Friday, September 25, 2009

Featured Artist: Sisi of Peacefully Folding


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Origami By SiSi is a shop where you will find origami items. I make things such as cards, flower decorations, and jewelry - all out of origami paper. All items are hand folded by me. I hope you will come by my shop and take a look sometime, you might find something very unique!

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I started playing with origami when I was a child. I remember using old strips from our calendars and making 'puffy stars'. I continued doing crafts and just decided to start selling recently.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I enjoyed using paper. It's very versatile and so easy to find - it's everywhere! I can get ahold of paper at home, at work, at the office... Being able to turn paper into something else is just cool.

3. How did you find out about Etsy/Artfire and why did you start selling there?

I found out about Artfire from a friend's blog post. It was very new back then, I started out with the 10 free listings. Eventually, I fell in love with the studio options and the fact that I could maybe have my shop for free eventually... :)

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

Taking pictures is the hardest thing for me to do for my shop. I have to take at least 10 pictures to get 3 good ones sometimes...

5. Do you rely on Etsy/Artfire to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

Well, right now, I can't say that my shop on Artfire has helped me pay the bills... yet. I guess I have it to support my paper and jewelry addiction :P

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy/Artfire & why?

I have not had the opportunity to sell in offline shops.

7. Where else can you be found online?

My Artfire shop: http://www.origamibysisi.artfire.com
My blog: http://www.origamibysisi.blogspot.com
My Twitter: http://twitter.com/origamibysisi








Sunday, September 20, 2009

Teething and New Recipes


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I'm sorry that I haven't left many posts lately that were personal. Most of them have been featured artists or ten items that I found that I wanted to share. My reason isn't the best of one, but it's very hard to concentrate when it's at its worst. Anna is teething. Now, some people are saying, "that can't be all that bad." Well, I've seen some kids handle it well. Anna is holding her own, but there are some days where she screamed and cries for what feels like an eternity as she tries to literally shove her entire teething ring in her mouth. It's very hard to concentrate and form sentences when she is like that, so I have just given blogging a rest.

And since I have spent more time away from my computer, I have been able to test out a few more recipes (mostly meat rubs and breads). Sam and I have been testing most of them out alone. I'm going to try to coerce my mom into using a rub or two at our next meal that we eat at her house, and possibly bring the stuff to bake bread while I am there. (I usually have to ride in with my husband and sit at my mom's house all day if we have to do something in that town before 5.) After that, if it all goes well, I may see if a few of my close friends want to try it on their own and give me some feedback. Then, I might just start selling them to the public.

We had an excellent meal last night with a rub not used for it's intended purpose. I put a pork roast in the crockpot around noon, sprinkled the bag of rub on top and filled it with water. After it cooked until 7:30, it was absolutely marvelous. Husband said it was a little strong in a particular herb, so I may tone that one back some, but after chopping the meat up and serving it over rice with mushrooms, with a side of bread, it was so good.

My Tutorial of the Week entry will be starting soon. It will appear every Wednesday first thing in the morning (to give you time to try it that day), so I hope that you enjoy.

And on that note, I bid you adieu until another day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Featured Artist: Michele K of MaruMaru


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MaruMaru.etsy.com is an online boutique that features retro and vintage inspired jewelry from flower cabochons and 70s kitsch to cute owl charms.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I started liking jewelry when I began working in the jewelry department at a well-known retail store. At first, I didn't see what the big hype was over jewelry until I would stand for hours at a time and become anxious to try a few things on. When I wasn't helping customers, I was trying on jewelry whenever I could and soon enough I put everything I liked on hold so nobody could buy them! I'm really picky about jewelry, so whenever I'd buy a necklace, I'd use my pliers to take off or add parts to it to make it just right.

I just opened up my shop two years ago on Etsy and recently one on Artfire :)

I love vintage-inspired and retro charms, and absolutely cannot live without color. I wanted my shop to reflect this, so I started using origami papers I had lying around to use as backgrounds. When I'm not playing around in my jewelry supply box, I'm at the movies or drinking champagne! I especially love independent/foreign films and annoying my tuxedo cat, Neko.


2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I enjoy crafting because I love putting little pieces together and being able to wear them and know that I made them. I like it even more when I receive compliments or have people ask me where they can get my pieces.

3. How did you find out about Etsy/Artfire and why did you start selling there?

I randomly came across Etsy by surfing through profiles on MySpace and saw them promoting their Etsy shop. I decided that it wouldn't hurt to try and it looked like a lot of work but fun, too!


4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

It's hard to sell jewelry! It's such a saturated category, there's just so many jewelry shops on Etsy, it's important to keep promoting and not let your shop sit there. I had some problems with people sending checks/money orders, so now I only accept payment via PayPal.


5. Do you rely on Etsy/Artfire to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

I wish I could rely on Etsy to pay my bills, but I work a part-time job elsewhere. I do this mostly for fun and to treat myself to some champagne and tickets to the movies :)

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy/Artfire & why?

I have sold many of my items wholesale to shops in the mainland as well as another website. I have yet to sell my items in person at a craft fair.


7. Where else can you be found online?

You can find me at:

Etsy: http://marumaru.etsy.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/marumarudesigns
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marumaru
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/marumarudesigns
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MaruMaruetsycom/45920829452


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
MaruMaru.etsy.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Featured Artist: Lorena Knezevic of Lolodaisy


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My apologies to Lorena and everyone who expected this to appear on the 11th. My computer gave up the ghost for about a week. But I am back online and playing catch up. Her feature will run today, and then I will resume normal schedule (I will not play catch up on the Top Ten editions, but I will instead push back the two I missed so that they will appear on a normal Tuesday schedule).

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My name is Lorena and my shop is called Lolodaisy. (http://lolodaisy.etsy.com) I started it in May, but I am having tons of fun with it. Lolodaisy sells dolls, bags, and aprons.


1. When and why did you start crafting?

I can't even remember when I started crafting. I just know that I always loved making crafts!

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I love creating things. It gives me that instant happiness to see that what I had imagined came to life.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

A friend had told me about Etsy because she saw how I was always creating bags and dolls. She said she thought they were good enough to sell. So I just thought I might as well take a shot at it. I thought "what have i got to lose?"

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

I think the worst part about having a shop is waiting for people to hear about me and respond. But, I quickly fixed that by making something else I love.

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

Etsy is just something i started doing for fun. I thought it might be interesting. It turns out that i have had a few sales out of just having fun!

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

I haven't tried to sell in offline shops yet. I have a feeling that people are more eager to buy something if it is right in font of there eyes. I think they like that satisfaction of getting what they bought right away. Then again, being on the internet means that more people have the chance to see your work.
7. Where else can you be found online?

I can also be found on Face book and I have my own blog that is still a work in progress. I also have my own website (www.lolodaisy.com) but it is still under construction.



Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
lolodaisy.etsy.com

Friday, September 4, 2009

Featured Artist: Crista Grasso of Amber Tortoise Creations


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Artist/AmberTortoise Creations Bio:

I have always been a very creative person and studied art in college at both The University of Connecticut and Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I look for any opportunity to use creativity.
I started making jewelry as a small child, making string bracelets for myself and my friends, and never stopped! After years of making jewelry to wear and to give as gifts, I finally listened to the advice of my family and friends and started a business. AmberTortoise Creations was established in 2005, although it wasn't until 2008 that the business really took off when I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful shop in Storrs, CT to sell my jewelry. Since that time, I have focused all of my energy on making jewelry and now have a line of over 1,800 unique one-of-a-kind creations. I make new pieces every day and always challenge myself to create pieces which are different, timeless and beautiful!
The thing I like so much about jewelry is that it says so much about the person who wears it! It reflects your personality, your mood, your interests... It can say I am bold and adventurous, I am a little quiet and reserved, I am a happy person who loves life, or maybe that you are all of those things~ I know I am! A great piece of jewelry can reflect all of these characteristics and more but say different things on different individuals. It is the perfect start or finish to any outfit! Jewelry can be a great conversation starter, and the right piece of jewelry can draw people to you. Do you ever see a piece of jewelry and just know that you NEED to own it? It's as if it was designed specifically for you. That is what I am hoping my jewelry will be to those who see it!
My creations have evolved significantly since the string bracelets I used to make as a child. I offer a complete line of handmade jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, watches, matching jewelry sets, anklets, barefoot sandals, belly chains and handmade pendants. All of my jewelry is handcrafted using semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, corals, wood, shell, sterling silver, pewter, copper and green elements such as seeds and limestone coral. I also love to incorporate vintage beads or focal pieces for a completely unique look. I occasionally make handmade pendants and findings out of pure silver polymer clay to incorporate into my creations. I draw my inspirations from the world around me, primarily from the beautiful and sometimes surprising color combinations and textures in mother nature. All jewelry is crafted in my Tolland, CT studio.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I think I strated crafting as soon as I could move my hands! I have always been very creative and love making things with my hands. Textures and colors have always been very appealing to me, so I have done everything from sculpting to clothing deisgn to interior design to photography to jewelry making. I can first remember making jewelry as a kid- I used to make string bracelets for myself and my friends. I asked for a loom kit for my 8th birthday and learned how to make beaded bracelets. I made all my own jewelry (and clothes) for my prom and other formal events and eventually made jewelry for a few weddings, including my own. The main reason why I started making jewelry and doing many of the other crafts I have dabbled in over the years is that I like to be unique! I like to know that what I am wearing or doing is different from what everyone else is wearing or doing. I have never been afraid to stand out in a crowd and I always received so much positive attention and feedback from the jewelry I would create and wear, that I decided maybe I could turn my hobby into a career. I strive to keep my jewelry unique! Aside from a small line of limited edition pieces, each piece I create is a unique one-of-a-kind creation. That makes it hard for me to part with the pieces sometimes, but it makes me so happy to see something I created on someone who truly loves it, that it makes it okay.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Everything! I love everything from picking out the perfect materials to creating a new piece of jewelry. I love taking a walk outside to look for inspiration. I love the feeling of the natural stones in my fingers when I bead and against my skin when I wear the jewelry I create. I love getting to be creative and trying new materials and color combinations and constantly learning new things.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

A coworker told me this story about how her sister decided to quit her full-time job to pursue making pottery full-time. She told me a little about her, and all I could think was "this woman is living my dream". She sent me a link to her Etsy site- www.downtoearthceramics.etsy.com and I fell in love with her store and with Etsy. I loved that there was a place that creative minds could all come together to sell their crafts and ask eachother questions! I was so happy to have found Etsy and opened up my own Etsy store. I still tell everyone to check out Etsy since I think it is such as amazing place to go and browse, shop or spark creativity!

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

There isn't anything I particulary dislike about selling online, but I do find the photography to be the most challenging. Taking the pictures is fun, but I find it difficult to get the picture to reflect the true colors and textures of my jewelry. It usually takes me about 10 pictures to get 1 I am comfortable with, so there is a great deal of work that goes into every picture I post in my Etsy listings.

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

My goal is to eventually be able to design jewelry as my only full-time job and make a true career out of it. Right now, I rely on Etsy and the sales at Art Shows and the Offline Shops I sell at to purchase new supplies and market my jewelry. Every penny I make gets re-invested into AmberTortoise Creations.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

Yes, I sell in 3 stores across Connecticut. The nice thing about selling in the offline shops is that people get to know me and my jewelry. They get to pick it up and try it on and see each piece exactly as it is. I have a "following" (or so I am told- hehe) at the local shops where I sell and people look forward each week for me to bring in new items. I also get many custom orders, since people have gotten to know me and trust my work. The benefit to selling online is that I am able to reach people all across the world and there is so much potential to find customers who share in my love of stones and texture and everything jewelry! So, I don't know that I like one more than the other. They both have their unique benefits and I am so happy to be able to do both!

7. Where else can you be found online?

Website: www.ambertortoisecreations.com
Etsy: www.ambertortoise.etsy.com
Etsy Beadstore: www.ambertortoisebeads.com
Blog: www.ambertortoisejewelry.blogspot.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ambertortoise
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/AmberTortoise-Creations/68560683131


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
ambertortoise.etsy.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Calling All Artists


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Starting in August 2009, I began to feature an artist a week from any online selling venue. I only asked that they be handmade and homegrown sellers. The featured artists were presented in the order in which I receive this questionnaire from them. Also, along with a post about their shop, their smaller Etsy Mini or Artfire Shop Window remained in my sidebar for the entire week, and the larger Etsy Mini and Artfire Shop Window code they provided was attached to the end of their blog entry, permanently. Each blog entry was submitted to MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter via my personal and business profiles. (If your venue is not specifically spoken about above, still submit your questionnaire and any kind of shop window code that your venue supplies, if any. I will feature you, but if there is a code error, I will not be able to fix the code on my own. If your code is not on your feature when it is published, please check your mailbox and respond to my email.)

I'm asking again for more artists who are interested in a little free publicity. Below in the questionnaire. Please copy and paste it into an email, answer all the questions, and submit it to mortarnpestle@hotmail.com. October 23, 2009 is the first open Friday for a feature. The second person to submit the questionnaire to me will receive the following Friday, and so on. Your spot is chosen on a first come, first served basis, so please, send your questionnaire to me as soon as possible if you want to be promoted before the big holiday season.

Feel free also to submit the Featured Artist entries along your social networking channels. The more people who submit it, the more people that will see it and possibly purchase from the shops.


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[ Please provide a short biography about yourself/your shop. Also include a link to an item in your shop that you would like featured at the beginning of this entry.]

1. When and why did you start crafting?

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue & why?

7. Where else can you be found online?


Please include the following code(s) for your shop with your response:

Artfire:

1 x 5 Artfire Shop Window (for sidebar)
3 x 2 Artfire Shop Window (for blog post)

Etsy:

2 x 4 Thumbnail Etsy Mini
2 x 3 Gallery Etsy Mini

If you are not on these two, but your venue does have a shop window, please submit your code. If it does not fit my margins, I will send you an email as soon as I can to determine if the problem can be remedied or not. If it can't, I will "create my own" shop window at the bottom your entry pointing directly to your shop. If this is not okay with you, please let me know.

(You may include codes for all your venues, if you wish.)

September 1: Tuesday's Top Ten


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Today's Top Ten Artists really do not have much in common, other than their products are absolutely amazing. Enjoy!

1. Curious Robin: http://curiousrobin.artfire.com

2. DistinQue Jewelry: http://distinquejewelry.artfire.com

3. RMK Creations: http://rmkcreations.artfire.com

4. Karmeli Designs: http://karmelidesigns.artfire.com

5. Faye Farms: http://fayefarms.artfire.com

6. Flybird Designs: http://flybirddesigns.artfire.com

7. Handarbeitskram: http://handarbeitskram.artfire.com

8. Pink Quartz Minerals: http://pinkquartzminerals.artfire.com

9. Lanza Creations: http://lanzacreations.artfire.com

10. Valmade: http://valmade.artfire.com