Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blog Giveway: Beautiful Owl Purse from ShortcakeDesigns


Win this beautiful Hootie Owl handmade purse ($40 value) from ShortcakeDesigns. Gorgeous, and I know I'll envy the winner. You know I love owls :-) Get to know Courtney, our Saturday Artisan this week.






There are many ways to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest starts now and ends on May 5, 2012. Contest opens worldwide. Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will be disqualified. Entries that do not follow the rules will be disqualified. Contest winner will be drawn on Sunday, May 6. Winner must respond within 48 hours after being contacted otherwise another winner will be randomly selected.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Artisan: ShortcakeDesigns

Meet Courtney, our Saturday Artisan. Courtney is the artist behind ShortcakeDesigns a shop full of beautiful purses, wallets, coffee cozys and pet collars. I love the cheerful and vibrant colors chosen and put together to create amazing handmade pieces for day-to-day uses. 
I've met Courtney via EFA (Etsy for Animals), and I admire her hardwork for the team and her passion to save animals. Let's get to know this talented and kindheart artist! 

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
Throughout high school and college I spent a lot of time learning and eventually performing middle eastern dance (belly dancing) and it was the amazing costumes that initially sparked my love of sewing. At first I started sewing by hand only. I have to admit that I was terrified of the sewing machine. Eventually my aunt convinced me to practice with her sewing machine and next thing I knew I was making costumes for other dancers and hosting sewing parties late into the night. 

Since graduating from college I have moved to Iowa City, Iowa where I am attending graduate school at the University of Iowa. Some day very soon I will complete my Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. While graduate school has drawn me away from dancing, it has not hindered my love of sewing. In fact sewing has become my refuge, a place where I can sit down and complete a project start to finish. Sewing gives me sense of accomplishment that I sometimes find lacking in my day job.


I currently make mini wallets, reusable coffee cozys, purses and pet collars.

I really enjoy making the smaller items which to me are great in allowing one to give hints about their personality whether its supporting a favorite football team at the local coffee shop, or showcasing a love of Star Wars while checking out at the grocery store. To me its just fun!
Also I love animals and since I can't adopt them all I try to help out by donating the profits from my collars to either my local animal center, the National Mill Dog Rescue or to the charity of the month hosted by the etsy team Etsy for Animals. It is wonderful that my customers can pick out the perfect collar for their pets, but in shopping with me they are also supporting animal charities and that makes you feel good.

What is the story behind your shop name?
Back in college, I wore a Strawberry Shortcake themed bandanna during a paintball competition everyone joked and called me Shortcake for the whole day. I guess the name stuck with me and since it reminds me of great times with great friends I decided to use it as my shop name.  

Who is your target market?
I find that my mini wallets are a big hit with students and they fly off the shelves when I am out at the local farmers market or craft fair. I just expanded my products to include retro pet beds and with the collars and leashes I really try to reach animals lovers on etsy.  
Which part of creation process that you like to do the most? 
I have piles and piles of one yard cuts of fabric that never seem to get smaller, probably because I can't seem to keep myself out of the fabric stores. I love getting a new pattern and then digging through my piles of fabric to find the perfect combinations. Its like a treasure hunt!

For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city?
Iowa city is the third largest city in Iowa. While that may sound intimidating the city only has about 80k citizens, giving it a charming small town feel. Iowa city is home to the university of Iowa (which I attend) and the "old capitol", the site of the former territorial capitol of Iowa. The winters are decidedly chilly, but the spring and summer months bring wonderfully warm days and offer lots to do. Farmers markets, festivals, and athletic events are very common and very fun! Iowa city's revitalized downtown area is actually a pedestrian mall filled with great shops, restaurants, and the occasional jazz concert. Venturing just outside the city gives you the chance to visit apple orchards, berry patches, and of course, corn mazes!  
  
Iowa city's revitalized downtown area is actually a pedestrian mall filled with great shops, restaurants, and the occasional jazz concert. Venturing just outside the city gives you the chance to visit apple orchards, berry patches, and of course, corn mazes!  

Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?
My most treasured organizational items are my spool holder and my bobbin case.  I keep my thread ordered by color (rainbow order of course) and no matter how messy my work bench gets the thread always looks nice and gives the impression that everything is organized.

What is your goal for 2012? And are you on the right track? 
I want to donate at least $300 to my various animal charities and so far I am right on track. Hopefully I can meet and even exceed my goal.  

What is your favourite tool that you cannot live without?
Other than my bobbin box and spool holder, I couldn't function without my rotary cutters. It saves so much time cutting out fabric pieces and I can move my mat and fabric to the living room to watch movies while I cut fabric. 

Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?
A lot of my wallets and collars are made from clothing that I have picked up from Goodwill, garage sales or local consignment shops. Many of these items are in practically brand new condition and you can find the most unusual textures and patterns. Not only is it great to reclaim and give these items a second life, but I also get to spend the day bargain shopping!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Carnival

We were so glad that we could make it to the last day of Carnival. It's an annual Carnival where they just stay about 1 week or 2 weeks at the most and they leave to go to different places in the country. When we passed it over a week ago, we thought we should bring Ethan there. And of course, out of sight, out of mind. I didn't jot it down in my calendar or into the iphone....we totally forgot about it.

Thank goodness, a couple old friends came to see us on Sunday and mentioned about going to the Carnival afterward and it just hit us: we need to go to!

We had so much fun! 4 parents with 3 young kids running around wanting to go on some fun rides. Because they're still too young (or short) for some of the rides, parents took turn to accompany them.

This is for sure one of the memories that I would like to remember and preserve, spending time and relaxing in one afternoon, as a family and with companion of friends and their children.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Giveaway: $15 Gift Certificate from StumblingOnSainthood

Win $15 Gift Certificate from StumblingOnSainthood. Get to know Linette, our Saturday Artisan this week.

There are many ways to enter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Contest starts now and ends on April 28, 2012. Contest opens worldwide.

Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will be disqualified. Entries that do not follow the rules will be disqualified. Contest winner will be drawn on Sunday, April 29. Winner must respond within 48 hours after being contacted otherwise another winner will be randomly selected.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Artisan: stumblingonsainthood

Meet Linette of stumblingonsainthood, our Saturday Artisan! I adore her shop and I'm sure you will too. She describes it as Feminine Handmade Jewelry and Hair Accessories, and yupe! You'll see a lot pretty flowers and birds...anything girly. Read on how she came up with her unique shop name.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
I'm a French Korean twin and my brother and I were cared for by a woman that has become a very good friend of ours now that we're in adulthood. While cared for her, we were often given lots of different arts and crafts to help keep us busy and to stimulate our creativity and jewelry creating was one of these activities. I also like paper crafts and make my own holiday cards, etc.

What is the story behind your shop name?
Stumbling On Sainthood... well I love the acronym actually.... S.O.S.

I also like how the name can have so many meanings depending on who's looking at it and their situation in their own life.

When I first opened a shop I was considering making rosaries, but my inspiration took me in an entirely different direction. I liked the name so much that I kept it anyway, even though I chose not to go the rosary route.

Who is your target market?
Young women usually love my shop. Girly girls and those with a very feminine bent. Those preparing for their wedding and looking for accessories for the occasion or for bridesmaid gifts. Nature lovers.

How do you balance your personal and work life?
My shop is currently running at a relaxed speed. I get a few orders a week but its nothing so busy that it's really difficult to handle. I also work part time in town in a retail store as well as go to school and live with my twin brother.

What inspires you?
Nature! I love flowers and butterflies and birds. My brother and I often go on nature hikes and walking in the woods and wetlands when we get the chance. It's a wonderful way to explore the world around you and take a little quality time for yourself.


How do you promote your shop?
The major way that I promote my shop is through the help of my brother and his business partner. Their shop (gilliauna.etsy.com and theteardropshop.etsy.com) has a very large audience and social network. In return for them mentioning me and directing customers my way, I consign some of their items in my shop so we end up helping each other out.

Any advice for others running their on-line shop?
Have some patience when you first start out. Sales don't always happen right away and it takes some time to get the ball rolling. Also, I suggest everyone look into SEO. Study it and apply it to your shop as much as you can and it will help you build an audience.


Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?
I do a lot of shopping around for good prices when searching for supplies. If one person is selling it, there's sure to be more. You want to find the best prices you can and then possibly see about if you can get a bulk discount if you buy more rather than just a little.

Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Love You, Mama


Happy Thursday!
Hope your week has run smoothly.

Family is very important for us and every now and then, I need to remind myself to drop everything and have a little of fun. That usually means hang in around with my little man. My work, I guess can wait, as long as I commit to stay late at night to catch up. After all, he grows so fast, learning new things every day. Lately, he loves to say, "I love you, Mama". I can hear these sweet words over ten times in a day. I certainly don't want to complain about that. Oh no, I'll take them as much as I could. He evens made a card for me with a heart, the word "mama" and "ethan", just because he loves me. I'm truly blessed.

It's so much taking pictures with Instagram. One of these days, these pictures will be scrapbooked.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blog Giveaway: A Necklace from Muddy Heart Pottery


Win a Necklace of your choice (up to $17 value)* from Muddy Heart Pottery. Get to know Melissa, our Saturday Artisan this week.

There are many ways to enter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Contest starts now and ends on April 22, 2012. Contest opens worldwide.* Free shipping within the US.

Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will be disqualified. Entries that do not follow the rules will be disqualified. Contest winner will be drawn on Sunday, April 23. Winner must respond within 48 hours after being contacted otherwise another winner will be randomly selected.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday Artisan: Muddy Heart Pottery

Meet our Saturday Artisan: Melissa of Muddy Heart Pottery. I fell in love with her shop as soon as I stumbled upon it. A lots of pretty colorful porcelains you can find for home decor and jewelries. Let's get to know Melissa a bit more. Read on.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?

My name is Melissa, but everyone calls me Meli. I live in beautiful NC with my hubby and my baby doggy. Besides ceramics, I love knitting, sewing, decorating, gardening, cooking, baking, entertaining and working on paper crafts!. Yes, I love doing lots of things!

What is the story behind your shop name?
My pottery shop is called Muddy Heart; I picked this name because for some random reason I see heart shaped things everywhere!!, and when doing pottery, being muddy and dirty is a given! . I thought Muddy Heart was a cute, short memorable name and I went with it *_^


Who is your target market?
My target market is all who love colorful, unique and delicate porcelain pieces made by hand . I am constantly imagining new designs and useful items that add whimsy to your home and life.

Which part of creation process that you like to do the most?
I love to paint, so the glazing part is one I enjoy a lot. Every piece I make is hand painted with lots of care!. I am slowly gravitating towards Majolica, which is a beautiful glazing style of pottery, and which suits my love of painting.

For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city? Raleigh is beautiful, full of culture, life and great outdoor activities, and being close to the mountains and nature is a fantastic bonus!. If you have never been to the blue ridge parkway, I'd say come on over and enjoy the amazing creation of nature....there's so much to do in NC!

Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?
I have my pieces labeled and bubble-wrapped in Ziploc's safely kept in clear container bins. I do try to keep my etsy pieces to a certain size so that I don't run out of storage space quickly.


What is your best seller?
My most popular items are my necklace pendants , tray dishes and yarn bowls. I know once I add the cool new items that are on the works, they too will be the stars of my shop....yes, I made you curious so remember to come by to see my new weekly additions!

How does your day go in general?
I work a 9-5 job from home, which may seem easy enough but in fact is very hectic!; after work ends, I prepare dinner for my hubby, my doggie and me (I love to cook!), spend some quality time with them and afterwards I get to work on my pottery until about midnight ... Of course, life is never predictable, so my days vary, but that's pretty much my schedule if things stay the course *_^

How do you balance your personal and work life?
I am a big planner and a list maker...I try to stay on top of "to-do things" in advance so that I don't get stressed with last minute things. By doing this, I feel I have control of things. and in turn, I have a little more time for my family and my "relaxing time" which is working with clay!.

What inspires you?
I am a BIG fashion person!; I constantly read style magazines and pay close attention to trends in colors, textures and patterns... I have an inspiration board right in front of me, where I keep all sorts of pictures I am drawn to. Most of them have nothing to do with pottery, but I love the colors, and that is enough to get my mind going in creating items based on that!. Aside from my inspiration board, I look at tons of things at antique shops and at flea markets; old is new again, and I feel that craftsmen/women back in the day had an amazing talent at making everything more intricate, and I want to emulate that as much as possible.


What is your goal for 2012? And are you on the right track?-
I am not one to do new year's resolutions...I feel they lead to disillusions if you don't stay the course. I feel that you know what you want and you have to make it happen; this year I wanted to make my etsy shop happen, and so far It is up and running, I have made good sales and met great people!, and I will work on growing my business, improving my pottery skills and being a better business person.

Any advice for others running their on-line shop?
I will say to have patience, and works towards achieving your dream!. I am by no means an Etsy success-yet-, but I hope to be one of those shop owners that get interview on how they quit their day job to do what they're truly best and happiest at!. As Audrey Hepburn once said "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says IM POSSIBLE"

Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?
I will say that shipping and packing materials are by far a huge expense!. Try being green and visit your local supermarket for boxes they're throwing away to use as your shipping boxes; get free newspaper publications and use those as free packing material, and finally, keep all of the packing material you receive in any order you get by mail. It helps being green and saving some green!

I try to be a social butterfly when I'm not in my pottery studio, if you want to keep in touch with me, here's how:

♥ My shop: www.muddyheartpottery.etsy.com
♥ My Blog ♥: domestiquette.blogspot.com/
♥ My Email: muddyheart(at)gmail.com
♥ My Facebook: Muddy Heart
♥ My Pinterest: Domestiquette
♥ My Twitter: BDOMESTIQUETTE


Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!