Monday, June 24, 2013

My Turn to Feed the Blog

Meshuga! my collection of trendy mesh bags and accessories
Anyone who has followed my blog posts would know I'm somewhat of a flaky blogger. Some might even think that after 10 months of not blogging, I'd given it up. An interesting factoid is that blogs can survive years without sustenance. However I will feed it today with a short summary of the past year:

Summer 2012
I participated in every Wednesday Evening Farmers Market in Petaluma

Fall 2012
I helped organize the second annual Marin Handmade pre-holiday sale at Art Works Downtown.

Winter 2012
I participated in the Muir Beach Holiday Craft Fair and the KPFA Holiday Craft Fair, and helped organize a Valentine's Day event for Marin Handmade.

Spring 2013
I rented a studio down the road from my houseboat in Sausalito. I share the space with my friend Tisha Thompson of Tisha Handmade. The light here is so much better than in my home workspace — I love it!

Summer 2013
Summer is off to a start with listing a few recent items on my Etsy shop. I am also working on new concepts, including the new collection of trendy mesh bags and accessories. I've started with three different pouch designs, to be followed by some multiuse mesh bags and totes. A vinyl collection is also in the table.

(I hope my blog is satiated for now, and hopefully it won't bee too long before the next feeding!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nia Peeples Sproting my Wide Brimmed Visor!

Nia Peeples Style: Wide Brimmed Visor
by Heather Graef (Gstudio)
Just a few days ago Nia Peeples put on my visor and tweeted about it!

This year I was invited into The Artisan Group, an exclusive art promotions group representing artisans at Hollywood's best celebrity Gift Lounges. TAG also creates customized celebrity gift bags, featuring custom work by select artisans.

Thanks to TAG I have had the opportunity to send my bags and accessories to Drew Barrymore, Christina Hendricks of Mad Men, and Most recently Nia Peeples of Pretty Little Liars.

Nia was one of my favorites on the TV series Fame in the 80's, so I was really happy when she tweeted about the visor I sent her: "Here in Malibu I'll certainly be using this wide brimmed hat by Heather Graef at "

So if you see Nia walking the beach (wearing my visor in style) in Malibu say hello for me! And by the way, if you find yourself jonesing for some Fame episodes, you can watch it on Hulu...

My friend, Creek Van Houten
(Also a TAG Artisan) wearing her visor

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Zip 'er Up!

An incredible piece of wizardry, the zipper is. The invention we now use every day without a second thought, was originally conceived and by Elias Howe in 1851. However at this time, Howe's attention was focused on his invention of the sewing machine, and he did not try to market his "Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure."

The concept was further refined forty-two years later, and named the "Clasp Locker" by Whitcomb Judson. Its public debut at the 1893 World's Fair met with little commercial success, but the design as we know it today came from Swedish scientist Gideon Sundback, an employee of Judson. Taking the invention through more than one revision, Sundback ultimately patented the "Separable Fastener" in 1917.

Shortly after, the B.F. Goodrich Company marketed galoshes with Sundback's fasteners, and the product finally became popular. "A Goodrich executive is said to have slid the fastener up and down on the boot and exclaimed, “Zip 'er up,” echoing the sound made by this clever device  and the fasteners came to be called "zippers." " (quoted from

Any girl alive today can't ignore that designers are using zippers as decorative elements in clothing and accessories. I might have been lagging just a tad on this trend - but I happen to have zippers around, so I am putting them to good use, working on industrial adornments for the Rivertown Revival. I'll be selling these, along with other novel items like adjustable bow ties for girls and boys, and of course my bags. This themed event is coming up in July, featuring local vendors, foods, old-time games, and music on the Petaluma riverfront. Check my Facebook Page for the date and details. I hope to see you there - and don't forget to dress in your turn of the century garb, assuming you have some in your closet?!?

Like me on Facebook

Friday, June 22, 2012


And here is Creek Van Houten's "Amazing Large Tote" in all its finished glory!

Nice and roomy, but not too huge, this bag has two big pockets inside for letter-size papers, and two narrower pockets for gadgets and a water bottle. There was enough of this pretty fabric left to make a small zippy pouch, key fob, a visor, and a 14" pillow! I have many wonderful fabrics, so there will be more to come... (To see more of the process of the making of this bag, read my previous post.)

By the way, Creek is exhibiting at the San Anselmo Art and Wine Festival this weekend. Go check out her work!

Pictured on one the vintage chairs that used to be my Grandparents. We call them the "Thrones."


Big zippered pockets

Wide Brim Visor

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sneak Peek at The Amazing Large Tote

Working on The Amazing Large Tote for my friend Creek Van Houten!

Box bottom corners...


Looking like a bag...

Right side-out...

The lining...

Lining in bag...

Heavy-duty nylon bottom...

Olive drab strap...

Or black strap...

Perhaps a twist lock...

Stay tuned for chapter two...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Embrace Your Boho

Boho style on the runway
The layering of hippie, folk, romantic, flowing cotton blouses, beaded necklaces, leather and metal accents, and ethnic-inspired textiles is everywhere. The bohemian look has come and gone many times, each reincarnation with a new twist. Boho Chic reigns again in 2012.

Traveling to the Mideast, my grandparents, Fran and Harry, brought back wonderful carpets and kilims. Growing up with these rugs under my feet influenced my gravitation toward textural graphic textiles and designs. My grands were also savvy in the modern design department. I have their well-worn Eames-style lounge chairs—they would be fun to recover, boho style, like this one at

Eames, meet Boho
I joke a little when I say "I make hippie bags," but as unique as the tradition of weaving, each bag in my Caravan Collection is made from one of a kind kilim prayer rugs. I am at peace with the spirit of bohemia—a sense of adventure, a modern riff on tradition, and for me, a feeling of home. Hippie bags are OK!

New bags from my Caravan Collection
© 2012 Heather Graef/Gstudi


The kilim is believed to have its origins in the tribal flatweaves of Central Asia. While kilims may have been in production as early as 3,000 BC, the slitweave technique seen in Kilim rugs is thought to have originated around 1,000 BC, related to much older flatwoven textiles discovered at Fostat in Egypt.

Before Kilims became decorative items they were an essential part of life in tribal communities. For practical purposes, they were used as floor coverings, protection from the elements, and to store grains and other goods. However each was woven with symbolic imagery, telling a unique story in the life of the weaver. Modern kilims still incorporate many of these symbols.


Select bags from the Caravan Collection will be available at local events, and in my online shop by the summer.
Click here to like my Facebook page for updates.

Channel your inner-Boho sooner, and click here for some lovely kilim wallpapers for your computer screen: 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Event: April 28 in Fairfax

I'll be participating in "The Bazaar FĂȘte" this April 28. This is a new local event, hosted by Jessica Jacobsen, and Maude Bradley, of Marin County:

"Delight the senses with an array of chefs, bakers, visual artists, fashion designers and musicians. Hand-selected each month, the vendors demonstrate the best the Bay has to offer. Prepare to be enticed and entertained!"

Come join the fun and say hello to local artists, including some of my friends from Marin Handmade, who are also participating:
Me, Heather Graef (Gstudio), Bags & Accessories, Sausalito, CA
Creek Van Houten, Steampunk/Vintage Jewelry, San Anselmo, CA
Carol Lancour, Mosaics, Novato, CA

Location: Fairfax Pavillion, Fairfax (West Marin) 
• Admission: $5 Adults, $3 Seniors & teens, Free under 12 years old 
• More information:
RSVP: Visit the Event Page on Facebook, and then click "Join" on the event page:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Heather Goes Hollywood

When I first started sewing bags, I would walk next door and show them to my neighbor Malinda, who said "Those girls in Hollywood should have your bags!" In 2011, I joined The Artisan Group, in hopes that maybe someday this notion might become a reality. This month I submitted my name to 'gift' a special item to a huge movie star, and to my utter astonishment, I was selected as one of 50 artisans to participate. Drum roll, please...

This week I'll send off my new custom-designed handbag, to be included in the Exclusive Celebrity Gift Bag for none other than Drew Barrymore!

Ehem. I'll say that again, and make it bigger this time in case it didn't quite sink in the first time: 

Drew.  Barrymore.

I've always been a fan, so this is really exciting news—but I can't lie: Deciding what to give a free-spirited movie star who's style crosses over from boho to perfectly put together was a challenge! I think I drove my family nuts showing them all of my ideas, and all of us guessing what she might like. From what I've been able to tell, Drew goes for eclectic fashion, neutral colors, and metallics (hot for 2012).

Ruched Silk Crossbody Bag, inspired by Drew Barrymore,
to be included in Drew's exclusive gift bag, in association with The Artisan Group.
From the beginning, my goal has been to design simple, casual urban bags and accessories for women who want to feel and look good on the go, so I went with my gut and created something just for the occasion. I think my new, subtly shimmery bronze silk crossbody bag fits the bill. This bag is functional, unique, and somehow a little sci-fi, which reminds me of Drew's first blockbuster debut, ET. I hope she likes it!

This bag will be made in the future in silk, and other great fabrics. Please contact me through my WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK.

About The Artisan Group:
In association with The Artisan Group, artists from around the world have the opportunity to show their best handmade work at luxury Gift Lounges leading up to The Academy Awards, The Golden Globes, The Primetime Emmys, MTV Movie Awards, and other major events. TAG also arranges exclusive celebrity gift bags, delivered directly to A-list celebrities and movie stars, including Tom Cruise, Katy Holmes, Sarah Jessica Parker, and more. For more information about The Artisan Group, visit their website:

To order my bags, find me on Etsy or contact me directly

Drew Blyth Barrymore became a Covergirl in 2007
Talented, free-spirited, and one-of-a-kind, Drew Barrymore has been a silver-screen star since her debut performance in Steven Spielberg's ET: The Extra-Terrestrial at the age of 7. Since then, she's gone on to become one of hollywoods most sought-after actresses and producers. Career highlights include Never Been Kissed, the Charlie's Angels franchise, and her directorial debut, Whip It. On being a Covergirl, Drew says, "Who you are, you should feel beautiful. And you should never be made to feel that what is naturally and truly you is not perfect." (Source:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Inspiration in the City

Cisco Home - Hayes Street - www.ciscohome.netFlorist - Union StreetMeggie - Union Street - www.meggieshop.comMeggie - Union Street - www.meggieshop.comMeggie - Union Street - www.meggieshop.comUnion Street
Union StreetAtys - Union Street - www.atysdesign.comCisco Home - Hayes Street - www.ciscohome.netCisco Home - Hayes Street - www.ciscohome.netCisco Home - Hayes Street - www.ciscohome.netHayes Street
Lotus Bleu - Hayes Street - lotusbleudesign.comLotus Bleu - Hayes Street - lotusbleudesign.comLotus Bleu - Hayes Street - lotusbleudesign.comMercantile on Clement StreetMercantile on Clement StreetMercantile on Clement Street
Found inspiration on Union and Hayes Streets in SF today. It's been a while since I went window shopping for the sake of window shopping. My mom and I had a great time. The last few scenes are of one of the many stores on Clement, its isles lined with ridiculously low-priced ceramic and plastic imports. We finished the day with a feast of take-out dim sum! Yum!

Click here for a slideshow

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marin Handmade Show this Friday

This Friday, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello as I join 11 other local artists displaying some really wonderful work, including: jewelry, greeting cards, handbags, textiles, green crafts, ceramics and mosaics. Be sure to also visit over 40 other open studios and galleries during San Rafael's 2nd Fridays Artwalk, with wine tasting at Art Works Downtown, in San Rafael.

We look forward to seeing you this Friday!
Stop by our blog ( for more info about our artists.

Marin Handmade: An Evening of Art and Craft
Friday, October 14, 3-8pm
Art Works Downtown
1337 4th Street, San Rafael (between C & D Streets)
in Susan Kirby Place, the garden patio at Art Works Downtown

(Artwalk hours 5-8 pm)

Main Entrance:
Come in through Art Works Downtown, go downstairs to the back of the building.

Street Entrance:
Come in a street level at the side entrance on D Street.

- Street parking everywhere
- Metered parking lot on D Street between 4th & 5th Streets
- Parking garage on C Street between 3rd and 4th Streets
- See Map:

METER RATES: ¢75 per hour everywhere other than 4th Street
PARKING RATES FOR A & C STREETS GARAGES: $1.00 per hour to $10.00 Maximum

Friday, August 12, 2011


Thursday August 18th - Wednesday August 21st
Come on down to Roots Collaborative in Mill Valley and receive 20% off of my handbags, wine totes and new iPad Cases. Find other selected handmade items on sale throughout the store: jewelry, pottery and more by local artists. Roots is in the center of the block near Peet's Coffee, at 84 Throckmorton Ave, Downtown Mill Valley, CA.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Marin Handmade Fall Show

In April I joined the SF Etsy Street Team, a group of over 300 artists from the Bay Area who sell their art and craft work on Team members have the opportunity to share news about upcoming shows to join in the Bay Area, organize team events, and much more I am unaware of yet. Myself and two other artists, Jen Spilly and Robin Stelling, got together to organize the first "Etsy" event in the North Bay Area. We'll have 12 local SF Etsy Members form the North Bay showing their work at Art Works Downtown, October 14th. I'll be posting updates and invites on my Facebook page as October gets nearer. In the meantime, for information check out our new Marin Handmade blog, created by yours truly, with the help of Robin and Jen:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fresh Start

Heavy rain and wind two days ago yielded to a crisp, cold, sunny Saturday. It is a rare novelty when it snows around here, and reports say they had some in the valley of West Marin last night, but no evidence here on the Sausalito waterfront. Its looking like a good day to open up the studio and get organized again after hibernating for the past couple of weeks. I have two new-to-me Viking Husqvarna sewing machines, waiting to be used!

See my new collection of new wine/gift bags on Etsy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

BYOB stands for "Beyond my Culinary Comfort Zone"

My wine totes were gathering momentum at the KPFA craft show this weekend. I carry my wine totes to dinner parties or picnics, but one admirer imagined how groovy she would be using one to carry wine to her favorite restaurant... and now I can add the noun "corkage" to my vocabulary!

corkage  |  noun  |  a charge made by a restaurant or hotel for serving wine that has been brought in by a customer.

Going one step beyond my computer's dictionary, I searched Corkage online, and found these five handy tips for "better corkage relations" on Corkage for Dummies | Food & Wine

For restaurants you can search for Corkage and BYOB in your area. I found a list of SF Bay Area restaurants offering free corkage everyday or on selected days:

Do you BYOB? Look for my Wine Totes on Etsy in 2011!