Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Andrew’s Reclaimed – Not One Tree, Not One January 19, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry – Manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets.

The following is written by Andrew of Andrew’s Reclaimed – Reclaimed Wood & Garden Accessories

I have always had a fascination with woodworking. One of our most ancient crafts, it is simply amazing to me how far it’s come.

Let me tell you how I started on this journey into woodworking, and how a little resourcefulness and a bit of luck has brought my eco-friendly craft into our gardens.

It started several years back, when I had dabbled a little in woodworking. A little framing here, a bit of decking and fencing there. One sunny weekend I was helping out a friend of mine. He had recently purchased his first home, and was remodeling it. Where to begin? Well, he had decided that the outside would be the best start. He had already dismantled the deck in the back of the house, and was building a new one. All of the new framing and much of the decking he had already purchased, so there we began. Come dusk, when we were close to the end, we realized that we were going to be short on supplies, as the height of the deck was tall enough that it required a railing and balusters.

It wouldn’t have been such a challenge, except the project was on a tight budget. What to do now? That night it came to me. Months ago, I had helped a neighbor friend of mine take down his old barn. The neighbor had not had any use for this decades-old mossy weathered wood, but frankly, I would have hated to see it taken to the landfill. I think even then, in the back of my mind, I knew I would bring this precious wood to good use. I had de-nailed it, and stored it for later use.

Could I re-mill this old gray heap into useful material?

The next morning I told my friend about my plans for this lumber pile. “Couldn’t hurt, Andy”. This is where discovery began. We went back to the house, collected the lumber, and off we went to the table saw. Hours of sawing led to the unveiling of the beauty and durability of this old gray stack of boards. It was beautiful old-growth western red cedar. It looked and smelled wonderful. With the railing parts ready to go, we completed his deck, and he was so happy with it. It was just lovely. A better quality wood by far. Stiffer, stronger, finer grain, and full of color, from cocoa brown to fiery reds and orange. It looked just lovely against his stone gray composite deck boards. It was so rewarding, as I knew this railing was built without having to fell a single tree.

Soon after that, I started my research into the usefulness of cedar. I had no idea that there were so many different species and grades. The year previous I had built my own deck of ironwood, and as beautiful and carefully crafted as it was, I imagined how it would have looked, had I used reclaimed cedar. If a deck could be built from reclaimed cedar, what other possibilities were there?

I had always loved the beauty and strength of an arbor, and decided to plan and build one from reclaimed cedar for next spring, for our own garden. I had always admired the craftsmanship of the European garden arbors and pergolas and their history. I began collecting reclaimed cedar wood beams and boards that autumn. From old decks and fences to large demolition projects, I collected, sorted, planed, and stacked. Every time I planed, I was never disappointed. The color and sweet aroma of this fine decades-old wood has never failed to amaze me, and I just knew that there was real potential for this reclaimed wood.

Once my first arbor was built, I had a drive. Over the winter, I continued learning, and after having built planter boxes, trellises, and other items from the same gorgeous material, I wanted other people to see the beauty of this reclaimed wood, and how useful it could be. I wanted people to see that there are many ways to use reclaimed lumber, and that there was no need to throw it away or burn it. And that there’s another way to minimize our effect on our natural resources.

I remember the conversation my wife, Melissa and I had one day about how we could show people the beauty of this recycled material and how it can be “born again” into our gardens. Where could we possibly start? “How about a farmers market?!” By this time, I had completed several breathtaking garden arbors for neighbors, and I had also started dabbling in different designs, and had completed several custom orders. We applied for the local farmers market, and were accepted. As luck would have it, our first farmers market was a hit. It was so rewarding, the number of people who were fascinated with the beauty and eco-friendliness of reclaimed cedar.

During that spring and summer, between market days, I researched and designed, and began building a variety of useful items, such as the bat houses, Flutterbye Houses, and the A.R. Bee Keep. My goal was not just to build quality into eco-friendly garden structures, but to help others with their desire to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. One of my most important goals, one that I always strive for, is to always provide my customers with a high quality eco-friendly product.

Since my spring and summer of crafting for the farmer’s markets, I have had the pleasure of being a part of, arguably the very best hand-crafted venue. I will tell you, the very fact that I have been part of the eco-friendly crafts movement has been such a pleasure. Having satisfied customers is for certain one of the most important things to me in my craft, but more than that, bringing more knowledge of eco-friendly material, and eco-friendly ways of being, is rewarding beyond what I can put into words.

I am really excited to see where the new year will take my craft, and look forward to bringing new styles out of the old barn beams and into our little corner of the world, and becoming a greater part of the solution for our increasingly eco-friendly lives.

Visit Andrew’s Reclaimed at


The Practical Fashionista January 13, 2009

From Catwalk Creative's fab ebay boutiqueThere’s no accounting for taste—especially good taste. Since my friend Louise has opened up her new ebay store, her cool vintage items have just been flying out of the shop. I mean where else could you find My First Scrabble, a silver halter party top, and a ’70s leather disco bag all in one stop?  Louise has exquisite taste—just check out her fall fashion boho chic story, a perennial fave here on Athena. Then head to her ebay boutique to shop your little heart out. It’s like a little bit of heaven for the practical fashionista.


Very Vintage Sewing Patterns on Sale January 8, 2009

vintagepatternsI have a huge confession to make: I am a hoarder of sewing patterns. My stash adds up to hundreds of patterns, and I even purchased an huge old Simplicity pattern cabinet to store them. It’s full. Of course, I’ll never make even a small percentage of these patterns. I just like to look at them and dream about each garment. Vintage patterns are my favorite, and I’m constantly haunting flea markets and garage sales in search of them. Only other pattern collectors would understand, but if you are one, I have a new source. One of my Facebooks friends runs an online sewing pattern store and patterns will be 20% off through January. Pssst … they have a few really cute vintage patterns. Visit ArtDoodad’s Etsy store here.


Dreaming of Designer Vintage December 31, 2008

archiveIf I were going to dream up the perfect designer vintage online shop, it would be run by a Parsons-grad, ex-Italian Vogue stylist assistant, former NYC boutique owner. But thankfully I don’t have to dream it up, because it already exists as Archive run by Kerry Bonnell, who exactly fits above description. Whether you crave Chanel or Hermes or anything along those lines, the select treasures in this gem of a site make for shopping that’s easy on the eye and the wallet. Shop Archive here.


RetroThreadz stocks up December 21, 2008

retrothredzI have a new favorite vintage web site—I’ve never seen so much great stuff! It’s called RetroThreadz, and they’ve just loaded up the site for the holidays with all sorts of fab item. Find it here:


The Little Black Box November 12, 2008

Excerpted from Adventures in Vintage, a blog by Athena contributor Heather Lewis

The Little Black Box: What a great idea!

Many of you who are crafters are probably aware of The Little Black Box. Kimberlee Keane is the mastermind behind the glorious The Little Black Box.

I found The Little Black Box about a month ago as I was researching different indie sites to promote my own handcrafted site Mattie Reid Chicago. I contacted Kimberlee and asked if she had any additional spots open for her November box (this was pretty close to the deadline for submissions). She replied and said she still had a few spots left. I submitted 150 samples of vintage buttons rings like this one:vintage button ring, mattie reid chicago

Not only did I donate samples for the November box, but I also became a customer. I subscribed to her blog and received an email from her a few days ago saying that all October boxes were on sale for $15. I went straight to her site and purchased a box. I love sales, especially sales on indie designer stuff!

My box arrived today. I opened the box and this is what I found:
Tons of cute samples including soaps, bookmarkers, a pair of earrings, magnets-all sorts of cute things.

There were two cute little soaps by Sweet Lollipop Shop. Here’s one of their soaps:
Katherine Quinn included this really cute little magnet and notecard:
Under Glass included this cute lil’ snowflake pendant:
Lastly, one of my most favorite things in the box was this lavender mint soap by Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen: It smells sooooo good!

I do highly recommend stopping by Kimberlee’s Little Black Box site and ordering a November box. There’s supposed to be Spoonfudge by Glutenada in quite a few boxes. I went to their site and all of their goodies look so yummy and they’re all gluten free!


Indie Jewelry: Simply Sarah’s November 3, 2008

Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

Sarah Skeen is the owner of the delightful Etsy shop Simply Sarah’s.  You’ll find fabulous jewelry, bags, scarves and more, all lovingly handcrafted by Sarah in her Catskills Mountain home.

Sarah has a unique style and she is quite inventive in her designs.  She’s used antique glass buttons in these earrings, along with vintage frosted glass beads.  

Here she’s used Picasso finished Czech glass beads with an ozidized brass ring.

I asked Sarah what inspires her jewelry creations.  “Inspiration? Well, I browse Etsy as much as possible and I draw a lot of inspiration from some of the amazing designers there. Nature is also a huge inspiration for me. I like to incorporate nature as much as possible even if it’s just a little charm or something. It may not always work out to have an element of nature, but I try.”

Sarah is also a wonderful photographer, and her work can be found in Flickr.  I was curious to know which artistic endeavor she enjoyed more and whether she had any other artistic talents. “I have so many things that I love, and I love them all for different reasons, but I think that photography is my number one. I love my macro lens the most because I get to capture little things that most people would never notice and walk right by.  Jewelry design is my number two. It’s like therapy for me. I sit in the quiet and create, and I love that time of my day. I have also just recently taught myself to crochet and have fallen in love with it. And before I was a mommy I was a baker so that is another artistic outlet of mine.”

Sarah has recently added hand crocheted items to her Etsy shop.  When I asked if she had a dream project she’d like to accomplish someday, she said that she’d like to learn how to make an afghan … a really BIG one!

Sarah has a beautiful little girl named Lily.  I asked her how she structured her work time around caring for a small child.  “Well, I try to incorporate my daughter into whatever I am doing. If I decide to work on a piece of jewelry during the day, I give her string and beads and she loves it.  She loves to “help” mommy. Most of my crafting takes place at night though. That is my quiet, personal time that I treasure.”

And here’s Sarah’s advice for jewelry designers just starting out.  “My two pieces of advice are:

1.  Network! Get your shop’s name out there by joining myspace, facebook, flickr and any other forums that you know of.  Getting to know other Etsy sellers is a great way to get your name out there.

2.  Browse Etsy a lot!  I get tons of inspiration there and learn quite a bit from the Etsy forums.”

Sarah posts often in her blog which she has entitled Wake Up and Live—you’re sure to enjoy getting to know more about her life and her designs there. Click her to visit her Esty store.


Crazy for Kitschy October 22, 2008

Peter Max "Love" Bowl

Peter Max

You may not know it to look at me or my home, but I adore vintage kitsch. I store my jewelry in state souvenir tumblers, and have a collection of 1950s plastic sunglasses without the lens and tiny Frankhoma boots, just to give you a hint of how deep this fetish goes. is just the place to indulge your urges to connect with a kitschy past, with home items from mid- to late-century. Check out this Peter Max “Love” bowl from the 1970s—just what I need to remind me of my Love cereal-eating childhood. That’s what kids today are missing: a little snap-crackle-pop culture in the morning like a Peter Max-decorated cereal box. Get your classy kitsch here.


Catwalk Thrift: Style on a Budget 2 October 14, 2008

Catwalk Thrift: Style on a Budget 2

By Louise Sleigh

(Louise is a regular contributor to Athena. She lives in the U.K. and runs a vintage clothing blog called Catwalk Threads and an online vintage shop called Catwalk Creative.)

Here’s another little beauty I picked up for next to nothing at my local thrift store. It’s not vintage but it really does have that vintage “feel” about it.  Made from 100% PVC in a lovely shade of deep red.  Looks great worn with jeans, trousers or skirts.  It’s fully lined with two side pockets and fastens at the front with a chunky red zip.

Wear the jacket with different accessories to keep it looking fresh and new.  All you need is a little imagination and a few accessories and bingo!  Enjoy the photos!


Good to Go-Go! October 8, 2008

By Louise Sleigh

Go-Go boots are a low-heeled style of women’s fashion boot worn since the mid-sixties when fashion silhouettes focused on accentuating the leg. The term “go-go” is from the slang term “go”, meaning something that was “all the rage”; the term “go-go dancer” that first appeared in print in 1965.

Go-go boots are either calf-, knee- or above knee-high boots with a low or flat heel. The style is a very simple shape with a chiselled, rounded or pointed toe. The boot was usually fastened onto the foot by a side or back zipper, although by the Seventies it was not uncommon to find lace-up versions which accommodated a wider variety of calf sizes. Heel height ranges from flat to low 3” shaped, with the occasional two-inch Cuban heel.

Materials were either synthetic or natural.  The oldest designs were made from plastic or vinyl in various colours, the most popular being white. Before the introduction of go-go boots,  women’s boots were generally worn during bad weather, for rugged activities or for horse riding.  André Courréges is often cited as the originator of the fashion go-go boot which was made of white plastic with a clear cut-out slot near the top and was featured as part of the “Moon Girl” look featured in his Fall 1964 collection.

Manufacturers began mass-producing runway knock-offs in contemporary colours and materials. These knock-offs were extremely popular with teenagers, who could be seen wearing go-go boots on both the street and on television dance shows. They were often seen worn by “Dolly Birds” in England during the 1960s.  Other famous names associated with go-go boots are Nancy Sinatra, Jane Fonda (Barbarella) and designers such as Mary Quant and Yves Saint Laurent who designed their own versions.

By the Seventies, go-go boots were referred to simply as boots, as fashion trends progressed and maxi skirts and trousers became more popular with only the feet visible. Emphasis shifted to the height of the heel and then along came platforms.

Modern-day Version

There are many versions of go-go boots that are still worn today, although ‘go-go’ boot is often used to describe any stile of knee-high boot, regardless of heel height. NFL Cheerleaders, including the Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleaders and the Oakland Raiderettes often wear go-go boots as part of their uniform; high-heeled versions of go-go boots are still worn by exotic go-go dancers today.

This article excerpted from the Catwalk Creative blog. To get a fabulous pair of gorgeous go-gos from Louise, click here.