Organized Living


After a chaotic (but super-fun!) Christmas season, we’re ready to get back to a simpler, more orderly way of life here at Renegade HQ. So Things Organized Neatly is providing lots of much-needed inspiration. Ahhhh. (Found via Black Eiffel.)

California Holiday RCF Round-Up!

Many Merry Thanks to everyone who helped make our trip to California such a GREAT success!! We are so ecstatic to know that thousands upon thousands of folks will be giving a handmade gift this holiday season – how terrific is that?!

Here’s a quick little re-cap of our two weekends out West!

We’d like to personally thank whoever performed the perfect-weather dance in LA just in time for our arrival! Was it you?!

The weekend and the park couldn’t have been more lovely for our 1st ever Holiday Sale in Los Angeles!! In addition to the over 150 indie-craft talents on site that weekend, attendees could participate in hands-on workshops hosted by ReForm School, Urban Craft Center and Hands-On 3rd, listen to indie-jams from KXLU, pop in the Magnolia Photobooth Co. and grab a bite to eat from some of LA’s best independent food trucks!

Highlights included (clockwise from top-left) the always magnificent rope jewelry and textile creations of Tanya Aguiñiga, tiny topiary and terrariums – both faux and real – from Little Bit and TerriPlanty (center), the bicycle-powered sewing machine created by Frau Fiber, gorgeous ceramic jars and dishes from Eri Sugimoto and the clever and colorful papergoods of ever-delightful Krank Press!

Browse work by all of our RCF Holiday LA artists HERE!! And check out our complete FLICKR Photo Set!

We just love our new San Fran Holiday Sale venue – the cozy and colorful Concourse Exhibition Center! Over ten thousand holiday shoppers came through, going gaga over handmade gifts and spreading the indie-craft cheer!

With over 250 artists to fawn over, shoppers also took the opportunity to get involved with free workshops organized by ScrapSF and The Museum of Craft+Design (in collaboration with FLAX Art & Design), pop in the the free-to-use photobooth provided by Magnolia Photobooth Co., and flip through a free issue of 7×7 Magazine!!

Just a handful of highlights include (clockwise from top-left) the foodie inspired illustrations of Drywell Art, the leather ornaments hand tooled on site by Miss Natalie, the plethora of custom jewelry creations from Amy Olson, the 3-D psychedelic screenprints from John Howard (one of the nicest guys around!), charming one-of-a-kind block paintings from RPotter Studio, light-sensitive synthesizers from tech-gurus Magic Echo Music, and splendid illustrations by Caitlin Kuhwald!

Have your own little virtual San Fran Holiday RCF by browsing the artist line-up! Check out PHOTOS from the Fair!!

And with that, WE CONCLUDE THE RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR 2010 SEASON!!! Can you believe it?! Thank you to all the vendors, attendees and other participants that helped make this our biggest and best year yet!!!

See you in 2011!!

Giant Clothespin of Wonder

Here at Renegade, we’ve found approx. 58939 uses for wooden clothespins (current favorite use? keeping our “packages to wrap” pile sorted.). But this? This might just be the greatest use of a clothespin EVER. It’s from an awesome installation in Belgium. Oh, the Belgians. So clever.


(Via Cup of Jo.)

Awesome Handmade: The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef


Whoa! How awesome is this crocheted coral reef? It’s part of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, a super-cool project & traveling art exhibit that seeks to celebrate “the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.” Read more about this great handmade project here.


Countdown to Chicago Holiday RCF: Jewelry

The Renegade Craft Fair Chicago Holiday Sale is coming up in just a little over 2 weeks! Whoa! We finally have our Chicago Vendor List up, and a beautiful e-flyer design by the lovely Kate Sutton! Please feel free to drag a flyer/banner off our website to help promote the fair!

In the meantime, here are 5 Artists I’m excited to see:

Artist: Miki and Nora Material: Antique Gold, Checkered Posts

Artist: Neogranny Material: Laser Cut Birch, Hand Painted

Artist: Noble Town Vintage Material: Salvaged Fishspine Chain, Turquoise

Artist: Cursive Design Material: Salvaged Textile, Wood, Glass

Artist: Dores Material: Hand woven Cotton, Gold Vermeil Beads

Craft (Life) Crush: Amy Sedaris

Yes, we love Amy Sedaris. Really, who doesn’t? She’s funny, makes cupcakes, has rabbits, and carried on an extensive relationship with an imaginary boyfriend named Ricky. There’s just a lot to love there. And now there’s yet ANOTHER reason to love her — she’s got a new book out called Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. A log cabin out of sausage links? Sign us up.

And did you know? You have a chance to ask Amy your burning questions. She’ll be appearing later this month on the PBS show Need to Know, and she’ll be answering your questions! Go here to ask her anything! You can submit a question through tomorrow, November 4th. Do it!


Here’s one of our favorite clips from Amy on the Martha Stewart show. If this doesn’t make you laugh, you might be a robot.

Today We Love: Quilts


Is there anything better than curling up with a cozy quilt on a cold Fall night? Probably not. So it makes sense that we’ve got quilts on the brain. The quilts of Gee’s Bend will just never fail to amaze us. So, so beautiful.

If any of you are lucky enough to be in the Richmond, VA area, check out the American Quilt Exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, we hear it’s an amazing show.

(Also pictured: Two of our favorite quilt prints, found here & here.)

Owly Shadow Puppets Workshop!


Interested in making your Halloween more handmade? Andrea of Owly Shadow Puppets is hosting an evening of crafting October 23rd here at Renegade Handmade! Workshop includes making traditional bamboo lanterns with an Owly Shadow Puppets twist. Sign up now to guarantee a spot since space is limited! Email or comment below!

Monster mash your way to Wicker Park:
Who: Owly Shadow Puppets!
Where: Renegade Handmade 1924 W. Division
When: October 23rd After Dark [Spooky!] Price: $15 for supplies and fun

Ad Love

Unsurprisingly, we’re totally suckers for good design, especially if it involves sewing machines and/or coffee. So you can imagine our excitement when we saw these vintage VW bus ads. Two of us here at Renegade HQ have VW cars — can we get a sewing machine affixed to the top of one or what?


From Delicious Industries, found via FFFFOUND!

Craft Crush: Leah Duncan

Tuesday is Craft Crush day! Today, we love love love the sweet designs of Leah Duncan. Read on to see what makes this Texas crafter’s world turn. Oh, and guess what? Leah’s work will be on display at the Renegade Handmade booth at Design Harvest this weekend! Check it out!

When did you first start crafting?

I’ve probably been crafting since I was first allowed to hold scissors. I’m not sure if “crafting” includes giving my barbies different hairstyles, occasionally unflattering, or making new outfits for my little ponies, but a girl has to start somewhere! I didn’t start using my craft skills in my art and as a profession until very recently when I taught myself to sew and felt myself being drawn to other mediums besides simply drawing on paper.


What is the story behind your business name?

I was born with it. Then my husband took over me with his last name. : )

What is your creative process?

I try my best to stay inspired so am always watching, contemplating, and absorbing things that could spark new ideas. I’m not the best at saving them for later, so when the lightbulb goes off it’s important that I get it down on paper. My process starts with a sketch, then I clean it up, scan it in, and start to color my drawings which could turn into a print, a pillow, a tea towel, or any other item I feel like breathing a little bit of life into.


Do you have a best seller?

I have a few! My hills print has been very popular, along with my rooster tea towel, doily throw pillow cover, and blooms summer scarf.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

I have a lot of new projects I’m excited about! I have my first tabletop collection in collaboration with an extra special company coming out soon. I’m working on a ceramics collaboration as well with a fellow indie artist. I’ve got a group show coming up which will be the first time I’ve ever shown originals. Other than that, I’m really excited to have launched my first wholesale line this year where I’ve ventured into textiles and other useable goods. So far it’s been a great year with a lot of new adventures.


Who are your favorite artists and designers?

I have a craft crush on those Swedish ladies! Camilla Engman, Elisabeth Dunker, and Sandra Juto are my latest loves. I dream of sitting down to tea with them in Gothenburg and quietly absorbing all of their amazingness. I’d probably be very shy and unable to form words, but just sitting there would be enough for me.

What’s a typical working day for you?

I wake up in the morning, make a fresh cup of coffee, and stumble downstairs to my studio in my favorite pajama pants. After waking up a bit, I get dressed and take my pit mix Oslo for his morning walk. Once my animal duties are over, I start on my daily tasks. Sometimes it’s packaging etsy or wholesale orders. Other times it’s drawing, working on a commission, or new products for myself. I find the seclusion of working from home can sometimes be overwhelming so I’ll often step outside for a walk, a bike ride, or a run so long as the Texas sun isn’t threatening to melt me.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I’m really good at dancing badly in my living room. And studio. Only occasionally in public!


Thanks, Leah! You’re awesome! Check out more of Leah’s lovely work here and here. Itchin’ to see it in person? If you’re in Chicago, stop by the Renegade Handmade storefront or the Renegade Handmade booth at Design Harvest! It’ll be fun!

Craft Crush: Cursive Design

Today’s Craft Crush is all about Sarah Fox of Cursive Design. We’ve been crazy for the sweet, ladylike jewelry from Cursive for quite some time, and we’re especially fond of her newest styles. Sarah kindly gave us a little peek into her world o’ craft, and we like what we see.

When did you first start crafting?
I’ve been interested in making things for as long as I can remember. My parents really fostered my creativity which I think is very crucial for little ones.


What is the story behind your business name?
Initially, when I first started my business and making jewelry in 2005 I was only using lace and chain so I wanted to pair that idea with an elegant word. Cursive came to mind and I liked it. I also love that it reminds me of being a kid in school and learning how to write this very special way. Even though I’ve moved on to incorporating other materials in my jewelry and the pieces now are more playful that overly feminine I still love the name because it reminds me how I’m constantly learning and exploring.

What is your creative process?
My jewelry design process usually starts with looking at and playing with color swatches and then I narrow in on the material choices for the piece. I’m interested in combining color and transforming materials. One thing I’m starting to do now while I design new work is to absolutely stay away from the design/art/fashion blogs. For me I get too distracted and it’s important for me to really distill what it is I’m trying to say/make. I need to lock myself away in the studio with my own ideas. Then when I’m done I come out again and see what the world is up to.

Do you have a best seller?
It varies from season to season. I’ve been selling a lot of the color theory necklaces this summer. It’s exciting to me, because I think those necklaces are a pretty bold choice. Yes, embrace the neon yellow and hot pink.


Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?
I’m fine tuning new jewelry designs for the fall/winter that will be debuting in early October and I recently made a large art installation that is hanging in the shop window of Orange Beautiful (up until October 15th). I’m particularly excited for that since it’s a total childhood dream come true and I hope to have more time/opportunity to do more of these large scale art works in the future. I need to make more time for art making. It always influences/informs my ideas and design work.

Who are your favorite artists and designers?
Tord Boontje
Dan Flavin
Joon + Jung
Josh Blackwell
Collina Strada


What’s a typical working day for you?
I usually work on emails and maybe a blog post in the morning. If I’m feeling up for it I’ll work out, if not and I’m feeling low energy I’ll cuddle with my cat for a bit and try not to judge myself. At about noon I hop on my bike for the 5 minute ride to my studio where I work there until about 6 or 7. These days I’ve been filling a lot of shop orders and in between that time I work on new designs/projects. I come home and make dinner with my husband. We might meet up with friends in the evening or watch a documentary on Netflix. But there are also lots of “non-typical” days. I really love the days where I’m material sourcing/buying. Three times a year I go to a gem/bead/stone show at Rosemont Convention Center to stock up on beads and pretty things. Those days are so intense and fun. You’re making quick decisions and you are designing in your head on the spot. I always go with my friend who also makes jewelry. At the end of the day we pull out our treasures and treat ourselves to crappy food and drinks at the Olive Garden. It’s so awesome.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?
Well, I actually love to be silly. I have a private/locked Twitter account where I like to tell pretty ridiculous jokes and write ditty’s. It’s like brain farts.

Thanks so much, Sarah! See more of her crafting awesomeness here and here. And stay tuned for a special surprise from Cursive later this week!!!


Hoot! Winner: Shawnimals

Congratulations to our Hoot! Winner:


Thank you to everyone who voted and a special thanks to the awesome crafters for participating in the Craft Fair and Spotlight Gallery! Stop in Renegade Handmade 11-7 everyday to see the wonderful owl creations!


See the Shawnimals entry here!

Ten Things: Local Artists at the Fair!


Have you heard? The Renegade Craft Fair is in Chicago THIS WEEKEND! (Of course you’ve heard, we can’t stop talking about it.) Things are getting pretty crazy around here, with new owl submissions for our HOOT Spotlight Gallery Show coming in every day and final preparations falling into place (never fear, the root beer float man has been confirmed). Today, we bring you a little hometown pride with ten RCF artists who hail from the Windy City.

1. The folks from Cordinated are keeping music accessories awesome + handmade.

2. We hear Crosshair Silkscreen Design made Willie Nelson’s most recent album cover and got to travel around Texas in Willie’s pickup truck. Um, awesome.

3. We love the natural simplicity of Kindling’s pieces.

4. Koboshop Inc. makes us think of the smell of leather, and we like that.

5. Laurageorge is a particular Renegade favorite. Did you see how awesome she made the front of our shop look?

6. We’ll take one of each of PLYtextiles’ gorgeous pillows, please.

7. Shapes&Colors, you use bright colors like champions.

8. We could do some great things with an overalls-styled ticking apron from Winter Session.

9. Fresh new prints from Yellowlion? Mesmerizing.

10. Do a little good and donate to great non-profits like Greyhounds Only and Tree House Human Society.

Craft Crush: Kit Paulson

While things are buzzing at Renegade HQ in preparation for this weekend’s Renegade Craft Fair, we couldn’t help but develop a little CRAFT CRUSH on local crafter Kit Paulson. Read on to find out the secrets behind this glass-blowing wizard. (Also, a little bird told us Kit is a pretty great singer. Check her out here.)


When did you first start crafting?

I’ve been making stuff for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 5 or 6 years old. I can’t even remember when I first started sewing. When I was 12 or so I was digging up clay deposits in my parents’ yard, shaping it into cups, bowls and tiny animals and then “firing” it in little bonfires behind the chicken coop. I started blowing glass in college, was horrified at first and then somehow got used to it.

What is your creative process?

I draw stuff in a sketch book, I look at lots of old pictures in books, I mess around with glass and see what I can make it do. I am always trying to streamline all of my glassblowing processes and make them faster and more efficient. I’m constantly timing myself when blowing glass and trying to set records for how long it takes me to make a particular piece and then trying to break those records.


Do you have a best seller?

Drink Me! I can’t paint “Drink Me” on hip flasks fast enough. It’s eerie how many people seem to want “Drink Me” written on the side of a flask.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

I’m working on a process for making my own fire-on enamel decals for my glass. I’m not meeting with much success so far but my goal is to have it all ready to go in time for the September Renegade show.

Who are your favorite artists and designers?

I totally dig the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley and Arthur Rackham. I think Banksy is brilliant. I can’t get enough of the glass work of Carmen Lozar.


What’s a typical working day for you?

This summer I’ve been getting up and getting into the glass shop super early in an effort to avoid heat exhaustion. I come home around noon, eat lunch, mess around with my Etsy page. Since becoming involved with Etsy I have been spending more time at the post office than I ever thought possible. I also spend a lot of time sending and
receiving emails. I try to get all my business stuff done by 5 or 6 so that I can make dinner for my husband and tidy up around the house.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I cherish a latent envy for Civil War reenactors because they get to wear complicated and spectacular costumes and hang out in homemade tents.


Thanks, Kit! You can check out more of her awesome pieces here or up close and in person at the Renegade Craft Fair this weekend!!!

Five Fresh Faces at RCF

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the artists participating in their first Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago!

1. Arrow Jewelry

Beautiful Nature inspired Jewelry!

Starburst Feather Earrings, Wooden Beads

2. Vintage + Deadstock + New Frames from Labrabbit Optics

(He customizes/outfits the lenses for you himself!)

Ze (Matte Tortoise/Blue) by RvS By V)

3. Fantastic Knitwear by YesJess

(I’m particularly obsessed with this Ear warmer)

Big ol’ Bow Earwarmer in Black

4. Beautiful prints by Friends Again

5. Hand layered Stitched bags by Maric Fine Goods

Jute Tote, Black Stich

Keep checking our Blog for sneak peaks and updates for the 8th annual Renegade Chicago!!!

+ Stay cool.

Craft Crush: Cotton Monster


Today, friends, we bring you one of our favorite Craft Crush subjects, Jennifer Strunge of Cotton Monsters. The pandemonium caused here at Renegade HQ when we open one of her big boxes of monsters is second to none, and we are all guilty of giving them a good squeeze (or ten) fairly often. Read on to hear about what makes this awesome crafter tick.


When did you first start crafting?
As early as I can remember! I always loved drawing, painting, cutting and gluing, and when I was a wee bit older, my mom taught me to sew and knit. I could make pom-poms and friendship-bracelets for weeks on end! I loved the repetitive nature of string crafts and the endless possibilities of trash sculptures and paper collages….and I still do!

What is the story behind your business name?
Coming up with a name for my creations was a tough. When I started the business (almost six years ago!) one of my main sources of material was cotton bed sheets, so after toying with a few made up words that didn’t have a great ring to them, I decided to keep it simple and call it Cotton Monster. The monsters always have some cotton sheets in them (like the teeth and whites of the eyes) and other cotton t-shirts and pjs are often used, but over the years I’ve expanded to using a much wider variety of recycled clothing and bedding, stretchy non-cotton and cotton/poly blends included. But the name just stuck…it’s too late to change it now and besides, Poly-blend Monster doesn’t have the same ring to it!

What is your creative process?
I work pretty intuitively. Sometimes I will doodle new ideas for characters, and then attempt to create something with similar aspects in cloth. It doesn’t always work the first time, so I’ll try a different technique or cut and try it again. Often times I come up with new ideas for creatures just by sewing and stuffing, then un-stuffing and re-sewing! I am very inspired by cloth and sometimes let the shape or stretch of a material help dictate the final outcome. And when all else fails…add more eyeballs!


Do you have a best seller?
The Little Monster breed is the most consistent best seller. They have all the charm of the Big Monsters with bulging eyes and gap teeth, but in a smaller, cute package! Still totally huggable!

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?
I am pretty in love with my new Von Katz Family, somewhat proper looking kitty cats with collared shirt and fabric buttons, inspired by my own two fat cats, Fleur and Dinah! Also I’ve been aiming to make some smaller, simpler monsters that I think are pretty rad, including the new Little Buggers and Sea Squirmies!

Who are your favorite artists and designers?
Its hard to pick favorites, but…I am madly in love with the work of graffiti artists Os Gemos, twin brothers from Brazil who paint awe inspiring murals and make crazy large scale installations. I love their style, vision and their amazing use of pattern! I also love following the work of my old classmate Jen Stark who works magic with cut up construction paper. And right now I’m smitten with Paulette Edition, the simple yet stunning prints and design of Iris Schwarz.

What’s a typical working day for you?
I start my day with a giant jar of tea while I check emails and catch up on some blog reading. Then I head upstairs to my attic studio where I work on cutting, ironing and sewing clothes and bed linens into monsters! I work on these creatures mostly one at a time, spending time picking out colors for each one, and sometimes only making 2-4 a day (they are pretty intricate beasts!) Occasionally I’ll do some assembly line work, sewing up rows of teeth or eyeballs. I pack up monsters to ship, take them to the post and maybe swing by a thrift store. Some days I’ll break early to work an hour or two at the rec center with kiddos doing arts and crafts, then home again for dinner! Often my day will end watching a movie or hanging out with friends while doing some hand-work, sewing up monster butts or stuffing eyeballs!


Can you tell us something silly about yourself?
After a few hours of NPR news I’ll put on a mix of my favorite Pandora stations while I’m working in my studio. Sometimes when a really good song comes on I’ll assist a Cotton Monster in doing an interpretive dance in the mirror. Hey, you’ve got to entertain yourself when working alone all day!

Thanks, Jennifer, you’re awesome! See more Cotton Monster magic here and here.

Leading up to RCF Chicago!

We’re getting excited for the Renegade Craft Fair Chicago coming up September 11th +12th! This year we decided to have some fun with a few of our Chicago craft fair artists, and what’s more fun than a little competition? So we asked a well-rounded (think: glass, stitch, print, paint, plush, porcelain, paper etc.) bunch of crafters to participate in a group show working around an owl theme. The prize? A free booth at the Renegade Craft Fair of their choice!

Here’s a little sneak peak from the fabulous Mimi Kirchner:

This is just one of the four owls that Mimi will be showing in the ‘Hoot’ show! So cute!

Stay tuned for more updates from these amazing artists! I have a feeling this show is going to be amazing! Who says owls are passé?

Craft Crush: All Things Grow

It’s not hard to see why we’ve got a Craft Crush on Marcy Davy of All Things Grow. Her nature-inspired prints are simple, beautiful, and easy to love. Enjoy this little glimpse into Marcy’s crafting world, including stops along the way for Sufjan Stevens (may we recommend listening to this while you read her interview?), considerate staple gun use, and puttin’ a little boogy into the crafting process.

feather1 copy

When did you first start crafting?

I have been crafting for as long as I can remember—my childhood was filled with salt-dough ornaments, egg shell mosaics, and other thrifty spontaneous household projects– all thanks to my wonderful mother.  I didn’t learn printmaking until I was working on my Bachelor’s Degree, and the materials and processes immediately spoke to me.   I have worked primarily in print ever since.

What is the story behind your business name?

All Things Grow comes from the chorus of Sufjan Stevens’ song Chicago. On a literal level, I liked the name because I intended to make simple modern designs based on nature from the get-go.  In the context of the entire song, Chicago speaks to a kind of impermanence and transformation that I find enchanting.  I wanted to explore the natural world in all states of existence—whether it be the bud of a new leaf, a fallen feather, or a log moments before it becomes firewood—so the song fit the bill in a variety of ways.


What is your creative process?

I kind of do a few different things that allow me to set my ideas up for success when I’m ready to print.  I have made a habit out of keeping a digital folder on my computer of beautiful images—vintage work, textile design, chairs, illustrations, signs, you name it—anything that inspires me in color, shape or form.  Then I write down images I would like to make as they come to me; in the shower, falling asleep at night, any time.  When I’m ready to print I work out the image—sometimes it spills out, sometimes I refer to the inspiration folder for a push into a color or design concept I may not have considered.

Do you have a best seller?

Most of my bestsellers have something to do with birds—eggs in nests, birds in trees, feathers.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

I have started to pull prints in a variety of small sizes.  I am hoping to work up to carrying large screen prints and fabric by the yard in the near future!


Who are your favorite artists and designers?

I love screen printed posters by groups like The Silent Giants, Bee Things, The Little Friends of Printmaking, and Brainstorm Print & Design.

What’s a typical working day for you?

I divide my time between printmaking and working as a commercial artist, so my days are kind of strange.  I tend to print in all-day marathons as a show approaches.  I have perfected the act of flipping my kitchen and dining room into a studio space and pulling prints well into the night.  My only rule is to stop using the staple gun by 10 p.m. in case my neighbors are trying to sleep!

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I dance when I screen print.

12printing copy

Thanks so much, Marcy! See more from All Things Grow here & here.

Stop Motion Awesomeness: The Creative, Inc. Ladies

We’ve been slowing but surely building up a pretty solid collection of great DIY books at Renegade Handmade, and some of our most popular titles come from Meg Mateo Ilasco & Joy Deangdeelert Cho. So we were super excited to see this awesome trailer they made for their newest book, Creative Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business. Seriously, how adorable is this video? Stop motion gets us every time.

(Found via design*sponge.)

Stitching Time

I’m mesmerized by this knitting clock by German designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen. The clock contains a knitting machine that produces a 2 meter-long scarf over the course of 365 days. What a simple, beautiful design. (And yes, it’s true that the scarf is not “handmade,” per se, but it’s still pretty rad.)



(images via designboom)

From Michael Martinho via knitting pretty in dc.

Calling all Renegade Owls!

If you attended one of our fairs this summer in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Brooklyn, you MUST have seen our awesome Renegade Owl Photo-Op, handmade by our own, Madelon Juliano. We want to see what you put in the mascot photo-op: dogs, babies, hamsters, or just your own beautiful face. Do you have any photo-op shots? Send them to (info[at]!

Looking for your chance at our hoot of a photo-op? Our owl will appear next in one month at the RCF Chicago 2010!! See more of our mascot photo-op collection over on our flickr.

Beard Love (Or Hate)

However you feel about beards (and for the record, I’m staunchly pro-beard), you’ve got to admit that this dude’s facial hair is epically awesome.

(Photo by David Mead,  via Boing Boing)
Love beards? Hate ’em? Let the world know how you feel.

Beard Love Note by Power and Light Press. I Hate Beards Stitched Pin by Michelle Kaffko.

A True Hoot!

This Estate Sale Was A Hoot
What a find! Estate sale via Krakencraft

Roadtrip to Renegade: Berkley Illustration Takes on California Kitsch

[Okay. So we know that anybody who was roadtrippin’ to Renegade has probably been there for days now, but we just couldn’t resist posting this dispatch from Lucy and Ryan of Berkley Illustration. This post finds our heroes filling time between the LA and San Fran fairs– encounters with dinosaurs, dangerous plantlife and Disney animatronics. A pretty rad vacation, we say! Oh, and did we mention that there’s still time to see these two lovely crafters, and about a zillion others, at Renegade Craft San Fransisco? The show wraps up tonight at 7 so if you’re in the vicinity, get movin’!) ]

We had a fabulous time at Renegade LA and we weren’t quite ready to give up the sun and good times of Southern California so we detoured a bit east before heading north to San Francisco.

First stop: Disneyland! Lucy had never been and Ryan hadn’t been since he was six so we figured it was time.

We were pretty distracted by the vintage penny films right at the entrance. We had to shake ourselves free or else we could have stayed there for an hour watching them all. They really took pennies!

As you can see, Ryan thought “Small World” was the biggest thrill ride of the day.

Fireworks! Fireworks! Fireworks!

The next day we headed east to Palm Springs but made sure to stop at the Cabazon Dinosaurs. (Truthfully, the desire to see the prehistoric friends featured in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure was probably part of the reason I wanted to make the drive to Palm Springs.)

Palm Springs was beautiful but, as we’d been warned, ridiculously hot. We stayed the newish Ace Hotel in town and made good use of their swimming pool and in-room record collection.

We made a brief trek into the wilds to hunt cacti but it turned out the cacti were too smart for us.

And, of course, we had to hit the photobooth in the lobby. What road trip is complete without photobooth strips in your car visor?

See you in San Francisco!

Things We Love: Uppercase Magazine


As you might imagine, we like pretty things here at Renegade. So you can guess how much we enjoy Uppercase Magazine, which is basically a hundred pages of pretty every month. We find constant inspiration in their great designer profiles, pop culture roundups, and just general awesomeness. And good news! We now carry Uppercase at Renegade Handmade! Find it in store or online here. Not gonna lie, I’m totally picking up a copy of each issue today. Hooray!

Craft Crush: Mariko of Calico

This week, we’re crushing on Calico, a sweet line of bags & pouches made from vintage fabrics. Mariko, the brains behind Calico, kindly gave us a little glimpse into her world, and discusses the inspiring qualities of friendship bracelets, feed sacks, and Bon Jovi.


When did you first start crafting?

I always loved art classes in school, and my mom used to do flower arranging, so I often went to the craft store with her. I remember that I liked making stuffed animals from “handmade stuffed animal kits” and I sure made a decent looking Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I was probably about 10 years old at the time.

I also think back to those times (early 90’s!!!) and remember making braided bracelets and learning to knit. I never liked sewing back then, but somehow I ended up going to fashion design college in Tokyo and making a line of hand sewn accessories!

What is the story behind your business name?

Simply, I have a “calico” cat which I really love and “calico” is also a type of unbleached woven cotton fabric, originating in India. It was often printed with many different colors, and that is why the name became used for the cats, as well.


What is your creative process?

My inspiration comes from the antique feed sacks that I find. My initial idea was to make tote bags with feed sacks, so that each one would be totally unique and special, but I soon found that many of the feed sacks were damaged or stained, so only some parts would be useable. This forced me to look at the bags as source material for many different products, and sometimes a sack that is mostly destroyed will have one little corner that is perfect for a coin purse. Making these products takes time to source the material, and then find the best way to use the material in a way that has good design qualities, and still has the character of the original print. I also use vintage inspired new fabrics for some products, and with those it is a matter of choosing patterns and color combinations that fit with my vintage aesthetic.

Do you have a best seller?

I think the best seller is the small Japanese coin purses. They are small, affordable, and available in both vintage and new fabrics.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes, I am working on key fobs and silkscreened totes right now. The key fobs are fun because I have to stamp the leather by hand and that means I have to do a lot of hammering into a piece of wood to get the stamp looking right! The silk screened totes are cool because it is an opportunity for me to let the influence of so many wonderful feedsack designs come out in an original design, and it will be a fun and simple product.


Who are your favorite artists and designers?

Samantha Hahn – Illustrator
Tim Burton

What’s a typical working day for you?

After having breakfast with my husband, he goes to his recording studio by vespa, and I start cleaning our house, taking care of our cats and my fire escape garden and all other chores. I usually have an early lunch around 11:30 (my metabolism is fast!), and then start working from around noon till 8-ish.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I like listening to classic rock radio while sewing, and sometime sing along to “You Give Love a Bad Name” and that gives me more energy to keep sewing!

(Photos by Yuki Wakamaki)
Thanks, Mariko! See more beautiful Calico goodies here & here.

Roadtrip to Renegade: I-5 With the Berkleys.


(Another in our series following some of our favorite crafters as they make the trek to the West Coast Fairs. Today, Ryan and Lucy Berkley of Berkley Illustration share their experiences making the journey from Portland to SoCal and explore what is perhaps the greatest roadside restaurant on I-5… or the world. Go see the Berkley at Renegade Los Angeles RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE! And next weekend you can see their smiling faces at the San Fransisco fair.)


Portland to Los Angeles: Just under 1000 miles of road.


We have driven the I-5 many times up and back but for some reason we’d never stopped at Anderson’s Pea Soup before. I’m happy to say that today we mended that gaping hole in our roadside repertoire.


I think we can all agree that any roadside attraction worth its salt has some kind of board you can put your head through.


I love how Andersons hasn’t tried to modernize too much. Look at the awesome combo of typefaces!


Oops. I guess they’re a little modern inside. They have these nice trendy mugs adjacent to their adorable collection of Dutch Fairytale knick-knacks.


I don’t know if this is legal, but here is the recipe for their pea soup. Please note, as we did, it’s vegan friendly!


Why is this upside down???? Well, if you turn your computer around you can see the sweet loot we scored. It was too early for soup eating so we grabbed a can to go. Maybe we can share it at Renegade? Bring a spoon! Also, you don’t even realize how cool those cups are. They have a light show inside them!  We’re hoping to feature those after dark later in our adventures.


We also picked up this very special postcard. We’re going to mail it to the first person who emails us at and tells us their favorite song with “California” in the title. See you again soon!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Thanks for playing!

Roadtrip to Renegade: Sweetie Pie Press in the Heartland


(Another in our series following some of our favorite crafters as they take to the road headed for the West Coast Fairs. Today, Becky from Sweetie Pie Press explores the finer points of diner cuisine & sidewalk sales right smack dab in the middle of the country.)

woke up in a favourite kansas city motel (we have actually stayed here on almost every tour). the people are nice, but the menu is limited at the adjacent diner. (just kidding; they have more selections of homemade pies than you can shake a stick at.)

kansas city (9)b
Kansas City, MO

kansas city (10)b
Kansas City, MO

taken in by the amazing young men at a gallery/shoppe called wonder fair, we made our first foray into the prairie oasis of lawrence, kansas. this is the sweetie pie press’ first ever stop in kansas and i was tickled pink to join the boys for a day-long sidewalk sale. brick buildings, big skies, and like-minded people always put me in good sorts, sleep or no.

lawrence, kansas (12)b
The view over Massachussetts Street. Sidewalk Sale Wonder Fair Lawrence, KS

lawrence, kansas (13)b
Sidewalk Sale Wonder Fair Lawrence, KS

lawrence, kansas (14)b
Sidewalk Sale Wonder Fair Lawrence, KS

Roadtrip to Renegade: Sweetie Pie Press Discovers Giant Condiment Bottle

(From our series following crafters as they roadtrip out to the West Coast fairs. In this installment, Becky of Sweetie Pie Press explores the world of novelty condiment bottles.)

we are staying just outside of st. louis, missouri, in southern illinois. while exploring, we happened upon the world’s largest catsup bottle in collinsville, illinois. it made me wonder if there might be a slightly larger ketchup bottle somewhere else.

World’s Largest Bottle of Catsup Collinsville, IL July 14, 2010

St. Louis, MO July 14, 2010 Photo by Reverend Aitor

Roadtrip to Renegade: Misanthrope Specialty Co. Explores the Classier Side of Truck Stops

Hooray hooray, another installment of our series documenting some of our favorite crafters’ treks to the Los Angeles and San Francisco craft fairs. Today we check back in with Misanthrope Specialty Co. as he regales us with more tales from the road.

storm blows in at dusk

(photo by Cottonwood Fields)

Storm blows in at dusk. We watched the rain on the mountains across the plains, an hour away. Monsoon season is gearing up.

truck stop restroom

(photo by Cottonwood Fields)

Truck stop restroom. Oh what a night a fistful of quarters can buy you!

ink explosion

Ink Explosion. Most of the company’s pens exploded in the heat of their un-airconditioned cars.

Craft Crush: Jessie of Cakespy

This week’s Craft Crush is the always amusing work of Cakespy. Head Spy Jessie sat down to answer our burning questions about what makes her pastry-loving mind tick, and the connection between Diet Coke, bacon and cupcakes. Read on!

When did you first start crafting?

Though I have always been artistic, I actually didn’t start crafting until 2007, when I started my website, — which started out as a food blog supported by my art, but the artwork soon became its own thing and the basis of my income!

What is the story behind your business name?

I wanted to start a new project that combined my three greatest loves: writing, illustration, and baked goods. At the same time that I was pondering what this project would be, I was also about to get married, and was running around town sampling all of the wedding cake possibilities, feeling like an undercover spy trying to sleuth out the best. It was then that it hit me: this idea could guide my project–a dessert detective agency! And CakeSpy was born. Though I write and illustrate more than just cakes, “Cake” seemed like a good catch all phrase for all things sweet.

What is your creative process?

Generally everything starts with an illustration for me–so I will do a pencil sketch, then ink it in with Micron, and then watercolor it in to color–and from there, I decide what I am going to do with the finished illustration–either sell it framed, or adapt the design to work on other products (notecards, card holders, mugs, etc). I also work on several paintings at the same time most of the time!

Do you have a best seller?

Two designs stand out in my mind, and the humor of their extremes does not escape me: Cupcake drinking Diet Coke, and Cupcake having Cocktails with bacon. Those are probably my two most popular ones.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

I’ve started doing murals at bakeries (my first one was at Cake Eater bakery–I actually met the owners at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago last year!) and would love to do more of those.


Who are your favorite artists and designers?

As for favorite artists, I love the ones who I think have wonderful line quality: Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Luis Bemelmans; and I also love certain artists for their big ideas and fearlessness, including Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. As for people who are more on my peer level, I love Bored, Inc, Loyal Army, Julie West, and I simply cannot get enough of AbbeyChristine‘s felt work.

What’s a typical working day for you?

I usually bake at home in the morning and take pictures of my finished sweets; then I will walk with my pugs and sweet treats over to my retail store/my studio, CakeSpy Shop, where I will work on writing/blogging and artwork all day (between customers!). I put the sweets I’ve made outside as a lure for passers-by, and, as I call it, to keep Capitol Hill (the neighborhood my store is in) “fat and cute”.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I’ve seen Weird Al four times in concert. Yup. And I played the accordion in my high school marching band.

Thanks, Jessie! See more of cupcake-inspired goodness from Cakespy here and here!

Roadtrip to Renegade: Sweetie Pie Press in Ypsilanti + Indianapolis

The second in our series of dispatches from the road by some of our favorite crafters making their way to the LA and San Fransisco Craft Fairs. Becky from Sweetie Pie Press sent us these observations from deep in the Midwest:

our road to renegade begins close to home in ypsialnti, michigan. i did not get as many pictures as i wanted because my stomach went haywire and i had not slept enough, but here is a funny ‘rive n’ that really only boasts root beer. los angeles, there are 2500 miles between us as you, but here we come.

The next night, we stayed with friends in indianapolis, indiana. they tipped us off to the heildelberg haus, a german-themed cafe, bakery and gift shop. there was nothing to eat but meat and pretzels, but i didn’t care. it was like the german population of the midwest had turned itself into a cartoon. while i ate my soft pretzel with mustard, we listened to german versions of day-o and the theme from bonanza.

Roadtrip to Renegade: Misanthrope Specialty Co. on the Prairie

In anticipation of the upcoming Renegade Craft domination of all things awesome on the West Coast for the next two weekends (Um, yeah, did we mention Renegade Craft Fair LA and San Fran are almost here?!) we’ll be posting dispatches over the next few days from some of our fav crafters as they  make their way across this great country to do the California fairs. Check back all week for updates from the best eats, drinks, tourist traps and roadside attractions our crafty friends come across (we hear somebody’s got a Dinosaur Park stop planned, so prepare yourselves for that!) First up, though, we’ve got a post from the Reverand Aitor of Misanthrope Speciality Company (who just visited Renegade Handmade last month) as he and his companions make their way across the wide open Midwestern prairie, heading west on I-70 out of Indiana.


After two months of zigzagging between Eastern and Central Time, the Company convoy has finally set out earnestly on the road to Renegade Los Angeles.

The open road seems that much more romantically open once we begin crossing the Midwest.  The skies are bigger on the prairies, allowing room for so many more shades of blue, white and grey.  The highway stretches all the way into the horizon, and we can watch it raining several kilometres away.

Between Indianapolis and St. Louis (photo by Linda Culpepper)

Rain on the prairies (Photo by Reverand Aitor)

Big skies.

Craft Crush: Sarah + Joseph of iamhome

This week’s Craft Crush features the awesome Sarah and Joseph Belknap of iamhome. We are always so excited when they drop off a batch of their forest paintings and tree tiles, so we asked them to give us a little glimpse into their world o’ craft.


Tell us a little bit about iamhome.

When we first started dating six years ago, we were always helping each other with projects and then a month after our marriage we began our collaboration in art making. We started iamhome a little less than a year ago so we could spend more time working together while being creative and having fun together.

What is the story behind your business name?

The entire time we have been together, we have shuffled around from apartment to apartment and never really felt like it was ours. A year ago, we moved into the house of Sarah’s late grandmother and began restoring it. It was the first time we have felt at home in a long time.

What is your creative process?

We have a process that usually includes fighting and blurting out absurd ideas.

Do you have a best seller?

The forest paintings. They are all hand painted and the frames are made from repurposed barn siding and discarded wood. They hold a special place in our collective heart because they stem from one of our performance pieces.


Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

Right now we are making a series of photographs and performances about swimming pools. We are excited to have two upcoming residencies in August that are giving us a space to explore this new work.

Who are your favorite artists and designers?

We are a little in love with Francis Alys and Simon Starling. We teach in an Early College Program for high school art students, and they probably inspire us the most because they are full of energy and have the craziest ideas.

What’s a typical working day for you?

There is no such thing. Our work is always changing; from teaching to museum exhibition work to painting people’s houses. Every day we come home, garden, cook a nice meal and then head to studio to work until we are so tired we are afraid we’ll cut our fingers off.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

Recently we have had a very bad obsession with watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer right before bed.


Thanks, Sarah & Joseph! You can see more of their great work here and here.

Psst…Stay tuned for something VERY EXCITING from iamhome + the Renegade blog coming up soon. You won’t want to miss it!

Craft Crush: Esther Ramirez of Essimar

Esther Ramirez / Essimar. Hair pom-pom by Yokoo.

We’ve been big fans of Esther Ramirez and Essimar for quite a while, and we’ll be the first to admit we’ve got a pretty serious craft crush on her gorgeous paper collages. Check out this peek into her crafting world.

When did you first start crafting?

I started when I was in middle school. I found the best way to hide those bland economic notebooks was to make a collage of them. I collaged most of my notebooks and book covers till the 12th grade.

What is the story behind your business name?

“Essi” is my nickname and “mar” comes from the first three letters of my last name.

What is your creative process?

My creative process begins with sketches of simple compositions and shapes on paper. Essimar isn’t just a business to me, it’s also a lifestyle.

Most of my work is made by printmaking, hand cutting, and collage with assembly. Every so often, I like to go outdoors and photograph my work in a living environment, outside of where it was created, or to later be part of an installation. Color is supreme in my work; it is the only constant. Other than that, I like to work outside of a given format. My pieces no matter the medium should tell as simple story through color and pattern–they cannot be explained outside of these elements, because who can explicate, without being boring or pretentious, color or pattern?

Do you have a best seller?

I certainly do! It would have to be the animal cutouts. Also, some of the more silly plays on paper do well too.

Are you working on anything new that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes, I’m working on a few paper installation projects right now for Summer/Fall 2010. Three dimensional visual design is the direction I want to concentrate on and I would also like to become more involved in Chicago’s art scene.

Who are your favorite artists and designers?

Lori Mukoyama, Visual Interior Designer

Jennifer Davis, Artist and painter

Matali Crasset, Architect

Sarah Morris, Visual Artist

Tara Donovan, Visual Artist

Cody Hudson, Visual Artist

Mat Daly, Artist

What’s a typical working day for you?

I wake up pretty early, stretch my hands, and make coffee cafe press style. I then check my email and write a list of things to do. From there, I get into the studio and clean up a little from the previous day and usually end up starting new projects completely different from what I had planned earlier. Around 4pm, I take a little walk and mail out the goods and pretty much hang out in the studio making a colorful mess until late in the evening.

Also, I started a improvised color photo journal shoot on my blog a few months ago, there is no direction, articulation or text just a visual concentration on color and shapes.

Can you tell us something silly about yourself?

I can tell you about a silly fact found in Hyde Park – parakeets. Yes, wild parakeets in Chicago! Hmm, something silly about me, I now want a pet bird.

Thanks, Esther! Check out more of her work here.

Brooklyn Sneak Peeks!

Our back room has been humming practically day and night as we count down the final few days before Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn this weekend. And while we’ve got lots of finalizing, shipping, deciding, confirming and packing to do, we know that our vendors are probably even busier than we are this week with all their last minute prep. We were inspired this week by all the little sneak peeks that people have been posting online featuring some of the goodies they’ll be showing off at McCarren Park this weekend. Below are a few of the sneak peeks we’ve been privy to. And if these don’t get you excited, well, we don’t know what will!

This colorful bounty is new work from My Zeotrope including prints, mini paintings and recipe cards that’ll all be for sale in Brooklyn. Who can resist an asparagus in sunglasses?


Hero Design Studio sent over these pics of their cute as a button pillows and new test print alphabet posters. This hamburger R is without a doubt our fav.


We’re pretty sure these “I Left My Heart in Brooklyn” cards from Paper Pastries are going to be a hit this weekend. And on the right up there is Chris from Mary Ink hard at work on screenprinted goodness for Brooklyn.


Rubina‘s been hard at work cranking out these fun bookmarks, which debuted in Austin last month and were apparently quite the hit. And Cursive will have brand new limited edition statement necklaces available to lucky Brooklyn fair-goers.


Ball and Chain sent us these photos of the earrings that’re ready to go for this weekend. We’re loving those indigo colored feathers!


And, as we all know, no crafter does it alone. It’s only because of many awesome behind-the-scenes helpers that anything ever gets done. Strawberry Luna is lucky to have this special organizational assistant in her ridiculously adorable pup, Sprite, and Folderol & Fiddledeedee‘s equally adorable cousin looks pretty happy to be helping out as a model for one of the smocks that’ll be available at the fair.


And finally, we just couldn’t resist this opportunity to give you a little peek of what we’ve been getting ready to debut at the Brooklyn fair. Madelon’s been hard at work sewing and crafting this amazing Owl Photo-Op of Awesomeness that will make its debut next weekend. Here’s she is, giving the fabric body a try (the finished piece will have a head, too. It’s gonna be epic.)

Thanks to all the vendors who sent us their sneak peeks! Stay tuned to the @renegadecraft Twitter for more of what people are working on. We’ll see you in Brooklyn this weekend!

“It was the greatest field trip of my life.”

Ooh, what do we have here?

Major thanks to Faythe Levine for bringing this little nugget of joy into our lives. What is it, you ask? Oh, only a treasure trove of crafty DIY goodness. This binder came to us FULL of notes and photos and brochures from the (now-defunct?) Chicago-based Education Resource Center.

We’re not totally sure what they did there, but if the binder is any indication, they had awesome DIY get-togethers, threw rad kids parties, and generally made the late ’70s/early ’80s a good ol’ time. It looks like the folks behind the Center were ahead of their time in terms of recycling, upcycling, and understanding the life-changing qualitites of macrame. We’re definitely taking notes for our next projects.

Things we need to know: How did they make those awesome bubble machines (second row, right side), and just how cool can one man be (third row, left side)?