You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘i {heart}’ category.

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

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:

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!!


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 –
Flickr –
Twitter –
Facebook –
Blog –

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

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!!!)

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!


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!


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 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!

And of course there is my etsy store!

What are three websites you couldn’t live without?

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!!!

Hello!!! Welcome to this week’s Featured Handmade Artist!! Please allow me to introduce you to Ryan, from TheBloomingThread!
I just love the hand-stitched items in her shop! I have a real appreciation for all things stitched and sewn since I’ve tried to sew, and failed miserably…
One of my most favorite items in Ryan’s shop atually not sewn– it’s this lovely little necklace:

Featured Handmade Artist- TheBloomingThread

Violet Garden - Tiny Botanical Bottle Necklace w/ Sage Green Vintage Rhinestone

Don’t you just love it? I love that there is this teeny tiny dried violet blossom in there. So feminine and pretty… Here are a few other favorites from her shop:

Featured Handmade Artist- TheBloomingThread

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

Hi there! My name is Ryan and I’m in love with hand stitching! live next to a small town, in a smaller town that’s surrounded by rolling green hills, farm life & vineyards, sunshine and the ocean just north of Santa Barbara, Ca. (Tough, I know!) I’m fortunate to also be surrounded by a creative circle of family and friends. I work for an Energy Resource company doing accounting and date entry reporting that monitors our resource usage. So you can only image how happy I am when 4 o’clock rolls around and I get to scoot home and use the more creative side of my brain!

What is the first craft project you remember making?

Haha, oh man…this is such a great question! Those shoe box dioramas were the first thing that popped into my head! My kindergarten teacher (Mrs. Jarvey!) was so awesome. She always gave us great craft projects and really encouraged us at a very young age to explore being creative. I’ll never forget her. She helped us enter our elementary art shows, and really gave us a sense of freedom to express ourselves in ways past Crayola. We did clay projects and visited a studio space of one of the kids who’s dad was a professional sculpture, created paintings, paper-mache. I remember even making our own crayons! And let me say, this was no art school, or private school by any means! Just a public school teacher with a heart of gold.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration is everywhere! I’m inspired by the mood of a song, a scene from a movie, the brick detail on local coffee shop around the corner. Really, I know that sounds cliché but it’s so true. Most of my inspiration comes from being outside. There is just something so spectacular about rich color and texture that keeps my creative mind going.

Can you describe some of your creative process?

If it’s forced, it usually doesn’t get far off the ground. I try to keep an open eye and mind for new designs and projects. When something strikes me, I jot it down, sketch it, imagine it…give it the chance to evolve and take root. Then execute! It’s not always a clean, organized process but it translates my ideas pretty well.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

My boyfriend painted me a 3 piece canvas set of flowers from an Arizona Tea can. I know that probably sounds so dorky but they have the most beautiful scenes on their cans! He painted me the “Georgia Peach” design close up. So the flowers fill the frame of each canvas and continue onto the next as they are mounted aligned. This shop actually makes some super cute things from the AZ cans too!

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

I’m still very new so the best advice I can give it to stay plugged in with the updates and features happening on Etsy. Etsy always has “Featured Seller” and “Quit your day job” interviews loaded with great artist and creative minds that can give solid pointers on what helped them along the way. I like that old saying of “not having to reinvent the wheel again”. Also, join a team. I’m on ETTEAM and its awesome! They’re so fun and excited about Etsy, it helps really become a part of the “Etsy Community”. It also doesn’t hurt to have the extra promotion and traffic to your store.

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

I try to use and wear my own creations. I have a messenger bag with lots of detailed stitching that’s become my favorite go-to carryall..and I always get asked about it. I also:
Twitter: @BloomingThread

What are three websites you couldn’t live without?

Etsy (duh!), Ebay, and Pandora. The rest are far too many to name.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Time goes by way to fast, so I really try to focus on the where I am in my life at the moment and absorb as much as I can. So to answer the question, in 10 years I hope I’m happy, healthy and have a sweet little home with little ones dancing at my feet and absorbing all the blessings I have then too.

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

Haha, that’s an easy one. To have a better memory! So, brain power I guess!

Thanks so much Ryan!!! It was a pleasure doing this interview with you!

Please be sure to stop by and check out the rest of Ryan’s awesome designs!!!

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!

Hope you have a wonderful day! Hang in there– only one more day until the weekend!

Hello!!! I am super excited to introduce you to Elizabeth from Betsyandbess. Elizabeth creates eco friendly purses, handbags, and accessories, made from repurposed, upcycled, and recycled materials, down to the zippers, buttons, and pockets. Nothing goes to waste!

Featured Handmade Artist- BetsyandbessI love this Red Floral Shoulder Bag!

Check out some of her other great bags and accesories:
Featured Handmade Artist- Bestyandbess
Hi Elizabeth! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Elizabeth, I live in Murfreesboro, TN, just south of Nashville with my husband, a cat, a chameleon, and two fabulous Dobermans. By day I am a teacher, but I would LOVE to spend all hours sewing, making upcycled bags for my shop and presents for my friends.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

It is absolutely impossible for me to answer this question. I grew up in a house where being artistic and creative was encouraged and expected. We had an art cabinet with every material and tool any child could ask for. We made the stars for our Christmas trees, painted portraits, you name it. And we did it all right on the kitchen table. My childhood was filled with crafts.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I love browsing the web looking at vintage bags. I am inspired by their details.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

I go fabric hunting nearly every weekend. I sometimes come home with three giant garbage bags full of clothes, belts, or other nifty things to use.
Once I decide what kind of bag to make, I have to pick the perfect fabric. Especially with larger bags, I am sometimes limited as to which items of clothing I can use. I can’t simply just start cutting, but have to make sure all of the seams and other details of the clothing are laid out in an attractive way.
Finally, I always try to add a few details to the bags, some stripes, or rosettes, or other accent.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

A quilt that my great-grandmother made.

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

My biggest piece of advice is READ. There is so much knowledge out there! Read, read, and read some more! If you have a question, it’s probably already been answered somewhere by someone.

What are some of the ways you promote yourself and your shop?

I have a Facebook Fan Page –
And of course, my shop –

Name three websites you couldn’t live without.

Of all the questions, for some reason this one makes me think the hardest.
I read the headlines on our local newspaper’s website several times a day. I don’t know why, but I love reading local news. (in case anyone is curious what’s going on my random city!)
I’m also hooked on I love the healthy recipes and the food news.
Lately I’ve also been hooked on the updates from this blog – There is absolutely no way I have the patience or stamina for quilting, but her quilts are so beautiful it makes me wish I did.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Ten years? I would say, a mom to several beautiful children, and happy wife, and a success story. In ten years I would like to have my goods in every local shop, and a prominent online presence.
In my dream world, I live on a farm in an old house, my children spend their days running barefoot in the mud, I have an apron that I wipe my hands on constantly, and wear it 24/7. I fall asleep with all the windows open and the doors unlocked in the summer. But I don’t milk cows.

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

I’m not sure if this is a super power or more like a fairy godmother kind of thing. I would like to bestow on people the ability to communicate. To talk without fear of being judged, to listen without getting defensive, and above all, to just be honest with each other. So many confrontations and tarnished relationships could be avoided if we could all be open and honest and embrace each other and our differences. Who knows, maybe we could even have world peace.

Thank you so much Elizabeth!!! Thanks for letting us get to know you and your shop!

Please be sure to stop by Betsyandbess and check out all of Elizabeth’s fabulous eco-friendly creations!

Hello!!! I’m super excited to introduce you to Allison from LoveTheBaby. I love her shop! Now that my good friend has a baby that I get to play auntie to, I’ve been shopping for quality handmade baby goods. I feel so much better about buying baby Siena something handmade. Allison sells handmade vintage inspired quilts, bibs, blankets and more!

Featured Handmade Artist- LoveTheBabLove these handmade crocheted washcloths!
Check out some of her other super cute handmade baby items:
Featured Handmade Artist- LoveTheBaby

Hi Allison!! Can you start out by telling us a little about yourself?

Hi. I’m Allison. I’m a native Houstonian and now make my home in the Texas Forest Country of East Texas. I was trained as an archaeologist at Texas A&M University, but for the past 13 years, since marrying my wonderful husband Roger, I have been a homemaker and more recently, office manager of Roger’s law practice. So, my days are mostly filled with answering phones, typing letters and keeping the office running smoothly. Evenings I so love to relax before a blazing fire in the fireplace and squeeze in some sewing when I’m not trying to keep up with everything else that needs to be taken care of at home.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

What comes to mind is my sister and I at the local five-and-dime sorting through bolt after bolt of fabric laid out on huge tables. With our finds we made patchwork pillows. Oh, and then there were the Barbie clothes. Our Barbies had all kinds of unique dresses with sashes made from a medley of fabric scraps.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration seems to come from what came before. When I was trying to come up with a quilt pattern recently, I found myself excitedly looking through a book of traditional quilt block patterns, searching for one calling out to me. I was so happy to find in that book, also, quilt patterns that I admire, but had no idea that they were traditional patterns. We are very fortunate to have several quilts made by my husband’s grandmother in the early 1900s. They are tattered and torn from years of use, but the fabrics and the simple patchwork patterns keep bringing me back to them. I cannot wait to reproduce them for my Etsy shop and larger ones for us to keep, too.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

I haven’t ever considered myself to be especially creative, rather that I follow instructions well. But I do find designs popping into my head occasionally. I try to jot them down, stew about them, sort through my fabric stash, buy new fabric, take measurements, refine the pattern a bit, then make an attempt at cutting and sewing. It seems like a long process from idea to finished product, really. I probably spend way too much time on that “stewing” part.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

Now that I think about it, our house is full of handmade. And there are a number of things that come to mind. But there is only one that is the most special. For our 10-year anniversary my husband asked my brother, who is an artist, to paint a portrait of me based on a photo than he had taken of me. I had no idea this was going on. When it arrived in the mail and my husband showed it to me, I was speechless. Not only had he done such a loving and generous thing for me, but he asked my brother, whom I love dearly, to paint it. It is a treasure that I hold close to my heart.

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

Have an identity. I spent a long time floundering after opening my shop and being deeply disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm from the buying public. I had no cohesive look, no identity, no “brand”, as they say, and I really didn’t know that I needed one. But, after spending lots of time on Etsy reading the blog, looking at other shops, and perusing the forums, I finally found a direction for my shop and that look that pleased me. Once I arrived in that place, creating for the shop became so much easier. The fabrics began flowing and the sewing machine humming. There are not enough hours in the day!

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

My shop:

I must admit that I do not facebook, twitter, blog, etc. Blogging does seem fun to me. I like the idea of a blog and I certainly enjoy reading them, but I fear that all those things will take up vast amounts of my time and energy.

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

The New York Times online:

I’m always learning something new here


It’s addicting, but a useful tool

For the fabric obsessed

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I just want to be happy and healthy.

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

Time travel. I have always been interested in people who came before us and what their lives were like. Historically speaking, there are writings that give insight into their lives. Even prehistoric peoples have left us something for speculation. But, usually it is only enough to tantalize us. How thrilling it would be to travel back in time to discover what their lives were really like, their daily lives, and how the bits and pieces they have left behind contributed to their greater culture.

Thank you so much Allison!!!! You’ve got a fabulous shop!

I hope you all have a chance to stop by Allison’s shop and check out her beautiful quality handmade baby items!

I hope you have a wonderful and WARM day!
Take Care!

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

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 (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

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!

Hi! I’m super excited to introduce you to an incredibly fun etsy seller- Sasha from 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:

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

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!

Hello! Welcome to this week’s edition of Featured Handmade Artist! I am so happy to introduce you to Brooke from I am in so love with Brooke’s simple and clean graphic style embroidery!

Featured Handmade Artist- Graceandlight

Can you image a little collection of these beauties hanging on your wall in your hallway or bedroom? LOVE it!

Featured Handmade Artist- graceandlight

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

My name is Brooke Petermann. I am a born and raised Nebraska girl. I currently live in Lincoln, Nebraska which is a wonderful small, big town. If you see me around, don’t be surprised if I am cross stitching. I am a bit impatient about seeing my designs coming to life, so I often carry my projects with me and fit in a few stitches whenever I have a spare thirty seconds.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

My parents used to buy my sister and me those big end rolls of paper from the local newspaper. We spent hours making giant pictures on the kitchen or basement floor.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My biggest inspiration is color. I often choose a color scheme before I decide what it is that I am going to create. I think that part of this is still holding on from my former painting days. I was an abstract painter and color was always the defining element in my work.

I am also inspired by words. I am a voracious reader and absolutely love words. I think it is amazing that words can both place a picture in your head and also create an emotion within your heart.

I am very good at “finding the pretty” in any situation. I carry my camera around with me, everywhere I go and am constantly snapping photos of the little details of life that are too often forgotten. This means, that any and every tiny bit of the world can inspire me.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

I have a notebook that is overflowing with cross stitching ideas. Some of these ideas are written out in words and others are doodled. When I am ready to get down to business, I flip through the notebook until I find something that resonates with my current mood.

I draw my designs out on blank paper and then transfer them to graph paper. I sit down in my chair and get to work with the needle and thread.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

In my dining room, I have a small wooden stand that was built by my great-grandmother and her father more than 100 years ago. Despite its age, it fits in beautifully with my modern décor. I love that this is something that has been in my family for so many years and I think it is so sweet to think of my great-grandma spending time building something with her father.

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

It is important to realize that you can’t force anyone to purchase your products, but you are in control of a lot of things that may influence someone toward purchasing your product.

You are in control of the quality of your work, the service that you provide to your customers, the aesthetics of your shop, the quality of your photographs, the number of treasuries that you make, the way that you tag your items, the relationships that you make in the crafting community, etc.

There is an abundant amount of material available on each of these topics. You need to spend some time improving wherever you can.

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

What the three websites you couldn’t live without?

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would like to be right here in my cozy home creating something. I have already switched from painting to cross stitching, so I’m not sure that cross stitching is the end of the crafting line for me (although, it is definitely where I want to be right now).

I would like to help more people to appreciate the beauty in life and to be doing something for others that will help them appreciate their own surroundings…perhaps this means an interior design business??

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

I would like the power to go back and relive the good moments in life, at my will. I would gladly relive:
• the few hours before and after my husband asked me to be his wife
• the day that I adopted my puppy
• the hours playing cards with my best friend and sister on my last vacation
• and about a million other things

Thank you so much Brooke!!! It was a pleasure to get to know you a little bit! I wish you much success!!!!

I hope you have enjoyed this little interview with Brooke, and that you have a moment to stop by her shop and check out her other lovely embroidery designs!

Welcome to the first Featured Handmade Artist series of the New Year!!! I am so excited to introduce you to Nancy, from thePaintedSky. Nancy has some of the most amazing paintings I’ve seen on etsy. Not only is she a painter (I have a soft spot for painters) but she paints birds! (Those who know me know my recent love of birds since receiving my little parakeets.)

How cool is this? A custom painting. What a fantastic gift idea–Valentine’s day is right around the corner (wink, wink, nudge, nudge…)

Custom Love Nest from thePaintedSky

Not only are the names customizable, but so are the number of eggs in the nest!!

Here are a few other examples of the gorgeous paintings in her shop:

Featured Handmade Artist- thePaintedSky

Hi Nancy! Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

My name is Nancy Jean Tobin. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. After college I moved to San Francisco where I met my wonderful husband and gave birth to two gorgeous daughters. We moved to Maplewood New Jersey about 10 years ago. After years of various art-related careers, I’m right where I’ve always wanted to be, working as a full-time fine artist.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know I wanted to be an artist. I knew it was pretty serious, when at the age of 10 I convinced my parents to let me make the back room of our basement into a painting studio.

Since then I’ve always kept my hands and mind busy creating something, whether it was an illustration for a magazine, a toy design for Hasbro, logos or graphic design for Herman Miller, or illustrating children’s books for Holiday House.

I’m so happy to say that now, after years of chasing jobs, I am back in that place where I was when I was 10 years old, painting in my studio. I’ve never been happier!

When I don’t have a brush or scissors in my hand, I love to spend time with my incredible family; Matthew, my dear husband, whose support for my art career seems to have no boundaries (believe me, I’ve tested this) …

What is the first craft project you remember making?

There have been countless projects through the years, but probably my strongest memory is the time I talked my best friend into painting the old television that was sitting in my father’s workshop. I think I knew it was wrong, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to get my hands on that paint and brush — that feeling has never left me.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Not surprisingly, nature and the outside world are major sources of inspiration, but there is another inspiration that comes from wanting to reach out and connect with fellow human beings. I feel blessed to be able to do both.

Can you please describe some of your creative processes?

What started as a way to capture the world outside has become more and more an internal vision. I rely less on photos and resource material and more on my memory. By trusting my gut, I find the work becomes more of an internal and uniquely personal expression.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

Oh, this is a tough one! I’m the youngest of seven children and four of us are girls. I grew up around the sewing machine, watching the older ones craft their way through life. So, as you can imagine I’ve gathered quite a collection of treasures along the way. But a rag doll that my oldest sister gave me is a strong contender. I was 10 or 11 when she gave me the doll, at the age when you’re teetering between childhood and the pressures and lures of becoming an adult. I was so happy to get the beautiful doll, and to know that it was ok to take my time growing up.

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

Work; work; and then after you’ve rested a bit, work some more! I honestly believe that talent is great, but if you really want to succeed in anything, the only way it’s going to happen is elbow grease… and while you’re working, make sure to read the tons of great material available on the Etsy blogs, and website for all the things you don’t know.

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

My shop hasn’t been around for very long (Opened in mid-June of this year), and at first the idea was to just put some work out there. I never realized that it would take off in the way it has. So, I’m kind of learning as I go. Really the most promoting I’ve done is just good old-fashioned relisting. I think it gets your work noticed, and until I can catch up and start doing other forms of promotion, it’s serves me well.

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

Gosh, pretty much all of my time in front of the computer these days is on Etsy or Etsy-related sites, so I’d have to say:
1. Etsy:
2. Craftopolis:
3. Craftcults Heartomatic:

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Making a decent living working as an artist!
Beyond that, with the way my life has flowed and surprised me in the directions that it’s gone, I hesitate to speculate that far ahead. In the next year, I’d like to get a blog up and running as support for my shop. I think about branching out to wholesaling and doing trade shows. But I’m still on the fence with that one; one of my missions is to make beautiful, original artwork available at a price that people (like me) can afford. I worry I may not be able to keep the prices affordable if I move into that realm. That’s the great thing about Etsy; cutting out the middleman means that you can keep your prices low!

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

To fly, of course!

Thank you so much Nancy!!! It was a pleasure to get to know the artist behind the beautiful art!!! I hope that everyone has a chance to check out thePaintedSky!

If you’re an etsy artist that would like to be featured on my blog, or if you know someone you think I should feature, please let me know! Simply leave a comment in the comment section, or email me aprilbern (at) gmail dot com.
Thanks so much! I look forward to your suggestions!!

Sign up for my e-mail newsletter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 48 other followers


my flickr!

Follow me on Twitter

  • @ogundamisi bro Y emphasis on yoruba 9 years ago
  • The greatest regret in Life is Inability to achieve your goal.....You need to be creative to achieve and be successful in Life.....Follow us 9 years ago

flying lessons

BWS tips button
%d bloggers like this: