Monday, October 11, 2010

Blog break

Hi everyone!

I have been considering taking a break from my blog for a while now but kept pushing through! I do enjoy searching through other shops and writing my spotlights, but that's all my blog has become recently. I want to do more with it, but I'm just isn't happening at the present moment. Therefore, I have made the decision to take a break from blogging for right now. :( This doesn't mean I won't stop by with an occasional posting at times, and who knows when I might just start back up again! You can still find me on Facebook and in my stores:

Craft is Art

Happy shopping!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Chicken Lips

Fall has hit New England; the leaves are starting to change, and I'm enjoying some cooler temperatures after a really hot summer! Although I hate the fact that winter comes after fall, I love the colors and scents of autumn in New England. It's hard to beat this time of year! However, browsing around Etsy today left me uninspired. I searched "autumn" and "harvest" without much luck. Granted, I found some great items and shops but nothing quite up for a spotlight. I then searched "pumpkin" and happily came across a truly unique shop!

David is the artist behind Chicken Lips, my new favorite store. He creates unique and whimsical folk art using Papier-Mache and Paperclay. David admits that he has had a creative streak since he was a young child. Play-doh and finger paints were favorites, and he made his first art doll using dried apple heads at the age of 10. Before tonight, I wasn't entirely sure what a dried apple head art doll is. A quick google search will answer most questions, so check out this website for more details. I'm even more impressed that David was making these art dolls at the age of 10 once I saw what it was! I'll admit that I was still a pretty big fan of dolls when I was 10, but I certainly wasn't making my own. However, David kept perfecting his art, and today Chicken Lips is a successful business with its own flair.

David makes all of his creations completely by hand. He uses his skills as a graphic designer to shape his Chicken Lips creations. He does not use moulds to design any of his work and all items are one of a kind. As stated above, his art is made from Papier-Mache and Paperclay. Hand made wooden bases and legs give extra support. After the Papier-Mache is shaped and detailed, he applies a coat of Gesso before painting. Each piece is also coated with a sealer before it is ready for sale! David has a great video of this entire process on his website. Click on "About the artist", and you will find the video at the bottom.

I love the list David gives of what inspires him: his goats, chickens, and goose, and all things vintage. I admit it's an interesting combination, but it seems to work because the finished product is great! If you want to know more about Chicken Lips, you can also visit David's blog. And anyone in the Bloomington, California area should check his website for a list of craft shows in which he will be participating this fall! His store is ready for Halloween - shop early, so you can enjoy your Chicken Lips Folk Art all season!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Bear Paw Rustics

I typically feature shops with a lot of information in their profiles to help guide my spotlight. But I came across Bear Paw Rustics and decided to break tradition. In preparing for fall, I recently searched "autumn" in Etsy. One of the first items that showed up was a handmade birdhouse. My father, who sadly passed away two years ago, loved all of our backyard critters. His favorite birthday or father's day gift was a 25 lb bag of sunflower seeds. We never had many bir houses, but there was an endless supply of bird and squirrel feeders. I think we are the one family that doesn't mind if the squirrel manages to climb up the "squirrel-proof" bird feeder because there's always enough to go around! So Bear Paw Rustics hits a special chord in me. I also hold a special place for fellow Mainers! Although I've transplanted myself to Boston, I'm still a Mainer at heart.

This store owner does much more than create bird houses. Bear Paw Rustics also sells various types of art, stools, coat/key racks and walking sticks. All of the coat/key racks are made of salvaged items. Everything else starts in nature. Birdhouses are made with jute, hemp, pine needs, moss, sticks, deer antlers, pine cones, and other great forest finds. Each birdhouse has its own unique character to make it one of a kind! The owner includes a great picture of a bird nesting in a birdhouse in his own backyard.

I am equally impressed with Bear Paw Rustics' assemblage and salvage art. I particularly like the way he paints wood disks into flowers and trees and then incorporates them with sticks and other objects found in nature. It's such an interesting combination and creative way to turn nature into art! The shop owner uses antique and vintage hardware to make intriguing coat/key rack. And of course, each rack starts wood to bring each piece back to nature.

Also be sure to check out the hiking/walking sticks. Most are made from rock maple, but this store owner has turned a few weathered pool cue into hiking sticks. Each hiking stick has a wrist strap for easier travel. The store owner hopes that his line of hiking sticks will encourage everyone to get outside, exercise, and enjoy nature!

What is most impressive is that this shop owner carries his personality throughout his store. Each piece is one of a kind and has its own mark, but looking through the shop, you can see patterns and trends emerge. The shop owner does a great job keeping a consistent style. Bear Paw Rustics is approaching 300 sales, so we know he's doing something right! Be sure to show this great shop some love!

Peek a boo!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm back, and I'm spotlighting myself!

After a long break, I'm finally back to my blog. It took a while to get back in the swing of things after my wedding a couple weeks ago! Someone at work didn't get the memo about easing back into things because last week was absolutely crazy! But I promised a spotlight today, and I'm going to be a little selfish! Cooler weather is quickly approaching, which means it's time to stock up on hand-knit goodies!

I am having another giveaway, this time sponsored by The Funky Monkey. One lucky winner will win a $25 gift certificate to my store! Start shopping now!! I'm pretty excited about another great opportunity. The contest ends on September 20. And if anyone has just been dying to know more about me, Susannah has included a great biography of how I came to learn to knit.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - SunshineBakes

As this will be my last Spotlight before my wedding, I thought it was appropriate to spotlight another store that has helped me with my wedding plans! I have ordered my favors from SunshineBakes, a great bakery on Etsy. You want it, Beth makes it! As she says in her shop, she has tons of cookie cutters just waiting to be used!

Beth entered the working world after college but then realized her true passion is cooking and baking. So she entered culinary school and worked with a pastry chef to help her perfect her skills. She had worked in the field of catering for quite some time but enjoyed learning the craft behind the food. After becoming a mom, Beth decided to turn this passion into a career in order to spend time with her son while working. If only it could work out that well for everyone!

Beth hand crafts and decorates her cookies. She uses mostly organic ingredients to ensure the highest quality product. What I love most about SunshineBakes is that what Beth likes best is creating custom orders for all events - weddings, birthdays, showers, corporate events, holidays, any special day. She can add photographs and logos to cookies for an extra touch! Or she can match frosting to wedding/party colors. For example, my cookies will only be decorated in white, pink, and dark pink - no red for me! The cookies from SunshineBakes come in four different flavors: vanilla bean, cardamom orange, lemon, and almond. She mixes her frosting to match the cookie flavor for just the perfect treat!

I can tell you from first hand experience that Beth is very easy to work with. She responded to my questions very promptly.Additionally, I found her prices to be excellent in comparison to other bakeries on Etsy. She helped me work out numbers and even sold me cellophane bags to help me package my cookies for the big event!

I can't yet tell you how delicious the cookies taste, but I can say I'm glad my final head count went down so that I have plenty of extra cookies to eat during the honeymoon!

**Please note, there will be no spotlight until I return from vacation. I plan to resume my spotlights on 9/13/10.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Secret Cat Lounge

I don't hide my love for my cat (and all others in the feline family). I recently searched for cat toys to find a store to spotlight, but I couldn't find any that focused exclusively on cat toys. This past week, I came across Secret Cat Lounge and immediately fell in love! This shop owner is a woman after my own heart! She currently specializes in kitty collars but does offer a few cat toys as well.

This shop owner fell in love with cats after rescuing her cat, Keena, several years ago. She was inspired to develop her own line of cat collars and toys after being dissatisfied with store purchased products. Keena seemed much happier to wear collars made for him by his mom, so a new line of cat products was born!

Secret Cat Lounge just opened on Etsy this past April. The shop owner wants to make something special for other cats and their owners. I remember shopping recently at a local pet store for collars I could use to model my pet bandanas and collar cozies. I was disappointed by the selection of cat collars. There were many "fashion" collars, but nothing that I could picture my sweet Pheoda wearing. Secret Cat Lounge offers truly fashionable collars that any cat would feel special to wear.

The shop owner uses 100% organic cotton to line the collars. She says that organic cotton is often used in baby clothing which is designed for sensitive skin. Using organic cotton helps the collar to be more comfortable, and less itchy, on the cat's neck. These collars are also specially designed for active cats. Safety buckles are included to prevent choking. And if you have an outdoor kitty, you can purchase a matching bell to warn birds and other backyard critters of your cat's presence.

The toys in Secret Cat Lounge are filled with catnip and wool and covered by felt fabric which is very safe for cats. The owner states that the felt adheres to the following guidelines:

·treatments free of formaldehyde
·no azo dyes which could release the carcinogenic substances
·no heavy metal combinations used in production
·no dying acceleration / carrier

Be sure to show this new store some love! Your cat will thank you!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Dessert!

In addition to knitting and my dear feline friend (whose new home is a pile of towels on the guest bed), one of my other favorite loves is dessert! I have a fairly large sweet tooth and high tolerance for sweets. So, what can be better than a dessert potluck tomorrow during lunch? :) I love to bake desserts but don't have much opportunity with just two of us in the household. After one or two nights of the same dessert, Dan gets bored, and I'm left with a lot of cookies, cake, or pie to finish on my own! Any time we have a potluck at work, I'm happy to satisfy my sweet tooth and bring in the finishing course.

Because of said potluck, I get to start whipping up a Raspberry Lemonade pie in a few minutes. And I'm very excited because I get to use my new KitchenAid mixer for the second time - thanks to my mom for a wonderful bridal shower gift!! My baking extravaganza certainly takes away from my time to write a full spotlight, but I figured I'd write a mini spotlight on this great looking pie! I'm a big fan of Kraft Foods online, where I find the best recipes. I've had a few duds on some chicken recipes, but I've never gone wrong with their desserts. I will admit that I often say, "hmmm... mine doesn't quite look like the picture", but they're still pretty yummy nonetheless!

This particular pie looks pretty easy to make. I don't even need to turn the over on, which is nice in this summer weather. I'm just waiting for my cool whip to thaw and cream cheese to soften before I start putting it all together. The best part is this recipe makes two pies - there's nothing I hate more than going to a potluck and coming home with no leftovers!

Now if only I could figure out a way to have the cat sit on my shoulders, knit with one hand, and bake with the other. That would be pretty impressive.