think one of the worst character traits is stinginess.
  9. I once took part in killing a turkey and then cooking and eating it and that experience changed the way I view meat eating forever.
  10. I often have trouble with left and right.
  11. One place I haven’t been that I dream of seeing is Spain.
  12. I have a hard time sleeping late because I feel like I might be missing something.
  13. I bite my nails but I’m good at it and they look filed.
  14. I have a Cruella deVil-style gray streak in my hair but I color it.
  15. Favorite food combo: peanut butter plus chocolate.
  16. I used to want to be a veterinarian until all that math and science scared me off.
  17. Due to a car accident, I have almost no feeling in my bottom lip.
  18. I don’t like to see people on stilts.
  19. I am a naturalized U.S. citizen.
  20. I was raised Catholic, and am agnostic now, but I’m still really, really scared of the Devil.
Would you like to be featured? Email your twenty things (keep it clean, please!) to baltimoreetsy (at) gmail (dot) com. Be sure to include your photo, name and URL.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sites to See -

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Why buy handmade?

Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving.

The giver of a handmade gift has avoided the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, s/he feels the satisfaction of supporting an artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that can
be seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.

Buying handmade is better for people.

The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. We are encouraged to be consumers, not producers, of our own culture. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost. Buying handmade helps us reconnect.

Buying handmade is better for the environment.

The accumulating environmental effects of mass production are a major cause of global warming and the poisoning of our air, water and soil. Every item you make or purchase from a small-scale independent artist or crafter strikes a small blow to the forces of mass production.

Spend your money thoughtfully. Choose to buy handmade this year. Take the pledge here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Review: Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel

I am a knitter with middling skills, but every time I try to find something to knit more involved than a rectangle, I get unmotivated by all the patterns I see for shapeless baggy sweaters and dowdy-looking sweater vests—you know, the ones that smell like mothballs right off the page. I wanted a book that would inspire me by including patterns that are modern but still accessible.

I came across this book, Fitted Knits and decided this was a knitting style I could get behind! Stefanie includes great designs for knitted tees, cardigans, vests, dresses, and much more—all of them with a tailored, flattering line. I got started right away on a v-neck and can’t wait to begin my next project, which will be this cap-sleeved tee. Look at the great neckline detail!

Once I get up my nerve, I hope to work my way up to pieces like this dress, which is marked “challenging”, due to the lacy detail on the hemline and neckline.

Check out this book if you need similar inspiration!

Post written by BennyAndHeidi

Monday, November 17, 2008

Favorite Shops: RE-SURFACE

Brooklyn artist Donna Brady formed RESURFACE with the idea that urban decay could be transformed into beautiful design elements for the home. I love her graffiti and corroded looking lamp shades!

Post written by YummyAndCompany

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Random Baltimore Photo


For more information, please click on the image.

Goodbye, Grace

Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe, by Grace Hartigan, 1992. Oil on canvas. 78" X 94". C. Grimaldis Gallery.

May you rest in peace.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Countdown to Holiday Heap - 1 day to go!

Just a small sampling of jewelry that you might find at Holiday Heap!

Holiday Heap

In case you haven't noticed, we're a little excited about Holiday Heap!

Holiday Heap 2008 is a juried indie craft fair featuring over 50 renegade crafters from the area and beyond. A free event, open to everyone, and perfect for purchasing out-of-the-ordinary gifts for the upcoming holiday season. Held in the heart of Baltimore in the beautiful neighborhood of Charles Village, the fair will take place November 15th from 10-5pm at the 2640 Space at St. John’s Church (located at 2640 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218). It is the Charm City Craft Mafia’s FOURTH fair of this type, and the second annual Holiday show. Look for Handmade jewelry, clothing, toys, ceramics, paper goods, knitwear, bags, accessories, soft sculpture, books and more! Music provided by Sleepy Records, Snacks provided by Red Emma’s Bookstore, Super fun post-shopping interviews with new local craft group HELLO CRAFT, and a chance to win the mother of all raffle baskets full of — you guessed it — goodies from all of your favorite Craft Mafia members, to benefit a local arts charity.

Many of our members will be there, and BEST will have a group table as well. Come by and say hello!

See a list of vendors here.