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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’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: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LoveTheBaby

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: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/index.html

I’m always learning something new here

Craftopolis: http://www.craftopolis.com

It’s addicting, but a useful tool

http://www.trueup.net/

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

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

Hello! I’m super excited to introduce you to a fellow Chicagoland artist- Melissa from Milarosedesigns. Melissa has some super fun hair accessories. I LOVE the huge floral headbands. They would definitely be something I would wear… (hint, hint– Christmas is coming up, you know…)

I’m loving this crocheted green cowl. I could so use it in my office (it’s positively arctic in my office!)
Featured Handmade Artist- milarosedesigns
and, this super fun headband!
Featured Handmade Artist- milarosedesigns

Check out a few more of her designs:
Featured Handmade Artist- milarosedesigns

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

My name is Melissa and I’m a girly- girl from Illinois who makes pretty hair accessories. My amazing little sister Laura is adding some fab crocheted hats and scarves for the fall/winter season as well.

How long have you been creating?

I’ve always been creating something, but started hair accessories in the past year. I made a headband for myself to wear to a friend’s wedding and everyone loved it. My friends kept bugging me to sell online so I started my etsy shop in February and it’s been going great. Thank you bff’s:)

What is some of the inspiration behind your pieces?

I find inspiration in my everyday surroundings. Our motto is “be pretty” so I definitely strive to make every piece express that. My favorite is when I can find a fabric or color that at first glance isn’t too pleasing to the eye and then turn it into something beautiful. It’s the best!

What would your dream job be?

My dream job would involve making others feel their very best. Hopefully my hair accessories help them accomplish that. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, then I think I’m doing alright! I also wouldn’t mind something combining my other two loves…shoes and cupcakes…like a shoe boutique/cupcake café! Yum!

Can you please describe a little bit of your creative process?

It’s definitely organized chaos! My ideas come at the most random times and then I just go headband crazy! There really is no making sense of it lol. My poor boyfriend is forced to live in a sea of fabrics, ribbon, and shiny things, but I work my best when I’m surrounded by materials and embellishments. A lot of my best creations come from making a mistake and then realizing that was the best thing I could have done.

What item would you be secretly heartbroken if it sold?

I put my everything into each piece so while secretly I would love to keep them all to myself, it makes me feel good to know that someone else gets to feel pretty in a mila rose!

What are some of the ways you promote yourself?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/milarosedesigns
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/milarosedesigns
Blog: http://milarosedesigns.blogspot.com
mila rose designs is also sold at Bella Caley in Naperville and soon to be sold at Henri Bendel in NY!

What are a few of your favorite books, movies, musicians, and websites?

I love to read girly fluff books. My sister totally makes fun of me for that! Some of my fave movies are Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I love you, Man (I want to marry Paul Rudd), and Empire Records. I love all music especially if I can sing along and I’m obsessed with perezhilton.com.

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

To make new shoes appear with the click of my heels. Isn’t that every girls dream;)

Thanks Melissa! I hope you get an opportunity to check out her shop— she’s got a birthday this week, and is celebrating with a sale (yay! we like sales!!!) Use code CELEBRATE28, dec 6th-dec 12th and receive 20% off your purchase!

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

Oh, you can tell it’s getting close to the Holidays! Work has been absolutely crazy this week and I totally didn’t have a chance to post this weeks Featured Handmade Artist. Better late than never, right?

This week I am happy to introduce you to Jenny Kim from Jennykim.etsy.com. I love the organic feel and shape of her handmade jewelry. (I’m a sucker for flowers!) Not only does she have these gorgeous flower rings and earrings in her shop, she has these amazing key pendants!

Featured Handmade Artist- Jennykim

Here are a few more of her lovely lovely pieces:

Featired Handmade Artist- Jennykim

Hi Jenny!!! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Jenny Sueyoun Kim, and I’m originally from Los Angeles. I have been living in the San Francisco Bay area for about 15 years, and after having worked in both Silicon valley and the public sector, I am currently a metalsmith and jewelry artist on a full-time basis.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

In pre-school, I had a hard time sitting still, and instead of learning how to tie my shoelaces, I insisted that Velcro straps would always be in style – and that I must make myself a castle out of milk-crates. While the other kids learned to tie their shoes, I collected milk-crates from outside the school’s kitchen and built a fortress “fit for a queen.”

Where does your inspiration come from?

My work is inspired by natural and organic forms – the human body, flora and fauna. As an artist, I was most inspired by my grandfather, who somehow raised four children selling paintings and teaching art. I always enjoyed watching him paint and sketch, and really looked up to him as a small child.

Can you describe some of your creative processes?

Each of my pieces is created using the ancient Lost-Wax Casting method, made from a one-of-a-kind, original model, which I first sculpt from wax. My creative process starts with a lot of introversion in a quiet environment and a virtually solitary state, sculpting my wax models from my home in San Mateo, CA. After anywhere from one to three days per week working from home, I will then do all the dirty work at a shared metalshop in San Francisco. First, I will create a temporary, plaster-like mold called an “investment” around the model. After allowing the investment to set for a day or two, I will burn out the wax, heat the investment in a kiln, and then (the fun part), with the use of an oxy-propane torch, I hand-pour molten metal from a crucible into the investment. Finally, there is the cleanup and finishing work, which may take almost as much time as the initial sculpting. This multi-step process occurs over several days even for a single piece. I genuinely enjoy the entire casting process, but I love the sculpting part most of all, and therefore, I do not have any re-usable molds to copy the same piece multiple times – so, each of my pieces is a true original.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

After a few minutes of thought, it came down to my small collection of silver Touareg jewelry. The nomadic Touareg people of northern Africa use minimal modern technology to create some of the most beautiful and unique jewelry in the world. They are also among the most impoverished people in the world, and I find it so incredible that they are such great survivors in the African desert, as well as amazing craftspeople and silversmiths.

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

Communication and customer service are crucial. You want to maintain your customers’ trust and always us honest business practices. Many of us consider ourselves artists first and foremost – but in terms of turning your hobby into a business, customer service should be the top priority.

What are some of the places you promote your work?

Etsy: www.etsy.com/jennykim

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Artist-Jenny-Sueyoun-Kim/189035903091

Website: http://www.jennykim.org/

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

Etsy, and believe it or not, NHL.com and Fear the Fin (hockey sites).

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully, I’ll be miraculously sustaining a living making jewelry and trinkets for people who love handmade things! I would also like to be traveling; there are so many places around the world that I’d love to visit – Peru, India, the list goes on and on.

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

This one also took a few minutes of thought! I’m not sure that I want to be able to see through objects or clothing, nor do I want to zap anyone with a laser beam from my finger. I would probably want to be a healer of some kind – perhaps be able to magically heal the sick and dying. That would be very cool.

Thank you soooo much Jenny!!!!
Please be sure to stop by Jenny’s shop and check out the rest of her beautiful jewelry designs!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/jennykim

Hi! Happy Thursday! I am so excited to bring you today’s Featured Handmade Artist, LiaLane. I love her beeswax paintings. Her images are so haunting. It’s gotta be something with the eyes of her characters… And the beeswax just adds a sort of luminosity to the paintings. I bet these are incredible in real life!

Primitive Folk Art School Beeswax Painting by LiaLane

(Seriously? Look at those eyes!)
Check out some of her other gorgeous paintings!

LiaLane

Hi Lia! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Lia Lane and I am crazy, awkward painter who lives in her head and the things I make come from there. But when I’m not painting I live in Neosho, Missouri.

How long have you been creating?

I’ve been creating things all my life, but I’ve been doing this folk art thing for a little over 3 years now.

What is the inspiration behind your pieces?

I have so many inspirations but mostly I have this obsessive dislike for getting my portrait taken, my beauty just doesn’t photograph well..(ha!)
So, I make these portraits of girls who can be admittedly awkward, but yet are so beautiful in there imperfections. Oh, and music plays a part as well, really anything I am watching or reading comes into play when I paint. You are what you eat.:)

What is your dream job?

I would love to be a writer for Saturday Night Live, I am constantly making funny skits.

Can you describe your creative process?

Since I use a lot of patterned papers, I usually begin there. I like to paint along with the seasons, right now I am heavy into Fall. So I use papers, paint and feelings that remind me of Fall. Then, Whoa I don’t know it’s like I am in some sort of daze and all of sudden my painting is done. But I do know itunes and loads of coffee are involved always!

What item would you be secretly heartbroken if it sold?

You know I make every painting for myself and then I am SO over it and ready for it to go. And if someone likes it enough to buy, I am always shocked but ready to say goodbye.

How do you promote your work?

I am pretty lazy I guess, because I solely rely on Facebook. I know I probably need a blog, but eh I am just not that girl yet. Hopefully one day!

What are some of your favorite books, movies, musicians, and websites?

I am huge fan of books and music that I feel could have easily been written by me. (If I had their talent ha) I love short stories by Miranda July and Dorothy Parker. I am huge Sylvia Plath fan. I’m a fan of tortured souls. I could go on and on about music but a few of my all time favorites are Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple and Sia. A new obsession is Florence and the Machine. I love woman who bare their soles for us to enjoy.

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

Hmm. Is there a super power to heal broken hearts? That’s what I would choose. I would love nothing more than to take pain away from others.

Thank you so much Lia!!! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you a little better, and I hope others have as well!!!! Stop by Lia’s shop and check out all of her beautiful beeswax paintings!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/LiaLane

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