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  • Join the Meinke Toy Creative Quote Challenge & Win a Shopping Spree!

    Posted: March 11, 2015 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, inspiration, Meinke Toy Giveaway, Mixed Media |Permalink

    MT_FibertoyboxBecause we had such an overwhelming response to our recent giveaway, when many of you submitted your favorite quote, we decided to take it take it to the next level.

    The Challenge
    Create a fiber art/mixed media piece that integrates one of your favorite quotes.  If a quote doesn’t come to mind, here are some  ideas.

    The Guidelines
    Use any fiber or mixed media materials, there is no size or material limit. Just make sure the completed piece includes the quote you have chosen. Submit two images of the completed work to: eleanor@meinketoy.com by April 30, 2015.

    The Winner
    Our winner will receive a $50 shopping spree at MeinkeToy (shipping not included). What a great chance to find supplies and inspiration for your next projects!

    We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

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    Insights for Your Art

    Posted: March 11, 2015 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, inspiration, Meinke Toy Giveaway, Mixed Media |Permalink

    MT_NevertoolateQuotes have a way of getting under your skin. The ones that match your internal ideals or desires end up being the ones that stick with you, reaffirm what you believe, and pull you through a creative funk or block. In the recent MeinkeToy giveaway we asked entrants to share their favorite inspirational quote. We received many great ones, and it was difficult to choose just one! However, as we grow older, it’s easy to feel like the time we have to accomplish our goals is limited, and that is why we chose the George Eliot quote below, submitted by Liz Scheeres DeVree, for our winner.

    “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
    –George Eliot

    Depending on your mood or how your day is going, any of the thoughtful quotes  submitted could be the one that helps you through your day. So enjoy!  

    Join our Creative Quote Giveaway!

    Quotes to Inspire

    • -Leoa Linamen My favorite quote was by my Grandmother. “You can find something good in everyone. Some you just have to look a lot harder for it!”
    • -Christine Walker I have several, but I really like one from FDR. “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”
    • -Kitty Ann “Yes, there is a Nirvana; it is leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem.” –Khalil Gibran
    • -Margaret ONeill Today my favorite quote is, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”
    • -Terri Bartlett My grandma had a saying that rhymed in Spanish, but not English. “You have something for a long time and you never use it, so you throw it away. Then suddenly you need it and the devil laughs at you.”
    • -Connie Leonard-Volkman “When one door closes, another door opens.”
    • -Emma Wiggins “Love is the answer, God is the author!”
    • -Rosanna Delos Santos “Nobody kicks a dead dog.”
    • -Carol Shoaf “No wine before its time.” –Orson Wells
    • -Lyn Belisle “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”–Mark Twain
    • -Belle Starr “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” –Robert Browning
    • -Normajean Brevik “You can’t move forward if you keep looking back.” –Normajean Brevik, Sentiments about Divorce
    • -Lisa Blevis Filion “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh
    • -Ann Hochman “I would like to paint the way a bird sings.” –Claude Monet
    • -Michele Kramer Lasker “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” –Paul Klee
    • -Kay Crete “If thou of fortune be bereft, and in thy store there be but left two loaves, sell one, and with the.dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.” –John Greenleaf Whittier
    • -Ann Welch “The only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude.”
    • -Joday Joseph “To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.”
    • -Jacque Chinnery “You must become the change you want to see in the world.”
    • -Carol Williams Samsel “Life is lived best if we enjoy the day we have to the fullest and accept that tomorrow is only a possibility that can be miraculous.” Carol Samsel
    • -Pat Cooper “I must have flowers, always, and always.” –Claude Monet
    • -Traci Knoell “To be creative, you must first, Create!”
    • -Debbie Shelnutt Katz “Some days you just have to create your own sunshine!”
    • -Nanci Imburgia “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” –Albert Einstein
    • -Jeannette Luther “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
    • -Traci Knoell “The understanding of unconditional love, is simply accepting the love that is given.”
    • -Claudia Marie Felt “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” –W.B. Yeats
    • -Kathie Morgan “A mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
    • -Monika Kinner-Whalen “Langes fadchen, Faulisch madchen.” This means “Long thread, lazy/foolish girl.”
    • -Viki Banaszak “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
    • -Viki Banaszak “And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom.”–Anais Nin

    Join our Creative Quote Giveaway!

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    Win Your Own Copy of Inspirational Quotes Illustrated!

    Posted: January 30, 2015 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, inspiration |Permalink

    MT_GiveawayBook_ArtWords1Get your creative juices flowing! Win your own copy of Lesley Riley’s brand new book

    Inspirational Quotes Illustrated: Art and Words to Motivate

    Do you have a favorite quote? The Meinke Toy Community wants to hear it! Leave your favorite quote here, for the chance to win this amazing new book!

    Now it’s your turn! Add your favorite quote to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/meinketoy


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    Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue & Here is a Fun Valentine’s Special for You!

    Posted: January 30, 2015 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, fiber art holiday special, New |Permalink


    To show how much we love you, we have set up a Valentine’s Specials Page.   We’ve pulled together some of our favorite products that are pink, purple and red, along with other products with a Valentine’s Day feel to them, to get your creative juices flowing.  

    Receive a 5% discount on your entire order (excluding shipping), through February 14*! 

    Yes, that’s right, 5% off your entire order, not just those products on the Valentine’s Day page!

    *Just enter VALENTINE in the coupon code when you check out to receive 5% off your entire order.  We will continue to add new products, so check back often.  There is no limit on how many times you can use the 5% discount.


    Artist: Eleanor Love, Owner of Meinke Toy

    Did you know that “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…” is probably the most well know line of verse associated with Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day had its origins in ancient Rome with the celebration of the pagan feast of Lupercalia in the month of February.  The Feast of Lupercalia celebrated the founding of Rome and was also associated with fertility and the protection of the flocks and crops.  There was also another Roman festival taking place in February.  During that festival it was the custom of young men to draw the names, in a lottery, of young girls who would be their partners during the celebration.

    Now enters Christianity.  It is well documented that there were several saints named Valentine, all of whom lived about the same time.  There are various legends associating one or more of them with Valentine’s Day.  One of my favorite legends is about a Roman priest who was sympathetic to the early Christians, which at that time was a crime.  Because of his assistance to the Christians, he was arrested, imprisoned and condemned to death. According to the legend, he fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailor, and miraculously restored her sight.  The night before his execution, he is said to have written her a farewell love message that he signed “From your Valentine.”  A-h-h-h-h, how sweet.


    Artist: Eleanor Love, Owner of Meinke Toy

    You might be asking yourself what the connection is between pagan festivals, the execution of a Christian martyr and our custom of exchanging cards and candy on Valentine’s Day.  Well, as Christianity began to spread, the Church was confronted with the problem of dealing the various pagan customs practiced by the Romans, who were newly converted to Christianity.  Realizing that it would be almost impossible to eradicate their pagan celebrations, the Church felt that it would be wiser to incorporate the various feasts and practices into Christian celebrations.  As the centuries wore on, so did the celebrations associated with early Christianity.  In medieval days, the names of young men and women were put into boxes and drawn out in pairs on February 14.  So, the custom of drawing names in a lottery was replaced with exchanging gifts and cards, sometimes anonymously, just in case the “valentine” was intercepted by someone other than the recipient.

    From pagan Roman festivals, to Christian martyrs, to today’s modern celebration, February 14 and the name of Saint Valentine have become synonymous with love, courtship and marriage. Looking for more Valentine’s Inspiration? Go right over to our  Valentine Specials Page!


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    The 12 Days of Christmas Are Here!

    Posted: December 24, 2014 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, Meinke Toy Story |Permalink

    MT_12DaysWe are all familiar with the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but do you know what it refers to?  “The Twelve Days of Christmas” refers to the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany, or from December 25 until the eve of January 6.  January 6, Epiphany, is referred to as “Three Kings Day” or simply “Days of the Kings.”  Epiphany celebrates the day that the Three Wise Men, the Magi, arrived to present Jesus with their gifts. Christmas is celebrated on December 25, but in some cultures, gifts are given on each of the twelve days and in others, gifts are given on January 6.

    In celebration of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” MeinkeToy is offering a 10% discount on all items from December 25 through midnight EST January 5.  Just enter 12Days in the coupon code when you check out. 

    We will be putting up new, exciting products through “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Watch every day to see what’s new!

    Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season, and celebrate give yourself a gift during the 12 Days of Christmas!

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    Meet the Fabulous Ms. Love & Her Inspiring Passion for Fiber Art

    Posted: December 23, 2014 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art |Permalink
    Lyn Belisle, Rune and Relic Bundles (detail) 2014

    Lyn Belisle, Rune and Relic Bundles (detail) 2014

    “Every time I purchase something new for the shop, my heart starts racing and I am lost in the land of possibilities.” ~ Eleanor L. Love

    Many of my fiber artist friends whose work is in the current FASA Exhibit know about MeinkeToy – if you don’t, here’s your chance to learn. I asked Eleanor to share some thoughts about the business of fiber art and mixed media. When you read to the end, you’ll see her list of fiber art trends and exciting new products for 2015 (plus a special discount for SHARDS readers).

    Lyn : Eleanor, thanks for sharing with the SHARDS readers. I know from your bio that you were a fan of MeinkeToy long before you bought the company in 2012. As an active fiber artists, how does it feel to own the business you used to buy from? Do you find yourself too busy running the company to do much creative work of your own? Or does it give you more inspiration and access than ever? (at left: Lyn Belisle, Amate Bundle, 2014)

    Eleanor: I have been knee-deep in fiber art, painting and collage for about the last 20 years.  Prior to that, from about age 13 until my twenties, I made all of my own clothes, plus clothes for my siblings and Mother.  Then there was a long period of time when I didn’t have time to do anything creative.  All of my energies were put into my career and raising my family.  A friend introduced me to traditional quilting, and I can’t even count the number of quilts that I started and never finished. 

    Lyn Belisle, Amate Bundle, 2014

    Lyn Belisle, Amate Bundle, 2014

    My introduction to art quilting opened a whole new world for me.  I didn’t have to use a pattern and cut out tiny pieces of fabric and sew them back together. I could do whatever I wanted!  I started buying new, cutting edge fiber art supplies from Deb Meinke at MeinkeToy.  Back in early 2012, when I found out that Deb Meinke was going to close her wonderful online shop to move on to other interests, I jumped on the chance to change her mind and let me purchase the business.  I was so happy that I would be able to carry on the MeinkeToy tradition of bringing unique, hard-to-find products to the marketplace.  I haven’t had too much time to do my own creative work over the last 2-1/2 years.  Running MeinkeToy, plus another business that I have, has me working two full time jobs.  I haven’t lost my inspiration yet.  Every time I purchase something new for the shop, my heart starts racing and I am lost in the land of possibilities.

    Lyn: MeinkeToy is a wonderful online shop with lots of unusual products for the mixed media and fiber artists. I love your Abaca Tissue paper, for example. Do you select the products yourself? And, if so, what makes you say, “Aha, that’s a winner!”

    Eleanor: I am the chief cook and bottle washer at MeinkeToy, I do it all.  I select all of the products myself.  I started out with the base of products that Deb Meinke had been selling and have expanded the products carried from that starting point.  I spend several hours a week on the internet sourcing products. Finding unique items that can’t be purchased in some of the big box craft stores (no names mentioned) is a huge challenge.  When I see something that really excites me, I purchase it for the shop.  I know that not everyone’s tastes are the same and I try to keep that in mind, but if it isn’t a good quality product and doesn’t interest me, I feel it won’t be of much interest to anyone else either. 

    Lyn: You have an inside track on what fiber/mixed media artists are buying and using – do you see a trend toward more non-traditional work and away from such formats as block-pieced quilting? What products are your most popular?

    MT_Blog4Eleanor: I think that the market has grown to accommodate both traditional and non-traditional fiber and mixed media artists.  My experience has been that individuals that are immersed in traditional quilting tend to stay away from anything that is non-traditional.  I gave a presentation at a quilt guild not too long ago on art quilts, and one of the members came up to me afterwards and said that all “of that other stuff” scared her.  She just wasn’t interested in trying something new, and that is fine.  I do think that the emphasis on art quilts and using non-traditional materials has been fueled by all of the wonderful teachers out there who have spent the time experimenting with new products, and then go out and teach it, as well as all of the great books that have been written.  Same thing applies for mixed media.  There is such a cross-over between fabric and paper and what you can create. Some of my most unusual products are Evolon and Evolon Soft, Abaca Tissue, Crystal Spunbond, Heat-Distressable tissue, as well as some of the other man-made spunbond fibers that I import from the U.K.

    Lyn: When we talked on the phone, you remarked that you can run your online art and fiber supply company from almost anywhere. That’s fascinating! Is there a brick-and-mortar MeinkeToy shop? Will there be?

    Eleanor: That’s right, that is the benefit of an online company.  MeinkeToy is only online and I have no plans to ever open a shop.  Right now, I can run MeinkeToy from anywhere that has UPS, FedEx and a Post Office.  I really like the flexibility that this business affords me.

    Lyn: The 40th Annual Fiber Artists of San Antonio Juried Exhibition is on exhibit now at Say Si! Gallery and the juror, Barbara Schneider, is known for her sculpturally contoured dimensional work. Is this 3-D approach to fiber construction going to be the next new thing?

    Eleanor: There are already some remarkable artists making 3-D fiber constructions.  The structures can be built to stand up by using heavy duty stabilizers, or they can be more rigid, using wire mesh or wire cloth as the structure.  There is a really interesting product that is fairly new to the market that I am taking a look at.  It stiffens fabric so that it can be sculpted.  As soon as I have done all of my research, I might just decide to carry it.  Actually, I can hardly wait to get it and try it out myself.

    Lyn: Tell us little about your own work – what are you working on now, and what are your influences and passions? Do you have a favorite artist mentor?

    MT_Logo1Eleanor: My own work is all over the place.  My favorite medium is what I happen to be working with at the moment.  I love to paint and collage, scan the image into my computer, do some alterations in Photoshop and then print the image out onto silk fabric or onto a transfer paper, such as Transfer Artist Paper (TAP), which I then transfer onto fabric, generally silk.  Same thing for my photography.  That way I have fabric and images that are unique.  I then heavily embellish them with stitching and beading.  I have always had an appreciation for all forms of art and art from different cultures. I am always reading and looking at art books.  I love pattern, texture, color and design.  

    Even though we might not realize it, everything we look at informs our visual vocabulary.  It’s all there in our heads, just waiting for us to draw down on it.  I am currently in the process of making samples using products that I sell on MeinkeToy.  I don’t have a favorite artist mentor. I appreciate all of the great artists that are out there doing their work.  I don’t have an art degree, and everything I have learned has been through classes I have taken and books I have read.  In the end, I always seem to come back to fabric. 

    Lyn: Finally, please tell us about which new product at MeinkeToy you’re most excited about as we go into 2015, looking for artistic inspiration and fresh ideas.

    Eleanor: As far as what 2015 will look like, I have quite a back log of well over 100 new products to get up on the website.  I am in the process of having a new website set up, so I have been holding off putting up products on the existing site so I would just have to do it once on the new website.  It is taking much longer than I expected, so starting in the next few weeks, there will be lots of new products on the existing MeinkeToy website.  I am excited about so many items that I have a hard time narrowing it down.  I have purchased two other fiber art and mixed media businesses that I am merging into MeinkeToy.  There will be lots of new fibers, fabulous embellishments, some tribal and ethnic embellishments, some collections of vintage French fabrics that will be sold as kits, authentic African fabrics that will be sold as kits, lots of new hand dyed fabrics, fibers for felting and the list goes on and on. 

    I like to think of myself as a facilitator.  I put products into the hands of people who are looking for something new and exciting to work with.  If anyone ever has any questions about products, I encourage them to contact me by email or phone.  I have always enjoyed helping other people.

    I would like to extend an offer to the SHARDS readers by offering them a 10% discount on their order (not including shipping) through the end of December.  Just enter SHARDS10 as the coupon code when checking out.

    Lyn: Eleanor – you are amazing. I have learned so much from you. Thanks for sharing!

    You can contact Eleanor L. Love at MeinkeToy Fiber Art and Mixed Media Supplies via email or by phone: eleanor@meinketoy.com and/or 800-330-5663. Check out the Extensive MeinkeToy catalog here.

    This interview originally appeared on Earth Shards.

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