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Butterfly pants purse,itemname,74777,id,itemdetails

In an effort to motivate myself to create some new bags/totes/purses I am going to talk to you today about how I find my fabric to make my purses. Many of my purses are upcycled, this means they started life as clothing or linens.  Well frankly, I go on the hunt and actively look for it. I have a favorite resale shop  close to home. They have upscale clothing that has been barely worn and may still have the tags on it. I often find things in either the smaller or larger sizes as people gain or loose weight.  I look for interesting patterns, embroidery, and trims. I prefer clothing from Talbots,  Coldwater Creek and other stores like that. The fabric is usually a good quality and the people that shop there update their wardrobe more frequently. Therefore, the clothes have less wear and the colors are more current. I love the feel of the handmade purses and totes. The fabric speaks to me on many different levels. 

     Being a fabricaholic, I look for something that strikes a chord within me. Either the colors or the  pattern will speak to me. When I buy it I might already have an idea of what it will look like. I might just like the fabric and know that it will make a cool bag, or that I can use it with something that I already have.

Upcycling is a fun exercise for the imagination. There is upcycling, repurposing, reusing, whatever you call it that screams upcycling. Then there is the upcycling that allows you peace of mind but isn’t noticeable to everyone else. Pants purses, scream upcycling to me. I mean, can you be anymore obvious that these items once had another life?

 Stripey pants purse

These tote bags and purses allow you to upcycle without looking like you are upcycling. So upcycling will fit all life styles. Once the clothing item is chosen then begins the transformation. I start by washing the clothing item and deconstructing the clothing to get large flat pieces of fabric. I usually let it sit in my craft room while I ponder the end use and fabrics to match. I will talk to you more about this later this week.,itemname,77112,id,itemdetails,itemname,77112,id,itemdetails


Do you have any green hobbies, or recycling things that you do to conserve resourses? Let me know, I am interested.

 Talk to you  all later!


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Artisan Interview: Wrightmade by Boyd

Artisan Interview: Wrightmade Boyd


I am a full-time, small-scale woodturner, specializing in kaleidoscopes, cutlery handles, desk accessories, bar accessories and a variety of handcrafted objects. I have been in business for some 26 years now and on etsy for not quite 2 years. In the early years, I focused on handcrafted wooden board games , and did mostly wholesale and retail mail sales. As the internet became more available, I have moved into that venue and have tried amazon, e-Bay, etsy, and many more. Most of my work now is retail on the web — primarily etsy, although I have four other e-shops.

Kaleidoscope, Mini, Handcrafted, Brazillian Tulipwood
My major fascination these days is kaleidoscopes — primarily mini scopes, but also full-sized oil cell, image wheel, oil wand, etc. Turning the body of a ‘scope on the lathe is an opportunity to let my “creative” juices to flow. The mirror design in the ‘scope is largely set by the overall design, but the choice of “view” objects is another chance to experiment with color and mix. All in all, a lot of fun.

Kaleidoscope, Handcrafted, Wood, Mini Oil Wand, Bocote

This is my third career (have trouble holding a job) — I have taught political science at the University level and served as a University General Counsel. Being in business for myself is the most fun “job” I have had.

Kaleidoscope, Handcrafted, Image Wheel, Australian Lacewood

I was recently named the state (North Dakota), the Region VIII, and the National Home-Based Business Champion for 2010 by the Small Business Administration. (I do some work with the local SBA office on counseling prospective home-based business people as well as teaching seminars.)

Pizza Cutter, Stainless Steel, Handcrafted Dymondwood Handle

You can find Wrightmade items here!

shop –

artfire —

zibbet —

craftisart —

dawanda —

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Here are my favorite items!

Party Cutlery, Stainless Steel, Handcrafted Dymondwood Handles
Bread/Cake Knife, Stainless Steel, Handcrafted Dymondwood Handle
I love the grains of the woods in the handles of these kitchen tools! Simply lovely and useful!
Thanks for reading, Karen


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Black bean salsa

Here is my personal recipe for Black bean salsa


  • 1 can rotelle tomatoes or equivalent (adjusted to your spice level)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper , de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, de-seeded and  chopped
  • 1 2lb package of dried black beans, boiled until done about 1 hour (follow package directions)
  • 1 med. onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, minced
  • 1 large fresh tomato, chopped

Cook black beans according to directions, without any seasonings. After beans are cooked, strain and add to  mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients and stir. Add salt to taste.

We eat this warm with chips, followed by fruit. You can eat it any way you want!