Old New Again

It’s no secret I have a slight fascination with typography. My collection is constantly being added to and a steady stream of new work from Old New Again is doing nothing to help curb its growth. I first fell in love with the ampersand above: a well-design letterform—YES!—painted and distressed wood—YES!—oh, and proprietors Liz & Rick are from Wisconsin—YAY!

Liz took a moment to share a little bit about the pieces they make, the lifestyle they live and what it’s like to have an etsy business as your livelihood. Enjoy!

Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
I’ve always loved wood and that sort of old primitive look, but wanted something “fresher”… so I came up with our style. Rick lost his job a few years ago, so it all just sorta worked out beautifully! Now it is our only source of income, and we are so blessed!

How did you learn your craft? Tell us about your process—start to finish.
I grew up in an art family. My dad has been a full-time artist since I was a child. My uncle taught college art. My brothers are both artists. So I can’t really say when it started, because I never remember it starting. It was there from the start.

Where do you work? What type of environment stimulates your creativity?
We have a workshop that’s about 7 miles away, in the country. While it’s lovely to work there in the summer, it is very cold in the winter (it’s heated, but it’s a big place so it isn’t the warmest). And in the winter there’s no natural light (in the summer we open the huge overhead door).

I do all of my computer work and shipping in our basement. Some day I would love to have a great big shop with lots of light year-round, where Rick can do his “dirty” work (cutting, sanding, staining and varnishing) and I could have a separate area to do my work.

How has your work evolved?
I try to watch trends and see what I can tweak. My biggest challenge is finding time to do new items. We are so busy that I don’t get as much time as I’d like to do new things.

What inspires you?
Everything! I love color and texture. I am constantly thinking in these terms. When I go to the pet store and see an amazing little hamster with the most beautiful brown and white fur… I think WOW I LOVE THAT BROWN!

What’s your favorite piece or use and why?
I adore our long skinny 6 hook shelves! We have them all over, as our house is pretty small and we have two children (Molly is 17… not a child anymore and Samantha is 9). I am all about functional pieces that look great and help me keep things organized.


Tell us about your start on etsy and any beginner mistakes.
I found etsy from an amazing artist, Jenn (www.noodleandlou.etsy.com). We got to know each other on ebay when we were selling our ACEOs. Beginner mistakes: hmmm…. that’s hard to say, because all the mistakes are just sort of stepping stones. Sounds cliche, but it’s so true.

What advice do you have for new etsians?
My advice would be to focus more and not try to try too many different things at once. My second bit of advice would be to initially spend 90% of your time on getting your pictures right and making sure they fit in well in treasuries.

Where can readers find your work?
We are exclusively on etsy! ♥

Christmas 101: A twist on a classic

Well kids, we’re getting down to the wire. Relatives are bound to start showing up any minute now, and—oh what’s that? You’re still not ready? Here are a few last minute ideas to get your home in the holiday spirit! The best part? You already have a materials and can pull them off in 10 minutes or less. Enjoy!

This first one is pretty darn brilliant, even if it does come from Rachel Ray Magazine. Take any piece of clear stemware—wine or martini glass, even a champagne flute—and invert it over some festive foliage: Holly branches, a poinsettia, even a bough from your Christmas tree, whatever you’ve got around. Place a small votive on the base (which is now the top) or each one and voila! A perfectly modern centerpiece.

You’ve got an extra strand of lights or two, right? Why not bring them inside, wrap them around… anything really (seriously: A spray-painted hula hoop, an old frame, a large embroidery hoop… the list goes on) and you’ve got a fancy festive chandelier that easily comes down when your guests go home—or you could definitely leave it up year round!

Christmas 101: Colorful Mod Décor

The simplicity and clean lines of minimalist décor can certainly make a statement, but for the holidays why not turn up the volume with a little color? I love creating a palette beyond the expected red and green to include light blues, jewel tones and lots of metallics.

There’s something wonderful about being greeted by a wreath on a friend’s front door. This one is available here, or make your own with shatter-proof plastic ornaments and a hot glue gun.

These three-dimensional felt ornaments—which could also certainly be made from colorful paper—are interesting from every angle and look incredibly complicated. However, with a few simple cuts and a couple dots of glue, they seem to simply pop up from a flat pane! Instructions are available here.

I love the idea of hanging ornaments off the tree: In front of a window, from a light fixture, from the ceiling over your dining room table. The paper option above is super easy to make, instructions available here or here!

Easily worked into any theme, these laser-cut coasters are the latest addition to my own Christmas list! Love the phrase, love typography, love the felt!

Beyond stringing up a row of lights, it’s easy to forget about decorating the exterior of your home. These colored “glass” balls—dreamed up by Hurrayic—make for a fun pop against white snow and a great project to get your kids off the couch.

Christmas 101: Shabby Chic Décor

Marked by time-tested furniture and feminine details, shabby chic holiday décor can be worked into a home that’s full of country charm or girly glitz—or as an unexpected addition to any home, from modern to traditional! With this much lace and frill, I prefer to keep things neutral in terms of color palatte… so here are my top picks!

Since I’m in an apartment this year, I’m not sure I’ll have a real tree (or even a plastic one), but I might make this lovely tulle number myself! Easy instructions are available here.

Fabric-wrapped ornaments are a welcome addition to any tree and I love the neutral tones and varying textures in these by Alice’s Looking Glass.

Perfect for when the whole family gathers around your table, this whimsical table runner by Emendee is made from vintage doilies that recall idyllic snowflakes.

A great addition to your tree or running down a staircase or across your mantel, these ruffled garlands are a lovely mix of sheer and soft with rugged and rustic. Easy tutorial here!

One more easy DIY idea courtesy of Annaboo’s House blog, these lovely votives can be tailored to your individual taste, whether you prefer simple glass cylinders or antique mason jars, delicate lace, vintage trim or twine simply wrapped around the container. They look even better when the votives inside are lit!

Festive Fall Centerpiece

I love all the miniature pumpkins and fancy gourds available this time of year. Instead of a pile of organic squash that start to smell after a couple weeks indoors, I created a craftier version to decorate my house with.

I started each piece by crocheting a flat circle by doubling my stitches each time around, increasing by fewer and fewer stitches until my pumpkin was about halfway done. I then started decreasing my stitch count, creating a flattened sphere shape. I stuffed and finished the pumpkin shape, molded ridges and finished each one with a stem and a curly vine. For the gourds, I made the shape more oblong (switching yarns halfway through) and continued to crochet a long tube for the neck at the end of the piece. They’re pretty easy to figure out, but if you’re not feeling ambitious, pumpkins are available here.

I arranged three pumpkins and two gourds on top of a runner made of felt, swirled a chunky cream scarf along the whole length and voila!