Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Peek Behind the Scenes at Handmade in KC by Alexis from X37 Adventures

My name is Alexis, co-owner of X37Adventures, along with Amy, who currently resides in London, while completing her master’s degree. [Go, Amy! Go!] We are brand new members of Handmade in KC.

In one part of my life, I am an artist. In another part of my life, I am a professional team builder. Both lenses contribute to my view of the world around me.

When Carolyn, from Hang Ups in KC, talked to me about X37Adventures joining Handmade in Kansas City, I was cautiously excited. Excitement coursed through me at the thought of having a group of like-minded artists who will join in productive, uplifting conversations. The extroverted team builder in me jumped for joy! At the same time, the red flags of groups of my past were raised to half-mast. I have seen too many groups like this become catty, petty, silly, gossipy (is that a word?), and downright negative. Do I need to say it? I will, just to make it clear for you. Those groups are almost always female dominated. My patience for pettiness doesn’t last long and cattiness can send me into the depths of frustration. Carolyn could sense my hesitance to joining a, at this time, female dominated group. She quickly listed off all of the members that I already knew. She was right, they all we creative people with wonderfully kind personalities, but I really needed to experience it to know that this group will be an exception to my past group experiences.

X37Adventures applied to become members of HIKC. We got in! We were quickly added to the facebook group & introduced to everyone! The warm welcomes flooded in. My excitement grew. A group dinner was scheduled just a week away. I put it on my calendar & started praying for our group to become a great team of artists.

The night of the dinner arrived. Amy, living in London, couldn’t attend with me of course. Missing one of my best friends / business partner was on my mind when I sat down at the table, surrounded by seven women I already knew & one I didn’t know. I was also ready for some fun…and prepared to slip out if things took a negative turn. That night we chatted, caught up on life, shared joys, encouraged each other, we even set up an impromptu photo studio right there at the table (see photo). Oh, and we LAUGHED. There was a LOT of laughter at that table.

Honestly, I have been pleasantly surprised by the support, respect, love, kindness, excitement & creativity that is brought to the table every time I interact with my new HIKC group. I can tell that these women are in this group for the right reasons. They accept me & Amy for who we are. I don’t find that they are only looking out for themselves, they truly are looking out for each individual artist in the group. Looking through my lens of team builder, I see not only great friendships growing in this group, but a genuinely healthy community. I look forward to the coming year of creativity and community that is ahead of us. 

If you are a Kansas City based artist or crafter and would like to apply to Handmade in Kansas City click here.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hoppy Easter from all the Handmade in KC Makers

The daffodils and budding trees are telling us it's spring.  It's hard to believe that it's already Easter!

If you are hanging out and catching up on your social media over the weekend you can find us on Pinterest:, Facebook:, and Twitter:  

We all wish you and your families a very happy & safe Easter! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Meet The Maker - Remnants by RJ on World Robot Domination

Meet Rebecca of Remnants by RJ.  Rebecca makes some fantastically cute robots out of various recycled items.  Each one is very creative and some are even quite useful!  Let’s hear what she has to say…

Background -
I was born in Olathe, KS and have lived in the Kansas City area most of my life. I did venture away for college (attending Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma) and lived a few years in Houston, TX after college, but came back home to put down roots. Where else would I want to raise a family?

Finding the Handmade in Kansas City community a couple of years ago has helped me connect with other great artists and makers in the area. It’s so rewarding to be a part of a group of people that “get” you.

Original career plan -
As an English/Creative Writing student in college, I had no plans of ever doing anything in art. I simply wanted to write. Fast forward 10 years, a few administrative/marketing jobs later, and a small pack of children—and I found myself interested in mosaics. I’d seen a beautiful outdoor mosaic “table” (broken pottery on a large landscape rock) at a friend’s wedding and felt inspired to try it. It wasn’t long into my mosaic foray before I started incorporating found objects and other unusual materials. That naturally led into the thought of making sculptures—you know, playing with found objects without the hassle of grout. I was hooked.
Making recycled robots was a perfect fit for me. I love all things metal. I really love my drill press. And I love transforming discarded bits of life into characters with a personality and story (that’s where my writing background comes in). As I’ve grown and established my business, I’ve become passionate about using recycled materials almost exclusively and about promoting creativity. I love connecting with people and helping change the way they see the world.

You can find this adorable Geek Bot in Rebecca's Etsy Store.  

Creative process -
Remnants by RJ is simply that—a collection of society’s cast off “remnants” I transform into fun, quirky pieces of art. I see robot heads, arms, legs everywhere I go. It’s a change in perspective when you think about what something could be, instead of what it just is.
I collect materials primarily from flea markets, antique stores, and secondhand online sites. If it’s metal, I’m interested. Usually, I start with one central piece and a spark of an idea. Through trial and error assimilation, I find the pieces that go together to make just the right bot. I like to think of my work as a robot that was disassembled somewhere along the way, and I’m bringing the pieces back together so it can be the robot it was always meant to be.

This is Walt, the rescued Robot clock.  If you've fallen in love, you can buy him here.

Hardest lesson learned -
The hardest lesson for me has been believing in myself. Not everyone is going to get me, and that’s okay. I‘m learning to have confidence in my art and be fine with who I am. I make robots, and I love it.

Star Wars Inspired Bitty Bots.  They are available for adoption here.  

What are you currently working on in the studio?
I’m always working on different robots in my workshop. I usually have 2-3 in various stages of completion as I settle on just the right fit. I’m also working on one of my biggest projects yet—a dragon. His body is a cool vintage doll suitcase that will be covered with penny “scales.” I found a large aluminum bendy-pipe-thing in a ReStore shop (Habitat for Humanity store), and it is going to become a fantastic tail. I’m also contemplating umbrella wings so they can fold and unfold. It’s going to be epic . . . when it all comes together.

Hopes/dreams/future plans?
It’s simple. World Robot Domination.

Light up the night with this Airplane Night Light.  You can find it for sale here.

Wondering where you can find Rebecca?

Remnants by RJ
Rebecca Jackson
Instagram:   RemnantsbyRJ
Twitter:       RemnantsbyRJ


Thank you to Tania from Ivory Isis for putting this blog post together.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Easter has Come to Handmade In KC Group!

Hoppy Easter! Okay, so it is not for a few more days...okay, okay...weeks. But, hey, Handmade In KC group can be excited and ready, right?!  We are all buzzing with excitement and preparing wonderful gift items to fit into cute Easter baskets! Here is a very small collection of a few very unique, some one of a kind, perfect Easter basket sized, and handmade items made locally in the Kansas City area.
  Easter Gift as Sweet as Candy via @HandmadeInKc

Every single basket needs the fresh, handmade jam from Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen!! She creates the most original and yummy jams and jellies ever tasted. She uses locally sourced materials and strives to provide the freshest of flavors! My personal favorite are her beer jellies and this Merlot jam! Yum! 

Aunt Christ's Country Kitchen jam via @HandmadeInKc 

Easter is not Easter without a beautiful outfit. Handmade by LoloZ has amazing and darling handmade outfits for girls and women alike. My new favorite is this "Color Me fabric" Custom make a little girls outfit. How cool is that!?! She can make the fabric into a darling girls skirt or a pillow dress. Now she has not made an item from this amazing fabric (that I could find), so, here is the other favorite of mine within her shop: Big Bow Red skirt. Isn't the sweetest thing!?! Roll it up and tuck into a basket.

  Big Bow Red Skirt by HandmadebyLoloZ via @HandmadeInKc 

Every outfit deserves a beautiful hair flower from Violet's Buds. She hand crafts each item in her shop, with a beautiful eye for color and detail. Beside the beautiful Juicy Watermelon hair flower clip shown in the collage above, I love this delicate double pink flower rosette hair clip. These creation are perfect for any Easter celebration or to put in a gift basket. 

double pink rosette hair clip by Violet'sBuds via @HandmadeInKc 

The Little Wing Kc has created the cutest new style Teeny bunny ever! She is shown in the collage above, Annie the Teeny Bunny. She super adorable and looks so squeezable! And there is more than one Teeny Bunny available! EEp! She made a few boy bunnies, too! Look at Bradley Teeny bunny! He has the most adorable little bow tie! He is dressed for Easter and will snuggle into an Easter basket with ease.

  Bradley Teeny Bunny by LittlwWingKc vis @HandmadeInKc 

Every wife or Mother deserves some new bling to celebrate the holiday. Unravelled has some beautiful jewelry pieces and art work. I love the Punchy Orange and Green dangle earrings(shown in above collage) and the darling Glass and Chinese Crystal Double Strand bracelet. So unique, colorful, and perfectly sized for a basket or a gift box!

  Glass and Chinese Crystral Double Strand Braclet by Unravelled via @HandmadeInKc 

What is Easter with out a bunny? Kiser Krafts Handmade has the cutest, soft, one of kind, plush sock bunnies, sized perfect for small hands. Each bunny is hand sewn, stuffed with an ecofriendly polyfil mix, and is crafted with the utmost care. Phoebe Bunny (shown collage above) is purple pastel colored and has the most darling heart handmade yarn pompom tail! She also has in her shop many other amazing, small plush toys that would fit perfectly into an Easter basket, like this cute amigurumi pig!

  amigurumi pig plush by Kiser Krafts Handmade via @HandmadeInKc

We are so pleased to share a few of our wonderful, handmade, unique Easter basket ready creations with you! We hope your holiday is blessed and fun filled. Happy Easter printableposter via @HadnmadeInKc & @KKHandmade

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How Handmade in Kansas City Gives Back to the Community We Love


Devotion to our Kansas City community and beyond is something our Handmade in KC makers take to heart. Many of our artisans donate their time and goods to non-profit organizations, private donations, and fundraisers. By purchasing from these shops you are helping to further their philanthropic missions, as well as supporting your community. 

Hang Ups in KC has been in partnership with Literacy Kansas City for several years; a portion of the proceeds from their word inspired Literacy Kansas City Collection goes back to the local organization helping people over age 16 in our community gain literacy skills. 

Hang Ups also partners with Meyer Music and Fox4 for their Band of Angels project, donating instruments to children in the Kansas City area. A portion of proceeds from their Band of Angels Musical Instrument Jewelry Collection supports Band of Angel's mission.  You can also find their work at the Heartstrings & Art That Blows events (a GREAT time!). 

Ivory Isis donates 10% of proceeds to the Rime Center's Homeless Outreach project, providing bodhi bags containing food and other essentials to Kansas City's homeless citizens. Ivory Isis has also contributed items to fundraisers, including 102.7 KPGZ supporting community radio. 

Teeny Tears provides diapers, blankets, and hats to the smallest of our KC community and beyond. Their work provides bereavement diapers to hospital NICUs and bereavement support groups. Creations by M and J sews tiny flannel diapers and blankets to support Teeny Tears' very important, special mission. 

Stik A Pin In It and Pippa's Parchment  have contributed to our local KC community through adoption auctions and silent auctions to benefit school programs through local indie craft shows. Pippa's Parchment will also be donating specialty cookies to Relay for Life teams later this Spring.

Violet's Buds is looking forward to volunteering time with KC Pet Project and our sweet four legged KC citizens. Violet's Buds also donates to A Little Thunder, providing Comfort Boxes to grieving families at KU Med and beyond. 

The Emerging Artists program through Johnson County Developmental Supports provides an opportunity to earn money in an industry that is not typically an option for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. the little wing visits the art studio weekly to connect with artists and provide support/share in the artistic process. the little wing has also contributed items to local adoption fundraisers and online non profit auctions.

Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen  proudly donates to Camp Encourage in KC, where youth on the autism spectrum can grow socially, learn independence, and gain self esteem. Animals Best Friends, located in Independence and advocating for the humane treatment of shelter animals, receives contributions from Aunt Christy's as well. We love our furry friends!

Pop tabs purchased from the Ronald McDonald Houses of Kansas City are used by FabTabulous to create one of a kind, eco-friendly jewelry that benefits children and their families by giving them a comfortable home away from home while receiving medical treatments at local hospitals. 

Ni-Chern Designs has created a line of products from puzzle pieces themed fabric that benefits Kids TLC in Olathe. Kids TLC provides multiple services for children at risk in our communities, including music therapy, chaplaincy services, and nutrition/wellness education.

Handmade in Kansas City is proud to give back to the communities we love so much!

A big thank you to Jennifer from the little wing for creating this blog post!