Tag Archives: patchwork

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – September – Susie Blair – Store – Urban Prairie Girl

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My name is Susie Blair, and I have been sewing all my life!  I am a one woman business located in Sebastopol, California. I was born in Eritrea, and have also lived in Kodiak, Alaska, and Venice Beach, CA.  I have been married for 29 years to Gary, who is a high school teacher, and I have an 19 year old daughter named Hannah, who is a competitive swing dancer, and a college student.
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I am in Delhi and I seem to have grown the extra set of arms a crafter needs to do it all!

I have two shops currently, both on Etsy.  Urban Prairie Girl, which features handmade and custom fitted clothing, cloth napkins, dish towels, my ever popular pillowcases, and handmade curtains, all sewn up with Indian prints which I bring back every year from India.   I opened my first clothing shop because a friend once said to me, you know, if you spend as much time working as you do playing on the internet, you might actually make some money. (Thank you, Tony Angel!)
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My second shop on Etsy is called UPG FABRIC ANNEX, which carries my entire line of hand selected Indian fabrics that are simply the most unique and beautiful fabrics that you  will not find in the USA.  I created Urban Prairie Girl to feature my handmade clothing, to provide custom fitting clothing for ALL sizes of women, and of course, an outlet for my prolifically creative mind! I want my clothing to feel comfortable and beautiful, to be long lasting, to fit you well, and to make you feel like the free spirited woman that you are!
I would have to say, that the fabrics I choose each year for my collection, definitely lead me in whatever direction I take off in, creatively speaking.  The fabrics are my paint, my canvas, my inspiration.  I have been traveling to India for 16 years, and my fabric collection has grown so large I had to open the fabric shop, which was another dream of mine come true!
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My 2015 shipment has arrived!

Then, I have a handful of timeless designs that seem to work for all sorts of body types, which is definitely a goal of mine.  Properly fitted clothing is quite a challenge.  You know, a lot of women feel like there is something wrong with their bodies because when they go clothes shopping, nothing fits! Clothing manufacturers make clothing to fit the “average” figure, which, guess what? Practically NO ONE is that size!!! Clothing manufacturers also choose to NOT make full flowing skirts and dresses which actually fit over hips!!!  The average woman hip measurement is 38-40”!  You will not find a skirt in a clothing store like my handmade skirts, which are generously cut and made to fit your body.
You might think this is crazy, but I have never had a sewing room or workshop. Since I was 6 years old, I have been sewing in the kitchen, and cutting out my garments on the living room floor.  I am 54 years old, and I still crawl around on the floor cutting out stuff!  I sew on the kitchen table, my three trusty Berninas fit nicely there. Unfortunately, that means, no kitchen table, ever! And, no cooking super smelly and oily stuff in our kitchen because of the fabrics.  My patient family is constantly working around fabric piles, cutting boards, and that ever wobbly ironing board with precariously perched hot iron which never seems to get turned off.
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Me On a train In Sri Lanka, December 2014

I find that working at home sometimes prevents me from getting on a roll, but on the other hand, I don’t have to commute, or pay rent on a workshop or store, and I get to work in my pajamas all day if I want to! (like now!)
Anyway, sometimes, I am sewing a custom fitted garment to someone’s measurements, and other times, I just wake up in the morning and ask myself, “what do I feel like making today?”  In fact, today I am making some really cute fabric storage boxes for makeup and other small items, just because I got some very cute zippers I am dying to play with. Sometimes I just sort my fabric into piles that “go together” which inspires me to take off on another  project.  Now, lets talk about those piles of fabric.  At this point, there are mountains of fabric in three, ok, four places in my house.  Most are organized into see through plastic boxes because I do not want them to get dirty or dusty, are not prewashed, and I can see most of the fabrics through the boxes. There is one, ok, two piles that are not in plastic boxes, and all of those fabrics have been prewashed and preshrunk, and ready to be played with. I both sell the fabrics  (www.upgfabricannex.etsy.com) and use them to my hearts content! And in case you are wondering, my average shipment from India each year is around 400 pounds, that’s weight, not money.
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I grew up in a home with two very handy parents.  My father was an electronics technician in the US Navy. He was a genius and would build clocks, televisions, radios, sheds, sidewalks, patios, as well as have a hell of a good time rewiring our entire house, his way! ! He was always tinkering, building, fixing, and making stuff. We never needed to hire a handyman, or a cleaning woman, or a house helper, or babysitter, because my parents did it all! Man, they were handy!  My mother would sew a lot of our clothes, curtains and mend our stuff of course.  There was always a sewing machine around.
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In school I loved all the art classes, all the dance, all the sewing classes! It was in high school that I had an art teacher, Mr Rousey, who saw a connection that could be made with my artistic self and my sewing self, and he challenged me to make a piece of art using fabrics.  That was the first time I ever realized that art and clothing and sewing and textiles could all be bundled up into one wonderful form of expression!   Mr Dale Rousey, my favourite art teacher, and Mrs Margaret Belmar, my favourite home economics teacher, both played an enormous part in helping me find, ME!
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I have not had a “day job” for a very long time.  But when I did work for de man, this is what I did…I was a children’s photographer, a salesgirl in various mall shops including a fabric store, a bank teller, an ESL teacher, a campus supervisor for a high school, a teachers assistant.  I have also worked as a seamster for a hat company, a motorcycle luggage company, a futon company, and other designers. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, My husband and I used to have tie dye factory, probably not unlike a lot of you! Paid for those dead shows!
I once had a boyfriend that told me, take what you do best, and what you love to do, and do it. And he loaned me $1,000. so I could quit my bank teller job and try to make a living doing custom sewing, in Los Angeles.  LOL, I cannot tell you how many perverts came to my home wanting me to make them kinky clothing.  I was just 23, and not really knowing how to handle that sort of energy.  I just wanted to make stuff that I wanted to make and have people like it and buy it!
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Now, I have to take a minute here to tell you how Etsy has changed my life.  Prior to learning about Etsy, rather belatedly in March of 2007, I struggled to make money doing alterations and custom sewing around town.  It was really ungratifying and required a lot of customer contact, meaning a lot of time. I was raising my child at the time, and sewing at home was really the best way for me to make it work.  A friend of mine told me about Etsy and that I ought to try having a shop there. On Etsy, I have developed a clientele that keeps coming back for custom fitted clothes.  Then last year, I opened my fabric shop on Etsy, and wow! That is a dream come true.  I love sharing my fabric collection with the entire world. I love India, I love Indian fabric, and I love Etsy for changing my life! Thank you Etsy, and thank you to my friend, Donna, for turning me on to Etsy!
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As I said before, It must have been the influence of my parents, constantly puttering, fixing, building and making stuff around the house. I cannot so much remember what was being made, but the memory of my dad, cigarette in hand, plotting and puttering, and making another creation.  And, my mom, sewing our stuff, cooking, cleaning, fixing, shining! Always, always busy!  I remember though, one Christmas in about 6th grade, we had gotten some crafts projects as gifts, and, while the entire Christmas day happened all around me, I sat under the tree, all day, all dang day, completely absorbed in my felt kitty art, and my paint by numbers, and my new doll clothes that my mom had made for me.  I remember a feeling that day…it was.. “I AM A MAKER!!!”
Let me tell you about those doll clothes, which I still have to this day!  My mother would sew for my sister and I, every Christmas, an entire doll wardrobe for one of our dolls.  One year, an entire Barbie wardrobe! Another, a sweet baby doll wardrobe,  The next year, my Beautiful Chrissie doll received the most swingin’, hip 70’s clothing collection ever!  Funny, how in writing this, I am remembering some of the first things I remember being made as a child….

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Well, one of my favourite pieces ever is a quilt that I made in 1990, all crazy patchwork, with a purple back and extra stuffing.  I will tell you why I still love it. My daughter snatched it for her own when she was in elementary school. She even made a painting of the bed and quilt.  I noticed how much she loves the weight, the comfort and familiarity of that quilt now as much as she did when she was a small child. It has always warmed my heart that my girl ran off with my handmade quilt and has used it on her bed most of her life. Now that she is 19. the quilt is still on her bed, although ragged!
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My inspiration comes from the fabrics I collect in India, the color, the people and the designs of India. Traveling is definitely an inspiration, not only for my creations, but also for my spirit.
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Getting a fresh cut pineapple after Chamundi Hill, Mysore, India

I’d have to say, that I am stimulated by the excitement, colors, madness and beauty of India and other travels, and am calmed, nourished and
at home in my quiet, beautiful apple orchard in Northern California.
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Working in my fabric factory in India

I’m also inspired by travel, the people, the food, and the excitement of never quite knowing what to expect, including the selection of my fabrics.  While I always return to my same fabric sources, I am constantly delighted by the textiles they have made for me during the previous months.

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During each yearly visit to India, I am always sure to tack on some great adventures.  For example, last year my husband, and a Scottish pal accompanied me to India, and Sri Lanka.  I also really enjoy the satisfaction of making something for someone that really appreciates it! I love it when I get a message from someone telling me how beautiful they feel in their new skirt!

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I’d have to say, that not having any orders, can really make me feel like a loser.  I have to really try sometimes to push myself to be creative, to stimulate my shop, to make something new. If all else fails, I start scrubbing and cleaning my house.  I also will paint a wall, or clean a closet, a drawer, or make something I don’t need to make…I just have to always be making stuff or doing stuff, it is what I do best. I think its more important to me than the money I make.
Fortunately, I have been married to my partner, with a “real job”, for a very long time.  I confess he makes the bulk of our money.  My income makes it possible for us to travel, buy ourselves things, and go out to dinner or little trips now and then.  It supplements our families income, but I confess, with the competition in the clothing market, I would not stand a chance against Macys, etc etc, and I will not die trying! I am fortunate to not have the need to feel desperate in my attempt at making a living with my art.
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I like to travel, I like to walk and walk and walk.  I like to spend time with my daughter, my cat, and my husband.  I like to play bright and fun games on my iPad. You are going to think Im weird, but I like to sew in my free time, too!

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I love to read Indian literature, and travel writers, like Paul Thoreaux. My favorite travel story, The Naked Hand, by Thoreaux. (If you just wanna check out Thoreaux in quick style, read Elephanta Suite, a collection of short stories)  My favorite Indian author is Rohinton Mistry, my favorite Indian book, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
favorite quote     “It Is Written”
-and this is not for religious reasons, but because I believe that whatever happens is meant to be, and yes, sometimes is already in the cards.
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So then, since we are the Deadhead Art Alliance, I think I ought to tell you about the Grateful Dead show which would change my life, but not for a few more years to come…..It was at the Grateful Dead, Ventura County Fairgrounds, 1984 that I met my future husband, best friend and life partner. Of course at the time, he was really more interested in my best friend. . She, and the bottle of champagne we had between us on the beach after the shows.  Gary and I remained friends until 1986, when we found ourselves on a road trip together.  Somewhere in Kansas, Gary puts on Bob Dylan’s Desire CASSETTE TAPE, lol (it is 1986)….heh, that sly devil. By the time we got back home to my beach shack in Venice, I had a new boyfriend!  We were married in 1988.  Now, the thing is, while I was content enough to  see the Dead once or twice a year in Irvine and Ventura, Gary needed to go to ALL THE SHOWS!!! LOL, so eventually we got married, a dead cover band at our wedding, our first dance to Sugar Magnolia, and our honeymoon tour was summer of 1988 Dead shows all the way to the east coast and back!  Now here we are….30 years later!
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I met my husband at a dead show in 1984, and our honey moon was dead tour, 1988…

There is something as a clothing maker I would like the world to know, the artist part is more personal and really, its just me expressing stuff, nothing else to know.  As for the clothing…well, here I go on a rant…. Did you know that the main reason clothing is cut so un-generously and tight? Money.  Why is everything see through? Sex. Ok, so those are the two main focuses in the clothing industry. Money making and sex.  The sex part, whatever…..but the money part, wow!  If you have ever taken a look into my shop, you will find skirts that are generously cut using 3-6 yards of fabric, pants that fit all sorts of bootys, dresses that don’t make you look like a ho, and all made with fabrics that are 100% natural cotton, and sometimes silk and rayon.  Of course, if you did the math, you would see the skimpy mini skirt in Wet Seal, sewn by slave labor, would show quite a bit more profit than a handmade gypsy skirt sewn with 4 yards of handmade fabric. That is why you cannot buy my stuff in the mall, its not profitable.  So, what I am getting at is, the fashion industry dictates what you will wear, what colors, what styles, how short, how tight, how cheap, how expensive, how ugly, how slutty, how synthetic, how dare they!
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I have a dream to one day have my own line of sheets, comforters, bath and kitchen items, Indian style, of course.  This is a very large project, and if it is meant to be, it will happen. Thank you for taking the time to read my stuff!
Peace!
Selling Venues: Sebastopol Farm Market Sebastopol, CA Sundays 10-1:30
                        www.urbanprairiegirl.etsy.com
                        www.upgfabricannex.etsy.com
Artist Contact info:  Susie Blair  _facebook
                              www.urbanprairiegirl.etsy.com
                              barefoot_one200@Yahoo.com
Social Media Links:  upgfabricannex on Instagram
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – January –Selena Gribbin Barefoot – Store – aRecurringDream

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Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – January –Selena Gribbin Barefoot – Store – aRecurringDream

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Selena Photo Credit: Ashley Gribbin

Hello! My name is Selena and my shop is ‘a recurring dream‘. I am

a stay at home mom living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with my husband and our

two children.

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My shop takes materials that are unwanted from my local

community and I have been making quality home goods and accessories,

and started adding clothing this year.

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As a young woman, I had sewn patchwork dresses, skirts, bags, purses,

etc for many years that I would vend at local concert lots and festivals.

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In my mid 20’s I wanted to move to the city and started working for a

young restaurant group. I grew into adulthood along side an innovative

and maturing local restaurant group that emphasized the importance of

farm to table food, craft beer and spirits, and embracing and utilizing

the individuality of each of its employees to its advantage. I spent a

decade managing restaurants for them.  The demanding schedule did

not afford me much time for sewing and once I started a family, I realized

the schedule did not allow much time for them either.

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So I said good-bye

to my home away from home and a couple of months later dusted off my

sewing machine and picked up a gig doing piece work for a local clothing

company to make money for Christmas. I slowly began finding and

unpacking my sewing items and making space for them in my home. Then

I started making gifts for people and trying to come up with ideas of items

to make with materials I had on hand, or could source inexpensively, and I

found myself building a small inventory of items.

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A new street fair started

that year and they were looking for vendors. I had just enough inventory

to send photos of my work along with the application and I was accepted

to vend the street fair, and started sewing A LOT in order to have enough

items to fill my vending spot!

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Vending regularly was not reasonable for me with my kids in tow, and I had

researched Etsy shops for months before opening my shop.  Once I started

I felt so lost!  I had zero experience with internet sales.  I tried finding teams

for support with little luck in the beginning, then,…. One of the articles in the Sellers Handbook

suggested using an interest as your search keyword when trying to find

a team.  I searched “patchwork” and that is how I found the DHAA and I

was thrilled!

This team has been such a source of knowledge and support

for me and has truly been a comforting support that has kept me on Etsy.

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I also never would have guessed that there would have been an online

market for patchwork clothes, but maybe that is just me showing my age.

I work mainly with up-cycled clothing and de-stash items that I collect from my

community. I have an overwhelmingly diverse stash of fabric, and it can

make it hard for me to focus on one project for a very long time.

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When I

get a new idea, I have no problem abandoning a project in progress to start

on a new item. I always have a collection of items in progress…sometimes

I go back and finish them, and sometimes I take them apart to use the

materials for something else. I rarely feel committed to finishing a project I

am no longer enjoying. I find inspiration from so many places in the world

around me. It sometimes surprises even me the things I will suddenly

decide need to be made next!

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I grew up with a very crafty mama who loved to sew and craft with

whatever materials we had on hand. She always encouraged us to try

new things and was never afraid of us getting dirty or making a mess. It

was a wonderful way to grow up. I was never allowed to use her machine,

but when I was a teenager and started showing interest, she was quick to

find me a hand me down machine to call my own.

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I taught myself how to

sew and quickly burned through a string of hand me down machines.  In

the height of my young adult sewing days my parents helped me purchase

a refurbished metal Singer machine.  I was always concerned about the

quality of my items and the following year my parents gifted me a serger.

Their support meant the world to me and I still sew on the same machines

today.  What a great investment they turned out to be…when I think of what

I have made on them it is almost unreal to me that they are still keeping up

with me!

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Making patchwork was a natural fit for me. When I started sewing, I

made a basic dress pattern and made a couple of simple a line dresses from

lightweight vintage curtains I had found at Goodwill. My friends mother

gave me a box full of scraps she had collected over her years of sewing,

and I decided to make a pattern for a patchwork dress for myself. As a

child I had often been mesmerized with Holly Hobbie’s beautiful apron,

and wanted a dress that was a grown up version of that amazing childhood

image. After some drafting and a lot of math…I did it! I couldn’t believe

that I had actually made it! It is still my favorite item I have ever made.

I made well over 50 dresses from this pattern and never upgraded my

personal dress from that original, and I look forward to handing it down to

my girls. I have always been so proud of it, and I am hoping to revive the

pattern this Spring.

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My children are the most amazing force to have ever touched my life. I

am a very active parent, and enjoy my time with them immensely. I am

also committed to my community, and spend time volunteering at my

children’s schools, helping with coat and food drives, and volunteering at

our community garden.

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Our community garden is one of my favorite places

to be!  In addition to our own plots, my husband, children and I spend a

lot of time helping to tend the common grounds, and tending the donation

garden. All of the harvest from the donation garden benefits our neighbors

through our local food pantry.

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My family and I also love taking advantage

of all of wonderful things Pittsburgh has to offer. Pittsburgh is a beautiful

and exciting city, and we particularly love our time spent at the Carnegie

Museums and all of the surrounding State Parks. The woods are truly my

home. I like to be busy and active, and I am never at a loss for things to do

in my area.

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I always loved vending at festivals and shows, and I was excited when I

started vending at the Artisan Market in the Strip District neighborhood of

Pittsburgh this year. I love people, and love getting to talk to people about

my work. I find having an internet shop to be so isolating, and it is always

nice to come face to face with someone who truly appreciated what you are

creating.

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Music has always held an important role in my life. My father is very

passionate about music and ensured it was part of our daily lives. He took

me to my first concerts, and to many more later in life. The concert that left

the biggest impression was attended when I was about maybe 12 years

old. It was a music festival at Camp Lejeune Naval Base during Operation

Desert Storm. The energy in the crowd was unlike anything I had ever

experienced. I remember that Chicago was the headliner and that Sinbad

was the MC for the event. It was my first experience seeing how music

could bring people together and give them hope, joy and a strong sense of

togetherness.  When I first moved to the city in my early 20’s, there was an amazing

theater that had live music almost every night. I went there just about

every evening, I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else. Some night

they had national acts, sometimes they would even have high school kids

who raised enough money to rent the theater to play for their friends and

family, and everything in between.  Often times the younger bands playing

were my favorite nights. They always played with a passion that I truly

appreciated.

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My favorite quote is by an author named Richard Bach from No Such Place

as Far Away.

“Not being known doesn’t stop the truth from being true.”

                                                                      Richard Bach

This resonates deeply with me. It is a simple statement of truth that I feel is

too often overlooked.

This past year I have had opportunities to do so many things that I never

would have imagined. I have made my first full size quilts, I have started

making bereavement items to console the families who have lost love ones,

and have written my first tutorial to be published in a national magazine this

Spring. It has been such a whirlwind and I am looking forward to what lies

ahead.

Selena: A Recurring Dream Vending  by John Colombo Photography

Selena: A Recurring Dream Vending by John Colombo Photography

“Many thanks to all of you who have supported me on this journey”  Selena

Artist Contact info:

aRecurringDream.com

selena@aRecurringDream.com

Social Media Links:

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/aRecurringDream

Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.com/arecurringdream/

Twitter:
www.twitter.com/_RecurringDream

Wanelo:
http://wanelo.com/arecurringdream

Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

DHAA Artist Of The Month- June 2013: Danielle From TreeHouseCreations!

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Hello my name is Danielle; I am the owner and seamstress for TreeHouseCreations.  I was taught how to use a machine in 2004 from my boyfriend’s sister.  I loved the idea of making my own clothing and working on the machine came pretty easy for me.  In 2005 we moved into a house that had the feel of a treehouse.
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TreeHouseCreations was born and I began selling clothing instead of making them all for myself.  I have pretty much taught myself everything I know from reading books, researching online and years of practice.  I try to make it a point to learn new things often.  In 2010 I started filling my Etsy shop slowly and now it has become more than just clothing.  I also make sew-on patches, jewelry and other random things.  Alan has some paintings in the shop and hopefully soon some his wire wraps.  From the beginning Alan and I wanted to work together to make TreeHouseCreations more than just local selling. Opening an Etsy store has made this happen for us since we can’t afford to vend many festivals.
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All of our creations are made in our home in south-west Michigan.  I serge with a safety stitch all of my seams, most seams are top-stitched as well.  This is a very durable way for seams to be stitched and can be seen in most store-bought clothing.  It took me years to feel comfortable working with a serger.  I originally bought one in 2006 and then sold it because I couldn’t figure out how to use it.  About a year later I gave it a second go and haven’t stopped using it since!! I prefer to just do the math when making an item instead of using patterns.  I have altered some patterns and have some of my own that I do use, but most of the time it’s free hand.
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I also have a full-time job working in a group home for four mentally handicap people.  I have been working third shift every other week for 9 ½ years now.  I love knowing that I am doing something with my life that helps others who can’t help themselves.  They have become family and can I get pretty protective!   Alan is a cook at a local bar and grill.  In our spare time we try to create as much as possible, hang out with friends and go for hikes!

I grew up in a pretty creative family.  The crafts differ per person, mostly dealing with food.  My aunt did sew and made a couple of my Halloween costumes.  As a young child I had my own fashion sense and had to dress myself.  My mother tells me I would get mad if my socks weren’t folded over just right to show the lace (Ha! That sure has changed!).  I loved drawing out houses and designing layouts for rooms.  In school I enjoyed art classes but was never too great at drawing so I focused more on shop and drafting classes.  In high school I took architecture class for two years, thinking that that’s really what I wanted to do with my life.  But then once it was over I just wanted to travel and chill more.

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My inspiration comes from a lot of different things, nature, a song, mostly the fabric.  I have quiet the collection of fabric.  My mom is always helping me stock up at Christmas and my birthday time.  I’ll spend hours staring at the fabrics waiting for them to talk to me and most the time they do and I go with it.  I do have ideas drawn up since 2005 but I have actually only sewn a few of them.  When I’m like, yes this is what I am going for; the fabric usually takes me elsewhere.  Seeing and hearing feedback from my customers and followers inspires me as well.  I love hearing other people’s positive insights.

I love every part of what I do and can’t imagine my life without it all.  I enjoy vending, being out there and talking to people face to face.  It’s a great feeling to see someone’s reaction when they see a creation you made and that they love!  Custom orders are great as well.  As mostly an internet based seller, it’s not often that I hear back from someone.  Custom orders help make a sale more personal and can sometimes lead to a new friendship.  Sewing and crafting in general calm my soul, life just doesn’t feel the same when I’m away from it for too long.

One of my favorite items in my shop right now is my green panel butterfly dress.  I love the fabrics and the way it all flows together.  My owl skirt has been a hit.  I have made 4 different ones now, the original and 3 customs.  My friend Kim, who is also my photographer, drew the appliqués for me since I’m not so good in that department! I pretty much love all the items I make and sometimes it’s hard to see them go!

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The first concert I went to was sometime in the late 90s.  We were on vacation and The Wallflowers happened to be playing, so my mom took my cousin and me.  We were really far away but I thought it was cool to be in a crowd for live music.  In my town there has always been more of a punk scene.  Most of my friends had punk/ska bands and we would go to shows all the time.  I have always been open to music but mostly listened to Sublime, Bob Marley, Bone Thugs and ska bands.  Alan introduced me to more Jam Bands and reunited me with Bluegrass (my dad listened to a lot when we were growing up).  I fell in love and then started hitting up shows and fests right away.  I’d say my favorite was a Donna the Buffalo show, we had 20 or so of our friends go, it was a blast!

I owe a huge “thank you” to all my friends and family who have supported me and my creative endeavors for all these years.  Without their positive vibes I may not have had the confidence to have my shop and to keep on keepin’ on.  I owe a super huge “thank you” to my mom, without her TreeHouseCreations wouldn’t be what it is today.  She has always supported me (even when I became a dreadlocked, stinky hippie) and has me out in so many ways.  For all of them I am truly grateful!!

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Etsy: www.treehousecreations.etsy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/treehousecreations

Twitter: TreeHouseCreations

Instagram: thcreations

Artist Of The Month: Melissa from Gr8fuldreadgrrl

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My name is Melissa aka Gr8fuldreadgrrl.

 

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I am a Wisconsin native, now residing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, near Seattle. Recently Moved from Joshua Tree,CA. That is where my shop started 5 years ago. I now create mostly from t-shirts, and other recycled materials. My main things are the Patchy goodness t Skirts, and my T gauchos. And its no lie, I am obsessed with exposed seams. I sometimes even wear my tshirts inside out to expose the seams, HA. I love recycling and creating items from handfuls of items that are no longer loved or needed.

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My team is me. Although, Ethan my son, is awesome at helping.

 

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He plays the drum set while I sew, dances around with me, tells me how cool stuff is, makes me fake food in his kitchen, and keeps the pretend coffee coming! He is the best!

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My shop name came from my way early years in the Deadhead chat room in AOL, yeah, remember that? Ha. I have been Gr8fuldreadgrrl everywhere online since. Gnarly Garments came from Gnarly Head wine, ha! One of my favorites! So I just combined it all to work for me.

My creative process starts at the thrift stores I guess. So many amazing items to find thrifting!! I am in love with vintage and wild stuff from the 70’s, and even starting to appreciate awful 80’s prints. Ha. I then get all the shirts and such, washed and pile em in the sewing room and start laying out stuff that looks great, move, throw, cut up, and rearrange items until I like what I see. Lay em out, cut, pin, sew, finish, photo, list. Sounds easy enough right?

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My last day job was in CT. I was the pregnant chick working at the liquor(package) store, ha. I was supposed to replace the other pregnant girl, and found out I was too! Backfire! But we didn’t stay there long and headed to California. There and since, I stayed an at home mom, and stitching mama.

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My mom was and is very crafty and sold her crafts when I was a child too. I do remember a pink crocheted blankie she made me when I was around 5. She also made some clothes for me, and all the rocking Halloween costumes. But I always remember my grandma, and great grandma’s being crafty as well. My mom had a sewing maching out for the later part of my childhood, and then I started to tinker around with it, and making myself some patchiness. Until, she later bought me my own machine, which I still use today.

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Well let’s see, if you read any of my listings….pretty much everything I make is my favorite! Its so hard to part with items!! But I am boarder line clothing hoarder as is! I really stand behind the gauchos being the comfiest things ever. I do believe the skirts are too. I love easy to wear and comfy items. Everyday pieces, that can be worn whenever and wherever you want.

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Big surprise here, but yes the Grateful Dead, HUGE inspiration. I mean all these great shirts, all the phenominal artist that make the shirts, tie dye, colors, patchwork, other stitchin mamas, music, festivals, food, smells….there is just soooo much!

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This all started when I had shirts from festivals and shows I didn’t wear. I never had enough to come home with the amazing patchworks from the lot that i drooled over, but I could usually sewing a shirt. Downside is they were all over sized mens shirts. So instead of sitting in storage I started tinkering around with them to actually wear them, turned out others liked what I did!

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The shirt hunt make it interesting for me. I am obsessed with grateful dead shirts, and thrifting. I still have some shirts from my aunt and uncle, and ones they brought me back while I babysat my cousin, while they would hit a dead show or two. I still get sooooo excited over shirts I haven’t had yet. I always have about 5 that stay in my “to keep” pile. Did I mention the Shirts?!

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The lovely people I have met while doing this also make it so very rewarding. I swear I have some of the best supporters, sisters, friends, and customers. They also give the best feedback. Totally keeps me going!

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I think my first concert was Lorrie Morgan. My mom liked her, and I have seen her more times than I would like to admit. I have also rocked out at def leppard, tim mcgraw, journey, bad company, ted nugent, slipknot, tool, black Sabbath…you know, just trying to appreciate all music! First festival would be Ozz fest 1998, alpine valley.

But by 2000, I bought a 1973 VW bus (Herbie), started my first set of dreads, and was hitting only the good music, string cheese, further fests, Dead family reunion, phish, ekoostik hookah, big wu….all the Wisconsin festivals I could get too, 3 G’s will always have a place in my heart.

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I don’t mind slow time. My kid is the best, and I would never complain about more time with my favorite lil man. My shout outs to Stealie the gumpy old cat, Phillmore the puppers, Jon my main (and only) man. Ha. My mom is pretty great too! They are my heart! usfamily

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{{I have a twitter, I don’t twit much though. Ha}}
My etsy shop www.gr8fuldreadgrrl.etsy.com
Google+ as Gr8fuldreadgrrl

A Phish Fest On Voodoo Child Ave

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Greetings guys!

We interviewed our February Artist of the Month, Erica, for Erica In The Trees  for a musical inspiration festival piece! Just in time to get’chu in the mood for the road trips, the campin’ trips and other trips too! Check out her story of her musical moment that inspired her!

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I’m trying to think of one story to share about my love for music. An experience that stands out. One that inspires me. I’m having a hard time doing so because all of them have shaped who I am, my art and my soul. One band though is always at the top of my experiences, for it’s the band I’ve seen the most and also the one that really hooked me on the scene. I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t discovered Phish. I know that for certain. From my first full summer tour with them in 1996, to a New Year’s Eve show at Big Cypress on the Seminole Indian Reservation, to Coventry, which was supposed to be their last show, and all the shows in between, both before and after….the one experience that really stands out most vividly for me was Festival 8 in Indio, CA.

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It was late October and my husband and I loaded up the VW van and headed south from Oregon to the California desert. The drive was almost 20 hours, but we would have driven 20 more to get to Indio. Phish was playing a 3 day festival on the gorgeous, lush lawns of the Empire Polo Club. It was also a Halloween show, so a musical costume was in store for us. In all my years of seeing Phish, I had never caught a Halloween show, so I was very excited! I spent the last few weeks before our trip sewing and piecing together our costumes. I knew that this festival was going to be a treat and I wanted the fun attire to go along with it!

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We arrived in the late afternoon to sun and warm temperatures. However, as we pulled into the campgrounds there were long lines with intense vehicle searches happening. Apparently the polo fields had a strict no glass policy and this caused some chaos at the entrance point.

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As we sat there, we ran into our good friend who was in town for the shows too. He had rented a super nice house only a mile or so away from the venue. It turned out to be a great thing that we ran into him, because as our car was searched all our beer was found. They were going to throw away 2 cases of good Oregon microbrews! We were allowed to leave and take the beer to our friend’s place. Wasting beer is a big no-no in our household, ha!

That night we set up camp on Voodoo Child Avenue, one of the many festival “streets” named after albums the band was possibly going to cover for their musical costume. It was a chilly night in the California desert, but I woke to the most amazing sunrise! We spent the early part of the day wandering around the festival grounds, checking out the art, the vending (I wasn’t vending this time around, just enjoying myself at the show), and the people.

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There was so much to see and take in and the weather for late October was absolutely phenomenal. Once inside the venue, my heart skipped a beat. It was even more stunning than I could have imagined. There were so many cool sculptures and the flat, lush grass was perfect for dancing! We enjoyed two great sets of music, opening with Party Time. When knew it was going to be an amazing weekend and we were hungry for more!

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The second day of the festival was Halloween. I love Phish fans because we’re all so wacky to begin with, but add in Halloween costumes and the craziness ensues! All day I waited to put on my costume, as it was just too dang hot to sport black. But I sure did have fun watching everyone else roast in their attire! Once the sun started dipping low on the horizon, we knew it was show time and the costumes were busted out. I slipped on my dress, pulled on the leggings, wrapped my boa around my neck, placed my wig on my head and added all my accessories. The final touch, my mask, really made my costume! Can you guess what I was? I’m late, I’m late….

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That night was one of the most memorable of the show. Phish played three sets of music, the second set being their musical costume, which was The Rolling Stones Exile On Main Street. I danced and danced, taking on the character of my costume and tripping some people out big time! The party lasted until the wee hours of the morning and finally, exhausted, but full of joy, I slipped off to bed.

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The next day, Sunday morning, was a wonderful culmination to our festival experience. Phish played a special acoustic late morning/mid afternoon set. We hit up the Bloody Mary bar and headed out to the fields to listen to the band. Everyone was mellow and enjoying the warm sunshine and sweet music playing. Later, that evening, Phish closed out the weekend with two additional sets. I was beat by the last set and actually went back to the van to listen from the comfort of my home away from home. It was absolutely perfect.

This festival continues to stand out in my mind as something really special. Maybe it was the venue, maybe it was the people, or maybe it was because it wasn’t that long ago…whatever it was, I was grateful to be a part of it.

Artist Of The Month: Jenna from xDropBearStitcheryx

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Introducing Jenna from xDropBearStichteryx ! Our Artist Of The Month for January and the artist whose work we will be celebrating all January long! :) Check out our in-depth interview with her about her life, her love, and the incredible faith and vagabond tales behind the happy hippie collection!

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My name is Jenna M. Kidd & I’m `The Bear` over at xDropBearStitcheryx.

I’m Located in the sleepy little town of Woodstock, in Ontario, Canada. Mostly this is a one bear show but sometimes I have to call of the expertise of my number one main squeeze Mark Miller. My Hubby-bear to be. 🙂

I grew up in Northern Queensland, Australia in a town called Townsville So.. Naturally Koala’s, Crocodile’s, Kangaroo’s as well and every dangerous critter known to man would be sunning itself on my front lawn each day. For the longest time I had been dreaming about opening up on Etsy & then I met Mark. He among other friends pushed me to jump on the bus so I did. I drew up a list of name’s and narrowed it down to two. ‘Kiwi-Stitchery’ was the other choice as I was born in New Zealand so ‘Kiwi’ is also a big part of me. I ran a vote among friend’s & family & xDropBearStitcheryx Was the outright WINNER. After that I had a blast designing my logo.

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The bear is an anomalistic representation of me & my product’s: Cute, Quirky, Fun with a pinch of Crazy to boot. The logo for xDropBearStitcheryx is me at work; More often than not I have a needle in hand!

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xDropBearStitcheryx sell’s modern hippie clothing, Accessories & art. You can find unique one of a kind clothing, bag’s, jewelry, mixed media illustration’s, logo design, hand printed fabric tag’s, Plush Dragon’s as well as Artistic doll’s with clay features, Hand carved clay pendants & more.

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I originally opened up as a way to support myself & my family. I’m chronically ill and can only work out of home so Etsy was a god send. My soul purpose is to create and xDropBearStitcheryx is where it all end’s up! My goal is to provide friendly service to my customers while offering high quality Eco friendly original products. Since opening 9 months ago, I strive to build lasting relationship’s with the happy folk who find joy in my labour’s of love!

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My creative day usually starts at the crack of noon, Cup of Joe in hand, Hair in a mess & Pj’s still on! I work STRAIGHT out of home in my tiny work space at the foot of our bed. I have my little vintage singer sewing table found in our basement and a shelf I spent $5 on at the local thrift store. What started out as a few different fabrics and button’s & a passion for art has turned into so much more. I once had a big studio in a garage all to myself with printing machines, A vinyl plotter & more, but since moving to Canada to be with Mark I’m starting all over with my new Identity.

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Usually my creative process can be heard from towns away with loud music and tonnes of mess! One day I may be working with clay so I’ll turn my little desk into a clay station, Perhaps it’s sewing today – up pops my well oil’d machine, If its painting, then its a paint station & so on & there I will stay till the wee hours of the next day. I’ve never needed all the fancy thing’s to make it work. I have Faith that it just will. Thanks to living in Bali and seeing how industrious the local’s are with bare materials, & studying fine arts for a year at the Southbank Institute of Technology, I evolved as an artist & think of myself as a pretty crafty problem solver who’s able to think outside the box.

Having said that – My materials list is huge! I used new & used fabric, Clay, Wire, Embroidery thread, Hemp, button’s, zip’s, bread’s, Ceramic, Glass, Leather, canvas, water paint, Acrylic Dye, Charcoal, & much, much more!

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When I graduated from high school – I landed a fantastic job with a local sign writing company as there junior sign writer and graphic designer, which was a pretty big achievement as most were looking to hire a strong man for the job! Through them I did all sorts of work for client’s not just in Queensland but all of Australia. The biggest one I had was Hog’s Breathe Cafe – A very popular cafe with location’s all over Australia. www.hogsbreath.com.au/ Anything they needed I would fabricate and take to the main office down the road where they would post it out!

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Then 2008 came around and I found myself being sick more often than not. I took a break from work with the idea that I would come back to a job but months went by and I didn’t improve so they let me go. After that I used all the resources I gained from working for them & opened up for business from home, screen printing shirts, to making sticker’s to car decal’s under the name of ‘TwistedPyramidStickers’. It was great for a while then sickness and depression beat me down once again. So In order to shake it after month’s of testing and trying to find out the cause of my illness I jumped on a plane and flew to america to experience winter for the first time and to be with nature to heal before crossing the border and catching a bus to Woodstock where I decided It was time to try again & thus xDropBearStitcheryx was born online.

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When I was a kid the first thing I remember seeing made was a sticker. It was coming up to Christmas and the media was pushing children’s toy’s like usual. I saw the add for a Sticker machine and I was sold! I begged my parents a plenty! At the time I was obsessed with stickers, I had a giant scrapbook I would keep them all in. The thought of making my own stickers to go in my book was the spark that started it all! From that moment on whenever anybody asked me ‘what do you want to be when you grow up Jenna?’ ‘an Artist!’ Was the reply. After time my scrapbook not only had stickers, it had tracing’s of popular Children’s Character’s I would sell to other student’s for 20 cent’s a drawing! 😉

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After Christmas a lot of my favorite item’s in store found new homes! My floral patchwork bag however is still up for grab’s! This bag has been a favorite since I opened. I made it during a dark time living with my psychotic ex & It bought me peace, love & light with every stitch. The hemp thread hand stitched in it was gained through my very first successful local Trade! & The fabric was a gift from a wonderful women in town who works at the women`s resource center teaching women how to sew so that they may find employment. They acquire TONNES of fabric scrap’s that sat there until I came along. She sore my handmade clothes and bag and allowed me the resources I needed to get off to a good start.

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Deadlines & tough time’s are the inspirational back bone for my work. I seem to work best under pressure, I find I get more done during burst’s of insomnia in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the house is still. I also take inspiration from my favorite bands (Tool, Grateful Dead, Puscifer, A perfect circle, Xavia Rudd & more), as well as fantastical stories of far away places, & my fellow artisan’s.

What makes my job as an artist interesting? Between hanging over the side of a giant ferry-boat sign writing, now searching through thrift stores like a tomb raider, to sitting at my little desk carving clay. The best part of my job is that it is always something new, exciting, challenging & straight from the heart!

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The first concert I went to was in grade 7 – I played trumpet in the school band for our primary school graduation! First serious gig was when I was 15. The local town council had organised about 5 buss’s to take all the kid’s of Townsville to the Triple J’s One Night Stand gig in Ayr 2005 about one hour out from Townsville. My mate’s & I arrived as the buss’s pulled up next to a giant sugar cane field where they had set up a massive stage.

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The concert featured Katalyst, End of Fashion, Shihad and the Hilltop Hoods and was witnessed by 10 000 people from across the region. My girlfriend Was a massive fan of Hilltop’s hoods, as was I so we had a blast listening to ‘Nose Bleed Section’ on the ground next to the soon to be harvested sugar cane. It was one of the iconic song’s to launch Australian skip hop into the chart’s!

The first Festival I went to was ‘Big Day Out 2008’ Which was a hoot! Rage Against the Machine, Bjork, Grinspoon, Arcade Fire, Hilltop Hoods, Billy Bragg, Paul Kelly, LCD Soundsystem, Sarah Blasko, Faker, Midnight Juggernauts, Dizzee Rascal, Something With Numbers, Battles, Cut Off Your Hands, UNKLE, KARNIVOOL & MORE I had a BLAST!!

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I look at the hard time‘s as fuel to keep on trucking! Life never give’s us more than we can handle, however at times it can seem like everything has a ‘touch of grey’ (My favorite Grateful Dead song). At times like that I lean on my friends and family for support & inspiration. They haven’t failed me yet. When sales are far and in between I take it as a chance to analyze my store for things that could do with improving, be it photos, tags, descriptions, etc. It’s the perfect time to work on held up orders or my next release of products. Even if your store seems quiet there is ALWAYS something you should be doing! The Etsy blogs are a great place to spend some time – as well as our team forum. Its full of wonderful helpful tips & Time saving ideas!

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Right now, Jenna’s gettin’ ready for a give away competition as she has hit & passed 12,000 views a few weeks ago!! {{{Right On, Jenna!}}} She’s also working on a ton of new project’s & order’s so be sure to check in at www.facebook.com/xDropBearStitcheryx!!

You can catch competitions and sneak peaks there as well as creative process’s that you won’t find on Etsy! – So it’s well worth a lookin’ into if you follow ‘The Bear’!!
Save The Date Folks!: Feb 2nd, xDropBearStitcheryx  will be launching a bunch of new listings! After a wonderful first Christmas on Etsy! So remember to mark that one in the calender!