Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Ode...

A little something pretty, just because. Photo credit Kandy M. Christensen
I mentioned awhile back that I've become a glass half-full type of girl and that in part is thanks to Janice. I was at a Crave event last June and Janice introduced herself as someone who helps people through periods of loss and transition. That, my friends, was where I was at. I was stuck in grief and could not find a path out. I met with Janice, who is a life coach, and that apparently was what I needed to become unstuck. I worked with Janice for three months and by the end of our sessions I figured out my true purpose in life, which is to be an artisan and to teach others about craft, artisans and the history of handmade. I also learned that I love to make the world a beautiful place, that I'm intelligent, I'm an individualist, I like to research things before I act, I tend to get stuck in the past, I rely heavily on my feelings or gut, I am artistic, and sometimes prone to depression. Some of you who are reading and know me well may be saying, duh, we knew that, but while I may have seen those traits within myself, it took working with Janice to really own them. There was a significant shift within myself and how I view the world. Also, from those sessions Meandering Design started to become so much more then just an online shop and I'm excited to see the path it takes.  

A side effect of determining what is my path in life is I want to help others find their path. Now when I meet people I want to talk to them about their passion, or help them find their passion. I have met some wonderful people with amazing ideas, talents and skills and they are, sadly, not sharing their gifts with the world. I now find myself encouraging people, connecting them to others who can possibly help them, or providing any advice that may be useful.

What passion or dream are you hiding? 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Signing off

We wish you all a very happy holiday season. Since I have so many Christmas presents to finish making (ha- who am I kidding-to start making!) and I'll be heading out to the one place that still has a dial up modem for internet, things may be a little bit quiet over here until mid next week. I hope your stocking is filled with crafty delight.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Crave-ings

A couple of weeks ago Meandering Design was at the Holiday Crave-ings event. It was like a mini party.
I was very impressed that I wrote this sign legibly!
I shared a table with Heidi Tehilla Sculpture whose work is evocative of her spirit-strong, beautiful, warm and supportive. You can see some of her sculptures in the picture below.

Dana Frost, of capim santo alchemy, was there spreading peace and joy through her magical concoctions. I have her Soar blend as a roll on and Suspend as a spray and I use them daily! Bright Endeavors candles were being sold and I highly recommend them. The candles are made using essential oils and burn beautifully. I'm very scent sensitive and I just love how these smell. They also support a wonderful organization called New Moms, Inc. Behind me is Lara LaPratt of Shopping Girl XoXo and she had some lovely things to wear and style you with. There were so many fabulous vendors that it was hard not to spend my time shopping.

I also finally met Tania Rodamilans whose artwork is stunning and her jewelry is like pieces of art to treasure. She took the photo below for our mutual friend Julie Kramer of Shift (gorgeous wearable dresses) because Julie kindly donated her scrap fabric to me and I made the green and grey scarf below.

My final shout out goes to Iwona who makes iPad and iPhone covers out of upcycled materials. We are kindred spirits and I'm so glad we got a chance to meet. You can see her iPad covers in the left hand corner of the picture she was kind enough to snap of Meandering Design below.

The amount of support from the vendors and visitors alike was overwhelming. It was also wonderful that so many people from Fear Experiment came to visit. I am grateful to Crave and Saya for the opportunity to be a part of the Crave holiday party. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like....

You may have noticed that it has been relatively quiet over here at Meandering Design in regards to the upcoming holiday. I would say a big part of the reason is because 99.9999999999% of everything I read regarding the holidays is about buying stuff (more stuff!!) and, well, I don't want to buy more stuff for myself or for my loved ones.Also, I am royally peeved at all of the gift guides for "men" or for "women". Especially the ones that assume that women don't like tech or that men don't like to knit. I have some choice words regarding that, but I will attempt to refrain from spouting them.

*Edited to add-Sheska pointed out that my prior statement was a bit contradictory. What I meant to say is I do buy Christmas presents for people and I do receive Christmas presents. I try to buy from local vendors, or handmade or I make presents. Operative word on try. In fact I have yet to start making presents. Don't worry I'll get them done (maybe!). I understand that not everyone has the option to buy handmade or local. I also have to admit that I kind of want this holiday season over and done with because I miss Poppy. I'll miss seeing his excitement when the train is set up and running under the tree. So what I meant to say is enjoy this holiday season with your family. 

I am in the holiday spirit though and I even put up my Christmas tree.Yes, I'll take pictures and post them later this week.

Then, today I saw on Apartment Therapy the most fabulous beautiful tree in Belgium via Design Boom and I just had to share-

It is made out of  plates that members of the community contributed.

It is simply gorgeous and the photographs are amazing. I couldn't find the photographer but the project was designed by mooz.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Love the project... enjoy the process

As soon as an idea for a new project comes to mind I get all excited- my smile gets bigger and people point out that I look like I am day dreaming (more than usual).

What is really happening is that my brain and well, my whole body, is getting into hyper crafting mode.  I start to see the project in my head, lists of required materials and tools start to get compared in my brain's database with the lists of materials and tools that I already posses, step by step images start developing, and oh, so much more.

For an introvert like me, working on crafts/projects is a great outlet.  It allows me to spend time thinking and creating on my own and also to share the process with others.  I enjoy exchaging ideas about crafting and although I do not always do it in person, there are other ways... other fun ways.

Joining Meandering Design which teams me up with my long time friend Kandy, has been one of those two ways, plus, I have joined the Instructables community.  The huge number of creative people in this world does not just amazes me, it inspires me!  It delights me that introverts and extroverts alike share the love for their projects and the enjoyment that the process brings about.

I know that I am not the only one daydreaming and in love.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today's post is brought to you by...

I've got nothing for today because I'm busy rehearsing for this-

That is the Park West billboard and December 15th Fear Experiment, yup, that's me. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

On being an introvert

There is an odd stigma in our society against people who are introverts. The workplace and education system today place an emphasis on group projects. Let me describe how a group project typically goes...I sit quietly waiting for someone to take the lead. Crickets chirp and then I take the lead and tell people what to do and oh yes, I'm the bossy one. I would love to be the one who doesn't have to herd sheep. Sorry, I digress.

When I was younger I was painfully shy and did not know how to interact with people. Yet, over the years I watched others and I learned how to smile, how to listen, how to offer an opinion, how to chit chat, and how to connect with other people or engage them in conversation. Give me a topic that I love to talk about, oh like Meandering Design, and I can talk your ear off and I will gladly hear your suggestions and input into how to grow the business. I sometimes tell people that I'm an introvert masquerading as an extrovert.

Except, while I can go to parties, networking events, work events, and walk into a room of strangers and strike up a conversation, it is something I can only do in limited doses. There are some people that need to have constant contact with people. They thrive off of that and it gives them energy. It does the exact opposite to me. I feel my energy draining and I get worn down.

Last week was rough. I started out the week feeling tired and like I had not recharged my batteries and then I spent almost every evening with groups of people. By the time Friday hit I was done and while I really wanted to go to a party I knew the best thing for me (and the people around me) was to go home and recharge my batteries.

I think the key difference between introverts and extroverts is we can be social (sometimes we just don't want to), we can be engaging, gregarious and charming, we can make connections and network and chit chat, but we need time to regroup. Last week I did not give myself enough time to regroup.

Sheska posted this to my facebook page and I think it very accurately sums up what being an introvert is about. 

I'm okay.


Friday, December 7, 2012

What I really want for Christmas

It is our first Christmas without Poppy and it is hard to get into the spirit of thing. I was looking through photos and I stumbled over this one. Grammie and Poppy would put up a tree and decorate the house. My cousins and I would always fight to see who would put the angel on top of the tree.

This photo was on a roll that was in my Grandfather's camera. He had mentioned years ago that the camera was giving him trouble. I took the camera into Central Camera on Wabash (love this place) and a very kind older gentleman spent a good half hour with me getting the film out. When I got it developed I found shots from Christmas in 2003 or so (I could tell by my hair cut and the boyfriend in the picture!).

Tonight I am going to go home, turn on the Christmas carols and put up my Christmas tree. Maybe I'll crack open a beer in memory of Poppy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A dream is a wish your heart makes

When I was a child I had a record player and I think I had almost all of the Disney movie sound tracks to date, oh and Pete's Dragon (Pasama-what?) I actually had not seen the movies. This was back in the day when there was no VHS, DVD, or BlueRay. The only Disney movie I remember seeing in the movie theater was Bambi. Oh, and don't tell my cousin Tracy, but Bambi's mom dies. Even though I had not seen the film, I knew the soundtracks not just by heart, but down to my wee tippy toes.

In those days I had so many dreams, most of which I have forgotten, and I think somewhere along the way I forgot how to dream. Or I simply stopped allowing myself to dream. I was reading a blog post by Danielle LaPorte, the author of 'The Firestarter Sessions' and she said "You are capable of holding two states of consciousness at once: presence and longing, gratitude and desire, contentment and hunger. This is what it means to become whole". I highly suggest you read the whole post here (still longing for an internet Chicago Manual of Style!). 

I'm not sure if this is the response she was looking for but I had a huge slap my forehead moment- holy crap people buy stuff I make. Duh! I created Meandering Design to make things and then sell them, but I do not think that I recognized how overwhelming the feeling is that someone bought a skirt I made for their mother for Christmas. Or that a friend bought a scarf that I made out of fabrics I love and lined with a men's dress shirt that I had upcycled. Or that there are people in far flung places who are taking picnics on a Meandering Design picnic blanket.

Yet, at the same time, there is that tension of living life and living a dream, and still wanting more. And you know what, it is a wicked great place to be.KMC

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Focus: aesthetically beautiful utilitarian crafts

In my opinion, the driving force of many local businesses devoted to upcycling, such as us here at Meandering Design, is the mixing of beautiful aesthetics with utilitarian elements.

When mass production of poorly made “stuff” took hold of the market, aesthetically beautiful utilitarian crafts, which last for a long time, got more and more expensive and less approachable to the larger part of the population. However, more designers and craft people are bringing back their creations to their community. This is mostly possible because of the refocus of a set of awesome concepts including reusing and upcycling.

As many individuals, advocates, environmentalists, and common sense thinkers have pointed out, it would be very beneficial to our lives on this planet if we lay off the disposable mentality and find more and more ways to reuse what many, sadly, consider trash. The more ways we find to reuse those discarded products to make aesthetically beautiful utilitarian crafts, the more we will close the cycle of consumption which in turn, helps our communities and the people in those communities in a very big way.

That is my dream and my inspiration.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Quiet time

I hope that you have a delightful weekend. While I wish I could spend more time here this weekend-

Photo Credit Kandy M. Christensen
I am ecstatically happy that Meandering Design will be participating in the Crave Holiday Party. It is from 10AM-3PM on Saturday, December 1st at Belle Plaine Studio (2014 West Belle Plaine Avenue, Chicago). There will be a ton of fabulous fashionable vendors and food trucks. I lurve food trucks. If you are interested I have some VIP tickets available and I can add you to the list. Drop me an email at KMC

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ethical consumption

I believe in human rights. I spent a year in Iraq working for human rights, so they do mean a lot to me. I have a firm belief in the United Nations. I believe that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document that should inform how all governments treat their citizens.  That includes the United States.

A fire broke out in a factory in Bangladesh and killed over 100 workers. This, unfortunately, is a normal occurrence. There were no emergency exits and people jumped to their death. Working conditions are very very poor and there are little to no regulations to protect peoples rights.

There is something you can do about it. First please recognize the true cost of consumption. When you buy a $20 shirt you aren't getting a good deal, you are taking away someone else's right to a living wage and safe living conditions. A shirt does not cost $20 to make.

Buy from companies that pay a living wage. Make your dollars count for something beyond money in a  corporate suits pocket.

Buy less. Really, you can do it. I spent a year not buying anything new, well, except for some underwear. I should have made underwear out of old tshirts. 

I recognize that it isn't always an option because handmade can be more expensive, but buy handmade. There are so many artisans out there with beautiful goods. Plus if you are buying less, you will have enough money to buy handmade goods.

Upcycle! Change something worn out or something from the thrift store into something delightful. Oh and we have a class for that. 

There are so many fabulous holiday markets in Chicago. Come check out the Crave Holiday Craft Fair Saturday, December 1st from 10AM-3PM at Belle Plaine Studio, 2014 W. Belle Plaine Ave. Meandering Design will be there with bells on. KMC

In case you are interested here are the Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights related to right to work-

Article 23.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. Article 24.
  • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.                                                                                                           Article 25.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunny side of the street

I am not by nature a glass is half full type of gal. If I were to pick a song lyric to appropriately describe my mood it would be "I'm only happy when it rains, I'm only happy when it's complicated". I scoff at puppies, kittens and unicorns. I was jaded by the time I was 14. When someone says to me "believe in your dreams" I wonder what their agenda could possibly be. Yet, I'm having to let go of that attitude because I'm starting to believe in my dreams. There has been a seismic shift in the way I view the world. It did not happen overnight and it also did not happen without going through some of the most painful experiences in my life and crying a river of tears, but I'm starting to see that life is full of endless paths and possibilities. KMC

Photo Credit Kandy M. Christensen

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The coming out of a "localcycler"

I must confess!  It has been brewing little by little inside of me since I was quite young growing up in Puerto Rico.  It is time for me to come out and share with you that yes, it is in my nature, it is what I am supposed to be, I, I am a... LOCALCYCLER!

The blame and inspiration goes to: all of the trips to buy produce and meat at the local markets; watching my mom sew some of our clothes; the radio that my grandfather rigged up and managed to power with a car battery; buying cheese from the guy who would ride his bicycle by our apartment building yelling out the types of cheeses that he had for sale; the smell of the carrot cakes that my mom sold to friends and friends of friends; eating freshly pressed tofu and watching how it is made; eating at small restaurants that members of my family owned; and so much more.

I blame it all on the experiences that life has brought me, and I am grateful.

Localcycling is not new, in fact, it is old-school remixed!  Buying local, in my opinion, is at the heart of localcycling.  Supporting local businesses is not just a sound choice for the economy of your community, it is also a way to strengthen that community. There is much more to locacycling than meets the eye.

Remember to...

... buy local!  It gives you the opportunity to meet the people who make what you are buying, harvest what you are eating and who are proud of their products.  Working at the farmers market here in Vancouver and talking to small business owners has given me the opportunity to appreciate the people who are passionate about what they produce and create.  Those exchanges have guided me to channel my love into producing quality locally made products.

... reduce!  Reduce what you throw out in the trash.  Composting is a great way to get raw material for gardening.  Now a days, even people living in small spaces can compost.  Look in your community and online for information.  I have a compost bin outside and I am looking forward to using the composted soil next spring for the garden.  For information on composting indoors, here is an example...  Also, for those of you in Chicago check out the Urban Worm Girl (  

... reuse and upcycle!  Before you throw clothes, furniture, and everything out in the dumpster, see if you can use it to make other things that you have in your "to buy" list.  You can also donate instead of throwing things out, or list it on Craigslist or Freecyle.   If you are not sure about how to upcycle, you can always take classes like those offered by us at Meandering Design ( and/or look online.  There are many instructional videos and great ideas out there. Like Meandering Design on Facebook because we are constantly sharing upcycling ideas.

... recycle!  Separate your trash and make it easy for yourself and others to take recyclables to the recycling plants in your community.  Here in Vancouver we have two great groups working on recycling, FreeGeek ( and Our community bikes (  I have volunteered in both, donate to them and buy stuff at their shops. In Chicago there is a great group called West Town Bikes that works with youth in Humboldt Park and they can always use donated bikes (

... barter and trade!  A great thing about being involved in your community is that you get to know who produces what, so talk to them!  You may be producing or about to throw out something that they can use and may be willing to trade.  I have traded vegetables, cooking herbs, almond croissants and much more. 

It has and it still is an awesome learning experience.  One that I am happy, thrilled and proud to share with you.  


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stockings- not those kind!

I have to make a disclaimer. I am not the type of person who puts up their Christmas tree at Thanksgiving or finishes her Christmas shopping early and I would rather not hear Christmas carols until Christmas. With that said, when you are making things by hand you have to start early!

I made Christmas stockings and they were fun to make. If anyone is interested in taking a Christmas stocking class drop me a line at I wanted to tell the story behind these stockings. I made them because a friend of mine was interested in making one for her son's first Christmas. I was going to make one to give her, but instead she's going to come over and sew one herself.

These stockings were made with joy and they were also made out of materials that people gifted to me. For example, the turqoise blue and silver fabric was given to me from my ex-boyfriend (we're still friends!). He was a mover and someone was getting rid of this large bolt of fabric and he brought it home to me. I have had it for almost ten years now and I did not know what to do with it. I finally made myself a Christmas tree skirt out of it and I love the turqoise against my silver tree. I figured it would make a great Christmas stocking too. It is lined with a bit of fabric that Margie from Red-Belly gave me (check out her handmade belts and belt buckles because they are wicked cool).

The grey and green plaid is another piece of fabric from Margie and it is lined with fabric my friend Carey gave me when she was cleaning out her craft closet.

The final stocking is a bit of 1970's plaid that Kate from Strong Wear (she has fabulous hats) gave me and is lined with some more of Carey's fabric.

You can find Christmas stockings in the shop.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I may have mentioned that I want to open up a craft co-working space. Right now Meandering Design's focus has been on selling clothing and accessories, teaching sewing lessons and opening up my space for people to come hang out and sew. I have been working to spread the word about Meandering Design and thank you all so much for your help with that. I am an introvert who is really good at acting like an extrovert (that statement alone is worth a whole blog post), but I have been working hard to go to events and meet people. While it has been challenging for me to go out into the world to networking events and promote Meandering Design I am glad that I have because I have received so many amazing gifts.

I have received the gift of knowledge and information, people have connected me to people who may be able to assist me, people have recommended me for lessons, I am constantly being gifted with fabric and I have been warmly welcomed into the Chicago craft and entrepreneurial community. I keep talking about Meandering Design-what we do, our mission and where we want to go and I am met with delight, excitement and support. It is hard to start up a business. It is hard to work a full time job and go home in the evenings and work. Yet, I am thriving on it.

My passion for Meandering Design was confirmed the other day when I came across an old factory in my neighborhood. The co-working space was a 1-3 year plan type of thing. I was not ready to embark on that adventure. Except, I saw this property and my heart skipped a beat. I have to have it. I talked to the realtor who said the owners are willing to invest in making improvements to the building and building it out according to the clients specifications, but they want someone established who can make a commitment to the lease.

It is 4800 square feet and it is on the 5400 block of Wolcott close to Roseville Cemetary. It is also right around the corner from my apartment. It has a large parking area that could be used for events (this morning I woke up dreaming about some raised bed planters so we could have a garden). If you know anyone who is interested in sharing space- I'm thinking event planners, photographers, artists and artisans, then let me know. If you know anyone who wants to invest in a start-up let me know. If you have any creative crazy ideas please let me know. I can be reached at I am not yet willing to give up on this property.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Catching Up

Sorry posting was so light last week, but I fell over sick. Thankfully I feel much better and I'm looking forward to getting back in the studio. I am starting to feel the pressure of the holiday season though. There are so many things I want to make for the shop for Christmas and so many Christmas presents I have to make. At the same time I am trying to adopt a 'que sera sera' attitude and not freak out. Christmas can do that to people.

I love buying presents for people. I love trying to find something that makes their eyes light up and let them know that I was thinking about them. One year I bought everybody in my family slippers and I embroidered things on them. For my grandfather, Poppy, I embroidered his favorite orange tabby. Every time I saw him wearing those slippers it made me smile. It was something small, relatively inexpensive, but since I personalized it those presents meant so much to the people who received them.

This Christmas I recommend slowing down. Give the gift of yourself to friends you have not seen in awhile. Instead of going overboard and buying a ton of things with money you may not have, buy less. They won't notice the difference. I remember one year as a child my favorite present that Santa left under the tree was a box of crayons (oh and there is a Santa Claus).

If I could suggest a fun Christmas present...Sewing Lessons at Meandering Design. We can customize a class for any skill level. Or, if you want a night out feel free to bring a bottle of your favorite wine and come learn how to sew.

Check out the options here.

Hope to see you or a friend at a lesson soon.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Your input would be helpful

Now that the fate of the world has been decided I can go back to focusing on other very important things. Like choices I have not been able to make for, oh, I don't know, ten years. I speak of decorating choices.

I purchased this chair sometime around 1998 from Josie's Antiques out in DeKalb (I can date it based on the car I had! Who knew you could fit a chair this size in the front seat of a two door Mazda MX6).  It was covered in some fantastically ugly pink brocade fabric that was probably original to the chair. The soft yellow paint and gilding are flaking off and for a moment I thought about painting it, but then that moment passed. Sometime around 2001 when I moved into my first apartment in Chicago I did a very poor job at covering it in some light green brocade fabric.

When I moved to my new apartment I ripped all the fabric off the chair and now it sits forlorn and naked. I threw some fabric over it to hide its stuffing. I have been trying to find vintage fabric but I need a lot of yardage and I am having difficulties finding enough. I did find some gorgeous grey vintage fabric but it cost a pretty penny and was in Belgium. I may just need to go to Europe to find some fabric...

At first I was thinking of covering it in dark grey velvet, but then I realized I want some color. Here are a couple of things I found that inspired my new color choice. I wanted something a little dramatic to suit the lines of the chair (and because I am a princess).

Via Pinterest

Oh wait, that's grey....via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

 So, here are my options. This requires you to reveal yourself and tell me which fabric you prefer.

From Purl Soho
Here is a cotton/linen upholstery weight blend from Echino, who is a designer I adore.

These are both peacock green velvet upholstery fabric.

Or I stick with grey....Thoughts???

Friday, November 9, 2012

Comfy, Fashionable, Utilitarian (CFU)

This idea came to me as I was writing a blog post about fabric and my memories and thoughts about it.  I was remembering my endless trips to fabric shops with my mom in Puerto Rico and realized that I actually remember which were my top three favourite types of fabric... comfy flannel, fashionable linen, and utilitarian canvas.  

At that time, before I was a teenager, I had already made fabric associations which now I see as key aspects of life.  The comfy flannel was for pjs, there was no other purpose in my mind for that fabric.  Linen was for dress up clothes... specially for blouses and shirts, and the canvas was to make the hammocks that we took with us on camping trips.  Simple!  

I am beginning to believe more and more that the perfect outfit (perfect for me) should cover those three categories.

1.  Comfy - Let's face it, unless you have your own driver and/or plan on not moving much, what you wear needs to be comfortable.  I am not saying that it has to be flannel pjs, I am just saying that if you are not comfortable wearing the clothes, it is going to show in a bad way.

2.  Fashionable - Oh yeah, fashion!  There are many articles and blogs out there about finding your style.  Which ever it is, make it yours and make a statement.  I think that a great way to making that statement is by upcycling.  Getting your clothes to fit well is pretty much half the battle and unless you have your own tailor/seamstress, chances are that what you have in your closet could use some attention.

3.  Utilitarian - Let me just give you an example...  an awesome and colourful wool scarf is comfortable, fashionable AND utilitarian.  When it comes to clothes, if the whole piece is not what you would consider utilitarian, parts of it may be.  Example, most women jackets do not have inside pockets... I say "boo!" to that trend.  A small inside pocket can keep your license, a credit card and a dollar bill or two with out making too much bulk.  Utilitarian does not have to mean that you are dressing to paint a house.  To me it just means that there is a purpose and thought to your clothes, bags, shoes and accessories.

Share with us how does your outfit complies with the "CFU" scheme!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Feeling Good

Nina Simone's song 'Feeling Good' is running through my head- the Verve Remixed version that is. The lyrics "Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me, and I'm feeling good" seem quite appropriate for today.

Regardless of who you voted for I hope now that we can all set aside our differences and work together. Obama stated in his acceptance speech: 
The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.
At Meandering Design, in our own small way, we try to make products and provide instruction because we do accept those obligations to one another and keenly feel them. So help us with our mission to promote the handmade movement and reduce, reuse and recycle in order to leave as small a footprint as we can.

Christmas is coming up so please buy local and support your local businesses and artisans. Together we can make a difference.

If you aren't sure where to shop I would highly recommend starting with the DIY trunk show on November 17th. Crave Chicago has a directory of women owned local businesses, including Meandering Design. Local First Chicago has a directory of local businesses by type and neighborhood.

Christmas stockings made out of upcycled materials that will be available in the shop by the end of the week.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why Fear Experiment?

I am hijacking Meandering Design today to talk about something deeply personal. Yet, even as I write that I realize Meandering Design is made up of the thoughts, feelings, aesthetic and dreams of Sheska and I and there really is not a line drawn between the business and our personal lives. So, here goes.

First, it is very difficult to describe Fear Experiment, except to say it involves a group of people who get together to challenge their fears and perform on stage at the Park West. I also have to point out that when you get a group of like minded people (courageous, smart, witty, driven, and willing to face their fears) in the same room something magical happens. I would highly recommend the experience and in fact you can sign up for the next Fear Experiment here

I can promise you that the show on December 15th (you can get tickets here) will be entertaining, amazing, fun and inspiring. Did I mention that the show has sold out the last couple of years, so buy your tickets now.

When I was in grade school school I was outgoing, gregarious, chatty and willing to throw myself headlong into every challenge. A teacher wrote on one of my report cards "Kandy is a social butterfly". Around the time I turned thirteen that girl went into hiding and I would say that she really did not come out of her shell until I was about 30.

For a very long time, long after I banished my shyness, I still identified as that girl. You know-the one who would go to parties and would hide off in the corner; the one who would walk the halls in highschool with her nose buried in a book; the one who would break out in hives when she had to talk to strangers; the one who was so very awkward at making small talk; the one who tried to hide her body in shapeless black clothes.

Some of you reading this may remember and recognize how far I have come, yet so many people do not know me from that time in my life and are often shocked to find out that I still think I am shy.

It is time to lay that part of my life to rest. I am no longer that girl. I think standing up on stage at the Park West and singing my heart out will prove that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Have a craftastic weekend

Have a fabulous weekend. I'll be sewing up a storm for things to bring to the Art for Change event this Sunday at the Logan Square Arts Center located in the Hairpin Lofts at 2800 N. Milwaukee Ave. from 11AM-5PM. There will be some new offerings including tea cozies and Christmas stockings.

I wanted to leave you with some crafty inspiration. Coat and scarf made by Tiina in Finland.

Muita Ihania

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Art for Change

My grandmother gave me a bag of clothing from the late 60's early 70's and there were some fabulous things in there. Some of them were so fabulous that I had to, um, tone down their fabulousness. Today I cut up a pair of brown plaid polyester/wool flared pants and I made it into a nice long scarf. I lined it with some Indian sari fabric that I found in Doha. All I have to say is somebody better buy this scarf on Sunday because if they don't it's mine. I took this picture at night and it does not do the scarf justice. Oh, did I mention there are elephants on the sari fabric. 

Meandering Design will be at Art for Change this Sunday, November 4th in Logan Square. Come out and support local artisans. A portion of the proceeds will go to support Crossroads Fund. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Changing perspective

I was listening to a Ted talk given by Phillippe Petit and I was inspired by something he said, "Faith is what Replaces Doubt". Now, Phillippe Petit must have a whole heck of a lot of faith because he is the gentlemen who has done amazing feats on the highwire, including a high wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. 

I believe his statement resonated with me because it acknowledges that we do have doubts. It is what we choose to do with those doubts that make us choose a life of status quo or to live a life full of passion, or joie de vivre. I am going to work on replacing my doubt with faith.

I figured this photo was appropriate for such a quote because it was taken at my friend Pat's church, Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She took me there at a time when I was in need of fellowship and faith. She also took me there because it is a Saarinen designed building that has been beautifully preserved, including a room full of mid-century modern furniture. I was like a kid in a candy store. 

This photo was taken using my vintage Ilford camera (that I found on Portobello Road in London) and Ilford film. KMC

Friday, October 26, 2012

“But I like shiny new things!": thoughts on how to ease yourself into upcycling and handcrafting (part 1)

Start with what you already have at home or what you could use – Look around your living space.  Chances are that you already have projects awaiting your attentions.  That really awesome pair of wool pants is waiting for you to adjust the length and redo the hem, the boring scarf could use some colorful accents, the pieces of cedar that some one left in the back alley (yes, I do live in Vancouver, BC) could be used to make the key holder that you need, and on and on.  Look around and get started!

projects and more projects
Plan before you gather - Be realistic about your storage and work space…especially if you live with others.  When you let your creative side take charge, chances are that you will come up with thousands of ideas for projects.  That is a great thing, however, you may find yourself gathering the materials that you need for all those, and other projects, all at once.  Clutter will take over and soon you will be wishing that you had space to work on your projects except the materials will be in the way.  If you are going to be working on more than one project, it helps to work on multiple ones that use similar materials and/or tools.
Sharing = Learning - Sharing ideas, knowledge and materials are great aspects of upcycling and handcrafting.  This community of interesting people with which to network is a cool bonus.  That is how you get to learn new stuff, save time by learning from others’ mistakes, and maybe even get to score free materials for your next project.

-by KQ

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogging and food

There is a reason why I am not a food blogger-I like to eat. While I love to cook and I do ascribe to the mise en place philosophy of cooking I want it to be done so I can eat it. I did have to share this recipe because it is delicious in its simplicity. Goat cheese, tomatoes, chives (I used rosemary), crispy bread and an egg are baked to crispy goodness. I should point out that this was delicious even without the prosciutto.

The only reason there was an after picture was because it had to cool down for a moment before I ate it.

I highly recommend that you subscribe to What Liberty Ate Magazine. It is a gorgeous online magazine full of photos, information and recipes. I found this recipe in the Spring/Summer second issue. I think I'll be trying the Pavlova with honey cream and strawberries soon. KMC

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"What are you going to do with it?"

So far, I have heard that question every time I tell people about one of my newest projects.  I guess that it is a valid question, yet I do not understand why I get puzzled looks from them when I reply, "I am going to write on it."

You see, I recently decided to make paper using the cardboard cores of toilet paper and paper towels as the source of fiber for pulp.
I love paper!  In fact, I love it so much that some times I hold onto certain sheets of paper for years until I get just the right pen to write on it, or until I get the perfect idea to sketch on it that would jive with the awesomeness of the paper, or I wait until my handwriting changes to a font that would fit the look and feel of the paper. Sometimes, I just wait. 
My love for paper started early on in life.  Back in 1986 (give or take a year), I made my first batch of handmade paper as an assigment when I was in art school.  The process was great fun, that is until I burnt the motor of our neighbour's blender... which I then replaced it using my allowance money.  That event prompted me to add an item to my "notes to self" list under the "handmade crafts" category... "When getting the pulp ready for paper making, (1) soak the fibers ahead of time and (2) blend with lots of water."

Now fast forward to 2006 and there I am in Tasmania (yes, in that little island south of Australia) driving to the Creative Paper Tasmania Mill/Studio ( to take a tour as well as participate in their hands on demo.  It was great and definitely encouraged me to keep paper on the top five list of craft skills in which I want to focus.
It does not come to my surprise that I am at it again.  This time however, my focus is on using 100% post consumer recyclable materials for the pulp, and especially since it rains so much here in Vancouver, it seems fit to use rain water for the paper making process... a process that does require quite a bit of water.  More over, the attached plan to this ever growing project is to apply book binding techniques such as this awesome one, by Molly Brooks of, to make neat notebooks and sketchpads.
So this is the part where you get to ask "And what are you going to do with the notebooks and sketchbooks?"  Well, I am going to write on the one I keep and the rest will be up for grabs at our Meandering Design shop.  I will keep you posted and let you know when they go on sale.

sheets of paper hanging to dry

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Brilliant Night

Last week I went to Mignonette Bridal on Belmont for Craft Bar's First Friday. Another Fear Experiment member invited me and I'm glad I went*.  It was fun because there was one area where people could take a strip from an old tshirt and make it into a flower and another where there were ribbons and buttons and sparkly bits and bobs. I found a piece of blue stiff tulle and folded it up and wrapped it with ribbon and put some buttons on it. I then attached it to a hair clip. It was fun to fuss with a bit of fluff and make it into something wearable. 

After that I went to the Cornelia Arts Building for their monthly open house. I got to see my friend Doug Birkenheuer's photography. His work is beyond words. Keep an eye out because they will be having another open house on November 16th and if you have the opportunity to go, please do because there are so many fabulous artists gathered under one roof.

*Fear Experiment has been amazing, exhilerating, tiring, scary and every contradictory thought I have rolled into on. What it has been overall though is fun and within only one month I have met some wicked amazing people. Please come to the show. Tickets are available here and the show sells out so buy now-

Also, if you are interested in going on this crazy, mad fun adventure applications are being accepted for the next round-

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Something old becomes something new

 My grandmother gave me a bag of her old clothes from the 1970's and it was a treasure trove. Most of the items are just a little too 70's to keep as they are and I will be revamping them and they will be available to purchase through Meandering Design. Except, I could not bear to part with this one because I absolutely adored the print.

As you can see, as a dress, the print practically screams 1970's polyester.

The wide lapel gives you an approximate idea of its age!  

Yet, when I take off the top of the dress, the skirt that emerges is quite lovely and actually au courant in its color scheme and pattern.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm squishing your head

Some of you may have noticed a new addition to Meandering Design. I'm pleased as punch to announce that my friend, and maker extraordinaire, Sheska will be creating fabulous things for the shop from her perch in Vancouver. I think her bio best describes why I'm so happy to have her join me in this venture-

Krusheska (Sheska) Quiros, whose alternate persona is "Razorwinged... more than just a little butterfly", is the Usable Crafts Maker and Spatial Logistics Director at Meandering Design. Sheska has an insatiable need to collect and apply knowledge, and to make usable things. That combination meant she: pursued a Masters degree in Anthropology and an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts Accredited by Le Cordon Bleu (just because), sewed custom backpacks and bags for her brother, dad and others, built a greenhouse, drafted sewing patterns, made holiday cards using the traditional printmaking form of etching, utilized open source software for various projects, patched her favorite jeans to keep them going and altered them so they were better for bike riding, traveled the world cooking for an international circus, took up crocheting like a duck to water with intense concentration and perfect stitches and in her free time she goes bouldering. She is not constrained by one medium but utilizes everything at hand including paper, fiber, metal, food, beverages (she makes a mean Mexican hot chocolate), electronics, software and whatever she can manipulate to do her bidding.
Sheska and I share many of the same values. We both believe that we can do good for the environment by upcycling, we have a strong respect for artisans, crafters and makers, we both love to share our passion through teaching, we both have a voracious appetite for new knowledge, and we are both constantly making things. Sheska brings a more utilitarian aesthetic to the table, and while she can appreciate my love of 1960's floral polyester, she isn't going to be wearing it anytime soon. 

I think I summed up our partnership best on our "About Us" page when I said-
Together Kandy and Sheska make up Meandering Design. An engaging clash of Victorian and modern, romantic and industrial, and Luddite and technophile. These two individual design styles create a harmonious tension within Meandering Design. Regardless of style both designers are influenced by their need to repurpose items and give them a new life, along with a new story, and by a profound respect for good design.
You will also start to hear her very unique voice on the blog, on facebook, and on twitter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

All new

Meandering Design's website has been updated to include a calendar of events and a link for classes. If you were thinking about taking a class, now it is easy to sign up for one. You can continue to follow this blog, or you can come follow over at It will be the same content, but the other site has the links to my outline on world domination.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Find out what happens... when really brilliant people... start getting real...While I completely changed the narration to MTV's Real World (it amazes me that I watched the first season on MTV) that is the best way I could sum up the Entrepreneurs Unpluggd event I went to the other night at the Chopin Theater. It was an evening of sparkling wit and scintilating presentations.

The first presenter was Emerson Spartz who is the founder and CEO of SpartzMedia. The man is a bloody genious. No, he really is. I'm not going to go into his bio, except to say that he accomplished a lot by the time he was 12, and just continued on that trajectory. While one would think that brilliance is intimidating, Emerson Spartz has so much passion for what he does, he is also a self-proclaimed nerd, that you can't help but be inspired by him. He spoke about opportunities and ideas, but those need to be backed up with data. The man loves data.

Jill Salzman is the founder and CEO of Founding Moms and she is a pistol. She also did a Ted talk, which makes her a rock star in my book. Jill saw a need, women who were mother's and entrepreneurs were isolated, and she started a Meetup group. Then she just kept expanding even when conventional wisdom said expansion was wrong. As she said, go with your gut.

Matt Matros is, as he stated, the Managing Member of an LLC, for Protein Bar. His message was similar to Jill's, he saw a need, followed his passion and now he's expanding his business. Matt advised us to set goals and follow them. He said to look at the data, but you only need 80% of the data to make a decision, so go do it. Matt noted that Paulo Coelho in the Alchemist says “When a person really desires something, all the  universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” That is how I am trying to live my life.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mighty Life List

I've been meaning to make a list of dreams and goals and things I want to do for awhile. I learned recently that when you put things out in the Universe that they happen. Partly because you are doing the leg work to make it happen, but also partly because when you say something like "I want to open a Crafty Coworking space in Chicago" people say that's a great idea and sometimes they even ask how they can help make it happen, or they connect you to people that can help make it happen. I am seriously blown away by the craft/indie community here in my beloved home town. Blown AWAY! Then I was reading Inward Facing Girl (a blogger I admire and I love the layout of her blog) and I clicked over to her Mighty Life List and I had an "Aha" moment. Awhile back I had a small life list and I actually did many things on that list, but I have grown and changed in ways I could never imagine and that list needs to grow and change as well.

Mighty Life List
  1. Find a vintage building and restore it.
  2. Open a Craft Coworking space in Chicago to teach classes, host events and have studio space.
  3. Design the quiet zone in the craft coworking space. 
  4. Spend a month traveling throughout France collecting textiles, craft knowledge and speaking French.
  5. Visit Norway so I can visit Marimekko and some of the other fabulous places with textile.
  6. Speak in public about something I love.
  7. Teach a craft class in the UK.
  8. Draft a line of my own patterns.
  9. Write a book.
  10. Be a guest contributor on a blog.
  11. Finish a quilt.
  12. Take a vacation to a place where I can incorporate bike riding.
  13. Be a guest lecturer at a university.
  14. Finally get my tattoo.
  15. Release a seasonal clothing line.
  16. Create a line of home accessories. 
  17. Create a fabric line. 
  18. Sing at the Park West. 
  19. Take a horseback ride in Hyde Park. 
  20. Have a booth at Renegade. 
  21. Finish reading Moby Dick. 
  22. Go to Angola and Morrocco to learn new craft techniques. 
  23. Get a proper mint tea tea set.
  24. Return to Iraq to visit friends. 
  25. Only say yes to something if the response is Hell Yes.
  26. Create space to do the things on my life list.
  27. Clear out my closet and replace it with things I love
  28. Buy only what I love and what will last.
  29. For every thing that comes into my space, something must go.
  30. Take a cooking class.
  31. Cook once a week. Just cook something.
  32. Go for a motorcycle ride. 
  33. Write a poem
  34. Send someone a letter
  35.  Make a little something and give it away
  36. Leave an ATM (Always Trust magic)note
  37. Fly a kite
  38. Do yoga (this is another just do it!)
  39. Make it to the Etsy front page. 
  40. Write a business plan.
  41. Help others with their life lists or connect them to someone who can help.
  42. Be featured on a design blog- any of the one's on Mighty Girl's list will do!
  43. Be more patient/kind
  44. Swim in as many seas as possible
  45. Find out where my family was from in Poland and visit their town.
  46. Bake Macarons
  47. Get myself a kitchen aid mixer
  48. Learn how to use Twitter
  49. Take a ballet class
  50. Give back through Meandering Design
  51. Ride a scooter in Italy.
  52. Be a guest on Ted
  53. Scan and organize the family photos
  54. Carry my camera more
  55. Be an active feminist.
  56. Play soccer
  57. Get a 1950 Ford F-1 Pickup truck and paint it turquoise.
  58. Have a dinner party and serve Iraqi dolma (with the caramelized onions on the bottom-mmmm)
  59. Spend a week doing absolutely nothing at Canary Island.
  60. Take a train ride through the slavic countries.
  61. Reupholster my  favorite chair in vintage grey tweed.
  62. Have another girls weekend
  63. Drink more champagne
  64. Visit my nieces and nephews
  65. Find art for over the fireplace
  66. Crochet more in public
  67. Feel less self-conscious 
  68. Have a rainy day fund
  69. Learn how to develop film
  70. Go on a creative retreat
  71. Have people over more often 
  72. Live a life that allows for constant travel
  73. Go to Scotland
  74. Fall in love again
  75. Get all of my sewing machines working
  76. Have a sewing class for men
  77. Get the contact information for at least one person for each event I attend
  78. Reach out to people that I admire
  79. Use my Liberty of London fabric.
  80. Organize my fabric and sewing notions
  81. Go to New Orleans
  82. Make ice cream again
  83. Try to eat seasonally
  84. Finish the Prezi presentation I started
  85. Make all the electronics in my house work properly
  86. Create printed materials for Meandering Design
  87. Get a loom
  88. Make a rug
  89. Dye my own wool/fabric
  90. Take a sewing class
  91. Take a drawing class 
  92. Refinish Poppies workbench
  93. Give away the crafty things I will not use to someone who can use them
  94. As much as possible, buy handmade
  95. Rewatch Amelie
  96. Make a hat
  97. Sew curtains for the kitchen
  98. Always have something on hand for visitors (snack and drink)
  99. Slow down and enjoy my food
  100. Leave town at least every 3 months.