Feature Me Friday: Miss Courageous

This week we feature Trashionista Millie Hilgert aka
Miss Courageous and Buckle Up!
Millie comes to us from lovely Boise, Idaho.

Who is Miss Courageous?
Miss Courageous is a mother, a sister, a friend, a mentor, an inspiration. She is strong, adventurous, brave, creative, independent, heroic. There’s a little Miss Courageous in everyone. Millie Hilgert designs and makes all Miss Courageous jewelry & accessories. Everything she makes used to be something else. Call it upcycling, recycling, repurposing, eco-friendly, crafting green, re-use, reinvent, or redesign. Whatever you call it, ultimately it means you get something fresh, fun and new from something that reminds you of your childhood. From vintage game pieces and record vinyl to bottle caps and altered LEGO bricks, Miss Courageous transforms pop culture into Pop Jewelry and Accessories for you and your home.

What’s the first thing you remember making?
I remember kindergarten crafts with glue and macaroni, and yarn on tin cans.

Where do you work?
I am lucky to have a really great studio space in my basement. And you’re lucky enough to catch it while it’s clean.

Why work with recycled materials?
I have always been fascinated with history, restoration, and transformation. I live in a 100 year old house and drive a 1963 ford falcon wagon. Similarly, the materials I use all have a history & a story that makes the finished product much more interesting & fun.

What are your favorite tools?
My dremel, my drillpress, and my band saw, yep, I’m a girl that loves power tools!

What music do you listen to while you’re working?
If my husband is home sometimes I get to listen to him working on a new song, but usually I play old school 80s alternative on my i-pod or Pandora.

How do you get from A to Z?
Fueled by coffee, driven by the desire to create something out of the unexpected, helped (with a small h) on occasion by an enthusiastic 5 year old, and propelled by a warped sense of humor and large dose of sarcasm.

What are the five best things you’ve purchased on etsy and where did you find them?
Okay, not necessarily in this order:
• MixedSpecies “today I am not a ho” t-shirt for my husband, these guys are simply hilarious
• My fleece slugs from supersugarrayray are a wardrobe staple for any super hero, especially at an outdoor winter market, I love them so much I’m on my 2nd pair.
• “there is a light” print from onetwofivego it’s a smith’s quote and hanging proudly in my kitchen
• A cool vintage condiment holder from vintagebyalexkeller
• & my logo… I had it designed by etsy seller kieutiepie

What do you do for fun?
Peruse thrift stores, drink coffee or wine with good friends, spend time with my family and creating, yeah, my work is fun!

Who inspires you?

Random strangers, Monet, Warhol, Seth Godin, and Doctor Seuss.

Read any good books lately?
Amy Sedaris’ SIMPLE TIMES, crafts for poor people & REWORK by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Been to any great exhibits?
Do you mean lately? Does a LEGO® convention count?
How do you promote your work?
Aside from the usual, facebook, twitter, a sadly neglected blog… I also have my logo on the back window of both my cars, my everyday Honda Element and my 1963 ford falcon wagon that I use for hauling my things to the weekly market. I give out pin-back buttons with my logo with Etsy purchases, at the market, and at random places. I’ve actually turned unsuspecting flair wearers into customers. I silkscreened my logo onto re-usable tote bags to give with purchases at events. I donate items to local charity auctions, making sure to give them plenty of business cards. I wear my products, everywhere. I belong to a local Etsy team, Idaho Indie Works and also another local artist group, Treasure Valley Artist Alliance. This might sound silly, but I have a business debit card that I use for almost everything, everybody always asks “what’s Miss Courageous?”

Besides Etsy, where can we find you work?
I’m at the Capital City Public Market downtown Boise every Saturday from mid April thru Christmas, I also sell at a local artists co-op ( and at a illuminate salon in downtown Boise. I also participate in local art & craft shows and lately have been vending at LEGO conventions around the Northwest.

What’s in your future?
I will continue to create new products and add them to my Esty lineup. I have a few very fun new belt buckle ideas in the works as well as some new houseware items I’ve been toying with. My daughter starts school next fall so I’m looking forward to having more uninterrupted time to create.

Have any words of wisdom?
“Be heroic.” This was told to me by a drawing teacher during my brief stint at art school, I wasn’t filling the entire page and he was encouraging me to do something big. But it stuck with me over 20 years and has been a constant reminder in many situations.

Check out Millie's work on Etsy at Miss Courageous and Buckle Up
Or on her blog Images &

Text © Millie Hilgert


Rachael Brooke Winkley said...

lovely interview - thanks Miss Courageous for sharing!

junckshop said...

Super interview! I love your workshop!

kimmy said...

WOW! what a great studio!!

Anyone's Guess said...

Hi Millie, enjoyed reading your interview. Love your domino bracelet and the lego bracelet, too.
Anyone's Guess