Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sneak Peek!

I am happily getting ready for vacation in a couple of days. I fly to Tampa on Thursday afternoon for my cousin's wedding over Memorial Day weekend. Then, my mom, sister, and I have planned a small road trip to New Orleans where my sister lives. I've never been there before, so I'm very excited to visit her!

While I'm getting ready for vacation, I have also been busy knitting away. Since last weekend, I knit a dog sweater, baby hat, and collar cozy! I feel so productive! I won't be listing my new items until I return from vacation, but I want to show off my hard work!

Topaz Hooded Dog Sweater:

Yellow and Orange Roll Brim Baby Hat:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Lama Works

As I've mentioned before, I'm planning my wedding for late August. I first learned of Lama Works as a fellow member of the Etsy Knitters Team. So much to surprise, one day Laura, the shop owner, posted a wedding invitation on Facebook that she had listed in her store. It was right around this time that I had decided to poke around Etsy to find inspiration for my wedding invitations. I only needed to order 25, so I could splurge on something handmade. After hours of searching, numerous new items listed in my favorites, and a long conversation with my mom, I narrowed down my list to two invitations. Laura was immediately so friendly and easy to work with, that my final decision was made very quickly!

Laura is certainly a multi-talented crafter. She offers hand knit hats, scarves, shawls, socks, mittens, and brooches. Additionally, she creates stationary, greeting cards, and all sorts of wedding decor! In addition to my beautiful wedding invitations, she also made bud vases/place card holdings for my tables. I would include pictures of my actual purchases, but I don't want my family to see the invitations before they arrive in the mail! And I know one lovely sister who likes to check in frequently to see what I have to say! :)

But, if you're looking for table numbers, place cards, thank you cards, save the date cards, engagement cards, or anything other stationary for your wedding, then Lama Works is the place to start. She has also added some really cute animal themed pull-out note cards as well, so there really is something for everyone in this store. Laura says that she loves to craft and design. She admits that her interests vary widely, and while she may focus on knitting one month, she might go back to cards the next. In one email, Laura said the only hard part of her job is that not everyone realizes that "working from home" really does mean "working"!

I've spotlighted several artists who donate a portion of their proceeds to charity, and Laura is no different. A full 10% of every sale is donated to the American Cancer Society through the Carry On Campaign. She started this challenge in March 2009 and raised $552! I'm glad to know that a portion of my purchases will be going to a good cause.

You can also visit Laura at:



Please note: Due to an upcoming vacation, this will be my last spotlight for the next 3 weeks. I plan to resume on June 14. I will hopefully not completely neglect my blog during that time! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Tindle Bears

My mother loves teddy bears. I think she's banned us from buying any more for her since her collection is overflowing. I have to say I think she was more than impressed when my sister gave her four bears at once. We found them in the clearance bin, and I convinced my sister that she really should buy all four instead of only one or two. So in this spirit, I decided to celebrate a late mother's day by spotlighting Tindle Bears, a store that features handmade teddy bears! These cuties will certainly never find their way into a clearance bin at Hallmark!

Karen is the artist behind Tindle Bears. My mom always looks for the one bear who has that "take me home with you" face. Unfortunately for my wallet, I think all of Karen's bears are just begging to come home to my apartment! The cat may not approve though... Karen designs all of her bears from start to finish. She says that her inspiration often starts with the fur. She then designs the perfect bear to fit that particular fur. It can take several prototypes to reach the finished product. Looking through her store, it looks like most bears take an average of 10-15 hours to create, although the lovable Aurora took 32 hours! That makes some of my scarves seem quick!

Scrap fur becomes mini bears, so nothing is wasted. Many of Karen's larger bears are one of a kind, so if you fall in love with it, you need to buy it right away! Each bear comes with a certificate of authenticity and a tag with its name, company name, and the Karen's signature.

I am impressed with Karen's honesty in her profile. She talks about the social pressures of holding a "real" job and meeting societal norms and expectations. It sounds like she has wonderful family support that has allowed her to follow her passion and have a job that she loves creating art. I imagine many full-time shop owners have similar stories. In addition to Tindle Bears, Karen has a second Artfire Shop, Ren Studio, where she features hand-printed cards, photography, and even handbags.

Everyone needs to check out these adorable bears! Karen offers such a great selection of colors, styles, and faces. In many of her pictures, she gives the bears very human-like poses which adds a lot of personality to each bear. It should be noted that Tindle Bears are meant to be collector's items and not meant for children due to small parts.

You can also find Karen at:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Craft is Art

I am always trying to find new ways to get more shoppers to my store. Over recent weeks, I have been learning about other sites like Etsy where you can build your own shops. Many of these sites offer a basic set up for no fee, or you can pay for all the bells and whistles. Although it's more work for me, I've decided to take the plunge and set up some new shops. I told everyone about my new Artfire Studio a couple weeks ago. It took a while to upload everything from Etsy into my new store, and I've only been minimally happy with the results thus far. What I like about Artfire is that they show you if someone has linked to your item from google search which is interesting. But the item views cannot compare to Etsy. However, if someone purchases an item from there, then I will not complain! :) You can upload as many items as you want, and there are no listing or selling fees.

Next I learned about Zibbet. A basic seller can upload 25 items at no cost, so I decided to give that a try. That store is still a work in progress, as I only have 11 of my 25 items uploaded. It takes a while to upload all the pictures and copy and paste my text from Etsy, so I have been a little neglectful. I have not yet figured out if there is a way to see how many views an item has or link this shop to google analytics. I have some more to do here that's for sure!

Finally, I heard about Craft is Art. A basic seller here can also upload 25 items at no cost. However, here, you can import your items (with images!) from Etsy. It still took some time to go through each item afterward and set all the labels and tags, but I started this project today around 12:30 and am already finished! You can check out my newest store here: I already have analytics set up for this shop, so I'm curious to see how it compares to Artfire.

I have no idea how these smaller sites compare to Etsy. But I think each has a following of its own, so now I have to see if a cheapo like me will be found amongst all the pro shops that can do more with their stores!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - R. Schneider Art Studio

Today I decided to search "Painting" on Artfire to see what new stores I came across. The first few pages were filled with some great paintings but nothing quite my style. Then I came across R. Schneider Art Studio. This place is great! Anyone who has followed my blog knows how much I love animals, especially cats. Ms. Schneider speaks right to my heart with her art!

Ms. Schneider is a self-taught artist. I am always slightly jealous of artists. My mother is a graphic designer and majored in fine arts in college. She always says she'd rather draw the tomato than cook it. I picked up absolutely none of her artistic skills. Stick figures are about as creative as I get! So I'm slightly in awe of people who can pick up a pencil, crayons, pastels, or paint and make something beautiful out of it. Ms. Schneider is certainly a well rounded artist. In addition to painting, she talents include ceramics, knitting, cross-stitch, photography, poetry, and most impressively composing music for piano. That's a talent I have not yet come across in these spotlights!

Ms. Schneider currently has three main series of painting: Meditations on the Maine Coon, Socrates, and Red Collar Dogs. My family has often had part-Maine Coon cats, and I love these gentle giants! Okay, our first cat was not so gentle, but she was pretty big! The cat in this series is named Atlas, and he strikes new poses on different colored backgrounds to form great collages. A true cat lover can never have too many cats, and these paintings are a true testament to that statement.

Socrates is another cat series. This single cat painting captures the true essence of the cat's will. You cannot tell a cat to do something. The cat must decide on his/her own to do something.

Red Collar Dogs have polka-dot legs and striped tails. And of course, they all have red collars. Ms. Schneider writes that she loves "Van Gogh red" and used that to inspire this series, which includes some single dogs, some pairs, and some collages. 

In addition to these main series, Ms. Schneider also has a Little Bird Series, abstract paintings, and some adorable cat-themed art cards. I love all of her work - her animals are too adorable! What's also impressive is that each piece not only comes framed but that the frame is part of the artwork. Many of her frames are also painted to expand the print. If only my walls had some extra space that needed to be filled...

Ms. Schneider also has an Etsy shop:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's been a great week for Etsy Knitters!

I've probably said this already, but I love being a part of the Etsy Knitters Team. The email communication between artists is excellent. I know I can contact the team with any question and receive tons of helpful information. The amount of talent and wisdom in the group really is quite incredible. Two knitters, Zoe from Seaside Knitting Patterns and Elaine from Granny Knits, had really great press!

Zoe had her first pattern published in this month's edition of Interweave Knits. She submitted a pattern for her Nautilus Mitts last August and finally saw it published this week! You can check them out here: On her facebook page, she talks about the process from beginning to end. After having her pattern accepted, she had two months to knit the pattern in yarn chosen by the magazine. Interweave Knits is one of the most popular knitting magazines, so hopefully this is the beginning of very good things for her!

Elaine had her biography published on the Etsy blog. She has a very inspirational story, where she took in her two-year-old grandson, Jordan, who is diagnosed with Autism after her daughter was in a fatal car accident. She loved to knit for Jordan and her younger grandson, Damion, and eventually turned this love into her own store on Etsy. You can read the full story here:

On a bit of self-promotion (although it's not quite as exciting as the above news), my Carnival Criss-Cross Scarf is featured in a great mother's day gift guide put together by Jenjie's Crafty Stuff. Be sure to check out the full gift guide: