Thursday, December 30, 2010

Not Buying It: Opting into The Creative Economy in 2011

Posted by Crystal Pepperdine, Founder and Executive Director of Flint Handmade

I want to confess something to you all.

In 2005, I racked up $15,000 in credit card debt. I was recently divorced and newly-in-love and I spent money like there was no tomorrow.

In Spring of 2006, I realized that I was in trouble with my credit cards and I went to my credit union, Dort Federal, for help. I was fortunate enough to get a home equity loan before the housing bubble burst and I paid off all my credit cards with their exorbitant interest rates.

Today, I made THE FINAL PAYMENT on my home equity loan.

And something has happened to the way I view money…

…I don’t want to spend it anymore…

…at all.

I know that I have to participate in the cash economy to pay my mortgage and utility bills. I know that I have to buy myself and my dog food and medicine and other essentials.

But, other than that, I’m done.

In the past 5 years, I have developed so many creative skills since founding Flint Handmade. I now have the confidence that I can make, trade, borrow or barter the vast majority of any thing I could ever want or need.

So, here and now, I am declaring that I am going to spend as little and save as much as I possibly can in 2011.

As long as I have consumer debt in the form of a mortgage and car payment as well as consumer desires for things I could definitely live without, I cannot be a true advocate for the local and handmade movements in which I so strongly believe.

So, that’s it.

For one year, I’m opting out of the cash economy…and opting into the creative economy.

Join me, won’t you?

Help hold me accountable as I blog about this journey I am taking in 2011.

I will, of course, still organize all of the regularly scheduled Flint Handmade events and support the fair compensation of local crafters for their work.

But, just for this year, I will not be spending any of my personal money on the cause.

And, maybe by not spending any money, I will have the time and energy and space in my life to give even more of myself to Flint Handmade?

We shall see…

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

craftLAB on Sunday, January 2, 2011!

With the holidays winding down, many of us are left with stacks and stacks of Christmas cards. 

Don't just throw those cards away or stash them in the back of the closet...upcycle them into globe ornaments for next year!

Join us THIS Sunday, January 2, 2011 from noon-3pm at The Lunch Studio for craftLAB. 

Bring a friend and all of your old holiday cards for a quick and easy workshop on creating these fantastic globe ornaments!

Special thanks to Jackie Birdsall of The Flint Public Library for introducing us to this holiday papercrafting project at an upcycling workshop last year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Second Saturday Giveaway: December Winner!

We want to thank everyone who commented on our December Second Saturday Giveaway featuring Sarah of yarnscratch!

The awesome commenters for December were patsarts, kasthurirajam, steph bills, chelle1115, nick h., Susanna Tippett, April, Jason, Anonymous, Mary and Hayley. We're sure Sarah will appreciate all of your wonderful suggestions for new Teds!

Just for commenting, all of you will receive a FREE Flint Handmade button in your choice of red, blue or yellow! Ask at the Flint Handmade table 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 BigHead Ted is...

...Susanna Tippett!!! Congratulations!

Susanna, send us an email at and we will make arrangements for you to receive your BigHead Ted!

We want to encourage everyone to participate in the next Second Saturday Giveaway to be posted on January 8, 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blue House Holiday MittenMade Craft Show Recap!

Posted by Crystal Pepperdine, Founder and Executive Director of Flint Handmade

The MittenMade Holiday Craft Show at Blue House Ann Arbor was spectacular!  Thank you so much to Siobhan and Nicole for organizing such a cozy, friendly, happy event.
I was so excited for my Flint Handmade and beautiful JUNK display!  Our new FH vinyl banners are fabulous!

Nicole of Sloe Gin Fizz always has one of the most attractive and cohesive displays.  I just love her stuff!

I'm loving these fabric alphabet letter ornaments from Carrie of Burnt Desserts!

Lots of sweet raffle prizes!  Post a comment if you won something!

Oh, yes, my dears...those are, in fact, muffs on the far right.  Casey of Fartsy Arts is bringing back the muff!

Siobhan's stinkin' adorable fairy doors and shortie people!

Courtney of Courtney Fischer Jewelry always has such gorgeous necklaces and earrings.

All of the fabric colors and patterns used by Haley of Sweet Sugar Beet make me smile!

Stuffed owls and feather cat nip toys by Ashley of Butter Bean, Inc.  Gotta remember the puppies and kitties for the holidays!

I finally got to meet Jenni of TinkerDot Designs!  Her collages are so cute and colorful!

Me (l) and my little sis, April, in front of Elana's Little Sisters Jewelry.  Although I am older, my little sis is taller.  However, to be fair, she was rockin' heels and I was wearing flats, so she is not actually this much taller than me in real life! ;)

We heart Dylan's International Robot shirts!

Liz of Aromaholic also vended at the Flint Handmade Holiday Craft Market and her soaps continue to smell ridiculously tasty!

Marta of Marta England Designs had some of the most beautiful and intricate jewelry.

Excellent upcycled ornaments and other goods from Ashley and Angela of Again.

Fantastic photo blocks by Kate of Chicaloo Photography and More.

Lovely tea cozies and other knit treasures by Ashia of Needle Knots!

Doesn't the Flint Handmade Knuckles sticker just look so perfect with this little girl's coat and hat combo?!?

I had a wonderful time chatting with all of the shoppers and vendors at Holiday MittenMade!  Hope to do it again soon.  :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shop Handmade for the Holidays at City Bird in Detroit!

Posted by Crystal Pepperdine, Founder and Executive Director of Flint Handmade

While I was down in Detroit for the 2010 Detroit Urban Craft Fair, I made my first of what I am sure will be many trips to City Bird

City Bird is a handmade and vintage store, studio and gallery owned and operated by siblings Emily and Andy Linn. Emily was staffing the register when I stopped by and she is a total sweetheart!  We recognized each other, but couldn't remember where we met. 

You know you've been in the handmade movement for long time when you can't figure out how you know fellow craftivists anymore!  Everyone just blends into this lovely amalgamation of handmade happiness.

Enjoy these photos I took at City Bird, but do try to get down to the D to see the store for yourself.  You won't regret it!

I heart notecards with a feverish passion.  I'm a big fan of sending and receiving notes in the postal mail.  I'm in the market for a vintage wax seal if anyone has any good leads.

Reusable produce it!

Awesome vintage trunk display.

Lots of pretties! 

These leather earrings reminded me that I have really been wanting to work with leather ever since I went to the Leather and Tin Shop at Crossroads Village in Flint this summer.  I think I will have to write a 2011 Crafty Resolutions post, so all of you lovely blog readers can hold me accountable.  ;)

Fabulous vintage finds.

When Flint Handmade opens a store, I would love to have a record player on hand to play all of the records that don't get upcycled into notebooks and bowls...

...and clocks!

Honestly, these photos couldn't possibly capture all of the awesomeness at City Bird, so be sure to visit the shop yourself if you are in Detroit!

And, don't forget that Flint Handmade will be vending our Official Knuckles Merchandise at the MittenMade Holiday Craft Show at Blue House Ann Arbor THIS SATURDAY from 11am-6pm!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Second Saturday Giveaway: Win a BigHead Ted by Sarah of yarnscratch!

Posted by Crystal

For our December Second Saturday Giveaway, we are featuring yarnscratch by Sarah Richter aka Sarah Mascara!

This is Sarah in her basement workspace with some quilted pieces she has been making out of fabric she got at Flint Handmade Craft Supply Swaps.  I asked her about her workspace:

"Before a few months ago I never had my own workspace. And until about a year or two ago, when I started machine sewing, that really wasn't an issue. Crochet doesn't take a lot of space or time so it's easy to just pull out a few skeins and a hook and relax on the couch... Machine sewing takes up more space and certainly more time.

Sewing with a machine, for me, usually always means I need a plan and I need to know exactly what I'm doing even before I sit down to do it. When I do sew I mostly sew dresses for my 4-year-old daughter, Alpha, or small patchwork projects like baby quilts and sewing machine covers [shown above and below]. When cutting patterns or material pieces I usually just use the floor in front of my craft desk or my kitchen table.

Before I had my sewing desk, though, I had to pull my machine off a shelf, drag it upstairs to the kitchen table (where I might get to use it for 2 or 3 hours before I had to devote all my attention to my children or get out of the way of someone setting the table for a meal) and get to stitching there. It is so nice to have a place completely devoted to organized crafting!

I keep all my material (most of which is second or third or fifth hand) in old diaper boxes on top of my sewing desk.

All of my yarn is kept in further cardboard boxes and plastic bins in a bookshelf.

I have a few more shelving units that hold odds and ends like large plastic bags of safety eyes, ribbon, beads, etc.

Hanging on the wall next to my yarn-shelf are some prints and original art pieces that I have purchased at craft markets or that have been bought/made for me by my family and friends. Honestly, my craft materials and my closets are about the only organized parts of my life. Everything else is fairly scattered."

With all of these various supplies, I had to ask Sarah how she got into crafting:

"I guess it depends on the craft! My grandma taught me crochet, embroidery, and a bit about sewing before I was a teenager. But before I was into crafting I was an artist. I was drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil. My whole family was always very encouraging of me and my sometimes crazy endeavors."

I can definitely vouch for Sarah's skills as an artist.  

Sarah showed me a pencil drawing she did of her daughter, Alpha. 

Then, Alpha showed me one of the dolls her mom had crocheted for her.  After seeing Alpha's photo, can't you just see her resemblance so well in Sarah's drawing of her?

In addition to Alpha's little gray kitty, there are lots of other crocheted dolls in Sarah's workspace and home. 


My next question for Sarah was about her favorite craft tool/material:
"I suppose the material I have the most success with is yarn. As mentioned previously, I was an artist before I was a crafter and I have always been fairly skilled with a pencil or pen. I do love to draw and there are few things I don't draw with confidence...

However, in high school, when I was taking art classes, I found myself at a complete loss when it came to sculpting and carving. I simply can't make clay or wood bend to my will. I would also only consider myself semi-successful when it comes to sewing soft-sculptured items like toys or toyish art.
But give me a skein of yarn and a hook and I can crochet anything I see. I can take the yarn, tie it in knots, and make it bend to my will, so to speak. I can make bacon and eggs and buttered toast to display on a plate in your kitchen. I can make a set of eight inch zombie dolls with twisted legs and spurting veins, each carrying a limb or brain or hunk of flesh. I can crochet a cuboid robot with button eyes and a penchant for mischief... or I can go the simpler route and stick with scarves and hats.  

In following that, I suppose my favorite crafting tool would be my yellow Clover crochet hooks. They're ergonomically designed and my hand doesn't get as tired using them as using plain rounded crochet hooks. They seem to slide more smoothly through yarn, too."

Yarn obviously plays a big role in Sarah's life, so I asked how she came up with her company name, yarnscratch:

"Actually, I was filling out an application for one of the Flint Handmade craft markets and it asked me for a company name. Embarrassingly, I didn't have one! Almost everything I had made for the market was crocheted from yarn and most of it was without a pattern and of my own creation so it was from scratch. I just threw it together and yarnscratch is what I came up with."

I was excited to learn that Flint Handmade played a role in naming Sarah's company!

I was also excited to see this pillow in Sarah's living room, because Flint Handmade featured it in the 2010 Festival of Quilts!

Sarah showed me the nifty tool she used to make the knit piping for the edges of the pillow.

The Embellish Knit makes long, skinny knit tubes that can then be felted to make them even tighter. I'm always very enamored with neat little craft devices, so I'm hoping Sarah invites me over again sometime to teach me know to use it. ;)

When I stopped by this time, Sarah was working on one of her crocheted zombies.

Sarah keeps her works-in-progress in this adorable monsta bag from our September Second Saturday Crafter, Steph Bills of Frankenstitch Productions!

Sarah also has a burgeoning library of crafting books like Amy Kesley of Made with Luv, our October Second Saturday Crafter!

I took one last look at some of Sarah's darling sewing supplies, including...

...a handmade cupcake pincushion and a pink tomato pincushion...

...and spools of yarn with a fancy pair of Gingher scissors!

Finally, I asked Sarah what craft projects she would like to work on in the future:
"More than half a year ago my daughter decided she was done wearing pants and was only going to wear dresses. She changed her tune slightly when the weather got cold and will begrudgingly wear pants outside the house now, but when she made the initial transition from pants to dresses I was inspired. I decided I was going to wear dresses instead of pants as well!

I picked up a few dresses from Goodwill and Salvation Army, some of which are vintage and obviously home sewn. They are inspiring to me as well. While I have made several dresses for my daughter, I've never made one for myself! I'm not ready to start making my own sewing patterns (though that would probably change if I could get enough money saved for a nice dressform...) so I'm still currently looking for just the right pattern to start out making dresses for myself.

I would also like to learn to knit, just because I have seen some really pretty knitted scarves and sweaters. I can knit, in theory... I know the basic stitches and I imagine that, much like crochet, pretty much everything beyond the basics is really just a variation of the basics. However, I find knitting to be much more tedious and time consuming than crochet so it will probably always be one of those crafts whose masters I will simply continue to be in awe of."

Well, we at Flint Handmade think Sarah is already a master crafter...and we are excited to have one of her cutie crocheted creations for our December Second Saturday Giveaway!

Sarah provided this description of the adorable crocheted tiny teddy bear she donated:

"The giveaway item is a BigHead Ted. He is part of a line of many other BigHeads, most of which are based on fictional characters. There have been several UnDeadTeds (zombie teddy bears, go figure), a LittleTed Riding Hood, a FrankenTed, a Shaun of the Ted (Shaun of the Dead, anyone?), PatchworkTed... Ahh, you get the point. This BigHead is a remake of my original Ted, the one who got everything started! He's made with acrylic yarn, safety eyes, embroidery floss, love, and polyfil. Good luck to the folks who enter the drawing and congrats to the winner."

For YOUR chance to win BigHead Ted (valued at $8), 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 and we will add you to our email list.

B) Leave us a comment in response to this blog post by 5pm on Saturday, December 18, 2010 answering the following 2 questions:

1) How do you follow us?

2) What type of Ted would you like to see Sarah make in the future?  Be creative!

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 December Second Saturday Giveaway!