With my son out of preschool for the summer I have decided to take a break from blogging. Two little ones 5 and under and a hot summer with endless adventures good and bad is proving to be job enough without doing too much extra! Thank you all for following my blog about all thing handmade. I hope to see you again in Sept!
Hey there all you wonderful people out in blogland! I've missed you. Last night we had our first backyard bonfire of the season. It was wonderfully warm during the day, I went to the park with the kids twice and then had a great time with friends and wild children over in the evening. We ate fantastically unhealthy food and way too many smore's. It was so good to enjoy the outdoors with our friends. I can't get enough of the dirty children running around staying up too late laughing hysterically with each other.
But several weeks ago, one of my very close friends suffered a terrible tragedy. She lost a much wanted little baby girl and we nearly lost her in the process. She need about 3 people's worth of blood to get her through and ended up with a hysterectomy at the end of it all. It was seriously scary. While she has physically recovered with an amazing quickness, all of our hearts are still heavy with loss.
It's easy to see how words have escaped me during this time. I hope to have more interesting tidbits and fantastic featured artists in the near future! I certainly have enough of them running around in my head just waiting to be shared.
So please give your loved ones, be they friends or family, a big squeeze and remember to appreciate them. And if it works for you, send my friend some love in your own special way. Thanks everyone.
Don't you just love that name? I'm so excited to now offer free advertising here on my blog! Even as the bids go up, they stay relatively low. It's a great service for all involved. I only know of them through the handmade movement although I'm sure others use the service. If you are a blogger, project wonderful is a great way to support artists world wide. As a reader it's a great way to see all the great work that's out there being offered. As an artist and indie business owner, I love how easy and friendly the service is. And I love that I can get my name out there one person at a time for pennies a day. They work with paypal which makes it all seriously easy. So be sure to check out the lovely things being advertised on the side of my blog!!
I'm so excited! My Paint It BlackCozy Cowl was featured on the front page of Artfire as the item of the hour. What a fun feature they have there. It is a great feeling to get an email letting you know your item is going to be featured on the front page. Thanks for the warm fuzzies Artfire! And if you need a warm fuzzy, take home on of these cowls. : )
A local paper, The St. Croix Valley Press, sought me out to do an interview. It was so fun and exciting to be contacted. They did a search online for artists and creative types in this general area. This area being Eastern Minnesota / Western Wisconsin. The gorgeous St. Croix river is the dividing line between the two. I am so honored to be featured in the local paper and was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by someone who read the article the day it ran. She is a costume and ball gown designer and needed to make a lace edging on an amazing gown she was working but had not had much luck trying to figure it out on her own. She was so relieved to find me in the paper and we got together that weekend for a bit of a lesson and a plan to make her dress come to life. What a wonderful opportunity! I hope to get to see more of her work again soon.
Please take a peek at the interview here. There were pictures included in the article that was printed, but they're not on the website. I didn't know what day the article ran, until the woman contacted me about a crochet lesson! So, I don't have a copy for a keepsake which is a bummer, but I suppose I'll be alright. Thanks for checking out my interview and getting to know a little more about me and Blue Star Butterflies.
Artfire, the up and coming handmade venue has an awesome new feature! Now you can purchase items right from some one's blog! I've set up my new Rapid Cart here on my blog so when the mood strikes you can easily purchase a Blue Star Butterflies item! I haven't been super active on Artfire as of yet, but the more time goes by the more I really like them as a whole. Good people and good things going on over there. If you are a fellow artisan and you haven't looked into selling over there it may be worth your while. Hope everyone has some sunshine this weekend!!
It's coming, it's coming! The birds are out and I adore listening to them. I've been able to shoo the kids outside and bring my knitting with while I watch them play. I've been eagerly searching for buds on trees and they're still a bit hard to find. But they will come and I'll be so happy when things start greening up a bit around here.
The warmer weather brings slower business in my neck of the woods. And that's alright with me. I think I'm really enjoying taking the slow road (not sure that I had the choice to take the fast road, but hey) in growing my business. It's been fun to think of things to implement next fall or next year etc. I found a fantastic cotton blend yarn that I'd love to work with more to offer some spring and summer friendly items at Blue Star Butterflies. Here's a sneak peek!
I've also thoroughly enjoyed finally learning to knit this year and dreaming of all the future holds with the added possibilities it brings. I'm doing a LOT of personal projects as I hone my craft before putting it out there for all of you. So here are the latest two... Of course I think the kids are particularly cute as well as the handcrafted pixie (or alien for my boy) hats!
My most recent completed project was this super cool super fast knit (and a little crochet) hat for the little monster in my life. He's five years old and adores all things gross, scary, slimy, and noisy. I was nosing around Ravelry.Com and came across this pattern and new I had to make it. This is my 3rd knit hat since I learned earlier this year, things are going well in knit world.
As you can see, I had a very satisfied customer!! It was especially nice since I already had the yarn in my stash. If you're already a Ravelry member you can find this hat pattern here . If you're not a member, you should consider it! If you knit and/or crochet of course. There are so many helpful people available to you and so many cool patterns, many of which are free. What more can you ask for?
I hope you are enjoying March, spring is coming fast! In San Diego where I'm from and the rest of my family lives that doesn't mean much. But here in Minnesota, it's a huge deal! And I am loving every minute of it. Today we made a trip to Borealis yarn shop in St. Paul. Then later I watched the kids ride bikes in the driveway as I sat in the sun and listened to the birds chirp while I worked on a new scarf with hand spun yarn fromEtsy seller Pancake And Lulu.It's heaven I tell you!
This was a crazy week for me. I have a good friend who's pregnant and was supposed to have an amnio last Friday and ended up having to wait till yesterday. So it was a long week of waiting and nerves. I caught some funky stomach bug on Monday night, I think. I was dizzy and felt strange, but come Tuesday morning I tried to buck up and take my kids to an indoor playground since it was only 11 degrees and we needed to get out. We made it a couple hours and then my friends daughter felt warm so we headed out. Which turned out to be a good thing because I got that hot flush you get when your sick, and then, I totally threw up in the parking lot!! Lovely. Luckily I had gotten the kids buckled in before that, but ugh! Aren't you glad I shared? So I was pretty useless the rest of the day and the next. I didn't even knit personal projects this week, I felt that bad. Yesterday I finally felt human and cleaned myself up and tried to catch up around the house.
Today it was 50 degrees! Can you believe it? I feel spring, it's in the air. We walked to pick up my son from preschool yesterday and brought the dog. It was great to get out after the cold and the sick. So, I hope to get caught up on life this weekend and then be back to some creativity next week. See you then!
I found Krug's Eco-Logic on the Etsy forum through another etsian posting about a super cool experiment that Erin, the super-mom behind the product, was doing. I had been wanting to switch to handmade natural skin products for a while but had no idea how to choose who to go with. I read Erin's blog about the experiment and read the comments people left and I decided it was a sign. For an entire week she was using commercial soap on one half of her body and her handmade soap on the other - in December! With the cold burn and heater drying outs, ack! She posted pics of each side nearly every day, it was super cool. I bought a bunch of stuff from her on Etsy and I am so happy with it! Especially the whipped lotion. I've had eczema to varying degrees since I was a toddler. It has gotten better in adulthood, but I still have outbreaks and end up using cortisone like lotion! It's only been a few months now, but since I started using her whipped body butter, I haven't had to do that. Yippeeeee! I'm happy to say that I'm now a repeat customer and plan to be for a long time! My favorite scents so far are Sunrise and Calming Scent - Lavender and Chamomile. I have the body scrub in Sunrise and it smells delish in my shower! Mmmmm.
Right now Erin is offering a super cool 'online spa party' deal. You can get all the details on her blog. Check it out!
I mean HUGE! There are more than a few different sponsors for this giveaway that I am participating in. TryHandmade.Com is running this fantastic giveaway and I'm donating a Cozy Cowl from Blue Star Butterflies in the winners choice of color. Go check it out, have some fun and browse the other fantastic shops in this giveaway.
Melissa from Mellaril is a fantastically talented artisan. She can weave beads and colors like magic. Just take a peek and the select offerings. I have been blessed to become friends with Miss Melissa. We both moved to the same amazing little town around the same time, though we did not know each other. We actually met through Etsy's shop local feature. I wanted to see what kind of arts were being sold in my area and sent her a note to tell her how much I loved her work and to wish her much success.
She wrote back and we've been great friends ever since. It's been so fun to trade work with her and talk shop while our kids play together. Her little boy, currently about 15 months, is one of the cutest sweetest little boys ever! We met for the first time at one of Stillwater's best locally owned coffee shops. Daily Grind has an amazing view of the St. Croix River and 2 of the nicest owners ever. The perfect setting for 2 creative minds to mix.
Check out her shop, you'll enjoy reading her bio and wish there was more! She a fantastic writer and should be the one blogging instead of me. I want to help her get her business going. It's no secret that it's not the easiest thing to do, it takes time, more time and money. With the current economy and as a stay at home mom, resources and funds can be, well, limited. So all you handmade junkies out there, take a nice long look at her amazing work! Or even better, score one of her pieces for yourself or some one special.
I'm trying out a new blog layout. I really wanted the 3 column layout, I love the way they look and I think it's easier to navigate. I love the look of this, but the placement of the words in the header is less than great. I am super tech un-savvy, so this is all a serious challenge for me. Not to mention, trying to learn techie stuff with my kids running around poking each other with dinosaurs and fairies, screaming and whining at each other!
I also finally found the cute Twitter buttons, thanks to Lori from Risky Beads who I've told you about before. I really would like to throw one on my page, but I totally don't get it! LOL Maybe it's because it's Friday the 13th, maybe it's because of the gloomy weather we've had all week, or maybe it's just my mommy brain. I was hoping to figure it out and come tell you all about it and how to get one of your own. But I can't, WAH. What I can do is share the link so if you are smarter than I am you can get one for yourself. And if you are in a good mood, maybe you'll tell me how to do it too! They also have a nice assortment of Twitter backgrounds for you to choose from. In other news I am teaching myself a new craft so that I will have more diversity of product for my Blue Star Butterflies shops on Artfireand Etsy I tried to learn to knit several years back, but I was so much better at crochet that I couldn't hang in there. I quit half way through a scarf and never looked back. But I have always liked the way that knit looks. Now that I have started this little indie business of mine I wanted to expand. And I live in Minnesota which provides me with a long winter, just begging a person to learn a new craft while cooped up indoors. I am really happy that I listened to my heart and ditched the scarf because I just wasn't into it. I decided to go for a hat and it was totally worth it! It was fun and interesting. I started over several times, so I'm a pro at casting on now. I won't say it's a great hat, but it ain't bad and I'm not embarrassed to wear it- rock on! This is the pattern I used. I even made my hubby at hat and it turned out very well. I'm super pleased that my years of yarn work have lent themselves to picking up this new craft. I have a few more personal projects in mind, like a hat for myself that I'm currently working on with some gorgeous hand painted alpaca yarn in a super fun design.
Not bad, eh! And I want to make a wide scarf/shawl. By that time I think I will be doing well enough to start creating things for Blue Star Butterflies! Yipee.
There is a fantastic little studio that I've been dying to go check out. It's called The Studio at Rush Creek. They offer some really cool classes - Here is the link for the schedule. One of my fellow team members fro the Etsy Minnesota Street Team, Jennifer Clayton, teaches some classes there. This month she's teaching a class on how to spin your own yarn. OMG, is that right up my alley or what? There is an amazing variety of classes offered here and your sure to find something your interested in. They also do kids parties and classes, and teen and adult parties in addition to all the cool classes. They even have a coffee bar! If you are in the Twin Cities areas, you have got to check this out.
I'm not sure that Jennifer remembers, but I met her last spring at the Craftstravaganza craft fair. I had the whole fam in tow, and it was colder than all get out. She makes the most adorable little, and big, crocheted creatures. My son was totally in love with one of the big monster/alien type ones and it was super hard to leave it behind. I have often thought I should have gotten him. It would have been worth it. You can find more of her work on Etsy! Her seller name is FuzFrenzy. Http://fuzfrenzy.etsy.comAnd keep up with her regularly on her blog!
Sorry for the down time. It was a busy week with the family. I am looking to sponsor a giveaway or two, so check back soon to find out when and where. I also am going to try to have another review/featured handmade seller this coming week. I have made several purchases that I am SO excited about and want to share with you all. I'd also like to tell you about a great friend of mine who's shop I think you need to peek at.
For some reason, I just haven't been in the mood to sew lately. So I've got nothing new to share in that area. I started a funky retro quilt for a friend of mine that is sadly hibernating this winter. I hope to get some new motivation in the near future.
I have been having lots of fun in the yarn department. I've found a few new (to me) local yarn stores and have ordered some yummy irresistible yarn on etsy. I've been trying to keep track of all of my fiber arts on Ravelry.Com If you are into knitting or crochet, this site is fantastic! There are forums to chat with others, and groups for like minded fiber lovers, you can find an answer to any knit or crochet question you can think of. Even look up reviews of yarn and patterns. My favorite is getting to see other peoples finished projects. If you like a pattern, you can see what yarn other people used, how easy/hard it was, and what it looks like when it's done. There could be 3 or 300 project to check out. It is so awesome! And people tend to include notes, if the changed the pattern. It's interesting and I've learned a lot already. It has made learning to knit so much fun and so much easier than if I had to do it alone.
I know this blog doesn't have anything to do with shoes. But I have been looking for a new pair of shoes since fall and I wasn't having much luck. I fell in love the pair of Pr!vo (Privo) shoes I got almost 2 years ago. They were almost exactly like these. I later went on to buy a pair of black ballet typeflats by them that are actually like wearing slippers! I swear. And I don't think the pictures do them justice. Privo is made by Clarks shoes and while they are a little pricey it's totally worth it for the level of comfort they give. I love that they have spunk and flare and are just slightly athletic. I'm a casual kinda girl and I don't like getting too dressy. But I like to look as nice as the next person. So once again I have fallen for a pair of Privo's. They are fun and funky and practical all in one. And check out the cool color!
I've never done a paid blog, so I don't know if this sounds like one, but it's not. I'm just the kind of girl who likes to share the things I love with others. My friends all think I'd be a good salesman. LOL Anyway, my 2 year old was also very excited about my new shoes and unpacked them for me when we got home and made me wear them all night. She cried when I took them off, so they went right back on! Hope everyone had a good weekend.
I recently made a purchase from Lori at Risky Beads. With the Artfire buzz growing, I set up shop and wanted to go through the buying process myself. I looked around a little while and quickly found Risky Beads. I was surprise that I hadn't run across her shop on Etsy, but we all know how crowded Etsy is!! Lori sells on etsy at RiskyBeads.etsy.com and has a destash bead shop there as well RiskyStash.etsy.com , also on artfire RiskyBeads.artfire.com and at 1000 Markets 1000markets.com/users/riskybeads
She has been selling on etsy for nearly 18 months and has a fantastic shop with stellar photos. She has even written about her experience in a little book you can find in her shop. I look forward to reading it soon. It's full of helpful tips and her great personality. She's a true artist all the way around. From intreaging write ups for her work to creative photo set up. She is what I hoped to be when I started putting my etsy shop together, slowly, last spring.
I purchased a couple pair of earrings (here and here ) from her and was extremely pleased with my experience. We had good communication and my package arrived quickly. The contents were cutely wrapped, it was fun to open each little item. The package was full of goodies, business cards, suggested sellers, a calendar magnet, and some other surprises! I think Lori at Risky Beads has got it going on! If you are a seller of handmade goods on line, you can learn something from her. And if you are a buyer of handmade goods, you are going to love your experience. If you are both, like me, you really can't go wrong! I am really enjoying my new earrings, there are exactly what I was looking for. Thank you Lori!
Lori has a very cool blog (included on my bloglist on the side) which you can find at riskybeads.blogspot.com in addition to her other artistic abilities she's a fantastic writer. I highly suggest popping over there for a while! She is currently running a huge Artfire giveaway. You won't want to miss it.
Today, I'd like you to meet 'The Cutest Blog on the Block'! I was on the Etsy forums the other day and someone was asking about blog style. This site was suggested and I figured if more than a few pages of people on Etsy found it helpful, than you might too! If you're looking for help designing your blog, this site is tons of help. They have everything from free blog layouts to how-to's. This cure all site for a boring blog has a total of 350 FREE layouts. I couldn't believe it! You're sure to find at least one that you love. You can scroll through the pages from one to the next, or use the navigation tool on the right side of their page to look through different categories. The Cutest Blog on the Block also has an assortment of other accessories for you as well. Cute little buttons ranging in topic from Twilight to Humor. For those interested they have several digital scrapbooking pages available for download and photo card design for purchase. Check out their 'blog secrets' section for helpful how-to info on a variety of topics, like adding a signature and getting a 3 column template.
Grab a cup of coffee and snuggle under an afghan, here's a bit about my journey so far. I am pretty new to this business - indie craft. I have long been a crafter and creator, but turning it into a business is a whole new world. It's been exciting and daunting at times. I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information to be found and read on the web. Most of the time since I first opened my shopon Etsyhas been spent timidly dipping my toes in the water hoping not to take a wrong turn and end up in over my head. I have taken it slow, and with two rowdy little ones at home, that has worked well for me.
But this fall as my oldest went to preschool and I have a little more time on my hands, I decided I really wanted to figure out what I was doing with this little handmade business of mine. I was having computer issues and that makes online business a bit rough! So I started with creating more inventory. Sounds easy since this is why I opened a shop in the first place. But, do I make totally OOAK (one of a kind) items? Do I find several items of interest and make many? I am stuck somewhere in the middle. I wanted my shop to have a uniform look, and I love to make things over and over - but I want to explore my options as well. And I have more than one craft that I'd like to share. I don't really want to manage more than one shop, so I guess it'll all have to go in the same place. I decided I'll just have to figure out how to make it mesh.
Photo's are a whole topic of their own. I knew starting out that I'd need great photos, but I didn't realize how hard that was going to be! Photographing blankets seems nearly impossible to me. I will continue to work hard to get better photos of my items.
Once I had more inventory and had taken pictures I got them all loaded up into my shop and felt like my little corner of Etsy was more of a store than a hole in the wall. Yay! Now I needed to get people to it. Yikes. I was still intimidated by that idea. With the weather in Minnesota often being below freezing and even subzero temps, getting out and leaving business cards around isn't something I'm up for! But I have a few stacks around town at coffee shops from the pre-frozen days. The idea of craft fairs has crossed my mind more than a few times. I would really like to get into a few, but am worried that I am not organized enough!
So I started reading. Reading and reading and more reading. I would not have believed that there are days and days worth of information out there on running, and promoting your indie online business, but there are! I swear since Christmas I have spent more time on my new (hooray!) laptop than I have ever spent on a computer before. Reading about handmade venues, Artfireand Etsy and Shophandmade reading about social networking on Facebook and Twitter and reading lots and lots of blogs like TimothyAdamDesigns that I introduced you to earlier. And I've spent hours looking at Project Wonderful finding blogs to put cute little ads on. Ads that I bought from Etsy at ThompsonDesigns. It's enough to make your head spin around!! LOL But as a stay at home mom, I find the head spinning to be exciting. I normally read things on the Dr. Seuss level - which I love, but reading all of this indie business info is making me feel a part of the world again. Oh geese, how could I forget trying to read html code and Google Analytics etc... I swear I can actually FEEL the synapses firing in my brain. It's like someone plugged my brain in to an electric socket.
That pretty much catches us up to now. I had several sales over the holiday season and that was very exciting. I hope that all my hours of reading and networking online are going to help keep them coming in the new year. But, as you can see if you've looked at my shops, I am going to need a brainstorming session for products to sell during the warmer months. So far my things are very, winter related! I think that'll be my goal after Valentine's Day. Thanks for coming by and getting to know me a little better. I'd love to get to know you better too. Leave a comment! I hope you enjoyed your coffee and that you'll be back soon.
I came across a very cool blog doing a super giveaway the other day and wanted to let you all have the chance to score this sweet bag too! I have loved this fabric for quite some time now and have been teetering on the brink of buying myself some. Imagine my excitement to find out you can win a bag made out of it!! The bag to be given away is from GirlyGirlBags . The giveaway is running on Designs by Vanessa, which is another cool artist blog. Take a minute and check it out. Good luck to you!! (and me....)
I have added a new list on the side of the blog. Some of my favorite blogs! Some of them are inspirational, some are indie business helpful, some are just great artists I love. I hope you'll find something you like over there too!
Another featured artist coming later this week. Check back soon!
This is a fun idea I found on 1 stop mom Meet my friends Monday is an introduction to other blogs you like. Which equals, 'meeting my friends'. It is Nap Time came up with this fun idea. Today I'd like you to meet Timothy Adam Designs I swear, if there is anything you need to know about running an indie business, he can help! There is so much helpful info, it will blow your mind. I really don't know how any of us would get along without Mr. Adam. If you are selling your handmade goods, this is a blog you can't live without.
As I have been wandering through blogland reading many, many amazing things, I came upon this fantastic post written by Infektia. She gives a straight forward how-to for getting stats from Google about your blog! Hallelujah. I am certain that if I had not found her post, I would never have been able to figure this out on my own. With her directions it was easy. THANK YOU Infektia! You can click here or go here --> http://www.infektia.net/how-to-track-your-blogger-statistics-with-google/ to read her helpful directions forGoogle Analytics. You won't be sorry.
Happy New Year Blogland! 2009 is going to be a GREAT year.