Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Human Sparkler inside A Box. (Video)

Pollack with Sparklers by Lomo-Cam
Pollack with Sparklers, a photo by Lomo-Cam on Flickr.

I did it. I finally filmed and posted video onto the TrashN2Tees blog. No it isn't a video tutorial, but rather a short 3 minute video of me spilling my guts about being creative, finding your way, losing you way, climbing outside of the box and the desire to be reignited.

The video goes hand in hand with post I shared earlier- The Top 30 Reasons I Should To Go To Spark 
and (exhale) was big & scary for me to share. It's also my submission to be considered for the Spark Retreat Scholarship. Eeek, okay I'm going to hit the [publish post] button if my hands stop shaking. 1, 2, 3....  

Monday, March 26, 2012

DIY Mothers Day Gift: Repurposed Flower Vase

Mother's Day is just around the corner! The boys and I created these beautiful repurposed vases last Spring using Coffee Mate Creamer bottles. The craft is easy to do, so all of you dads out there take a hint! Tip: A perfect size plastic bottle/vase for kiddie handful flowers are these Danimal Yogurt Smoothies.
Using modge podge & strips of old magazines these plastic bottles were transformed. Be creative, use glitter or add photographs and letters for a personalized touch!

How its done:
  1. Gather your supplies: Magazine, Bottles, Mod Podge, Paint brush
  2. Cut paper into strips & squares. I let the boys practice using scissors and then they sorted the colors.
  3. Apply a medium layer of Mod Podge both to the back of the paper and to the top of the surface.
  4. Smooth the paper to the surface. Keep smoothing until you have removed the air bubbles. 
  5.  Allow the Mod Podge to dry for NO LESS than 15 - 20 minutes.
  6. Apply a top coat of Mod Podge to the entire surface and allow to dry.
  7. Apply a second coat of Mod Podge to the surface and allow to dry.
 Moms, grandmas, aunts, teachers- they all cherish handcrafted gifts from the children they love. I hang  the boys artwork all through out the house in frames and the walls of my studio are literally lined with this & thats they've crafted together. Do you have a cherished handmade gift from your children? I would love to hear about it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Top 30 Reasons I Should Go To SPARK

30. Wait!? There will be margaritas right?

29. A good excuse to buy 1. new shoes 2. a new pretty journal

28. I'd love for Dyana Valentine to dream about me... or for me.

27. Wanted: Friendship & Community

26. Oprah Winfrey says I should go to Spark. If she thinks so it MUST  be true. 

25. I need to think & climb outside of outside the box.

24. I haven't had a roommate since college.

23. I think creative play is cool, actually, I know it is. 

22. But, but, but, mom!  Dyana , Alexandria , Deanna, and Tania are all going to be there. And I wanna go too! 

21. My sewing machine needs a break. 

20. Not only will I benefit but I will share the inspiration, tips, and lessons I learn at the retreat with my peers- creating mini sparks everywhere! 

19. My kids want me to go. 

18. I'm starting to feel stale, like a crouton. 

17. Jumping up & down at the chance to connect and network with like minded (awesome) ladies going through the same things as I am. (& if not I want to hear their stories too) 

16. I want the truth- The plain, old, slap in your face truth. The truth about me and my flaws. The truth about my good & bad. But also the truth about everyone else.

15. My absence will make my hubby finally realize how much I actually do at home! 

14. I want to recharge & respark my inner fire. 

13. I gave myself permission to go, and mean it.  

12. Getting uninterrupted sleep will recharge my batteries.  

11. When is the last time I was unplugged?  

10. Jessika from Oh My Handmade Goodness will be there, I tweet with her at least 3x a week- wouldn't it be nice to finally meet?  

9. I'm beginning to noticed worry lines around my eyes and forehead.

8. In 6+ years I've never had Girls Night Out, or even a date night with my hubby!

7. Peace & quiet

6. I want newness. New places, people, and new expectations of myself.

5. I see tshirts in my sleep.

4. I've never been to New Mexico.

3. I'm currently letting fear stop me from professional growth (hello! new revelation) Still unsure if its a fear of failure or success. 

2. My screen saver looks like this: 
Hacienda Dona Andrea.
1. I can be better. (at everything!)

Wondering what the heck all this Spark business is about? Spark, the Creative Entrepreneur Retreat is happening in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico from May 3-7, 2012 at the GORGEOUS Hacienda Dona Andrea. With superstar headliners & amazing workshops =geared towards reigniting our personal and business creative fires once again. See... now you know why I must be there! Lucky for me they are giving away ONE scholarship and I'm going to do my darndest to win it.

How many of these 30 reasons could apply to you? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

New In the Shop

Just in time for Easter basket stuffing- check out these sweet vintage button earrings. I have a slew of trendy pastel color combinations ready to ship but they can be made to order in your custom color ways. (As long as your color way includes navy blue, black, tan, white, baby blue, hunter green, or seafoam green!)

These buttons have a little history to them. Through connections I have made by sharing the importance of clothing/textile recycling, I had the opportunity to rummage through and salvage the contents of a once very successful industrial uniform dry cleaning business which was located in Paris, Kentucky. The business had been closed since the late 1990's. The buttons used may have been taken off uniforms or used to repair/replace broken ones. The owner had intended on renting a dumpster and hauling everything to the landfill. Luckily my name was passed on and I was able to collect and donate a ton of items that were still usable.

You can get yourself a pair in the shop now @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/tntees

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Where are your clothes REALLY going?

One Friday morning, I was out running errands (or was I trying to find some yard sales?) Either way- I was driving through the center of Georgetown when I noticed a GIANT-HUMUNGOUS heap of trash bags in front of a local charity. [Visualize a pile of clear bags taller than an average person and as long as a card.] The bags were filled with clothing/sheets/fabric as far as I could see- and I remember thinking wow, that is A LOT of stuff. A few hours later I drive back through town, yard sales a bust as it had begun to rain. Retracing my route home I pass and find that those donations are still out by the curb!

It just kept pestering at me... you see Friday also happens to be garbage day.

I decided to call the office of the Amen House and inquire. The director and I spoke for some time, I found out that a local nursing home had donated a massive amount of items to their location. Because 1) they didnt have enough room 2) they have high standards (if items are not in like new condition they will discard them- this is so that "people don't feel degraded") all of these clear bags had been left curbside for the garbage men! I shared some resources for clothing recycling and promised to follow up with more. I was just flabbergasted at the amount of clothing/textiles that were being so easily dumped into the landfill and a little pissed off about it too. When I make a donation I think that its actually being used locally.

The moral of this story- Find out where your donations are actually going.


We have over 2300 in the US and Canada. The items that don’t meet the quality standard are sometimes sold at Goodwill clearance centers, such as outlets or “by the pound” stores. Not all Goodwill headquarters have such centers, but where present, this is a good way to squeeze more value from donations, keep more product from reaching landfills, and fund our job training programs and employment placement services. Any remaining product is then offered for sale to textile recyclers, which extends the life of already manufactured goods.

Some of the used clothes sold to textile recyclers are recycled into rags, carpet fibers and other products. This is an environmentally sound process - we have seen estimates that textile recyclers divert approximately 2.5 billion pounds of used clothes from landfills.

The clothing and shoes that are donated to Planet are resold to international used clothing brokers. The profits derived from these sales are used to fund sustainable development projects in Africa, Asia, & Latin America.

The brokers that buy our clothes actually have sorting facilities. Once they receive a load from us, they sort through clothing. The stained, ripped, or unwearable clothing is sorted out and then it is resold to actual textile recyclers. The textile recyclers then use that material to make shop rags, carpet padding, insulation, and other by-product materials. As you can see, there is an extensive chain of recycling that goes on within this industry.
The Salvation Army
According to the two representatives, they sell the higher quality clothing in their thrift stores. Less desirable but still wearable clothing is baled and shipped around the world to areas in need. If clothing is soiled or completely unwearable, it does end up in the trash. 

What do you do with your unwanted clothing? (Need repurposing inspiration - check out the Trashn2Tees Ultimate Upcycled Tshirt Tutorial List )

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is your content safe? Find out now.

Felt Mouse Pad by Fuzzylogicfelt
Right click, save. It's that easy for your online images & content to be stolen. A mist this Pinterest fallout- as a creator, designer, artist, blogger, maker, mom, and marketer its important that the things I share online are safe. Let's be honest though- images can be stole from anywhere... not just Pinterest. Once you upload your product photos on etsy, your blog, facebook, artfire, twitter, tumblr or anywhere else they're out there for the taking. But do you know you can check to see if your images are being stolen and used somewhere else online?

Meet Reverse Image Search. There are several reverse image search engines, you can find the top 10 here. I'm aiding Google in world domination and so I tend to use their search engines most often. In a nutshell- you can go to a site like Tineye or Google Images, then upload the picture (or provide the direct link) to it and voila! If that picture has been found anywhere on the Web by Tineye or Google Images, you will be provided with links to all the places that image was found.

Below is Google's official promotional video explaining how to use it and other search scenarios it can be useful for: <Popcorn please>

Protecting your images/content online is a never ending job- but taking steps to be proactive can deter people from using your material. I've included a short list of things I do but if you have super computer geek powers you can go even a step further. Put on your brave britches & check out tutorials from Skinnyartist where you can learn how to HTML Shrink Wrap Images and Slice & Dice.
Tshirt Earrings from TrashN2Tees
  •  Watermarking or embossing your images with some kind of easily identifiable mark. Using your logo or font to watermark also reinforces your brand! I often add [trashn2tees] into my images using my editing program, I recommend using a fade option which keeps your watermark from overpowering your images. Learn how to watermark your photos using Photoshop with this tutorial from Kim Klassen cafe Or Google’s Picasa program recently added a “created by” watermark option for all downloaded pictures. Check out Etsy for custom made watermarks.
  • Promote your work. Are you looking at me like I'm crazy yet? Yes, putting your work out there you're risking someone coming through like a thief in the night claiming its theirs.... but if you promote your work & gain exposure you have more of chances of it being recognized as your own. 
  • Size does matter. Uploading an image of a smaller/medium size, lets say 600x600 or smaller will help prevent someone from being able to print/resell your artwork. Re-size them in Photoshop, or any image editor, and upload those smaller versions to the web. No one will want to steal them. Be sure to keep a hi-res version for yourself.
  • Add Copyright Warnings
    I started noticing these assertive warnings on several of the blogs I followed. I even added one here on the TrashN2Tees blog. It might deter a half-hearted thief, or someone who doesn’t realize that taking your artwork is wrong, but other than that it doesn’t offer much protection. Worth a shot though right?
One last resource that I use to follow up on my content is- Google Alerts.There is a great post at Handmadology  on using Google Alerts to find out who is blogging about you. We always want good PR, but this tool also can be used to track your content for possible plagarism and any inbound links.

Now this post comes with a big fat disclaimer- none of these are sure fire thief blockers, nothing on the internet can be protected. The best way to protect your art/photos from being downloaded or stolen is to not upload them online.
   Are you taking steps to keep your content safe? Let's continue the discussion and comment below. 

Fresh Off the Scissors

 So yes, it has been a while since I've had a Fresh Off the Scissors post- but don't mistaken that for my scissors gathering dust. Life has just gotten busy here and with our trip to the mountains a few weeks ago its taken some time to get back into the groove of blogging. From top left to right: Spring Time Bear Tshirt  Size 1y, Custom dinosaur tshirt, Disguise Tee Womans L (not yet listed), Custom Monster Truck Tshirt , Custom Leprechaun Mustache, Semi Truck Custom, Made for me bike tee, Custom Burger, and Custom Monster Truck Birthday Tshirt.

I worked on some jewelry designs last night...  notice the blue & white? or the wine glass? Be sure to shop by the shop for some new listings later today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Basketballs on.

"March Madness" has begun. If you're not sure what that means here in my house... well lets just say that ESPN is on at all hours! I actually repositioned my sewing machine today so that I wouldn't any of the NCAA action today.

Are you an expert at bracketology? Lets compare notes! Now if someone would just call and ask me to meet up for wings & a beer that would be great! Got a favorite team yourself? Is it basketball, football, Nascar, soccer, or otherwise comment & let me know. Go team!  <---insert Kentucky Wildcats>

Monday, March 5, 2012

What caused me to get baby fever?

I've shared posts in the past, here on the TrashN2Tees blog, Handmadeology, and Oh My Handmade Goodness about the benefits of collaborating- I'm excited to share this finished project between North Star Knits and TNT. A gender neutral newborn set and extremely cloth diaper friendly :) Yes, this project actually gave me a touch of the baby fever! I snapped out of it though as I heard my two boys collapse a train table full of legos. Oi!
This set is available on Etsy at TNTees


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