This is the window to my studio. There are two more reading, “SEW” and “FLY” as well. They’re meant to act as reminders – but I rarely need to be reminded to eat. Below, you’ll see what it looks like when you look in. Nice, but also messy… which is just the way I like it.
If you look close, you’ll see books, an iron, and even a pretend birthday cake.
In here, I make things with the use of a sewing machine and a willingness to find ideas anywhere. In this spirit, about a year ago, I collaborated with my three year old on a special project for Craftland. Using her sayings, I made little wooden cameos.
I had realized that she is always giving me this genius wisdom, and I am always writing it down… so it only made sense to take those sayings and embroider them.
I begin with one of the above gems and proceed to my Brother “Project Runway” edition home sewing machine. Using crinoline (an industrial use fabric) and black thread, I carefully make lines using a freeform method. The resulting piece is partly made by me and partly made by the machine.
At a recent craft sale in NYC, a fancy lady asked me, “Who does your copy?” I was happy to let her know that it was this little bundle:
I just hope she never gets too mad at me for stealing her sayings.
To close, here she is describing what she would do if given the chance to take a unicorn home.
To keep up to date with Sparrow Sayings and other projects, please visit my blog here.
Thanks, and have a happy day.
Many people talk about knitting as a seasonal affair, like a winter sport. When the snow clears up, they pack away their knitting until the first icy breeze hits again. Not me! I am a year-round knitter and I think everyone should be too. In the summer, consider taking your knitting out to a picnic at the park, on a boat ride, and yes, even to the beach (but probably not your precious hand dyed cashmere silk yarn).
So what exactly does one knit in the summer? I'll tell you how I go about it. In June and July, I knit shawls. Not big bulky winter shawls, but lightweight fingering shawls with delicate designs. My picks this year were the Lida Shawl and Freesia. When they're finished, I carry one in my bag all summer for those air-conditioned restaurants and movie theaters.
By August, I'm ready to cast-on some socks. In fact, I have a ball of sock yarn sitting in my bag for when I finish the hat I'm working on. When that first chill hits, I'll be wearing my new socks while knitting up a big cozy sweater for the winter.
Toil & Trouble is the business of Ana Campos. She began to crochet at age 8, and learned to knit shortly thereafter. She believes that yarn is a manifestation of possibility, creating little pieces of possibility to share with the world.
Kim O'Brien is the lovely jewelry designer and maker behind K. O'Brien Jewelry. Over the years she has been one of our artists, as well as one of our most die hard shoppers. Not only does she shop herself, we've also had many other shoppers tell us that Kim had sent them to Craftland. When I started this feature I knew I'd have to ask Kim to be included so I could get a peek inside her home to see where all these lovely items now live.
Do you have a favorite item that you bought at Craftland?
This question is impossible to answer. I have so many favorite items I bought at Craftland from way back in the holiday pop up shop days up until about three days ago. Seeing that is over a decade of buying I will say that my favorite items are my first two purchases, a glitter belt from Red Thread Belting and button hair pins by The Littlest Bean. These first purchases started a collection from these two lovely makers and caused me to fall madly in love with Craftland. I guess it all started with glitter and buttons!
You're such a great shopper for gifts. Was there one gift in particular whose recipient was super happy?
There are many happy family members and friends who have received gifts from Craftland. (Me being one of them!) Crowns and Wands by Thimblewinder made my nieces delighted on their birthdays. I have gifted many felt flower bouquets by Kath Connolly and they were all well received. In fact, just the other day I saw a few I had given my aunt proudly displayed in her home. My parents have a small bouquet of them (which have survived seven grandchildren playing with them!) at the kitchen table. It is our gathering place and I just love seeing them there year after year as we meet for waffles and coffee. The next favorite gift is HeatherJeany's bike t-shirt. I bought four, one for each nephew at the time. The youngest is delighted to not have outgrown one yet as he keeps getting his brothers' shirts passed down to him.
Why is buying handmade important to you?
My favorite part about all of these purchases is they led me to collecting items from the small businesses. These collections may have started with a t-shirt, hair accessory or card I fell in love with. Once I get home with my new treasures I look up the artisan's website to learn more about the person behind the work, see what else they make and where they are making stuff. Often I have had the honor of meeting these makers in real life through Craftland parties, craft fairs, or starting a relationship on social media and planning a real life meet up. There are so many lovely makers I have met thanks to buying handmade. With most of them I have become fast friends and have loved seeing their craft expand as they explore new ideas, materials and methods of making. So, why is buying handmade important? Well, my handmade purchases support a maker, a person, someone with a vision and my support can help that artisan continue in their explorations and can help their business flourish and expand. Since most of my purchases have led to amazing friendships I can also throw all of the encouragement and enthusiasm at those makers that they can take and because they are such lovely people, they cheer me on just the same.
Holly Vine works downtown for Indowncity, and pops into Craftland on a regular basis on her lunch break. I was dying to know how all these little things she's been picking up look in her new home. She was nice enough to send me some photos, and talk to me a bit about some of her favorite pieces. I think these all look so great and so at home. She definitely has a good eye for putting items together creatively, like putting a set of pins together in a frame, I love it!
What's your favorite item that you've bought at Craftland?
I love the pieces that have become part of the frame wall in our bedroom. I wanted to have a really eclectic collection of images and pieces, some I had put together myself and some pieces from local artists. I also wanted to have some difference in textures, so the range of artwork that Craftland has made it the first stop on my 'frame wall collection' mission!
The pieces in my collection from Craftland are:
Stag print cloth swatch- small yellow frame at top
Four small buttons- small white frame in center
'You Are My Sunshine' letter press- large white frame on left
Providence sketch postcard- ornate small yellow frame in center
'It's Going To Be Ok' card- white frame at bottom
Have you bought a great gift for someone from Craftland? Did they love it?
I'm always buying cards from Craftland: birthdays, weddings, special occasions, or a little pick-me-up for someone who needs it. Cards can so often be an after thought when giving a gift, but really, this is where the sentiment can be expressed the most. I feel that by putting heartfelt words into something someone has spent time designing, creating and producing, honors what those words are meant to convey. Cards from Craftland aren't the sort of thing that hang around on the mantlepiece for a few days either side of a holiday or occasion, they are kept, collected and cherished.
What do you love about buying handmade?
We've recently moved to a 'new' home (which is hugely misleading as it is old and scruffley and higgledy piggledy which we love!). We spent the first few months getting the space ready to live in and now we are filling it with who we are: I'm a cook and Charlie is an artist, so having artisan, handmade things in our home is essential.
When it comes to cooking, sharing food and flavours is hugely important to me. I think that is why I love spending time wandering around Craftland, the joy of having so many passionate artists offering beautiful, approachable and whimsical things that I can actually own, speaks to me as much as it does when I offer someone a slice of cake!
Buying cards, jewelry or homewares from Craftland isn't just about getting nice stuff, it's about inviting someone's time, energy, effort and passion into your home which is why I love to buy handmade.
Holly Vine lives on the East Side of Providence with her Husband, Charlie. By day she is the voice of In Downcity and at all other times she is the 'Holly' of 'Holly Likes to Cook' an online extravaganza of home cooked recipes, thrifty kitchen tips and tasty ideas.
A lot of you have been asking us what is going into our old space. If you've been on the block in the last week, you may have seen the new pop up shop that opened up, Providence Polaroid Project. For sure, it's one of the coolest pop ups I've seen.
I was lucky enough to get a tour of the shop the day before it opened and chat with Brandon Lane, one of the co-creators of the project along with Devan Durante. Best friends, photographers and analog enthusiasts, they created Providence Polaroid Project as an Interactive Gallery Space and Polaroid Camera Shop. They want to make Providence an Instant City, by turning the space we vacated into a participant driven gallery.
The pop up shop is open Wednesdays - Sundays and is part gallery, part shop and 100% analog. Everything in the space uses old technology (think: cash, typewriters) and explores the idea of analog vs. digital, and the old technology that has brought us to the technology we use every day. How can we have tangible, analog experiences in a digital world? The technology of Polaroid cameras embraces instant gratification and Brandon described it as "the haiku of photography."
Visitors are encouraged to stand in front of one of their many backdrops to have their portrait taken with a 1971 Big Shot Camera to be a part of the gallery show at the end of the project. They also have memberships available so visitors can borrow a vintage camera and take it out around town "to capture the people, style and soul of our city" and have those images included in the final gallery show.
Join them on August 21st for the final gallery exhibit that showcases all the photos taken throughout the project.