Sunday, September 30, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 24

This week we head to my old stomping ground..New England

Name: Tuesday Bassen
Age: 23
Occupation: Illustrator and Designer

Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm a full time freelancer that lives in an old Victorian home with two other Illustrators and my cat, Mischka Babayaga. I recently moved from my Brooklyn apartment to a small New England town to pursue a different quality of life.

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

I'm an Illustrator by trade and graduated with a BFA in Illustration and Design from MCAD and Brighton UNI. I opened an Etsy shop while in school, but only actually started using it last December when I was experimenting with clay and ceramics.

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

It's my full given name. :)

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

My Etsy shop is an excellent supplement to my Illustration career and consider it a facet of what I do. 

How would you describe your creative process?

With Illustration, I sketch lots, erase, sketch, erase, get melodramatic, sketch, sketch, ink, and then color digitally. With my Ceramic work, I find it a lot more intuitive and go directly to painting on pottery with a brush and non-toxic glazes.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Though it’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing or person that inspires my work, I find myself returning to a few things and people that continuously “wow” me: Modernism√© architecture, vintage seed packets, cigarette cards, early 90′s independent comic books (Dirty Plotte, Meat Cake, Peep Show), campy horror movies, Sally Cruikshank, Fleisher Brothers animation studio, Gaslight Era design, and female rappers (Lil’ Kim and BO$$ are my favorites).

What is your most cherished handmade item?

I have lots of handmade things around that house that I love, but I have a small collection of original paintings by my good friend, and now roommate, Yelena Bryksenkova. I think that her work is so unique and beautiful, I love getting lost in all of her tiny details. My most cherished of the four originals I own is one that was commissioned for my Birthday, with a scene of me in my "ideal" room--the rounded bit of a brownstone--with my cat, my favorite books, music, and drawings all beautifully painted into a perfect scene.

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

Since moving to New England, I've started doing a lot of rural exploring, going on hikes, picking apples, and using my time here to learn to knit and take kickboxing. PLUS I go back to NYC weekly to go to openings and visit friends, which is always great.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?

It's hard to imagine not making something with my hands, but I love communicating on behalf of other people. I had a fairly short stint as a Project Manager/Agent and really enjoyed talking about other Illustrators' work and finding jobs that were a good fit. 
OR I'd be happy working for a florist or a baker, but that might fall under the "artist" category.

Five years from now you will be…

It's hard to say. It's exciting to know that I could do anything that I want and I'm lucky to have a good support system. I envision moving to different cities, like Austin and LA, but I'm content letting magic happen.

Describe yourself in five words:

Cheerful, invested, excitable, fickle, and present.

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

Alone Again Or--Love, Genesis--Grimes, Jea Deux L' Amour--Josephine Baker, When Will You Come Home--Galaxie 500, Stockholm Syndrome--Yo La Tengo

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

Go for the gut! Make something that you want to make and trust your instincts--people will know if it's not genuine and there's so much out there that you should let your freak (or straight laced) flag fly.

Friday, September 28, 2012

fff vol 34

Favorite finds from the last week: 

1. Etsy find of the week: 

You know me and my love for all things "mint". When I came across this stand mixer it was instant love.

2. Blog of the week: 

If you don't know Sarah you should. Simply put. She is one of the nicest girls I have ever had the pleasure of calling a friend. She is one of those girls that always has a big toothy smile and makes you instantly wonder how she could always be so positive. I want her optimism to rub off on me a bit more! Please go check her and her art work out. 

ps. cat lovers - she is a definite cat lover and most awesome cat mama!!

3. Please can I move in?

I'd love to be spending my nice cool fall nights on this deck next to the fire.

4. Get in my belly... 

One of my favorite fall and winter dinners, hands down is stuffed shells. YUM!

5. Tee shirt of the week from Johnny Cupcakes

ahhhh..a new favorite from Johnny Cupcakes. 

So what are the weekend plans?

Me? Farmer's Market..then the weekend will be spent making over 200 lip balms.. packaging.. labeling.. organizing.. preparing.. and i'm sure a little bit of stressing.. only one more week to go. How is it already going to be October?! Where did this year go!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

garden update

It's gone! Our new updated front yard is coming together. We've had to wait for the weather to cool down before we could tear out and transplant. I KNOW our neighbors must think we smoke crack with how many times we have changed up this yard! We don't, really, we don't. 

On Sunday the mister stated he was on a mission to get the yard cleaned up (he even passed up going out to dinner at one of his favorite places to keep working!) When I went out to check on him I was not expecting what I saw.

I was a little taken back but with everything gone I can picture exactly what it's going to be next year. We are still going to build the boxes that are currently in place to all be two boards high - then we will build small boxes off those. In the center where the hibiscus are currently residing will be a 4'x 4' square to house potatoes!!! I'm so excited for that my potato box I can hardly contain myself. Once all the boxes are completed, hopefully over the next couple weeks we wanted to put down super heavy mulch. Unfortunately everyone is sold out locally (we wanted natural and all everyone has left is the different colored mulches) So the mulch will have to wait until the spring. But I'm really excited and can't believe the amount of work he got done in one afternoon. It totally would have taken me a week, maybe more to do what he did! Plus I'm sure I would have been trying to save everything where he got rid of things that were invasive and things he didn't want out there. 

Some plants will be moved to the patch between the sidewalk and the road and some others will be moved to the backyard. I believe all the bee-balm will be going in the backyard. The peonies will also be moved and a row of dwarf apple trees will be going in as well to line the property.

Just so crazy the amount of changes this yard has undergone in the years we have been here. My real goal for next year is to be able to have the roof redone and to paint the house. With the gardens, a new roof and some paint it will start looking a bit better and we won't be the scary house on the block any longer. Well we probably still will be..seeing as though our plans (as of current) are to paint the house black! It will be awesome, don't be scared.

Anyone else a home owner? Have crazy stress and nightmares of owning your own home? I really wish we could pick up and take this house and plop it down somewhere with lots of land. It has so much character. If only we could come into some money so we can just fix it up and get it to where we want it to be. Ah the stresses of owning a home...

Monday, September 24, 2012

me? miss spontaneity?!

On Saturday, I think someone else took over my body. The mister and I are usually hermits. We don't like crowds and both get anxiety and uncomfortable in social settings, especially around people we don't know. As usual we headed out to the Farmer's Market and always stop by the same vendors who have gotten to know us over the past two years. This one vendor where we get some of our meats from are roughly our age (I've mentioned them before that I would love to befriend them because I think we'd have lots in common) Well..when we where leaving they gave us a little invitation to come to their farm to check it out and have a fall equinox cookout. The mister and I both really wanted to go but both had a bit of anxiety. Would it be super awkward? Who else was going to be there? Was it basically just going to be all their friends and we'd be the oddballs not fitting in and no one understanding why we were there? 

We went back and forth on our decision and decided we'd go. We'd do something totally out of our comfort zone. So we prepared some roasted rosemary and garlic potatoes and set off. When we got to the farm there were two other couples there with their children. Because it was raining we all piled in their farm house and waited for some more people to show up. Everyone was so nice and really open, asking us questions and striking up conversations. 

We got to see their amazing farm, meet some great people and saw an amazing sunset. 

We ended the night hanging out by a fire and staying hours later than we had planned. Sometimes it's nice to do something out of your comfort zone, I might just have to try it more often.

What did you do this weekend? Anything out of the normal?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 23

We are headed to Albuquerque, NM this week..

Name: Erica Voges

Age: 29
Occupation: Owner and Designer for Caustic Threads
Etsy Shop: CausticThreads

Tell us a little about yourself.

According to my friends and Husband, I may just be superwoman. I feel too modest to agree with them, but I do juggle quite an eclectic variety of activities, and I have not understood the meaning of the word “bored” since high school.

I work from home with my beautiful girls. Autumn is almost four and argues so much I have started saving for her to go to Harvard Law, I don’t think that $5.00 will get her very far. Penelope is a 14 month old Cherub with striking blue eyes and pale blonde hair.

I also play roller derby. I skate on a home team and on my leagues travel team. Between practice and cross training at the gym with my trainer I put in 6 days and about 10 hours a week. I met my husband playing roller derby, I was a skater, he was a referee.

I have a degree in fashion design, and always pictured a more glamorous life. Somehow, although my life diverged so drastically from the childhood dream, it is absolutely perfect. I could not be happier.

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

I have been creating as long as I can remember. I used to drape fabric on myself when I was a young child and throw fashion shows for my family. I love painting , drawing, designing, and sewing. I started an etsy shop called Acrylic and Steel with my husband . I came up with my name for my current shop, CausticThreads, in September of 2009, but did not start listing items until April 15th of 2010.

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

I had an idea for a new store. While I was trying to come up with a name I was hiking in an old fort in the Portland Oregon area. I’m not sure exactly where it was, possibly a beautiful place erroneously called Cape Disappointment. The corroding metal doors were orange with rust and had this beautiful urban decay thing going on that was very inspiring. I spent some time brainstorming variations that included something about corroding and something about clothing, and knew it would be Caustic Threads as soon as it hit the paper. It gets across a vague idea of what I sell and is also a play on words, and I am a sucker for a pun.

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

Yes, this business that revolves around my etsy store is my full time job, and I have one very awesome employee that helps me with paperwork, packaging orders, and miscellaneous other tasks, like taking my kids to the park and modeling for my photos.

How would you describe your creative process?

I do a lot of brainstorming. I draw things I like, and then print them on shirts. I get a lot of requests and if they fit within the general scheme of my store sometimes I do those designs too. I am not very good at… not working…. So if I am watching a movie with my husband or waiting at a Dr’s appointment I am probably drawing. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I make things I think are awesome. If I want something and I can’t find it, I make it. I also love just walking slowly through craft stores to get ideas.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows?

Not often, I do sell at roller derby bouts though. 

• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready? 

Preparing when I do sell items in person is usually chaotic. I always try to not wait until the last minute to finish things, but I tend to work until the very last second, even when I have more than enough.

 What is your most cherished handmade item? 

I have purchased tons of handmade items, but the ones I cherish most are the ones my husband made. On my second date with my husband he gave me a roller skate bearing necklace with an amber center, similar to the ones we sell in my store but harder to make. I knew then I would marry him, but it took me a while to convince HIM. We also bought our wedding rings from BendTheFish on etsy, and those are definitely high on my list of favorite handmade items. 

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

I love biking, playing roller derby, playing with my kids, hiking, skating, making out with my husband, going to the zoo and botanical gardens, and cooking. 

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?

It is really hard to imagine not being an artist, but there was a time when I considered being a math teacher. I love math, especially geometry. 

Five years from now you will be…

There was a time when I would try to forecast my life. While I think that planning is very important, I know better than to say I will be doing anything specific. I can only hope that I am as happy in 5 years as I am now. 

Describe yourself in five words:

crazy, diligent, shy, enthusiastic, TIRED

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?

In no real order:
Stray Cats- Stray Cat Strut
Cake- Rock’n’Roll Lifestyle
Ani Difranco- Untouchable Face
Glen Miller Band- In The Mood
Jurassic 5- Quality Control

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

If you want to do something (assuming it is legal, etc) just do it. If you do not do something because you are afraid or insecure the only person keeping you from doing it is yourself. This was a hard lesson to learn because I am naturally insecure, and an invaluable perspective that running my own business has given me. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Hive Update

Alrighty folks, you all know me enough by now that you know I will change my mind a good 50 times (possibly more) before really putting full faith and force into something. I want to thank everyone who either voted in my poll or sent me a personal email regarding which label I should use, I really do appreciate feedback. Even if I go in a different direction, please know that I take everything anyone has ever said to me into consideration.

As for the labels. "Number One" was the winning vote from everyone online and all my friends and family.

I don't know, there was just something about them that I wasn't in love with. Something was off. So I took a couple days and hemmed and hawed....and then came up with the final label. Had I had more time, I'm sure they probably would have been changed again! But I was in a time crunch, labels NEEDED to be ordered. As it is I'm really pushing it and they will get here just days before the show!

I really like the final outcome. A little more vibrant and the lettering won't confuse anyone. I would think now people would know how to hold the label to read it. Apparently there was confusion on the others?! I guess when you are the creator of things sometimes it's confusing why others don't get your vision! But last thing I want is any confusion! So we rectified that possible mishap. I ordered them from Frontier Label. I love that company. They are who I used when I had Bill Pickles Dog Co. I ordered them on Recycled paper so I think the background won't be stark white, I'm excited to see them. I'm always nervous until I have the final outcome in my hand. But this was a big expense I laid out for these so I have my fingers and toes crossed that everything comes out perfect and that they are centered and beautiful! 

In other creating news - I made up my business cards. I don't know how this happened but it was quick and pretty painless creating them. 

Here is the front:

and the back: (may look a little weird- its just the white goes all the way out and the fonts are in the center of the card)

I really like them a lot. I like the simplicity and use of just black and white. I was screwing around with the fronts for quite some time and then I just created these and loved them. At times simple and to the point is the best way to go. 

Everything is coming together. This weekend will be massive lip balm making. I don't have a ton of containers, only enough to make roughly 25 of each flavor. I have no clue what this show will bring. It could be a complete bust or a gold mine. It really is going to solely depend on the weather. Good vibes need to be sent to Oneida NY for Columbus Day weekend that there is NO rain!! 

I still have lots to do. Here is my current checklist:

  1. Make and package lip balms
  2. Label and seal lip balms (I ordered awesome little wraps to shrink wrap the balms!)
  3. Finalize the soap label
  4. Print and label all soaps
  5. Finish crocheting washcloths
  6. Create chalk board
  7. Finalize display set up
  8. Take pictures of all products for Etsy shop
Getting exciting! The Etsy shop will go live the Monday following the show and will be stocked with whatever I have remaining. I'm already coming up with a few different ideas on soaps and already know which ones I'm not really fond of and won't be making again. If anyone has any requests on soaps send them my way. I'm more than willing to entertain different combinations!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2012

fff vol 33

Favorite finds from the last week: 

1. Etsy find of the week: 

This set of six tumblers. Super cute. I want them!!

2. Blog of the week: 

I love Kayla's blog. Anyone that can make 30 days of lists and compile them into a crazy book is super awesome. Gold star on your forehead type of awesome. Plus she is a self-proclaimed weird face maker just like me! Go check her out now!

3. Please can I move in?

With my recent plant luck, I am now obsessed with plants and want them everywhere in my home. Then I came across this room and couldn't stop staring at every detail. I am smitten with everything in this room, right down to the rusty little childrens pedal car. Perfection.

4. Get in my belly... 

I love peaches. Yum Yum Yum. I also love nectarines. I wonder if I combined peaches and nectarines.. I think it just might make the perfect, super delicious muffin.

5. Tee shirt of the week from Threadless


So I don't have just one shirt to share with you this week because I couldn't possibly narrow it down. There are even a few more designs than I put on here. But these are some of my favorites from Jeremyville's collection. The "stuff happens" shirt WILL be in my collection soon!

The past couple weeks have been insanely busy. Just trying to finish up everything to get ready for this show. I ordered my lip balm labels (check out my post tomorrow to see the final design) and now I just need to make lots and lots of balms. Still have to create and print all my soap labels..finish crocheting my scrubbies.. create my blackboard for the booth. I ordered my business cards (check tomorrow's post as well). So with all this going on I've been bad - haven't been good at keeping up with my favorite blogs, have slacked on writing back emails (if I owe you one I promise to write you soon!) and one special Canadian is still waiting on a hand written letter from me (I promise it's coming!) 

Lots of promises! But once things get settled and slow down around here I will get back on track and hopefully will feel like my head isn't going in 50 million directions at once. I'm so excited to get everything in and start selling. Start making some spare money and start on my path to hopefully finding my way out..(like the tee-shirt above)

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Plans?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wolf Oak Acres

This weekend launches off my sister's fall festival at Wolf Oak Acres Each year she seems to add something new to the festivities. This year they added "Ballistic Ball" (it's like paint ball without the paint it shoots out softer balls at people. no pain and no mess!), Life size lincoln logs! Seriously so awesome!!!, and another attraction called splatzone alley. This is in addition to all her other fun stuff she had previously - corn cannons,  slingshots, a cow train, pig racing, ginormous pedal carts, a bouncy pillow, gem mining, hay rides, and of course the HUGE, and main attraction the corn maze. They of course have concessions and a gift shop as well. Evenings she has outdoor movies and a flashlight maze. 

But mostly if you live in the NY area you should be focused on her Columbus Day weekend festival. Last year they had thousands and thousands of people come for the 4 day event.

Guys THIS is what I've been preparing for! Hopefully the weather is as beautiful as it was last year. She has over 20 hot air balloons scheduled again this year along with a HUGE craft festival. People literally came from Canada and surrounding states for it last year. 

Lets all hope and keep the positive vibes flowing this way that she has another fantastic season. If you do stop on by, stop in and see me because I'll have my booth set up (the hive botanicals) selling my soaps! Say HI! I'm sure I'll be in and around other weekends as well helping her out. So send me an email if you'll be in town!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a bit of honesty...

It's not a secret that the past month or so I've been pretty bummed. Little things have been upsetting more than they normally would. At some point you just get to a place where you don't want to be walked all over anymore. You get fed up with being used and mistreated and then you just break. It was just a compilation of many things that had been eating away at me and I really think the "interview" was the breaking point. It put into perspective that I do not fit in working for corporate America (I already knew this- it just added a little more weight to the scale). There is no respect given to us and it has become very obvious that we are all just a spec in a big dirt pile.  This is not how I want to live. I can't continue to work for a company that I personally have lost all respect for. 

So while I put my life in order and figure out my next move I wanted to share with you a small list of things that I am grateful for. 

* The simplicity and joy of blowing on a poofie. (yes, that is the official name of the above specimen. yup. definitely called a poofie)
*Sunny, but cool Fall days
*Laughing to tears almost daily with my mister
*my friends for putting up with my weirdness - (like when I ask them what the official name is for the above named item and they start giving me some boring answer and I cut them off and tell them I don't like that answer and I have renamed said item "poofies"
*driving back country roads with no particular destination 
*ice cream on a hot day when it melts faster than you can ingest it!
*the moment you feel and smell the change in the season from summer to fall
*cuddling under the blankets with all my girls
*listening to music by a fire while crocheting and talking for hours with the mister
*living in the Northeast and watching the leaves change
*all of my readers and new friends I have made from having this blog. Thank you!

and lastly.. 
the moment you snap out of that bad mood and realize all the positives that came with the negatives you just experienced

What are you grateful for?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lip Balm Layout Poll- Open through Monday at Midnight

I'm calling for everyone's advice! But it needs to be fast, I need to order my labels asap and can't decide which layout I've made that I like best. (yeah yeah save your comments about my incisiveness for someone who cares!)

Which lip balm layout do you like best? free polls 

Here is a mock up of the new soap labels too. I'm just printing these at home for now so there isn't a rush on these. They may change a smidgen but it's the basic jest of it.  

The grey lines are just lines to show you where the folds are. The "wash smart" is on the top of the bar, the "H" logo is on the bottom (its really hard to read on here- but it says "Born in NY - Lathered Everywhere".) Then the back flap has the ingredients and website info.

I REALLY appreciate everyone's feedback. Please vote by tomorrow night. I need to order them no later than Wednesday of this week.

Buy Handmade vol 22

This week we are heading to Colchester, England.

Name: Becky Kemp
Age: 31
Occupation: Creator

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live and work in the Southeast of England. It has taken me 10 years since I graduated from Art School but I am now exactly where I have always wanted to be, creating and working for myself. I couldn’t be happier.

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

I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. My mother has a battered old photo of me barely old enough to walk sitting in our back garden making a house from cement, bits of wood and stones while my dad was building an extension on our house.  Mum was sewing and painting watercolours and Dad was building model railways when I was a kid so I never lacked inspiration or encouragement.

I opened my Etsy shop at the end of March last year as a quick fix to sell some paintings which I couldn’t find room for. I sold nothing until September but 16 months later I’m now self-employeed. It’s still weird to think that my Sketchbook creations are walking the streets of places I’ve never visited on someone else’s cardigan or adorning a living room wall….I have to pinch myself sometimes.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it? is simply a play on words to describe my creative process ‘Sketching’ and ‘Pen & Ink’.

How would you describe your creative process?

My Sketchbooks chronicle every doodle and idea that pops into my head. If I had to save one thing from my house in an emergency it would be my Sketchbooks. Although my Studio is a little  (very) chaotic at times every piece is planned on paper first. The usual refining process starts when it leaves the page but the end product more often than not closely resembles the original sketch. I am a Sketcher and Painter at heart but I would never define myself as either. There are so many fantastic mediums out there to express your self, I find it very hard to stick with just one or two. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

With my trusty Sketchbooks to hand I’m usually jotting ideas down from noon till night. The best ideas always come 5 minutes before I fall asleep so the bedside locker is always staked with paper and pencils. I doodle a lot and mess around with colour combinations and forms, I love Japanese animation, abstract expressionism, wrapping paper, textile patterns and anything else I can get my hands on. The nesting dolls where inspired by a girl in Russian Doll fancy dress on a night out which reminded me of my Grandmother’s Russian Dolls I used to deface with a marker pen.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 

No. But I love the idea of selling face to face with a customer and have been invited to some craft shows this December. If I get myself organized in time you may find me behind a stall on Colchester High Street in a neon rain coat, earmuffs and a hot chocolate.


What is your most cherished handmade item?

Hands down a beautiful Quilt made by my mother last Christmas. I found out afterwards that it had taken her all year to make. When I lived in North Wales I was constantly complaining about the cold and the Quilt became the perfect cocoon wrap for a Sunday afternoon on the sofa watching Downton Abbey repeats with a Hot Chocolate in one hand and a paint brush in the other.

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

Creating takes up the majority of my time but I do love to roam vintage clothes shops and rummage through ebay for second hand clothes and make them my own. I have a not so small collection of Illustrations and Vinyl Character Toys, which is quickly taking over every shelf and wall space I have spare. I’m also that annoying friend who has to instagram evvvvvvverything!

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?

I would love to study stop motion animation, sculpting the figures and building their armature, fascinating! I’ve always loved the old Ray Harryhausen movies (Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad) but I’m not sure if I would have the patients to create 25 frames per second.

Five years from now you will be…

Driving to the Post Office in a Mini Cooper instead of sprinting on foot (I am STILL learning to drive). Living in my own home rather than renting and successful enough to take a few holidays without feeling guilty.

Describe yourself in five words:


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

Oh no! this could be really embarrassing…opening iTunes now!
In descending order…
1. Daniel- Bat for Lashes
2. Colorblind – Counting Crows
3. Underdog - Kasabian
4. You’ve got the dirtee love – Florence and the Machine (Brit awards 2010)
5. A Whole New World -Aladdin Soundtrack ( I knew their would be one geek track in there somewhere…doh!)

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

Don’t give up! With every ‘paycheck’ job I’ve had over the years (and there have been many) I kept a sketchbook journal of all my creations in my back pocket/ handbag/ briefcase.  Don’t let your creative Monster go to sleep! Be honest and create what you love and hopefully someone else will love it too.