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Hello! Hello!!! Are you ready for some cuteness? Great! I can’t wait to introduce you to Sorcha, from OhMaFelt. Sorcha makes the cutest stuffed creations with custom dyed wool felt, and lots of love and imagination.

Featured Handmade Artist- OhMaFeltno rain, no rainbows by OhMa Felt

Featured Handmade Artist-OhMaFeltSee! I told you they were super cute!!! I’m totally loving the little party deer…

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

Hello! OhMa Felt is a small family run business operated from our home on the Central Coast of California. We purchase wool felt from a mill on the Eastern Coast, it comes to us an off white color and thin like most store bought felts. We cut it, dye it, re-felt it, and press it. Each sheet is handled about 12 different times till completely processed. The result is a studier fabric in a custom color palette which is designed to fit our products. I am a potter by trade, but found it difficult getting into the studio when my daughter was very young. Sewing and making dolls has been something that I have done all of my life, and became more of a focus during those early years of her childhood.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

I could not begin to recall the first craft project because making things has always been part of my life.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Everything, my child, my Grandmother. The interest in living a creative, art filled life.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

I love routine so the normal route is to wake up early, make tea, check the computer, print orders and answer correspondence. Feed all the animals, and get the child off to school, a long walk with the dog, putz in the garden, then into the sewing room or the pottery shed. I like to work till school is over. The rest of the day is spent on family and household. I must always have something in my hands to work on, and have been know to bring sewing to parties.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

Just one?! A handmade Valentine from my husband given to me on our first Valentines Day, 27 years ago. My daughter’s drawings, I know, but they are really quite superb. A quilt from my Grandmother.

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

Read all of the How To information, that is an incredible resource. Take great photos.

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

We do a few shows a year, and will add more this year. I like to have fabulous postcards and stickers available, and hand out tons. Stores and publications have found us on Etsy. Word of mouth has worked wonderfully, that includes all of the fantastic treasuries on Etsy, thanks to all the curators!

What are three websites you couldn’t live without.

Etsy, Pandora, OhMa Felt(a shameless promotion, I know, but its my job!)

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Well, at 57 I would like to be surrounded by good books, good friends and family, and an amazing garden. Like now. And orders for plushies, because I do not plan to retire, ever.

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

The power to disperse balance, calmness and tolerance. Liberally.

Thank you so much Sorcha!!! It was a pleasure interviewing you and getting to check out your wonderful whimsical creations!!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/OhMafelt

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. A few lovely folks contacted me last week and I’m in the process of scheduling them in! (so contact me! it makes my job a little easier 😉 )

Thanks so much!!!
-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

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

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!!! 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

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

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

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

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

What is the first craft project you remember making?

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

Where does your inspiration come from?

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

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

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

What is your most prized handmade possession?

A quilt that my great-grandmother made.

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

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

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

I have a Facebook Fan Page – www.facebook.com/betsynbess
And of course, my shop – www.etsy.com/shop/betsyandbess

Name three websites you couldn’t live without.

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

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

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

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

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

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

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

Hi! I am so happy to be able to introduce you to a super nice and talented jewelry designer, Amy from amyholtondesigns.

I love Amy’s natural, easy, and feminine style. Her love of nature is imbued in each and every piece. And the COLOR! I’m just so in love with the turquoise and the different color sapphires. (really? I had no idea that sapphires came in anything other than blue!)

Featured Handmade Artist- AmyholtondesignsLOVE this piece.

Here are a few other pieces from Amy’s shop that I love
Featured Handmade Artist- Amyholtondesigns

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

I’m Amy Holton, a tried and true Texas girl born in San Antonio. I lived for a few years in the Philippines, returned to the U.S. (Virginia), then lived most of my life in and just outside of Houston. I now live in Austin (hands-down the best city in Texas) with my husband. I inherited four amazing stepchildren, two here in Austin and two in England (my husband’s English).

Despite a long artistic background, I actually studied finance at the University of Texas and was a research analyst for Enron in my former life. After I was laid off with 4500 of my closest friends in December 2001, making jewelry became a bit of an obsession for me. When we moved to Austin in 2007, I was able to focus on building my business full-time.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

One Christmas, when we lived in Virginia, I remember sitting around the table as a family painting wooden Christmas ornaments. My mom is very crafty too! I was probably about 4 years old.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Countless places! Sometimes I surprise myself with what gives me an idea for a new piece. Fashion obviously, a beautiful neckline that just has to have the perfect necklace. Also books I’ve read, period films, architecture, artwork and nature (I know…everyone says that, but it’s true). Colors translate into gemstones for me and can therefore find inspiration in just about anything. Just checking Pantone’s color trends for each season can give me countless ideas!

Can you please describe a little of your creative process?

Call me strange, but I really enjoy fiddly, tedious projects, so this is right up my alley. Not to mention, what a beautiful medium to work in! I really enjoy the creative process, which for me is sometimes very structured, but more often very organic. Designs emerge and change as I work. I often purchase gemstones just because they appeal to me, not always because I have a design in mind for them. This can be very dangerous (and expensive!) but they eventually find their way into one of my designs.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

A quilt made by my paternal grandmother. I never saw her sew and she never seemed the type to, but I know she made this and one other small quilt. I this quilt was my favorite when we would stay with my grandparents as kids. It’s made up of white blocks with pale yellow borders. Each block has a large gingham butterfly in the center, outlined in black embroidery. When my parents went to help prepare my grandparents house to put on the market after my grandmother’s death, they asked me if there was any particular item I wanted. Immediately…the butterfly quilt was my answer. Despite our contemporary décor, the butterfly quilt lives in the window seat of our bedroom.

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

Be persistent and take advantage of the wealth of advice on Etsy, not only from the staff, but also from the community. Etsy sellers are so supportive of each other. Also, be patient. Success isn’t simply a matter of posting some items and the orders start rolling in. As with anything worth doing, it takes work. Utilize social networking and get your name out wherever you can.

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

Do you have enough room in your blog for this answer ?! Promotion alone can be a full-time undertaking!

My main website is my own at http://amyholtondesigns.com

Of course, I also have my Etsy shop and I’m also on Zibbet and ArtFire.

Flickr is a great place to keep a profile of new designs as well as an archive of retired pieces.

I have my wholesale line sheet on Trunkt.

I think a Facebook Business Page is essential for keeping customers and potential customers informed as well as for networking with other designers, suppliers, etc.

I’ve made some really good friends and connections through Twitter. From other artists and Etsy sellers to fashion designers, photographers and people in the know in the fashion world, it’s a great place to connect. I love my tweeps and I love interacting with my followers! You can find me at http://twitter.com/AmyHoltonDesign (You have to drop the ‘S’ in Designs. Twitter doesn’t allow quite enough characters to fit my entire name).

I use my blog in lieu of an e-mail marketing campaign and also to connect on a more personal level. I think when you’re buying from an independent artist, it’s nice to know a bit about them personally as well. My blog is currently divided into three parts. One highlighting new designs, and some creative struggles under the section “In the Works at AHD” and another as an avenue to share the works of other artists in “Etsy Love.” I also include a bit about me under “In the Life Of…

I know people often ask to be added to mailing lists and then regret it (I’m guilty as well). This way, they can follow my blog in a number of ways as they choose, whether it’s through Facebook, Google Reader, Twitter, or RRS feeds. Plus, I find it’s a bit more personal way to keep in touch.

What are three websites you couldn’t live without.

Only three?! I’m starting to think my laptop is permanently attached to my body…
Facebook (because it’s just so great for networking)
Google Analytics (It’s that corporate background! I like data )
I have to say Flickr because it’s such a great portfolio and archive.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I hope to expand the brand and be represented in many more boutiques both stateside and internationally. While I’ll never go mass-produced, I’d certainly take on a small staff to help fulfill orders and
keep things going. Of course, the designs will remain my own. I don’t think I could ever step away from
creating.

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

The shallow answer is to complete tasks simply by wishing them done.

The deeper answer is to have the power to bring back loved ones I’ve lost in my life, if just for a day…or to know for sure they see me as I am today, happy with my husband and stepchildren, content in my lifestyle
and doing something I love. I’m very close to my family. I regret that my husband never met three of my grandparents (though he did ask my paternal grandfather for permission to marry me) and many other family
members he’s heard so much of, but never had the opportunity to meet. Same with my stepkids. They’re as close to my family as they are their biological family and there are so many people I wish they could have met.

(Wow! Thank you so much Amy! I should have asked how you find all the time to promote your creations! I am impressed and inspired to check out venues such as zibbet and trunkt now…)

I hope you have a chance to visit Amy’s shop on etsy and stop by her blog and some of her other social media outlets!

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

Hi! I’m super excited to introduce you to an incredibly fun etsy seller- Sasha from whatnomints.etsy.com. I think if I lived out East, Sasha and I would be bff’s. Not only is she a scientist (I started out as a bio major in school) but she’s crafty too! I love her quirky geeky science geek designs!

Featured Handmade Artist- WhatnomintsLove this Pleasure Molecule Felt Ornament!

Check out some of her other super fun designs:
Featured Handmade Artist- Whatnomints

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

My name is Sasha: Scientist by day and Crafter by night! I work during the day as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab and in the evenings I stretch my creative fingers, stitching quirky and cute felt goodies. I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania and currently live in Lambertville, New Jersey, a beautiful and quaint little town located on the Delaware River.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

My most memorable, childhood project has to be a giant plant cell I created for a biology class assignment. As a kid I ALWAYS went over the top when it came to assignments that involved going to the craft store, and this cell was no exception. I fashioned the cytoplasm from that gel-type candle wax and hand-formed all of the organelles from clay. To this very day I am so proud of that plant cell and I still have it, sitting in my parents’ basement!

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from a lot of places. A lot of my chemistry and biology-related goodies come from my love of all things science. I love to try and bring science to people in fun and interesting ways, and I think my vibrant little microbes and embroidered molecule hearts do that! Some of my more nature-oriented items are inspired by the things I see around town when I go on my daily runs.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

It’s quite simple, really: Once I have an idea in my head, I figure out what color combinations are speaking to me that day and get to work tracing and cutting shapes of Eco-Fi felt for the item. Once cut, I hand-stitch and hand-embroider every detail you see. Then, I add a magnet/loop of ribbon/pin (depending on what I am making), stuff it with a tad bit of Poly-Fil for shape and finish my stitch!

What is your most prized handmade possession?

I don’t really have any handmade family heirloom to speak of, however, every year my boyfriend and I give Christmas ornaments to each other (in an attempt to fill up our scantly-decorated tree). The first year we did this, he made me a blown egg “Curious Orb” (a character from the popular video game “Portal” – So geeky, I know). It’s important to me because it marks our life lived together and on our own (we met in college and have been together for over 5 years now).

Curious Orb

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

Make what you love, provide excellent customer service and support your fellow Etsians. Okay, I know that was three, but I think they are all absolutely necessary to be successful. When you create what you enjoy, it shows in your work – Customers will see this. Buyers won’t necessarily remember great customer service, but they will never forget when it’s terrible. I always try to be attentive and do what I can to give my customers the best experience. Finally, I seriously believe that what goes around, comes around (in the Etsy world at least!). I promote and support my fellow sellers on my blog, in Treasuries and will sometimes shoot them a quick Convo when I find one of their items particularly striking! Numerous times, these talented people will turn around and support me or even make a purchase from my shop – I have also made a few friends as a result!

What are some of the ways you promote your work?

Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/whatnomints
Blog: whatnomints.wordpress.com/
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/whatnomints

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

foodgawker.com/
www.goinghometoroost.com
en.wikipedia.org

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Well, I am nearly finished applying to graduate schools – I want to go back to school to earn my PhD studying in environmental chemistry. So in 10 years I see myself graduated and either continuing post graduate education or doing some kind of field work and perhaps starting a family (which is very weird for me to say now, but I will be 33 by then and I think that will be around the appropriate time for those sorts of things). As for my Etsy shop? I will be honest in saying that I really have no idea what will become of it – I am certainly having a blast and it is definitely something I want to keep up at least as a hobby in the future. Either way, handmade will always have a special place in my heart.

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

Hmm, probably the ability to travel anywhere in the world instantly. Something like this would come in handy on regular days when I realize on my way to work that I left my coffee on the kitchen counter or when I arrive at the grocery store only to realize that the list was forgotten at home. I could also travel anywhere in the world whenever I wanted – Want to go to Germany for a beer this afternoon? Sure! *Zap* And I’m there! (Apparently the sound of instant travel is “zap” …)

Thank you so much Sasha!!! It was a pleasure featuring you and your shop this week! Please check out Sasha’s shop!
http://www.whatnomints.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

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