Thursday, July 30, 2009

Design Challenge Winners

Congratulations to all the winners of our July Design Challenge.

1st Place goes to Suzanne of for herSummer Magic Pet Collar; she will receive a pincushion from Connie of

2nd Place goes to Rena of for herWatermelon Duct Tape Purse; she will receive a set of 3 Lip BalmCozies from Liz of

3rd Place goes to Connie of for her JuicyLittle Watermelon pincushion; she will receive a set of soaps and soapsock from Holly of

and because votes were so close between 3rd and 4th places, there'salso a 4th Place award this month....

4th Place goes to Laine of for herEmbroidered Toddler T Shirt; she will receive a Li'l Taste of TexasSampler from the ETC Team shop

Ribbons have been posted to the Challenge page on our website Check out the winners and the other great entries.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Featured ETC Member - Thistlecraft & Thistlestuff

Congratulations to our Dear Milly of and ! She is our newest Featured Member.

Funny to call Milly a Featured Member as she is truly the Backbone of our team. She works tirelessly despite health concerns to further our team and our success. Her contributions to our team include, but definately are not limited to: founder and former leader of ETC. Member leadership team, participates in Monday ETC sales:1st Monday, ETC has secrets, what's new with ETC, & design challenges. Has links to the team shop as well as relevant etsy forums. Team shop manager. She also promotes the team tags and the team blog.

If you aren't familiar with her, read on!

"Real Life" Name: Melinda (Milly) Roland

Tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, affiliations, achievements/awards, and any personal stuff you want to share). I live in Gatesville...a small town about 40 miles southwest of Waco (everyone knows where Waco is, right?!?) that has been designated as the Spur Capital of Texas, due to having the largest spur collection in the world, but that is better known as the home of Texas' Death Row for Women. Oh, and we have one of the last fully operational, full-time drive-in theaters in Texas! My family moved here from Kentucky in 1975, and while I have lived in Minnesota, Connecticut, and New York, I found myself coming back home in 2002. I bought my very first home last August, so I'm thinking I'll be sticking around here for a while. Plus, my parents and younger brother live here as well. I also have an older brother who lives in Austin, and a twin sister who lives in Mesquite. I am single and have no children....unless you count Bubba, my kitty who adopted me last July at the very young age of 2 months. He is a wad of energy and has a personality unlike any other cat I have ever known. For more about Bubba, check out my blog at http://thistlecraft.blogspot.comI have been medically disabled since 1998 due to a couple of chronic illnesses that are very difficult to manage. And if things weren't complicated enough for me medically, I also contracted Lyme while living in CT in 2000...though was not correctly diagnosed until 2005-2006.

Are you an Etsy Buyer, Seller, or Both? Definitely Both! Wish I my number of sold items was as high as my number of purchases!!!

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it? I honestly don't remember the first thing I created -- I have always been creating, thanks mostly to my Mom and her love for creating things! For the longest time, if Mom knew how to make something, then so did I -- and if she didn't know, then neither did I. In college I began to branch out a bit, though not very much. But, then I moved to Rochester, MN, and discovered their Community Education program....I took as many craft classes as I possibly could, working with new media and learning new techniques. There are now several differences between what Mom knows how to do and what I know how to do. While we have both branched out and discovered new loves, we still enjoy creating together and showing each other our latest creations.

Why do you create? Because I can. And because I wouldn't be me if I couldn't.

What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from? My family inspires me -- we are all very creative, though each in their own way. Nature and my faith also inspire me. I'm not sure where some of my ideas come from....they just appear! I have a very active imagination, which feeds my creativity as well. I can see something and think, "You know, I bet I could make something with that." And I can hear things and think, "That would be a cool theme for something." I always have a notebook with me to jot down ideas!

What are your favorite materials? Currently, my favorite materials are yarn, paint, shrink plastic, and game pieces...those these are subject to change at any time!What is your favorite color?I love most colors and go through phases with my favorites, but if I could choose only one color as an all-time favorite, it would be red.

What are your two most and least favorite films? I LOVE movies!!! Two most favorite would have to be Phantom of the Opera and Pirates of the Caribbean....yeah, I know, two very different movies! Two least favorites? Poltergeist and The Waterboy -- I don't like horror movies or movies that try to disguise stupidity as comedy.

What are you reading right now? You: God's Brand-New Idea by Max Lucado, Jesus in Blue Jeans by Laurie Beth Jones, and Shameless Shortcuts edited by Fern Marshall Bradley and the Editors of Yankee Magazine

What is your favorite item you have purchased on Etsy?I can't name a favorite....I'll hurt someone's feelings! I LOVE all of my purchases and have had only a couple of bad experiences in my 3+ years buying on Etsy.

Any tips on selling handmade stuff? Do the most what you love the best -- make what gives YOU joy and fulfillment, and the sales will come. Also, you have to advertise -- folks simply won't buy from you if they don't know you exist! Selling isn't like Field of can't just make it and price it and expect customer to just come! You have to let them know about you and your creations. Advertising doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to be effective. And only you will know what works best for you. And learn how to price your creations. Don't under-price yourself in order to make a sale. Keep track of what your materials cost and how long it takes you to make your creations. Value your work and your time, and your customers will also!

Apart from creating things, what do you do? Help manage the Etsy Texas Crafters team; teach arts and craft classes at my local Boys & Girls Club; help teach VBS, GAs, etc at my church; go "treasure hunting" with my Mom at garage sales, estate sales, and thrift/resale shops; and watch movies! Oh, and spend way toooooooo much time in doctors' offices!!!

Thanks so much for letting us get to know you better Milly~

Want to be a Featured Member for Etsy Texas Crafters? Go HERE and fill out the application link on the bottom of the page.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This Week's Hot Shop!

Congratulations to Kim DuBois of Bellavioletta. She is our Hot Shop of the Week!

You'll love the things you'll find in her shop. She has such unique embellishments and ACEOs. Read her interview and take a look in her shop. You'll love it and her!

1. who is bellavioletta? My name is kim dubois and i live in whitney texas. my friends and family call me kimmy. i am very lucky to live on one of texas's wonderful lakes. i have done many things to make a living. owned a salon for many years that specialized in natural manicures , pedicures, facials, massage and sugaring. i have worked doing manicures and pedicures in the film industry. i drove a truck with my husband all over the USA. i have always been an artist underneath it all. i am at a good point in my life where i can let the artist out and go arting all day long.

2. What kind of crafting/art do you do? How long have you been doing it? What do you create----------i love to upcycle as much as possible. reuse what i can from what i have or find. thrift stores are such an inspiration. i have a series of aceos on etsy right now that are inspired by a day of thrifting. i recently accrued a box of old reject stamps from an office supply store at a good will and i am working them in with some ephemera for doe does, peace signs and other small hand cut embellishments. so back to what do i create--i make art out of anything. i quilt using upcycled and new fabrics. i paint on just about anything. i do hand embroidery and needle point on scraps of fabric that i make into hand bags and journal covers. i love making embellishments. i love fabric-glue-paper-glitter-ephemera-paint-and-high gloss varnish. i really cant remember not creating things. i don't think there was an beginning to my arting its just something i have always done.

3. Where do you pull your inspiration from? my inspiration-----------dreams--daydreams and R.E.M sleep dreams. when i start a project i have to see it work step by step in my head. the finished piece has to be worked out there 1st. I could be working on a painting, journal cover, or doe doe bird its all got to be visualized before i start it. when i get stuck on the "how to" it often comes to me in a dream, ta da the solution. i like to surround my self with interesting art supplies. i am a magpie of sorts, you never know when you will find a use for something hoarded. i collect paper, fabric, glitter, stamps, inks and paint. i would buy glue over food if given the choice. i really do live my art. etsy is a nice place to let some of my creations fly free.

4. What is your favorite medium? its hard to pick a favorite. the 1st things to come to mind are prisma colored pencils. i haven't used them for a while and i guess I'm feeling the need to draw. In truth i embrace many mediums. fabric, paper, paint,glue and thread the list goes on and on.

5. Is Etsy your art your full time job, or just an on the side project? because i am disabled my art and online marketplaces like ETSY are my full time job. i am not able to leave the house often and art really has saved my life. ART saves lives.At i want to spread art to others by reusing the everyday and making it beautiful.i want to make art that inspires you to creatively interact with it. i want you do feel a spark of inspiration when you buy a doe doe or other item from my shop. i want you to let YOUR imagination fly with my art.

6. What is your favorite thing to do with the Etsy Texas Crafters Team? the swaps and the monthly thread. i enjoy sending promo packs to my customers full of my teammates samples and cards and coupons. i have gotten wonderful feedback from them about all the Texas promos. the monthly threads are interesting and its a great way to keep in touch with the team members.

7. Any tips for other Artists? Stay true to your art. take the best pictures you can.

8. Tell me a Secret about yourself. I do not have a tv or a cell phone. its my form of freedom.

Thanks "Kimmy" for your wonderful answers and art! I love how you say you "would buy glue over food if given the choice" . What a wonderful answer!

If you would like to be featured next, please take a look in BellaVioletta and post back here with your favorite item. I'll pick a new shop to feature next week!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

One to One Gift Swap Time!

It's time for the 3rd Quarter One to One Gift Swap! It's like christmas only earlier!

The sign-up thread for our One-to-One Gift Swap for the 3rd Quarter, 2009 is HERE.

There is no theme for this swap, so just try to create something you think your partner would like.

Here is the schedule for this Swap:

Sign-Up Deadline = Mon, July 20th

Profiles must be received no later than Wed, July 22nd (use this template)

Swap Partners Assigned & Notified by Fri, July 24th

Swap Items should be mailed no later than Monday, August 10th.

Please refer to this forum thread for rules and guidelines of our Gift Swaps.

**Please note that delivery confirmation must be used when mailing swap gifts unless otherwise specified - see rules for more info.**

It is easy to sign up and so fun to participate~ Lets make this the biggest ever!

Friday, July 10, 2009

This Week's Hot Shop!

Congratulations to Linda of, our newest Hot Shop.

I am so pleased to post about Linda as she has been a friend since I started Etsy. She has always been kind and helpful and works tirelessly to promote others above herself.

She has the cutest artwork and sculptures in her shop. If you participate in the gift swaps you have been lucky enough to have received some of her goodies.

I am happy to post her interview so you can get to know her as I have.

1. Who is LindaGJ? LindaGJ is one of God's children. :) I have to say that because with life's trials & tribulations you realize, as you grow older, that it's all up to God. I live in Houston which is my hometown, yet I've lived all over the place and traveled a lot only to bring me back to where my life began! I also live with my precious kitty, Kenzie. I have had a quite an adventurous life along with many tragedies which makes me who I am today. A survivor with lots of fabulous memories!

2. What kind of crafting/art do you do? How long have you been doing it? I've been doing art my whole life. When I was 4 the art teacher told my mom I had the talent. I've done all kinds of things, but mixed media is my favorite I guess because I've done a variety of all kinds of art related jobs such as working in the art department of many very special events, commercials, costumes touring around the world with music celebrities, and also have worked in the costume department in theater when I lived in NYC. I learned how to do so much, mostly when I was out of college when I was an art major & I went to the High School for the Performing & Visual Arts as an art major. I was there when it just began and there were only 400 people in the entire school and it was located in an old synagogue. Now they have a different building. I also used to be a natural ballet and tap dancer! So I am obsessed with dance and theater as well. Growing up with successful musicians gave me a great understanding & appreciation of all kinds of music as well.

3. Where do you pull your inspiration from? Obviously at one time it was my cat Peanut who lived to be 20 years old. She was such a cartoon character and in each image you see of her, she has done that pose. Each picture has a story to it and those kitty paintings are taken from a couple of books I wrote about her for fun when I was a teacher of art to little kids up to mid school. My creatures are taken from learning how to do paper mache when I worked on a Haunted House. Of course I made a Peanut first. I was really into angels so I made angels, my fish are from a commission & then everybody wanted one. My flying mobile mermaids come from a dream I had about Heaven. If I go on a trip, sometimes I will be so inspired to do a painting, as well as theater groups I've worked for. Especially the Brazilians at The Joseph Papp theater's Latino Fest and then at the Delacore in Central Park. With their costumes and poses they allowed me to take pictures of them and I'd paint pics of the entire group. None are displayed here on Etsy though. I'm leaving out a lot, btw, but trying to make it short! I think in a childlike way and also love fantasy and whimsical. Mainly something that will put a smile on people's faces. I'm just inspired by what makes me feel good mostly. When I see people looking at my items I watch for that smile and it never fails...the "smile". That's my joy mostly and seeing little young ones laugh, especially at my fish and when they read my books. If I can get a smile, that's my main goal. You can see my Visual Smiles Gallery Flickr page HERE. I love to promote people's art work so much as well. That is a passion of mine. I also am a collector of art work from the living!

4. What is your favorite medium? Being kind of a jack of all trades, never interested in one thing, my major in college was watercolor, so then it was style keeps changing from realistic to now, which is very cartoony like...I'd have to say I love mixed media. Since my work is getting very difficult to make,(I have a severe case of fibromyalgia which gets worse daily & through other health related issues, I'm on disability) I have decided to start to make art collages with the skills I've learned. I have completed one which will be on sale once I make at least 8 of them. I want to only sell originals and keep the prices down. I'm working on a mermaid piece right now, and have many other ideas. If you want to take a peak at my 1st collage art there are 3 pics of it and some detailed writing on it, check out my blog! I'd love for y'all to follow my blog and I'd love to follow y'alls as well!!!

5. Is Etsy your art your full time job, or just an on the side project? Etsy saved my life or well being. I never could have imagined I'd end up with a crippling disease , a prisoner in my own body. A friend told me about Etsy because she buys stuff here on Etsy all the time. So I tried it out and never looked back. I eventually joined ETC and through that we started a Houston mini team! I'm having a blast too! Etsy gave me a goal, new friends, inspiration, & fascinating artisans to admire. I've become friends with a lot of them & also have learned so much from everybody, even though I may not do their medium, it gives me an appreciation of all kinds of mediums I never even knew about! I love sharing booths with my fellow ETC Houston members as well as Houston artists that aren't ETC members. Except in this heat in the summer.

Editor's Note: ETC (of which ETC-Houston is a mini-team) and the Artisans of Houston are two separate teams on Etsy. While the Artisans of Houston began with some of the ETC-Houston folks, they decided to create a team separate from ETC. It is this team, the Artisans of Houston, to which Linda refers above, not ETC-Houston.

6. What is your favorite thing to do with the Etsy Texas Crafters Team? Oh I love doing the swaps!!! I can't wait to get my swap package in the mail! I also enjoyed doing the one on one gift swap. I also adore seeing the ETC member's talent and have met so many awesome people along with their talents! It feels great being a part of a team. Everyone is so friendly and so very talented. Makes me proud to be a Texan!

7. Any tips for other Artists? Don't ever give up. If art is your passion, have fun, don't think of it as a business. Create from your heart. Don't worry about the slow times and not selling, times are rough now.

8. Tell me a Secret about yourself. OK, this sounds so silly & really kooky, but since I'm into spirituality, I learned that to surround yourself with a Gold Aura by simply saying it, it will protect you, so I have this little Yoda doll standing on my car dashboard. Before I start to drive, I put my finger on the top of his head and repeat "Gold Aura" 3 times. That is my code prayer and God knows what I'm talking about! :)

Thank you, Linda, for such a candid and open interview! We love getting to know everything about each other!

If you would like to be featured next, simply go to Linda's shop and pick out your favorite item. Post back here about it. I'll randomly pick a new Hot Shop next week.

NOTE: Everyone is welcome to comment on this article, but only ETC members will be eligible for selection as a Hot Shop.

*(there will be a slight delay in choosing and posting a new shop next week as I'll be on vacation, but it will happen, so visit Linda's shop and post!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Spotlight Treasury

Liz has outdone herself again curating a wonderful treasury to highlight Etsy Texas Crafters members.

Most of us find it challenging to get a treasury spot, much less do such a good job putting it together, but she manages to do it all for our members! Thanks Liz!

Be sure to click and coment to show our support of each other.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Featured ETC Member -AWPhotography !

Congratulations to Annette of She is our newest Featured Member.

As a part of the Etsy Texas Crafters Team, Annette has been active in all Monday events. She uses her shop announcements to promote these events and as well as links to the group shop and activities . The items in her shop are tagged Teametsytx and she lets people know just how to use the tags to find the work of fellow members. Annette also participates in group promos and swaps (both team and gift) which we all love!

In her shop Annette offers beautiful Fine Art Prints from her original photography. She also offers these same photos in notecard form, too! I have long admired Annettes photography, especially those she has of Italy (someplace I dream of going one day). I can just stare into her photo and imagine I'm there!
Take a look in her shop HERE as well as her flickr account HERE to see her beautiful work.
Read on to find out more about her.

Tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, affiliations, achievements/awards, and any personal stuff you want to share). I live in the Heights in Houston with my husband and our new baby girl (2 months old). I usually work full time as an accountant, although I am currently on maternity leave. We have been back in Houston about a year and a half after living in Hong Kong for two years.

Are you an Etsy Buyer, Seller, or Both? I am both a buyer and a seller. I love to shop on Etsy!
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it? As a child, I loved to draw and paint. I would spend hours making colorful images of nature - sunsets, mountains, flowers and trees were my favorite subjects as I recall. Other than that, the first thing I remember making are clothes for my dolls when I was about 8. My mother helped me use the sewing machine to make some very basic dresses. My mother also taught me to crochet and knit around the same time - we still like to spend time together while we are working on various projects.

Why do you create? I create because it is what I genuinely enjoy doing. I like to create things that reflect and capture the beauty of the world, primarily through photography. I also like to sew, crochet and knit things that I can wear or use so that I feel that I am more connected to my surroundings and to enjoy things that are not mass produced.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from? I am inspired by pretty much everything around me. I find myself always getting ideas and inspiration from my experiences on a daily basis.

What are your favorite materials?My cameras are my favorite creative outlet, which are not quite a material. I also like to work with digital images to create art. In addition, I love to work with fabric and bamboo yarn.

What is your favorite color? Dark blues and greens.
What are your two most and least favorite films? 2 most favorite: The Lost Boys and all the Harry Potter movies2 least favorite: Edward Scissorhands and Titanic (it was just so long!!)

What are you reading right now? Four Blind Mice by James Patterson (when I want to relax and not think too much)Montessori from the Start (from my mother, the Montessori school teacher)
What is your favorite item you have purchased on Etsy? It is hard to choose a favorite item because they have all been great. The item that I use the most these days is my pyramid pin cushion from SweetWolf.

Any tips on selling handmade stuff? The only tip I can think of is to create things that you really love and enjoy. This will ensure that you are happy and there is a good chance other people will like it as well.

Apart from creating things, what do you do? My favorite thing to do, other than spending time with my daughter, is to travel. My husband and I find that we start to go a little stir crazy if we have not gone somewhere for about 6 months.

Thank you Annette for your lovely work and for sharing your pictures with us.

Want to be a Featured Member for Etsy Texas Crafters? Go HERE and fill out the application link on the bottom of the page.