Upcoming Exhibition + P.O.S.T Event!

We are excited to be participating in Philadelphia Open Studio Tours again this year! We have some fun things that we have cooked up for you on October 3rd all day at Art Star (11-7pm)

1. Opening of “Tastes Like Broken Dreams” a solo show by Brooklyn based painter, Mauro Baiocco.

Postcard Image2Mauro’s first solo exhibition at Art Star will feature a charming array of “Naughty but Nice” animal portraits. Yeah they may look cute and innocent on the surface but these cuddly animals have issues. The show will feature an all new collection of acrylic and ink paintings of Mauro’s cynical and bitter cast of furry friends. We will be celebrating the opening all day long during shop hours. Come ready to day drink with us, as we’ll have a boozy beverage or two to offer guests! Can’t make the opening? No worries, the show will be up in our gallery space through November 22nd.

2. Trunk Show / Make + Take with Christie Sommers of West Oak Design

Christie Stamp Make + TakeArt Star artist and regular blog contributor, Christie Sommers of West Oak Design will be set up with a collection of her latest designs for you to shop. She will also be providing a FREE DIY Stamp Make + Take all day long!

Guests can make a wood block stamp perfect for hand printing fabric, or creating your own stationary. Cut your desired shape out of foam sheets and mount to wood blocks. A variety of paper + stamp pads will be on hand for testing out your creation. Christie will provide instructions and everything you need to make your own one-of-a-kind stamp that you can take home for free!

No registration is required. Just come on by and get to craftin’! Did I mention boozy day drinks?

3. Pop Up Studio with illustrator, Julia Lemyre
Julia Lemyre Pop Up StudioIf you have stopped by our shop on a Saturday this summer, chances are you met our employee, Julia! Well, she is not only a super awesome shop helper, she is also an incredibly talented illustrator. She will be bringing along a selection of her original works and prints for you to peruse and shop.

Like I said, all this is FREE to attend and no registration is required. Bring some friends and come hang out with us! We will be open from 11-7 and can’t wait to see you!


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Make This: Avocado Seed Dye Tutorial

Photos and Tutorial by Christie Sommers

In my last tutorial, I showed you one way to carve avocado seeds to make a pendant necklace. Today I will show you how to turn those failed attempts and carving scraps into a dye suitable for dying natural fibers like wool and cotton.

This is a simplified method that will result in a subtle, warm pink/rust color. If you are looking for deeper color saturation, or if you require colorfast results for fabric that must hold up through multiple washing, you will need to use a mordant. I’m keeping it simple and will be using my dyed fabric to make zip pouches.

You will need:
– avocado seeds, carving scraps from last tutorial (I used about 2 cups)
– 4 cups of filtered water
– 100% natural fabric or yarn (synthetic fabrics will not hold the dye without a mordant) I used a half yard of 100% cotton fabric. As with any newly purchased fabric, you should give it a run through the wash.
– fine mesh sieve
– a bowl or container large enough to hold dye and fabric. Stainless steel is great for this, plastic will stain.

To make your dye:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add avocado seeds and scraps. Cover lightly.
Boil for at least 30 minutes. *note… the seeds have an astringent, cedar wood smell. You may want to crack a window or use the oven fan.
I let my seeds sit in the water overnight in attempt to pull out as much color as possible. You can skip this step if you’re feeling impatient.

2When you are ready to dye:
Put your fabric into a pot and cover completely with tap water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. This should strip away anything clinging to the natural fibers… (like soap residue or oils) and make it more susceptible to absorbing and holding dye.


Remove fabric from water and set aside

Pour your dye through a fine mesh sieve to remove all seeds and bits. Submerge fabric into dye and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer it steeps, the deeper the resulting color.
For a color gradient effect, try submerging your fabric for 10 minutes, pulling it out of the dye bath a few inches every hour for a few hours. I fully submerged a few pieces of fabric and tried a gradient effect with the others.


After dyeing:
Taking note that your fabric will fade when it dries, remove fabric from dye bath when you have reached a desired depth of color.  Allow your fabric to air dry.


After your fabric has completely dried, rinse it in cold water. Let dry again, and your fabric is ready to use!

Here’s a little color chart to show the results I got from rinsing in cold water once, and placing the other in a full laundry cycle.


When I removed my gradient dyed fabric from the dye bath, I was really happy with the result. There was a bit of sediment in my dye which clung to the fabric creating a marbled effect that I loved. I decided to frame that one without giving it a rinse.


You can save your dye liquid in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Christie Sommers is the designer and maker behind West Oak Design. She handcrafts small batch and one of a kind goods for home, women, and kids in her Wyndmoor, Pa studio.www.westoakdesign.com


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Make This: Easiest Handmade Book Ever

Photos + Tutorial by Bonnie Kaye Whitfield

I am obsessed with this book form. It is the fastest way to turn a simple sheet of paper into an 8-page book, all without gluing or sewing. Use this tutorial to whip up a quick notebook, zine or to quickly transform an old work of art.


You will need:

paper – either blank or an old print, etc
scissors or cutting knife
bonefolder – optional


Gather your materials. I’ll demo with a blank sheet of 12 x 18” paper, but I also have an old test print to make into a book, too.


Start by carefully folding your paper in half, with the shortest ends together (like a “hamburger”). If you have a bonefolder, a super handy tool for making tight creases, then use it. Otherwise, your finger/fingernail will work just fine.

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Next, fold your paper once more in the same direction. When you open it, you should have 4 sections created on your paper.

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Then fold your paper in the opposite direction, where the longest ends touch (like a “hotdog”). Make a tight crease. When you open your paper up you should now have 8 sections.

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Fold you paper back in half again, on the very first crease you created (like a “hamburger”). Hold the paper carefully, and begin to cut into the folded edge on the crease – STOP when you get to the corner where the 4 creases come together. When you open your paper, it should look like you have a big slit in the middle.

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Refold you paper long ways (like a “hotdog”) and begin to squeeze the two ends of the paper together so that the hole in your paper closes to form 2 more pages. Fold these 4 page “spokes” together to close the book. Sometimes the book has a mind of its own, and you just let the pages tell you how to close up the book.


And there you have it, your new 8-page, no-glue, no-sew book!


Bonnie Kaye Whitfield designs and screen prints home textiles + paper goods under the name, Bonnie Kaye Studio. Products are created to inspire memories at home and around the table. A donation is made with every purchase to help feed hungry Americans.


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Move For Hunger Tackles Hunger and Food Waste

Move For Hunger Logo
On average, America produces enough food to feed over 500 million people each year, yet over 49 million Americans, including 1 in 5 children, go to bed hungry. While we cannot eliminate food waste entirely, we can all do a small part to make a difference in the amount of food that is wasted.

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Move For Hunger began with a simple idea: ask people to donate their food when they move, rather than throw it out. Coming from a family with four generations of movers, Adam Lowy saw how much food was thrown away each time people moved — perfectly good food that would end up in landfills — and found a way to get it to those in need in the local community.

Thus, Move For Hunger was founded as a non-profit organization to mobilizes the relocation industry to reduce food waste and fight hunger in local communities across North America.

Move For Hunger 2Movers who partner with Move For Hunger collect unwanted, unopened, non-perishable food items and deliver them to local food banks. With this simple idea and growing network of 600+ moving companies, thousands of realtors, and corporate housing professionals, Move For Hunger has delivered over 5 million pounds of food to local food banks throughout North America, providing meals for more than 4.2 million Americans.

Get involved and join Move For Hunger to fight hunger in your local community!

For more information please visit www.MoveForHunger.org 
Visit the Move For Hunger Activity Tent at our Art Star Craft Bazaar on July 25th + 26th in Asbury Park and Make A Donation!

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Meet ASCB Vendor Tadpole Creations!


Some of us are born makers. I was fortunate to come from highly creative stock and was raised in an environment that fostered creativity. I was born to a family with kitchen designer parents and a fine artist older sister. Some of my earliest memories are of playing with clay in my mother’s studio or sewing bits of fabric together from her sewing room to make clothes for my dolls.

A consistent thread throughout my life has been living the life as a maker. I have always made stuff – whether it be with a paintbrush or a sewing needle in my hand.

Looking back – I have always traversed between painting and various fiber arts.
My college degree is a BS in Art Education with a minor in Fiber Arts. I worked as an elementary art teacher and decorative painter before the establishment of Tadpole Creations.

You could also say appreciating the importance of a child’s viewpoint has influenced my life as a maker. This carries over to this day, from the fabrics I choose for a product, to the method of construction.

The murals, quilts, clothing and critters I made for my own three children when they were very young provided the foundation for the beginnings
of the Tadpole Creations brand.

Moo-Cow – the earliest known Tadpole Creation. Made almost 18 years ago for my oldest child.

A popular new baby gift from present day – the elephant rattle – tails and seams are reinforced for durability, the ears are corduroy for tactile exploration.
A denim whale pillow – having great unisex designs along with classic girl and boy offerings gives my buyers a choice when deciding on the perfect gift.
A linen and Liberty of London bunny rabbit toy. Featuring a hand painted and stitched face.
My hope is that my creations are the ones that are well loved by your little ones, that some receive the greatest honor of becoming a childhood treasure. Like Moo Cow.

Home goods are a more recent addition to my line, as I expand beyond the baby goods market. Such as these linen and Liberty of London pillows.

My newest home products are hand painted pillows, each is one of a kind.

The best part of my job is getting to meet my buyers and hear about the little ones in their lives. I hope that we have an opportunity to meet at a future market!

Renee D’Amico
Tadpole Creations
Visit her at our Upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar in Asbury Park – Booth #8

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Meet ASCB Vendors As The Crow Flies + Co

As the Crow Flies & Co is a little family business in West Philadelphia run by Mike and Wilder Scott-Straight. Married for almost ten years, they started As the Crow Flies & Co five years ago combining their efforts. Mike has been making jewelry for over 20 years since he was a youth vending stained glass jewelry on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, Ca. Wilder technically could have met him then, as they both moved to the Bay Area at the same time, lived in the same neighborhood and frequented the same places. That however, wasn’t meant to be and they didn’t meet until 10 years later when they had both gone back to the east coast and discovered a mutual love of all things old and the joys of flea marketing together. That joy led to Wilder’s vintage plate collection, which led to much of the jewelry that Mike makes today.

The story goes, that one of Wilder’s favorite calendar plates fell and broke. Mike who up until that time had just made stained glass jewelry thought maybe he could make something for her with the broken shards. He made a piece for her and a few more too and soon he was looking around to see what other plates were damaged enough to cut up.

Over the last 7 years he’s perfected his technique and his eye. He looks for interesting images and patterns, cropping them carefully from the original plate. He tries to find the stories in these images and hopes you can see them too. He has a love of all things nautical so ships and lighthouses always abound as do birds.  By choosing already damaged plates from flea markets to work with, he brings new life to an otherwise discarded object.

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Vintage dishes are storytellers, steeped in history. The original makers in Europe and the US have a fascinating past to them, as do many of the patterns and the places they came from. The original owners, and their stories also have tales to tell. Mike does a lot of custom work from family dishes that have been well loved over time. By making the broken shards into necklaces, earrings and cuff links, families can keep the memories and have something uniquely wearable to show.

Mike has kept doing stained glass, his first love as well. With an art deco aesthetic he makes earrings and necklaces. Just recently he started making chevrons, based on the windows of his 1903 West Philadelphia home.

crow11Wilder always had an eye for color and fabric. She originally started with knitwear but when their daughter came along she wanted to make timeless clothes that weren’t easily found in shops. Believe it or not she’d always been intimidated by sewing, mostly due to the half broken machines that she’d found in thrift stores and been working on. Her friend gave her some expert advice, buy a cheap, new machine with instructions (this is key) and learn the ropes on that. She did and with a few quick lessons from said friend, figured out sewing was not as terrifying as she’d first thought. It, in fact, was fun and liberating!

Wilder uses simple, timeless, vintage patterns and combines them with new designer fabrics to create a fresh look that’s sweet and harkens back to bygone days. Her inspirations come from her some of her favorite childhood books, Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables and The Princess and The Goblin.

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At the moment she only makes girl’s clothes but with the new addition of a little boy to the family she realizes boy clothing is going to have to happen soon (look out for it this fall).

Mike is excited to be vending at the Art Star Craft Bazaar in Asbury Park, which was his grandmothers old summer stomping ground in the 1920s. He’ll be there with plenty of ships and lighthouses as well as stained glass brights and Wilder’s summer dresses and skirts, perfect for the beach.

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Meet ASCB Vendor Bethany Rusen of Stanley Chester & Albert

being a potter in an urban area has its challenges. every so often, i envy my friends who are ceramic artists in far flung, beautiful places like the mountains of North Carolina or the plains of Montana and Nebraska. i love the beauty of where they live and most of all, the abundance of space. but i grew up in rural Pennsylvania, so by age 18 i had had enough of the country life. i have lived in Philly for almost 12 years and i think i am a permanent condition in this fair city. besides, i would miss the vibrant urban environment and the amazing community of makers that Philadelphia has to offer.

when i was looking to buy a house a year and a half ago, i told my realtor that my number one need was a work space. because Philly’s housing stock in almost entirely rowhomes, i knew my studio would be in the basement. so i needed a large, open, airy, high ceilinged basement, which was a challenge, especially in older homes. my house is almost a hundred years old, but it has an ideal basement. so this has been my studio home since then.

SCA2 when i started making pots under Stanley Chester & Albert about two and a half years ago, i had almost 15 years working as a ceramic artist under my belt, including a BFA and an MFA in ceramic sculpture. i started SC&A with a very simple premise: to produce well made vessels that would be accessible to a diverse audience and appeal to a population of people who normally didn’t buy handmade pots. with that in mind, i decided to stick to simple forms like bowls and cups – things that could be used in a variety of ways and be at home in any domestic environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAi’ve always been in love with vintage imagery, pop culture and snark, and the unexpected ways they can be combined. as for putting them on pots, it all started about seven years ago when i was still in grad school. i made a vase for a friend’s birthday: on one side was a dead flower, and the other said “BITCH PLS”. no one around me really got why it was funny, but i thought it was hilarious at the time (and still do). ceramics sometimes has a tendency to be overly formal and serious, so i love to disrupt that expectation.

SCA4most everything i make starts on the potters’ wheel, thrown by yours truly. i favor simple, elemental forms. everything is thrown generously and has a solid weight and heft to it. i want these pieces to stand up to daily use in your home, not put on a shelf only to be admired.

SCA17after the pots are trimmed and dried, they are bisque fired to 1860 degrees, and then glazed and fired again to 2232 degrees. almost everything i make is dipped in a clear glaze to allow the clay body (which is a really delicious speckled while stoneware) to shine through. i try to keep glazing very simple, mostly because i really hate glazing, but also because i’m more interested in using the vessel as a blank canvas for the images i apply.

SCA7 i was introduced to the waterslide decal process by my colleague and friend, Sharon Bartmann. i immediately saw the possibility of decals and ended up running with it like mad. i source my images from copyright free and vintage websites and books, in particular the Dover series of illustration books, which compiles a huge variety of images in one place. after scanning or downloading, i play with the images in Photoshop a bit, adjusting contrast, brightness, proportion and orientation. because of the way the printer works, high contrast images without a lot of shades of gray work best.

SCA8 SCA9SCA10 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAonce i have the image the way i want it in Photoshop, i print it out using a special printer and special decal paper. from there, i cut out the image, put it in water, and then affix the cellophane image to the vessel. it’s fired once more to permanently bond the image to the glaze. although the images are printed with black ink, once they are fired they turn a lovely reddish brown sepia color. with that aesthetic in mind, i gravitated toward imagery from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. i love anatomy and so skulls, hearts, bones and brains frequently find their way onto my work.


looking forward to the first Craft Bazaar at Asbury Park. come find me, i will be sure to have some Fucking Coffee in my hand.


Bethany Rusen is the creative force behind Stanley Chester & Albert. when she is not making pots, she is the Ceramics Technician at Main Line Art Center in Haverford, PA. she teaches kids, teens and adults at MLAC and Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. she likes to go through other people’s trash, is obsessed with Richard Nixon and is dogmom to her two greyhounds, Calvin and Pearl.  follow SC&A on Instagram (@stanleychesteralbert) and for more info, check out stanleychesteralbert.com

Photo credit: Bethany Rusen and Ananda Connolly


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Meet ASCB Vendor Dorene Reggiani of Asarum Designs

I’m Dorene Reggiani, the maker of Asarum Designs. I make contemporary adornments for the body and home using copper, brass, sterling silver, stones and crystals. I start with a flat sheet of metal, then I cut, bend, fold, hammer, melt, sand, and polish; developing a unique design as I go and leaving marks and texture that tells its own story. Each mark gives the piece depth and interest and highlights the lovely imperfections of my work. I currently live in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and work out of my home studio.

Asarum Photo 1My process reflects how I try to live my life, figuring it out as I go and making decisions that look and feel right in the moment. I find amazing things happen when I let go of a plan and allow the moment to inspire me. It is this reason my designs are constantly changing and morphing into something new and current. It keeps me interested and excited about my work.

Asarum Photo 2I love what I do and I hold that intention as I create, and in turn I believe my work retains those positive vibes.

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My greatest inspiration has always been Nature, it is where I go when I need to get out of my head and just feel connected and grounded. I run a small gardening business as well as jewelry making which not only supplements my income but allows me to stay connected and be exposed to endless creative inspiration. My experience with plants has benefitted me as a jewelry maker in many ways. It has taught me to slow down and use my senses as I take in what is around me and to be patient in allowing my creativity to grow. It brings me great joy to take in the subtle yet fascinating and inspiring compositions nature provides, and it most definately guides my development as an artist and maker.

The name of my business, Asarum Designs,  comes from the lovely plant, Asarum canadense, also known as wild ginger. It is a shade plant native to eastern North America and has the most beautiful yet humble deep red flower that becomes hidden under its two heart shaped leaves. It is a true gem and I plant it whenever I have the chance.

Asarum9I am constantly influenced, motivated and challenged by all the amazing makers and artists out there. Appreciating other people’s work and building relationships with those on a similar path really helps to keep me going. I am also continually moved by the support and feedback I receive from family, friends and fans. I truly love the opportunity to meet new, interested people when I am out at a show.

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Asarum8By signing up for the newsletter HERE  today you will automatically enter for a chance to win this lovely brass bud vase.  The winner will be announced on August 1st.

I’m really looking forward to Art Star Craft Bazaar In Asbury Park, July 25 and 26, come say hi at Booth #9, I’m excited to see you!



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Meet New ASCB Vendor Eve Mobley of Cedar + Fawn

I’m Eve Mobley, the illustrator working as Cedar + Fawn, based in Baltimore. I studied digital illustration in my undergrad, it wasn’t until I took an internship as a display artist at Anthropologie that I really fell in love with household objects as art. Cedar + Fawn actually began as my Senior Thesis project, and I’ve just kept it going ever since!


I have a love affair with the romanticized image of the 50’s-era housewife, which is why so much of my work is geared towards the domestic setting, specifically the kitchen and dining. My illustrations are also influenced by feminine fashions, Parisian imagery, and colorful Scandanavian design.


I collect all my “blank” dishes from restaurant supply wholesalers, but occasionally I’ll score a vintage piece or two and do a special limited edition design. I’m very picky about the shape and form of the dishes I will buy to paint on. Because my illustrations are so minimal, every detail of the final object—how it looks on the table and how it feels in the hand—is extremely important.


First I mark guides on the ceramic using a soft pencil or carbon paper, and then I use an overglaze technique to paint. As yes, I hand-paint each and every dish! Luckily, the more I repeat a design, the faster I get at painting it! After the paint is dry, the piece is fired again to set the paint and make the design permanent, food safe, and dishwasher safe. It’s just as important to me to make a functional piece as it is to make a beautiful one!


More often than not, the illustration you see on a dish is a doodle copied straight from my sketchbook. I try not to make too many revisions from paper to plate, because that relaxed, lazy line of the original doodle is exactly what makes the image so charming! The warm and approachable personality of an airy doodle is the perfect complement to the solidity of a heavy ceramic dish.


You can find my work for purchase online, as well as at all of the Charm City Craft Mafia’s shows. To see all designs past and present, and to take a peek at my 2D illustrations, check out evemobleyillustration.com!
Make sure to check out Eve’s work at our upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar in Asbury Park on July 25th + 26th. This will be her first Art Star event!

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Make This: Avocado Seed Pendant

Photos and Tutorial by Christie Sommers


If your household goes through as many avocados as mine, you may have thought “there must be something I can do with all these pits!” (cue exasperated infomercial actor). Well there is! In fact there are a few things you can can do with them. I will walk you through two options over the course of this,and my next, tutorial for Art Star. In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a hand carved pendant, and later this month I will show you one way to turn the carving scraps and pit skins into a natural dye. So save those scraps!

You will need:

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*Hass avocado pits (at least two)

*Xacto blade or other carving tools. No experience necessary! I have no “official” carving training aside from a brief period of self taught printmaking. Just proceed with caution, these tools are sharp! You can get creative with items in your kitchen or toolbox. Use a Phillips head screwdriver for “x” shapes, metal skewers for dots, drag a fork for perfectly spaced lines…. you get the idea.

*a drill or Dremel for making holes

*a length of rope or string from which to hang your pendant (I used waxed cotton cord, hemp works well too)

You will need to allow your your seeds to dry out for at least 3 days before carving. No more than around 2 weeks or they will shrivel up and solidify, making them very difficult to carve.

Avocado seeds are dicots. Simply put, they are in two parts. You need to find the natural split that separates the two sides. If you don’t split them prior to carving, they will split on their own later.. most likely straight through your nice design. I learned this one the hard way.

After your seed has dried for a few days, peel the outer layer of skin away and set skin aside.

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Pinch the seed between your thumb and forefinger until the natural split begins to appear.

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You may need to stick a flat head screwdriver into the split to pry them apart, otherwise just get a finger in there to separate.

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You now have two halves… two potential pendants.

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Start by deciding where you would like to drill the hole for your string. Don’t go too close to edge if you want to avoid unwanted cracks.

Drill a hole through the seed being careful not to press too hard, let the drill do the work. Too much pressure may cause the seed to split where you don’t want. You may have to go through a few practice seeds to get a feel for it.

Start carving! You can lightly scratch designs into the seed with a pencil first as a guide.

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For this tutorial I carved one pendant with a little mountain landscape, one that was inspired by mud cloth designs, and lastly a pendant with a more simplistic organic shape. I tried to make the drilled hole an intentional part of the design.

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String your new pendant onto your rope/string and tie in the back at your desired length.

If you’d like to give your pendant a nice finish, try wiping with a cloth that has been lightly dipped in mineral oil.

Now throw those seed shavings and skins into a ziplock bag and toss them in your freezer until next time when I share a way to turn those scraps into a natural dye.

Christie Sommers is the designer and maker behind West Oak Design. She handcrafts small batch and one of a kind goods for home, women, and kids in her Wyndmoor, Pa studio.www.westoakdesign.com

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