Featured Handmade Artist

Handmade Weekend- Lovie Bee Baubles

Hi friends! I've got another great jewelry artist interview for you today! Today, we meet Blythe from Lovie Bee Baubles. Blythe's elegant jewelry creations caught my eye. They are really elegant and allow the beads and gems beauty and color shine through. I love that they are really delicate and the Swarovski crystal jewelry reminds me of my grandma's jewelry (hint, hint to anyone looking to pick up some presents for me...)

Q. Hi Blythe! Can you please tell us a little bit about who are you, where you're from, and what you do?

A. My name is Blythe Ann Lemoine. I am a self taught Jewelry designer and maker. I am from Worcester Ma. born and raised. I am a wife, sister and daughter. I love my family and friends, I have a pet Guinea Pig named Buddy. I was a manicurist/pedicurist for 15 years and I fell in love with fashion and accessories during that time and the ideas started flowing through my brain based on the trends I would see and the feedback I would get from clients on what they liked and didn't.
So with all that knowledge I began my new journey in creating jewelry.

I love creating jewelry for many reasons. I like making things that make people feel good about themselves and that are original just like each person is original. The jewelry you wear should be original and should compliment who you are.

Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?

A. The first craft project I ever made was an ornament I made for my Gram when I was in elementary school. My first piece of jewelry was a bracelet for my Mom who still wears it today!


Q. What inspires you?

A. I get my inspiration from life--color, textures, and anything my brain dreams up anytime of the night or day.


Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?

A. My creative process...... well I don't really have one i just sit down and make what I feel in my heart. I have no real process it all just flows freely through my brain and body.


Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?

A. I don't have a favorite, I love all the pieces equally.
It's like asking a mother which child is her favorite--a question that is really hard to answer! Every thing I create holds a special place in my heart.


Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?

A. Not realizing just how much work was involved and how much time and effort that you need to put in. It is and will continue to be a learning process. Also how much patience you need to have because human nature expects instant results, but it takes time to grow. You don't go to bed and wake up a millionaire like some people think.


Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?

A. The best part about running my shop is that i am able to work at my pace and I'm able to be home with my family which has been huge this past year because I was able to be with my Dad while he was sick and be with him when he passed away this past August. Now I am able to be here for my Mom and help her.


Q. How do your customers find out about your products?

A. I promote my products on Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy.
I also rely on word of mouth in my community.


Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?

A. There are so many that are favorites but if I had to pick...


Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?

A. One piece of advice would be that you have to believe in yourself and love what you do and have patience :)


Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!

A. I love music. I love creating. And I hate laundry ;)

 

Thank you so much Blythe for the interview!! I agree with your etsy advice wholeheartedly, especially the patience part! And if you would have said that you loved doing laundry, I would have sent you mine in a heartbeat (j/k!)

 

I hope you guys take a few minutes to check out Blythe's shop, Lovie Bee Baubles, and get a jump start on your holiday shopping! 

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!

 

 

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Handmade Weekend- Bedhead Designs

Happy Weekend! I'm super excited to introduce you to a really unique artist and shop today. Friends, please say hi to Nikki from Bedhead Designs! Nikki creates really fun handmade headboards and super cute ruffle pillows. What a fun way to change the look of your bedroom!

Q. Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

A. My name is Nikki Dale. I live in rural Western Idaho in a small farming community. I grew up 45 minutes from here, and have only lived a few other places, all within 6 hours. I own Bedhead Designs, and I make custom upholstered headboards and ruffle pillows.

Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?

A. The first thing I remember sewing was a tie for my Dad. My church group leaders took a bunch of 10ish year old girls to the fabric store to hunt for fabric. I remember it vividly, because this was the first time I had stepped foot in a fabric store! In perfect character for me, I chose some clearance fabric. It was a terrible cream with a slight pattern in it! Why someone didn't say, "Let's choose a fabric with a little more pizazz" is beyond me! Sweet ladies, anyway. So, I made my Dad a cream tie and gave it to him. I don't know if he even remembers, but that is where I got the bug, I guess. I still love roaming the fabric store and 'feelin' the fabrics'. ;)

Q. What inspires you?

A. For headboards, walking the fabric store aisles, or searching fabric shops online. For life in general, I get inspired by viewing nature, by seeing my kids try new things and watching their reactions.

Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?

A. Stuff kinda just comes to me. I see a fabric, and then see in my mind how it should look. A lot of times, a client will tell me what they want, and I just have to figure out how to make that come to life for them!

Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?

A. When I was a little girl, we had a colt die. I love horses and I was so sad. My grandmother (who lived far away) heard about the tragedy and made me a latchhook wallhanging of a horse. (it was the 80's) I was so touched and knew she loved me so. It hangs in my little girl's room now.

Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?

A. Being brave and just taking that leap was hard! You put yourself (and your stuff) out there for all to see, and to appreciate or reject!

Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?

I love it when someone buys something! And not just because of the money, but because someone appreciates my talent! I also enjoy getting to know the people as we figure out what they want! It's very satisfying. I love the freedom I have, owning my own business. (that's 3 things, but they are all good!)

Q. How do your customers find out about your products?

A. I have my Etsy shop, Bedhead Designs, and I'm on Facebook and Instagram under the same name. I show pictures of my projects, and my everyday life there. I also have a blog where I share recipes, simple DIY projects I have done and info about helping families be closer and learn about the Constitution and our wonderful freedoms!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bedheaddesigns

Instagram: @bedheaddesigns

Blog: www.bedheaddesigns.blogspot.com

Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?

Bedhead Designs Chevon Headboad
This pillow was featured in the November issue of Redbook magazine!

This pillow was featured in the November issue of Redbook magazine!

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?

JUST DO IT!! Jump in with both feet, with your whole heart and give it a go. If you have passion and a great product, you will go far!

Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!

1. I have 4 children whom I home school, a great husband, and a menagerie of farm animals-pigs, goats, chickens, dogs, cats that I love dearly.
2. I love to cook and eat delicious food. And I love sharing recipes.
3. I didn't watch any of the Star Wars movies til I was 20! I grew up in a family of all girls, and we liked shows like Annie and Benji. Hahaha!

 

Thanks Nikki for sharing a little bit about yourself and your creative process! I love that you make these headboards. What a great way to add a personalized finishing touch to your home. Made with care and love and totally affordable too!

 

Please stop by Nikki's shop and take a look at the rest of her handmade offerings. If you need a headboard, or know someone whose bedroom could use a little updating, send them over to Bedhead Designs!

 

 

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!

 

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Handmade Weekend- Reset Reality

Hi! I'm really really excited to share with you today an interview with a really really amazing artist/painter, Vanessa Lee from Reset Reality. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the vibrant watercolor and gouache surrealistic paintings she has in her shop. If you're looking for some vibrant and unique original art for your home or office space, you're in for a treat!


Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?
A. All little kids have fond memories of working on fun craft projects growing up. I believe my very first project involved making a placemat for lunch time, with construction paper cut-outs of flowers, watering cans, and shovels. My teacher also bought me a set of crayons shaped like cars… so perhaps in the grand scheme of things, this whole art-making process has been fostered in me for the longest time. I think the difference is that as we grow older, not to stop working on some sort of creative practice.

Q. What inspires you?
A. I love figures, faces, costumes, animals, current events, history and color. I find myself going back to these themes when I make new drawing and paintings. Also, I have no shame hunkering down and copying drawings of Old Masters and doing studies to improve my skills… because, one can never stop getting better at what they do, and why not learn from the best? Knowing that I stand on the backs of the many heavy hitters in the art world before, I feel liberated that I can work my way up there too.

Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?
A. I work primarily with gouache, which is a form of watercolor. The great thing about watercolor is that it requires both a willingness to be flexible and open to mistakes and accidents, and a precision and sharpness in decision making to counter the chaos that can potentially ensue and cause a piece to be problematic. By successfully executing this delicate balancing act, I create my best work. It forces me to be present in a world surrounded by endless distractions… it sounds Zen, and I appreciate my practice for that.

Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?
A. I own a small collection of bangles made by the talented artist Malili Otoya  Hand-painted & made of wood, I receive compliments for them any time I wear them, and always refer people to her work. The bright colors remind me of my own paintings.

Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?
A. Starting out, I had these grandiose ideas that within a month, I would become an overnight success, find myself with thousands of views, featured on the front page, etc, etc and I quickly realized I am just one small fish, in a gigantic ocean full of other very talented fish. I opened my shop officially in the Spring of 2012, and I’m happy to say, despite numerous moments of discouragement, that my shop is still open for business and improving every day. Eventually, I would love to call my Etsy shop my day job, but like all creative endeavors, it takes time, long-term commitment, patience, and willingness to keep at it. I think also the initial start-up costs… and potential expansion costs as one grows their business. For me, my next step would be to invest in a high-end inkjet printer to make prints to sell! It’s on my radar.

Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?
A. Knowing that my work brings somebody joy in their life every time they see it on their wall, hands down. My Etsy shop exists to give my paintings a chance to be seen and loved by others. Appreciation is a great feeling that all artists enjoy.

Q. How do your customers find out about your products?
A. That’s another thing I struggle with. My shop only averages about 400 views a month, which is a weak point I want to address. I’ve increased my social media presence, tweaked my Etsy search ads and SEO, and recently bought a Fish Indie ad subscription (www.fishindie.com/) which has significantly helped boost my visibility. July has brought me 181 views… it feels like a boost considering last month, I only had 288 the entire month! I am hoping to spread the word of my work through the blogging community too, as well as launch a blog of my own. I have plans to go out into NYC this summer and set up an impromptu shop in Central Park, Times Square or something… a la Bansky style (untappedcities.com/2013/10/14/banksy-day-13-spray-art-for-sale-ignored-s...)

Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?

www.etsy.com/listing/95453594/original-painting-figure-painting?ref=shop...

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?
A. Go big & never give up. Simple, easy to remember, and man, do I try to live by that.

Q. Where can we find you (etsy, facebook, twitter, etc.)
Etsy: resetreality.etsy.com
Twitter: twitter.com/resetreality
Facebook: facebook.com/resetreality
Web: resetreality.net
Pinterest: pinterest.com/resetreality
Behance: behance.net/resetreality


Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!
A. I learned how to ride a bicycle at 24, so it's never too late to learn something.
I enjoy nonfiction literature, Sailor Moon, baseball (I’m a Boston Red Sox fan living in New York City… eep!), and the Blues.
And my favorite flavor of ice cream is Cherry Garcia

 

Thanks sooooo much, Vanessa, for sharing a little bit about you and your shop with us! I admire that you paint in watercolor and gouache-- I tried them and they were too "free" for me. I jealously admire artists who have mastered that media!!!! Also, I think your etsy shop advice is one of the best I've heard-- "go big & never give up." YES!  I TOTALLY needed to hear that today.  (I need to print that out and tape it on my computer. )

 

I hope you enjoyed this interview and a little insight into another fellow artist. Please stop by her shop, Reset Reality, and show Vanessa some love and maybe pick up a unique painting for your space.

 

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!

Handmade Weekend- Homespun Accessories

 

Saturdays are seriously my favorite day of the week! Not only do I get so sleep late, but I LOVE putting together these handmade weekend posts featuring amazingly creative artists from around the world. Today, I'm really excited for you to meet Melody from Homespun Accessories who is a girl after my own heart (coffee inspires her too!!!) She creates these adorable crocheted toys, patterns, and baby blankets. Have you seen her little crocheted unicorns?!

Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?

A. I grew up with an extremely crafty and creative Grandmother who did everything from pottery and baskets to embroidery and quilting.  When I was in high school I worked with a Youth Apprenticeship Program and mentored in a local elementary school, the first craft project I remember making was a gift for my YAP teacher.  At the time, my grandmother was making a quilt with folk art appliqué animals on it; I picked out a bunny appliqué and make a cute small pillow.  My grandmother taught me how to hand appliqué during this project.  I was proud of it and wish I could find that book again, it had super cute stuff in there.

Q. What inspires you? 

A. Coffee… lol, it’s true.  Most of my “work” time is done overnight while all the kiddos are in bed.  I am obsessed with crocheting and I tend to think about projects during the day or sometimes even dream about color patterns, craft fair goods, etc.  My kids make special requests too, one of my boys has been requesting a dinosaur which I have yet to figure out. 

Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?

A. I just do it! :)  (with the aid of coffee of course.)  I think of something and I work until I am pleased.  Crocheting is a forgiving craft and easy to take apart and put back together while working.  I have a composition book where I write my ideas down and just go with it.

Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?

A. My most prized handmade possession is a basket my Grandmother made; she passed away in 2007 and was the light of my life.  Earlier that year the Shooting Creek Basket Guild had a booth set up at the Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee, I went while she was not working that day and bought a basket from her.  I love it so much because she got so mad at me for purchasing an item of hers; she tried to pay me back for it and kept trying to give me other baskets.  It was one her last projects and has a high sentimental value to me.

Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop? 

A. I started my Etsy shop September 2012 and it was full of hair bows and a complete fail for me, I made a less than $20 up until January 2014.  Absolutely awful! I was about to become discouraged and give up until I discovered the art of crochet, and I have been fairly busy since. 

Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop? 

A. I love my Etsy shop.  I am a stay at home mom and haven’t worked in the past 2 to 3 years so for once I can support my yarn addiction!  :)

Q. How do your customers find out about your products?

A. I post a lot of information on social media, I also decided to start a “free” blog where I offer crochet patterns and more info about my projects.  My blog is new and pretty bare but I think it helps. 

Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop? 

A. The loveys!  I love the loveys.  They are my favorite, the unicorns especially…I am a little obsessed with unicorns and it is known throughout the house.  My youngest boy told me about a week ago that he wanted to be a unicorn, I laughed and asked him what he wanted for lunch and he replied, “A rainbow sandwich”. LOL!

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be? 

A. Don’t give up!  Research and join a few really good Etsy teams that help promote your products and offer good advice.  Also, I would highly recommend finding a team that talk about listing titles, tags, etc.  They explain all the technical mumbo jumbo.


Q. Where can we find you (etsy, facebook, twitter, etc.) 

Etsy:  http://www.homespunaccessories.etsy.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Homespun/173854286063711?ref=hl

Twitter: @homespuncrochet

And I have a small blog at:  http://lovehomespun.weebly.com


Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you! 

A. Geez…everything about me is fun! LOL no but seriously if I have to list 3 facts:

I am a thrift store junkie; a wannabe chef inspired by The Chew and extremely scared of spiders!  (That last one is not fun for me but for my kids, they get a kick out of my spider freak outs)

 

Thanks so much, Melody! It's nice to "meet" a fellow coffee addict! :)

 

I hope you enjoyed this interview and a little insight into another fellow artist. Please stop by her shop, Homespun Accessories, and show Melody and her Unicorn Lovies some love! These would be perfect for all the little (and not so little!) Unicorn lovers in your life! Have any baby showers in the near future? The little crocheted blankets would be a wonderful gift for the new baby and family to treasure!!!!

 

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!

Handmade Weekend- Drakestail Jewellery

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I'm really happy to bring you another handmade weekend interview with the owners/creators from Drakestail Jewellery,  Roxanne & Robyn. Go grab a cup or coffee or tea (I'll wait!), get comfy, and get to know these lovely ladies a little better!

Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?

Roxanne: I remember making candles with my Mom every winter as Christmas gifts for my school teachers when I was growing up. I’m sure I crafted before that as well but making candles with my Mom is my first solid crafting memory.

Robyn:  I've been pretty crafty all my life, but the first craft I remember making is wrapping yarn around the outside of a paper plate, to make a frame for a photo taken in Grade 1.

Q. What inspires you?

Roxanne:  I find inspiration all over the place, sometimes it’s in period movies with lots of elaborate costumes, sometimes it’s from a song I hear or a long walk in a park. Sometimes I’m inspired by the colour combination in a meal I prepare, it can be so simple. Inspiration is such a neat thing, I find that if I keep your mind open, you can find it in almost anything.

Robyn:  So many things! I'm a big rock hound, and I always feel inspired by the beauty of gemstones. It takes millennia for crystals to form, for mineral-laden water to seep through cracks in stone and build into gems, so agates and geodes hold a special fascination for me.
I'm also really inspired by other creative people, and not just crafters. I love reading biographies of musicians and artists, because I find the fire that drives them to create is inspiring.

Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?

Roxanne: It varies depending on my mood and on the project. If I receive a custom order I will sketch out options, list various material options and review those with the client, back and forth until we come up with their perfect piece. If I’m just sitting down to make something new, I tend to just dig through my stock of stones and findings until I hit upon something that “grabs me”. Sometimes I will do a layout of the pieces first and play around with options that way before I get started, sometimes, if I am certain of how I want the piece to look, I’ll jump right to assembly.

Robyn: Often, I let my materials dictate what I make. I'll pick out a strand of stones, or a great pendant, and turn it over in my hand and mind until inspiration strikes. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go, so I can jot down ideas as they come to me. When I'm ready to create, I'll lay out all my materials to get an idea of what the end product will look like. I'll rearrange and swap until I'm happy, then I get down to work!

Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?

Roxanne: It actually isn’t something I made. It’s an oil painting I had commissioned from a friend of a friend, it is a landscape piece with a large silver tree and three ravens. It’s highly textured and has lots of blues, purples and greens. I love art and art that I cannot make myself always appeals to me. I’ve always felt it is important to support local artists and try to collect pieces from every place I live or travel to.

Robyn: The knitted baby outfits that my grandmother made for my children, back when I was still a child. My mother gave them to me at my baby shower, and I cried. My grandmother passed away years ago, which makes them that much more precious.

Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?

Roxanne: I think the hardest thing was to maintain growth. We set up our shop and were quite pleased at having accomplished that and then we had a lull where we weren’t adding new items to the shop on a consistent basis. We’ve gotten a lot better at maintaining that consistent shop growth over the last year.

Robyn: Getting the inventory entered. It's a lot of work to take all those photos and do all the copy writing!

Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?

Roxanne: The most exciting thing for me is that as we’ve started to grow, we are reaching more and more people from all over the world. Earlier this year we had our first international sale to a lady in France. We were so excited by this! How thrilling to know one of our unique necklaces is being worn so far away!

Robyn: I love the Etsy community. I'm involved in several teams, and love to share ideas, from social media to doing craft shows to just socializing.

Q. How do your customers find out about your products?

Roxanne: I would say most of our customers learn about us and our work through word of mouth. We have the most supportive friends and family two ladies could ask for. They are always sending people our way and we feel very fortunate for that. I know other customers hear about us thanks to the retail locations that carry our jewellery. We have 3 at the moment, in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Gimli. Other than that, regular internet searches bring people to our ETSY shop. We’ve been working hard on improving our hashtags on every item we post to make us more easily searchable. We have lots to learn still but we’re always working on it.

Robyn: We're both pretty knowledgeable about our products, so customers can chat us up in person, if we're at a show, or online if they have a question about something on our Etsy shop. We're always happy to talk about our jewellery because we're so passionate about it!

Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?

Roxanne: Personally the vintage inspired pearl jewellery stands out for me. They are simple and classic and the Swarovski crystal pearls just have such an opulent look. I also really love our tree of life pendants, although I’ve seen many other jewellery shops with a similar design, I find ours are different somehow and I like that about them. I love the customizability of the tree pendants, any stone chip can be used to create something of special significance to each client.

Robyn: They're all my babies so it's hard to pick favourites, but I'm particularly fond of the Tree of Life pendants. Each one is a little different, and I love trying out new combinations of metals and gemstones.

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?

Roxanne: Do some research about web search-ability before you start creating tags for your items, have a good grasp of what terms people use to search and then create your listings with that in mind.

Robyn: Be persistent! It can be tough to get noticed on Etsy, but if you consistently add items and make a little noise on social media, people will connect with you.

Q. Where can we find you (etsy, facebook, twitter, etc.)

www.facebook.com/DrakestailJewellery
Twitter.com/Drakestail
Instagram.com/Drakestail
www.drakestail.etsy.com
pinterest.com/Drakestail

Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!

Robyn:
1) I absolutely love gardening, and have turned most of my backyard into a vegetable garden. Nothing says summer like standing out in the sunshine and eating cherry tomatoes or raspberries right from the bush!
2) I’m a big geek. I love playing role-playing games (think Dungeons and Dragons) and video games. My favourite game these days is Dragon Age, and I can’t wait for the latest one to come out.
3) I love to cook but I’m a terrible baker. I’ve always said that baking is a science and cooking is an art, and I think I’m much more an artist than a scientist. 

 

Thanks so much Roxanne & Robyn!!!! I love that you guys are friends running this business together! How fun!

 

I invite you guys to stop by Roxanne & Robyn's shop to check out their beautiful jewelry creations and give them some love (maybe even pick up a little something nice for  yourself!)

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!

 
 

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Handmade Weekend- Pehmik

Hi! Happy Saturday, friends!!! I'm really happy to introduce you to a super fun and creative etsy shop owner, Laura, and her totally funky shop, Pehmik! I LOVE her stuffed creations and the creative stories for every piece! Her shop is not only really bright and exciting to look at, but really fun to read!


Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?
A. I remember that we made clothes for our dolls with my cousins when we were children. But the real crafter in me was born a few years after high school. I just started making all sorts of things. Mostly sewing innovative household products but also making earrings out of random found objects. Now I have boxes for every different medium I’ve tried: needle felting, knitting, polymer clay etc.

Q. What inspires you?
A. Mostly it’s all the lack of fun, quirky and cute but not too childish things in the world around me. Also every time I see something that is hand made and totally awesome I feel like making something myself. It can be a pair of ceramic earrings or a concrete bench that inspires me to make a new plush toy design, it’s just the fact that it’s hand made.

Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?
A. When I start working on new designs I usually browse around on Etsy or Google for a while to make myself see how different everyone’s plush toys are, it kind of opens my mind a bit. From that I usually get an idea of what kind of an animal or character is missing from my collection and start sketching things down, make a pattern and try it out. It takes a few tries and some small tweaks before the final pattern is good enough. The birth of a new character could take anywhere from a day to a few weeks, depends on how inspired I am.

Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?
A. The first thing that pops into my head is a pair of teacup earrings made by one of my dearest friends Sandra, www.etsy.com/shop/byVellamo.

Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?
A. For me the hardest thing has been limiting my time I spend on everything connected to Etsy. I guess I’m a perfectionist at heart and if I know I could do something better I will.

Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?
A. I love the way I can use three different kinds of creative processes to run my Etsy shop. I make physical products, take photos in the world I create for them and make up short stories about their lives. It really makes my creativity run wild and I love it!

Q. How do your customers find out about your products?
A. This is one of the things I’m trying to figure out right now as a new shop owner. I’m slowly getting more into posting on Facebook and being active on the Etsy teams.

Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?
A. My favorite items are definitely the ones made out of the fabrics from my grandma’s stash. For example Sunny the bunny:

il_fullxfull.619238235_ctk0.jpg

The fabric is older than I am and bought in the Soviet Union. My grandmother used to make some of the clothes for herself and my mother . There was still a few meters of this fabric left as there was about 10 or more meters of it when she got it. It was really difficult to get anything like that in the Soviet Union so when there was an opportunity to buy it you got as much as possible.

The second favorite is the plush car:


I’ve seen the spark of happiness in a 3-year-old’s eyes so many times when he sees one of these and that motivates me like crazy.

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?
A. As I’m completely new myself I don’t think I know that much yet but the one thing that comes up over and over again is product photos. They have to be well done. By that I don’t mean that they have to be some elaborate pieces of art but have to catch the eye of a potential buyer browsing through the hundreds of small pictures while searching for the perfect product for them.

Q. Where can we find you (etsy, facebook, twitter, etc.)
A. Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/Pehmik
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Pehmik
Homepage: www.pehmik.com

Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!
A. I have a BA in art therapy.
My thesis was about the effect of my product photos and toys on people’s creativity and well being.
I’ve been an extra in a TV series a few times.

 

Thank you so much, Laura, for letting us get to know you and your Pehmiks better!!!

Friends, please stop by Laura's shop, and give her some love! Look around at her super cute creations, read the fun stories and maybe adopt a Pehmik to call your own!

 

 

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!

 
 

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Handmade Weekend- The Maniacal Menagerie

Hi! I'm featuring another super awesome etsy artist this week-- Eden from Maniacal Menagerie! If you're into quirky needle felted art and/or zombies, you're going to LOVE Eden and her shop!

Q. Can you please tell us a little bit about who are you, where you're from, and what you do?
A. My name is Eden, and I am the mastermind behind The Maniacal Menagerie. I was born and raised in California and have lived all around the state, top and bottom. Currently I reside in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband and two cats. I am a photography student at Academy of Art University, and will be graduating with my BFA this December (2014). I love art in every form, and about two years ago I picked up needle felting and fell in love with it. I felt quirky things to brighten your day, like black cat pins, squished zombie bookmarks, severed head earrings, and Zombeez Travel Companions- needle felted zombie doll-pins to accompany you on life's great adventures.

Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?
A. Oh gosh, haha. I've never been good with my hands. I wanted to learn to sew but nothing came out right, I wanted to draw and paint but a five year old can draw better than I. I've tried crochet, and I don't know how you screw up crochet but somehow I do. If I were to recall my earliest attempts, I'd say I tried sewing clothes for my dolls when I was little. They all fell apart! As a teenager I tried papier mache, which didn't end too horribly but I wasn't very into it. In my 20s I tried clay sculpting but that wasn't much better. If my history shows anything, it's that I'm nothing if not persistent! I saw a needle felting kit on Etsy, and after some thought decided to try it out. I finally found my medium, and that was the start of The Maniacal Menagerie.

Q. What inspires you?
A. Music is a big part of my inspiration. One song can inspire so many ideas. I love music that has multiple layers of meaning, like Tool, because you can really get lost in thinking about it. Literature is also an inspiration, my favorite book is Dune and I can't tell you how much it has affected me. But largely my ideas just pop into my head randomly, triggered by something like a stranger's t-shirt, and my brain somehow connects it with something equally as random, like with Bruce the Birthday Party Banana Slug. This is the basis of my sense of humor and it usually just results in silence and awkward stares when I try to make a joke, but it works for quirky sculptures, evidently.

Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?
A. When an idea pops into my head (which they very literally do) I add it to my idea list in Evernote (I can't tell you how much I love lists). I typically have a rough lineup in my head, but even so I usually just work on whatever I feel inspired to work on that day. I think about how I want to approach a project for a long time before I start it, until I have a very clear view in my mind. If it's vague, it doesn't come out very well. That said some things are very clear right from the beginning and I can make them almost immediately. I've started and scrapped quite a few projects that I really wanted to do but didn't think out clearly enough, and unfortunately once I scrap a project I rarely go back- it tends to make me lose my inspiration. So I've learned the hard way to take my time first.

Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?
A. A bowl that my husband painted for me as a present when we were dating. When I say "bowl" it's like a decorative jewelry holder or very tiny flower pot. He painted our names and hearts on it in black and red, my favorite colors. :)

Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?
A. Starting it was the easy part, trying to decide the best way to grow it is hard! Pricing I think was my biggest hurdle though. Being a starving artist I'm a terrible cheapskate at the moment, so pricing my work high enough to cover the labor, fees & expenses was really hard for me as I perceived my prices as being very high! Then I learned about the magical pricing formula and how you're supposed to triple the end result (my prices didn't seem so high then). I still haven't reached that goal, but I'm working toward it.

Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?
A. It makes me so happy when I receive positive feedback from customers. I love creating these little felt things, so for someone else to actually like them too means a lot to me. I also love that I'm building myself a little empire, and every week it grows a little more and I get new ideas of how to reach more people. It's so rewarding to look at what I've built and say "I run this, and there are people who like it".

Q. How do your customers find out about your products?
A. I'm still working on that, trying to keyword my work is tough because I'm still not sure how exactly to classify it. I think a lot of my sales, particularly of my small pins, come from impulse purchases, since a lot of my traffic comes from people just browsing Etsy, and there's not too many people searching for "Felted Zombie Dolls".

I also have a blog that I've been putting a lot of effort into where I talk about my work, felt and handmade products in general, and I have a DeviantArt account where I post my work and both of those are turning into good traffic sources. I'm trying to turn my blog into a sort of front page for my business, so I can direct people there for both my store & blog.

okay guys, I can't tell you how much I love Bruce! Seriously!

okay guys, I can't tell you how much I love Bruce! Seriously!

Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?
A. Philbert the Lovesick Plague Doctor is my favorite currently listed item. I almost didn't want to sell him! I don't have much time to make things for myself, so I put a lot of myself into what I sell, and particularly when it's a lengthy project or an idea that I've had for a long time, I get kind of attached to my pieces. Philbert was in my head for a good year before I had time to make him. My other favorite is Bruce the Birthday Party Banana Slug. He sold a long time ago, but people's reactions to him were priceless. They always asked how I came up with such an idea, and honestly I don't know. I saw someone with a t-shirt that said something about banana slugs, and my brain immediately went from that to Bruce, and I made him when I got home. I've been debating making him again and relisting him, but he was so bizarre I feel like he's more special as a one-off. That said, I might make Bruce earrings.

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?
A. Only one? But there's so much to learn! I believe the most important piece of advice I could give is learn to take good product photos. I'm one to talk, my own photos still need a lot of work and it's one the priorities I'm currently working on (it's painfully ironic that I'm a fine art photographer- I just don't normally do product shots). I see so many people on Etsy with dark, blurry photos, or photos with way too many unrelated props, that barely tell me anything about the product. Your photos are typically what makes a potential customer click on your item. If the photo is not visually appealing, as a buyer I'm likely to pass the listing by. Take a look at the Etsy homepage for a good photo guide. Most of the items that make it there have really well done photos, to the point where the photo itself is a work of art. A lot of people may say "But I'm not a photographer, I can't take photos like that!" and that's okay, you don't have to shoot for the moon. You have to take things one step at a time, so just think of homepage photos as your inspiration while you start reading up on simple techniques to create better light. There are some really great articles on Handmadeology on how to take good product photos, look them over and put them into practice!

Q. Where can we find you (etsy, facebook, twitter, etc.)
A. On Etsy at themaniacalmenagerie.etsy.com
Twitter at www.twitter.com/feltedzombies
Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/feltedzombies
Facebook at www.facebook.com/themaniacalmenagerie
DeviantArt at themaniacalmenagerie.deviantart.com
And last but definitely not least, my blog: www.themaniacalmenagerie.com
I'm in the process of upgrading my blog, so it might be a bit sketchy for the first week of June.

Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!
A. Hmm! Well now, let's see if I can dig up something interesting.
1) As a hobby, I restore & sell vintage cast iron cookware. All of my personal cookware is cast iron, a lot of which belonged to my Grandma. I have some pieces that are over 100 years old. I've always loved antiques but can't usually afford them, and cast iron is probably the only antique you can use daily without ruining or diminishing its value, and that you can easily find for less than $10 at thrift stores. Plus, they're easy to restore. What makes this really funny though is I hate cooking.
2) I was in a Jack-in-the-Box commercial when I was 7, for the Patty Melt sandwich that they later renamed the Sourdough Jack.
3) I took flying lessons for a while as a teenager. I was obsessed with aviation at the time and wanted to be a pilot.

 

 

Thanks so much, Eden, for sharing a little bit about you, your shop, and your processes!

 

I hope that you all enjoyed getting to know a wonderful handmade artist and that you'll stop by and check out the rest of the super cute things in her shop (I am digging Philbert and Chadwick and of course, Bruce!)

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!

Handmade Weekend- Little Glass Slippers

Hooray! It's the first installment of my Handmade Weekend Series. Today I'm so excited to be featuring Lauren from Little Glass Slippers.

 

Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?
A. The first craft project (or day really) that I remember making by myself is accessories for my American Girl Doll when I was around 4 or 5. My best friend and I were bored on a rainy day, so we hauled everything out of the craft closet and went to town at the kitchen table!

Q. What inspires you?
A. I love bright colors and patterns. I think nature is an obvious answer for everyone, but I get inspiration from anything that makes me smile, whether that be prettily arranged cupcakes or piles of embroidery floss. I'm also really inspired by fairy tales (hence both my shop and blog names!)

Lately I've been really inspired by printed fabrics, embroidery projects, and all the fun stuff that comes with summer, like fresh fruit, the beach, and silly games! :)

Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?
A. I tend to randomly get ideas so I try to keep paper and a pen with me to jot them down. Once I have a few minutes, I usually start sketching whatever my newest idea is on paper before moving to felt. I tend to want to be a perfectionist, so I'll keep redoing a design until it's as close to the idea in my head as possible. I love when inspiration hits, but I also balance my crafty side with being a student and nanny, so it's so hard when all I want to do is make new products and I have to work.

Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?
A. It may be a little old fashioned, but I love my scrapbooks. I put a ton of work into each one to make them really special, and I love being able to look back at the fun times I've had. I also really love the embroidered tote bags I've been working on recently. They take awhile to complete but in the end it's worth it and I always love how they come out. (They're coming to the shop soon too!)

Two other handmade things I adore that I didn't make myself are the pottery pieces I use in my kitchen that my mom made, and the stuffed bunny my best friend knitted by hand for me. It was her first major project and I love that she made it for me!

Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?
A. The editing process. I try to get my photos to look as close to the item as possible so the buyer knows exactly what they're getting, but that also means many hours taking photos and trying to edit them to perfection. It gets tiring!

Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?
A. That I get to do something I love, and have others love it enough to buy it as well! I always say my goal is to make people smile when they see my items and I hope that's always the case!

Q. How do your customers find out about your products?
A. I try to instagram my work in progress so people can see a bit of the behind-the-scenes side of things, as well as my etsy shop updates as well.

Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?
A. The owl pins have to be my favorite. They're so cute and cheery looking, I just want to wear them everywhere. I love the sets of mini cards too. :)

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?
A. List an item every day, and constantly work to improve your shop, even if it's just minor tweaking here and there. Eventually things will start to improve.

Q. Where can we find you?
A. etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/LittleGlassSlippers
bloglovin: www.bloglovin.com/blog/3782759
instagram: instagram.com/onesweetfairytale
pinterest: www.pinterest.com/1SweetFairytale/

Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!
1. I'm a senior in college majoring in English
2. I'm a huge animal lover and used to volunteer at a shelter for multiple years.
3. I love to bake, and cupcakes are my favorite!

 

Thank you, Lauren, for sharing a little bit about yourself and your etsy shop! It was great getting to know a little more about a fellow handmade artist (btw, if you ever have any extra cupcakes, please send them my way!)

 

I hope that you all enjoyed getting to know a wonderful handmade artist and that you'll stop by and check out the rest of the super cute things in her shop (I'm partial to the felt owls and the embroidered paper airplane card!)

If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at aprilbern@gmail.com or leave a comment in the section below!