You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

remember my contest from last week? Well, I have some winners!!!
First of all, thank you everyone for your input about witch cupcake to add to my etsy shop!. I really appreciate your thoughts and comments!!! The cupcake that received the most votes was cupcake number 3!

Happy Birthday Cupcake Trio Greeting Card
You can buy it here
http://www.etsy.com/listing/66981828/happy-birthday-cupcake-trio-greeting

Now, for the part you’ve been waiting for– the winner of a a set of five new cupcake greeting cards is
random number winner
creativeapples contest winner

Thank you soooooo much Tiina!!!

And thanks again to everyone for your help!!!!


Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland 1998

Hi! I am so happy to be able to introduce you to a super nice and talented jewelry designer, Amy from amyholtondesigns.

I love Amy’s natural, easy, and feminine style. Her love of nature is imbued in each and every piece. And the COLOR! I’m just so in love with the turquoise and the different color sapphires. (really? I had no idea that sapphires came in anything other than blue!)

Featured Handmade Artist- AmyholtondesignsLOVE this piece.

Here are a few other pieces from Amy’s shop that I love
Featured Handmade Artist- Amyholtondesigns

Hi Amy! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Amy Holton, a tried and true Texas girl born in San Antonio. I lived for a few years in the Philippines, returned to the U.S. (Virginia), then lived most of my life in and just outside of Houston. I now live in Austin (hands-down the best city in Texas) with my husband. I inherited four amazing stepchildren, two here in Austin and two in England (my husband’s English).

Despite a long artistic background, I actually studied finance at the University of Texas and was a research analyst for Enron in my former life. After I was laid off with 4500 of my closest friends in December 2001, making jewelry became a bit of an obsession for me. When we moved to Austin in 2007, I was able to focus on building my business full-time.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

One Christmas, when we lived in Virginia, I remember sitting around the table as a family painting wooden Christmas ornaments. My mom is very crafty too! I was probably about 4 years old.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Countless places! Sometimes I surprise myself with what gives me an idea for a new piece. Fashion obviously, a beautiful neckline that just has to have the perfect necklace. Also books I’ve read, period films, architecture, artwork and nature (I know…everyone says that, but it’s true). Colors translate into gemstones for me and can therefore find inspiration in just about anything. Just checking Pantone’s color trends for each season can give me countless ideas!

Can you please describe a little of your creative process?

Call me strange, but I really enjoy fiddly, tedious projects, so this is right up my alley. Not to mention, what a beautiful medium to work in! I really enjoy the creative process, which for me is sometimes very structured, but more often very organic. Designs emerge and change as I work. I often purchase gemstones just because they appeal to me, not always because I have a design in mind for them. This can be very dangerous (and expensive!) but they eventually find their way into one of my designs.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

A quilt made by my paternal grandmother. I never saw her sew and she never seemed the type to, but I know she made this and one other small quilt. I this quilt was my favorite when we would stay with my grandparents as kids. It’s made up of white blocks with pale yellow borders. Each block has a large gingham butterfly in the center, outlined in black embroidery. When my parents went to help prepare my grandparents house to put on the market after my grandmother’s death, they asked me if there was any particular item I wanted. Immediately…the butterfly quilt was my answer. Despite our contemporary décor, the butterfly quilt lives in the window seat of our bedroom.

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

Be persistent and take advantage of the wealth of advice on Etsy, not only from the staff, but also from the community. Etsy sellers are so supportive of each other. Also, be patient. Success isn’t simply a matter of posting some items and the orders start rolling in. As with anything worth doing, it takes work. Utilize social networking and get your name out wherever you can.

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

Do you have enough room in your blog for this answer ?! Promotion alone can be a full-time undertaking!

My main website is my own at http://amyholtondesigns.com

Of course, I also have my Etsy shop and I’m also on Zibbet and ArtFire.

Flickr is a great place to keep a profile of new designs as well as an archive of retired pieces.

I have my wholesale line sheet on Trunkt.

I think a Facebook Business Page is essential for keeping customers and potential customers informed as well as for networking with other designers, suppliers, etc.

I’ve made some really good friends and connections through Twitter. From other artists and Etsy sellers to fashion designers, photographers and people in the know in the fashion world, it’s a great place to connect. I love my tweeps and I love interacting with my followers! You can find me at http://twitter.com/AmyHoltonDesign (You have to drop the ‘S’ in Designs. Twitter doesn’t allow quite enough characters to fit my entire name).

I use my blog in lieu of an e-mail marketing campaign and also to connect on a more personal level. I think when you’re buying from an independent artist, it’s nice to know a bit about them personally as well. My blog is currently divided into three parts. One highlighting new designs, and some creative struggles under the section “In the Works at AHD” and another as an avenue to share the works of other artists in “Etsy Love.” I also include a bit about me under “In the Life Of…

I know people often ask to be added to mailing lists and then regret it (I’m guilty as well). This way, they can follow my blog in a number of ways as they choose, whether it’s through Facebook, Google Reader, Twitter, or RRS feeds. Plus, I find it’s a bit more personal way to keep in touch.

What are three websites you couldn’t live without.

Only three?! I’m starting to think my laptop is permanently attached to my body…
Facebook (because it’s just so great for networking)
Google Analytics (It’s that corporate background! I like data )
I have to say Flickr because it’s such a great portfolio and archive.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I hope to expand the brand and be represented in many more boutiques both stateside and internationally. While I’ll never go mass-produced, I’d certainly take on a small staff to help fulfill orders and
keep things going. Of course, the designs will remain my own. I don’t think I could ever step away from
creating.

if you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

The shallow answer is to complete tasks simply by wishing them done.

The deeper answer is to have the power to bring back loved ones I’ve lost in my life, if just for a day…or to know for sure they see me as I am today, happy with my husband and stepchildren, content in my lifestyle
and doing something I love. I’m very close to my family. I regret that my husband never met three of my grandparents (though he did ask my paternal grandfather for permission to marry me) and many other family
members he’s heard so much of, but never had the opportunity to meet. Same with my stepkids. They’re as close to my family as they are their biological family and there are so many people I wish they could have met.

(Wow! Thank you so much Amy! I should have asked how you find all the time to promote your creations! I am impressed and inspired to check out venues such as zibbet and trunkt now…)

I hope you have a chance to visit Amy’s shop on etsy and stop by her blog and some of her other social media outlets!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/amyholtondesigns

Hello! Valentine’s Day is on everyone’s minds over here at work. We’re planning special Valentine’s Day themed emails to send to our customers and folks are talking about what they’re buying for their significant other. Someone even brought in cute heart shaped marshmallows (they are pretty tasty!)

If you haven’t picked up anything for your significant other or yourself (hey– you’re allowed!) check out this weeks heart shaped inspiration from all over etsy!

Valentine's Day Monkey Amigurumi
Valentine’s Day Monkey Amigurumi

Wednesday Inspiration- Heart

1. Sweet Little Valentine Dachshund

2. Love paperie a garland of handcut hearts

3. ITTY BITTY Bite Size VALENTINE Heart Sugar Cookies, 8 Dozen

4. Love Birds Applique Onesie or tshirt

5. 40 Valentine RED Cardstock Hearts . 1.5 inch

6. Dopamine Molecule Heart Pin

7. BOGO Made With Love 8×10 Photography Print

8. Sushi Dish Set with Hearts (KISS – Linen White)

9. DESIGNER Hand Knit Baby Valentine Hat ORIGINAL Pixie Cap Red Hearts

Hi! Welcome you to this weeks Crafty Connections! Each and every week I scour the interwebs and gather the best tutorials, tips, and informative links to help with your handmade craft business. In addition, I’ll post links to cool crafty DIY projects, and blogs I think are worth following. I hope you enjoy this weeks links!

If you know of any good handmade craft marketing resources I should include in the next Crafty Connections post please don’t hesitate to email me, or leave the link(s) in the comments section! I would love to be able to share these great resources with everyone! Also, are these links helpful to you? Let me know! I appreciate the feedback!!!! Thanks!

I didn’t think so.

How about 1000? Now we’re talking!!!

Coffee Love Take-Out Cup Cozy

If you’re in need of a coffee fix this morning, check out this fabulous coffee related website that’s now my new favorite:

http://coffeeserveddaily.com/

coffee served daily 1000 cups of coffee

Here’s a little bit about Kim, and the idea behind this caffeinated blog:

I love blogging and connecting with other people, especially folks who have very different lives from my own. That was one of my favorite parts of doing Project 365, being inspired by other photographers, and enjoying their points of view on the day. I’ve been wanting to do an interactive blog for a long time, one where lots of people could participate. Last October I was with some friends in Chico (we were there for a reunion of the design department at California State University Chico, where we had gone to school over 30 years ago) and several of us pulled out our cameras to photograph our coffees before we drank them. At first I envisioned this project for a specific group of friends, but then I became more excited about opening it up, and seeing where it took me.

Coffee is a great connector. It is home, it’s international, it’s private, it’s social. It’s plain and it’s beautiful. And I drink it daily….in fact several times a day. 1000 cups of coffee seemed like to much that it would force me to photograph it in new ways, and really look at it from every angle. It would give me an excuse to learn more about coffee, and an even better excuse to make coffee dates with my friends. I have been reaching out to my friends, and flickr contacts, and everyone is delighted to participate. Just this week I started reaching out to people I don’t know…when I find a photo on flickr I love, I check out the photographer and try to guess if they’d be interested, and then write them a letter. That’s how I met Lana, an art student from Moscow, living in NYC, who has been shooting coffee for years. I’ve also had several people I don’t know send me coffee photos. It’s always exciting to wake up in the morning and see what shows up in my mailbox.

I have no idea where this will go. I am only at photo #50, and have 950 more to go. I’ve already made so many discoveries…and I expect there will be many more.
It’s been energizing and fun, and really, that’s the most one can expect from blogging and from coffee!

I am happy to have contributed a few photos to this blog– Check out day 54, day 45, and day 41.

I hope you’ll make coffeeserveddaily a stop that you’ll enjoy everyday with your own daily cup of coffee!

I am so inspired by Kim and her blog that I have decided to do my own 1000 coffee cup project. Follow my project on flickr!
1000 cups of coffee

multnomah falls

Photo Friday-Trees
Be sure to check out this weeks other Photo Friday participants!

Hi! I’m super excited to introduce you to an incredibly fun etsy seller- Sasha from whatnomints.etsy.com. I think if I lived out East, Sasha and I would be bff’s. Not only is she a scientist (I started out as a bio major in school) but she’s crafty too! I love her quirky geeky science geek designs!

Featured Handmade Artist- WhatnomintsLove this Pleasure Molecule Felt Ornament!

Check out some of her other super fun designs:
Featured Handmade Artist- Whatnomints

Hi Sasha! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Sasha: Scientist by day and Crafter by night! I work during the day as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab and in the evenings I stretch my creative fingers, stitching quirky and cute felt goodies. I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania and currently live in Lambertville, New Jersey, a beautiful and quaint little town located on the Delaware River.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

My most memorable, childhood project has to be a giant plant cell I created for a biology class assignment. As a kid I ALWAYS went over the top when it came to assignments that involved going to the craft store, and this cell was no exception. I fashioned the cytoplasm from that gel-type candle wax and hand-formed all of the organelles from clay. To this very day I am so proud of that plant cell and I still have it, sitting in my parents’ basement!

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from a lot of places. A lot of my chemistry and biology-related goodies come from my love of all things science. I love to try and bring science to people in fun and interesting ways, and I think my vibrant little microbes and embroidered molecule hearts do that! Some of my more nature-oriented items are inspired by the things I see around town when I go on my daily runs.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

It’s quite simple, really: Once I have an idea in my head, I figure out what color combinations are speaking to me that day and get to work tracing and cutting shapes of Eco-Fi felt for the item. Once cut, I hand-stitch and hand-embroider every detail you see. Then, I add a magnet/loop of ribbon/pin (depending on what I am making), stuff it with a tad bit of Poly-Fil for shape and finish my stitch!

What is your most prized handmade possession?

I don’t really have any handmade family heirloom to speak of, however, every year my boyfriend and I give Christmas ornaments to each other (in an attempt to fill up our scantly-decorated tree). The first year we did this, he made me a blown egg “Curious Orb” (a character from the popular video game “Portal” – So geeky, I know). It’s important to me because it marks our life lived together and on our own (we met in college and have been together for over 5 years now).

Curious Orb

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

Make what you love, provide excellent customer service and support your fellow Etsians. Okay, I know that was three, but I think they are all absolutely necessary to be successful. When you create what you enjoy, it shows in your work – Customers will see this. Buyers won’t necessarily remember great customer service, but they will never forget when it’s terrible. I always try to be attentive and do what I can to give my customers the best experience. Finally, I seriously believe that what goes around, comes around (in the Etsy world at least!). I promote and support my fellow sellers on my blog, in Treasuries and will sometimes shoot them a quick Convo when I find one of their items particularly striking! Numerous times, these talented people will turn around and support me or even make a purchase from my shop – I have also made a few friends as a result!

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/whatnomints
Blog: whatnomints.wordpress.com/
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/whatnomints

What are the three websites you couldn’t live without?

foodgawker.com/
www.goinghometoroost.com
en.wikipedia.org

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Well, I am nearly finished applying to graduate schools – I want to go back to school to earn my PhD studying in environmental chemistry. So in 10 years I see myself graduated and either continuing post graduate education or doing some kind of field work and perhaps starting a family (which is very weird for me to say now, but I will be 33 by then and I think that will be around the appropriate time for those sorts of things). As for my Etsy shop? I will be honest in saying that I really have no idea what will become of it – I am certainly having a blast and it is definitely something I want to keep up at least as a hobby in the future. Either way, handmade will always have a special place in my heart.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Hmm, probably the ability to travel anywhere in the world instantly. Something like this would come in handy on regular days when I realize on my way to work that I left my coffee on the kitchen counter or when I arrive at the grocery store only to realize that the list was forgotten at home. I could also travel anywhere in the world whenever I wanted – Want to go to Germany for a beer this afternoon? Sure! *Zap* And I’m there! (Apparently the sound of instant travel is “zap” …)

Thank you so much Sasha!!! It was a pleasure featuring you and your shop this week! Please check out Sasha’s shop!
http://www.whatnomints.etsy.com

I live across the street from a forest preserve and every day I see lots and lots of deer. These deer are so tame they eat out of peoples hands. I drove past the forest preserve this morning and saw them grazing in the cleaning and I thought to myself (as I often do) “wow– that would make an awesome photo– I’ve got to come back here and take some pictures!” (I’ve been saying this for the past few years…)

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these Woodland Critter finds from all over etsy!

Wednesday Inspiration- Woodland Critters

1. Wee Woodland Wuzzies Knitting Pattern

2. Sweet Foxy brooch – Free Worldwide shipping

3. Fox Woodland Mittens – Handknit Cream Fingerless Gloves

4. Woodland Animals – Set of Three Wooden Toys

5. Woodland Deer Necklace

6. Large fox trivet in Green Felt by peppersprouts

7. Set of 2 Art Prints on Wood, DG MINIs Norway Cabin

8. Orwell Clutch – Penny Copper Squirrel Purse

9. The Persnickety Opossum Print 8.5 in x 11 in

Hi! Welcome you to this weeks Crafty Connections! Each and every week I scour the interwebs and gather the best tutorials, tips, and informative links to help with your handmade craft business. In addition, I’ll post links to cool crafty DIY projects, and blogs I think are worth following. I hope you enjoy this weeks links!

If you know of any good handmade craft marketing resources I should include in the next Crafty Connections post please don’t hesitate to email me, or leave the link(s) in the comments section! I would love to be able to share these great resources with everyone! Also, are these links helpful to you? Let me know! I appreciate the feedback!!!! Thanks!

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