Friday, August 27, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Jennifer Tan and I live in Davis, CA with my husband and three children. I am a fiber artist who loves to teach workshops, classes and hold teleseminars on handwork and homeschooling. I am a retired school principal, aromatherapist, prenatal yoga instructor, college professor, homeschooling consultant, flutist and wedding officiant. Spinning yarn and crocheting brings balance to my eclectic, busy lifestyle! My blog is, and our workshop site is

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

We started our first Etsy shop to sell my crocheted scarves and patterns Then, we opened a second shop to feature products that might appeal to homeschoolers, Waldorf schoolers and others - handspun yarns, naturally dyed silks, wood figurines and more We sold our items to people we knew and everyone would say, "You need to sell these online!". We sold on eBay for a couple of years before we found Etsy. Etsy is a wonderful venue...easy to list, inexpensive, and a wonderful network of artists. I enjoy buying from others on Etsy, too!

3. Do you sell your items anywhere else?
In person at workshops and at Fig Tree Alley in Sacramento, CA. Our eBooks are available on our blog and website.

4. What are your favourite things to do?
Besides fiber arts, I love playing musical instruments, reading, gardening and collecting Nancy Drew books!

5. What inspires you?
Natural parenting/birthing, camping and nature, Waldorf classrooms (the artwork!),, my amazing artist/musician Husband

6. Of all the different craft items in your shop which do you enjoy making the most?

Our streamer sticks! I naturally dyed the silk ribbons and my husband handcrafts the wood sticks. We love working on these together, and we especially love that people purchase them for kids, birthdays, Preschools, day cares, and for weddings!

7. What is your most popular item?
Overall, our yarns sell the best. People love high-quality, handspun yarns for handwork projects.

8. If you could learn one new craft what would it be?

Tatting and bobbin lace are next on my list! I would love to learn how to make lace with a tatting shuttle or bobbins.

9. Which handmade possession given to you do you cherish?
A beautiful, hand-knitted afghan from my great-grandmother. She came from Croatia to the US, and made it for me soon after I was born.

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

Oakmoss Fabulous soaps and candles!
Pearlk2 My favorite flower hair pins!
Ancient Hearth
Beautiful needlefelted creations!

Thank you to Syrendell for being my featured favourite Etsy shop this week. So many great natural crafts in one shop. I love how they use all natural dyes in their items. Actually looking through this shop I find a little bit of all my favourite things, aromatherapy, classical music, handspun yarn, natural fibres, fun activities to do with children and wooden goodies. If your into any of these things or have always wanted to learn more about natural products then you need to take a look at this shop. You wont be disappointed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere!

Last Summer when my sister and her family were visiting from Australia we went on an Amish tour. I have lived here for about 10 years and hadnt done this yet. On the tour we had a tour guide in our car and as we drove around going to each location he would give us information about Amish life. One of the places we stopped was an Amish toy store. So many cool wooden toys to play with. We ended up buying some bubble wands that make giant bubbles. It comes with the recipe that makes the best bubbles. While my sister was here we didnt get a chance to get the ingredients for the bubbles so the wands have been sitting around waiting to be used. Forward to a year later and we finally got what we needed to make our giant bubbles. The recipe is 10 cups of water, 1 cup of Dawn dish washing detergent and 1 tablespoon of glycerin, I use 2 tablespoons of glycerin.

Victoria absolutely loves to make bubbles. She could do it for hours and hours. Apparently making giant bubbles is the best thing ever. Its highly addictive and I recommend it for everyone. We found the best bubble making time is a Summer evening when the air is still and its cooling down. The bubbles last a long time and look so pretty.

We had some friends stop by when we were making bubbles and they just had to try it. Once they started they didnt want to stop either. I think bubble making brings out the kid in all of us.

Ahhhh here is a shot of Victoria admiring her giant bubble.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Jim and I'm also known as the Coinringman. I live with my wife Virginia and our dog Fortune. We reside in a small home in the beautiful valley of the sun, Phoenix Arizona. I am a aircraft electrician by trade and coin ring maker part time. I have to credit my Dad for my creative ability, he was a master at creating and building things around the house when I was growing up.

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

Actually I discovered Etsy by accident while doing some research on the internet and soon realized this would be the perfect place to show my handcrafted coin rings. The Etsy community is filled with some of the most talented creative artists I've ever seen.

3. Do you sell your rings anywhere else?
No, for now Etsy is the only place that I am displaying my work. I would like to participate in some craft shows around the country but that will have to wait until I have more time.

4. What are your favorite things to do?

I really enjoy taking a drive with my wife through the forest in northern Arizona. It is full of tall pine trees and has a peaceful calming effect on me. Also watching a good movie at home is hard to beat.

5. What inspires you?
Nature. I am surrounded by awesome creativity everywhere I look. Nature creates and I am part of that creation. It is only natural for me to use my imagination and think outside the box to come up with new ideas.

6. If you could learn one new craft what would it be?
Most likely glass art, such as blown and fused glass work would be most intriguing to me. I really love the vibrant colors used in this fine craft.

7. Where did you get the idea to make rings from coins?
My metal-shop teacher back in high school gave me the idea. He taught me how to make my first coin ring. It was rather crude looking and didn't really show any details of the coin, but none the less, I was hooked on creating different techniques to improve the finished product.

8. Do you take requests for certain years and states and if so which seems to be the most popular?

Yes, absolutely! I welcome custom orders. The U.S. state quarters are definitely a favorite for many of my customers along with some requesting certain years that reflect important events in their lives. I look forward in helping my customers with their requests.

9. Which handmade possession given to you do you cherish?
That would be the framed cross-stitch patterns that my wife made for our home shortly after we were first married. I am very sentimental about these beautiful pieces of art created through a labor of love. :)

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

You really put me on the spot here. I really love many Etsy shops out there, but here are three that I have visited the most lately.

C bar J Crafts
Freedom To Express
All For Jasmine

Thank you to Coinringman for being my featured seller this week. Dont you just love this idea? I think its so cool that you can still see the images of the coin. I think this would make a unique gift. I think it would be great to get a ring with a year that has special meaning on it. Check out this shop and you may find a ring that could be a perfect gift for someone they will cherish for years to come.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New York City Here We Come!

I have spent the last month making a bunch of toys to send to Stoopher & Boots in New York City. They are finally on their way and should arrive any day now. I hope they like the new guys. Now I can finally sit down and work on some new items for my poor neglected shop. Let me introduce you to my latest finished toys.

Here is a pig that I have been wanting to make ever since I got the Itty Bitty Toy book for Christmas. I dont know why I have been making so many pigs lately but its been fun. Its funny but I am actually working on another pig like Hamilton but a different pink. Pigs everywhere! For some reason this pigs head turned out smaller than its suppose to look. I think next time I make this I will do one more lot of increases to make it look right. I knit him from an yarn that I unraveled from a wool/angora/mohair jumper. This pig has plastic pellets in its feet, hands and bottom which is the first time I have done this with a knitted toy. I like the effect that it creates especially in the bottom. I see doing it again in the future.

Can you see how curly his tail is? It is an i-cord tail with a pipe cleaner inside it. I think next time I will make his tail a little shorter so there are less curls. Can you tell I am already wanting to make another one.

This little ballerina bunny took the longest to make out of all the toys. She has so many extra parts to her. You can actually remove her ballet shoes, tutu and wrap jumper. She was knitted from 100% baby alpaca yarn which makes her very very soft. I debated whether to make this yarn into a ballerina bunny as blue isnt the traditional little girl ballet colour. I always think of pink for these types of things but I figured there are blue ballerinas out there as well. I also went back and forth on the eyes. Safety eyes or embroidered eyes. The pattern says embroidered so I thought I would just go with the pattern this time. Even now I look and think, would safety eyes have looked cuter? I will just have to make another one and use safety eyes.

I had to make another puppy in a blanket. They are cute, fast to make and everyone seems to like them. Big thank you to Joe for the big box of chenille yarn for Christmas. This yarn is perfect for making so soft puppies.

This snake was fun to make. I should have taken a different picture that shows you how he is all springy when you uncoil him. This snake was going to be lime green. I was digging around in a bag of yarn looking for the green wool I wanted to use and I pulled out this yarn. I decided this would make more of a cool pattern. This yarn was sent to me by my Mum who used it to make Victoria's Love In Every Stitch Jumper, this is the leftover yarn. Thanks Mum. The only tricky part of this snake was knowing when to stop. Your just suppose to knit and knit until he is as long as you want it to be. This is where I turn to Victoria for advice. She told me when he was long enough.

I have been wanting to knit an elephant for a while now. This little elephant hasnt quite cured my need to make an elephant but he was a start. He was knit from 100% cotton from an unraveled vest from The Gap. He's a cute little guy, I like his trunk and his softness.

This last one is yet another knitted ball. They are fast, easy and fun to make. They are also fun to play with. Victoria and I have had many fun times playing with her Rainbow Ball. This ball was knit from some rainbow handspun yarn I got in another trade with Blushing Ewe
I am liking handspun yarn and now have a bunch of it to work with. Trying to decide on some projects to use with it.

Well that is it, Phew. Fingers crossed they will be liked in there new location. Victoria tells me they are excited to be going on an adventure. I certainly hope so.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature


I wasnt able to interview this shop because they felt there would be a language barrier. I didnt want that to prevent showing off this amazing work so I have permission to show of some pictures. This is some of the most beautiful wet felting I have ever seen and deserves to be shown off.

This yellow bag in particular is one of my favourites. I dont know how this person can such intricate floral details just using felt.

To me these are like usable works of art. Can you imagine how heads would turn when you use one of these bags.

I love the fact that there are not just bags but other useful things such as this pillow cover. So pretty I can see it sitting in someones favourite chair.

Another useful item are these eyeglass cases. Little mini works of art that you can carry with you throughout your day. The wool would be thick and protective and in this case beautiful at the same time.

Thank you so much to Renefelt for allowing me to show off your wonderful work. Check out this shop and see what else they have created. There is also a mention of a blog where you can see previous creations and new ones in the works.