Welcome to my blog!! I hope you enjoy and have a fantastic day!!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Time to meet Leah from Belly Babies!!

Hey everyone! It's time for you to get to know lovely Leah! She runs the fabulous shop called Baby Bellies on Etsy!

My name is Leah and my business is called Belly Babies. Belly Babies was born a few years back as an infant apparel company and has now expanded to include nursery art, plush toys, and books. My Etsy store focuses mostly on nursery artwork. I am a graphic designer by profession, so I have always been interested in designing. My background is in exhibit design, designing for museums and galleries, but now I mostly do print work. My day job is in corporate design, so Belly Babies allows me to get my creative juices flowing ... it's pretty much the opposite of corporate design! The company is centered around 12 original animal illustrations, each one created from the same round belly shape - that is how Belly Babies got it's name! My illustrations were created with the idea that I wanted to the animals to be created using the fewest graphic elements as possible - keeping it very simple and making sure that they all have a unified 'look'.

What I love the most about working on Belly Babies is that it is my creative outlet. I love designing and when I am working on a project I often find that the times just passes by in a flash. If I'm not working on a project, I'm usually thinking about what I am going to do next! I also love that it is something that I can do while I stay home with my 8 month old daughter, Riley. My dream, like many other crafters, is that I can eventually make enough so that I can stay home full time with her.

Lots of things inspire me when I am designing - my latest inspiration for designing nursery prints was the colours of ice cream flavors! I used these colors for my alphabet pop print:

One thing that I wish I knew from the beginning is that I'm a designer, but I'm not a great business person! I spend most of my time designing and coming up with new ideas, but not a lot of time on the business end of things. I don't think that that is necessarily a bad thing, but I wish I had realized it sooner so I could have learned to balance my time between designing and the business end of things better. That's the difference between an expensive hobby and a business!

Aren't her designs the cutest!!?? Her shop is a wonderful and unique blend of classy and fun :) Perfect for a new nursery :) Now go and have a look at her fabulous shop!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Saturday Everyone!! It's Time To Meet Rhonda from AspenTreeYarns!!

Hooray for long holiday weekends, huh? Alright everyone, my next feature is with a lovely woman from Colorado who makes fabulous yarns, ornaments & lots of other great finds :) Here she is!!

Hello! I'm Rhonda K. Hageman (call me RK), and I'm the handspinner/knitter/occasional weaver behind Aspen Tree Yarns. I'm in Englewood, Colorado where I was born and raised. I've been doing some kind of fiber arts since childhood when my mother taught me to knit and my grandmother taught me to do crochet and embroidery. Along the way I've also picked up at various times patchwork, tatting, spinning and weaving. At times I also make cold-process soaps as well.

I originally started my handspun-yarn business in 2003 as "The Joyful Knitter" (meaning the knitters who used my yarn would be joyful...). That didn't quite work like I thought it would; most people thought that meant I did custom knitting. So I reincorporated as Aspen Tree Yarns a few years ago, indicating my Colorado roots. How I got into it in the first place is that I kept designing and creating more yarns than I can use.

One of the things that I love about handspinning is the total freedom. I can create the yarns that I want, that I dream of, without being bound by whatever happens to be the fashion that year, or limited to whatever colors are the "in" thing in the yarn stores at the moment. If a customer wants to knit in purple squiggly mohair, greatI I've got purple squiggly mohair yarn coming right up, or undyed natural baby camel hair, or lime green Merino, or whatever takes my fancy or someone else's. I CAN follow the fashion--if you love hot fuchsia pink, I have the perfect dye for that--but I don't HAVE to. The other thing I love about handspinning is the wild range of fibers that it is possible to work with. I don't have a lot of experience with cotton or flax (still learning), but I work with wool, alpaca, silk, mohair, dog down, and more. The possibilities are just endless. What our foremothers in spinning and weaving would have given to have the access to the variety of fibers that we have to choose from!

I'm inspired a lot by nature and landscapes when I'm designing yarn. Most of my yarn colors are named for flowers or natural themes: Pink Peony, Cherry Blossom, Mountain Moss, Lapis, Gemstone, Victorian Rose, Clematis, Painted Desert, and Forest Walk have been some that I've done recently or in the past. I've got one yarn colorway that I've designed in my head, but haven't made yet, called "October In the Park". It will have a lot of sky blue in it, but also pale leaf green, autumn leaf gold, with some white and light brown to represent the trees and their branches against the blue sky.

What I wish I had known when I started the handspun-yarn venture several years ago was how hard it would be to make a go of it. I wear three hats -- my college-English-instructor hat, the homemaker hat, and the fiber-artist hat, and trying to be all three of these things is very tough. And my job as an ESL teacher, and keeping the household going (my DH helps A LOT!) take up most of my time, so I have to squeeze out time to do fiber art and work on the business. Therefore I haven't had the success that I might have had if I could have made the yarn biz a full-time gig.

What I wish I'd known last fall is that although Etsy is a FABULOUS venue for selling and marketing one's craftwork--it's a godsend in that way--it's not an artisan's Shangri-La or Fantasy Island where buyers are falling over each other to acquire your products. I had gotten the impression that it was much easier to succeed on Etsy than it actually is, if you get what I mean. Buyers don't just fall out of the sky once you open your shop; there's still a ton of off-Etsy promoting and marketing to do beyond just creating and stocking the shop. I'm still learning about different ways to market and promote my shop that I can do given the limited time I have to devote to the business. I've started a blog, but I haven't done much with it yet--I discovered for me, anyway, I'd rather spin than write about spinning.

Other random thoughts: One of the best blogs, I think, for artists and crafters is Luann Udell's at http://luannudell.wordpress.com/. Luann is a respected and experienced fiber and clay artist in New Hampshire who's been making amazing work for years and years and I read everything she writes. She really tells it like it is, discussing what the artist's and craftmaker's life is all about. I would heartily recommend her to every single artist/crafter/artisan in the entire world. One of my favorite authors in the textile field is Elizabeth Wayland Barber. Her works include not only Prehistoric Textiles, but Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years. The chapter on the beginning of spinning, called "The String Revolution", will blow your mind with stuff that never occurs to most people to even think about. She's a fabulous and fascinating writer, and I reread her all the time.

Aren't her yarns just beautiful??? Now make sure you go check out her shop and give her lots of love!! Beautiful work Rhonda!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Everyone, Say hello to Kara of ViveLaFranceDesign!!!

Hello, I'm Kara of Vive LaFrance Design. I am an artist and graphic designer.

I have been painting since I was seven, I have a BA in Graphic design and a rare pituitary disease (UGH). I originally told people I retired at 25 because three years was long enough. I thought I was kidding but apparently not because here I am nine years later. When I first left work I would paint if I had enough energy to concentrate. Painting is my meditation. It is not a quick process. On the flip side designing a card is infinitely quicker. I can have a burst of creative energy to complete a card and be satisfied. I did a few local craft fairs and then found etsy. I started with my paintings and art print notecards. Then I started adding designed cards. And here I am. If I feel well enough to do something creative then great! If not it will be there for next time.

Where can we see your products for sale?
Well on etsy of course! ViveLaFranceDesign.etsy.com
Addison Marie A Baby Boutique, Albuquerque, NM
And Queen City Emporium, Springfield, MO

What inspires you when you are designing?
Color, nature, classic typography and typefaces that will be classics, old quotes, and my husband.

List the TOP 5 current favorite artists/Crafters on Etsy?

What things do you know now that you wish you knew from the beginning?
HHmmmnn, that's a tough one. I need to do so much more promoting than I thought. I don't have that balanced. I don't know how so many etsians have jobs and children and do it all. I'm dying to start my next painting but I just haven't gotten there yet. So the short version of my answer is how much you need to keep promoting and find the balance between each project.

Thank you SOO much for participating in my feature!! Now everyone! Go check out her shop! She has some amazing art and cards for sale!!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Before I feature, let me introduce myself!

I'm very excited about this whole blog featuring thing, I have several people lined up already!! Woo hoo! But I figured before I get started on that, you might want to know a little bit about me :)
I love and live for all that is art/creativity related :) I have two B.A.'s, one for photography and one for graphic design, and I'm REALLY hoping that once I make some more money I can go for my masters of photography. I also love to start random projects (right now I'm on a rubber stamp making kick) although, not all get finished, but I love to say "hey, I totally tried that!"

I currently live outside of Cleveland, Ohio with my lovely boyfriend and my cat having recently moved from beautiful north western New Jersey. Living in a city for the first time is somewhat of a shock because I have always lived "in the woods" but I'm starting to like it. So if you are ever in the area drop me a line and we can totally get some coffee :)

I also have an Etsy shop that features a little bit of this and that. I put my heart into everything I create for my shop so you can be sure it is made with excellent craftsmanship and detail :)
Alright! So enough about me, my very first featured shop will be posted within a couple of days and I am very excited to show off her products. She has a beautiful shop :) So till next time! Ta ta!


Monday, May 17, 2010

First blog... ever. Wish me luck :)

Dear World,

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to my very first blog. I wanted to start one so that I can promote many of the awesome people I meet and shops I see on Etsy. I'm not so sure how I am supposed to do this, but I know it will be awesome. Because that's how I do things. With awesomeness. I hope you all have a great day!

Love forever,
Rachel (Squid)

Ok, here it goes... I'm gonna hit the "publish post" button.. eee wish me luck... :)