Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Events ~ Halloween Happenings at Providence Children's Museum ~ October 25-26

Halloween Happenings at 
 Providence Children’s Museum

 Families enjoy a host of hands-on Halloween happenings at Providence Children’s Museum:

Creepy Creatures  
Saturday, October 25  •  Noon - 2:00 PM
 Lizards and snakes and frogs, oh my!  Kids come in costume and meet dozens of captivating critters – prickly, hairy but not too scary – presented by Dave Marchetti of Animal Experiences.  Underwritten by Providence Tourism Council.

Boo Bash  
Sunday, October 26  •  11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
 Kids and families come in costume and have a blast exploring a host of bewitching activity stations during Providence Children's Museum's annual hands-on Halloween bash:

  •  Step into the mad science lab to experiment with ooey-gooey slime and send ghostly creatures flying through howling air tubes.
  • Try imaginative arts and “witch crafts” – make mysterious masks, decorate trick-or-treat bags, and create spooky Halloween scenes.
  • And journey through the enchanted forest to find fairy tale friends and their lost belongings, then hear favorite tales with an unexpected twist.

 All activities are free with Museum admission of $9.00 per person; free for Museum members. For more information, including a full calendar of events, visit


Providence Children’s Museum – play is powerful! 
The Museum is located at 100 South Street in Providence’s Jewelry District.  September through March, open Tuesday through Sunday and Monday school holidays, 9 AM to 6 PM, and selected Fridays until 8 PM.  April through August, open 7 days.  Programs are free with Museum admission of $9.00 per person; admission is always free for Museum members.  Call (401) 273-KIDS or visit

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Artists ~ Caitlyn Thompson ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Caitlyn Thompson
Shop name: Hooded and Bound
Website: and

1. Tell us about your work:
My job as a bookbinder involves a commitment to creating unique products that maintain a superior level of sentimentality over the mass-produced digital competition. The more tactile an experience, the more emotion can be evoked. Hand-written words, paper texture, the anticipation of turning a page, all have an allure that scrolling and clicking do not. There is an elegance in my products that stems from my clients’ desires for something that can be theirs alone. Chic and timeless, handmade books become unique, treasured objects upon contact.
My crochet work is mainly a longtime personal hobby that has flourished into a small business this year. When my binding projects slow, crocheting keeps my hands moving, thusly retaining my speed and strength.

I absolutely love the wintertime because I can cozy up indoors and out. I have never loved layering my clothing, especially my arms – t-shirts, long-cleaves, sweaters, etc – they are cumbersome and bulky under winter coats. I originally designed a neck scarf with an attachment resembling a bib – I did indeed name this a “Barf” (Bib + Scarf) hoping to reclaim the term. My goal was to warm my neck and chest without any extra arm bulk. It worked, but the name did not, and I found that my head was still cold. To solve this problem I crocheted an infinity scarf and added a seam at the back, which created a hood. Now I can cover my head and warm my chest, still without any arm bulk. They’re incredible with jackets that have no hoods, and work great as a cowl with a sweater in fall before the frigid New England winds arrive. And of course, the name Hooded Infinity is more appealing than “Barf”, although the latter name did grab a lot of attention.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
Growing up as one of seven children, craft and design were essential requirements to be a unique member of the household. My siblings and parents are incredibly creative and quite scrupulous in their respective fields – science, general contracting, architecture, tennis, education, and stop-motion animation, to name a few. The trait that would lead to my artisan career, hand strength, speed and control, revealed itself through piano playing. I wish I had known how strong my passion for meticulous repetition (a crucial element in binding and crocheting) would grow – I may have practiced my scales far more often.
Fast forward—after studying visual art at Brown University, I attended the two-year intensive bookbinding program at North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA, where I earned a diploma as a certified tradesman. Since then I have worked as an independent contractor creating albums, guest books, journals, and specialty boxes.

My crocheting craft began as a child. My mother taught me when I was around eight years old. She made every blanket in our home - I began small with purses and mug holders. Twenty years later, my crochet business has grown from the curiosity of my peers.
My independent professions have also led me to my upcoming endeavor – I will be attending Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts next spring, where I will be a Masters candidate for Art Education.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
A great deal of my crochet inspiration comes from working with children. I associate color and fuzziness with the kids I’ve worked with over the years; especially their bright red cheeks in January. My scarves are rather large and occasionally goofy looking. Children I’ve worked with aren’t afraid to look a little goofy, and neither am I. We have fun with it, proudly, goofily, and most certainly, warmly.

The inspiration for my bindings is limitless. From the actual book content, to movies, to random associations on the street or color schemes, the cover designs are created to fit my personal ideas or passions, or my clients’ desires.

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
My favorite item to crochet is my hooded infinity scarf, and my favorite book to bind is called a Fine Binding, which features a full leather cover, gold tooling and various leather designs. See my site for details on the structure.

5. What’s your best seller?
My best sellers are my hooded infinites, small books with cereal box covers, and leather journals.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I have lived in Rhode Island for twenty-five years (three spent in Boston).

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
1. The small community – who don’t I run into at the East Side Marketplace (which I still refer to as the IGA—cheers to the older Rhodies who do the same!)?
2. Crunchy leaves in my neighborhood.
3. Coffee milk.
4. Newport Creamery Awful Awfuls.
5. The house I grew up in.

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I’m an enthusiastic person. I want to say hi, and chat, and giggle about something new, something curious. I openly don’t like kindles and my feelings get hurt when I see even a mass-produced soft covered book being abused. I have a strong passion for critiquing movies and television – I even wrote reviews for in recent years. I love working with children, and as an art educator hope to encourage positive worldviews through creative artistic innovation for the next generation.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Where Providence Rocks - according to Travel & Leisure

Travel + Leisure has released the results of their America's Favorite Cities poll. Below you can see where Providence ranked (occasasionally with commentary by Erika)

Top Cities Overall
1. Providence (naturally)
2. Houston
3. Kansas City
4. Minneapolis/St. Paul
5. Los Angeles

Art Scene
1. New York City
2. Providence  (not surprised, given PVD's strong artists' presence. Nice to see it recognized!)
3. Minneapolis/St. Paul
4. Kansas City
5. Houston

1. New York City
2. Houston
3. Providence
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Kansas City

1. New York City
2. Minneapolis/St. Paul
3. Houston
4. Cleveland
5. Providence

Architecture/Cool Buildings
1. Charleston
2. New Orleans
3. Chicago
4. Washington, DC
5. Providence (one of the reasons we moved here was for the amazing diversity of architecture)

1. Miami
2. San Diego
3. Charleston
4. Los Angeles
5. Providence (why, thank you)

1. Providence (oyah, in the best way)
2. Portland, OR
3. Seattle
4. Austin
5. Kansas City

1. Austin
2. Providence (there must be something I don't know about Austin, and I'm amazed New York isn't in the top 5)
3. Los Angeles
4. Nashville
5. Miami

1. Minneapolis/St. Paul
2. Houston
3. Washington, DC
4. Providence (why, thank you again)
5. Boston

1. New Orleans
2. Austin
3. Portland, OR
4. Providence  (ohmyyes)
5. Albuquerque

Cocktail Bars
1. New Orleans
2. Houston
3. Providence
4. Miami
5. Las Vegas

1. Providence (definitely)
2. Houston
3. New York City
4. Minneapolis/St. Paul
5. New Orleans

1. New Orleans
2. Nashville
3. Austin
4. Houston
5. Providence

1. Houston
2. New Orleans
3. Providence  (great brunch spots)
4. Atlanta
5. Charleston

1. Portland, OR
2. Seattle
3. Providence (we do love our coffee)
4. Albuquerque
5. Houston

1. Providence  (birthplace of the diner)
2. Atlanta
3. Houston
4. Cleveland
5. Albuquerque

1. Houston
2. Providence  (I'm okay with being 2nd to a city in Texas for burgers)
3. Minneapolis/St. Paul
4. Atlanta
5. Albuquerque

Notable Restaurants
1. New Orleans
2. Providence (we beat New York?! Awesome!)
3. New York City
4. Charleston
5. Kansas City

1. Chicago
2. Providence  (As a former New Yorker and Chicago suburbanite, I think New York and Chicago should be switched on this list)
3. New York City
4. Atlanta
5. Philadelphia

1. New Orleans
2. Providence  (the best sandwiches I've had in my life have been at Providence eateries)
3. Philadelphia
4. Houston
5. Albuquerque

Street Food/Food Trucks
1. Austin
2. Providence  (the food truck scene here is booming)
3. Portland, OR
4. Cleveland
5. Minneapolis/St. Paul

1. San Francisco
2. Portland, OR
3. Houston
4. Providence
5. Los Angeles

Gay-friendly Vacation
1. Minneapolis/St. Paul
2. Providence  (absolutely)
3. San Francisco
4. New Orleans
5. Atlanta

Girlfriend Getaway
1. Nashville
2. New Orleans
3. Kansas City
4. Charleston
5. Providence  (again, beat New York!)

The America's Favorite Places survey, developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure, launched online on June 2, 2014. Respondents rated their choice of 1,209 destinations in up to 67 categories, using a scale of one to five (with five being the highest score). The final results reflect a subset of the survey data for 38 cities, based on votes cast through July 21, 2014. Surveyed cities are selected by Travel + Leisure editors based on reader feedback and tourism statistics."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shop local ~ Pick-ease

by Megan

One of my favorite things about the toddler stage is watching my children develop personalities. One of my least favorite is that sometimes that personality is stubborn. Wren is no exception, especially at the dinner table. If we manage to get a bite or two in, we are lucky. Like most moms of 2 year olds, we end up with more food on the floor than in her tummy. She even rejects food we know she loves, just for the sake of being difficult.

A while ago, we got an email from local mom Melissa Desrochers, who wanted us to try and review her product, Pick-ease. With the premise that kids love to eat things on toothpicks, Pick-ease are fun colored child safe food picks that help excite kids about what they are eating. They have different themed pictures, such as sports or flowers, so that they will be engaging to little ones. After reading her website, I decided it couldn't hurt our situation.

It took several tries, but Wren finally took to them. Initially, she wasn't really interested. Slowly, she began to use her Pick-ease to poke holes in her food, then upgraded to using it to paint ketchup on her tongue, brushing with the piece of hot dog she had successfully speared. I was all set to give up until last week, when finally she started using it as intended! Now she asks for it at lunch time and almost all her food makes it into her mouth!

If you can poke it with a fork, you can serve it with a Pick-ease. This product worked for our family, and if you have a fussy eaters, it may work for you too. Find them at

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Events ~ Coats for Coffee Drive ~ October 20-26

Coats for Coffee 
Seven Stars Bakery & Courtesy Cleaners around Rhode Island
Benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence
October 20 - October 26, 2014

Sponsored by:
Boys & Girls Club of Providence
Courtesy Cleaners
Providence Monthly
Seven Stars Bakery

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Artists ~ Jennifer A. Cronin ~ Charlestown

Artist’s name: Jennifer A. Cronin
Shop name: jacjewels

1. Tell us about your work
In my studio I am a bench jeweler, designer, model maker and shop photographer for all of my work. All of my jewelry is handmade to order in sterling silver. My jewelry line is “simply pretty” it can be worn with a tee and your favorite pair of jeans or worn to dress up an outfit for an evening out! I use geometric shapes, things found in nature and different textures that have helped me create the jewelry line I have at this time. I love to mix n’ match the different textures and designs when wearing my pieces and I encourage buyers to do the same. As my business grows, I look forward to adding 18 karat gold as well as precious and semi-precious stones.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
It started out when I was studying at LIU/Southampton in their Fine Arts department, wanting to be a sculptor. One semester they offered a jewelry class taught by a local jeweler. I loved sculpting, but after taking the jewelry class, I knew jewelry was what I was meant to do! To pursue this, I was lucky enough to work for the teacher who taught the jewelry class in her studio that summer. This gave me the opportunity to work on pieces to help build a portfolio, which I could present to the jewelry department at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in NYC. I was accepted into their Jewelry Design program and started in the fall of ’94. This was a 2 year program where I learned a little of everything; from drawing jewelry designs, to learning the basics of jewelry making, and gemology to name just a few of the courses. It was an intense program and I was taught by teachers who were well known in the jewelry industry for their skills. When the 2 year program was over, FIT found me a full time job with a New York City jeweler; Jane Bohan an award winning jewelry designer. This is where my skills as a jeweler were perfected. I was a bench jeweler for Jane for 4.5 years (in studio for 2 yrs. – my home studio for 2.5 yrs.), working in sterling silver and 18k gold. I assembled her jewelry from start to finish; cleaning castings, assembling, soldering and finished with polishing. While working for Jane, I continued my studies taking wax carving classes, bead stringing classes, and stone setting classes. I did eventually move on to start my own business, while still working for Jane from my home studio.

Although I started out wanting to be a sculptor, I feel I did not stray too far from it – I feel every piece of jewelry I’ve made is a tiny sculpture - I’ve carved, shaped, formed, and created it to be a beautiful piece of wearable art.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from all things around me. Whether it be a flower or the pattern on a bug. I am always taking pictures of everything and anything that I think might help inspire me to create a new design. I love patterns and the textures you find in nature and in architecture. I’m a big fan of Pinterest, I pin patterns you find in textile work as well as patterns in nature that may inspire a new creation. Rhode Island has been a big inspiration for my nautical line. It’s hard to ignore, living in the BEAUTIFUL ocean state - surround by nautical inspiration daily!

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
I can’t say that I have a favorite, but I do love when I have someone who loves my work and requests a custom piece. It challenges me to think outside my comfort zone at times, while still staying true to my design style. It’s always exciting to see a customer so happy with a one of a kind piece made just for them! I guess I really just love creating new pieces!!

5. What’s your best seller?
I just launched my jewelry line in July 2014 selling to two local shops and opening my Etsy shop. It is hard to say in such a short amount of time, but my two Starfish rings have been a top seller at the local shops. My Mini Initial Pendant necklace as well as my Double Band Anchor ring are tied for the bestseller in my Etsy shop.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I moved from Long Island, NY to Charlestown, RI in September of 2000

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
Living in South County, my family and I enjoy having the beautiful beaches, gorgeous state parks, wildlife refuges, and adorable little towns with great shops so close by! Yet, in 45 minutes we can be in Providence to enjoy all the city has to offer!

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
Selling at Zero Wampum in Wakefield, and Mills Creek in Charlestown
You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram for new items being added to my Etsy shop, as well as any special offers I might be offering. Now thru the holidays I’m offer a Deal of the Week in partnership with www.everythingetsy,com.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Events ~ Easy Entertaining Fundraising for National Breast Cancer Month ~ October ~ Providence

Cafe at Easy Entertaining
166 Valley St., Bldg. 10
Providence, Rhode Island
(401) 437-6090

"Easy Entertaining plans to donate 100 percent of their donut sales from the first 100 donuts sold each Friday directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition, they will be donating 5 percent of their regular breakfast and lunch sales."

via EatDrinkRI

Monday, September 29, 2014

Events ~ Craftopia ~ November 16, 2014 ~ Pawtucket

CRAFTOPIA, enjoy the holidays, shop early!

Who: Rhody Craft is a colorful shop that sells a carefully curated, eclectic collection of locally handmade art and craft and has ­recently relocated to 780 Hope Street in Providence from Pawtucket. Rhody Craft also produces CRAFTOPIA.

What: CRAFTOPIA kicks off the holiday season for the fifth consecutive year at Hope Artiste Village in ­Pawtucket RI. The twice yearly CRAFTOPIA is the area’s premier single-day, art and craft event, showcasing unique, local handmade goods. CRAFTOPIA is known for its festive atmosphere and the quality of it’s 60+ juried vendors from around New England. The event makes available a varied collection of fun, high-quality, hand-made goods including jewelry, clothing, handbags, bath and body, baby accessories, fine arts and always something unexpected.

There will be food trucks outside and hot coffee inside, so enjoy the holidays and shop early at CRAFTOPIA. Admission is just a buck and kids are admitted free, with every 50th entrant winning CRAFTOPIA bucks in varying denominations which can be spent at any vendor booth.

Where: Hope Artiste Village
1005 Main Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860

When: Sunday, November 16, 2014. 10 AM - 4 PM

Contact: Kim Clark
Phone: 401.626.1833