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Made by Mom Gift Guide: See Sally Skip's collages feature retro images, items

Posted December 11, 2011

It's not unusual to find Kristin Sydow pouring over outdated encyclopedias and decades-old children's books with scissors in hand.

Sometimes she laughs out loud when she finds a particularly old-fashioned page - a how-to for kids on how to drink from a water fountain or a page from an old children's science book on whether you can get warts from toads (the answer is no).

"I think it's hysterical," she tells me.

Sydow turns the vintage pictures and retro images that she finds into 3D collage art pieces as part of her business See Sally Skip. Sydow, the mom of three, is part of our Made by Mom Gift Guide. Kristin Sydow of See Sally Skip Made by Mom Gift Guide: See Sally Skip

Sydow went to art school in New York at The Fashion Institute of Technology. For a time, she worked for Liz Claiborne as a textile buyer. She's always been crafty and drawn to retro and vintage items.

"I love to be surrounded by unique, handmade items in my home," she tells me. "I like to create things I've never seen done before. I like mixing textures - soft and hard, smooth and rough, dull and shiny, and I'm drawn to mosaic-type patterns."

Those loves eventually turned into her creating the collages. She searches for images in books and magazines from the 1950s to the 1970s and attaches them to wooden tiles. She puts them together to create the pieces, which are framed in a shadowbox. She often includes small, well-loved toys or jewelry that she's found along the way. She also creates gift bags full of hand-sewn note cards, a journal and gift tags using nearly all of an old Golden Book.

Each piece usually has a theme. Frogs, cowboys and a turtle were part of a piece called "Boys will be Boys." "First Comes Love" shows pictures of engagement rings, brides and a baby.

The business has given Sydow something to do after leaving her job almost two years ago after the adoption of her son Eli, who is four. Eli and Sydow's biological daughter Stella are just eight days apart. Her son Jack is 6.

"Really it's a nice stress relief for me," she said. "I can sit down and relax and I enjoy it."

With the help of a neighbor who fell in love with her work, Sydow launched her website and Etsy shop in July. And this spring, she plans to show at local arts and crafts festivals.

Her hope is that she gets the same reaction that she received at a show a couple of months ago. A woman was looking at a piece that heralded the goodness of milk.

"She started cracking up," Sydow said. "That's exactly the reaction I want."

Hear more from Sydow and see some of her work in the video. Go to See Sally Skip's website for more information.

Sydow is part of our Made by Mom Gift Guide. The guide features a dozen local moms and the products they create. We'll feature our final mom on Thursday.

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