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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

Hello! Welcome to this week’s edition of Featured Handmade Artist! I am so happy to introduce you to Brooke from graceandLight.etsy.com. 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?

www.graceandlight.etsy.com
www.graceandlightblog.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-and-Light/135784283147980

What the three websites you couldn’t live without?

www.blacksburgbelle.com/blog/
www.thesimpledollar.com
www.younghouselove.com/

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!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/graceandlight

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: www.etsy.com/shop/thePaintedSky
2. Craftopolis: www.craftopolis.com
3. Craftcults Heartomatic: craftcult.com

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!
http://www.thePaintedSky.etsy.com

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!!

For those of you who know me, you know that I have a weakness for handmade bath and body products. I’m super excited to introduce you to this weeks Featured Handmade Artist and fellow Chicagoan, Amanda from VevesHandmade!

Featured Handmade Artist VevesHandmade

Amanda makes handmade, natural soaps, sugar scrubs, and other yummy treats for your body and they look absolutely scrumptious! I bet they smell and feel better than they look!!! I’ve got my eye on the Pumpkin Raw Sugar Body Scrub and the Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Ultra Moisturizing Bar…. Check out some of her other amazingly yummy looking products:

Featured Handmade Artist- VevesHandmade

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

My name is Amanda and I live in the suburbs of Chicago. I make cold-process soap, lotion, body scrub and other toiletries.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

Shrinky Dinks? I’m not really sure, I’ve always liked to make stuff, when I was little I remember making simple beaded bracelets and doing those children’s embroidery kits.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration for scents comes from food, mostly, most of my line smells like dessert! I love to cook and bake and that has carried over into my love for making soap. When I’m formulating products I just think of youth, of soft skin.

Can you please describe some of your creative processes?

Usually what I want my soaps to be like just pops in my head and stays there until I make it. Sometimes I have a specific person in mind and make bars that they would like, or think about techniques I’ve read about. My friend is having a baby soon and has been encouraging me to do a baby line, so I’m planning on doing that for her soon.

What is your most prized handmade possession?
Right now it’s a necklace I bought at a fair I was working too. It’s silver and has a crystal from an old chandelier on it, and I love reusing/upcycling even though I can’t do that in my work.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new etsy seller, what would it be?
Have a great product. Have beautiful photos. Relist often. Read all the advice out there, take what works for you, but trust yourself to find your own way.

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

I hustle it! Over the summer I did 2 weekly farmer’s markets and other events, I can not even tell you how much getting out there helped my brand. If people don’t know about you, they can’t buy from you. Just this week a colleague of my mom’s asked her if she knows me, apparently he’s a customer and just made the connection because of our last names! Online, I facebook, tweet (occasionally!) and blog.
http://www.facebook.com/veveshandmade
http://www.twitter.com/veveshandmade
http://www.veveshandmade.com/blog

Name three websites you couldn’t live without.

Facebook, soapcalc.net, dlisted.com

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Making soap and growing a large organic garden.

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

The ability to teleport. There are so many places I’d like to go, things to see, people to visit. Being able to just be there would make it all an easier reality.

Thanks so much Amanda!!! I hope you all have a chance to check out VevesHandmade! Handmade soaps, lotions and scrubs are a perfect stocking stuffer!!!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/VevesHandmade

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