Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Etsy Day!

Posted originally at Etsy Twitter Team: It's Etsy Day!

Today is officially unofficially* a day to celebrate all that is What is Etsy? It’s the best place on earth to find all things handmade. Art, woodworking, jewelry, ceramics… you name it, they have it for sale. Over two million people use Etsy everyday! Etsy has grown exponentially in the last few years. Exposure from The Martha Stewart Show and other traditional and online media has made Etsy’s numbers explode.

So how does Etsy work? Artists open their own shops with their own shop names. Shops can carry all handmade items, vintage items, craft supplies, or a mixture of all three. The individual artist runs his or her own shop. When you buy an item, you are paying the artist directly. It’s like a big craft show that you can go to anytime!

Many ways exist to interact with the artists and shops on the site.

Shop by Categories: Etsy is divided up into many categories such as jewelry, bath & body, knitting, paper goods, housewares, clothing, ceramics, weddings, glass, and many more. Subcategories are listed within the main categories to help you narrow down your search such as “necklace” under jewelry and “teapots” under ceramics.

Shop Local: If you are a fan of shopping local you can do that, too, on Etsy! Just type in your location and up pops shops listed for your region. If you are sending a gift to another place, you can also use this feature to shop local for your gift’s destination.

Shop by Color: The color interface on this part is really neat. You can get very specific shades of any color you want. Click on a color bubble and you’ll see listings tagged with that color. Shopping for someone who collects blue bowls? This feature will help you find just the right color.

Pounce: This feature lets you discover undiscovered shops that have had few sales or peruse through shops that recently had a sale. Just keep clicking “Pounce” and more items come up. It’s kind of addicting watching all this beautiful artwork pop up!

Treasuries: The Treasury feature is one of my personal favorites. Etsy users can curate a mini exhibit of items. Many are created with a theme like a specific color or style. Random selections of Treasuries eventually reach the front page of Etsy. Getting a treasury can be difficult but worth the wait.

Custom: Formerly known as “Alchemy”, the Custom section lets you place a request for a custom item. This can be anything you dream up! Maybe your sister loves angels and you want to have an angel painting created just for her. This is the place to ask for it. Artists will place bids on your request, and you get to choose who will make your item.

The Storque: This is Etsy’s blog. Find all kinds of articles here about Etsy shops, technical issues, and the handmade movement. Really worth a read as you will discover new shops and really good information about running a shop or buying handmade, vintage, or supply items.

Showcases and Gift Guides: Artists can purchase advertising spots in the Showcase. Etsy creates Gift Guides for holidays, for certain people, or for items like “A Cozy Home” and “Spring”.

Virtual Labs: This is where Etsy holds live workshops and classes. Etsy teams can hold meetings and trunk shows here. I love the Labs. I have learned so much from attending workshops.

Forums and Chat: Here is where you can pose site help questions, business topics, or look for sales and promotions. Etsy also has chat rooms.

So get on over to Etsy, sign up, and support handmade art and hardworking artists! Tell them InMyHeadStudios sent you! (Seriously – there is a referral box to fill in when you join. I could win something!)

Here is a sampling of shops that belong to the Etsy Twitter Team, which I lead:

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

Buy Handmade

* The Fine Print: This promotion is being sponsored by independent Etsy shop owners, not But Etsy is excited about it!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm In A Treasury created this lovely Treasury on Etsy that is filled with Etsy Twitter Team members. She featured one of my Scrabble tile pendants! Comment and be sure to click on each item before it expires on April 26th! Thanks!!

Also seen at Etsy Twitter Team: Team Treasuries

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And Hopefully They Don’t All Fall Down

Today has been all about sealing dominos for the upcoming show at Spot Coffee. Yesterday I managed to complete a lot of them to the point that they need to be sealed. The process involves an acrylic glaze medium and my finger. Or my mom’s finger as she actually does most of the sealing for me. She rocks. But I have digressed.

It’s sort of fun to line them all up like when I was a kid and would make complex set-ups of dominos in elaborate designs. I would carefully craft stairs or obstacles for the dominos to navigate. Then I would push over the first domino and hope they would all fall down in a giant chain reaction. We had a huge living room/family room and I would take over the whole thing!

But here if they fall down it is a problem. So I put another domino next to them to keep them upright. The white you see on top of the dominos is the sealer that has not yet dried. Preferably, I like to let them dry on each side for a day so I don’t smush fingerprints into uncured sealer. However, I was careful today (and brave) and sealed five sides out of six for 21 dominos. Cords and beads are the next steps after adhering bails. That’s a fun part too.

I really like making altered dominos! I’m using many skills I have acquired over the years like graphic design, using a drill, wire wrapping, basic jewelry making, and rubber stamping. There really is no limit to what you can do with them. I’m beginning to think about doing original drawings on them. But I’m having some self-doubt about my drawing ability and what people will like and buy. I need to get over that and just do it!

I will be at the
First & Last Arts & Crafts Show
May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
5 – 10 PM
Spot Coffee
200 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604

Get your Mother's Day gifts at the show and buy Mom something really special! It's local and handmade! She'll love it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: Rhodes Annals Designs

Posted from Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: Rhodes Annals Designs

This week’s shop has extermely lovely handmade items. Claire Elizabeth Annals (her maiden name was Rhodes), of, sells bags, hats, crochet purses, knitted scarves and cowls. She also sells some of her sister’s jewelry and vintage patterns.

“Each item is 'lovingly' handmade, by that I mean that I enjoy making them and like to imagine how they will be used by their new owner. When I made the wisp scarf, I couldn't shake the feeling that it should be used as a light shawl at a wedding. I am always on the look out for new ideas, and if I wouldn't use an item, it doesn't go into my shop. I use the best materials I can source, and I am always on the look out for unusual yarn and fabric patterns.”

Her family inspires her to create. “There have been many things over the past where one or another member of my family has said 'you could sell that'. The hats came from my mum giving me a metre of fleece fabric one day as my son had outgrown his hat and she, rightly, reckoned I could make one myself. The 'hug a hottie' came from a special request from my sister for a knitted hot water bottle cover. The flower hair clips came from a childhood memory of hair grips and bun covers that my mum used to crochet for me when I was a little girl, and the pouches came from a necessity to be able to find things in my voluminous handbag (which I made because I couldn't find anything big enough in the shops).”

Rhodes Annals Designs is located in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, UK, and ships internationally. She is more than happy to make custom items just for you.

About her Twitter habits: “I like to engage in conversation with others over Twitter - I do a fair amount of link posting but hope that I balance that out with friendly banter and sometimes even advice. I know personally that I am more likely to purchase from someone that I felt I had 'bonded' with on Twitter or in the Etsy forums - and I have purchased many, many items that way. I love the immediacy of Twitter - you can post a link to your latest item and then sit and watch the view count mount up. I think that there are lots of very courteous people on Twitter who click on every link and I am thankful to them.”

You can read about her projects on her blog at Claire's Stitching Adventures. Find her on Twitter @RhodesAnnals. Become a fan of her Facebook page.

Special for the Week: Put “Twitter Rocks” into the “Messages for the Seller” box and await a revised invoice with a 10% discount off the item price.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

All Photos © Rhodes Annals Designs

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Textured Dominos – New Work

Much of my day is spent staring down a pile of dominos trying to figure out what to make them into. About a week ago I came up with one of my best ideas ever. Yes. Ever. And I would love to share the details of what I came up with, but I don’t want anyone to copy my idea. So I’ll share the pictures of my new work instead, and you can try to guess at how I did it. :)

Red and Black Altered Domino

Brown Textured Altered Dominos

Textured Altered Dominos

These domino pendants still need the final glossy coat, a bail, and to be strung on a cord and beaded. I’d love to know what you think about them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Creativity and Process

I’ve been thinking about creativity and processes and patterns this week while I work. I’m trying some new techniques out and am having a lot of fun just playing. Plus I’m liking the results so that helps! Good results for me inspire more good ideas and things snowball from there. I’m getting a lot of work done, which is good because I have a three day show coming up on May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

I read that Pikaland was giving a workshop on “Inspiring Creativity” in the Etsy Labs last night. The room was really crowded! It was a good presentation and I learned some neat things. Some of my favorite quotes:
“If you don’t stumble on mistakes, you won’t stumble on new things.”
“As an artist, your goal is to innovate.”
She also spoke about creativity and business. Having a small business puts you in the perfect spot to change direction quickly based on what kind of results you’re getting from your marketing and sales. Using creativity, we as artists, have an advantage over other businesses! We think more outside the box. If you’re struggling with your business try taking a more “off the wall” creative approach to the problem. Sit down and brainstorm with yourself. Write down even the crazy ideas and see what you can do with them.

Another thing she suggested was to get to know the person behind the blog before you send them an email asking them to promote your work. Read the blog. Make comments. Form a relationship and you might have better odds of getting featured. I intend to put this into practice. I know it will take time, but if I get featured on a well-known blog the work will be worth it.

Pikaland has a great blog going at Good To Know. The topic right now is "What is your biggest stumbling block to creativity (or expressing yourself artistically) and what works for you in overcoming these setback(s)?" You should really check it out.

I’d love to hear about your creative processes and patterns!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Will You Take A Quarter for That?

Last Friday, my mom called me and was all excited she could hardly speak. I told her to slow down and tell me again. She was driving her boyfriend to the airport and she saw a sign for a garage sale on the side of the road. But this was no ordinary garage sale; it was a craft supply sale! Wheee!! So she raced over to pick me up and we went off to garage sale heaven.

Apparently a woman who had three bedrooms filled with her crafting supplies died and the family was selling her stuff. Most of it was sewing items like fabric and elastic and trims. I bought some lace and trims for making collages. I also bought some really nice gray fabric to maybe use as a background for photographing my jewelry. They had a gorgeous sewing box that I got for just $30. More storage is always needed in my studio.

I was a little disappointed by the sale. I was hoping for more paper, rubber stamps and scrapbooking items. But I still walked out with $50 worth of goodies. My appetite for garage sale season is now all fired up, and I cannot wait until the weather really breaks here and I can go scouting for neat things at sales on the weekends. Yay!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Product in My Etsy Shop

I’m rolling out the new line of Scrabble Tile Pendants today!! I’ve already listed two and four more will be coming throughout the day! Check them out! They’re cute as can be. And affordable!!

On the wood tiles, I glue paper to the back and then seal it with this really nice raised glossy layer. They’re hung on silver bails on ribbon necklaces. I have different colored necklace ribbons to choose from: white, off-white, black, brown, pink, lavender, light blue, and gold. The necklaces are adjustable from 16.5” to 19.5”. The tiles measure 3/4” square.

Collect a bunch or give them to your friends! Teens absolutely love these as they can change out the ribbons for completely different looks. Not recommended for small children.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Dominos

I’ve been really busy in the studio this week cranking out work for consignments and an upcoming show. Here are some sneak peeks to what I’ll be posting in my Etsy shop soon!

Five New Altered Dominos

Urban Paper Collage Altered Domino

This one was made with a lot of little paper scraps I save from making other things. I hate throwing out good paper. There are quite a few containers of little paper scraps in my studio. I think this one is my favorite out of these five.

Air Mail Domino

The one was created with a vintage air mail stamp and some collaged paper. The postal cancellation is a rubber stamped image.

Hopefully I'll get these posted to my Etsy shop soon! Call dibs now if you want something you see here!

Shameless Plug:

I will be at the
First & Last Arts & Crafts Show
May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
5 – 10 PM
Spot Coffee
200 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team Shop of the Week: Curious Mess

I, for one, would not call Starla Petersen’s Etsy shop,, a mess at all. It’s a shop filled with curiously wonderful items! And the item photography is delicious to boot.

“When I first opened my shop, I was only making the wood paintings. But as things have progressed, I've begun to work my love of fabric into it as well, with the newest items being fabric bowls and fabric brooches/pendants. I love fun and whimsical.”

And it shows in her work. Her fabric bowls are stunning in their design and detail. You can really see the fine craftsmanship in her new line of embroidered brooches, too.

“Everything you see in my shop, I truly enjoyed making. It makes me so happy to be able to express myself creatively, and I hope that comes through in my artwork. I want my work to make people smile.”

What inspires her to create? “The whole entire process inspires me. From start to finish... sketching out ideas... playing around with fabric... picking colors. My absolute favorite part of it all is that first spark of a new idea or design. I get giddy. Unfortunately, my ideas usually come to me as I'm lying in bed about to doze off. It's very hard to get to sleep once I've got a new idea bouncing around in my head.”

When asked about her Twitter habits: “I like to make sure I keep my Twittering fresh. I want people to see not only the shop updates and the things I create, but get a good glimpse of my personality as well. You want to be memorable in a good way. Reply to what others are saying. Make connections. Yes, I just added a new bowl to the shop. But I also LOVE 80's movies!”

Free shipping worldwide April 6th - 12th. Just mention “EtsyTwitter” in your message to seller and shipping will be refunded.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

All photos © Curious Mess/Starla Peterson

Yard News and Garbage

If you saw my tweet at Twitter yesterday then you already know we had the yard aerated. This means that a guy basically pokes big holes in the dirt for the grass roots to get some air. This is after they roll a 1200 ton (I’m exaggerating… a little) roller over it to make it more flat and compact. Now it’s all flat and compact. It needs air! So he rolls this medieval looking thing over my yard and out pops all these little plugs of dirt that measure about three inches long by a half inch round. It looks like hundreds of little dogs pooped in my yard now. And I think this is funny because, well, poop things make me laugh. Yes, I'm that grown-up.

I was going to give you a photograph of the dirt poops but it snowed last night and now we cannot see them. Lucky you!

My grandfather used to have an herb garden. He grew mint, oregano, sage, parsley, basil… you name it, he grew it. He would dry it all, crumble it up into a bag and call it Grandpa’s Garbage. We would season everything with it and it made all food no matter what 100% better!! After he died I found a big glass jar in his basement with the recipe for it on the jar in his handwriting. I cherish this jar. It calls for amounts of each herb that can only be had by growing it yourself. Anyway, just after he died I took some mint plants from his yard to savor his memory. We kept them alive very carefully in pots inside until we bought our first house. Now we have them planted out back in the yard. I’m telling you this because the darn 1200 ton roller nearly rolled all the new spring buds of mint down. And I nearly had a heart attack. But you can rest assured our future mojitos are safe. And a batch of Grandpa’s Garbage may be mixed up by summer’s end!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team Shop of the Week: Jaybird Designs

Jennifer Cirka, of Jaybird Designs, makes unique crocheted clothing and accessories for babies, children and women. Her designs are wonderful. The photos of her work are luscious, and you can really tell her work is of high quality.

“I am very eclectic in what I make and sell. My main love is crochet!! I specialize in unique crocheted clothing and accessories. But my best sellers are my original crochet patterns!! The new love of my life, Cash the Greyhound, has stirred my creative juices again and I have started adding pet items to my shop. I currently have decorative dog tag collars, but plan to include crocheted sweaters, leashes, and maybe even homemade gourmet dog treats.

I am a professional crochet designer with designs published in major crochet magazines such as Crochet World and Crochet Today! I even have a booklet published with Leisure Arts called "Top-sy Turvy." You can be assured that you are working with a professional, and all my items are of excellent quality and workmanship.”

Jennifer offers $5.00 flat rate shipping (even when you order more than one item) to the entire world. U.S. shoppers, please contact her before checkout if you'd prefer $3.00 First Class instead of $5.00 for Priority shipping.

Special Deal for the Week: Free shipping if you mention "TWITTER Team Rocks" in the comments at check out. She will refund your shipping cost!!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

All photos © Jaybird Designs/Jennifer Cirka