Ahoy Mates! Announcing the 2014 Better Than Jam Pop-Up Shop on Governors Island!

Join Etsy New York Artists at the 4th Annual Better Than Jam Summer Pop-Up on Governors Island at the grand opening on May 24th 2014.  

WHAT: Better Than Jam Summer Pop-Up

WHEN: May 24th-September 29th Fridays through Monday             

WHERE: House #16 in Nolan Park on Governors Island

WEBSITE: www.betterthanjamnyc.com/governorsisland

For the 4th year, the Bushwick Brooklyn boutique, Better Than Jam, will be once again hosting a collective of local designers in its summer location on Governors Island.  The Brooklyn shop of all locally handmade products will be taking the ferry ride over, and bringing with it the creations of New York City's most talented designers, artists, and crafters.  From May 24 through September 29, house #16, a yellow Victorian house in Nolan Park, will be filled with the work of talented people who have created some amazing products for the island shop.  And this year, for the first time, the shop will be open 4 days to celebrate the greatly anticipated grand opening of new park land The Trust for Governors Island has been working so hard on.

In coming to Governors Island, Better Than Jam hopes to create context around artisanal processes and inspiration. Better Than Jam’s gift shop will complement and add to the Island’s growing popularity, allowing visitors to take home a tangible memento from their Governors Island visit—a souvenir that was designed and crafted nearby with the island in mind.  With the help of the Etsy New York Street Team, the shop will also host family-friendly demonstrations and workshops on Saturdays, to show and teach visitors some of their skills.  On June 28th Alison Grande of Koto Designs will be teaching embroidered cards and on July 19th Lu Lasson  of Lu Crafts will be demonstrating bookmark making for those interested in learning a new skill.

About Better Than Jam

Established 2010 in Bushwick Brooklyn, a neighborhood rich in history and brimming with an artistic community, Better Than Jam showcases a variety of clothing, jewelry, accessories, and artwork  created by some of NYC’s most talented artists and craftspeople.  It brings to the forefront local accomplished designers that make 100% handmade and high quality items at a fair price.

Learn more on our Events page!

Free: Make Pop-Up Cards on Governors Island July 13, 1 pm

If you missed her the first time around, come join team member Sara Stroman at her free workshop and learn how to make pop-up cards (with hearts & monster faces) and envelopes. No need to RSVP, and all ages welcome! :)

Check out her Etsy shop :


And her Facebook page :


Where: The shop is located at house #16 in Nolan Park on Governors Island, and is open weekends all summer.

When: July 13, 1 - 4 pm

Free: Make Coasters on Governors Island June 22, 1 pm

Jean of  La Muse Kalliope will return this weekend on Saturday June 22 to the Better Than Jam shop in Nolan Park on Governors Island to teach you how to stitch coasters from recycled scraps. This project is great for beginner and experienced sewers alike!

Hope to see you there!

  • When: Saturday, June 22nd 1-4 pm
  • Where: Better Than Jam, #16 Nolan Park, Governors Island
  • When: June 1st, 1-4 pm

Free Jewelry Making Workshop 6/1

Make a bracelet with Melissa

Make a bracelet with Melissa

We are a very, very busy group of artisans. Visit Crafts in Chelsea and combine a leisurely stroll down 21st Street with a quick boat ride to Governors Island. There, at the Better Than Jam shop in Nolan Park, you can meet Melissa of Prairiefunk and make these cool bracelets with her. Once you're done, take a picture and share it with us here, on instagram (#etsynyteam), twitter, or facebook. We'd love to see what you made.

  • When: June 1st, 1-4 pm
  • Where: Better Than Jam, #16 Nolan Park, Governors Island

Jammin' Out on Governors Island

It's finally here...opening weekend at Governors Island! GI is my favorite "undiscovered" spot in New York and with Better Than Jam's shop opening this weekend, I couldn't be more excited!

As Simone mentioned last week, it is curated with some of the best handmade items from Etsy New York artists and is open from 10am to 6pm every weekend during the summer from Memorial Day Weekend to September 3rd. The shop is located this year in one of the island's historic apartment buildings named "The Governors Galleries."

Shop owner, Karin Persan spoke about the store's concept, “Ultimately, the goal of Better Than Jam’s collaboration with Governors Island is to offer visitors a handmade and local shopping experience, with craft demonstrations, all within the setting of a unique, peaceful and historically rich public space.” The selection includes items designed and crafted with the island in mind, and will allow every visitor to take home a tangible memento from their Governors Island visit.

Here's a sneak peak to how the shop is shaping up:

As an added bonus, every Saturday the shop is collaborating with the Etsy New York Team to share their wide range of artistic skills by hosting crafting workshops. For opening weekend, the Team is helping kick off our craft workshop series with a face painting booth at the Governors Island Family Festival this Saturday, May 26th from 12 to 4pm at Nolan Park.

The crafting workshop schedule thus far is as follows:
- May 26th: face painting (at Nolan Park)
- June 2nd: toy making
- June 9th: sun prints
- June 16th: TBA
- June 23rd: beaded ladder rings
- June 30th: card making
- July 7th: sachet making

Happy Spring and we're all very excited to see you on the Island!


Sneak Peek: Better Than Jam on Governors Island

Better Than Jam and many of the members of Etsy New York are gearing up for another summer on Governors Island. From May 26 through September 3 the Bushwick boutique, owned by Etsy New York team member and Event Director Karin Persan, is bringing the creations of New York City's most talented artists and crafters to the island. This year located in one of the island's historic apartment buildings you will be find the work of local designers, artists, and crafts people, who have turned their creative eye toward the island just off the shores of Manhattan and Brooklyn for inspiration.
A Studio By The Sea
“There’s so much rich history on this island,” says Karin, “Our participating artists have definitely become inspired and are creating some amazing and lovely work.” For example, The Hazel Village is producing little nautical themed outfits for her woodland creatures, J. Topolski is working on antique maps of the island set in lockets, and SARUSTAR is producing her “unsung” jewelry line using some dirt and sand from the island.
Jes Switaj

As part of our collaboration with Better Than Jam, members of the Etsy New York street team will lead a series of craft workshops at the store on Saturdays. Depending on the weekend you can craft a toy, create a greeting card, or try your hand at the summer favorite friendship bracelet. This series kicks off with our face painting booth at the Governors Island Family Festival on May 26th from 12 to 4 pm in Nolan Park.


DIY: And all, that, jazz!

This weekend is the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island and I couldn't be more excited! Following The Sartorialist's coverage of the event each year, I know I can't take the suggested 20's attire lightly. A quick search of pricing for authentic 20's attire on ebay made me realize this was going to be a DIY project.

beautiful gown decorated with ostrich feathers

After a lot of research on period clothing, I found this absolutely gorgeous dress in the Vogue archives from 1924 that I wanted to replicate. Now, I'm not some amazing seamstress, but I'm pretty crafty so I knew I could come up with something.

I traced the dress on the back of wrapping paper to make a cheap (free!) and easy pattern

You start with a plain tank style dress. I copied a dress that I currently have that has a more straight shape that is in line with the trends of the time. You have to have room in the dress to dance to all that jazz music. I extended the hem a little as you want the hem of the dress to come right to your knees.

pinned on feather fringe!

Find a fringe that is about 5 inches in length. I went with this feather fringe that I found at Mood. If feathers aren't your thing, there are endless trimmings stores in the Fashion District. Pin the fringe around the hem of the dress so it overlaps the bottom just a little bit. Sew (or fabric glue!) the fringe in place. Place another layer of fringe slightly overlapping the first and sew or glue in to place. Repeat with a third layer and you're DONE! Wasn't that easy?

Accessorize with this pretty fascinator from ArtikalNYC, a few strands of pearls, berry lipstick and a 20's appropriate bob and you'll be the belle of the ball! I'll be sure to share some photos from the event on our Facebook page when I'm all dolled up, so be sure to head over an "Like" the {NewNew} so you can see my work in action!

the finished product! I can't wait to wear it!

While you're on Governor's Island, be sure to stop by the Better than Jam Pop-Up and pick up some great {NewNew} goods!

Kelley //

Enjoy Governors Island in August!

Summer is over halfway through and soon Governors Island will be closing until next year. If you haven't made your way to the island yet, August is a perfect time to take advantage of the smaller crowds and breezy trade winds.

Here are some of the great activities going on at Governors Island this summer:

Better Than Jam Pop-Up Shop: Handcrafted items from over thirty artisans from the {NewNew} team are featured in a pop-up shop in one of the Island’s historic buildings. See www.betterthanjam.wordpress.com for more details.

Bike & Roll: Rent a bike to explore the car-free island! On Fridays, you can take advantage of their one hour of free biking.

Mark di Suvero at Governors Island, presented by the Storm King Center: The exhibition is the largest outdoor presentation of Mark di Suvero's sculptures to be shown in New York City since the 1970s and includes loans from public and private collections, including a number of sculptures from Storm King's own celebrated installation of the artist's work. The exhibition is free and located throughout the island's vibrant public spaces. Learn more about the Storm King Art Center.

FIGMENT 2011 Mini Golf: This summer, FIGMENT is giving its own participatory, free and inspired twist to the unknown and fascinating world of bugs with a return of the celebrated FIGMENT Minigolf Course, themed this year around "Bugs and Features". In the Liggett Hall courtyard, man and bug can putt away in harmony. The FIGMENT Minigolf Course is open and free for the public to play. For more information, visit www.figmentproject.org/minigolf.

Added Value Farm: Come to Picnic Point to take a tour and see the workings of Added Value’s three acre organic fruit and vegetable farm. Beginning in July, visit their Farm Stand where you’ll find locally grown produce, cut flowers and more. For more information, visit www.added-value.org.

See you on  the island!

Windows of Agate

Sailor's Knot Bracelet Tutorial

Last year, the lovely Simone from Groundsel posted this great tutorial on sailor's knot bracelets. This Saturday, June 25th, Simone, Pria, and I will be doing demonstrations and helping visitors make their own bracelets at Governors Island. Please join us at House 6B in Nolan Park at Governors Island from 2pm-4pm. While you're there, be sure to take a look around the Better Than Jam Pop-Up Shop at Governors Island, filled with the best handmade goodies by local artisans. See you there!

Supplies you’ll need:
  • 3.5 yards of twine
  • 14 ounce can for a smaller bracelet or a 20 ounce can for a larger bracelet. Any other round object that has the appropriate circumference for your wrist will do.
1. Wrap one end of the twine around the can to shape an X. Leave about a 4" tail. You will need this tail at the end to finish the bracelet.
2. Wrap the long end of the twine around the can again and bring it up to the middle of the X. Then pass the long end of the twine under the right, upper leg of the X and pull the long end all the way through.

3. Next, move the upper left leg of the X over the right leg of the X to create an oval shape.

4. Pull the long end of the twine through the oval shaped opening you just set up.

5. Turn the can a bit and you will see that the oval shape has created another X shape. Again, pass the long end of the twine under the right upper leg of the X and pull the end through.
6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until you get to the beginning of your project.
7. You will now find a three-stranded braid. Follow the twine you initially laid out and create a parallel second line. 
8. Continue around the can. If you find that it's getting too tight to pass the twine through the openings, you may want to take the bracelet off the can and continue with the knotting in your hand. If you take it off, be careful not to pull the twine too tight, otherwise your bracelet will shrink on your wrist. 
9. Continue knotting the rope around the bracelet until each strand of the braid has one parallel line — a total of three passes. At this point you can stop or add another three passes to create the traditional pattern of three parallel lines, like the bracelet in the third picture in this step.
10. To finish, just knot the ends together and weave them into the inside of the bracelet.


Handmade Heaven on Governors Island

View of Lower Manhattan from Governors Island

I recently made the easy-breezy trip to the Better Than Jam Summer Pop-Up shop on Governors Island, a project of the Better Than Jam handmade cooperative and The NewNew (see full story posted here a few weeks ago). First, I have to say, How super-easy is it to get there? Not to mention ferry-ride fun? Very.

The shop is housed in Historic Home 6B in the Nolan Park section of the island. The house and setting are just adorable.

Then there's the worn elegance of the shop's interior, which meshes beautifully with the house and setting: Rustic and classy in whitewashed and natural wood, it sets the stage for visitors to fully appreciate the impressive array of locally produced housewares, jewelry, clothing, accessories, stationery, art and toys on offer.

Words don't do it justice so I'll stop my yakety-yak here and just show you some pictures!

Until next time -