Archive | March, 2012

Holiday!

31 Mar

I am so excited to be going on holiday next week!  The last few days have been full of glorious sunshine, but I haven’t been able to enjoy it because of work and I am ready to sit back, relax and make the most of a week of doing as little as possible!

On Monday some of my family and I will be heading off on a boat from Loch Lochy to Loch Ness and back again.  We will be putting along at around 4 miles an hour, taking in the scenery, stopping off at little pubs or villages on the way and sitting out at night with some music and wine.  (That is the plan but this glorious weather is threatening to leave us in the next few days…)

That's right, it's a pub on a boat!

I’m still planning on bringing some crafty things to keep me busy though – knitting and cross stitch which I can do as we meander along the canal.  I’m also planning on bringing my camera and hope to take lots of snaps along the way so I’ll be sure to share them when I get back!  Above is a photo I took a couple of years ago when I last visited Loch Lochy – I hope the pub is still there!

If you’ve got any exciting plans for the Easter holidays feel free to share them in the comments section below!

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Buttons, buttons, buttons!

25 Mar

I seem to have become slightly obsessed with buttons lately…  I love the huge variety of colour and size and they are so versatile!

Larger buttons are perfect for adding a finishing touch to patchwork cushions…

I use the medium sized ones to coordinate with cotton squares to create my fabric button rings…

And the teeny tiny ones can be grouped together to create button jewellery like these new cute button earrings!

I’m planning on making a whole series of these adorable earrings – there are just far too many colour combinations to create and they would be perfect for customising to coordinate with your favourite outfit.  If you want a pair in your favourite colours then just get in touch!

Treasury – Etsy Love Series

13 Mar

My Etsy Love blog series has come to an end and as a thank you to my featured shops I have created this treasury filled with some of my favourite pieces.


16×20 Folk Art Boat Painting…

$98.00

Red Heart Baby Bib, 6 month …

$19.75

Vine Earrings -Wire Wrapped,…

$48.00

Vintage Wood Shoe Shine Box,…

$28.50

Poppies Watercolor Card 5×7

$3.00

Plush Yellow Doll Toy Emmado…

$30.00

Irish Eye – 1inch wood penda…

$5.00

Bird Collage Art Mixed Media…

$55.00

Sea Turtle Plate Blue

$23.99

Dia De Los Muertos Art Print…

$28.00

Lewis Carroll – Who in the W…

$70.00

Gemstone necklace, Aquamarin…

$460.00

girl illustration – black an…

$22.00

OOAK Fabric flower wall art …

$30.00

home sweet home embroidery

$32.00

Amethyst Tree Business Card …

$35.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Etsy Love – When Shutters Click

12 Mar


We come to the end of my Etsy Love series with Natalie from When Shutters Click Gifts who sells handcrafted pendants, greetings cards and other gifts featuring her own photography.  Natalie’s shop is full of beautiful images and I get a wonderful nostalgic feeling when looking through her products.  I love nature and colour and the fact that Natalie’s jewellery and gifts are made using her own original photography make them truly unique.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop.

The name is Natalie and I’m a fun-loving, crafting gal who fell in love with photography at the age of 15. I have always been a very creative, visual person and come from a family of artists; my mother is a writer and my older brother is a jazz/R&B drummer.

When I decided to close my portrait/wedding/commercial photography business after 3 successful years so I could focus on friends, family and my health.. it didn’t take long for me to miss being creative and creating something I could share with others. After a few months, I decided to use my photography, and my love for crafting, to create pieces of jewelry and other accessories.

While still being able to focus on friends, family and health, I am still able to fulfill my need to be creative and share my work with others.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite. 

My favourite piece is my Irish Eye necklace. I love that photograph so much, I have a 16×20 canvas print that I hang in my living room wall. The pendant is created using a high quality glass tile and a silver plated high-shine tray; it is my favourite because it is so bright and happy, it is a great fit for any outfit.

3. What is the biggest milestone you have achieved so far whilst selling on Etsy?

I can’t say that I have hit any yet. My shop is still fairly new, so I can’t celebrate being open for a year or anything like that. I am hoping that in 2012 I will hit the 100 sales milestone, that would be wonderful!

4. What are your future plans for your shop and crafting in general?

I have a number of products waiting to be added to the shop, new styles but also new photographs! I have a very special line of pendants coming out soon for my fellow photographers 😉

I am planning a new blog design and hoping to open a shop, in addition to Etsy, on my website where I can offer other products.

5. And finally let us know where we can find you.

Etsy Shop: http://www.whenshuttersclick.etsy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhenShuttersClickGifts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shuttersclick
Website: http://www.whenshuttersclick.com

 Thanks for sharing with us Natalie, your work is very beautiful.  I know that you will do well on Etsy as you have a truly original product and a brilliant eye for photography – it will just be a matter of time before the sales come flooding in!

I’d like to say thank you to all of my contributors to my Etsy Love series.  It has been a pleasure looking at so many original and beautiful designs and vintage finds.

I will still feature shops from time to time and if you would like me to feature your shop, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Etsy Love – Mayhem Here

11 Mar

We are coming towards the end of my Etsy Love series and today we meet Mallory from Mayhem Here who sells original art and prints.  I love Mallory’s artwork!  The intricate linear designs coupled with the vibrant, fresh colours is a winning combination and creates a very definite style – meaning that Mallory’s work is easily recognisable (something which I bet every artist strives to achieve!)

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop. 

I’ve been painting ever since I was a kid, but never really thought of doing it as anything more than a hobby. As I filled up the walls of my home with my own art, I had so many of my friends and family asking for their own that I decided I might as well go for it and see where it takes me. Three years later and tons of empty paint tubes and I’m here, working for myself and loving every minute of  it. I get to stay home with my son and create fun, colorful paintings that I love.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite. 

It’s really hard to pick a single piece but my favorite to date would have to be my Deer painting.  It is bright and Large (30 x 40″) and is hanging above my bed for me to enjoy everyday. I don’t know if I could even come to sell it one day.

3. What is the biggest milestone you have achieved so far whilst selling on Etsy?

Well I did just reach 50 sales! That felt good, I think it’s logging on everyday and seeing that little blue bubble on my activity lit up. The fact that so many people are liking my work makes me smile.

4. What are your future plans for your shop and crafting in general?

I’d like to incorporate more items featuring my art, magnets and such. I’d hope to someday also get on that front page!

5. And finally let us know where we can find you.

Etsy Shop: http://www.Mayhemhere.etsy.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook/M2studios
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mallorymikeart

Thanks for sharing with us Mallory.  I think it’s wonderful that you have become successful enough to paint for a living which also allows you to spend precious, quality time at home with your family.  I think that this is a dream for a lot of people (I know I would love to craft full time!) and the hard work and creativity has clearly been very rewarding for you.  I wish you all the success with your art and will be keeping an eye on your shop for your latest creations!

Etsy Love – DKF Design

9 Mar


Next up in my Etsy Love series is Donna from DKF Design who sells hand crafted pottery and bags.  Donna’s shop is full of one of a kind wonders and it is clear that each piece has been made with love.  Browsing Donna’s shop gave me a real feeling of serenity.  Her designs are not only beautiful, but practical too and would make great gifts for the home.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop. 

I am a product designer by trade, I have been designing and prototyping soft products for infants and preschoolers for 30 years. Along the way, using upcycled denim and leftover project fabrics, I created tote bags, purses & journals for myself and as gifts for friends. I started making pottery again, as a hobby, and before I knew it, I was selling my bags and pottery at local gift shops. I started my Etsy shop as a way to gain more exposure for my designs and to increase sales opportunities.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite.

I have a favorite line of pieces…my Sea Turtle Stamp plates, platters and bowls…..
I took my family to Maui some years ago for a lovely vacation. We spent most of our time snorkeling and body-surfing. Our favorite beach, Po’olenalena, encompassed a series of craggy rock formations, teeming with marine life that attracted a multitude of sea turtles of all sizes, colors and patterns. My daily snorkeling excursions included many close encounters with these beautiful creatures, as they accompanied me along my explorations, often swimming up directly underneath me, inviting contact as I paddled along the surface of the water. I was continuously overwhelmed by their quiet power and beauty and felt blessed to interact with them.

When I returned from our vacation, I was inspired to develop a sea turtle silhouette image that I could utilize in the creation of my work, to celebrate my love of these beautiful creatures. I adopted the sea turtle image as my Etsy shop avatar and the Sea Turtle Totem as a guide for qualities to strive for in my life. The Indomitable Turtle Totem possesses the following virtues:
Independence, exploration, travel by sea, deeper consciousness, steady energy, joy with present circumstances, self-protection, inner wisdom, strength, steady and long-lasting progress, longevity, patience, the secrets of life, Heaven and Earth.

3. What is the biggest milestone you have achieved so far whilst selling on Etsy?

I recently organized a face-to-face meeting with other Etsy shop owners in my area. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet other creative folks and to discuss issues that affected us all. As a result of that meeting, I have established some collaborative relationships with some of the local talent, and communication about upcoming sales opportunities has opened up amongst the group.

4. What are your future plans for your shop and crafting in general?

I plan to start selling at outdoor art shows this summer. Since I am currently selling through my online Etsy shop and several retail locations, participating in art shows will give me face-time with my customers, which I have not had to date.

5. And finally let us know where we can find you.

Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dkfdesign
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DKFDesign

Thanks for sharing your shop with us Donna!  I think it’s wonderful that you have organised a meet up with local Etsians.  I know I would love to meet my local crafters – I think we can all learn a lot from each other (and of course we know we have a least one thing in common – a love of everything handmade!)  Your pottery is stunning and I wish you every success with your beautiful shop.

Etsy Love – These Tiny Treasures

8 Mar

Next up in my Etsy Love series is Amber from These Tiny Treasures who sells crocheted items, fairy dust jars and Rapunzel hair!  Amber’s shop has a wonderful, magical feel and a hint of childhood innocence about it.  Browsing These Tiny Treasures, it is easy to get lost in a world of make-believe, fairies and pirates!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop.

I am a mother of 4 children, this is why many items in my shop are small and for children. I love being a stay at home mom and watching my children learn and grow. Since my friend opened an Etsy shop about a year ago and had much success, I’ve wanted to also open one.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite.

My favorite piece is probably these fairy dust jars.  I love believing in magical things like a child would. This item is new to my shop and I imagine a bride and her fairy tale wedding running through a rain fall of glitter-it would be perfectly magical and beautiful. The picture that I took with these has china that my great-grandmother bought just after she was married. The hair piece is the one I had from my wedding so even the picture has special meaning to me and I love it!

3. What is the biggest milestone you have achieved so far whilst selling on Etsy?

I think the biggest milestone so far with my Etsy shop was getting to the 50 items point. I really wanted to have 50 before the end of February and I made it!

4. What are your future plans for your business?

Future plans for my shop would be just to expand and hopefully be able to be successful with sales nearly every day. I want to create new ideas and add to my shop.

5. And finally let us know where we can find you.

Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/thesetinytreasures
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thesetinytreasures/295392697183358
Blog: http://www.thesetinytreasures.blogspot.com/

Thank you for sharing with us Amber and for allowing us to delve into your magical shop!  It’s always great to discover something a bit different and I think you will find lots of success with your beautiful shop.  I wish I was young again so I could try on some Rapunzel hair (but I think my colleagues would become slightly worried!)

Etsy Love – Claradolly

7 Mar


Today in my Etsy Love series we chat to Clara from Claradolly who sells cute plush dollies.  Each one of Clara’s dollies has a unique personality and I had a great time browsing Clara’s shop and meeting each of her creations!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop. 

My parents are immigrants from Taiwan. I was born in the US, and I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. I did my Bachelor’s degree in Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master’s degree in Sculpture at the New York Academy of Art. I’m a bit of a contradiction in many ways: during the day I’m a fine artist and a college professor, teaching at Wellesley College and RISD and at night I’m a plush dollmaker and children’s book illustrator/author. I like how both sides of me tap into my creativity in completely different ways. I’m more widely known for my fine arts work, (www.claralieu.com) and so people are frequently surprised when they find out about “Dollies”, since it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum of my fine arts work.

“Dollies” originated back when I was a freshman at RISD and my cast of dolly characters has slowly grown and developed over the years. Back in 2007 I had a store on my website, www.claradolly.com but as my teaching schedule grew heavier I had to close the store and go on hiatus for a few years. Recently my teaching schedule has lightened and I’ve had more time for my own creative projects, so the result of that is I’ve been able to resurrect “Dollies”. I have a few friends with Etsy shops, and from doing my own research, Etsy seemed like an amazing community of artists that would provide an already established platform for my shop. So far it’s been wonderful connecting with everyone and being a part of a lively, vibrant community.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite.

My favorite dolly has to be Emmadolly, I think she’s my favorite because she’s actually a distilled, unfiltered version of myself! One of the primary concepts behind my dolly characters is that everyone’s personality is made up of multiple characters, each of which represent different parts of you. Emmadolly is just one part of my personality: she’s incredibly determined and impatient and has no qualms about expressing her lack of patience regularly. In many ways all of the dollies represent me in some manner, but Emmadolly is definitely the one who is closest to my heart.

3. What is the biggest milestone you have achieved so far whilst selling on Etsy?

I think it would probably be getting my first sale within just a week or so of my shop opening. The thought that someone out there has connected with the work enough to want to own one of my creations is so wonderful.

4. What are your future plans for your shop and crafting in general?

I would like to expand upon my cast of characters, get my work more widely seen, and start doing more custom orders. In the past I’ve made dollies of each of my friends, and some of them tell me that their dolly is one of the best presents they’ve ever gotten. I would love it if someone asked me to design a dolly of themselves, or as a present for someone they know. There’s something about having a doll of yourself that allows for a process of self-analysis that I think is really intriguing. My other thought is to offer a custom set of 5 dolls that represent a single person’s personality. We all have a monster, a bee, a gremlin, etc. in us and I think the idea of making those personalities concrete through plush dolls is just fascinating.

5. And finally let us know where we can find you.

Website: http://www.claradolly.com
Etsy shop: http://www.claradolly.etsy.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/claradolly
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/claralieu
Blog: http://www.claradolly.wordpress.com
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/claradolly

Thank your for sharing your adorable creations with us Clara!  I especially love the fact that you have an Emmadolly – not only do we share the same name, but I too can be very impatient and determined at times!  I just know that your dolls are going to be a huge hit and I wish you lots of success.

Etsy Love – Maddy Wear

6 Mar


Next up in my Etsy Love series is Amanda from Maddy Wear who sells handmade baby bibs, toddler bibs and burp cloths.  I think that Maddy Wear’s slogan fits perfectly – Style with a Purpose.  Each bib design is vibrant and funky and Amanda’s shop has a very striking appeal to it.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop. 

I am 35 year old small business owner with a daughter, Madison, who will be four in May and a great husband of 5 years. The inspiration of Maddy Wear started with the wrestling match that Maddy and I would have at every meal. Madison hated the feeling of standard bibs and would always pull them off or move them, which caused quite a mess and ruined so many outfits. I wanted to find an alternative to taking off all her clothes, so I started experimenting with fabric and a design that she wouldn’t “feel”. Over that next year I tweaked the product and added a custom flannel lining for comfort and durability (also reversible) and switched from Velcro to using snaps for all attachments.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite.

I have so many favorites! I chose one for a boy and a girl and I love the color green. The zoo animal print has been with me for 3 years and I am almost out of the fabric, but it has been a top seller. The green flower style was a great discovery of a new soft duck cloth fabric. This fabric is very durable and stain resistant, so I have found quite a few different styles to incorporate into the Maddy Wear line.

3. What is the biggest milestone you have achieved so far whilst selling on Etsy?

Etsy can be very overwhelming when you start to dig into the layers. When I first opened my shop in October of 2011, I thought my first big hurdle and “goal” in my eyes would be to sell to someone I didn’t know. I spent a lot of time finding appropriate teams and participating in them daily as well as getting my shop “look” and photos up to par. When I sold that bib, I ran around my living room like a crazy woman, because it was a success and wanted to celebrate it! The consistent challenge is to not get discouraged and continue to believe in your product. When you believe, others will too.

4. What are your future plans for your shop and crafting in general?

I wanted to find a way to incorporate matching bib fabric into other products as well as utilize some of the remnant pieces from my bib patterns. I have just started creating burp cloths with standard print, but also some fun designs as well.

5. And finally let us know where we can find you.

Etsy Shop: http://www.maddywear.etsy.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maddywear
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/maddywear
Website: http://www.maddywear.com

Thanks for sharing Amanda – you are a true entrepreneur!  I love the fact that you discovered a problem, realised there was a gap in the market and used your creativity to come up with a solution.  If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!  You have done brilliantly considering the short period of time you have been on Etsy – I know that you will continue to have great success and I wish you all the best!

Etsy Love – Three Summer Days

5 Mar


Next up in my Etsy Love series is Sarah from Three Summer Days who sells artwork based on classic quotes.  Sarah’s work is original, intricate and visually stunning.  I love the unique and creative nature of Sarah’s artwork and I think it would be easy to find the perfect gift for something in this shop.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop.

My name is Sarah Sullivan and I live in the heart of the Midwest with my wonderful husband and 18-month-old daughter Eleanor.

My art was actually something that I shoved to the back burner at a very young age. When I was a child, I drew and painted constantly. I entered art contest after art contest and never won, which made my child-brain deduce this lovely factoid: “I’m not winning, so I must not be good at this.”

With that sobering deduction, I forced myself to seek out other avenues to express my creativity. I eventually settled on writing and literature, two things that set my imagination on fire. However, through my teen years and even college, I’d pick up my paints every once in a while and zone out for hours. However, I still had myself convinced it was something I “wasn’t good at.”

Fast forward to Fall 2011. After a particularly stressful day, my husband and I settled down on the couch to watch a movie. For no reason, I grabbed my sketchbook and began to draw as the movie played. I looked up at what felt like a moment later and the credits were rolling. What I had drawn was a hand featuring the intricate detail-work that runs rampant in my pieces..

I began to paint and draw again and I began to dream. My first and final product concept was to combine two of my great loves, art and literature. So I began to experiment and sketch and paint until I composed the products you see in my shop today.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite.

Ah, that’s so incredibly hard. I would probably have to say my piece inspired by a quote from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” “Be Comforted, Dear Soul.” It was one of my first pieces and one that put my feelings for it through the ringer. I started out the way I usually do, which is to find a quote and paint the background based on how it inspires me. Though I liked parts of the final painting, I really was just not impressed. So I stashed it away for a while.

When I brought it out again, I decided to take a risk. I honestly didn’t think I’d like the piece enough to sell it, so I just began to doodle. What emerged was a flowing, whimsical sun filled with tiny lines and incredible detail. It was the first piece that I had done where everything just came together, where I realized that combined with the painting and drawings, I would have an incredible product. It just worked. That’s the best feeling in the world. That’s probably why it’s my favorite.

3. What is the biggest milestone you have achieved so far whilst selling on Etsy?

Honestly, probably my biggest milestone is just having the shop up and actually selling pieces. I went through a long process of doubting myself and my abilities before I finally just bit the bullet and opened my virtual doors. When it was finally open, I breathed a sigh of relief. When I sold my first piece, my breath caught in my throat again, because all I could think was “I’m really doing this!”

4. What are your future plans for your shop and crafting in general?

Right now, I’m still delving into the rich treasures of quotes offered in public domain. There are so many pieces I want to do and so many books to go through! I also have weddings on the brain. I’m working on pieces that could be gifts from the bride to the groom and vice versa, pieces for reception tables, and Commemorative Wedding Announcements. These pieces would feature a decorative border and have a selection of literature quotes to choose from, very similar to my Commemorative Birth Announcements.

I’d love to make a foray into jewelry at some point. I love the idea of wearable art, so whatever I produce would definitely incorporate my watercolors and inkwork. I’ll probably have to pace myself on that one though..

5. And finally let us know where we can find you.

Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ThreeSummerDaysShop
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Three-Summer-Days/217429284993893
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ThreeSummerDays
Blog: http://threesummerdays.wordpress.com/

Thanks for sharing Sarah, your work is truly stunning and I find your story inspirational.  I think we are all plagued with uncertainty in our work from time to time but in my opinion a big part of becoming successful is having faith and confidence in your own ability.  The chances are that if you enjoy the pieces you produce, then there will be many more people out there who feel the same way and you have shown how important it is to take that leap of faith!  I wish you all the best with your business and look forward to seeing your jewellery in the future.