Sunday, June 28, 2009

June's Featured Etsyblogger - LazyTCrochet

Congrats to Tricia, aka LazyTCrochet, for being our Featured Etsyblogger for the month of June.

I thought I'd show off her Crocheted Sweaters - fell in love, the moment I saw them. Aren't they just gorgeous! I don't remember seeing them before, so I think they're new.

Love that color's name, plum.

And this is a perfect time to go by her shop and browse around. She's having a summer sale! Hope you find something, just for yourself!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Etsy Treasury: At the shore with Etsybloggers

It's been a long time since I curated a treasury on Etsy. WooHoo! You can even see the alternates! Clickable till Tuesday, 6:30 am

Friday, June 26, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Peacox Creations

Patti, etsyblogger and owner of Peacox Creations, does more than make baskets with pine needles. But I think that's her true love... at least for now! When you visit her shop, you'll also find greeting cards, christening gowns, and a variety of crocheted items. Very diverse indeed! Hope you enjoy the interview; there's lots of links!
  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
Peacox Creations

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
Besides the Etsy bloggers team, I'm in the EAL (Etsy Artists Lounge), etsyFAST,
Etsy hookers team, teamWIST because I'm from Wisconsin, and the Design Style Guide.
You don't suppose I've over extended myself, do you? LOL

  • What types of products do you sell?
My shop is rather eclectic. I sell pine needle baskets, greeting cards, Christening
gowns and accessories, size and full size, and other fun knit and
crochet items.

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I found out about etsy from some of my internet craft groups. I started buying and selling at the same time.
  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?

It's so hard to pick a fav, but I guess it would have to be the pine needle basket with the swirling hexagons center. [this just sold! - congrats. Patti!]

Here's another favorite of both of ours:
Round pine needle basket with stoneware

  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
Besides selling here on Etsy, I do a limited number of craft shows each year and
have regular customers in the area.
  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
Over many years, I have worked with almost every medium imaginable! My fav is pine needle basketry because it is unusual and open to many creative possibilities.

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
I try to take as many photos as I can outside, but with iffy Wisconsin weather, that's not always possible. Indoor, I use a white backgound placed near a north window with the flash off. I still need work in this area, however!
  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
You can see more about my life and works on Flickr and Facebook.

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
Crafting does take me quite a bit of time, but is really a hobby...I've been retired from teaching for 12 years!

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
The only tip I would have is to keep exploring and creating new things.

  • Where can people find Peacox Creations?
Here is Patti's blog on blogspot, and her shop on etsy.

Storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
I know, I know, I'm a pragmatist! But if I have to have things around me, I want them to look nice. This piece is so cute. It's a pine needle sewing basket! Reminds me of a chip and dip serving plate. And I know a lot of people who would just love this! It's adorable!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

almost wordless wednesday - Bodhran Championships

Our first Sunday in Ireland we went to the
World Bodhran Championships in Milltown (County Kerry.) The bodhran is an Irish frame drum, with a goatskin head. The competition was running all weekend, so we got to hear the finalists. Congratulations, everyone, who won in their category! To learn more about the bodhran, look here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Firebird Necklace: onyx and Czech glass

"Are you so bold to
Come before me, in all your
Glory?" asked the wolf.
- Deborah Baroff, storybeader

This weekend, I finally assembled all the pieces to my new creation: a double-strand necklace that highlights my prized black onyx pendant. Handpainted in Russia, a beautiful peacock lounges on a tree limb, with its tail feathers cascading down the 20x30mm onyx pendant. It's just beautiful! This is the first necklace I made through the Blogging for Beads program started by Check out this pendant and others here.

The haiku I wrote for this necklace just rolled off the tip of my mind, while I was laying out the beads. I've seen images from the fairy tale "Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf," and I thought of my peacock. The story is about a king who tells his sons, whoever brings him the Firebird that stealing his golden apples, will receive half his kingdom and be his heir.

This Firebird story appears as a thematic element in many Russian legends and fairy tales. Typically, the Firebird is involved in a difficult quest, and heroes are charmed by the wonder of its feathers. In the famous ballet by Stravinsky, Prince Ivan captures the Firebird. She agrees to assist Ivan in winning the princess, in exchange for her freedom.

The whole process of blogging about my creations have taken me down paths I would have never imagined a year ago. So thank you,, for the wonderful opportunity in finding out about Russian art and a bit of my heritage. I encourage others who enjoy writing, to try a blog - who knows where it will lead!

For all you beaders: You can find great beading supplies at Artfire's website. And did you know that they have a Blog? Check it out!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jefferson Davis and Walt Whitman on stage in Oklahoma

The Chautauqua finished Saturday night with a performance by Doug Mishler as Jefferson Davis. That's Doug on the right, talking to the audience with Dr. Carrol Peterson, who portrayed Walt Whitman.

This is Doug's second year in Lawton; last year he gave us George Wallace. I see him as a contrarian, who likes to take unpopular characters in history, and show the audience what these men were thinking at the time. Davis, President of the Confederacy (if you didn't know) was vilified by the South after the Civil War. All he could think of was how the damn Yankees cheated the South, recanting on their Constitutional rights and taking their property (slaves). There were a few people who got upset with Davis, but that just proves what a convincing job Doug did! You can see another post about all five participants here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - vidrio

Joseph Cuevas is hooked on glass. And his focus is creating objects for the home. After reading Joseph's artist statement, I feel I know him much better. I encourage others to visit his blog, and get acquainted with him too. But first, let me introduce you to the artist here:
  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
The name of my shop is vidrio. The word vidrio means glass in Spanish, so it felt appropriate.
  • What types of products do you sell?
I sell handmade glass home decor and pendants. The home decor includes items like solid cast sculptures, fused plates, bowls, coasters and fused wall art.

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
Currently my favorite item is cast glass sculpture I listed recently. It's my favorite item right now because I love the casting process more than any other glass process. Up until recently there wasn't much cast glass on etsy. My hope is that more cast glass will be popping up around etsy soon. I know I plan to list more.

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I found out about etsy in a myspace glass group. A lampworker had asked if anyone had heard about it and since I hadn't, I decided to check it out. It seemed like such a great place. I was hooked from that day. I think I opened my shop within a week of first finding etsy.
  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
I am a member of the design style guide team. I have tried other teams in the past but never really had much luck with them. This team seems like a great fit for me. The entire team is focused on home decor items, which is the route my shop will be taking soon. I plan on focusing more on home decor and less on pendants. There seem to be a lot of pendant sellers on etsy already so I'm hoping I can find my niche in home decor. One really great part of the team is they started their own selling venue at [they also have their own blog]

  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
As of right now, there are no other online venues I sell at. I do plan on listing on Artfire, 10,000 Markets and of course

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
Other than glass I have worked in ceramics, metal, wood, fiber, paper and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Glass is by far my favorite but I do enjoy some metal work. I like to experiment with as much as possible because with experimenting I get inspired for more glass pieces.
  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
For me the hardest part is flat even lighting. Glass is so reflective that there were always hot spots in my earlier photos. I finally invested in a light box setup. Now I try to only use that. That and good digital camera that has a macro setting is key.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
I do not. I need to set up a flikr account but haven't done so yet.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?

I think the best marketing tip I can give anyone is to be confident in your work. If you are confident, that will come across when you talk about your art. That confidence will inspire others to talk about your work. So that's it, be confident and talk to as many people as possible.

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
Selling my work is my full time job. I decided to go back to school a couple of years ago so I can get my degree in glass. Eventually I plan to have my MFA in glass so I can officially say I am a Master of glass haha.

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
People can find out more about me at the following places:

OK, the stoybeader's turn!

My favorite pieces in Joseph's Etsy shop are the glass striped plates. Even though I'm in love with blues, I really like his Yellow Stripes Plate

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - June 19, 2009

Summer's just starting. And it's already Hot Hot Hot in southwest Oklahoma. Because of the climate, I have to start planning when I do things during the day. The only time I can water is either early morning or at dusk. Otherwise, the water hardly hits the ground before it evaporates! I hate the idea of using energy and turning on the air conditioner, but my DH doesn't agree. So I give in to comfort, and we set the thermostat to 73 starting June.

I never used to have hay fever - think I must have caught it from my DH. So that's one reason I enjoy the Summer - the pollen is pretty much gone, along with the headaches. Mosquitoes? They're still flying around now, but come July, I think they all die of heatstroke.

So, does it sound hot in my neighborhood yet? Yes, it is, but that's ok, it's nice to have seasonal changes.

Summer plans? Nothing much going on here. I just got back from my big vacation, so I‘ll be sticking close to home. My plan is to schedule my time a bit better - spend more time creating and less on the computer. OK, confession time: Do you limit your hours on the computer? If so, what's your number?

(some ducks visiting from the pond down the street)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

almost wordless wednesday - Christ Church Cathedral

There were many beautiful gifts given to this Cathedral in Dublin over the centuries, not to mention the exquisite stained glass windows. Here are a few pics I took of pictures hanging on the walls and a great piece of sculpture.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oklahoma Chautauqua - "Legacy of Equality"

The kick-off reception for the Oklahoma Chautauqua in Lawton was last night at the Polo Club on Fort Sill . I'm sorry I didn't make it to the reception, but there will be a whole week of workshops and performances to attend.

Haven't heard of a Chautauqua before? It's a series of living history performances and workshops presented each June, where various scholars take on the characters of famous individuals from the past. This year's Chatauqua is entitled Lincoln's Legacy of Equality: Voices on the Fringe. Characters portrayed in the evening performances include Jefferson Davis, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Walt Whitman, and John Ross. The program is free to the public and is offered on the campus of OSU-Tulsa as well as in two additional Oklahoma communities. In Lawton, workshops will be at Cameron University at 10:00 AM, at the Museum of the Great Plains at 2:00 PM and the performances will be "under the tent" on the south side of the Public Library at 7:00.

Interested in living history and literature? You'll REALLY enjoy the Chatauqua. Come by if you're in Lawton, and be entertained!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Year of Wonders - book review

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks is based on a historic event: a plague that spreads in a small English village in 1666, and the decision of the townspeople to quarantine themselves from the rest of society. In the first place, historical fiction is a favorite of mine, and I have an affinity for novels placed in England. I haven't read much about the 17th century before, so this was a treat in that sense.

There were many layers to the story. The most striking thing I found was Brooks’ use of language. At first I thought it was just British phases that I wasn’t familiar with, but as the tale unfolds, Old English terms come into play. The verbiage gives authenticity to the story, told by Anna, a young housemaid, who works with the local minister and his wife, trying to nurse people through these difficult times.

The character development is superb. Most of the townspeople are miners and their families. Anna’s husband, Sam, dies in a mining accident before this story begins. She does tell us of a conversation she has with one of his friend, Jonas Howe, who is eager to teach her sons about the mining trade. "Though I thanked him for his promise, I was not sincere when I did so, for I firmly hoped not to see them in that rodent life, gnawing at rock, fearing flood and fire and crushing fall.” Anna becomes a midwife in the village, and befriends a family of “witches.” She grows both intellectually and spiritually, an inspiring outcome to all her suffering.

It is a fascinating story, with many surprises along the way. A word to the weary: if you have a weak stomach, Brooks’ descriptive writing may be too much to handle.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation!

Today, I wanted to take time to put up a few photographs for the family, from our trip to Ireland. Don't have a lot of pics of family members - was so busy taking shots of the scenery. But here are a few friendly faces:

DN (followed by his father) coming out of Marsh's Library, in Dublin. Just another hole in the wall:
We all walked down a switchback trail, to get to the boat that took us to Great Blasket Island, the farthest west you can reach in the whole of Europe. Here's some of the crew:
Some of us went to Killarney National Park. Mom and I walked together from the entrance of the park to Ross Castle.

Later we took a boat ride from Ross Castle, on Muckross Lake, to the large estate house. Now, have these two been around each other too long?

Sierra looking out the window, as we left Dublin, for the long flight home. It was the only day we saw rain!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - davieandchiyo

If you need a clutch, this is the shop for you. Confused? Let me quote the shop owners, sisters Fumi and Himi: "Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos of starting a business, both of us fell completely in love with clutches, and now it is as if we were meant to start a purse store all along! The clutches are all designed by the two of us, and carefully handmade. The components - hardware and fabrics - come from all over the place: Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and Canada. A lot of the fabrics used are one of a kind, taken from vintage kimono and obi from Japan! Not only are they unique, they are just drop dead gorgeous!!" Come and look for yourself:
  • What's the name of your shop?
The name of the shop is Davie & Chiyo. Our Etsy shop is: davieandchiyo

  • What types of products do you sell?
We sell luxury and personalized clutches. We often make customized items for bridesmaids. Our products are make by high quality materials, and through months of experimenting and research, we have truly mastered the art of making a clutch!
  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
My favourite item in the shop currently would have to be the bow clutches. They are our most recent creation and we are very proud of them!
  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
We have recently been accepted to display our stuff at the local art and fashion market called 'Portobello West'. It is a market that is open once a month, and it is very popular among the locals here in Vancouver. They always have a lot of unique and high quality products and we are very excited to be able to showcase our stuff there! [and their webpage at]
  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
Well 'over the years' is a bit of an over statement since we have just started our clutch business! But even in the short period that we have been in business, we have worked with a lot of different fabrics, and I have to say our favourite material to work with is dupioni silk. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, it is very easy to work with!

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
There are two of us involved in Davie & Chiyo right now, my sister Himi and myself, Fumi. Both of us do this part-time. Himi is a stay at home mom of two young children, and I have a part-time job serving at a Japanese tapas bar. Our dream is to be doing Davie & Chiyo full time within the next couple of years!
  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
You definitely bring up a good point about the importance of good quality photographs! We definitely struggled in the beginning, playing with lighting and camera settings for hours! But the best tip I can give is to make a light tent. It is essentially a white box with an open front, that has cloth sides where the light can shine through; you place the object inside of the box and the photograph is taken from the front of the box where it is open. We made ours using a cardboard box, following few simple steps that we found online, and the light tent works amazing!

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
We don't have an online photo storage at the moment, but we do have a blog on our website that follows the major activities of our business. The posts always include photos to keep them interesting!

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
Hmm, market advice, do you have any for us?? lol. We are still experimenting with different kinds of marketing techniques out there. One tip I do have is to take advantage of the local market. It is a very good place to start, and you'll be surprised to see how many people want to support local products!
  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
As I mentioned earlier, we have a website with a blog. And our Etsy shop has a lot of information about us in its profile. We are making our website bigger and better everyday, so come and check back on us sometime!

OK, the storybeader's pick! I love the clutches made from the sashes, straight from their father in Japan. Isn't it just dreamy, to think about where these came from, and who might have worn them? They are so beautiful, and just perfect for bridesmaids! What a luxurious gift!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

1000 Markets artist - MolaMama

I think MOLAS are my favorite form of textile art. The technique includes sewing several layers of different colored cloth on top of each other, cutting the cloth at various levels, and then hand stitching to finish the piece. Traditional molas were originally used as clothing panels, with geometric patterns. Nowadays, the Kuna women of Panama also use images of animals in their work, and they are used for a variety of purposes.

Molas are one thing I just can't pass up, when I see them in a museum gift shop. I have a few around the house, and put them under glass for safe-keeping. When I ran into MolaMama on 1000Markets, you know my heart skipped a beat. In her profile, she explains how she works in collaboration with a group of Panamian women, "My Kuna friends translate my designs into their traditional reverse applique MOLA fabric folk art, which in turn creates an economic avenue for indigenous artists."

MolaMama is also on Etsy. Some of her pieces are not only decorative but are utilitarian, which is always a good selling point. Why not have a beautiful handmade object, that you can use in your everyday life? Here are a couple of my favorite pieces she has in her shop:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Etsy Bloggers Street Team: Mini Monday for Storybeader

Etsy Bloggers Street Team: Mini Monday for Storybeader

almost wordless wednesday - Ireland

I wanted to share some photos from my trip, so for a few months, Wednesdays will continue to be almost wordless,
of Ireland!
SIL and I arrived in Dublin in the morning, slept for a few hours, then the family went out for a stroll. Our first stop was St. Patrick's Cathedral. Everywhere in the Republic of Ireland are beautiful, old cathedrals and churches. We didn't go inside but walked around in the public park that surrounds St. Patrick's. The building was first erected in 1191 and underwent major renovations in the 1860s.

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