Category Archives: Events

The Lorax as Mascot and Muse

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“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

The Lorax has always been a story that has held a special place in my heart.  So here today I present my second attempt at bringing this scrappy character who is “shortish and oldish and brownish and mossy” to life in plarn (plastic yarn made from recycled grocery bags).

And since my first Lorax was sold at last years Last Minute Market, of course I needed a new mascot to accompany me this year as well!  Both versions are original designs, as I used no pattern for either.  The first one (below) was much larger than the second and based completely off the original illustrations by Dr Seuss.  The second one (top) was based more off of the movie version, hence the more pronounced eye brows.

The other differences between the two is that the current version is completely free-standing with its attached Truffula stump, and is also made of 100% recycled plastic bags (in the original design I used a foam material for the eyes).

the Lorax in plarn

I like how the new version shows the Lorax with his hands planted firmly on this hips, so that you can imagine him appearing before the Once-ler out of that first Truffula stump and saying “with a sawdusty sneeze, ‘I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees[!]’ ”

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Come out and see me and the Lorax at this years Last Minute Market on December 21st and I will be happy to share with you my passion for recycling single-use plastic grocery bags into high-end handbags, change purses, drinking vessel carriers, and medicine bags.  You really have to see my work to believe it.  What could have been trash or downcycled material is turned into items of beauty and functionality.

And don’t forget to like the zween Facebook Page, where I post all the latest news about what I’m up to!

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Luau Party with DIY style

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Happy 1st birthday to my baby girl Virginia!  I can’t believe she is one year old today!

To celebrate Virginia’s first year of life we decided to throw her a Luau.  Why a luau you ask?  Well, it is July, so it seemed appropriate enough, but actually there is a funny story as to how we came up with the idea in the first place.  Back in February, when Virginia was just 7 months old, Jon bought a pineapple that sat ripening on our kitchen counter for several days.  We decided that it would be a good idea to put the whole pineapple on Virginia’s high chair tray so that she could touch it and explore the interesting texture of the pineapple.  Well, let’s just say she was a little apprehensive of this strange and poky fruit.  She didn’t cry or anything, just pulled her hands in toward her chest whenever the fruit got too near.  We have it on video and it’s one of my all time favorites.  Afterwords I joked to Jon that we should throw Virginia a Luau for her 1sth birthday.  After the seed was planted I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head, it just seemed like she was meant to have a Luau birthday, and here we are!

Of course we couldn’t just buy a few tiki torches, plastic leis, grass skirts, have a pig roast, and call it a day!  Read on to see how we transformed ordinary cardboard boxes, t-shirts, and produce into some pretty neat Luau decor.  I credit many of my ideas to Pinterest, where I got so much of my inspiration (see my luau pinterest board here), my husband for his amazing aptitude for drawing tiki masks and hibiscus flowers (he’s spent many hours painting signs for Trader Joe’s), and my mom awesome cake decorating abilities!

I first want to mention that this was a lot of work.  A LOT.  But it was worth it.  Just keep that mind that if you want to recreate some of the decorations that we have made, you will need a lot of time, or a lot of hands, to get it done.  So although this is a great recourse for people who want to throw their own DIY luau, it is not for the procrastinations out there.  Sorry.

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First thing’s first, when going to a party, any party, you have to know where it is. We threw the luau in my parent’s back yard (actually, on their newly finished patio!) and while many guests had been there before, some had not and I wanted to not only set a festive mood, but make it obvious as to where the party was happening. Balloons on the mailbox are an obvious choice, but in this situation I thought tissue paper flowers (made out of recycled tissue paper from Virginia’s baby shower and originally used as decor in her first nursery) and hand-painted aloha signs on either side of the driveway were more appropriate.

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The above photo is by Mary Norgard, Virginia’s lovely Great Aunt!

Once guests make their way to the back of the house they are greeted by four tiki masks flanking the begining and end of my parent’s lovely stone path, and two giant hanging painted cardboard signs.  The first sign reads “Hau’ oli la hanau Virginia” which means happy birthday Virginia in Hawaiian, and the other reads “Aloha.”

Jon gets full credit for making and hanging the signs.  Each letter was hand-drawn on cardboard, cut out, painted with acrylic paint, and then strung together with twine.   I’d also like to mention that all of our cardboard decorations were made using recycled cardboard from Trader Joe’s (actually they are twice recycled, because before we used them for decorations we made a box maze for Virginia with them a few weeks ago!).

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Hand-painted tiki masks were tied to tiki torches and trees, while hibiscus flowers were placed in potted flowers, hung from umbrellas, and tied to the legs of Virginia’s high chair.

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In accordance with Hawaiian tradition, each guest received a lei upon arrival to the luau.  Each lei was lovingly hand-made from recycled t-shirts using this tutorial that I found on Pinterest.  From experience, the softer high quality shirts yielded nicer “flowers.” To keep the leis from getting tangled, I hung them from a hand-carved wooden sculpture of a family that I bought from my mom during my trip to Ghana ten years ago. They sat next to the entrance of the luau on the table with the stereo (stocked with Hawaiian music CDs from the library) and a sign that reads “Mahalo” or “thank you.”

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I used two green recycled t-shirts and some elastic to create Virginia’s grass skirt. It was VERY easy to make. To make one yourself cut a shirt horizontally underneath the arms. Using the bottom tube that remains, cut the shirt in 1.5 inch strips from top to bottom, stopping each cut about 2 inches from the bottom hem. That will become the top of your skirt. Repeat this process with a second shirt. Put shirt inside of the other and cut slits into both every 4 inches or so. Weave your elastic through the holes and sew the elastic to itself, creating the waist band. Trim the skirt to desired length. I showed my mom Virginia’s skirt earlier in the week and she decided to make one for Virginia’s older cousin. I really liked how they both turned out!

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A wreath made from several paper drink umbrellas stuck into one of those packed-straw wreath forms from the craft store was a fun little project and another one that was Pinterest-inspired.  I thought it was a cute idea, but when I saw a box of over 100 of those tiny umbrellas for only $1 at a church rummage sale last weekend, I had to make one myself.  I wasn’t really sure where I’d end up putting it, but the gazebos door seemed to be as good a place as any.

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And what would a party be without food?  We were a little ambitious with some of our food choices, as a lot of the things were a bit labor intensive but had to be done kind of at the last-minute.  We had a veggie tray, complete with palm tree made from a carrot and bell pepper sitting on an island of humus.  A pineapple cream cheese spread that looked like a pineapple.  A fruit salad in a watermelon bowl cut like a tiki mask.  To drink we had a pineapple, lemonade punch and the main course was Hawaiian ham and veggie kababs.  Finally, the cake, made by my mother, was in the shape of a roasted pig and came out fabulous (both in looks and in taste)!

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My Mom also made a “smash cake,” which Virginia throughly enjoyed of course.

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I can’t wait to have more luaus in the future!

**This post has just been added to the Make it Pretty Monday link party over on the Dedicated house, MWC Mondays on Making the World Cuer, and Motivate Me Monday on Keeping it Simple!

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Sneak Peek for Crafty Mart Show Tomorrow!

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So if you are reading this post and are in the Cleveland/ Akron area, I’m just going to assume that I’ll be seeing you tomorrow at the Crafty Mart; School’s Out Show right?

If you do make it to the show, here’s what you can expect to see from zween…

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Some very lovely Plarn handbags and messenger bags with recycled handles.

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Some Plarn Owl Wristlets.

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And there will even be a few Owl Weeble Wobbles as well.

When you come to the show, make sure to participate in the charity raffle, that will benefit the Heaven Can Wait, volunteer-run animal rescue center. Below is the Owl Shoulder Bag that I’ll be donating for this charity raffle. It’s a good cause, so buy some tickets! See you at Crafty Mart!

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PS- If you’re NOT in the Cleveland/ Akron area this weekend, or are reading this post after June 1st, 2013, you can still shop for zween products at my new Etsy shop!  That’s right everyone, I FINALLY opened my Etsy shop!!!  So please go here to check it out 🙂

This post was linked to the Dedicated House’s Party “Anything Blue Friday” for the picture featuring my Sarah Grace handbag with the blue handles and medallion decoration.

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Getting Ready for Market

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The Last Minute Market is right around the corner!  It’s hasn’t been easy with a little one underfoot (well, attached directly to me actually), but somehow I managed to take a ridiculous amount of plastic grocery bags (saved from the landfill!) and turn them into plarn in a rainbow of colors…  (a big thank you to everyone who collected and delivered bags to me!  This wouldn’t have been possible without you!)

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…It hasn’t always been pretty and my dining room table is still buried as I write this but…

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Looking over my small army of owl wristlets, which is currently at 11, I have to say I feel a curtain amount of satisfaction.

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Although the majority of my inventory consists of purses (owl and otherwise), I will be selling one lone Lorax made of plarn, which is my environmental mascot really.

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Below is what my table will look like when you come to see me on Saturday!  Make sure to check out The Last Minute Market’s website for all the details but in the mean time here is what you really need to know;

When: Saturday December 15, 2012 10am-6pm
Where: The Screw Factory
13000 Athens Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio (My table will be on the 3rd floor)

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To keep up with all things zween, including special offers, make sure to like my facebook page.

This post has been added to the link party Make it Pretty Monday on the Dedicated House.  Make sure to go check it out and see what other crafty people are up to!

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Coffee + Crafts Kicks Off Today!

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That’s right, the wait is finally over!  Today is the first day of the Coffee + Crafts Trunk Show at the Root Cafe here in Lakewood, Ohio!  Today we will get to enjoy the loveliness that Chris Sorensen of Crafty Goodness, Amy Annico of The Cleaner Wiener Dog Soap Company, and Kat Remnick of Haus of Kaboom have to offer!!!

As the organizer of this first time event, I am super excited!!!  Please come out and support these lovely, creative ladies today and while you’re there stay for a raw food dinner.  The Root is renowned for their newish Raw Food Thursdays but even if raw is not your thing they have lots of other deliciousness which includes but is not limited to espresso drinks, hot cocoa, vegan and vegetarian fair!

This is just the begging folks.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the Trunk Show will continue with three different artists each day.  Check out this post for more details and pictures of items to expect.

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Meet the artists of Coffee + Crafts

The first ever Coffee + Crafts trunk show at the Root Cafe is only about a month away, so I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you who will be there and the sorts of crafty awesomeness that they will be bringing!  For more information about the show, check out the event page on Facebook and while you are there go ahead and RSVP!

Thursday December 15

Chris Sorensen

Crafty and creative in her own right, Chris is also the owner of the awesome Lakewood brick-and-mortar shop called Crafty Goodness.  Chris works in a variety of media and will be showcasing both her own work as well as work from her shop.  You can check out her website, craftygoodnesscle.com to see more!

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Photo curtsy of Chris Sorensen

Kat Remick
Kat makes fun and festive headbands, hair clips, fascinators, ornaments and more!  Learn more about Kat on her website; kittenkaboom.wordpress.com

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Photo via HausOfKaboom on Etsy

Amy Annico

The Cleaner Wiener Dog Soap Company specializes in sulfate-free dog soaps derived from organic ingredients which are simple and clean. Liquid and bar soaps are available for your dog’s bathing enjoyment. Amy will also be selling glass-block and upcycled bottlecap jewelry in dog and holiday prints.  To see more of Amy’s products, check out her website or Etsy shop.

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Photo curtsy of Amy Annico

Friday December 16

Arooj Ashraf
Handwoven scarves, hand-stitched purses, pressed flower greeting cards and hair accessories.  Learn more about Arooj on her website; arooja.com
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Photo curtsy of Arooj Ashraf

Katherine Johnson
Quilted mug rugs and coasters using some repurposed fabrics or embellishments, and greeting cards using some recycled papers/cards/embellishments.  Find out more about Katherine on her website; theartfulhausfrau.blogspot.com

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photo curtsy of Katherine Johnson

Saturday, December 17

Meagan Shuttleworth
Lovely trendy, retro aprons for those who want to add a little style to their everyday chores in the kitchen or entertaining guests! Handmade flowers are added to each apron as a reminder to stop and smell the roses!  See more from Meagan on her website; The Witty Tales of Trendy Meg and see more aprons in her Etsy shop

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Photo via Trendy Meg on Etsy

Ingrid Nolan
Fused plastic bags/accessories, coffee take-out cozies, crochet/knit hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves.
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Photo curtsy of Ingrid Nolan

Emily Lindberg
Upcycled items such as crocheted owls made from plastic grocery bags and recycled fabric collages, as well as some coffee related stuff and maybe a few things to keep you warm as well!

Sunday, December 18

Brittany Charek

Fun, funky and useful novelty guitar picks made from recycled scrap plastic (recycled gift cards, ID cards, advertising, etc).  Grab a pack of assorted picks or just “pick” out your own.  Check out all of Brittany’s great stuff over on her Etsy shop.

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Photo via holdenallen on Etsy

Joanna Wilson

Beautiful hand-embroidered greeting cards.  See more in Joanna’s Etsy shop.

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photo curtsey of Joanna Wilson

Denise Kareliski
Fleece scarves, headbands and matching purses.

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photo curtsey of Denise Kareliski

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Cleveland Craft Coalition November Art and Craft Bazaar

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As you likely know, November marks the beginning of the holiday season! (Already?! Ah!!) If you really want to occupy Wall Street, stay out of the big box stores and do your part to support local, handmade art this holiday season.

Join the Cleveland Craft Coalition for our November 12th Art and Craft Bazaar from 1p.m.-5p.m. at bela dubby!! We will have 17 artists with all sorts of great, handmade things that would make great gifts- for someone else, or for yourself!

If you haven’t already, check out the event page for this bazaar so you can RSVP and invite your friends!

Check out the artists that will be featured:

Arooj- henna tattoos, pressed flower greeting cards
Bethany- (http://www.etsy.com/shop/beethingsstudio)- jewelry
Bridgette- beaded, hemp and wire jewelry
Catherine- (http://www.kittenkaboom.wordpress.com/)- headbands, fascinators, hair accessories
Chris- (http://www.etsy.com/shop/craftygurll)- pottery, ornaments, sushi sets
Colleen & Liz- knitware, wallets, feathered accessories and whatnot
Emily- (http://www.zween.wordpress.com/)- a wide variety of upcycled items; from plarn handbags to funny greeting cards, to magnets and jewelry.
Ingrid- snarky cross stitch, amigurumi
Kristen- totes, record bowls
Margaret- (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MagsImagination)- polymer clay decorative items
Nicki- (http://www.etsy.com/shop/ZombieSocks)- zombie sock monkeys
Rachael- (http://www.crankypants.etsy.com/)- handcrafted hair accessories
Rhiannon- (http://www.etsy.com/shop/Snikitty)- voodoo dolls, hair accessories, cat toys, ornaments
Samantha- (http://thesnowstore.net/)- crocheted amigurumi
Sarah- (http://www.tbysarah.com/)- herbal teas, herbal products, tea accessories, aromatherapy products
Tina- quirky housewares, kitschy prints

But wait, there’s more!

Check out the Events page at the top of my site for all the other great events coming up between now and Christmas!

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