Monday, June 27, 2011

Etsy Finds for a Rustic Chic Wedding

"Sun Flare Over a Country Fence" Photo by Summer Owens
Handmade and vintage details make a wedding more beautiful, unique, and personalized. However, finding the right things for your wedding can be a daunting task. So, to hopefully take a little stress out of planning your wedding, I've searched high and low on for you! So here are some of my favorite finds and ideas for a beautiful rustic chic themed wedding.

Setting: Outdoor weddings are beautiful, romantic, and they provide  natural lighting for your photographs, which is so much more beautiful and flattering than indoor artificial light. An old barn, a backyard, a mountain meadow or even a rural field would all make for amazing locations!

The Wedding Cake Pie: A variety of pies would make for a fun, cozy, not to mention inexpensive alternative to a traditional wedding cake. Besides, who doesn't like pie?

Color scheme: Goldenrod yellow and grey are a perfect color combination for a rustic chic wedding. Yellow is a warm, rustic hue. While grey is a cool and chic color.
Fairy Folk's everlasting felted craspedia stems would look beautiful as centerpieces, or as bouquets for bridesmaids. 
I also love the idea of using color coordinated mismatched vintage china for serving pie to guests.

10 Felted Everlasting Craspedia Stems $25 by Fairyfolk
The cake topper above, by ReadyGo, would look perfect on a "wedding pie", too!

I love the idea of having root beer floats served at a wedding. For a classy spin on this retro dessert, keep the ice cream cold in a beautiful vintage silver ice bucket and serve the floats to guests in pretty vintage steins and mugs, (like the one pictured above from Barking Birds.)

A personalized family tree from The Staker Store (above) would be a fabulous and thoughtful wedding gift!  

Let's face it, many wedding favors are nice, but most of them are not particularly useful to your guests and many eventually become landfill fillers.  These pretty handmade soap favors from Prunella Soap (above), however, strike that perfect combination of pretty and useful.
Turn a vintage apple basket from Corrnocopia (above) upside down and use it as a "pie stand" on your dessert table!

Personalized Embroidery "Notebook Paper" Wedding Keepsake by CornFlowerBlueStudio
Handmade Soap Wedding Favors with Custom Labels (set of 50) by PrunellaSoap

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Images and Inspiration

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
          ~John Lennon

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aspiring Artisan: DeLaBelle


Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Delana and I am a seller of vintage. I live on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada with my husband Matt and although I was born and raised here I never tire of the amazing beauty of this island. Besides vintage I absolutely love food, art, music, animals and beautiful things. Oh and did I mention I have the cutest Boston Terrier named Hugo?

Vintage 1970s Macramé Tote Bag Purse in Honey Wheat (1)

Vintage 1970s Macramé Tote Bag

What do you do when you are not working on your shop?
We have a great network of friends that keep us busy with meeting at coffee shops, lounging on the beach, strolling the markets and eating delicious meals together. Actually I am known as the grandma of the group because of my love for old things, gardening and going to bed early. I really love my bed.


Vintage Shoe Clips "my favorite color is light tan" Neutral Bows

What is the inspiration behind your Etsy shop?
I initially was hoping to sell art on Etsy but was struggling with the idea of actually parting with paintings as well as ways to be commercially successful in the art world while staying true to myself. I have always loved collecting vintage for myself and one day while I was at a garage sale I somehow squirreled my way inside and was offered an opportunity by a retiring vintage seller to buy a large amount of her stock. The idea hit me like a brick “why couldn’t I sell vintage on Etsy?!” and being the impulsive gal that I am I ran home to fetch all the savings I had (which was quite meagre mind you) and traded it for two large garbage bags of clothing. I have never look back since then.

Vintage White & Blue Polka Dot Blouse with Ascot Tie - M (2)

Vintage White & Blue Polka Dot Blouse with Ascot Tie

Please describe your process.
To me old things are precious. My absolute favourite part is going out searching for treasures and discovering amazing pieces that were generally cast aside and unappreciated. I take every single piece that I find and restore them to the best of my ability which includes washing, mending, steaming and ironing. It’s not unusual to see rows of dresses that I am working on flapping in all the windows of our home.
Then, along with my husband, we set up photo shoots to take pictures for the shop. We try to keep the feeling light-hearted and can get pretty silly sometimes as you can see from some of our sold items.

Vintage 1960s Scooter Dress Romper – M L (5)

How do you decide what kind of items to put into your shop?
My mom who is my best friend comes with me often to find vintage clothing and I always find it hard to describe to her why or why not I choose certain things for the shop. Let me tell you not all vintage is good vintage! I am very led by feeling and I generally know instantly if I like something or not. I definitely have a love for dresses and other feminine things. The problem I have is actually parting with everything. What you see in the shop is only a very tiny fraction of the stock I actually own!


What is your favorite item currently, and why?
My favourites are clothing from the 1920s to the 1940s so these pieces I tend to shamelessly horde to myself and rarely do they make their way to the shop. I would have to say my favourite item in the shop at the moment is the fine art photo my husband took of our dog Hugo. We only put it in because we found if you are not Etsy savvy and just put your request in the search bar then it automatically defaults to things that are only handmade, because of this we were getting constant feedback from friends and family that they couldn’t find us. We solved this problem by adding Hugo’s photo and tagging it with our shops name. Ever since Hugo has been put to work leading people to our shop with his irresistible cuteness.

Vintage Strapless Sweetheart Party Dress in Kelly Green - S (4)

Vintage Strapless Sweetheart Party Dress

What specific steps are you taking to grow your Etsy shop?
I am trying my best to develop a regular routine of listing new items every day. I find when I do this simple thing then it grows fast. Something else that has been on my to-do list for a long time is to build my own website, furthering my business as a brand and showing more effectively the feeling that I am trying to convey.

Vintage Sandy Shores Biltmore Fedora Hat (5)

Vintage Sandy Shores Biltmore Fedora Hat

What advice would you give to those who are new to Etsy?
I would tell them to plan and research everything before starting out and then give it all you’ve got. One thing I regret is starting my shop so slowly. I had it for months with nothing in it and then when I did, just a handful of items. I think to make Etsy work you have to start out running by filling your shop as much as you can, staying present by listing or renewing regularly and immersing yourself in the forums and teams which are chock-full of advice and support.

How do you promote your shop?
This is one thing I have to work on and have been trying certain things out here and there to see how it works for me. So far I have been using twitter and Facebook fairly regularly and then some experimentation with advertising on private blogs as well as bigger sites focused on helping etsy shops.

Vintage 1950s Sky Blue Tiered Chiffon Lace Half Apron (3)

Vintage 1950s Sky Blue Tiered Chiffon Lace Half Apron

In ten years, where would you like to be?
Being a dreamer I would like to be living in the countryside of Southern France somewhere, but more realistically I would be happy to have a bigger space where I can have my own art studio overlooking the garden as well as a large room to organize all my vintage lovelies more beautifully…and maybe own a goat.

You can win this amazing psychedelic scarf from Delana's shop!!

Vintage 1970s psychedelic square scarf
To enter:

1. Visit Delana's shop and leave a comment
below letting us know which piece is your favorite.
2. Blog/Facebook/Tweet about this giveaway
3. Purchase something from DeLaBelle
4. Follow DeLaBelle on Facebook
You can enter in as many different ways as you want!
Leave a separate comment below for each entry.
I will select a winner at random on June 28th using

And the Winner is...


Congrats to you and thanks to all who entered

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Aspiring Artisans Competing for the Top!

The incomparable Handmadeology is hosting a very cool contest "designed to give Etsy Teams more exposure and give them an opportunity you win our largest advertising package worth $450. The winning team will also be able to purchase our Social Media Bundle worth $24 for a deep discounted price of $5." We are hoping to win a chance for our little team to get some more exposure and learn something along the way!

Jet over and vote if you get the chance!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Images and Inspiration

"Dad, you're someone to look up to no matter how tall I've grown."  ~Author Unknown

 Image by Carla Dyck

Friday, June 17, 2011

TGIFT - Collecting and Antiquing

I can't phrase it better than marymary : "Summer months bring an opportune time to take advantage of antiquing, collecting, flea markets, outdoor bazaars, and vintage renewal." Will you be antiquing this summer? Do you collect something? Please share! If you love vintage treasures, here are a few Etsy items that may make you say "Thank God I Found This!"

Aspiring Artisan: Tuckoo and Moo Cow


Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sarah-Lambert Cook and I make tiny art for a living. I'm a chips and salsa connoisseur with a passion for history and a love of having my hands busy working on something. Since finding Etsy, my life has gone from poor college student to less-poor, self-employed, young woman able to support my husband, dog and I from an art income. Awesome!

Sweet Honey Bee Hand Painted Pendant

How did the name TuckooandMooCow come to be?
Tuckoo and Moo Cow comes from the first line of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, “Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.” I've been calling my husband 'Tuckoo' for several years now as a pet name, so when I was creating a buyer account to purchase things for our wedding in December, 2009, it was the first thing that sprang to mind. So much of my art has always referenced literature and poetry that it seemed like the perfect name for my new Etsy business.

Wood Grain Hand Painted Cuff Links
What influences you creatively?
I'm not really very inspired visually. Music, poetry, literature, lectures, conversations—these inspire me so much more than a walk through nature, or a trip to a museum. It's sort of funny, actually. When I was majoring in studio art, during my freshman year of college, it was interesting to me how many students said they were inspired by what they saw. I think I was one of the few visual artists who was more verbally inspired.

Describe the evolution of your shop.
*Whew* I'll try to condense the last year into a few paragraphs...

I first began listing items on May 19, 2010. To begin with, I mostly listed my larger art and only a few jewelry pieces—more to draw people in to see that artwork than anything else. As time went by, my sales proved to be primarily the hand painted necklaces, so I began to consider the possibility of removing the larger art pieces and focusing all of my energy on creating and selling more hand painted jewelry.

In August, the shop in Kansas, where I was working as an Assistant Manager, closed, so my husband and I decided it would be the perfect time to pick up and move where we wanted. For seven months we lived with my family in Atlanta using one room simultaneously as a storage space, our bedroom and a studio. I was determined to make TuckooandMooCow a full-time job. My thought was that it was a unique enough product with a wide enough appeal that, if marketed correctly, could sell very well.

Not In Kansas Anymore Hand Painted Pendant
By the end of October, I'd reached almost 80 sales. I couldn't have been happier! As my husband continued to look for work, I stopped hunting and began really knuckling down and pushing myself and my shop. By the end of November I'd hit a little over 250 sales. The business stayed steady through Christmas, and when things didn't slow down much for the rest of winter, I knew I had it.

Now, we live in beautiful Asheville, NC and are able to depend on sales from TuckooandMooCow to support us. During this time there have been things that haven't worked: shipping UPS express international is a cluster-cuss for everyone involved, staying up all night for more than 3 nights in a row will cause a massive migraine and creative burnout, with made-to-order items there must always be time budgeted for unforeseen circumstances. Some things have been godsends: Etsy is a community of artisans, not just an everyday venue, so getting involved in some aspect of that can be very helpful to your business and your sanity.

As TuckooandMooCow grows, I hope to eventually move away from solely selling paintings set in jewelry. I'd like to eventually be much more self-sufficient as well and not purchase settings, but make them myself. There are so many different directions I would like to go that I hope I'll never feel that I've reached the top. I'd be happy to keep climbing forever!

Sherlock Holmes Hand Painted Art Locket

What does an average day look like for you?
I'm a night owl, so I can usually be found burning the midnight oil until at least 3:30am—sometimes all night—so my day doesn't really start until late morning when I bound out of bed and plop down in front of the computer to see what messages I may have missed in my sleep. My husband ships items, so he gathers the packages and takes them to the post office while I get ready for the day. By late afternoon, the dog has been walked and I'm ready to start sketching and painting again.

I don't ever work straight through for hours unless I'm completely engrossed in large project, so I'm always up and down doing other things in between like playing xbox or wii with my husband, reading, playing the piano, or writing a story.
Winged Victory Hand Painted Art Necklace

What is the best advice you ever received?
For Etsy: to renew regularly everyday. The other is not to wear flip flops with dressy attire—it looks stupid and completely "unclassy."
The Photographer Hand Painted Art Pendant

To what do you attribute the success of your Etsy shop.
It is impossible to say that only one thing has made my shop successful. Frankly, I think the one thing that holds it all together is my desire to constantly grow and do better, create better products, and reach a wider audience. Constantly researching and trying to understand more and more about running a business alone has helped a great deal. If you don't know something, learn about it! There's so much information out there that it is a complete waste not to utilize it.

Flower of Scotland Hand Painted Art Earrings, Silver Plated

What do you do for fun?
I read a lot, watch old movies, adventure, hike, play with my dog, sing all the time, play board games and video games, and drink Guinness.
Visit Sarah-Lambert's Shop on Etsy

You can win one of Sarah-Lambert's amazing "Not in Kansas Anymore" Pendants!

To enter:

1. Visit Sarah Lambert's Shop and leave a comment
below letting us know which piece is your favorite.
2. Blog/Facebook/Tweet about this giveaway
3. Purchase something from TuckooandMoocow
4. Follow TuckooandMooCow on Facebook
You can enter in as many different ways as you want!

Leave a separate comment below for each entry.
I will select a winner at random on June 22nd using

And the Winner is.....


Congratulations and thanks to all who entered!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Images and Inspiration

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. 
          ~Albert Camus

Friday, June 10, 2011

TGIFT - A day by the sea

If you're craving a day by the sea or are lucky enough to enjoy one, here are a few Etsy finds that may make you say "Thank God I Found This!"


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Aspiring Artisan: peifferStudios

will and b draganized
Us in our "studio", which is really a garage. :)
Tell us a bit about yourself.
We are Brooke and Will Peiffer, and we were both born and raised in Michigan, though from significantly different areas. Will is from a very rural area and considers me to be a city girl. We met on an internet dating site, and at the time, Will was working in stained glass. Glass and clay in the same studio space didn’t work out so well, but fortunately he was quickly won over by clay too. We have a 5 year-old son named Gabriel who keeps us super busy much of the time. We love music and movies and nature…and Legos.

bowl with hands
Apart from creating things what do you do?
We watch movies, when we all agree on one. We play outside a lot, touring the areas finest playgrounds and parks; we build lego sets, over and over. Will tends to his unusual fish collection, and is contructing a gigantic slot car track...for Gabriel (wink wink.) Will also enjoys keeping up with The Daily Show, and SNL. I work full time teaching high school ceramics. I take photos constantly, and dream up fun names and product lines for future Etsy shops.

Cream Porcelain Spiral Pendant
What first made you want to become an artist?
Brooke: I was always drawn to artistic pursuits. Finger painting, coloring and sewing pillows for my dolls were my earliest. My father was an electrician, and I loved to watch as he crafted intricate copper wire tree sculptures out of his scraps. When I was still in grade school I designed a series of “food people” illustrations and sold them to kids in the neighborhood for 10 cents each. When I was 13, my uncle gave me my first real sketchbook, and a few “how to draw” books on various topics. I couldn’t stop drawing. I became interested in fashion design and in high school made most of my own clothes. I found clay during college and have been in love ever since. So making art has been a very organic part of who I am.

Will: I’m not what could be termed loquacious, and have become less talkative recently. To say this is a difficult process would be understatement; so please be gentle while reading these answers. I have always been drawn to acts of creation. More than the end product, this act is a driving force in my work. I would like to say this leads to a prolific portfolio, unfortunately I can not. While the process is of less import than the product, it creates an interesting catch 22 in that process places unreal expectations on product; often leaving me unable to work. In retrospect it may be disingenuous to say the end product is of less value than the process. What one is to the other is like the chicken and the egg – entirely unclear but for those with all the answers.

Please describe your creative process.
Brooke: I am very creatively chaotic. I jump around from project to project, finish only half of what I start, and never like to make the same thing twice. Sometimes I will have an idea that pops into my head and I will just go make it. Other times I sit and sketch to get the creativity flowing. Other times I will just start making something, and play with the materials and experiment with texture and shape until I get something worth keeping...or throwing away. I also have creative urges with fabric and design, the products of which land in my other Etsy shop called xAlstroemeriAx, named after my favorite flower. And if that’s not enough, I am also working on a photography collection, and will soon be opening a third shop. Art is VERY therapeutic for me, so I do it as much as I can, which is not nearly as much as I want and need.
Will: Manic
Turquoise and Cream Cup Fungi Pendant
Please tell us something about your subject matter, a little background into why you make art about what you do.
We both make art that is heavily influenced by nature. We love the texture and detail we find in mushrooms, coral and our six-legged friends. We inspire each other’s creations and have a running joke about who stole what idea from whom. Will grew up on 65 wooded acres that backed up to a state park, and his family owns and operates a plant nursery, so he has been immersed in woodland inspiration from a very young age. I fell in love with the look, feel and idea of seed pods when I came across a book by Karl Blossfeldt called Art Forms in the Plant World.

What specific steps are you taking to grow your Etsy shop?
Since I (Brooke) do all of the Etsy stuff I will answer this one. I have joined two amazing Etsy teams, the Aspiring Artisans Guild, and Elite Sixteen. They are both focused on exposure, and growing businesses. I want to thank my friends in the Treasury League as they were my first Etsy team and taught me a lot. I have added a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a blog to my list of too many things to do, and we are trying to add more functional pieces to the shop including bowls, vases and coming soon...pitchers and cups.

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Join a team, don’t give up. Think about what makes your work unique and focus on that. Learn to take great pictures of your work. There are many articles on this topic, because it's super important.

In ten years where would you like to be?
Brooke: I would like to be living in a more rural setting, with a healthy and happy family, with our artwork as our main source of income. I also have this dream of having a group of cabins and studio spaces, so I can bring in ceramic artists to put on amazing week-long workshops. I really want to be part of teaching and learning my whole life!
Will: It’s a secret. I think Brooke knows, but I sure don’t.

You can win this "Tender" pendant by peifferStudios!


To enter:

1. Visit Brooke and Will's shop and leave a comment
below letting us know which piece is your favorite.
2. Blog/Facebook/Tweet about this giveaway
3. Purchase something from peifferStudios.
You can enter in as many different ways as you want!

Leave a separate comment below for each entry.
I will select a winner at random on June 14th using
will and brooke portrait2
Visit Brooke and Will's Etsy Shop!

And the winner is.....

Sarah Ortega!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Craft Fairs 101 - Part 3

(photo of Pie Bird Press and Honeylux from Renegade)

Part three of Craft Fairs 101 will cover some things to consider for the day of the fair, as well as a few more photos of beautiful displays. Things can get pretty hectic the day of a craft fair, especially if it's your first, so it's good to have a checklist.

(Craft fair photos from Unique LA)

A short list of things to remember on the day of the fair:

* Lots of inventory! An inventory list comes in handy, too.
* Tables, and enough chairs for everyone planning to work in the booth
* Sales displays
* Tablecloths
* Signage
* Plenty of cash change, and a money holder (box or belt)
* Credit card processing device
* Promotional items (business cards, pins, postcards, etc.)
* Calculator/receipts
* Bags, boxes, tissue, for packaging sold items
* Booth helper (someone to let you take a break!)
* Wet naps/purell
* Snacks and/or lunch, plenty of water

(photo of Bird Mafia from Renegade)

Big events like craft fairs can be very taxing on your body and your voice. Keep in mind that you'll want to take a few breaks during the day, to have a snack, or just to walk around the rest of the fair. You may want to ask a friend or family member who knows your work to help you run your booth, so that you'll have opportunities to take breaks and relax a little. Having a booth helper means you won't accidentally get caught shoving a sandwich in your mouth by a customer ready to buy your merchandise... no one wants crumbs on their purchase.

(book fair photo from Lena Corwin)

Many shoppers will want to chat with you about your work, but many will also want to shop in peace. It can take a while to learn the art of body language and subtle social cues, but it's always smart to look available for your customers, in case they have a question. This means staying off of your phone, computer, etc, and smiling as people walk by your booth.

(photo of Love, Daniela from Renegade)

You will certainly encounter many people who are eager to compliment your work, but don't let the occasional negative comment get you down. We've all been there, someone makes an off-hand remark like, "This is overpriced," and you grit your teeth. Try to take these comments in stride, and use it as a moment to educate your shoppers. Perhaps remind them, "My work is all one of a kind, and made entirely by hand." Of course, you can always choose to just ignore naysayers, but I've turned a few skeptics into customers after educating them about my materials and methods, and the benefits of buying handmade.

(photo of Krank Press from Renegade)

It's a good idea to introduce yourself to your booth neighbors, and to be as courteous as possible to other vendors during the show. Manners matter, and a good impression goes a long way towards getting you accepted into the fair next time. Craft fairs can be draining, and it's easy to get crabby after a day or two of non-stop work. Keep in mind that the connections you make at a single fair can set up months of future sales, that should keep you feeling upbeat!

Most of all, have fun!
Participating in craft fairs is a great way to expand your business, and to meet your target customers in person. It's a fabulous opportunity to make professional and personal connections, so enjoy the experience!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Images and Inspiration

The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.
            ~ Horace Bushnell