Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ruby Does It Again!

Miz Ruby Colorway (the nom de swap of my secret pal) has done it again! Last month she sent me the most amazing package... and this month's package was just as terrific. She obviously has been stalking me quite thoroughly, for everything is absolutely perfect.

Gorgeous yarns -- soft merinos in luscious colors, 4 skeins of Noro for felting, books & a magazine (I accidentally left two out of the photo), beautiful handmade goodies from Etsy shops (a lovely felted bag, entrelac scarf, collaged notecard), the cutest wine-cat poster, light-up needles... and on and on. Oh, and a sweet little felted bowl (did you make it?).

Thank you so much, Ruby. You're the best!

Friday, February 13, 2009

You may have already won....

I got notice yesterday from the Singer Sewing Machine Company that my bulletin board won their "Sewing With Nature" contest.

I made the bulletin board earlier this month so it was fun to have almost immediate gratification. The "Sewing With Nature" contest, run jointly by Singer and CRAFT Magazine, asked for a single submission per person through their Flickr group. The rules were easy but written loosely for individual interpretation. The project needed to include machine sewing and "integrate organic elements."

I'd been wanting to make some bulletin boards for a long time. They're a great way to use beautiful little bits of fabric. This particular bulletin board (my first), entitled "Promise of Spring," was made with a patchwork of linen and some cotton fabrics stretched over a magnetized corkboard. I sewed several dried salal leaves on as decoration. And then made two magnets by sewing more leaves between layers of Tyvek and then gluing to a magnet.

I love the combination of fabrics. Several were from SpicedCoffee for a recent swap. They give a sense of winter with a hint of spring to come. And, of course, I'm always a fan of natural linen paired with other beautiful fabrics.

What do I get for winning, you ask? A Singer Confidence 7467 sewing machine and a set of Singer sewing books. Quite fun, eh?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Handmade Help: 2009 Victoria Bushfire Relief

I am donating 50% of all sales from my Etsy shop from now through the end of February to 2009 Victoria Bushfire relief.

For more information on other "handmade help" or what you can do to help out, visit their website.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Warm Ewe Up: Blog Question #4

What am I doing for Valentine's Day?

Working of course!

We always hold an Open House on the Saturday before Valentine's Day, and this year the holiday falls directly on the Saturday.

We'll have some wine-friendly Valentine treats to try, live jazz guitar, and a great party atmosphere.

If you're in southern Michigan this weekend, stop on by!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Stone Soup Challenge: February

My pledge to The Stone Soup Challenge is easy to fulfill. One of the main reasons for setting up my Etsy shop was to make spending money to purchase goodies from other online vendors.

I pledged more than the recommended amount because I knew I was already spending more and wanted to push myself a little. My pledge was to spend at least 50% of the profits from my Etsy shop with independent online vendors, including the of purchase one item per month from another shop participating in The Stone Soup Challenge.

The earrings pictured above are my first purchase from a SSC participant, christinececelia. I love images of bees, so these sweet little earrings were a natural choice.

This month I've also sold an item to another SSC participant, my8kidsmom. She ordered a custom stamp with her shop name. What a fun purchase! And The Stone Soup Challenge is working already.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival: My Etsy Shop

For the February 27 EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival (yes, I know I'm early), the topic is:

What made you open a shop on Etsy? What do you like about being a seller on Etsy? What don't you like?

For many years (before Tommy was born and when he was little) I had a booth in the Ann Arbor Art Fair. One of the largest art fairs in the country, the A2 fair sees over a half-million visitors in four days in July. I enjoyed being a part of the crazy art fair scene, but it started taking over my summers, and I eventually dropped my booth.

I never really missed the fair, but I did miss making things to sell.

For the past few years I've been swapping through Swap-Bot and Flickr (and more recently, Ravelry). And I made lots and lots of items to include in these swaps. Several of the items -- especially the Harry Potter charm bracelets -- had lots of requests (through Flickr primarily) from folks who were interested in buying them.

I had been an Etsy buyer for a while and decided to give it a try as a seller as well. That was a little over a year and 217 sold items ago.

What do I like about it? Lots of things:
* The ease and low cost of running the shop and adding new items
* The sense of community
* The warmth of the other members
* The great things Etsy sellers and buyers do for each other
* [Generally] The look of the site
* The wide variety of gorgeous and wonderful items for sale

What don't I like?
* The way I feel like a needle in a very, very large haystack. It's very difficult to get noticed
* The exclusive attitude of the Etsy admin. There are many, many instances where I feel excluded rather than included
* The emphasis on opening new shops and relisting items, rather than helping us make sales
* Communication - it's often non-existent or mishandled
* The lack of flexibility in setting up (both organizationally and graphically) my shop

EtsyBlogger of the Month: donnapool

One of the original members of EtsyBloggers, donnapool has a fun, eclectic shop filled with buttons, photography, and toys.

Her buttons made with vintage images are some of my favorites. I'm such a fan of old advertising graphics and they make very fun buttons!

According to her Etsy profile, donnapool is a stay-at-home mom who used to work as a photographer. In addition to EtsyBloggers, she's also a member of three other Etsy street teams: EtsyMoms, EtsyCREST, CafeMom Etsy Moms.

To learn more about her, visit her blog, "Donna Says..."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Thaw

The icicles are melting.

For the first time in probably 6 weeks or so, the temperatures are above 32 F. The sun is out, the temperature is about 37 F, and it feels positively balmy.

Let's hope it doesn't melt too much. I'd much rather have uber-cold and beautiful than somewhat-cold and grey and slushy.

Happy February!