Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Inspirations- Electronics

This week's Sat Inspirations are all about electricity and repurposed electronic stuff.

I spotted this toothbrush holder in the March 2008 issue of Dwell magazine. It's part of a series of projects by Scott Amron called "Die Electric". The concept is about using less electricity in order to cause less harm to our environment. So these ideas suggest other uses for our electrical sockets! Check out more of these projects at

This one is from one of my favorite etsy shops: It's a suncatcher made from reurposed electronic lithography film. It looks great as a suncatcher, awesome reuse!

Here's a great kid's project by Tiffany Threadgould from RePlayGround: suncatchers made from old CDs! (I'm on a cool suncatcher kick today ; ) )

Going back to the theme of reducing our energy use- a co-worker at my freelance photoshop-editting job told me about this cool energy-saving site: It's a search engine that's powered by Google's Custom Search and it uses predominately black screens because that takes less energy than the usual predominately white screens used on regular Google and many other sites. That's a way of saving energy that I've never thought about before! If you read the "About Blackle" section on their site it also mentions having less windows open at a time as a way to save energy. Intriguing!

The Bent Fest is coming to NYC this April, always a good time. It's a huge festival of artist and musicians who build and rebuild their own electronic instruments using circuit bending.

Also, if you're into electronic music, Vector Zero and several other awesome innovative electronic musicians are playing tonight at 10pm at the BPM in Williamsburg. check out their myspace page:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Inspirations- Felt

happy Saturday mi hente : )

Today I'm doing my inspiration blog about objects made out of felt, why felt you ask? because I FELT like it! (drum roll for cheesiness)

Here's some cool felt beads by Lusitania. They made the front page of etsy today. congrats!

I love felted slippers, there's so many cute pairs. Here's one of my favorites by Pawfelts:

These felted rings by Ottoman are a really unique take:

Felting can be a beautiful way to recycle old sweaters and left over fibers. Check out Fiveforty's recycled/upcycled felted rugs!

and check out these innovative felt vases by Joshua Stone:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

DIY Friday- the Mac & Cheese Gift Box!

This week's Firday DIY is the Mac & Cheese Gift Box! I often make these boxes to send my earrings or bracelets to my customers on etsy. It's pretty quick and cute!

Here's most of the supplies you'll need: cutting mat, xacto knife, ruler, pencil. You'll also need doublesided tape or rubber cement, whichever you prefer.

The first thing you do is find the seam on the side of your mac & cheese box and carefully peel it apart.

Next use the scissors to cut straight down the second side of the box.

So here's what you've got:

Next measure the length of your box. Most Mac& Cheese boxes are 7" long.

Next you mark a line straight across at the 3.5" point. Score the line by very lightly dragging the xacto across it. The idea is to cut about 1/2 through the cardboard.

Then you cut at an angle slanting away from the closed part of your box, starting at the corner you just scored.

Next measure the height of the box. Measure and mark a line that distance away from the first line you scored. The newly marked line should be on the side towards the open end of the box.

Here's what your box looks like unfolded at this stage:

You'll need to slice off a triangle on each side next to where you cut the angle.

The tab gets taped down using the doublesided tape.

I like to use the permanent double sided tape because it isn't smelly like rubber cement.

Here's what your box looks like. But it won't stay closed! So here's what comes next.....

...Find an extra plastic bag or packaging in a color that goes with your box. cut off a few smallish pieces and dress up your box with some recycled "tissue paper"!

...and here's how you seal the deal...with a nice bow made from the plastic bag/packaging!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Income Tax Issues for Individual Artist/Designers Ect.

I just got back from a free seminar at the Brooklyn Business Library- it was very good! Now I'm kicking myself for missing the Organization for Home Businesses seminar a few weeks ago. It was a basic overview of how to do your taxes if you're an artist, designer and/or freelancer. I still have questions, but the good part is I found out about some of the correct wording and more questions I didn't even realize I had. So now I can call up the irs and know what to ask.

I wanted to post some links I found out about that can help other artist/designer/freelancer types like myself with their tax woes.

Free help for Brooklyn artists/designers

Info about using free tax return preparation by volunteers,,id=107626,00.html

Link to free tax preparation sites in New York City & Brooklyn (where those volunteers are!) ....this list is from 2005 but probably some of these places still do it, it's worth calling them and checking it out

Here's one of the upcoming seminars at the Brooklyn Business Library:

Get on the Internet and Get Business!
How to use the Web to reach out to a wide world of clients

Your computer can be the key to selling success if you know how to use the internet effectively. At this seminar Liliana Blanco from the Business Outreach Center will give you tips to E-Mail marketing and Jennifer Stevens of Stevens Consulting will explain the secrets to selling on eBay. Join us to learn:

* The benefits of marketing via email
* Using Constant Contact and understanding its features
* Choosing profitable products to sell online and pricing them right
* Creating repeat customers

Tuesday, February 19
6:00 - 7:30 pm

There's another seminar having to do with small businesses coming up on Feb 28th, it hasn't been put up on their website yet. I guess we'll have to check back on that one.

I love comments so make sure you comment if you have some advice or questions, we can help each other out!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday Inspirations- NY Gift Fair

So now that I've had a chance to sift through the huge pile of business cards ect. that I acquired at the gift fair last Mon...

here's my favs!

Resource Revival! They make tons of cool stuff for your house: picture frames, storage and my favorite- the clocks! And you can send them your old bike parts for reuse:


Check out their website: Really great bags all made from repurposed materials. There's the Soccer Ball Bag (which is literally a soccer ball turned inside out!), the Hot Water Bottle Bag, and tons more. Very creative reuses! The Lederhosen bags are adorable.


Jewelry made from parts from electronics, diodes, resisters ect. by Melissa Kolbusz. It might be my computer being slow but I can't seem to get to their webpage: But when I googled wired + Melissa Kolbusz a few other sites popped up with pics so check em out! She does a great job making electronics look gorgeous.

Beth Mueller

I love Beth Mueller's simple ceramics with their cute illustrations. My friend Tiffany got to talk with her once and she said when she's making her illustrations she' all about doing just enough but not too much. Simplicity!

DB Clay

DB Clay's wallets are good lookin' and eco friendly! They've developed a material called "Tope" that has a similar texture to vinyl canvas but contains no PVC and decomposes when buried. They print artwork and photographs on their wallets using environmentally friendly inks.

Tair Mercier

I love love these prints by Tair Mercier. They're printed on polypropylene and they're just really fun to layerover each other, you can't go wrong because they're all so pretty! I just checked out his website,, and I also happened to notice he put a pic up of his 2CV, and I'm not a car person I'm more of biking/public trans kinda girl, HOWEVER, that car is gorgeous so check it out.

Melissa Borrell Design

She had these really awesome plastic "pop-out" earrings and pendants at the show. They come in fun packaging, a plastic sheet that you pop 'em out of to wear. There's a much bigger variety of beautiful jewelry on her site:


These screens/partions are pretty cool. They're a "3d textile" made from polyester. The shapes are really cool and the hardware to put them up is nice and simple.


If you're a textile design junkie like me you're gonna like this one: They've developed a process called "kemuri" in which their textiles are hand pressed in order to make them super light but still extremely strong.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday DIY- Earrings Update

This week I tried the ol Fabric Covered Stud Earrings project out again. This time I used stetchy fabric and made smaller little fimo circles.

I think they came out a lot better than the last ones. And I didn't even burn the fimo this time! ; )

Next Friday I'll post a how-to for making a cute gift box out of a mac & cheese box!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

NYGIF- Gift Fair Sustainability Talk

Yesterday I went to the big gift fair at the Javits Center with my friend Tiffany from RePlayGround. She had an extra pass so she asked me if I wanted to tag along and check out the talk "sustainability: design for a better world: a manufacturer's guide to going green" super long title right?

The talk was really interesting, the speakers were Jaime Salm of MIO, Paul Murray of Herman Miller and Peter Strugatz from Ice Stone which is practically right around the corner from my house. The most important thing to note is that Jaime Salm is completely adorable! LOL I have a soft spot for Spanish guys....OK maybe not the MOST important thing.... anyways..

Let's seee... my favorite things about each presentation....

Let's start with Paul Murray from Herman Miller. He explained how they broke down all the materials they use in manufacturing their office chairs in order to find all the properties and environmental impact of each chemical that was involved. They wanted to make their newest chair, the Mirra (pic below) more eco-friendly. They had to write up contracts all over the place to convince their manufacturers that they weren't trying to steal the formulas, just trying to figure out what the hell goes into the stuff they make.

So once they figured out what was actually going into the manufacturing of their chairs they substituted the chemicals that were harmful with healthier alternatives. They also do a "take-back" system with old or worn out chairs. The Mirra chair ended up getting Cradle to Cradle certification because of the take-back system and the change in the materials. Which is pretty cool, apparently they were the 1st ones to get it for an office chair. If you haven't heard about the "cradle to cradle" concept you should totally check it out here.

Cradle to cradle in a nutshell is making new objects in such a way that they can easily be made into something of equal or higher value. It's the idea of designing objects that never really come to the end of their lifecycle and end up in a landfill. It's like recycling except that a lot of recycling, especially in big manufacturing situations, makes the old objects into something of less value. Like when we recycle paper, usually the recycled paper is of a lower quality than the original paper was.

Ok so back to the talk.....

Peter Strugatz from Ice Stone. Ice Stone is basically a mixture of recycled glass and concrete and it's this super durable surface people can use for tabletops, sinks, their patios ect. Coming up with a really durable pretty material that is eco-friendly is a big feat, most of the chemicals and materials that make things durable aren't eco-friendly at all, think about it all those nasty smelling sealers ect. So that's pretty cool that they've come up with something durable and attractive too!

One of my favorite things he talked about was in his words: "community-based urban environmental manufacturing" so basically they're really into creating new jobs and making their factories great environments for people to work in. They have "town meetings" with people from the community too, just to say hey what's up, how're things? And the best part is that their factories are lit naturally by skylights! I love that idea, I wish I could light my little 1st floor apartment that way! : D
Check out Ice Stone here.

Interesting and completely horrifying fact that Peter shared: 75% of glass in the US is thrown out. in Europe 90% of the glass is recycled! wtf? I'm living in such a backward country.

And last but certainly not least, hottie Jaime Salm from MIO. I 1st noticed MIO at 3R, this awesome eco-friendly shop in my neighborhood. They carry the 3d wall paper tiles which are made of recycled paper. Jaime talked about the whole design process his company uses and the ways they've had to talk manufacturers into using healthier inks ect. He also talked about how he pitches his eco-friendly ideas to people by highlighting all the positives and not going to much into all the negative reasons why someone would want to choose eco-frindly products. basically less talk about how bad it is if you buy non-eco friendly products and more talk about how beneficial it is to buy eco-friendly.

Ok kids, I'm pooped. more about cool stuff at the gift fair in this week's Inspiration Saturday.

Recycled Stuff Treasury

One of these days I'll figure out how to do a screen capture, but for now here's the link to a treasury full of cool recycled stuff, organized by Flapi. My bracelets are in there and apparently it made the front page yesterday which is always exciting : )

Make sure you check out the "Domestic Helmet" by Clementinemom. Hilarious!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Inspiration Saturday- Qubus Design

This week I ended up finding out about a lot of neat stuff that was all designed by this one little young company in Czechoslovakia. I remember from the article I flipped through in Clear Magazine that it's a tiny design firm of just 2 young guys. I don't know how they managed to amass such a huge and varied body of work with just 2 people! This post is my reactions to their work and comparing it to other art/design. Please feel free to comment. Here's their website:

These pink pants by Qubus remind me of the Safe Clothes line by Rebecca Turbow. The green jecket is part of her line which was inspired by uniforms that involve safety. The pink pants also remind me of this collection of "Crazy Japanese Inventions" that was made into a book. Check out the video, hee hee!

this dress (also by Qubus)reminds me of...

this! yum.

I like the crazy grassy top in this picture most of all because they also showed a cross-section pic so you can check out how it's constructed. It's zip ties! This also by Qubus.

This knitwear (Qubus) is pretty interesting. I like the textures and proportions.

This somewhat bizarre church interior was designed by Qubus. I don't like it. It looks very cold and unfriendly to me. I really dislike the fact that the chairs are pristine white. What do you think of it?

I love the blue floral print on these ceramic vessels that were cast from the bottom of soda bottles. They remind me of Lorena Barrezueta's work because she casts take out dishes and dresses them up with beautiful glazes.

juxtaposing low brow and high brow, garbage and art, I love it! I actually interviewed to be her intern once, she's hilarious and a very friendly, happy person. This is her website: