featured crafter – beth hartman-peters – the bird & elephant

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Hey everybody! We hope you are all having a happy and craftastic summer. Our latest featured crafter is Beth Hartman-Peters of The Bird & Elephant. This curious moniker might ring a bell to those who have coveted or purchased Beth’s handmade children’s clothing and toys, and more recently, her adult clothing. Whether it’s a teething ring, plush tee pee, bib, or tank top, the quality of Beth’s handiwork and her keen eye for striking fabrics and designs is undeniable. Beth relocated back to Lynchburg, Virginia  from Nashville, Tennessee after earning a BFA in Photography. Her creative roots stretch way back, though, down a long line of people who work with their hands. It’s nice to think that the quilters and seamstresses, painters and drawers, gardeners, welders, woodworkers, and bakers in Beth’s family played a part in the formation of her creative spirit, and Beth poignantly expresses this connection in the recent interview we had with her. Read on to learn more about this neat human being.

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How did you get started?

There was this little thing called ‘nesting’, combined with the birth of my first babe, Elijah, and a longing to find comfort and calm in my new role as mom, all the while being many miles from family. I found that doing handwork (sewing) reconnected me to my memories of my own childhood, and my grandma, whom I loved and missed dearly. So, I started sewing, crocheting and knitting little things for my son before he was born. I wanted to give him a few special pieces I hoped he would someday cherish. And, I was hooked! I started making appliques from the random sketches in my journals, learning what worked and what didn’t. I began making so many of these little hand-embroidered appliqued one piece bodysuits (1z’s) that I decided to try and sell a few at local art & craft fairs. I had given up my full-time position at an art college as a photo department manager, so I needed to find a way to make an income from home so I could be with my son. And things evolved from there. I’d like to say that I was/am a bit of a tomboy, so this sewing thing really caught me by surprise.

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Where do you find inspiration?

The fabrics inspire me, and of course my children. I was/am very interested in human development from the beginning years. When I was about 8 (give or take), my nephew (then 11 months), had his first open-heart surgery. I remember my sister brought home this notecard that had doodles in red and black ink, made by a nurse to help comfort him. I made something similar for Elijah when he was a newborn and it did soothe him. I looked more into sensory development and human development to better understand what my little one may be experiencing, to try and understand how he may be feeling. It really helped with my parenting and I try to incorporate those concepts into my work, like visual movement & contrast in my blocks.

I’m also heavily inspired by colors found in nature and southwest folk art (hence the new sugar skull blocks)!

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What’s your studio playlist?

That depends on the mood. I definitely rely on my Pandora stations to drive a feel home. I find that I work best and have less uh-ohs when I’m listening to music without lyrics and more of a meditative sound. Currently:

Rufus Cappadocia

American Native prayer

Buddhist Monks

A little reggae, DJ Shadow,

Old Crow Medicine Show, for days when I really need to get moving

I also love The Cure (Fascination Street, love the bass), Moby, The Clash, and listening to the Charlottesville College Radio Station. I do listen to NPR throughout the day, too.

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Where is your studio?

My studio is one of the bedrooms in my house. It’s the perfect size, with great windows and built in shelving and dresser with a desk top for my computer. It’s so awesome to be able to work on something new, photograph it a few feet away, tether my camera to my computer and check exposures, etc. I have never been so lucky with studio/shop space! When I need to screen print, I take over the kitchen/dining area when the kids are away or late at night after everyone is asleep. But once we finish renovating the 1st floor, we’re going to do some work on the basement so I can have a really nice print shop there (and of course my husband will get his band room/recoding space, too).

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

I sketch, pick out new fabrics, or watch documentaries on other artists and crafters. Sometimes I start with the fabrics and a pair of scissors to see what opens up. I also rummage through my old bins full of reject prints, etc and see if anything strikes a nerve. And when I’m really anxious about coming up with new ideas, I take a drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway, maybe do some hiking or splashing in the creeks with my kids. Getting out of the studio environment is definitely great for sparking new ideas.

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Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind.

I love documentaries, especially about arts & crafts (Art 21, Arts & Crafts in America). I also love glass blowing, so I’m super excited to see videos about glass artists like Dale Chihuly and there was another called Degenerate Art that I really liked. And PBS is great, too. When I work, I watch Netflix. I get on kicks. I watched The Tudors and have since been very much into movies about the monarchies, social classes…period pieces. I can’t say that I’m a fan of big movies or tv shows (our tv is still in storage). I rarely have time to read, so I’m not a big blog follower and I gave up reading anything that requires my strict attention.

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You have a time machine. What place in time would you choose?

This may sound boring, but honestly, I’d like to go back to the time when I was around 8, back to my grandma’s sewing room where I would find her sewing on an old pedal Singer. I loved the sound of the air pushing from the machine, the smell of the machine oil, and the way my grandmother’s hands would gently stop the metal wheel to reposition the needle. Both calming and meditative, I would just sit quietly running my hands through a large tin of buttons, dividing them by color, size, texture, and shape. I sometimes would sit and help both grandparents with hand-quilting. We would all sit around the large frame and chit chat.

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Share a recipe – bonus points if there’s a story behind it.

Okay, so I have this horrible thing called Alpha-gal and I’m allergic to mammalian meat (thank you tick bite!). I’m also allergic to milk/dairy and tomatoes!!!! My in-laws are always asking me what I eat, as if the only foods to eat contain those ingredients. Luckily, a close friend is Vietnamese and she taught me all about cooking in that style. And, I love those flavors. We don’t have a real stove/oven right now and I’ve mastered cooking on a 2 burner, but I am limited to cooking styles. So lately, I’ve been trying various grilling recipes and the one here is amazing! I think I’m making a big dish of this to take to the next family gathering of in-laws.

Grilled Thai Shrimp (Emeril lagasse)

Ingredients
24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deviened
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
4 tablespoons sriracha sauce (I used a garlic chili paste instead)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste (omitted it as I can’t find any here)
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 (6 or 8-inch) bamboo skewers
Vegetable oil, for oiling grill

Directions
Place the shrimp in a large, 1-gallon re-sealable food storage plastic bag. Place the rest of the ingredients (coconut milk through salt) in a non-reactive medium bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the marinade over the shrimp and seal in the bag. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally to ensure even marinating. Soak bamboo skewers in warm water while you marinade the shrimp.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and skewer 4 per skewer and set aside. Brush the grill lightly with a bit of vegetable oil and place the shrimp on the grill. Cook the shrimp for 3 minutes, basting with the marinade as it cooks, then turn and cook for an additional 3 minutes, while basting, on the second side. Serve while hot.

Found here:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/thai-marinated-skewered-and-grilled-jumbo-shrimp-recipe.print.html

What’s your dream project – if you had all the time and materials in the world?

I want to eventually design my own fabrics so I can fully brand my work and eventually have it manufactured in the US so I can do more creative planning, hand over the patterns and explore new things (pottery, glass blowing, travel, woodworking, anything to do with metals, jewelry…..) I love doing large scale pinhole photographs, and at some point, I hope to pick up on a project I started a while ago and maybe get back into some gallery shows. I loved organizing pop-up secret shows and would love to do some here.

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What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?

I have two creative sides: the fine artist/photographer/installation conceptual artist and the one who creates for the B+E, so my influences are vastly different. For the B+E side, I think Andy Goldsworthy is a big influence. His dedication to the process of the making is amazing and as zen-like as the final photograph. And of course I love the makers of the past: quilters, wood turners, furniture makers, seamstresses, potters. They created such amazing pieces. My first (and only) graphic design instructor was big on the KISS: keep it simple stupid. KISS is the one thing that I remind myself when creating new things, and I think that has been a huge influence in my work.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Introvert

Thinker

DIYer

compassionate

mom

Tell us something funny that happened recently.

Everyday there’s something funny, but I don’t know if others would get the humor. One of the funniest things that is recurring is the change in my 3 yo daughter’s voice when she’s trying to get our attention. She has a tiny little voice with the lispy, rolly letters, but when she’s trying to get our attention, her voice turns into this loud, very clear, Bostonian sounding manly voice: “Hey guys!” Wish I could attach sound to this.

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How do you find balance?

Crow pose? Yoga is a huge help, both physically and mentally, like remembering to breathe deeply when things get hectic. But balance?  My husband and I are blazing a trail as we go. We are learning what works and doesn’t. We remind each other daily to take time with our kids, because our kids are growing fast and we want good, solid, love-filled memories for them. It’s hard, but it’s getting better. We do eat really good, healthy foods, and when we fall off that wagon, we do notice a drop in our organization and a serious loss of balance. We’re getting ready to do a basic detox, so I hope to get things recharged really soon (I have a big project with new ideas I hope to release in time for Fall and my husband will be a big part of the production….fingers crossed!)

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

Why, yes!

The Bird + Elephant evolved from a PBS Nature show on elephants. Aside from the baby ele cuteness, I became fixated on the birds perched on the ele’s backs. Not just the birds, but the relationship between the bird and the ele, I guess it’s the conceptual artist in me. The sight was very calming and just beautiful (I was pregnant and overly weepy at this time). To me, the elephant provided safety for the bird and perhaps a new way of seeing the world, in much the same way that my Elijah opened my eyes to a new way of feeling. The Bird and Elephant just seemed perfect as it represented my love and affection for Elijah and the new relationship we created. I would have never started this business if it had not been for him. Actually, I don’t think I had a direction in my life until I became a mom. (Sidenote: Elijah pointed out the other day that B = Beth Bird and E = Elijah Elephant….preschoolers!)

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What’s your typical day?

Wake with 2 kiddos snuggling. COFFEE, feed kids, kid crafts while I fix their breakfast or while I eat and fix my coffee and check esty for sales/convos/emails. Outside time (weather permitting), they play in the pool (2 foot tiny inflatable) and I tend to my little garden. Lunchtime, then kids have quiet time (reading, learning games, free play), naptime, maybe for 3 yr old. Afternoon they get to watch a show or 2, or play pbskids.org or something. Dinner. Bathtime. Storytime. 9 pm might be the 1st time I really get to sew. (these are summer hours, btw).

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We’re handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Vietnam &/or Thailand

What’s your favorite local haunt?

Home

What advice to do you have for other crafty businessfolk?

Embrace downtime! Use that time to tidy up, start new ideas, etc.

Love what you do! (golden rule?) Because making something you don’t like over and over again is the biggest drive killer.

This business takes heart. When I first began in this, I was a bit uncertain what I wanted to do, how to do it, and I experimented a lot.

The bulk/case price might look tempting, but don’t take the plunge when you’re first trying new things out. Do a couple samples, get feedback, then take the plunge if the demand says go. I know a lot of people who went over their heads because the case price was cheap, but they ended up with boxes of unwanted stuff.

If you’d like to follow Beth’s work, check out her Etsy shop and her Facebook page.

april featured crafter – marley ungaro

 

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Well, hello! April just flew right by but we have just enough time to end this month on a lively note. Marley Ungaro is our featured crafter for the month of April, and quite fittingly so. Her work epitomizes the best parts of spring -renewal, color, excitement, positivity, and life. Marley uses a variety of mediums, including paper, acrylics, and watercolors, to create detailed and vibrant works of art. Her colorful depictions of animals are favorites at Kitsch. Whether on pillows, onesies, kitchen towels, bags, or prints these adorable creatures have so much personality they seem to come to life the longer you look at them. Marley is a loving mother of two, who also happen to have the creative gene. In fact, we are lucky enough to carry some of the cute and clever greeting cards Marley created with her kids. Everything Marley makes is infectiously positive, and big surprise, so is she. To learn more about this super talented lady, read our fun little interview with her!

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How did you get started?

I wanted to be a stay-at-home-Mom when my daughter was born (over 15 years ago), so I kept busy being a wife, Mom, and creative soul, by starting my own company from home. I started taking on commission work from family and friends, which carried over to word-of-mouth work. I started designing and manufacturing my own art calendar and note card line in 2004 and have kept it going (with a decent following) ever since. I’ve added a “Mommy & Me” line that includes my children’s art and our collaborative work. I still do commission work on the side, along with design work, and many other odd artsy jobs.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in SO many things. I work from home, so I live in a beautiful home that has become a work of art itself. I am inspired daily by my surroundings. I love to work in the yard and gardens, so nature constantly inspires me. Everything around me is beautiful and has some artistic movement to it!

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What’s your studio playlist?

When I paint on canvas with my acrylics, I love listening to Italian guitar music, or music from movie soundtracks like Memoirs of a Geisha or Out of Africa. It really depends on what I’m painting or my mood. Honestly, when I’m working in my studio and pressing towels, I usually have on a favorite TV show, like my new favorite from the BBC, The Paradise. Oh! The clothes and the setting are so beautiful!

Where is your studio?

My studio (in this home) is in our garage. I have an office inside the home. I took over my husband’s garage; and he built on to the shed outside in the back yard. I have a wonderful large space and just added some huge vintage wood cabinets from an old suit-makers shop from Newport News. They are fabulous and perfect for my fabrics and all of my paper supplies.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

Honestly, I am rarely ever in a creative rut. With creative children at home, I’m constantly listening to their creative thoughts and find myself having to learn how to organize my creative thoughts instead of digging myself out of a rut!

Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind.

I do watch a lot of good TV (and good movies, when there is one). I LOVE old Doris Day movies. I love the clothes, the furniture, the clean language! I also love period pieces, like The Tudors or The Borgias. We actually made my son a huge castle from that time period with real hardwood floors. It has a real drawbridge, loomed rugs, and a wizards room with bottles of potion lining a wall shelf.

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You have a time machine. What place in time would you choose?

Seeing as I adore the 16th Century…what do you think?

Share a recipe – bonus points if there’s a story behind it.

Black Bean Salsa

Party Favorite…every time!

11 oz can sweet & white corn mixed, drained

15 oz can black beans, washed & drained

11 oz can mandarin oranges (reserve juice)

1/2 orange pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

4 green onions, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup RED WINE VINEGARETTE by Wishbone

Cilantro to taste

Mix & add reserve orange liquid.  Serve with nacho chips!

*I usually triple or even quadruple this recipe so I can keep some at home for the family (kids love it too).  Go ahead and use a whole pepper where it calls for half, even if you are making a single recipe.

The story behind this recipe…I usually make this recipe for parties, or for my art home shows. I have so many people ask me about this recipe that I actually put it with one of my pieces of artwork and printed it on towels to sell. If they wanted the recipe, they’d have to buy a towel!

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What’s your dream project – if you had all the time and materials in the world?

My dream project would be to build or renovate a Frank Lloyd Wright home on a large open space looking over the water…with a small vineyard somewhere nearby. That’s not asking too much.

What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?

I love Frida Kahlo and her work. Paul Gauguin has always impressed me.  I am attracted to the works of Amedeo Modigliani. I also like many artists that are living that are close friends. The list is too long. God is my creative idol!

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Describe yourself in 5 words.

I am…happy, loving, driven, joyful and encouraging.

Describe your work in 5 words.

My work is…colorful, happy, whimsical, unique, and diverse.

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Tell us something funny that happened recently.

My 11 year-old son and I were at Lowes buying gardening supplies. He saw a bag with insects on it. He asked what “that” was. I told him it was a grub. I explained that they lived in the ground and they could actually bite, or pinch. Later that day, we are digging a hole to plant a beautiful weeping cherry tree over our koi pond. I said, “Look, Grey…a grub!” He instantly starts screaming like a 4 year old little girl, with his hands clinched next to his face and his knees marching up in the air like he’s river dancing on speed! I just stood there looking at him…”What in the WORLD is wrong with you!” He ran off screaming and crying. He never got within more than 3 feet of that daggon’ grub. That was funny.

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How do you find balance?

I spend most of my ‘free’ time with my family and keep a very open communication with them. They are my biggest support system. This keeps me very balanced.

Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

My company name is MY name, so there really isn’t a story behind the name; however, the logo has a heart in it. There is a story there. Many years ago, I started seeing hearts everywhere I went. Mainly in nature: bushes, trees, the sky, the concrete, etc. To me, it’s always been a constant reminder, from God, that He is watching me and is proud of me…that I’m doing the things I’m suppose to be doing. I’m encouraged even more when I see those hearts!

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What’s your typical day?

Oh my…I check to see what orders I need to ship off from my Etsy store. I check my email to see what my stores need (I have several stores that carry my things), so I’ll make sure I have all of the supplies I need for the week. For example, if I need to press 100 towels for a store, I have to make sure I print out the designs, cut them out, heat the press, fold the towels (while I wait for the press to heat up), press each towel, tie my ribbons and tags on each towel (or bag them), price them (for some stores), and check them off of my inventory list. I have to make sure I have enough ink, paper, towels, etc. for the following week or month. This is just one order, for one store. I have art shows, and many other stores or orders to fill. And that’s just for towels. I have prints, note cards, canvas totes, pillows, art maps, laminated placemats, art journals, and several other products that I love working with. I do work from home, so I make sure my home is kept up as well. I have lots of pets that I tend to (another inspiration), so that also keeps me busy each day.

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We’re handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

My gorgeous hubby and I are going to Italy! Finally!

What advice to do you have for other crafty businessfolk?

1-      Be your own boss. Go into business for yourself (if you can).

2-      Make sure you are doing something unique. These days, everyone thinks they can be crafty, so the craft sites are oversaturated with so many trying to do ‘it.’ If you do have something unique, then GO FOR IT!

3-      Take time researching online for the best prices for your supplies. Don’t be afraid to ask other crafters for their advice. I have had several people ask me where I got ‘this’ or ‘that’ and I am happy to share. I would hope someone would share with me if I needed help!

4-      Make sure you are truly supported by your loved one(s) before you get started. That’s the best secret to success!

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These questions are silly. I’m going to tell you something else…

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” The golden rule actually ROCKS!

Thanks for letting me share with you!

xoxo, Marley Ungaro

www.mungaro.com

You can also follow Marley’s work on her Facebook page!

march featured crafter — laura fisher — prayer monkey

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Hello All!

So we’re cutting it a little close, but this month’s featured crafter is Laura Fisher of Prayer Monkey! Laura is a masterful tamer of wire -bending, twisting, and turning it every which way into beautiful jewelry and home decor. Many a customer stares in awe at her work, wondering how she coaxes the tiny, delicate wire into such intricate patterns. All decide she must be a patient woman. Patient she is, and wonderfully kind too. It comes as no surprise that Laura is also a skilled gardener, with a degree in landscape design. She’s doing some pretty awesome things with her green thumb, but we won’t give it away. If you’d like to learn more about this intriguing woman, read on, friends, read on…

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Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Laura and my company is called PrayerMonkey. I live on the south side of Richmond with my husband, two dogs, and four cats. In addition to having my own crafty business, we have an urban farm called Citygarden on the reclaimed vacant lots situated next to our house. Most of what we grow is for our own consumption but we do provide hard to find veggies and herbs for a few Richmond restaurants. Generally, we barter our goods for such things as delicious loaves of bread. I also recently joined the Richmond Craft Mafia. I’m pretty excited about that.

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How did you get started?

I started crocheting with yarn when I was 8 and had broken my arm right before summer break. They needed a way to keep me occupied, so a babysitter taught me how to crochet. Much later on, after suffering a knee injury that pretty much ended my horticultural career, I decided to start crocheting with wire to see if I could make a living that way.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in many places. I like fiddling with traditional crochet patterns and seeing how they translate into wire crochet. I think my degree in landscape design helps me with symmetry and color. Planning a layout for a garden bed isn’t too different for me than planning a layout for a necklace.

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What’s your studio playlist?

Hmmm…My musical taste is all over the place and so is my playlist. Gary Numan, Sparks, Thee Oh Sees, Grinderman, Baxter Dury, Dan Deacon, Magazine, Buke and Gase…

Where is your studio?

I work out of my home. I usually do my crocheting in the living room. I have a good seat with lots of light in there. It also allows me to watch old movies while I am crocheting. I do have a studio proper in a spare bedroom where I put my pieces together and handle all the other aspects of the business. My dining room table is my photography studio.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

If I’m in a creative rut, I try to take my mind off it by going to the gym and just blanking out or taking a nap which is sort of my way of meditating. Having the garden outside is great because I can pull weeds or plant a plant. Anything to divert my attention from the task at hand, even for a little while, makes all the difference.

You have a time machine. What place in time would you choose?

Europe during the world wars would be kind of cool. Seeing how people lived during that type of war time. How they coped with it. Also, maybe 1970’s NYC during the advent of punk rock.

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What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?

Ruth Asawa and Blanka Sperkova are both amazing wire artists. Saffron Johns is a woman in Bulgaria that makes the cutest wire crochet jewelry that never fails to make me smile.

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

Why, yes there is! When I was a gardener for the city of Richmond, I found a statue of a monkey in a fez, reading a book, in a tree in one of the parks I took care of. I took it back to the shop with me and one of the guys asked me if the statue was one of those prayer monkeys. I wasn’t quite sure what a prayer monkey was supposed to be but I liked the name.

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What’s your favorite local haunt?

I’m not sure I really have a favorite haunt. There is a dive bar down the street from me called The Forest that my friend and I meet at once in a while for “Tots and Bloodys”. We eat tater tots and drink big girl Bloody Marys and blow off steam. The waitresses call you “Hon” there.

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What advice to do you have for other crafty businessfolk?

I could offer so many different nuggets…I guess one of the important things is to be serious about your business if it is a business. If you are being crafty as a hobby, that is one thing but remember, once you take it into the professional realm, many things change. You really do have to step up your game in every way possible; a good product, clean pictures, and a tight image.

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Well that’s all she wrote! If you’d like to see more of Laura’s work and all the amazing things she can do, peruse her Etsy shop, and become a Facebook fan. She is working on a pretty nifty blog too!

february featured crafter – lindsay mays of silent orchid studio

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Hey there, friends! This month’s featured crafter is another one of our very first at the shop, Lindsay Mays, of Silent Orchid Studio. We are particularly proud of this talented woman as she was recently featured in Art Doll Quarterly Magazine. Lindsay’s meticulously detailed plush toys are truly works of art. Her playful and nostalgic interpretations of sideshow freaks, cult classic and folkloric figures never fail to conjure smiles and curious admiration. In fact, Lindsay’s work has earned quite the following at Kitsch, particularly during the holidays -we can’t seem to keep her Krampus ornaments on the shelves! We’re so glad Lindsay chose to share her work with us, and it’s about time we learned some more fun facts about this quirky gal. Check out our interview with her as well as some links to keep up with her awesome work!

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How did you get started?

My mom taught me to sew when I was little. In 2007 I started making plush toys for fun, robots and monsters and other things I couldn’t find in stores. I posted them in my online gallery and people started asking for their own. A couple of years later I made it my full time business.

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Where do you find inspiration?

Old movies (especially horror and sci-fi films,) illustrations from vintage children’s books, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. Sometimes just wandering around flea markets or thrift shops and finding weird vintage nick knacks and pretty old fabrics will spark something.

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What’s your studio playlist?

Right now I’m listening to Amanda Palmer, Siouxsie Sioux, Pinataland, and Nouvelle Vague. I also love the podcast Welcome to Night Vale.

Where is your studio?

I work out of my apartment in the Ghent neighborhood in Norfolk…not far from Kitsch :) My place is tiny, so my studio is also my living room. But I have enough room for my desk, sewing machine, and my craft supply stash. A lot of my work is spread out on the floor.

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Favorite blog/movie/TV show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind.

Mystery Science Theater 3000. It always helps to clear my head and put me in a good mood. For inspiration, I love Tumblr. It’s kind of addictive and I always find something cool and interesting.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

Shouldn’t that be “when?”

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What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?

Wayne White (painter, sculptor, puppeteer, animator) is one of my idols. He does everything and has so much creative energy, I would love to be able to work like he does. Mister Finch, a fiber artist who makes amazing soft sculpture animals from antique textiles. Mary Blair, who did concept art for Disney and illustrated children’s books.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

quiet, geeky, goth, maker, collector

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Describe your work in 5 words.

Soft and cute, but weird.

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What’s your favorite local haunt?

The Naro Theater and Naro Video. I’m a movie geek, so Naro Video is my Mecca. And sitting in the theater’s balcony watching a film (new or old) is one of my favorite things.

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Lindsay and her fiance, Justin

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Art Doll Quarterly Magazine Feature

Well that’s all folks! If you can’t get enough of Lindsay’s work, follow her on Tumblr and Facebook, or peruse her Etsy shop.

why take a class at kitsch?!

There are a million reasons to take a class at Kitsch and we just thought we’d name a few. Peruse this delightful list (in no particular order), get inspired, and register for a class today

You can reunite with your kid self for some good old-fashioned arts and crafts.

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Sometimes it’s nice to forget about your worries and focus on creating something beautiful for a while.

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Whether you’re new to the area, or just looking to expand your friend horizons, classes are a great way to meet other creative people -and creative people are nice.

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It feels pretty darn good to say, “I made that.”

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Classes are an opportunity to surprise and challenge yourself.

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Craft is art and art is therapy.

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Kid-friendly classes are an enriching way to get a break from your little ones and for your little ones to get a break from you.

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Craft classes are for girls AND boys!

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For all you menfolk, craft classes are an unconventional way to meet some women or bond with the woman in your life.

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You can finally complete that project you found on Pinterest.

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Because a communal crafting session can lead to amazing new ideas.

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So are you ready to sign up for a class? We hope so! We post our schedule all over the place, including our blog, Facebook page, and flyers scattered through out the neighborhood. Stop by the shop or call 757-961-9855 to register today! Gift cards for classes make great gifts too!

january featured crafter – richard dooling – wood turner

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Well hello there, friends! We hope your 2014 has gotten off to an excellent start. Once again, Kitsch is getting a bit of a makeover and is looking mighty fine. In the midst of beautifying the shop and replenishing our very depleted post-holiday inventory, we took some time to learn more about talented wood turner, Richard Dooling. This charming and funny fellow is responsible for the beautiful, hand-turned, hardwood bud vases and bottle toppers we just recently began selling. The graceful curves of Richard’s pieces are a testament to this man’s mastery over and respect for organic materials. His bold color choices and often playful shapes make these eye-catching pieces the perfect addition to Kitsch’s crafty arsenal. If you’d like to know more about this craftsman, take a moment to admire Richard’s work and read the lovely little interview we had with him.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in natural forms and that’s part of what originally brought me to working with wood. I also find inspiration in the work of other artists and artisans. The Internet is an amazing resource for ideas and techniques.

What’s your studio playlist?

Jazz, classical, rock – you name it. I listen to a lot of NPR including Jae Sinnett, Paul Shugrue and This American Life. I have hearing protection on so much that often it’s just silent and I’m good with that.

Where is your studio?

I have a small shop overlooking the water. The view is great! It’s about the size of a one-car garage so it’s tight but it works.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

Just go into the shop and do something – anything.

When I headed a business art department and one of the artists was having a hard time with a project I used to say, “Do what you know and then see where you are.” Sometimes the rut is simple inertia so I just get moving.

There’s always something that needs to be done in the shop and I usually come up with other ideas once I’m out there. I often just put a piece of wood in the lathe and start turning. Sometimes having no predetermined direction can reveal new and unexpected avenues.

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Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind?

I don’t go to a particular book but rather typically choose either philosophy, science or escapist fiction to re-charge.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

Forward!

What’s your dream project – if you had all the time and materials in the world?

I would like to build all the furniture in a house of my own design.

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What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?

There are so many great woodworkers that I can’t say I have any particular idols. Maybe it’s more like I have too many idols. I am especially drawn to contemporary design as well as the Arts and Crafts movement.

My first interests were in drawing and painting and those influences are the foundation for what I consider to be aesthetically pleasing.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

My wife offered up: smart, funny, tenacious, detailed, engaging

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Describe your work in 5 words.

Meticulous, whimsical, organic, textural, tactile

Tell us something funny that happened recently.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum . . .

How do you find balance?

That’s what the shop does for me. I’m not a happy camper when I go too long with no shop time.

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

I’m in the process of getting my site up but the name is 7 SIDEWALKS. It’s a reference to an idea I have about making a living from multiple sources rather than one main job. The number 7 is meaningful in many contexts and it feels inclusive to me.

What’s your typical day?

Atypical.

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We’re handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Paris, France. There’s an awful lot of art I haven’t seen and a lot of food to be eaten. Something that struck me when I visited Paris is that it is a city of neighborhoods. It exists on a human scale with no massive skyscrapers dwarfing everything else.

What’s your favorite local haunt?

My wife and I like going out with friends to try new restaurants. Good food, good wine and good conversation makes a great evening. We have a few places we go to occasionally but we don’t go anywhere exclusively.

december featured crafter – ashley grove of fairview place

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This month’s featured crafter is the multi-talented Ashley Grove of Fairview Place. This little lady’s charmingly detailed felt food look good enough to eat and her brooches add a touch of bohemian class to any outfit. Ashley also has a keen eye for crafty treasures, particularly paper ephemera, which she fashions into unique greeting cards. Kitsch’s craft supply section is filled with many of her fabulous finds. Not only is Ashley a talented crafter, she’s an amazing graphic designer and community activist. She was instrumental in the planning of Better Block and even designed the awesome map guides for both events. We are happy to know Ashley and to sell her creations in our shop. Get to know Ashley and read this mini interview!

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Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! Thrift stores, estate sales, a walk in a new area of town, blogs, talking with other creatives, children, my failed (and successful) art attempts, cemeteries, traveling, vintage books, magazines, maps and anything printed. I am an absolute pack rat, so I hoard all kinds of treasures even if I don’t need them at the moment. Weeks, months or years later, I find them and am completely inspired all over again.

 What’s your studio playlist?

Anything from Jay-Z to the Beach Boys, Against Me! to The Black Keys. I have also recently started all the Cheers episodes (thanks, Netflix), which is absolutely amazing.

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Where is your studio?

My boyfriend was gracious enough to give me the guest bedroom of our new home use as my studio (even though he’s the one who works from home). I haven’t quite finished decorating yet, but just love spending time in here. I can finally nerd out with all my labeled storage boxes and color-coordinated felt. I have a proper place to store my “in-progress” and “finished” works, along with tons of space for all my packaging – you’d be surprised how much room the felt food containers take up!

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 How do you get yourself out of a creative rut or clear your mind?

A call to my momma, a run, an episode of Cheers, a few minutes on www.ohhappyday.com, a flip through my look book (a binder full of images I’ve been collecting since high school, i.e. Pinterest before Pinterest), a long drive or a delicious beer.

 Share a recipe – bonus points if there’s a story behind it.

My grandma’s coleslaw. It’s been at every meal since I can remember and people who loathe coleslaw just love it. 1 head of cabbage, 1 green pepper, three celery stalks, 1 white onion, 2 cups sugar, ½ cup vinegar. Put all the veggies in the food processor. Stir in sugar and vinegar and let sit (at least) overnight. Season with salt and pepper. You’re welcome.

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What’s your dream project – if you had all the time and materials in the world?

I’d buy a big old house and remodel the entire thing. I’d fill it with textiles and treasures from all around the world, then pile in all my closest friends and family for a jamming house party.

What artists influence your work – who are your creative idols?

Honestly, some of my dearest friends. Shawn Barkdull, Emily Gansel, Krissi Xenakis and Adrienne Grove are some of the most talented, supportive and inspirational souls I’ve ever met. In the category of souls I have not met, Charlie Harper, David Carson, Ellen Lupton and Annie Leibovitz fit the bill.

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Describe yourself in 5 words.

Driven, thoughtful, resourceful, patient, clever

Describe your work in 5 words.

Quirky, whimsical, playful, nostalgic, charming

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

I was home a few years back and helping my mom clean out my grandmother’s house after we moved her to a nursing home. It was a difficult time, as she was a huge part of my life and inspiring in so many ways (afterall, she’s the one who taught me to sew). As we were going through her things I found myself in love with it all. The retro knitted scarves, the beautiful Fostoria dishes, the scary handmade clowns, the timeless Mickey Mouse watch, and the boxes and boxes of vintage craft supplies, I knew all this goodness was the essence of my grandmother…and the love and appreciation of all things – new, old, handmade and scary – she instilled in me, inspired me to name the shop after her. Fairview Place is the name of the street she lived on.

We’re handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Machu Picchu. Can I have my tickets, please?

What’s your favorite local haunt?

The DAV Thrift Store on Virginia Beach Blvd. Nice book selection, great clothing finds and they always play terrific music!

Social Media Stuff:

Blog: http://fairviewpl.blogspot.com/

Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/fairviewpl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FairviewPl

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/fairviewpl/

Gift Buying for Everyone!

These gift guides are always so hard to do – We love everything that graces our shelves for different reasons, and with 140+ great makers, crafters, and artists bringing us new and unique items, it’s virtually impossible to narrow it down. So, here’s just a small fraction of our favorite things for the varied people on our gifting list. You really can find something for anyone!

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Locals spread far and wide(a reminder of home)

Anchor Hook by Willway Forge
Monkey’s fist knots by The Perch Shop
Virginia Pillow from Dreamfly
Kitsch sticker ;)
Magnetic Virginia from That’s What She Said Art
Norfolk Signage Alphabet cards from Sarah Erickson
Hello from Norfolk cards from Paper Freckles
Norfolk Print from Maple and Belmont
Norfolk Tote from Twittering Bird
Norfolk necklace from Jonathan Plante
Virginia necklace from a.scarletaudio

The audiophile:
Local music from Logan Vath and the Green Boys(we have a few other great local acts to check out as well!)
LP and wooden box by Angie Van Dyke
Santa card and La Lune print from Horse and Hare
Vintage book notebook from Dragonfly Papers
Cigar box lamp from Gregg Damantibohemian

The Bohemian

Wolf print from Butterpop Studio
Deer card from Holly Camp Cards
Crocheted jar vase/candleholder from By T.Alyse
Moon shrine from Tracy Delisle
Brooch from Fairview Place
Recycled leather bag from Tree Fairfax
Bead and wood necklace from She Make
Recycled suede headband from Sophia’s Lament
“Arabie” perfume from Modern Atelier
Leather and chain earrings from Ashton Keeley
China and crocheted wire ring from PrayerMonkey
Hanging airplant from Glass Gardens
Cactus in recycled mug from Fines Herbs
Wooden elephant from Angie Van Dykemodernguy

The Modern Man

Infinity Scarf by Itsy’s Designs
Beer Holster from Joab Ryan
Red Rooster Roasters Funky Chicken coffee
Red Nun Ale soap from NoFo Soap
Let Curiosity Kill Me koozy by Karen Freidt
Belt buckle and bottle opener from Willway Forge
Buck Christmas card from Paper Freckles
“Beer is Proof” quote button from Artlife
Silver and security envelope cufflinks from Ugly Kittie Redeux
Bowtie from Anykind

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A Hint of Goth
Zombie dog clip from Poochtags
Feather, bone and bullet necklace from Creeper Designs
Siamese twins doll and Krampus ornament from Silent Orchid Studios
Krampus Christmas card from Horse and Hare
Poe mini shrine from Tracy Delisle
Dog ring bowl from Maja Bality
Silver wing ring from My Precious Studio
Octopus tentacle necklace from Ey Glass
Skull earrings from Mermaid Out of Water
Black flower necklace from a.scarlet
Monstacozy from Shlii
Bow earrings by Salvaged Love

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The Hippie

Hula Hoop from Hoopwright
Fractal pocket mirror from Kelly Dietrich Designs
Jaques Cousteau quote print from Robyn Banxx
Flower pin from Fines Herbs
Feather shirt from Impressed
Patchouli soap from Roses Ridge Farm
Slouchy beanie from By T.Alyse
Peace, flowers, feather and bullet casing necklace from Creeper Designs
Mushroom snack bag from Zerlina Crafts
O’Helyeah natural chocolate chip granola bar
Crocheted earrings from Hearthside Farm
Wise Tattoos, stickers and headband from Silver Tree Creations
Trivet and coasters from Fiesta Fibers
Wooden mushrooms from Bees Knees Studio

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The Creative Kid

Felt hotdog set from Fairview Place
US map placemat from Marley Ungaro
Kid sized apron from The Plaid Hedgehog
Crocheted doll from The Kauffeshop
Norfolk tshirt from Twittering Bird
Leopard Hat from Krispyworks
Find it puzzle from Crochet it Baby
Crayon roll from Little Oneders
Teepee tooth fairy pillow from The Bird and the Elephant
Yokai shoulder bag from Tyffylyn Seams
Dreamcatcher from Jessica Vann

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The Hostess:

Hand balm from Roses Ridge Farm
Glass flower by Joshua Solomon
Fabric napkins from Itsy’s Designs
Handrolled beeswax candles from Willow Creek Apiaries
Handturned bottle stoppers from Richard Dooling
Spearmint and lavender tea from Seven Oaks Lavender Farm
Bowl by Rick Nickel
Block printed tea towel from Horse and Hare
Salvaged wood vase from Steve Alperin
Soy candle from Lilac Ave
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The  New Parent:

Minky and cotton blanket from Itsy’s Designs
Teething necklace from Baby Love
Bib from Little Snuggly Bug
Wetbag, fingerless mittens, legwarmers and bow tie from Little Oneders
Diaper pad/wallet from Krispyworks
Rainbow Shelf from
Senor Huevos rattle from Happy Felties
Snuggly gnome from The Burbs
Bandana bib and Teether by The Bird and the Elephant
Hand dyed muslin swaddlers and burp cloths from the Ninja, the Superhero and the Princess

Holiday Hours!


Wednesday, November 27th
, 11-3
Thanksgiving, Closed
Friday, November 29th, 11-7
Saturday, November 30th(Small Business Saturday)10-8
Sunday, December 1st  – December 9th, 11-7 Tuesday – Saturday, 12-5 Sunday
December 10th – December 22nd, Tuesday – Sunday 11-8
Monday, December 23rd, 11-8
Tuesday, December 24th, 10-2
Christmas, Closed
New Year’s Eve and Day, Closed