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.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Storyknit

I very happily received the newest issue of Interweave Knits on Thursday. In it, I came across a short article on Tom Hohmann, owner of Storyknit. I found his story very interesting and decided I would share it here. Because all of Tom's work is custom-made, I only have a couple photographs to show off some headbands that Tom has designed. However, anyone who wants to see more can check out page 14 of Interweave Knits. You will certainly not be disappointed!

What I find most interesting about Tom's work is that he truly tells a story with each piece he creates. He learned to crochet for a school project in the third grade and started knitting many years later at the age of 24. He found knitting kept him busy during long tours with his band. He says that he found music and knitting to go very well together and will carry themes across both art forms.

Tom then took a great leap from knitting to designing his own, very unique and complex, patterns. He sat down to design his first sweater with graph paper and colored pencils. He admits that while the sweater looked great from the outside, it left a little to be desired on the inside with numerous color changes!

What Tom creates is truly personalized to the customer. He is influenced by Native American art, culture, and history. However, Tom will design whatever the customer asks of him. He calls his clothing "wearable artwork." While I consider myself to be a knitter, Tom is truly an artist. He says it averages about 4 weeks to design sweaters for customers. He also creates headbands and hoods, which take a shorter amount of time to design and create.

Below is a photograph of the design process in action. I can assure you that none of my knitting patterns look this intricate!


I need to thank Audrey's Country Crafts, who organizes giveaways for other Etsy shop owners. I was planning to organize a giveaway this summer and was just starting to look through other giveaways to get all the details organized. Then I came across Audrey's post in the forums offering to do all of this for me! So, of course I said yes!

Starting today, you can enter for a chance to win one of my Angel Hair Zig-Zag Scarves. After purchasing several skeins of yarn, I spent the last week and half knitting 8 scarves to have ready. Be sure to visit Audrey's blog to read the full article.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - ZenzPhotography

I was browsing around Etsy earlier today while renewing some of my items and came across this great photograph of a dandelion. Of course, I had to check out the shop, ZenzPhotography, and was instantly impressed with the variety of fine art photography. Tine Eelman is the woman behind ZenzPhotography. She is a professional photographer but new to selling her work on Etsy. She opened her shop exactly one month ago today. Congrats! Tine does have a second shop, Dutch Craft Work, which has been open for over one year. In this spotlight, I focus on the photography shop.

Tine is a native of the Netherlands. In addition to being a photographer, she is also a visual artist and an independent filmmaker. I have to say that all sounds so much more interesting than social worker! What I find really interesting is that Tine worked as an assistant in an agricultural project in Guatemala. She went back to school to pursue this career path but ended up back in photography.

What I find most impressive is how Tine can take an ordinary object, such as a golf ball or the above mentioned dandelion, and turn it into a piece of art through her camera. Tine says that she is inspired by landscapes – not only their beauty but also their exploitation and degradation. Her photographs       “Watch Tower” and “Electricity” certainly depict these elements. She strives to make a documentary of life through her photography. Tine hopes that through this documentary, we, the viewers, are able to see how we stand in relation to the world.

Tine also talks about her interest in different cultures. This stands out in her photography. To capture the 34 photographs in her store, she has traveled to the Caribbean, Asia, Florida, Greece, Mexico, as well as in her native Netherlands.

Tine has participated in exhibitions worldwide. Additionally, her photographs have been used in magazines and books. To say she is accomplished at what she does appears to be an understatement!

Tine is a member of the Etsy Dutch Handmade, Photographers on Etsy, and the Europeanstreetteam on Etsy teams.

Be sure to visit her website for additional information!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Christmas in July sale!!

Instead of writing a spotlight this week, I've been busily preparing my stores for my Christmas in July sale! Enjoy free shipping on all items now through the end of the month. Here are how the shops are set up:

Etsy and Craft is Art: shipping costs will be refunded via paypal or contact me before making a purchase, and I will set up a custom order for you.

Artfire and Zibbet: shipping has been changed to reflect free shipping

Please don't ask me why it varies from shop to shop - each set up page is different, so it's a matter of how many steps it takes to make all the changes! (And how much time I have on August 1 to put my shipping charges back in place!)

Be sure to search "Christmas in July" at all these sights for some other great finds.

For another bit of self-promotion, here are some pictures of my newest scarves:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - My Little Chickadee Creations

In addition to knitting, I also hand stamp birthday and holiday cards. I consider this to be my first craft, as a friend introduced me to the world of stamping a few years before I started knitting. I've come to learn that I much prefer knitting since I have a start and an end to a pattern. Sitting on the floor with all my paper and stamps in front of me can be a little overwhelming! Once I have a design created, the rest of the process is much easier, but I feel I have to be much more creative when I'm stamping. However, I love hand-stamped cards and other goods. Indeed, my wedding invitations were stamped by LamaWorks. Today, I came across My Little Chickadee Creations on ArtFire and immediately fell in love with her stamped tiles.

Ellie, the woman behind My Little Chickadee Creations, started stamping over 10 years ago. Like me, she started first with cards. Unlike me, Ellie started experimenting with stamping on different surfaces. She came across Travertine tiles, and her product line was born! These tiles come in assorted sizes which she uses to make coasters, trivets, magnets, ornaments, worry stones, and more. Ellie offers a large selection of baby announcements and save the date magnets.

As I browsed through Ellie's shop, I found myself wondering just how exactly her creations come to be. Luckily for me, and all of you, Ellie answered that very question recently on her blog. I try to give a quick summary here, but be sure to stop by her blog for all the details.

Ellie uses travertine tiles because they are absorbent and therefore make great coasters. This type of tile holds up well in heat and humidity, so sweaty drinks do not get your table and counter tops wet. Ellie notes that ceramic tiles are sealed and will therefore not absorb moisture.

Since these tiles are so great at absorbing moisture, how is it that the ink/paint from the stamps doesn't come off? I know a little drop of water can ruin a card! The answer is quite simple. Ellie bakes her tiles after stamping and painting them. While I usually only use pictures of items for sale in the shops I feature, I really liked this picture from Ellie's blog of her tiles cooking in her toaster oven. All coasters, tiles, and trivets come with padded feet on the bottom to keep them from scratching surfaces.

Ellie has such a large variety of stamps and uses such great colors on all of her products! If I had come across her store when I was first planning my wedding, I would have had to seriously consider her save the date magnets! Be sure to also visit her Etsy shop and Facebook page.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Max at Play!

Kristen purchased her Cabled Catnip Mat for Max and Izzy! Max was quick to pounce right on in and start playing! Izzy wasn't quite in the mood, but she has checked it out a little bit. Kristen sent me some great pictures of Max at play. He is now modeling the mat in my store. Here are some pictures:

What a cutie!! He usually tears apart his catnip toys, and this one is holding up well to his claws!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - BeachyRustica

Who isn't ready for summer? And what's better than a trip to the beach on a warm summer day? I know I would have certainly preferred that to work today! Sometimes though you just can't get to the ocean. We all know how that goes. Luckily for us, BeachyRustica offers the next best thing - bring a bit of the beach to you! I happened to be browsing through different sections of Craft Is Art tonight for my spotlight. The beautiful colors found in this store drew me right in! I happen to love sea glass as well and am really intrigued by how this shop owner turns it into cabinet knobs.

The largest variety of items in this shop are the cabinet knobs, but the owner also offers drawer pulls, wall hooks, magnets, and tiles. In addition to sea glass, the owner offers fused glass knobs which are also quite unique. There is such a large variety of colors to choose from! I look at one cabinet knob listing and keep checking out the others to see different color combinations! You can visit the owner's personal website at to view different colors.

As mentioned before, BeachyRustica also offers ceramic tiles. These tiles knobs, hooks, and magnets are created from tiles handmade by Emily Ulm. While this shop mostly features beach-themed tiles (starfish, mermaid, and seahorse among others), the personal website shows a larger selection including an acorn, tree, and rabbit. Since I already raved about this shop's wonderful color selection, it should also be noted that these hooks are also available in several different glazes to match your personal taste.

I have to admit that I don't necessarily give much thought to cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, and wall hooks. Maybe I've lived in too many apartments, where I don't have much say in these things! But I love how light and summery the cabinets are in BeachyRustica's pictures! It does inspire me to redecorate, although I'm not sure my landlord would approve!

BeachyRustica also has a shop on Etsy.

You can friend BeachyRustica on Facebook.