Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview with AmyBirnbaum @ Etsy

Tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in North Dakota and am happily married with six children. I am a certified interior designer in the state of Minnesota and worked in the architecture/interior design field for 14 years. I was laid off when the housing/building market came to a grinding halt. I also happened to be pregnant with our sixth child so it didn’t make a lot of sense to pursue another position at the time.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration originally came from the sheep we raise and my children and the interaction between them, but has branched out to many other areas as well. Now when I look around I am always looking for new scenes or objects that would make good paper cuts! The world is full of inspiration!

Who or what has been most influential in your craft?

Well I have my art teacher from college to thank for introducing me to paper cutting years ago. Recently I have my family and close friends to thank for their encouragement and feedback. Joe Bagely and other members of the Guild of American Papercutters have been inspirational and a wealth of technical information.

What does handmade mean to you?

Something handmade by me means – uniquely designed and very carefully created by my own hands out of the best materials I can find.

When did you know you were an artist?

I have always been a creative person. As a child I loved drawing and sewing. I took that talent and used it for interior design. This took up most of my creative energy so I didn’t do much in the artistic realm beyond this. When I was no longer doing this on a regular basis I needed something else to focus on. My children found my art portfolio from college and stumbled across a paper cut I did in an art class. They were fascinated by it. My husband made a comment that got the ball rolling. . .” Now that is something you don’t see every day! You could sell those.” I gave it a try again and was hooked! Now I have to tell myself to stop some days so I can get other things done. When I reached that point I knew that I was an artist.

How would you describe your creative process?

I am always looking for new ideas everywhere I go. I try to stay focused on one idea at a time, but often have several projects in progress at any given time. I start by looking at pictures I’ve taken or ones given to me by others to use. I print them off in black and white; then I partially trace and modify/sketch to get the pattern that I want to cut. Depending on what paper I am using I will either glue to back (with a repositionable glue) or tape with a weak tape to the paper to be cut. I use an xacto type knife and self-healing mat to cut the image. When done I glue it to a piece of art or illustration board.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?

I find a new subject to make a quick paper cut out of before tackling bigger more time consuming projects if I am not feeling motivated. So far I can only recall one day of really being in a rut. Usually my problem is staying focused on one item – there are so many I want to do!

What made you decide to start selling on etsy?

While researching the market for paper cuts, I came across several paper cut artists who sold their work on etsy. I was impressed with their work and it was obvious that they were able to sell on etsy. I checked out all the information for sellers and decided to give it a try.

What makes your items “unique”?

I create all of my own patterns and have from day one. I like to challenge myself to make the images realistic, detailed and artistic.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Most people who don’t know me are surprised to hear I am a mother of six children.

Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible and why?

Probably fly – I love seeing things from the bird’s eye view.

Visit AmyBirnbaum:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview with Scarableu @Etsy

Tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in the Montreal area (Quebec, Canada).

I have travelled a bit, but I am in love with my city and get my inspiration for its streets. I love to draw, love art but I do not work full time in this field...yet! My dream is to one day become a children's book illustrator. That is definitely my favorite kind of art.

Where does your inspiration come from?I am inspired by the everyday people that cross my path, other artists, picture book illustrations, insects and plants.

Who or what has been most influential in your art?
I think my childhood has inspired my art tremendously. To me it was a magical time. Plants had feelings and felt pain when you uprooted them, clouds bore secret messages, and you could keep a pet ladybug in an empty margarine jar and was convinced that with the right equipment, you could fly a little when you jump off a tree branch.

What does handmade mean to you?
The beauty in imperfect uniqueness. Every piece is different and has a soul.

When did you know you were an artist?
I have been quite insecure about using the term artist but I guess in the last few years, after studying graphic design and getting a few illustration contracts I started to let people call me that.

How would you describe your creative process?
I just wait to get that feeling, rising in my belly that says: Oh man, I really feel like drawing!! I grab my lead pencils and just any scrap of paper lying around and let the images flow through the tip. Then I either use coloured pencils to fill in the spaces or use Photoshop to color it in.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I just don't stress about it. Leave it alone for a while. Taking walks around an unknown part of town helps.

What made you decide to start selling on Etsy?
I started looking at other shops, other artists and thought; maybe I could do this to! I felt I had nothing to lose and a few years later I had enough material to start posting it up.

What makes your work “unique”?
I really think that my creatures humanoids or animal...oids? Have a special look about them. I like the look of the bigger head on a round belly and longish limbs, I like to bring out the beautiful side of textbook unattractiveness.

If you had to describe your art as a fruit, what fruit would you choose and why?
Ummm I guess I could go with wild strawberries. The little kind, the one that you find unexpectedly on the side of a road, because I think my art can be like a sweet little surprise that makes you smile for a while.

If you could have dinner with anyone (living or dead) who would it be and what would be served?
I would love to have dinner with Daniel Johnston (of the: hello how are you t-shirts.). We would sing his Casper the friendly ghost song and eat European hotdogs, the ones with the huge sausages, sauerkraut and fancy mustard.

Visit Scarableu:
Etsy Shop - http://www.etsy.com/shop/scarableu
Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Scarableu/140235972695333
Blog - www.lizzyzilloz.blogspot.com

Monday, May 23, 2011

CottageCarries Blog Giveaway

I am very excited to bring you my very first giveaway sponsored by Rachel from CottageCarries.

A little bit about Rachel:

Well, I am a stay-at-home mom of an amazing little boy. I am one of those mommies with extra time on my hands. So I wanted to start a hobby, one that I would love and be able to do when I wasn't chasing my little boy around. And it would also be a plus if I could make some extra moo-la too. So I tried painting and other hobbies, but I just was not passionate about them. My husband kept encouraging me to find that one thing that would make me happy, that one thing that I would keep doing and doing and never quit. PURSES! It just popped in my head. I started reviving vintage purses, and then I was reading a purse blog and got inspired to make framed clutches. Wah-la!


This giveaway will be a winner’s choice! The winner will be able to pick their choice of either a lovely Coin Purse OR a wonderful Tissue Holder!



Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
Make sure to include your email address or a way to contact you if you win!
  • Visit Rachel's shop at CottageCarries, browse around, and leave a comment here telling us what your favorite item is!


Make sure to include your email address or a way to contact you if you win!
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • 1 Entry - Follow CottageCarries on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CottageCarries 
  • 1 Entry - Follow this blog publicly using Google Friend Connect (located on the ride sidebar).

  •  Please make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • This giveaway will end at midnight EST on Friday, June 3rd
  •  The winner will be chosen by Random.org. I will have the winner announced by June 6th and he/she will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address. If a winner cannot be contacted, another winner will be randomly chosen.
  •  This giveaway is open worldwide.

    *** If you would like me to host your next giveaway please feel free to email at myhobbyshop.etsy@gmail.com or convo me on Etsy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interview with RutisRoots @Etsy

Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ruti and I'm 26 years old. I was born and raised in Jerusalem. I am currently studying Occupational Therapy in the city of Haifa, Israel. I have always loved art – painting, sculpting, photographing, designing, beading and more. In most recent years I have been drawn to the magic of folding recycled paper and creating various works of art with them. This kind of art combines my passion for shaping and color-matching, with my love for nature, while attempting to preserve and reuse pre-existing materials.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from nature, colors and music.

When did you know you were an artist?
Ever since I remember myself I create things using many kinds of arts.

How would you describe your creative process?
I use paper from many sources like magazines, prospects, tea bag paper wraps and more. I've learned this kind of art from my grandfather's Philippian caregiver about 7 years ago. Since then I always carry a few paper pieces in my pocket.

First I cut the paper to the right size, then fold it to triangles and separate them by colors. Then I decide which colors to use and what the pattern and shape would be like, then build the structure. I also use glue for making it durable and a low bottom made from cardboard.

Apart from creating, what do you do?
I study and work with a child with autism. I like travelling, reading, watch movies and listen to music.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I wish that I could move things using my thought only.

Visit RutisRoots:
Etsy Shop - http://www.etsy.com/shop/RutisRoots

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rutis-Roots/178675108809665?sk=wall

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

April Crochet Challenge

I have been collecting crocheted squares for over three years. Basically, anytime I have scrap yarn left over from a project I would whip up one of these nifty little squares. The problem is I never got around to deciding what I wanted to do with them and how to put them together.

I belong to a wonderful group on Etsy called the Create Crochet Team. This is a team for crochet lovers. We share our work, ask questions and have monthly challenges. The monthly challenges are for fun and allow us to learn new techniques and express our creativity.

In April, one of the challenges was to learn a new technique. So I decided to learn a new technique on how to join crochet squares. Normally I would just sew them together or so single crochet stitches all the way around. After a search on google I found a tutorial on how to do a flat braid crochet joining method.

I love the way the stitches came out and I think this will be the way I go from now on. I am still slowly joining squares and hopefully I will have this blanket done soon. So stay tuned for pictures!

If you want to take a look at some other new techniques my teammates learned, go to our team blog: http://createcrochet.blogspot.com/ or our facebook fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/CreateCrochetEtsyTeam

Friday, May 6, 2011

Follow Friday Frenzy - Twitter Link Up

Its Friday and for those of you who are familiar with Twitter you know its #FollowFriday. I figure what better way to gain new followers that to link up. Its all about sharing the love.
  • Follow my blog & on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/MyHobbyShop.
  • Add the URL (link) of your twitter account to the list below.
  • Follow as many people listed as you wish. Remember karma, the more peeps you follow, the chance are more will follow you in return.
  • Spread the word & mark your calendar for next week.If this is successful I would like to do this every week.

What to do about renewing?

To Renew or Not To Renew? That is the million dollar question!

Monster Question by boandfriends

While I am no expert I have run a few experiments on my shop. I will share them with you and you decide what’s best for you!

Renewing Tool:

Last month I decided to give Uncle Gravy's Renewing Agent a try. I used my 10 day trial period in several different ways. First I set my items to renew every 2 hours. I did this for the first 5 days. Then I set my items to renew after 600 views. I did this for the remaining 5 days. In the month of April I renewed a total of 105 times and listed 14 new items. With all this I made one sale. The one sale was only enough to cover 40% of my Etsy bill.

Looking at Craftopolis, I received 10,560 item page views and 41 new shop hearts. Plus I was on Etsy’s front page twice – as an alternative, but I’ll take it! So after taking a look at these numbers, was it worth it? Nope, not to me. I did better with page views and shop hearts in February when I simply listed new items and only renewed 7 expired items.

Best Time to Renew:

Wait by michelemaule

I decided to do another experiment in May. This time I am going to renew smartly. What does that mean? I am only going to renew as items expired. Now the key is finding out how to make the most of renewing. First is to figure out when your shop receives the most access. I found a great blog that explains how to do this. After looking at my Google Analytics I determined that my shop received the most views at 1pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm.

Now I have to figure out how to renew during these times. I have a day job and can’t always be on Etsy. This is where Statsy comes in handy with their FREE automatic renewing tool. I schedule my items to renew the day before they are going to expired and specified one of the times above. I’ve also chose not to renew on the weekends. For me this is when I get the opportunity to take pictures and post new items.

I will have to wait until June to determine if this is what works for my shop.

Have you tried any renewing experiments? Does renewing work for you?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fresh Finds

Everyday new shops open up on Etsy. It amazes me all the talent that is out there. Below are just a few of my favorites I found using Pounce. Some are still waiting for their first sales. So show them some love ♥





Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Front Page by DirtyDeedsSoaps

How wonderful is it to wake up to an email that says you have been featured on Etsy's front page!

A big thank you to DirtyDeedsSoaps! Check out DirtyDeedsSoaps store for custom scents of handmade olive oil and beer soaps.

Groomsmen 4 piece set by DirtyDeedsSoaps

Wilderness Chic by DirtyDeedsSoaps

The Beginning Of Mothers Day

What is Mother's Day about? Why celebrate moms just one day of a year? Here is your history lesson of the day. Don't just celebrate something because its on the calendar.

During the 17th century, those living on the British isles initiated a religious celebration of motherhood, called Mothering Sunday, which was held on the forth Sunday during the Lenten season. This holiday featured the reunification of mothers and their children, separated when working class families had to send off their young children to be employed as house servants. On Mothering Sunday, the child servants were allowed to return home for the day to visit with their parents. The holiday's popularity faded in the 19th century, only to be reincarnated during World War II when U.S. servicemen reintroduced the sentimental (and commercial) aspects of the celebration American counterpart.

In 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis was the first woman to hold an official celebration of mothers, when in her home state of West Virginia, she instituted Mothers' Work Day to raise awareness about local sanitation issues. During the Civil War, she expanded the scope of Mothers' Work Day to include sanitary conditions on both sides of the battlefield.

Meanwhile Julia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," attempted to institute a national celebration of mothers that honored women's inclinations toward peace (rather than cleanliness). In 1872, she initiated and promoted a Mother's Day for Peace, to be held on June 2, which was celebrated the following year by women in 18 cities across America. The holiday continued to be honored by Bostonian women for another decade, but eventually phased out after Howe stopped underwriting the cost of the celebrations.

Then in 1905, Anna Reeves Jarvis passed away and her daughter, Anna Jarvis, took up her mother's torch. Anna swore on her mother's grave site that she would realize her lifelong dream of creating a national day to honor mothers. In 1907, Anna launched her campaign by handing out white carnations to congregants at her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia. In 1908, her mother's church acquiesced to Anna's request to hold a special Sunday service in honor of mothers - a tradition that spread the very next year to churches in 46 states. In 1909, Anna left her job and dedicated herself to a full-time letter-writing campaign, imploring politicians, clergymen and civic leaders to institute a national day for mothers.

In 1912, Jarvis' efforts met with success: Her home state of West Virginia adopted an official Mother's Day; two years later, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, signed by President Wilson, establishing a national Mother's Day emphasizing the role of women in their families - and not, like Julia Ward Howe's campaign, in the public arena. Ever since, Mother's Day has been celebrated by Americans on the second Sunday in May.

Perhaps the country's greatest proponent of motherhood, Anna Jarvis ironically never had children of her own. Yet that didn't stop her from making the celebration of Mother's Day her lifelong mission. In fact, as the holiday took on a life of its own, Jarvis expressed frequent dismay over its growing commercialization. "I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit," she is quoted as saying.

Info obtain from: http://www.holidays.net/mother/story.htm

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Interview with Jiveworks @Etsy

I am always searching Etsy for new and unique sellers. I ran across this amazing shop with awesome mosaic art.

Tell us a little about yourself?
I'm 38 years old. I've been making mosaics for 15 years. I'm obsessed with art, science fiction and motorcycles. In fact, I just purchased a motorcycle with funds primarily acquired on Etsy.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Where does anyone's inspiration come from? It's a total mystery to me.

Who or what has been most influential in your craft?
The biggest influence in my craft has been my mother, who supported us as a stained glass artist as a kid, and has always supported my art (and given me access to her scrap glass!)

What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means designed and executed by the artist, what else?

Life-size Dia de los Muertos Skull

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I started approaching visual art with seriousness when I was about 17. I'd always been creative, but that's when I decided to pursue art to the exclusion of everything else. That's also when I discovered (not coincidentally, in retrospect) that girls dig artists...

How would you describe your creative process?
My process is two-fold. In the long run, I'm always pursuing virtuosity. With each individual piece, I'm pursuing that "zone" where time slows down and new ideas and techniques manifest themselves seemingly out of thin air. That's a strangely detached and powerful feeling.

Mosaic Skull made with tumbled stained glass tiles

When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
I was raised hardcore Jehovah's Witness, so I was prohibited from dressing up for Halloween. As a result of that upbringing, I've spent my entire adult life jaded and faithless, and obsessed with faith, religion and spirituality; but always as a perpetual outsider looking in.

What was the first concert you ever attended?
AC/DC's "Razor's Edge" tour, 1991. It was deafeningly loud and my ears were ringing the whole next day, but it was so worth it!

Visit Jiveworks:
Etsy Shop - http://www.etsy.com/shop/Jiveworks
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Art-of-Matthew-Alexander-Mosaics-Drawings-and-Paintings/257380511780

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What do you Stand for?

When you stand for something you don't just talk, you act. You don't just have whimsical thoughts or weak beliefs about it, you have conviction. You don't just go through the motions; you get engaged with purpose and passion.

Take a moment and ask your self these questions:

What Do I Stand For? Make a list of what you truly believe you stand for.

Do My Actions Reflect What I Stand For? For example if you say you stand for your family but you don't make time together as a family then you will want to address this. Evaluate your actions.

Make a Stand for Your Brand. Take action on the things you stand for. Right now, write down 3 actions that you can take that will reinforce what you stand for. Then take action.

Re-evaluate Every Month. This will help you be aware of whether your actions are in alignment with your beliefs. There will always be discrepancies. No one is perfect. The key is to be aware and have a desire to improve.

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today Exodus 14:13

If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain; Exodus 18:23

No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go. Deuteronomy 11:25

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5

Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes! 1 Samuel 12:16

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 2 Samuel 22:34

If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear Job11:14-15

There are nearly 483 references to the word stand in the bible (NIV).

Take yours today!

Sources : http://www.JonGordon.com
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