Spotlight on a Creative – Lisa DiSciascio

This week I am so happy to present the talented Lisa DiSciascio, the artist behind Starlight Woods – a line of “Eco-friendly jewelry & accessories made from fallen tree branches.” She collects her branches from walks in the woods near her home in Pennsylvania. Her pieces are bright, positive and lovely.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am a mother of 2 amazing girls, ages 19 and 13. I am a creative person in everything I do. Creating and being a mother is what gives me purpose.  Besides creating my pieces for my shop I also love being active, running, swimming, volleyball, basically anything active keeps me going.
Starlight Woods – Mother Keychain
2. How has your Art changed over time?
Well I have always been creative, as a child building forts and hideouts in the bushes and along the creek side, always inventing…I loved sculpture for a while, I sculpted heads for a long time, I don’t know why heads but that is what i did, lol.  After I graduated highschool I went to college for photography where I mostly documented life and searched out the tiny beautiful things.  In all of my creative pursuits the one thing that remained constant was my need to find beauty in mundane objects.  The creekside as a child was a fortress with so many possibilities, the clay was nothing until I found the face hidden inside and a tree branch could be so many things, from showcasing it’s natural beauty to turning it into something altogether different.
3. What inspires you?
What doesn’t inspire me?? Absolutely everything sparks inspiration, colors, going for a run, changing of the seasons, a new outfit, a song, a feeling…it comes from everywhere!
4. What’s your strongest memory of childhood?
Definitely our creekside worlds.  We spent hours there.
5. What was the first thing you ever made?
Like ever?? Hmmm, well probably something for my mom.  I was always making her things.  I made a pink clay alien in school once and droppped it on the way home so when i got home I put a couple bandaids on it and gave it to her, she said it was the most beautiful alien ever.
6. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I worked at a camera store for a long time, I learned everything technical about photography there, very helpful.  After I graduated college I waitressed, bartended, I was even a mortgage loan processor for a few years, that was kind of fun but not creative at all, lol.
7. What is your dream project?
My dream project would be building an entire living room set out of pallets.  I have been obsessed with pallets lately, I built a coffee table and console table so far but I have bigger ideas in my head with more intricate designs that I really want to do, just need more hours in the day.
8. What is the one thing in your studio you could not live without?
9. Do you collect anything?
Not at the moment.  I used to collect typewriters and lugggage.  I used to write a lot and dreamed of traveling all over the country I guess that is where those two collections started. They ended up taking up too much room though…I need to find something smaller to collect, my daughter collects bouncy balls, they are small.
10. What is your favorite word and why?
oh geez…. well I say “seriously” alot.

11. What is your favorite recipe?

Sauteed shrimp with fresh tomatoes, roasted red peppers, jalepenos, onions and baby spinach over brown rice, yum.

Fine Cooking – Stove Top Jambalaya
12. Do you “Give Back” to any organizations?
Not right now i don’t as I am still trying to get a handle on the business paperwork side of this business, creative people sometimes lack that skill as our minds are wandering.  I do plan on it though, I actually want to start a fund to help get get addicts into recovery. Sometimes just the simple dilemma of “how do I get to treatment?” is enough to stop an addict from getting help.
If you wish to see more of Lisa’s wonderful pieces please check out her Etsy Shop!

Spotlight on a Creative – Martin Øbakke

Last spring I bought an item from an Etsy store and I loved it! I went back and read more about the company and by doing so I discovered my “Spotlight on a Creative” for this week.There is a treasure trove to be found when you go ahead and “click” on a link. That is how I found Filligree, the magical creation of Husband and wife team, Martin Øbakke and Celena Cavala.  These two creatives met in Florence Italy and and you can feel the wonderful mix of their cultures in their work where, “you’ll find old world Europe, Southern Gothic charm and Pop Surrealism.”


1.     Who are you and what do you do?

Martin Øbakke, – Illustrator, sculptor, doll maker, photographer and fiddler- Pleased to meet you.

2.     How has your Art changed over time?

To keep the inspiration, I find that I constantly have to tweak and develop my work. Sometimes major, but mostly little changes makes it more interesting to create. So my work has always been changing, and I hope it always will.

3.     What inspires you?

The serene and mysterious, the beautiful and honest.. The dream sphere from where the dolls emerge.. the 1000s of women around the world who feel cool and beautiful, wearing the the leggings I design.


Fairies, Dragons, Giraffes and more

4.     What’s your strongest memory of childhood?

I was obsessed with fire and almost burned down my childhood home.. The massive fire haunted my dreams for months.

5.     What was the first thing you ever made?

Drawings, then probably some wood whittling. I’m a country boy.


Hot Air Ballon Whale by Filigree

6.     What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

Carpentry, bricklaying, – manual labor

7.     What is your dream project?

Develop the Filigree world and characters into a short stop motion film.

8.     What is the one thing in your studio you could not live without?

My wife

9.     Do you collect anything?

Everytime I see a collection starting, I stop myself. I still believe less is more and I love things that have more then 1 purpose. I do seem to have started a collection of old-time fiddle tunes. You can’t have enough of those.

10   What is your favorite word and why?

Crisp… I just decided.. I don’t think much about words, I’m more of an illustrator.

il_570xN.434114802_p7y3_largeFiligree Art Nouveau Leggings

11  What is your favorite recipe?

Rice pudding-  boil short rice with milk (or rice milk, almond milk) add salt, when done put it in a bowl sprinkle sugar and cinnamon, and a spoon full of butter in the middle.


(I found a rice pudding recipe that seems similar to what Martin is describing)

12  Do you “Give Back” to any organizations?

Not any one place exclusively.

Please check out more of the beautiful and whimsical work of Martin and Celena! FYI – I do have a pair of the leggings from Carousel Ink and they are the best!



Kate Funk – Spotlight on a Creative

If you know me you know I like cats and I like Creatives. Therefore, it is no surprise that this week I am Spotlighting the artistic Kate Funk. She is a graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and has brought all her talents together with AC, the ultimate coworker to create a whimsical line of cards and calendars. Her pictures always put a smile on my face!


Kate Funk

1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Kate Funk.  I’ve always had a really hard time answering the question of what I do since there are so many things.  I guess photographer is the best answer – although shooting photographs has become a very small fraction of my work week compared to the amount of time I spent making the costumes/scenes to shoot and the final products with the photographs on them.
AC as Bob Ross
2. How has your Art changed over time?
When I first went to art school for photography I did the standard black and white thing that we all do.  It really wasn’t my thing, though.  It wasn’t until I started working with color photography that I really found myself.  I did a lot of experimental work with toy cameras and polaroids, but the subject just always seemed to be how I saw color.  When I first started photographing AC I didn’t see it as art like my other photography because I was just doing something fun and using a digital camera for the first time.  It eventually dawned on me that I could put more work into the photos and turn them into something that was both fun and art.
3.What inspires you?
Color.  Humor.
4. What’s your strongest memory of childhood?
There are so many.  But I guess if it’s something in relation to what I do now the ones that come to mind are:
When I was little my family would go on vacations every summer.  I would always bring my camera along and take a million photos of every mundane thing we saw along the road.  I had this camera bag around my shoulder one year and my brother and I were walking along a trail and he stopped and looked at me and said, “You should be a photographer.  You look like you could be that.”  After that I got it stuck in my head that that would be awesome, but I assumed it wasn’t a realistic career.  It wasn’t until many years later in high school that I finally got to take my first photography class and realized it was something I really did love.  It was senior year and I had already got accepted into UW-Madison for zoology, but I immediately changed my major to photography as I realized there was nothing else I really wanted to do.
I also spent a lot of time with my grandfathers growing up since they were my babysitters.  I come from a family with lots of creative skills who like to make things rather than buy them and I remember spending a lot of time in one of my grandfather’s workshop while he would make things including wooden toys for us.  On one particular day when he was watching me we were hanging out in the workshop and he had this box of kittens in there for some reason.  I sat and played with all day while he worked.  Nothing spectacular happened, but I remember it very clearly.  It was the best day ever.
AC is the PURRfect helper when Kate makes his costumes
5. What was the first thing you ever made?
I know I must have done countless art project growing up, but the first thing I really remember making where I got to pick what I wanted to do instead of doing an assignment was a large mosaic table.  I found an image I liked of a little boy holding a bowl with a lizard in it and translated it into different colors. I rolled out all the clay, cut all the pieces for it, and glazed them all in the different colors.  My dad took an old table and made a frame around the edges to set all the tiles into and I put a dark blue grout around all of them.  It turned out beautiful and I really love it, but keep it in my parents basement for fear that anyone will use and ruin it.  Which now that I think about it is pretty sad – since no one gets to see it down there.
6. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I’ve had countless part-time jobs since I was 15.  Mostly retail or food related such as a waitress or barista.  My favorite job was working at a camera/film store where I was in charge of the video department.  What that really meant was I got to take people’s old VHS and super 8 home movies and transfer them to DVD.  So I basically spent all day just sitting and watching peoples’ home movies.  It was amazing.  My other favorite job which actually ended up changing the course of my life was working at a local paper/gift store called Broadway Paper. I was just looking for a part-time job at the time for some extra cash and fell in love with the store – especially the greeting card section.  It was so different from all the greeting cards I had seen in the past – which were just the basic types you see at a Hallmark or Target.  It eventually became the inspiration for me to start my own greeting card line.
7. What is your dream project?
I think I’m actually doing it right now.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing with my life.
AC Rotten – Phone Case
8. What is the one thing in your studio you could not live without?
Liquitex spray paint.  It’s the most amazing thing and changed the way I do my backgrounds for my dioramas.  I’ve never been a huge painter with a brush and started out using mainly paper for everything which presented a lot of problems – it was hard to find larger pieces in the color I wanted and that didn’t have a sheen that would reflect my lighting in the photographs.  And most normal spray paint out there is pretty limited on colors and generally has a sheen, too (and as I’m very sensitive to chemicals I would always get sick while using it).  I finally found Liquitex spray paint which is acrylic based so it’s almost odorless and has a matte finish.  And their selection of colors is amazing.
9. Do you collect anything?
I have a huge collection of antique, polaroid, and toy cameras.  I finally had to cut myself off as I ran out of space to display them.  I have a lot of family ones in the collection, too, that mean a lot to me.  My favorite is a vintage Ricolet that my grandfather brought back with him from the Korean War.  I’ve always had sentimental attachments to family heirlooms and it means a lot to me that it ended up in my hands.
10. What is your favorite word and why?
Awesome.  I use it way too much.  It’s even ended up in the title of my book and calendar.
11. What is your favorite recipe?
I have a huge sweet tooth, but one thing I’ve always hated is chocolate.  This was a recipe my mother used to make special for me when I was little since I loved cookies, but didn’t want chocolate in them like everyone else in our house.  It’s super simple, but delicious.
Coconut Oatmeal Macaroons
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. margarine
2 eggs
2 c. quick cooking oatmeal
2 c. flour
1 c. coconut
1 c. corn flakes
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Mix ingredients together.  Drop by teaspoon onto a well greased cookie sheet.  Bake 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
12. Do you “Give Back” to any organizations?
Up until about a year ago this job was more of just a side hobby that I never thought would turn into anything so I wasn’t really in a position to be able to do anything to really give back other than donations for local shelters to help with fundraising.  Now that it’s become profitable we’re looking into doing work with a local no-kill cat shelter here in Milwaukee, but nothing is finalized at this point.
Kate and AC
To see more Kate and AC check out these links!

Click It and Create It



bench front seat


The seatbelt – one of those things you automatically use. At least, I HOPE you just “click it” without a thought!

One of the great things about looking at the world from a creative’s perspective is you see the other wonderful uses for the everyday.


Cordura Nylon – Photo courtesy of .retool.

I first found .retool. on Etsy. I was instantly drawn to their fabulous line of “Durable. Stylish. Functional. Handmade. Vegan.” bags, wallets, laptop cases and more.




They are handmade in San Francisco by the amazing design team of Jacob and Jamye in what they happily refer to as  the “.retool. galactic headquarters.”

While learning more about them I discovered some more Creative’s “clicking'” into the seatbelt’s potential. Please check out their work too.


reclaimed seatbelt cushions from ting london


Couch Guitar Strap’s Camera Strap


Loved Again by Jane – seatbelt rose cuff


Stay Creative!


Jacob Fisher – Spotlight on a Creative

Welcome to my first Spotlight on a Creative! I am so thrilled to be launching this new series!

I will be introducing and showcasing one wonderfully creative, artistic soul each week for you to discover, be inspired by, share and learn more about.

Please meet my premier Creative – Jacob Fisher, of the amazing design team at .retool a terrific line of “simple, elegant and functional” vegan bags, cases and wallets. Jacob graciously answered my questions and provided some great photos for you!


Jacob – one half of the design team at .retool.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

“I’m Jacob, one half of the .retool. team. We design and make vegan  accessories – wallets, bags, cases, and more!  We place an emphasis on function and style and we love using repurposed materials and factory remnants.  Our goal is to make it easy for vegans (and non-vegans) to find quality accessories with the features they need and the colors they want.”


Jacob starts with these . . .


and finishes with these Messenger Bags

“In my spare time I draw, paint, and make collages out of tiny pieces of magazine pages.  Here’s a photo of my most recent piece, based on a drawing by Paul Cadmus. This collage is made up of literally thousands of pieces.”


Jacob Fisher Collage

2. How has your Art changed over time?

“Well, for one thing, my skills have improved.  There are things I can make now that I wouldn’t have been able to make four or five years ago.  As an artist, I have always loved working in series and my work with .retool. has certainly followed that trend.”

“We started off making wallets and we have now expanded into bags, cases, and even belts.  We work primarily with seatbelt webbing and the more we work with it, the more different ideas we have about about how to use it.”

“In the beginning, we had one billfold wallet design and one card holder design.  We’ve been tweaking the designs ever since and adding a bunch of variations with different features and carrying capacities. For example, we now have six different credit card wallet styles and seven different billfold styles with various features including ID wallets, coin pocket wallets, and grommet holes for adding a chain.”

3. What inspires you?

“Our customers actually provide a great deal of inspiration.  We get a lot of custom requests and on more than one occasion we’ve turned a custom request into a standard .retool. offering. The latest example of that is our minimalist credit card holder with center cash slot.  We added the center slot for folks who wanted a separate compartment dedicated to cash.”


4.     What’s your strongest memory of childhood?

“I read a lot as a kid and one of my favorite books was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.  I think I must have gotten it for Christmas because I have a vivid memory of reading the book while sipping hot chocolate and eating candy canes.  For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to dip the candy cane into the hot chocolate. This led to sticky, chocolatey fingers as evidenced by this photo:”


5. What was the first thing you ever made?

“That’s a tough one.  I remember taking burned out lightbulbs and adding clay to them to make hair and faces.  I didn’t break any bulbs, but it probably wasn’t the safest thing…”

6. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

“Before starting .retool., I worked primarily in technical training and instructional design.”

7. What is your dream project?

“I have so many dream projects!

One of my current favorites is to start a cult brand of awesome vegan bags. The idea would be to have a very small production run of high-end bags with pockets in all the right places.”

8. What is the one thing in your studio you could not live without?

“Natural light.”

9. Do you collect anything?

“Sewing machines! So far the .retool. fleet includes 2 Kenmores (each over 20 years old), a beautiful vintage Husqvarna Viking, a newer Husqvarna, an industrial zigzag machine, and the pride of the fleet, an industrial straight stitch Adler sewing machine.  The next addition will likely be a serger.”

10. What is your favorite word and why?

“I love words. I like how they sound and even how they look. Staphylococcus is pretty high on the list, mostly because of how the ‘dictionary lady’ says it:”

11.   What is your favorite recipe?

“My favorite recipe is for homemade cranberry sauce.  I love fresh ginger and I’m not a big fan of sweets, so my version is spicy and extra tart.  The flavors get stronger overnight. [Note: the maple syrup and ginger can be adjusted to taste.]”

4 Cups fresh cranberries

1/3 Cup maple syrup

1/2 Cup orange juice

1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger (most people might find this an excessive amount of ginger, feel free to use less… or more!)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Wash and drain the cranberries. Toss everything together in a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat.  Stir often.  It’s finished when the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thick, usually around 10 – 15 minutes.

12. Do you “Give Back” to any organizations?

“I support a number of non-profits mostly focussed on social justice and environmental issues.”

Jacob Fisher – .retool.

Thank you Jacob for being here!

If you want to see more fabulous items from .retool. please check out the following:









L’éléphant de couleur différente


When my daughter was in kindergarten the students did a letter learning exercise using animals. “A” for Alligator, “B” for Bee etc. There were two classes and my child had the wonderful fortune to be with a teacher who loved the creative minds of her charges.  My friend’s daughter was in the other class that was filled with rules and restrictions. I remember one afternoon at pick up my friend came up to me and was visibly upset. She had had to go to the Principal’s office because her daughter had painted her “E” is for elephant blue, a lovely shade of blue. When told by the teacher to redo the animal, the little girl said, “no.” Her Mother stood by her little creative’s work and told the Principal and the teacher to basically, “Lump it.”

I love this story and have retold many times.  Who is to say the elephant cannot be blue? Perhaps we are the ones seeing the wrong color.  I embrace the creative and beautiful soul in all of us and celebrate the eye that sees the horse or pachyderm of a different color.


Blue Elephant by Sushila Burgess


Elephant Watercolor by Brandi Miller


Pendant by Lilredwagon


Mobile by Lovebug Lullabies LLC

Telling a child or an adult for that matter that they have to mimic what you see is a disservice to us all.

Remember, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Pablo Picasso.


He has one, She has one, We all have one

A while ago I made jewelry too like so many of you out there. It was FUN! I remember I had made a pair of beaded hoop earrings with a carved skull charm and I really liked and was proud of them.

I was a vendor at an event (oh, yes I have lived all sides of the craft/art life) and a gentleman walked into my tent. He touched everything and in the end all he said to me was, “Skulls? Really?” I just smiled and thanked him for stopping by and thought, “Really? Well, of course!”

I have always liked skulls. For goodness sake we all have one, don’t we?

Tis the season of the Cranial Foundation and I am celebrating it today – head to toe and more!

“The skull is nature’s sculpture.” David Bailey


Handmade by Mudpuppy


Handmade by HundredMillion

“I don’t care if my skull winds up on shelf as long as my name is on it.” Debbie Harry

Skull Earrings

Handmade by Untamed Menagerie

Handmade by Sirious Design

Celebrate, decorate and enjoy!


Stop, Look and Smile

Every day we walk past, float past, blindly move through our lives and forget to actually stop and look around. Think of the discoveries that can be made when the clock is stopped, a breath taken and a quiet solitude embraced.

Artist, Yuma Kano has created an installation, 36,445 + 1 Screw that begs you to “take a moment.”

Petula Poppy

The Creative and Beautiful Soul in All of Us