Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clever Easter Egg Dyeing Tricks

I've been seeing a lot of great Easter crafty goodness here on the interwebs lately, so I wanted to share. The technique above is my absolute fave - these eggs, spied on Craft, were made by using electrical tape to create stripes. That's genius! Great results that look pretty fancy, but this would be so easy to do!

Design Sponge
also featured an egg-dyeing stroke of genius:

This technique would be more time-consuming than the electrical tape one, but still looks quite easy to do. It's a simplified version of the traditional Ukrainian hot beeswax technique, which I wrote about last Easter. Design Sponge has a full-on, step by step tutorial that makes it look like a cinch!

Southern Living
also has a great how-to up for creating speckled eggs. They used tea to create the brown ones and blue food coloring to make pretty robins' eggs.

Do you have any plans to dye eggs this Easter? What's your preferred method?

re-posted from Crafty Mishmash, Beth H's blog

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Found It! Thanks, Daily Texan! it's been ages (well a couple of months anyway) since this article came out and we've been dying to share it with you. A (as we affectionately call co-owner Beth Albrecht) and I drove by the newstands every week to look for this super cool article that the lovely and sweet Maddie Crum of The Daily Texan wrote about us. Of course, as luck would have it, the one day we didn't swing by to pick one up was the day it was published. :) Well anyway here it is for your reading pleasure, or if you like, you can see it in context at

Better late than never!

The Wondercraft

By Maddie Crum
Photos by Andy Phung

The muted silver exterior of the Airstream trailer that resides behind a row of retail shops on Burnet road is deceivingly commonplace. Inside, you won’t find camping supplies or tacky ‘70s décor, but electrifying orange walls, elegant brass jewelry, do-it-yourself screen-printing kits, handmade stationery, and four women who are enthusiastic about art.

“Come on in!” said Beth Hempton, one of the founders of The Wondercraft, a mobile art studio and craft shop. “And you can’t leave until you make a button.”

Hempton met Beth Albrecht, Jenifer Bryan, and Kimberly Sae-Eua through EtsyAustin, a local craft group, where they recognized their varying talents. Hempton enjoys drawing and sewing, whereas Bryan’s focus is on photography and resin jewelry. Both Albrecht and Sae-Eua have a knack for fashion design. The women decided to open a store that utilized these skills to create an all-inclusive artistic experience for customers.

“We were brainstorming the best place in Austin for an art store, but we couldn’t decide,” Albrecht said. “So we decided to go everywhere.” Admittedly inspired by Austin’s recent food cart fixation, the women purchased and renovated an Airstream trailer, which allows them to attend events and customized parties in addition to the classes that they offer. In keeping with The Wondercraft’s celestial theme, the women lovingly refer to their trailer as “Stella.” “We sort of saved her in a way,” Albrecht said. “She was being used for storage. We brought her to life and gave her a purpose.”

Though their business, which was conceptualized in July and began classes in October, has already been invited to a slew of local events, the Wondercraft’s journey has not been without a few bumps in the road. Each of the four women owns and operates a personal craft company, ranging from screen-printing to recycled children’s toys. These separate projects have graced them with entrepreneurial and promotional skills, but makes time management a challenge. Albrecht likened her balance of responsibilities to that of a student. “You could spend all of your time doing homework, but there are also dirty dishes in the sink, and your dog wants to be played with.”

Fortunately the business has been met with overwhelming support from other creative companies. “Austin loves quirk,” Sae-Eua said. “And the atmosphere for local businesses here is great. People who would be considered our competitors elsewhere are our friends here.”

One such friend is Carole Schatz Robberson of The Art Pad, who allows the women to park their trailer behind her store and provides them with supplies. The Wondercraft will be celebrating their partnership with The Art Pad on February 25 by hosting a necktie themed party in which each attendee can screen-print, embroider, and generally craft a vintage item into a unique statement piece.

It’s no wonder that Austinites have been welcoming towards the women of the mobile studio, as they are strong advocates of using recycled, or “upcycled” supplies for their products and classes. “Upcycling is like recycling, but instead of just creating something new or different, you create something better,” Hempton said, acknowledging her bold, ruby-red floral necklace, which had been made from an aluminum can.

Another unique component of The Wondercraft is their selling of do-it-yourself merchandise, such as floral chokers and paper stars. “We want to inspire people to make things with their hands,” Bryan said. “Plus, it’s really interesting that you can give a kit to several people and the final product will always look different.”

The Wondercraft also offers holiday-themed classes, such as their upcoming “Valentines & Anti-Valentines” lesson, in which attendees will learn rubber stamp carving, embroidery on paper, and fabric envelope-making. “Those crafts are perfect for Valentine’s Day but some people don’t like that holiday,” Albrecht said. “Maybe they could make a card with a monster eating hearts on it.”

As seen through the nature of many of their events and classes, the mission of The Wondercraft is a light-hearted one. “We want to bring crafting everywhere,” Sae-Eua said. “We want to create a community of crafters.”

Monday, March 15, 2010

Recap: New Media Fashion Brunch & Boutique Crawl

The New Media Fashion brunch and boutique crawl was an all day fashion networking event held March 12, the first Friday of SXSW. This awesome event for fashion-minded individuals who run online style sites, communities and fashion blogs was hosted by Indiana Adams of & it was the first of its kind here in Austin. Way to go, Indiana!

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L to R: Anna; Kelly; Katy; Pamela; our fabulous hostess, Indiana; Kristin; Diya & Rachel

This delightful brunch was sponsored by Polished Two and EtsyAustin, whose members provided amazing handmade & goody-filled swag bags for all of the guests.

fashionbrunch 049The WonderCraft also sponsored the event, bringing a trunk show from Stella's Boutique for the ladies to shop. We also donated our DIY obi-style belt kits for the goody bags & demonstrated how to fashion the fabulous belts from vintage neckties. The belts were designed by Kim & are shown here modeled by the Beths.

The gals all had a great time picking out ties & sewing them together to make their own stylish obi belts!

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L to R: Rachel from Austin Style Watch & Cassiday from Mix 94.7 get some tips from Beth A; Grechen of Grechen's Closet & Janette of Fashion Loves People sewing with Beth H

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fashionbrunch 050After the brunch, we all headed down to the 2nd Street District for a super-fun boutique crawl! We started at Eliza Page where we browsed the beautiful jewelry displays with champagne in hand.

Beth A got these awesome shoes at Girl Next Door. I found a beautiful blue retro-styled (& magnificently marked-down) dress at Estilo.

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clockwise from top left: Merritt, Tran, Diya, Indiana, Kayla & Rachel at Cru

Along the way we enjoyed wine & chocolate-covered strawberries at Cru Wine Bar and amazing cupcakes that lived up to their name at Delish. We visited so many fabulous boutiques that I can't even remember them all, so be sure to check out the handy 2nd Street District directory to get the deets on all the great shops & restaurants in the area.

Big thanks to Indiana for hosting this & inviting us to participate - we had a fabulous time! We enjoyed meeting all of these awesome bloggers - every one of them is so cool and so sweet. Check out their blogs. More great pics of this event in our Flickr set & Fashism's Flickr photo set & in blog posts by Diya, Rachel & Cheryl. Also, be sure to check out Anna's News 8 story & video!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

International Inspirations

Our lovely partner Kim and I dream of Paris often, so I thought I would do a post dedicated to her. I googled "Paris Crafts" and found this amazing little shop called French Touche that carries handmade crafty items that were so inspiring! I hope someday we can all visit and bring everyone back gifts from this shop!

One of the best things is the names of the designers (called ), this first little bag is made by Please Don't, isn't that a great name!?

I just loved this little bag too, I'm seeing Alice in Wonderland tonight, so the white rabbit was speaking to me! Its got another cute name designer: Mini Labo

And of course the French have always had this fad, the mustache, by Macon & Lesquoy

Now I don't speak French, but if I'm right, this kit is for the Rebellious Gardener!!? Amazing...
Hope you've enjoyed this cultural exploration... comment with any additional international inspirations!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Featured Artists- Gypsy Harte and Gem Junkie

We have two more fabulous local artists that participated in our grand opening soiree last Thursday and who have some of their work in our boutique.

First up is Joyce Hazlerig of Gypsy Harte. She is a master of felted goodness and is talented with polymer clay as well.

As Joyce says, her interests are varied and eclectic; from working as a Tarot reader and Palmist to hair-wrapping and braiding at Renaissance Faires.
Her pocket ninjas always bring a smile to people's faces. They are posable and just plain fun! She has several different pocket friends, including zombies and pirates.

She also offers great kits so you can learn the process of felting yourself by making felted sushi. She has done some amazing demos at Etsy Austin events.

I think my favorite thing from Joyce is the piece of felted bacon she made for me.

Be sure to visit the Gypsy Harte Etsy shop. Joyce is a very talented artist!

Next up, Kelly Owens Pratlett of Gem Junkie. Do you love beads? Well, Kelly has an amazing assortment of unusual pieces for all your jewelry making needs. She manages to find unique beads and pendant pieces that you would be hard pressed to find in your local bead shop.

She said she got started collecting beads when her sister saw a necklace in a magazine she wanted but couldn't afford. Her sister then sourced the materials and put them all together. In the process, she taught Kelly all her jewelry skills and she has been a bead and jewelry fanatic ever since. Take it from us, Kelly has come into her own.

Kelly's Etsy shop is full of amazing gemstones & other unique jewelry supplies. She even has turquoise skulls!

Kelly is also co-secretary for the Etsy Austin street team.

She was out at our Grand Opening selling her famous $5 earrings! They're awesome - hope you got some! If not, you can find her out at the 78704 Artist Market on SoCo this Saturday, 3/6.

Kelly has recently put some of her Budding Designer DIY kits in Stella's Boutique, too.

Come by the boutique & see the great stuff we have from Kelly & Joyce!