Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Few Moments in Sunshine

One of my muses taking a few moments to enjoy the sunshine- I thought I would share this peaceful photo with my readers!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Social Experiment - Chicago Craft Social

One of the things I love about owning Greyhound Threads is that it pushes me beyond my current creative comfort zone!  I love to craft and try new things, and the shop allows me to experiment with crafts that I never would have thought of before simply due to my desire for variety and differentiation.  I started the shop focused solely on coats.  Slowly, I am evolving our product lines, and I love taking on projects that push me to develop new skills and non-wearable products (though wearable items are still a huge focus).  As I previously said, one of the HUGE benefits of living so close to a big city is that there is a massive talent pool of crafters and artists in the local area to connect with and learn from.  A great event for just that is the Chicago Craft Social, which I attended with my crafting friend over at Pomely Grove  (check out her blog, too!) this past Friday!

So, what is the Chicago Craft Social?
Oh, my friends!  This event is such an amazing opportunity to not only meet fellow crafters and artisans, but also to learn many different crafting techniques!  The goal of the organizer (another Amanda!) is to create a place where you can learn a new craft, meet like-minded crafters, or just hang out (though there were so many awesome crafts, who had time to just sit and chat?!).  You can bring your own projects, but, again, we didn't have any time at all to work on our own stuff when there were 20 different projects we could choose from to learn. 

How did the project tables work?
Projects are listed on the Craft Social blog a few days before the event, a guide is provided when you arrive so you can navigate the tables, and the advice is given to rank your projects so you can make sure you get to your favorites first.  There definitely were popular ones that filled up fast, but we still managed to learn everything we wanted to- the variety of supplies (like fabric) were dwindling, so we didn't have all the pretty colors to choose from for some projects, but we were still able to complete the projects.  Seating is limited at each table, but you just rotate around at your leisure, and everyone was great about making room at crowded tables!  Most projects don't require that you bring anything- they provide everything- but they did let us know some things in advance that we could bring if we really wanted to customize our craft.  Professional crafters, every-day crafters, and craft businesses run the craft tables to teach the eager their particular craft offering.  There even are craft company-sponsored tables (like Mod Podge), and some companies even donate for the goody bag that everyone gets.  Oh, yes! The goody bag!

What?!  A GOODY BAG?!
Oh, yes, my friends- a goody bag!  I actually did some research on the goody bag before signing up for the Craft Social, just to see if the goody bags were all that fantastic (I wasn't picturing anything glamorous).  I couldn't find any reviews, so I wanted to make it known to everyone in webland that the goody bags were awesome!  Everyone received a pair of Westcott Titanium-bonded Non-Stick scissors (that's right- tape and glue won't stick to these!).  They sound like the ultimate crafting scissors- I'll have to do a review of them once I've broken them out for a project.  We also received a 2 fl. oz. bottle of Mod Podge, a coupon for, a sample of their ultrafine art glitter, and a pencil from Evanston Print & Paper Shop (which I'll mention later)!

In addition to the goody bag, you get a raffle ticket when you go into the event, and you can select one of multiple items that you would like to try to win.  Throughout the night, they draw names out of the bag next to the corresponding item & you can win great prizes!

AND (yep, I'm not done with the freebies yet!), there were amazing snacks provided!  I'm talking cheesecake bites, brownies with marshmallow topping, cookies, fruit trays, crackers & hummus, a veggie tray, and more!  Coffee and tea were also provided.

Did it cost anything to attend?
Yes- admission was $25!  The event has limited availability, and based on what I learned at the event, it was well-worth every penny (especially with the added bonus of all supplies provided, the awesome goody bag and free snacks!).  I should probably also mention here that no kids under 18 are admitted to the event.  The site says that with scissors everywhere, it's no place for small children, and I quite agree!

So, what crafts did you learn?
My friend, Mel from Pomely Grove, and I made our way around four different craft stations over the course of the three hour event.

The first table we went to was the collograph print table sponsored and run by Jessica Taylor, designer of FIORI FALSI.  This technique for print-making was phenomenal- definitely expect some newly inspired items in the shop over the next couple of weeks!  Essentially, Jessica taught us a method of collograph print making that uses common, every day objects around your house (cardboard, some sort of material for creating texture, a wooden spoon, cloth and oil paints) to transfer a shape and texture of your choosing onto fabric.  I created a greyhound "stamp" of sorts that I then covered with unbleached muslin & pressed with the wooden spoon to transfer the image:

After collographing, we moved on to the bird's nest table where we learned how to make the increasingly popular bird's nest pendant, ring, and earrings using beads and wire.  You can see below that I chose to make two pendants- one is silver wire with taupe, egg-shaped beads, and the other is a lime green with yellow and brown wooden beads.

The third table we went to taught us a variation of fabric flowers.  Using just strips of fabric and a running stitch, I created this cute little flower that I will eventually use to create a brooch:

And, lastly, we were able to squeeze in a quick fabric-scraps headband at a table sponsored and run by Earth Cadets (a Richmond, VA native- it was so exciting to meet her & chat a bit about home!).

In all, we had such a fabulous time learning our new crafts and meeting some of the local crafters (since it was a social-focused event, we actually were able to spend some time talking to them vs. the Renegade Craft Fair which was selling-focuses).  We can't wait for the next Chicago Craft Social!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Introducing a New Line @ Greyhound Threads - Weekend Wear Scarves!

I just finished listing some new items at Greyhound Threads on Etsy, and I'm so very happy to announce the addition of a brand new line called "Weekend Wear Scarves"!  Knowing that some dogs can be fussy about their ears being covered (like with a snood that can be pulled up over the ears or worn down around the neck), I was inspired to create a neck-only accessory for the cooler weather that could be functional and fashionable.  The Weekend Wear Scarf is a streamlined scarf that snugly secures around the neck of the hound by inserting one end through a loop on the other end.

Blue models the Weekend Wear Scarf in the Reversible Mod Dots pattern.  The patterned side is a slate blue fleece with mod, multi-color dots, and the solid side is a thick navy blue fleece.  Doesn't he look dashing?

Ana shows off the stylish Weekend Wear Scarf in the Froggy Woodland pattern!  The patterned side is flannel with a frog, toadstool and small flower motif, and the other side is a solid cherry-red fleece. So simple and pretty!

Also listed today are two new coats!  One is a Weekend Wear Coat in Reversible Mod Dots (it matches the first scarf listed above), and the other is  very stylish Weekend Wear Coat in Red, Grey and Black Plaid!  Check everything out over at the Greyhound Threads Etsy store!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Featured Friday - Suegray of Suegray Jewelry on Etsy

One of the things I love most about Etsy is that it is a meeting ground for so many creative minds!  I could (and do!) spend hours at a time perusing the wares of others, marveling at their craft, becoming inspired by their work!  One of my most recent meanderings on Etsy lead me to a wonderful shop by Suegray Fitzpatrick called Suegray Jewelry.  The reason Suegray's shop jumped off the monitor at me was because of this beautiful pendant that she creates and sells on her shop:

Suegray creates the most magnificent hand-made jewelry out of fine silver using her personal collection of unique and amazing antique wax seals.  This particular pendant of a greyhound running with a letter in it's mouth also has a wonderful french proverb above, "je suis presse" which translates as, "I am pressed (for time)" or "I am in a hurry".  She does call out that the words are so, so small that they are very hard to read on the pendant (even with a magnifying glass), but you can make out most of it in the image above.  She creates each pendant by hand-stamping the antique french seal into fine silver- the result is this amazing seal that conveys so much old world charm!

This second greyhound charm also caught my eye and also evoked a very emotional response as I read the description.  This "wax seal" pendant has a wonderfully faithful greyhound sitting next to a monument with the phrase "le temps passe l'amitie reste" written around the edges in very tiny letters.  The translation is, "the time passes...the friendship remains".

In Suegray's photos, you can see some of the small, interchangeable seals that she uses to mold the silver into her beautiful pendants.  Here's a better look at the actual antique tools she uses to create them:

As you can see, a variety of pendants are available, not just greyhound ones!  Some of my other favorites are:

(no real story here, just a pointer- beautiful!)

This phrase on the below pocket watch pendant translates as, "calm when agitated on the inside" or "calm when inwardly agitated"...but Suegray has a beautiful (and trendy!) translation of, "keep calm and carry on"!

And, lastly, this ever so true "c'est la vie" pendant of a small, single-masted sail boat traversing the rocky sea!  "Such is life"!

So, how can you buy Suegray's amazing pendants (and other fine jewelry!)?
  • You can shop on her Etsy store, suegrayjewelry, or you can shop from her personal website, suegray seaglass jewelry.  All of her pendants at either shop are about $40 before tax & shipping!
  • If you are in the Rhode Island or Massachusetts area, you can find her in-person at the following events:
    • The 36th Annual Harvest Fair (10/2 & 10/3, 10am-5pm, Middletown, RI)
    • The North American Seaglass Festival (10/9 & 10/10, 10am-5pm, Hyannis, MA)
    • The 19th Annual Cornucopia Sale at the Pennfield School (11/13, 9am-4pm, Portsmouth, RI)
Please note: All photos are the property of Suegray Fitzpatrick of Suegray Jewelry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tiptoe Through the Tulips Treasury

Receiving a notification that an item from your shop has been selected for another Treasury is a great way to start off any morning!  Over night, a busy little bee was creating the Tiptoe Through the Tulips treasury featuring our Boutique Greyhound Silhouette that pairs a solid black silhouette with an "X" pattern background with vintage wash.  Thanks so much to calloohcallay for selecting us to be part of this fun treasury!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September is National Sewing Month!

September may be more than half over, but I still feel that I should announce that September is National Sewing Month!  I honestly had no idea, until I went to Joann's Craft Store last night and saw a sign on the window.  No, I don't go to Joann's only once a month...I've actually been there four or five times already in the month of September.  Just chalk it up to inattention, I suppose!  Usually, I am on a mission when I go to Joann's- I have a specific list of things to get, or I am preoccupied with all the other things I need to get done.  Last night, I was able to go with a clear mind and only one required item (black Velcro for some of the darker coats I am making for the Etsy shop).
What is National Sewing Month all about?  In 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared September National Sewing Month "in recognition of the importance of home sewing to our nation".  I like to think that home sewing has only increased in importance over the years.  Tools, like Etsy, are such an important part of how the craft industry continues to evolve and reach new people.  I'm excited to see what is in store for us over the next few years alone!

There is site that is dedicated to National Sewing Month ( that has some great tutorials, including a tutorial on creating a matching dog collar and leash!  If anyone tries it, I'd love to hear how it goes!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Treasury Feature - Aqua Autumn Harvest by Caposhi

I'm so excited to announce that Greyhound Threads received notification that we have been featured in a third Treasury on Etsy!  Caposhi put together this amazing and modern take on Fall colors with her Aqua Autumn Harvest Treasury featuring warm pumpkin tones and wood-grain, with a pinch of dusty aqua!  Our Boutique Greyhound Silhouette in Orange with Mod Flowers was a featured selection, and we couldn't be happier that we were included in this beautiful Treasury- thanks Caposhi!  Please be sure to check out her blog, as well, where she features all of her weekly Treasury selections and more!

I also created my first Treasury with a different take on fall colors, called Fall with a Twist - Navy & Yellow.  No dog-related items on my Treasury, but still fun to peruse, if I do say so myself!  Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Featured Friday - The Mod Dog

One of the first things new greyhound owners learn about their pup is that their heads are much more narrow than their necks, which means they require a special kind of collar called a martingale.  The martingale collar is designed to keep the greyhound completely secure and comfortable at the same time.  A traditional collar would need to be kept tight around the smallest part of the greyhound's head, which definitely would be uncomfortable for the dog.  A martingale collar has two loops, instead of the traditional collar's one loop, and the large loop is meant to fit loosely (but still snug!) around the neck.  There is a ring on the small loop where the leash is clipped- as the dog pulls forward or the walker pulls back on the leash, the small loop is pulled tighter, which causes the large loop to fit more snugly around the neck.  Once the tension on the small loop is released, the collar loosens again- perfect for those pups with narrow heads because they won't be able to slip their collar!

Here's an example of a basic martingale:
When we picked up our first greyhound, Ana, we went to the adoption coordinator's house where, in addition to filling out the paperwork, meeting our new family member for the first time, and standing around in awe looking at all the fresh-off-the-track beauties, we were able to peruse their "shop" of greyhound necessities.  We picked out a basic martingale and matching leash in a solid color that would go with everything.  We told ourselves that we would pick up a "pretty" patterned martingale in a few weeks.  Three years and another greyhound later, neither of our two have fancy collars.  I've gone to a lot of greyhound picnics and events where vendors sell them, but they always have been either too ornate, or let's face it, too expensive (some vendors will charge up to $75 for a collar!).  Enter Etsy and The Mod Dog!

Another fabulous find for our Featured Friday segment, The Mod Dog creates custom collars and leashes for your pet! You can choose the style of the collar (buckle or martingale), the webbing color (which is the main collar material), the pattern (which is attached to the webbing), and the hardware!  Each collar is custom created for your pup, so it will take between 1 to 2 weeks after your order is placed for the collar to arrive.  I've found quite a number of "favorites" on the shop, and they look like they would be well worth the wait!

I haven't purchased one (well, two!) for my hounds yet, but I already have the two picked out that I want to get them.  It's a trend in our greyhound group to color-coordinate our dogs with a signature color.  Ana's signature color is purple, and Blue's is, well, blue.  They also have secondary signature colors, just because we like variation, and Ana's is pink, and Blue's is red (we like him to wear blue and red together because they are Superman colors!).  So the fancy martingales we want need to coordinate with their primary and secondary signature colors.  Here are the ones we love for our two:

(but we'd want to make it either 1 1/2" or 2" wide)

And, because we at Greyhound Threads love shops that work with rescue groups, we are excited to share with our readers that a percentage of every sale at The Mod Dog is donated to a local Georgia rescue group (mainly the Atlanta Weimaraner Club Rescue).

So, where can you find more information on The Mod Dog and purchase collars and leashes?  Here's the scoop:
  • You can shop The Mod Dog on Etsy
  • You can "like" The Mod Dog on Facebook
  • You can "follow" The Mod Dog Blog (we love the blog and the alliteration!)
  • And you can stay in touch through The Mod Dog twitter updates

Monday, September 13, 2010

Renegade Recap!

There was a whirlwind of activity this weekend centered around a bachelorette party for a very dear friend!  Lucky for me, this friend is as crafty as I am, and the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago was right up her alley.  So, after an evening at The Second City Chicago Mainstage, a group of us girls hit the Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park.  This post is meant to be an overall review of the craft fair from a seller's and buyer's perspective- hope you enjoy!

First, it did take us about 20 minutes to find parking, but to be fair, the organizers of the Renegade Craft Fair (RCF) did warn us on their website to try to take mass transportation or bike in to the fair.  I was driving our large SUV since we had so many people with us, so I wasn't able to fit in some of the smaller spots that were available.  Still, we were only about a 5 minute walk from the start of the fair, which actually brings me to my next point.

There were two main starting points for the craft fair, which I think was fantastic!  The organizers of RCF had two booths, one at each end of the over 300 booths that were lining the street that was closed off.  At these booths, they had people manning the table for questions, to sell souvenir Renegade items, hand out a map/program of the event, and generally welcome people to the craft fair.  Having two official starting points for the fair definitely helped people spread out and have more parking options.

Set up of the event was great!  There were 1-2 vendors per tent, and the tents were set up back to back creating two long rows of shopping- very efficient, and it kept the foot traffic flowing.  It reminded me a lot of the french markets in Paris with a very casual atmosphere, people wandering through the streets as if they just happened upon the market.  It also was very young, very fresh feeling!  I've gone to countless craft shows, and I will say that this is the first that felt like it featured items that 100% fit my demographic- it was fun, funky, trendy and had none of the "country/home-y craft fair" feeling.  Score!

Now for the review of the vendors!  LOTS of people from Etsy were there!  LOTS of people that I actually recognized from Treasuries, Front Page features, and new listings!  There was a wide variety of shops- jewelry, pottery, soaps, paper mache, screen printed items (dishtowels, aprons, t-shirts, onesies, bibs, etc.), letter pressed items (business cards, stationery, etc.), clothing/accessory items (scarves, dresses, purses, etc.).  Not a lot on the home front, which was refreshing (no country craft fair items like I mentioned above), but also disappointing because the fair definitely attracted the type of crafts person from whom I would be interested in having home furnishings/accessories.

Of course I not only walked the craft fair as a potential buyer of all these awesome handmade items, but also as a shop owner myself (though not selling at the fair).  What made some of these booths successful versus others?  What made them stand out?  How did they interact with their customers?  These, of course, are just my personal observations about the fair and only over few hours, so please forgive me if your experience was dissimilar.

What made for a unsuccessful or successful booth?
Unsuccessful could be summed up by the one vendor I saw who had the whole tent to themselves, only one table in the center of the booth, she was sitting at the table with some of her shallow (a la Paloma's Nest) bowls on the table, and that was it- no decorations, nothing of interest in her booth, and consequently, no customers (not to say she didn't have any, but I didn't see a soul in the barren tent she had set up).  My recommendation here would have been for her to share her tent with someone else- at least then she could have had additional passers-by as customers were interacting with the other vendor's booth, and let's face it, she obviously didn't need all that space.  Talk about low Sales per Square Foot!

I measured a "successful booth" as a booth that had a number of people waiting for their turn to look at items in the booth, or a booth that had a crowd of people.

So, what made these booths successful?
These vendors had very interactive, colorful, fun tents.  Often they were shared tents- I definitely had the feeling that if there were a lot of people in the tent checking items out, that it was worth the wait, and I, too, decided to wait my turn.  Sometimes it was a valid assumption, sometimes I just made my little loop in their tent and continued on my way, but I always stopped.  I wanted to see what the "commotion" was all about! 

I also pointed out to a friend that I LOVED the shops that had created some kind of "floor" for their tent- whether an all-weather rug, an oriental rug, FLOR tiles, or sisal, it made their shop feel more like a boutique and not just a stand in the middle of the road.  Definitely a take-away for me should I do a craft fair in the future!  How the tents were themed, I feel, was also a big success factor for many shop owners.  I loved the shops that had decorations that really expressed what their shop was about.  The themes did not necessarily have to be complex and shops did not have to be "overdressed", but having some kind of decoration in the shop (again, being "interactive" for the customers) really seemed to draw the crowds.  Be different in your shop theme to set your shop apart from all the others (300+ to be precise!).

The corner tents had two "entrances" which made it MUCH easier to shop!  Their booths felt much more open, and I feel like people could really see what these vendors were selling.  You do lose a "wall" for displaying items that need to hang, but some crafty display creating would solve that problem, and you get that much more visibility.

BUSINESS CARDS, BUSINESS CARDS, BUSINESS CARDS!  There were actually some shops that didn't have business cards available for customers who didn't purchase (or those who wanted to share the shop with other people) to take away!  Also, some of the business cards that I did pick up, I actually went to the site to see what else they offered, and there was no way to purchase from the sites that they provided on the cards.  This is the INTERWEBS ERA!!  If you don't have an online shop, GO HOME!  That may sound harsh, but this isn't our grandparent's craft fair!

And, lastly for the Success Factors section, I have "common themes" issues...this kind of goes up with the "be different in your shop theme to set your shop apart from all the others" comment I made a couple of paragraphs ago...the one most common theme I saw at the RCF was fabric pennants.  The first couple of shops I saw with them, I was all, "oh, how cute! These are so trendy right now- everyone loves them!", but by the end, I was like, "Ugh! Be original!! Stop doing what everyone else does!".  I saw ONE shop that had a different take on the fabric pennant that was refreshing- it was a shop that sold knitted scarves, and they had knitted pennants instead.  FUNSIES!  Another shop had their shop banner made out of those paper interlocking chains, and when I saw that, I almost did a fist-pump! YES! Someone who did something original!!  That would be my last bit of advice that goes pretty much across all the topics - BE ORIGINAL!

How did the shop owners interact with their customers?
This is a HUGE pet-peeve of mine!  I am one of those self-sufficient customers who hates to be hassled when I go into a store by the associates- if I have a question, I'll find you.  But craft fairs are different!  To me, part of being at a craft fair is to TALK to the vendors!  Not to find out their secrets and rip off their items, but to show my appreciation to fellow crafters!  To connect!  To express my excitement when I see some of my favorite Etsy sellers there!  I was let down time after time by the shop owners.  Most were sitting behind their tables, hidden in the corner of their tents, not interacting with their customers at all.  I was looking at some necklaces, and the shop owner actually scared me- I didn't see him crouching in the corner, and when he sat up straight, he startled me!  So many people either ignored us completely, or they would awkwardly ask how we were doing.  I only saw ONE person who was actively talking to their customers- they were out in the middle of their tent, explaining their inspiration to people, talking through the features of their items, etc.  This is so important!  I fear that the reason this craft fair was so bad in particular is because these are younger people who have perhaps never worked retail or had any kind of customer-focused job, and they have no idea how to promote or sell themselves and their products.  That's very important, too- they are selling themselves (their image) just as much as they are selling the products in their store front.  Again, this is the interwebs age- if someone doesn't buy then, they could buy online!  If they DID buy then, they may want to buy online again!  Positive experiences with your customers will create a loyal customer.  If you are a shop owner contemplating doing an in-person event, please take heart!

Overall, I loved the Renegade Craft Fair, and I am so pumped for the next one!  I wish the occurred more than just once a year here in Chicago, but I'll take what I can get!  These types of events are the #1 reason I LOVE living so close to a big city!  Leave a note to let us know if you had a similar or different experience, or if you have any thoughts about craft fairs you've been to!

Now, I'd like to leave you with three photos that I took while at the Renegade Craft Fair!

This one is just a great "in the city" photo, I think:

I saw this mural on the wall of a Mexican restaurant on my way back to the car after the fair- GO HAWKS!

And, last but not least (it's my favorite!), I happened to glance over and see this pretty view of the city as I was crossing the street- I just had to make my way back to capture it in the setting sunlight!

And, that's my Renegade Recap!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Featured Friday - Molly Mutt

Being an avid DIY-er, I have spent many an hour brainstorming the best way to turn our pups' beds into chic, trendy decor.  A few months ago, I bought a curtain with a lovely pattern from the Crate and Barrel Outlet (there definitely are some perks of living near a big city like Chicago!) that had a white lining.  I was able to slip the egg-crate bed and a goose-down comforter (yes, our dogs are spoiled) between the white lining and the pretty fabric to create a pretty little duvet for them.  This lasted all of about two weeks until our two decided that the bed wasn't fluffy enough anymore, so they started digging and rooting around to "fluff" it.

Tired of the mess of blanket and curtain, I returned to an idea that has come to mind more than once in the three years we've had the dogs- baby mattress!  I thought we could streamline the whole process by purchasing a baby crib mattress (only $35 at Target!) and crib sheet.  Win-win, right?  The dogs get a real bed to sleep on, and we get a sleek and tidy dog nest next to our bed.  The only thing we didn't count on?  They don't like it.  We felt sure that they would appreciate sleeping on a real mattress since they love to sleep on ours and often fight over who gets to sleep on it at night (they don't like to sleep on it together..."he's touching me!!!").  Nope, neither of them liked it, so after three nights of trying to coerce them to sleep on it, I caved and added the goose down comforter to the top of it again.  Now, they will at least lay on it, though they both still want to be on our bed.  So, back to the drawing board.  As I started to reflect on my options, I remembered Molly Mutt, a trendy shop I saw online created and run by an equally trendy girl named, well, Molly.

I can't remember exactly how I first stumbled upon the gem that is Molly Mutt, but perhaps it was during one of my marathon searches for the perfect dog bed.  I would venture to say that Molly has revolutionized the dog bed industry (or at least is well on her way to doing so!) with her DIY Dog Bed Duvet Kits.  The concept is genius and is made up of two parts: the dog duvet and the stuff sack.
With the Molly Mutt dog duvet, you can cover any existing dog bed or fill it with pretty much anything soft that you have laying around your house- old clothes, sheets, blankets, stuffed animals, etc.  For example, this adorably awesome little number called Mr. Roboto:

But Molly takes things one step further.  If you decide to stuff your dog duvet with household items (or a couple of old beds too flat to be of use on their own), it would be a pain if you had to take everything out just to wash the duvet, right?  Well, Molly introduces us to the concept of the "stuff sack".

Essentially, it's a mesh sack that makes it easy to take all the old soft stuffing materials, toss them into the stuff sack, and use the dog duvet to cover it up.  It makes upcycling items that normally would sit in the back of a closet, get put in the attic, or get thrown away so simple!  On the Molly Mutt site, Molly points out that as the dog duvet wears out, you can even use it to stuff your next Molly Mutt bed!

The cost of the "huge" duvet is $45, and the stuff sack is priced at $15 (really, deals on their own!).  Molly recommends that you have at least two duvets so you can wash one and have another available to put on the bed immediately (or, let's be honest with ourselves, there are too many fantastic patterns to be able to narrow it down to just one!).  She makes it easy, and cost effective, by offering the DIY Kit- 2 duvets and one stuff sack for only $95 (that's a savings of $10, not to mention she offers FREE SHIPPING on orders of $75+).

I love that Molly took a concept that solved an everyday problem for her and turned it into a solution for every dog owner- check out her shop online, or stop by her blog to find out more about Molly at Molly Mutts!

*Note: All images are from Molly Mutt's website and are the sole ownership of Molly Mutt.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lending a Helping Hand with Handmade4Hounds on Etsy!

As much as I am a creator of greyhound arts and crafts, I am also a consumer, so I spend a great deal of time surfing the interwebs searching for just the right greyhound item to add to our growing collection or for the pups to wear!  In my searches, a great number of which occur on Etsy, I kept stumbling upon this Handmade4Hounds logo in greyhound shops:

I finally came across the actual Handmade4Hounds Etsy shop, and I completely was blown away by the number of Etsy sellers who have joined together to make up the Handmade4Hounds Street Team.  But I also was confused- what is an Etsy Street Team?  Etsy "Help" to the rescue!

Essentially, there is a function in beta testing on Etsy where people of like interests can connect with each other- after more testing, they will roll out this formal Group function to the broader masses.  But where does the Street Team come in?  According to the Etsy site, in the early days of Etsy, sellers would form local "street teams" that would gather together and spread the word about their shops collectively (read: power in numbers!).  Etsy caught on that these grass-roots groups were joining sellers from across the globe, and the rest is history!  Perfect!  Having just donated a bunch of items to various greyhound groups for the months of September and October, I was psyched at this opportunity to 1) connect with my fellow artists, 2) find more artistic people with a passion for hounds, and 3) have a more consistent way of being able to help hounds through my art.

With the Handmade4Hounds Street Team, 100% of the listings in the Handmade4Hounds Etsy store are donated by these Etsy sellers who are passionate about helping the greyhound/sighthound cause. I find it particularly fantastic because each month, the group selects a different greyhound adoption or other sighthound rescue group to which they donate that month's proceeds (minus fees).  I emailed the team to find out how Greyhound Threads can become involved and promptly received a reply with instructions on how the whole thing works- I can't describe how excited I am to get started!!

This month, the group is donating to BAY AREA GREYHOUND ADOPTIONS.
Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions is a Florida based non profit group (501c) that is 100% volunteer based. They work to place retired racing greyhounds into forever homes. Since 2004 they have successfully placed over 600 dogs to date. All funds raised will go to support continued placement of dogs & offset unexpected Veterinarian bills.

Are you an Etsy seller with a passion for the hounds?  To join the Handmade4Hounds Street Team just send an email to handmade4hounds [!at]

You can also visit the website & blog for more information!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Featured Friday - Going Renegade!

While this Feature Friday is neither about one artist in particular, nor is it necessarily about a greyhound craftster (though we hope we find some here!!), we felt the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair was too amazing to pass up blogging about!  Whether it's street performers, local theater and artisans, or large-scale DIY events like the Chicago Craft Social or next weekend's Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago is an unbridled mass of raw talent and energy just waiting to explode on the crafting and art scene at every turn!  We here at Greyhound Threads are most excited about the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair, having read about it and longed to attend since way before moving out here to Chicagoland.  Here's the skinny on the event (you can also see this same information on the Renegade Craft Fair's Chicago FAQ page):

What is the Renegade Craft Fair?

The Renegade Craft Fair is a large-scale DIY event featuring hundreds of independent artists and their unique handmade items. RCF is held in cities across the US every year - including Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles & Austin. The fair is known for being one of the first events of its kind, and for featuring top-notch indie-craft artists and designers who travel from all over the map to participate.

What kinds of crafts will be there?

At RCF you’ll find all sorts of cool handmade stuff – including clothing, housewares, posters + prints, plush items, ceramics, jewelry, stationery + more. Each Renegade Craft Fair draws hundreds of applicants, all juried so that only the best arts + crafts are available.  The fair also features choice local eateries, marching bands, entertainers, dj’s, raffles, workshops, photobooths and other festivities!

When and where is the fair being held?

Chicago’s 8th Annual event will take place Saturday + Sunday, September 11 + 12 from 11AM – 7PM each day. Vendors will stretch down Division St. between Damen + Paulina, in the Wicker Park neighborhood.

How do I get there?

We encourage you to bicycle or take public transportation to the Fair!
By L train - Take the Blue Line to Division St. From there, head West on Division and it will take you right to the event. You can also take the Blue Line to North Ave., and walk south on Damen Ave. until you reach Division St.
By Bus - You can take the Division St. bus to Ashland Ave. from the East, and to Damen Ave. from the West. Coming from the North + South, you can take the Ashland or Damen buses to Division St. From Ashland, head West on Division and it will take you right there. The Damen bus will let you right off at the fair at Division St.

What if I can't make it next weekend?

If you can't make it next weekend (and we really hope you can!), this event is brought to you by the same owners of RENEGADE HANDMADE, a unique one-stop shop for DIY goods that features the work of over 300 artists!  It was created as an extension of the RCF and the store serves as a permanent location for people to buy and sell unique handmade items throughout the year (yep! They do consignments!).  Their store front is located in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, and they are also found on the interwebs here.  They have an amazing variety of handmade housewares, jewelry, posters+prints, plush items, clothing, stationery and more from the most fantastic crafsters around!  You can also head over to their fantastically hilarious (and informative!) blog so you don't miss a renegade beat.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pause (paws?) for the Cause!

Since adopting Ana and Blue, one of the most rewarding experiences has been working with greyhound adoption groups to help spread the work about greyhound adoption.  We adopted our two greys from a greyt group, Virginia Greyhound Adoption, but they unfortunately were located in Fredericksburg, Virginia which is about ninety minutes from our home in Richmond, so it was not as easy to participate in group functions as we would have liked.  Luckily, there were some local options for greyhound work, and we found a fantastic group called James River Greyhounds to work with in our hometown.  Before we moved to the greater Chicago area, we participated in Meet and Greets, greyhound walks at our local dog-friendly mall (which happened to be 3 minutes from our house!), greyhound hauls, and annual picnics.  Once I was in the swing of making coats for Ana, I started donating them to the groups for their silent auctions at their annual/bi-annual picnics.  One of the benefits of expanding to having the Greyhound Threads shop on Etsy and spreading my artistic wings by crafting new items for the shop is that I have a larger variety of items to pull from and more visibility across various greyhound adoption groups.  In the past two months, we have had four groups (not including ours in Richmond) approach us through Etsy to donate something from our shop to their silent auctions.  We are so excited that we have been able to donate to all four of the groups in addition to sending our very own group in Richmond a donation for their fall picnic!

So, what did we donate and who did the items go to?  Here's the breakout:

Ever dedicated to helping our local group in Richmond, we donated a variety of items to James River Greyhounds who will have their Fall Picnic on September 12, 2010:

Weekend Wear - Froggy flannel in blues and greens lined with a matching lime green fleece.  This coat is full-reversible, so the lucky winner's pup can wear it with the lime green fleece side on the outside and a froggy collar showing!

Here's a close-up of the froggy fabric!

Snood - hand-crafted snood in taupe with pink stripes! Can be worn as neckwarmer or...

...up to cover the winning pup's ears!

Boutique Greyhound Silhouette - Mod Multi-Color print with Black Silhouette (framed)

In addition to James River Greyhounds receiving the next item, this Boutique Greyhound Silhouette in classic Ivory and Black (framed) will be sent to the other four greyhound groups as well!

In addition to the classic silhouette, the Central Ohio Greyhound Rescue group will receive this Boutique Greyhound Silhouette - Blue, Green and Brown stripes with Blue Silhouette for their Reunion Picnic and Silent Auction on September 25, 2010.

The Royal Hounds Greyhound Adoption group in Tacoma, Washington is hosting the Royal Hounds Greyhound Adoption Annual Picnic and Auction benefitting Almost Home for Hounds on September 12, 2010.  In addition to the classic silhouette, they will receive this Boutique Greyhound Silhouette - Mod Brown, Yellow, White and Aqua background wtih Brown Silhouette.

The Mid-South Greyhound Adoption group located in West Memphis, Arkansas will receive this Boutique Greyhound Silhouette - Brick Handkerchief with Black Silhouette for their Annual Reunion and Auction Gala on October 23, 2010.

And last, but certainly not least, Make Peace with Animals will receive this Boutique Greyhound Silhouette - Blue and Green plaid with Blue Silhouette for their Annual Homecoming and Picnic on September 18, 2010.

It fills us with such joy that we are able to donate our work to so many greyt groups who are dedicated to finding life-long homes for retired racing greyhounds!  We hope each group has an amazing event and that that 2011 brings greyt success for these groups as they continue to unite greyhounds to their forever homes!