Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thinking of Haiti...

I love my girls.  They made this sign last weekend after we had talked about the tragedy in Haiti.  They set up a little orphanage and played for a few hours.  I think they will be doing some good works when they get older :)  Heartbreaking and endearing all at the same time...
Translation: The baby nursery school for orphans and lost babies only.

Featured Etsian... BroocheFromMaris!

Sally: What brought you to Etsy?
MariskaThe first time I heard of Etsy was when I found Econica ( on Google and absolutely loved her shop. I was searching for organic clothes because my ultimate goal is to have a organic atelier in about a few years. In Holland its very hard to get organic fabrics and I was doing some research about other designers. I'm very against mass production and I loved that Etsy found a way to stimulate creative people to expose there unique items and create a online boutique/shop.

Sally: Who or what  inspires your creations?
MariskaIts not really that I get inspired by something in particular. Sometimes a idea just pops into my head, its like a feeling and you just know it would turn out great! I love to try out new techniques with different kinds of materials. A few months ago my teacher taught me to crochet, now I'm crocheting everything! I started with yarn, making hats,flowers and a pair of house shoes. (which are soooo warm!!) Then I got experimental and tried to crochet with strings of fabrics, ribbon and it turned out to be soo beautiful the ribbons gave my designs a very shiny twist. My next idea was to crochet with metalwire/silverwire and my hands were not very happy with that brilliant idea! But I was... I'm so glad how it turned out! I love to experiment and one idea leads to another.

Sally: What time of day do you work best and why?
MariskaI collect my idea's all day long and right after dinner when I'm most relaxed I work at them. My head sometimes spins with thoughts and idea's, I'm full of creativeness. If I find a little spare time I will start to make a portfolio for my blog, I think people will love to see what else I do besides Etsy.

Sally: Who do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?
MariskaUmmmm YOU are my market ;)

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why?
MariskaThe silver wired items, every time I finish one I'm actually surprised how well it turned out. I love to use beads/pearls to they make it more colorful. Crochet + silverwire + beads = pretty jewelry.

Sally: What are your 3 favorite books?
MariskaI'm a real fashion book addict, bought last week 6 (six!!) fashion books and love them all. Very hard to pick my 3 favorites! Uhmmm lets see..
1 - How to set up & run a fashion label by Toby meadows.
''No matter how talented you are as a designer, if you are going to run a successful fashion label you also need to know about business - from marketing and PR to manufacturing your collection, and where to find the money to finance it all. In How to set up & run a fashion label, Toby presents a no-nonsense guide to running your own business.''
This book has loads of tips to help you set up a label. It really helped me a lot although I haven't even started yet, it helped me to get prepared of all the ideas I have for my fashion label which I want when I finish my collage.
2- Embroidered flora & fauna by Lesley Turpin-Delport & Nikki Delport-Wepener
Literally stunning! I was overwhelmed when I saw this book.. Full of projects of mixed media techniques. Three dimensional textured embroidery insects, flowers, animals and fruit.
3- Complete guide to Needlework. - Readers digest
As the title says it really is a complete guide! Found this book in a second hand shop. Its a very big book full of tips and projects. If I don't understand a technique or want to try something new this book is the first source Ill check.

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
MariskaThe dishes. No really! Its so hard to get started...

Sally: If you could interview your main influence who would it be and what would you ask?
MariskaI would love to ask you (Sally) the same questions just to see what your answers will be!
Sally: Mwah ha ha... moving on...

MariskaI would love to interview Rick Owens & Stella McCartney. Both amazing designers, really love their style.
Can't really come up with questions for Rick, probably when he got inspired and how he starts his collections. That kind of questions.
I would ask Stella McCartney how difficult it was for her to start a business with a famous father. And also ask questions about how she comes with her designs etc.

Sally: What do you listen to while you work? While you don’t work?
MariskaI listen a lot lounge music while I work. I'm a big fan of the Hotel costes and the buddha bar albums. They are so relaxed and a bit funky. Tango forte is one of my favorite songs. While I don't work I listen all kinds of music, don't really have a favorite genre. It really depends on my mood, sometimes I just love swinging with Disney music!

Sally: Do you have any deals or promos to share?
MariskaOff course! Just add 'Nightowl' In the message from the buyer and you'll get free shipping and 10% off all items!  (refund through paypal)

Thanks a lot for reading, hope you enjoyed.

Mariska, As usual... you are wonderful!  Thanks so much for sharing with us!

Readers, I'd watch this girl!  I was paired with her in a shop critique... she has come a long way in a short period of time!  Great Etsian!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentine fun & some goodies for the troops...

Grandma sent some craft goodness for the kiddos recently (big hugs for Grandma).  Glitter, ribbon & pillow boxes all ready to decorate!  The kids had fun prettying them... but I didn't get pictures of they actually decorating :(  I wish I had... because the baby was glitter head to toe... I'm still not sure how though.  Here's the finished product...

There are lots & lots so we will be sending some overseas to Iraq for my uncle & his friends.  He was deployed to Iraq in the beginning of January, so the girls and I are putting together a care package.
Here he is with his boys at deployment...

He was more like an older brother growing up.  He was in 1st grade when I was born, and we have a pretty close family.  I always annoyed the heck out of him... but he was still extra nice to me.  He even let me make my own "magicians spell book" so I could play D&D with him.  I remember it as a spiral notebook with a bunch of drawings in it.  Yeah, I was THAT kid, and yeah, he was pretty cool!  It helps that he's a musician... extra coolness factor.

His wife is pretty amazing too... I saw a photo of her's on her flickr pool the other day that was gorgeous!  And then went to her site & saw some other wonderful photography!  I really want to try to talk her into Etsy... but she has a site going now that is pretty amazing , so I'm giving her a plug here...
You can purchase prints directly from her site ;)
And her facebook fan page...
She was wonderful for my wedding and took all our pictures!  I don't think she knows how much I appreciated that... so here goes... THANK YOU GINNY!!!

I hope you are all well & we are thinking of you every day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Manic Monday... love you!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My new "line"...

OK, not sure if I would call it a "line" but I've finally gotten some screen printed items up in my shop that are my own drawings :)  I like them a lot actually.  I think I'm getting better & more confident with ideas and designs.  I have some other things I'd like to try out... but here's a start...

I love how this journal turned out.  I used DOUBLE the amount of pages so it has lots and lots of room for all your loverly drawlings and doodles!  The cover is a book cloth which was really great to work with, I just wish I had gotten more when I ordered it!
And a TEA TOWEL!!!  Yes!  I have a new item in my shop!  I really love the tea towels.  They are huge!  They dry quick.  They are perfect.  I might do a few with owls too :)

What are you working on?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Featured Etsian... HandiworksbyJanice!

Sally: What brought you to Etsy?
Janice: I came to Etsy upon recommendation from my daughter-in-law, who at the time had a shop on Etsy. She knew that my creations needed to be available for sale, and was so complimentary of the way Etsy is set up. I am glad that she was persistent!

Sally: Who or what inspires your creations?
Janice: My inspiration comes from many different mediums which include color, nature, the beach and the actual beads or fibers that I have in my “stash”. I actually let my design come about once I pick the main color or bead that will be featured. I create with an abundance of love and attention to detail, and with my own “signature”. When I am wearing one of my designs, I usually get numerous compliments from total strangers….which gives me a good excuse to pass out a business card! I am in the process of putting ideas together for my first series of lines. I hope to introduce them this spring. The lines will be “By the Sea”, “Metals”, “Enchanted Garden”, and “Celebrations”. I am also interested in offering a “Tweens” line of fun, colorful and affordable jewelry for girls from about 10-14.

Sally: What time of day do you work best and why?
Janice: I could work any time of day, but do most of mine in the evening. The day’s “other” work is done, dinner has been prepared, and I can settle down in my studio with my favorite TV show…HGTV….and let my imagination go. I usually do not get interrupted during my work as my husband is aware that this is my creative time, and loves to see what I have managed to produce once I shut down my shop for the evening.

Sally: Who do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?
Janice: At the moment, I try to market my creations to the young to middle age professional, as most of my jewelry is non-traditional and is of “statement” status. It is usually the woman that loves to accessorize and has the means to do so. Not as an afterthought, but with intention. My dream is that one of my designs will make it to the “Red Carpet” or with a TV News Anchorwoman. Also, I am in the process of establishing my “brand” within my Etsy shop, blog and website to make them consistent with one another. This will include all marketing materials as well as the “look and feel” of each site.

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why?
Janice: A necklace is my most favorite item to design. This piece is usually the first thing someone will notice when they see you and gives one an insight as to who you are. I love to name my designs as I give them life, as well as a creative introduction in my Etsy shop.

Sally: What are your 3 favorite books?
Janice: “Simple Abundance” by Sara Ban Breathnach. So empowering. Good for women of any age. It is easier for me to give authors rather than books, because I read many books from these authors: John Grisham; Anne Rivers Siddon and Maeve Binchey. I am a sucker for mystery, love, and good heartwarming stories.

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Janice: Say NO to every bead that I see! I understand it is the same with most beaders or jewelry designers…..I have more beads than I will use in a long, long, time! I need to control the urge to buy everything I like.

Sally: What do you listen to while you work?
Janice: Most of the time, I watch HGTV while I work since there are good design ideas that come about. But if I don’t have the TV on, then I listen to soft jazz or soft rock. Very inspiring and calming at the same time.

Sally: Do you have any deals or promos to share?
Janice: There are some creations in my shop that are on sale. I do not do a percentage off as it can become confusing, so I just lower the selling price but let the client know what the original price was before the sale. I will be adding more “On Sale” items in order to make more room as I introduce my new lines. Also, I offer free shipping for orders $60 or more.

Janice,  Thank you for letting us get to know you!  I think saying "No" to anything crafty is one of my biggest weaknesses!

Readers,  What do you wish you could do better.  I'd love to hear! :)  I wish I could draw... or skateboard :P... or play guitar...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A wee bit of Wednesday... inspired by love...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Featured Etsian... POPpeople!

Sally: What brought you to Etsy?
Kathryn: A good friend of mine introduced me to Etsy after I spoke to her about my work. I originally started selling on Etsy with my Emerald Lily jewellery collection ( and then branched out to other creative endeavours and started working with paper clay. Etsy seemed like the best forum to sell my products as well as become more involved with the creative community. There is a lot of support on Etsy and many friendly and interesting people.

Sally: Who or what inspires your creations?
Kathryn:  One of the great things about being creative is that the more your create, the more inspiration you see around you. It seems to open up your eyes so that you actually take notice of the things around you and discuss ideas with other creatives. I think that the internet is a great way to also find inspiration, particularly when you are starting out learning a craft. There are so many resources on the web to help develop your crafts.

Sally: What time of day do you work best and why?
Kathryn: I work full-time as a graphic designer and try and fit in my other craft projects around that! I probably work best on my crafts around mid morning (if it's the weekend) but this isn't usually what happens! I usually have to squeeze in time at night and also try and promote online during this time. It can be quite tricky to balance time promoting and time creating.

Sally: Who do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?
Kathryn: Since starting my shop and opening it early this year, I probably market mostly to other Etsy twitterers and also try and get involved in the Etsy forums. I hope to develop my Facebook fan page more and create a blog, but it all takes time. I think it's important not to spread yourself too thinly across too many areas otherwise you don't get time to promote well on any of them. I find Twitter has been a great way promote my new shop and meet other like-minded people. I would hope that my POP People appeal to almost everyone. As my shop develops, I hope to create at least one doll that someone can relate to. Each doll has its own unique story, stereotypical as it may be! But I think that introducing some frivolity and humour into what I sell is part of its appeal both to me and to others. I think that because I truly enjoy making my product and get a kick out of their quirkiness, I figure others do too. I get quite attached to each of my doll characters and almost don't want to part with them!

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why?
Kathryn: Each doll has its own appeal. When I create each one, I sometimes have an idea of how I want it to turn out. But sometimes, the doll doesn't take on its true personality until I finish painting it and sit it in front of me, stare into its eyes and wait for a story to be revealed about its life and personality. It can be quite sporadic and unplanned, which is so much more fun than planning out everything from the beginning.

Sally: What are your 3 favorite books?
Kathryn: This changes! But probably my three favourite 'books/series' would be 'Aphrodite' by Isabel Allende (so beautifully descriptive), the Harry Potter series (particularly 'The Goblet of Fire') and any Roald Dahl books (his collection of short stories are gripping).

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Kathryn: I have a short attention span! I can tend to have so many things I like or want to do that I get easily distracted and move from one idea/project to the next. I will start one thing then see something else I want to try and move onto that quickly. This most applicable when I look at all the different creative things out there and think 'Gee, I think I'd like to try my hand at that too!' This seems to apply to most of the endeavours I do!

Sally: If you could interview your main influence who would it be and what would you ask?
Kathryn: Probably my main influence stems from my childhood love of puppets and claymation during the Jim Henson 'Muppet Show' era and Aardman's 'Morph' character. I loved these as a child and still enjoy watching how animation has progressed over time. Some of the best work over recent times have been Australian animator Adam Elliot's work. I think, if I had a chance to interview any of these influencers, I would ask how they kept themselves motivated when creative ideas sometimes wane. I think at the beginning when you first come up with ideas, your enthusiasm drives you quite far. But after a while, it can be disheartening when sales may not be as good as you hoped for or interest in your product plateaus. It can be hard to keep focused.

Sally: What do you listen to while you work? While you don’t work?
Kathryn: When I work, it depends on my mood as to whether I have silence or the radio/tv on in the background with the hustle and bustle of others around. When I am working on my clay dolls, I find it a really soothing way to unwind from my day job and can often enjoy talking and listening to people while I work away.

Sally: Do you have any deals or promos to share?
Kathryn: Soon! I will be offering deals and promos as my shop matures a little (I just opened it a week ago). I would like to develop my Facebook and Twitter fanbase and offer special deals and promos to those followers and supporters of my work.


Kathyrn, Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed.  I can't wait to see what other people you come up with.  I see myself as more of the introvert.  I love that gal!  Good luck!

Readers, I'm quite confident that you can find a POP people that you connect with.  I'd love to hear who you are, post a comment with a link!  

Sunday, January 17, 2010

more of my studio...

Emily's space, this is as clean as it's gonna get...

The yarn is officially un-messy!  I should really make something with all of this!

Ashley even cleaned her table off!

Here's the view...

And finally, it's almost kinda clean.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

5 more feet... taking back my studio!

OK, it's the little things that we should celebrate & appreciate.  So I am celebrating organizing and cleaning my sewing area.  It seems like everytime my friend comes over I get motivated to do a bit more, Thanks Jen! (aka

AND I actually used my clean space to make something!!!

Now for the rest of the room...

Wish me luck!

Does anyone have any suggestions for smallish storage for yarn messes?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Featured Etsian... bjwCREATIVE (JUKEBOXART)!

Sally: What brought you to Etsy?
Brooke: Back in 2006, I read an article on the start up of Etsy and its founder Rob Kalin. I had previously been selling on eBay as a self-representing artist and was very intrigued by the idea of translating the traditional craft fair into an online shopping venue. Needless to say, it was love and first site!  Immediately I realized that Etsy was a great site in dozens of respects- well designed and it had a good sense of community.  I signed up right away and started shopping!  It wasn’t until 2007 that I opened my own shop.

Sally: Who or what inspires your creations?
BrookeI have many inspirations that influence my art but music is what sets the tone.  When I hear lyrics I see visions painted before me. I feel colors as if they are pigmented by emotion. I experience melodies set to rhythmic tones of nature and I imagine the result of poetry poured onto paper. Such experiences influence my creations so strongly that the titles of my work are derived from the lyrics of a song that I had been listening to at the time.

Sally: What time of day do you work best and why?
Brooke: I’m a night owl; as I assume you are too!  See, I’m a full-time graphic designer, I freelance projects on the side and I’m a single mom.  So, the only time I get to really indulge in my passion for music and art is after all has been settled and quiet around my house.

Sally: Who do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?
Brooke: My audience is very broad when you consider the diversity of music.  But, I find other artists, crafters, musicians, designers and usually eccentric people with a strong appreciation for the arts are the ones who purchase my work.  There is a definite cross-pollination between music and visual art so I believe the connection is natural when people with these interests come across what I do.

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why?
Brooke: My most favorite aspect of creating art inspired by music is being asked to create a custom design.  Not only do I love the challenge of a song someone else has selected, as I have to go purposely looking for a vision that represents that song but also I really enjoy the stories of connection to the music.  Many commissioned works I create are for weddings or anniversaries, some for birthdays or special occasions and every now and then I get asked to create a design in hopes of providing a source of inspiration to someone going through a rough time in life. It really is an honor.

Sally: What are your 3 favorite books?
Brooke: The Giving Tree is hands down my favorite book.  I have a piece inspired by Ray LaMontange’s song Shelter titled I Give to You.  The visual for the song was pulled from the giving tree. I’m also really attached to Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book and The Day the Babies Crawled Away by author/illustrator Peggy Rathmann. The illustrations in these books are just awesome.

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Brooke: Play music. I love and feel music so bad it hurts inside.  I’m just not good at playing it. Believe me, I’ve tried!  I guess that’s why I make art about it!

Sally: If you could interview your main influence who would it be and what would you ask?
Brooke: Wow!  What I loaded question!  In looking at my body of work, The Beatles seem to be my main influence but actually the Counting Crows is my favorite band so I would choose front man Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows.  His lyrics hit home, song after song, album after album.  I’ve been listening to him hone his lyrical craft for 17yrs now and my question would be, “Who’s Maria?”  (If you’re a Counting Crows fan, you know what I mean!)

Sally: What do you listen to while you work? While you don’t work?
Brooke: Well, I’m a BIG fan of I have around 27 radio stations setup including everyone from Michael Franti, a hybrid of dub-infused reggae with some hard-hitting rock to the smooth foxy blues and jazz of Nina Simone.  It’s all about what inspires me at the moment.

Sally: Do you have any deals or promos to share?
Brooke: Sure.  I’d like to announce two promotions:
  1. I welcome suggestions! If anyone has a suggestion for a song I should use as inspiration, contact me either through Etsy convo or my website.  If/when I use the suggestion, I offer a free 5x7 of the print to the person who had the idea!

  2. I’d like to offer your readers 15% off anything they’d like to purchase with the keyword “NightOwl”. Stop by my Etsy shop, and have a look at what is currently listed or if you’d like to see the full body of my work, please visit and click on the Gallery.  All designs are available at any time so if you don’t see it on Etsy, contact me!
Brooke, Thank you so much for doing this feature!  Your work is fun & meaningful.  It's been great getting to know you!

Readers, I'd jump on that offer while it's still fresh in everyone's mind!  Suggest away!  (Brooke, I think you're in trouble now ;)  What's your favorite song or artist.  I'd love to see what you love in the comments below!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Organizing a little...

I found my desk!  It's a miracle!  Now... let's see how long it stays this way.  

In the spirit of organizing I finally put all my sales on a excel spreadsheet.  Etsy is wonderful & has made my day not so grueling/ annoying/ frustrating.  At the bottom of your "Sold(Orders)" page there is a "Download this sales data as a CSV" tab.  (i'm sure you all know this already, this is just a reminder ;)  This will open up a page in excel that is so handy & wonderful you need to go drink some hot cocoa to celebrate how smart you are!  So I got all of my data on one sheet! Yay!  I am getting organized... baby steps...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Featured Etsian... MariaLuna!

Sally: What brought you to Etsy?
Maria: I have been making jewelry for quite some time now. I started creating them for friends and family as gifts. After I lost my job, I started making more and more since I have all this time on my I started posting them on Facebook where a friend of mine suggested selling them. I told her she was insane. She led me to Etsy and everything was history. If you were to tell me a couple of years ago that I would be selling them, I would not believe you. 

Sally: Who or what inspires your creations?
Maria: My creations are influenced by my education as a graphic designer and my upbringing in Indonesia. Indonesian art is very rich and organic. Lots of curves and movement, very emotional. My nature as a graphic designer, however, is totally on the opposite end of the spectrum. Everything is clean and controlled, down to the dot. Working with my jewelry, I found myself to be drifting back to my own culture where everything seems to be an explosion of the senses. My instinct as a graphic designer keeps this explosion in check though. You can feel it when you see my jewelry, they are organic and rich, but not crazy. You can say that I am trapped in between cultures and trying to make the best of it :)

Sally: What time of day do you work best and why?
Maria: I found night time after my son goes to bed to be the most inspiring time of the day, it seems like. I have to make myself sit and work most of the time, but once I start, nothing can stop Mostly, I think because it is so quiet, nothing else needs to be done for the day...when I can let go of my worries and just chill. Just me, my music and my beads.

Sally: Who do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?
Maria: I see a person who is full of love and spirit wearing my work. I am marketing them to women who wear jewelry everyday so that they have something special to wear everyday. Therefore, I make them to be easy to wear. They are light and flattering, not to mention exotic!! I feel like I'm a super hero with a mission to make women feel special one woman at a time...hahaha. 

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why?
Maria: I love working on my leather necklaces the most. They are so warm and so much fun. I suppose it's because I wear lots of leather necklaces :)

Sally: What is your favorite beverage while you work?
Maria: A nice glass of red wine :)

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Maria: Definitely painting!!

Sally: If you could interview your main influence who would it be and what would you ask?
I would love to interview the famous graphic designer Paul Rand. I'm not sure what I would ask him, but I am sure we would have a great time.

Sally: What do you listen to while you work? While you don’t work?
Maria: While I'm working, I listen to classical music. Whatever Pandora plays on my Bach station :) I find them to be soothing and it helps me focus. That or my meditation music.
While I'm not working, I listen to 80s and 60s music, punk, Otis Redding kinda jazz, pop...etc.

Sally: Do you have any deals or promos to share?
Maria: Sure, I would love to offer your viewers 15% off their Maria Luna purchase with keyword "NightOwl."

Maria, Thanks SO much for taking the time to let my readers get to know a little bit more about you.  Your work is astounding!!!  You are doing a wonderful job!  

Readers,  I love doing the feature posts.  Maria is a great seller, and hopefully has a ton of success with her shop in the very near future.  I would like to point out one thing that jumped out to me when looking through her shop.  It is very browser friendly.  I try often to change the way I arrange my shop... but Maria has it down!  Take note... and use your offer code!  I think everyone should have one of her delicate & blissful pieces... and just in time for valentines day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Front Paaaggggeeee Baby!

For those of you who are coming across this post & don't know why all this hub bub about the front page, I'll explain.  On Etsy they have a group of sellers featured and it cycles evey hour.  It is pretty special to be on the front page, because not only do you get a ton of exposure to your shop, but you also know your doing something right.  Especially as a book binder, you need to make a book LOOK fun & pretty & accessible.  It's not as easy to do that with a book as say maybe, a pair of earrings or a great top.  You have to make people say, "ooo... i want!"

To be on the front page it's all about the photo.  The better your photo is, the more likely your shop will be seen and make it to the elusive front page.  In the last week I've made it to the front page 3 times!  At first I sat here scratching my head.  Why all of a sudden am I getting noticed?  Then it hit me... I am cool!  No, seriously!  I have taken photos, and retaken photos, and taken them again... each time getting a bit better.  I also had a great Etsy friend explain my husband's Rebel Xsi to me, thank you Jen (aka JennaDesigns).  I know it's a pain.  As they say, practice makes perfect.  I think I still have a ways to go.  I know my shots can be better, and they will be better.  But I need to practice.  I thought I would throw up past backgrounds for you all to see.  Sometimes it's all we need, is a little inspiration... or an absolute accident!

The first photos of my journals my wonderful husband took, on the back of a quilt I made.  These photos were nice, but the lighting in our old apartment was not the best.  With experience I know now that I just should have moved around to get the right window at the right time of day.

Then we built a light box.  It was great to be able to take pictures at midnight when we had time and could control everything... but do you notice that it looks like I forgot to put pages in the journal... white is just too harsh for my journals, soo....

I used a tan peice of kraft paper.  This was better, but still boring.  And tan matches some of the journals and not others, as you can see.  This is a beatiful journal... but the background does nothing to make it look extra special.

Then a custom order came from my graphic designer, Melissa at TheSpeckeledPear, and that was it, I took shots on this table & hooray!  This is a table I used in my gallery (yes, I owned a gallery).  I bought it from a friend of mine's father that made it out of old barn boards.  It has so much personality & character.  I have taken all my pics on it since.  It gives the journals a romantic feel.
And these are the shots that made the front page.  Better, right?  I hope you all go out and work on your photos, I know there are a few of mine that need tweaking :D  Don't be afraid to try something new!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Manic Monday... so corky!

Another great weekend...

I actually got something accomplished!
Yesterday my friend Jen (aka jennadesigns) came over so the kids could play and I could have someone to talk to :)  I always have a tough time picking out papers, especially because I've looked at these for a while & they've gotten "old".  Jen put together some cover/ end paper combos for me and voila!  I glued 4 covers & bound 3 of them today!  Jen... THANK YOU!  I even took picks & listed them, yay me!
Shop link... NightOwlCraftworks

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A bit of an update...

I haven't posted too many personal things on my blog lately.  I've been busy trying to be productive.  I think some of it has to do with the fact that I am going to be putting myself out there a little more than usual.  I have been trying to silk screen my own journal covers.  I have been struggling with materials more than the actual designs.  I do admit that my first design is a tad 3rd grade... but I love to doodle, and I came up with this...

I printed this onto fabric, but I'm used to working with card stock & papers.  What do you guys think?  Like I said... I like to doodle.  I tried different colors.  I tried on card stock.  We'll just say a lot of trial and error, a lot. The next prints I make will be on blue... I think.

So aside from all my frustrations & growling & hair pulling I was on the front page of Esty TWICE in the last two days!  I added the craftcult versions of the front pages to my sidebar because Etsy hasn't gotten the screenshots to their flickr pool yet.  It takes them a while sometimes.  I can wait...

So not wanting to get myself frustrated further, I put off doing anything for my shop tonight & joined my husband in the studio.  I haven't gotten a chance to work with clay since we moved in... so this was long overdue.  I pressed out a few platter molds.  I was only out there for about 45 minutes, but it was nice getting back into it.  I've never been able to throw, but I make a great assistant.  We are de-molding them in the morning.  Wish me luck!  I hope they come out nice... but if not I can just start over :)  I love clay!

And an update for my husband's shop... he is working on getting enough for another firing.  He made a dish mold for a butter dish, but I think it would make a perfect chocolate or small cookie platter.  Of course there will be mugs... lots of mugs :)  He has also made some tumblers that are extruded and then altered on the wheel.  I'm hoping we will have tons of wonderful people to come help with the firing, it is going to be COLD!  I think I might have to find a great hot cocoa recipe before then!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Featured Etsian... 2SweetThings!

Sally: What brought you to Etsy?
Mandy: I ran into etsy from another blog (I'm not even sure which one!), and I was immediately hooked! I signed up for an account on that first day, even though it was almost a year before I began selling. It kind of felt like 'home' and I found myself spending hours just searching and sort of drinking in all the amazing shops and products.

Sally: Who or what  inspires your creations?
Mandy: Mostly I am inspired by my darling little ones, Remy, who is almost 4, and Halle, who is 1. I also find inspiration in random things like a Josh Groban song, a dress from an Audrey Hepburn movie, or a favorite Psalm. I find that God waits to inspire anytime I'm willing to listen!

SallyWhat time of day do you work best and why?
Mandy: Usually I find the time to create during nap time and/or after their bedtime. I am truly a morning person and love to work early, but out of necessity I work when I can keep little fingers away from my supplies.

SallyWho do you market to? Who do you see buying your work?
Mandy: My items are great for parents who want to be a little bit bold and funky in their baby gear but don't want to spend a ton of money or lose the functionality of the piece. I have sold a lot to young, new moms and also those buying gifts for new babies. I am finding that people think my items make great gifts so I try to incorporate great packaging into the items as well.

SallyWhat item do you like to work on the most and why?
Mandy: I love working on all my items, truthfully, especially new items. Baby things make pretty quick projects because they are so small, and that is gratifying. Right now I am working on patterns for dresses that will be coming in the spring, choosing fabrics and making sketches, and that is really exciting to me!

SallyWhat is your favorite beverage while you work?
Mandy: Coffee. I drink gallons of coffee!

SallyWhat is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Mandy: I have a really hard time valuing my work, as do I think a lot of hand-makers.. I wish it were easier to find the kind of confidence to really see the items for what they are!

SallyIf you could interview your main influence who would it be and what would you ask?
Mandy: I have a hard time pin-pointing this one because so many things influence me!

SallyWhat do you listen to while you work? While you don’t work?
Mandy: During nap time I usually have soap operas on... I know, I know, smut, but it's my guilty pleasure! Otherwise I listen to a lot of silly songs with my littles=). I also adore Josh Groban, Frank Sinatra and Doris Day- I really think I was born in the wrong era!


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