Tag Archives: handmade

Craft is Back…

[Featured photo: gorgeous entomology/taxidermy work by Jennifer Blundon]

I am so very excited to announce that after a two year hiatus, Craftacular will be coming back in September 2018!

Craftacular is a little show I started back in 2012; we did it once a year, usually in the fall.  There was no show in 2016 or 2017 due to so much going on those years (well, truthfully, 2017 was more about taking a break from being previously overwhelmed…)  However, this September, it’s happening again and I am thrilled.

There are still a lot of details to be decided, but the time, date, and location are set.

It’s a privilege that means so much to me, to be able to organize such an event; from the beginning, the show has been about craft and art: making, dreaming, connecting.  I am so grateful to each person who has participated in the show and hope to see lots of  familiar faces, and new ones, on September 29.

As more details fall into place, I’ll be posting on the Craftacular facebook page.  I’ll also post the vendor application to this site as soon as it’s available.  (If you think you might be interested in being a vendor, let me know and I’ll email it to you directly as soon as I can!)

The White Peacock: Interview with Tayla Mace, Owner & Artist

 

Today I am trilled to bring you an interview with Tayla Mace, artist, entrepreneur, and owner of The White Peacock Tea and Coffee Company in the lovely town of Lindsborg, KS.  I’ve been a fan of Tayla’s work for years and am truly excited about her latest venture.  Read more here, then visit for yourself!

M&R: Can you tell us a bit about your background and previous work?
Tayla:  Oh goodness, I have quite the varied background!  But when I think about it, I would say it has all focused around creative work and customer service.  I went to school for Web Design with the Art Institutes and fell in love with online branding and design.  My “big girl jobs” were mainly in retail management and marketing before I took the plunge and started my own business, WildFire Studio – where I made jewelry, in 2012.  It wasn’t until 2016 that I decided it was time to move on.

What made you decide to purchase a coffee shop? 
In May of 2016, I could feel WildFire winding down and wanted to move on to something else.  I knew I didn’t want the typical 9-5 but had no idea what direction I was headed.  So, I was lucky enough to pick up a part-time position at one of my favorite stops in Lindsborg, The White Peacock.  I had been using The Peacock as a mobile office for close to a year already so it was an easy decision to try and Fill the Gaps between projects there.  I became friends with the owner and found out the shop was for sale.  The rest was history!  I purchased the Peacock that July.

I know you have handmade items for sale; what kind of things do you currently carry?
We do have some handmade items!  I carry the penny jewelry I made during my WildFire days at the shop, along with some felt succulents that I’ve been playing around with.  We also carry embroidered tea towels, hand-dyed scarves, illustrated coffee mugs, and more!  The shop has a quirky, creative vibe, so we have a quirky and creative selection of handmade goods. 🙂  Each month, we also have a featured artist who often has their art work for sale.  From February 10th-March 9th, we’ll have our community sourced Heart Art up!  20+ artists have contributed so far.

What’s are your favorite drink and food offerings?
My personal favorite drink at the moment is our “Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry Mocha.”  It is amazing!  We’re always coming up with new drink recipes though, and I’m always picking out new favorites.  We also offer breakfast and lunch, but I’ve always been partial to our cinnamon rolls that are made right down the street at The Courtyard Bakery.

What seems to be most popular with customers?
Hands down, the Black Forest Mocha.  Once you have it, you’ll never go back. ​

​What is the most satisfying part of running the shop?
I’m probably what you would call a serial entrepreneur.  I get excited about the big picture when it comes to organizing, managing, and promoting a business.  But if I were to pick one thing, it’s that The White Peacock attracts such an interesting and creative crowd.  I get to share my projects with my customers and they share theirs with me.  It’s this constant flow of creative energy in here that I love the most.

 What do you find the most challenging?
MONEY!  Oh, my…  I think that is a pretty typical answer, but managing our budget is the most challenging for me.  With WildFire, I was a one person show, meaning that if we were short one month, there was only myself to blame and myself to face the consequences.  Now I have employees and customers and we’ve got to stay stocked all the time…  I’m feeling much more comfortable compared to when I purchased the business in July, but I think it will always be the most challenging aspect.

I hope that The White Peacock provides a space where you can come in, get yourself a delicious treat (that you can feel good purchasing – we’re all fair trade and organic and we use local Hildebrand milk!), and become inspired to do whatever it is you love to do.  I try to keep the atmosphere bright and ever-changing and the community involved with small projects happening all the time.

How does your local community influence you?
I may be a little biased, but Lindsborg is the best small town out there.  The community is full of people who really care about their town and the people in it.  Each week, I get together with a group of business owners and residents to discuss what’s happening, how we can promote each other, and how we can provide a better experience to our visitors.  Everyone is so inclusive and helpful.

The White Peacock is located at 124 S Main Street in Lindsborg, KS.  You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook, and visit their website at whitepeacockcoffee.com  

Interview with Cynthia Sutcliffe of Cultivated Dreams & Designs

​I think there’s something truly enchanting about semi-precious jewels skillfully set against silver.  Cynthia Sutcliffe of Cultivated Dreams & Designs creates particularly charming pieces in her Halstead, KS, studio, and she has graciously agreed to do an interview with me!  Take a moment to learn a bit about this talented Kansan and her work…

 M&R: How long have you been creating jewelry?
Cynthia:  Nearly 7 years total. Silversmithing has been only the last couple of years.

 How did you become interested in this art? 
Creating has always been a necessity for me. I don’t do well if my life is filled with dull, repetitive work. There has to be some kind of outlet to break up the mundane, and this has been it for me.

Were you involved in any previous crafts?  Are you now involved in other crafts?
I began illustrating as a kid. Spent about a decade working in that outlet, going through high school and some college to pursue a career in some form of illustrative design. I quickly learned that in a professional sense, I could not be content going that route, at least not in rural Kansas. You hit a wall, and no one seems to understand that someone working in that field has to survive. I loved illustrating in many forms, but did not want to continue  without some form of progress. 

​What are some of the processes involved creating your pieces?
When I started out, I only used wire that I could hammer into simple forms to frame the stones that I wanted as a focal point. Now that I have started smithing, I am attempting to learn something new with every piece. Each piece has the same process of deciding on a stone, designing a setting, and soldering each detail. There sometimes are a lot of steps needed to polish a piece when it is done, including sanding out any fire stain or scratches, to deciding on the finish. I just make sure to push myself to do better in some way, even if it is the most minute detail at times.

  

How did you learn to do this?
I just picked up some beads one day, and it just kind of clicked for me… fast forward about 7 years, with a TON of trial and error… and you just kind of learn things. My lifestyle doesn’t really allow me to spend extra time going to school or paying for resources to learn from, so most every process has been self taught, along with the occasional knowledge of other smiths. 

​What is the most satisfying part of creating jewelry? 
Seeing someone wear a piece of mine at a show, in photos, or making someone feel good when I hand them their custom jewelry. Some folks will try to challenge you and say that you are perpetuating a materialistic society by selling merchandise like this… but I know that is wrong when I am able to make something that is meaningful for a client. There is a look that people get that can’t be recreated by mass produced items.

What are some of its challenges? 
I would say that is when I have to tell someone “No” on crafting something.

Where do you find inspiration? 
So many things in life that you see on a daily basis… it makes it difficult to sort through all your half-thought-out ideas without really sitting down to make a plan. It could be something another artist has done, and thinking, “wow, I gotta try that!” Or simple things, like music, old rpg’s, nature, or, my favorite, “happy accidents” when I am playing around with stones on my bench and something just “happens.”

How do you hope your work will impact others? 
I just want more people to understand that despite what life throws at you, how many rules you have to obey in your daily life, there is some room to say, “I will do what I want and I will succeed.” I am no major success when you look at the financial side of things. But, I am genuinely happy to be able to share what I do with the world. The rest will follow.

Why Bloomers?

It’s no secret that I like bloomers; I love making them, wearing them, and seeing others discover (or rediscover!) the joy of a comfortable pair of pantaloons.

An airy pair of cotton bloomers are cool and breezy in the summer when you’re in the garden, painting on the patio, or just working around the house.  But they’re also warm in the winter when paired with a favorite skirt, providing extra insulation from any icy blasts that might whip up your frock.

Coquette Bloomers by Moth and Rust Handmade
The latest addition to Moth & Rust, the Coquette Bloomers

The gathers and ruffles, whether profuse or oh-so-subtle, add a bit of whimsical romance to your everyday routine.

Of course they can be made from anything, but my go-to fabric is a 100% cotton muslin in an unbleached, undyed color.  It’s light, softens with each wash, and goes well with most other colors, particularly my favorite neutrals.  I would be glad to make you a pair, just to your size!

Preferred by prairie girls, bohemian babes, steampunks, ladies of burlesque and even bellydancers, they can also be a sort of artistic expression–a way to embrace uniqueness.  What’s not to love?!

Have you bloomers yet?  What do you love about them?

Shop Small, Kansas.

Welcome to volume 2 of my holiday gift guide!  This time, the focus is on small, locally owned brick and mortar shops.  These are must-visit destinations, especially on Small Business Saturday.

Nectar Republic (formerly known as Milk + Honey Candles) has a brand new place in Clifton Square, and I can’t wait to visit them!  They handcraft natural soy candles and bath goods, and their shop carries these along with home decor and vintage accent items.  3700 E Douglas Ave., Ste. 40, Wichita, KS.

   

The White Peacock Tea and Coffee Company in Lindsborg is definitely a place to check out!  Naturally, you’ll find delicious and organic fair trade refreshments, but they also carry fabulous handmade art, accessories, and more. 124 S Main St., Lindsborg, KS (785) 212-6108


white-peacock

Lucinda’s is–I think it goes without saying–a Wichita favorite!  They carry all sorts of stylish, fun, wonderful clothing, accessories, jewelry, gifts, and more.  Also a large variety of locally handmade items.  There’s something for everyone here!  Located at 329 N Mead St. in Wichita (next to the Old Town Warren).

Right across the way from Lucinda’s is Bella Luz, which specializes in handcrafted gifts, many of which are made by local artisans. 300 N Mead St., Ste. 105, Wichita, KS.

bellaluz

The Workroom is a sewing workroom for home textiles, and also an amazing retail space for local artists.  Home decor, art, pottery, Wichita Flag swag, and more…swing by sometime, and be sure to follow their facebook page, as they are always posting great events. 150 N Cleveland St., Wichita, KS

Naughty Tiger Gifts in Mulvane is another hidden gem.  This chic and cheerful store is chock full of unique gifts and handmade goodies, home goods, accessories and more.  They are big proponents of offering fair trade and American made items, and a good deal of their profit goes to their family animal rescue farm near Leon, KS.  You can find the shop at 213 W Main St., Mulvane, KS.

Karg Art Glass, owned by artist Rollin Karg, sells quality art pieces of–yes–glass!  There are some pretty spectacular pieces found at this gallery, in a range of prices.  Be sure to follow their facebook page as well, as they often have holiday events–including blowing your own glass ornament!  You can visit them at 111 N Oliver St., Kechi, KS.

Watermark Books & Cafe is such a cozy, lovely book store and coffee shop…do I really need to say more?!  Shop there, then follow them for events and more. 4701 E Douglas, Wichita, KS.

 

FarmShop LLC is a garden center focusing on community and sustainable, organic, locally grown food.  They specialize in landscape and gardening solutions, and are yet another purveyor of locally made goods! 1136 Bitting Ave., Wichita, KS.

Hatman Jack’s is truly a part of local history and has outfitted some stars…but most importantly, they really just have a great selection of hats.  (I think hats need to make a comeback.)  Give your loved ones or yourself the gift of style!  Find them in Historic Delano at 610 W Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your favorite local business?

Handmade Holidays: Kansas-Made on Etsy (Vol. 1)

I have been so busy sewing that I completely forgot about this week’s post!  I also completely lost track of the fact that we are more than half way through November–which means we’re just a little more than a month away from Christmas.  How is that even possible?!  If you’re reading this, you probably already understand the importance (and the sheer wonderfulness) of buying local.  So without further ado, may I present to you the first edition of my 2016 Gift Picks!  100% Kansas-made, 110% awesome.  Enjoy!

Freeform labradorite and silver ring by Cultivated Dreams, $72 (plus shipping).  From the shop: “Cultivated Dreams & Designs is a once lost and now newly found dream of mine to give people what you just can’t find in stores – wearable, real, raw ART. I have been running my business for five years now, and I love being able to do what I enjoy – all while making someone else happy in the process. I do everything myself, including the rough sketches of thousands of designs, creating the jewelry, photography & editing, completing orders, and even now, cutting my own stones in my home studio.”  Check out the rest of her work here.
Peppermint Rose Facial Toner by Soiled Dove Co, $24 (plus shipping). From the shop:
Peppermint Rose Facial Toner by Soiled Dove Co, $24 (plus shipping). From the shop: “Created by owner Riley Fouts, The Soiled Dove serves a sister company to her Madame Scodioli line. (A true Madame needs her doves, right?) In contrast to her darker, moodier sister, The Soiled Dove will concentrate on lighter floral based scents in refined, feminine packaging. The line has launched with facial bars, lotions and perfume oils, soon to be followed by facial toners, facial masks and hair serum. All products are handmade by Riley. She is essentially building her dream brand.”  View more soaps, perfumes, and bath products here.
Wire Bun Wrap by Nachibands, $7 (plus shipping). This shop based in Solomon, Kansas, has a huge variety of handmade headbands and wraps! See them all here.
Wire Bun Wrap by Nachibands, $7 (plus shipping). This shop based in Solomon, Kansas, has a huge variety of handmade headbands and wraps! See them all here.
Handspun Yarn: Rapture by The Corner of Knit & Tea, $43 (plus shipping). Exquisite handspun yarn, crafted in Overland Park, Kansas. This particular skein is a blend of merino, bamboo, and nylon.  View more lovely yarns here.
Mini Octagon Planters by Convivial Production, $18 each or $45.90 for a set of 3 (plus shipping).
Mini Octagon Planters by Convivial Production, $18 each or $45.90 for a set of 3 (plus shipping).   From their shop: “Convivial Production, Inc was started April of 2014. We are a production and design company that hand makes home decor, dinnerware and garden products for various brick + mortar stores throughout the US. All of the work grew from a love for hospitality. Service. Dining. Social vitality. The notion of conviviality coincided perfectly with functional ceramic wares – the joining of people to eat, to drink and to be well with one another. We make the dinnerware that allows for festivity as well as the decor that sets the scene for intimate gatherings. Our goal is to encourage others to host well as they use the items they have collected.”  View all items here.
Hand-turned Cocobolo Crochet Hook by Unraveled Ewe, $25 (plus shipping). Gorgeous wood fiber art tools and more, based in Emporia, Kansas. Check out the rest of their lovely offerings here.

This was just a small sampling of the lovely things I found, but I’ve got photos to take and errands to run…so I’ll be back soon with even more amazing local finds!

Interview with Mike Moen of Old Church Works

I am very excited about today’s post because I am finally getting to explore some fabulous, local artisans and share them with you!

Today, my guest is Mike Moen, the talent behind Old Church Works based in Andover, KS, which offers bespoke leather crafted goods.  Not only is his work beautiful and quality-crafted, but he has some great insights into design and why we create.  Let’s jump right into the interview!

How long have you been crafting leather goods?
Mike: I’ve been leather crafting about about 4 years. It has been a fun learning process. Learning the technical process is only part of it. It’s also about learning to acquire a taste for what works functionally and looks great.

How did you become interested in this art?
I consider myself a notebook nerd. Something about the analog nature of pen or pencil to paper is quite soothing. To me it’s the ultimate creative tool set – whether one is a writer, doodler, painter, drawer, sculptor or entrepreneur.

From there I found natural undyed leather covers were a perfect companion to my affinity for notebooks. The worn crinkly paper was very much akin to the scarring and patina of leather. These items become ever-changing. I found I get more attached to them the more they change and yet I can’t wait to fill a note book to start another!

So I am a fan of every day carry leather goods first. Back in 2012 I bough my first piece and I was disappointed. So out of necessity I made my own. The only tool I had was an Xacto Knife, but I got the job done. I was please with what I made. I made one for my Field Notes and one for my Moleskine.  

How did you learn?
I learned mostly, armed with my own taste, by trial and error. I have an entire cabinet filled with epic fails. Once in awhile someone will catch a glimpse of my leather works graveyard and say, “Hey that’s cool! Can I buy that!” And I’ll think, maybe that wasn’t such a fail. Ha!


What do you find most satisfying about your craft?

I find coming up with something new and original is very satisfying. Of course, in reality there is no such thing, but I’m not building stuff from a book or a kit. Every Old Church Works product starts with my design, my measurements, my idea. What’s better than that?

I really like clean and simple designs. I think it can be very difficult to create something simple that works. I always try to remove the superfluous in my designs. I think that gives my stuff it’s staying power. Complexity in familiar, everyday items wears people down. Consumers are quick to discard complexity.


ocwWhere do you find inspiration for creativity?
Early on I found myself spending at least an hour every day scrolling through Instagram. I was so inspired with the community of creatives out there. I really, really admire artists and creatives. It’s such a brave thing. I had to just jump in and do it too! And look what happened?! I am one!

How do you hope your work will influence or impact others?
It’s weird for me to think that I sit around my studio and listen to music and draw, cut and sew and from that I have actual fans! People love my stuff! Loyal customers are very humbling. Because I am a fan of my own work first, I want everyone who opens that Old Church Work package for the first time to have an experience. To me buyer remorse is such a sad thing. I want them to feel awesome about their purchase. Anyone who buys something online is aware of that risk. I think about that very thing from the time I cut that first piece of leather until the stamp is put on the package. “They’re are just going to LOVE this!” I say that to myself the entire time.

 I want to thank Mike again for taking the time to discuss his work.  Do you know of any local artists who deserve to be featured?  Let me know!  Until next time…stay creative!

Autumn in Kansas: Bohemian Finds

How can we possibly be into October already?!

The grand opening of the shop (and subsequent giveaway!) is coming up soon, but in the meantime, I’ve got some work to do.  So this week’s post is all about inspiration.

Autumn is such a romantic time: perfect for sunset walks among the changing leaves, accompanied by a rising full moon whilst wearing long, flowing skirts, the scent of campfire smoke and incense on the crisp breeze…or something like that.

Sad news:  My intention today was to create an Etsy treasury, but much to my dismay, as of today, treasuries will no longer be a feature.  (Really, Etsy?!)  Good news: I can still spotlight artists’ work and am also reminded that it’s almost always going to take a grassroots effort to promote handmade.  (Sneak peek: next week’s post we’ll explore Generation Handmade.)

These finds are special–not just because they’re beautiful and autumny, but because each of these items is crafted by a Kansas artisan.  Enjoy, follow the links below, and remember to always support local!

treasury1

  1. yarn by http://thestashbuckler.etsy.com
    2. http://www.etsy.com/listing/159212397/sleep-forever-skull-sleep-mask
    3. hair accessores by http://plainsrevival.etsy.com
    4. http://www.etsy.com/listing/238684284/double-field-notes-arts-sciences-leather
    5. http://www.etsy.com/listing/90952290/woodgrain-heart-necklace-custom-initial
    6. http://www.etsy.com/listing/276751222/roving-merino-silk-top-fiber-velvet
    7. http://www.etsy.com/listing/246360671/sterling-and-onyx-teardrop-pendant-black
    8. http://www.etsy.com/listing/292306099/pink-yellow-floral-rose-bear-ears
    9. http://www.etsy.com/listing/468465896/argentium-silver-with-carnelian-earrings
    10. http://www.etsy.com/listing/230063241/josephine-hand-body-lotion-jasmine
    11. http://www.etsy.com/listing/150758499/oracle-exotic-fig-spices-and-musk

I want to mention, The Soiled Dove lotion (#10) and Madame Scodioli’s solid perfume (#11) are both exquisite and absolutely heavenly.  (The Soiled Dove is a sister company to Scodioli.) I cannot praise their body products too highly!!

In the spirit of Fall inspiration, I must also share my Pinterest feed from this morning…could it be any more lovely?!  (If you’d like to see who I’m following and check out my pins, you can see my profile at pinterest.com/sweetlee)

fall-pinterest

What’s inspiring you today?  Please share!