Friday, March 26, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature

Bird On Wire Studio

1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Abby Emerson and I’m a 30-year-old Vermonter living on beautiful Lake Champlain. I share my home and life with a lovely husband and four beastly cats (Shmoo, Cookie, Chairman Mao, and Midas). I have a day job that I don’t like to talk about because it makes me miserable, but I spend nearly all of my non-working hours working on my shop and Plumpies. I love nature and animals and craft fairs too, so every once and a while I put down my felting needles to venture out into the world. When I’m not needle felting, I try to paint with watercolors and sculpt a little with clay.

2. What made you open your shop and why Etsy?

About five years ago I took up painting with acrylics. I would paint these elaborate skies and then draw a thin, black line across them and paint a bird on it in silhouette. I called these my “Bird on Wire” paintings. At the time, I had a Livejournal account and began selling the paintings through that venue. I think I read about Etsy on another person’s journal and opened my shop there. I had two sales and then didn’t revisit my shop until March of this year (2010). I’m a HUGE Etsy fanatic. I check it at least ten times a day. There are sellers on Etsy that I love like my own family and who inspire me each and every day. There’s no place on Earth I’d rather be than part of the Etsy family.

3. Do you sell your items anywhere else?

Presently I have a collection of Plumpies and Mini-Plumpies in an ecological home store in Burlington, Vermont called The Green Life. I’m also going to be doing some craft fairs this summer and hopefully (fingers, eyes, toes crossed) sell my creations on consignment with my favorite local toy store.

4. How did you choose your shop name?

Back in 2005, when I was painting birds on wires, I named all the paintings “Bird on Wire 1,” or “Bird on Wire 2,” and the name just stuck. I never called them “Bird on a Wire” – which makes more sense to some people. I have a little studio in my apartment and I would spread the paintings out all over the place, so it became the “Bird on Wire Studio.” I love it now because I’ll never forget my roots. It means a great deal to me to look back on how far I’ve come as an artist and soul. Of course, if I were to be truthful about my studio space, it would be OhMyGodThereAreCatsEverywhere! Studio. But, you know, that’s not really marketable.

5. What are your favourite things to do?

Listing things I like to do is one of my favorite things to do, so here goes: needle felt, pet my cats, sleep, eat cheese, swim in the ocean, watch movies, make pancakes on Sunday morning, window shop on Etsy, drive really fast, nap on the beach, visit the cow herd at the local dairy farm and let them lick me, walk in the woods, point out groundhogs eating grass on the side of the road, explore thrift shops, paint, collect art, introduce myself to dogs at the park, and decorate spaces. This is an abridged list.

6. What inspires you?

I’m inspired by all things cute and cuddly. I love animals and can find a good thing to say about pretty much any creature on earth. Even spiders – but that’s a stretch. I didn’t have an excellent childhood, so now that I’m an adult and in control of my destiny, I’m learning how to approach the world with innocence, grace, and wonder. I think animals are the embodiment of those qualities and I have always been fascinated by them. I feel like I can relate more to a cat than most people. In addition to animals, I’m inspired by art, color, nature, beauty, rocks, skies, candy, moments of kindness – you name it. I think inspiration is everywhere if you open your eyes to it. I’ve learned how to listen to what makes my heart purr.

7. What is your favourite thing to make in your shop?

I really love making the Plumpy Walrus. There’s something deeply satisfying about his simplicity. The Walrus is an iconic animal – easily distinguishable, and I love really simplifying his form. Whenever I make a Walrus, I tell him he’s cute about twenty times. I do talk to my art. I’m also HUGELY fond of the owls because they can be tricky to get “right.” Then, all of a sudden, the details fall together and you have a little owl in your hands. It’s kind of cool. I’m still surprising myself all the time.

8. What item is the most popular?

Hands down it’s the Sitting Fox. Etsy featured him the very first day I opened my shop and I have been inundated with requests for custom foxes. The problem is, he takes the most time of all of my creations, so getting orders filled has been slow going. I think Etsians love foxes more than any other animal. I can see why.

9. Which handmade possession given to you do you most cherish?

When I was five, my mother made me a stuffed cat pillow. I can’t tell you how many times I have cried into Kitty Pillow. She is full of 25 years of sad moments and comfort. She lives in my studio now and my cats sleep on her, but even when she’s threadbare, I’ll frame her remnants. I could never, ever part with her.

10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit.

Just three?
JooJooLand (Everyone loves Afi!)
(Szilvia is one of my all time favorite people on the planet)
Song & Branch Studio (Karen has an amazing gift to capture the gesture and grace of animals)

Thank you so much to Bird On A Wire Studio for such a great interview. This shop is a recent find and as soon as I saw the little critters in this shop I knew I had to feature them on my blog. I wondered how she got so much character and life into each animal and after reading this interview I think I've figured it out. It must be from being chatted to and all the praises they get while being created that does it. With so much love and attention being put into each little critter its no wonder people fall in love with them. Check out this shop and have a look at all the other animals that are being created. I just know you'll find some favourites.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Lauren Marzursky, and I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with my husband, three kiddos, three cats, one dog and a bunch of fish. I took a beginner lampwork class just over 2 years ago and was immediately hooked. I practiced making round beads every day as much I could. But I soon discovered that penguin and turtle beads were more my thing, so I guess Ive found my niche in sculptural animal beads.

2. Why did you open your shop and why Etsy?

I had sold for a little while on Ebay to support my glass addiction, but I wanted something more solid. When I found Etsy I thought it was nice and easy to start up in so I gave it a try.

3. Do you sell your beads anywhere else?
I have a very small shop on Artfire, but that's it for online selling. I did just sell some finished bead pendants to an art gallery shop in Chicago called Art & Artisans. Im pretty excited to see how they do there.

4. How did you choose your shop name?

My maiden name is May, so I just attached beads to the end of it and voila! Maybeads. When I first started making beads and some were very questionable, I liked that my shop name had the word "maybe" in it, as in "maybe its a bead, but maybe not."

5. What are your favourite things to do?
Aside from melting glass, I love to bake, walk ( I used to run but I've got a bum knee) and read.

6. What inspires you?

Animals inspire me - cartoon animals and real ones. Also my kids come up with some whacky ideas for beads.

7. Do you use your beads to create other items?
I turn some of my beads into jewelry, but mostly I sell just beads. I also make bookmarks out of them.

8.Which is your most popular bead?

Probably turtles.

9.Which handmade possession give you do you cherish?
I love the beads I have received from other lampworkers. I have a gorgeous off-mandrel heart from HollysFollyGlass, a super cute puppy from loribeads and a critter trio of a dino, cow and sheep made by Nikki from NLC Beads.

My husband surprised me and got me a blue kitty lampwork necklace from DorsetHillBeads that I love! I wear it all the time.

10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit.

Only 3?

First off, elukka, for the best dog sculptures evah.

CrazyBliss for the sweetest cat prints - she totally captures the quirky cat personality.
And I love visiting all my Fire Diva teammates' shops - they're all so talented and the variety is so great. I'm in loriandkim a lot because that's where I buy my murrini - can't get enough!

Thank you so much to Maybeads for being my featured shop this week. I have been a fan for a really long time. I think it would be great just to collect these beads even if you didnt have a specific crafting purpose for them. How cute would they all look lined up on a shelf? Reading this interview has pointed out many other great lampwork bead Etsy shops to check out so if you love what you see in Maybeads you'll have to check out the other shops as well. It sounds like the lampwork crafters have a great supportive community. One of the great things I love about Etsy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Its A Knitted Pear

I just listed this knitted pear in my Etsy shop and I had to share it with you. This was a quick knit and fun to make. I found a scarf in this wonderful soft green yarn and just had to take it home to unravel. When I unraveled it I found it was two strands of green in two shades put together. I separated the two colours and thought they would be perfect for this pear pattern from Susan B. Anderson.

There are so many uses for a knitted pear that you probably never thought about. Its first use is for a finger puppet and play food which is what it was designed for. You could also use it as a pin cushion or just cute decoration for your home. You could also add a ribbon so you can hang it up. See so many uses for a knitted pear you probably never even thought about hehe.

There are other fruits in this set. It was so much fun making this pear I think I will have to attempt the other fruits as well.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Wiggletiggy is a joint effort between two best friends that fell in love, married and started a family. All started when Dave's love of Plushies and Suzylynn's many years of sewing experience came together to create something fun for their four children. Dave is the inspiration behind the character design and Suzylynn brings the characters to life.

2. What made you open your shop and why Etsy?
These handcrafted adventurous little creations soon took on a life of their own demanding to be set free upon the rest of the world and Etsy is helping us do that.

3. Do you sell your items anywhere else?
We sell only on Etsy.

4. How did you choose your shop name?
The definition of the word 'Wiggletiggy' means "the feeling you get in your tummy when you buy something fun", and its fun to say.

5. What are your favourite things to do?
Love to spend time with our family. We love to spend time with out Heavenly Father. Visiting friends, volunteer where we can.

6. What inspires you?
Our home, with four children, its full of colorful inspiration. Never a dull moment.

7. Which item in your shop do you enjoy making the most?
We love making the Scallywogs the most, they take time to develop and give us the most satisfaction.

8. Which is your most popular item?
Our most popular items are the gadget cases, people tell us how cute they are. We really appreciate all the positive feedback. The Scallywogs came first, but were slow to sell. Then we decided to make something fun and practical by putting cute faces on pouches.

9. Which handmade possession given to you do you most cherish?
We have a blanket with our family tree on it.

10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit.
cotton monster
The Spotted Egg Lab

Thank you to Wiggletiggy for being my features Etsy shop this week. It is fun to say isnt it. My favourite is the gadget cases. They would be so cute to take out and about. Im sure they are great conversation starters when you pull them out of you bag. The monsters on the other hand look like they have such personalities and would be great fun to play with. With each one looking different you would have to collect them all. Go and check out this shop and see all the other monsters they have, your guaranteed to get a little giggle out of it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Is Coming! Spring Is Coming!

Its been what feels like a long cold winter of hibernating inside but this week you can definitely feel that Spring is in the air. You dont know how much you missed the warm weather until it starts to shine through. Victoria and I have been having while waiting for her school bus making the bird noises we can hear. We saw a cardinal the other day and heard a morning dove yesterday. Im sure I heard some geese crying out that they have returned from the south. There are patches of grass and even though its all smooshy and wet now, we can dream of all the picnics and laying in the sun we will be having soon. The most exciting part will be when we start to see flowers. That is when Victoria and I do our annual search for Spring with our cameras. With all this almost warm weather and birdies about I still have to remember that the snow is probably not all done and over with. We are still yet to have the big blizzard that comes around the beginning of April. Its just exciting to think of the fun stuff that is yet to come.

The talk in our house this past week has been all about Dinosaurs. Yep you read it right, Dinosaurs. Megan has liked dinosaurs for many years but Victoria has just become hooked on them. I think they did a segment about them in school and thats what started the obsession. Her favourite dinosaur is the Stegosaurus so she has been pretending to be a baby Stegosaurus for the last couple of days. I even had to give her a name so she is now Steggy. I found a wonderful set of knitting patterns online with all sorts of dinosaur species. I think I am going to have to purchase these patterns because Victoria is already telling me what colours she wants her dinosaur and I dont even have the pattern yet. I see many dinosaur knitting projects in my future.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature

The Rainbow Room

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a trained designer and have a BA (hons) in Fashion & Textile Design. I have worked professionally designing socks, creating mosaics and doing some interior design, but I am most happy working for myself and experimenting in many different mediums including felt, feltmaking, mosaic, polymer clay and anything I can use to express my love of vibrant colour and pattern. Did I say I LOVE rainbows!! I am an artist & mother who lives in rural Mid-Wales in the UK. I am currently home educating my 4 year old daughter and when she is asleep...... I become Clara Luna and I save the world in my own special way by filling it with colour & rainbows!!

2. What made you open your shop and why Etsy?

I was planning my own wesbite when I stumbled upon Etsy whilst lost in the World Wide Web!

3. Do you sell your items anywhere else?
I sell at various craft fairs and specialist shows.

4. What are your favourite things to do?

I love traveling and being in the warm near to the sea. Regular visits to civilization help keep me sane and I enjoy relaxing with friends & family. I love swimming and walking my beautiful dog. I am also just getting into Roller Derby..let see how that goes?

5. What inspires you?
Sun, nature, pattern, colour, markets.....TRAVEL!

6. What made you decide to have exclusively rainbow items in your shop?

I have always had a soft spot for rainbows and love the organization of the spectrum. When my mum passed away a few years ago Rainbows became even more special!

7. What is your favourite item to make in your shop?
I really enjoy my creative time and making colourful things for people to enjoy and just to brighten up life in general! : ) The most therapeutic item I make is my felted beads.

8. Which is your most popular item?

On Etsy my Rainbow Feltmaking mixes are pretty popular and at fairs people love my felted soaps.

9. What handmade possession given to you do you cherish?
I don't think I have one of my own : ( daughter has a handmade doll who has been everywhere with us and had many repairs, she feels like part of the family!!

10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit.

hi tree
Lupin Handmade

A big thank you to The Rainbow Room for being my featured Etsy shop this week. Looking at this shop will brighten your day. If your in a part of the world that is slowly coming out of Winter and into Spring like me then the items in this shop will get you excited about all the wonderful things yet to come. Both my girls are big into rainbows which attracted me to this shop in the first place but after looking at it I have come to find that I love them too. All those bright colours just put a smile on your face. There are so many different items that are rainbowy in this shop you are bound to find something you will fall in love with.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bella Bunny

This is Bella Bunny. I just listed her in my Etsy shop this morning and she got sold today. I think she turned out so cute. All the yarn that she was made with came from unraveling second hand things. Bella herself is knitted with a cream, soft, slightly fuzzy yarn that is wool, angora and mohair. Her dress is knitted with a soft cotton yarn. I like to use all that I can from the items I unravel so her little fabric flower came from the cardigan that the yarn is from. This is why the flower matches perfectly with the dress.

I tried a new technique for the eyes this time that I learned from a knitting book I have. The eyes are embroidered which makes Bella safe for any age. I think I would like to use this technique again on another knitted toy.

How about these ears huh. For some reason the ends of my ears are more curved than they are suppose to be and I questioned whether to undo the ends and try to get them like the picture but in the end I like them better. This pattern came from a book I got at our local library called Toy Knits by Debbie Bliss and she is entitled Farmer Rabbit. I think I will have to get a copy of this pattern so I can make another one some time soon.

I hope Bella Bunny will be happy in her new location.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Puppy In A Blanket

I listed this cute little puppy in a blanket about a week ago in my shop. It only lasted a day before it got sold so I didnt get a chance to really show him off. He turned out so cute that I thought I should post about him.

The pattern came from the wonderful Itty-Bitty Toys book that I got for Christmas. The chenille yarn that the puppy was knitted in came from the big box of yarn that my husband gave me for Christmas.

I think I would like to knit another one of these in a different yarn to see how he would turn out. I was nervous about doing his face because I always have trouble with noses. With this little guy I decided to use some brown felt and stitch it on so I could get the perfect puppy nose shape. I like how it turned out. I think I will have to do that trick again sometime.

Sometimes these photos dont cooperate when I upload them and turn sideways. I havent figured out the trick of fixing this yet. In the last photo you can see his full body with his stubby little tail. The blanket was knitted using a dusty purple from Vanna's Choice yarn and I used a raw wood button to hold the blanket closed and keep him cozy.