Category Archives: Crafty Lifestyle

Merry Brovember!

What in tarnation is Brovember, you ask?
It’s the nickname we’ve given our month-long workshop at 816 N. Broadway in Downtown Oklahoma City. If you’re curious, come to an open house any Sunday in November, from 2-6 p.m..

Lovely farm tables from Kahoy Studios give us plenty of work space.
Lovely farm tables from Kahoy Studios give us plenty of work space.

You can sign up here to join us for social crafting. We’ve found the space to be very helpful to our productivity!

Sometimes we stay late, crafting into the night, with passerby noticing our spectacle.
Sometimes we stay late, crafting into the night, with passerby noticing our spectacle.

We are so thankful to Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. for arranging this, and for Factor 110‘s lovely pipe and drape which keeps us cool and allows us privacy when we need it. We also appreciate the generosity of the building’s owner and future tenants, who are flexible and great to work with! Finally, we’d like to thank Kahoy Studios for lending us the gorgeous farm tables and benches.

JD finished a custom order less than 30 minutes into Brovember - there's something in the air that makes us very productive!
JD finished a custom order less than 30 minutes into Brovember – there’s something in the air that makes us very productive!

Please join us, because we won’t have this space for long – let’s enjoy it while we can!

Sara is enjoying the abundance of space to lay out quilts for basting.
Sara is enjoying the abundance of space to lay out quilts for basting.

Follow DeluxeMarket on Instagram for updates on the latest news for Deluxe Winter Market.

Introducing the OKC Coloring Book

Thanks to the generous donation of art by more than 30 OKC artists, designers, architects, teachers and students, Deluxe has its first real fundraiser – an Oklahoma City Coloring Book! In it you’ll find illustrations of what these artists enjoy about OKC – from sports to cupcakes to tourist destinations. We’re excited to share it with you! Here are the contributors to this project:

Avery Wilson

Jack Fowler

Katie Pennington

David Woods

Kelsey Davis

Blake Behrens

Ashley Smith

Tessa Raven

Sam Lamb

Dan Eaton

Dusty Gilpin

Ross Maute

Eleazar Velazquez

Landon Bahr

Emily Williams

Kris Kanaly

Don Rosencranz

Brandon Rierson

Brian Winkeler

Dylan Bradway

Amanda Bradway

Brandon Land

Klint Schor

Positive Tomorrows students

Good Egg

Eric Lyons

Erin DeMoss

Adrian Mix

Geoff Parker

Tanner Frady

Alex Cowan

The Coloring Book is available at DNA Galleries, Shop Good and Green Bambino. You can also buy it at Deluxe on Dec. 8! Thanks to Downtown OKC Inc. for their generous donation which helped this project happen, and of course, thanks to all of the talented contributors.

How to Find (or Make!) Your Local Crafting Community

Guest post from Angela Mabray, co-author of Polymer Clay 101

Five years ago, I wondered if I was the only gal in Central Oklahoma using polymer clay. Today, I have the pleasure of knowing a whole group full of folks who love it as much as I do, and we meet monthly to learn and play together.

Have you wondered if you might enjoy meeting with others who share your artistic passion, whatever that may be? If you’re thinking about starting your own group, I’ll share a few tips in an upcoming post. But today I’ll start by telling some of the unexpected benefits I’ve found through starting my own group.

Penni Jo Couch and I started the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild in late 2006. We found each other through a polymer clay-themed Yahoo group, after an exchange where we realized we were 1) both in the Oklahoma City area, and 2) both interested in meeting with other clay-ers.

Our first meeting consisted of just the two of us, and the group stayed pretty small the first year or so. But with some effort, we gradually grew, and we’re now up to 10 regularly-attending members plus frequent guests.

I think the two of us had slightly different goals when we first decided to start the group. Penni Jo was interested in the social aspect — swaps and play days. I’m a little on the shy side, so I was nervous about meeting new people. But I was eager to expand local awareness of polymer clay. Plus I’d heard about the polymer clay libraries the larger guilds had, and I thought all that locally-available reading material sounded divine.

I’m sure as each of our other members joined up, they were interested in slightly different things, too. The wonderful thing is that the group became more than any of us could have imagined.

Since the beginning, our meetings have consisted of a single member sharing a project or technique they knew, teaching the other members as they went. I’d never taught a group in my life, but with our small membership, I needed to teach often to keep things going. I went to Toastmasters to get past my fear of speaking to a group. I studied new polymer clay techniques to share. In the process, I learned a lot about both my medium and myself. I also saw first-hand where my instructions were lacking. I found out where other people had difficulties, and I was able to focus on those things not only in subsequent classes, but also in blog posts for my website, and later in my book.

Speaking of which, I’m not sure I’d be a published author today if it weren’t for my local community. And I’ve been happy to see the other members of the group find their own successes. Penni Jo now has her own very-successful line of polymer clay molds and has been asked to teach at polymer clay retreats across the nation. Several of our members (including one who joined the group as a beginner!) now teach local classes. Various members have placed in large polymer clay contests and/or had their work published in a national polymer clay magazine. I personally feel the group’s constant encouragement is part of what has led these artists to their successes.

We’ve done the things Penni Jo and I originally envisioned. Our library has 70+ polymer clay books and magazines. We hold themed swaps every other month. Plus we’ve done other things we hadn’t initially imagined. We held our first retreat earlier this year, which even drew a couple of clayers from outside the state. Through the Bottles of Hope program, we’ve shared pieces of polymer clay art with many local cancer patients. And I have to mention the friendship aspect. Together we’ve gone through baby showers and funerals and everything in between. Our meetings are full of chatter and laughter. We are able to encourage each other both artistically and in the more mundane day-to-day matters.

If you want to try starting your own group, come back next week for a few tips on making it work.

Join us Saturday for our monthly meeting!

Angela Mabray is a co-founder of the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild, which meets the second Saturday of each month at City Arts Center. She blogs about polymer clay at CraftyGoat’s Notes and recently co-authored Polymer Clay 101.

Tips on forming a creative group

Last week, local author and polymer clay enthusiast Angela Mabray shared her story of finding like-minded artists and forming a group. Here, she shares tips on how to form your own creative community.

1) Find a Friend (or a Few!)
Starting a group seemed like a daunting task to me. But finding even one like-minded friend helps make it a realistic goal. If you already know people in the area who share your interest, let them know about your vision and see if anyone jumps on board. If you don’t know anyone, do some research — both online (Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo groups) and offline (craft fairs, local supply stores). Post in forums, write about it on your blog, and email folks you think might be interested. Ask people to forward the info to others they think might be interested.

2) Make a Plan
Saying you’d like to start a group *someday* isn’t enough. Once you have a few folks who show interest, set a date for an organizing meeting. There you can decide on a good time and place for your regular meetings. Brainstorm ways to get the word out, and ask for volunteers to help do some of those things.

3) Publicize
Keep getting the word out there every way you can. Create a basic website with info. Ask your members to announce it using their various online presences. Then supplement that with local opportunities. The Deluxe organizers allowed us to hold a demo meeting at one of the shows. We’ve also done demos at the Oklahoma State Fair and shown our work in a month-long display at a local library.

4) Be Patient
Don’t get discouraged if you keep plugging away and growth still seems slow. People are busy, and sometimes they need a few months to fit a new thing into their lives. They may feel awkward about coming to a meeting where they don’t already know someone. And even the ones who do attend may never come back. Give it at least 6-12 months before you’ll even consider throwing in the towel. Allow the right people to find you. Be welcoming to visitors and follow up with them… but accept that the ones who never came back may not have been a good fit for your group.

5) Be Flexible
Once things get going, allow the group to grow beyond what you originally imagined. Don’t let it stay “your baby.” I served as our group’s president for the first two years, but I was careful to really let go when I passed that office to the next person. New officers invariably do things a little differently. They each have their own strengths and focuses, and can help build the group in specific ways. Our group set term limits on our officers to hep encourage that constant change. This also spreads the work around and ensures everyone has a stake in the group’s success.

Just like any other worthwhile task, growing a local group can take some work and a little time. But you may find yourself rewarded in ways you never expected. Best of luck to you!

Angela Mabray is a co-founder of the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild, which meets the second Saturday of each month at the Moore Hobby Lobby. She blogs about polymer clay at CraftyGoat’s Notes and recently co-authored Polymer Clay 101.

How’s your summer going?

Ours is busy with families, gardening, crafting, home improvement and dogs… one of us is looking to adopt a retired racing Greyhound! We are so excited about this- and there’s a surprising amount of anticipatory crafting happening.

Check out Hounds of the Heartland to learn more… once you meet these dogs in real life there’s no turning back.

***Update!***

After applying and getting our house approved, we welcomed a young dog who had her last race in April. She has had a busy month with traveling, spaying, trips to the vet for suture removal and now getting used to being the only dog.

We call her Vera.

She’s settling in and enjoying retirement. She has been here four days and we have not heard her voice yet. Hopefully she has nothing to complain about.

Making good use of the nap mat

Her hobbies include sleeping, rolling on her back in the backyard, and sniffing everything. She has not expressed anything other than passing curiosity about our chickens.

We were never “dog people” but once we read about the attributes of Greyhounds we had to look into the breed.

We were highly amused by the demeanor of her vet Dr. Chris Rispoli at Gentle Care Animal Hospital – you’d expect to have to hoist a dog up onto a table for suture removal, no? But Dr. Chris layed on HIS back on the floor, scooted under Vera like a mechanic and quickly snipped her sutures, so smoothly that she wasn’t inconvenienced in the least.

Now, maybe that’s just standard large-dog procedure, but we were impressed.

If you’re interested in meeting some Greyhounds to see just how mellow and sweet they are, check out this calendar for upcoming Hounds of the Heartland events.

While you’re at it, read about the dogs that are currently looking for their forever homes here.

Green Bambino to establish baby- and eco-themed art gallery at new location

Guest Post from Morgan Harris, owner of Green Bambino

Green Bambino recently announced plans to expand its store to more than 3,000 square feet. Its new store, formerly the Adobe Grill restaurant, will provide increased retail space, a classroom, meeting areas and more.

As part of our continued effort to support all things local, Green Bambino has decided to transform our classroom and main hallway space into art galleries featuring the work of local artists. Artwork would be taken on consignment. A consignment fee of 15% will be taken out of the final purchase price. Pieces need to be available for viewing for at least 60 days. We will choose pieces for display based on their contribution to our overall theme, eco-friendliness, and sales potential.

Green Bambino is a children’s specialty store focusing on cloth diapers and other eco-baby products. As such, we ask artists to consider a few criteria when selecting or creating artwork to be submitted to our gallery:

Our primary customers are parents of infants or toddlers looking for ways to reduce their families’ impact on the environment.
Our customers consider themselves frugal, so be aware of pricing.
Artwork should be family-friendly and appropriate for a baby’s room or any other room in the house.
Artwork must be made of non-toxic, baby –safe materials; i.e. no lead, toxic chemicals, or small parts that pose choking hazards.
Artwork will be displayed in areas that are accessible to children. Care will be taken when possible to hang items out of reach of little ones.
Since Green Bambino features eco-friendly products, we’d love to see creative pieces that upcycle, reuse, or reflect some kind of eco-friendly theme. All forms of media are encouraged.

We estimate we’ll be moving into our new space by early or mid-August. Tours of the new space can be arranged with plenty of notice.

This is a great way to reach a market not served by traditional art galleries. Your artwork will be prominently featured in store, in media stories, on Facebook, via email newsletters and any other way we can think of. We hope to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship with local artists of all kinds.

If you are interested in submitting artwork for our gallery, please call owner Morgan Harris at 405-848-2330 or email her at info@green-bambino.com. This is our first time establishing a gallery space, so please be flexible – we promise we will be, too!

JD’s DIY Dispatch: Disaster Preparedness

Mrs. Lauretta Parman, Sara's grandmother
Personal note:

Last summer, as my grandmother’s health was deteriorating due to cancer, the last coherent conversation we shared was about self-sufficiency.

She thought it was a shame that people don’t seem to know how to do anything themselves anymore. Imagine how proud I was to tell her about my friends and fellow crafters who are enthusiastically improving their skills and learning how to take care of themselves and their families. My own small-scale efforts aside, there are some very dedicated homesteaders in my circle of friends.

After she passed away, this topic remains important to me for many reasons, but mostly because I want to make her  proud. After all, she is the woman who taught me to sew, to read and write.

We will be adding more posts in the future on the topic of self-sufficiency, because it goes hand-in-hand with the Do It Yourself lifestyle.

-Sara Cowan

In this day and age, a major natural or man-made disaster just doesn’t seem that farfetched. It only makes sense to be prepared for one. I’m not talking about building an underground bunker in your back yard. I’m talking about gathering some supplies and knowledge, just in case.

There are several places you can go online to find information on preparing for a disaster. I recommend the FEMA web site

Your kit can range in size, from enough water for 3 days (1 gallon of water for each person times 3) and a change of clothes, to food, water, clothes, medication, toiletries, glasses, flash lights, water purification, etc… The list goes on.

Basically your kit can be as prepared as you want. Depending on the situation, you may or may not care about having something to work on, craft-wise. But in the event that your whole family is together and you have found shelter after the event and are just waiting it out, you may want to have a coloring book and crayons for the kids and something to read or knit (or whatever you like) for yourself.

Once you feel that you have prepared yourself to your comfort level, you can take a free class. I took a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) class this month.

The purpose of this class is twofold. First, once you have completed the training, a total of 20 hours, you will be prepared to volunteer in the event of a disaster. Everything is voluntary- you will never be told that you must help.

The second and, in my opinion, genius part is that you and your household will be prepared. You will come out of this class with the knowledge to be one less victim in the event of a disaster. You (YES, YOU!) will learn the right way to shut off all of the power to your home, how to shut off the gas, and water too! You will learn all about using a fire extinguisher to maximize its potential.

Other training provided includes learning how to triage (sort) victims based on the level of care they need. This is easy! There are only 3 levels and you are given an easy way to do (and remember) it. You will also some learn light search and rescue, some first aid and more.

Remember, in the event of a disaster, one of the things highly stressed in the CERT class is NEVER self-deploy. If they are in need of volunteers with your skill level, the authorities will contact you.

Oklahoma has some great preparedness information and planning ideas on their site too. I also recommend going over the Family Communications Plan with your family, children included, and making sure that you have a solid plan and your contacts in place!

For more information on CERT in Oklahoma City, contact Jon Lowry jon.lowry(at)att.com. CERT classes are offered every month but may not be available after August so get it now!

If you have any questions about my personal experience, you can email me JD(at)JDStar.net and I will be happy to share!

-JD McCoy

The Crafty Lifestyle: Chalkboards

You may have noticed that many artists, crafters and designers love the delightfully low-tech chalkboard. Practical, photogenic and fun, these tools manage to somehow be modern and completely retro, simultaneously.

To-do lists, inspiration, sketches, notes, bucket lists – it’s all right in front of you!

The first time we used chalkboard paint was in 2005 in the back room at Lush – the soap shop has a minimalist, organic aesthetic to begin with, and all the signage looks like white chalk on black boards. We bought a small can at a local shop and painted the cabinets in the staff room, so we could share messages, staff notes and rota requests. It was perfect.

Kathleen Shannon's office wall

There are many ways of going about this project – you can apply a few coats of magnetic paint under the chalkboard paint, to increase the functionality of the wall. This also dramatically expands your options for decorating, especially when you add magnetic clips to the mix. However, it is vital to follow directions and finish the wall treatment as directed.

JD McCoy has found her chalkboard wall to be useful for product photography.

In our home, we hired a local artist to paint a mural in our kitchen, for menu planning and grocery list-making. Oklahoma City painter Jennifer Barron worked with us to create sketches from our descriptions of what we wanted – a Mexican look, with handpainted tiles and punched tin. And a peacock, and a basket of blueberries, and some beets. Pretty specific, but it works for our family. She even painted our specific favorite flowers on the tiles.

The first year of this mural’s presence in our kitchen, it remained unused, for fear of creating a dusty mess. But a couple weeks ago Erin Cooper told us about chalk pens – clouds parting, angels singing, hallelujah! These things are genius, especially for homes where you’re not particularly interested in hearing that screeching squeak of traditional chalk writing, or cleaning up piles of chalk dust from the floor.

We tried chalk pens on the pantry door, where we make weekly menus and brainstorm meal plans. Perfect! Now there’s no excuse for being out of dinner ideas.

It looks like the text will stay bright for as long as we want it to, and will wipe off cleanly with water. They’ll also be great for our main board, which is painted on a wall with a bit of texture.

The example photos found in this post are all from homes and studios in Oklahoma City.

When you discover the variety of colors of chalkboard paint available, it might become irresistible and you, too, will dream of painting a door or wall in your home.

Have you used chalkboard paint in your home or studio? Please comment and let us know how it works for you.