Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Quick and Inexpensive Gifts You Can Make December 22, 2009

Out of money and time? Try these budget-friendly DIY gift ideas …


Vintage restyling and recycling October 1, 2009

formCheck out my latest column on on restyling and recyling vintage and gently used garments. See it here.


Organic Envy blog: Modern Green Living+Spa Wisdom September 14, 2009

organicenvyI just found a great new organic blog, an offshoot of Organic Spa magazine:

Welcome to Organic Envy! After launching Organic Spa Magazine in January 2007, we felt it was time to open the doors to communication even further. The mission of the magazine is to bring spa wisdom home, as well as to highlight the spas that are leading the organic way. Is there something special you do to find that elusive balance we all seek? We love to share ideas and exchange thoughts revolving around a healthier planet and a healthier you. Please join us in the conversation.

Organic Envy belongs to the Organic Spa Magazine, if you love the publication you will enjoy this green blog.

Facebook page:


Say hi to dbDesigns! August 31, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets.

One of our newest merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market is dbDesigns of Fleming Island, Florida. Danielle Blumenberg creates beautiful jewelry from antique flatware and coins. She is very aware of her environmental footprint and does much in her work to reuse and repurpose. She also does a lot for charity. Here’s her story! “Hi! I’m Danielle Blumenberg, owner and designer of db Designs in sunny Fleming Island, Florida. I am a military wife (for 20 years), who has had the privilege to live all over the world. The great part has been getting to experience the cultures of different places every 2 to 3 years; the not-so-great part was never being able to have a career of my own… Until recently 🙂 “I started my jewelry design business a little over 5 years ago, and my how it has changed! What began as just a little bit of beading quickly grew into wirework, and then metal-smithing. For the most part, I am self taught (and consider myself very much a novice) with tons still to learn! I have been able to take some great workshops with incredibly talented artisans, but not nearly as many as I need or want! “Much of what inspires me and fires my imagination is trying to use old

commonplace items in new ways. I love working with many mediums, but mostly metal. Specifically, “upcycling” or “repurposing” antique and vintage solid silver flatware and coins into unique wearable art! As I anneal, saw, forge and bend the vintage components into fabulous pieces of jewelry, I wonder about the possible history of the components. For example, while I was working on the WWII era Mercury dime necklace, I couldn’t help but muse about whether any of the coins were in the pocket of an American G.I. as he defended our country.

“I have an environmentally friendly, but VERY messy, studio in my home, and recycle and reuse everything I can. I use natural chemicals, such as eggs for patina, and citric pickle, to try to reduce my environmental footprint. I also make every effort to purchase from fair trade vendors, as opposed to free trade vendors for my findings and beads. When founding db Designs, I wanted to strongly support the community and those who strive to make a difference. In an effort to do that, I contribute merchandise and a portion of all sale proceeds to a variety of charities. As db Designs continues to grow, so will my efforts to make a difference. To date, db Designs has donated over $8,000!!! For a list of some of the charities that have benefited, you can contact me via email at or visit”

Check out dbDesigns here at 1000 Markets at


The power of yarn August 7, 2009

yarn3From one of my favorite knitting blogs:

During our recent move, I found a box of yarn that I had been using to make afghans that I forgot about – not surprising, right? We managed to locate a local church that accepted items for women (some with children) who lost their homes and we stopped by with a few items. The organizers were thrilled when they saw the yarn. Their enthusiasm came as a surprise at first. Previous donations at other places never created this kind of joy. They reminded me that it wasn’t just yarn – it was a chance to create a present for the holidays, a much needed sweater for a child, an afghan for the winter, or to create something wonderful to sell and that the donation of yarn had reached the perfect home. Hooray! Just a little reminder for us all to share our new found yarn and a season of mindful kniting and crochet.

Marg (grateful, gleeful, and groovin’ to the power of yarn)

Read more of this blog …


Autumn/Winter Trends Forecast 2009/2010 August 3, 2009

fall-fortiesRead about the latest trends from Louise at Catwalk Threads. Louise runs an online vintage boutique from across the Pond and has all the latest threads to bring you up to speed!

OMG!  I’m so in Love!  Having seen some of the beautiful designer wear on the catwalks and runways for 2009/10, I’ve suddenly become all doe-eyed and can feel my heart skipping a beat.  This years autumn/winter trends have got to be some of the most divine creations I’ve seen yet!    My personal trend favourites are:

Read more …


Loran Scrugs – Recycled art toys & whistles July 27, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market on 1000 Markets.

Meet Loran Scruggs who designs marvelous fun art toys and whistles from tin cans, bottle caps and found objects!  Loran is one of the newest merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market.  Her shop can be found at

Loran has been making things since her earliest memory of making a dragonfly out of smartie (candy) wrappers.  And to this day she is still using food packaging in her art.  She makes whimsical toys, art and whistles from colorful tin cans, bottle caps and found objects.  She enjoys how time stops when she is in the ‘flow’ of creation.  She says “I’m interested in joy.  Color is joyous for me so I use painted tin cans for their color and glint.  A lot of my work reference childhood and play, for myself play is a time of being in the moment, no past or future worries, a time of joy.  I hope that my work puts an amused smile on peoples faces, for when we smile we are in the moment, engaged, attentive and happy.”


Bags Plus More: Made With Simplicity July 15, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market.

Catherine Kaczanowski is the owner of Bags Plus More and is a member of the Reclaimed to Fame Market.  She designs fabulous tote bags, shoulder bags and plastic bag holders from recycled materials.

“My sewing bags, etc. all started a few years ago when my nephew’s school was having a fund raising bazaar. My sister-in-law (nephew’s mother) is an interior decorator and asked if I could sew up some items to sell. Well, the totes, etc. began! The bazaar was a success! This was two years ago. The school no longer has the bazaar, but I have continued sewing and selling at craft shows when I can and online. I also make donations to our local Physically Challenged Developmental Site, Cancer Centers and Nursing Homes.

“I use upcycled interior decorating fabric samples from my sister-in-law’s business. Instead of throwing these items to landfills, I reuse them to make useful handmade items. All items are double stitched with a zigzag finish. I keep it simple, durable, washable, and useful!”


John T. Unger Studios: Exceptionally created recycled firepits February 12, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham: Designer of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and Manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market

Is there a more wonderful way to spend an evening with friends and loved ones than gathered together outside around a warm entrancingly beautiful firepit?  John T. Unger of Mancelona, Mich., is an artist who creates one-of-a-kind firepits that are works of art.  The flames are drawn free hand so no two firepits are exactly alike.  Each piece is signed by the artist.  And best of all, John hand cuts each firepit from 100% recycled steel.  John talks about his strong belief in recycling and about himself and his art:

“I’m best known as an artist and designer, but relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.   I’ve been making art professionally since about 1995, and have made a full-time living as an artist since 2000.   On the way to a successful art career I’ve been a poet and writer, a tech geek, a print and web designer, illustrator, industrial designer, musician, teacher, actor, set designer and even a paid guru once.   I like to joke that I’m the world’s most well-educated self-taught artist— I’ve learned pretty much everything I know by doing it.  It’s all the same thing in the end—I wake up most days thinking about how I want to change, fix or improve some aspect of the world.  And after a couple cups of coffee I get started on it.  The best way to get a real sense of who I am and what I’ve done is probably to check out my blog or portfolio at  Feel free to email me or call my mobile between 9-5 pacific time at 231.584.2710.  I’m friendly.

Art has been good to me, and I feel very lucky to have been able to pursue what interests me on my own terms.  As an artist, I am also a small business owner who supports a family, pays taxes, and supports other local businesses through the sale of my firepits.  I have a part-time assistant who depends on the income I provide him to make his house payment.   I buy the materials for my firebowls at the scrapyard, paying a premium to have them cut and delivered (I’ve spent over $10,000 at the scrapyard this year alone).  I am one of the larger customers for my local freight company and am pleased to be able to pass along my 75% savings to you.  There are not a lot of successful businesses or job opportunities in the area of Michigan where I live, and the income I make from my art and spend in the community is important to the people I support.  The fact that I am able to sell my work globally and bring money into the Michigan economy (one of the worst in the nation) is something that I am very proud of and I feel pretty good about the fact that I can help people pay their bills while larger corporate companies are laying people off left and right.

About the Art: I believe that surprise and beauty are a good start, but I expect more and so should you.  As an artist and designer, I am intensely committed to sustainable design practices and materials in the following ways: I work primarily with recycled or re-used materials.  This is the best way I know to minimize my impact on natural resources, climate and the environment.   In addition, I feel that creative re-use has the potential to spark new ways of looking at the world… if one thing can be turned into another, what else can we change?  Successful recycled art and design encourages creativity in others— it’s alchemical, magical, subversive, and transformative by nature.  I feel that only be a good thing.

I design for permanence. Most of my objects will last generations with little or no maintenance.  I try to create objects that will never go out of style by drawing from primal metaphor and classical elements of design that speak to what it means to be human and alive.  When I can, I like to throw some surprise or humor in the mix too.

I design for functionality.  My work is intended to be useful as well as beautiful. I enjoy the engineering aspect of art as much as the creative part, and it’s very important to me to make things which work better or more easily than mass produced items. When possible, I design for easy disassembly for shipping or later re-use of materials.

My creative mandate is “sustainable design with an edge.”  Just because we’re good doesn’t mean we have to be boring, right?  I think there’s a place for rock n’ roll to dance with environmental responsibility in a house shakin’ way.  If green products are to compete in the market, they need to be sexy, sleek and chic—cooler than new.”

Visit John T. Unger Studios at


Artist Janet Nolan: The 10,000 Things November 1, 2008

“My sculptures are made from post-consumer objects—things we purchase, use up and throw away,” says artist Janet Nolan, who collects bottle caps, broken umbrellas and six-pack holders, mostly from the streets of New York City, to create her fantastical sculptures and installations. On display through November 6, 2008, in the garden of the Lesley Heller gallery, you have the see the waterfall wall made from 10,000 six-pack holders. It takes being green to a whole new, spiritual level. Get more info here.