Tuesday, January 27, 2009

FeatureMe - Paperelle

Creativity, originality, quality, uniqueness, what sets you apart from everyone else on your online selling venue?

I started a thread today, to find out who felt they made unique items. In a matter of minutes the thread exploded with responses and it took me a really long time to read it all and be current with the posts.

Several of the uber cool shop owners who posted stuck out to me. This is a link to the original thread, if you would like to browse thru all of the shops who replied.

I found one in particular pretty darn cool. I actually said out loud "wait....she MAKES that?....like really....wow."


A Little Bit About Paperelle

Lauren is the brains and creativeness behind Paperelle. She hand makes these fantastic little origami stars out of old (about to be thrown away) paper and creates one of a kind jewelry with them.

ME: Origami stars huh? Is this an old origami folding technique? How did you learn about it?

LAUREN: Yes, it's a relatively simple origami technique. (It must be simple, if I can do it!) I saw it on a craft blog and thought it was pretty cute, and wanted to give it a try. I found a tutorial online, cut some paper, and gave it a go. I didn't want to spend any money on this, so I used some scrap that was in the recycling bin. I've heard that if you fold 1000 stars and give them to someone you like, they'll fall in love with you. I've told my husband to take care, as I've sent well over 1000 stars into the world!

ME: Yay for inexpensive crafts! Money is the main reason I haven't pursued other crafts.

ME: Are they coated in something? Do they squish flat?

LAUREN: Yes & yes! They squish flat, the last step in folding them is the puffing part. It's actually useful when you're teaching someone else, because they can practice the puffing step on a star that's already done to get the feel for it. I tend to fold them in really big batches, pick out the ones I want to make into jewelry, then coat those with an acrylic varnish. It makes them very tough, I field-tested the cellphone charms and never managed to squish one.

ME: That is so awesome! I see in your item descriptions that they are water resistant. I wouldn't expect that.

ME: How long does it take for you to fold each star? I would think that it is a very tedious job.

LAUREN: Folding is relatively quick, it's sourcing and cutting the paper that takes the most time. I cannot draw or cut a straight line unassisted! My guillotine paper cutter is an absolute must, and even then I can cut crooked. It took a lot of practice to figure out how to center an image on a finished star, and I'm still not 100%. Plus, each type of paper folds differently. Junk mail and catalog paper can be really thin, and need a very long strip for a good solid star, wheras the manga can be super thick, needing maybe half the length. If you use too long a piece it'll be too thick to fold, too short and it won't hold the shape.

Um, so to answer your question, it's under a minute to fold! I usually do large batches while I'm watching a movie, much to my husband's chagrin. I'm never looking when something important happens, so we have to rewind or he fills me in!

ME: Ok...so the folding is quick, but that cutting, measuring, and checking paper thickness sounds like a lot of work. My least favorite part of sewing is measuring/cutting the fabric.

ME: Is etsy currently, or are you striving to make etsy your full time job?

LAUREN: No & no. I actually really like my day job, I'm a science educator for a park. Plus it uses my biology degree, which I'm still paying for. Selling on etsy really branched out of my seemingly endless creating, and a need for a place to put it! I'm awful, as soon as I have a few sales I turn around and buy stuff from other etsians. If it can be self-sustaining and make a little spending cash, I'll be happy. It's also really fun to trade, I just got an awesome bracelet and pair of earrings that way.

ME: That's great that you spend your earnings on other etsy shops! We have to stick together and support eachother!! (I do the same thing...lol!)

ME: Where is your favorite hang out?

LAUREN: On the beat-up futon, with my husband and our chinchilla, Momo.

ME: Same here, total homebody. . . minus the chinchilla.

ME: When you aren't making your jewelry, what other thing do you enjoy doing?

LAUREN: On the weekends I usually try to see some friends! Although, if my best friend comes to visit we just make jewelry together. She made the sushi polymer clay beads on these earrings.

I'm a video game addict, Rock Band 2 is getting a lot of play in my house right now, and I play my Nintendo DS on the train. I do a lot of other crafts too, like knitting, gocco, collage, a little crochet, painting, etc. I tend to try things that look interesting and have a low start-up cost.

ME: Oh, I want a wii soooo bad!

ME: Of all the fancy flash tools on etsy...pounce, tm2, colors, etc. Which is your favorite?

LAUREN: Pounce! I like the undiscovered option. Before I had a sale I kept pouncing to see if my shop came up! I've never quite figured out the time machine.

ME: Same here! I could pounce for hours!

ME: Do you sell on other venues? Either online, or B&M?

LAUREN: Yes, I sold at New York Anime Festival last year in their artist alley. All of the positive feedback lead me to open the etsy shop. I've joined the {newnew} etsy street team, and that has opened a lot of local selling opportunities too.

When you purchace any of her gorgeous jewelry not only do you get a one of a kind masterpiece that you can wear, but they come gift wraped in a hand folded origami box!

Handmade In PA

A few weeks ago I stumbled apon this amazing new site. www.handmadeinpa.net

It is run by a crafty young mother who lives in Reading PA. Tara, the creator of the site is so awesomely fantastic I can't stand it!

If you live in Pennsylvania and are looking for a way to meet other Pennsylvania crafters or just love handmade you should stop by.

And, don't forget to sign up for the forums where great advice, news, craft show hook ups, and everyday chit chat is discussed.

Anyway, Tara hosts great giveaways from local artisans. Right now there are some fabulous earrings up for grab by JericasJewelry. The only catch for the giveaways is you have to live in PA.

So, all of you PA people, come join the fun!!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Who woulda thought it would be that hard to add a column to my blog?!?!

That took up 2 hours of my life I will never get back...

My Exciting Weekend

This weekend went by way too fast!

Even tho I only work my 'real job' monday - wednesday....my 4 day weekends are always over before they start.

Wednesday night my bff came over, along with a good friend from high school who I haven't seen in about a year. We drank pina coladas, and then gave each other sharpie tattoos....and then documented our awesomeness on film.

The next day I stayed in bed until 5:30. I was just sooooo tired. Complete waste of a day.

Friday I cleaned a little and took some donations to the thrift store, ended up spending $30 there....but left with some fantastic stuff. I was really upset tho because they had a rockin' dress form behind the counter that wasn't for sale. I'm sure they are going to use it to display some ugly worn out clothing. What a sad way for that poor dress form to carry out her life. I named her Lucile....I'm sure she would have loved to live at my house with Roberta (my dressform), instead of being stuck there doing a job that she was not created to do.

They also had a vintage singer sewing machine. I think it was #221-1, if memory serves....they had it priced at $425. I looked online, ebay has quite a few selling around $100. That really gets me annoyed that thrift stores do that, any price would be profit, they got it for free right?

Sunday we went to moms for memaws birthday party. I gave her a card holder that I made. Like this, different fabric tho of course.

(Click the pic)

We ate chinese. My fortune cookie said something about meeting up with old friends. Which is crazy cause just the day before a good friend came over who I was not speaking to for a few months.

Now it is monday. And here I sit. Guess I should get to work.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Official - President Obama

President Obama...has a nice ring to it!

In celebration of such a wonderful day in our history I have compiled some fantastic products available on etsy!

I did a search with the keyword 'Obama'. To my surprise (good surprise) there were 147 pages of awesomely handcrafted Obama items. Amazing. Click here to see all of the results in etsy
(Since I posted this it jumped to 152 pages. WOW!)

Anyway...here are a few that really caught my eye!

Wanna purchase one of these great items for yourself? Here is where you can find them!: (click on the name to go straight to the shops!!)

Row 1
1. Presidential Evolution T Shirt - www.isotope.etsy.com

2. Pen & Ink Illustration - www.jenniferkohnke.etsy.com

Mama Likes Obama Button - www.printmakerjenn.etsy.com

Row 2
Coffee Sleeve - www.whatsupyoursleeve.etsy.com

Yes I Did Vote Button - www.graffiti2.etsy.com

Earrings - www.kimazier.etsy.com

Row 3

7. Collectable Bracelet - www.leeza888.etsy.com

8. Hope Necklace - www.underhercharm.etsy.com

9. Rocks My Socks Bag - www.MABelhandbags.etsy.com

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Do They Know?!?!

Do the people who air reruns know what is going to happen in my life the next day and then run an appropriate show that night?

I watch one of 3 TV shows at night as I'm falling asleep. Either, That 70's Show, Will & Grace, or Seinfeld. My husband can't understand why I watch shows over and over that I have seen a million times...but they are just that good.

Whatever happens in the show seems to happen to me the next day. It's almost like that new movie with Adam Sandler.

I can't think of any other examples, so I will give the one for today...and update when it happens again.

So last nights show of choice was Seinfeld. It was the one where George's phone line gets crossed with some woman who everyone thinks is Chinese, but really she just changed her last name and wanted to be Chinese (great episode).

This morning I get to work and 2 people are talking about how they got each others voice mails. WTF!? Are you serious?!?

In closing, I think it is not santa who is watching.....it's the cable programmers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Heart Breaking Story

A New Face For RuJu

My two small children mean the world to me. My entire life revolves around them. As I'm sure it does for most moms. But their are times, when they can be soooo bad...and do things they REALLY REALLY shouldn't, that make me SO mad.

I, much like most of the people in the US, don't have very good insurance....and vision is not covered at all. I have terrible vision. I can't see squat if it is more than a foot in front of me. I NEED my glasses.

I usually wear contacts during the day, in the evening I wear my glasses. And I actually do sleep with them on my face. I'm so paranoid that I'm gonna wake up to an intruder and not be able to see him.

Anyway, my (almost) two year old son got his grubby little fingers on my glasses. Snapped them right in half. So, husband drilled holes into what was left of the nose piece, and twisty tied them back together. Then I wrapped some tape around it.

So...great. Works fine. Not good if a contact tears and I have to leave the house in them, but good enough for now till I scrounge up some money for new ones.

Ha! Thats what I thought! A few weeks after the initial break my kids were playing in my daughters room. I went up to check on them to find a completely trashed room. So, I started cleaning it up. And what do I find on the floor under a mountain of toys?!?!?! One eye frame from my glasses...lens still intact...but missing other half and arm! Ugh!

I cleaned the rest of the room and managed to find all the pieces to my poor little glasses except for one arm.

I reassembled them as best I could...but without an arm glasses are really next to no good. I needed to be able to see, it was the eve of three kings day and I was wrapping presents for the kids. The right side of my glasses kept flopping forward....pulling the rest of them off my face.

WTF! Stinking kids!

Like I said, I was wrapping presents, so the tape was right there.....so, I did what I had to do and taped them to my face.

I did this for another week.

(below is a picture....I wasn't going to include it....but Jen and Gir encouraged me to do so)

Finally I couldn't take it anymore and made an appointment for new glasses. I opted to go to America's Best....cause it's cheaper right...? WRONG! My glasses were NOT 2 for $50. They were $350!!!!! I will not make that mistake again. Granted a lot of the cost is because I had to get 'special' lenses, otherwise I would have been walking around with 6 inch thick glasses.

They are really cute tho.

My Baby Phats. These will not be worn anywhere near children. They are strictly for times when my contacts hurt or whatever and I need to wear my glasses out. (they were $300 of the $350 total)

...and the cheaper of the two pairs. I don't even know what brand they are, they just say 'made in china' on the inside. Cute still, black and pink with white stripes at the sides.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

FeatureMe - Mattsart

A little bit about Mattsart

I spend a lot of time in the etsy forums. I go in to kill time, have some entertainment, give advice, etc. Usually I aim to spend about 10 minutes in there, but I ALWAYS get sucked in and end up being in the forums for at least an hour.

In the millions of hours I have spent in the etsy forums, I have come across several threads, and noticed the trend myself....their just aren't very many male sellers in the land of etsy.

Then I came across Mattsart. He responded to my thread about possibly doing features on my blog. How could I resist doing a feature about a male seller on etsy? Especially when is art is this gorgeous!!!

Me: Wow, a man on etsy! How do you feel being among the minority in the etsy community?

Mattsart: I don't know that I am the minority anymore - but honestly, either way, it's fine.
There was a time about a year ago where I stupidly thought that my being a man was affecting my sales, but like I said, I was just pretty new here, and extremely stupid. Being surrounded and overwhelmed by all the ladies' items just got to me (sort've the man in the lingerie department thing - you know how THAT is), and for a while I was feeling very "out of place", but I'm over it now. There are a LOT more guys on Etsy these days, and honestly, that helps me to feel a bit more at home.

Me: I hear ya. I try to buy gifts on etsy whenever I can....but I have such a hard time finding guy stuff.

Me: So you have a full time job, and an etsy shop full of gorgeous paintings. Where do you find time to do it all?

Mattsart: I make the time, but I never sacrifice quality, because that's what I'm all about.
I am a hopelessly addicted painting junkie, and it's as simple as that. There's an old lyric that goes; "I can't stop for nothing, I'm just playing in the band", and it's exactly the same way for me, only with painting.

Me: Ah, making time. Something I know all too well. Having 2 kids and a 'real job' does make it hard to make the time to create. But the end result is so worth the lack of sleep.

Me: What is the inspiration behind your paintings?

Mattsart: I have no idea. I just do what I do, and the winds, spirits and juju take it from there. God inspires me, other artists inspire me, color and spirit inspire me, books, music, etc. EVERYTHING inspires me.

Me: My sons nickname is juju. Thanks for freaking me out for a second. lol!

Me: Lollipop Trees, Lanscapes, Abstracts, and Customized Paintings....which is your favorite to create?

Mattsart: All of the above.

Me: That's great! You love every single thing that you do.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This is new

I did a search a few weeks ago for a desk organizer on etsy. 3 pages of items came up. 3!!! That's it. I was shocked. To my surprise most of them were round type pen holders. I was not looking for that type of organizer.

You know those cheap plastic things that fit in a desk drawer.....that's what I was looking for, but pretty.


So I had a mission. To make one of these things. It'll be easy right? Well, yes, it's easy. Lots of measuring ironing, cutting, folding, hammering. VERY time consuming. But relatively easy. So here she is.

Click on her if you wanna buy her. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FeatureMe - JulieMeyer

Today is Wednesday, and my awesome week continues! I decided yesterday, after receiving so much love that I would really like to be able to 'pay it forward'. If you have a shop you know how awesome it is to be recognized for all of your hard work.

So here we go, time to give someone else a little recognition and let them feel special for a while! :)

Here is how it's gonna work. I asked Julie a few question, and being an opinionated person...had to include my impression of what she has to say. Please feel free to comment on this post, and give your opinion as well!

A little bit about JulieMeyer

Me: Where did you get the idea for your 'clean in style' gloves?

JulieMeyer: I was cleaning my basement, wearing my cleaning gloves, and when I moved a pile of oilcloth I had to make bibs, I realized that it would be perfect trim for gloves. I had seen ribbon-trimmed gloves before, but knew the oilcloth would be a fun, sturdier choice.

Me: Oh the basement, I have to start that this weekend. Thanks for reminding me. (ugh)

Me: You sell bibs and lunch bags, are you worried about the new law that might effect shops selling items for children? And do you think this law is fair? (click here to see what YOU can do)

JulieMeyer: Since I only have a few oilcloth bibs in my shop, I'm not worried about business once the new lead law takes effect. I agree that better testing needed to happen to protect children, I worry about how quickly this law was passed without really understanding the whole effect. I really feel for the shops that specialize in children's items, especially the ones that already use all natural materials.

Me: Personally, even tho I don't make much kids stuff, this law really gets me going! Last time I checked the issues we had with childrens items were not from handmade toys. It's the mass produced stuff that needs quality control.

Me: So, your are a mom? How do your children affect your ability to create? Do they ever 'assist'?

JulieMeyer: Being a mother of 3 does pose it's challenges to create. Without them though, I'd be sitting in an office all day with very little chance to create the things I make. I've learned to work when I can. I used to work late into the night when the kids were in bed, but since I'm not a night person, never really liked this arrangement. I've learned to prep my materials during the day, then try and go to be shortly after the kids. I'm able to get up between 4-5am and work for a few hours before everyone gets up. There are times though during the day when I have a toddler sitting on my lap while I'm sewing. When it's time to ship items, my 10 year old loves to find out where in the world the packages are going.

Me: Ack! 4AM!?! No way! I'm the opposite of you. I like to stay up until I can't move my arms anymore, then sleep in. Good point on the fact that without kids you would be stuck in an office, never really thought of it that way. I'm 25...not 10, and I'm still amazed by all the places in the world that are connected thru etsy.

Me: I see you have made over 100 sales in less than a year! Congrats, that is quiet and accomplishment! What advice can you give to some of the newer etsy sellers?

JulieMeyer: I think the key to making consistent sales is to try and create and list something new every day that you can. I try and spend some time each week in the fun Etsy Forums to learn something new or help someone with a question. I've done a couple of Free Shipping Sales on weekends and that seems to help too.

Me: Yay! The etsy forums! One of my favorite ways to spend my day (and where I met you!) Trying to list a new item everyday is hard, but it really does help, and I have to agree on that bit of advice!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So Much Love For RuJu

Wow! What an amazing week I am having, and it's only Tuesday!!!

Yesterday I was featured on a blog!!! (veronablu.blogspot.com) It's a fresh blog that is just starting out. The blogger plans to feature a new etsy shop each week. And I was lucky enough to be chosen for this weeks feature!
Read it here

And to top off my Monday I got 3 sales!!!! WooHoo!!!!

Oh! And my new earrings came in the mail! I was so excited about them I put them on in the post office parking lot. hahaha!

These are my gorgeous new earrings made by a fellow fantastic etsian! Check out her shop www.sarawestermark.etsy.com

Well, today is Tuesday, so technically more good can still happen. But even if it didn't I would be totally cool with it cause it has been so fantastic already!

I logged into my etsy this morning to find another sale!! Sweet!

Then I checked one of my new favorite sites (www.handmadeinpa.net). To find that Tara (the person who runs the show) wrote a fantastic article about my shop!!!!
Read it here

I seriously could not feel anymore fantastic than I do right now!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Project: Create Space

As a mom of two little children, my house looks more like an overstuffed toy store than a home. My husband and I would like to buy a bigger house, specifically because we have way too much stuff for ours. But, that just isn't gonna happen right now. So, I did what I could.

Project 1: Create playroom in semi-finished attic.

Our attic has panel walls (the cheap ugly fake wood kind). Only they were not put up correctly. Whoever put them up kinda just nailed pieces to the walls to kinda make it look finished.

This is the mess I refer to as my attic.
Our basement is creepy, and I do not like it down there. The walls are old stone and it stinks. So I keep everything stored in my attic.

So, what needs to be done?
1. Clean out everything. Put it in Totes and move it to the basement.
2. Get rid of the make shift shelves and oil cloth flooring
3. Do something about the walls/ceiling
4. Paint some furniture so it is inviting for the kids

Here is the finished product. I know the walls/ceiling isn't professionally done, but hey, it works.

Oh, and the other half of the attic remains my studio...just a little cleaner. :)

So now the important part. COST.
Paint and fabric was free, we had that stuff laying around. Carpet was also free, it was remnants from when we had our house carpeted. And the lovely futon cushion was also just stuffed in our attic being stored as we had no where to put it.
The only thing that cost me money was the totes. They were $7 each, and I got 5 of them. Best part is they are made from 99% recycled plastic. And they were cheaper than the other brands!

Project #2: The basement (coming soon)

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