Mandy Renee Stos, the creative genius behind iamthemandy, is not only an artist and entrepreneur, but an inventive environmentalist as well. She combines craft with recycling, producing items that are unique, functional, and the ultimate in eco-chic. iamthemandy goods can be purchased online and in numerous handmade stores across the country.
Mandy was kind enough to share this original how-to project with us, along with a little bit of information about herself. Check out the interview, then make the pouch!
KCQ: Could you tell us a little about yourself?
IATM: I was raised in a small central Kansas town, where custom cutters and cattle are on almost every corner. I obtained my B.A. in Graphic Design and then packed my bags for the city life. I love sewing, traveling, garage sailing, eating sushi, coke slushies, and I’m also addicted to tattoos (looking at them and getting them). I can be found many times with my companion, Mister Hyde, a Jack Russell Terrier.
KCQ: How did you first become involved in crafting?
IATM: Well, I’ve always had a desire to make things by hand growing up and throughout college. I started giving them to others for gifts, and the response was HUGE! People asked if I had a website or sold the items in any local stores, which, at the time, I did not. It’s been about 1 year since I started up iamthemandy, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I thank my friends and family for all the support I’ve had this far.
KCQ: What was the first craft that you started out with
IATM: The first craft that I began selling was my upcycled material cuffs. I based my entire product line on being created of 85% of reused materials. I made a cuff for myself and everyone commented on it, so I thought, what a great way to make an OOAK [one of a kind] item for my besties. I can customize the fabric and button to accompany their taste and style (boys too).
KCQ: How do you obtain your supplies for upcycling?
IATM: There is a laundry list of ways I obtain my upycling supplies; however, it usually starts with friends and family. You know, from those old tins that everyone’s grandmother has, to the box of needles and thread you mom has stashed in a closet. With our concept of 85% reused materials, we hunt garage sales and local auctions to find supplies and equipment we need to keep on moving on.
KCQ: Aside from being driven to create, why is it important for you to be a hand-maker?
IATM: Making things by hand allows me a sense of pride, even if for a short time. Making things by hand takes so much more time than many can even fathom. For me personally, I put my emotions and style into each piece. They are all OOAK items, and what I make all depends on the materials I have at the time. I cannot run to the local fabric store to get buttons or fabric–I have to acquire them from unwanted clothing, sales, etc. However, I can say the best part is seeing the expressions and excitement on people’sfaces when they approach my booth at local fe stivals and exhibits. High five to all my handmade “crafters” there!
KCQ: What are some of your favorite items to make?
IATM: A few of my favorite items to make are the upcycled crocheted t-shirt necklaces and the upcycled material cuffs. Crocheting is one of my family’s traditions. I learned this talent from my Grandma Edna, who also has a niche for quilting and embroidering. I find that once I get a giant ball of sliced t-shirts, I can pretty much crochet anywhere, especially on the go. I favor the upcycled material cuffs because they start out as a blank canvas. I select a base material and then get to select the colors, scraps, old lace pieces, yarns, etc. to create a layout for each OOAK cuff. Needless to say, I can’t ever pick a favorite!
DIY Upcycled Money & ID Holder
by Mandy Renee Stos
This DIY is for your or your kiddos. I don’t like always like carrying my large tote around filled with all the stuff ladies seem to carry for no reason. So I decided I would make something that could hold my money and my ID while im out at a festival or garage sailing. I took an old men’s long sleeve shirt and extra shoelaces and made this simple ID holder which can is small enough to fit into your pocket or hang around your kiddos neck.
What you will need:
1- long sleeve shirt with cuff (men’s or women’s will work)
2- extra shoestrings
Step 2) Fold cuff in half. Look at the photo since it isn’t exactly “half”. you should have the side with the button longer. This is so it can fold over and be buttoned closed (keeping your $ and ID safe). Insert one shoestrings at the top, near the closure.
Step 3) Pin in place.
Step 4) Select a matching thread and sew a single stitch on both sides of the cuff.
Step 5) You’re done! Tie your two shoestrings together to make your necklace and you are ready to roll, hands free.