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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 back! Thankfully, I am having a much better week (so far!) than last week!!! I’m super excited to bring you this weeks Crafty Connections. I think you’ll find the following links helpful and inspirational!

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 find something useful and helpful! If so, please let me know. I would LOVE your feedback!

20 Ways to Skyrocket Your Motivation
Cardboard rocket
by Matt Biddulph, via flickr
One of the reasons why people don’t follow through on their goals is because they lose their motivation along the way.

15 Things an Artist Should Never Say
Paint Your Rainbow
by shewatchedthesky, via flickr
Oh, I’ve been guilty of saying almost every one of these…

20 Personal Brand Building and Monitoring Tools You Don’t Want to Miss
Mabel
by SaraCarr66, via flickr
With the social media realm being at our fingertips and larger each and every day, there are a plethora of tools to assist in building our personal brands, monitoring them and promoting them.

Writing a Business Plan
Do you have the feeling it might be time for the next step but you’re not sure what that next step is? Are you getting comfortable with your art/craft/thing but a little part of you wonders if you’re missing the opportunity to stretch a little?

Handling Copyright Issues
Gingerbread Biscuit Bunny in blue tea cup
by florenceforrest, via flickr
How to handle when you discover someone ripping off your work.

DIY-Paper-Craft Sugar Posy Cake
DIY- Paper-Craft Sugar Posy Cakeby Rosie from Sweetapolita, via Paper*Cakes Finds
Gorgeous eye candy, and seems really easy to do! What a simple and fun addition to add to your next plain birthday cake or cupcakes!

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! Thank you so much!

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

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

Featured Handmade Artist-Andwabisabi

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

Check out some of her other cool designs:

Featured Handmade Artist- Andwabisabi

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

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

What is the first craft project you remember making?

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

What inspires you?

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

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

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

Featured Handmade Artist- Andwabisabi

What is your most prized handmade possession?

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

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

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

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

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

What are three websites you couldn’t live without?

Etsy.com, Craftcult.com, Pandora.com

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

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

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

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

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

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

Hang in there! It’s almost Friday!

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

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

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

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

Who am I kidding? I love everything here!

Wednesday Inspiration- Garden

1. Kerribeads Lampwork Little Bird Focal Bead

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

3. Red Veined Sorrel No. 2 original watercolor painting

4. Bulbosa and Echinops Terrarium

5. Butterfly Embellishments Pumpkin Spice Monarch

6. Custom Herb Flower Pots (Set of 4)

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

8. Modern Herb or Succulent Planter Box from Reclaimed Cedar

9. Gnomeo & Juliet Concrete Garden Gnome Couple

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

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

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

april showers paper rosettes bouquet
april showers paper rosettes bouquet

Wednesday Inspiration- April Showers

1. April Showers 8×10

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

3. April Showers Half Apron

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

5. You Make Me Happy 5 x 5

6. Spring Whimsical rain Cloud Mobile for nursery

7. cloud mug

8. Yaroma – Morning Rain – Lace Weight

9. Wool Felt Umbrella Brooch – Lemon Yellow

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

Hello! I’m super excited to introduce you to Sue from SweetStitchShop! Sue is relatively new to etsy, having only started her shop in January of this year, but you’d never know it by looking at her shop!

Featured Handmade Artist- SweetStitchShop
I LOVE this little fabric bucket! (I’m imagining having several of them on my shelved storing all my little sewing and scrapbook bits…)

Featured Handmade Artist- SweetStitchShop

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

My name is Sue Redekop and I live in the capital of Canada- Ottawa, Ontario. I sew and design items for children and the home. I love creating items that are cute to look at but functional at the same time.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

My first craft project takes me back to grade school days where I made a jewelery box out of popsicle sticks and glue. It was “fancied” up a bit with gold spray paint (what can I say – it was the 70’s!) I think my mother still has it to this day.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I am inspired by sweet, whimsical fabrics and modern design. I love to stay on top of worldwide design trends and colors by reading blogs and magazines.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

My creative process usually begins by sourcing fabrics and thinking “that would make such a cute peasant top…fabric bin…etc.” or saying to myself ” I MUST use this fabric in some project…it’s too sweet to pass up!” Fabric is definitely my starting point.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

My most prized handmade possessions are stuffed Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls made by my aunt who is a wonderfulseamstress and a little stitched sampler my mother made for my son.

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

Being new to Etsy myself my best advice would be to believe in yourself everyday and just keep doing what you love despite slow or hard times.

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

I try to promote my work through my blog, twitter, flickr, word of mouth, local craft fairs, and local boutiques.
Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/sweetstitchshop
Blog: www.finehandstudio.blogspot.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/shopsweetstitch
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/35966835@N02/
Local Shops: Flock Boutique – www.flockboutique.ca/
Workshop Boutique – www.workshopboutique.ca/
Boutique Le Local – www.boutiquelelocal.com/

What are three website that you cannot live without?

The three websites I couldn’t live without are:
Etsy
Twitter
New York Times online…(I am a newspaper junkie!)

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years I see myself in a smaller house with a dedicated sewing/music studio space and hopefully growing my brand.

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

I would love to have some type of magical superpower that would clean my house, do the dishes and all the mundane things that take time away from the creative process!

Thanks so much Sue! I really enjoyed this interview!!!

Please be sure to stop by Sue’s shop and check out all the wonderful homewares and gifts!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/sweetstitchshop

If you would like to be featured on my blog in a Featured Artist series, or you would like to recommend an artist to me, please leave a comment or send me an email at aprilbern at gmail dot com.

Thanks so much!!!
-April
http://www.creativeapples.etsy.com

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

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

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

Wednesday Inspiration- Spring Green

1. lime green baby chick

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

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

4. Colorful Decorator Suzani Pillow

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

6. Asian Pear Lip Balm

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

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

9. A Kiss of Spring

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

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

Hello!! I’m super excited to bring you this weeks Crafty Connections! I think you’ll find this weeks links especially helpful…

Each and every week I scour the interwebs and gather the best tutorials, tips, and informative links to help with your handmade craft business. In addition, I’ll post links to cool crafty DIY projects, and blogs I think are worth following. Enjoy!

If you know of any good handmade craft marketing resources I should include in the next Crafty Connections post please don’t hesitate to email me, or leave the link(s) in the comments section! I would love to be able to share these great resources with everyone! Also, are these links helpful to you? Let me know! I appreciate the feedback!!!! Thank you so much!

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

Hello!!! 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

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