Monday, November 29, 2010

Giveaway- RED BIRD INK - Cable Knit Letterpress Coaster Set! CLOSED

AND THE WINNER IS Jasmine 1485 of the wonderful Nothing Too Fancy blog #46 chosen by random.org

True Random Number Generator

Min:1
Max: 355
Result: 46



Red Bird Ink
is the art, design and letterpress studio of the amazing Julia of Atlanta, Georgia!

Julia loves creating art and design objects with a fresh, elegant aesthetic, using luxurious inks and fine papers while maintaining a sustainable design approach.

You will love her shop filled with cards, prints, coasters, tags and lots of holiday goodies!


We are so lucky to have one of Julia's amazing coaster sets for this week's giveaway!

WHAT YOU GET:

One lucky winner will receive this gorgeous cable knit letterpress 4 piece coaster set!



HOW TO WIN:

Visit Red Bird Ink and check out this amazing shop - then come back here and leave a comment letting Julia know which piece is your favorite!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

DRAWING:
Enter by midnight, Sunday, December 5th! Good Luck!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Special in Both My Shops!

For the 3rd year I will be donating a chicken for every purchase in either of my shops Uncorked or Polarity from 11/25- 11/29!

Heifer.org is an amazing organization whose mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, they empower people to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope!

UNCORKED customers will also receive a 10% discount by using Coupon Code - CHICKEN

POLARITY customers will receive 2 FREE EXTRA LIDS with every locket order (no coupon code required) during this special!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Week Everyone!!

Taking a little blogging break this week to get my house in order for turkey day - hoping everyone has so much to be thankful for this year - be back on Friday!

xo

(magical photo by the amazing Lucy Snowe Photography)

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas ... or miracles really can happen at the mall or the girl/guru that got away

I hadn't been to the mall in a very long time.

It was cold and rainy and I was in a funk, weighed down with so many important things happening so outside of my control these days, when I spied something warm and uber comfortable calling my name from the Old Navy window and wandered inside.

I noticed a cute little couple- she in an outfit that may have been stolen from a goodwill drop box or maybe from that guy that sleeps on the steps of the local library -

(I am now too old for this and if I tried it would be approached by an off-duty police officer and asked if I needed a ride back to the group home - I can though, still appreciate the crafty ability to throw together a couple articles of old clothing, various doodads and a handful of glitter and make it look adorable)

but somehow looked perfectly perfect on her talking to a hipstery handsome guy with a very bored look on his face.

"You shouldn't be talking about this in public", he was saying, scanning the room, "but I agree this is very, very important. I mean, dude, this could save the world and I mean it."

I was behind them, purchasing my old navy performance fleece pajama pants for $10.

(while I never realized I needed "performance" out of my sleepwear, it's nice to know that it has been included - note to self - add the word "performance" to all Etsy listings)

The sliding scale of my pajamas has gotten a little sad - thank you fleece "lounge" pants with bold, blue snowflakes

(and by the way everyone knows no two snowflakes are alike and there are alot of repeat patterns on these pants Old Navy!)

for helping me usher in this new era of "comfortableness".

(what I really want is a snuggie but hubby has threatened to wrap me in it, tag my ear and release me back into the wild if I buy one)

*sigh*

Anyhoo, back to that cute little couple and the conversation that I just so happened to happen upon if you know what I mean. I paid some fast cash so I could stay close enough behind them to hear where this conversation was headed.

"It really is the secret to being happy" she was exclaiming as he began to look a tiny little bit animated, too.

(and by this I mean his head sort of tilted from time to time and his feet shuffled slightly as he walked)

"I am so lucky to have figured this out so young, so I can be really, really happy every single day of my life."

(by now I was almost tripping over her as we walked, trying to stay close enough to hear the twentysomething words of wisdom that I think I may have forgotten somewhere in the last decade or so - if she had glanced my way for even a second I would definitely have knocked her to the ground and demanded to know her "secret" - luckily I was not yet wearing my performance fleece and so might still be able to conjure up a wee bit of intimidation)

"
"Catherine!"

A voice boomed from behind me and I turned to see someone my hubby used to work with almost running toward me. When I turned back my old navy hipsters were gone.

*sigh*

We chatted for a bit about this and that, but nothing important, when she suddenly said, "Damn, I just knew something wonderful was going to happen today!"

(huh?)

"What happened?" I asked, still kind of distractedly looking for that guru/girl with all the answers in my peripheral vision.

"Well, I ran into you, of course" she answered.

I stopped. I focused on her. Her eyes were gray and I almost missed that.

I smiled.

And it was like a giant tumbler clicked into place in my head and my funk lifted a little bit, just a little, but enough to see a little blue sky in that very moment that I had been missing thinking about that next moment - trying to pin down the sure thing that doesn't exist.

We laughed and made plans, that we will probably never keep, to see each other again.

But, somehow that little moment brought me back to center and my funk lifted a little bit and I "got it" - that life in the leap thing, that living in the present moment thing, the ability to survive when that thing that you want so badly could be just a little bit out of reach - that may or may not have been that hipster's aha moment that could save the world, but it did save mine, or at least it did yesterday ...



today print by honeyboo and be happy painting by livingstonandporter

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Upcycled Jewelry Tutorial - Christmas Countdown Week lll - let's make jewelry!



For week 3 of this year's recycled holiday gift countdown let's make some easy, peasy jewelry!

If you are like me you probably have a drawer full of buttons and another drawer filled with those hard non-recyclable (until now) plastic bottle caps.

With some black cording from the craft store and a few metal pipe clamps from the hardware store (my favorite place) you can create some amazing interchangeable (that doing more with less thing again) necklaces you will be proud to give and your friends will be happy to get!

what you need:

some buttons of various sizes
a couple plastic bottle caps
power drill
screwdriver
metal hose clamps
thin black cording or chain


1. drill hole in center of bottle cap 2. thread stack of buttons backward from smallest to largest 3. push both ends of cording into bottle cap and tie off 4. cut off any loose ends (good life lesson here) 5. loosen clamp with screwdriver, insert bottle cap and tighten 6. add cording or thin chain to slot on back of clamp



See more of my recycled tutorials here

Monday, November 15, 2010

GIVEAWAY - Kylie Parry Handmade Ceramic Christmas Ornaments CLOSED!

AND THE WINNER IS Hedgehog and Rabbit!

True Random Number Generator (random.org)

Min: 1
Max: 267
Result:
47

Kylie Parry is an amazingly talented Wisconsin potter and illustrator!

She creates ceramic jewelry and wheel thrown functional pottery. Kylie enjoys creating work that celebrates the natural world.

I love her warm and wonderful pieces!

Her work is formed out of stoneware clay, hand-carved/stamped, stained and glazed. She uses rich, earthy glazes that are all food safe.

We are so lucky to have one of Kylie's amazing pieces for this week's giveaway!

WHAT YOU GET:

One lucky winner will receive this gorgeous ceramic reindeer ornament set!






HOW TO WIN:

Visit Kylie Parry and check out her amazing work - then come back here and leave a comment letting Kylie know which piece is your favorite!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

DRAWING:
Enter by midnight, Sunday, November 21st! Good Luck!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up or wrapping everyone in our loving arms today

This was supposed to be a video post, but my voice was scary bad.

I just couldn't bring myself to post it.

(seriously, it has me thinking that if I could have just gone through life with one of those little cartoon bubbles over my head and people could read what I was saying instead of hearing me speak, I would have gotten alot farther in life -

like finished college, had a 401K, corner office and stock options kind of farther)

but I decided to go ahead and post the ending pic ala Jessica Doyle - she always posts with a pic and it feels like she is talking right to you ...

plus it looks like I just ate that salad and the stack of slice-n-bake chocolate chip cookies I polished off afterwards are out of screenshot

To wrap up this stressful, insane week I will say that my daughter's surgeries went perfectly and she is feeling better everyday,

my sister finally booked her flight to New Jersey after 2 flippin' years,

(she did book it for the busiest week of the year for me, but since I've been looking for potential delegation candidates for the holiday season, this could be a good thing ... for me)

my friend Laura (creativelytangled and the inspiration for TeamEPE) got her new boobs,

my camera possibly needs a new, very expensive, shutter - ugh,

my hubby got his hair cut so short I almost cried when I saw it

Check out my trends post at the Artisans Collective team blog for some 2011 trends

Team EcoEtsy's 2nd Green Giveaway is up and HERE - it features an eco spa package valued at almost $75.00- you gotta be in it to win it folks!


And today, November 12th is To Write Love on Her Arms Day which my friend Rachel of the amazing GetReadySetGo has been spreading the word about for weeks.

TWLOHA is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.


So write a little LOVE on your arms today and have an amazing weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Upcycled Tutorial - Wine Cork Dog Leash (yes, I am totally serious) Recycled Holiday Gift Countdown - Week ll


If there is a special pooch in your life and you have collected a few wine corks for yourself

(and if you haven't maybe you should get working on that one)

you can easily make an adorable leash that special pooch will be proud to walk the neighborhood with!

Now, I should add that this is probably not a good leash for your rottie or any pup that needs more than a small amount of control

(although this is surprisingly strong and I cannot pull it apart - your rottie is probably stronger than I am though)


Someone incredibly wonderful sent me these corks not realizing they were not made from actual cork, but I knew I would eventually find a great use for them (these are synthetic corks, but your wood corks will work equally well).

You will need:

some corks
slip rings
eyehook and washers
spring hook
key fob for the hand grip
(these were puchased on Etsy from loveyduds)
super glue



Easy peasy instructions - Make a starter hole in the center of the cork with your eyehook, remove hook, add a couple drops of super glue to the hole, screw in eyehook and a small washer, add slipring, repeat, add a fabric key fob handle to one end and a latch hook to the other which will attach to your pup's collar.

Just be prepared to deal with a big-headed pooch from all the attention she/he will receive - Olive has become impossible to live with and is even demanding breakfast in bed ...

There are also lots of amazing doggie goodies on Etsy for your holiday shopping like these amazing finds here:


1. leashes from hollywoofstyles
2. leather dog collar from thecoolpuppy
3. mosaic dog leash holder by Raquel Stanack
4. Molly collar and leash from murphyandgert
5. turquoise dog collar by ChloesCollars
6. love to fart dog tag by hugapug studios
7. striped dog sweater by beantownhandmade

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Maybe You Can HAVE It All, But You Can't DO It All - Work Smarter, Not Harder Part II - why the right tools matter

I bet you thought I had forgotten all about my Work Smarter, Not Harder series, didn't you?

(tell the truth, we're all friends here and I don't blame you because I have been known to leave these series posts hanging out forever for a long time)

When I sat down to write Part II which I had so smartly labeled "Tools" and "Delegation" I realized I had absolutely no idea where I was going with these topics and am certainly no kind of expert on either.

(not that this has ever stopped me before)

So, I will be just dive into tools right now and save delegation for next week when we will chat about all things delegatable.

(and if you have anyone in your life besides you, you totally have someone to delegate to, and if they actually live with you, well, then they totally have to do what you tell them to do and there are lots of ways to make this happen that don't involve the use of any weaponry on your part - really)

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

OK, the first thing I want to say about tools because I do not know your specific little enterprise is that being a maker, you should make yourself aware of what tools are out there for you.

For a long time (until last month)

I used a hand drill for all kinds of things when a drill press would have worked so much better.

Now, hubby has a huge drill press in his shop and I use that one for my lockets, but everything else, and I make alot of little everything else's, I drilled in my own studio with a hand drill.

When I finally broke down and bought a smaller drill press for my studio

(about the cost of a dinner out- why I waited so long I have no idea - other than I thought it would be too messy in the studio and I have no space - but once I got serious and created some space and figured out I could just set the damn thing in a cardboard box lid to make sawdust cleanup easier I bought one)

I saved time.

When I spent half a day making jigs and templates for everything I drill consistently in the same place I saved alot of time.


I think partly because hubby is such a big proponent of having the proper

(and most expensive - ugh, yes, our retirement plan is entirely pieced together with Snap On hand tools and large machinery that need to be continually "updated")

tools and because I am such a pro-recycler and re-purposer, I have always leaned toward the "make do" aspect of tool purchasing.

The truth is though that if you are a professional person running a professional business you need the right tools - the best you can afford - don't raid the kids' college funds now, but wire wrapping your beads with the wrong needle nose pliers is not the way to go.

The other tools I recently purchased are a headset for my studio phone - no more running to the phone, I have the headset around my neck and the phone itself clipped to my pocket, and an answering machine that announces the name of the caller out loud (so I know who to ignore answer). Both are great time savers.

(I may be the only person left with a landline, but there could be some way you can use tools to avoid distractions, too)

If you have an Etsy shop there are tons of time-saving downloads out there and I will post about them next time.

(I really promise to do this - pinky swear and all that jazz)

In the meantime maybe start thinking about your own studio tools and check out what time saving new (or new to you) stuff might be out there.

**power drill tea towels by girlscantell and I do all my own stunts embroidery machine design by funkeedesigns**

Monday, November 8, 2010

GIVEAWAY - GoodKarma - Gorgeous Hand Dyed Hemp Oven Mitt! CLOSED


AND THE WINNER IS Penelope Stitch Shop!

True Random Number Generator (random.org)

Min: 1
Max: 231
Result:
211

Good Karma is the amazing eco-friendly shop of compulsive crafter Bren from Wisconsin!

Bren has been sewing for about 9 years (5 professionally). She loves recycling and vintage fabrics. She hand dyes with low-impact dyes and amazing colors.

Bren also loves dill pickles, Bob Marley, and manatees.

(I for one can totally see the dill pickle influence in her work!)

We are so lucky to have one of her amazing pieces for this week's giveaway!


WHAT YOU GET:

One lucky winner will receive this gorgeous handmade hemp and organic cotton oven mitt!




HOW TO WIN:

Visit Good Karma and check out her amazing work - then come back here and leave a comment letting Bren know which piece is your favorite!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

DRAWING:
Enter by midnight, Sunday, November 14th! CLOSED Good Luck!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Finds - EcoEtsy Giveaway - Week 1 - You Wear It Well - don't miss this one!

Make sure to pop over to the EcoEtsy team blog and enter the first of several green holiday giveaways - it is easy to enter and one lucky winner will receive a handmade prize package worth $263.00! It is HERE

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Upcycled Tutorial - T-Shirt Magnet Board - Recycled Holiday Gift Countdown

This week kicks off my 2nd annual holiday recycled handmade gift tutorial countdown to Christmas!

(say that two times fast, will ya)

A favorite easy peasy gift I like to make for people are magnetboards created from their favorite old t-shirts!

You can use any size frame for this - you can even make sets of framed magnetboards from the same t-shirt.

You will need:

1 t-shirt
1 piece of sheetmetal from the hardware/home improvement store- the thinner the better
1 frame
staple gun, scissors, marker, sheetmetal cutters (heavy duty scissors can be used, too)

1. mark sheetmetal using the paper template inside your frame
2. cut sheetmetal to size
3. cut t-shirt about 1" larger than template on each size
3. place the corrugated cardboard that came with your frame behind the sheetmetal and stretch the tshirt over top
4. staple the tshirt to the cardboard (the sheetmetal should be directly under the t-shirt)
5. slip it into your frame

You will just need to add some favorite magnets (and if you follow my blog and need up to 3 magnet lids - you will just have to glue a magnet to each - just email me through the contact link at right with your address and what you would like on them - here I have used some favorite Dylan lyrics - I will pop them in the mail to you for free).



More recycled tutorials here including last year's gift countdown!

And if you want to hold onto your own t's- it is hard for me to part with mine- you can find some amazing recycled t's for sale on Etsy:

1. recycled rug by talking squid
2. recycled flowers by marang97
3. recycled bracelet by AnnDoraCraft
4. recycled necklace by kewpiedolly
5. zjayne's amazing recycled wristlets

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grow Your Business With Collaborations or when one plus one equals more than two

From our earliest days in the sandbox we have always gotten more done

(think roads and bridges and tootsie roll toll-earning sand tunnels here)

and had more fun, when we did it together.

The problem is that most crafty, creative people I know (including myself) were not really "meet me in the sandbox" kind of kids, but more "sit in the corner and color" kind of kids and some of us have translated that need to work alone

(and yes, alone work is very productive at times)

into solo businesses that could really use a jolt of "something other than ourselves" from other creative professionals.

(yes, I will overuse parentheses and quotation marks in this post and cannot be stopped)

The right collaboration may be the match you need to get your fire started!

1. Look for equal partners and know what you are offering - unbalanced partnerships will probably not work out well for either person

(if you are looking for a blog collaboration, unless you are an incredibly amazing and prolific writer - and if you are, help, I need you - you might be better off approaching a blog with comparable blog readership numbers to your own to trade off posts)

2. Limit the scope of your collaboration in the beginning

(get your feet wet together to see how it feels, you can always extend your work together as you build trust and things work out)

3. Make agreements simple. Put things in writing. Establish clear protocals for changing, extending or unwinding things.

4. Be considerate and appreciative of each person's workload and keep communication lines open

(One of the amazing artists I work with on the Polarity locket always called me "her manufacturer" to the customers that bought her locket. It bothered me a little. Well ... it bothered me alot and when I finally talked to her about it- of course, she had no idea I was feeling the way I did since she could not read my mind- we worked it out and have continued to collaborate and remain friends)

5. Goodwill is essential and this means you want the other person to benefit from the collaboration as much as you do.

There are unlimited ways to do this - you could create a postcard with a small handful of other sellers and each could agree to send the postcard out with any orders, you can set up a blog advertising ring with other blogs where you place your ad on their blog and they place their ad on yours, you can collaborate on an actual product

(like the amazing piece shown here which is a collaboration between jewelry designer/maker 3squares and fabric designer Jan DiCintio of Daisy Janie)

you could make team treasuries where you promote each other, have feedback sessions where a handful of sellers offer advice and positive reinforcement to each other, do trunk shows with local sellers, etc.

There is something about combining our energies that allows that energy to grow in really huge and exciting ways - ways that you can't foresee when you start this adventure together.

Lots and lots of good can come from this collaboration thing. I find that the best things sometimes take the most energy - you likely get more out of trunk shows than post cards for example.

(and yes, bad things can happen, too - there are no guarantees of happy endings anytime we interact with other people, no matter how many contracts we sign and promises we make)

If a collaboration sounds right to you at some point you have to act to get the ball rolling. You may have to get a little scared. Maybe even a lot scared ... you just have to do it.

(feel the fear and do it anyway, good book btw)

The first artist I asked to do the locket series with me that I did not really know was Jessica Doyle. And if she had said 'no thanks' (the next person I asked said no thanks) who knows what would have happened. I might have stopped right there.

(I know that I shouldn't have, but I might have, I am rather wimpy that way at times, although I like to think I would just keep on keeping on like that little energizer bunny that I am in my head)

And I am glad I didn't - give up, that is. And I think you will be, too.

(trust me, I am a professional collaborator - hopefully the FBI is not reading my blog - and I know these things)



adventurer print by fifiduvie
necklace by 3squares