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

OMG! I think it’s really happening. I think spring may finally be starting to arrive in the Chicago-land area. Tom Skilling is predicting temperatures in the middle 60’s in the next couple of days. And sunshine! (I’m a little excited, if you couldn’t tell…) I am so looking forward to my first Botanic Garden trip of the Spring season–I have some super cute gnomes to take pictures of…

In the meantime, I hope you get to enjoy your day and enjoy the Spring themed etsy finds!

Pincushion - Felted Cupcake in Vanilla Mint
Pincushion – Felted Cupcake in Vanilla Mint

Wednesday Inspiration- Spring

1. Butterflies, 20 Carnation Pink Butterfly Silhouettes for Girls Room, Nursery, and Home Art Decor

2. SALE 20% OFF Threads. 8×12 Fine Art Photograph.

3. The Little Ethereal Fairy Necklace- Spring 2011

4. bunting fabric bin. toy storage bin. easter bucket. Handmade by sweetstitchshop on Etsy.

5. Spring Summer Bride Bouquet Cotton Candy Pink Ranunculus With Diamond Rhinestone Accents

6. Dotty Fabric Booches – Set of Three

7. Linden Green Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine Yarn (110m/50g) – 9 Skeins in Color 18

8. Eggs-tra Special Colored Vegan Egg Soaps

9. Edible Sugar Butterflies Pale Yellow and Turquoise 10

Happy Spring!
-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


Photo Friday-Ethereal

Check out the other entries for this week’s Photo Friday Challenges.

Do you participate in Photo Friday? Let me know! Leave a link to your entry in the comment section!!!

Hope you have a spectacular weekend!
-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!!!

Hello!!!! St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner (March 17th) Yay!!! I always get a little reminiscent around this time– it was the day after St. Patrick’s Day (1998) that I went on my trip to Ireland. What an amazingly beautiful country! I would LOVE to go back, this time with my trusty camera instead of a jerky boyfriend (who ended the relationship while we were there) and have the opportunity to capture the countries beauty on film…

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful and safe St. Patrick’s Day celebration and enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day themed gems that I found!

spring green heart felts ornaments set of 4 / eco friendly upcycled love decorations spring green heart felts ornaments set of 4 / eco friendly upcycled love decorations

Wednesday Inspiration- St. Patrick's Day

1. Sterling Silver Necklace – Shamrock Clover

2. 7 Crochet Shamrocks by SJ and Joe

3. Saint Patrick’s Day Baby Booties / Slippers – Green Shamrock

4. Warm Cable Scarf – Grass Green

5. IRISH Hearts – St. Patricks Day BOGO SALE – Two gorgeous wave-turned beach-stone hearts decorated with beautiful green shamrocks.

6. Summer Greens Batik Cathedral Window Pillow Cover – 18 Inches

7. Real Four Leaf Clover Inlaid

8. 12 St Patrick’s Day Edible Glitter Shamrock Fondant Cupcake Topper for St Patty’s Day

9. Green Rosette Headband

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

Hi! I’d like to 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!

  • Share and be proud
    Kup Kup Petit Pâtisserie 1
    Not only is it ok to be proud of the products you make, it’s essential to the success of your business.

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

cannon beach
Photo Friday- Turbulent
Cannon Beach, Oregon

Check out the other participants in this week’s Photo Friday Challenge.
Do you participate? I’d love to check it out– leave me your link in the comments section!!!

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

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! www.etsy.com/people/FunkyRecycling

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:
Blog: TheBloomingThread.blogspot.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TheBloomingThreadFanpage
Twitter: @BloomingThread
Store: TheBloomingThread.etsy.com

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

I am beginning to feel like a broken record (and here it is again) I am so ready for winter to be over. We’re teased with sunshine today and it looks deceptively nice out, but it’s still really really cold… I am really looking forward to longer days, warmer weather, and many consecutive days of sunshine! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these bright and sunny finds from etsy!

Felted Wool Acorns in Lemon YellowFelted Wool Acorns in Yellow Lemon

Wednesday Inspiration- Sunshine

1. Pettiskirt Bubble Romper – Sunshine Yellow

2. Bit of Sunshine- Sterling silver and golden yellow chalcedony necklace

3. sunshine gingham – yellow check fabric button post earrings

4. Vintage Pear Stone Coasters – Set of 6

5. THINK HAPPY. BE HAPPY – Inspiring 8×10 inch Print

6. Sunshine – 5×7 Fine Art Print – BOGO Sale

7. Sunshine Party Thank You Tags (PRINTABLE)

8. Lemongrass Poppy Seed – Handcrafted Exfoliating Shea Butter Soap

9. Lemon Sugar Cookie-Wiches -1/2 Dozen

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great day!
-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

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