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Hello! I’m back! A little late, I know… Its been a crazy busy week between work and Easter preparations. I’m also working on two additional projects. The first one is for the ARTreprenuer site. I’m creating new tutorials (so far, I’ve made a DIY lightbox, gave my all time top five photography tips, and explained the benefits of the Macro setting…) and have been answering all sorts of photography questions. If you’d like to get in on these posts, be sure to stop by ARTreprenuer and sign up. You won’t regret it!

The second project…well… that’s a really big surprise! More details will be made available in the next week or so. All I can say is that things are gonna look a little different ’round here in a few weeks…

So this week I’m very happy to introduce you to our Featured Handmade Artist, Holly, from LarkandLillie. I am in love with her fun sewn creations! This one is definitely a favorite…

Featured Handmade Artist- LarkandLillie

Truthfully, I love all of them…

Featured Handmade Artist- LarkandLillie

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

My name is Holly Anderson shop owner of Lark and Lillie on etsy. I live in Denver Colorado with my wonderful and also artistic husband. I am an art teacher by trade, but my true passion is creating. I love to sew , paint, draw, decorate, and would get a lot more of this done if it wasn’t for my obsessive blog reading.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

I remember my mom cut up a ton of old crayons, and my sister and I created a mosaic type image with them.

Where do you get your inspiration?
As I’ve mentioned I love reading and looking at blogs. I am always inspired by the color palettes that I see, and love to glean ideas from other creative people. I also adore Scandinavian design, with it’s use of bold colors and stylized images. I love the idea of beauty through simplicity, and think Scandinavians do it the best!

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

I would say that my creative process starts with color combinations that I enjoy. I love mixing different patterns , colors, and textures, that aren’t always the most obvious choices. I also love to implement hand sewn details into almost all of my pieces, weather it’s stitched lettering, or an embroidered border.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

I have two handmade quilts that were made by my grandfather…my grandfather! He used to be a doctor, so I guess he traded stitching people up, for stitching quilts.

Featured Handmade Artist- Lark and Lillie

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

Try to solidify your style and look, so that your product is distinctive and recognizable. And don’t be afraid to experiment, make mistakes, and keep trying new things…

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

I am in the process of getting better at this. I have my etsy shop, and a link on my facebook. I also involved in local craft shows.

What are three websites you couldn’t live without?

Just three?
Design Sponge
Decor 8
Sfgirlbybay

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

My husband and I are planning on selling our house in the burbs and moving into the city. I would love to have a place with a little more space to create. Also I love all of the opportunities for inspiration in the city.

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

This may not sound very chivalrous, but I would love to have the super power of flying….I have always wanted to fly…when I was little I always wanted to jump off of our back deck with a sheet (for a parachute) And see if it would break my landing. I always chickened out …To see the world from up above would be wonderful

Thanks so much, Holly!!!
Please be sure to stop by her shop and check out all of her fabulous sewn creations: LarkandLillie.etsy.com

If you would like to be considered for my weekly features, please send me an email or convo– I’d love to hear from you!!!!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

Hello!!! I know, I got off to a late start today, but don’t worry– this week’s featured artist is definitely worth the wait! I am so happy to introduce you to Grace from Andwabisabi. Grace sells the cutest, fun and simple-to-make counted cross stitch patterns!

Featured Handmade Artist-Andwabisabi

Seriously, how fun is that? These look easy enough that even I could make them. I’m so not a cross-stitch (or counted-cross stitch) person, but I’m so in love with these fun designs that I’m thinking about trying one…

Check out some of her other cool designs:

Featured Handmade Artist- Andwabisabi

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

My name is Grace Kim and I’m the girl behind Andwabisabi Cross Stitch. I live in Southern California with my family and puppy, (my bundle of joy) Mochi! During the day, I work as a Graphic Designer and Product Developer in Wall Decor. Once I’m off the clock I love to cross-stitch, cook and bake. I do love to pick up a random craft during the weekend or spend hours upon hours at craft stores.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

I used to make paper dolls and cut out colorful little outfits and wigs for them. The possibilities were endless and I would churn out little outfits for them all day long!

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from nature and anything I come across during the day. I am definitely drawn to textures and patterns and love to take snapshots of anything that interests me. Inspiration comes from a color that I’ve become enamored with, or a conversation I shared with my close friend, or even from the dinner menu. I carry around a little notebook where I jot down these ideas and sketches, which comes in very handy when I’m ready to start designing.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

I refer to my handy little notebooks. I like to spend some time picking a topic that strikes my chord before I jump into the design aspect. Sometimes I will do a little research on the topic, other times I’ll jump right in. I start out with a rough shape in mind and move around the pixels until I settle on the design. After the design is set, it’s time to play with color! Often times, I will start out with a certain finish in mind, only to end up with something completely different- I love this process, because it is when I come out with the best designs.

Featured Handmade Artist- Andwabisabi

What is your most prized handmade possession?

I love the hand-knit scarf my grandmother made me some 15 years ago. It’s made out of really itchy pink yarn, but it makes me laugh every time I wrap myself in it.

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

I would have to say, keep doing what you love. Perseverance is key, keep developing your craft, continuously learn, and soon you will discover your niche.

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

Word of mouth, I’m fortunate to have lovely customers who refer their friends and family to my shop.
I also have a flickr and twitter account, as well as a FB page and blog. I spend a lot of time developing new items for the shop and try to upload new product every week.
Etsy – andwabisabi.etsy.com
Flickr – flickr.com/applepieorder
Twitter – twitter.com/andwabisabi
Facebook – www.facebook.com/pages/Andwabisabi-Cross-Stitch/439023620472
Blog – apple-pie-order.blogspot.com

What are three websites you couldn’t live without?

Etsy.com, Craftcult.com, Pandora.com

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I’d love to be happy and healthy, with some extra wrinkles, surrounded by family and crafty friends! I’d also love to own a little cross-stitch boutique and share the love of cross-stitch with a lot of people.

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

I’d love to fly, that way I’d be able to travel all over the world and have the experience of my life.

Thank you so much Grace!!! It was a pleasure to get to know a little bit more about the super creative force behind Andwabisabi. I urge everyone to take some time and check out her shop. There are so many wonderful cross stitch items to chose from (hey! Mother’s Day is coming up!!!)
http://www.etsy.com/shop/andwabisabi

If you would like to be considered for my weekly features, please send me an email or convo– I’d love to hear from you!!!!

Hang in there! It’s almost Friday!

-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

It’s supposed to be in the 60’s this weekend– yay! Hopefully, if the weather holds out, I’ll head out to the Chicago Botanic Garden for my first trip of the year. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see (and photograph) growing things!

I hope you enjoy the lovely handmade Garden themed items I found on etsy! (I’m loving this paper lotus...)

Origami Lotus Flower
Origami Lotus Flower Decoration or Favor // Papaya and Moss Green

Who am I kidding? I love everything here!

Wednesday Inspiration- Garden

1. Kerribeads Lampwork Little Bird Focal Bead

2. Garden Salsa lot of 6 hand dyed 42″ silk ribbons by Flame kissed Art Glass

3. Red Veined Sorrel No. 2 original watercolor painting

4. Bulbosa and Echinops Terrarium

5. Butterfly Embellishments Pumpkin Spice Monarch

6. Custom Herb Flower Pots (Set of 4)

7. Garden-Original miniature flower garden oil painting 3×3 by Marina Petro

8. Modern Herb or Succulent Planter Box from Reclaimed Cedar

9. Gnomeo & Juliet Concrete Garden Gnome Couple

Hope you have a great day and hopefully you get to enjoy a garden wherever you are!!!
-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

“April showers”
“April, where’s May and June?”
“April, it’s your month!”
Those were some of the things I heard in grade school. I used to hate the month of April (and my name!) because that’s all I would hear (boy, kids are cruel…) That, in addition to not paying attention in class and hearing my name (which was in context of a date), would startle me and make me think I was being called on ALL THE TIME… Nowadays, I find that people don’t tease me as much so when someone calls me “April Showers” I say, “if you’re lucky!” or when they ask me where May and June are, I tell them I don’t know about May, but June (my sister!) is doing well. And yes, April IS my month!! 🙂
(And because I know what you were thinking, no, my birthday is not in April either…)

This week’s inspiration is April Showers, in honor of the month of April that’s right around the corner! I hope you enjoy these lovely,lovely etsy finds!

april showers paper rosettes bouquet
april showers paper rosettes bouquet

Wednesday Inspiration- April Showers

1. April Showers 8×10

2. April Showers Cloud Handmade pendant with tiny blue Swarovski crystals raindrops rain clouds blue

3. April Showers Half Apron

4. April Showers– Duck in the Rain Embellishments — Set of 2

5. You Make Me Happy 5 x 5

6. Spring Whimsical rain Cloud Mobile for nursery

7. cloud mug

8. Yaroma – Morning Rain – Lace Weight

9. Wool Felt Umbrella Brooch – Lemon Yellow

Hope you have a wonderful day!
-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

Hi!!! Thanks for stopping by! I’m really excited to bring you this week’s 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. Enjoy!

     

    7 Dazzling Ways to Ignite Your Creative Spark
    "breathe" recycled wooden sign
    If you currently feel like you’re sitting in a dark cave and the fire of creativity refuses to be ignited, you’ll find seven ways to ignite your creative spark.

     

    Learn How: Using Hoot Suite
    strawberry jelly owl
    What do I love about Hoot Suite? So many things. Here’s how it makes my online life so much easier…

     

    Improving Your Etsy Listings: Item Descriptions
    When customers are searching sites like Google for something specific, the first 160 characters of your item description shows in the results. It’s important to utilize that small amount of text to grab potential customers attention.

     

    Marketing that Speaks without the Slimy Ways + 40 Ideas to Get You Started
    Weddings, notecards, globes - oh my!
    It seems sometimes in conversation the word “marketing” feels like a four-letter word. Beyond the fear, confusion and overwhelming feelings it can instill into the heart of many-a business owner, marketing seems to also just feel so icky sometimes.

     

    DIY- Six Paper Flowers
    DIY- Six Paper FlowersHere you’ll find 6 of the best DIY flower tutorials. If spring hasn’t sprung where you are, you can make your own flowers instead of waiting for them to grow!

     

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!!!! Thank you so much!

-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

Hi! I’m always really excited this time of year when I start to see things (finally!)begin to grow. It’s a definite sign that our long and cold winter is loosening its grips in our area. (I’m really jealous of those folks in California who have been posting spring blossom pictures on flickr for the past month…)

I noticed that my parents neighbors tulips and daffodils were beginning to grow and that made me really happy. Soooo happy, in fact, that when I arrived back home, I planned out when I was going back to the Botanic Garden to begin my annual stalking of the tulips and other spring blooms (next weekend!) and I shopped for Spring Green related items on etsy. These are my fabulous Spring Green inspired finds– I hope you enjoy!

Green Tea Bunny - Hand Knit Organic Cotton Toy Rabbit
Green Tea Bunny – Hand Knit Organic Cotton Toy Rabbit
isn’t that bunny the cutest thing ever?

Wednesday Inspiration- Spring Green

1. lime green baby chick

2. Handmade Vitrail Light Green Crystal Octagon Briolette Drop Sterling Silver Earrings

3. Sock Weight Superwash Merino Wool Yarn, Hand Dyed – Moss Tonal

4. Colorful Decorator Suzani Pillow

5. 2 For 1 Sale – Little Hooves – 8 x 10 Archival Fine Art Print

6. Asian Pear Lip Balm

7. Six Felted Acorns – Lemon and Lime – Natural and Eco Friendly.

8. knit toddler earflap hat and photo prop, size 18 months to 4T, fern green with stripes

9. A Kiss of Spring

Thanks so much! I’ll be back tomorrow with an fabulous interview from an etsy artist! Don’t miss it– Click here to subscribe today and you’ll see my posts in your blog reader automatically!

Hope you have a wonderful day!
-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

Hello! I hope you had a fantastic weekend!
I am super excited to present some new prints in my etsy shop. These prints are from a series of oil painting that I finished over the past few months. I am so in love with them! (I’m deciding if I want to add the originals to my shop– I think I would be really sad if they sold…)

Polaroid Love 8x8 Print

Polaroid Love 8x8 Print of Original Oil Painting


The prints are scanned from the original paintings and the detail in the print is amazing– you can see all the brushstrokes and the texture of the canvas. The colors are rich and vibrant and are a near perfect match to the original.

Let's Run Away Fine Art Print from original Oil Painting

Lets Run Away 8x8 Print of Original Oil Painting

The print are professionally printed on premium quality Fujicolor Crystal Archive photograph paper which provides excellent resistance to light fade. It would look amazing grouped together my other prints, in a frame on your walls, on a desk, or shelf!

First Cup 8x8 Print of Original Oil Painting

First Cup 8x8 Print of Original Oil Painting

Red Coffee Cup 8x8 Print

Red Coffee Cup 8x8 Print of Original Oil Painting

new prints at creativeapples.etsy.com
Love them? You can purchase them (and more!) from my etsy shop!
Don’t forget to check out some of my other prints and original oil paintings!

Hope you have a fantastic Monday!
-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

Hello!!! Welcome to this week’s Featured Handmade Artist– Shayna from SteelPetalPress! Shayna is a fellow Chicagoan (almost a neighbor!) and I’m thrilled to feature her today. I’ve seen her letterpress cards at the Renegade Craft fair and I can attest to how cool and how well made they are. This is my current favorite card…

Featured Handmade Artist- SteelPetalPress
Seriously? How fun is that? Check out a sample of some of her other products that are for sale. She creates custom wedding invites (how cool!), bound journals and really fun letterpress cards…

Featured Handmade Artist- SteelPetalPress

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

My name is Shayna and I currently live in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago by way of San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles, St Louis and Washington DC. I print handmade letterpress greeting cards, custom wedding invitations and make hand bound journals.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

I remember drawing birthday cards for my all my family members starting a very young age, 4 or 5 maybe? I also remember writing stories, illustrating them and turning them into books around the same age.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by old mechanical tools, vintage objects, collectables and type. The Vandercook and Chandler price presses that i print are from the midcentury and have fascinating cranks and levers and gears. I love the tactility of it all.

Can you describe some of your creative process?

First I have to think up a new idea. This can come at any time and is usually out of the blue: riding the train, while jogging, on a Sunday morning reading the paper, running errands, riding my bike. Then I need to transform the idea into an image or object. This takes some time tinkering with the materials and the images and seeing what looks best. Then there’s production mode, in which I just crank out a bunch of work. The last part is much less creative.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

The fingerless mittens a friend knit for me in exchange for a mix CD many years ago. I love them and have managed to not loose them.

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

Do what you love and keep working at it. There will be slow times and busy times. Put care into what you do, make beautiful things, stay true to yourself and don’t give up.

What are some of the ways you promote your shop?

Word of mouth has been really great for finding people looking for custom work. I also have a facebook page, twitter account, flickr and blog.
http://www.steelpetalpress.com/news/
http://www.twitter.com/shaynakatherine
http://www.facebook.com/steelpetalpress
http://www.flickr.com/photos/steelpetalpress/
http://www.etsy.com/shop/SteelPetalPress

Also, I try to renew an item at least once a day. And I sell at local and regional craft fairs. I am a member of the EtsyBRC street team and Ladies of Letterpress on ning.com:
http://www.ladiesofletterpress.ning.com/

I’ve also spent some time going door to door presenting my work to stores that might be interested in wholesale.

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

Etsy.com – naturally
Facebook.com – is a love hate relationship, but because I’ve moved around quite a bit, it helps me keep it touch with friends in other states
Lastfm.com – is great for discovering new music

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would really love to be living in a house with a large studio where I could keep my own press and store stacks of type and survive entirely off my work.

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

I wish I was the type of person that could survive with little to no sleep. Then I would have time to both work and play and I wouldn’t have to cut corners in any area of my life.

Thanks so much Shayna!!! I hope to see you at the Renegade Craft Fair this year!

Please be sure you stop by the SteelPetalPress shop and check out all Shayna has to offer!!!
SteelPetalPress.etsy.com

Is there any shop that you think should be featured? Would you like me to feature your shop? Please feel free to send me an email aprilbern at gmail dot com!

Have a great day!
-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

Hello!! Welcome 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!

  • Etsy Shop SEO {Video Tutorial}
    Vive la Couleur Frame Collection, 4 pcsThis in-depth demonstration and the video lasts 22 minutes, but the tips could prove to be very valuable to you in the long-run, so if you have questions about how to optimize your site for search engines, you’ll find this video really helpful.
  • Marketing Campaign for Craft Show Vendors
    amazing display
    If you thought all you needed to do was show up with your folding table, handmade goodies and a smile you were wrong. Well not wrong, but maybe not utilizing the show for its full marketing potential like you should…
  • Blog Tracking
    How to increase your exposure on blogs by getting organized.

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!!!! Thank you so much!

-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

Hello again!!! Welcome to another Featured Handmade Artist!!! I’d like to introduce you to Lynn from LynnMinneyDesigns. I am a huge fan of recycled and re-purposed products and Lynn creates lovely bags and accessories from vintage recycled sweaters, jeans, vintage fabrics, ties and buttons!

FeaturedHandmadeArtist-LynnMinneyDesigns

Check out some of her other wonderful designs:

Featured Handmade Artist-LynnMinneyDesigns

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

My name is Lynn Minney and I grew up in cow country, Lowville, New York. Honestly there are more cows than people, which I think is a good thing! After going to Syracuse University to study Communications Design, I went back to cow country and then eventually migrated back to the Syracuse area where I met my handsome hubby. We have a 4 year old little girl. Currently, I am a Digital Image Designer. So I’m a wife and mom, designer by day and a crafter by night. I’m sure there is some other things I could throw in there too!

I just got back into sewing about 3 years years ago. I had a pretty wool sweater that no longer fit me and I found a magazine article on making sweater bags. I made one for my sister and I was hooked. It helped me get back into sewing again and I was able to give handmade gifts.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

I started sewing with my Grandma Jennie as a little girl. I don’t remember what we sewed, maybe doll pillows? I remember her letting me use her machine all by myself! She would check in on me when she was cooking and occasionally yell at me to not sew over my fingers 🙂

Where does your inspiration come from?

My mom is an amazing sewer and crocheter. I think she can do both with her eyes closed (but not at the same time… wink, wink). She sewed when sewing wasn’t cool. She made my sister & I beautiful clothes and continues to do so.

My daughter influenced me to live a more eco-friendly life. She is sensitive to so many things, so that it forced me to find products that were safer for her. That has really driven me to live green and open my eyes to the wold of upcycling.

My flower garden is another source of inspiration. I love the colors and textures and I try to bring that into everything I make. I love the dense wool and denim in contrast with the soft cotton lining.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

Process, what process?! It usually begins with me going to the thift store. I let the sweater or denim dictate the style of bag that it will make. Then I bring my treasures home and felt them. After that I shop for lining fabric or use vintage I’m lucky enough to find something. Here’s where my phobia comes in. You see, I HATE cutting fabric! So I have tons of sweaters and denim with the lining fabric all ready to go, but I’m a little chicken to get them started. I guess I’m afraid I’ll mess up and you can’t go back!

What is your most prized handmade possession?

I have a beautiful hand-sewn blue quilt that my grandmother made me. It was on my big antique brass bed as a little girl.

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

Be a sponge. If most etsy sellers are like me, they are good at their craft, but new to marketing. Read books, blogs, subscribe to newsletters and post on the etsy discussion boards. I’ve learned a boat-load of things in the past year because of them. Don’t be afraid to ask for others help!

What are some of the ways that you promote your work?

I think word of mouth has been my biggest promoter so far. I make accessories, so I carry one of my own bags (and business cards). When someone asks about it, I ask them if they’d like a card. No one has said no yet!

I just started up a facebook page on.fb.me/lynnminneydesigns which I use to keep people updated on my latest designs and contests.

I’ve been blogging for about a year, but I’m really working hard at taking it to the next level. I have a purpose and a schedule now. I feel so grownup! LynnMinneyDesign.wordpress.com

And of course there is my etsy store!
etsy.com/shop/LynnMinneyDesigns

What are three websites you couldn’t live without?

www.handmadeology.com

craftgossip.com

ittybiz.com

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

If you asked this question a few years ago you would’ve gotten a completely different answer. I’m so thankful that life isn’t a straight line! I don’t plan that far ahead because it can be a little overwhelming. I dream of sewing more and spending more time with my family. Some of my goals this year are to do my first craft show and develop some new products.


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

Since I always joke about using my magic wand (not the one in Photoshop). I think it would be a good choice. A nice all-purpose super power ’cause that’s me, so practical!

Thanks so much Lynn!!!!

I hope you enjoyed this interview and getting to know Lynn a bit better– please stop by her shop, her blog, and her facebook page and give her some love!!!

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