This month’s shop feature is Handmade by Jennifer Allevato: sweet art, embroidery and works on paper. Based nearby to me in Alexandra, Virginia, she has a lovely shop filled with mixed media art, mustachioed owls, brightly colored original water paintings and some really adorable embroidery. Her fun and colorful shop really caught my attention right away.
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: Jennifer, tell me about the inspiration for your super cute shop.
JENNIFERALLEVATO: After wandering many different directions and trying numerous different occupations and jobs, I finally decided to come back to my first love, art. I am just happiest when I can create things. My inspiration comes from everyday life, pretty images and colors, animals, memories of trips I’ve taken. I try to surround myself with things I love and find pretty so that I’m always engaged and inspired.
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: So, you are an art lover? Me too. What are some other interesting things about you?
JENNIFERALLEVATO: I grew up in Ohio and did not realize Ohio was considered the Midwest until after I left the state. I always just thought we were northern (I mean, it borders Canada!) My family now lives in West Virginia, which is really the place I consider home. It saddens me how often the state gets a bad rap; it has such natural beauty and the people are really just nice people, no where else will you see a driver stop dangerously in the middle of the road to kindly let someone else pull out in front of them.
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: West Virginia is beautiful. As a mountain biker, I spend a lot of time there. The people are super friendly and it really is awe-inspiring to be out in the midst of such natural beauty. My meditation center is even going on a summer retreat there becuase it’s such a peaceful place to be.
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: Speaking of preserving natural beauty, do you consider yourself eco-conscious?
JENNIFERALLEVATO: I always donate things I don’t want anymore. I think throwing things away is a waste. Just because I don’t have a use for it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t! I also stopped buying bottled water a few years ago and use a Brita pitcher with a washable water bottle. It cut down on my recycling by a ton and I save a lot of money, plus I don’t have to buy huge packs of water every 2 weeks. I also try to up-cycle things in life to use in my art, like a blouse I don’t wear anymore but the fabric is pretty; I’ll use it to make something new!
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: Wow, that’s great! I love to refashion or rework thrift store clothing and fabric whenever I can. Thankfully more and more people are donating their items rather than trucking them off to the dump. I have posted a few tutorials and ideas on how to upcycle tshirts and such, is that how you found my site?
JENNIFERALLEVATO: I found you on Etsy! I really enjoy your DIY posts and ideas on how to fix everyday problems and use everyday items in new ways.
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: Thanks! Who are some of your other favorites on ETSY and the web?
JENNIFERALLEVATO: A few of my favorite blogs are Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro of Black and Spiro. Also, Welcome to the gOOd life , She has the best DIY projects for recreating Anthropologie and J.Crew designs for way less. On Etsy I really like Lanyapi, she has some awesome jewelry. I bought earrings from her at a craft fair in Ballston last year. Also, OliveHandmade, her pillows are so cute!
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: Thanks for sharing. I love to discover new artists on Etsy, I can’t wait to check out their shops. Ok, finish this sentence. I love it when…
JENNIFERALLEVATO: my boyfriend surprises me with coffee in the morning.
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: Super sweet. That is nice. Somtimes my husband surprises me with coffee in the morning and since he uses the french press (which I am way to lazy to use), it really is a special treat. Ok, this is your final opportunity to leave us with something to remember you by….go!
JENNIFERALLEVATO: In high school, I used a small oval box and made a small sculpture of William Howard Taft getting stuck in a bathtub. I have people open it to see their reaction.
ICOULDSEWDOTHAT: Very nice