Handmade Philly: This Saturday at Philly Swap!

As mentioned a few weeks back, some of the folks from Handmade Philly will be holding workshops at Philly Swap this weekend. We will be leading a workshop on how to Make Fabric Necklaces from T-Shirts and we will be leading another workshop on Printmaking/ Stenciling.

Philly Swap will be held at the Broad Street Ministry on Saturday, May 12 from noon to 5 pm. This will be Handmade Philly’s 4th year leading a workshop at this event. So come on out, and don’t forget to bring those clothes you no longer want! Whether you leave with a sack full of goodies, or just one or two special treasures, you’re also bound to leave having gained some new insight on reusing clothes and textiles.

To give you an idea of what we’ll be working on, here are some pics of us making necklaces from t-shirts:

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So, what is Philly Swap? It’s a huge clothing swap complete with sewing machines and workshops, so that you can embellish and re-create all those fabulous finds.

Here’s the back story: In 2005, the Swap-O-Rama-Rama was created as an event to offer alternatives to consumerism.  Its creator and founder, Wendy Tremayne, saw an opportunity to showcase the creative talents of local artists and DIY specialists through recycling clothing and textiles while addressing consumerism head on.  Since then Swap-O-Rama-Rama has reached an international level with clothing swaps happening in cities like Istanbul, Jerusalem, Panama City, and hundreds of others.  Through the sponsorship from the New York Foundation of the Arts the program obtained its status as a 501.3C giving it a non-profit status.  A Creative Commons License protects the Swap-O-Rama-Rama while allowing the event to continue to be affordable and open to the public.

For three years (2008-2010) the Philadelphia Sewing Collective held the Philly Swap here in Philadelphia.  New producers have now stepped forward to relaunch the Philly Swap in Spring of 2012.

Photo Recap: Fish Puppet Mania Workshop at Shadfest!

Shadfest Fish Puppet Mania!
Saturday April 28th, 2012

Workshop Leaders:
Ellen K. Bonett
Steve Valerio, Jr.

Shad Fish has been a part of Philadelphia’s history for over 200 years. To celebrate the annual shad run, Handmade Philly provided a workshop for families in which fish puppets were made from envelopes and foam. Both forms were well received, and the children had a blast! Thanks to all of those who came out and supported our first and most likely not last attempt to provide this fun filled activity!

Some interesting facts about shad:

http://phillywatersheds.org/weve-been-shad

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Gift Guide: Celebrate Spring!

Though I am a solid winter girl at heart, I do get a thrill at the changing of the seasons. And of course, the start of baseball season helps to ease my tears when the snow begins to melt. So celebrate the season with an item (or two!) from the Handmade Philly repertoire.

Nothing says spring quite like this sweet skirt from Chloe & Boo.

Love love love these deep blue earrings from Wydinya. Looking forward to a clear blue spring sky to match!

Pick up these great little snowflake soaps from Lillian’s Apothecary just in case all the snow melts before you get to enjoy it.

There’s nothing like warming up with some tea during the blustery winter months though for spring you may want to  swap out your actual tea for this painting by K Vanvliet.

Though it is getting warmer, the snow’s not gone yet! Wooly Baby has some lovely booties for your little one who’s itching to get outside and run.

If your green thumb is a bit like mine (brown?), opt for Pigeons in the Attic’s version of a flower pot instead.

If you’re as excited about upcoming bounty of fruits and vegetables, you’ll flip for PragyaK’s delightful carrot print.

Klaatu Collection’s juicy ring is the perfect way to get spring’s colors into your accessories now.

Get prepared for your garden’s bounty with Fabrik’s reusable produce bags.

Earth Mother Mosaics’ coasters are like a little slice of citrus fruit any time of the year.

Spring is wedding season and almost any bride would love the addition of this necklace from d’Olivia Jewelry on their special day.

In anticipation of even the bugs that will be headed our way in the next few months, pick up one of these adorable onesies from Super de Duper.

Have a little bit of spring any day of the year with this sweet little tray from Insitu Decorative Arts.

With all of these items and the many more not featured, I’m sure you can find a way to celebrate the coming of spring!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

Tuesday Tutorial ~ Natural Egg Dying

 

It’s official- spring has sprung, and egg dying season is upon us.  Growing up, we always purchased food coloring kits, but if you’d like to try something a little more traditional, then please read on.  Natural dyes do take a little longer than their chemical counterparts, but I think the results are worth it. 

I like the idea that dying eggs can be safe for the environment, both by using natural elements as well as less packaging, while also paying homage to how I imagine our ancestors must have done it.  For this tutorial, I have also included a stencil technique if you’d like to add an additional layer of interest to your eggs.  

Let’s start with the beets, which will turn your eggs anywhere from pale pink to deep red-violet, depending on how long you leave them in the dye bath.  I boiled two cups of chopped beets with two cups of water, 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 1 T of salt .  I am told the eggs come out better when the dye mixture is hot, and since you have to hard boil them anyway, you can just put them all into the pot together & boil for 15 minutes.  After that, remove from heat, and leave the eggs in the mixture until desired shade is achieved.  I left mine in for several hours, and this is what I got: 

 

Since the natural dyes leave the eggs somewhat dull, you can polish them when they’re dry with a little bit of oil.  As you can see from the photo, the oil polish (I used canola) also deepens the color quite a bit.  For the egg on the left, I tried tying rubber bands around it to give it more texture.  For the one on the right, I used wild strawberry leaves as a stencil.  

To achieve the stencilling effect, gather whatever materials you think would make an interesting pattern on your egg.  I went out in my backyard and gathered the following: 

 

Next, you will need some old nylon stockings.  Cut off the feet so you have a little bag big enough for the egg with room to tie it off.  Place the egg inside, with whatever material you are using for a stencil.  I tried to flatten the leaves out against the egg surface as best as possible, but it is a little tricky, and I liked the randomness of it anyway.  Then, tie off the open end of your stockings as tightly as possible with either a rubber band or a knot, and you should have something that looks like this: 

 

From there, you just put it in your dye bath until you’re ready to remove it.  Here are how some of my other eggs turned out: 

 

Boil one head of chopped cabbage for about 30 minutes.  Strain the liquid, and add ¼ cup white vinegar and ¼ cup of salt and your eggs so they are covered.  Not only will the eggs turn a beautiful shade of blue, but you can see the difference between leaving them in the dye bath for several hours vs. about an hour (bottom eggs).

 

For the turmeric eggs, I boiled one cup of water with 1 T. turmeric, 1 T. white vinegar, and 1 T. salt.  I transferred the mixture to dye cups & immersed my eggs for only about an hour.  

 

2 cups yellow onion skins boiled with 2 cups water, 1T. vinegar, & 1 T. salt.  I wrapped the one on the right in onion skins with nylon over top, and it came out with a really cool marbled texture. 

I haven’t personally tried these, but here are some other natural elements that you can experiment with.  Just remember to add the vinegar so the dye sticks to the eggs: 

Blue:                      

Canned blueberries, red cabbage (boiled), purple grape juice 
 
 Brown or beige: 
 
Black coffee, instant coffee, walnut shells (boiled), black tea
 
Green: 
 
Spinach (boiled), liquid chlorophyll
 
Orange:
 
Yellow onion skins (boiled), carrots (boiled), paprika(boiled) 
 
Pink:
 
Beets, cranberries or juice, raspberries
 
Red:
  
Lots of red onion skins (boiled), pomegranate juice, raspberries
 
Violet or purple: 
 
Violet blossoms, hibiscus tea, sm. amount of red onion skins (boiled)
 
Yellow: 
 
Orange or lemon skins (boiled), carrot tops (boiled), chamomile tea, ground turmeric (boiled), ground cumin (boiled), celery seed (boiled), green tea 
 
Posted by Lauren Meakim of Gigglepotamus 
 
 

 

Spring Flowering

Just a wee bit of color pushing through the wintry landscape…perhaps a tinge of gold at peel of a birch, a glimmer of purple-hued crocus sparkling on the forest floor, dewy moss casting a brilliant green to the edge of a creek, or the whisper of a snow drop petal’s sweet welcome. All of these things bring a feeling of renewal, revitalization, and quiet awakening as we emerge from our wintry dens to feel the balmy new breezes of springtime. In perusing the artistic coffers of Philadelphia artisans, I found the following gold-tinged blossoming gems. That delicate eruption of color from the milky whites and frothy cream is enough to remind me that warmth is nigh, even if I still have to pull my hood up over my head for a few more weeks.

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These absolutely stunning fairy wings are the exquisite, careful work of Rebecca Dixon, proprietor of etsy shop, Up from the Ashes I just hope that one day I can become the owner of one of these accessories to fantasy delight!

Grace Christie's lovely 'Rain' earrings

Grace Christie's lovely 'Rain' earrings

No one can deny the striking beauty of Grace Christie’s bejeweled creations. Like the afternoon sunlight filtering through a light spring drizzle, these earrings sparkle with a many hued light. You can find Grace Christie at her etsy site of the same name.

Sew Fragrant's Little Birdie

Sew Fragrant's Little Birdie

A delightful touch of whimsy for the Easter Basket, the Baby Shower, or any other event that delivers – in hushed tones, perhaps – spring growth, new growth, little birdie growth and happily, the arrival of little ones. Philly artisan, Patti, gives us all the chance to offer such sweet gifts at her shop Sew Fragrant.

SayHiBeth's adorable vintage magnets

SayHiBeth's adorable vintage magnets

What says ‘spring’ more than the hurry of little girls to begin skipping rope outside. I might not be little, but it seems pretty appealing to me! And I will say that for the two and a half year olds like my daughter, nothing is more appealing than getting out of doors at long last. And for such joyous weather! Say Hi Beth’s etsy shop is full of all kinds of wonderful vintage magnet sets. It won’t be long before some of these adorn my own fridge.

Harvest Sky Ring

Harvest Sky Ring

I know, I know, the name of this ring is “Harvest Sky” but who can mistake that clear blue of springtime, the golden branches merely a hold over from winter bareness, their silhouettes bathed in the hazy light following a light shower? Well, I can pretend. Isn’t that the glory of art? We see what we want to see. My stepmother already wears one of Dierdre Ryan’s photo rings, and many more can be found at her etsy shop, blackbird72.

Jen McCleary's picture postcard

Jen McCleary's picture postcard

For someone who delights in collage, Jen McCleary seems to have no end to the creative expanses of her imagination. Her artwork jewelry pieces are completely original and beautiful to behold, especially in person. And what’s this? Wonderful postcard prints of her collaged art pieces. And for a dollar? Astounding. Sign me up! And you, too, dear reader, should visit her shop for more. Find her at etsy under the name JenMcCleary

New springtime creations are all around us! Look for us locally area events, including the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and the Fishtown Shad Fest for new, interesting, and endlessly creative creations.

Lilith's Apothecary glycerin soaps

Lilith's Apothecary glycerin soaps

Sarah Powell, is a medical anthropologist, herbalist, crafter, and the sole proprietor of the natural bath, body & herbal tea business, Lilith’s Apothecary.