Want Want Want: OOAK Monkscloth Bandana from Legacy Arts

Gimme gimme

I’ve been a bit grabby lately.  First she wants a recycled rope doormat, now she wants a painted, one-of-a-kind monkscloth bandana.  What’s next?  Probably something just as cool.

Let me explain!  Mentally, I’ve been in ‘clean out’ mode since the little niece finished opening all her presents on Christmas morning.  I’ve got four WhoFoo bags packed to the gills and waiting to go to Goodwill.  That’s pretty good, but I still need to purge a little more.  Naturally, when you get rids of bags and bags of stuff you don’t need/want/like any more there’s an impulse to replace a little.  So we don’t actually need a door mat, so we don’t actually need a bandana, but so what?  They’re awesome, I’m awesome, so it’s only natural that we should be together.

So anyways, there’s my justification for all past, present and future ‘want want want’ entries.  If you’d like to take a look at all of Legacy Arts’ offerings, you can click here to view Jason’s Etsy site.  Bandanas are machine washable and come with a button latch.  Perfect.  I found out about these, and the other products Jason makes, when he was a vendor at this year’s Big Chill craft fair at the Mayo Street Arts Center.  Urban, rugged, and each one a little bit different.  Want want want.

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Want Want Want: Maine Rope Mats

Uh HELL YES for wiping my feet!

I moved to Maine when I was 2, yes 2, wee little years old.  For the die-hards, that means that I’m still ‘from away‘ and that the locale previous to the coast off the Casco Bay area was the San Francisco Bay area is even more offensive.  But to me it makes no difference since I don’t remember those beautiful, sunny, avocado-tree laden hills of the California coastline.  Mmm free avocados…  All I remember is growing up in the manic depressive, muggy and humid then snowy and blisteringly cold, climate up here: Down East.

When my aunt and her brood moved to Maine they were even more enthusiastic about adopting the state than we were:  within years her eldest son was a lobsterman off the waters of Isle au Haut.  So I use that cred every now and again to convince non-believers of my truly rural status despite my urban origins.

Even more cred to my cred would be if I had one of these awesome, recycled Maine Rope Mats from Cox Pond in South Berwick, ME.  As you know, I’ve got a weak spot for ‘things made from other things.’  I also hate throwing away bottle caps, cardboard boxes and really anything that could be used for something other than clogging up land fills and chomping up energy at the recycling facility before its time.  That’s why I double-love these mats.  Check ’em out here!

Lobstercentric Home Decor that isn't cheesy...

 

Thinking Ahead: Valentine’s Day

Nothing Says "I Love You" Like a Morning Constitutional Outdoors

Only seven weeks away, and if you make a week’s allowance for shipping in time for February 14th that really only leaves six weeks.  This year the name of the game is preempting the seasonal trends.  Two months seems like a long time, but for research, development, execution, photography and listing it’s not that much!

Above is a popular photograph I sold last year, available both as an 8×10 print, or a 8″x8″ photograph framed in a 10″x10″ frame.  The photograph is of an outhouse my Grammie has outside her cabin in rural VT, which she’s using as a toolshed.  Let’s also not forget that on this very same photo-expedition in the woods behind her house I also saw a HUGE BEAVER gnawing on a tree, thought it was a baby bear, and promptly ducked behind the biggest tree I could find lest its Mama Bear found me to be a threat.  But then after a bit I am thinking to myself “Why is that baby bear chewing on a tree?” and quickly remembered the beaver pond was due east.  Ha-ha!  The pictures of the beaver aren’t the clearest, but if there’s enough interest I may throw a snapshot up on the blog.

Coming Soon to Little Eye

I’m also excited to report I’ve done a little Photoshop, graphic design fun time and came up with the above graphic as a future ‘set of 3′ magnets + pins.  I’ll also be making mix n’ match earrings and barrettes with the designs as well as pendants.

We used to have a bar here in Portland called The White Heart, a spoof off the famous UK watering hole called The White Hart.  For those of you in-the-know, you are totally aware that mature stags (appx. 5 years and older) used to be referred to as ‘harts.’  Now they’re just plain awesome.  I’m really digging these graphics because although they’re clearly seasonal, they’re applicable any time of the year.  I was considering doing a pink/red version of the set but something about that feels wrong so it’s just going to stay as is.  I might be persuaded to do red/baby blue since that’s my favorite.  In any case:  tell your friends!  Or don’t tell ’em and get them a nice, $5 set of 3 pins or magnets as a little way of saying “I ❤ you” this Valentine’s Day.

~~~

You know what else is happening around Valentine’s Day?  Our band, Bath Salts, is playing its first show up in Brunswick with excellent acts:  Foam Castles, The Rattlesnakes and Berth Control.  Details to come – but you should come hang out with us!  Ok!

Another Christmas Wish: L.L. Bean Edition

Ooh, shearling strap liner!

Ha-ha!  Last year I spent the month of December talking about ways you can give (without necessarily spending money).  Hmm!  Full 180 this year, I’m just gonna talk about the things I want, want, WANT.  One of these things, above, is the beautiful and rugged Continental Rucksack from L.L. Bean.  It’s made with waxed canvas and what looks/feels like buffalo leather.  The canvas is really crunchy and the leather is really soft.  It’s got shearling-lined straps, for God’s sake!

While I’m climbing up mountains with my beautiful new backpack I should probably shield myself from the weather with this clearance-priced Black Point Parka from L.L. Bean Signature – what can I say?  I’m a product of my environment.  I think I’ll need a size 8… wink wink.

Those sleeves are totally removable!

 

Christmas Wishes

"miriam" cardigan from Quince & Co. Click to view/purchase pattern.

Aww geez, just when I contented myself with manufacturing little socks, hats and headbands I see a thing of beauty like this.

The simplicity kinda makes me think I could make it and not have bunchy armpit, bulky shoulder and wavy neckline problems, and if you’ve ever been to Knit Wit on Congress St. and touched Quince & Co.‘s yarns… hoo boy.  That’s a nice sweater.

Click Here to view "Chickadee" yarn from Quince & Co.

 

I think I’m gonna make mine orange (nasturtium).  The apricot totally caught my eye but I have a really special talent at dropping food on my clothes.  I’d also love it in navy or olive green.  What the heck, am I making four sweaters now?  Jeez, focus Audrey!

If anyone out there in internetland wants to partner up and make this sweater for themselves at the same time as me let me know!  Daring to make a pattern for something bigger than 6″ long is a big step, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a buddy to talk to when the going gets tough!

Inspiration: Heartfelt Gifts , Playing Cards and Calendula

Calendula Salve recipe from Barnacle Bags Blog - click to view!

Beautiful, beautiful.  It’s Christmas-time and having had the very recent experience of battling crowds at our closest Toys R’ Us (and almost not surviving to tell the tale) I feel it’s very, very very (very very very) important to share the importance of giving a gift of time, effort and love over price tags + capitalism.

Every year as the crowds get crazier, and more pepper spray-ier my opinion on this matter gets stronger and stronger.  Our economy is driven almost entirely by a paradigm that seems to say “disposable is good, more is good, spending money equates status and I don’t care where this item came from, as long as it’s cheap.”  Whoa, whoa, whoa America.  Let’s take a step back!

Buying locally, from skilled tradespeople and artisans ensures there is a face and a name to go along with the product you are buying.  If there’s a problem with it, if you have a question about it, or sometimes even if you’d like to know how to make it these people are right there for you, happy to help.  Lissa, from Barnacle Bags, posted this amazing salve recipe (part 1, part 2) for her readers, even though it is a product she’ll presumably be selling.  How can she afford to do this?  Well, most of us DIY-ers turned entrepreneurs have the Achilles heel that we’re actually just super-psyched about the things we make, and want others to experience the happiness, too.  Try it next time you’re at a craft fair – ask someone about their method – usually they’ll tell you WAY more than you want to know!  Also, here’s a super-duper tutorial on playing card notebooks from Malaika at Hand-Me-Down Designs:

Playing Card Notebooks by Hand-Me-Down Designs

I get so sad when I am talking to people who are experiencing major holiday anxiety because of the pressures they’re feeling as a result of living up to ‘tradition.’  Like, they’ve married in to a family that is big in to gift-giving but said family is also really in to procreation so people are taking out big loans in December to cover their ‘tradition.’  That’s not a good tradition!  In our house, BIG Christmases were the way to go when we were growing up in the 80’s and 90’s.  However, we’re all adults now, and have shifted our gift-giving traditions to more family and food-oriented ones.  Every year we get together and eat like crazy on Christmas Eve, special foods we don’t normally cook.  On Christmas morning we do a little gift-giving (stretch it out as long as possible!!) and then we watch some kind of family friendly movie and eat some more food + cookies we don’t normally have.  This year we’re going to add-in some song-singing because the little one (she’s 2 1/2) really loves music.  What’s more special than quality time with family?  Definitely not iPads and Xboxes, that’s for sure.

This year, almost everyone’s getting something handmade.  The money I’ve spent on Christmas presents for the whole family won’t exceed $50.00, but the time I’ve spent making everything is probably pushing 40 hours of ‘after work, TV-watching’ time.  While I know not everyone can knit or crochet, everyone has the ability to do something that someone else can’t.

Are you good at fixing cars?  Making cookies?  Babysitting pro bono?  Building bird houses?  Even if you can’t make a THING to give to someone, consider drawing up a nice ‘gift certificate’ for services you can offer your friends and family in the future.  

And, if you’re lucky enough to have enough income in your budget to really go nuts this time of year, showering out the contents of your wallet at local shops and at craft fairs giving directly to the artisan is going to do WAY MORE for your quality of life and the American economy than waiting in next year’s Black Friday lines at 4am.

If I don’t get to the bloggy-blog before the big man is shimmying down the chimney:  MERRY CHRISTMAS, internets!!

Picnic on Sunday!

This Is Gonna Be Awesome!

Okay, guys – heads up!  Picnic is on Sunday, December 11th and it’s in a NEW LOCATION.  58 Fore St (kinda where Portland Yacht Services is, near the narrow gauge railroad).  So don’t be going to the Irish Heritage Center knocking on their doors and wondering why Picnic won’t let you in.  Jeez!

I’ll be there, and super excited to be selling socks and ear warmers for the first time – I sold a bunch of knit stuff at The Big Chill last weekend and I hope to do the same on Sunday!

 

Seeya there.  🙂