Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm a Mommaprenuer!

Hello Everyone...

I know that some of you also read my Tea Journal, and already know that I'm the Mommaprenuer at Cafe Handmade... but, just in case you missed it... well... I'm the Mommaprenuer at Cafe Handmade! You can check out my interview and story by clicking here!

And that is all for now!

Hope everyone is having an exceptionally creative day!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shine Your Hiney!

I really had fun selecting items from this shop to share with you... Shine Your Hiney's Artfire Studio is filled with bathtime items that are fun, whimsical, and all about ... well, Shining your Hiney!

I have been using handmade soaps exclusively now for about 3 years (possibly more?), and I can say that there is a significant difference between handmade soap and commercially manufactured soaps. Handmade soap pampers your skin, and most (like the soaps found at Shine Your Hiney) are made with only the highest quality ingredients... no fillers!

And Shine your Hiney makes bathtime fun with whimsical shapes and other handmade items, all available at Shine Your Hiney's Artfire Studio.... isn't it time you gave your hiney a good shining?

Shop handmade!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Easy Way to add some Spice!


I'd like to share with you a new decorating secret that I've recently "discovered" -- well, I didn't actually discover it, but I've put it into use, and found how effective it really is!

What I'm talking about is changing up your Light Switch Plates! Yes, it may seem like it's too simple an idea... and certainly too simple to actually make an impact, but, trust me, it does create a lot of impact and add a lot of WOW to any room.

Photo from 3zArt Studio at Artfire

The above photo is the first light switch plate that I purchased from 3zArt's studio a couple of months ago, for my youngest daughter's room. She selected it herself, and it's really a perfect representation of her -- pink is her favorite color, and she is very girly... loves flowers!

This simple addition to her wall really added a lot of extra life to the room. I mean, think about it, ordinary light switch plates are very dull and drab... but when you *switch* (pun... ha ha!) them up for one of these spectacular covers from 3zArt, you're adding some punch and pizazz to something that is otherwise very ordinary and mundane... and you can revitalize your entire room with this very inexpensive update!

Here is another one that I recently purchased from 3zArt for my family room. One of my favorites! It just adds the right amount of color and punch to the family room, it's really eye catching and vibrant!

And that's not all that is available from 3zArt! You can also find outlet covers (another great way to add some punch to your room!), mouse pads (spruce up your desk!), coasters (protect your furniture in style!) and beautiful lamp shades (another great way to change the whole look of any room!)

She has a huge selection of light switch plates & outlet covers to choose from, so whatever look you're going for, funky, abstract, sleek, sophisticated, a touch of wild, or a touch of simple beauty... you can find it at 3zArt's studio at Artfire!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Some Pretties from Alisuns!

Hello Everyone!

Today, I'd like to share with you some of the gorgeous handcrafted jewelry that can be found at Alisuns on Artfire. Check this out!

I love it! Makes me wish I still had pierced ears! What I love most about Alisun's jewelry is that Ali is not afraid of color, as evidenced in my latest spotlight that I call "Rainbow of Colors"...

Perfect Spring Colors! Visit Alisun's studio today, and pick yourself up something to celebrate Spring!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Meet Shadow of Felt Fusion!

Greetings Everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying these interviews as much as I am. I find it so interesting to learn about what drives other artisans and their process.

Especially true with this next artist... a FELT artist! For those of you who have known me a while, you probably remember how much I enjoy needle felting. However, I'm quite the novice... I really am happy to have this opportunity to get to know an artist who creates beautiful felted pieces such as this...

Beautiful! The detail that goes into these needle felted pieces is amazing. What follows is my interview with Shadow, the artist of this amazing piece!

How long have you been creating your art?

Just over a year, I started around Christmas 2007, very slow until I built up confidence and explored new techniques.

Where do you sell your art?

On Etsy [], Hyenacart [], Misi, and Folksy (latter two are are UK sites), also by word of mouth on a UK forum.

How do you market/advertise your store?

By chatting on forums, posting on Flickr, and also by word of mouth although to a lesser extent. I can't cope with cold selling, nor do I understand sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

At what point did you decide to sell your art?

I started selling officially in October 2008, but sold a little here and there previously. As I got more confident and having sent little items out to online friends and receiving their feedback I decided to go for it! Being flooded with orders in the run up to the holidays gave me a huge boost in confidence to keep at it.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

Network. Find forums of people indulging in the same craft as you, look up tutorials, ask questions. Not only will you learn so much more, you'll meet a great bunch of people with at least one similar interest!

What inspires you?

Myths and legends, nature, the ideal of peace on earth and general ecology, my children. Sometimes just the fibre in front of me tells me what it wants to be.

Every artist experiences "creative block" -- a creative dry spell -- how do you deal with creative block?

I put my work down and mull things over subconsciously for however long it takes. Ideas will form over time and when intuition says go for it, I'll get a strong urge to pick it up again.

How did you choose the medium you work with?

I'd been considering felt for a while having tried many crafts and found I was pretty useless at them. Chatting on a forum and seeing a fibre artist there whose work was amazing, she gave me the courage to have a go. Intially I thought I'd wait until my children were all at school particularly with wet felting as it can get messy and hard to leave in the middle of it, but once my youngest started playschool I was ready to get on with something. My older two boys have both had a go with me!

How do you wish to be remembered?

I've never thought about it! I guess I'd like my children to grow up being good, honest people and to be remembered through them. Otherwise, once I'm gone, I'm gone -- get on with your lives!

Who are your favorite artists (living and deceased)?

I'm completely ignorant when it comes to artists. I guess Dali was a favourite as a teen and having visited his home town in Spain his work is pretty awe inspiring, but I wouldn't say there's any influence from artists in my work as such.

What blogs do you visit on a regular basis?

My absolute favourite is and I regularly dip into blogs of several people I've met through a forum for people with Cystic Fibrosis, and their carers. My youngest son has CF and I find it helpful and inspiring to read about the experiences of adults with CF although it can be tough to read at times.

For anyone who might be reading, what shops would you recommend that they visit right now?

For fibre shops I'd say my favourites are all on Etsy - Probably FeltStudioUK, followed more recently by LimeGreenJelly and WonderfulWool. I also like Shunklies and Vampy and more I use less simply because they are abroad. Otherwise I usually buy a lot of handmade items for my family, clothes, eco-friendly household items, toys, etc. from many, many fabulous vendors who are far too numerous to mention and a lovely community vibe there too.

Any final thoughts?


Thank you, Shadow, for your time... it was great getting to know you!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Check out Picard Creative!

Hello Everyone!

Well, today I'm taking a little break from my standard artisan interview, to show off a really COOL artfire shop!

Picard Creative Studio

This is a magnet that has been made out of tin can lid! How clever! And the "wicked fun" expressions on these tins never fail to bring a smile to my face. How much fun would it be to have one of these on your fridge?

These would make a great gift, and because of their size, they would fit well in a gift card... send a smile to a friend with one of these!

OK... back to our regularly scheduled program!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Meet Jennifer of Jennuine Candles!

Greetings Everyone!

This past week has been crazy for me, as I've already mentioned, I was sick toward the end of last week, and I'm still trying to get caught up! I'll be posting pics of my latest artwork soon, fatbook pages for the Sweet Treats fatbook! woot!

In the meantime, I'd like to share a new interview with you... this time, I got the opportunity to interview Jennifer from Jennuine Candles!

photo from Jennuine Candles at Artfire

Beautiful! I love the crystallized appearance of Jennifer's candles! Let's learn a little bit more about Jennifer, and her beautiful candles!

How long have you been creating your art?

I've only been creating my candles for about 6 months now, and the first couple of months were spent solely on learning the process so I could make the best candles possible. However, I think that I've had the creative "bug" for a long time and just recently opened myself up to that creative side. I've always had an interest in the arts, dating back to my elementary and high school days, when I belonged to the "Art Club." But I really didn't pursue anything in the arts, per se, until I had a realization just recently that my job requires me to be creative every day. As an occupational therapist over the past 13 years I have worked with older adults and pediatrics, but my "mission" has always remained the same... improve the quality of life for each person/patient/resident that I have the opportunity of serving. In order to acheive that mission, creativity is my number one "friend." Although I may have not always been a true artisan, I can say I have been a "creator" for quite a long time now.

Where do you sell your art?

I currently sell my candles on Artfire, Etsy and 1000Markets.

How do you advertise/market your store?

This has been my most difficult task thus far, realizing that marketing is really the key component to succeed in being "found" by buyers. I have created a blog on Blogger (, a business page on facebook, a profile on, and I try to make sure that I regularly visit and post in the forums on ByHand, Etsy, and Artfire. I also have a twitter account and a plurk account. It can be quite time consuming, but I believe that the time, effort and research will pay off in the end.

At what point did you decide to sell your art?

When I first started out making my candles, I only intended on making them for friends and family, and of course for my house as well. :) That is until my husband took a few of my candles to work to burn at his desk while he was working and then my "business" kind of bloomed from there. His co-workers started asking if I could make candles for them and then my co-workers got wind of my hobby and they started ordering the candles and the orders just kept coming, thus the creation of jennuinecandles.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

I would tell them that marketing, item photos, shop organization and forum presentation are the keys to not only surviving, but thriving in these types of venues. There are hundreds of artisans that do the exact same or very similar thing that they do and making themselves unique and stand out to buyers is the biggest barrier standing between them and success. I am still learning these rules myself!

What inspires you?

Honestly, it depends on the day. I know that sounds vague, but when I make a new candle it's solely based on how I am feeling that particular day and what scent will meet that need for me. Now, obviously, I do custom orders as well so I won't wait for the "feeling" to overcome me to make an ordered candle. :)

Every artist experiences "creative block" - a creative dry spell - how do you deal with creative block?

I have yet to experience a true "creative block," but I guess it could be those days when I don't pull out my supplies and a new and beautiful creation.

How did you choose the medium you work with?

I was actually introduced to palm wax by a good friend. Prior to this exposure, I only knew of paraffin, soy and beeswax candles, but the intrigue and beauty of the palm wax really inspired me to learn more about it. And, the added benefits of it being a sustainable product that is good for the environment, unlike some of the other waxes, was definitely the final decision in the candle path that I chose.

How do you wish to be remembered?

Smart, funny, honest and trustworthy.

What blogs do you visit on a regular basis?

Hmmm.... I have so many these days. Since I've been involved in ByHand, Artfire, Etsy and Plurk, the blogs I follow has grown and I try to visit them at least once a week to see what is new and exciting with everyone.

For anyone who might be reading, what shops would you recommend that they visit right now?

I would actually recommend following the link to my ByHand.ME spotlights because that's where I "store" my favorite items/shops:

Note: You can find her spotlights if you scroll down and click on her "my spotlights" tab

Any final thoughts?

Thanks for doing this... it's been fun! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009



I wanted to offer a quick note of apology to any and all of the entrecard members who might have purchased ad space on this blog. I removed the widget today, because I randomly visited my blog and found an ad on the widget that I DID NOT approve, and entrecard assured us that this would not happen... but it did.

So, again, my apologies to anyone that did not get their full ad time on my widget.

I don't know if I'll be back to entrecard... I really did like the additional exposure entrecard provided but I'm not willing to sacrifice the integrity of my blog for that exposure.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Meet Teri from The Beaded Branch

Hello everyone!

It's been a pretty eventful week for me, I came down with a pretty nasty cold! At first, I thought it was just my allergies kicked into overdrive, but, when the Allergi-TEA wasn't as effective as it usually is, and when resorting to OTC options didn't help, I realized that I had a cold virus. Fortunately, I was able to knock it out pretty quickly with a secret weapon (I'll share the secret weapon with you on my other blog).

But on to more interesting topics... such as the artwork of one Teri Landow of The Beaded Branch.

Recently, I was able to interview Teri about her amazing jewelry, as well as her thoughts on art and selling online. I hope that you'll find her interview as enlightening as I did! Enjoy!

How long have you been creating your art?

I've been crafting and creating pretty much one way or another for my entire life. With a mother who sews and crafts, and a father who does woodwork and basket weaving, I've always been surrounded by people who were creative and creating, so it was natural that I took up crafting too. It was about 10 years ago after taking one or two classes in beading that I really caught the jewelry bug, and feel as if I truly found my niche in the art world.

Where do you sell your art?

I started off at one local craft show which I still do, Fluvanna County Old Farm Day. I also do one or two other very small local craft shows, as time permits. After starting to sell at craft shows, I started selling online, at Over the last year, I finally decided to start slowly moving all my stock over to my store on Etsy: I also sell on consignment at a small local store, the Palmyra Country Store.

How do you market/advertise your store?

Marketing and advertising is something I'm still learning a lot about. Right now, I concentrate only on free advertising. I have pages on,,, and facebook. I also participate in IndieSpotting, where I can submit one piece a week to be on their spotlight page. Plurk and Twitter have also been helpful, along with the old standby, business cards. Right now my business cards have only my main web address on them, but when I order more, I will also include my etsy shop address. I leave them on any community bulletin board I can and my husband hands them out when he's at work, to coworkers and other people who might be interested.

At what point did you decide to sell your art?

It was around eight years ago that I decided to start selling my jewelry. I had been making jewelry on my breaks at work, and people kept asking me, "How much is that one worth?" After my jewelry stash started to fill up several plastic shoeboxes, I decided I was never going to be able to wear it all, and so I had better get my business license and start selling. If for no other reason, than to recap some of the losses I had from trying to buy every bead I could get my hands on.

Photo from The Beaded Branch on Etsy

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

I have several pieces of advice:

  1. Learn time management skills. They will be invaluable to you as your business grows.
  2. Figure out how big you want your business to grow. How much time do you have to put in to this?
  3. Figure out what you want to sell. If you are only in it to make money, then don't do it. If you truly love your art, and want others to be able to enjoy it, then by all means, sell.
  4. Stay organized. Organize your finished stock by where you want to sell it. Keep your supplies organized. Keep your paper work up to date and organized. Do whatever it takes. Disorganization takes time away from creating, listing, and promoting.

[Good advice. I definitely can learn from the disorganization tip... I so badly need to get organized!]

What inspires you?

Everything. Books I read, nature, architecture, photography, art, friends, family, magazines, and movies. I try to glean inspiration from wherever I can get it. People inspire me the most. I'll pick a person I know, and create a bunch of jewelry that I believe they would like. I think about the colors they wear, or should wear, what styles they like to wear, how they carry themselves, everything. I believe that if one person in the world likes it, then there's a pretty good chance that there is one other person in the world who will like it.

Every artist experiences "creative block" -- a creative dry spell -- how do you deal with creative block?

Walk away. I get away from it for a while. I try working in a new or different medium. I color with my kids; I cook a new dish that I have never tried before. I listen to new music. I just see if I can experience something new and different, or re-experience something I haven't done in a while. And most importantly, I don't let it bother me.

How did you choose the medium you work with?

I have to admit, I kind of giggled at this question. Yes, I work in jewelry, and yes, I basically work with beads. But there are so many other mediums I use at this point that I start to lose count. But it all ends up as jewelry. I love the versatility of jewelry. There are a million different mediums that can be used to make it, and it seems like more are coming out every day. I love to try different things, experiment and play with my supplies with only a basic knowledge of how they work and what they are supposed to do. I'm less afraid to to try something new if I haven't taken a class in it, because then I don't have a bunch of "can't do's" or "won't works" hanging over my head. ("You can't do that." "Well, you can try it, but it probably won't work.") More or less the actual medium I use pretty much choose me. I get an idea, and then have to figure out what medium will be best to create the pendant, earrings, necklace, or whatever it is I'm trying to envision.

How do you wish to be remembered?

First off, as a good mommy and wife. Of course, that goes without saying, probably. Second, as a jewelry artist who might not have pushed everything to its very limit, but did step enough outside the box once in awhile to create something beautiful and unique.

Who are your favorite artists (living and deceased)?

Salvador Dali, MC Escher, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rene Jules Lalique, and my mom and dad.

What blogs do you visit on a regular basis?

and (which is my brother's very conservative blog, but he's my brother and I love him anyway!)

For anyone who might be reading, what shops would you recommend that they visit right now? and

and of course: (Thanks Anne!)

Any final thoughts?

Go ahead and play. Get your hands dirty. Color in a coloring book, but color outside the lines. When life gives you lemons, make grape juice and make people wonder how you did it? ;-)

Thanks for the great interview, Teri! Very informative!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Meet Orin Drake from Wicked Orin!



Orin Drake is the artist behind Wicked Orin, a shop that can be found on both Etsy and Artfire. Much of the artwork are objects of fantasy: dragons ~ including some rather remarkable beaded dragon jewelry pieces; large, beaded spiders, and fabulous jewelry such as the piece shown above -- so enchanting that it looks as though it should be adorning the neck of the fairy queen herself!

Recently, Orin took some time away from creating fantastical art to answer a few of my questions... I hope you'll enjoy this opportunity to get to know Orin Drake a little bit better...

How long have you been creating your art?

"Seriously" (meaning I've consciously been creating, producing and improving whatever I've been interested in) for about six years. Apparently I've been working on it since I could hold a crayon, though. If it wasn't sketching or discovering water color it was crochet, sculpting whenever I could get my hands on clay, painting--I was just out to make stuff!

Where do you sell your art?

Right now I'm sort of going between ArtFire ( ) and Etsy ( ). It's a bit of a difficult situation; Etsy is far better known and I have a good deal of positive feedback and sales there, but ArtFire is more "comfortable" from my own artist's standpoint.

How do you market/advertise your store?

A lot of my creations have a definitively geeky slant, so hanging around gaming communities helps quite a bit. Otherwise, I have a DeviantArt account and a SheezyArt account, both of which get a pretty good number of people interested, and the DIYScene forums ( ). There's also my own blog, I suppose, but... very few people see anything in my blog.

At what point did you decide to sell your art?

I'd like to say it was at the point where I realized people might actually buy what I make. But really it was when I realized that I could not get, let alone keep, a steady job unless I employed myself. I'm afraid the "triple threat" of being an artist, musician and writer don't really matter when you don't have any interest in customer service or three degrees in... anything, really. The curse of a college town.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

Do what you love, and do it your way. Sure we can all learn and take friendly advice (when we ask for it), but there comes a point when you know what you want to do and you should never let anything get in your way. Most importantly, though, don't lose heart. There are probably going to be people who don't like what you do, and that's fine--but there WILL be someone who absolutely LOVES your work. Focus on what you love and what makes you happy, and that absolutely will carry through.

What inspires you?

Anything, everything! Sometimes it's actually a joke or a not so serious challenge ("Bet you can't do ____."). Other times I'll see something that I think is way too expensive for the work that seems to be involved (or the materials used strike me as ridiculously overpriced), so I'll try to make it myself. But most of the time... I don't really know. I like to default to the answer "video games and music", because that seems to hold true to just about everything. I have fun with what I create, and that seems the most important self-fulfilling inspiration of all.

Every artist experiences “creative block” – a creative dry spell – how do you deal with creative block?

Honestly, I usually drop in front of a console and play video games for a few hours, turn up some music or go watch one of my geeky favorites like a handful of Beast Wars episodes. Then I have to admit, I'm usually good to go after that. My dry spells don't usually last more than a day. I think I'm much too focused on doing SOMETHING, anything. Boredom is not acceptable.

How did you choose the medium you work with?

I have too many mediums! And the list is always growing. But I think it comes down to what looks fun. Jump rings looked fun, I've become quite good at some chainmaile patterns. Sculpting looked fun, and I still love making masks and dragons. Fabric looked fun, and I'm currently making more patterns after my little plush dragon turned out so well. Next up, leather and needle felting!

How do you wish to be remembered?

Just as someone who loved what they did, and loved to share that with people who had a similar connection with the creations. People always ask if it's hard to let go of a piece I've spent days or weeks or even months on... and no, it's not. I have confidence that the person buying it caught a similar "spark" when they saw it that I had when I created it, plus I get the funding to buy more materials and make more fun things. That seems like the way it ought to be.

Who are your favorite artists (living and deceased)?

I'm utterly uncultured when it comes to art. I have way, way too many artists that I follow and am lucky enough to be friend with quite a few of them. Some day I'll have to make a list! I'll really have to admit to my horrifying geekdom by listing Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura specifically, though. They're both character designers for Final Fantasy games, but they both have distinctive art styles that I adore. Amano's work is some beautiful combination of colorful, soft, and amazingly sharp and harsh--it's too hard to describe without really seeing it for yourself. Nomura's work has become cliche in the RPG genre--but he established the cliche because his work is just that distinctive. I'm certain that there are countless other artists whose work I've seen and admired and get little to no credit, sadly. Concept art for nearly anything makes me very happy.

What blogs to do you visit on a regular basis?

Mostly ones that have to do with video games and absolutely nothing to do with art, actually. I do like to take a look at Etsy's and ArtFire's blogs from time ot time, but the only really art-related ones I follow are Cute Plush ( ) for all kinds of plushie/stuffed animal ideas, and Craftastrophe ( ), because... well, I have a sick sense of humor.

For anyone who might be reading, what shops would you recommend that they visit right now?

I absolutely have to recommend my incredibly talented friends--most of which unfortunately don't have shops open at this time. I'm afraid I might just have to recommend my links page ( ) to be updated whenever everyone gets all set up. In the meantime, if you're into geeky cross stitch, definitely go visit Schala-Kitty at Crafted With Zeal ( ).

Any final thoughts?

There's nothing wrong with admitting that you started to make jewelry because you love shiny objects.

Thank you, Orin, for your time... I enjoyed your art, and getting to know you a bit better!