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.
Here is comes—->
My name is Cynthia Ellsworth , My shop name is Loving Tree. I create all sorts of crafts, mostly clothing and sewn accessories. I also make dream catchers and sometimes jewelry.
The purpose is to grow love around the world while trying to support my 5 children and myself by staying home with them so I do not have to put them in daycare and work a job that would pay the same or less than I make with online sales generally.
BEADING AND JEWELRY:
Picking beads for pipe case
I find one of my greatest inspirations is my own customers. When they come to me with a special request I love it. Especially if it’s something that I have never made before. I’m one of those crazy ones that likes a challenge to keep me on my toes and I love the since of accomplishment once I figure out how to do the project.
I have many project ideas come and go throughout each day. I have to write some of them down or draw a sketch to remember for later on.
I work mostly in what I call my loving room rather than the living room we do not have TV there and try to keep it well, loving.
See this video if you like that shows a bit about my way of thinking and how I came up with the loving room concept. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXrm6RUTkZk
I try to use as many second hand and repurposed items for my projects.
I feel there are so many supplies and items in excess in the world I don’t need to contribute to more factory processing and farming if I can help it. I am also vegan and do not use any animal products in my items.
I especially love using vintage material and bedsheets with characters from the past to bring a smile to faces of us grown up kids that remember them. I have dyed some of my own fabric too and hope to get into making some clay items again and possibly coil baskets with yarn. I really liked when we made them in art class during school.
My mother would make my sisters and I clothes and some dolls when we were children and I learned how to use her sewing machine when I was around 9 years old. I didn’t do too much with it. The first items I remember making were a tucan and lion stuffed animals in home economics in 9th grade of school.
CREATING FOR THE KIDS
The first clothing I remember was a pair of patchwork pants and oh lord where they wild. I was extremely inexperienced and was mostly self taught, but I wore those pants till they wore thin from over wearing and washing.
Contribution to the Deadhead Art Alliance Quilt
One memorable project is a few ladies were teaching sewing when I was in 11th grade and they seen how I loved it and took me on privately to help me create a baby quilt that was intended for my first born child that had little bunny squares on it and little ears flopping out. Sadly I left some of my property with a neighbor to store until my mother could pick up my things when I moved to Washington state from NY and they had a yard sale. I lost the blanket, lesson learned there. I hope to one day make a similar one to give to my daughter so she may at least have it for herself now and to pass on to her own baby someday.
I love making the rasta cases too for glass. I and I has been a long love for me. Unity of us all in our lives is a desire I see happening. Plus then I know I am helping people protect their investment, because most of us know how it feels to have something glass we love break.
My job is most interesting because I get to have contact with all sorts of people from all over the world I would not have the chance to meet if I was not doing this. I also love the fact that I can make a variety of items so I do not get bored of one thing all the time.
PHOTO CREDIT: GOOGLE IMAGES
Sometimes if it feels too much like work I will take a day and make something I want so it breaks it up a bit. I still feel good because I am adding another item to the inventory or as a gift for someone.
DESIGNED BY LOVING TREE
My favorite songs are Brokedown Palace, Birdsong, and The Wheel
These are ever changing with the tides of my life.
The Wheel on Youtube: http://youtu.be/hbLx24IfR2g
I have been to several concerts and festivals over the years and would have to say I had the best time at Moedown 2010 when Damian Marley played.
My other interests are nature, gardening, and I like to play tennis whenever I can get someone to play with.
I live on a little organic farm with some plants in the garden. Once I am ahead a bit I am going to have regular free workshops for people go come out and create many different things. I will also have a free art studio and shared garden space with workshops regularly and a physical store that would be all homemade goods.
I also hope some of you will come by and maybe help me put one on if you are ever in my area of Florida. I have a mountain of project ideas and love working with other people on collaborations
I love my children and you all so very much.
I am so grateful to have been invited to be part of the Deadhead Art Alliance community by their leader Jenna Kidd from xDropBearStitcheryx last year.
Collaboration Entry for the Deadhead Art Alliance Quilt
PHOTO CREDIT: JKLD Deadhead Art Alliance
I think one of my most proud moments is when my 5 year old started sewing by hand and I even showed her how to use the machine the other day. Boy was she excited. I hope to inspire others and want to share any ideas or techniques so that people may help fill the world with unique and hand made items. I feel there is just something a little more special about homemade rather than some mass produced product out of a factory.
Much love to you all and happy crafting. :oD
I’m touched by the world we live…. I hope to make it a better place
Crochet artist and Creator of goddess arts and pixie wear
She has been a free spirited part of our team from the very beginning and we’d like to thank her for her contributions to our community and in helping in dreaming up the creation of this blog that has given the world a view into the artists we adore. Whether dropping a heavy or spreading good energy we’ve come to adore her as part of our deadhead art alliance family
Handmade Polymer Pendant
Photo Credit: the wildearthchelde.etsy.com
Treasury titled “Purple Haze by PerpetualSunshine111
photo credit: etsy.com/treasury
Featured: Wild Earth Childe/ PACIFICNWGLASS/ SweetWater / ericainthetrees
Hooded Pixie Vest
Featured in a team Treasury by L. May
give me some cream and I’ll make u some butter 🙂
additional featured items: Debbie and John from Thunderrose / Amy from Everyday Pixie / and Lead from Leda May
There’s no doubt that she is an animal lover!
Here is my favorite post she’s shared on our group on Etsy over the years
dog biscuit recipe
Outside they look like cookies on the inside they look like biscuits
***What you will Need***
2 1/2 cups of wheat flour (or regular if you dog is sensitive to wheat
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of chicken/beef bouillon granules (or broth/stock)
½ cup hot water
optional add ons: bacon or chicken broth, eggs, oats, liver powder, wheat germ
1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Dissolve bouillon in hot water
3. Add remaining ingredients
4. Knead dough until it forms a ball (approximately 3 minutes
5. Roll dough until ½ inch thick
6. Cut into slices or bone shapes
7. Place dough pieces on lightly greased cookie sheet
8. Cook for 30 minutes
9. let cool
10. Watch his or her tail wag
photo credit: Lauren
a quote of wisdom from Lauren from her blog –
” Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to, but it is never, ever to late to pick up and begin again ”
We’re honoring her in the last month of her being on Etsy before starting a new path going back to school to follow her dreams to be a real college student.
Thanks for all your time and we wish you success
TheWildEarthChilde’s Original Mandala Pixie Vest Patterns Available on Ravelry.com
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.
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!
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!!
Introducing The Deadhead Art Alliance Artist Of The Month for April!! Dawn from DewDropzGarden!!! Check out our recent interview with her about her creative process, travels and inspiration!
Aloha Phamily and Friends! Where to begin?! My story is long and winding, traveling from Maine and everywhere in between to Hawaii and now back on the Mainland! My name is Dawn, known to many as Dew which is how I came to name my shop DewdropzGarden. After many moons on the island of Oahu Hawaii, in 2008 I made the big jump and decision to land on the Big Island and found another form of paradise awaiting for me. My jungle setting, lava energy and off the grid location provided the grounding tools that I was seeking and needing to get back into the flow of things. With only simple distractions like birds chirping, ripe avocados falling and gardens to tend to, I began to upcycle clothing again after a long 8 year break away.
Being fully submerged in my creative space, I began to somewhat unknowingly manifest my life today in sunny Colorado! The Big Island Hawaii taught me that my grassroots vibes would never fade and I too could blossom again with my rediscovered consciousness in sustainable practices. My philosophy is that by recycling and upcycling what is readily available and abundant and giving back to local charity thrift stores we can all help lower the global carbon footprint and support human rights on so many levels. I believe everything, including clothing has an energy field and if something is made with love you can feel it. It’s nice to know I’m creating from the heART and that others can also take in the good mana that “fast fashion” doesn’t provide.
Everywhere I’ve traveled, the abundance of materials to upcycle and work with has followed me as well as having a keen eye at thrift stores since childhood. 99% of my materials have come from thrift stores and also from interior designers that dispose of gorgeous fabric samples as they keep up the latest home trends. Here in Denver the ZeroLandfill project opens its warehouse doors and you can rescue so many fabulous finds. Personally I think of it as treasure hunting at it’s finest! With my abstract mind, my creative process can be somewhat scattered to say the least…often my creations take on a magical life of their own in the land of fabric manipulation. I never feel like something has to be a certain exact way, other then fitting properly, that is important….It’s more like painting and my intuition lets me know when I have reached completion, from simple styles and details to the completely adorned. Often when I’m attempting to go to sleep, well that is when my brain decides its “vision party time” and the flood gates open mentally piecing this and that together, so I often end up back up just to write down notes at 1 in the morning and working on them at a more practical hour, after some needed sleep (=
Because of my abstract thought process, it was back in 1994-95 when I originally decided to make clothing full time and gave my notice at work. I had friends that were Deadheads and had been telling me for years that most aspects of my life aligned with the Grateful Dead and touring. My friends kept telling me “just go to a show and I bet you’ll quit my job and never want to come home”. Now, saying this to me back then I thought they were crazy but figured why not go check out these old dudes making music(LOL)…Well literally the bus came by and I got on and off to Highgate we went and my life was never the same~ I found HOME and “The Others”! I felt and understood it all and sew it began. My patchwork designs came with me on tour as well as a little shop in Maine called Mexicali Blues. I couldn’t believe it had all been there the whole time just waiting for me to wake up! From 94-00’s I had odd jobs across the country while I continued traveling with GD, Further, Phish,and festivals galore. So many roads indeed.
Hands on inspiration came at an early age for me…. since I can remember I’ve always been dabbling in the arts. My grandmother on my fathers side and my aunt on my mothers side were my biggest influences as they were both always crafting and making something cool and always encouraged me to create with them. One of the first eclectic things I remember creating was a hat in the 3rd grade. It was early before the bus came when I remembered it was “hat day” at school but I forgot to make one. Of course I was super bummed out but my grandmother calmed me down and told me to go outside and find things that I liked. I came back in with pine cones naturally (= She had out the craft paints and glitters and suggested a Dixie plate could possibly work for my hat aspect if I could figure out how to keep it on my head. I decorated that plate hat to the hilt and used yarn to tie it under my chin. I thought it was the coolest fairy looking hat EVER but was slightly embarrassed that it was SO much different then everyone else’s. In the end, I won for the most creative hat which I’m pretty sure gave me a new found confidence which lead me to embrace being different.
My favorite piece in my shop right now is the “Cassidy” dreamcatcher vest. It is a collaboration with Kelsey of GoodVibesForSale, another DHAA teammate.
We’ve made several things together and I adore all of them. It’s a collaboration that has helped to inspire new designs which is always appreciated!
Easily influenced with inspiration, I feel like that is something I seldom have blocks in. Nature and all of her elements~from sunny days to recent snow storms. Music shows and festivals have always been a HUGE source of inspiration and performance art certainly kicks up my vibes!
Haute Couture runways shows, new school to old school, good days and even glum days, creativity finds a way to manifest. When I’m all sewed out I move on over to other arts such as my aromatherapy organic skin care products. I love that while they help to heal other peoples skin the creative process helps me to realign and bliss out on the scents!
Being that all my clothing is one of a kind and no 2 things have ever been or ever will be the same keeps it interesting and intriguing. Rummaging through one mans junk and finding my treasures, keeping the carbon footprint low by recycling materials is one of the biggest perks to my job!
My first concert was Van Halen in the 80’s, at the time (7th grade) I thought it was the coolest thing ever and was pretty much was hooked on live music from that point on. My most memorable festival of the recent was Sonic Bloom last summer. It was total bliss and beyond dreamy with cottonwood trees going off and music that went from early afternoon until the beautiful sunrise sets. I was supposed to be just visiting Colorado other manifestations were taking place…. I discovered that I was in love with my dear friend of 9 years and former roommate in Hawaii whom I was “visiting”. My vacation turned staycation and my friend became my Beloved. Couldn’t really get a better festival experience then that!
Speaking of my Beloved Cody, he really is my #1 fan and source of much of my inspiration for me to keep on keeping on. When I started to set up my etsy for selling, it took me hours of time to figure out all of the seemingly endless details. It still is a work in progress. He’s always there to lend an ear and give support hugs when 17 hour days are the norm! When sales are low and I feel hesitant to do this full time he is there to remind me of all the good and my progression in such a short amount of time. And lucky us our “date nights” usually consist of going to shows which always renews inspiration to just keep at it! When in doubt I dance and hoop it out 😉
*Coupon Code ECOLOVE20 gets 20% Everything in my Shop*
Hey friends, my name is Abigail Black and I am the owner, operator, designer, creator, and pretty much everything that is Thready Mamma (made with Abbitude). I run Thready Mamma from my home in the moderately sized suburban town of Lambertville, Michigan. Most items you will see in my shop are handmade clothing. Usually 100% handmade, but recently I’ve been working with more upcycles. Although every now and then I dabble in other crafts to stir the pot and keep things interesting. I started Thready Mamma after being a predominantly stay at home mom for 6 years. It is my way of contributing financially to the household and still be able to stay home with my 3 amazing children. I like to work with small charities and individual causes. The largest fundraiser I work with is the Relay for life but I am also hoping to get involved with the make a wish foundation. To understand who Thready Mamma is, you must get inside the head of a self proclaimed super woman, mother of 3, wife, former hitch hiker, and domestic hippie. Seamstress is just one of the many badges that I wear with pride. I don’t know that I can take you into the depths that tell all there is to know about me and my story, but I’ll take you to the edge and let you peek in.
Ancient history 101: I grew up living frugal. I would watch my mom as she would sew our clothes and backpacks. Whatever we needed at the time. She didn’t make all of our clothes, but what she did make, I loved. From this, was born a desire in me. A desire to create something amazing. As a child, I could often be found sitting in a pile of Lego’s. Some may have thought I would grow to become and architect or designer. I would make duplicate versions of our house, scaled down of course. But they always included even the smallest of details including all of the furniture, all the way down to toilet and sinks. I would also pass the time by sticking a piece of saran wrap on the T.V. and drawing on the faces of politicians as they would spew their rhetoric. Maybe I would become an artist. Who knows, the world is full of possibilities.
It was always about fulfilling a desire to create something tangible, something wonderful, something all my own. My dad worked a lot. He would take my sister and I out on side jobs to be his “helpers”. I don’t know what help I really was, but I do remember a lot of good times riding to and from the jobs listening to my dad sing Pink Floyd’s “Money” or whatever classic rock song was playing at the time. He always had a way of making even the most mundane of activities fun. I credit my parents for a lot of who I am. They were always so supportive of my creative endeavors as a child. I was in band from 5th grade through 11th. I played the oboe (a very costly instrument) in the school band and the flute in marching band. I even reupholstered my oboe case with a velvety leopard print fabric to make it more “me”.
My creative process: The birth of many of my projects start with a flash of inspiration. Be it two toys strewn across the floor with complimenting colors, or a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye while driving. I wish I could say it was as easy as going to a special place to find my inspiration, but I just wait and it finds me. Lately I have been overtaken by inspiration and don’t have enough time to execute all the ideas stored away inside my head. After I have completed the internal conceptualization, I then put pencil to paper and doodle out everything that I have contemplated over the course of the thought process and tweak the idea as needed. I always draft out my pattern before solidifying my fabric choices.
I have a habit of changing a pattern because I’m not in absolute love with the way the item will look finished (in my head). But when I start with the pattern, then I can choose my fabrics based on their location in the garment and where potential appliques or other embellishments may go. There is the special occasion however, where I see a fabric and automatically know what the future has in store for it. I love those moments of AHA! I always prewash my material, new or thrifted. It’s always nice to start fresh and prevents any shrinking. Plus I love palming around the soft and fuzzy strands that come off in the dryer. I sew everything on my Singer Brilliance sewing machine and finish all seams with my Singer Professional 5 serger. I make everything (except the fabric, unless I have an immediate need for a small amount of a specific print) included in my garments, drawstrings and straps included.
My day job: I actually do have a day job I have been working for 5 years. I know I said stay at home mom, but I only work 1 shift every other week to maintain an employment status and just in case we should ever need me to return to full time work. Also, I have grown quite fond of the 8 wonderful residents I provide care for. I am a direct support professional. I work with people with developmental disabilities helping them with daily care that most able bodied individuals take for granted. I have learned so much from them. They never seize to amaze me with their bright spirits and charisma. It’s really a constant reminder to never take life for granted.
Appreciate everything, even the silly little things like being able to brush your own hair out of your face. When I started working here, I was a full time 3rd shift staff. At the time I only had 1 child, my son Stryker, but became pregnant again with my first daughter, Avalyn, and spent the whole pregnancy on 3rd shift. After I returned to work from maternity leave, I dropped down to resource staff and have only worked a few hours a week ever since. 9 months after Avalyn was born we found out we were pregnant yet again. This time with our youngest, Willow. I was in full swing mommy mode. I had been on a sewing hiatus for 6 years. I would only sew when things needed mended, and could feel that desire burning once again. It was always my dream to be a stay at home mom and to have a sewing business. Although when I was 16, I was going to name my business Abbitude! It wasn’t until Willow was about a year old that I could no longer tame the fire that burned inside me to create. This was when I decided I was going to do it. I was going to fulfill the other half of my vision for my life. I had to settle on a name for it and Abbitude just seemed too juvenile for me anymore.
When I first met my husband, our very first encounter, he referred to me as “one crafty mamma”. So as I lay in bed one night mulling around in my head for a name, I though of that moment, Crafty Mamma. It was good, but sounds a little too country for my style. While trying to define my style, I thought it’s heady, I’m dready, and my craft is downright thready. THAT WAS IT!!! Thready Mamma. I decided to add (Made with Abbitude) because it’s important to preserve our history and be reminded of who we are and where we come from. And that is how the name Thready Mamma (Made with Abbitude) was born.
Favorite piece: I would have to say my favorite is the pixie utility belt. I put a lot of thought and time into the concept and execution of this particular item. It took about a week of figuring everything out for this one before I was comfortable enough with the concept to begin designing and drafting the pattern. It took me 2 or 3 days to fully complete. Of course, I often work intermittently because my children do not always want to go along with my plans. It has four deep pockets, a bungee for a water bottle or keys, and an elastic ruffle for wedging more immediately essential items. The waist band has a modest curve to accommodate the natural curves of a woman. Also it provides a more flattering fit as we are not cylindrical. I love earthy colors. Browns and greens are my favorite as far as my own personal style. I am constantly having to remind myself while fabric shopping that I don’t need any more greens or browns.
Inspiration: As I said earlier, my inspiration has no common source. It always seems to be something different. Sometimes it will be lyrics to a song, something I see in my yard, something my kids do, or something that is much needed by an individual who walks a very different life than I. I find a lot of inspiration from talking with other people, crafty or not. It often leads to a concept of something I never would have thought of. I love collaborating with my creative friends as well. Every Monday (and sometimes Friday) My friend Sarah from Madd Brush-art by Sarah, comes over and we consume my dining room with our creative juices. She usually brings a random project from painting to stencil making and she also acts as a model for me when I have an item for someone smaller than myself. I should also give a shout out to my very good friend Danielle from TreeHouseCreations. Without Danielle running her sewing business for most of our friendship, I may have never been inspired or confident enough to make Thready Mamma more than a dream. I love you ladies.
Another person in my life who has played a monumental roll as far as inspiration goes is my husband.
We have been together for almost 9 years (friends for 13) and we have always been supportive of each others creative endeavors. Jason Black of The Happy Little Trees and The Blacklotus Experience. He helps me when I get in a rut by providing me a different perspective or just strumming a few notes on his acoustic to help enhance my mellow while I sew. He has played a pivotal roll in helping me get Thready Mamma up and running.
I lack some basic computer knowledge so he helps me a lot when I get stumped. But also as a huge emotional support. His continued confidence in my abilities throughout the years has helped to keep me driven and in the right direction. He is my rock, my inspiration, and my best friend. My children are such huge supporters of the family business. Willow doesn’t offer a lot of feedback yet (she’s turning 2 on the 14th) but loves it when I have a scrap piece of fabric that she can wear like a scarf or just wave around. Avalyn (3yrs) is always by my side while I work. Complimenting my fabrics and asking questions about the whole process. So much so, that I set her up her own little workstation next to mine.
That is where she does her finest works in play doh and crayola. She also accompanies me to do a lot of my fabric shopping and has “special jobs” every time we have a package to ship. She carries it to the post office and puts it on the counter for me. It really makes her day to get to help me. I have seen it have a huge impact on my son who is 7, and his own ambitions in life. He is always talking about someday when he has his own store, he’ll name it Thready Stryker LOL!
For his birthday we got him a book that you can pop out the pre cut creatures and glue them together to make a 3d monster. He made a bunch of them and wanted to sell them at his party. I love that my children can grow and learn that a stay at home mommy can be more than just that. That you can be who or whatever you want in life, and that it just takes a little (or a lot) of motivation, ambition, and a dream.
What keeps it interesting: I think the most exciting part of running Thready Mamma is constantly learning new techniques, styles, tricks, or trades. Not that I think I am any where near knowing everything there is to know about sewing, as soon as I get comfortable thinking that I have a pretty good grip on most of what I need to know, something comes up with one of my new designs that I have to learn a new technique to execute the design properly and cleanly. Another factor that keeps it interesting is all of the amazing people I have met since I opened my store. This is a huge one. I am a relatively quiet, keep to yourself type of person. It was a huge leap for me to start this up knowing that I was going to have to “put myself out there”. I’ll admit, when face to face, I am shy. I don’t often start a conversation, but wait to be invited into it. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful network of artists and a community of friends and fans by my side. I never know who I’ll meet on any given day.
One more thing that keeps the fire alive is creating new designs. Every time I come up with a new pattern design I get excited. It is always my new favorite, it never fails. And whats even more exciting is when I create the first garment from a new pattern. Having no formal education outside of high school, I am completely self taught. I remember the first time I drafted a pattern for an apron top with darts. What a disaster. A waste of perfectly good fabric. After that I made sure to study up on the different techniques in pattern design and drafting. Learning about the different ways to accommodate the curves of a woman. That mistake was probably one of my best ones yet because it really forced me to think ahead in my projects. The saying goes “work smarter, not harder”. There is really a lot to be said about learning from your mistakes.
The music: The first concert I ever went to was Kottonmouth Kings when I was 15. It was fun to get stray from the normal path I traveled, but the music wasn’t really my style. That was the last KK concert I would attend but It played a huge roll in the journey I would take for the next few years. It wasn’t long after that first concert that I was introduced to Ekoostik hookah. I can’t put my finger on when or where the first concert I ever attended was, but from spring of “99” through spring “02” there weren’t a whole lot of Hookah shows in Ohio that I wasn’t at. My first Hookahville was spring 2001 at the Frontier Ranch in Kirkersville, OH. It was the most inviting environment I had ever experienced.
The crowd, the people, my brothers and sisters. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a community of people who didn’t care what I wore, or what I had. They were just happy to be. Happy to be there in the moment, to be alive, to be together 🙂 Connected by a love of music, this family inspired me to be who I wanted to be. To disregard all the societal expectations, and just live how I want to. A breath of fresh air to what I had thought my life would be. Also around the age of 16 I was introduced to the rainbow family. My husband and his friends were the ones to show me the light in this new way of life. We weren’t dating at the time, It would be another 4 years before a relationship flourished between us. I went to my first Rainbow gathering at 16, It was a small, intimate, regional gathering in the southwestern edge of Indiana.
A very different experience from the Hookah crowd, I felt like this new family was more interested in one another as individuals and not as much the scene as a whole. I had a great time at that gathering, making new friends, helping around the kitchen, and fixing peoples clothes. I took with me from that gathering, a whole new outlook on life. An understanding of how connected everyone and everything really is. From here on out, I was family. Welcomed into the loving arms of the rainbow community. I got my first sewing machine for Christmas when I was 16. My friend Sarah would come over and we would stay up all night sewing. When I was 18, my boyfriend and I packed up his VW bus and left town for Colorado. It was decorated with all kinds of things I had sewn. Seat covers, curtains, and even a vertical incense burner I had made in my ceramics class. The trip was an adventure in itself. When we got to CO we lived out of our van for 2 or 3 months, but winter was quickly approaching so we hustled to find ourselves a home. We settled in Kremmling, CO for a few about 9 months until fate would lead us back to the road. From Kremmling, CO to Prescott, AZ we traveled living out of the van. It was about 2 weeks from my 19th birthday when an old friend from Rainbow had invited me and another girl to go on a trip to California. Of course I wanted to, I was finally living the life I wanted, free from the constraints of what people wanted for me and from me. I was free to just be me and do as I please.
To try and keep this as short as possible I will just say that I hitch hiked up the coast of Cali with a few friends stopping periodically to set up camp. We went on to Utah for my first ever National Rainbow Gathering, and then down to the Red Rocks where I had one of the most magical musical experiences yet. We were only there to make a few quick bucks before continuing on our journey. Playing the night of our arrival was The Dead. I knew there was no way I’d actually get in to see them, but was loving the scene on the lot. After we had secured enough money to go we started walking out, it was after dark, backpacks on and my new drum in hand (I traded my first sewing machine for an unfinished drum shell at the gathering because my sewing machine was too heavy to hitch hike with). An SUV pulled up beside us and stopped. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I wasn’t looking for anything spectacular, thought maybe the person was looking for directions. The kind man in the truck shared his story explaining why he didn’t need these 2 tickets and just gave them to us. We got a miracle. I was floored, astonished, never in a million years did I think I would get to see The Dead. Eternally grateful, I hugged the man through his window, wished him the best and gave him a small crystal I was holding onto as a token of my appreciation. We hightailed it back to the venue and went in. That night was for sure one to remember. The diversity in that crowd was like non I’d ever been in. It was very different as people from all walks of life were there to support one of the greatest bands of all time. From your standard tie dye to business tie, people both elderly and youthful. I was elated to see the crowd so diverse. It was a rainbow of culture, age, and style. After the show, I was lost in a euphoria. We hunted down our gear from it’s hiding place, and went about our travels. We hitchhiked clear across the Midwest to Joplin, MO where we stayed for a few weeks, and the back to my hometown. I held a job for a short while, just long enough to buy my own car and save up some money to go back out on the road.
I traveled all over Michigan, by myself, living out of my car. About 3 months passed before I decided to move down to Columbus, OH to help some friends make rent. In C-bus I worked as a landscaper. This is where I lived when my old rainbow friend Black had sent me an e-mail with an interest in meeting up. He came to visit and it wasn’t long before we began dating. He lived in Angola, IN so every weekend we would take turns driving to each other. For several weeks we would alternate taking the 5.5 hour drive before we decided to just be together so I moved out to Angola. We lived in a small room off of a garage at an apple orchard. We were both working for his dads painting business. With no running water, and only a port o potty I can say that this was the easiest and most comfortable I had ever lived. Even today, I look back and say “those were the days”. Over the course of 6 months we saved our change and extra money for a road trip. We had about $2,000 saved up before we found out our lives were about to change in a big way. We found out we were pregnant! We were very fortunate that we had been saving for that road trip because as it turns out, we had just enough money to pay a midwife to deliver our baby at home. Stryker was born February 3rd, 2006 at home, with no drugs, in water, and caught by his father.
It was pure magic, everything I ever wanted for my first delivery. I felt a love I had never felt before while holding my new baby. From this point on, I was in full swing mommy mode. I quit sewing as I didn’t have much time for it and just focused all of my attention on raising a bright, independent, little man. The years of my sewing hiatus were spent doing my mommy thing. I did what most domesticated house wives/moms do. Raised my babies and kept the house in shape. It was wonderful to have fulfilled one of my key goals in life, which was simply to be a mother to 2 or 3 beautiful little people. But there was always something missing. My only creative outlet was that which involved finger paints, play doh, and crayons. I loved to be doing these things with my children, but it just didn’t fill the void. After all 3 children were born and my youngest was almost 1, I decided it was time for me to pursue the other half of my “big plans” for myself. And so Thready Mamma was born.
In a pinch: Since I am only just into my 2nd year of running Thready Mamma, I am still figuring out the ebb and flow of the market. I didn’t fret too much as the festival season was winding down and sales were low. I just focused my energy on getting my name out there. Letting people know who I am and what I do. Well, that was met with greater success than I had ever dreamed. I have a great appreciation for my supporters. They help me when I need input on certain features they would like to see in a design I am developing, and offer me support through my personal journey and life experiences. They keep me grounded when my designs get a little too lofty. Without them, I would never have had such a wonderful first year. Thank you every one of you. I truly appreciate you and value your opinions. Just “keep on keepin on”. Sure it can be a little frustrating to not make a sale for a prolonged period of time, but “this too shall pass”.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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….
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.
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.
Hey there! I’m Erica Swantek, the creator/designer/seamstress extraordinaire at Erica in the Trees.
I live on the eastern side of the Cascades in beautiful Bend, Oregon with my amazing husband, Kyle and our three furry friends. My shop name actually came about after countless hours of trying to come up with something unique that encompassed my personality, as well as had a nice ring to it. After realizing everything I came up with was already taken, my mom suggested I use my email address, which of course was ericainthetrees! I’ve been using this email for well over 10 years and it just worked. Thus my shop name was born.
I strive to create high quality handmade clothing and accessories using exceptional textiles, including eco-friendly fabrics, up-cycled clothing and material, and high quality quilters’ cottons. My shop began because of my love of old school patchwork, but has evolved to include sustainability as part of my mission.
My creative process is a bit scatterbrained, to say the least. I usually count on my custom orders to keep me on track. All items are made in my home studio, which really is just a small room in my house. When I am creating a one-of-a-kind piece, I usually start with a vision of what I want to make, be it a dress, a skirt, or what have you.
Then I go through all my different fabrics, selecting colors that compliment each other and work toward that vision. If it’s an appliqué I have in mind, I will use that as the focal point, and work around it in terms of color, design, and ultimately the finished piece. Sometimes the piece morphs into a completely different item than I had originally envisioned, but I guess that’s all part of the way I create. All of my items are sewn on my amazing Viking Husqvarna sewing machine and serger. These machines are truly workhorses!
I never decided to quit my day job to pursue this artistic endeavor. It just sort of happened that way. I actually have a bachelor’s of science in forestry, as well as my elementary education certification. Back in 2005 I was working hard for the Forest Service, with very little time for sewing or any other artistic project. I thought sewing was pretty much a thing of my past, destined to memories of carefree college days. However, my husband and I grew bored with our lives and decided to jump ship. He’s a nurse, so he signed on with a travel company and we roamed the country (well, technically only a few states, but we had big plans) for about 10 months. We eventually moved back to Colorado and I decided to go enroll in a post-bachelorette education program and got my elementary education certification. I taught 3rd and 4th grade for a few years, but when we decided to relocate to Oregon, there were no teaching jobs available. I hated substituting and so I decided to pick up my sewing machines again and sew to cure boredom. Well, I realized I really enjoyed sewing and so I opened up my Etsy shop. And, as they say, the rest is history!
As a child, I always remember my grandmother sewing. In fact, she says when I was really little, she used to sew with me sitting in her lap. No wonder I love to sew! Both my mom and grandma were always sewing something. But my grandmother, in general, was always crafting. If she wasn’t sewing she was doing needlework, beadwork, macramé, crocheting…you name it, she probably did it. I guess I was probably destined to become crafty myself. Thank you, Grama Lou, you have always been my biggest inspiration!
Oh boy, this is hard, because I truly do love everything I put in my shop. However, I will say currently that my favorite pieces are the OM patchwork dress and the Seminole-style patchwork shorts. Patchwork holds a special place in my heart. So much love and energy went into creating those pieces!
I am inspired by many things, but I will say music and nature are probably at the forefront. I love to create pieces that remind me of shows or that I think will be worn to music festivals or just dancing the night away. Nature, of course, is always with me. I’m surrounded by beautiful mountains with big evergreen trees to the west, and the vast expanse of the Oregon High Desert to the east, with old growth Junipers dotting the landscape. And, of course, I am inspired by other artists doing their thing. I love the creative community that has embraced me and my wearable art!
The most interesting part of my job is definitely the vending aspect of it. I love meeting so many wonderful people and watching them light up when they find that perfect piece! It’s so much fun and it truly validates what I do.
Oh boy, the first concert I ever went to happened to be Michael Jackson, during the 1984 Victory (aka Thriller) tour! My mom and aunt took my cousin and I and we sat way up in the nosebleed section at Mile High Stadium in Denver. I was only 8 years old, but remember the matching airbrushed sweatshirts my cousin and I wore vividly (they were pink and had Thriller across them)! The most interesting concert I’ve attended is harder to pinpoint as they are all interesting in their own right. However, I will have to say it was probably the Coventry show, billed as the last Phish concert. After flying into Canada, renting a car, driving down, waiting for days in traffic and then told we couldn’t enter because of massive damage from a storm, I didn’t let that deter me. My hubby and I packed up our big backpacking packs, drove to the nearest gas station where I bought a local map, and proceeded to find back roads that got us within 7 miles of the venue. We then parked the car and hiked in. While the concert itself was filled with less than great performances, it’s an experience I will always cherish!
Besides sewing, I love to play outdoors. I downhill and cross-country ski, hike, and mountain bike, although I will say I don’t do some of these activities as much as I used to! Hmmm, I think that needs to be a goal of mine! I love Bend and all that it has to offer, so sometimes I have to be careful or I could find something going on every night of the week and I’d never get anything done. I try to take all sales, or lack thereof, in stride. I’m not a big name seller on Etsy, yet, so I just take it as it comes. I’m fortunate that I can do this and it helps to keep me really loving what I do. I have an amazing, supportive husband who encourages me to keep going too.
Well, since I’m the DHAA featured seller of the month, I’ve decided to offer 10% off for all who have read this blog! Use coupon code: DHAAFEATURED during checkout to take advantage of this offer.
You can also find me on facebook: www.facebook.com/ericainthetrees
For most of us here, I think it’s safe to say that music drives much of our lives. It can bring us together locally & globally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Live music in particular creates a special kind of convergence of all these things.* This is Jenna’s story~
It was the midst of the heated summer of 2007, in Brisbane, Australia. The Soundwave Festival was in it’s first year at the Brisbane Riverstage, an outdoor amphitheater on the banks of the river, among botanical gardens. Some major acts of the punk world were set to hit the stage, and Jenna was not about to miss this epic show. Iron Maiden was also set to play soon, so her and her then-partner decided to get tickets to both, though by the time Soundwave came ’round, their young relationship had ended.
Determined to get to the shows, the two formed a truce, each taking on the driving for a show, the other supplying the food & booze, and enjoying their personal freedom! Sometimes the music is just more important, and sometimes, it’s most important to experience the love and wildness of the world on your own. This, for Jenna, was made evidently clear at the Soundwave Fest.
There was a sweet vibe in the crowd. Dancing under the hot summer sun with a few thousand, cold beers and abundant herb, all leading up to the Deftones & Offspring. Enjoying herself and the music, Jenna was feelin’ it, and crowd surfed her way up to Chino Moreno! An experience she may not have had, had she not been on her own. The universe has its own way of letting us know, that no matter the trials, headaches, or maybe even heartache we may go through, it was still all worth it in the end.
~Sometimes, you can get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right~
Other times, it’s made perfectly clear from the beginning. Mardi-Gras is another favorite festival of Jenna’s, and sounds like a dream.
It’s held in Nimbin, a town high in the mountain ranges of New South Whales, where hippies of the world come to march for their *right* to smoke marijuana.
Can you imagine? A town of rainbow painted buildings filled with hemp, patchwork and glass, where strangers stop strangers just to shake their hand. A weekend of jamming and global community, camping and all the herbal goodies you could wish for…
A magical place amongst the heavens, where Jenna spent her time in the Rainbow Chai tent. While teaching and spinning poi in Nimbin’s Peace Park, she met a variety of international characters.~An unbelievable poi spinner who traveled from Mongolia (A forgetful one at that, seeing as Jenna had to later track him down to return his poi) ~An Israelite militant on vacation with whom Jenna discussed culture and life over tea & biscuits; and ~the Swedish backpacker who she shared a ride to the city of Murwillumbah with, while he jammed on his guitar the whole way.
Everybody’s playing in the Heart of Gold Band.
Thank you Jenna,
It’s a blessing to be part of a team where Everybody’s playing in the Heart of Gold Band, As an artist in another country it’s beautiful to see where the love of the festivals and music arose from and even sweet to see the trials and changes we go through with and for our music and where it guides us to go!
Love, Mary and the Deadhead Art Alliance
As an artist in another country it’s beautiful to see where the love of the festivals and music arose from and even sweet to see the trials and changes we go through with and for our music and where it guides us to go!
Keep that creativity Flowing,
Deadhead Art Alliance, Team Captain
Visit Jenna’s Shop! At xDropBearStitcheryx !
Well, looks like today is the dreaded USPS hike day many sellers have heard of and have been fearing for a while now… (definite ass chapper…)
Here’s a break down of sorts:
Domestic postage stamps go from $ .45 to $ .46 cents. and On retail packages (when you buy at the Post Office) you will get FREE tracking with priority mail and standard post. You will still have to buy tracking for First Class Parcels.
The various flat rate priority packaging will have different pricing.
Flat rate Express envelopes are going up to $19.95 but the flat rate boxes will remain the same at $39.95.
Most of the PO box rates are going up, as well as money order fees, certified, etc.)
…and International Shoppers can expect an even *bigger* rise:
There is now going to be a First Class International Forever stamp for $1.10
Canada and Mexico have always had a separate and lower pricing tier but Mexico is now going to be grouped with all other countries. So if you mail letters to Mexico the cost is going to $1.10 from the current $ .85.
First Class Parcels are being moved from mailing services to shipping services with a HUGE price increase. I mean 50% price increase. This is to help offset the cost we have incurred from having to comply with export regulations since we now have to stand there and manually enter all that information on the customs forms. There will be a flat rate of $6.55 to all countries on all FCMI parcels weighing 1 or 2 ounces.
Ass chapped yet?
Well, it does suck…boy does it suck, but in the end our friendly postal workers are living pay check to pay check like many of us so, please, be kind to your local postal carriers and clerks, they are just doin’ their jobs and feeding their families, like us ❤
Show kindness & harmony. Might even shock em… (…somethin’ Deadheads are good at.)
Also, don’t forget to adjust your listings accordingly, by either taking some stuff down there to get an estimate or using the price calculator located on the USPS website.
Find it here: http://postcalc.usps.com/