Tuesday, November 30, 2010

you sentimental idiot by Rikkianne Van Kirk

Have you seen these incredible sketches + prints yet from the artist extraordinaire Rikkianne Van Kirk? You may know her from her highly successful eco-artisan shop of soft furnishings and accessories Chakra Pennywhistle that she now runs with her best friend Ursula Arnold.

Well, Rikkianne has hit yet another one out of the ballpark, this time with a new shop, You Sentimental Idiot, and 8x10 prints of her stunning sketches on antique diary pages. I've been following her sketchbook journal project for the past few months and I want a print of everything in her collection -- they are phenomenal!

"you sentimental idiot" in Rikkianne's own words:
You Sentimental Idiot is a project inspired by found materials that have a past. Antique diaries are the main medium. I hope to make the aged pages and forgotten words current with my illustrations. Some drawings are inspired by direct quotes from the diaries while others are what I imagine the writer would have seen. I create the works by drawing directly on top of the diary page with a Sharpie.

Do yourself a favor and head over to Rikkianne's print shop today. I'm confident you'll find something to gift to a friend, loved one, or even yourself. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

my sketchbook - no. 7

A sketch of one of my all-time favorite photos of my daughters. They were definitely cookin' up some cheer (and a little trouble) in our kitchen on the prairies back in 2005.

Way too many computers occupy our home office....some of them don't even work!

I absolutely love participating in this sketchbook project.

Friday, November 12, 2010

poppytalk's 101 reasons to buy homemade

One of my favorite, go-to sources for design and creative inspiration is Poppytalk -- brought to you by the dynamic duo of Jan + Earl.

Thankfully they are continuing their conversation about handmade goods and why so many of us artisans do what we do. Jan and Earl asked artists, designers and shop keepers to submit thoughts on the subject and here are some of my favorite reasons: (click here for a link to Poppytalk's full article).

  • #46 -- When i buy handmade i am buying more than a product. i am supporting an artist who has put care, creativity and love into the product. i am supporting their vision. the product has such a personal history and story. Pamela Sherry, pixelimpress.etsy.com

  • 47. Buying handmade is win-win situation : You enrich your life with beautiful handmade goods, and you enable an artist to continue following their creative dreams. Stephanie Levy, stephanielevy.etsy.com

  • 71. Buying handmade shows our children that not everything in this world needs to be mass produced. It teaches them to love and appreciate the unique and the imperfect. And it inspires them to do their own creating as well. Jill Bent, jillbent.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

new in my etsy shop

Hello! It's been a few days since I last blogged about the time-intensive, yet highly rewarding process of making my eco wreath ornaments. Now I'd like to share with you a few eco pincushions and eco sachets that I've recently added to my collection....all handcrafted and hand sewn by me, with care.

My eco pincushions are unique in that they are larger than your average-sized pincushion, made from earth-friendly materials, and emit a soothing aromatic scent when pierced with needles and pins -- thanks to the surprise ingredient of lavender! Some even incorporate textiles I've dyed using natural colorants such as wine and coffee.

My eco sachets are highly fragrant -- just what they should be -- to fill your home with the special scent of balsam this holiday season. Hang one in from your mantel, a doorknob, or archway (in lieu of mistletoe). Each is filled with a generous amount of balsam fir needles and eco-friendly buckwheat hulls and includes a 7" 100% cotton twill tape loop for hanging. Some sachets are adorned with seasonal sayings while others showcase hand "drawn" designs (top stitched using my sewing machine).

I invite you to visit my Etsy shop -- perhaps you'll find a gem or two for the holidays.

Cheers, Mandy

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the making of my eco wreath holiday ornaments

I've had a ton of fun this past month block printing and sewing up a batch of these wreath-adorned "pillow" ornaments that are now available in my Etsy shop.

I followed in the footsteps of my mom's own merry ornament making back in the mid-70s using my stash of eco fabrics.

The process is labor-intensive, but well worth the outcome.

my choice of eco-friendly fabics

I start by washing my fabrics because the laundering process makes them softer -- the design aesthetic I'm going for! My designs incorporate these earth-friendly and sustainable-crop fabrics (pictured above left to right):
  • hemp/soy (deep olive)
  • organic linen (beige)
  • hemp/organic cotton (ivory)

me hand stamping individual "Boxwood with Berries" wreath prints on ivory hemp/organic cotton

I then roll a coating of non-toxic water based ink onto the block print and hand stamp wreaths, one by one, across yards of fabric. I allow ample time for the ink to dry and then heat set the ink before cutting.

My five eco wreath ornament ink + fabric combinations

circles of wreath fabric panels just waiting to be transformed into my "pillow" ornaments

Next, I cut out circles of block printed fabric as well as ivory hemp/organic cotton that will become the back panel of every ornament. Cutting the ivory fabric reminded me of cutting out buttermilk biscuits - fantastic!

raw kapok fibers

The final part involves sewing two panels of fabric together using two rows of top stitching and then stuffing each ornament with environmentally-friendly premium kapok fibers to give each their "pillow" shape. I chose kapok for it's super resilient qualities, the fact that it is grown without the use of chemicals or herbicides, and how it is sustainably harvested from the kapok tree. A loop of hemp twine completes the design and makes for easy hanging. Ornaments are sold individually and also in a set (5).

I hope you've enjoyed this peek into my artisan process. Cheers and happy holidays!

complete set of "Boxwood with Berries" wreath eco holiday ornaments