Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happy handmade holidays!

warm wishes for this holiday season!
greenstarstudio wishes all of our friends the happiest of all handmade holidays and lots of love in the new year.

enjoy the warmth of family & friends and we'll see you again in 2009!
xoxo, danamarie, mason & the knitimals

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Save the Knitimals: Save Handmade!

a very sad beecat by me & his good friend the bird party pillow, by jennyjen42

Dear Loyal Friends, Collectors of Knitimals & Lovers of all things Green...

We're in trouble, and we need your help.
If you haven't heard already, hopefully hearing it here can help put a face to a business under attack.

In August, in reaction to the complete lack of safety standards in the production of children's toys and clothing from large over-seas manufacturers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission created, and President Bush (thanks again, W) passed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which mandates testing for all products intended for children under 12 years old. It requires all manufacturers of children’s goods to submit their products for testing for lead and phthalates. This is theoretically good. What's not good is the cost of getting things tested. The problem is that the average testing fee runs a few thousand dollars. In the case of artists like myself, who make completely one of a kind items, we would have to submit each and every toy for testing since no two are alike.

That means for every $80 Knitimal I make, only about $20 of which is really "profit" anyway, after the cost of materials, time, production and a percentage of the actual running of the business, i would also need to find anywhere from $200 to over $2,000 PER ITEM; that means EACH knitimal, EACH t-shirt... that's well over the cost of even manufacturing the item, let alone the profit (*prices are the averages of third party testers i've been able to find so far). Naturally you can see what this version of the act would do to the handmade toy & clothing industry. I wouldn't be able to make or sell Knitimals anymore. Or, i'd have to sell them for thousands of dollars, and then no one could afford them. There'd be no more card games or painted blocks, no more onesies or hand drawn t-shirts. There'd, effectively, be no more Greenstarstudio... and well, no more "me" as we know me.

And of course, this isn't JUST about toys... it's about small business. The Small Business Administration defines "small business" as under 500 employees. Most Etsy members, for example, are either sole proprietors or maybe a family or studio of friends working together. According to Etsy:

Many craftspeople on Etsy have told us that they could be put out of business if forced to comply with the proposed legislation. This is the painful irony bound up in the CPSIA.

And of course, its not just about the tens of thousands (and probably more) jobs that will be lost and people who will suddenly be forced to go broke or break the law; it's about consumers who don't get to choose what they buy...
Not EVERYTHING can come from Target. What about the shops and retailers and galleries who make THEIR living selling the handmade... there go those shops. There's more empty store fronts and even more people looking for work. What about the kids who have long been loving their unique and one of a kind possessions? So much for living with art. See, this is serious.

Please be aware that if this act is not reformed, most handmade toys and clothing for children will be illegal beginning in February of next year. That's less than two months from now. Please take a moment to learn about this act and the disastrous effects it will have on the handmade and small business communities.

The U.S. House and Senate passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the CPSIA), and on August 14, 2008, President Bush signed the Act into law. Further information on the Act is available at the CPSC website and helpful

How can YOU help? has compiled a very helpful listing of all the pertinent info here, including links to petitions, form letter samples, links to congress & more. PLEASE take a moment and do anything you can to help spread the word, whether its forwarding this along, or signing a petition or writing a letter or two. Anything you can do will help.

Thank you for your love and support. Together we CAN save Handmade.
Yes. We. Can.

xoxo, danamarie

If you're looking for something to do this weekend--- don't forget the Last Minute Maul! School 33, Sunday December 21st, from 10am to 5pm. Grab those fabulous last minute goodies and get out of the mall (maul) madness!


If you're interested in reading more about the CPSIA...

There are some suggestions & proposals that have been made to help re-direct a well intentioned, but ultimately misguided Act. Below is the unabridged copy from the Handmade Toy Alliance, which i think sums up the problem & the solution, pretty succinctly.

Save the USA from the CPSIA

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So it passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatroy testing will likely drive them out of business.

* A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
* A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
* A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
* And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.

Friday, December 12, 2008

one of a kind holiday!

how about a "design your own" gift pack of knitimal soaps this year?

know anyone who needs something sweet for a new baby this winter?

what about an organic cotton onesie?

i know! your tree needs some sprucing...

maybe a hand sewn felt knitimal ornament?

say no more-- visit the store!

Friday, December 5, 2008

the cat's out of the bag... I'm in Baltimore Mag(azine)

the december issue of Baltimore Magazine is dedicated entirely to the handmade scene in Baltimore, and offers readers insight on their favorite (and soon-to-be favorite) local designers, as well as suggestions on how & where to shop local. That, as you all know, is a wonderful thing in this icky economic time, when so many self employed, daring & risk taking independent artists are counting, more than ever, on fellow consumers to help keep them afloat. I am no stranger to this, of course, so i was EXTRA excited when they contacted ME and asked for an interview...

Jessica interviewed me over the phone and we talked for over an hour. Cory came to our house to do the photo shoot which turned the studio into a live version Jenga game, as we moved furniture and balanced lights and tripods on coffee tables and windowsills.

*look how official and "photo-shooty" the room looks!*

and the end result?
a full page interview & photo grouping AND the main image on the contents page!!!

If you live local, go out and pick up an copy--- there's SO much great work in there; Holiday shopping will be much easier this year, me thinks! And if you live not-so-locally, you can check out SOME of the interviews and info online, here: Baltimore Magazine

remember, this sunday, Dec. 7th, i'll be at the Creative Alliance for Merry Mart. It's a great show with food, drink and FREE gift wrapping! So bring your reusable bags and head on over. I'll have plenty of soap, magnets, coloring books, ornaments, keychains, stickers, wood pieces, card games and more, including the very last of the 2008 Edition Knitimals, so get them while you can!

xo, danamarie

Thursday, December 4, 2008

gettin' merry!

thanks to all the fabulous folks who came out to see me at Bazaart!
what a great day...

if you missed it, or if you've been thinking "i should go grab some more stuff", don't wait! Come to Merry Mart at the Creative Alliance this Sunday, Dec. 7th, from 11am to 5pm.

"No manic mall madness necessary! Do your holiday shopping at The Creative Alliance! 35 + handpicked artists sell some the best of Baltimore-made items. Gorgeous turned vessels, elegant jewelry, whimsical stuffed critters, origami lights, felt applique, hand knits, housemade soaps, wacky fly swatters, photos in jars, totally cool totes, and much more."

Dina Alexander Art Jewelry, The Broken Plate Pendant Co., SPAGHETTI KISS, Daedalus Books & Music, Sweet Pepita, Megin Diamond Designs, this chickadee, danamarie hosler & greenstarstudio, Dandelion Blu Jewelry, Bowerbox Press, Devin Mack, MackWire, Jennyjen42, Nancy Ziegenfus-McIntosh, The Littlest Bean, Linda Moul, Rebecca Patterson Baked at 275*, PINK KISS POTTERY, Jill Popowich Designs in Metal, Tu Vida Jewelry & Design, heidiroland - daring earrings!, Elisa Shere Jewelry, Baltimore Glass Works, City Neighbors Charter School , Sugar Paperie, Mark Supik & Co., Stephney Wallace, Yummy & Company

For more information, visit the Creative Alliance. See you there!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME & happy savings to YOU!

yes, friends... today. i. am. thirty.

and i think that's great.
is a nice round number.

and so impressive, right?
it's been such a great year, and i think, all told, a great 30 years.
SO, let's celebrate my birthday with a little economic stimulus, shall we?

all orders over $20 in my etsy shop today (through tomorrow at 4pm eastern time) will be 30% off, with the coupon code: BIRTHDAY08.
make sure to include the code in the message to seller section at checkout in order to get your discount! (i'll send you a revised invoice).

lots of love and here's to another 30...
xo, danamarie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

wanna get Bazaar(t), Merry & Mauled this season!?

hello friends!

well, it's that time again--- time to lace up your shopping shoes and head to some of the best holiday shows the world has ever known. aside from the always available online shopping celebration that is my etsy shop, this holiday season provides THREE different up close & personal shopping opportunities for you:
*Bazaart : American Visionary Art Museum, November 28 & 29
*merry mart: Creative Alliance, December 7
*Last Minute Maul: School 33, December 21

looking for something truly unique this holiday season? i think i can help.

this friday, i'll be premiering some BRAND spanking new greenstargoodies, including: *mix & match build a knitimal blocks, 2 hot of the presses hand made knitimal card games, hand painted wooden coat hangers, stickers & magnet sets, holiday ornaments in felt & paper, giant magnets (perfect for decorating your car or fridge) and coffee cozies.

maybe you're looking for wearable art? how about 3 brand new styles of Knitimal & BirchFriends pins? we've got hand drawn journals & limited edition prints; coloring books, Recyclimals & hand knit hats.

one of a kind, hand drawn onesies and t-shirts, screenprinted baby bibs, 10 new scents of Knitimal soaps, totes, cards, ipod cozies, pouches & wallets, brand new Knitimals and SO MUCH MORE!!!

And if you're looking to turn the unique dial up just a little bit higher--- now's the time to order your custom Knitimals & hand-drawn custom shirts. Order by Dec. 6th and get FREE SHIPPING by Christmas!!!

Hope to see you soon!
here's to a happy thanksgiving & a wonderful holiday season to you and yours.
xoxo, danamarie

Friday Evening • November 28 • 5:30–8:30PM: Bazaart PREVIEW PARTY & SALE
An opportunity to get the first shot at the original creations by 50 regional artists and craftspeople prior to the Saturday Bazaart extravaganza. Spend a relaxing evening strolling among Bazaart artisans and their wares while nibbling light fare, and perhaps enjoying a beverage. Music TBA. Location: American Visionary Art Museum, Jim Rouse Visionary Center, 3rd Floor. Admission to Preview Party & Sale: $20 at the door.

Saturday • November 29 • 10AM-5PM: BAZAART: Artful Holiday Shopping
A Holiday Marketplace of original creations by 50 regional artists and craftspeople. Painting, sculpture, papercrafts, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, mixed media, and other work that simply defies categorization. FREE ENTRY. American Visionary Art Museum, Jim Rouse Visionary Center 3rd Floor

Sunday, November 23, 2008

places to shop-- on your feet, or from your chair

knitimal felt pin

well, it's official... it's time to shop and time to shop hard.
the holidays are coming and before you crack open your wallet and head to the mall, consider shopping local & shopping independent. i know, i know, you guys are very aware of this already, but sometimes you run out of new options and end up HAVING to go to an old standby, just because. so, here i am to help you out!

if you're here in Baltimore, you NEED to check out the women's industrial exchange .

"The Woman's Industrial Exchange is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose mission is to actively support women's economic advancement. The Exchange serves disadvantaged women, families, displaced workers, and others seeking to establish careers - particularly home-based careers. It provides them with opportunities for greater financial security by maintaining a sales room for their handcrafted items and by developing new programs and services."

at the end of October, greenstarstudio joined the already impressive list of local artists and artisans selling their goodies at WIE. Shopping at WIE is good for the spirit AND the wallet, so make plans to head to Charles street and shop, shop, shop!

Of course, as the weather gets colder, you might be less inclined to leave the house to shop, yeah? Well, I've got you covered there too. Naturally, the greenstarstudio shop is always a good first stop... but just in case you can't find what you're looking for there, be sure to check out the brand new ONLINE version of the Society of Arts and Crafts' retail store---SAC Online! I LOVE the Society of Arts & Crafts, and they LOVE the Knitimals (who fly off the shelves up there!). Well, if you don't live in Boston, don't fret-- now you can get the goods, from the comfort of your own home.

and, if you DO get frisky and feel like leaving the house and checking out something completely mind blowing... you can find me at any of these upcoming shows:
*Bazaart : American Visionary Art Museum, November 28 & 29
*merry mart: Creative Alliance, December 7
*Last Minute Maul: School 33, December 21

Monday, November 17, 2008

the first of many holiday shows...

hello friends! well, we're back from our tiny little honeymoon and yep, right back to work. i'm exhausted and sick and totally overwhelmed BUT, very excited because we are officially in the heart of the holiday shopping season! i have SO much to still tell you about, but i'm going to spread it out, so you can have time to plan and so i have time to make more stuff!

i'm happy to announce about a half a dozen brand new products this season... how about screenprinted Knitimal bibs? or, 5 new Knitimal soap fragrances? would you be interested in TWO new Knitimal games? that's just the beginning too, but i'll let you be surprised.

so, where can you find me this coming weekend?
a MonSteR of a StUdiO SaLe, that's where!

hope to see you soon.
xo, danamarie
(for a complete list of upcoming shows, see the links list on the left side of the screen)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Done and done...

We're married! And officially honeymooning! Want to join our cyber-reception? Go to

Much love, danamarie
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, November 6, 2008

539 e. 21st... signed, sealed, delivered

you're looking at: 84 hours over 25 days. dozens of gallons of paint. and lots of muscle strain.
well, i put the last coat of the anti-graffiti sealant on yesterday and in so doing, OFFICIALLY, sealed the deal on the mural at 539. it'll be a while before the scaffold comes down and i can show you what it looks like behind all that metal. once the scaffold comes down, i will need to go back over with an extension ladder (EEK!) to paint 4 one-inch x 2 inch patches of bare wall where the scaffold was connected to the wall, 2 levels up. Until then, i thought i'd share the details no one will ever be able to really see... unless they were really, really tall.
So, starting at the top and working our way down... here's "Our Roots, Our Community".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

where to begin?...

i'm sitting here, my computer on my lap, crying and smiling all at once. i'm thinking about the gargantuan weight of this election and feeling so epically relieved--- the phrase "it's over" keeps crowding my mind. i never really followed politics before, and frankly, beside musing over "W"isms on you tube, i never read an article or watched a debate; my government and i didn't see eye to eye. i've never used this as a forum for political conversation, and actually went out of my way to avoid linking to foolish Palin interviews or campaign messages from, but i can't sit here and watch that number go from 207 to suddenly 333 and now, as i type this, 338, and not say anything. i can't cry like this and throw my window open, listening to the car horns & cheering on our block, feeling like a child listening for santa, and not talk about this. i believe that it's probably unlikely that i and my artwork would have drawn a closed minded individual here in the first place--- it's completely contrary to what i believe and what my artwork, what my LIFE is about, but i suppose it's possible. and i hope, if you are/were a McCain supporter and you do/did regularly read my blog this won't change things... and if it does, I'm sorry. 

not sorry that i said what i said, but sorry that affiliations would change things. 

on the flip side, the many hundreds of you who i know share my sentiments-- parents, artists, small business owners, and people from all over the world who just want to live happy, positive, loving lives--- how big your hearts must be tonight. we won. not the democrats-- the country--- we, americans, won. we won the opportunity for change, for positivity, for youth, for support, for REAL safety from REAL terrorists. we won the freedom FROM fear. we won strength, civic responsibility, citizens who feel inspired. we won history and future. we won a president you WANT to hear speak... and thank goodness... we won a president. how long has it been since you've felt you had a PRESIDENT? 

when the news broke, AJ and i sat speechless--- what happened? where did those numbers come from? did california come in? and as the sounds of cheers filled our streets, we held each other and cried. at the risk of being overly sentimental--- we cried the most cleansing tears we've cried in years. we live in a blue state-- we dream of moving to another blue state---our families live in blue states, but watching PA turn blue, then OH, and just recently, FL, and it was like watching a birth or a demolition, a wiping clean of a slate, a regeneration, a complete and total shift. i felt... i FEEL light. 

i'm watching him accept his position--- this man is what our president should look like. don't you feel that? when he speaks--- i believe him. he's clear and decisive. he looks like men i see all around me; he looks real. 

we are civic minded people. we want to raise civilians--- tonight, i feel so full of love and light and possibility. THIS is the president i want for my children. There will be little girls in the white house. There will be a puppy in the white house. This is my first family--- loving, HONEST, faithful husband, sober and un-pregnant children; people who don't shoot animals from helicopters; people who read newspapers (or at least know how to PRETEND they do). i feel, for the first time in a long time, that the air COULD get cleaner... the polar bears might just keep their glaciers... the war really could end... being an artist might actually be viable... people could finally be treated equally, no matter their color or sexual orientation; love & commitment might FINALLY define a marriage. this country will feel un-broken. 

he's quoting Lincoln and it sounds right. 

the other night, AJ & i were out at the mall, and happened to come back out to our car at the precise moment a young boy-- maybe 14, was peeling the Obama sticker off the back of our car. He had, as we'd come to find out, discarded it on the ground behind the car, and then quickly walked off WITH his mother. Neither of them looked back or acknowledged what had happened until we ran after them calling "hey! give it back! where is it". The mother very passively told him to give it back to us, but didn't make eye contact (and she certainly hadn't stopped him while she was standing next to him as he was doing it). He told us it was on the ground and they kept on going--- anger and outrage took over and i ran after them, calling to them and asking "is THIS how you teach your child democracy? is THIS how you want him to vote?". She never responded, except with expletives and a finger gesture. Well, the chances are incredibly slim that she would ever read this, but in case she does... I would want to say this:

"thank you. 
thank you for showing me your true self. thank you for showing me your fear. i won't try to guess what exactly you were afraid of--- a black man? a pacifist? a family man? a lawyer? a real leader? change? a believer? an optimist? I'll never know. what i DO know, however, is that running after you that night, fueled by my frustration--- this terrible feeling of being powerless; of working my tail off to do what's right; of giving and giving and giving of myself and feeling like i was alone; watching idiots make decisions with no accountability; watching hatred dictate everything--- fueled by the frustration that stems from being a democrat, a liberal, a pacifist; that stems from being "made" to sit back and play nice--- running after you and feeling like every single fiber of my body had been devalued, tarnished, vandalized and stolen by you, by your child--- i needed that run. i dare say there's a lot of us out there who have NEEDED to run after you and people like you. people who dare tell us how to live our lives-- who preach God & country, but act Godlessly and with no sense of democracy. i needed to follow when you gave chase, to let you know that no matter what you might believe in and no matter how low you might stoop or how hard you might fight, i would fight just as hard. I needed you to know that i wasn't afraid of you. Not of you. Not of your president. Not of your war. Not of your racism. Not of your hatred. Not of your bigotry. Not of your sexism. Not of guns. 

i wasn't afraid of you. 
i'm not afraid of you. 

but i am afraid of your ignorance. 

i'm afraid of your infection. 
i'm afraid of your tactics. 
i'm afraid of your parenting. 

if you're reading this tonight, i thank you. And i beg you--- please encourage your son to read, speak, act and think on his own. And if it turns out that he does in fact, on his own, agree with your politics, I welcome him to the race. I look forward to voting with him in the next election. But i would ask you to teach him what it means to be an American. 

What would you have said or done to me, if i had stolen your McCain sticker?"

to everyone else--- imagine what we could do if we lived every day the way we're feeling right now? what could we accomplish? what could our children gain? what more could we change? 
it IS possible. We can do this. 

yes we can. 

changing subjects ever so slightly--- we need to celebrate this. we've earned this... SO, let's reap what we've sown. In honor of the Future & the campaign of change, i'd like to offer all you vigilant optimists a chance to celebrate your good deeds. 

from today through November 15th, please enjoy:
*free shipping on all US orders
*AND (in honor of the current electoral vote count) 33.8% off all orders over $10

to cast your vote for greenstarstudio goodies at a sweeping discount, visit my etsy shop, fill your cart & check out. Include the code: "CHANGE08" in the message to seller box, and wait for an updated invoice, before you pay. I'll re-tally and send you a new invoice.

here's to change!
xoxo, danamarie


Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

if you can't paint 'em, blog 'em!

it's 40 degrees out today.

i'm wearing 6 layers of clothing and about to head out to paint. i fear, it's only getting colder...
in the meantime, i figured i'd use the warm indoor time to finally get all these pictures up here. since, i've been so delayed, i thought i'd go back in time and give you a day by day update, starting on day 4.


day 4

day 5

day 6

day 7

day 8

day 9

day 10

day 11 (as of Oct. 27th)