Sunday, March 8, 2009

Peanut and Tommy - Cute and Cuddly Crafts

Have I ever got a treat for you wonderful crafters this week! We get to meet the energetic and vivacious crocheter Debi, who is one of the creative geniuses behind Peanut and Tommy on Etsy. Let's start with a little insight into her shop.

Peanut and Tommy is made up of things Debi makes and things her mom knits. “My mom lives alone in a retirement community two hours away from me and doesn’t drive anymore. She’s pretty much home-bound and loves to knit toys.” she says. “I originally opened the shop to give her a job—a reason to get up in the morning. She loves the idea of sending out her toys to live with children all over the world. She has sent a knitted snake to Australia, an elephant to Germany, a set of turtles to Florida, a bear to California, and that’s just to mention a few. It gives her great joy and keeps her busy.”

It's great to see that Debi comes from a crafty family. “My mom knit all my sweaters when I was a child. My parents were always pretty thrifty—many of our Christmas or birthday gifts were handmade. If I wanted to buy fabric to sew an outfit, mom was always willing to pay for that. I sewed most of my clothes for many years. Although Mom tried to teach me to knit, I didn’t learn knitting or crochet until I went away to college.

Years of thrifty craftiness has molded Debi's persona. “I love to make things for other people. To me, a handmade gift is a gift from the heart. I have two girls (teenagers now, one is in college). I make the kind of goodies that they would have loved as children. I love to make cuddly cute things like my cupcake bags and the caterpillar in my shop. My mom made the three dinosaurs and all the teddy bears. She loves the cuddly cute things too! I guess we’re related!” she laughs.

“I love making the cupcake bags that turn into a doll cradle. I crochet the bags, sew a cotton lining for them, and then knit the little dolls to go inside. I really enjoy finding beautiful yarn and fabric that coordinate. They take a while to make, which is why I only have one or two in my shop at a time!”

She also takes great joy in helping out in the community. “I started a knitting guild at my daughter’s school where we knit for charity. We’ve made a ton of chemo caps, made up personal care bags (each with a hand knit washcloth) for the women’s shelter, knit a million teddy bears, made blankets for Project Linus, you name it. We’re really quite active!”

Debi is also in to crafting with recycled materials. She makes a cute little Eco-friendly crocheted frog out of cotton yarn that is made from leftovers from t-shirt manufacturing. In addition to that, “I am knitting a market bag with “Plarn” which is yarn that I’ve made out of used plastic bags. The plarn is tiring to knit with, but the bag is really quite beautiful. However, I made it so BIG, that it’s taking me forever to finish it!” So maybe someday we'll see one of those in her shop too!

She has a second shop on Etsy, Peanut and Tommy Too that she has just started up for vintage finds. Recently she has been helping out on the CreateCrochet Etsy Team Blog with the shop of the week and introductions of new members and does a very nice job even if I do say so myself. If you are interested in following her day to day exploits you can find her on Twitter as PeanutandTommy.

As everyone has a dream to work towards, I asked Debi where she would like to be if she could be anywhere. Her reply, “Greece, living in a little house in a small town overlooking the blue sea. Poli Kala! (My husband is Greek).” It sounds wonderful! May all your dreams come true Debi.


KristynsKreations said...

Great Blog and Read! I enjoyed getting to know Debi a little more. She is a very important member of the Create Crochet team and I would be lost without her!

Colleen said...

I love reading about other artists! And you do such a good job writing about it (and I don't say that just because i was one of them:) Makes me feel like I am really getting to know the people. And that cupcake doll is really cute!

Handmade Sunshine said...

Thanks you guys! I love writing about you all because you are just so interesting.

auntieknits said...

Very interesting! I loved learning about the background of this shop. I had never stumbled upon it on Etsy, but now am enchanted. The caterpillar is calling calling my name - it is too cute.

PeanutandTommy said...

Thank you, thank you for the kind words! It's fun seeing my shop through another person's eyes.