Carly Rubach

A visit to Madam Chino’s Look Nook

By - Aug 21st, 2011 04:00 am

Vanessa Andrew and friend. All photos by the author.

I met Vanessa Andrew when she kindly offered up her space and skills for the 2011 Etsy Craft Party in Milwaukee. I arrived early to the Brewer’s Hill warehouse just off Pleasant St., climbed a few flights of stairs and found myself in a tight, imaginative space. I felt like a woodland creature in a whimsical paper forest.

The storefront section is filled with vintage and handmade goods, the walls are covered in painted foliage and several shelves of fabric lead you into the office/chill area. We set up tables covered with cutting mats and supplies in the dim hallway, lit by a few spotlights.

I put out snacks while Vanessa used black permanent marker and brown craft paper to create a rug for the small space off the hallway. She was looking for a way to tie the room together and she totally nailed it. Who does that?

What struck me most about Vanessa was her willingness to share not only her ideas, but her supplies and equipment as well. Each Saturday, she hosts a Craft Night in her space. Some nights, you bring items to work with, and other nights she’ll have everything you need. One evening, for example, involved pieces of sliced tree limbs and wood burning tools—Vanessa guides you through techniques and encourages spontaneity in the process.

I attended my first craft night last week for the “Choptop” pony beads and ladder weave edition. I brought a few beers, an old Neil Young concert tee and we circled up on the floor and got to work. Vanessa casually taught us the ladder-weave technique, and we zoned out to creative la-la land with some sweet tunes to keep everyone humming along.

“How could there only be five of us here?” I kept thinking in my brain. Wake up Milwaukee! Craft Nights at Madam Chino’s Look Nook are the bee’s knees. Meet people who like to make stuff. What have you got to lose?

Check out the latest Craft Night calendar and find more information here. The Look Nook store hours vary, so feel free to check out Madam Chino’s Etsy page in the meantime, or visit her on Saturdays at the Eastside Green Market from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.:


The CHOPTOP comes in many forms, and was most definitely a hit at my Sunday volleyball league. I will teach you the ladder-weave technique that I learned from Vanessa with the aide of a few visuals.


-old, awesome T-shirt that is about to get more awesome
-pony beads
-scissors or rotary cutter


Step One:

Fold your tshirt where you want the braided ladder-weave look. Cut in about 2” and continue making the cuts down about an inch apart. This will create slits down the front and back.


Step Two:

Open the shirt and work with the top layer first. Pull the top “ladder strip” over the second strip.

Step Three:

Pull the top strip down to create an opening.

Step Four:

Grab the next strip below and pull that over and through the opening you just created.

Step Five:

Pull strip down to create an opening and repeat the process.

Step Six:

Once you get to the bottom, you can take a couple pieces of your fringe to tie the weave in place—a simple knot will do.


Confusing? Visit Madam Chino’s Look Nook and she’ll show you how it’s done!

0 thoughts on “TCDIY: A visit to Madam Chino’s Look Nook”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Here’s the exact link for the Look Nook Craft Night calendar:

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cute idea!

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