Monday, November 26, 2012

Bazaar Bizarre Boston Features Lofted Designs

What an honor! What an exciting time! The Bazaar Bizarre Boston has featured Lofted Designs on their blog!! (And yes, I am blogging about a blog.)

I haven’t even announced my participation in this event yet because I am still pinching myself, but I am very pleased to tell you that I’ll be a vendor at Bazaar Bizarre Boston this December 16th! Read the full interview here and learn everything you need to know about shopping at this fantastic event on their Shopper Info page.

This show will be HUGE and I can't even believe I will be there with all these other amazing vendors. Until then, I'm signing off because I've got a LOT of things to make. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Craft Fix - Sunday, 11/25 - Kittery, Maine

Greetings, holiday shoppers near southern Maine & Portsmouth! If you are sick of maddening big box doorbusters, crazy check-out lines, and crowded parking lots, I've got the perfect event for you. Come hang out at Craft Fix on Sunday! 

Craft Fix Poster

Lofted Designs will be there with a table full of sterling silver necklaces, rings, tie bars for men, sterling & vintage button earrings, NEW Jamaican beach stone earrings, pet tags, leather dog collars from P.D. Barkington, and more! 

The Details:
Buoy Gallery (next to the Black Birch)
2 Government St., Kittery, ME
10am - 5pm*
*Come early to avoid the crowds and get the best selection!

I'll be part of a truly great (and diverse) group of vendors this year. From jewelry, greeting cards and handbags to fresh caramels, knits, yoga mat bags and paper cut creations, you'll be able to shop for handcrafted and vintage items for everyone on your holiday list! Artists include (click the links for a sneak peek):

BONUS: While you're in town, check out the incredibly beautiful exhibit at Drift Gallery around the corner and also the open artists studios down the road at Art on the Hill!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Close Buy Catalog 2012 – My Largest Order EVER

Lofted Designs was lucky enough to be selected once again to participate in Close Buy Catalog, a fundraising initiative to benefit schools and non-profits in Maine and beyond. The list of benefiting non-profits and schools grows each year, and I'm so honored to play a role in supporting these organizations. 

This year's fall fundraiser catalog was chock full of incredible products handcrafted in New England, and Lofted Designs pet tags were available in two styles:

Lofted Designs Pet Tags

I sold almost 100 tags (my largest and most production-intensive order to date), and tackled the project in small batches. Each tag was cut by hand from a large sheet of aluminum. I then filed the corners to round them, stamped the lettering and cut out the tiny hearts by hand with a small saw.

Once the hearts were cut out, I soldered silver rings to the top of each tag. 

After soldering, the lettering was darkened and each tag was carefully polished. And here they are: 

Each tag was placed into its own special pouch and they are finally ready for mailing! 

The final step – shipping to the fulfillment house in Lewiston, Maine, from which they (and many other great Close Buy Catalog products) will be distributed to schools and non-profits in early December. What a tremendous sense of accomplishment! A whole lot of pets in New England are about to get way more stylish. 

If you'd like to outfit your pets with some snazzy new tags in time for the holidays (they make perfect stocking stuffers), visit the pet accessories section of my Etsy shop to place an order today!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Portsmouth, New Hampshire - A Private Tour

It's not every day I write a blog post for one person. In fact, it seems completely weird and un-blog-like to do so. But my super-mega-girl-crush Geraldine Fishkin might be coming to town, and if she does I want to be sure she has a great time. And if other people benefit from this post, that's great too!

A note for everyone else: As most creative professionals in the seacoast area know, SEOMoz is coming to Portsmouth, New Hampshire this week. While all of my co-workers are flipping out about Rand Fishkin, the company's CEO who is coming to speak, I am way more excited to meet his wife Geraldine. (Rand Fishkin trivia for the nerds: he and I were born in the same year and in the same small farm town in NJ.) Geraldine will be tagging along on the trip, touring the area and most likely writing some funny tweets and insightfully hilarious blog posts (which is why I love her so much in the first place). I've been reading her blog for ages and I've become a little obsessed. Not in a scary, Single White Female way, but in a "she's so totally relatable, we have so much in common and I totally want to be her friend" kind of way. I'm sure she gets this a lot.

To stand out from the crowd of other potential BFFs, I've decided to add some value by putting together a list of my most favorite spots in Portsmouth as a sort of private tour of public places (in no particular order). You'll notice they're almost exclusively food related. I didn't think you'd mind.

The most fun you'll have eating breakfast in Portsmouth is at the Friendly Toast. The service can be questionable (i.e., you'll have something to blog about for WTF Wednesday, probably), but the menu is interesting, the food is great, portions are HUGE, and the atmosphere is truly unique. Unless you've been to the Cambridge location of the Friendly Toast, in which case you should skip it and head to Colby's on Daniel Street instead.

For good coffee, you really have two local options. If quality coffee (and traditional German pastries and strudel) are what you seek, try Kaffee Vonsolln on Daniel Street. If you aren't particular about the coffee or in the mood for baked goods but want a great people-watching experience, head to Breaking New Grounds in the middle of town in Market Square.
Kaffee Vonsolln Streusel & Mocha
If you're looking for delicious, made-from-scratch baked goods or a delicious, healthy and hearty lunch, stop in at Ceres Bakery. In business for more than 30 years, you will not find food this lovingly prepared anywhere else in town. Bring cash.

For great, locally brewed beer, don't miss the Portsmouth Brewery. They always have several of their own brews on tap, as well as a few Smuttynose options (their sister brewery) and usually a guest tap. If you're looking for a small snack to accompany your beer, ask for a side order of pretzel rolls. They aren't on the menu, but they're the best beer side imaginable. Also, this establishment is home to the most awkward restroom in town.

Portsmouth loves oversized sculptural signage
Now Geraldine, I know how you feel about ice cream. Which is why I'm going to point you in the right direction so you don't get swept up in all the Market Square hype of the new Kilwin's (a chain) or some other random frozen yogurt or gelato shop (there are too many to count). Go to Annabelle's for ice cream. A Portsmouth staple for 30 years, this is a scoop shop not to be missed. In fact, let me know if you're going. I'll buy you a cone.
More huge, literal food signage
My absolute favorite restaurant in town is The Black Trumpet – I've never had a bad meal (or even a bad dish) at this wonderful establishment. They use a lot of local ingredients in really interesting ways. My favorite spot within The Black Trumpet is on the 2nd level (a bit more casual than the downstairs dining, the wine bar upstairs is cozy and offers terrific views of the harbor).

You'll probably need something to do between all these meals, so I'd recommend supporting some of Portsmouth's locally-owned small businesses. My favorite shop in town is Gus & Ruby Letterpress filled with heaps of amazing greeting cards for all occasions, beautiful wall hangings, gifts, candles, bags, notecards, books and window displays that will stop you in your tracks. Not to mention the bunch of helpful, lovely ladies who work there. Full disclosure: this shop carries my handmade pet tags and I'm good friends with the owners, so I might be a little bit biased.

Odd Showroom is another favorite of mine and features the work of the very talented proprietress Amity Joy. She has filled her store wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with almost exclusively her own creations, plus some great vintage items. Knit apparel, hats, gloves and scarves, re-imagined vintage clothing, paintings, handbags, jewelry, kick-ass boots – this woman does it all and does it well.

If you have lots of time, I'd highly recommend heading over to the Strawbery Banke Museum, which is less museum and more time machine. The museum houses an entire neighborhood from the past, and you can tour individual homes and shops to learn about the community throughout history, dating all the way back to the 17th century.

And if you find yourself tempted to cross the bridge into my home state of Maine, I strongly recommend a meal (or even just a drink) at the Black Birch in downtown Kittery, which is attached to the occasionally-open art gallery Buoy and housed in an old post office. Fantastic beer list, cozy atmosphere, great bar – they even play vinyl while you dine.

Look, I've even created a map for you! It's so easy! Let me know where we should meet. :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

**Sandy Sale Update**

For those of you who have been keeping up with my blog, you know I donate a portion of my proceeds from sales to a local non-profit each quarter. You also know I have an awesome dog named Sandy. You also know that Sandy was excited for her namesake storm last week (since everyone kept saying her name all the time).

Well, now Hurricane Sandy has come and gone and left complete and utter destruction in its wake. Many places near my hometown in New Jersey are devastated beyond belief. Thankfully, all my friends and family are out of harm's way, but the road to recovery and rebuilding will be a very long one.

As a result, beagle Sandy and I have decided to turn her hurricane sale into a hurricane relief fund.

All proceeds from pet ID tags sold on my Etsy site through the end of the year will be donated to organizations on the ground in New York and New Jersey including the American Red Cross and the Humane Society's Disaster Relief Fund (to help pets lost or displaced from the storm). 

I typically choose a local non-profit each quarter for my donations, but this devastation is very near and dear to my heart, "local" is a relative term, and this is where our help is needed most. Beagle Sandy and I thank you for your support, as always.