Sunday, December 29, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 88

This week we head to Portugal..



Name: PUKACA - Isabel Vaz & Nuno Dias
Age: 8 years (PUKACA) - 40 years old (us 2)
Occupation: designers


"Tell us a little about yourself."
PUKACA was founded in 2005 by industrial designer Isabel Vaz & designer Nuno Dias. The team has dedicated people committed to design and manufacture unique creations, that are made thinking about and for children. Functionality and fun, allying innovative design with handmade Portuguese handicrafts.

"When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?"
We started to work together in the university and some years later we decided to create our own brand and started to put our ideas into practice. PUKACA was born at the same time as our son, Afonso in 2005, and we've opened our shop in Etsy in 2011.




"How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?"
Well, that's a long story. 


It all began with our felt finger puppets. The first one we made, a scarab/beetle, needed a name.
In ancient Egypt, the scarab was seen as a symbol of a heavenly cycle and of the idea or rebirth or regeneration.


Beetles roll dung into a ball as food and as a brood chamber in which to lay eggs that are later transformed into larva.


We decided to make a wordplay with "pu" that means "poo" and "kaca" that means "poo" in Portuguese. 


This is a great private joke, until today. : )


Our scarab had a name, PUKACA.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
Our Etsy shop is one of our online shops where you can find us. All of them together, are a full time job.




How would you describe your creative process?
Isabel loves to draw small creatures and Nuno loves to make them alive. We love to feel that our creations bring joy and happiness to everyone.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Our inspiration comes from the ages when children constructed their own toys or, invented their own stories.


In that universe existed several toys. Puppets, paper theaters, paper dolls, among others.
Our favorite themes are the traditional tales, the Brothers Grimm, the La Fontaine fables, the Medieval stories, the Circus, the Pirates, the Natural World and all the other worlds that belong to the children's imaginary.



Do you also sell your work at craft shows?
We usually participate in some craft shows in Portugal. 
In Lisbon, in Crafts & Design Fair, in the beautiful garden of Estrela; and in the CCB Market in Centro Cultural de Belém. And in Oporto, in the Annual Event of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.

What is your most cherished handmade item?
The Medieval Castle Paper Theater is our jewel.




Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
We love to travel, cycling and to visit museums. This is really inspiring to our work.

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
No. What can be more fun than having a toy factory? This is the perfect job!



Five years from now you will be…
We want to have a ton of creations on the hands of children all over the world. We have a lot of ideas to get out of our heads!

Describe yourself in five words:
Creative, fun, energetic, idealist and a dreamer.

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Elvis - A Little Less Conversation (A little less conversation, a little more action please)
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy
Lou Reed - Perfect Day
John Lennon - Imagine
The Lion King - Hakuna Matata



Friday, December 27, 2013

fff vol 96

Favorite finds from the past week:


Etsy find of the week:



I love this map. They also customize them and give you push pins to start your first pins. I have always wanted a map to outline everywhere I have been. While I haven't been to a lot of places (and none overseas) I have great plans to start within the next couple years (I've already started saving for a trip to Ireland that I haven been wanting to do for ages). Where have you been that is an absolute must see? Or dream of going??


Please can I move in?




I absolutely love this room.


Get in my belly!


A very big - yes, please!


Tee shirt   Sweater of the week:


I am so in love with this sweater, but you will never catch me paying $350 for any piece of clothing..


So Christmas has come and gone. It's so crazy because it didn't really feel like Christmas to me this year. The day just came and went and another Christmas behind us. 2014 is fast approaching. I cannot believe a year has past. I also cannot believe I am coming up on two years of having this blog. It's insane how fast time flies by. So many things have happened over the past two years since I started sharing my thoughts with you all. I will have to come up with a good anniversary post and a good New Years goals post.

We had planned on going out to Massachusetts this weekend, but I believe our plans have changed and we will stay home instead. If its nice we get to go play disk golf, I'm really excited because the mister got me a new disk that I've been wanted to try out. Do I sound like a complete nerd?! He used to go and play and I always thought it was this dorky thing to do and I never went with him. Then on a whim a few months ago he asked me to go and its so much fun. I can't believe how much I actually like it. I now actually have three of my own disks and am throwing it further and further each time. Now that its winter it will be few and far between when we get to go - but this weekend its supposed to be in the 40's and sunny - so as long as some of the snow melts away we should be okay to play.

Have you ever played? Don't judge until you try - because believe me it's a lot more fun than you think it would be!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas and Giveaway winner!


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!!

And if your name is Evelyn Blanco an even merrier Christmas as you are the winner of the Plad giveaway! She will be in touch with you shortly to send you your goodies!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Homemade Snickers Bars..




I have never been a chocolate lover so every halloween growing up my dad would steal all my snickers bars. They are his absolute favorite. When I found a homemade recipe last week, I decided I had to make them for him for one of his Christmas presents. 

I was a little worried that they would be hard to make. I love baking but I never seem to have good results when I try to make candies..but I assure you, they were simple to make and actually a lot of fun. I think if I make them again I'm going to make them peanut free so that I can test them out (I hate peanuts!)



Homemade Snickers Bars
[recipe from Nikki, who lightly adapted it from and old Taste of Home recipe]
makes one 9×13 pan
bottom chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Thoroughly grease you baking pan. Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into the baking dish and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.
nougat layer
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely.
caramel layer
1 14-ounce bag of caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth – this took about 10 minutes for me. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.
Top chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired. 


The mister told me they are awesome and taste just like a snickers bar. If you have a snickers lover in your family these should be on your "make me" list this holiday!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 87 PLUS GIVEAWAY!!

This week we head to the Ukraine (side note I am half Ukrainian!)



Name: Elena
Age: 28
Occupation: plushies maker
Etsy Shop: romeoshop.etsy.com & toyspatternclub.etsy.com

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! I’m Elena, mom and wife, crafter and programmer.
My lovely family and my sweet home are  most important things in my life.
I love to travel, be near kind people, look at bright colors and make funny creatures. I do not like ... only chocolate butter.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I have a son Romeo, so my business name is related with him. I have always loved to sew but free time for my hobby appeared only after the birth of my son. When I registered my shop Romeo was such a sweet little newborn! Now he is three years, as well as my store on Etsy. He is not very fond of soft toys, he’s a fan of cars. Anyway Romeo stays my main inspiration.



Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
No. I’m a programmer by profession and I like this job too. Soft toys sewing is my hobby, my relaxation and so on. But it's not a way for making money. And I like that.
But I've been sewing and drawing in all times. When I was a little girl, my mom sewed beautiful dresses for the ladies.   I have make toys of fabric scraps. It was a wonderful time! We did not have the Internet and ready patterns. Only magazine «Burda» and my own ideas.
I love to make toys because they are bulky, cute and cheerful, toys can be hugging, love it!





How would you describe your creative process?
My first rule is to work in a good mood. If I don’t have it, it’s better to do nothing. My toys are cheerful and positive. It’s possible only if crafter is happy. I draw a picture first and then coloring it by crayons. I can experiment with facial expression long time, I like create emotions. Then I make pattern and sew.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration sometimes is too much!  I’m usually have a lot of ideas.
I am inspired by my son, nature, beautiful books and cartoons, other crafters. There is amazing Russian cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog" – highly recommended!

What is your most cherished handmade item?
Its folk dolls “Motanka” made by my aunt. This doll is one of the most ancient of Ukrainian, handmade household items.  It's not just a souvenirs or toy; it is a symbol of the hearth and the guardian of the family. I know this gift was made with the best wishes for me. I believe that they keep safe my family.
I have a greeting card from my friend’s small daughter also. She writes my name on it. This is a very precious gift.



Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I love to work in my garden or cook, because I like to be alone sometimes. I love winter sports. My son and I sledding every day last time.

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
I dreamed of being doctor and help people. Some time I wanted to be a fireman. Now I am glad that I have.


Five years from now you will be…
I will be… I do not know. I have many plans, but nothing grand. My goal is to make a lot of cute and funny toys during this time.



Describe yourself in five words: positive, curious, dreamy, active, colorful

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
I love rock music and I have two favorite bands: Ukrainian “Ocean Elzy” and Latvians “Brainstorm”.

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
If you can do something handmade, if someone like your crafts - of course you must try!


Elena is currently having a 20% off sale in her shop using code "SALE20"

She is also giving away one of her adorable rag dolls!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 20, 2013

fff vol 95

Favorite finds from the past week:


Etsy find of the week:



I love this new shop I found..


Please can I move in?



Amazing view..


Get in my belly!



Yes please!


Tee shirt of the week:


Another Zen threads favorite..


I can't believe Christmas is this next week. This year completely flew by. Lots of little projects to get done before Christmas. What have you all been up? Anyone else making their Christmas presents?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

an unexpected hiatus..


It feels like forever since I have shared anything personal on this blog. It was going to be a short mini break so that I could have time to get ready for a weekend long craft show and then turned into almost a two month radio silence. I didn't mean it to happen, but it just did. Time got away from me.

Every day was spent working, then immediately working on either making soaps, lip balms, crocheting wash cloths, printing labels, making new designs etc etc etc. It was a much needed break from the computer but also a very busy time. I definitely over prepared for a show that turned into a dud. You never know how shows are going to go until you do them, but I had pretty high expectations for how it was supposed to go..it went nothing like I had expected.

The crowd was much smaller, I was sharing a booth and the first day barely anyone stepped foot inside our little area. It was very upsetting. My friend and I couldn't figure out what was happening because we both felt we had great items (of course!). Day one came to a close and it was financially very upsetting.

Day two came and the vendor that was supposed to set up behind us didn't show to set up so we asked if one of us could move into the empty spot - and were granted the move. Day two went so much better, more people looked and bought my goodies. I am convinced that day one's slowness had a lot to do with how we had to lay out our goods because of sharing a space. Live and learn. Not convinced if I will do the show again, but at least I made my vendor spot money back and a little extra. I am excited to announce that I have enough money saved up that I will be able to begin offering my deodorants in the next couple months. I'm in the design stage for my labels. I'm so excited to get these out and for sale.

Anyway..so a long hiatus turned even longer due to me being sick for now almost 2 weeks. I joked that I have the plague but seriously, this sickness is just hanging on and not giving up. I am much better than I was last week but still rarely on the computer. 

I think my problem was that I have been away now for a few months..what do I share? A lot has happened, yet not much to really address. I got to a point where I felt I didn't really have anything to say or share even if I had the time to sit and type. Do any of you go through these periods? I haven't even read other blogs in weeks. Some days I feel like I am on the computer all day for work, the last thing I want to do is get on it again when I finish working. I've just been making presents for Christmas and hanging out at home, nothing too exciting.

We are going to begin the renovations inside - you remember the room we gutted last year with crazy plans and ideas..then Kevin left his job and the gutted room sat. Over the next month that room will begin to be worked on and then hopefully the renovations will move upstairs. This next year is the year we get the majority of this house done. I am determined to have it happen! So I'm hoping that there will be weekly updates to share.

Not too much else is going on. I will be having an "after Christmas sale" in my shop - so keep your eyes peeled for a discount code after Christmas to get some goodies you may have on your list of wants to spend your Christmas money on!

I hope everyone is doing well and that you all have stuck around in my mini hiatus. Winter is slow around these parts - not much to really share but I will try my best to not go into a two month hermit period again. 

What has everyone been up to? Any exciting news or holiday plans to share? Hope all is well with everyone..



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

wiw vol 43 The Whale


85 minutes - G - 2011
Streaming Netflix

Storyline

The true story of a young killer whale, an orca nicknamed Luna, who makes friends with people after he gets separated from his family on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. As rambunctious and surprising as a visitor from another planet, Luna endears himself to humans with his determination to make contact, which leads to laughter, conflict and unexpected consequences.



This movie will have you laughing and cheering on the little whale. I know, had I lived there, I would have been out seeing and fighting for Luna every day. A beautiful documentary about a very special little whale that called humans his family for a few short years.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 86 PLUS GIVEAWAY!!

This week we head to Varna, Europe..






Name: Plamena 

Age: 37
Occupation: artist 
Etsy Shop: plad

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a printmaker artist, graduated in Fine Art Academy in Sofia. I am from Bulgaria. This is a small but historically rich country in Eastern Europe that is going through very difficult times tight now.  Although all the negative things that are going on right now, we still can find peace and happiness from our beautiful nature. In fact this is what makes me very happy and what inspires me the most – Nature.

I live near the Black Sea coast and the sea and the beaches are my source or energy and the place where I get my work ‘supplies’. I love Nature so very much and always try to live a simple but yet happy life together with the people I love.



When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?  

I have always been creating things of all kind. I feel like this is what I was made for – creating.
I just need to make something with my hands all the time. I have opened my Etsy shop in 2010. My initial idea was to show all the different things I love to create, besides my engravings.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?

My shop name is just a shorter combination of my first and last names. I just came up with it in a rush to finish my registration, not realizing I cannot change it later on. On the next day I have already had a long list with shop names that I have thought of and I was so disappointed to find out I cannot change my shop’s name. And since my English is not perfect at all, I was really happy to know it does not stand for something bad. One year later, changing the shop name was already possible, but I could not find that list of names … just kidding. I have decided not to do it because my shop has already gained some popularity and I thought people would look for the name I have already had.  I realized that the name has turned into my own trademark.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?

I definitely spend most of my time working on the shop and the orders I get in Etsy. But I also need to get enough time to draw. I try to find the perfect balance between the two but it is not always possible. Taking care of an online business is a really time-consuming job, but the hours spent online worth it!

How would you describe your creative process?

My whole idea of the shop was to create what I really loved to create, not what people would possibly buy. My work process begins of my favorite thing to do going out for walks in the nature. This is where I gather the pieces that I turn into small creatures. I collect driftwood at the beach and also wood pieces from the forest. These nature walks are my source of energy and inspiration.

It happens very often that a certain wooden piece itself ‘tells’ me what to make out of it. Sometimes they have their little ‘noses’ and then I envision them as magical little creatures and recreate that.

I carve the wood with the simplest tool and after that I use sandpaper to smooth it. I love to combine raffia with wood. I use it to crochet the birds ‘wings for example as well as acorns’ caps, miniature baskets and other things.

Raffia is a wonderful natural material and I love to experiment in dyeing it with natural coloring like walnut leaves and beet for exampleI also use dry corn leaves and dried squash that are grown by my grandmother.
I am a great miniature fan. As an artist, I work mainly in the area of small graphic forms and this love for miniatures can be ‘seen’ in my Etsy shop. Making things in smaller size gives them such a special feeling and touch. I also feel like miniatures bring so much coziness.


  
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly from Nature. I love animals those that exist and the ones I imagine.
  
Do you also sell your work at craft shows?  
No. Unfortunately craft shows are not very popular here.

What is your most cherished handmade item? 
I am not sure. Maybe my miniature drawer chests.



Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

When I have spare time I love to cook, read, I adore going to the mountains and the beaches. Having picnics with my dear friends and family is also one of my best things to do.  I love swimming and diving.
I also love to go on a fossil ‘hunt’ on rocky beaches with my brother. We do not find many of them but when we do, it is real celebration!

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?  
When I was a kid I wanted to be a writer and to draw my own book’s illustrations. By now, I have completed half of this ‘plan’ I now have to write a book J

Five years from now you will be…
I imagine I will have my own beautiful dream house with a art room full of light and a beautiful view. I will live there with my boyfriend, our cat and a cute dog I want to adopt.



Describe yourself in five words:
contemplative, forgetful,
idealist , nature lover, artist

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

Coldplay – Clocks  
Cafe Del Mar - Dusk
Bonobo – Pick up
Jamiroquai-Seven days in sunny June
Moby – Porcelain


Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows? 

I would advise them to create unique things. I would advise them to create things that will come out of their hearts and souls. This is what will bring them happiness.


Plamena has been awesome enough to also offer a giveaway of one of her wooden bird brooch creations!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 13, 2013

fff vol 94

Favorite finds from the past week:


Etsy find of the week:


Cutest tights ever!



Please can I move in?



Norway here I come..



Get in my belly!


Every day is a good day for pie..


Tee shirt Jacket of the week:


Cutest little vest jacket in the world..I must own this!


So, I had every intension of getting back to blogging with REAL, solid posts this week...then..I got sick. And I mean SICK.

It started when I came home from work last Thursday and I knew a sore throat was coming on..little did I know that a week later I would still have swollen glands, the cough from hell, sore throat, running nose..ear aches ..you name it. It was/is horrible and totally draining. I even missed my market I was supposed to sell at last Saturday. It was a bummer of a week..and still one day left of work. Im feeling a bit better now, except for the fact that when I cough it now makes me ..umm.. toss everything in my belly. Ugh, I can't win. Just hoping this is the final stage of this death plague and that I can be better and make it to the market Im supposed to sell at this Saturday.

We'll see.. how is everyone else? It's too early in the season for me to already have the plague - this is usually a febuary-march sickness I get. Hope it doesn't come back - I've had more than enough of it for one season! Hope everyone is wearing their doctor masks and warding the plague off.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

wiw vol 42


2010 - R - 84 minutes

Storyline

On Christmas Eve in Finland, Santa Claus is unearthed in an archaeological dig. Soon after, children start disappearing, leading a boy and his father to capture Santa and, with the help of fellow hunters, they look to sell him back to the corporation that sponsored the dig. And then there's Santa's elves, who are determined to free their leader...



This has been on my list "to watch" for quite some time. We meant to watch it last year at Christmas and somehow the season flew by and it never made it to be seen. So this year, we made sure to watch it. 

It is definitely not your average "jolly good time" Christmas movie. But it kicks ass in a very disturbing and creepy way. I am in love with this movie and it will probably be on my "watch it" every Christmas from now going forward. 

Do you have Christmas movies you watch every year? I watch Emmit Otter, Christmas Vacation, Elf and A Christmas Story every year without fail. If I'm feeling girlie and emotional I will throw in Love Actually. I know some people watch Nightmare Before Christmas - but for me, I seem to usually watch that more around Halloween time every year, don't know why seeing that it does have Santa and all...

I'd love to hear your Christmas movies that you watch each year - and any odd ball weirdo ones I may not know about!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 85

This week we head to the Czech Republic..



Name: Oli Divisova
Age: 30
Occupation: ceramic designer
Etsy Shop:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/OlisCupboard

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in South Bohemia in the Czech Republic and I’m a ceramic designer still in the process of working on my own brand. I live with my fiancé Oliver, and thanks to his support I finally started doing what I love: making ceramic. And it feels great.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?

Although my background is in ceramic design I never made ceramic. I was more focused on ceramic sculpture so every year me and my friends from our art group have a group exhibition. We’ve been going for more than 10 years now. It’s a great way to be forced to create new stuff and stay in touch with creative people. I’ve always been teaching and when I decided to do ceramic, the biggest inspiration was to see my senior students at the University of the third age enjoying themselves and working in clay. So I just decided to start living my dream and stop thinking if I can make it or if I’m good enough. It’s never too late and the only thing I regret is not starting before. I’ve been selling on Etsy for about one year now, and it was such a great idea to join in.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?

My brand is simply Oli, while my shop’s name is Oli’s cupboard, because I store my ceramic in a beautiful vintage cupboard at home.



Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?

It hasn’t quite yet, but it would be nice if it was. We’ll see☺

How would you describe your creative process?

I think just like every creative person. I carry my sketchbook everywhere to catch some ideas, do some sketches and then I just make them real. I have many sketchbooks in my drawer and it’s great to go back to them when I run out of ideas. But that hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes I feel like I need 10 arms to create all the ideas I have.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get inspired by simple things around me. Because my ceramic is meant to be used, it has to have a practical design. I love original things, so I usually create items I’d love to have at home. Also I like traditional craft stuff, so our loftspace in our cottage is great for inspiration!



Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 

No, I don’t. I’ve been doing ceramic for one year, so I haven't had time to attend any craft shows. But I’m planning to do it next year.

What is your most cherished handmade item?

If you mean from items I made, than it’s my pillow jar with a tassel. And from items not made by me, it’s an old vintage jewelry jar with a sweet donkey on top.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

I like fulfilling my dreams. So I recently started attending piano lessons. It’s hard, but amazingly rewarding. Apart from that I like table tennis, travelling, and the simple joy of sunny days and our sweet dog-creature Sara.



Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?

Haha, yes, I wanted to be a piano genious like W.A. Mozart or a painter. Both my parents could play the piano, but I was put in artschool when I was a kid. They were probably forced by their parents to play the piano and didn’t want me to go through it. So now I’m forcing myself to practice.

Five years from now you will be…

A full-time ceramic designer with a big cozy studio so I can start teaching ceramic courses.

Describe yourself in five words:

creative, friendly, stubborn, hardworking …..and I’d love say self-confident, but I’m working on it.

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your record player, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

Monsters and Men
Arcade Fire
Mozart's Requiem
Johnny Cash
Daft punk's Get lucky

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?

Just go for it! It’s a great experience. At first I was nervous if everything is fine, also showing my stuff for the first time to the public. But being in touch with your customers, seeing them using the things you made, getting feed back, that’s just pushing me to keep on going and knowing that what I’m doing is right. Also without my Oliver I’d be storing my ceramic in my old vintage cupboard and no one would ever see it☺