Used clothing alchemist since 1987

Hey, Welcome!


WELCOME!  I’m Crispina ffrench. Recycled textile artist, author, teacher – creator of many things. My sister and I run The Dolphin Studio, a second generation, family owned screen-printing business. My hubby and I own Shire City Sanctuary, a Makerspace in an urban Cathedral in the heart of The Berkshires where my studio is housed. It’s a pleasure to share here creative high-jinx, as we work toward environmental consideration of all aspects of living.

Weekly Treasury – Cruising


‘Cruising’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Riding a bike is one of the easiest and best way to tread lightly on Mother Earth. Whether it’s riding to work, errands or just a leisurely cycle enjoying the sights, having the right accessories for your bicycle will make your outings pleasurable.

Click this link to view on etsy.

 

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

Freak of the Week – Victor Powell


I love it here on Cape Cod and have been visiting this magical place I was eleven. Even with that history, there seems so much unexplored about The Cape. In summer it is all gussied up and super fun to dive into. Winter brings quiet and Cape Cod becomes beautifully desolate. The further out the more palpable the loneliness.  Emptiness oozes and things feel sort of out of control,   .    .    . mixed with cozy. The tourists leave, sea thrashes, winds howl, and the skeleton crew hunkers down.

07.25.14 Victor Powell 6It occurs to me each visit, how fragile the Cape Cod landscape is and how many many people demand their vacation existence from it. Thousands of tourists flood the highway all day all summer long. Beach parking lots are filled with long waiting lines. The grocery stores are mazes of mostly unfamiliar shoppers getting stock for their week on the beach, the dumps are overflowing and now a lot of Cape Cod’s well water is not potable. As I strive toward Net Zero Living, my carbon footprint is never far from my mind. The fragile yet ancient lands we are frolicking upon cannot manage our waste. Broken beach toys, shoddily made sand chairs, discarded after a single season, deflated floaties, single flipflops, candy wrappers, bottle tops, picnic garbage, all of it – everywhere, constant reminders that our culture is accustomed to short-term-use products. Things that break and are thrown ‘away’ are the norm.

07.25.14 Victor Powell 7
Local 186 – from the street

Yesterday, Ben and I enjoyed an evening out on the town, including dinner at Local 186.   We had the good fortune of time to stroll from one end of Commercial Street in Provincetown, to the other. On our adventure we found a dingy, crooked sign inside a dirty plate glass window of a rowdy bar with a faded newspaper article about the man who made my father a pair of sandals 35 or 40 years ago. Could it be? I have actually searched around for this guy online to no avail – and there it was, down the alley and up a flight of weathered outdoor stairs, Victor Powell Workshop – Open 10-5. Closed Tuesdays.

VictorPowell_byAnthonyDiSpe
Victor Powell in His Workshop – courtesy www.victorpowellworkshop.com

Just a snippet of a truly memorable evening spent with my son.

 

Today I went back. I ordered a pair of handmade leather sandals from the last surviving sandal cobbler in Ptown. They cost a lot and could take 6 weeks to get on my feet yet I am so excited! Probably the last pair of sandals I will ever need to buy. Saving the planet from a whole bushel of wasted flip-flops and worn out plastic shoes while supporting traditional crafts, and learning from an amazingly accomplished maker. What could be better? I just wish I could take over his business when he’s ready to retire.

07.25.14 Victor Powell 2

So this week’s Freak of the Week is not actually the typical cyber interview but more of an observation of a Freak from arm’s length. Hope you like it.

 

Victor Powell and his lady, Ardis, are year ‘round residents of Provincetown, on the very tip of the Cape Cod peninsula of Massachusetts. They have been working from their second floor home/studio down the alley and ’round back, right next to The Lobster Pot on Commercial Street. They are likely both in their seventies, based on their stories, but to look at them they seem much younger; Fit and hip and very active. They have a pretty great website explaining their process and options available which was actually really surprising to me.

07.25.14 Victor Powell 5

Walking into their tidy ocean view workshop (atop a pretty rickety flight of stairs, across a flat roof, and passed a window box full of the tiniest lawn you have ever seen) landed me in a world of sandal magic. Every detail of interior matched the surreal vibe of the street below on a different, quieter but equally as captivating level. We arrived right at closing time having spent the afternoon visiting an old dear and captivating in her own right, friend, Alice Brock. She had called ahead to let Victor know we were coming – they are neighbors and friends.07.25.14 Victor Powell 4

 

Just beyond the counter displaying all the different style sandal options, is a large and well worn work table with tools neatly in their places at arm’s reach. There is a relic industrial sewing machine, used for sail repair and a lovely display of all sorts of beautifully hand sewn leather bags from dainty purses to super sturdy brief cases. Belts are also hand made on the premises and are sized to order. They run $50-$165. The more expensive ones are beautifully riveted in a wide wavy pattern of brass dots.  Victor told me this is a traditional Provincetown look.  AhMaZinG~

07.25.14 Victor Powell 3

I knew right away that I wanted sandals in the style he was wearing. He grabbed a large sheet of thick paper and dropped to his knees, pencil in hand, and carefully traced both of my feet in a quick minute. It was not a simple outline but included annotations for my arch, and bone structure. He uses the drawings for shaping the footbed and strap placement. My feet feel comfortable just thinking about my new shoes!

 

He said they would be ready to ship in 4-6 weeks and I just can’t wait!!

07.25.14 Victor Powell 1

You can learn all sorts of details about Victor’s process on his website.  If you find yourself in Provincetown, I encourage you to look Victor and Ardis up. If you are not in Provincetown and would like a super wonderful pair of sandals that will last you many years, you can order them online from his site. There are detailed instructions there explaining how to place your order.

Weekly Treasury – How Do You Beach?


‘How Do You Beach?’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Are you a sunner? A swimmer? A walker, an explorer, or a read-in-the-shade-of-a-giant-umbrella-er? However you enjoy the beach, this treasury can help you make the most of your summer.

Click this link to view on etsy.

 

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

Blog Theme ~ Beach


Each week there is a blog theme that usually has something to do with what is going on in my world.  This week my family – all three of my kiddos, my hubby, and I are relaxing on Cape Cod.  Beach is the theme this week.  It turns out the weather forecast is for high temperatures in the mid-seventies so not sure how much sunning we will get to on the beach.  We do plan a lot of coastal exploring on bikes.  Cloudy skies will not keep us from having adventures.  Stay tuned here for tidbits on how our week turns out!

YOU can participate right here at www.crispina.com by submitting an image that sums up your week and somehow speaks to our theme?  Send entries to my email by Wednesday evening for our Friday ONE THOUSAND WORDS column.  Include your name and business name if you have one to be used as the caption.  Every week there is a new theme, posted here on Sundays.  On Friday (or sometimes Saturday) One Thousand Words is posted.  It is a collection of the previous weeks BEST photo entries.

Family and Friends at Marconi Beach Cape Cod, Summer 2012
Family and Friends at Marconi Beach Cape Cod, Summer 2012

A picture says ONE THOUSAND WORDS.

One Thousand Words


At the end of the week we feature photograph/s summing up the week for the contributor/s.  There are no words, just images with captions with the name of the photographer and their business name (if they have one).  Weekly blog themes are posted right here on Sundays.  Feel free to submit your original images to Crispinaffrench@gmail.com for possible inclusion.  Please include your name and business name you would like included.

So here you are, the pick of the week – our theme this last week – was picnics/outside dining.

Ned Oliver - Dinner En Blanc Berkshires
Ned Oliver – Dinner En Blanc Berkshires
Jeremy Stanton - Fire Roasted Catering
Jeremy Stanton – Fire Roasted Catering
Sofia Hughes - The Dolphin Studio
Sofia Hughes – The Dolphin Studio

Freak of the Week ~ Jeremy Stanton


It is not possible to have a theme involving outdoor dining and not include Jeremy Stanton.  You can find him at The Meat Market in Great Barrington where he set up shop a few years back as the first artisanal butcher I ever heard of.  He’s a trend setter and travels far and wide with his amazing catering business, Fire Roasted.  Check him out here and make sure to experience his gifts in person.  Well worth a day trip, and a must if you are a carnivore in The Berkshires!

Jeremy Working a Mid-Summer Fire Roasted Catering Party
Jeremy Working a Mid-Summer Fire Roasted Catering Party

Cff:  Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

JS:  I was raised in a community for handicap children, just out side Philadelphia PA. I spent part of every summer with my grandma in Copake NY, we would cook and preserve foods, an activity that I loved. Those moments were hugely inspirational. She died about 20 years ago just after I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.

I am passionate about cooking with FIRE and supporting local agriculture: buying food from local farms is a good way to support local agriculture, maintain the agrarian landscape, and preserve traditional food practices. I am the owner of 2 food businesses; The Meat Market, which is a local meat butchery and café, and Fire Roasted, a catering company which focuses on local and seasonal foods cooked at the event’s site- over open fire.

Cff:  Tell a story, have we met? When? Where? Who introduced us? Oh, maybe you are my niece, well, just give a little history here. People love a setting.

JS:  We met at your old studio in Housatonic many years ago, I have no idea who introduced us, or why I was there. I do remember being very impressed with the concept of your business. Reusing, in a creative and beautiful way, to create functional art.

Cff:  Imagine a story. It is 2030 and we have brought the environment into balance. How did we do it?

JS:  In addition to other’s amazing innovations was the success of my campaign to bring people’s awareness to themselves and their own actions. A key component to my message states that telling other people what they should do is not cool! The key is that we are all responsible, and acting with integrity is the only way to live an authentic life

The Annual Sausage Fest Held at The Meat Market on Rt 7 in Great Barrington
The Annual Sausage Fest Held at The Meat Market on Rt 7 in Great Barrington

 

Cff:  If you had the power to make one change in the world what would it be?07.17.14 Dead Animals

JS:  I would make every person believe that ALL creatures including humans are equal and deserve respect, and the opportunity to be healthy and safe. It may sound strange coming from a person with a butcher shop- but I believe in the natural order of things, the predator/prey relationship between species. BUT I have a huge problem with non-humans being treated as if their only purpose is to feed us. Animals we eat should have led a life including their natural behaviors (open land, grazing, raising young in a clean environment in which they can freely move.) In addition, I would also force self-love on all beings- the knowledge that we are perfect just the way we are, that is the place that healthy aspiration and personal evolution arises from.

Cff:  What is your current passion?

JS:  My current passion is freedom, allowing every one the chance to live the life they want, free from fear and the binding constraints that stop them from doing what they want. And cooking with FIRE!

Cff:  How did your passion come to be?

JS:  In the beginning I had a pasta business that was celebrated as a local company. I always felt a little hypocritical, so when I had the opportunity to study local Grass based meat and value added meat production I took it. The New England Heritage Breeds Conservancy had an abattoir in north central Ct. and I was offered a position there, it was a great learning experience. I learned that meat is a crop we can sustainably and humanely grow in the northeast well, and a great way to support local economy and agriculture is buy local meat, thus a passion was born!

 

Sausage Case at The Meat Market - Rt 7 Great Barrington MA
Sausage Case at The Meat Market – Rt 7 Great Barrington MA

Cff:  Who/What has been most influential in your work?

JS:  There are many many people who have influenced me through the beginning of my career. Through relationships with many farmers and passionate teachers (writers, artisanal food producers, passionate food consumers like my wife) it became clear to me that the solution to the abomination of factory farming , is more local farming.

 

Cff:  Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?

JS:  1) Standing in a field of ready to harvest food 2) at an event site where I get the opportunity to visualize a meal served to the guests 3) when I find a cooking technique rooted in history that I can adapt to today.

07.17.14 Piggie

Cff:  Aside from working, how do you spend your time

JS:  I love to tinker with projects at the beautiful home I share with my wife Emily and our kids. Most recently I refined our outdoor shower. In addition I recently took up unicycling and spear fishing!

 

Cff:  Tell about a transforming memory?

JS:  I got married to Emily in 2008 my marriage has transformed me. Being married has given me the opportunity to work toward being the complete person I strive to be. Facing challenges with a partner that I would otherwise have left unfaced.

 

Cff:  Do you have a prized possession? What is it?

JS:  My 1980 Jeep CJ5, I bought it 10 years ago from VA. My eldest son Kyle and I flew down to pick it up and drive back to the Berkshires. In addition to being a very fun vehicle to play in, that trip was really fantastic.

 

Cff:  Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.

JS:  I believe that we are where we are meant to be, that the universe provides and that people are all connected. Having that belief makes magical moments all the time. 16 years ago my son Kyle was born at 26 weeks gestation he was 1 pound 14 oz. An event that challenged my belief in the infinite power of the universe, and as each day passed and we faced each potential hurdle my faith was restored. I am glad to say that this story has a happy outcome and Kyle is a strong young man.

 

Cff:  If you were able to spend an afternoon with anyone – dead or alive, who would it be? What plans would you make for your outing?

JS:  I would spent the afternoon with my grandfather, because I never had the chance to meet him. I would air out the garage and spend some time working on my classic car. We would give the old girl a tune up and stop after a while and have an iced coffee. I would love to know about his life, everything that he had done and not done. We would take the top on the car down and go for a sun filled drive through the Berkshire Hills. Our destination would be Ashintully Gardens we would drive up to the ruins and sit next to the pillars watching the sun set over Tyringham Cobble.

07.17.14 JSliced Sausage

Cff:  What is your favorite place and/or way to spend time?

JS:  I love the beach, the wind, the smell of the ocean in the wind, the sun. When I make it to the beach I feel at peace with the world. The power of the mighty ocean reminds me of how temporary life is and that we are only here for a glorious moment so we had better get all that we can out of it.

 

Surf Casting
Surf Casting

Cff:  What is your goal or main focus for your next 12 months?

JS:  On the cusp of our three-year anniversary at The Meat Market I am excited about being able to fine-tune my business over the next 12 months. The first year of business consists of a fair amount of thrashing around wildly, year two brings some clarity and systemization, and year three, if you can hang in there, is when it gets fun.

07.17.14 Fried Chicken

Cff:  Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting? When? Where? Details and contact information please.

I would like to ask people to come to The Meat Market for Fried Chicken on Thursdays, Asado on Friday Saturday and Sunday or just stop by for lunch

Sign up for our mailing list at themeatmarketgb.com join us for one of our special events!07.17.14 Skewers

Tanglewood Picnic Book Call for Submissions


As blog themes are added to my weekly social networking to-dos, I learn all sorts of interesting things about my friends and fans.  Let me introduce you to Gina Hyams.  Her current endeavor speaks directly to our Picnic/Outdoor Dining theme this week.  As I peruse recipes for tomorrow night’s gathering on the Tanglewood Lawn, delve into her guest post all about the book she is conjuring up!

Author Gina Hyams at Tanglewood. Photo by Dylan Cole-Kink.
Author Gina Hyams at Tanglewood. Photo by Dylan Cole-Kink.

I am creating a book titled The Tanglewood Picnic: Music and Outdoor Feasts in the Berkshires. Scheduled for publication summer 2015, the gift book will celebrate the tradition of picnics held on the Lawn during concerts at Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer campus in Lenox, Massachusetts.

 

07.16.14 Gina Hyam6

For nearly 80 years, music lovers have flocked to Tanglewood to picnic. It’s a rare time when we get to slow down with our loved ones, enjoy good food and drink together, and hear glorious music in a relaxed and beautiful setting. I’ve found that when you ask people to describe Tanglewood picnics, more often than not, the first word out of their mouths is “magic.” I envision my book as a collective love letter to this quintessential Berkshire summer experience.

 

Veteran Tanglewood goers Rick Tillotson and Robin Grigg Tillotson have their picnic strategy down to a science.
Veteran Tanglewood goers Rick Tillotson and Robin Grigg Tillotson have their picnic strategy down to a science.

 

I am seeking photos of Tanglewood picnics, favorite picnic recipes, outdoor dining tips, and related Tanglewood picnic ephemera (such as invitations and menus) from all eras of the festival’s history. Submissions of multiple images are welcome.

 

If you have photos of your parents or grandparents picnicking, that would be fantastic. I’d love to see photos of people who met on the Tanglewood Lawn when they were young and still picnic there today. I hope to see picnics in the rain, 4th of July-themed festivities, and hippie picnics held during those legendary 70s rock concerts.

 

I’m looking for photos of over-the-top picnics with bouquets and candelabras, as well as for joyful, modest ones. Food doesn’t necessarily need to be shown in the image, so long as it represents a meaningful aspect of the Tanglewood experience. Several people have already submitted photos of children frolicking and napping at Tanglewood and I can tell that theme will warrant its own chapter.

07.16.14 Gina Hyam3
Cooper Constable (age 9 months) studies the program at his first Tanglewood picnic. Photo courtesy of his mom, Chrissie Constable.

Due to print quality restrictions, only high-resolution images can be considered for inclusion (300dpi+). Please note caption information, including as much of the following as is known: date, occasion, names of people in the image, types of foods pictured, the name of the photographer, and estate to credit as necessary. Include your name, address, and phone number. Please also answer this question: What do you love about Tanglewood picnics?

 

The deadline to submit images: September 30, 2014. Submissions will be considered for both print publication and posting on the project’s blog: www.tanglewoodpicnic.com. Email submissions to: tanglewoodpicnic@gmail.com.

 

07.16.14 Gina Hyam4
My personal favorite Tanglewood picnic memory is when I took my then 16-year-old daughter Annalena and her girlfriends to see Carole King and James Taylor perform a few years ago. They were hearing songs from “Tapestry” for the first time, and being moved by them just as I was as a teenager. It was magic to listen to that music together under the stars while eating Guido’s take-out salads.

Gina Hyams is a Berkshire-based writer and editor who specializes in food, travel, and the arts. She has published eleven books, among them Country Living Decorating with White (Hearst), In a Mexican Garden: Courtyards, Pools, and Open-Air Living Rooms (Chronicle Books), and Pie Contest in a Box: Everything You Need to Host a Pie Contest (Andrews McMeel Publishing). For more information, please see www.ginahyams.com.

 

A picture postcard start to the 2014 picnic season at Tanglewood Family Fun Fest. Photo by Gina Hyams.
A picture postcard start to the 2014 picnic season at Tanglewood Family Fun Fest. Photo by Gina Hyams.

 

 

 

Weekly Treasury – Surrey On Down


‘Surrey On Down’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

In the Berkshires there are many opportunities to enjoy a picnic. There’s Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, and don’t forget your own backyard. Find out what outdoor events are in your area. Here are some ideas to get your picnic perfect.

Click this link to view on etsy.

 

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

Blog Theme – Picnics/Outdoor Dining


Recycled Denim and Corduroy Picnic Blankets available in my Shop
Recycled Denim and Corduroy Picnic Blankets available in my Shop

Each week there is a blog theme that usually has something to do with what is going on in my world.  On Friday, my hubby, daughters and I are headed to Tanglewood for a picnic. We plan to meet friends and make it a potluck event. I am envisioning clear and starry skies with a gentle breeze to keep the bugs at bay.  Frisbees will be packed along with a cooler full of summer’s best edibles, most will be sugar and gluten free to accommodate yours truly. (My dietary limitations are a post for another day.) This week’s theme is PICNIC/OUTDOOR DINING. Let’s see what the week brings and who might join the fun on the lawn this Friday night. Crazy to think, tickets are cheaper than the movies at $10, kids under 18 are free! The Boston Symphony will be tearin’ it up with a program including Strauss, Copeland, and Beethoven.  Gates open at 5:30, we plan to eat at 6. Music begins at 8:30 so there should be plenty of time to explore the grounds with the kids and toss a little disc – can’t wait!

Oh HEY!  Did you know that YOU can participate in our weekly themes by submitting an image that sums up your week and somehow speaks to our theme?  Send entries to my email by Wednesday evening for our Friday ONE THOUSAND WORDS column.  Include your name and business name if you have one to be used as the caption.

A picture says ONE THOUSAND WORDS.

One Thousand Words


At the end of each week we feature a collection of photographs summing up the week for each contributor.  There are no words, just images with captions with the name of the photographer and their business name (if they have one).  Weekly blog themes will be posted right here on Sundays.  Feel free to submit your original images to Crispinaffrench@gmail.com for possible inclusion.  Please include your name and business name you would like included.

So here you are.  Our first collection of images around Screen Printing – our theme this last week.

Jen - Woven Roots Farm, Tyringham, MA
Jen – Woven Roots Farm, Tyringham, MA
Crispina ffrench - Shire City Sanctuary
Crispina ffrench – Shire City Sanctuary
Pat Hughes - The Dolphin Studio
Pat Hughes – The Dolphin Studio