Sunday, March 31, 2013

We make Portland Awesome: Urban Lace

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Barbi & Aaron of Urban Lace

Who are you?
Barbi Touron and Aaron Shear are the owners/designers for Urban Lace. Barbi Touron started out in a small garage below her apartment in St. John's (North Portland) making jewelry for friends in 2006. As more and more people wore her jewelry and word of mouth spread, so did the demand for these unique creations. With orders growing beyond her ability to keep up, Barbi partnered with Aaron Shear and Urban Lace was born. They have been working together since September 2011 making new designs for the up coming year 2014.

What do you make?
Urban Lace specializes in making unique Eco-friendly designer jewelry. Our one of a kind jewelry is created from recycled bicycle inner tubes collected from local bike shops. Our goal is to make high quality, high fashion, environmentally friendly products that people love to wear. We create elegant design with the planet in mind.

Inner tubes are not only durable, flexible, and waterproof, they can also be beautiful. Each year thousands of inner tubes are thrown into landfills in the US alone, where they will sit for hundreds of years. Urban Lace is committed to renewing those discarded tubes into wearable art.

Besides making things, what do you do?
Aaron Shear is also a musician as well as a designer/business owner. He has been playing the ukulele and singing baritone for at least 10 years. During which he was traveling and preforming with his band The Mighty Ghosts.

Barbi Touron is an art photographer, fiber installation artist and a poet, as well as a designer/business owner. Most of her art work deals with the environment, as well as cause and effect. Her work tends to be autobiographical and reflective.

Apparently we can't help but make things, whether it's music or art :)

What inspires you?
Nature! Nature! Nature! We believe that a business should be environmentally, animal and people friendly. We believe that you should love what you do and do it without harm. Without pollutants and with happy healthy employees. We strive to create Earth friendly products that not only people will love to wear, but will allow others to think about items in there everyday life a little differently. We hope that our jewelry will make people see a new way of living, a world where everything isn't disposable, but reusable.

Where can your work be found?
Our work can be found online as well as in numerous boutiques and stores in the US, Canada, and South Korea. Here is a list of online retailers as well as boutiques and stores where you can find our products.

T-spot, Manzanita, OR
Redux, Portland, OR
Salty Teacup,Portland, OR
Say Say Boutique,Portland,OR
Frock Boutique,Portland,OR
PSU Bike Hub,Portland,OR

Natural Clothing Co.,Snohomish,WA

Remedy Skin Care,Boise,ID

MissionBicycle,San Francisco,CA
JP Selects,West Hollywood,CA
Side Show Studios,Sacramento,CA


New York
Hair Habitat,Syracuse,NY
Uncommon Goods,Brooklyn,NY

The Wooden Hanger,Urbana,IL
Takara,Oak Park,IL

Raw Salon,Burlington,WI

Art For Good,Port Huron,MI

The Legacy General Store, Nikomis, FL

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu,HI

Mind & Kind, Seoul, Korea

What do you love about Portland?
What's not to love about Portland! There are trees everywhere, people actually smile at you here, the air is clean, the food is amazing, The streets are not full of garbage, our mass transportation system works and you can bike just about anywhere. We have both lived in many different places, but nothing tops Portland. To us, we are finally home.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

500 SALES!

I've just reached 500 sales in my Etsy shop!

To celebrate, I have a FLASH SALE for you! Use the coupon code HAPPYWEDNESDAY from now until 10pm (Pacific time) to get 15% off your purchase at House of Moss!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Ida Done That

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Ida Done That
Who are you?
A housewife in Portland.

What do you make?
Everything I can out of things that already exist. I make lots of collages/altered art using images from the golden age of consumerism since I feel like everything that needed to be made was made then. All of my materials come from estate sales.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I play card games and chinese checkers with my kids, draw cartoons, complain about having to weed, other mom and wife things like vacuum and cook. Lately I have been coloring the same donkey every day and hanging them upstairs to remind myself that every day you get a donkey and you have to figure out how to make it nice. That's more of a winter hobby though.

What inspires you?
Everything outside of screen media is interesting to me, I feel like some of it just needs to be arranged differently and then it is amusing.

Where can your work be found?
Since I'm mostly with a four year old, you can find my work at parks and in my basement. I have done shows in Portland and San Francisco, this year I am going to do some things in Seattle, I have weekends off so sometimes I go and sit in a booth. I do the major shows, first Thursday in the Pearl and Portland Flea (new this month). You can also find me on Etsy. As for shops, that makes it hard-- I am in the Crafty Wonderland shop and look to expand next year.

What do you love about Portland?
It's pretty here looking out the window at mountains, and I love that it rains enough in Portland that you never feel guilty spending the day thumbing through books of vintage papers, wandering through thrift shops or sitting inside reading or making art. I like that this town is full of people who can entertain themselves. The hyperbolic reading, beards and coffee and everything else we all do but people here seem to really really do. I love when the sun shines and everyone is happy and all of the parks and trees and gritty dirty stuff in between that make Portland interesting.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Today I thought I'd share my packaging routine with you. I've been changing and tweaking my packaging for years, and though I know it will be a longtime process, at this point I'm pretty happy with what I've come up with.

Packaging is a funny thing: It needs to be appealing and reflect well on one's brand, but should also be economical and time-efficient. While eco-friendly options like re-usable boxes and recycled plastic-free padded mailers aren't the cheapest, the wonderful folks who buy from my shop understand that it's worth the extra dollar or so to avoid contributing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Due to the nature of my shop, I've always focused on avoiding plastics and unnecessary shipping waste whenever possible. I'm always adapting the aesthetics, though: I've just ordered some new packing supplies, and my shipping station is getting cuter and cuter.

For things that get mailed:

For craft fairs:

I've sourced my packaging materials from many different places, including Staples, the grocery store,, craft supply shops, and of course Etsy! This is the seller who made my stamps, and this is where I found my washi tape.

Do any of you have genius packing solutions, or have you received something beautifully packaged in the mail?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Know someone who makes Portland awesome? Send in your nominations!

Hello, friends! If you've been following my blog, you're probably familiar with the series I feature weekly, We Make Portland Awesome.

Getting to know the amazing and dynamic makers in our community has been so inspiring. I can't believe how much talent we have here in our very own Portland-metro area!

There are a couple of changes I'm making to the We Make Portland Awesome project. First, I'm changing it from a weekly feature to bi-weekly (once every two weeks).

Secondly, I'm opening it up to NOMINATIONS! I would love to hear from all of you about amazing people in our area who make things. This could be Etsy sellers, photographers, bakers, musicians, illustrators, architects... anyone who "makes" something and is in the general Portland area (not too strict on this one. Even if they don't technically live here, but their work has a strong presence in retail shops, shows, etc., that works!).

A list of everyone I've already had on the blog can be found HERE. Please check it out!

So please, send me names + links for people you think should be better known in the maker/indie-craft community.

I can be reached at , on Facebook, or in the comments below.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Etsy Front Page... Pumpkins in March?

Apparently my little wool pumpkins were featured last night on the front page of Etsy in a beautiful treasury! I was unaware until this morning, as at the time Erik and I were at the McMenamins White Eagle for a concert of our college friends' band Jolliff.

I don't know why they're featuring pumpkins on the FP in March, but it's fine by me! :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Emma Lee Shop

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Emma of Emma Lee Shop
Who are you?
Hi! My name is Emma Harrison and I am a creator of all things BOW! I have been living in Portland since I was 18 years old. This city has absorbed me, it is seriously my happy place. I have a studio attached to my home, and most of my time seems to be spent there. I have an amazing family, and the most adorable group of friends

What do you make?
I have been making jewelry for a couple years now and love it, but my heart seems to be happiest when I am creating adorable pieces meant for your hair. I started many years ago, making custom bridal hair pieces, but I have been moving towards the everyday item. I am not kidding, you will find a bow in my hair EVERYDAY. I love to use vintage fabrics with a story behind them. I am currently making my way trhough a huge bag of Vintage Pendleton Quilting squares that I acquired from a tiny wool shop on the Southern Oregon Coast. Lace, Wool, and vintage findings are what get my wheels turning.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I also manage a Local Resale Boutique and work part time for a Local Textile designer.

What inspires you?
My family, my experiences throughout my life thus far, beautiful hair, and adorable, smart, interesting people with a story to tell.

Where can your work be found?
My Etsy store.

And at a few local Boutiques:
Blush Beauty Bar on NW 23rd Ave.
Silhouette on NE Fremont.
Modo Boutique on E. Burnside.

What do you love about Portland?
There is so much that I love about this City..
Some favorites of mine do include:
Laurelhurst Theater (we spend so much time there)
A few Vintage stores including Re-Run on NE Fremont and House of Vintage on SE Hawthorne.
So many restaurants! I love Bamboo Sushi, Boke Bowl, and The Farm
BARS! Some favorites are The Free House, Prost!, and Migration Brewing

Friday, March 1, 2013

What I'm reading: The Martha Rules

I'm becoming more and more a fan of Martha Stewart. In this book, which she began writing while in prison a few years ago, she outlines her "rules" for success. It has tons of examples from both Martha's company and others, and is quite pleasant to read. It's written in a very personable style that makes you feel like you might be sitting in a coffee shop talking with her as your mentor. Her advice is applicable to large "omnimedia" companies like hers, as well as one-woman businesses like mine.
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