Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Wellspring: June Team Challenge: State Fair/Carnival

Congrats to Kiddo for winning the great sketchbook from Soft Shell Crafts!!

And now RNEST is ready to have some fun with this month's state fair/carnival-themed challenge!

Cast your vote for your favorite on the poll in the upper, right corner of the blog.

Double strand, crackled glass necklace
with tilt-a-whirl pendant
by Designs by Missrie

The Carnival is Over by A Different View
Barnum the Stripey Sweater Monster by Kira Arts
Cast your vote for your favorite on the upper right of the sidebar! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Treasury Tuesday: Hello 30!

One of our members, HeatherVitticore (who is also behind the shop MervAndDolores), made this lovely treasury celebrating and embracing saying goodbye to her 20's and turning 30 this past week! (I'm right behind you Heather! I just turned 29 this past week!) It features RNESTers, PeachesProducts and LoveAndWhiskers...

There were lots of delightfully summery treasuries our members were featured in this week. I wish I could have featured them all! Please be sure you click on the links below to check them out! (if you don't, you're missing out!) And you can favorite treasuries now too! So if you like a treasury, be sure to "favorite" it!

Featuring RNEST Members:

* If you make or find a treasury that features an RNEST member, or if you are an RNEST Member who makes a treasury, post the link on the wall at RNEST's Facebook Page. Your treasury could be featured on the next Treasury Tuesday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Make-it Mondays: More Pets of Etsy

For this week's creative creature feature we finally have a pooch! Amanda, the sole proprietor of BeadworkByAmanda, is also the proud owner of Mandy. She's a husky mix who, still being a puppy, loves to shred anything she can get her paws on. Looks like she is "helping" with some packaging...

*If you would like your pet featured on this series, please send your photos and a short blurb to

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What's Your Story? Weekend Edition: Heather Vitticore

Hey RNESTers! Hope everyone is enjoying the warm temperatures. I know I am.  This weekend, What's Your Story?  Weekend Edition is not only featuring another super multi-talented local artist, but it's her birthday today! Happy Birthday Heather!

Heather mentions Zentangle as one way of breaking through creative block. I was on the Zentangle website this week poking around and it is an intriguing concept. I can envision this being useful (or at least a fun diversion) for many of us.

She also gets my own personal thumbs up for her simple and elegantly stated view of the art/craft distinction.


Name: Heather Vitticore

Business Name: Merv And Dolores / Heather Vitticore Designs

Etsy Shop: /

Blog/Website/Facebook/Twitter: /

Age: hitting 30 on June 25th

Profession/Day Job: Art teacher / substitute

  "Perhaps art means creating with purpose and craft is creating something that has a purpose"

Craft(s) of Choice: This is tough… I seem to dabble in anything I can. My Merv And Dolores line includes illustrated greeting cards, prints, custom artwork, and plushes. I am also working on my Heather Vitticore Designs line, mixing my hand-drawn illustrations with sewing. I was determined to learn how to sew before I turned 30.

Besides your main craft of choice, do you enjoy any other crafts? Drawing, painting, crochet, baking when I’m inspired and craving sweets, attempting to plant a vegetable garden, and I really enjoyed learning glass fusing, metal smithing and PMC jewelry.

Is there a craft you've always wanted to try, but never got around to learning? I would love to learn how to use resin. Oh and glass painting looks fun.

Did you go to art school or are you self taught? I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art for Illustration and did freelance illustration work for a couple years. Then I went to The School of Visual Arts for my master’s in Art Education.

What’s your first craft-related memory? Remember those kits where you poured plaster into little molds and then painted them and turned them into magnets? I vividly remember a pretty life-like sparkly watermelon slice on our fridge.

How did you get started with Etsy? I taught art the last 4 years at a middle school outside Syracuse. After my husband and I got married last July, I relocated and moved to Fairport where he teaches (phys ed). I decided to use my new free time as an opportunity to focus on my artwork and set up an Etsy shop. I really didn’t know what I was doing per se. I just decided to jump in and try it out.

How did you first hear about Etsy? I think I came across an Etsy item I admired in either ReadyMade or Domino Magazine awhile back and looked it up on the site.                       

In your creative life and work, of what accomplishment are you most proud ?  I feel like art is a gift I have been given, though I am always challenged by it. Picasso said it best when he was asked in his eighties, "Of all your paintings and sculptures, which is your favorite?" He answered, "The next one." This is something I relate too, as I’m sure a lot of creative types can. What I am most proud of is the work I have put into teaching students. My hope is that the lessons I have taught them, beyond how to hold a pencil, will last with them longer than my artwork will.

In your creative life and work, what’s “the one that got away”? Well, I have to admit, I am a little bummed that MICA now offers classes that focus on Etsy! I wish that was on the course list when I was there.

What inspires you, or makes you want to go dashing off to craft? The challenge of creating something new. Using the skills I have and trying to learn new ones. 

What influences your creativity? Other artists, home d├ęcor, nature, music, travel, students, friends and family.

How to do get past a creative block? I like to bounce ideas and struggles off other people, especially my mom who is an artist as well and my husband who is always supportive and encouraging. I’ll also flip through books, magazines, Etsy, past artwork/sketchbooks. Go outside. Music. Zentangles is a good exercise too.
What does your workspace look like most of the time?  I tend to be really organized and cleanly, but once in the midst of a project that tends to go out the window.

What (if anything) do you like to watch/listen to while you create? Pandora (Favorite stations: Adele, Bon Iver, Glen Hansard, Jack Johnson) or my husband when he’s playing his music.
Do you craft with anyone, such as your kids/grandkids/friends? I used to craft with friends in Syracuse, but since I am still new to Rochester… craft night anyone? [Ed.-Yes please!]

Have you had an "a-ha" moment related to your art or craft? When I started realizing I need to practice what I preach to students, which is to allow yourself to make mistakes, explore, experiment, and have fun! 

Did you have a "crafty" childhood? Yes. I always loved making art and crafting. My mom is also an artist and went back to college to become an art teacher when I was in junior high. My parents have always been supportive of my creative endeavors. Some random childhood craft memories: doing illustrations of my friends, holding a play for family members with cousins using characters drawn on paper plates and popsicle sticks held up behind the couch, beading friendship safety pins and bracelets, puffy painting sweatshirts (hello 1989!), decoupaging boxes with magazines, Fimo clay miniatures, dying friends hair (creatively), knitting and crocheting scarves (lots and lots of scarves, since I can only make a straight line)… really, I was not the most athletic kid (I still get a bit anxious when I see a red rubber ball), so art is where I found my bliss.

Did you always want to be an artist? Yes… I was tackled in gym class senior year during an intense game of ultimately Frisbee, and broke my index finger on my drawing hand. I had a moment of panic wondering what I would do if I couldn’t create anymore and I thought I would go into counseling (not for myself, to help others). I should note that I was tackled because I caught that Frisbee and it would have been a goal!

What do you think is the difference (if any) between “art”and “craft”? According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary: Art is the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects. Craft is a skill in planning, making, or executing; an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill. …So they are one in the same, though I know there always seems to be a fine line between them. Perhaps art means creating with purpose and craft is creating something that has a purpose… I don’t know that you can truly have one without the other.

What are your creative goals for the future? Because I do find myself continuously inspired and interested in learning new skills, I would like to ultimately create an Etsy shop where I can showcase and sell a variety of things. I am working on building that now with I would also like to continue to get more involved in craft/art shows.

If you could add to your craft/art line, what would you like to add? I am adding illustrated textiles at the moment. I hand draw illustrations, have them printed on linen and sew them into one of a kind pillows. I would like to get into a similar method with stretched canvases and making wall art.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in selling your work? Balancing what I think people will be interested in buying and what I am interested in making. It is difficult when art crosses the lines of becoming a potential financial income. 

What has helped you the most in developing your creative business? Observing and learning from others. I have found the crafting world to be wonderful and welcoming. Most people know how hard it can be to start from scratch and are happy to lend advice. (Thank you fellow RNESTers!!!)

What kind of people do you envision your customers to be? Happy handmade supporters.

What advice do you have for RNEST members who are new or not yet successful on Etsy? Give it time… there are a lot of people out there who want you to succeed and have fun. Try different things. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it is in those “failures” you learn the most.

What do you love about your craft  ? It challenges me.

What do you hate about your craft ? It challenges me.

What craft sound or smell do you love? The sound of my pencil on the paper, and the tinging of my brush as I tap it against the water jar.

What craft sound or smell do you hate? 2 part epoxy. I don’t even know how to describe the horror.

Glue gun or a soldering iron? Tough, but in a fight I would place my bet on the soldering iron.

Knit or crochet? Crochet… the knots hide my mistakes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Wellspring: Soft Shell Crafts

Bubbling up from the well this week, is the fun, and cleverly named, Soft Shell Crafts! Allie embraces her desire to "reuse, transform, and create" with very uniquely upcycled sketchbooks, books, and bookmarks. She takes upcycling to a whole new level.

Today, one lucky winner will receive the beautiful Sunset Collagraph Journal (that I have personally been coveting for some time now)! The cover of this hand bound journal is made from upcycled cardboard and covered with test collagraphs from Allie's printmaking days as an undergrad. This sketchbook includes both white drawing paper and black charcoal paper, making it great for experimenting with a variety of medium. It's bound with embroidery floss using the coptic stitching method.

You can find Allie in the near future at:
  • reHatched on July 2nd at the Tango Cafe 389 Gregory Street Rochester, NY 14620
Plus, she's having a birthday sale in her shop: 23% off from June 22nd - 26th with coupon code BIRTHDAY23! Happy Birthday, Allie!!

And now for the rules (This giveaway is open to the US only.):
MANDATORY ENTRY #1: Go to Soft Shell Crafts, heart the shop, and then leave a comment here telling me your favorite item.
MANDATORY ENTRY #2: Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment letting me know- or if you are already, leave a comment saying you're a loyal follower.

BONUS ENTRIES (leave a separate comment for each):
1. "Like" RNEST on Facebook.
2. "Like" Soft Shell Crafts on Facebook.
3. Follow the Soft Shell Crafts blog.
4. Follow Soft Shell Crafts on Twitter.
5. Tweet and blog about this giveaway and leave a comment here with the link.

The winner will be chosen using the random number generator on Tuesday, June 28th and will be announced in the next Wednesday Wellspring.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Treasury Tuesday: Strawberries!

It's the first day of summer!!! Yay!!! Go celebrate by heading to your local berry patch and picking some plump, juicy, yummy strawberries!
(By the way...I think KarenSwimmer needs some kind of award for being RNEST's most featured artist in Etsy Treasuries!)

Strawberries featuring KarenSwimmer

Be sure you click on the links below and go see more treasuries that feature some of our other awesome RNEST members! (if you don't, you're missing out!)

Featuring RNEST Members:
Curated by RNEST Members:

* If you make or find a treasury that features an RNEST member, or if you are an RNEST Member who makes a treasury, post the link on the wall at RNEST's Facebook Page. Your treasury could be featured on the next Treasury Tuesday!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Make It! Mondays: "Little Letter" Needle Book

This week's Make-It Monday project is brought to you via our resident plush expert, Kira Sinclair, of KiraArts (who enjoys non-plush projects as well!) You can check out the original version of this post on her blog, here. Enjoy!

From Kira:
"I found a tutorial at (via Pinterest) for making a "Little Letter Needle Book" (it's a needle book that looks like a little envelope). I've been wanting to make myself a new needle book for awhile. The one I have is functional, but it's pretty plain and not really cute or pretty. (The outside is a "blah" navy-blue vinyl plastic with a piece of grey felt on the inside...I won't even bore you with a picture.)
But here is what I did with it!

This was the perfect project for me to use the sock monkey fabric I got from the thrift store! I was most excited to use the sock monkey fabric for the "stamp".

The back view of the envelope.

Be sure your pinking shears are nice and sharp! (My pinking shears were pretty old and not the best for cutting the edges of the "stamp" are a bit wonky. I went out and bought new pinking shears later).

I also used the sock monkey fabric to line the inside...

I used sew-on snaps for the closure, but you could also use velcro or even a button.

This is a great gift idea for anyone who sews! I'm looking forward to making more! You can see one I made for a friend here. I'm having fun coming up with which fabrics to put together and deciding what part of a printed fabric to use for the "stamp"! I'd like to also try making bigger ones. The template the tutorial provides makes a pretty small "letter" (about 3 inches long), but if you wanted a bigger one, you could always open up a regular envelope and use that as a template. I want to experiment with making a bigger one that I can tuck a small pair of scissors into, or even make one for crochet hooks. If one was so inclined, you could make a BIG envelope for your knitting needles!

I look forward to seeing what other people come up with! Happy sewing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Treasury Tuesday: RNEST in Bloom!

It's almost officially summer! And one of our members, Missrie, took it upon herself to create a beautiful, summery treasury featuring fellow RNESTers' blossoming items!

Be sure you click on the links below and go see more treasuries that feature some of our other awesome RNEST members! (if you don't, you're missing out!)

Featuring RNEST Members:
Featuring and curated by RNEST Members:
Curated by RNEST Members:

* If you make or find a treasury that features an RNEST member, or if you are an RNEST Member who makes a treasury, post the link on the wall at RNEST's Facebook Page. Your treasury could be featured on the next Treasury Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Treasury Tuesday: Graduate Homage

This week's featured treasury features KarenSwimmer. I like the idea behind this was made by a mother that's celebrating her son who is graduating high school..."a little visual ode to him, some of his favourite things". What I'm gathering from it is that Chris is British, is an artist, and likes Bob Marley, chihuahuas and tacos. It's a very cool and sweet idea for a base the theme off a loved one.

Be sure you click on the links below and go see more treasuries that feature some of our other awesome RNEST members! (if you don't, you're missing out!)

Featuring RNEST Members:
Curated by RNEST Members:

* If you make or find a treasury that features an RNEST member, or if you are an RNEST Member who makes a treasury, post the link on the wall at RNEST's Facebook Page. Your treasury could be featured on the next Treasury Tuesday!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Make-it Mondays: Pets of Etsy (Part Deux)

Welcome back to the second, super cute installment of Pets of Etsy. This weeks pets are the feline assistants to Chrys Callan, shop owner of A Different View. Although a couple were camera shy, two were very willing to pose for the camera.

SunniBeanz (the little white girl) and Huffelpuff (the grey boy) are her two darling critters in cahoots. They LOVE crafty time with Chrys. Especially when it involves feathers. And ribbon.

Chrys: These pics were from a recent batch of chokers I was making, and then I decided to try my hand at a fascinator style hair-piece. I did not get very far with the hair-piece, before Huffelpuff came over to inspect. And nibble. I am really not sure how well fascinators will fare in my house... my current 'hippie-hair-ribbons' at least are small enough to stash in a shoe-box between shows. Quite kitty proof. This may be a one-time endeavor! Sunni is always appalled at how many feathers get trimmed (or perhaps dis-figured) for my craft; she never takes long to start a 'rescue mission'. I always try to have at least one I can distract her with from the start; but it never lasts very long before she realizes there are better pieces that need 'love'.

And for an extra Chrys has made a LOLZ cat pic :)