Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snow Trip!

So while I've been off trying to rest by wrist up, we decided to take a day off and go to the snow.  We live about an hour to an hour and a half away from most of the ski resorts.  We decided on SnoPark, which is just below Boreal off of I-80 East.  It was a great call!  They have a nice little store there, and a lodge for when it is busy.  During the summer they have yurts, room for rv parking, and even a laundry facility. 

When we got up there we found only a handful of other families, and all with little kids. Emma made fast friends with another little girl her age, and jumped right in to help with making a snowman.  We spent a couple hours building away.  Well, mostly I watched and handed them snow while sitting on the sled.  Then we had a little lunch and walked over to the sled runs.  There were a few families over there, too.  Oddly enough, all their kids were 3 years old, too.  We took a few runs down the hill before I got trapped hip deep loose powder.  Whoops!  After a few snow angels, we were all ready for some dry clothes.  

The best (or worse - depending on perspective) was Adam's leap of faith.  He decided to jump off a four foot snowbank and onto pavement.  Well, what he though was fresh powder on the pavement was actually ice.  He's a tall guy, and I knew as soon as he jumped that he'd eat it. Big time.  There was a huge thud when he fell.  I ran over to make sure he was okay. Thank God he was!  He was feeling it for a few days, though.

We need to hit up Goodwill for some snowsuits without plunking down a ton of change.  Hopefully we can go again the weekend after Christmas!  New Years day might actually be nice since everyone else will be hung-over and sleepy. 




Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - Mixed Species

Today's featured shop is one of my absolute favorite Etsy shops.  What is Mixed Species?  I don't think anyone is really sure.  The guys of Mixed Species hail from Corvallis, Oregon.  Face McSpecies, Poppa McSpecies, Hairy McSpecies, and Corporate McSpecies make up the enigma that is Mixed Species.  I honestly have no clue what their real names are, and I kind of like it that way.  (McSpecies - get it?)  Get your fill of delicious man meat at their Etsy shop or at MixedSpecies.com.  You can visit their blog here, follow them on Twitter, and make sure to visit their Flikr page while the kiddies are sleeping away. (Trust me, it's easier than explaining.)  So turn on some of your favorite 80's rock, pop open a cold one, and get shopping!


How did you get started crafting?
After realizing that most of the bands we were in scared more women than they attracted we decided to soften our approach and start the first male craft super group! The female to male ratio of the craft world further helped cement this idea as the best EVER!

Why did you decide on Mixed Species for your business name?
Our MixedSpecies name and logo embodies what we are and hope to be! Ok, actually to be honest BigDaddyMeatStraw and TwoTonLoveWhores were both taken, so we went with our third favorite, Mixed Species. We wanted an icon we could use as a brand but also represented who we are and where we are from. At one time or another in our lives we had all seen the post card at the roadside gas station with a picture of a jackalope or the bait and tackle shop with an actual stuffed jackalope. The image and name Mixed Species seemed to fit our background, fashion sense and the duality of some of our re-purposed products.

Do you have a muse?
Actually we have four muses:
Attention, Booze, Laughter and Attention

Do you take custom orders?
Every once in a while we take a custom order but typically we do not. You see custom orders sometime remind us that we all still work for “the man”. This results in a fetal ball of thumb sucking, cold sweats and sobbing. The only known cure is a little recipe we invented called the Alcoholic Gravy Shot!

What does a typical day look like for you?
Our typical day is just like everyone else’s. The only difference is as most people put their pants on one leg at a time, we make so much money we pay someone to put our pants on for us!

Where would you like to go for your business?
1.) Quit our real jobs.
2.) Get our own TV Series. (the working title is “Big, Hairy and Crafty”)
3.) Hairy McSpecies and Face McSpecies have side project that will have them marrying you AND dowsing for a well on your property.

What is one strange or funny thing you’d like to share with us?

It hasn’t hit the press yet but Poppa McSpecies has been rumored to be dating White House Crasher Michaele Salahi while simultaneously “counseling” Tiger Woods’ wife Elin Nordegren.

Most of all we want to thank our customers and tell everyone out there HAVE FUN!!

-the Mixed Species guys

Monday, December 14, 2009

Unplanned Hiatus

I woke up the other day to find that not only was my carpal tunnel was worse, but it hurt like Hell to move my thumb.  I move it and it makes me want to wail.  I'm in a big brace that keeps my thumb stationary. (Thumb spica splint if you want to be fancy.) 

Coming up this week is a feature on one of my favorite Etsy shops - Mixed Species.  I have to take a little break to let the swelling go down, and hopefully can pick back up next week.  I apologize to the shops on the schedule. I promise I'll make the wait worthwhile!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - ToBoldyFold

Today's feature is ToBoldyFold, a shop that makes absolutely gorgeous, hand-bound leather journals.  Melissa handcrafts each journal in Boston, Massachusetts.  The journals are produced  in collections of 25 books, each unique and handcrafted.  Leather journals are a wonderful gift for anyone on your list.  Poets, artists, travelers, and keepers of  personal journals especially love hand-bound leather books.  You can also visit Melissa at her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and of course her website. Happy shopping!

How did you get started crafting?
I've been an artist all my life. I was brought to a lot of museums as a kid, and was very much inspired by them. I was encouraged to create things with my hands, and from there I never stopped.

Why did you decide on To Boldly Fold for your business name?
It came from a lot of brainstorming. I wanted a strong name that would talk about paper but also be quirky.

Do you have a muse?
My muse is nature. I'm constantly amazing by the patterns, colors, and the intricate ways in which nature fits together.

Do you take custom orders?
Of course!

What does a typical day look like for you?
I work three days a week, so on the days that I'm in the studio, I pack in as much as possible. I start my day off on etsy. I post a new book every morning. Then I build books for the rest of the day. Depending on what stage of production I am on, I either tear down paper, fold or punch holes in sections, cut leather, sew, or do finishing touches like buttons. I also tend to set one day a week away for photo shoots.

Where would you like to go with your business?
I'd love to make it a full time production. I love what I do, and would like to make it more than just a part time venture.

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
I love snail mail.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - My Heart's Desire

Today's feature is My Heart's Desire by Mary Hank.  Mary specializes in hand-sewn clothing and accessories that give you that boutique look at affordable prices.  You will find something for everyone in her shop.  Some of her items include paintings on canvas, a wire sculpture bodice, gorgeous quilts, market totes, diaper bags, darling children's clothing, and more.  She has plenty of goodies for the little guys in your life, too. Happy shopping!

How did you get started crafting?
I think I've done some sort of crafting as far back as I can remember...making a chest of drawers for my Barbie by gluing empty matchboxes together then painting it. In fact, all of my Barbie's furniture I made myself! If a school project could be an art project of sorts then I was more than happy to work on that. A map of the USA that filled our dining room table with decoupaged pictures was a lot more fun than writing a book report! I took sewing as well as piano lessons, both of which has provided me with not only a creative outlet but a source of income.

Why did you decide on MaryHanks for your business name?
 "My Heart's Desire" was really my first choice but there were other shops with names too similar. So, my name became my backup name. Hey, it's worked pretty well for Martha Stewart!

Do you have a muse?
Two of my children are awesome designers and are an inspiration and help with creative ideas. I am an avid gardener so the colors and textures of plants, flower, sky, birds...

Do you take custom orders? 
Absolutely! I welcome putting together something for clients and am always ready to take on custom work. Bring it on!!!

What does a typical day look like for you?
I'm up at 6am to help get my husband out the door, getting his breakfast and lunch together. Daily chores that aren't very exciting; stuff like unloading the dishwasher, starting a load of laundry, feeding & walking the dogs, feeding my chickens! The youngest of my 4 kiddos is up at 7:30. Jonathan is out the door headed to school at 8 then the crafting begins! I "leave" work 5-ish to get dinner on the table but am often back at the sewing machine, the computer or just straightening the studio late in the evening to get ready for the next day.

         I Am Not So Crazy Quilt

Where would you like to go with your business?
I'd like to go back to more painting and sculpture work. I do enjoy the sewing but would like more variety in my shop. I'd also like to open a second shop with baked goods from my kitchen!

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
I have three hens but I don't live out in the country but in a typical suburban neighborhood. "Chicks in the City" they call it! They are tucked into a corner of our yard with a coop, a run, a larger area where they spend most of the day. If I'm out with them then I love to let them roam about the garden, scratching about, eating bugs. They are spoiled but have been a wonderful addition to my life! Not sure if this is strange or funny but I have 4 kids ranging from 10-28yrs old. Guess it's both strange AND funny!

Holiday Shopping Guide - BookEndDesigns

Today's feature is  BookEndDesigns by Steve Foote.  This gorgeous shop has the most unique purses I have seen on Etsy.  Imagine, purses made out of books!  Yes, books!  I'm a huge fan of old books, so these purses totally caught my eye.  The purses feature the necessities like pockets for your cell phone, makeup, keys, etc.  Steve also has another shop, Shattered Inks, where he features his fine art drawings.  You can also visit Steve on Facebook and Myspace.  Happy shopping!

How did you get started crafting?
I'm a true artist, that is to say, I can't seem to sit still long enough not to get my hands into all sorts of things, first and foremost ink drawings, but glass bead making, paper sculpting, woodworking, graphic design and who knows how many other things all make their way into my life, so crafting is just one more thing to keep busy and find a place to put creative ideas into.

Why did you decide on BookEndDesigns for your business name?
The first purse was just something I made for my wife originally, but every time she took it out someone always wanted to know where it was from and how they could get one so I started making more for individual people and now I have moved on to etsy as a place to display and expand.

Do you take custom orders?
Definitely, if you have a book you'd like made into a purse or want me to go out searching for one, it can be done with any hard cover book, (keep in mind the longer the book, the more room you'll have for your stuff)

What does a typical day look like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day for me. I'm a substitute teacher, a stone mason and an artist, so from one day to the next I could be teaching math, science, English or art, building/fixing a granite wall, or pouring concrete, to sitting home drawing wildlife art or sewing these purses... so I guess anything but typical is a typical day.

Where would you like to go with your business?

BookEndDesigns is at some point going to find its way past being purses only, right now I'm trying out some techniques that will add clutches and coin purses made from books, but I'll be experimenting my way around some other ideas involving turning a discarded book into something more than just a book and into something you want to show off.

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
I know the one thing people on etsy seem to find strange is that the model in the shop is not me, but my wife, it seems no one is expecting a male on the other end of the conversations.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - YasminSivan

Today's feature shop is YasminSivan.  The artist, Yasmin, is based in Givataym, Israel.  Her shop is filled with bright beads and buttons that get your creativity flowing.  I share her love for glass work and got hooked after taking a fusing class.  Trust me, it's not hard to fall in love with that molten glass.  Make sure to shop early to allow for shipping time.    Happy shopping!

 How did you get started crafting?
I always loved art, started drawing as a girl in junior high, than when I was older, in my 20's  I made paper puppets, and started making beaded jewelry for myself, and bought a lot of glass beads, (mass production made in Czechoslovakia) that where just wonderful to me.

Than the seller at the beads shop told me one day that they where all hand made…I just couldn't imagine how, and she showed me a book: "Making Glass Beads" by Cindy Jenkins, at that moment she lost a customer! I just knew that I had to make beads! 

Why did you decide on YasminSivan for your business name?
I don't know. It was always clear to me that I want to be known by my name:
Yasmin Sivan.  

Do you have a muse?
It seems most ideas pop into my mind when glass is running…glowing molten in my hands… it's as if it releases something in my mind and allows me a degree of spontaneity that would be hard to get other ways.

Whet I am in this state of mind, the ideas that flow with the molten glass are many times coming from nature, and it has a very strange tendency to divide in to two contrasting ideas, I'm fascinated by stones and flowers…those are two extremes I work with… very light, colorful ephemeral and happy flowers or very heavy hard and ancient stones. 

Do you take custom orders?
Some of the greatest Ideas come from custom orders; I love to hear what people have in mind and try to create it for them, although I do need to put my own artistic Ego aside which is not always easy.

Right now, I will take custom orders if it's within boundaries of my work, If somebody different colors or size, sometimes I will repeat my older style for an old customer who wants what I used to have in the past.

I will not imitate somebody else's work. 

What does a typical day look like for you?
I am a new mother to Ran who is almost eight month old J So I wake up when he wakes up at about 6 A.M.  (Thankful If I slept strait four hours.)

Twice a week I teach at my studio during the morning and once a week I sell at the Tel-Aviv art and craft fair, where I go with my baby!

The rest of the day I just spend with my baby, playing with him or taking walks outside, trying to cook and eat something with a baby in one arm… and do some laundry…If I'm lucky he sleeps a little at noon to I can get some rest with him. 

After he goes to sleep my second day starts…I have few precious hours to put some listings on Etsy read my convos and Emails and make some beads…and go to sleep at about midnight… 

Where would you like to go with your business?
I just love Etsy, and I would like to make it my main selling place, I would also like to teach more classes, but my dream is to study Glass Art on academic level and make huge glass sculptures and show them in art galleries around the world. 

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
My mental preparation for becoming a mother was by making pregnant figurines which I started about two years before I decided to really try it with my own body (which is the most wonderful experience ever).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - Exlibrisstudio

Today's featured shop is Exlibrisstudio.  The artists, Daniela and Andreas, are based in Vienna, Austria.  (Doesn't an Austrian Christmas sound so beautiful?)  If you're a big book worm like me, you'll love Exlibrisstudio's book plates.  Daniela and Andreas also run another shop called bonsaiishop.  Kids and the the young at heart will love their adorable felted animals.  You can catch Exlibrisstudio on facebook, twitter, and on their blog

How did you get started crafting? 

We always wanted to be self employed and we're very creative and very well organized, combined with a love to work with our own hands, that started us crafting.

Why did you decide on "Exlibrisstudio" for your business name? 
We decided on our business name as we sell (beside owl-themed toys and jewelry) Bookplates which originally are called exlibris (this comes from latin and means 'out of the books of' or 'out of the library of' - a bookplate, or exlibris containes of a small graphic and the name of the bookowner and is stamped or sticked inside of a book, it declares the ownership of this book) - so this gave the name for our studio & business.

Do you have a muse? 

Yes, which are all animals and nature.


Do you take custom orders?

Yes, custom orders are very welcome.

What does a typical day look like for you? 
Well, get up early, go jogging for about an hour, then turn on the computer (heart of our business), check e-mails and so on, breakfast, then a day full of work, which is partly on the computer (complete business administration, marketing, communication with customers, etc.), and partly off the computer (production, bringing items on their way for shipping, etc.). At any time in between lunch and again work, work, work, very often until late night and this also continues on weekends.

Where would you like to go with your business? 
Our business is a full daytime job for one person and we would like to quit a second day time job to work together on our business ... this is the goal for the moment.

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us? 
You have to imagine us, surrounded by all of our owls, which are very cute, but also chat the whole day long and put their beak literally everywhere. They also give comments to our business ideas and solutions, which is lot of fun and makes everything more colorful & "owlish". Beside our many owls we have two huge Maine Coon Cats who are always around, they often occupy our tables (like all Maine Coons they "talk" a lot) and also dance over our computer keyboards and write strange messages on the monitors ;-) So you can see, we are surrounded by our much beloved animals, which makes our life even more rich.

Daniela & Andreas

Holiday Shopping Guide - GettoPecasso

Today's feature is GettoPecasso.  Harold Shipley is a self-representing and self-taught artist.  His work is inspired by Pino, John Sargent, Pablo Picasso, Crosby, Rembrandt and Basquiat.  Harold offers custom oil paintings, sketches, murals, ad and logo design, and prints at affordable prices.  


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - VeganCraftastic

Today's feature is VeganCraftastic.  Kala from VeganCraftastic specializes in vegan-friendly crafts for everyone.  Her store includes jewelry to Christmas stockings, and even bags for all of your craft supplies.  Her gorgeous fabrics and colors really caught my eye.  Happy shopping!

How did you get started crafting?
I've always been a creative person, I think I get that from my parents, my mom especially, she's a jeweler and silversmith. My crafting interest has really exploded over the past few years though!

Why did you decide on Vegancraftastic for your business name?
I wanted a cute and quirky name that described everything I do and Vegancraftastic is perfect. Being vegan is a huge part of who I am and I wanted that to be very clear to anyone visiting my shop.

Do you have a muse?
Not really, I can be inspired by pretty much anything from a fun fabric print to something I see while on a run.

Where would you like to go with your business?
I'd love to do craft fairs and really turn Vegancraftastic into a full time gig.


What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
I love eating raw, uncooked tofu :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - IslaNewYork

This past week has been a little crazy at la casa Jordan.  This week I'll be playing catch up, so you'll get treated to a new shop every day.  Enjoy and happy shopping!

Today's feature is IslaNewYork.  Her gorgeous store shows off her awesome seamstress skills and eco-friendly fabrics. She uses a combination of soy jersey, bamboo jersey and organic cotton jersey.  I'm a sucker for a soft bamboo fabric!
How did you get started crafting?
I started with smaller projects. I made little pouches, hair accessories and embellished pre-made clothing items before I started Isla New York. Earlier this year, around March, I decided to expand and do what I have always dreamed of, which was starting my own fashion company.

Why did you decide on Isla New York for your business name?
I decided on "Isla New York" for several reasons. Simple, I really like the way "Isla" just rolls of your tongue. But "Isla" also means "Island". Having grown up in the Philippines (a country with over 7,000 islands!) and now living in Manhattan, I figured that Island was a good way to start my first company :)


Do you have a muse?
Hmm... I don't necessarily have a muse. I get inspired from a lot of different sources, books, colors, events, but not necessarily one particular person.

Do you take custom orders?
I do take custom orders! Almost all of my pieces come in a variety of colors, so you can always chose which color and size you'd like. And while I haven't had anyone ask me to do a particular design, I'm always open to work with a customer to achieve what she (or he!) would like.

What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day starts at around 9:30 AM. Every day I try to push it a little bit earlier, but it's slow going when the sun isn't as bright now! I then do computer until around lunch time. I'm blogging, twittering, updating my fan page,  and participating in the etsy forums. I find that all these different social networking sites are VERY useful when you have a question or if you want to extend the reach of your brand.


Where would you like to go with your business?
 I'm currently speaking with some brick and mortar stores. I'd ideally like to start supplying several stores around the country (if not around the world!) with my designs. I'd like to take Isla New York to a level where I can completely sustain myself on income from my clothing label :) A girl can dream!

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?

Most of my pictures I take myself. There's a plain white wall next to bed. Across from the wall is a tall dresser. When I take pictures and pose with the clothes, I stack books on the dresser till I achieve the right height, press the 10 second self timer, and then run, jump up on my bed, pose against the white wall! It doesn't seem like it from the picture, but it's quiet hectic! You should see me on days when I have multiple listings. It's constant running back and forth between setting the timer on the camera and running to the wall to pose!


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