Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Handmade in KC - Events in September

September is here and there is no shortage of great events all over the city!  This month is the perfect time to get out, enjoy the gorgeous weather and support local makers.  Handmade in Kansas City members have been busy creating a fresh supply of hand-crafted products and can be found at these festivals and shows.  Stop by their booths and say 'HI!"

September 8-9
Seller(s): Creations by M & J
Main Street, Belton, MO
Hours:  Friday, 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Saturday, 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
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September 9
Seller(s): Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen
Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W Pacific Ave, Independence, Missouri 64050
Hours:  Saturday, 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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September 9th
Seller(s): Ivory Isis
North Kansas City, MO
Hours:  Saturday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
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Seller(s): Creations by M & J
California, MO
Hours:  Saturday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
September 15 -17
Seller(s): Hang-Ups Jewelry Designs, Ni-Chern Designs, Lil Rhae
Johnson Farms
Belton, MO

Hours:  Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, Saturday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

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September 23
Seller(s): Creations by M & J, Ni-Chern Designs
Santa Fe Commons Park 8045 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS 66204
Hours:  Saturday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

September 30 - October 1
Seller(s):  The Little Wing, The Bot Connection
KC Pumpkin Patch, 13875 S Gardner Road, Olathe, Kansas 66061
Hours:  10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Care For Your Artist

There are a lot of posts out there that talk about the Arts and Artists--but very few of them address what it means to live with one, be with one or want to support one. And so, I took a moment and put together a list of things that I think can be helpful and good-to-know when dealing with an Artist in the Home or in their natural habitat, the Studio:

Listen to them
If they have a project idea, they will probably need to talk it through. It might be really manic, ranging from ‘this is the coolest idea ever” to “but it’ll never work because I suck” all in one session. Don’t try to fix it, dear listener, just listen and keep on listening. If they ask for your input, try to offer something. Please don’t give in to the “I’m not creative so I have nothing to offer” You sell yourself and your ideas short and you’re making a huge assumption. Sometimes artists need to hear a “non-artist” perspective on something so they can check it against their own ideas and concepts. It’s important.
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Showing their sketches is really scary
There’s a misconception that artists are making art to be seen and consumed by the public. And to some extent, they are. But sometimes they’re also just doodling their coffee cup. Or making random marks on the page with a new pencil. Or drawing a really crappy rendition of the flowers on the dining room table because they feel rusty and out of practice. By all means, look and support at our work but understand that just because someone is drawing or working in a sketchbook, doesn’t mean it’s a vanity piece. It doesn’t even mean it’s good. Or art. It could just be a doodle. And that’s OK. But please don’t seem disappointed when the big reveal is just a series of lines and hatch marks.  
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Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Artists love compliments as much as the next guy--sometimes it feels really good to have those kind words validated and backed up by an action, however. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy their work (though that would be nice, too) but more that if you care about someone’s work and feel they’re talented, show up for them. Go to their shows, be there to help take down work, figure out how to be a good resource for them when they can’t seem to get to the gallery AND the grocery store to grab snacks for a reception.
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The first rule of studio is don’t talk about studio
An artist’s studio is their place to be free and create stuff. Even if it’s not going to be their “legacy”. There’s a good chance that their work space is a mess. They know that and probably feel pretty bad for having a messy space to begin with. It’s also entirely possible that an artist’s studio is an homage to work they love, not necessarily their own. Opening the door to their space where they are supposed to be realizing all the expectations society has on them for choosing this absurd lifestyle can be pretty intimidating. Honor that space and let it be what it needs to--a place for them to create.
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Thank you Larissa from Unravelled for this week's post!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to School Fun - Recycled Crayons!

Thank you Tania from Ivory Isis for this great craft tutorial!

  • Old crayons, separated by color
  • Silicone star baking cups
  • Exacto knife (optional)
  • Remove the paper wrappers on all the crayons. I used an exacto knife for speed, but if you have children helping with this project it would be best to do it by hand.
  • Separate the crayons into color groups. Try throwing gold or silver pieces in with another color - this will put streaks of gold or silver throughout the other color. Play with your color combinations and see what happens.
  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut all the crayons into 1/2 inch to 1 inch pieces.
  • Place enough crayon pieces into each silicone cup so that the bottom is covered. Each cup will be filled about 1/3 of the way up.
  • Place the mold into the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.
  • When the crayons have melted completely, take them out of the oven. Set the mold on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then place in the freezer for another 15-25 minutes or until the crayons have re-solidified.
  • When the crayons are solid, gently push them out of each cup in the silicone mold.
Now you have brand "new" crayons! This is a very thrifty and fun craft!

These can be made before your kids go back to school, instead of buying new ones, use the old broken ones. Your kid is sure to have the coolest crayons in the class. These also make great gifts for children and adults alike.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How To Get Yourself Out Of A Jam!


So you are in your favorite grocery story and looking for that oh so yummy fruity goodness to go with your peanut butter sandwich.  You get to your favorite aisle and the confusion starts.  You see jelly, jam, preserves (wait, isn’t that jam?), conserves, fruit honeys, chutney, fruit curd, marmalade, and fruit butters. Your head explodes.  How do you make a choice??  Why can’t it be more simple?  Well, here ya go, sugar.  Your personal path to simplicity in the condiment aisle, courtesy of our very own jam and jelly queen, Christy Bean, the owner and maker at Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen.
JELLY is made with juice and is usually translucent, with no particles. It holds its shape nicely, yet it is soft enough to spread on toast.
JAM is made with crushed fruit and sugar. It is thicker than jelly, yet should be spreadable.
PRESERVES are made with whole fruit or chunks of fruit and are suspended in jelly.  They are great over cream cheese or ice cream, but should also be great on toast.  Or you can eat them right out of the jar, if you so desire!  
CONSERVES are made with dried fruit, sugar, and nuts.  They are typically very thick and can sometimes be made with spices or liquor.  They are great served with a meat and cheese tray, but are wonderful with a bagel and cream cheese.

FRUIT HONEYS are made with fruit juice and honey or sugar.  They can also be made with a fruit puree.  They are thick and very sticky, but can be spread like a true honey.
CHUTNEY is typically made with a combination of fruit and/or veggies, vinegar, spices, sugar and is usually used as a condiment.  However, some chutneys are sweet and are amazing over goat cheese or baked in a brie cheese. Chutney is usually thick and chunky.
FRUIT CURDS are made with fruit juice, eggs, and butter.  Curds are typically thick and creamy and very rich.  Very spreadable and smooth.
MARMALADE is jelly that is made with fruit rind and is typically made with citrus fruits.
FRUIT BUTTERS are made with pureed fruit and sugar, and can sometimes be made with spices.  The fruit is usually cooked down until it is soft and then it is pureed until it is smooth.  It is typically very thick, but spreadable.

So there you have it.  Your quest for the ideal fruity spread is over and the mystery is solved. Now go and use what you have learned. Make some great food!!

Thank you Christy for this great information!!!  Visit her website to find out more -  Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Meet the Maker - Scott Gipson, Gipson's Wand

Today, we get to know Scott from Gipson Wands!  GipsonWands makes Harry Potter inspired "Magic" wands, crochet hooks, carved bookmarks and other products including Wizarding Clue. All Wands are handmade from naturally dried locally sourced trees or salvaged lumber with a hand rubbed oil finish.

Q: What brought you to Kansas City? A: I'm a Kc native, born and raised. Went to school here till college at UCM (CMSU at the time) where I got my Fine Arts Degree.
Q: What makes you stay? A: I actually really like it here, it’s a big town with a small town feel. Plus my immediate family are all still here. I love my day job.
Q: Original career plan? A: I got a BFA with an emphasis on graphic design in College, I’ve always been an Artistic person.
Q: What do you make and when did you start? A: Around 2004 the city did some tree work on my Sycamore and since I have a fireplace I asked to keep the wood to burn. I wasn't thinking about wood work at the time but I was a pretty big Harry Potter fan and wanted my own wand. They sell these Resin cast replicas online but that's not what I wanted. I only had hand tools at the time so I literally whittled down this large sycamore log to make a wand for myself. That led to me making wands for my family members out of other local woods. Eventually someone told me that I should be selling them... It was all by hand in the beginning. It wasn't until (2008) I inherited my Grandfather's lathe that it really started taking off.

Wizarding Clue 
Q: Tell me about your creative process, what is your inspiration? A: This is going to sound super corny. I hardly ever have a plan for a wand in the beginning. I select a wand blank put it on my lathe and let it tell me what it wants to be.

Q: Hardest lesson learned? A: When I first started I was doing 100% custom wands, I had no social media, and my own website that I built myself, looking back, not a great business model. Since I didn't have that big of a back catalog it was really hard for customers to tell if I could do what they wanted and I had no way to direct people to my work. My first year I had 1 person buy a wand which is amazing because they just found me via Google or something. I didn't give up. I shifted models and just started making wands to list. Just E-bay listings at first, then added Facebook, Storenvy, Twitter, Instagram, craft shows.

Crochet Hook

Q: What motivates you to keep going when things get tough? A: I've had some dry spells, where nothing was selling. It was discouraging for sure. I didn't take it to heart because I believed in what I was doing, using only local sourced or salvaged lumber. I diversified what I sold, added more wood types, hoop art, art prints, key chains, and bookmarks.
Q: What are you currently working on in the studio? A: I got a Comic Con coming and there's always a stack of wood that needs milled into wand blanks. Comic Con is a huge motivation though, last year was my first and I loved it.

Support and Share on social media
Gipson Wands: Facebook - Twitter - Online Shop

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Father’s Day Is Around the Bend

Men can be particularly hard to buy for, so I have included a few fun gift ideas for guys for this upcoming Father’s Day on June 18th.
Tater the Triceratops from Remnants by RJ
This unlikely to go extinct bot would make a lovely desk buddy. Grab him here!

Tshirt Memory Pillows from Strawberry Auburn
Have a memory of a great time with dad, but the shirt is worn out and about to be thrown away? Take one of those special shirts and make it into a memory pillow for him, and share that memory with him! You can get this done through Strawberry Auburn here.

Ni-Chern Designs Badge Holders and Dog Collars
Does dad need a new badge holder or collar for his best friend? Visit Ni-Chern Designs and pick from a ton of different designs in her shop.
For instance, this NCAA Badge Holder, available here
Or this red plaid dog collar, available here.
Gipson Wands Wizarding Clue
Is Dad a Harry Potter fan?  Want a new game for the whole family to enjoy? Check out Gipson Wands Wizarding Clue.
Hang-Ups Jewelry Designs Trumpet Key Money Clip
Is Dad a musician or did he used to play an instrument?  Grab this gold-tone trumpet key money clip!
X37 Adventures KC Crown Tee
Does the man of the house love the Royals or love Kansas City? Check out this KC Crown Tee!

Thank you Tania from Ivory Isis for this week's post!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kelly's Summer Favorites!

Hello! It is me, Kelly, of Kiser Krafts Handmade here to share my new favorites from some new members, as some of my old time favorites, from the amazing Handmade In Kansas City group of indie makers. It is so nice to be part an ever growing and changing group of artisans. Are you a Kansas City Maker looking for a group to help you learn and grow (even occasionally hang out)? Visit the groups amazing Facebook Page and Website to find out more details on how to join!

Here are my latest favorites.
Ni-Chern creates the coolest dog collars, like this adorable watermelon one. And she has join forces with the ever talented, Melanie, of Violet Buds, to create the cutest flowers to add to the dog collars! How cool is that! Your furry pup can dress up!

Hang Up Jewelry Designs creates SO many wonderful jewelry pieces there are times it is hard to choose! But I have fallen in love with this beauty "Here Flowers Bloom so does Hope" bracelet.

Ivory Isis has so many beautiful pieces too. It was really hard to choose one to focus on. But I kept coming back to this Rapunzel Enchantment Key Hole Necklace.

LilRhae is a new member of the group and she creates the cutest upcycled little girls dresses. I fell in love with this green dress on with my favorite Dr. Sesus quote. "There is No one alive that is Youer than You." It is so sweet.

And finally, no post would be complete without Gipson Wands. Becuase his shop is full of "magic"! My favorites are his amazing crochet hooks but I just finished watching the Harry Potter movies series and this beautiful Black Cherry Wand is wonderful! I feel like it is calling my name. They say "The wand chooses the wizard." I may need to hop on my virtual broomstick and fly over to the "wand shop" to see more about it.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Vlogging Tips!

We were talking with some of our other maker friends about YouTube and making videos and that has led me to write about how to make your first video for you tube. The best part of YouTube is that anyone can be on it! You don't need to have a fancy camera or a small crew to make a video, you can make one with just your smart phone!

The tools you need are simple,
  • something to record video with, a smart phone, or any kind of digital camera will work best. but keep the video quality at the best you can do. 
  • a tripod of some sort, the video should be as still a possible and a tripod keeps the camera stable and frees up your hands to film and make at the same time. 
  • a script to follow - while this might not seem like a tool, it is! Having even a basic outline will save you time filming and editing. 
  • a video editing app or software (don't worry there are lots of free apps!)
  • whatever tools and supplies you will need for the subject of your video
Extra tools that you might want but don't need
  • an extra light source
  • a microphone - this can be a simple as the microphone on your headphones, just make sure to keep it close to your body and that it isn't getting muffled 
  • a sheet to act as a backdrop 
First thing you should do is write up your script outline and plan out what your video will entail. 
This could be you demonstrating the things you make, or even a vlog style video where you talk about what you make, how you make them, or other topics related to what you make. 

Next set up where you are going to film. This should be in a place with the best lighting; usually near a window with natural light coming in. This light should not be to bright, diffused light is the best. if you don't have access to a good amount of window light, Christmas lights or string lights are good to use to add some extra light in. You want to have a set up similar to the one below to avoid any harsh shadows, but there is no need to go out and buy studio lights-  just play around with lamps, or lights of any kind. And don't forgot that a window acts as a light so you might only need a window and a lamp. 

Next, dress your set. This makes sure the focus is on you and the subject for the video rather than on what is in the background. If you need inspiration just go on YouTube and look at what others are doing, or make your own.  Just remember that the background should be clean and organized. 

Next give the shots you want to use a trial run and feel free to practice enough to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Some shots to start out with are a torso and up shot for introducing your video and yourself. Then, an over the shoulder shot  to show what you are doing, If there are any small details, feel free to get a close up. 

Some helpful tips to make your video the best it can be. 
  • Talk slowly and clearly
  • Breathe! Don't forgot to take a pause before and after starting a sentence, it will help with editing later
  • Watch those filler words (our favorite here at X37 is so...)
  • Repeat a line as many times as you need, you can always cut out the bad takes later
  • As well as talking slow, make your movements slower than what feels natural, give the viewer time to watch what you are doing
  • Go ahead and make those mistakes, they will teach you so much more than the parts that are ok. This is your first video just have fun!
  • Crank up that personality! It's going to feel weird talking to just a camera and that tends to make people talk softer. 
  • Don't forgot to start the video with an introduction and end with a sign off. Let people know where to follow you on social media and where they can buy your products
Next you will be editing the video you filmed. You can find a bunch of different editing software online some of it for free or there a lot of apps to edit with.  Click the image for a link to some of the most used ones. Feel free to try a few out and see what feels right. 

Keep your transitions simple, no need to fancy fades or sin in or outs, a simple jump cut (when you quickly cut from one clip to the next with out a transition) will work fine. If you have never edited video before, give yourself time to learn and make mistakes. The one thing you want to keep in mind is that the audio is very important, if the sound is off or muffled the video will be hard to watch. 

Even if you don't plan to have a weekly video channel this is something that can be used to promote your work! More and more platforms are adding video to their sites

If you need help or advice, then stop on by X37 Adventures on any social media, and we will be happy to help. also go check out the handmade in KC Facebook and website for more awesome makers to learn from. 

happy vlogging 
The X37 A-Team

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Meet the Maker: Lil Rhae


Meet Jai, the newest member of Handmade in Kansas City!  She is the owner and maker at Lil Rhae, where she creates uniquely upcycled clothing and accessories for kids. Jai was introduced to Handmade in Kansas City by her good friend, Nicole, who also happens to be our founder.  She loved the thought of being part of a group of makers.  There is camaraderie, synergy, and creativity within the group and Jai thinks it is great (thanks, Jai!  We love it, too!!)
Born and raised in Kansas City, Jai left to attend college in Texas, then moved back to attend The University of MIssouri in Columbia for graduate school. She loves how Kansas City has so much big-city culture, but at the same time, hangs onto its small-town feel. She also thinks the Kansas City community is great and she also loves the food!
Jai started her business in 2006, and initially began sewing and knitting women’s apparel.  After the birth of her eldest son, she started experimenting with children’s clothing.  The first piece she made was a birthday shirt for a friend’s son. People liked it, and soon others were asking her to do the same. Hence, Lil Rhae was born! Rhae is short for Rhaeva, Jai’s middle name, and she added “Lil” when she began making clothing and accessories for children.

To create her products, Jai scours thrift stores for great t-shirts, then cuts them apart to give them new life. Each piece she makes is one of a kind, and a lot of herself goes into everything I create. She spends a lot of time thinking about a garment before she ever sits down at her sewing machine. She plans it out in her head first, and then she starts cutting apart t-shirts. Designing is the most involved part of her creative process. She likes to play with the colors and designs on the shirts. She also likes mixing textures. She loves the idea of putting images upside down or off center…anything unexpected. It takes a while, and she usually ends up with a huge pile of t-shirt scraps on her cutting table. When she is finally happy with the finished design, she sits down to sew. She is inspired by color, texture, watching her kids play, anything bohemian, and the Kansas City Royals! Her latest creation is an upcycled princess-themed dress that she made for a friend's daughter's 5th birthday. It was so much fun that she decided to make more. She currently has a stack of pink, sparkly thrifted tees waiting to be repurposed.
Being a creative and an entrepreneur is tough , at times, especially when you are trying to raise a family.  Jai finds that creating is very rewarding, but when she is finding it difficult to find balance between her business and her family life, she knows she has to remind herself of what is most important.  And she has learned that it is okay to say no sometimes, and to hold true to her vision for her life and her business.
Jai’s hopes and dreams for the future?  She wants to keep creating! She is also excited about bringing LIl' Rhae more into the social justice sphere. Like human trafficking.  She is passionate about seeing it brought to an end. A couple of months ago, she created what she called the HOPE dress. It was a dress created entirely from her scrap pile. She loved the idea of taking pieces of fabric that would normally be considered scrap and making them into a beautiful whole. The entire purchase price of the dress went toward an anti-trafficking organization. She wants to do more of that. One of her goals is to auction off more HOPE dresses.

Want to see what Jai is creating for Lil Rhae?  Go to or check out her Facebook page,
Thank you Christy (Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen) for this putting together this week's post!