Last Saturday was the Blissfest, which is seemed everyone in Mesa attended, along with hundreds of their closest friends. All to benefit Nie Nie. I actually went twice. I was there right at the beginning, with my two year old. He enjoyed the carnival games before many kids arrived, and I previewed the boutique booths before my "alone" visit in the afternoon. There was some seriously cute and amazing stuff there. And most of it cost a zillion dollars. And I'm not rich. After my birthday extravaganza week, I'm pretty sure my husand was going to kill me if I spent any money at Blissfest, but in my mind I was entitled to. I just planned to keep it under $20. And guess what $20 can get you at a boutique... not much.
That's why, when I found the booth for Paddywacks Studio, I was riveted for fifteen whole minutes. The genius behind the crafts, Whitney Johnson, told me about her wares without pushing them on me. Or making me feel like it wasn't worth getting out of her chair and wasting her breath on someone who looked like they could barely afford the ratty old flip-flops she came in. Which was a problem at a few places. Whitney explained how she uses reclaimed fabric and materials for her creations and I fell hard for the pieces made from men's dress shirts. There so many different things, she uses all parts of the shirt. Even the bunting around her tent was made from the sleeves & cuffs. I spent five minutes sorting through the different patterns to choose the item I was going to buy. A $3 kleenex holder. $3. A really cute one, as you can see. I loved the stripes and the butterfly pin. Since I used all my cash on carnival tickets, and didn't want to pull out my credit card for such a small purchase, Whitney generously offered to hold it for me.
When I went back to the Blissfest in the afternoon, I saved Paddywacks Studio for last. And I didn't see anything I liked more. Whitney even remembered me and brought out my carefully saved $3 item. I almost bought a cute little coin purse too, but somehow decided I could make one myself. I'm pretty sure I'll be buying one instead. And I will be ordering a custom Scrap Shirt too. These tee were adorable, especially the kiddo ones. Whitney buys old tees at thrift stores, and cuts out the letters on them to use on her Scrap Shirts. It's pretty hard to tell how cute they are in these pictures (which I stole from Whitney's blog). And amazingly the shirts are $15 for kids, $20 for adults, and $25 for a few that she had on fancy shirts instead of just tees. Even more amazing is that you can order a custom shirt for the same price. I envision coordinating shirts for my three sons, each with their names. But even though $15 is a smokin' deal for a handmade, custom shirt, I'm sure my husband will take umbrage with $45 spent on kids tees. So I will think about what to do. The order form is at right, if you want to get your own.
Whitney also makes these cool necklaces, fabric covered books/planner covers, adorable aprons with lots of pockets, and button bracelets (just like the picture I saw of Nie Nie wearing). Check out her blog, Kindred Joy, which is where I borrowed all these pictures from. She told me she was working on getting an Etsy shop up, but does have a fledgling website for her business, Paddywacks Studio. Whitney also teaches classes at Blissful Living Studio and Mystic Paper, both in downtown Mesa.