Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your Favorite Vendor from the 2010 Holiday Craft Market!

Posted by Crystal

We asked all 600 shoppers at the 2010 Holiday Craft Market to Vote for Their Favorite Vendor!

The votes have been tallied and the winner is clear...

Steph wins a Flint Handmade Knuckles Merchandise Prize Pack featuring a shirt, hat, tote bag and notebook.  :)

We also want to congratulate the vendors who were in the Top Ten Favorites:

1) Jessica of HATS ALL CAP

2) Heather of Re-Zip It!

6) Elizabeth of Grasshopper Handmade

7) Amy of Made with Luv

8) Deanne of Deets

9) Tyler of Designs by Ty

10) Nicole of Sloe Gin Fizz

For more photos, check out our 2010 Holiday Craft Market Flickr Set.
We want to thank EVERYONE who attended the 2010 Holiday Craft Market!  We had over $13,000 in total sales...a great milestone in our efforts to help nuture the creative economy in Downtown Flint!

We look forward to seeing you at the 2011 Spring Craft Market!  Keep checking our blog for more details.  :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Second Saturday Giveaway: November Winner!

Posted by Crystal

Happy Thanksgiving!  :)

We want to give thanks to everyone who commented on our November Second Saturday Giveaway featuring Ali of Alexandria's Soap Garden!

The awesome commenters for October were Tunde Olaniran, tattgiff, Meg, April, mary, Jannie aka Chickengirl, Dovey Richter, ttishbite, All Wired Up TOO, Kristina, Susanna Tippett, Angela L. Alexander and Hillary Hanel.

We loved receiving all of your wonderful suggestions for soap scents: pomegranate, lemon and lavender, apple cinnamon, evergreen, mint, chocolate peppermint, almond, citrus, mandarin bergamot, patchouli, carmel, fresh baked goods, vanilla, pumpkin spice, catnip eucalyptus, spiced plum, pink grapefruit and cotton candy!

Just for commenting, all of you will receive a FREE Flint Handmade button in your choice of red, blue or yellow! Ask for a Flint Handmade Director (Amy, Crystal or Michelle) at any craftLAB or Craft Market and we'll make sure you get your button.

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for! The randomly selected winner of the Soap Gift Basket by Alexandria's Soap Garden is...

...Kristina!!! Congratulations!

Kristina, send us an email at flinthandmade@hotmail.com and we will make arrangements for you to receive your Soap Gift Basket!

We want to encourage everyone to participate in the next Second Saturday Giveaway to be posted on December 11, 2010!

Be sure to visit the 4th Annual Flint Handmade Holiday Craft Market THIS Saturday, November 27, 2010 from 10am-6pm in the Rowe Building in Downtown Flint!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vintage Sewing Tools and Supplies

Posted by Crystal

What is it about vintage sewing and crafting tools and supplies that makes me adore them so?

I recently went to Battle Alley Arcade Antiques Mall in Holly and fell madly in love with some wonderful vintage items. 

Battle Alley is the MOST charming antique store I have ever visited.  It is set up indoors like a small, old-fashioned road with mini-storefronts.  You feel like you could find a treasure in every single room and aisle.

I saw this fascinating Traum Dressmaker Guide.  I didn't buy it because I wanted to research its purpose to decide if I actually needed it.  Etsy to the rescue!  I found this listing for a Clinton Pleat Maker AND a Traum Dressmaker Guide.  I think the Pleat Maker looks so cool, too!

However, I did purchase these awesome yellow buttons on their original card...

...and turned them into a fabulous pair of upcycled earrings for my line of beautiful JUNK crafts that will be for sale at the Holiday Craft Market!

We hope to see YOU this Saturday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crafters and the Printed Word

Posted by Crystal

Ok, I understand that this is a blog...and, therefore, not the printed word. 

But, I love the printed word.  Books make me so ridiculously happy.  For the past several years, I have mostly been reading non-fiction.  I enjoy women's memoirs like The Glass House by Jeanette Walls and social psychology books like Stuff: Compulsive Hording and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee.

When electronic reading devices came out a few years ago, I balked.  In my mind, nothing can take the place of physical book with pages and a cover and that lovely book scent.  There are few things in life as pleasurable as snuggling into a warm bed with a good book and my dog, Yasha. 

I promise you that the photo above is not staged.  I was reading in bed a couple years ago and Yasha crawled right up and put her snout on my book.  Thankfully, my camera was nearby.  This picture just makes me feel so warm and fuzzy.  I think the golden, hazy lighting helps.  ;)

Slowly, but surely, I am building a small collection of craft books.  One day, when Flint Handmade has a brick-and-mortar studio/shop, I would love to house a lending library of handcrafting literature.

I would get this charming Personal Library Kit and fulfill my fantasies of becoming a librarian.  Yes, I am just that much of a nerdy birdie!

I find many bibliophiles among the ranks of my fellow crafters.  I think the tactile sensation of handcrafting and of holding a book to read can create the same relaxing sensations, so this makes perfect sense to me.

Read the Printed Word!

For all of you other book-loving nerdy birdies out there, please visit Read The Printed Word and post one of their buttons on your blog, website, etc.  My personal favorite is above.

Feel free to stop by the Flint Handmade table at our Holiday Craft Market to tell me about your favorite craft books...or just comment below with some great titles I should check out.  I need your recommendations to add more books to my collection and I would love to start doing book reviews here on the blog!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 Holiday Craft Market Press Release

Posted by Crystal

Hey, blog readers!  Flint Handmade needs your help getting the word out about our Holiday Craft Market!

Please copy and post the press release below anywhere online you think it would be appropriate to advertise (i.e. community event calendars, your blog, craft forums, etc.).

Leave us a comment with a link to where you posted the press release and we'll give you a FREE Flint Handmade Knuckles button at the Holiday Craft Market.  :)

And, to get an idea of the awesomeness in store for you at the 2010 Holiday Craft Market, check out the photos in our 2009 Holiday Craft Market Flickr Set and our 2010 Spring Craft Market Flickr Set!

Click here to download this flyer and add it to your post!


Flint Handmade will host the fourth annual Holiday Craft Market on Saturday, November 27, 2010 from 10:00am to 6:00pm at the Rowe Building in Downtown Flint!

The Holiday Craft Market will feature variety of modern handmade items such as jewelry, soap, paper goods, purses and bags, children’s toys, candles and much more from over 50 independent crafters.

The first 25 shoppers of the day will receive goodie bags filled with vendor coupons, handmade product samples and other treats!

Admission is free for all. The Rowe Building is located at 540 S. Saginaw Street in Downtown Flint, MI 48502. VISA, MasterCard, and Discover Card accepted.

For more information, visit www.flinthandmade.com or email flinthandmade@hotmail.com.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Second Saturday Giveaway: Win a Soap Gift Basket by Ali of Alexandria's Soap Garden!

Posted by Crystal

For our November Second Saturday Giveaway, we are featuring Alexandria's Soap Garden by Ali Misner! Ali was one of the crafters YOU asked to see featured in your comments to our September Second Saturday Giveaway!

Ali was also our fearless leader at the Flint Handmade Soapmaking Workshop we hosted back in November 2009, so it's fitting that we feature her again on our blog this November!

This is Ali in her dedicated soap lab! I asked her about her workspace:

"My workspace is in our furnace room and a small corner room in our basement. It doesn't sound so appealing at first but with some TLC, it's been nothing but fantastic! The furnace room is where I make my soap. With potential for spills and stains, this room has been the perfect spot to work in! There isn't too much demand for decor except for some paint on the wall to liven things up, some shelves to keep my ingredients organized (super important), and the occasional dusting.

The other corner, known as our "Craft Room," is extremely blue (blue walls with blue carpet!). I chose this color because it was so bright and lively! In this room I keep craft items handy and organized for sewing and any other craft project I can come up with.

Upstairs in our hallway is my "Curing Closet," where I cure my soaps and get them ready to sell!"

Well, Ali seems to be quite a bit like our Amy, our October Second Saturday Giveaway Crafter, in that both women have multiple workspaces on various floors of their homes!

I just had to see all of these workspaces! First, Ali showed me her Curing Closet:

The Curing Closet was a little slice of heaven for me...I am absolutely enchanted by like objects all lined up in lovely little rows. ;)

Ali has such a clever system to keep track of the different batches of her soap. She writes the scent and the date that the soaps will be done curing on a piece of paper for each shelf. Can't you just smell the Spearmint and Eucalyptus?

Of course, I also had to snap a picture of Ali in her Craft Room. She wasn't kidding when she said it was a VERY blue room!

A few things to notice in the above photo:

1) Sewing Machine - In addition to soap, Ali makes fabric heat packs filled with beans/rice/seeds that can be warmed in the microwave. They're great to use on sore muscles after a long day vending or shopping at a craft market! ;)

2) Fiskars Rotary Cutter Set - Ali was soooooo excited about her new craft tools! She told me she never even knew this stuff existed. It's going to be a lot easier for her to make those fabric heat packs now!

3) Owl Painting - Ali's friend Shelby painted these gorgeous owls:

I found the colors and texture of the owls just so amazing! Isn't it great when craft rooms feature inspiring original art?

Ali also has a colorful organizer full of craft supplies...

...and a couple bins of fabric for sewing projects in her Craft Room.

Since Ali is clearly into crafts and sewing as well as soapmaking, I had to asking her how she became so creative:

"I blame my mother for my crafting addiction. :-) When I was young, I would watch my mother sew. She would sew my sister's and I's clothes with holes or often times she would patch up my poor stuffed animals I would bring EVERYWHERE with me. Growing up my mom would always say, "Why buy it, when I can make it?!"

And that's when I would continue to fully grasp how crafty and creative my mom really was. An item once useless, now served as a functional or beautifully handcrafted work of art. To this day I hear my mother in the back of my head, telling me to think twice before making most purchases, and to ask myself: "Hmm, can I make this instead?"

Wanna know something else that Ali is good at making? MUSIC! Ali and her fiance, Alan, are the founding members of the band Arlow Xan. I've seen Arlow Xan in concert and I can guarantee that Ali's voice sounds as good as her soaps smell!

Ali had a guitar in her Craft Room, but just outside the Craft Room is a dedicated Music Room...

...with lots of guitars...

...and Alan on the computer!

As it turns out, Alan and a computer were very instrumental in helping Ali create her company name:

"I came up with my company name thanks to Alan. In the beginning I was absolutely clueless as to what to go by. I would Google any company name I could think of and they were all taken! One night, Al was brain storming with me and he said, "Why don't you just use your real name?"

At first I didn't really care for the idea, but he went on to explain to me how he felt like I never really used my full name, and how lovely he'd always thought my name was. He thought it was a good opportunity to incorporate it, and after such smooth talking, I finally agreed. The "garden" was included because of my passion for the environment. I do my best to use only natural, eco-friendly ingredients; therefore I wanted the name to portray that image, and so viola! Alexandria's Soap Garden came to be!"

I can attest that Ali uses as many natural ingredients as possible. So many of her ingredients are of food grade quality, that a couple of the shelves in her soap lab look like a kitchen pantry!

Ali has bags and bags of herbs and spices...

...as well as other items you would find in the grocery store!

And, Ali keeps excellent track of the ingredients she uses and how much they cost. This lady knows how to price her soap!

Ali is also a very hands-on soapmaker. Not only does she make the soap, but she also made the wooden soap molds she uses by herself!

All created these molds with wood, long screws and wing nuts. So simple and so perfect!

Of course, some things can't be made very easily, including Ali's favorite craft tools:

"I actually have two favorite craft tools because I couldn't seem to rank one better than the other. First, I absolutely love my hand mixer! When I first started soap making I would do the old fashioned stirring. Thanks to my future mother-in-law who bought the mixer as a gift (thanks Carla!), once I tried the mixer I didn't know why on earth I hadn't done it earlier! It made mixing time go by SO much faster and my arm never got tired!

My second item is my soap cutter which came with a slicer and a tray with grooves spaced an inch apart. Again the thought: "Why didn't I do this earlier?!?!" My soaps came out in clean, very precise cuts, presenting a more professional quality to them. These tools I just can't do without!!"

With all of her soapmaking, sewing and music making, it seems like Ali has enough projects to keep her busy for years, but I still have to ask what project she would like to work on in the future:

"A project I would absolutely LOVE to start is a website! Although I have an Etsy account, it's just been a matter of finding the time between full time classes at UM-Flint and Arlow Xan. Although for now I am happy with Alexandria's Soap Garden's current pace, perhaps once I graduate time will present itself and I can gladly join the internet world of the many passionate and crafty entrepreneurs!"

Well, we at Flint Handmade think Ali is already a passionate and crafty entrepreneur...and we are excited to have some of her lovely soap in a gorgeous gift basket for our November Second Saturday Giveaway!

Ali provided this fabulous description of the soap gift basket:

"This basket includes FOUR lovely handmade soaps! I use the cold process method with only essential oils, herbs, and other natural ingredients. These soaps are sure to replenish and soothe your skin, and they're perfect for lessening the burden of dry hands during the cold season! Did I also mention they're environmentally friendly? :-) Inside you'll find the popular minty and refreshing Spearmint Eucalyptus; the dirt and smelly-garlic-fingers-ridding Kitchen and Garden soap; the invigorating Peppermint, Ginger, Poppyseed; and last but not least, the warm and spicy Oatmeal, Milk and Honey facial bar."

For YOUR chance to win the Soap Gift Basket (valued at $25), just complete steps A and B:

A) Follow Flint Handmade via the blog, Twitter, Google Reader or whatever newfangled "following application" tickles your fancy. Or, if you don't do the whole following thing, email us at flinthandmade@hotmail.com and we will add you to our email list.

B) Leave us a comment in response to this blog post by 5pm on Saturday, November 20, 2010 answering the following 2 questions:

1) How do you follow us?

2) What scents and/or herbs would you like to see Ali use for a future batch of soap? We know soapmakers are always looking for new ideas!

Please be sure to answer BOTH questions to qualify for the drawing.

The winner will be selected at random and posted on the blog within one week after the deadline. We hope to hear from YOU and we hope you enjoyed our November Second Saturday Giveaway!

And, join us at the Holiday Craft Market on Saturday, November 27, 2010 where you will find fabulous handcrafted goods from Alexandria's Soap Garden and 50+ more vendors!

Holiday Craft Market Sampler

Knit and Crochet goods for you and your home, hats, cowls, handbags, scarves, bowls, rugs, dish scrubbies, washcloths, and coasters. Made from the most natural, sustainable, local materials I can find. 

Madge and Gert
100% All Natural Soy Candles
Amanda Simons
I create small Plexiglas sculptures made from images of hand-painted figures and found object texts. Many of these pieces, through their juxtaposition of figure and text, explore sociological, psychological, and gender/sexuality-themed issues. 

Snazzy Scarlett Handbags
Handmade purses made out of fabric with magnetic snap or zipper closures. I also make fabric flowers and cell phone cases.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holiday Craft Market Sampler

Wei's Open Secret
Natural repurposed wood necklaces and earrings. All paper goods are made of recycled papers and luggage tags are made using non-toxic water based materials.

Sun River Naturals
Plant based body care.

From J.Loo to You
Quirky peculiar treasures