Wednesday, March 31, 2010

collections: with fleurfatale

I just love seeing what folks are collecting. I guess I feel it tells us just a little bit about what inspires them, what they love, and what they choose to surround themselves with in their homes. Today, I'm delighted to present the next in an ongoing series here & on Etsy's Blog: The Collectors. Check out the whole series here on the rikrak studio, it's 11 and a half quick questions with a wonderful artist on what they're collecting (apart from their art supplies!)

{you can check out the article on Etsy's *the storque* blog, here and be sure to leave a cheer y hello for the fleurfatale!}


Gosh. I just adore a great story. And I love the tales behind handmade collections: the where did it come from; the how did it begin.

You know the kind of fables I mean: a collection story that can capture our imaginations with riveting plotlines, exotic scenery, inspiring characters, all the while allowing us to escape into another world, if just for a few minutes! Now that’s a good story in my book.

Such is certainly the case with today’s beautiful handmade hats and shoes collection. Talented Belgian Etsy designer fleurfatale began her collection while on a journey to adopt a child on another continent. Each piece she gathers tells its own important tale within her inspiring and amazing life story.


Who (are you): My name is Greet Tanghe and my Etsy shop is fleurfatale.

What (are you collecting): Handmade Asian tribal children’s hats and tribal baby shoes.

When (did you start): I bought the first back in 1998 in the mountain hills of North Vietnam when I went to Hanoi for the adoption of my eldest child, Maia. 

How (many do you have?): Not too many, as you only find them here in Europe in antique shops and they are quite expensive! 


Where (do you find them):
I brought some from Vietnam, friends bring them from their travels and my brother (who is married to a Chinese woman and lives in Beijing) gives me the Chinese ones. 

Where (do you keep them): They travel around my house, changing with the seasons and my mood —
sometimes I expose just one, sometimes more, in combination with my other thrifted finds.

What (‘s an interesting story behind one): I like the traditional Chinese belief behind the tiger hats and shoes: Chinese parents believe that these tigers protect the little babies and kids from any danger.

What (piece would you like to add): I saw some very cute antique tiger boots in a shop in Bruges, but they were very expensive!

Why (do you love them): I was touched by the beautiful handiwork of the women in the hill tribe Hmong (North Vietnam), from which my daughter originates. I love the embroidery, the lively colors, the use of fabric scraps and thrown away materials. 


Which (one is your favourite) & why: The hat with the bells and the blue cat shoes with embroidery on the bottom. 

What (else do you collect): I also collect vintage buttons, miniature teapots, vintage wallpaper and all kind of vintage findings that I can reuse in my jewelry work.


Thanks so very much for sharing your wonderful story, fleurfatale. Like her beautiful collection, fleurfatale’s own fabled handmade jewelry boutique captures our imaginations, each piece telling a story rich in whimsical artistry. Be sure to visit her inspiring blog for a delightful trip into her world. I'm such a fan!

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yessireebob! you nicies sure love that *bunny with a toolbelt!* ... i knew you would! yay!
thanks to everyone who entered her wonderful giveaway here. so many of you mentioned the shop being a longtime fave! so nice!

we have a lucky winner! congratulations #97! .... mk illustrations!

what an adorable site! just take a peek at her supersweet illustrations for all occassions! wonderful work, mk!

and just a little public service announcement: the first # chosen was actually for an entry that didn't link to a site or email or anyway to contact the winner! so please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if your *name* doesn't link to one! thanks! :) just don't want folks to miss out!

---> and here's the latest rikrak studio giveaway --->
fabulous felt kiddie shoes from lala!shoes!
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

playlists & a giveaway: with LaLa! Shoes

i just love a great playlist. i think it stems back to those glorious mixed tapes days where i'd either make, sometimes receive and always always covet a fabulous collection of tunes by various great artists! for me, a personal playlist is a magical grouping of songs. *bliss!* ... so i've asked some wonderful artists if they'd make up a little playlist on a theme for this new rikrak studio series. i thought we might get a glimpse into what musically inspires these fabulous folks... i'm thrilled to present the next: playlists with lalashoes! and check out the other great playlists here.


i'm smitten.
i'm just enamoured with the beautiful, colourful, whimsical, etheral world that talented footwear artist Daria of LaLa! Shoes creates with her amazing linen & felt home shoes.

a visit to her boutique and i'm whisked away to a home that is vivid and filled with all the right kinds of energy for the kiddies in our lives: wool felt baby shoes in the most luscious colour-combos!
and beside them in the shop, women's home shoes in delightful linens that evoke that well-balanced, blissfully content, healthy & happy woman inside each of us.


wouldn't these be fabulous mother's day gifts? or birthday gifts for a dear friend? or a pair for yourself? how about a baby pair for the wee ones! so sweet!

as a medallist in the handmade olympics, i was thrilled to see world sharing my complete adoration for the style and panache of LaLaShoes! her unique shoes and slippers are, for me, simply perfect. read on for your amazing chance to WIN a pair! woohoo!

and i thought you all might like a little glimpse into the music behind the artistic footworks that are *designed with passion & sewn with care!*


dj: la la shoes
playlist theme: a mix of the songs I love.


Esbjörn Svensson Trio - From Gagarin's Point of View
One of my favourite pieces by EST - I really feel like floating in space. It's wistful & very calming.


2. The Pixies -
Where is my mind? & Hey
Ha! The whole Band! It was so difficult to choose! Sorry, must be at least 2 songs!
Energizing! They scream when I'm not allowed to!


Radiohead - 2+2=5 & Knives out & Paranoid Android
Again - I could just write - Radiohead "All & Everything".
I could listen to them any time!


Miles Davis - Generique / from L'Ascenseur pour l'échafaud
So good, so sad.


5. Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World
This makes me remember Sundays of my childhood - my father used to wake us up with Armstrong on Sundays. Makes me feel sunny and optimistic. Found a funny performance!


Cannonball Adderley feat. Miles Davis - Autumn Leaves
I could listen to jazz all the time - good for everything. Working, reading, cooking, just listening. The genre I enjoy the most.


The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five

Excellent to start the day!


8. Massive Attack - Karmacoma
Haha, the sexy song :) I found this interesting performance.
Makes me feel powerful. And very focused.


The Shins - Sleeping Lessons

Incredibly cheerful - it's like a huge vitamins shot! Fantastic to match colours for the shoes!


Cinematic Orchestra - The Man With The Movie Camera
Keeps me focused.


11. Etta James - At Last
I always stop when I hear this song. I can't think or work. Absolutely mesmerizing.


12. Gershwin plays Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue

Makes me smile. I used to listen it from an old gramophone we had,
head down in the armchair.


13. Bonobo -
Days to Come

Excellent for long working hours! Keeps me focused.

Paris Combo - Fibre de verre
Just hyper! Like me, sometimes.

Dionysos - La Mécanique du Coeur
Our first band together- the funniest thing is that we discover a new French word each time we listen to them, and then feel so proud :) (still learning French!)


In Daria's words: So hard to make such a short playlist :)

My husband and I both work from home - so we listen to music all the time. He's our DJ! We rarely mix different artists when listening, we almost always play full albums. It gives me rhythm when working, knowing which song is next and staying in one mood for at least 45 minutes.

Sometimes we listen to calm music the whole day, but sometimes we put an "energizing" album on to wake us up! Most of the time music just keeps in tune with the ongoing mood - up, down, calm, screaming, cheerful.
It has a great impact on me - one of the most important things in my life, I remember periods of my life by some albums or songs. Well, who doesn't? I enjoy silence, but can't imagine a day without music (especially if it's a working day).


wonderful stuff! thanks so much for such a fabulous playlist, nicey!
love it!
and now... the moment you've been waiting for...
an amazing giveaway from LaLaShoes!

that's right! one lucky rikrak studio reader
will win
a pair of
Pop! Stars shoes

in green, size 18-24 months / EU size 22.

a $52.00 value!

{ the details: They're made of thicker pure wool felt (Oeko-Tex Standard 100% certified) and have 3mm thick soles and eco-leather (leather substitute) no-skid undersoles.}

eep! they're so fantastically sweet! yay!
perfect for spring indoors! yay!

here's how to enter the giveaway!

1. go visit the wonderful LaLa! Shoes shop!
... take a look around ... come back here and leave a comment in this post about your favourite goodie from her shop & why you love it!= 1 entry

leave us a comment about a song you love to listen to all the time!

... = 1 entry

3. visit Daria's vibrant flickr photosteam & add her as a contact.
come back here & tell us.

... = 1 entry.

4. follow LaLa! Shoes on twitter @lalamonde . Come back here and tell us about it!
... 1 entry

5. tweet on
about this giveaway and leave us a link to it in a separate comment here. please be sure to include @therikrakshop so i can find you! :) = 1 more possible entry.

6. blog about this giveaway and leave us a link to it in a separate comment here.
= 1 more possible entry

7. follow or subscribe to the rikrak studio blog
and leave me a comment here telling us that you do! = 1 more possible entry.

each entry must be it's own comment.
thanks! ::

:: RULES ::
a) it is possible to have a maximum of 7 entries total per person.
b) please make sure to leave each entry as it's own comment. thanks!
c) using, 1 winner of the LaLa!Shoes giveaway will be chosen on wednesday april 7th @ 9pm EST.
d) please be sure to leave me an email where i can reach you if your account doesn't link to one. thanks.


have a fabulously vivid day, nicies!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

earth hour: the followup!

kudos to the millions of folks who participated in earth hour this past saturday night! as promised, here's a round up of what some handmaking lovelies were doing to celebrate! thanks to everyone who wrote in, emailed me, tweeted and more! {& don't forget to upload your pics to the earth hour 2010 flickr group so the world can see!}

* simply inviting was going to try making her handmade papers by candlelight for the first time! how'd it go, jen? {photo #1}

* string me along looked forward to their annual Earth Hour Crazy Eights tournament by candlelight! hope you won, carol! ;) {photo #9}

* Lil Fish studios had (wisely!) taught her kiddies about nocturnal creatures and was going to sit outside and watch deer and flying squirrels! {photo #4}

* alex keller and the family looked forward to flashlight tag in the dark! {photo #3}

* ridleyworks was looking forward to making a cup of cocoa and sitting under a blanket! {photo #10}

* charlotte hupfield was off to find paper lanterns to add to her festivies for the night! {photo #8}

*jo annie was planning a candle party birthday dinner at her place!

* Luv2Have was looking forward to some cuddling candle time after their little guy went to bed! {photo #6} ... yay cuddling!

* Sewn Natural looked forward to singing & drumming with her little one! {photo #7}

* mchen promised all power would be off at her place for earth hour, as she'd be at an arena playing in a hockey play-off game! {so she happily bumped her earth hour to another day!} {photo #2}

* tara m. looked forward to her singing circle's annual earth hour song circle by candlelight!

* rosy und posy decorated luminary jars with the kids! {photo #11}

* holly gems thought they'd do the dishes & read the kiddies their bedtime stories by candlelight! {photo #12}

* squid planned to look at the stars. {photo #5}

* denny was off camping. no electricity. no tv. no computers! yay!


wonderful stuff, handmakers!
love it all.
happy mindful monday, nicies!
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Friday, March 26, 2010

super sleuths!

over here.
rikrak studio readers: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to ALL
quit your day jobs and become sleuths!

that's right! hang up your 9-to-5 hats and cloak yourselves in fashionable spy-ware and
gosh ... embrace that inner detective!

last week i challenged you to uncover which fun celebrities were behind the 8 autographs i gave you! fantastic figuring out, nicies!

the results are:

1 Sofia Coppola - famous director
2 President Barack Obama - famous politician

3 Bono - famous musician

4 Margaret Atwood - famous writer

5 Audrey Hepburn - famous movie star

6 Sidney Crosby - famous athlete

7 Oprah Winfrey - famous host

i thought a couple were legible, and the others totally not (like my own wonderfully messy, impossible-for-even-me-to-read handwriting!) but wow - you nicies guessed 'em!

as promised, this challenge's super sleuths are (with a mini-feature!) ...

supersleuth #1: Cinnamon Breeze is a sweet little shop that mixes housewares, accessories and fun vintage finds! love these typography-adoring coasters of hers in this sweet little pouch! and over on her lovely blog, i know you'll enjoy her wonderful articles, such as her sherlock-inspired (yay sleuths!) nostalgia posts!


supersleuth #2: ulixis - she's a wonderful artist & scientist who can now add *supersleuth* to her credentials! visit amanda's lovely shops for jewelry for all occasions , paper creations & sewn sweeties! she's a real nicey and i just love her superfinds she posts on her lovely blog, too.


supersleuth #3: pulp & paisley: ahhh... a little visit to the shop of pulp & paisley and you know she's a kindred supersleuth spirit: a wonderful love of discovering prints and textures and patterns; an avid thrifter, mommy, sunday-afternooner. love it! (and she lives in one of my fave parts of ontario: prince edward county - yay sandbanks!) ... be sure to check out her lovely jewelry collections, and follow her fun tweets here.

and supersleuth #4: L'ubasa! congrats on figuring them all out, too, nicey! she's such a great sleuth that she keeps all of her links hidden! wise to do, spy genius!


and yes... as in all things, i learned a good lesson myself.
folks suggested that next time i have you email me your answers. good thinking. i thought by having folks post here it'd be more likely we'd all participate. but i can appreciate that once some guesses were up - it was awkward repeating. so thanks for the suggestions!

live and learn. learn and live!

that's what sleuths need to do!

thanks to everyone who played.
and look for another fun challenge next week.
til then ...
1) don't forget to enter the *bunny with a toolbelt* giveaway.
2) send me your eco-friendly submission ideas.

have a weekend filled with figuring-out, uncovering great stuff, and super sleuthing!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

call for submissions!

plush aqua sky ball by bubbletime


are you an eco-friendly handmaker or eco-friendly vintage shop or eco-friendly focused blog?
would you be interested in having a rikrak studio stand-alone feature on your fabulous work?
would you like to offer my lovely readers a fabulous prize pack from your shop or ad spot on your blog as a giveaway?

if you answered yes to all of these questions, i'd love to hear from you!
i'm looking for a few fabulous folks to feature in an upcoming eco-friendly rikrak studio event.

if you're interested, please submit the following to me in the next few days. i will be choosing 5 eco shops to feature for this particular event, but i'm always interested in seeing your lovely shops!

please email me the following to ---> rikrakmail@yahoo (dot) com
1. please put ECO FRIENDLY as the title of your message.
2. your shop name & link to your shop
3. what eco friendly goodies you make/sell.
4. what makes your works or blog eco-friendly (i.e. repurposed, recycled, for reuse, etc)
5. are you keen to offer a giveaway of at least a $40 value. (in the case of a blog, ad spot(s).)

if chosen, i look forward to working with you on the interview/feature and what we'll offer for the giveaway from your lovely shop! yay!

specifically - i'm looking to feature:
* 5 different styles of shops, some offering goods for the home, clothing makers, something for kids, etc.
* i'm looking for shops with amazing items, great photos and a super eco-friendly vibe!
* i'm looking for items to giveaway that are spring & summer inspired!
so tell your eco-friendly making friends, too!

i'll let folks know, via email, the results by the end of next week.

thanks so much to anyone who applies!
and go eco!
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

handmaking change: what are you doing for earth hour?

okay creative handmakers!
it's global earth hour on saturday march 27th @ 8:30 pm.
are you in?

the premise is, for me, super & simple: wherever we live, let's all turn off our lights for one hour to show our support against climate change.

this year over 120 countries will officially participate. and while we all know EVERY hour is a good hour to help the earth, i think the power of all at once working together on change is a great idea! check out the earth hour site for listings of great things going on in your part of the world & great ideas for earth hour, and follow the official tweets here.

last year i asked what you wonderful nicies did/planned to do for earth hour.
the responses were fantastic!

so let's share again!
participating in earth hour? HOW?
having a candlelit party with family?
attending a vigil with folks in your town or city?
taking a chance to enjoy the light-free quiet?

let's show the world what HANDMAKERS can do for change!
tell me here and on monday i'll feature as many of you as i can!

and take a picture during earth hour if you can! and add the links here!
i'll try to include them, too!

and just to get you inspired.... i thought all of you crafty superstars out there would LOVE this fun earth hour ad... yay to repurposing and handmaking!} THAT SONG's kept me dancing for weeks now! love it!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

greatest hits & a giveaway: by bunny with a toolbelt!

what inspires you artistically & creatively? what would those inspirations look like visually? in this fun series, (please see the others here) ... i’ve invited some wonderful artists to share with us 4 images of inspiration in their artistic life, something of an interview in images! the guidelines were basically this: choose 4 visuals (something like your creative-stimuli *greatest hits!*) that you feel most inspires & expresses your art or craft today. for some, it might be a person, place or thing; a material; a pattern; a colour; a sound or song, etc. it might be a photograph, a drawing, a scan, etc. i’ve tried to leave it a bit open-ended so that we might better glimpse into these artists' motivations and their amazing, raw talent! today i’m delighted to present the next in the series : greatest hits with bunny with a toolbelt and a GIVEAWAY, too!

need a little pick-me-up?
ready for spring?
in need of an instant party & lots of smiling?
ready to be inspired?

me too!

welcome to the wonderful, whimsical world of bunny with a toolbelt.

just a few moments spent gliding thru artist Hilary Pfeifer's magical worlds and i know you'll be transported ... to a delightful and wonderful place!
i've been a longtime fan of this handmaking genius, and as a gold medal winner in the handmade olympics, i was delighted to see the grand enthusiasm the world has for her innovative work, especially those fabulous *instant party* creations! { read on to see how YOU can WIN one, woohoo!}

her etsy boutique is filled with her upcycled wood masterpieces: delightful characters of all shapes and colours ready to cheer any day! custom wedding toppers, grinning sweeties for all occassions, something to light up your desk or windowsill or heck.. just life in general!

and in case you, like me, can't get enough of her delightful visions, take a little break and travel to her pretty worlds
here, her vivid worlds here, and her lovely words here

and now... let's see what's inspiring Hilary... her 4 images ....


1. I have always been enamored with the diverse work of Alexander Calder. From his huge stabiles and mobiles to his mid-century modern jewelery to the circus he created for his grandchildren, he really was the best artist of the 20th century in my book.

2. The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover

This album came out the year I was born and it fascinated me as a child. I know this image led to my love of collage. When I was a child, I emulated this image many times with magazines, now I think of my mixed media sculpture as a 3-d collage in many ways.


3. I have had this image on my wall for over two decades--I got it from a National Geographic. The way I remember the story went was that the issue was about covered bridges or something like that. The photographer on that assignment had just spent a bunch of time taking pictures of something upriver, and then they turned around and saw this man who had been working on this project for hours. It makes me think of so many things: building work from multiple components, being contemplative in nature, and finding ways to be creative with what you have on hand.


4. Making people smile or laugh when they see my work is part of my mission, so I spend a lot of time looking at Japanese Kawaii culture! When I was a little girl, I loved Hello Kitty, but now I'm leaning more toward the cool stylings of Afro Ken.


wow. amazing!
thanks so much, hilary!
and now... you can own your very own CUSTOM bunny with a toolbelt original!
yipppee!! that's right, one lucky rikrak studio reader will win an *Oh Happy Day* bird and elephant ... and the winner can pick what colour bird they want on it's back! woohoo!

here's how to enter the giveaway!

1. go visit the wonderful bunny with a toolbelt shop!
... take a look around ... come back here and leave a comment in this post about your favourite fun goodie from her shop & why you love it!= 1 entry

leave us a comment about what makes you smile!

... = 1 entry

3. visit Hilary's fine arts site here.
take a peek at her amazing art exhibitions and come back here to tell us your fave!

... = 1 entry.

4. tweet on twitter
about this giveaway and leave us a link to it in a separate comment here. please be sure to include @therikrakshop so i can find you! :) = 1 more possible entry.

5. blog about this giveaway and leave us a link to it in a separate comment here.= 1 more possible entry

6. follow or subscribe to the rikrak studio blog
and leave me a comment here telling us that you do! = 1 more possible entry.

each entry must be it's own comment.. thanks! ::

:: RULES ::
a) it is possible to have a maximum of 6 entries total per person.
b) please make sure to leave each entry as it's own comment. thanks!
c) using, 1 winner of the Bunny with a Toolbelt giveaway will be chosen on tuesday march 30th @ 9pm EST.
d) please be sure to leave me an email where i can reach you if your account doesn't link to one. thanks.


have a fabulous day, nicies!

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