Friday, April 30, 2010

Jack's Pick: Hex Diamond Pendant by Creative.Hodge.Podge

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team(RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

OK, so I'm a guy, so maybe I'm totally biased on t
his pick, but come on I mean creative.hodge.podge is using hex nuts here! Working hardware like this into jewelry is RAD with a capital R! That purple coated wire really wraps it all up, and the little beads are just the cherries to top off this metal sundae. Hex Diamond Pendants rock in my book.

I love seeing simple everyday objects made into something totally new, and being used for something other than the original purpose.

Don't miss Creative.Hodge.Podge at the Mayday! Underground Craft + Art show on Saturday, May 1 from 10-6 in Rochester, NY.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Wellspring: MayDay!

Congratulations to The Quilted House for winning this month's Earth Day team challenge with her upcycled denim bowl! (Yes, that's me! Yippee!!) Next month's theme is Mother's Day, so, team, get to creating!

Now, bubbling up from the well this Wednesday is the event no local Rochesterian will want to miss this weekend: MayDay! Underground Art + Crafts!! This promises to be the coolest, hippest, most with it show Rochester has ever seen and I think I can speak for the rest of the RNEST participants (as well as the other vendors) when I say we're all bringing out best, funkiest crafts that you really won't want to miss!

We'll see you all at 416 St. Paul Street, 10 - 6 this Saturday. Grab a coupon and don't forget that the first 30 guests will receive a free swag bag full of goodies from many of the vendors - I know I offered up some real goodies, so you'll want to be sure to come early!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trash & Treasures Tuesday: Thrifted Dresses Turn Couch Cover

My stylin' friend Jess has been a big influence on me, my love of thrifting and my obsession with all things vintage. Jess always snags the best items and has a great eye for "what could be." Not many people would see a dress and think, "Hm, this would make a fabulous sofa cover!" Jess did and she made it happen to boot!

From the crafting queen herself:

"I bought two women's plus size velour dresses (well, really more like 'stretch velvet') in the same shade of chocolate brown - I looked for ones that didn't have any adornment/ pockets/ buttons so that all of the material could be usable... I used a scrap piece of cotton (rectangular shaped) that I already had as the center..."

Jess then cut the dresses into the largest symmetric strips possible (all the while keeping them even) and sewed them (right sides together, of course) to the cotton base.

"Then, since it's a cover and can be tucked, I just eyeballed how to finish the sleeves of the couch cover... I ended up just tucking in a lot of the uneven seams, and it appears to be working well."

The results, pretty amazing.

She hit a few snags here and there, but since the material was inexpensive and the end product didn't need to be "perfect," she kept rollin' with the punches and ended up with a great repurposed cover. Love the drapping of the velvet over the arms.

Jess recommends hitting up a store like the Salvation Army or Goodwill for the best deals. Much less expensive then buying new fabric (or buying a new cover).

Thanks to Jess for letting me share her awesome dress-to-couch cover project!

Peace & thanks,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Make- it Mondays: RNEST Garbage Plate

Happy Monday everybody. Today marks blog post #100. How amazing for burgeoning team and blog just over a year old. The blog, along with the team meetings, really started to expand this past September and we've gone from a handful of followers (mostly ourselves ) to 176! Awesome sauce.

Garbage Plate 3.0

Anyhow, I want to update you on the status of our garbage plate project. Not from Rochester? Find out what the heck that is here. So far we have a plate (the quilted house), a veggie burger (duncan creative) and some nasty meat sauce with onions (buenahelena). We are looking for RNEST members to volunteer to continue filling up the plate.

Possibilities include:
  1. Sliced french bread
  2. A red hot or a white hot
  3. Macaroni salad
  4. A pickle
  5. Home fries
  6. And baked beans
These can be made from any area of craft expertise, it just so happens that the first few contributors were fiber-licious. Leave a comment if you want to jump on this project. We will eventually turn it into a fun promotional giveaway.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jack' Pick: Circuit Cuff Links from Beadwork by Amanda

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team(RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

This month RNEST has been focusing on Earth Day. We have been making and looking at lots of "upcycled", recycled, and earth friendly items.

One of my favorite RNEST sellers has been Beadwork by Amanda. She does jewelry of
all types, but one line that she has been very successful with on Etsy is her circuitry resin jewelry. Pendants, earring, and cuff links, like the ones I have selected for this week's Jack's Pick, are incredibly made and have a beauty in something so industrial.

Amanda describes the item as, "
Pieces of recycled circuit board, with green and gold colored strips have been cut and ground to fit into small silver plated oval bezel cups."
The circuits are then covered in a glossy resin. They even come in "manly" gift wrap...I like the way that sounds!

If you want to see Amanda's beadwork in person, she will be selling her jewelry at the Mayday Underground Art and Craft Show on May 1, 2010 in Rochester, NY. Lots of other RNEST sellers will also be there. For more information visit the Mayday Underground website.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Wellspring: Earth Day

Congratulations #38, sarahmtw, for winning Kelley's Beading's gorgeous bracelet!
And now, the Reserved Parking Spot is once again up for grabs in this our April monthly challenge: Eco/Earth Day crafting!
Cast your vote for your favorite on the poll on the upper right corner of the blog sidebar. Voting will end April 27th, with the winner announced on April 28th!

And now, in no particular order:
RNEST Eco Nest by Sarah's Amiables

Recycled Shopping Bag Purse by Something from Nothin'

Earth Love Recycled Adjustable Ring by buenahelenaUpcycled Pop Top Purse by Something from Nothin'Eco Cables Cowl by Sarah's Amiables

Due to a mistake on the part of this humble blogist, one entry was left out: Secret Notebook by creative.hodge.podge. Since voting has already begun, the poll cannot be edited, so if you would like to vote for the Secret Notebook, simply leave a comment on the post. One vote per person, please. Thanks!

secret notebook by creative.hodge.podge
Upcycled Denim Quilted Bowl by The Quilted House determined by inky star shop Earth Day VHS Tape Clutch Bag by Duncan Creative

Now, celebrate Earth Day with us by doing something nice for Mother Earth and voting for your favorite Eco-friendly craft!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trash & Treasures Tuesday: Earth Day

Since April's team challenge is to create something inspired by Earth Day and/or something Eco-Friendly, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite finds when using the key search words "Earth Day" on Etsy.

So many great "green" items on Etsy - can't wait to see all the April submissions from my fellow RNEST members. And this just proves that tagging your item is a big part of people finding your work! Share your favorite green items in the comments!

Peace & thanks,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Make- it Mondays: Your Message To Buyers

You know that little box in your Shop Appearance page called message to buyers? It's somewhere near the bottom of the editing windows when you're logged into Etsy? Many people gloss over this or leave a tiny, single sentence like "thanks for stopping by and come back again." This little box is a huge opportunity, so take advantage of it.

At a minimum it should contain:
  1. A thank you for the purchase
  2. A reminder of your shipping policies
  3. A way to contact you in case of a problem
Many sellers also add:
  1. An option to sign up for a mailing list
  2. A request to heart their shop and return often
  3. A buyers survey

Recently I decided to add a small optional survey for future discounts. This way you can get feedback on how shoppers find your items and what they like most or dislike most about your shop. My Etsy shop is in constant edit mode, so this kind of feedback is invaluable.

My announcement currently goes something like this:

" Thank you for your purchase! May your day be filled with unheard of happiness, until you receive your item from me and feel even greater happiness. Please heart my shop and come back often.

Your purchase will be shipped after payment is made or cleared, usually in 2-3 business days.

If you need to contact me about your purchase, send an email to: or convo me on Etsy. Learn more about how to use Etsy Conversations here.

Want a discount? Take this quick survey and convo your answers to me. I will send you a password for a 15% discount on your next purchase.

1. How did you find my shop?
2. What item would you most likely buy or buy again from my store?
3. What would you like to see to make your shopping more fun, quick or understandable?"

Be clear, concise and always remember to make it yours. You can be funny and professional. That's what make's you more like the lovable corner store owner, in a world of corporate coldness.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Wellspring: Kelley's Beading

Congratulations Leo and Junie! You've won the wallet of your choice from The Quilted House!

And, excitedly, I'm bringing you another fun giveaway! This time from a newer member of our team, Kelley's Beading! Kelley brings to the team a lot of energy and a lot of beading talent! Take a look at her shop to find unique Lampworked glass, crystal, and seed bead jewelry.

Kelley is offering up to one lucky winner the gorgeous Blue and Purple Lampworked Glass Bracelet you see featured in this post! And, to make it even more exciting, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!!

And now to let you know how to enter. There are just two things you need to do to enter - you have to do them both to qualify:
1. Follow this blog - leave a comment telling me you are a new or faithful follower for one entry.
2. Take a look around Kelley's Beading, heart her shop, and tell me what you like best by leaving a second comment here. That's entry number two!

Best of luck to all. As always, the winner will be chosen using at the end of next Tuesday (4/20) and announced in the next Wednesday Wellspring. And remember, this giveaway is open to the world!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trash & Treasures Tuesday: Getting Organized

This week, I wanted to share two treasures I recently picked up on Etsy. I think a lot of people think of arts or crafts when they think of Etsy, but the vintage items shops list are amazing! It's like visiting multiple thrift stores, antique shops and garage sales all from the comfort of your living room.

First up, something to keep track of my mail. I'm not a fan of "piles" here and there; I'd much rather have nice little bins or baskets to organize with... which is why this letter box is so fantastic.

Purchased from autumnalways. Photo courtesy autumnalways.

How perfect? Letters in and letters out. Up next is something I originally thought I'd use for the mail (until I found the letter box), but now happily holds the napkins in my kitchen.

Purchased from verovintage. Photo courtesy verovintage.

This sweet little napkin holder is the perfect addition to my vintage-friendly kitchen. Similar items could be used to sort mail, hold letters to be sent or display vintage postcards. I love the idea of something old finding new purpose.

Check out Etsy's vintage section and let us know what treasures you find!

Peace & thanks,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Make- it Mondays: Write a Letter!

April is National Card and Letter Writing month. How often do you get deliciously personal mail outside of the obligatory Christmas card or wedding invitation? This month I encourage you, my fellow team members, to write a good, old fashioned letter. Reach out to an old friend or your favorite crazy aunt. Try my idea or support the R-Nesters below who make letter writing related items:

Make a mini art gallery on your envelopes with stamps. Few people realize that their unused stamps don't expire. You can continue using your old stamps, like coins, indefinitely. Add them in a cluster until you get the shipping amount you need.

Add this great tag to an envelope from Jackbear Stamps

Get your own letter writing station from Up Up Creative

Or send a quick (and soft!)postcard hello from The Quilted House
Catching the wave of a lesser known holiday like this can also be helpful to your shop sales. The magazine Country Living published a small blurb on letter writing ideas in their April issue and suggested that their readers search Etsy for supplies. I have been promoting National Letter Writing Month in my Etsy shop announcements and tags for just two weeks and in that time three of the five items I specifically posted in honor of letters have sold. What a great way to get a bigger audience searching for a your items!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jack's Pick: VHS Tape Clutch Purse by Duncan Creative

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team(RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

Earth Day is almost here, and creator karenswimmer has just the accessory for you, a clutch purse made from an old VHS tape!

I think this is so genius! Take an old VHS tape that will never get watched again, crack it open, and start ripping out the guts. Miles of that black magnetic tape spills out, making a great
material to weave, knit, braid, whatever! Oh sure, maybe it isn't as soft as cotton, or smooth like leather, but it is going to be very durable, waterproof, and you feel really good about it! That's worth it!

This can't be the easiest material to use, so this has to be fairly time consuming to make, so I feel the price is right on the mark here. I love ideas like this because they are so straight forward, and you wonder why you haven't seen something like this before.

Kudos Karen!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Wellspring: The Quilted House

It's about time for another giveaway. . . and about time that I offer up a goodie of my own.

In case you're new on the scene, let me introduce myself. My name is Michelle and I am quilting away in The Quilted House. I specialize in unique and colorful houseware and gift items. I LOVE fabric and LOVE color and have so much fun combining the two into unique quilted wares.

My favorite thing to make at the moment is Simply Chic Wallets and one lucky winner will get their choice of any from my shop.

I'll keep it simple this week. There are just two things you need to do to enter - you have to do them both to qualify:

1. Follow this blog - leave a comment telling me you are a new or faithful follower for one entry.

2. Take a look around The Quilted House and tell me what you like best by leaving a second comment here. That's entry number two!

Best of luck to all. As always, the winner will be chosen at the end of next Tuesday (4/13) and announced in the next Wednesday Wellspring. This giveaway is open to the world!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trash & Treasures Tuesday: RNEST Upcycles

I mentioned last week I've really been into upcycling lately; many hours have been spent looking through Etsy's listings of all things upcycled. And, our RNEST team has some pretty great listings! Here are two of my favorite upcycled treasures posted by two creative RNEST artists, Buenahelena and Creative.Hodge.Podge.

Cigar box perpetual calendar by Creative.Hodge.Podge. Sarah has repurposed a vintage cigar box, wooden blocks and cardboard into a one-of-a-kind calendar. The numbers can be arranged for each month and can be used for years to come. So creative and clever. 

I have been Etsy stalking these earrings for a little while now. How sweet are they? Primavera Button Earrings by Buenahelena. Carol repurposed an embroidered vintage hankie into a pair of earrings. She has a few other sets of these cute earrings in her shop, so head over there quick (before I buy them all!).

So, from cigar box to calendar and hankie to earrings, these items have a new life thanks to some creativity and inventiveness by two very resourceful artists.

I've been tinkering around with some washers lately, so hopefully by next week I'll have something fun to share of my own.

Peace & thanks,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Make- it Mondays: Optimize Your Creative Time

Last week I blogged about boosting your creativity. This week I want to focus on actually finding the time for all that boosting. Many of our team members have day jobs outside of their Etsy shops, families and everyday life to take care of before they can get down to working on new items. Here are some ideas for the time crunched:

Always keep a small project with you. Much of our time is spent waiting for buses, interviews, doctor's appointments, commercials to end while watching tv...and the list goes on. Use that time for mindless work. Perhaps punching holes onto handmade price tags or cutting loose threads off quilted items.

Keep your hands busy while you learn. One thing I have challenged myself to do is learn more about the business side of Etsy by checking out Etsy's virtual labs. Many of them last a half an hour or more. I use that time to listen and learn while doing handiwork. A tactile experience also improves your aural retention on the subject of a lecture. Knitters know this well!

Invest in a kitchen timer. If you are spending more than hour a day looking at blogs and tutorials for inspiration, you're probably daydreaming projects more than actually starting them. Before you get sucked in, set a timer and promise yourself you will walk away from the computer when it dings. Working on your own site doesn't count. That's work!

Pencil creative space into your schedule. As artistic people we like to wait for the mood to strike us. Too often though, it strikes in the middle of something. Find three solid hours in your week and isolate yourself from the world. Turn off your phone, drop the kids off at grandma's and shut the door. After awhile you will jones for that three hours and bust out the goods.

Comment, comment, comment! Where do you find the time?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jack's Pick: Louis the Lonely Bunny by Gock's Frocks

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team(RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

This week I have found a cute little lonely bunny by the name of Louis. Now Louis is probably lonely because he would like a loving family to become a part of for Easter or springtime. At least that is what I think, but maybe he's lonely for some other reason only a rabbit would

Cute little Louis was made by Gock's Frocks. Now usually I'm cruising through Gock's etsy store to find skirts for my little daughter like I did a few months back, but I came across this little guy and thought I would have to share him for Easter.

Also, I have also learned that Gock's Frocks has joined forces with Reckless Necklace (great name!) and has taken up studio space in Rochester at the Hungerford Building on 1115 E. Main Street through Door 5 on the second floor. She is having an open house tonight, April 2, from 5-9 pm. I'm hoping to check it out if my little one can stay awake! It is an open house for Rochester's First Fridays event, so there will be other studios open in the area as well, so stop in and maybe you will see Louis and all of Gock's Frocks excellent craftsmanship.