Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sneak Peek #5

Here is a new item that will be available tomorrow at Crafty Bastards. Mirror Compacts!!!
Featuring a regular mirror and a magnifying mirror! Perfect to carry in your purse or to give as a gift! These will be available in my Etsy shop very soon.

Don't forget to check out the other "Sneak Peeks" in my previous posts! Hope to see you tomorrow!

Sneak Peek #4 - JennyJen42

Here 's a sneak peak of some fantastic pillows you can find tomorrow at Crafty Bastards by fellow BEST member

Sneak Peek #3

Here are some fun new magnets! Crafty Bastards is the only place that you can buy single magnets. I only sell them in sets on Etsy. They will be $6 each and if you buy 3 you get a free one of your choice. You can buy a set or mix and match different ones.

Sneak Peek #2

Here are some new nature inspired items ( necklaces will be added to all the pendants so that they will be ready to wear!)

Crafty Bastards Sneak Peeks

I have some new goodies to debut at Crafty Bastards tomorrow, so I thought I would offer up some sneak peaks throughout the day today. Most will eventually make it into my Etsy shop, but will be exclusively offered first at CB tomorrow! Here's a little Halloween inspired necklace. "Will You Walk Into My Parlor? said the Spider to the Fly"

Will You walk into my Parlor? Said the Spider to the Fly

Will You walk into my Parlor? Said the Spider to the Fly

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crafty Bastards Time!!!!!

This Sunday you can find me at the 5th annual Washington City Paper's Craft Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair! Yeah! There will be a ton of Etsy and folks there also selling their wares. You can see a full vendor gallery here. I highly recommend that you attend if you are in the area. I will be unveiling my new "Garden's Gate " line and some other new goodies that I don't have listed on Etsy yet. If you will be at the show and would like to pick up a specific item, please contact me Friday or Saturday so that I can make sure that I bring what you are looking for. There will also be live performances, workshops and demos all day and the 4th Annual B-Boy Battle :

Stage MC - Ken Vegas
Crafty DJ - DJ Saggiatore

10:30am Taffety Punk Theatre Company
11:30am Rock 'n Romp featuring Fever
12:40pm Statehood
1:35pm The Chinese Martial Arts Institute
2:30pm B-Boy Battle hosted by

All Day - Crafty Mutiny Supply Swap
All Day - Free Bike Valet & Crafty Bike Contest hosted by Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Check out the full Entertainment line up.

Workshops and Demos All Day!

CRAFT: Zine Maker Square (#128 on the tennis courts)
All Day Make your very own button rings, paper beads and LED throwies. Hosted by CRAFT: Zine

Knitting Workshop Knit-A-Gogo Booth (#1).
10:30am-11:30am, 12:30pm-1:30pm Learn to Knit

3pm-4pm Entrelac Knitting Workshop

Get Crafty Ipso Crafto Booth (#7)
All Day, 10am-4pm*
Make felt pins and mini disco balls, design your own stamp, and have fun with Crafty Bastards paint-by-number.
*these workshops are free and while supplies last. Children may participate if accompanied the entire time by a parent or guardian

Bicycle Safety The Bike Rack Booth (#59)
10am, 2pm Basic Bike Maintenance
12pm Riding Your Bike Safely In The City (meet in front of the Maker Square Workshop Area)

Yoga Silk Road Yoga Booth (#106). All day.
Stop by the Silk Road Yoga booth to watch yoga demos by the experts.

Pottery Wheel Demos Hinckley Pottery Booth (#82). All day.
Check out the clay magicians of Hinckley Pottery who can transform lumps of clay into functi onal objects. Instructors from Hinckley Pottery's studio will use the potter's wheel to make cups, bowls, and other simple and complex forms.

Skateboarding Aplomb Clothing Booth (#147). All day. Fun box demos.
Check out the Aplomb Skate Team grind, slide and nollie at the mini-park in the tennis court.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Were Inspired by What? - A rabbit in the sky

Remember laying on your back and looking into the sky to see what you could see in the clouds? I always saw a rabbit (maybe it was the fluffy tail?) and I always loved that everyone could find something different and that if you closed one eye, or squinted just right, you could see what they saw too. This idea of just laying back and using your imagination inspired a new ring, the "Imagination" ring. I like to wear things that bring memories or thoughts to mind when I look at them. When I wear this ring, I remember to use my imagination to make my world more interesting and to never forget to enjoy simple things like the clouds (and the rabbits in the sky).

Take a little time this week to lay back and see what you see in the clouds. Maybe you will be inspired to create something too! If you are stuck in an office or it's raining, or even if there are no clouds in the sky, you can still play along. Check out these clouds on Flickr and see what you can see. Also check out the 1,191 rabbit clouds on Flickr. Apparently I'm not the only one who always sees rabbits in the clouds:)

Rabbit Cloud Photo credits:
Rabbit by Aaron Cooney
2008 12 august rabbitcloud (1) by AK

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Inspiring Interview with Michelle of Cicada Home

Michelle from Cicadahome.etsy shares the inspiration behind her "Berries and String" pillow.

What inspired this piece?
A number of things, really. I conceived it in early winter... the days were getting shorter and the colors less vivid. When I think of the cool gray of winter, I'm always struck by the sight of bold, bright red- either the cardinals or bows on a tree at Christmastime or holly berries. I also got big into pillow-making at the time, so I knew what I was designing would be for this project- that helps things take shape quicker for me, when there is an end plan.

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?
Color is always a motivator for me. The image of red on gray triggered the twigs print. For this I wanted something abstract, yet somewhat recognizable. I actually did 2 previous versions that were just not right, but then all at once I looked at it and knew exactly what it should be. I love lucid moments like that... makes it soooo much simpler! Because of the way I make my pillows, I needed an accent pattern as well. It would have to be in the same color story, but I wanted to contrast the more literal print with a more undefinable one. I also wanted it to be a contrast to the rigid gray sticks... as I toyed with the idea and doodled with motifs for a look, I came up with a big swirly string set on a quirky offset geometric. The two married each other very well, I think.

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces?
Nature primarily. The organic, perfect, yet not perfect shape of things. Also, color, balance and contrast. These three elements are key to me. I always strive for something that will appeal (to me) on all these levels at once. Another of my sources of inspiration is books and the internet. I constantly troll for images and ideas here and there- could be anything really. I just keep my eyes and mind open to all visual things. I am greatly impressed by the talents of others, too. I often wish I had skills that someone else may possess. I just love it when people are good at what they do- that is true inspiration.

Any advice for someone feeling uninspired?
I rarely encounter a dry creative spell- if anything, I suffer from the opposite of having too many ideas and not enough focus, which can be equally paralyzing. When this happens to me, I attempt to think things through... try to understand what's most important to me at this moment. So, my advice is to take pause, and give yourself some time to listen to your thoughts. Keep a notebook, doodle little things, make a list of all the creative things you'd like to do- not worrying about whether they are practical or not. Revisit these notes often and see if you can't find one that bubbles to the top of the priority list... or seems the most effortless. Just getting into the groove is the best medicine and as much as I like to dive into projects head first, my advice is to take baby steps- this way, you'll know each step of the way if it feels right or not. I find too often, I plow through a plan only to realize, this is not necessarily what I had hoped it would be. I need to take my own advice!

See more of Michelle's work, including her fabulous fabric here:
my blog
my original shop
my new home shop

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Inspired Displays

Here is a little follow-up to my post about displays. I was able to get some great pictures of the displays of some BEST members from Allison of Tigerlillyshop.etsy. Please take a look at the creative use of different items for display purposes. Again, please use these displays as inspiration and do not just copy their ideas. All of us have put a lot of time and thought into our table set-ups and you should do the same! After browsing through the displays, take some time to browse their Etsy shops too. Just click the photo to be take directly to their shop.

First up is Littlest Bean - jenmenkhaus.etsy. Great use of color, height and vintage items! I am seriously in love with her table covering.

Next is Thebrokenplate.etsy . Such a clean cut, modern design, just like her pendants. It really makes it easy to see everything she has available. I am guessing this is a handmade display. Hopefully Juliet will read the post and let us know.

Next up is jillpopowichdesigns.etsy . Jill takes it up a notch (sorry Emeril) with a very elegant display featuring glass cases with terra cotta and black accents. The color combination really sets off her silver jewelry.

Here we have Yummyandcompany.etsy . Jen keeps things simple with a crisp white table covering and wooden display racks. I like the use of the turquoise frame to display the necklaces and having it in the center makes an eye catching focal piece.

Bowerboxpress.etsy Uses height and some creative card holders to display her wares. She also has a great sign which you can't see in this photo. Another clean, fresh display that makes her journals and cards the centerpiece.

Here's miscelena.etsy . I was her neighbor at the show and can attest that her display was very "shopable". The use of a spinning rack (not shown) was very eye-catching and made shopping for the perfect card very easy. Her signs were also very clear about pricing which is very important.

Here is Tigerlillyshop.etsy's display. She was set-up in a very small space, but made great use of her space. I mean just look at the quantity of items she has, but it doesn't look cluttered or messy. Eye-catching, yet easily shoppable. Another great table covering too.

Here's a fresh modern display from elisasherejewelry.etsy. I really like the bold print of the table covering accented with the green display boards. It makes a nice cohesive display.

jennyjen42.etsy has a really fun display. Some of the great features are storage bins on their side as shelves for her pillows, a decorative rack to hold pillows and purses, an easel like board to hold more bags and a picnic basket to hold her eyeglass cases. Everything is clearly organized and displayed for easy shopping.

The rustic feel of vwstudios.etsy's display goes perfectly with the rustic feel of her pottery.

Last but not least is greenstarstudio.etsy. A bright, fun and colorful display. She has a lot of different items, from soap to coloring books, knitimals, stickers, decals & magnets and cards. Each item is separated in it's own bin or display case and is clearly marked with the price which makes shopping through the different items very easy. The different height levels also help organize her table and carry your eye through the display.

We are missing a photo of Sweetpepita.etsy's display which was our only clothing display. I can tell you that she had the coolest hanging rack created from a branch. A small touch, but a big impact, plus it's functional. If I get a picture, I will add it here as well. Update: I found a pic of Shannon's display from Artscape. It's a great shot of the branch hanger I mentioned earlier. She also uses a clothesline and clothespins to hang her adorable dresses. I really love how she has the hats displayed to show off their points . Too cute. The whole look is very inviting.

So when thinking about the inspiration for your display, think about your style, the colors you use in your work, creative and eye-catching displays, height, functionality and "shopability"( I think I made up a new word). Also don't forget signage and a place to display your business cards! If you have any other suggestions or display tips, feel free to leave a comment.

Through My Eyes

I am trying to learn the art of the short post, so here are some things that inspired me this past week. Maybe they will inspire you too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Be Inspired to Create an Interesting Display

The ladies of BEST and I had a great day at Hampdenfest over the weekend. It was a hot long day, but doing it as a group made all bearable. It started slow, but I ended the day with a pretty nice profit. I only had my little table , so I had to do some creative arranging to fit everything in. I actually ended up liking the rather crowded table. I thought the layering of items and displays was interesting and now I am trying to figure out how to keep that look with the 3 tables I have for Crafty Bastards at the end of the month. I am kicking myself now becasue I didn't go around and pictures of everyone's displays. They were all creative and each complemented the feel the artist was trying to convey with their work. Here are some shots of my display. Sorry for the terrible pictures, but the sun was on us all day and by the time it started to go down I was too tired to take another picture.

When creating your craft show display try to come up with creative ideas to display your items. These days crafters/artists are very competitive and it can be difficult to stand out. A creative eye-catching display can pull people into your booth where they can get a better look at your items which obviously can lead to more sales. The strategy is simple, the more people you bring in, the more sales you will likely get. My displays are a mixture of my own creations, traditional displays, wall boxes and tablewear. When looking for display items, let your imagination run wild and don't forget to look at items that are not traditionalyl used as displays. Houseware stores, craft stores, thrift stores and hardware stores make great places to look for non-traditional displays. Just always keep functionality in mind. Make sure that it will show off your items while also keeping them in place. Feel free to share some of your display ideas in the comments. I'd love to hear about the creative ways people are displaying their wares. As always, please use this these ideas as inspiration and don't just copy what others are doing. Make your diplay your own and use it to reflect your style.

If you remember from my last post, we were also collecting art supplies for Art with a Heart in Baltimore to help replenish supplies that a middle school lost in a fire over the summer. I am happy to report that we were able to collect a large box of supplies and our blog post about the collection even led one reader to begin volunteering with Art with a Heart. So thanks to all the BEST members, wonderful customers and blog readers who donated some supplies! I also wanted to say thanks to all my customers and all the lovely people I talked to on Saturday. It was wonderful to meet you all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Be Inspired to Give Back to your Community & Save on Handmade Goodies

Block Party Press and the ladies of BEST ( will be at Hampdenfest from 11 AM-7 PM, on the Avenue, W 36th St, Baltimore, MD, this Saturday, September 13th. Come by and pick up some wonderful handmade items. It's never to early to get started on your holiday shopping.

You can even save 10% just by donating some craft supplies to our first “Craft Supply Drive!” Please bring any unused craft (or office) supplies or gift card to our booth at Hampdenfest on September 13th, and receive a coupon for 10% off any one purchase from a BEST member at the show! Participating Best Members:


All supplies will be donated to Art with a Heart, a Baltimore charity which provides interactive, hands-on art activities to disadvantaged families and children, and to people with developmental and physical challenges. They lost many of their supplies to a fire this summer, and we would love to help get them fully stocked again! Here's a list for the items we are looking for:

Most Needed:

* Deco Markers / Paint Markers
* Elmer’s Glue
* Erasers
* Fabric Glue / Fabric-Tac
* Hot glue guns and glue sticks
* Glue sticks
* Markers
* Masking tape
* Mod Podge
* Paint brushes
* Pencil sharpeners
* Pencils
* Single hole punchers
* Scissors
* Scotch Tape
* Tacky Glue

Also Needed:

* Aluminum foil
* Beads
* Disposable/plastic bowls
* Elastic string
* Glitter glue
* Jewelry hardware
* Mat board
* Mat cutter
* Mini hot glue gun sticks
* Paper towels
* Puffy paint
* Screw gun
* Sculpey clay
* Self-hardening clay
* Tag board/poster board
* Thread
* Watercolor paper
* Wire

So come see us at Hampdenfest and be inspired to give back to your community!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Inspiration Revealed

When I can, I will try to create a piece inspired by some of the themes discussed here and of course I will share it with you. Here is a new ACEO I created with texture as a large part of the inspiration. The texture is created with the circles as well as the distressing and even the raised hills and trees create a relief texture. I really enjoy creating things that you can feel as well as see. I need a name for this piece too. A name usually comes to me by the time I finish a piece, but this one is stumping me. The word "layers" repeats in my mind whenever I look at it, but I'm curious to hear some suggestions from my readers.


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