Friday, October 29, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature

Not So Shabby Chic

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 33-year-old woman who loves arts and crafts, nature, and animals. I have been crafting for as long back as I can remember (with a few hiatuses) and my mother taught me how to do most of what I do now. The only things I have taught myself so far are needle felting and punch needling. I am a vegetarian of 14 years, and I will be for the rest of my life. My zodiac sign is Libra, and I am a Libra in each and every sense of the word. I am a germaphobe and I don't like shaking peoples' hands. I used to be a night owl but now I am a morning person.

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

I had been in school for a few years and didn't have time to craft. I finished up school and started working as an occupational therapy assistant, and I noticed there was something lacking in my life. Spiritually and emotionally I felt void. I realized I needed to pick up crafting again. So I started with Christmas ornaments and decoupaged boxes, but I had run out of people to give them to, so I decided that I wanted to see if anyone was willing to pay money for them -- so I decided to open up a shop! I chose Etsy because I had seen it before, having gotten gifts from there and then having checked out the sellers' shops -- I really liked the look and feel of it.

3. Do you sell your items anywhere else?
I do. I sell on a couple of other websites but I don't even know if I would call it "selling", because I never get sales there lol. I also just started doing consignment at a local shop that wanted to sell my jewelry and hair accessories. So far that is going well!

4. How did you choose your shop name?

My shop name just came to me one day when I was driving. I love the shabby chic style, and I also think my stuff is "not too shabby", so I came up with NotSoShabbyChic!

5. What are your favourite things to do?
As far as crafts go, I love knitting, going to my knitting group, going to yarn stores, crocheting, felting, painting, latch hooking, punch needling, and even the occasional sewing project. As far as non-craft activities go, I love going for walks outside in nature, bird watching, photographing nature, reading, watching movies, the occasional rock-scrambling adventure, and going to museums.

6. What inspires you?
I would say that nature inspires me the most. I love trees, plants, animals, and flowers, and I think this reflects in my work. I am continually amazed by the color palette that nature offers. I love color of all kinds and I strive for a colorful, fun shop.

7. Of all the items you make for your shop, which do you enjoy making the most?
This is a tough one. I love making most of my stuff and all in different ways and for different reasons. If I could choose 3 though, I would choose my knitted/crocheted work because it takes me to a zen-like place when I make it, my decoupaged work because it involves many different types of craft to complete one piece (designing, painting, gluing, glittering, gold leafing), and finally coming up with my needle felted critters for the first time -- this simply because it brings me joy to see the finished item and how it matches the idea I had in my head.

8. Which item is your most popular?

I would say my needle felted balls are my most popular item. They are versatile and people have used them for many different purposes: as beads, as home decor, as embellishments for clothing, and as eyeballs for knitted alligators just to name a few!

9. Which handmade possession given to you do you cherish most?
I would have to say my favorite handmade possession is a crocheted blanket that my old landlady made for me. It is heavy and warm and beautiful to look at. It was also most likely one of the last things she was able to make as she was starting to suffer greatly from Parkinson's Disease.

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

Oh boy this is another tough one for me -- I am a regular Etsy shopper and Etsy chatter and so there are MANY favorite shops for me. But if I had to choose three, I would choose these three lovely (and I mean that for each and every one of them) ladies:

Blushing Ewe -- amazing hand-dyer of wool rovings. Will also do custom work and also spins yarn from her rovings.

boygirlparty -- incredibly talented artist with ADORABLE products featuring her work. Loves to draw owls, cats, octopi, squirrels and more.

See Jayne Knit Yarns
-- amazing hand-dyer of yarns; amazingly huge selection. I have been thrilled with each and every single yarn I have gotten from her.

Thank you so much to Not So Shabby Chic for being my featured shop this week. This shop has been a favourite for a very long time. I have also had the pleasure of chatting with this lovely lady in the Etsy Chat. I feel like we are kindred spirits as we find joy in alot of the same things. The pictures in this feature are just the tip of the iceberg with the wonderful items that are in this shop. With so many different crafts represented in this shop with such beautiful work being done you will surely find something for yourself or a special gift for someone. With Christmas being just around the corner this would be the perfect place to start your shopping.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Favourite Etsy Shop Friday

Favourite Etsy Shop Feature

Little Batch

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Jen. I am a school librarian by day, mad scientist by night! Seriously, it's on my business cards. My husband and I live in rural Hunterdon County, NJ, surrounded by farms. I love to bake and Joe loves to eat cookies, so we're a perfect match. I also like to spend time in my mean little garden that we built together, with sweet raised beds and a deer fence... it's perfect for growing veggies and herbs that I can use in my soaps. We have a fat little black cat named Lily whose favorite pastime (besides eating) is sleeping.

2. What made you open your shop and why Etsy?
I opened my shop on Etsy in order to have an online presence for my business, which is great for exposure and credibility. I collect vintage Pyrex, and I had stumbled upon Etsy completely by accident one day while researching a cool new piece I had snagged at an estate sale. It was kismet really... I was still too green to have my own standalone website, and there was Etsy.

Jen with her wares at the Hunterdon Harmonizers Fall Craft Fair in Flemington, NJ

3. Do you sell your items anywhere else?
Indeed. I sell the majority of my products in person, actually; home parties (like Tupperware parties but only more laid back), street fairs, craft shows. I've also launched my own website, which will soon include an integrated blog! Feel free to take a look:

4. How did you choose your shop name?
It came to me instantly. Everything I make is done in small, perfect little batches, and every product is botanical-based... herbs, oils, butters, essential oils. There are some non-botanical ingredients (such as goats milk and french clay), but I'd say 98% of my ingredients are plant-based. The "Batch" part is also a shout-out to my love of baking!

What Jen smells like most days: a mixture of the yummy fall scents in her Sweet Autumn Perfume Trio

5. What are your favourite things to do?
That's easy. Spend time with my husband, doing anything. Make soap. Organize anything. Plant new things in my garden. Bake cookies. Walk outside and smell the air. Home improvement DIY.

6. What inspires you?
My loved ones inspire me, as does anything in which I can find beauty and solace.

It's always in her bag: a lil jar of her Head To Toe Salvation Hand and Body Balm... She uses it on her cuticles, elbows, and the backs of her hands

7. Of all your different products which one do you enjoy making the most?
Pumpkin Spice Soap! It's got real pumpkin puree and spices in it... smells awesome when it's cooking up.

8. Which is your most popular item?
Definitely the Cupcake Lip Balm; it really does smell like a vanilla cupcake. I couldn't find a lip-safe fragrance oil that did any justice to a cupcake, so I took several oils and blended my own. It's a fan favorite!

Jen's mom... her craft show partner-in-crime

9. Which handmade possession given to you do you most cherish?
My husband's grandmother knitted lovely blue blankets for us when we moved into our house. We called her Nonni; she was like a grandma to me and a real kindred spirit. At family functions we always sat together and had our own little conversations going! She passed away this spring, and I miss her dearly. So, my Nonni Blanket is my most cherished handmade possession.

10. Name 3 other Etsy shops that you love to visit.
What, No Mints?
Sasha sews these awesome little eco-felt lovelies that I think are just beyond adorable. My What, No Mints? collection is growing. Can't get enough of those birds! And my amoeba pin is definitely a major part of my wardrobe.

New Hope Beading
I bought Caroline's fine silver and gemstone leaf necklace as a gift for my best friend... and am having a hard time parting with it!

Tracey Gurley Bath And Body
Tracey is a great friend and colleague. Her shop is full of natural, handmade soaps, bath, and body products from mother nature to you. Like myself, Tracey uses no pre-made bases. We frequently like to bounce ideas of each other, or help each other out when developing new products. There's no rivalry --- just mutual admiration and respect. And that's nice.

One of Jen's favorite soaps, looking chic: Morning Joe coffee soap

A big thank you to Little Batch for being my favourite Etsy shop feature for this week, a great interview. I am a big fan of natural bath and body products. The scents that you find in Little Batch seem like there would be something for everyone. I havent purchased from this shop yet but looking at everything I think I will have a hard time deciding what to get first. If you love great smells, natural products and are looking for a gift for yourself or a friend then this would be a great shop to visit.

Monday, October 18, 2010

If Your Wondering

Its been a while since I posted anything. If you were wondering where I am, I am here to say that I am still here.
The past 2 weeks we have been painting and painting our kitchen. The first week I painted all the trim, windows and doors. The second week, last week is the start of the most exciting part. You see we moved into our house 4 years ago. As soon as I saw the kitchen I said I am definitely painting the kitchen cupboards as soon as I can. I took all the doors off which are alot. I think there are 16 doors in all. I promised my grandma in law they would be done by that Christmas and the promise went on every Christmas after that. Hmmm so pretty much since we moved in we have had no kitchen cupboards. There have been many people asking about them over the years and many people wondering if they would ever get done. Well I am here to say that this is being done. It has been a joint project and with much persistence things are getting done. Today we finished doing all the cupboard frames. The next thing is the drawers which there are 7 of them. There are actually 8 drawers but one has already been done. Once the drawers are done then the cupboard doors that have sat dormant for all these year in the laundry. We have all the handles and the hinges just purchased and ready to add.

I will definitely be posting a before and after shot once they are all done because it will be an exciting day. Everything we have been painting is semi gloss white so needless to say I am a bit sick of the sight of white right now hehe but its making everything look bright and clean. I told Megan that that is the secret to a clean house, just paint everything. She said something tells me its easier to just clean.

There has been some knitting going on in between all this painting. I am working on some custom orders that I recently got. They are going pretty well. I also have a few things that I need to take photos of to add to the shop. Where does the time go?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh Autumn How I Love Thee

This past weekend we went to one of my favourite places in the world, Allegany State Park. We try to make the trip at least once a year. We like to go at the beginning of October to see all the pretty leaves. Every time we go we talk about how we should come more often and how much we love it but for some reason it just doesnt happen. Its only a 45 minute drive so I dont know why this happens. But we went on Saturday and it was just as beautiful as always.

It is so peaceful and quiet here. Its like everything just stops. There are many trails that you can take so you could make a whole day of it if you wanted to.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year. I just wish it lasted longer around here. In a couple of weeks we will have some really windy days and all the pretty leaves will be blown away and we will be left with naked trees. I intend to enjoy it all while it lasts.

On this trip we went to the animal museum which Victoria just loves because they have alot of bird specimens that you can see up close. She just loves to bird watch and this is a way she can see them up close and learn their names. We also went to the gift shop where Victoria got a bag of quartz stones, Megan got some chocolate covered pretzels and I got what could be the best lip balm ever especially when it comes with a picture of a moose and its called Moose Lips. We had been smelling these yummy food smells in the building and decided to go upstairs to the restaurant to have a bite to eat. The funny thing about this restaurant is once you order they ask you if you would like some popcorn while you wait. They then bring you a container of buttered popcorn to munch on. Megan thought this was just great. We then took a walk around on a short trail. We should probably bring Victoria up there more often so she could learn the art of being quiet so you might see or hear some animals. She is a yapper but she did try and we did end up seeing some birds and a few critters.

Along the way on our walk the girls came across a ton of crunchy leaves and could not resist getting into a leaf fight. They had so much fun and it was so nice to see them playing and laughing together. On the way back they had to do it all over again. I think they could have stayed there all day if we let them.

This was also the day that we gave Megan her new Ipod Touch for her 16th birthday that we just celebrated last week. This was a present from Grandma, Joe and myself and she had no idea. We bought the Ipod while we were out shopping on this day. I couldnt wait to give it to her any longer so when we got in the car I said Hey Megan here's some of your chocolate covered pretzels, which she had asked me for. I said Hang on I dont want to give you those, I want to give you this instead and gave her the Ipod. It took her a second to figure it out and then she just freaked out. It took her about 2 minutes before she turned to Victoria and said Hey Victoria now that I have this Ipod would you like my old one? So then we had two girls freaking out in the car. You see Victoria has been pretending to have her own real Ipod for a couple of years now. She will tell you she puts songs on it and sometimes she is tired of those songs and removes them and even bops along in the car to her imaginary Ipod. So now she has a real one. She made her list of what she wants on there and we are working on getting some songs put on there. So we have two girls in Ipod heaven here. I dont think I have have seen Megan without hers since she got it. I am glad she likes it so much. I think she will get alot of use out of it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Something Fun For Everyone

I recently added something new to Knitted For Ewe. They are hand knitted balls. They are so much fun and quick to make. You can also make them in different sizes.

These ones were knit from some beautiful handspun wool yarn from the Etsy shop Blushing Ewe. This makes them squishy and soft to the touch.

I took some photos with my niece Lilly as the model. She has so much fun with them and so does Victoria. Victoria has a knitted ball of her own and we have made up many fun games with it.

Hopefully people will take a liking to them and I will get a chance to make some more. I think I will make Lilly a couple for her first birthday that is coming up next month.

This red and blue yarn always makes me think of Spiderman because Victoria was into him for a long time. I am really growing quite fond of handspun yarn. It feels more unique and special than regular yarn.