As the weather warms up there are more opportunities to go outside. With biking you can turn the most mundane errand into a breath of fresh air. Enjoy the buds on the trees as you coast to the market.

Click here to view on etsy.

BikesTail.com Portable electric engine for bike - E-bike Conversion Kit for all bicycles. Assistant for bicycle. Italian Design.. Bicycle Basket / Bike Basket / Handwoven Basket Temple Cycles Premium Leather bike carry handle OYB Vintage Swiss "Upcycled" Bike Pannier
Woody's Chop Chort rear Wood bike fender Unique handmade wooden bicycle Bike U Lock Holster Wicker Bike Pannier. Bike Saddle Bag. Bike double basket. Totally handmade.
bubinga and maple wood straight bicycle handlebar Bicycle leather bag/ Leather Bike Bag/ Triangle Bag/ Tools box bag/ Bike/ bike accessory/ bike/ brick red/ black Dog bike handwarmers for adults and teens, birthday gift, crochet bicycle gloves, cycling, gift for bike riders, christmas gift 8-Speed Daisy - Mixtie Handcrafted Bicycle Locally Fabricated in Chicago
Wall Mounted Bike Rack Personalized Bicycle Cup Holder, Bike Cup Holder, Handlebar Cup Holder, beach cruiser cup holder accessory Hanging Clips (set of 2) bicycle saddle case bike map sweet white blue

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy – an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy!

 
Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

Farmers' Market Dresses made 100% recycled cotton t-shirts
Farmers’ Market Dresses made 100% recycled cotton t-shirts

I started my business in 1987 with confidence that I could change the way the world saw discarded material – introducing fresh ways to conjure use where none had been seen prior.
Earthday 2015 was just a few days ago (April 22nd) and every year I feel like the world is more full of environmental atrocities that seem insurmountable. It gets me down.

This year I viewed a screening of a film called Inhabit, The Permaculture Prospective on Earthday. I am so happy to say that I am full of hope and a newly imparted drive to spread the word that we can make a giant U turn for our environment. Rather than working toward sustainability – I’m marching toward reparation.

In my shop you will find my latest contributions to my march toward being part of the solution.

You in?

“Where’d ya get that?” my car mechanic asked me.”From the Wicked Witch of the West?”

He was referring to the bike pictured below, which I bought last year at a yard sale for five bucks. I enjoyed his teasing, partly because I was proud that I was biking home after dropping off my car to be fixed and partly because I know that this bike, in all it’s rust-lovely glory, is a two wheeled sweetheart. It takes me many places I want to go with grace, strength and speed. Okay, maybe not speed but certainly the two other things.DSC_0022

Bikes are everywhere these days and all it takes is a fine spring day to bring out bikers all over cities and towns. Now is the time of year when kids learn to ride their first two wheelers, experiencing the sudden whoosh of freedom and balance that comes with giving up training wheels. It’s a historic moment in any child’s life and most of us can remember that happy moment in our pasts.community_bike_ride_jy_002_t725x500

Bicycles have been with us since the 1400’s when drawings supposedly appeared in the folio of Leonardo Da Vinci. The illustration below done by Da Vinci, or a student of his or even an impostor (no one is sure) is an early representation of the bicycle that we have come to know and love today.Leonardo_Folio_133v_Bicycle

China has the most bicycles in numbers, but the Netherlands has the most bikes per capita probably because the country is wonderfully flat, making it great for riding. The two most bike friendly cities in the world are thought to be Amsterdam and Den Haag, both in Holland. In the states, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Portland, OR, all vie for the title of “Most Bike Friendly City” in America.

Even though 100 million bikes are sold worldwide each year, there are those who don’t want to own a bike but still want to use one. Luckily for these types a wonderful new bike sharing program has sprung up in variety of cities in North America. In New York, there is CitiBikes which allows anyone to purchase an access pass or annual membership and then to pick up a bike at a designated location, ride as much as desired and then drop the bike off at the original or other location. Toronto also boasts the fantastic the Bike Sharing Program which works in a similar way. People from all walks of life can take advantage of this wonderful, affordable way to get to work or just around town without the stress or cost of maintaining one’s own bike. Plus, it’s a simple way to get fit while in the fresh air at a very low cost.ride-share-toronto

Bikes offer up a simple miracle – the reminder that in our age of high technology where everything is being sent through the ether of the internet – there is still the need for a human being to carry an envelope or package through the city streets to an appointed destination. Bicycle messengers still work in a variety of American cities, where they can be seen bobbing and weaving through traffic. It’s can be dangerous and exhausting work but for the young and gutsy, it’s a way to make a living in the city.Bike-Messenger-Neil


Lorne Holden is an artist and author of “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/ The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” Grab a copy of her book and dive into something new for spring.

We at Crispina are inspired to do what’s best for the environment. By reusing discarded clothing, not only are we keeping them out of the landfill, we are conscious of reducing our consumption of raw materials. Here are some like minded artisans.

Click here to view on etsy.

Kids Long Sleeve Dress with Thumb holes Upcycled from Recycled Wool Sweaters and Jumpers 100% Wool longies with Peacock feather detail Eco friendly necktie bag, made from upcycled and recycled clothing in blue and red. hand embroidered suit fabric shoulder bag eco design Tunic with cap sleeves, square neck and large pockets, red and green gingham check. Upcycled recycled repurposed, one of a kind
Punk Top, Stripe, Floral, Recycled Clothing, Cotton Top, Rainbow, Strawberries, Rustic, Dance, Boho, Hip Hop Women Tshirt Dress Recycled Clothing Reconstructed Handmade Soft Knit Eco Stripes Grey Black Pink M Mystery Vintage Dress Outfit,Recyled dress,Repurposed Look,Vintage Womens Clothing,Recycled Upcycled Frocks,Boho Fashion,WEAR OLD JUNK Blue Dress Plaid Lavendar Rosettes Embroidered Upcycled Bohemian Peasant Recycled Clothing Size Medium
Teal Hoodie Upcycled clothing Eco friendly clothing Recycled Outerwear Upcycled jacket Altered couture Hippie Hooded jacket SaidoniaEco Womens Upcycled Striped Tunic Tank Top, Pinstripe Blouse, Boyfriend Shirt, Recycled Clothing, Ethical Fashion, Repurposed Neckties Cropped Jacket & Lace Shirt   | Repurposed Lace Top | Women's Upcycled Fashion Clothing | Junior Clothing Up-Cycled NECK TIE Skirt, Mini Skirt, tie skirt, silk neck tie, mens tie, chevron tie, golden tie, recycled tie skirt, repurposed ties
Bell Sleeve Patchwork Maroon Knit Upcycled Recycled Bohemian Kimono Cardigan Sweater Jacket Boho Festival Womens OOAK Size Medium/Large Handmade dress, recycled clothing, vintage,Size XS/S,Summer dress,Beach city,woman dress,Vestito mare,Vestito fatto a mano,vestito donna Upcycled Repurposed Altered Clothing Bodice Ivory Red Green Floral Poppy Print Burlesque Lace Strapless Black Dress ,upcycled recycled repurposed cotton summer dress,long skirt

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy – an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy!

 
Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

Shire City Sanctuary is seeking a Super-Ninja to replace our current Super-Ninja, Cate, who is off to seek her fortune next month. The skillset/character traits required for this position are listed below. The position is full time, hours are 11-7 daily, closed Wednesdays and Sundays.

Cate the Super NInja Screen Printing during 10x10 Festival at Shire City Sanctuary
Super-NInja, Cate, Screen Printing during 10×10 Festival at Shire City Sanctuary 2015

Skills/Characteristics/Tasks

Communication

  • Eloquent Smart, Positive, Honest, Confident and Clear, Friendly, Sincere and Fun-Loving
  • Greeting/Meeting visitors, giving tours
  • Writes kick-ass Press Releases
  • Gives good phone
  • Represents Shire City Sanctuary in community

 

Punctual

  • Keeper of open hours at Shire City Sanctuary
  • Keeper of Shire City Sanctuary Calendar including Promotional/Press
  • Schedules weekly/monthly workings of Shire City Sanctuary

 

Hardworking

  • Physically strong
  • Organizes space for events, ie, moves furniture
  • Weekly Trash, Recyclables, Cleaning inside and outside of building
  • Plant watering

 

Cyber Savvy –

 

Creative

  • Screen Printing Knowledge/Interest
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Graphic Design
  • Sewing Knowledge/Interest

 

Management

  • Curates/Assists onsite gallery shows
  • Heads-up Event Production
  • Manages Makerspace and oversees Rectory (next door)
job Opportunity at Shire City Sanctuary
Super-Ninja, Cate working on grant applications and being silly – one of Shire City Sanctuary’s displays of balance.

Send letter of interest with resume or CV to ShireCitySanctuary@gmail.com

Shire City Sanctuary is The Berkshires first Makerspace housing a Screen Printing Shop, Sewing Lab, and Commercial Kitchen, with Meeting, Workshop, and Event Space. We are located in a former Roman Catholic church in the heart of Pittsfield, MA. Crispina ffrench and her husband Chris Swindlehurst own Shire City Sanctuary and rectory next door that has been converted into 6 apartments.

French EmbroideryIf the words “Hand Embroidery” make you think of a gift from Granny in days gone by, here’s some great and colorful news. Hand embroidery – the craft of decorating fabric using needles with thread or yarn – is a vibrant practice still being done by people of all ages all over the world including right here in the America. Cultures as diverse as Latvia, Mexico and Hungary are a few of the many places on earth where hand embroidery is still a thriving craft. Pictured above is an example of embroidery from France.

Historians have found embroidery that dates all the way back to the 5th Century BC in China. As far back as then, people had discovered that the hand stitches that were used to create, tailor and mend garments, could be used in a decorative fashion as well. Incredibly, the basic stitches of embroidery that are used today – chain stitch, blanket stitch, running stitch and cross stitch – can be seen on examples of the earliest embroidery. And those very stitches are still seen on modern garments like the colorful peasant blouse from Mexico seen below.Mexican EmbroideryEmbroidery is generally done using an embroidery hoop. This allows the fabric being used to remain flat and makes it easier for the person working to move their needle above and below. Hoops are generally circular but can sometimes be oval or square.891883-001One country where you will find embroidery as a central and thriving art is Guatemala. There, the distinctive coloring and embroidered designs are put on everything from clothing to purses to home linens. Mayan women in Guatemala create garments that are made from two kinds of handwork – weaving and embroidery. It is common in many Guatemalan cities to see women sitting in doorways selling their wares. They often have just a few pieces for sale and each work is unique and represents hours of work. Hand embroidery is a principal way that Mayan women adorn their clothing, confirm their heritage and make money for their families.ScanHand embroidery is an act of creative expression that can be done by people of all ages. In fact, some of the finest examples of hand embroidery are made by elderly women who have been practicing the craft all their lives.lens-11Hand embroidering is a wonderful way to create adornment for any kind of garment or household linen that is truly one of a kind. If you’re interested in giving it a try, there are affordable online classes at Craftsy.com. There you will find wonderful lessons on all the basic hand embroidery stitches as well as instructions in how to create your own patterns.


 

Lorne Holden is an artist, author and educator. Her book “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done” will inspire you to embroider or dive into doing anything that makes your heart beat fast. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

Embroidering takes a steady hand, an artful eye, and a careful attention to detail. I can’t say for certain, but I suspect that each of the items in this inventory were made with a lot of love, too.

Click here to view on etsy.

Hand embroidered Eliminate Girl Hate pink patch or merit badge with yellow and white daisies, pin on back,pink felt backing, feminism Hand Embroidered Victorian Couch Oranament Girls Tea Party Dress Hand Embroidered Apron Knot Dress Toddler Unicorn Art, Artwork Original, Mixed Media - Hand Embroidered - OOAK - Always be yourself unless you can be a unicorn quote
Textile wall hanging hand embroidered faux gem in emerald green with glass beads on canvas MADE TO ORDER Pillow cover red, hand embroidered, Mexican Textiles home decor handmade, handwoven, colorful sunflower and arum lily Hand emroidered white floral blouse H   Bright Felted wool mittens  hand embroidered with bright colored flowers  size small lined with fleece
Moon Phases Hand Embroidery Hoop Art hand embroidery diorama - Connection no. 8 textile art fiber art Art hand embroidery willow pattern china pottery vase with pink blue and white flowers. Handmade Framed Embroidery Art - Fall Grass - Textile Art
Embroidery Kit, Hand embroidery - Botanical flowers Hand Embroidered Crystal Heart Patch / Brooch. Pink Heart Gem Sew On Patch or Brooch / Pin. Spring 2015 Trends. Hand Embroidered Siesta Sleep Mask Hello Sunshine Hoop Art. Embroidery Hoop Art. Needlepoint. Hand Embroidery. Home Decor. Wall Art. Fabric Art. Wall Hanging. Stitched Art.

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy – an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy!

Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

When I was growing up, there was a Singer Sewing Center right across the street from the bowling alley where I loved to bowl. Starting from when I was ten, I would go to the Sewing Center every Saturday, sit down at a machine and learn something new. I started with the basics – sewing a straight line, learning to reverse and then jazzing things up with a zigzag stitch. DSC_0451

There was a sewing contest at the end of the year where each student made a garment they would wear in a final fashion show. I made a blue and red patterned jump suit with a shiny zipper. When I had it on, I felt brave and looked like a million bucks. So daring! I knew I would win.Visitors Browse Stands At The UK Aware Greener Living Exhibition

I didn’t. A girl who had made something far more challenging to sew won and although I cursed her at the time, I get it know. Thankfully, my love of sewing was stronger than my wounded pride and I went back for a second series of classes. The skills I learned became so ingrained that I don’t even think of them as skills. When someone said to me recently “I don’t sew,” I barely understood what she meant. How could anyone not know how to sew?

Machine is easy to learn and a joy to do. It offers up speed and ease in the sewing process and durability for the finished product. It also gives us options – now we can mend those beloved blue jeans rather than having to toss them: we can buy those too long curtains because we know we can hem them and we can make those perfect pillows or even sew a new cushion for a flea market chair. In short,  machine sewing is a time saver and a beauty maker.

The history of the sewing machine is a varied tale and the facts about it’s development seem to depend on who is doing the telling. If you’re interested in the twists and turns of the machine’s development check out the great site Sewalot. What we do know is that the idea for the first sewing machine arrived in 1789 when a Brit named Thomas Saint invented what is generally considered the first sewing machine.

 

sewing-machine-repair-oldCenturies passed with a variety of machines being invented by a variety of people, before people like Isaac Singer brought his ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive to building and marketing the sewing machine as we know it today.

It is good to remember that every piece of clothing we buy has been made at a sewing machine by someone, usually a woman. Clothing factories worldwide are often unsafe and their workers are often poorly paid. If you want to be conscious of buying clothing from companies that are known to treat their workers well, check out the list put together by the Fair Labor Association.
Black woman working by her sewing machine on candlelight, VaranaAlso, there are many wonderful charities which help women find a path out of poverty by giving them sewing machines so they can create things to sell. A wonderful one is The Sewing Machine Project and you can learn more about it here.

Gandhi called the sewing machine “one of the most useful things ever invented.” Anyone who sews would certainly agree.


Lorne Holden is an artist, author, educator and entrepreneur. Check out her bestselling book “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.”

 

Not excited by what’s in style or can’t afford that fancy name label? Why not make your own clothes or find a local seamstress? The sense of accomplishment and knowing you are wearing a one of a kind is all the motivation you need to get started on a new wardrobe.

Click here to view on etsy.

Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Model 221-1 Portable Electric with Accessories Cotton Thread - Light Sky Blue Vintage sewing basket, mid century, sewing box, basket Antique Wooden Sewing Darning, Mushroom Style Wood Darning, Sewing Items, Sewing Machine, Sewing Accessories, Seemstess Gift - Vintage 1930s
Fun Tapes, Assorted Fun Colors, Fun Colors Measuring Tapes, Craft and Sewing supply Seam Ripper Hand Turned on Lathe Blades on One Side Sewing Notion Quilting Tool Curve ruler / Sewing ruler sewing tools / Sewing supply / Seamstress gifts / Dressmaking / Gifts for seamstress / Sewing accesories Featherweight Blind Stitch Attachment #160616. Vintage Singer 221 & 222  sewing machines
Handmade Wood Thimble Country Lane Wood Folding sewing station storage cabinet Set of 4 Seasonal Tree Ceramic Buttons, Family Tree Button, Novelty Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter Tree Sewing Buttons, Genealogy Buttons Wool Felt Needle Book, Needle Case, Embroidered Flower Needle Book, Felt Needle Holder, Beaded Needle Case, Felt Sewing Kit
4 Rolls of Hug Snug Seam Binding Ribbon - Message us your 4 colors! Great for Scrapbooking, Crafts, Floral Arrangements, Sewing & More! Kid's sewing pattern pdf/Toddler Kid's/ suspender skirt / jumper skirt/ overall skirt/ All in one with fox face, sizes 2T to 7Years. Felt strawberry, emery pincushion, needle sharpening, nature pincushion, felt fruit, cute pincushion, gift for seamstress, sewing tool, elin Liberty of London Stile FQ Bundle

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy – an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy!

 
Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

Last night a dusting of snow fell in my yard. No foolin’. April may be upon us, but here in New England, winter is taking a long time to bid adieu. Even so, when I stuck my head out the window this morning I heard the chirp of a spring bird. My heart leapt up, my imagination got going and I started to plan how to prepare my garden for the season of popping joy that is to come.

Preparing the ground for gardening is an essential step to any season of growing. It’s akin to starting the creation of a delicious meal by making sure you have great ingredients. Here are some simple steps to give your garden a head start for a season bursting with lushness and beauty.

Clean Up + Prepare the Soil

Start your work by simply getting rid of anything that didn’t get cleared away last fall. Leftover leaves, small stones and fallen tree branches need to be swept away, so that they don’t get packed in to the soil when it needs to be turned over. This doesn’t have to be a tiresome job, think of it as uncluttering your landscape to make more space for beauty.

Digging the soil

Next, dig loose the soil and add organic material. You want a garden that has been aireated with some good turning and nourished with the benefit of alot of compost or other garden booster. Compost is widely available at all garden centers, if you don’t make your own. If you feel your soil is overly acidic or very sandy, lots of organic matter added at the start of the season will make a huge difference to your growing success. You do have to add fresh organic matter every season, so don’t hold back. Try to make it at least a 50/50 mixture of your native soil with good compost.

If you find your soil is poor in a way that can’t be salvaged, try using raised beds and filling them with excellent soil that you can purchase.

Start Your SeedsSeedstarts:eggshells

Next, do that simple, miraculous thing: start your seeds indoors. There’s nothing that lifts the heart and reminds us that sunlight and nature’s bounty is on the way, like starting seeds indoors. It’s easy as pie. You can get starter kits at your local garden center or don’t even bother and use your eggshells in an egg carton, as seen above. Seeds that are started this way can be planted right into the ground in the shell, which adds a boost of calcium for the growing plant. It’s a simple process made particularly fun, when you invite young kids to participate.

Plan Your Joy

If you are planting a flower garden, think of your garden space as a painters canvas that you will be filling with color, texture and light. Then, take time to plan what you will plant. Jot it down on paper first, even it’s just a scribble. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Just give yourself a sense of what will go where. The simple plan seen below is a great example of how easy it can be. There is great support for this part of your process heregarden-design-garden-ideas-stunning-great-garden-border-ideas-garden-border-ideas-nz-natural-garden-border-ideas-narrow-garden-border-ideas-new-garden-border-ideas-garden-border-materials-ideas

If you are growing a vegetable garden, take advantage of the great information about Companion Planting which outlines where to plant vegetables in relation to each other, for maximum growth potential.

Relish Your Work

Taking time to prepare your garden is making an investment in the joy and beauty that will be flourishing there in the months ahead. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for the prep work you’ve done and let yourself revel in thoughts of what’s to come. There is beauty and deliciousness in store!


Lorne Holden is an artist, author, educator and entrepreneur. Her book, “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day” was inspired by gardening.