Friday, March 30, 2012

earth hour 2012

 { the handmade earth hour }
 white taper candle photograph by pretty petal studio
be the change you wish to see in the world by colorbee
eccentric wall clock by basta collection
earth hour 2012 by the wwf
globe photograph by bird and bloke
juncea air plant by airyobsessions
paper lanterns photograph by sixthandmain


it's earth hour tomorrow night {march 31st}, sweeties.
a world-wide pledge to turn off our lights for just 60 minutes. over 131 countries will join in on the darkness.
how will you be celebrating in the dark?

i'd love to hear. {i look for creative lovelies to include in my earth hour followup post every year!} 
our family's looking forward to participating in the fabulous toronto earth hour celebration (with the funfun choir choir choir in the distillery district! see you there?!) 

have a wonderful, energy-restoring weekend lovelies.
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

the verdict: "not-so-good"

oh dear. 

folks had a nice spectrum-o-choices. and "not-so-good" won by a landslide!

so what helps when you have a bad day?
how do you turn it around for the next? or do you prefer to wallow in it a wee bit to appreciate all those good days?

what if you can't shake the bad days?  leave us your wise advice below and we'll all look forward to sharing.

AND... how do you best help others when they're having a rough time? 

let's collaborate, nicies!
hope today's a MUCH better day for everyone! 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

how are you feeling?

 i feel good screenprint by coniLab


how are you feeling today, nicies?


click to tell us.
(thought a snapshot of the day might be fun!)
& if you're up for it - tell us WHY, too!

{and if you're any less than GREAT - here's hoping tomorrow's better & better!}

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

artists 101: architect shigeru ban



who's your favourite architect these days, nicies?

a brilliant, innovative & award-winning architect, shigeru ban's  reknowned works include the most fabulous permanent paper structures made from inexpensive, recycled materials like paper-board & tubes of cardboard. (i can't stop leafing thru the latest book: shigeru ban: paper in architecture! eegadz his work is amazing!) while he works in many medium, i'm especially in love with the paper delights!

and just incase that wasn't enough to love, his amazing designs for prefab emergency housing, shelters, schools (even churches!)  have been adopted by the united nations for numerous emergencies around the globe. and he's the founder of VAN ( the voluntary architects network!)

brilliant & ethical & functional.



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Monday, March 26, 2012

family music night: a super fun DIY project to try

gramophone art print by PragyaK

we've got a fun new tradition at the rikrak family home!
thanks to my talented brother's great idea & great organizing. we're having bi-monthly family music nights.

it's superfun. super-encouraging & super-easy to DIY!
it's a little like a family talent show, on a regular basis.

now i was so lucky to grow up in a fabulously fun musical family (i know that's not always the way!) and whenever aunts & uncles came to visit from afar there would always be nights of singing and playing and a whole lot of family-sing-song fun!

but whether that's in YOUR past or not, i kinda think family music nights could be something fun for EVERY FAMILY! here's why: 

- it gives everyone in the family a chance to come together. and sing and play and SHINE! regardless of ability or what kind of music you listen to!

- AND it gives us all a deadline to WORK on fun new projects! (you know how having a deadline can help give us the *PUSH* we all need to learn/try/make something new!)

- it's a FABULOUS way to bring generations together! 

- AND need an incentive for your cute kiddies to get practicing their instrument of choice? setting a music night date works like a charm! 

- AND isn't it a great lesson for our kiddies to see us as the adults working on something new? see us practicing? see how we handle it? for certain!

- a wee bit nervous to perform on your own? it's a great way for folks to work together on fun duets, trios and more!

- let's be honest - music brings us together, nicies! enough said!

here's how to do it!: 

what you need: 
- a fun family, or fun friends (no actual musical talent needed - just a LOVE of music!) 

- before you even start, commit to having more than just ONE family music night! that way the pressure is off, you can try something else new the next time! try to commit for at least a few!

- a casual atmosphere - in the living room, around the kitchen table, snacks & treats to munch on.

important: set the date well in advance so everyone has time to work on what they'll play/sing/write/dance to!

how to:
-gather guests on the chosen evening or afternoon!

-be fun and casual

-everyone gets a chance (or two!) to do something musical and fun they've prepped! can't play or sing? well i bet you have a great SONG you can share: just push PLAY on the ipod & have everyone listen! ... at the end, everyone can play and sing together, improv style!

- have fun!

okay - that's it!

case in point: 
the first round, i'll admit - everyone was a wee bit nervous at the rikrak home (even though we're all family - of course everyone wants to do their best!) but it was SUPERFUN! there were great duets and fun jamming and a whole lot of sing-a-longings!

and  this time around, little rikrak has 3 acts he's been working on, including an adorable little song he wrote himself! AND it's wonderful to see mr.rikrak playing his lovely guitar more than he has in years!

love it!

yay to great new family traditions! (and superthanks to my brother for suggesting it!)

what's something fun YOUR family loves to do together? 
share a fun new tradition you're trying!

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Friday, March 23, 2012

* let's meet our judges! *

 *my name is* stamp by paint it green



i'm so super excited about all of the wonderful nominations that are coming in for the *handmade olympics!* - i just love reading folks' adorations + reasonings. what an amazing community the handmaking world is!

so let's get to know our wonderful ensemble of judges (cheerleaders might be a better term!) a wee bit better! they're a veritable *who's who* of handmaking superstars, whose enthusiasm for making has really crafted the way for all of us! so thanks, nicies!

nominate makers you love (and your own works!) in each event for the amazing chance to have these handmaking superstars take a look at your beautiful work! yay!

we're thrilled to get to know you a bit better!


she's an amazing mix of talents, creativity, inspiring mommying, wish-she-was-your-next-door-neighbour-&-best-friend, wisdom, and amp; wit. i'm thrilled to welcome the fabulous gabrielle blair of design mom as our event 2 judge.

a little bit about this nicey: Gabrielle Blair is a graphic designer and mother of six: Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty & Flora June. Together, they make a lot of stuff. Currently, the whole family is living in a farmhouse in the French countryside. The house has a name instead of an address. The farmhouse is furnished, so the only things they packed were clothes. And a glue gun. And their glitter set. And two Exacto knives. That is a true story.

Gabrielle's blog, Design Mom
, was named a Website of the Year by Time Magazine. Gabrielle just about fainted when she heard the news. She did not faint when she went into labor with her 6th baby, but she wanted to. Gabrielle is also a founder of Kirtsy , a popular social media site for women, and Altitude Design Summit, the premiere conference for design and lifestyle bloggers.

gabrielle blair


he's helped to craft some of everyone's favourite & most beautiful MAKING-magazines EVER, and his brilliant eye for great design is second to none! a jubilant welcome to the fabulous andrew wagner, our event 1 judge. 

a little bit about this nicey:  Andrew Wagner hails from Davis, California, and has long been fascinated by the power of place. In 1996 he founded Dodge City Journal, a magazine dedicated to documenting life in America’s under-explored cities. He went on to launch LIMN, the unorthodox design and arts magazine. Next up, he was the founding managing editor and eventual executive editor of Dwell magazine, helping the publication score an ASME award. In 2006 he moved to New York to relaunch American Craft magazine and in 2009 he became the chief brand officer of ReadyMade magazine. 

Lest you think he is a “magazine guy”, Andrew has also played guitar in the band Lucky Pierre, built one of the largest skate ramps in Northern California, been a guest lecturer at University of California Berkeley and Columbia University; and currently plays on the semi-pro baseball team, the Downtown Bulls. He recently launched a new column, “What You Make of It”, in the New York Times, which he hopes you’ll heartily enjoy. 

 andrew wagner 


truly... etsy's great.  etsy's made MAKING more accessible, engaging, relevant, hip & EVEN MORE FUN than ever,  thanks in great part to the nicies that are the fabulous etsy staff. this year, two etsy superstars: christine domanic & morgan evans combine their fabulous creative superpowers as event 6 judges. so excited to welcome you both! 

a little bit about this nicey: I like to spend most of my time crafting, hiking in the woods, making
people eat raw food, riding my bike, kayaking and taking care of my
many carnivorous plants, cacti and terrariums.
I'm a Merchandising Specialist at Etsy where I also sell my handmade

a little bit about this nicey: As Etsy's Community Strategist, Morgan is happiest when bringing people together. Her main focus at Etsy is on the Teams program, where anyone on Etsy can self-organize, meet people with common interests and collaborate. Through the vast and vibrant world of Etsy she is able to help provide resources and build tools that make it easier for artists and crafters from all over the globe to come together and make a difference. A native New Yorker, Morgan attended Oberlin College and lived in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico before returning to the East Coast in 2009 when she began working for Etsy as a screenprinter. She lives in Brooklyn, draws comics, rides a bike and surrounds herself with people who inspire her.


there's not a better handmaking cheerleader around than creative-superstar jessika hepburn. AND she's truly one of the most genuine, most kind, community-building, creativity-affirming folks in the blogosphere.

so with 3 cheers let's welcome jessika as
our event 5 judge!

a little bit about this nicey: If I needed to sum my life in two words they would be community & creativity. From creating opportunities for inner city families to running a rural non-profit centre, for over 10 years I have been making the world more joyous through creative collaboration & social entrepreneurship. This passion led me to purchase Oh My! Handmade in 2010 on instinct. The goal: to create a thriving online community while making pretty things and all sorts of new friends. My sense of compassion and integrity found a home with our community and called many like minded folk to Oh My! Handmade. With over 30 regular contributors, 150k+ monthly readers,  and new projects like our Guide to Businessy Goodness launching in April, the site is growing and changing daily! Now I spend my days surrounded by talented entrepreneurs on a similar mission of joyful world domination. I help passionate dreamers like myself reach for the stars while keeping our feet on the ground and food in the fridge. My goals have always been bigger then my body could hold so I found a way to share them with others like you. Oh My! Handmade continues to grow and expand beyond my wildest hopes with new opportunities and connections daily. I am so grateful for the chance to build community and support creative entrepreneurs around the world!

jessika hepburn

oh my handmade | facebook | twitter
join in her weekly #omhg chats for creative entrepreneurs! 

he creates beauty, inspires & mentors the loveliest kind of aesthetics, and has an amazing eye for impeccably creative handmade style. we're super-excited to welcome the brilliant & charming paul lowe (editor & stylist extraordinaire!) as our event 4 judge. 

 a little bit about this nicey: Paul Lowe, a real Norwegian Viking who came to New york 6 years ago and didn't leave. Runs Sweet Paul Magazine, an online food and craft magazine. Is a very nice guy, likes eggs and vintage plates and is great at taking very long bubble baths. A very crafty dude that loves anything handmade. Lives in Brooklyn with man and dog. 


kathreen ricketson is a creative mastermind. she expertly & lovingly brings together artists & crafters of all callings thru her brilliant & beloved site whipup, and inspires us all with her crafty energy, eco-concious creativity & wonderful resourcefulness!

so excited to welcome kathreen as our event 3 judge.

a little bit about this nicey: was founded in 2006 by Kathreen Ricketson. Kathreen is the author of Whip Up Mini Quilts (Chronicle 2010) and Little Bits Quilting Bee (Chronicle 2011)Kathreen wrote a regular eco craft and lifestyle column for Treehugger back in 2007, then she started quilting and writing books for Chronicle. In 2010 she wrote a semi-regular craft column for Woman’s Day Australia. In between all of this she was the designer at Art Monthly Australia Magazine. In 2011 she finished working on a series of children’s craft books for Hardie Grant - they are called Kids’ Crafternoon and are aimed at 8 to 12 year olds. More recently she has been writing, editing, designing and publishing a kids e-magazine: Action Pack.
kathreen ricketson
whipup | twitter

a 2011 handmade olympics GOLD medal winner herself,  dana willard's beloved blog MADE thrills its readers with fabulous tutorials, engaging CELEBRATIONS &  delightful doses of practical parenting, crafty creativity & more!

so excited to welcome dana as our event 7 judge.  

a little bit about this nicey: Dana authors the popular DIY sewing, design, and photography blog--MADE.  Her designs have been featured in multiple sewing books, print magazines, and online creative sites.  Her first book, Fabrics A to Z, publishes in April and outlines everything you'll ever need to know about fabric.  She lives in the hot city of Austin, TX with her husband and three kids.

 dana willard


so there's a little look at our superstars!  
hope you'll send some love their way, and be sure to visit their amazing projects + cheer them on!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

the 2012 handmade olympics


update! april 17th, 2012
thanks so much to everyone who has entered!
what an amazing & talented bunch you are!

nominations are now CLOSED. 
and YAY you can go VOTE on the judges' SHORTLISTS here! 

VOTING ENDS friday, april 27th @ 11:59 pm EST!

thanks again,


(sew) FASTER.
(paint) HIGHER.
(metalsmith) STRONGER!


ladies + gentlemen!
welcome to the 3rd annual 2012 handmade olympics:
where the handmade world comes together to celebrate making things!

think downhill sewing.

100-metre silk screening.
pairs cooking on ice!

and all of the other amazing things folks in the handmade world do + make + create every day!

oh what a wonderful handmade world we live in!
now's your chance to show the world your own creative creations, AND send some handmaking love out to other nicies who inspire you in the handmaking + handpicked world!  {check out all of the 2011 & 2010 handmade olympics winners, too!} 

by entering the various events, it's a wonderful way to show the world your beautiful creations, have some amazing judges check out your great shops, AND, if that's not enough fun, there are $1700 worth of AMAZING handmade prizes! woowee!

 here's how it will work.

  • there are 7 fun handmade olympic events, each based on a tenant of my little blog!
  • FOR EACH EVENT you can nominate ONE of your own fabulous creations, shops, blogs, etc. (please read rules for each event) plus nominate ONE of your favourites from another shop, site, blog, etc.
  • by nominating yourself + others, you will automatically be entered in the randomly chosen FAN prize pack drawing (the first of many prizes!):--> a $50.00 shopping spree in my handmade shop, rikrak!
  • once nominations close, our illustrious judges will take a look at the amazing nominations in each category. the judges will announce a shortlist for each category with their 10 favourite nominations!
  • once the shortlists are announced, EVERYONE will get a chance to VOTE on their very favourites!
  • the top-3 vote-getting WINNERS in each category, as determined by you, the readers, will be awarded their fabulous prizes! yay!


the amazing PRIZES
valued at OVER $1700. USD, the handmade olympics prize packs are just gosh-darn fantastical! (please note: prizes have no cash value! thanks!)

EACH of the 7 events will award:

:: a GOLD prize pack (with $150.00 worth of shopping sprees!)
+ an *i WON* the handmade olympics banner/button image to use on your site/blog/shop
+ an artist/crafter feature on the rikrak studio blog!

:: a SILVER prize pack (with $60 worth of shopping sprees!)

:: a BRONZE prize pack of a one month ad spot on the rikrak studio blog! yay!


1. you can nominate ONE of your own PLUS ONE of another person's applicable items/shops/blogs in each event. like to nominate yourself in a category but haven't made anything yet that fits the theme? yay to creating it! woohoo! (7 events X 2 possible nominations PER event = 16 possible nominations)

2. to nominate, in the comments of each event PLEASE state: 
:: the name of the item/blog/etc 
:: who made it 
:: why you're nominating it for this specific event 
:: and a LINK to an image of the item/blog/shop/etc.

3. there are a couple of ways to get a few EXTRA ballots for the FAN PRIZE pack drawing.= 1 extra ballot for EACH (leave a note in the comments of each event)
a) follow or subscribe to my rikrak studio blog
b) tweet about your nominations (use #handmadeolympics) & tell us.
c) blog about the *handmade olympics*
d) do a  facebook update about the *handmade olympics*
e) follow me on twitter (i'm @therikrakshop

f) pin it! you can pin the nominations (please link to the maker!), the event or the olympics themselves!

4. HAVE FUN + help CELEBRATE handmaking!

5. please comment separately for each nomination and entry. thanks kindly!


let the GAMES begin!

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the handmade olympics {event 1}



update! april 17th, 2012
thanks so much to everyone who has entered!
what an amazing & talented bunch you are!

nominations are now CLOSED. 
and YAY you can go VOTE on the judges' SHORTLISTS here! 

VOTING ENDS friday, april 27th @ 11:59 pm EST!

thanks again,


please see the MAIN handmade olympics post for all of the fun-filled details & rules on the events!

now.. welcome to event 1: please leave comments here nominating:
your favourite handmade goodie with an innovative design!
one you love by another maker & one you've made yourself!

for this event
think unique + handmade.
think inspiringly fresh!
think of a handmade item whose brilliant + beautiful design just thrills you!


thanks so much to our fabulous judge for this event, the brilliant Andrew Wagner, recent editor-in-chief of both ReadyMade magazine and American Craft Magazine, and founding managing editor at Dwell magazine. He's the current director of Krrb!

find out more about this nicey here! 


remember, you can nominate yourself + another in EACH event! PLUS get bonus ballots for twittering, blogging, facebooking & more about the #handmadeolympics! yay!


the amazing PRIZES
the handmade olympics prize packs are just gosh-darn fantastical!
 this EVENT will award the following prizes!

prize pack includes $150 worth of handmade goodness:
a $50 gift certificate to vadjutka
a $50 gift certificate to michele maule
a $50 gift certificate to cattails woodwork

+ an *i WON GOLD*  handmade olympics badge to use on your site/blog/shop 

+ an artist/crafter feature on the rikrak studio blog!

prize pack includes $60 worth of handmade goodness:
2 months of advertising {may & june} on the rikrak studio blog : value $60

+ an *i WON SILVER*  handmade olympics badge to use on your site/blog/shop 


prize pack includes one FREE month of may 2012 advertising on the rikrak studio blog!

+ an *i WON bronze*  handmade olympics badge to use on your site/blog/shop 


PLUS, there will be ONE overall random nomination selected from all handmade olympics entries ( & extra ballots!) to WIN the FAN PRIZE PACK (a $50.00 shopping spree in the rikrak shop!)


now check out the other events + nominate more fun folks!


happy handmaking, nicies!
** PLEASE NOTE: please make each nomination its own comment! thanks! **


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