Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My First Craft Show

This past Saturday, September 17th, I set up a table at my very first craft show. It took place at the VFW Pavilion in Alliance, Ohio. Although the visitor count was low, I was very excited to get my first show jitters out of the way and practice setting up my table. I had a great time meeting other vendors, and setting up for a good cause. I also got some gift shopping done while I was there!  Below are some photos of my table.

I will also be setting up at the OktoberArtFest at the B&O Station in downtown Youngstown, Ohio on October 1st & 2nd.  If you'r local, come by for a visit!  You can also see my items at http://www.rustbeltgallery.etsy.com/.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Silly Item!

I listed a new item in my Etsy shop that makes me chuckle.  It can be customized with different faces!

You can find this item here--->  http://www.etsy.com/listing/80007939/friend-embroidery-hoop-art-i-got-your.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Etsy Seller Feature and GIVEAWAY: KB Photography

Note: KB Photography has reached 100 facebook fans and the giveaway has ended. Still read on and find out more about this great artist!

While surfing the pages of Etsy, I came across KB Photography, a shop whose photography was both intriguing and mysterious. Among other things, she takes close ups of everyday items with vibrant bursts of color, making the ordinary extraordinary. I had the chance to get to talk to shop owner, Kelly, about her photography. I wanted to share this gem with all of you!

Read on to find out more about KB Photography, and how you could win any piece of photography from her shop!

How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I joined Etsy back in September of last year and I have been selling for just over three weeks now!

What role does Etsy play in your life?

At this point, Etsy plays a big role in my life in that it gives me the ability to promote my photography. As a stay-at-home-mom to my three kiddos, it feels good knowing that I am able to be home with them while also contributing to our family’s financial needs.

How did you get involved with photography?
I have always had a love for photography - I can remember dressing my younger brother and sister up and making them pose for me. I think that my true passion for it was discovered when I started having children. I have a hard time putting my camera down as I truly enjoy capturing all the special moments in the lives of my little ones. You know how they say that you take less pictures the more children you have? That saying does not ring true for me at all – in fact, I am the exact opposite!

Where does your inspiration come from?
From everywhere! I am inspired by so many things! My children are my biggest inspiration, but I also find beauty in the everyday. I started a 365 project at the beginning of this year in order to stretch myself personally as well as in my photography. It has really helped to give me a new perspective! I enjoy going for walks to see what I can find. I make an effort to pay attention to the tiniest of details, to look at things I’ve seen many times over in a new light. It’s amazing what you can discover if you just stop and observe. If you take a moment to look not just at the big picture, but also at all the little things that help to make up the big picture.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
If it is what you love to do, if it is your passion – keep going! Think outside the box and take tons and tons of pictures! If you want to better your abilities, improve your craft – you’ve got to practice and take risks. In practicing, you will discover your style and what most inspires you. Good luck and happy shooting!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Really just a big, heartfelt thank you to everyone that has been so supportive and encouraging to me thus far! You all helped me in gaining the courage I needed to start this journey and I am excited to see where it takes me!

Now you have the amazing chance to win a beautiful photography print from this artist. Win any photo from her shop, in any listed size! This is open to everyone!
How to enter…

Mandatory Entry

ONE ENTRY: Like KB Photography’s facebook fan page. Then, return here and let me know you did and under what facebook username.  Also leave your email so we can contact you if you win. If you already are a fan on facebook, just remind us below to enter.

We will draw the winner once she reaches 100 fans so there are a limited number of entries for this giveaway. KB Photography’s facebook: www.facebook.com/KellyBosPhotography

Bonus Entries

ONE ENTRY: Also on KB Photography’s facebook, “like” the photo you think you would select if you were to win this giveaway. In another comment below, let us know which one you selected.

ONE ENTRY: Follow this blog, and then let me know below. If you’re already a follower, just remind me below for a bonus entry.

Good Luck everyone! I will continue to update you as we get closer to drawing the winner!

Kelly and her family. A beautiful photograph, of course!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nikki's Giveaway Selection

As mentioned a few days ago, follower Nikki was the winner of the Grand Opening Giveaway. She selected my Newlywed ornament with a few adjustments to it.  I liked this so much I decided to make it a new listing in my shop! You can customize the name, year, and faces on your own ornament at http://www.etsy.com/listing/79131225/personalized-married-couple-2011.

Thanks Nikki for allowing me to share this with everyone!  I hope you enjoy your new ornament!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Etsy Seller Feature: NatesMommyMadeIt

I recently visited Etsy shop, NatesMommyMadeIt, and immediately fell in love with owner Makisha’s reusable cloth wipes, blankets, and rag dolls, but it was the reusable sandwich and snack bags that I absolutely had to have.  NatesMommyMadeIt made me two incredibly durable reusable baggies, with a thick velcro strip to keep all contents inside. These bags are very easy to clean, and I have no need for the plastic, disposable variety anymore, so I will save money (woohoo!)! All the while, reducing my carbon footprint! I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

I had also had the opportunity to ask Makisha some questions about her business…

How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I have been selling for a little over a year now. 

What role does Etsy play in your life?
It really has a pretty big role right now. Being a mom of two little ones and staying at home and raising them, is very important to my husband and I. My shop is a way for me to supplement our income, and continue to stay at home with my kids! 

Explain your typical day.
Ha, ha...very busy! Mornings are spent checking and replying to emails in between feeding my kids breakfast and getting them dressed. If I need to make a run to the post office, it's usually done in the morning, unless of course I have more than a couple packages. A post office trip with 8 packages, a four year old, and a two year old, don't mix very well for anyone involved! Those trips are saved for the evening when my husband gets home and I get to sneak off for a quiet trip alone.

During the day, I try to focus on the kids as much as possible, although some days I really do have to just get some work done. I am fortunate that my kids love doing crafts, and I can usually keep them busy with a pile of fabric or other crafts. My husband has graciously offered to take over "bath time" and I get some free time in the evenings to get a little sewing in. Most of my "work time" comes after the kids are in bed for the night. It makes for a long day!

Tell me about your product(s).
I sell a wide variety of baby and children's items. Baby blankets, reusable cloth wipes, dolls and stuffed animals and reusable sandwich/snack bags. All of the items in my shop you will see in my own home! I hope that others can get as much pleasure and joy out of my creations as we do.
What advice do you have for new Etsy sellers?
I would say go for it! If you want to become successful, you have to put a lot of hard work and dedication into it. Join a few great teams, get involved with the Etsy community, ask for advice and don't give up! 

Anything else you'd like to add?
I feel very lucky that I have found Etsy. I have met a lot of really nice people, and have the most fabulous customers!!

Check out all of NatesMommyMadeIt's items at http://www.natesmommymadeit.etsy.com/!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Grand Opening Giveaway… The Results!

And the winner is... Nikki! I will be posting pictures of the custom item she selected later this week! Thanks everyone for entering! This giveaway was such a success that I plan to do more in the near future so check back. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Etsy Seller Feature: littlepearlquilts

I recently encountered Etsy shop, littlepearlquilts, specializing in modern embroidery and patchwork. The designer, Jessa, features baby quilts, cotton play food, and my favorite, crinkle toys. I purchased one of these for my 9 month old son, and it has since been my best investment. It has a permanent place on his high chair to entertain him while I prepare his meals. He plays with the soft tags and crumples the square in his hands to hear that oh-so-interesting crinkle sound. I had the pleasure of getting to ask Jessa some questions about her products, her shop, and her life with Etsy…

How long have you been selling on Etsy?  
I think my Etsy page says that my shop opened in 2008, but that's just when I found Etsy, fell in love, and started shopping. I actually just started selling this February, so July makes 6 months.

What role does Etsy play in your life?
I spend my days at home, caring for my toddler and my mom, who has early-onset Alzheimer's. My days are full, and it can be kind of lonely. Etsy has been really wonderful for me, a way to connect with the outside world, to get mood-lifting praise and feedback from my customers, and to make enough money to buy all the pretty fabric I love.

Explain your typical day.
I squeeze moments of sewing in between changing diapers, cooking dinner, sweeping, laundry, and errands. I also get a lot done at night, after my little one goes to sleep. My husband has his own Etsy shop, http://www.candyandoysters.etsy.com/, and it's nice to have that evening time together, just the two of us, him painting and me sewing, with the house quiet and peaceful.

Tell me about your product(s).
I make quilts and soft toys for babies and kids. I've just started selling some clothing, like these baby pants: http://www.etsy.com/listing/76225792/cotton-seersucker-baby-pants-peppermint. The quilts are my favorite. I love seeing the colors and prints I choose come together to make something new and beautiful. I use an improvisational piecing method that makes each quilt one-of-a-kind. I use all natural materials as much as possible, because that's what I always want for my own baby - and soft, 100% cotton is just so nice to work with.

What advice do you have for new Etsy sellers?
Be patient, and make what you love. Also, shop on Etsy! I love buying gifts and material and supplies from other Etsy sellers. It's a great way to make connections, add to your own positive feedback, and support other small business owners just like yourself.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I love doing custom orders. Getting to know my wonderful customers is one of my favorite things about  Etsy. I love seeing their choices and favorite colors come together to make something really special, that I might not have thought of myself but really love in the end. And I love hearing about the little ones I'm sewing for, and embroidering their sweet names, and thinking about them snuggled up with their special things.

View all of littlepearlquilts' items at http://www.littlepearlquilts.etsy.com/.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simple Craft Ideas: Button Pendant

I am the first to admit that I have a craft supply shopping addiction. If I see something that sparks my creative interest, I buy it on impulse. That is exactly what happened when I bought an economy sized bag of assorted buttons at my local craft store. I imagined all the amazing things I could make with these buttons, and I have made a few, but the lonely rest have been sitting without purpose. Until now…

I decided to experiment with some of the buttons to make jewelry, and came up with a simple pendant idea that turned out adorable. Materials needed were one large button, one smaller button, a small piece of DMC cotton floss, a bail, and glue (Judi Kins Diamond Glaze). First, I overlapped the buttons and glued them together, holes matching. I stitched them together as well for decorative purposes, and then glued a silver-toned bail on the back for hanging. I got a little glue on the front of the pink button, but know to be more careful next time! This cute-as-a-button pendant only took five minutes to create!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Something New: Painting on Wood

Hand stitching is very accommodating to my lifestyle since it doesn’t require many props.  I can sit on the couch with a small piece of fabric, and work while my kids play on the floor. No machines. No mess.

But today, I took a break from my usual hoop art obsession of cross stitching and hand-embroidering. As fate would have it, all naps would align and I could venture into the untidy world of painting.  I had enough time to sketch a design on a wood plaque and get most of it painted using acrylics before the baby monitor started blasting. The rest, I finished in 60 second increments throughout the day. Although not my best work, since it’s been a while since my high school painting class, definitely something to brighten up my son’s bookshelf!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Grand Opening Giveaway!

To welcome new visitors to my Etsy shop and blog, I am having a giveaway! You have the chance to win your choice of any item in my Etsy shop, including custom or personalized items! I create original works of hoop art, using whatever materials and embellishments I can find. I get a thrill out of turning a simple piece of fabric into something special and unique. See some examples below...

It’s REALLY easy to enter!

All you have to do is follow my blog. Then comment to this post with “following!”

Gain an extra entry by liking my shop on Etsy! Then post a link to your Etsy shop or profile below!

Gain a third entry by following me on twitter. Then comment to this post with your twitter name!

If you are already following any of these items, you can still enter! Just post said comments below!

All entries will recieve a free shipping coupon upon request! Just convo or message me!

This contest will go on until July 31st, so don’t wait! I will draw the winner on August 1st. The winner will get to chose from any item that is listed in my shop at that time, so check back often to view new listings! Contest is open to United States and Canada residents.

Twitter link: http://twitter.com/RustBeltGallery       

Friday, July 15, 2011


After a great deal of organizing, I have coordinated social media with my Etsy Shop! Now, it’s time to start posting and sharing my love of all things creative. Look forward to many great things such as product reviews, tutorials, articles, and anything else related to the world of arts, crafts, and all things handmade.

To start, you can follow my blog, and then view my new Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/RustBeltGallery. It’s a work in progress so expect new items often!