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.

ReConsumerEYES: Recycling/Handmade/Thrift Shoppin’


by Lorne Holden
Thrift Shop ONE

A few years ago, I saw a man named John Perkins interviewed on TV. Perkins is the author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” which describes his life as exactly that – an economic hit man. His job was to to convince countries that are strategically important to the U.S. to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development, and to make sure that the lucrativeprojects were contracted to U. S. corporations. Then, saddled with gigantic debts, the countries became beholden to the U.S. government.

Ultimately, he had an awakening which prompted a re-evaluation of his life. He re-dedicated himself to a life with real values. He wrote his book and told his story after 9/11, when he felt that worlds events compelled him to do so.

The TV interview was interesting because he talked about many simple ways that people can live a more thoughtful life – a life that is less hurtful to others and to the planet. And the thing that I remember most was that he spoke about the simple importance of buying clothing at Thrift shops. He pointed out that re-cycled clothing not only creates less waste but helps stem the tide of oppressive circumstances for the many people working in terrible conditions in sweatshops around the world.

 

Thrift Shop Store Sign

I’ve been a Thrift Shop fan my whole life but until that moment, I had never made this bigger, more important connection. I hadn’t put together that purchasing re-cycled clothing could actually he considered a political/philosophical act, and that I could see that act as an extension of the ideals with which I live my life as a whole. But the experience isn’t even just about me, and about how I want to live my life. Many Thrift Shops are run by organizations that assist society on a larger level, providing training, jobs and sustenance to people who are disabled or disadvantaged. Here’s an example of what a few major thrift stores support:

- Goodwill Industries: Provides vocational rehabilitation and support for the disabled.

– Salvation Army: Provides shelter, food, job training and spiritual guidance to the poor.

- Oxfam: Runs development efforts in Third World nations.

09.11.14 Marian's Dress1Taking the re-cycled clothing idea even further are the many ingenious creators who make new clothing out of old clothing, making unique one of a kind creations. And of course, this site celebrates the work and imagination of one of the greats, Crispina herself.

Take a moment to think about the clothes you wear and where they come from. Would a swing by a Thrift Shop work for you, instead of heading to a mall? Could you arrange a clothing swap with friends so that your clothes get a second chance to delight someone else? Or might you want to dive into the adventure that is making something new out of something old? Have a look at the list on the right – Crispina has some workshops coming up and one might be just right for you. You would spend a great day with great people and come home with a piece of clothing that is also a work of art.

Remember that all of our daily experiences add up. Where you purchase your clothing can have a beneficial or detrimental effect on the lives of others and the planet as a whole. Be a clothing adventurer and look for your next treasure at at Thrift Shop or better yet – make it yourself!

 

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Budapest Thrift ShopLorne Holden is an artist and author of the Bestselling book “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” Pictured at left if a great thrift shop Lorne discovered on a recent trip to Budapest, Hungary. Learn more about her at: www.makeithappenintenminutesaday.com

Weekly Treasury – Tis’ The Season To Buy Handmade


‘Tis’ The Season To Buy Handmade’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Sometimes our holiday decorations need updating. It’s always a delicate balance between honoring traditions and developing new ones of your own, Break with tradition and buy or try something new. Here are some awesome options.

TAJ PLACEMAT Large Sized Book Paper Kusudama Paper Origami Flower with Brown Paper Stems Fall Still Life Photography, Brown, Green and White Wall Art, Pumpkin Photograph, Feather Picture, Thanksgiving Wall Decor, Autumn Photo Sale - 30% off, Shabby chic wall  decor, Antique Crochet Lace  wall art  Lace wall decor,Lace wall hanging,  Christmas home decor, Chic gift
Red Maple Leaf Autumn Punch Needle Embroidery Hoop Art. Eco Friendly Thanksgiving Home Decor. Rustic, Woodland. Brown, Red. 3 Inch Hoop. Ceramic Candle Holder Love Houses Set of two Love Houses - SALE vintage cornucopia basket Autumn Decorations / Gold Ornaments / Gold Christmas Tree Decorations / Autumn Fruit / Apple Pear Ornaments
grande wreath // air plant tillandsia // by robincharlotte white porcelain pumpkin Handmade mushrooms, kitchen decor,  table decoration, Home decor The WITCH is in | singage | bannerwall hanging | flag | pennant | banner | Halloween Sign to Hang on Door and Use as Photo Prop
Candy Sweet Colorful Wild Mushrooms / A Collection of 42 Freshly Harvested Candy Mushrooms Table Runner Organic and Sheer Runner Natural Gray Linen Runner Eco Runner Linen Placemat For Two Antler Wreath, Wreath, Gold Antler Wreath, Antlers, Antler Decor, Woodland, Antler, Housewarming, Gold Wreath, Deer Antler, Hodi Home Decor Steampunk Candle Holder, Industrial Design Decor, Modern Thanksgiving Centerpiece Copper Pipe Candle Holder, Christmas Gift, Wedding Decor,

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

ReconsumerEyes – Winterizing


by Lorne Holden

broniw pic pdfHere’s my confession for today: I flunked out of Brownies. That’s right. I flunked out. Right when everyone was supposed to “fly up” to become a Girl Scout, I was told that I wouldn’t, in fact, be continuing. I still don’t quite understand why this happened, but I suspect that it was because I didn’t understand that great Girl Scout saying: “Be Prepared.”

I am reminded of this every time I look out my window lately and see a crazy grey squirrel who is putting way a stash of walnuts from the tree in our front yard.

She has inspired me, this squirrel (she would have made it to Girl Scouts !) and so I’ve begun efforts to Winterize my home. I think of Winterizing as alter ego of Spring Cleaning. Instead of pulling your life out and up to prepare for the expansiveness of warm weather, Winterizing invites us to batten things down and cover things up, before the long, cold nap of winter.

Here are some great, green tips for Winterizing your home or living space:

+ Cut down on drafts. You can do this with caulking around windows and doors and by using a “draft snake” or piece of fabric under a doorway. Making these draft snakes can be a fun project with kids. Simply sew some fabric into a tube shape and then fill with beans, sand or even kitty litter. Let the kids adorn the snake that will be used for the door to their bedroom.

draft 2

+ Clean out your dryer duct. Again, this simple action can save you energy and money. Here’s a great link with instructions: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-do-dryer-duct-cleaning#b

+ Turn down your water heater thermostat. Many water heaters are turned up too high. Check yours and see if it is at 120F. This simple change can really save both energy and money.

Untitled 2+ Begin the habit of keeping your thermostat lower. There have been studies that state that for every degree that you lower your thermostat, you save between 1 and 3 per cent on your heating bills. And don’t forget that layering up on clothing when you are indoors, can keep you toasty. Apparently, it’s an old wives tale that we lose most of our heat through our heads, but it’s still a great idea to wear a soft hat indoors on very cold nights.

 

+ Switch your ceiling fan direction. Who knew that such a simple act as this could help, but it really does. Enabling ceiling fan blades to spin clockwise will draw warm air trapped near the ceiling down to the living area. This can improve comfort and save money on heating.

Look around your life and world and see you can inspire you! Here’s the future Girl Scout of America working on her Winterizing badge. squirrel 2

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Lorne Holden is an artist and the author of the Bestseller “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done” and the creator of LifeBloom Online Coaching. Learn more about her here and sign up to join her list! www.makeithappenintenminutesaday.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Treasury – Winterize Your Soul


Winterize Your Soul‘ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

This is the time of year to start hunkering down. Last night was our first hard frost of the season, making one want to line their nest. This treasury is all about getting cozy for those long winter nights.

Copper Tea Pot: Vintage Rustic Copper Tea Kettle with Blue and White Porcelain Handle, Shabby Chic, Farmhouse Decor, French Country Home Made to Order: The Autumn Woods Cowl ~ 100% Wool Hand Knitted I-cord Neck Warmer Infinity Scarf with Wood Buttons Cloche hat - Felt hat - Velvet hat - For her Knitted Cup Cozy, Coffee Cup Sleeve, Knit Coffee Cozy, Knit Cup Warmer, Knit Cup Cozy, Coffee Cozies Knit Mug Cozy Tea Cosy Chartreuse Decor
Miniature Glowing House - Fine Art 10 '' x 8'' Photographic Print Knitted Hot Water Bottle Cover / Cosy Cream - KENTON Maya Temple - Gold / 14"x20"  Kilim Pillow Winter Wreath - Elegant Decor - Gold - Natural - Gilded Forest Wreath
8 X10 Fine Art Watercolor Print -Gift for Her- Giclee Print - Renaissance Print - Vintage - Home Decor- Romantic Gift Idea Boot cuffs , boot toppers in Yellow with grey dots Kitchen art kitchen print coffee art large print kitchen decor pastel french decor rustic decor dorm decor office fall photography~ Rustic wooden tea light holder
Fall Home Decor Table Runner Autumn Gold Harvest Plaid Handwoven Cotton Thanksgiving Farmhouse Cottage Cabin November Dining 48"L x 8.5"W Durable Hand Forged Fire Poker with User Friendly Large Scroll Handle and Twisted Barrel for pit and hearth #455 Farmer's Daughter Mitts PDF Knitting Pattern Vintage Rustic Antique French Railway Light Candle Coach Lantern Old Hanging Candle Holder Pendant Retro Victorian

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

 

The Day of the Dead


day of Dead 2By Lorne Holden

When I was a little girl growing up in Cleveland, the last day in October always meant two things: costumes and candy. Absurd amounts of candy. And given that the costumes were often purchased at a large chain store, Halloween became a yearly glut of consumer consumption. Buy a costume that would be cast off and never used again! Gather more candy than anyone should be allowed to eat in a year! For a kid, this was heaven.

But as I grew older and became a parent, I found myself drawn to a festival on the same date that seemed to be more grounded in connection, history, beauty and respect. This festival is Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

The Day of the Dead is actually three days: October 31, November 1 and 2nd. It is celebrated widely in Mexico as well as in other countries where there is a high Mexican population. The colorful costumes and painted faces that are inspired by Day of the Dead have become iconic worldwide. We know immediately when we are looking at a scene from Day of the Dead.

Day of Dead 2 good 2

While the American way of celebrating Halloween stems from a history of connection to the Celtic Harvests, the Day of the Dead has it’s history in the ancient belief of celebrating the afterlife. Nowadays, the Day of the Dead reflects the original beliefs shaped by the pre-Hispanic indigenous population as well as Spanish Catholic ideas.

 

The Day of the Dead is Mexico’s most important holiday and is a time of joy and celebration. It is literally a time when people stop to remember, talk about and cherish those they love who have died. Mexican people spend a lot of time in graveyards, cleaning gravestones of family members and leaving gifts. Also, people create ornate and colorful altars in their homes; they make and eat Pane del Muerta, a sweet bread, and create and decorate sugar skulls. It is all a wonderful and expansive celebration of taste, color and love.

day of daed altar 2

 

This year, consider grounding your family’s Halloween celebration is an activity inspired by the Day of the Dead. Creating an altar in the home or taking time to simply remember a beloved, departed family member can offer up a sense of family history and continuity. Taking time to make bread, or create ornate costumes based on Day of the Dead images can remind kids that they have what it takes within them to make this Halloween special and their own. Start a discussion about the difference between creating and consuming. Talk about what it means to remember and respect those who have come before them. Let this years celebration be more than just sweet things to eat.

Skull 2

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Lorne Holden is an artist and the author of  the bestsller “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” Learn more about her here: makeithappenintenminutesaday.com.

 

Weekly Treasury – Spooky


Spooky‘ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

It’s that time of the year when you get to decorate with fake blood and nobody will judge you. Scaring the neighborhood kids is acceptable pastime. And buying 20 pounds of candy is encouraged. Halloween allows adults to be kids again.

Moon - smoke fired wheelthrown decorative bowl

$45.00
Witch Spell Bottle Ornies Halloween Primitive Decor

$25.00
HALLOWEEN - My DOE Mummy MASK - My Deer Family

€20.00
Vintage Cauldron Cast Iron Smudge Pot Fireplace Bean Pot Brass Lid Halloween Prop

$52.00
Mini Raven Skull Necklace Halloween (2.75" Small) Resin Cast Skull (Aged Finish Painted Beak) Crow Poe Goth Bird Skull Gothic

$26.00
Haunted - 11x14 Mixed Media Original Print - Black Gray White Tree Branches Dark Night Nighttime Scary Spooky Creepy Haunting Dream Surreal

$35.00
Dark and Creepy Halloween Decor, Doll Like Twin Girls, Zombies, Macabre, Halloween Wall Art

$25.00
Tangled Web Sterling Silver Circle Necklace, One of a Kind Artisan Wearable Art Handmade Abstract Unique Statement Jewelry, Metal Sculpture

$225.00
Black cat photograph, gold & black, Halloween Home Decor, dark, wall decor

$30.00
Roots ,Handmade ceiling light made of pewter wires On Sales! Original price 1,600.00 Euros. Now price at Etsy 930.00.

€930.00
Hat, Garden Party, Kentucky Derby, Evening Hat, Tea Party Hat

$99.00
three black princesses (print)

$25.00
Fallen Angel, Winged, Skeleton Art

$11.50
Dark spooky farmhouse, landscape photograph, browns, scary abandoned Appalachian homestead, unique gift, Halloween wall decor

$15.00
Surreal Gothic Photography, Ravens Crows Sepia Art, Eerie Gate Ravens,Haunting Spooky Halloween Photography, Dark Surreal Spooky Photography

$30.00
Altered Book, Found Poetry, Africa

$588.00

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

Blog Theme – Halloween/Day of the Dead


Bat spider

Sifting seems to be a lot of how I spend my parenting time. Trying my best to filter out exposure to the world’s atrocities while maintaining a gentle touch with current events and youth culture. When we stop and assess there are a lot of really great things happening in the world. This week we are featuring a ceremonial perspective of Halloween and The Day of the Dead. It is especially pertinent for my family this year, as it seems that FINALLY after nearly FIVE years, the artist creating my parents’ headstone will have the work complete. We will certainly participate in the obligatory mischief and candy hording of trick or treating. We will also spend an evening lauding Primm and John who we all miss.

I took my 7 and 8 year old daughters to the fabric store the other day to get fabric for making Halloween costumes. Violet, 7 wants to be Spider Girl and Lucy, 8, chose Bat Girl. I am pretty out of the super-hero-loop so went to Google to get some images. Holy CRAP! Female super heros are just so slutty! Seriously today’s cartoon world’s depiction of women is abysmal. After sifting through literally hundreds of images I was able to find one for each of my sweet littles that seemed safe to me.

If everything goes as planned, Spider Girl, Bat Girl, a Sugar Skullled Momma and various other ghouls will have high-jinx in the cemetery as October passes into November for mischief, candy, and oh so much more~

 

Are you interested in playing along?  Leave a comment below about how how you plan to celebrate Halloween or The Day of the Dead.  We welcome your participation in this blog by sending in an image that speaks to the theme of the week.  Just email it to Crispinaffrench@gmail.com by Wednesday evening for inclusion in One Thousand Words, our Friday column – a gallery of pictures submitted by our readership.  Captions include the photographers name and business name (if applicable).

 

Life Insurance – Spring Bulbs


Spring BulbsWe are having an unusually beautiful fall in New England this year. Day after day of cloudless skies, perfect temperatures and lush, fresh breezes. It’s hard to want to do anything but be outdoors every minute.

In times of this much beautiful weather, I think about ways I can prolong this sense of nature at it’s best. One of my favorite ways it to make an investment in a future of natural beauty by planting Spring Bulbs. I think of it as stashing away funds in the “Bank of Next Year’s Gloriousness.” There’s always a spectacular return on my investment!
Planting spring bulbs now not only keeps you outdoors during this fine time, but guarantees you a pop of color and inspiration at that time of year when you may still be trying to shake the winter chill off your heart. Also, it’s a great way to spend time with your kids. Let them join you in choosing the variety of bulbs to plant, so that your spring garden is a celebration of everyone’s tastes.Untitled 4

There’s an amazing array of choices in bulbs these days. A visit to a local garden center will dazzle you. Daffodils and tulips offer up cheerful, reliable charm but don’t hesitate to branch out and try something new.

Spring Bulb choices

Here are some tips for making your bulb planting adventure a success:

Buy bulbs that are firm to the touch, with a light paper skin. If there is any softness when you hold the bulb, it might be rotten. After you buy your bulbs, try not to wait too long before you plant them. Get those beauties in the ground!

Dig your holes about 8 inches from the base of the bulb. That means, for example, if you have a one inch bulb, dig a nine inch hole. An interesting trick is to sprinkle a little kitty litter in the hole, which will deter rodents from eating your bulb.

Bulbs are perennials which means that theoretically they will return year after year. However, if you want to assure this, it’s a good idea to use a little plant food around the bulb as you plant it. There are simple, affordable varieties of bulb food available are garden centers.

Untitled 3There are many ideas about how many inches to leave between your bulbs, but I think it’s best to simply decide how you’d like the flowers to look when they bloom. Do you want a concentrated spray of color? Then plant a handful of them close together in a circle. Want them in a line? Then plant them about 6 inches apart. Want them to have a natural look to where they sprout? Hold a handful of bulbs and simply toss them onto the dirt. Wherever they land is where they get planted!

Water the bulbs only lightly after planting. Afterwards, it will probably not be necessary to ever water your bulbs unless there is an extensive period of dry weather.

Let the thought of these bulbs hum within you during the long months of winter. Sit back and know that you’re guaranteed to have a vibrant spring, full of colors that you yourself made happen.

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Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the Amazon Bestseller “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/ The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done” and creator of LifeBloom Online Coaching

Weekly Treasury – Life Insurance


Life Insurance

As the chill of fall sets in we are loading our lawn with all sorts of Spring bulbs to bring early cheer at the end of our long cold season. Get inspired here to brighten your end of winter. Insurance for early signs of life in Spring.

Antique Tulip Print, Spring Bulbs, Vintage Flower Print, Large Botanical Print, Oversized Botanical Wall Art, Wall Hanging

$39.00
Spring Floral Plate Kaiser of Germany Wall Decoration

$10.00
5 SNOWDROPS early spring flowers bulbs Naturalize Snow Drops Earliest Blooms

$6.99
10 Mini Paper Daffodils - Pale Yellow -  Made of mulberry paper with wire stems - Great for card making, wedding favour & boutonnieres

$6.50
crochet scarf  crochet  lariat ,flower  crochet scarf

$49.00
Antique Tulip Spring Bulbs Natural Scientific Plate Illustration Digital Download for Papercrafts, Transfer, Pillows, etc Burlap No 6147

$1.00
Hyacinth Bulbs-Muscari armeniacum, called grape hyacinth, spring-blooming-25 Bulbs~NOW SHIPPING, Pepennial

$8.95
Batik Cotton Tulips - Three Flowers

$14.00
Beautiful Primrose Original Vintage Botanical Print / Spring Flowers / Summer / Floral / Illustration / Art

£3.49
Fresh Spring sale, Happy bulb and Lilly, Silver stackingrings set, stack rings, Romantic ring, Gift for her

$108.00
Single Hyacinth Flower Bulb in Forcing Vase

$25.00
Vintage Lace & Crochet Kilt Pin - Spring Bulbs

£15.00
Spring Bulbs Terrarium Ring

$25.00
Spring Bulbs with Leaves Photograph 8 x 10 inch by J. L. Fleckenstein

$20.00
promise

$16.00
Striped Tulips Handmade Block Print Note Card

$4.75

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

Blog Theme – Spring Bulbs


field-of-daffodils-david-freuthalThis week I am planting spring bulbs in my yard. We have lived in my husband’s family’s home for two years now and have been putting it off as my hubby threatens to dig a new foundation here and grade out a slope there.

My father was house proud. He was an avid gardener with lovely blooming plantings from one corner of his small lot to the other. He indulged in perennials of all forms from trees to the sweetest early snowdrops. I share his affinity for nature and gardening. I am married to an earth mover. My husband loves trucks and large equipment. He drags whole trees from the woods with his giant tractor.

We have agreed to keep part of our large swath of Berkshire forest free from heavy tires. This is where my bulbs will be planted. Snowdrops – for my dad, lots of Daffodils to welcome the new life of Spring after our long Massachusetts winter, and checkerboard lilies because I just love them. It feels like home when there is a garden. This is my start, the vegetable garden fence will be installed this fall too so planting can begin in early spring. The thought of this brings calm and wholeness to mind.120069189_snowdrop_375279c