Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Featured Etsian... ShabbyNChic!

Sally: What brought you to Etsy?
Jody: I heard about Etsy on a morning TV show years ago and always thought it was such a neat idea.  I finally decided to open a shop in order to devote more time to my hobby and consequently, myself.  I have 2 young children and work 4 part-time jobs with only about 3-6 hours of child care a week, so I need a break as often as I can get it.  When I am painting, I can think and not be running, running, running.

Sally: Who or what  inspires your creations?
Jody: Anything and everything!  I usually let the piece determine what it will look like.  It sounds odd, but I let each one "speak to me".  Just looking at it, thinking about it, sometimes even dreaming about it will tell me what color to paint it and what else to do with it.  I think that part is so fun.  Some pieces I have for months because I am waiting for inspiration to strike and it takes more time for some pieces.  To help jumpstart inspiration I often browse antique shops and look through home decorating magazines.

Sally: What time of day do you work best and why?
Jody: Early afternoon because that is when my daughter naps.  Evenings are also good because then my husband is home so I can go out in the garage and work.

Sally: Who do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?
Jody: I definitely market to women!  Women of every age have bought from me and tell me they enjoy my work, but I rarely have men interested - go figure!  It's funny at craft fairs when women come up and say "Oh, look honey.  Isn't it so pretty?" and the husbands try (unsuccessfully) to look interested.

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why?
Jody: Anything wood.  I love painting!  I also enjoy pieces that I can add a little more to, whether it be decorative knobs or hooks or paper.  I get to be more creative with those items.

Sally: What is your favorite beverage while you work?
Jody: Since I'm painting I don't eat or drink while I work.

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Jody: I do some stationery (e.g. cards), but I am not good at the fancy cards with all of the intricate cutting and pieces that some people add to them.  I am working on it, but am content with my stlye being simple.  I like simple things.

Sally: If you could interview your main influence who would it be and what would you ask?
Jody: My main influence in everything I do is my grandmother who grew up during the depression.  She passed when I was in high school, but what an amazing woman!  I would ask her:
- What is something you never got to do in your life that you would have loved to have done?
- What do you think is the worst change and the best change you see in the world?
We were very close, so I think I already know the answers to anything else I would think to ask.

Sally: What do you listen to while you work? While you don’t work?
Jody: I always think it's funny that I usually listen to R&B, pop, and hip-hop music when I work.  It energizes me.  I listen to different music depending on my mood: love R&B, jazz, oldies/50's, late '60's - I love the Beatles!

Sally: Do you have any deals or promos to share?
Jody: I try to offer everything in my shop at low prices, so I rarely have sales.  I always offer discounted shipping for multiple purchases.  Due to some time off from all of my jobs, I am currently adding many items to my shop, so you will find a lot of new pieces!

Jody, thank you for letting us get a glimpse into your world!  I love getting to know other Etsians.

Followers, I love sharing with you!  If you know anyone you'd like to nominate, or if you'd like to submit to the blog make sure you submit to the blog in the sidebar!  And as always... you are the best fans EVER!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tutorial... how to get your pics to fit in Etsy's gallery mode with paint.net

        There are probably many ways to do this... this is the way I've figured out how to do this using www.paint.net, which is

#1. FREE
#2. Very similar to photoshop

If you frequent Etsy you know you there are two ways to view shop pages, in Gallery Mode & in List Mode. In List Mode the product photos are square, in Gallery Mode they are 155 x 125 pixels.  This was the most noticable in my husbands shop, LampLightPottery, where his pictures of the ceramic vases were chopped off at the top and bottom.  This is my solution to that problem:
Click "File" then "Open..." to find your photo...

Find your file location and click "Open"...

Select your "Rectangle Tool"...

Above your photo click "Normal" and select "Fixed Ratio" from the drop down menu...

Make the width "155" and your height "125"...

Right click in the top left corner of your photo and drag your selection to the bottom of the photo...

Select the "Move Selection" tool and adjust your highlighted area...

Click on the "Image" and choose "Resize" from the drop down menu...

With the "Maintain aspect ratio" box checked make the width of your photo "1000" pixels...

Click "File" and "Save As..." from the drop down menu...

Choose the location on your computer to save your photo & type in your photo name, click "Save"...

Click "OK" or hit enter to save your "Save Configuration"...

And your done!  You can use this as a basic tutorial for adjusting your photos and change your resizing size, or anything else that you'd like to change to suit your needs.  There are many more options that you can use to adjust your photos, this is the basics to show how to make the most out of your shop in Gallery Mode!  Good luck!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Local Yokel Yuletide Craft Swap at Paradigm Coffee & Music!

On December 20th my family packed up our wares and headed down to our favorite coffee shop in Sheboygan Wisconsin, Paradigm Coffee & Music.  They were holding a very laid back type of craft fair... The Second Annual Local Yokel Craft Swap.  Kate, the owner of Paradigm, was telling me a bit about how the swap part came about.  She told me that last year when they had the event there was a big snowstorm & the only people that were there were the vendors, so they swapped wares.  She didn't charge us for a spot, it was come with what you've got & have fun type of event.  I haven't done a craft show in years, so it was a good way to get back into the swing of things.  Mike brought his pottery, I brought my journals & sketchbooks, Ashley brought jewelry, and Emily brought her drawings.

Ashley was a huge help, and discovered that she really loved bending wire to make earrings.  She made a few pairs of earrings and put them on the table, she also helped with anything we needed, she's the best assistant EVER!  She helped out with the baby a little, helped her sister with a sign for her shop, helped us set up, and most importantly kept me company.  I think the best part of the day for her was looking at all the wonderful items the girl next to us had.  She got a toothbrush bracelet, a record bowl, an elephant card, and a ribbon... ALL UPCYCLED.  Ashley was in heaven looking at all the wonderful things that Willa made.  Ashley says we should hang out with Willa more :)  I think she just wants to figure out how she made that tie dress she was wearing.
As I said, it was a selling venue, but also a chance to swap if we choose to.  It was like Christmas had come early for me... thank you Mike :)  A lot of the vendors wanted to trade for a mug, and Mike was very great about letting me get what I wanted.  I got a really neat necklace made out of a door latch.  I love it!  I traded a journal for a great cap for Emily, she wore it to bed the first night she had it... it apparently makes her dream of unicorns and faeries.  I'm surprised she takes it off at all.  I think my favorite item I traded for were 2 CD's.  My old bass teacher was there & traded 2 of his newest CD's for a mug & a few buttons.  This guy is one of the most patient guys I've ever met.  He is so talented and is always traveling to Europe for gigs, so I really lucked out that he was there in the first place, but to get some MUSIC... his website, Cedarwell!  Like I said... Christmas come early for me :)

And then there was Emily...  if you know Emily you know how out going she is.  She is very proud of her mommy & daddy, and LOVES Etsy!  She assumed everyone there sold on Etsy, because why wouldn't they, right?  She wanted to set up her own table, so she started at a coffee table in the corner... well that wasn't working because no one was coming by her.  She tried setting up with Mike & I, but apparently our stuff was in her way.  She eyed a table that was empty, and kind of claimed it.  She sat next to a really nice person... who also sells on Etsy (hi mary!... her shop MaryMule)  :D  She heard all about us... I'm still not sure what Emily was telling everyone.  We had printed out one of her pictures on photo paper before we left.  She brought a clipboard also, so she could create while she waited for customers.  She didn't do too much waiting.  She made a few drawings and proceeded to walk around and ask people if they wanted to buy one of her drawings.  After the first hour she had a crocheted flower pin & a handful of $1's.  It's a wonderful thing to have no inner critic or fears of failure.  All the people there were wonderfully supportive to her.  When I asked her secret she said.... "number 1, H E L L O" and walked away proud as a peacock.  She even used all of her money to buy gifts for all the other kids.  She bought her older sister the elephant card & toothbrush bracelet, she bought her younger sister a little taggie plush from the person next to her (again, hi mary!), and she bought another for my friend, Jen's (another etsian) baby.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lemon & Lime

I can always manage to find an owl...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My first year on Etsy...

At this time last year I was sitting down to try to figure out everything I could about this wonderful handmade marketplace!  From the chat rooms, to the virtual labs, to the storque.  I opened my shop, read articles, asked how to throw stuff in labs, wondered how to put a picture up on the side there in the chat rooms.  You know, the important questions.  In a year I feel I have come a long way, and my shop is now my baby I love & care for!  I have gotten a complete overhaul of my look, from banner & avi to a custom blog & twitter by The Speckled Pear.  My pictures have changed through the year, and will continue to be tweaked & improved.

One of the things I am most excited about for the coming year is my ability to screen print my covers!  I love the fact that I can customize them and add some of my personality instead of depending on that great paper find... although I'm sure I'll still hunt down wonderfully designed papers!  My owl journal has become my new great thing!  I love those little guys.  Speaking of the owl journals...  The winner of my Owl Journal Giveaway is frekkles!  Congrats, I'll get that shipped out ASAP!

And for the most important thing about this past year on Etsy... it has been the people.  I am touched every time I get a convo about how wonderful someone thinks one of my journals are, or the paragraph of feedback I'll get every once in a while from a very happy customer.  All of my wonderful fans have been so supportive & encouraging.  You don't know how much that has meant to me & my craft.  I can't say these people are customers... they are friends.  THANK YOU ALL!

I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for my little shop :)  I'll keep chugging along!

Follow me on FaceBook... http://www.facebook.com/NightOwlCraftworks
And on twitter... http://twitter.com/nightowlcraft

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 17th, One Year of Etsy!

I can't believe it, only 6 more days!!!  

This is it!  I saved the best for last!  If you haven't won a givewaway yet, you are welcome to enter!

My newest project has been these wonderful screen printed Little Hoot journals...
If you win you will get your choice: teal, naturale, or punk!

What you need to do to participate:

: : Follow my blog, and leave a comment.

: : Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/nightowlcraft and tweet the giveaway.  Don't forget to leave a comment.

: : Become a facebook fan!  http://www.facebook.com/NightOwlCraftworks?ref=nf
Psst... 1 comment = 1 entry!

: : Comment on an item in my shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/nightowlcraftworks

: : Add my button to your blog... get 2 entries!  (Leave a comment for that too!)

EACH COMMENT will be counted as an entry and I will use a randomizer to pick the winner.

I will be drawing the winner on December 17th at 12pm est

Drum roll please... and the winner of last weeks giveaway is...

A new line of journals...

My new line of screen-printed owl journals!  I hope you all love them as much as I do!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Featured Etsian... AnnabelsAprons

Sally:  What brought you to Etsy?
   Ann:  I first discovered Etsy from my adult son and his wife. I had never heard of it, and certainly did not know there was a homemade/handmade community out there waiting for ME to join. :D I am so glad I was told about it! 
   Sewing has been a part of my life since I was in high school, taking a home economics class, and learning the fundamentals of the craft. I’ve sewn off and on over the years, but recently have become more engrossed in it, with the idea of creating unique designs of aprons, and headbands. I had no idea the addiction to the design, color and texture of fabric I would have. I love coordinating colors and design. I have created my own styles of aprons with the exception of one, which has been modified for the better, I think. I have tried to capture a modern, yet whimsical style of apron, that will have everyone dancing in their kitchens. Recently, I have expanded my line to dresses and smock shirts, and soon I would like to add skirts.

   My goal is to make someone smile when they are looking at, or using, or wearing something that I have created! Etsy has been a way for me to show the world my designs and make that goal a reality!

Sally:   Who or what inspires your creations?

   Ann:  Nowadays people are entertaining more in their homes versus eating out. With the help of the food network and some great food personalities, cooking and sharing your meal at home has become a great form of entertainment. Aprons should be an integral part of ANY meal preparation and presentation, so I have tried to create a fun and fanciful apron that begs to be put worn, not just a layer of protection against spatters and spill, but with personality that completes you, like when you add that "perfect" accessory to your wardrobe. 
   My vendor/craft apron was inspired by other crafters, who were looking for an apron to wear at their shows that would keep everything important right within reach, business cards, pens, cell phones, keys, money, etc... The vendor/craft apron has been a popular item.

Sally:  What time of day do you work best and why?

   Ann:  I definitely work best in the mid morning! Especially when I have the sun shining in my work room! I'm just more awake then. I have learned that I just can't sew at night! My straight lines that I pride myself on, "take a turn" for the worse when I do. Now, if I was doing my art, I would have to say, night time is best! Put some music on, pour myself a glass of wine, and oh the creativity that is unleashed is so fun and surprising!

Sally:  Who do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?

   Ann:  Well since everyone has to cook, and would like to keep your outfit clean, I would say, my apron could potentially appeal to everyone. It seems men are doing a lot more cooking/grilling these days, so I market my men's chef's aprons to them. Since my vendor/craft aprons have been purchased by teachers, florists, gardeners and more, I try to market to anyone who just wants to keep organized with whatever task they have. 

Sally:  What item do you work on the most and why?

   Ann:  I would have to say that my full apron is the most popular. I seem to be making that style the most. My cupcake fabric has been hands down a favorite fabric style! 

Sally:  What is your favorite beverage while you work?

   Ann:  I usually just keep my water bottle with me while I work, but I do have my daily cup of herbal tea. It's just perfect in the afternoon. Must be that English blood in me. :D

Sally:  What is something you don't do well, that you would like to do better?

   Ann:  I am not as efficient with my time as I would like to be. I get sidetracked with too many things. Perhaps that is just a part of having my business in my home. But I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Sally:  What do you listen to while you work?

   Ann:  My daughter turned me on to Pandora Radio recently, where you type in the genre of music you like to listen to, or the artists and Pandora finds similar music to that. I love it!! Music definitely helps me work better!

Ann... thank you so much for letting us get a little peek into your world!  I remember when you were first starting out, you've come a long way baby!

Readers... thanks for joining us & take a trip to http://www.etsy.com/shop/annabelsaprons and check out her wonderful work & great attention to detail!!!  Or just say hi, she is a wonderful etsy seller for my wonderful readers!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sun Kissed

A little sun to brighten the dreary start of winter...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Another week, another giveaway...

December 17th is right around the corner and I am celebrating my one year etsiversary with another giveaway!!!

With christmas approaching I thought I would make this next giveaway in the spirit of christmas!
I will be giving this small journal to some lucky winner!

What you need to do to participate:

: : Follow my blog, and leave a comment.

: : Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/nightowlcraft and tweet the giveaway.  Don't forget to leave a comment.

: : Comment on an item in my shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/nightowlcraftworks

: : Add my button to your blog... get 2 entries!  (Leave a comment for that too!)

EACH COMMENT will be counted as an entry and I will use a randomizer to pick the winner.

I will be drawing the winner on December 10th at 12pm est

The winner of the first giveaway, a set of mini chopstick journals and 10 hearts is...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A lot of owls...

I think you can all figure out that I like owls, so I compiled a few great owls based off of the "Whoo Ring".  The product photo for that ring is AMAZING!


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