Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Minute NY Eve plans?

Last minute NYE get together at your house? Stuck at home because of bad weather?  I found these decorations using recycled items on this blog, Crafting A Green World.

My favorite is the recycled party blowers. Just kidding. My favorite is the glass of champagne!

What recycled decorations do you use or plan to make?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shop and Tell

Trish Schepp, CreativeLove
From the time I was a baby until right now, I have been a huge fan of napping. I love the nap. Love. It does help to have a nice, dark room though.
One of my more recent purchases was an eco-friendly, organic sleep mask from
What makes mine so great (besides the purple peacock-printed fabric) is the 100% bamboo lining that covers your eyes. Softer than silk. No, really. It’s not scratchy and will not pull on your delicate eyelids if you roll over in your sleep.
It also has two adjustable straps to fit every person perfectly. Prices range from $16-35 and the shipping was prompt!
This would make a great gift paired with loose tea and a mug!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Don't forget the reindeer!

Here's a cute last-minute craft, with free printable tags from The TomKat Studio. Sure, we all remember to give Santa his cookies and milk, but the reindeer do all of the hard work! This treat will make sure they beeline to your place next year!

Reindeer Food Tags

I first spotted the idea on Our Best Bites, with this recipe.

Reindeer Food

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Handmade Gift Wrap

You finally found those perfect gifts, now you need to wrap them.  I managed a greeting card/gift shop for 7 years, I HATE gift wrapping! This year I decided to buckle down and make it fun for myself. Here are a few of the ideas I found.

Etsy Storque has a great How-Tuesday with several links to great tutorials. Your presents will be the first ones snatched from under the tree!
 photo from amarshall at ArtMind

Design*Sponge has a tutorial for handmade gift wrap that is a fun family activity. What a great tradition to start!

photo courtesy of design*sponge

What do you do to make your gifts extra special?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shop and Tell

Trish Schepp, CreativeLove
From the time I was a baby until right now, I have been a huge fan of napping. I love the nap. Love. It does help to have a nice, dark room though.
One of my more recent purchases was an eco-friendly, organic sleep mask from
What makes mine so great (besides the purple peacock-printed fabric) is the 100% bamboo lining that covers your eyes. Softer than silk. No, really. It’s not scratchy and will not pull on your delicate eyelids if you roll over in your sleep.
It also has two adjustable straps to fit every person perfectly. Prices range from $16-35 and the shipping was prompt!
This would make a great gift paired with loose tea and a mug!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Polar express: Local Line

Here is a link to a post by CrownTowner Nikki Mueller of Not Made in China, showcasing local Charlotte artists. many of them will be at the All Arts Market this week, so start making that shopping list!

Meet: Your Local Makers

Monday, December 13, 2010

December All Arts Market

Still looking for that last minute gift, yet you still want it to be special? How about something handmade? You've heard of the All Arts Market in NoDa, now its time to play Santa and check off all those names on your christmas list. 85 vendors, handmade gifts, local artists. Cash Bar.  Screams holiday shopping to me! Come visit all your CrownTown Handmade friends Wednesday and Thursday, 12/15 & 12/16, 6-10pm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Poppin' Out All Over

Trying to find a creative way to tell your friends and family how much they mean to you this holiday season? Why not let them know in a fun, and creative, way with a handmade pop up card!

Join Crown Town Handmade as Jessica Coate of Jessica's Jacket leads our monthly Make Out on Thursday, December 2, 2010 from 7:30-9:30pm at Patchwerk Playhaus.  Learn how to make your very own pop up holiday creations!

This event is free to the public (although much appreciated donations are welcome to help support future Make Out sessions) and is a great way to meet like-minded Charlotteans.

construction paper (preferably holiday colors)
X-acto knives
cutting mats
glue sticks
bone folders
hole punches of various sizes and shapes
any old holiday cards or books that you dont mind cutting up

Optional BYOB, $5 corking fee per container/6 pack. Sodas for sale. Patchwerk Playhaus, in the back room of Century Vintage, 1508 Central Avenue, Charlotte, 28205. Enter in the alley past Soul Gastrolounge and Snug Harbor.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cyber Monday: Spice up that ho-hum Holiday List!

Old School Christmas Gifts vs. Etsy Handmade Christmas Gifts
Trish Schepp,  CreativeLove

Need some refreshing new ideas to the basic gifts to give for the holidays?

Basic idea: wine glasses
Etsy idea: fabric coasters from

Basic idea:
socks (thanks Mom)
Etsy idea: tattoo socks from

Basic idea: store bought soap and lotion
Etsy idea: whipped body polish from

Basic idea: mass produced necklace
Etsy idea: spaghetti scarf from

Basic idea: mittens
Etsy idea: fingerless gloves from

Basic idea: hot cocoa
Etsy idea: loose tea from

Basic idea: candle
Etsy idea: soy hand-poured scented candle from

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Local Events

Check out this blog post from Brooke at the myindiecharlotte blog that features local handmade artists at the recent Dogtopia of Charlotte Craft fair. Lots of Crowntowners were there, including yours truly, intenyears, who thought she wasn't in the picture. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Its that time cards!

You know you plan on sending Holiday Cards. You make out your list, collect all the addresses. Buy cute holiday stamps and special fine-tip markers in festive colors. Then, you go to your local mall, and none of the cards speak to you. Too bland. Too generic. Too *too*.  Why not make holiday cards so special, they can be the gift?

Check out this blog post that one of our CrownTownies, Amanda, wrote for Goodwill. It should get you in the holiday mood! And make sure you read to the bottom for the next Make Out sneak peek!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Makings of a Craft Fair

submitted: Donna Kirby, intenyears
Imagine you are a small business owner. You want to do something good for your community and promote your business. You've tried emails, coupons and ads, but want to try something different for a change. How about hosting a craft show? That is exactly what Nicole Pennell, owner of Dogtopia in Charlotte, NC decided to do.

I wanted to know what inspired her to support local handmade artists and the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte's Center of Hope, a charity which provides food and shelter homeless women and children.
The idea started because one of my employees makes homemade crafts,” says Nicole. “She was getting ready to go to a craft fair in Greensboro one weekend, and we were talking about it. She asked if I had ever thought of holding one here.” She hadn't, and the idea for Dogtopia's craft fair was born.

Nicole went on to mention that as a business owner, she is always looking for new ways to get people to bring their pets in for a visit. Nicole continues, “Although this isn't a dog-related event it gives us a chance to meet a lot of people and show them what a great facility we have. I'm also very community-oriented.” The hosting of a charitable event was a natural fit.

Using social media for input, The Center of Hope was suggested by several people as the charity to benefit. “Most people that make homemade crafts are women” says Nicole, “I think there's something really beautiful about women using their own creativity and hard work to help other women who are going through hard times.”

With the charity decided, she needed artists to present their work at the show. Searching on the internet, specifically Etsy, a web site devoted to handmade goods, she began the difficult task of finding artists. As luck would have it, she contacted a member of CrownTown Handmade. Word spread quickly through the group and many were excited to be part of this special event.

Nicole will be donating all proceeds from the Dogtopia craft fair, including vendor fees and a raffle, entirely to the charity. So, come out and support a great cause, a community business owner and CrownTown Handmade members. If you'd like to participate, or have any questions about the show, please email Check out the flyer here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Mint Museum FirstFriday

CrownTown Handmade member Rachel Taliaferro will lead, along with other members , the DIY workshop at the The Mint Museum First Friday on Nov. 5th.
If you came to the Make Out hosted  by Rachel in August, you know how awesome this will be! If you missed it, now is the time to play catch-up in a really cool setting and check out the new Mint Museum! So, stop by between 6 and 9 to make a Calder inspired mobile with us!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Head down to the Winchester....

Bored with life? Ever wonder how the walking dead experience the day to day? Time to get into their disgusting shoes for one night...the night of the living dead! Join the legion of the dead (aka the Crown Town Handmade crew) for one evening of horror and transformation.

Vanessa and guest host Brittany will show you how to apply frighteningly convincing Zombie make-up, what details to add to really appear undead, and how to make a delicious concoction of dripping blood to finish your appearance. 

Join us after as Plaza Midwood experiences an invasion of the not quite dead. We will be reverse trick or treating and spreading the word about Crown Town Handmade. Be sure to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting blood all over and bring a mirror and towel. Check the supply list for other Zombie necessities.

CHEAP makeup (Wal-Mart/Target Halloween palates are perfect)
Suggested colors: grey, green, black, brown, yellow, purple & (most importantly)White
Eyeliner: Black, blue, green
Lip liner: Red
Make up Sponges
Clothes that can get dirty because THEY WILL. The Make-Up (and blood) Will Stain!
Liquid latex
“nose putty”
baby powder
baby wipes
make up brushes, like these . Flat and powder brushes are the most useful. You can purchase basic brushes in any make up section of a store or check out Morris Costumes!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Events: Handmade Nation

Join AIGA Charlotte and Common Market SouthEnd on Tuesday, October 26 for an exclusive FREE screening of HANDMADE NATION, a documentary by director Faythe Levine, that follows the "rise of DIY art, craft, & design." CrownTown Handmade crafters will be there with some great handmade items to raffle off! Make sure you are there at 8 pm on the Common Market SouthEnd patio to watch the film and have your chance at some great prizes!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Successful Show...


Those of you who do this most weekends, hats off to you!

I am three weeks into a 4 weeks craft show/event extravaganza. People, last night I fell asleep by 8 pm. 8 pm! Not too long ago, that was lunch time.

When you do participate in several shows, you start building a community, people get talking and acting silly. Hopefully those pictures never see daylight! Anyway,  I have noticed how many times vendors ask each other "Are you having a good show? How many sales?" While money is important, c'mon we ARE selling our stuff at shows, there are other aspects that make a show successful to me.

If you've met my husband, you know he loves to talk. Perfect, since I am a bit shier.  What is often overlooked about this skill, and it is a skill, is how it builds contacts and friendships, especially a good reputation, and those often leads to advance event notice,  calls about product that hasn't hit the sales floor yet, consideration for consignment spots, and it goes on.  I think you are picking up what I'm throwin' down, right?  

Other vendors love what they do, too, so chatting with them is pretty educational. Whether they sell something you work with, or another product completely, it is interesting to hear their stories and why they do what they do. I have found out a ton of info about vintage jewelry just through chatting, info that would have taken forever looking through books and online sites.

So a successful show to me means more than just sales. Making friends with other vendors and customers, building contacts and inventory, learning more about what I love to do are all important aspects. Oh, and good food and no porta-potties. :)

What makes a show/showing successful for you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Have You Seen These Crowns?

It seems a few of our Crowns have gone rogue. Have you seen them around town?

 Some of them are a bit more shy then others, but they don't bite.

If you find any of our missing Crowns, leave a comment! If you have a pic, even better!
Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shop Spotlight

 Submitted by: Jessica of Jessica's Jacket

This summer I took a day trip to Asheville, NC to attend The Big Crafty. Several friends and Crown Town Handmade members had booths and the list of artists in attendance was too good to resist taking a day trip.

Upon entering the Asheville Art Museum at Pack Place, I was immediately drawn to Lets Be Friend's booth. Each of her wonderful creations had a distinct personality and I couldn't resist taking my favorite home. Hank, the creature I adopted, is superbly made and I just knew that he would make the perfect addition to my home. As Let's Be Friend's motto states, "who says money cant buy friends?"

Whenever taking a day trip, I always feel guilty leaving my cat locked up while I go gallivanting around. Catzilla Crafts helped ease my guilty conscious though when I saw her adorable cat toys stuffed with super strong organic catnip. I picked out this "kitty-o" for my kitty, Roarie, and gave it to him upon returning home. Roarie is a Siamese snow tiger and loves fetching and had me throwing the toy for him for over an hour! The organic catnip in his kitty-o made him an instant fan and this toy is now one of his favorites. With such cute designs and wonderful craftsmanship, I highly recommend you do some shopping for your furry little friends at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday - Etsy's Edibles

by Amanda Aileen, Verabelle

I usually think of Etsy as the source for cool t-shirts, one-of-a-kind accessories, and awesome artwork, but this online marketplace is the place for ALL things handmade. Even food. For someone who is obsessed with anything that comes out of the kitchen, this has been an exciting discovery.

I've now purchased a few edibles from Etsy (cake-flavored lollipops for a friend and a DIY cheese kit that you'll be hearing more about very soon), but here are the top five on my current wish list.

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows
by Have It Sweet Confections
I am imaging homemade hot white chocolate (Just melt white chocolate with some milk, instead of using the regular milk or dark) and topped with these marshmallows. I can think of nothing better for a chilly fall night!

Grapefruit with Jalapeno & Candied Ginger
The description says this combination of candied grapefruit peel, jalapeno, and candied ginger would taste great atop goat cheese. I believe it.

Candied Chipotle Bacon
by Hash Delectable Edible
Because it's something I just have to try! Like they say, everything is better with bacon. I don't know about everything, but the combination of a sweet and spicy chipotle glaze paired against pork sounds pretty darn good to me.  

Lavender Fleur d' Sel Caramel
by Calabasas Candy Co.
These confectioners took their handmade lavender infused caramel and topped it with a sprinkling of lavender fleur d' sel. Sounds amazing! I've always been intrigued by floral-flavored foods.

Vanilla Rose Cacao
by Flying Bird Botanicals
It's no surprise that I'd want to try this Peruvian sipping chocolate that's been infused with rose petals and vanilla beans. So decadent! Not to mention this product is organic and fair trade and comes in beautiful packaging. I hope it tastes as good as it sounds!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

T--'d Off?!?

Revamp your T-Shirts!

 Join us for our September Make-Out at Patchwerk Playhaus.

It's time to add some flair to one of the the most under-appreciated workhorses in your closet, The T-shirt! Try your hand at up to three different techniques to change the way you wear and look at tees. Bring at least one fitted tee and one a bit loose. Bonus points for funny (or unintentionally funny) T-shirts! If you don't want to cut anything up, there will be items to jazz up a boring basic, or enhance one of your favorites.

Vanessa Ross of *Skwrrl Collective will lead this fun session.

Optional BYOB, $5 corking fee per container/6 pack. Sodas for sale. Patchwerk Playhaus, in the back room of Century Vintage, 1508 Central Avenue, Charlotte, 28205. Enter in the alley past Soul Gastrolounge and Snug Harbor.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book review

CrownTown Members are all over the web! Here is a link to Amanda Aileen of Verabelle's book review on the Goodwill blog.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Edible Art

 I have been yearning to make pies lately. Maybe it is the hint of fall in the, no. The wholesome feeling of baking for my, not that, either. The addiction I have a a flaky, crispy yet buttery, pie crust? Yes, that completely.  I LURVE pie crust. with filling, without filling, just a big fat yes. At an awesome Fall County Fair themed party this weekend, one of our members made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, with an orange pie crust. ORANGE. PIE. CRUST. Oh my. Here is a link to her blog post on Farthing Collective talking about it, the love for scratch, handmade cooking, and the recipe for the pie.

This past weekend, I also stumbled upon this post for Mini Pies in a Jar.  You can bet your patootie that as soon as I find those jars, my freezer will be stocked!

How about you? Do the CrownTowm readers have any favorite pie recipes, or that perfect, knock their socks off crust recipe?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

You are my obsession...

Current Obsession: Not Made In China
submitted by Sarah Terry, Stitch Machine

I bought these Charlotte themed buttons from Not Made in China at Paper Skyscraper.

I love how much thought is put into every aspect of the product and packaging. At first, I almost wanted to frame them and hang them on the wall instead of wear them; but luckily I got over that and took them to the streets!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shop & Tell : Blue Toad

submitted by: Trish Schepp, Creative Love

One of the best things about being an Etsy seller is scoping out the other artists' amazing projects! I can spend hours on Etsy just browsing and shopping, so buying handmade was my first choice for unique Christmas gifts last year.

I get excited about books, journals, writing and editing so when I found these, they were perfect for bookworm friends. I have purchased several journals from Blue Toad, and gave two of them away as gifts. Of course, I had to keep one for myself! Bound by hand, each journal consists of blank pages alternated with pages from road maps, or tear sheets. The outside is canvas painted with different original artwork, and now several of the journals have handmade stoneware closures.

I’m especially smitten with the “tree of free spirit” journal, as it features a tree on the cover. It’s so perfect and pretty...I haven’t even written in it yet!

A quote from the artist of Blue Toad:
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember, self taught, and find it to be my greatest outlet/escape from the daily stressors. I'm a strong supporter of affordable art and a sustainable outlook, for each of us to support each other and hold something that is as original as each of us. Hoping that each other's work can inspire and motivate to create and pass on to the next person.

Have you bought something from Etsy recently that you want to talk about? Let us know about it!

All photos Blue Toad

Monday, September 6, 2010

Spreading the Joy of Jewelry

By: Donna Kirby intenyears.

When Rachel sent out an email to CrownTown Members, asking if anyone wanted to help her with a jewelry project involving Girl Scouts, I answered so fast my keyboard smoked. I was only a Girl Scout for a short while, but I firmly believe in doing whatever you can to empower young girls. On Aug 21, I was able to help Rachel Taliaferro of Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry as she taught some wonderful York County Girl Scouts the art of making jewelry to obtain their jewelry badges. We started off with some jewelry history, how to craft jewelry ourselves, materials (AKA, borrow Dad's tools), and how we can use vintage and found items in jewelry. Then, Rachel taught them how to make paper beads, and while we waited for the beads to dry enough to string, everyone decoupaged some jewelry boxes. Who doesn't love Mod Podge?!?

I know I can speak for Rachel in saying that we had a great time spending the morning with the girls, and moms. Thank you so much for letting us share our knowledge (and love!) of jewelry with you!

Here are a few pics.


Beads Drying

Et Voila! Art!

intenyears. display

Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry display

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good news travels fast!

The word is out about CrownTown Handmade's Make Out sessions! See what WCNC said about our last one, Hanging by a Thread, with Rachel Taliaferro.

WCNC article.

Hire your sitter now for our September session!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

September All Arts Market

Come say hi to your favorite CrownTown Handmade Artist, and lots of other great local artists at September All Arts Market. Be ahead of the holiday shopping season and find the perfect gift.

Find affordable, original art for you and your friends. Vendors will be selling paintings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, stained glass, knits, etc. in the heart of Charlotte's Art District.

NoDaRioty is pleased to host four All Arts Market in 2010. At each market, a new group of over 90 artists - some of whom have never shown their pieces professionally - will display, discuss, and sell their artwork with very little overhead expense. (Vendor booths rent for under $50 for both days!) Hundreds of shoppers walk through Neighborhood Theatre each day of the market. We want to see you in September!

Come to NoDa and make an experience of it. Shop the market, listen to live music, and enjoy dining at any of our local restaurants, all within walking distance!

press release:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hanging by a Thread


Rachel Taliaferro of Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry will lead our next Make-Out session, "Hanging by a Thread" on Aug. 26 at 7:30PM.

Taking a cue from kinetic sculptor Alexander Calder, Rachel will show you how to make grown-up mobiles out of wire, string, origami, paper and/or found objects. If you want a special color of fishing line or string, bring that with you along with any special papers or found objects to make yours unique! As always, Crown Town Handmade will have some supplies. Bring your inspiration, and...BYOB/W for $5/pack/bottle. We wouldn't turn our noses up at a donation, either....

Our last book binding Make-Out was our highest attended ever, so help spread the word so that this fun event keeps growing in our community!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some Finished Crowns, originally uploaded by Crown Town Handmade.

Look for these crowns around Charlotte soon! Find one? Let us know, snap a pic and send it to us!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Tricia Schepp

This month's Artist Interview is with CrownTown Handmade member Tricia Schepp, of CreativeLove. Tricia makes portable works of art that she calls 'cubicle couture', so if you sit in an office all day, you will especially appreciate these little rays of sunshine that brighten up even the grey-est of grey cubicles!

Don't have a place for magnets? Check out her glass necklaces, too.

She recently took a few minutes out of her schedule to answer some questions, so we could get to know her better!

CTHm: What inspired you to begin crafting? Were you always creative or did it come later?

I've always been creating something. I was involved in art club in high school where I fell in love with painting. My painting skills never went beyond high school level (haha) so I kept trying new projects. My elective courses in college were always art classes. I made my own cards for a while (I love receiving and sending cards the old snail-mail way!) and adore photography. I am interested in learning new skills and like to dabble in everything.

Your shop is full of cute magnets and 'cubicle couture'. Describe 'cubicle couture' and what was it about magnets that attracted you (heh)?

Cubicle Couture is a way to inspire the corporate worker to stay imaginative with a bit of sassy attitude. They are great at work to brighten up a boring space or cubicle and make great co-worker gifts. Each set is unique and themed and many of my orders are personalized sets for bridal parties or special events. I made my first set of magnets when I literally needed something to post takeout menus on the side of my fridge. I hadn't planned on making more than one set but as friends saw them, the custom orders and ideas started spilling in. I created several sets for friends and family and opened my Etsy shop in 2008. The process started with a lot of trial and error with products and supplies. As I got more into it, my supply purchasing, packaging and branding improved greatly.

CTHm: Like many crafters, you work a separate full time job. How do you make time to create?

My creative time has to just happen randomly. It is generally on my weeknights into the wee hours of the night. I'm definitely a night owl when it comes to creativity. When I have a craft show coming up, I kick it into gear and spend hours and hours creating to music (and perhaps a glass of red). Saturday mornings are also a good time for me to sit with my coffee and my little monster, Charlotte the cat.

CTHm: Tell us about your creative process.

I love to browse magazines and store catalogs for inspiration. I'm usually spread out across my kitchen counter and coffee table arranging images. I can't create in silence so I'm usually grooving to whatever station I find on the radio. Mornings are perfect for taking my product photos before the sun is in full force. I take frequent breaks to text friends and check email... the normal addictions :)

CTHm: Why is buying handmade important to you?

Handmade is so much more interesting! Each piece has a story... it was detailed by an artist who spent time to make it unique. I also enjoy that a lot of artists are upcycling old products to make something new. I have a contemporary/eclectic style which is perfect for buying things handmade.

I try to give gifts that are handmade items by other local artists. Non-typical gifts are always a surprise. With a bit of imagination, you can make something from nothing. I feel good purchasing from an artist -- it's a win-win situation.