Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Finds: You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Maybe it is my pudgy girl mentality, but warm weather to me is synonymous with ice cream season. Even the skinniest person couldn't resist a double scoop of cold and creamy happiness in a cone with sprinkles. So it is no wonder that this refreshing treat has inspired many an ice cream crafter.

I might be a lot thinner if I used this Tutti Frutti Ice Cream Shop Play Set Pattern to make the ice cream instead of eating it. Scoop up this pattern from Dear My Kids.

Dear Diary, I love my husband but I can't deny my attraction to all of these handsome, smiling and tasty ice cream men that adorn the cover of this cute Ice Cream Journal from So Softies.

Losing weight is all about portion dip into PetitPlat's shop for a double scoop of yummy without the calories. This Chocolate and Raspberry ice cream necklace will be sure to satisfy.

Written by: Design by Night

Thursday, April 29, 2010

BEST Members in the Craft Corps!

Craft Corps is a collection of stories from artists and crafters from all over the country. It's like Story Corps, but for craft. Included are profiles of BEST's own Juliet Ames of TheBrokenPlate and Shannon Delanoy of Sweet Pepita! The book is available on Amazon now! Yeah! Go get it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Mafia is looking for another intern!

The Charm City Craft Mafia, that is! This could be you (if you're in college and fabulously crafty)! Please send Carlybird an email with your resume and cover letter at carlygoss -at- yahoo -dot- com if you'd like to spend the summer semester working with the craftiest kids in Baltimore and get real, live college credit for it!

This internship is a wonderful opportunity for an artist who is interested in community building, hosting events, and the indie craft community. You must be motivated, flexible and fun. You will see the inner workings of the Mafia and what it takes to put on the best indie craft show in Baltimore. You will have the chance to work with a group of 14 zany and talented artists whose work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, weaving, bookbinding, ceramics and much more. This opportunity begins as soon as possible and can last through the summer and even beyond, if we find the right candidate. Other tasks may include assistance with other art and craft shows, studio maintenance, etc.

The intern MUST be available to work the evening of June 25th and all day on June 26th 2010. Please do not apply if you cannot make yourself available on both of those days.

Send Carly an email now to apply! Resume and cover letter! Do it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In The Studio With Found Studios

For the past eight months or so I have hosted a group of 5-6 artists in my studio every other week for a night of food, wine, and sharing of creative energy. This has taken on the form of a somewhat informal workshop.

Here's the group working on a silk screening project

We decide in advance who will be "leading" the group and that person is responsible for gathering the materials needed for their particular week or weeks as we often need more than one week to cover a subject. So far we have been led in the following: clay (we made butter dishes), silk screened tee-shirts, knitting 101, collage greeting cards, felting, a smidge of sewing, and linocut printing.

This is a "final product" from the silk screening class

This has been a great way to get me out of my routine ---sometimes rut---- by exposing me to a variety of media and techniques. Even though I had already dabbled in most of these there is always much to learn and re-learn! We also shoot the breeze about where to get supplies & upcoming shows/exhibits of interest. I'm fortunate to have a nice, big studio space in my home and it feels good to share it.

Here's a picture of my empty studio

Selfishly I benefit from the feedback I get from these crafty gals as I always have a new painting on my easel or project up in the air that I can run by them. And the food....did I mention the food? Last summer we were bringing stuff from our gardens! YUM! Sometimes I get so carried away with the contributed food that I forget we've gathered for the purpose of craft!!

Final product from linocut printing

Written by: Found Studio

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's in a name, Sihaya Designs?

I met Chris of Sihaya Designs at Terra Firma recently. I had to ask, How'd you come up with your name? This is what she had to say.

The name of my shop, Sihaya Designs, comes from a handle I've used on the Internet for over ten years now. When I was in seventh or eighth grade, I was a huuuuuge Star Wars fan. Well, I still am, but now I'm one of those snobs who completely disavows the prequels. :) But, as a young geek-in-training, I was eagerly searching for other things within the realm of science fiction with which I could fall in love. And that's how I came to Frank Herbert's 'Dune," which I read voraciously. Fascinated by the concept of tribal and secret names, I started using 'Sihaya' online, as it was a secret name for one of the novel's protagonists, Chani. In the novel, the meaning of "Sihaya" is "the desert springtime with religious overtones implying the time of fruitfulness and the paradise to come." The imagery of a beautiful flower blooming in the middle of a desert was beautiful, and it was a metaphor that spoke to me.

The name stuck, and has followed me for years. People who have known me for a long time occasionally use it as a nickname. And, as Frank Herbert used the basis of Arabic language in creating his universe, it became an appropriate stage name when began to dance American Tribal Style bellydance, my other love. Overall, since it is a name that people so closely associate with me, it was a natural choice when it came to naming my jewelry business. It's unique, it's melodic, and it reflects me. Perfect.

Curious about how folks made up their Etsy Shop name? I am too! Let's ask! If there is a shop that you have always been curious about, but were too afraid to ask, leave it in the comment box, I will be happy to play detective for you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Baltimore Life: Springtime at Cylburn Arboretum

It's Spring, and there is no better time to plan a visit to the budding gardens of the Cylburn Arboretum. I seek out green spaces where my family can frolic on these early days of the season. Being confined in a formstone rowhouse in the middle of the city gets me yearning for some woodland flowers and naturalized daffodils this time of year. The 207 acre grounds at the Arboretum have been closed for new building construction and renovations for over a year now, and I have been waiting for the gates to reopen!

The grand opening of the green Vollmer Center, Saturday May 1st. The celebration has lots of fun planned all day with family garden events, exhibits, demonstrations and food. The Nature Museum on the grounds will be open and there will be presentations by William Moss,
Environmental Educator and Urban Garden Expert.

On Saturday May 8th, the Arboretum hosts Market Day, an annual spring plant sale-fundraiser featuring all kinds of plants from garden clubs, vendors, and the Cylburn Greenhouse. I'll be stocking up this year!
This park is located within the city limits, yet it remains a beautiful conservation area full of native plants and wildlife. Gardens of all kinds, fill the grounds. It is a great place to be in the spring!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day in Baltimore

Many of us at BEST try to live every day as if it were earth day. We take responsibility for the impact that our lives and our businesses have on our planet and, on a smaller scale, our community.

Sweet Corsage Necklace from ElisaShereJewelry

We know what we can do, the steps we can take, the choices we can make. I remember, when I was pregnant, my eco-awareness exploding. It was overwhelming. We've made small changes, manageable changes, and we do what we can. We try not to beat ourselves up too much. We try.

RECYCLIMAL ReBeena made from RECLAIMED Knitwear from GreenStarStudio

My top 3 favorite resources for living green easily...

1. Hand-me-downs, thrift stores and consignment shops

Man oh man do kids go through things. Clothes, toys, and enough plastic crap to build a tower to the moon. People often ask me which thrift stares are my favorites and I always say, "All of them". I go to all of them. We gladly take hand-me-downs and repair damaged clothing. This leaves us with enough cash to buy her the things we want to buy her instead of the things we have to buy her. We are proud that handmade clothes, accessories, art and plush fill our daughter's life. She knows exactly who made what and can pick out certain local artists' work in any medium from across the room.

Mexico short-sleeved baby t-shirt from SweetPepita

2. Mill Valley Garden Center

I cannot say enough good things about our CSA. Vegetarians and omnivores alike can benefit from joining and taking home a share. It's delicious, and our family has absolutely saved money since participating. I am embarrassed to say that I had no idea what good butter tasted like until I took home a container from Trickling Springs Creamery as a part of our weekly share. Amazing. Local food, dairy in glass containers (bonus!) And supporting a great local business to boot feels (and tastes) great.

Men's Reusable Sandwich Baggie from GlowGirl16

3. Local bath and body products

With Biggs & Featherbelle just down the street and Spa Therapy Works off the beltway, there really is no reason to go far for your beauty products. I'm proud to say that we've used only locally made body soaps in our house for well over a year now. This year, I've even made the switch to facial soap and facial cream. I'm totally hooked. And my skin looks great, if I do say so myself!

Dead Sea Black Mud Deep Cleansing Facial Soap from SpaTherapyWorks

Feel good about what you can do this Earth day and know that every little bit makes a difference. We are so powerful!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Three Things

Anyone who lived in the D.C. area during the '80s and '90s remembers the great old radio station WHFS and Weasel the DJ. Weasel had a daily feature called "My Three Songs"; in this game, he would present three songs that had a common thread, theme, or leitmotif, and the object was for the listeners to guess what it was.

Here are three items by Etsy artists. What do they have in common? Give your answer in the comments below!

To pluck down justice from your awful bench 8x8 fine art photograph by Raceytay

Greta - Original oil on panel by marisolspoon

Vinyl Wall Art Decal --- LEAFY BIRCH FOREST by walldecors

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Indie-pendent businesses: Baltimore Contained

Feeling a bit of spring fever lately? Cure it with a visit to a bright little garden spot, right in the middle of Canton.
Anne Fleshman opened Baltimore Contained last fall, hoping to make Southeast Baltimore a little greener and more colorful with her gardening expertise. Her small business was created to address the unique needs of the urban gardener. The inspiration, personal touch and great service this shop offers is worth a visit this spring!

If you bring in a container, Anne can design an arrangement in store for you to take home. You can pot up and plant in the store, so there is less mess at home! She'll coach a novice gardener or inspire the seasoned green thumb to successful container gardening.

Anne is offering workshops with hands on flower and herb containers for long lasting displays. She specializes in organic gardening and can help you create show stopping planters in their container design classes.

Baltimore Contained has also generously contributed to the neighborhood, donating crocus and daffodil bulbs to the Southeast Anchor Library for gardening club projects. Look for her flowers in the front beds this spring!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Favorite Etsy Shop - Rothshank

During my days at the American Craft Council show this year, my favorite time of day was the hour before the show opened. I'd make a cup of coffee (yes, I recommend bringing a Keurig for long shows) and walked the main floor to window shop. Of course, there were MANY things what I wanted to take home with me, but I did not find "the one(s)" until the last day of the show. This is where I met Justin Rothshank of Rothshank Artworks and his amazing ceramics. The imagery Justin uses ranges from political to beautiful to just plain funny (Pants on the Ground mug, anyone?)

Well, I walked home with 3 mugs that day, and have used one every day since the show. Justin hails from Goshen, IN but is the visiting artist at Baltimore Clayworks for the 1000 Cups of Hope Projects this month. Visit his website for more info and to check out his wife's art too. You can find a video of Justin's decal transfer process here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hot Crab Dip....mmmmmm!

Spring is here and before you know it summer will roll around and the blue crabs will be in abundance (or so we hope) here in Maryland! One of my absolute all time favorite things to eat is hot crab dip. I can’t count how many recipes I have tried over the years for making crab dip, but I finally have my own version that I think is just about perfect! Here’s what you’ll need:

1lb lump crab meat (yes it’s expensive, but ya gotta splurge every now and then!!!)
8 oz cream cheese softened
8 oz sour cream
1 cup mayo
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp horseradish
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Several shakes of old bay (yes I said shakes….I don’t measure it out!)
1 lemon wedge or 1 tsp of prepared lemon juice
1 large loaf of French or Italian bread

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, horseradish and cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine Worcestershire sauce, old bay and lemon juice and gently toss crab meat into the mixture. Fold crab meat mixture into the cream cheese mixture until blended evenly. Pour into a greased glass casserole dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly!
Serve with sliced French or Italian bread and ENJOY!

post written by CEKCustomDesigns

Friday, April 16, 2010

Let the Fenton Street Market Festivities Begin!

The Fenton Street Market in Silver Springs Maryland begins this Saturday!  
There will be 60+ vendors selling antiques, imported goods, crafts, art, and food, including delicious hot donuts and crepes!  Stop by and visit with BEST vendors Sugar Paperie, Yummy & Company and Jersey Girl Designs while you're there!
*New* there will be a Market Stage this year, complete with live music and a DJ. *And* enjoy plenty of fun events and activities to keep all ages entertained  including print making and a scavenger hunt! Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can all enjoy some fun this weekend!
The Fenton Street Market is located at the corner of Fenton Street and Silver Spring Avenue in Downtown Silver Spring. 9-3pm

Friday Finds: Oh, Alice!

Some of us are still taking in Wonderland...

UPCYCLED Blue VINTAGE Train Case Alice in Wonderland Inspired Bunny Rabbit Hearts BLOCKPARTYPRESS Tree Red and Black INK LUGGAGE from GetReadySetGO

ALICE Snap to It. Wallet from RabbitAndTheDuck

Alice in Wonderland - Drink Me - Sterling Necklace from bLuGrn Design

Alice In Wonderland Bookmarks and Stickers from ThePoppyTree

Caterpillar shirt (T shirt) from Alice in Wonderland from No Wonder

Thursday, April 15, 2010

7th Annual Highalndtown Wine Festival, Baltimore Life

This weekend make the trip to Southeast Baltimore for the 7th annual Highlandtown Wine Festival which celebrates the tradition of home wine making. This event has a nice feature in the Urbanite this month, check out the article here.

I look forward to sipping wine all day at this springtime event. Not only is there great food from Di Pasquales Deli , but live music and the old guy Bocce tournament are always entertaining. Everything starts looking better and better as the day goes on in beautiful Our Lady of Pompeii church courtyard, even the goats. There is a craft market this year, too. LannaBella from BEST will be there selling her organic teas, soaps, candles, and salves.

But the Homemade Wine Competition hosts some strong contenders. There is a limited supply of this good stuff, so get in line early and often!

Admission is $25 ($20 in advance) and includes a souvenir wine glass and 5 generous tastings.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In The Studio With Here Kitty

Hi there! I'm Cat of Here Kitty.

Ever since I was a little girl I've loved taking things apart. Broken radios, watches, and clocks were my favorites. Then, when puberty hit and I became the tallest girl in class (which made me feel awkward) I started fixing things and putting things together.

I don't remember how I got into making jewelry. I guess I have my mother and sisters to thank. If they lost an earring or a necklace came apart, I was the one to see. I took it a step further, started creating my own pieces, and I haven't stopped. There's no better way for me to unwind than to grab my tools and see what happens.

I can set up shop anywhere, but my favorite spot is the vintage table that I "borrowed" from my little sister. I have a box and drawer for everything. That way everything's within reach when I'm inspired.

My favorite metal changes from day to day, and I have a vast collection of vintage keys and beads to chose from. Not everything turns out as planned, which keeps me humble, and I've had quite a few happy accidents along the way.

Rest assured, I put a lot of thought and love into all of my work!

post written by herekitty

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Still Haven't Had Enough Peeps This Season?

Instead of eating any more of these artificially colored, sickly-sweet marshmallow treats, come see another way these chicks and bunnies can be used for - art!

It's free, fun and won't rot your teeth or add inches to the waistline!

3rd Annual PEEP Show
Carroll Arts Center
91 W. Main St., Westminster, MD
Mon.-Sat. 10 AM to 8 PM and Sat. 4/17, 10 AM to 5 PM.
Hundreds of marshmallow masterpieces on display.

post written by glowgirl16

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Favorite Etsy Shop-CottonBirdDesigns

As some of you know, I'm a bit of a paper freak. I love all of the colors, textures, weights, prints and finishes it comes in. Most of all, I love making it do things it doesn't normally do such as stand up and become three dimensional. I have a history of designing intricate holiday pop-up cards so I'm just fascinated by what other paper artist can make paper do.

When I first ran across CottonBirdDesigns shop a couple of years ago I was in awe of their take on three dimensional paper sculpture. I loved the idea of stitching paper (and of course fabric) together to create such simple yet beautifully detailed graphic bird forms.

So wonderful are these paper bird sculptures made vintage textbooks

And this bird made from vintage sheet music, perfect for that musician in your life.

Wedding season is upon us and I love the idea of using these matching bride and groom birds on top of a cake, so much cuter than the typical plastic bride and groom and something you can keep and cherish forever.

Written by Jill of JillPopowichDesigns

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coffee Couture How To

To me coffee has always been more than a drink; it is my life’s blood. It fuels my mornings, afternoons, garden and now my favorite hobby, crafting. A graphic designer by day, I spend evenings in my craft room, fueled by—you guessed it—coffee and artistic passion while creating anything from purses and clothes to jewelry. Lately I have been making hair accessories from a variety of materials including hand-sewn fabric flowers, using re-purposed clothing.

One day, I was sewing my flowers, drinking the java, when inspiration struck. Technically it hit while I was cleaning the coffee pot, but who’s counting? Coffee is almost the perfect waste-less product. I drink the actual beverage, repurpose the container to hold my art supplies and sprinkle the grounds in my garden. The snag has always been the filter, and the sheer amount I go through to feed my addiction was starting to bug me.

So, that inspired day, I was dumping the grounds in the garden when I stopped to consider the filter and how it was constructed. It was sturdier, yet had more give than regular paper, almost like a stiff gauze. Thinking I could reuse filters to create flowers similar to my fabric ones, I laid it on the counter to dry overnight. The next day, I had a crinkly scrap with an aged appearance that I knew would work well for what I had in mind. So over the next week, my coworkers and I drank vast amounts of coffee so I could save the fluted filters. Once I had enough, I worked on my flower prototype. I was very pleased with the resulting product, especially the color and texture of the dried filters. The original flower I created functions as a brooch but it would also make a nice gift topper instead of a traditional bow.

Tools & Materials

* Nine fluted coffee filters, used, with grounds discarded
* Ruler
* Decorative scrapbooking scissors, with scalloped edge
* Sewing needle and cream-colored thread
* One large button
* Hot glue gun
* Square of felt (enough to make a circle, 3” in diameter)
* Jewelry pin of your choice


1. After brewing a pot of coffee, remove the filter and gently clean away coffee grounds.* Lay filter on a flat surface to dry. Repeat until recommended quantity is achieved.
2. Fold filters in half. On five of the filters, mark a spot 2.75” from the center of folded edge of the filter using a ruler. On the remaining four filters, mark a spot 2” from the center folded edge.

3. Using the scalloped scissors, cut the folded filters into semicircles, using the marks as a guide. Leave the filters folded (fig. 3).

4. Along the folded edge of each of the larger (2.75”) cut filters, use a gathering stitch to string all four into a long line.

5. Pull the string, scrunching the filters into petals. (see fig. 5a) Bring the string full circle, stitching both ends together and tie off. Repeat using the remaining five 2” semicircles.

6. Cut a piece of felt into a circle, 3” in diameter and attach pin to felt with hot glue.

7. Use the hot glue gun to adhere the felt to the back of the larger ring of petals.

8. Take the smaller petal ring and carefully glue it to the top of the larger flower base.

9. Glue a large button to the center to finish.

Post written by DesignByNight