January 28, 2012

Meet Kristen Sunby Owner and Creator of Canfolk Dolls

Kristen Sunby, Creator of Canfolk Dolls
Kristen Sunby, creates her own "Variety of Spice" with her unique, handmade, vintage spice canfolk characters.
This is her story:
My name is Kristen Sunby, I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, and all through my childhood, I watched my mother Karn Bernabe, create all kinds of crafts. She could make anything! I was always amazed by her talent and so proud of all that she could do. She would help my sisters and I with projects in school and they always had that extra special touch of creativity added to them. My mother has always been my creative inspiration and mentor.  I continue to be amazed by her abilities and ideas to this day. She is actually the one who got me to start making my Canfolk dolls. She saw potential in the idea and thought that I could do it. She usually works with fabrics rather than clay and paint, she encouraged me to try and make dolls. After creating a few, they were well received and a new door filled with inspiration opened for me.
I attended the University of Illinois, Chicago and studied Teaching of English. I really enjoyed my literature classes and my student teaching experience. I was actually an English teacher in Chicago for 6-1/2 years before I had my daughter. I do miss teaching, but I also cherish having the opportunity to create at this point in my life.

I currently live in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, which is about 10 minutes from where I grew up. I do all of my creative work right here in my studio at home. My work is inspired by primitive folk-art. I feel like the creative gene was passed down to me from my parents, but I never envisioned myself creating work that would be considered "art."
After I made my sold my first Canfolk dolls at a craft show and received positive feedback. I realized that I had a knack for creating  this type of media. I enjoy working with paperclay. It is so forgiving and easy to work with.  In college, I took several art courses, but in making the Canfolk dolls I learned by experimenting and practicing different techniques on my own. So many different factors inspire my dolls. Sometimes, the design ideas come from the cans themselves. Like the pun of having a clock on the "Thyme" can, or having Abraham Lincoln on the can branded "Union Leader." Other times, the season influences the design and sometimes, I just think of characters I would like to see myself. I store all of my cans in the basement on shelves. When I need a new idea, I go down and stand in front of them and see if anything catches my eye.
Essential skills I have found in my work is that more than anything, I need patience when I work. If I rush any of the processes, the work definitely suffers. I usually work in the evenings after my 4 year-old daughter goes to bed.
I have my Canfolk dolls in several stores in the U.S. and also many albums displaying my work on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Canfolk-by-Kristen-Sunby/125661707521097 and on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/people/Canfolk . I was recently published in the Winter 2012 issue of Prims magazine and I posted new designs on the Handmade Art Fair Blog at www.handmadefair.com
I have also sold my dolls in several craft shows in the southern Wisconsin/Northern IL.
If you want to contact me by email, you can reach me at canfolk@aol.com.

I have a few questions for Kristen.
Q: What is the most significant decision you ever made?

A: My decision to be a Christian will always be the the most significant decision in my life.

Q: Who is your favorite artist?

A: Frida Kahlo was captivating. She created beautiful work and seemed to have a confident fiestiness   about her. I am also smitten by the work of the ladies who created the Gee's Bend quilts.

Q: What makes you laugh the most?

A: My daughter Avery is the funniest person I know. She amazes me every day with her sense of humor.

Q: What are your favorite foods to eat?

A: Strawberries. I eat loads of them and keep the farmers in business!

Q: If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

A: I would definitely travel with my family. I have not had the opportunity to see much of the world and I would love to do so.

Q: What words of advice would you have for someone starting out?

A: That's hard for me to say, because I am just starting out myself! I would say that it is important to have confidence in yourself and your ideas. Try to connect with other artists whenever you can to open up endless possibilities for opportunites!

Kristen, many thanks for sharing your story and unique Canfolk dolls. Please check out the above links to see more of Kristen's creations.

January 21, 2012


What do you get when you cross contagious and outrageous.........Austin-tatious! 

You got it...The one and only Austin Scarlett!  Project Runways "King of Couture".
corn husk dress
    We heard of Austin during the first season of the Bravo reality show Project Runway in 2004 -2005.  During that season Scarlett became known for his ability to produce glamorous fashions with unusual requirements under a tight deadline.  On the very first episode of the show Austin created a dress totally made out of corn husks.  A design that was noted by Tim Gunn as well as the other judges as one of the most impressive designs he has seen in the entire history of Project Runway.
Austin was born January 1, 1983 to Debra Little and Christoper Scarlett in Cottage Grove, Oregon.  He graduated high school in New Jersey and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.  I can imagine just how much fun it was to live with Austin Scarlett!!

Last week was the start of  ""Project Runway All Stars.  The season kicked off with "A night at the Opera".  Designers were challenged with creating ball gowns for an evening at the Opera.  And, they only had 24 hours to accomplish this. Luckily for Austin, this is his area of expertise.  Isaac Mizrahi called his dress "tasteful".  And, in the end the "King of Couture" held onto his crown. He was the winner of that weeks challenge with a perfectly executed gold lame' and black tulle gown. which screamed every inch the "elegant lady of society".

Thursday night brought another exciting episode.  The challenge was to design a "flamboyant" cocktail dress for a childhood icon.  You guessed it, Miss Piggy, from the Muppets.  Miss Piggy is to wear this dress while promoting the new Muppet Movie, in theaters now.
 Again, all eyes were on Austin.... "In many ways we are kindred spirits!" says Scarlett of he and Miss Piggy.  Lets face it, Austin is somewhat a Muppet himself. 
They share the same whimsy, imagination, creativity, enthusiasm and excitement!
In honor of his meeting with Miss Piggy, Scarlett developed a musical video for all of us  Lovers and Dreamers of the world.
I don't know how he comes up with this stuff  but Austin Scarlett is certainly the entertainer. You won't want to miss it so click below this post and enjoy.

With all of Austins creativity, the judges didn't dig his pink and metal gun-gray color combo.  And, miss Piggy contemplated that the large bows on the hips would be conductive to hula-hooping.  Despite the comments, he is safe and we can look forward to more  'Austin-tatious" next  Thursday, 8:00 pm, the Lifetime channel on "Project Runway All Stars".

 Also, don't forget we at  www.creativechickscafe.com  will be tweeting live during the show.  You too can join the fun at #PRAllStars.  Another great way to participate is to go to the Live Blogging Project, by MisterHippity   http://gawker.com.liveblogging

Now, my question to all of you.  Are you watching " Project Runway All Stars this season? And if you are, who is your favorite and why?  Don't be shy!  We want to hear from all of you.  You can leave a comment below or also on facebook.
Keep Creating,

Austin Scarlett - Muppet Screen Test Music Video

January 12, 2012

Shiznits- Little Monsters Loved By All Ages

Kelly Smith Janoweic, Creator of Shiznits

When Kelly Smith Janowiec decided to make a gift for a friend’s daughter’s birthday she had no idea that she was about to launch a new business. She used left over fabric to create something between a plush monster and a pillow. It was a hit at the party and Kelly’s husband suggested she sell them. She decided to call the creatures “Shiznits”— a nickname she often used for her three rambunctious boys when they were acting like little monsters.

Kelly's out door booth at James J. Hill Days
Since then, eleven different characters have been born, each with its own name and personality. They are handmade in the USA using high quality fleece, decorator fabrics and trims, leather, and buttons. The large monsters are about the size of a throw pillow and each has a pocket on the back that can be used for stashing treasures. The runts do not have pockets but are a wonderful toy size.

First published book
And at the end of 2011, the Shiznits published their first book! With a warm understanding of what it’s like to be young (and young at heart!), the Shiznits help guide toward self-awareness and independent thinking. This little book is a collection of thoughts and insights from each of these adorable little monsters as they converse with us about the things they’ve learned from life.
Shiznits are great for...

• All occasion gifts
• Loving— and it's a toy!
• Decorating your child's room
• Start a Shiznits collection
• Conversation piece
• Travel companion

• Photo holder

Shiznits Are...
• Hip/Stylish
• Memorable gifts
• Unique
• High quality
• Proudly Made in the USA

Your Shiznit will be there
during hard times, hospital stays,
rainy days, fights with friends, and
when you are scared.
I first met Kelly at the James J. Hill show in Minnetonka, MN this summer. Her booth was warm, friendly and inviting. I watched the children as they were drawn to her "Monsters" and wanted to hold and touch them all. Kelly kicked off her 2012 New Year with an updated website. Please check out the "Monsters" at www.myshiznits.com, or you can contact her at ksmith@myshiznits.com.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: Mainly from my children. They challenge me in every way possible to be a better parent     and person.
Q: What are your favorite foods to eat?
A:  My education and experience is in the health and wellness undustry. I like organic pasture butter and peanut butter on sprouted cinnaman raisen toast, kombucha, fermented cabbage, eggs and green smoothies.
Q:  What makes you laugh the most?
A:  I live with four boys. You don't know what makes me laugh the most (smile).
Q: What words of advice would you have for someone starting out?
A:  Success is full of failure. Literally take it one day at a time and never worry about getting to the point you want to be at. Just be where you are in the journey. Let go of expectations and see where life takes you. The unknown can be scary, but it can also be magical. Let go of ANY limiting beliefs especially during the creation process and just play!



January 3, 2012

By starting a crafts club in her low-income high-rise Lee Christianson helps chase away gloom


This story was featured in our local St. Paul Pioneer Press today. Lee Christianson's story is one that needs to be shared with everyone. Please click on the link and read about Lee's "Craft Club" that had dabbled in everything from quilting to making candy bouquets.

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