Archive | October, 2010

o.p.p. – homemade tea

are you a coffee or tea person?  i’ve always favored the latter – black, green, chai… you name it, i love it.  and now living in the commonwealth where british traditions still ring true, tea is of plenty and not just with sugar or lemon (like us americans do it), but served up with a bit of milk for a rich creaminess.

well, this project allows you to combine your handmade skills with those in the kitchen. not only would these be cute on display, tasty served hot, refreshing served cold (check out the bodum iced tea filter pitcher, amazing – i love mine.), but also as a great personalized gift for any occasion.

found @ homelife
what: homemade tea

artist spotlight, plus handmade giveaway: crowbiz

to kick off Howd.i.y.’s new home… we are also introducing a new addition to the blog where we will feature unique and extraordinary handmade artists, the ARTIST SPOTLIGHT!

our first artist came to me as a stumble upon. i was browsing etsy one night looking for eclectic pieces that would make for a nice focal point on the walls in our new home. well, i found it. so, enter into the picture, CROWBIZ fuses nature & everyday prints w/ vintage materials such as old books & maps – making for art on art (even better, it’s ‘affordable art’. the majority of prints run $10 – 13).

*fox on a vintage piece of map from Quebec, Canada*
you could win this print! read on for more info….

i recently caught up with carol wannemacher the genius behind this ‘etsy shop that could’ (she’s had nearly 3000 orders!) and here is what she had to say. (ps – make sure you read to the end… as we have an exciting bit of info to come)

Tell me about yourself…
I currently reside in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Western New York. Fortunately, my craft has turned into full-time work for me and provides most of my income. However, my background is probably an atypical one for a crafter or artisan; I have a doctorate in cognitive psychology and have taught at local colleges for many years. Giving in to creative impulses a few years ago sort of took over, and fortunately, I was able to parlay my art into income. I do still teach a couple courses per year, which gets me out of the attic and in contact with real humans where I can use big words. Sometimes it feels like a weirdly double life.

What is the background of Crowbiz?
Using recycled, repurposed and found materials has always been an interest. My husband and I collect of lot of humble, vintage items and appreciate beauty in the simple and the real. Part of it also stems from my frugal German background which dictates “waste not, want not.” The idea of having to invest in lots of new material to create something different doesn’t appeal to me, and it’s a creative challenge when you try to employ what’s already available. There is such an wealth of useable materials out there that people overlook. I can never believe how many books end up on the curb.

CrowBiz developed around 10 years ago (I was doing ornaments and work with clay), but took a back seat as my two boys came along. Officially, I launched CrowBiz three years ago when I started to sell items locally and when I opened my Etsy shop. My debut sale was a set of pig magnets which I still sell today. I participate in a few shows and markets around the Western New York area, but only a select few “fun” ones. I hope to ease into larger venues and maybe do one or two local large festivals in 2011. Wholesale orders, which I’d like to increase, are another smaller segment of my business and I have items in shops around the U.S., and a few in Canada and Australia.

What is your “process”?
Well, I don’t really have what you’d call a process. I make what appeals to me. When I was more heavily into making magnets and 3D pieces, my motto was “I glue stuff to other stuff.” Sometimes I sit on the floor, look at the materials around me – books, maps, blocks, found objects, jewelry supplies, etc – and a thought pops up about what might go together. Clearly, I like a vintage vibe, text, and themes of nature, biology, anatomy. Because day-to-day life and business tend to be so busy, I don’t have as much creative, experimental time as I’d like, but the ideas are always on the back burner.

What is your favorite material to print on?
My favorite material for prints is probably maps. Every print comes out so different. I have a cache of topographical maps which I love, which have a nature feel, and plenty of vintage atlases for the “world” feel. Like a lot of crafters, I go through phases where I get into making one kind of thing, then switch gears and get on a jag with another. Prints, block, pendants, back to prints, and so on….

What can we expect to come from Carol & Crowbiz?
Time is always a factor, but I hope to roll out some new lines in coming months. I’m starting to learn letterpress techniques at the Western New York Book Arts Center ( , a wonderful resource for this re-emerging art. And my other new fascination is cyanotypes. I’m all set up and ready to experiment with images, but I want to make them outside, and Buffalo in the fall/winter can be a little iffy with UV light (sigh…). Timing is everything.

GIVEAWAY: if you’d like a special giveaway print from crowbiz – well you may be in luck! we are giving away the lovely *fox on a vintage piece of map from Quebec, Canada* as seen above. entering is easy, simply add your info HERE. entries close october 26.

welcome to our new home!

same blog. new url.

we’ve ditched the little kid in us (howdiy.wordpress) for a more grown-up

the blog is now nearly 2 months old and i couldn’t be happier with the response.  a big thanks to all our readers to your comments, feedback and most of all your readership!

with the new home, we are also spicing things up a bit by adding some new regulars to the site…. i.e. – the artist spotlight.

while I know many of you were email subscribed on our wordpress hosted blog, I am still looking at the best options for email subscriptions now that i’m managing this all on my own.  give me a few days and i should have a good solution (have any blog subscription recommendations?!  if yes, email me!).

be prepared to see a couple tweaks here and there over the next week… i’m just trying to get the blog to it’s best.

and i’ll keep the old site live for a while, but i’m giving it my all to get people over here where it’s all happening!

thank you – thank you – thank you my dear readers.


project – wool bangle bracelets

for most of the world, autumn is here and the winter snow is just around the corner… for the rest of the world (australia in particular), bikini season should be here – but instead we’ve got climate change to thank for the weather’s current state of confusion bringing temps 20 degrees F lower than normal this week.

today (with a jacket in tow) i ran errands around town.  per the usual sunday, i stopped at a street market and browsed the new and mostly vintage items.  i spotted a booth that had a basket full of brand new bangles for only $1 each.  i picked up 5 of them knowing that i could create some fun project… i left with a couple in particular in mind.

tonight i tackled project thought #1 of 2…. and turned the white plastic into a wooly bangle perfect for warming up your wrist while adding a bit of fashion.

cost: no more than $5 a bracelet (check etsy or artfire for cheap supplies)
creation time: 30 mins
supplies: ball of yarn & plastic bangle bracelet

the how-to is easy… and doesn’t really need a 1,2,3 step by step. simply tape one end of the yarn to the bracelet and start wrapping around and pulling it extremely tight. you want to make sure that you pull the yarn as close as possible to the wrap prior to it. once finished, this will allow the bracelet to look like one cohesive piece of wool rather than a yarn wrapped bracelet. to secure the yarn at finish, simply make a small knot tying the end to another already wrapped piece.

o.p.p. – tea light holders

let’s face it, people love candles.

candles or candle holders are undoubtedly ‘a’ or even ‘the’ go-to gift when you have no idea what to get someone.

on that note, a few years back i received a gift that was the most memorable i’ve ever gotten, but for all the wrong reasons. the gift was a birthday present from my boyfriend at the time… a candle. however, it was from an astrological candle line and the jar was decorated in a zodiac sign that was not mine. take note: that was a candle fail, but these illuminated projects are candle wins worthy of gifting to the loves in your life.

hanging tea light holders

found @

found @



decorated tea light holders

make colorful candle holders from jars, glue, tissue paper and more glue
found @

bring a bit of nature indoors with a candle holder covered in glue, fallen leaves or pressed flowers, glue, tissue paper and more glue
found @


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