Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rug Treasury!

Snagged a treasury today! : ) I've been feeling inspired by all the cool handmade and vintage rugs on etsy. Check it out!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Recycled Art- Harry Anderson

I love these lighting/sculptures by artist Harry Anderson. Yay for found objects!

Check out more great sculptures at his site.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday DIY- Vegan Bagels!

This recipe is so yummy! I found it here.

Vegan Bagels

2 tablespoons baking yeast
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups warm water
6 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
Additional flour for kneading

Dissolve 2 tablespoons baking yeast and 6 tablespoons sugar in 2 cups warm water. Add 2 cups unbleached white flour, beating it in with a whisk. Let rise as a sponge for about 10 minutes. Beat in 1/2 cup oil, 2 teaspoon salt and about 4 more cups flour (use a whisk until it gets too thick - then just use a spoon).
Turn dough out on a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes. Add only enough flour on the board to prevent sticking. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Roll lumps of dough between your hand and the work table into rolls 3/4 inch x 8 inches (0.7 x 20 centimeters). Take one end of a roll and wrap around your first two fingers into bagel shape, sealing the two ends by rolling them together between your fingers and worktable to make a smooth seam. Let rise 5 minutes on a well floured board. Repeat until you have about 30 bagels.

Have ready a 4 liter (4 quart) pot two thirds full of boiling water. Add 1/3 cup sugar. Drop 4 or 5 bagels into the rapidly boiling water, risen side down, and put on a lid. Boil 30 seconds on one side then 30 seconds on the other, keeping a rapid boil all the time. Remove bagels with a slotted spatula and place about 1/2 inch / 7 millimeters apart on a well-oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 180C/375F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yay Obama!

So it's been awhile since my last post, we have a new president! Yay! I'm very relieved that Obama got elected and looking forward to the inauguration. A bit before the election I was getting into this show on Air America, the Young Turks. It's a liberal good time!

And on another note, this past Tues I checked out Ladies' Lotto over at Brooklyn Adorned, the Brooklyn version of NY Adorned. Ladies' Lotto is this group of women entrepreneurs that hold these events for networking and they always have an inspiring speaker talk about how they grew their business/project ect. They have them in several different cities once a month.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween & Voting!

Happy Halloween everyone!

I'm almost done making my costume, this year I'm going as Princess Leia! Yay sci-fi geekiness! : ) I'll post a pic of my outfit later, when my camera's finally fixed.

And on another note, I was looking up info about Tuesday's election. Usually I have no idea what's going on for the Senate and House of Reps races so I end up doing eeny meeny miny mo for everything besides the presidency. : P This year I can actually make a somewhat informed decision on the local stuff. If you're in NY you can find good links about who's running in your district ect here.

Also, I found this site courtesy of No Impact Man's blog, it's the League of Conservation Voter's site. You can find out about candidates' positions on environmental issues there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Latest on The Atlantic Yards Proposal

The Atlantic Yards Proposal is this crazy idea developer Bruce Ratner has been trying to push through for years now. It's a huge stadium/shopping complex that he wants to plop down in the middle of one of the most traffic-heavy neighborhoods in Brooklyn. It's nuts! The pic above shows a computer rendering of what it would look like.

The following is the latest from

Atlantic Yards: A Lot of Changing Facts

The facts have been changing a lot with respect to Atlantic Yards. But our “dogmatic” Mayor hasn’t wanted to change his mind and leave the mistake behind.

Our economy changed; not the Mayor’s mind. . . . The megadevelopment’s schedule changed by decades: The Mayor seems to like parking lots which might conceivably be there until he is six feet under. . . . . The project’s cost is up (Beyond what the New York State PACB approved.); by more than 50%. . .. . We’ve gone from a hypocritical Governor Spitzer to Governor Paterson, who has a history of opposing eminent domain abuse. . . . .The flimsy theory of the arena’s tax-exemption was blown.- But the Mayor is willing to embarrassingly have the city unconscionably lobby the IRS to grandfather loopholes and fake real estate tax appraisal figures to try to salvage it. .. Remember: There is no legal or binding obligation for the city or the Mayor to go through relentless gyrations to prop up the project against the public’s interest.

What does it take to change the Mayor’s mind about an acknowledged mistake? Is there no line that the Mayor would not cross in pursuing such a mistake?

Is the Mayor’s inflexible conduct in the face of change what the Mayor means when he talks about `dogmatism’ that makes a person “not very practical or effective”?

sign the petition! Visit

Friday, October 3, 2008

DIY Friday- Fused Plastic Bags!

So after a good couple years of having a blast playing with plastic bags I finally got around to fusing them! I don't know what took me so long I guess just having too much fun weaving them. The tutorial on the etsy blog is great, you hafta check that out.

This time around I tried a super simple coin purse. It's convenient to use the plastic sleeves newspapers come in if you're making a teeny little bag like this.

Once you cut the sleeves open and lay them flat you can fold it into little rectangles 8 layers of plastic thick. I tried using less layers like 3 or 4 and it ended up shriveling up and getting holes in it so I'd say go with the 6-8 layers they recommend in the etsy labs how-to.

Another possible reason why my first one shriveled up is I had the iron set too high. I changed the setting to nylon, folded it a few more times and voila success! : )

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Recycled Art Series- Joel Spivak

I had a booth at Greenfest Philly earlier this month and had the good fortune of being located next to the booth for the Please Take Materials Exchange. Michael from Please Take was manning the booth and he gave me a list of really great artists who have been connected to the whole Please Take project. (It used to be called C.A.R.P. and i totally forgot what that stood for) So I'm going to do a series of posts on all these inspiring artists. I got to meet Joel Spivak at the fest that day so I'll start with him. : )

Here's some of Joel's latest pieces. They were up at the Bike Part Art Show put on by the Spokes People. This piece is called "My Favorite Shirt"

"Boy Meets Girl"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday DIY- Yummy Choclate Chip Zucchini Bread!

Wow it's been awhile since my last post! Since then i got a new job, had my booth over at Greenfest Philly and helped out with my friend Tiffany's (she has a company called RePlayGround) recycled crafts booth among other things keeping me super busy. : )

My new part time job is pretty exciting, I'm working for the 400 Showroom. It's a showroom for several really great sustainable clothing and accessories designers including Bahar Shaphar (one of my bosses :) ), Del Forte, Lara Miller and Ashley Watson just to name a few. I mostly work with the materials library so I get to find out about how all these amazing sustainable textiles are made, including some really innovative materials such as Ingeo and Milkofil. This weekend we're getting ready for D&A so it's been ca-razy busy over there.

Oh and in other news, I'm trying make a shift to being vegetarian. It started out as a bet with my boyfriend to see who could go the longest without eating meat. It wasn't quite fair because he went to visit his mom and grandma three days after we started and his grandma (abuelita Goya :) ) cooks some amazing and meaty dishes. So he lost right away. I haven't had the chance to visit them in awhile, I know when I do it'll be tough to pass up her awesome lomo saltado!

So anyway, let's get to this week's Friday DIY: Choclate Chip Zucchini Bread!

I got this recipe through a link on


* 3/4 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup applesauce
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
* 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
* 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
* Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until moist. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 161 (29% from fat) Fat: 5.1g (sat 1.6g,mono 1.4g,poly 1.7g) Protein: 2.9g
Carbohydrate: 27.3g Fiber: 1.4g Cholesterol: 27mg Iron: 1.2mg Sodium: 145mg Calcium: 12mg

16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Inspirations- Light!

Stuart Haygarth has been designing lighting from colleted and repurposed objects since around 2004. It took 1020 pairs of prescription spectacles to make "Spectacle".

And the "Tide" Chandelier was made from man made objects that washed up on a certain bit of coastline in Kent.

Michael R. Parent makes interesting art pieces involving steel, fiber optics and encaustic paint. Night Sky Fiber optics

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Inspirations- Knit, Crochet, Tat

You can buy a crochet pattern for this fun bento box set from

This skirt is one of my favorite pieces by Juliet Hone of Smith & Hone. I love the color combination and the stripe pattern.

Knitwear as performance art! This piece is by Krelwear.

Cotton tatting art by Icelandic artist Hildur Bjarnadóttir.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday DIY- Quick Wrap Skirt

Look Ma! No pattern!

I've had this pretty fabulous vintage fabric hanging around for awhile and I finally decided it needed to be put to use. I didn't have any patterns in my size/that I really liked so I made this really simple wrap skirt by trial and error.

First I laid out my fabric on my cardboard project board. This thing is so useful, it has a grid of 1 inch squares all over it which helps simplify rough measurements and you can make your fabric stay in place by pinning it to the board which is AWESOME!

Next I cut my fabric to be a nice even rectangle. Oh, and I ironed it.

I then measured from where I wanted my skirt to sit on my waist to where I wanted the hem hit. I decided to make it 17" long. To that amount, I added 3/4" + 1/2" on both the top and the bottom. (that's a pretty standard measurement for a hem) This comes to 19.5". So next I cut my big rectangle of fabric across the long way ( I think the length was around 60") so the height was now 19.5"

Next I measured 1/2" from all of the edges, folded them down and pinned them. Then I ironed the folds. from there I folded the edges over again, this time 3/4". Ironed that too and stitched the hem. After this I forgot to take photos, so I'll just describe it.

So at this point I had a big rectangle with hemmed edges. I wrapped it around so it was snug around my hips, knowing I'd be putting in darts to make it taper in at the waist. I marked where it should overlap and where I wanted to put snaps with pins. Then I did some crazy experimenting with darts. I'll skip the ideas that didn't work. ; ) Here's the one that did end up working: hold your "skirt" in front of you, pinned in place using your markings of where it should overlap. Measure the top edge not including the 2nd layer that is overlapped. Then measure your waist where you want the skirt to hit. Subtract the measurement of your waist from the fabric edge measurement. The number you get is going help you figure out your darts.

Say you got 3" difference (I think that's around what I got), if you're making two darts in back like I did, it makes sense that at the top of your darts they should each measure 1 1/2". That way the top edge measurement is equal to your waist. I ended up figuring out the length of my darts by trial and error, but later found out from my sister (she's a fashion designer) that most of the time when you're doing the old two darts in back trick, that they're usually around 4" in length. I made mine 3 3/4" so it was close.

Here's how you figure out the placement. Hold up your skirt, fold it flat so the front is laying face down. measure across the top edge. Take 1/4 of that measurement. whatever # you got, measure in that much from either side and mark it. Those two marks are the center of your darts.

After sewing my darts, I stitched a couple snaps on for closure. And a few vintage buttons just for looks. And that's it!

feel free to comment or ask questions! : )

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Inspirations- Biking!

ID magazine reviewed this new helmet in their annual design review recently. I love it! I want one! : ) They have two layers: the EPS core and a fabric cover for comfort and washability. yes, washability. I don't know if that word exists but it sounds good right?

They're designed by Yves Behar for the NYC Dept of Health. He has also recently designed the NYC Condoms for them as well.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a clip of Judge Judy layin the smack down and defending the rights of a biker.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Inspirations- Art & Machines

I read a little tidbit in Selvedge magazine that mentioned Schiffli embroidery machines and that set me off on my mechanical art tangent this week. These days most of these Schiffli machines have been computerized, but they have an old fashioned one at the Manchester Metropolitan University in England. They had this neato video on their website that shows the machine in action. It replicates what the artist/operator does in embroidery.

I thought these machines were a fun idea: Artomats! They're refurbished old cigarette vending machines with art inside. According to their website they have them all over the place.

Rebecca Horn
uses simple motors to create movement in her elegant sculptures.

Jean Tingluey became well known for his drawing machines back in the 1950's.

You can find out about more artists who create mechanical artworks here

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Inspirations- Guiseppe Arcimboldo

Several months ago I came across this artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo in a magazine and jotted his name down. I finally looked him up again. How awesome are these paintings?! I wonder if Jan Svankmajer was inspired by his work at all when he made his Dimensions of Dialogue shorts. Arcimboldo painted these way back in the 16th century. Read more about him and his work here.

here's a clip of Svankmajer's Dimensions of Dialogue.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Interview with Artist Ren Weiner!

name; ren weiner

shop name. firefliz


location- New york

me. (bio on the website) in 22, i dropped out of art school where i was a crafts major because i wasnt learning anything new.. unfortunatly ;( so now i do my own thing. i work mainly in ceramics and recycled materials i can pull outta the trash and put to another use.

apart from creating i work with the westchester coalition for the hungry and homeless and with a community gardens program i started with local high school kids growing veggies for local soup kitchens.

materials.... anything i can get my hands on! mostly clay and bike tubes at the current moment

my design process... function! i belive art should be useful and made just for you! everyone uses things differntly whether its a bag or a mug

what inspires me? dame... when i see something broken, or that could be done better, have a better personal function (which is why i prefer to make custom pieces for folks) though i want to bring everything down to its most natural form, i don't like to hide things in my work and i like to bring out the process in the finished product

how did i get into my craft.... i grew up in the woods with no internet, tv, or video games, so i had to DO something ;)
advice... stop doodling and just do it- you will learn more diving into a project then u ever will sitting in a classroom or racking your brain for the next big thing. lock yourself up with materials and no distractions. how can u improve the space around you?

do i have anything to add? get out in your community and make a difference! you'll feel better i promise.

on the horizion... right now im doing alot of custom bike bags and getting them in bike shops around my area, in the near future looking to open an eco organic cafe with my best freind. i cant wait till i can just make cupcakes and listen to punkrock all day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thank you! : )

I just wanted to say thank you to my etsy customers! Because of your support I was able to make my first donation to Just Food! : )

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Inspiration Saturday- Pattern!

Pattern yay! I don't know about you but I'm constantly inspired by beautiful patterns in illustrations and textile design. I love that pattern has come back into style lately in such a big way, in clothing, wallpaper, upholstry and all kinds of other things. This guy commented in an issue of ID magazine awhile ago that he was upset that they were covering designs with so much pattern because he saw it as being "frivolous" in a time when we should be making things in more efficient and eco-friendly ways, sans extra embellishment. I whole-heartedly agree with the idea of making things using efficient and eco-friendly methods, but hey, no need to assume pattern and embellishment will always hinder that. Feel free to comment!

Anyway, here's some of the beautiful patterns that have been inspiring me lately.

The pic above is from Dries Van Noten's Spring /Summer line.

This one's from British illustrator Marta Munoz. Love it!

Check out what this company Life Is Suite is doing with old furniture, they refurbish and reupholster old pieces and give them a fun modern look! Just look at how awesome this loveseat came out once they got hold of it.....

You can still catch this exhibit by Tara Donovan over at the Met. It's made of mylar, I love the organic shape. : ) Check out her website to see more great organic patterned sculptures. Some are made from recycled materials!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Interview with Rachael Patton of Jarac Rogovima!

Name: Rachael Patton

Shop Name: Jarac Rogovima

Shop Link:

Location: Humboldt County, California

Tell us a bit about yourself:
My partner and I moved to the west coast about two years ago from Asheville, NC. I loved the DIY scene there and have grown accustomed to the various styles of my new home. Three other designers and I recently produced a fashion show to showcase our work.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
In the fall, I'm going back to school to study ethnobotany. I love gardening, when I have the time. I'm obsessed with music as well. A friend of mine, and I, have plans to do a radio show later this year too.

What materials do you use? I find all kinds of wonderful fabrics from garage sales, old clothing, even bedsheets. Most of my clothing and accessories are made from these second-hand materials and made soley by me. The thought of people being exploited in other countries to make things cheap and convenient for us saddens me.

Tell us about your design process:
It takes a lot of time to come up with and draft patterns. For my hodge-podge calico-looking pieces, I gather some scraps that go together. Once I have the pattern, I plug in pieces of my favorite scraps so they fit the pattern piece. Though very time consuming, the result is awesome. I've been told by past studio-mates and costumers that I seem to make really beautiful things from what they had considered to be hopelessly tragic fabrics or clothes. I'm attracted to really bizarre things.

What inspires you?
As far as style, the folk costumes of Scadinavia and eastern Europe appeal to me. Having worked for other people my whole life, the drive to be a sole business woman is great. Also, knowing that my clothes are a closed circle operation (meaning no overseas construction, very few resources used) means a lot to me.

How did you get into your craft?
Honestly, I have no idea. I've loved arts and crafts since I was a kid. Making clothing was probably one thing on a list of many to accomplish. When I realized that it's subtle finishing techniques were a dying art, I lept into it. I love a crafty challenge. Due to learning more about clothing construction and pattern drafting, making clothes becomes more challenges and interesting.

Do you have any advice for fellow artist/designer/crafters?
Ha! People love giving advice, so take it into consideration but do what you truly feel is right for your art. And DON'T SELL OUT!!!!!!! That's my personal mantra. I can't say how many people have tried to convince me that I need to be bigger and have my clothes made overseas and market by obscene methods of commercialization. Unless you feel that that is worth doing, don't sell out.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon?
An avant garde show featuring some Louis IVX style costumes made from trash.

Anything else you would like to add?
Because, I'm on the warpath: Be aware of where your materials come from and where they go when they're disposed of.

Thanks for sharing sharing the concepts and inspirations behind your awesome work Rachael!