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Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

Smart Alex, samples some berries!

Introducing “Smart” Alex, the creator and concocter behind Smart Alex Jams.  We all know that great handmade businesses often come from a passionate, creative person doing something that very labor intensive and very delicious for years and years.  And all those years they hear people telling them “This is so good, you should sell it!”  That’s exactly the story behind the Jams at Smart Alex, and we are really looking forward to picking up a jar of our own at The Big Chill on Sunday, December 2nd!

Blueberry Spice Jam by Smart Alex Jams

With flavors like Ginger Peach, Crabapple  Jelly, Blueberry Spice, Raspberry Mango, Cranberry Orange Zest, Christmas Jam and more available there’s gonna be a little something for everyone.  We hope she brings tasters!

Smart Alex!

Please join us, Smart Alex and all the other wonderful vendors at The Big Chill arts, crafts and vintage sale on Sunday, December 2nd from 10am to 4pm at Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo Street, Portland, Maine.

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Good morning!  Chilly one out there…

Reversible Enamel Pendant by T.S. Mastro Enamel Jewelry

Today we feature Tracy of T.S. Mastro Enamel Jewelry.  This December will be her second time selling with The Big Thaw/Chill and we’re happy to have her!  Last May, Tracy called me before the event to say her car had lost one of its wheels on her way there.  What?!  So naturally I just figured we were down one person… but then a couple hours later who shows up?  Tracy!  Steadfast commitment to handcrafted arts, love that.

Enamel Pendant by T.S. Mastro Enamel Jewelry

T.S. Mastro’s work offers brightly colored patterns in color to suit all wardrobes and tastes – in fact, many of the pendants are reversible so they’re doing double duty.  Perfectly placed geometric accents and negative space make her pieces truly unique.

Green Donut Pendants and Earrings by T.S. Mastro Enamel Jewelry

Tracy has a busy schedule this holiday seasoned, and we’re honored to be on it!  Come check out her work and two floors of other fantastic vendors at The Big Chill arts, crafts and vintage sale on Sunday, December 2nd at Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo Street in Portland!

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Barn Owl on reclaimed Maine barnwood by Mermaid Meadow, a Big Chill vendor!

As promised, the December 2012 Big Chill vendors are posted here!  And we couldn’t be happier.  We saw a lot of familiar names coming in the mail along with a host of fresh, new applicants to The Big Chill.  We’re so psyched to bring you all this good art just in time for the gift-giving-season!

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Evening Sun Ring by Sweet Sincerity

Ok, duders!  Time for some jewelry!  Surprisingly, we had very few jewelry applications this year.  One of them came from the wonderful Bethany of Sweet Sincerity jewelry, located way up there in Bangor, ME.  In advance:  thanks for driving down to see us, Bethany!!

The beadwork of earrings, bracelets and necklaces at Sweet Sincerity have always been fancy, ornate, and colorful – and just this year Bethany has been learning jewelry smithing, adding an entirely new dimension to the products she offers.  Sweet Sincerity is on Facebook – click here to go to the page and “like” it!

Bethany is intense, like the jewelry at Sweet Sincerity!

Bethany answered some of our “Big Chill” questions, here are her answers!:

The Big Chill:  What is the first sign of winter, in your opinion?

Sweet Sincerity:  When I stop shaving my legs, comforted by the knowledge that they will not see the light of day for the next 7 months…

TBC:  What items from Sweet Sincerity will keep people happy throughout the dark days of winter?

SS:  I hope that the thought of the Sweet Sincerity Jewelry they know they are wearing somewhere under the layers of long johns, mittens, sweaters and scarves will warm their little hearts!

TBC:  What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

SS:  Tea and cream-filled cupcakes.  Or tequila.

Us, too!  Join Bethany from Sweet Sincerity for some salt, lime and tequila (ok, not really) at The Big Chill arts, crafts and vintage sale on Saturday, December 3rd at the Mayo Street Arts Center in Portland.  Yes!

Stellar Earrings from Sweet Sincerity

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What a fun day we had nearly three weeks ago!  The BIG THAW elves are busily compiling photographs for your viewing pleasure.

In the meantime… the rumors are true!  The BIG FREEZE is slated to commence post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas of 2011.  For more information on this upcoming event please subscribe to our blog in the field at the right.  Or email:  thebigthawportland at gmail dot com for more information!

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Ya-da-da! Melon Bee!!

Hola, readers!  We caught up with Bevin Holmberg of Melon Bee who will be sharing her space at The BIG THAW with Melissa Bankhead, seamstress extraordinaire.  We learned that Bevin is a recent Maine transplant (Welcome, Bevin!) and that she has a super cool ‘day job’ to help pay the bills…
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The BIG THAW:  What goodies can customers expect to see while they’re browsing at The BIG THAW?

Melon Bee:  Well, Melissa is going to have some really neat fabric items, like aprons, cute baby bibs, and sweet iPad covers.  She does fun fabric trades with her mom, all the way on the other coast in California.  I (Bevin) am going to bring prints of a series I painted… it’s an animal for every letter of the alphabet!  The originals are colored pencil, ink and water color.  I painted all the animals during a pretty miserable winter in Minnesota, and I really believe they helped me maintain some sanity!  I have also been working on some little painted panels inspired by Swedish textile patterns lately, and I will have a few at the sale.

Loggerhead Turtle by Melon Bee

TBT:  Lots of your work deals with animals and animals are our favorite.  Do you pick the ones you want to illustrate at random or for a reason?
MB:  Growing up, if I wasn’t outside exploring, I was inside pouring through world book encyclopedias, trying to draw all the interesting animals I found.  As a kid, I wanted to be a marine biologist, and my favorite animal was a manatee, so that was a given for the letter ‘m’ in this series, but I tried to make some stretches for most of the other letters!

TBT:  When you’re not painting what occupies your time?
MB: When I am not making art on my own, I am hiding in the backroom of Trader Joe’s, working on signage for the store.  I also love riding my bike and walking around Portland (don’t have a car)… there’s so much to explore!  I’ve been taking a ceramics class at Portland Pottery, too, which has been fantastic.
 

Melon Bee

TBT:  What do you love most about the Spring in Maine?

MB: Well, I actually just moved here in September, and the Fall was beautiful!  …So, I haven’t experienced a Maine Spring yet, BUT I am super excited because I imagine it’s similar to Minnesota.  People just come out of hiding, and everyone is thrilled to get outside and take a deep breath of fresh air.  There’s something about warmer weather after it’s been so cold that just makes your whole body relax!

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Thanks, Bevin!  You can find Melon Bee’s creations and more at The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage Sale on Saturday, April 16th (this weekend!) at 10 Mayo Street (Mayo Street Arts Center).  Please email thebigthawportland@gmail.com if you have any questions!

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Conversation Pieces by David Jacobson Glass

Ohhh drizzle, drizzle.  The weather’s forecasting cloudy and in the 40s for Saturday but as long as it’s ANYTHING but this we’ll be psyched!  Actually, rain is a huge part of the thaw – after all, how would thirsty crocuses get what they need to start popping their heads out of the ground?

Here’s a bit of glass magic from David Jacobson Glass to brighten up your gray day.  We’re intrigued by his text bubbles and beautiful rendered housewares!

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What new wares can customers expect to see at The BIG THAW?

I’ve been making a lot of new work for this show that I’m excited about.  Handblown glass bud vases in celadon, robin’s egg blue, turquoise and white. More slumped glass platters and bowls in new color combinations. For example, black and white stripes, cobalt blue stripes, a pale blue stripe that looks like spun sugar. And, my Conversation Pieces™ — just like the word balloons you see in comic strips, but made out of handblown white glass. You can hang them on the wall, if you choose, and write and draw on them with dry erase markers to say whatever you want, whenever you want.

Vases by David Jacobson Glass in super Spring colors

 

2.  What inspires your glass work?

Textile patterns, and colors and textures that I see in nature. The texture of the finished piece is as important to me as the colors I use and how it looks. For example, the glass bowls I make have a lot of texture as a result of the two layers of glass canes that I fuse together.

Textures and Tones in David Jacobson's Work

 

3.  What is your favorite thing about Spring in Maine?

Knowing that summer is right behind, with tennis and kayaking.

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As if we weren’t excited enough for Saturday!  You can find David peddling his wares at The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage sale this Saturday, April 16th.  Mayo Street Arts Center, 10 Mayo St, Portland, right off of Cumberland Ave on the East End.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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Party Lights by Lulubeans

Today’s Vendor Spotlight is brought to us by Shanna Tice of The Makings of Shanna Tice.  We thank her very much for her time spent putting all this great information together!  You can find Lulubeans set up on the lower level of Mayo St. among the artist studios.  Without further ado…. Lulubeans!

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Basket of Locks by Lulubeans

Soft, dreamy, and luxurious are all things that come to mind when laying your eyes on April Newman of Lulubean’s hand crafted, hand painted fiber and hand spun yarns. April strives for the highest quality fiber when creating an artistic blend for hand spinners. It is also obvious by looking at her work, that she has a sophisticated and elegant color pallet with her hand dyed batches. There is also so much fun in her variety of juicy colors, and she pushes toward a very trendy and modern color combination with her craft as well. I can’t help but think of each batt of blended fibers as a unique one of a kind painting. Not only does April explore color, but she blends fiber in the most creative way using bamboo, faux cashmere, domestic wool, merino lamb, SW merino, sari silk fabric strips, mohair, Tussah silk, baby alpaca, Wensleydale locks, soy silk and kid mohair, and more!

Fiber and Spindles by Lulubeans

When I asked April what inspired her to begin her work as a fiber artist and what gave way to the start of ‘Lulubeans’ she replied, “I taught myself to knit when my first daughter was a toddler. Yarn kept my hands busy and soothed my busy mind. Once I had mastered knitting and purling, making my own yarn was the natural next step!” I then asked her what her favorite part about her work was and the answer didn’t surprise me! ” I love the functionality of what I do. It makes me so happy to know that fiber I have dyed will make a novice spinners first hand-spun yarn, or that a yarn I have spun will be lovingly knit into someone’s favorite hat. Making things that other people use to make things is a great and fantastic thing; the creative chain (and the joy of making!) just keep going, and going. Awesome.” One of her more popular items does just what she loves it to do:  teach others to spin. April sells a complete ‘Learn to Spin Drop Spindle Kit’ which includes one top whirl drop spindle, 4 ounces of handpainted domestic wool top (also called roving), clear, easy to follow drop spindle instructions AND hours and hours of fun! You want to give it a go, don’t you!?!

Walrus by Lulubeans

There is so much about the fiber arts community that excites April. ” I have so much admiration for so many artists and crafters. The fiber arts community is hustlin’ and bustlin’ and growing by leaps and bounds online *and* here in Maine. I’ve been so lucky to virtually meet so many talented people, and connect with so many fantastic artists right here in my home state.” Lulubeans has a wide variety of fiber available including beautifully finished hand spun yarn. April plans to show up at ‘The Big Thaw’ not only sharing her fiber wears to the public, but to meet and enjoy a day with fellow artists. ” I can’t wait for The BIG THAW! There’s going to be so much talent and positive energy in one place and it’s going to be so good to be a part of that!” I think we can all agree that we love ‘The Big Thaw’, but what we can also agree on we love the most is what ‘The Big Thaw’ will do to bring us together! YAY!

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Hear, hear, ladies!  The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage Fair will be held THIS WEEKEND on Saturday, April 16th from 10am to 4pm at the Mayo Street Arts Center at 10 Mayo St.  We can’t wait!

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Greetings from The BIG THAW and hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!  Some highlights in our corner of the universe included waking up to snow on Saturday morning (what the?!), a rousing show from Dirty Rogers, Huak and the Heebeejeebies at Geno’s on Saturday night and a rather impulsive and indulgent shopping spree at Fotoshops (closing…boo…), Material Objects and Bliss (big sale!) with some very nice ladies.

Best Buddies T-Shirt

Speaking of nice ladies, today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the fine stylings of Bethany Hayes-Chute.  When The BIG THAW caught wind of her Etsy shop we were charmed to bits by the screen printed homage to all things Maine, plaid, and her lighthearted ‘creatures’ that play in geometric space on her t-shirts and onesies.

Maine Tee. Plus that Guy is holding a Chicken.

To follow the handmade code is one thing – but to really embrace it is another.  Not only are Bethany’s ‘creatures’ a cast of characters that have followed her from childhood, but she shares them with the world via a hand made silk screen press.  Mmm and who doesn’t love unique silk screened Tees for a Maine summer?  And look at these colors!

Dance Party Onesie. Your kids can look awesome, too!

And as if making cool t-shirts and onesies wasn’t enough Bethany makes gorgeous, simple, yet substaintial necklaces to boot.  The BIG THAW and Bethany are a match made in heaven — both artist and organization placing a huge emphasis on quality over quantity.  Bethany describes her jewelry work in her Etsy shop as such:

All of the pieces I create are original, one of a kind designs. I have extremely high standards for quality of materials, workmanship and technique. I use only Sterling Silver or Fine Silver findings and materials, never base metal, surgical steel or silver plated. In instances of gold findings and materials, I use either 14K Gold-Fill or 22k Gold Vermeil.

Yes, Bethany, yes!

Palmwood and Copper Necklace

Visit her Etsy shop here to start your shopping list for The BIG THAW on Saturday, April 16th at the Mayo Street Arts Center, 10 Mayo St, 10am-4pm.  See you there!

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Well, well, well — what a beautiful day in Portland, Maine!  At the end of a long week there was no better way to wind down by meeting up with Elise Loschiavo of eden. to go over her pure, natural, light, delicious products for her vendor spotlight feature.

Sunset lip balms, pretty!

Eden lip balms are nearly weightless, Elise had brought Lavender Mint and Grapefruit Vanilla for my sniffer.  Oh man!  Delicious and mild.  So, I was partial to the lavender mint seeing as today is the first day a fashionable lady could walk around town in a skirt with no tights – it’s got a spring-y, herb-y scent without throwing too many flavors at your kisser.  The grapefruit vanilla is great for people who are partial to fruitier flavors, and mid-summer it’s something to pack in the beach bag to prevent chapping in the salty wind of our rugged, Maine beaches.  An added bonus? Eden balms are made with shea butter, cocoa butter and apricot kernal oil to moisturize.  Jojoba oil, too, is infused with calendula which is that awesome herb in baby lotions.  If it’s good enough for babies it’s ok on my lips!

Practical note I learned later:  the packaging for all of Elise’s products is simple and easy to find in a huge, jumble-y purse (note:  mine.) not to mention the unique shape of the lip balm tubes, an oblong circle, more complimentary to one’s natural lip shape and easy to find with searching fingers.

Citrus Harmony Body Lotion

On to the lotions/creams!  Elise has been working on a ‘travel size’ lotion, a great product for craft fairs while shoppers are trying to budget so they can get a little bit of something from everyone.  The price point is less than half of the larger, 6 oz. size and is great to throw in a clutch, keep at your desk at work or give as a little gift to friends.  Doesn’t Citrus Harmony just sound totally perfect for the coming warm weather?  Of course get the larger size if it’s going to be your home stash – a little goes a long way but don’t you want to smell edible all the time?

Bath Salts

Lavender Bergamot Bath Salts

With a wide variety of products like bath salts, lotions, lip balms and more you’ll undoubtedly find something you love at the Eden. table at The BIG THAW.  Everything Elise creates is made lovingly in small, controlled batches so no detail is missed.  I’m so in love with the following quote from a VERY satisfied Eden. customer – an excellent note to end on!  P.S.  — if you have any flavors in mind that you don’t see in Elise’s shop don’t hesitate to get in touch and see if it’s something she can make and have ready for you the day of the fair!  After 45 minutes of chatting I’ve learned very quickly she’s an enthusiastic, adventurous, open-minded lady.  Loves to try new things!

Shea Butter Hand Cream

Shea Butter Hand Cream

“I have to tell you how great the shea butter hand cream is. I have had an unusually difficult winter with splits in both thumbs and my right hand pointer finger. As a seamstress, you can imagine how painful it is to work. I went to the dermatologist who said to use liquid Band-aid in the cracks, Neosporin and gloves at night, and another type of hand cream often during the day. I was having only moderate success, the splits would heal for a day or two, but when I banged my thumb on something or would sew for several hours …the split would come back. It was more than a quarter of an inch long on my right thumb and I feared it would keep going. Occasionally, it would bleed if I hit is just right. In just two days of using your hand cream product, my splits have healed and new skin is growing in and over the splits. The hand cream is truly amazing and it feels wonderful when applied. I keep the container by my bed, but I need to order more to have in my kitchen and purse!!”

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