Homemade Holiday Cards

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I am excited to share my handmade cards for 2014 with you.  I am so excited about these this year.  I wanted to have a very strong and non-traditional color palette this year and pull in some of the black, white, and gold designs I have been playing with in my own artwork.  These were all super easy to make.  I just laid out all the different elements the way I thought looked the best and then used a thermal tape runner to adhere them to our card set.  Now if only I can get the time to fill them out for my friends and family.  Check out the cute D.I.Y. kit I put together for you here. It has everything you need to make 10 holiday cards.

We also have an awesome class at One Strange Bird this Sunday the 23rd of November and Sunday, December 14th from 3-5.  Sign up on-line or give us a call to come make cards with us!

Happy Crafting,


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Here are the kits!  I am so so excited about these.

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Empress your family and friends with handmade holiday cards this year. This kit come with all you need to make 10 adorable one-of-a-kind cards.

10 blank white cards and envelopes
doily in black and white
festive sticker sheet
4 holiday themed printed papers
white and glitter snowflakes
tape runner to adhere items to card
2 full rolls of washi tape in gold and red pattern
and an assortment of die cut holiday shapes

This adorable kit is shipped in a reusable white box lined with white, recycled shred paper. It is cute as a gift or perfect as a splurge for yourself!

Interview + Studio Visit with Michelle Starbuck Designs

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe were very lucky to be one of ten shops chosen by Etsy and American Express to be featured for Small Business Saturday this year. They asked us to select one of our designers to present their work in a trunk show on November 29th.

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I met Michelle Starbuck in a jewelry class we were both taking in 2011, the year I opened the store. She was kind and fun to be with in class. After learning she was a jewelry designer, I asked her if we could stock her work in the store. She has been one of our top selling artists since we opened! I am a huge fan of her bold vintage designs. I love her work and talking with her about being a maker and small business owner. This week, I got the chance to catch up with Michelle in her studio in the Cornelia Arts Building which she shares with her talented husband Steve Amos.

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When did you first start making jewelry?
I started making jewelry in 2005 with pieces from broken vintage jewelry that I had been collecting.

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How did you learn to make jewelry? I taught myself how to make jewelry by looking at how vintage and handmade jewelry is constructed. I went to school for painting and have always worked with my hands- knitting, embroidering, sewing, etc. so it felt really natural to me to start working with jewelry tools also.

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What are some things that inspire your collections? I like contrast in design and try to find a balance between geometric and organic pieces. In my next collection, I’m exploring the use of negative space in each piece.

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Where do you sell your jewelry? Right now, most of my shops are in Chicago, but I do have a few in other midwestern states and a couple out west. Etsy Wholesale has given me the opportunity to expand my reach as a small business so I’m hoping to continue to add new stores around the country.

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Where do you like to shop? Besides all of the awesome stores that sell my jewelry, I love shopping at Alapash, Neighborly, and Gethsemane Garden Center. I like plants and art.

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What are you currently

Working on: I’m trying to sneak in time here and there to work on my Spring collection while I keep up with holiday sales.

Listening to: Serial podcast. I pretty much wake up every day wishing that it was Thursday so I can listen to a new episode.

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Reading: I’ve found that I’m too tired to read when I get home at night (I’m technically in the middle of 3 books that I haven’t finished), so I’ve been listening to audio books while I’m at the studio. I’m currently listening to a compilation of David Sedaris’ short stories. I’ve already read all of his books, I just like listening to him read. Maybe I should just break down and listen to the ends of the books that I haven’t finished….

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Watching: Season 8 of Doctor Who

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Check out Michelle’s latest work November 29th for Small Business Saturday from 10-6. The first 25 purchases will get a free Etsy tote good bag with suprise treasures including these cute rings from Michelle!


Painted Pumpkins

These adorable painted and collaged pumpkins are a great alternative to traditional carved pumpkins.  Using simple craft materials, magic can happen! This is a great family friendly project that any age can enjoy. Scroll to the bottom of our post for helpful tips and a material list to make your own.



Pictured: Cat Pumpkin, Bat Pumpkin, Glitter Pumpkins, and Washi Tape Pumpkins




Washi Tape Pumpkin

catCat Pumpkin<a


Bat Pumpkin





Stud Pumpkin, Glitter Pumpkin, and Washi Pumpkin

suppliesMaterials I used:

A2 acrylic Paints, paint brushes, map pins/straight pins, scrapbook paper, glitter, Mod Podge (glue), adhesive gems and pearls, pipe cleaners, stickers, washi tape, and paper punches.

We sell all the materials at 2124 W. Division St.!

To make a glitter pumpkin:

Using a brush, coat the pumpkin with Mod Podge (decoupage glue).  Shake the glitter liberally all over the pumpkin over a “Tidy Tray” (a special craft tray so you can reuse the glitter= genius!) Allow to dry thoroughly.  Repeat the steps for the stem in a contrasting color.  If you have it, you can use a clear spay coat to keep the glitter on or just take care in handling and moving your glitzy pumpkin.

To make a cat pumpkin:

Using a brush, paint an entire pie pumpkin black with high quality acrylic paint.  Allow to dry overnight.  Use the instructions above to glitter the stem.

Cut two triangles out of cute Halloween themed scrapbook paper.  Fold about 1/4 inch over to create a tab.  Trim the extra to match the triangle.  Attach on either side of the stem by pushing pins into the folded tab and into the pumpkin.  I used two on each ear.

Cut 2 white pipe cleaners into thirds.  Using a pencil, wrap the end around the pencil a bit to create a curled edge.  Push the non curly edge into the pumpkin where the cat’s whiskers would be.  Repeat until you have 3 whiskers on each side of the cat’s face.

Punch a cute shape (I used a flower) out of scrapbook paper for the cat’s eyes.  Glue on with the Mod Podge.  (Don’t use a pin or the cat will “cry” because of the pumpkin juice.)  I also added an adhesive gem (from any craft store) for the cat’s pupils. Fancy!

Use a heart sticker for the cat’s nose in between the whiskers.  I also added 3 dots of Mod Podge and added glitter to make freckles near the whiskers.

Optional: add a mouth made out of scrapbook paper by cutting a line and a smile shape.  You have a CATKIN!

To make a bat pumpkin:

Use the info above to paint your bat black and glitter the stem.  Cut out wing shapes from scrapbook paper.  (I used a Halloween themed paper.)  I cut one first and then flipped it over and traced it to make the wings symmetrical.  You can also use a template from the internet.  Create a tab by folding the inside part of the bat wing about a 1/4 inch.  Use a push pin to attach the wings to the bat.

Cut the eyes out of coordinating paper.  Use the Mod Podge to glue onto the pumpkin.  Add an adhesive gem for the pupil.  You can also add a smile and fangs with paper too!  I opted for a “serious” bat. Haha Have fun with it!

Other Tips:

*Use nice acrylic paints instead of cheaper craft paints.

*Paint your base color first and allow to dry overnight before adding the details.  The paint will peel off easily if the paint is still wet.

*Use pie pumpkins.  They have a very smooth surface for decorating.

*Use map pins or push pins to attach the paper parts.  (I used them for the ears and the bat wings by creating a fold over tab and pushing the pin in the tab.) Don’t use them for the eye, the hole will make the pumpkin “cry ” a little bit.

*Use paper punches to punch out cute shapes that can be used for eyes and more.  This is easier for small children and eliminates the need for sharp scissors.

*If you are making a washi tape pumpkin, apply the tape first.  Add Mod-podge over the stem and a bit of the rough tape edges on the stem.  Add glitter to hide the tape edges.

Enjoy crafting!

Check out our Birthday Party and make a mini pumpkin for free!

Sunday, October 19th from 10-2



Day of the Dead Mask Tutorial and Art Kit!

Check out our adorable new art kit!  This Day of the Dead mask is easy to make and super cute to wear.  This kit includes what is below.  Use your acrylic paints and  brushes for many other projects.   You can buy the kit on Etsy here!

In this kit:

paint brush set, acrylic basics set, flowers, paper mask, cute mask stick, glitter glue!


Step One: Sketch out your Day of the Dead design with pencil.  I have added a half moon at the bottom of the eye area to make the eye shape more “skull like”.  I then added petals around the eyes. For the nose, I created a rounded triangle shape following the curve of the mask.  Next, I added dots under the eyes, a diamond above the nose, and an upside down heart shape. I gave the mask eyebrows just above the eyes and added a spiral shape at the end.


Step Two: I painted the eye and the nose black


Step Three: I add a little white to the blue to fill in the flowers with a small brush.  I then added a touch of black for the eyebrows.  I painted the heart and some of the dots red.


Step Four: I added pink and red festive dots around the eyes and nose with the small, round paint brush.


Step Five: I added more dots with the glitter glue! I also used hot glue to glue the flowers on the front and the stick on the back!


Step Six: Wear it proudly!


Check out www.onestrangebird.com for our art classes in Chicago!

Art Journal Page Tutorial

Hey, Strange Birds

I am so excited about our January Journal Challenge.  I am happy to say that I have been creating art every single day for at least an hour for 23 days!  I am so excited about the project, that I think we will do an other in February.  For now, follow our Instagram account One Strange Bird to get a daily dose of color.

For this post, I wanted to share with you a recent page I created with step-by-step instructions. Below is the full, completed page.  This was made one January 20th, 2014 for the topic of kindness. 


Materials needed: mod podge, crayons, brush, washi tape, paint markers, stamps, stamp pads, vintage photo or other ephemera, and letter stencils


Step One: I ripped up some cute, patterned scrapbook paper and glued it all over both pages with mod-podge

ImageStep Two: I mixed a good deal of water into some gesso (or you can use white paint) and layered over the papers to tone down the colors a bit.

ImageStep Three: I ripped up two types of washi tape and put it randomly around the pages

ImageStep Four:  I scribbled and doodled with some crayons to add more color.  I also stamped small stamps and pressed some bubble wrap onto a stamp pad to add more texture.  I embossed some of the bubble wrap impressions to make them even more textured.


Step Five: I used a stencil to add words.  I then filled them in with gold paint.

ImageThat is it!  Have fun in your journal.  Remember it is for you!! Image



Packing Tape Transfer Tutorial for Art Journaling


Hi, Strange Birds!

I teamed up with my super-talented sister, Madeline Northway to make a new art tutorial. In this video I share some of my favorite collage materials and different art books that I like to work in.  I also show you how to do a really cool image transfer technique that uses packing tape!

Below are my first 12 days of our January Art Journal Challenge!  It has been a blast so far.  I have been consistently doing art every morning for 12 days.  I am loving the looseness and playfulness that I am finding in my journal.  I can’t wait to see how this project influences my artwork.

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Check out our sweet new art journal kit for sale HERE