Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Settling In

My life has been a magical whirlwind of crazy activities for the last three and a half years. I got married after being a single mom for 11 years. My husband is a kind and wonderful friend, mentor, dancer, joker, lover, and plumber. We have had two girls and bought a church and rectory since our wedding day in October of 2004. Our household also includes my son, Ben, age 15, and our dog Okemo, a lab/pitbull cross. We live on the third floor of the rectory we are renovating into 6 separate living spaces that we intend to sell as condos but would rent in the meantime, or even do a rent to own deal to the right people.
I am an avid recycler and have run a business manufacturing soft home goods from recycled wool sweaters for more than 20 years.
We moved into our new home on May 15 after more than two years of floating from one squatting quarters to another. Unpacking boxes, moving in furniture, landscaping our grounds, and generally organizing our family and life is where I have focused my energy since the beginning of a summer long hiatus taken from my job.
Here I plan to share in depth stories of my everyday, my family, friends, business thoughts, lifestyle goals and challenges.
Check back often to learn of the community we are working to build, full of our amazing supportive friends, neighbors, and yet to be known mysteries waiting to unfold. Let me know what you are doing and thinking about and how your days are filled.

Best Stroller Ever

We have the best stroller around. I go everywhere with it and the comments and curious questions abound. While it was quite expensive, we have used it literally everyday since our youngest has been old enough to ride in a stroller. Design ingenuity, quality, and comfort are exceptional but most important to me is the remarkable ease of use. It is a breeze to maneuver through doorways, crowded sidewalks, and over hiking trails, which is where we use it nearly every day. The stroller opens and closes easily, comfortably holds cargo in addition to the children and has all sorts of useful accessories. We use the sun/insect guard and the snow/rain cover. It was made in New Zealand by a cute company called Phil and Ted's. We bought ours online.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Violet - One Happy Little Girl

Blogged with the Flock Browser

It is not too late to join in the learning on Saturday June 21 for Crispina’s first ever Ragamuffin making workshop. The class is to be held at the 40 Melville Street cool basement studio and will run from 10-4 at a cost of $125. All materials, written instruction and a healthy lunch is inculded. Students need no prior experience but should have a solid interest in hand work. They will finish the day with a completed stuffed ‘animal’ and inspiration to make many different types and sizes.
All work is done by hand with scissors, a needle and thread making the transition to working at home on other similar projects easy. Call 413-441-9766 or email for sign-up or to ask questions.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hands-On In-Studio Workshops!

Here is a press release about some workshops I will be teaching in the next few weeks. I have JUST gotten it together to get the word out about these so there is still plenty of room for people to sign up. You can email me if you want to learn more or to sign-up. My email is


Press Contact:
Crispina ffrench, 413-441-9766

High resolution digital photos available upon request.

(Pittsfield, MA) Known internationally for her innovative textile recycling designs, artist/entrepreneur Crispina ffrench is offering Saturday studio workshops beginning June 14. Founder of Crispina, a twenty year old recycling/manufacturing creative economy company with environmentalism at the root of its mission, ffrench will open her Pittsfield studio in the former Notre Dame Church to small groups of students interested in learning her signature hand-constructed techniques. Each session focuses on a different type of project, completely hand made from 100% post consumer recycled clothing (mostly wool sweaters). All tools, materials and a healthy lunch will be provided at $125/day. No experience necessary, and attendees will have their own finished project to take home along with written instructions and a head full of inspiration.

Crispina has been featured in many national and international publications including, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Country Living Magazine, Country Home, Home Companion, Elle D├ęcor, among others. Her work has been featured in several books on interiors and is in the private collections of celebrities including Carly Simon, Julia Roberts, Dave Matthews, Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Cohen, Ben Harper, and Ralph Lauren.

Saturday, June 14
Beginning Sweaters
Students will learn beginning techniques, stitches, and fabric placement to complete a sweater made completely by hand of 100% recycled wool sweaters. Simple construction will be demonstrated. Students should bring a favorite garment to use for a pattern. Plan to end the day with a complete (or nearly complete) garment, written instructions, supplier list and a day full of ideas to pursue.

Saturday, June 21
Beginning Stuffed Toys
Basic stitches, techniques, and construction details of stuffed toys/soft sculpture in the style of Crispina's original Ragamuffins will be demonstrated. Ragamuffins are stuffed toys completely hand sewn from 100% recycled wool sweaters. All tools and materials as well as a healthy lunch and written instructions will be provided. Students need to have strong hands for this workshop. At the end of the day each student should have finished a project and have had the opportunity to experiment with many ideas/techniques.

Saturday, June 28
Beginning Seasonal Decorations
This session will introduce students to simple techniques for making Wreaths, Holiday-Tree Baubles, and Wool Felt Flowers using 100% recycled wool sweater scrap. All tools and materials as well as a healthy lunch and written instructions will be provided. No sewing experience is necessary for this workshop. Students will end the day with samples of wreath, baubles, and flowers in addition to written directions, supplier list and ideas for everyone on their gift-giving list.

Workshops offered on June 14, 21, and 28, 2008 are to be held at Crispina's Sanctuary Studio in the former Notre Dame Church at 40 Melville Street in Pittsfield, MA. They cost $125 per session, which includes all materials and a healthy lunch. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited. Please call Crispina at 413-441-9766 or email with any questions or to register. Examples of Crispina ffrench’s work can be seen at

Calendar Listings:

June 14, 2008 – Beginning Sweater Workshop – 10-5pm
Crispina's Sanctuary Studio – 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Register at 413—441-9766 or

June 21, 2008 – Beginning Stuffed Toy Workshop – 10-5pm
Crispina's Sanctuary Studio – 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Register at 413—441-9766 or

June 28, 2008 – Beginning Seasonal Decorations Workshop – 10-5pm
Crispina's Sanctuary Studio – 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Register at 413—441-9766 or