Sunday, November 24, 2013

Are You a "Black Friday" Person?

I must confess.  I was never a "Black Friday" person. 

I never went out of my way to get the best bargain, or to attend sales.  As a matter of fact, I was the opposite of frugal...until I began to do my business full time.  That got my attention.

And even then, I still wouldn't go to the Black Friday sales because I hate crowds.  If ever I got my Christmas shopping done early a particular year, you can best believe it was because I thinking about avoiding those crowds.  I sure wasn't trying to end up in the middle of this:

Now that I am watching my finances a little more closely, I do try to catch the sales sometimes.  For instance, I buy my lingerie just after New Year's when my favorite store is doing the "Buy 2 Get 2 Free" thing.
But my best triumph is that I am even more expert at crowd avoiding.  I shop Handmade.
I LOVE Handmade pieces, more than I have the words to say.  It started over 20 years ago when I discovered street festivals.  I could get funky, afrocentric pieces that nobody else had at those fairs.  They, to me, wer the poor man's designers.
Now I only get the basics at regular retail stores.  Thanks to the internet, I no longer have to wait till warm weather to get the items I love.  I get many of my health and beauty products made from scratch by MyCoCreation's, not to mention these cocoa banana slivers she makes that are to die for.  I can shop for everything from headwraps to couture at JahfyaRoyalworks.  I can shop through Etsy (one of the world's biggest online handmade sites) to find artists I know in The Handmade Collective, or shop where I vend in Brooklyn every month with the artists of The Diaspora Art Mart
Who needs the noisy, overcrowded malls?
And of course, there is us, Ioni's Creations.
We are offering a coupon just for you for Black Friday.  Come to our Etsy Shop and choose something.  Upon checkout, type in: HANDMADE2013

The sale starts Thanksgiving Day (November 28)  and continues through Black Friday (November 29), Small Business Saturday (November 30, where we'll be vending at the Tribal Truths Fashion Show at Brooklyn's LIU campus), and ends on Cyber Monday (December 2).

We at The Handmade Collective usually designate that Sunday (December 1) as Handmade Sunday.

And don't forget to stop by our website to check us out and learn more about us!
Happy Shopping!
and thank you from Ioni's Creations!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We're vending again, this time at Brooklyn's Atlantic Antic!
This is the first time I've ever even been to Atlantic Antic.  I've heard of it, but back in the 90's when I was going to every festival I could, I didn't know about it.
I'm pretty excited about it.  I never planned to vend so much in the year 2013.  I only intended to visit to get a feel of them.  Then, I would show up in 2014 with a fabulous selection specifically tailored for each event.
Well, you know I vend with the Diaspora Art Mart every second Saturday at the Brooklyn YWCA on 3rd Avenue.  Being with them has exposed Ioni's Creations to more festivals in Brooklyn.  When they run to one, we run too.
But I have to analyze everything to death.  So I want to know stuff like what the style is of the people who attend each festival, and if they are conservative or funky, mostly young or mostly old, diverse ethnic groups or mostly one ethnic group, etc.  I want to know what the people like, so I can give the people what they want!
Anyway, I'm nervous as usual, trying to get some more knitting and crocheting in, when I should be just packing up, lol.  This festival looks really crowded by the picture on top of the flyer.
Hope to see you there!
Ta Ankh
(Patricia Heath)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hello everybody, long time!

Ok, this is Ioni's Creations very first outdoor vending together, and it's a big one!

I attended the International African Arts Festival back in the day when it was still at Boy's and Girl's High School in Brooklyn, before it moved to Commodore Barry.  Sometimes I would go there and help out with the big spread they had every year at Ausar Auset Society. 

It's a grueling four days, and I must admit, I'm a little nervous.  I remember my legs aching if we were on the concrete.  I remember young twenty-somethings complaining after one day that they needed rest and massages, and these were vegetarians that were in shape!

Mama said not to think about that though, so I'm not.

I'm just thinking about how I started with just hats and now have grown to a full accessory line.  Altogether, I have more than 100 pieces by myself.  Add that to my partner Ioni's clothing line, and her son's leather line, and this is going to be an exciting array of products.

Summer was always a slow time for me.  Even the cotton hats I made in the past seemed to be too heavy.  But this year for the first time, I am proud to introduce the beginning of a line of straw hats unlike any you have ever seen, I promise you that.

Ioni and I were talking, and she has everything from clothing, to cell phone holders to these fabulous pens that make wonderful gifts.  Her son Sherlock has a selection of leather bags and accessories that are jut beautiful.

We all do special orders, so if you don't see what you like, just ask.  We can ship it to you.

And of course we have our website, as well as a host of other places on the internet that you can find us (just check the website).  Keep us in mind all year round for your clothing and accessory needs!

Pat (Ta Ankh)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hey everybody,

A pic of Russell Crowe knitting found it's way to my Facebook wall, so I thought it would be fun to show some famous people doing their thing.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Oh!  I found someone of color!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Dark Side of the African Textile Craze

For these past few seasons, Africa has been the muse for many famous design houses from Burberry and Michael Kors to off the rack stores like Forever21. But before you get happy, (and you knew there would be a "but" didn't you), how much of this is "authentic"? And how much of it actually benefits Africans? Well one indicator may be the Burberry scandal. A lot of designers in the know already know that many "African" fabrics are indeed not African at all...they are Dutch wax print. When people told me about this, I envisioned authentic African textiles being knocked off and copied cheaply. But there's more to the story than that. The Dutch wax print is said to be a copy of Indonesian tie dye techniques. West African recruits to the Dutch army learned the techniques while stationed in Indonesia, and brought it back home and that is how those prints came to be popular in Africa. The Dutch then sought to make a cheap, easier to make knockoff to sell, and this is how you and I came to have a lot of the not so African fabrics in our collection. So that's first of all as to why Africa does not "deserve" to get credit for the "African" prints flooding the fashion world today, especially not from Burberry. The prints are known as Ankara, but Burberry calls them "eclectic print". (Boy, 2012) But the plot thickens. You'll never guess who swung by designer Lisa Folawiyo's Nigerian studio, Jewel by Lisa, a year before they released their collection with the African inspiration? Yep. Burberry. I guess they went so as not to have any African inspiration. Meanwhile, some of the African designers are back at home on the continent slaving away, hardly even aware of all the benefits that come with the increasing popularity of African style. Ghanaian designers Hagan-Aboagye and Thompson say that their businesses suffer from a lack of quality manufacturers, a lack of department stores to purchase their works, technological problems and high turnover. They say it's difficult to even rally the young designers into doing anything to improve their lot. (Noire, 2012) But there is hope. Nora Bannerman-Abbot, a designer herself as well as former Miss Ghana, says that the solution is for African countries to export to the rest of the world. Her company, Sleek Garments, does exactly that. She also was credited with using machine made kente cloth to make clothing to export to the U.S., as well as serving as consultant and head to many fashion related committees and companies in Ghana. (Sleek Garment, 2012) Going global is obviously where it's at. Only time will tell if Africa finally gets it's due. • One Nigerian Boy ( • Madam Noire ( • Sleek Garment ( *** The author apologizes. This article was written in late 2012 but not published until then, so some of the links are gone.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How Crafting Saved My Life
Crafting really saved my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it did. I had the same kind of boring, ho-hum life that I think a lot of people have, the kind that makes you want to pull the covers back over your head and just stay there in bed. Right about then is when my second crafting business lifted me out of the doldrums.
Now you know knitting and crocheting have a reputation for being just for little old ladies, but I don’t see it that way. I love funky stylish handmade pieces of any kind, and I love it more that I can add my creative voice to what’s out there already. It makes my juices flow to come up with something different than anything I see in fashion and to know it has my stamp on it. It makes me feel REALLY good that someone would reach in their pocket and give up their hard earned cash for something I created. And it makes me feel REALLY, REALLY good to know that other artists see me as an artist too.
So when my family business finally closed its doors after 35 years, I figured I would use my business, which was then a side hustle, to bide my time until I could get a “good job” with benefits. Suddenly a little voice spoke to me and told me that I could make a go of this full time. I was 48 years old and had about 15 years or so to go before I could retire and get social security. So I sat down right on the spot and thought about what I was willing to sacrifice to make this dream happen.
I had never had a car, but was I willing to go through life without one?
The answer was yes.
How about owning a home or a luxurious apartment? Was I willing to not have those things? Yes.
How about tropical paradise vacations and cruises? When my friends go on those things would it be ok for me not to go with them? Once again, the answer was yes.
So I began to build.
And suddenly, everything was different.
The stuff I used to take off of men – no more.
Friends that had stepped to me with thinly veiled cattiness in the past – was I willing to “be patient” with them? Nope. I just wasn’t having any of the old stuff anymore. Why? Because I was now on a mission, one all my own…and I had better things to do.
Suddenly, I was getting more respect. I couldn’t boast a whole lot of money. As a matter of fact, I had less…for now. But I was becoming accomplished even if it was late in the game. I was manifesting the talents that I always knew were in there somewhere. Now others knew it too. And I could see that my business was growing, sometimes even being a little more than I could handle.
But that’s not all.
On Facebook, I became a member of a brand new group called The Handmade Collective. This group has people of all races, nationalities, both genders etc. But the magic of the group is that they are willing to share. They share the tips of how to be successful at what we do. So now my pictures are crisper, I have a blog, several online stores, I am vending and expanding my product lines. I’ve never been a part of anything where everyone was so willing to help each other like that. It was just what I needed to take my business to the next level, and I’m beginning to enjoy the benefits of all that hard work.
So when others talk about how knitting and crocheting are so relaxing, I agree with them. Sometimes I don’t take the time to say that it’s actually exhilarating to me though, and that it has given me new life and a new lease on life.
And that it’s not just for little old ladies
PS – here is a tutorial i did on how to make fingerless mittens – Enjoy!