Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Shop of the Week no. 7. Abounding Treasures.

Every Saturday, a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week, from the number of treasuries made for them. This week that honour belongs to Dallas Manicom from AboundingTreasures. This is the winning treasury. 

As I browse through this gorgeous shop, not only am I struck immediately by the variety of paper butterflies, but the colourful abstract encaustic was art too. As an owner of some encaustic art, I fully appreciate the way the waxes flow into one another to create beautiful blends of colour and shape, with the illusion of deep texture. This shop belongs to a true artisan and creative. Let’s find out more about the owner of aboundingtreasures, Dallas Manicom.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I live in the Maritimes on the east coast of Canada and am a grandma to 2 sweet little boys and a precious new-born grand-daughter, all of whom live so far away that I rarely get to see them.
8 ½ years ago, I was given a second chance at life when God performed a miracle and I received a heart transplant after suffering 8 years with congestive heart failure – all as a result of a simple two-day sore throat!
So for the very first time ever, I began feeling brave enough to allow whatever latent creativity I might have, a chance to make itself known in some way.

Field of Dreams - Encaustic (Wax) Original Painting

Making mistakes or not having a clue what to do caused me to hesitate but my dear husband as well as a woman in our local scrapbooking store told me not to be nervous about making the first cut – if things were not as I wanted them, the only thing I would have wasted was a piece of paper!
So, my new adventure began and I now use new cardstock and patterned papers as well as recycling old books, magazines, calendars and such.
Almost two years ago my husband gave me a special iron and beeswax blocks and I began experimenting with encaustic SFA (Small Format Art) which is never larger than 14 inches in any one direction. I fell in love with the medium and the magical process.

        Music Butterflies and Favourite Line

What inspires your work?
My mood at the moment dictates whether I pick up my iron to paint of pick up an old book or new papers to create a 3-D piece. Lately I’ve been incorporating quotes along with butterflies to create 3-D word art and I love the customization of those for my customers.

What are your favourite colours?
My preferred colours totally depend on my mood at the moment and what I want to work with. Cobalt blue, shades of pink, shades of teal or a mix of yellows and greys together are some of my favourites.

RICHARD SCARRY Upcycled - 3D Baby Whale Collage

What is your favourite medium/material?This depends on whether I feel in the mood to work with encaustics or paper. New coloured card stock or upcycled calendars or old books, I love it all.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere that I am spending time with family, especially our grandchildren.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I really admire my husband’s detailed watercolours. He doesn’t have a lot of time to spend painting as he’s still working full time, but I encouraged him to open an Etsy shop and he’s already had a few sales! See Ed Manicom's Work here.

Memorial 3D Heart of Butterflies. Personalized.

What are you most proud of?
Having lost a daughter to stillbirth many years ago, I understand the pain and grief suffered by so many, often silently. So my most meaningful creation has to be my Memorial Heart of Butterflies which I’ve sold all over the world, sometimes immediately following such a loss and sometimes, many, many years afterwards.

Thank you Dallas for such an open and honest insight into your story, one which I know many will relate to, both from the health and the bereavement point of view. Now we can see the raw emotion that goes into your creativity, and it shows every inch of the way, it comes from your very soul, not just your hands and mind.

Do pop along to Dallas's shop to see more wonderful surprises she hasn't mentioned here 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Penori. Shop of the Week no. 6.

Every Saturday, a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week, from the number of treasuries made for them. This week that honour belongs to Melissa from Penori. This is the winning treasury.

This wonderful shop takes me back to my childhood. The very sight of all those naturally scented soaps and body products reminds my of my aunt's thatched cottage, which was full of drying flowers, pot pourri, and the perfumes of essential oils, lavender, rose, and filled with wonderful colour. So although Melissa, the owner of Penori, lives and works in Wisconsin, there is something quintessentially English in the feel of her shop. Let's find out a little more about Melissa.

1.     Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I love to create, especially environmental and body-friendly products. My work started out when my
youngest son was born and I learned about all of the toxins in baby products and dug further and found almost everything was made with toxins that were not really needed to be in a product, so I started creating

Romantic Rose - Shea Butter Soap

natural products. I use my craft as a vent for the daily grind of life (my day job and all the stresses that go with it.) There’s nothing like jamming to music and whipping up a creation to ‘wash’ the stress away. I also like to think of myself as a wacky soul. I will bust out with a crazy dance move, facial expression, or dinosaur impression at the oddest times. I also like to make up mhy own words or use puns. One cannot be sad, stressed or angry if you’re smiling or being silly, so using the power of one’s own mind and body is what I use best to lift my spirits.

What inspires your work?
I get inspiration from everything! A colour, a flower, a smell, a shape and feel. If I feel it, it will come (the design or product that is).

Natural Cream Deodorant

What are your favourite colours?
Grey is my favourite colour, I just absolutely love this colour! It goes with any other colour and is just stunning by itself.

What is your favourite medium/material?
Sweet almond oil. It’s absolutely amazing and I have to pick on more, Lavender essential oil. I use it for everything from household cleaning, helping me sleep, on my face and body. There are just so many uses for it.

Almond Milk Soap - Kokum Butter Soap

What is your favourite holiday destination?
My living room surrounded by my family.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I admire knitters. For the life of me I can’t knit even though my grandmother relentlessly tried to teach me as a child.

Patchouli Coconut Milk Soap 

What are you most proud of?
In relation to my business the fact that I had the courage to start it, even though it sounded ridiculous coming from my mouth when I first started the process.  I overcame my own ‘what-ifs’ and just went for it because even if it doesn’t succeed I will have soap to clean my family for life and will give the gift of how to create awesome handmade bath, body and cleaning products to my children so they can continue to live a non-toxic life (although they have asked to send me monthly care packages when they move out because they said they don’t have time when they are in college.)

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

        Facial Toner

Mmmmm doesn't it make you just want to pick up a bar of that beautiful soap and dive into the bath right now? Thank you Melissa for this little insight into you and your business. To view this shop, just click here 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Wycked Pretty Things. Shop of the Week no.5.

Every Saturday a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week from the number of treasuries made for the. This week that honour belongs to Michaela and Roxanne from Wycked Pretty Things. This is the winning treasury.

Taking a peek into Wycked Pretty Things, I am struck immediately by the apparent simplicity of each design, but the way the jewellery is made, and the colours used, give it a uniqueness and freshness, and makes me want to pick it up and wear it now...right now. So what about the artists behind this lovely shop?

                     Lavender and Gold Tree of Life Bracelet

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
Roxanne and I are a mother and daughter team. Roxanne has been a painter for the past thirty years and I (Michaela) was raised in a house amongst her and my farther who is a red smith – giving me the idea to combine talents. We both love colour and art, and think making jewellery is a way to display art on the physical form.

What inspires your work?
Our work is inspired by nature. We believe the most beautiful colour combinations are found naturally in the shades of blue in a glacier, the pinks and greens of a meadow etc.

What are your favourite colours?

We love burgundy and gold as well as cerulean blues and purples.

                           Blue and Green Celtic Cross Bracelet

What is your favourite medium/material?
My favourite medium is bronze/copper for welding (second to paint/pastel) while Roxanne prefers acrylic paint.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
Our favourite holiday destination is St Augustine, Florida, where we can never get enough of the historical district.

          Blue Abstract Suncatcher

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to? We greatly admire an array of artists, however our favourites include for Roxanne; H.R. Gigers’ work as well as the abstract creations of Jackson Pollock that she draws a large amount of her inspiration from. For me I am largely influenced by the fantasy-like, dark art of Anne Stokes and was inspired to begin painting by the work of Vincent van Goch (particularly Starry Night).

What are you most proud of?
For both of us we can confidently say that we are most proud of the fact that our art makes people happy; when we see customers smile, know that our work is a birthday gift etc. Nothing makes us happier than knowing something we love is spreading joy, and we are most proud of that.

                   Blue and Black Gothic Celtic Knot Earrings

                         Purple Octopus Tentacle Bracelet

Thank you Roxanne and Michaela for taking part in this. I love how your work is inspired by nature. There is an old saying here 'Pink and Green should ne'er be seen' Well I heartily disagree with that. If that were true, we wouldn't see pink flowers in a meadow would we? If it's good enough for mother nature, its absolutely fine with me.

To visit Wycked Pretty Things, just click here                                                     

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Iroquois Designs. Shop of the Week no. 4

Every Saturday a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week from the number of treasuries made for them. This week that honour belongs to Jessica from Iroquios Designs. This is the winning treasury.

The very name ‘Iroquois Designs’ conjured up images of traditional Native American Indian art and crafts, before I even opened the shop page. I was not disappointed. Here you see all the colour and vibrancy of tribal tradition that you would expect. It’s almost like walking around a reservation. Here we have the feel of an ancient culture that is so similar to that which I am trying to reproduce in my own jewellery. Jessica has captured so much in the old ways, colours and feel of her work, yet maintained a modern and fashionable twist. A difficult balance to achieve, but I feel Jessica has done it beautifully.
So let’s find out a bit more about the artist behind all these wonderful pieces. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I have been creating art since I was a child. It is a trait rooted deeply in my culture and family history. I basically got my start in the craft world doing pow-wows with my family across New York and the New England area. I would help out with family crafts, like feather earrings and dance sticks. We did them together. Eventually I started making little things here and there where I was allowed to keep the money. When I was a teenager, I tried convincing myself there was no money in being an artist and I earned a degree in Math. But by the time I was almost done with school I had started taking mostly art classes. I eventually went back to school, with my mom and we both got a fine arts degree.

What inspires your work?
My work is very influenced by my culture, but as to what actually inspires me? I have to ask, what doesn’t inspire? I think it is important to take inspiration wherever you can find it. It can come from a question, a suggestion, a challenge, a thing, another artist, a family member. It can come from anywhere, everywhere really.

Blue Dream Catcher Earrings

What are your favourite colours?
I don’t’ think I have a favourite colour I like to use. I make a lot of things with leather in them, so I tend to use lots of browns, although I do have leather in many different colours. I have been partial to blues lately.

What is your favourite medium/material?
I love working with clay even though I haven’t really had a change in several years. I normally don’t like

purple polymer clay floral design pendant 

getting my hands dirty, not even as a kid, but I love creating something beautiful from a lump of clay.  I also
love doing colour pencil drawings. I do drawings based on Eastern Woodland double curve designs, which mean balance in life. They are found on woodland work, like beadwork, quillwork and pottery. I started doing them on clay plates, and decided I would like to see how my variations would look in colour.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I do not like to travel, and if it was up to me I would probably not go on vacation. We went to the Jersey shore this year, which was pretty good, and the best so far was our honeymoon in Santa Cruz, but it is too far to travel again.

    Light Brown Medicine Wheel set

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I have been inspired by so many people growing up doing pow-wows. My family was probably most influential in my life. So many of them were and are artists. My Grandfather, Richard Chrisjohn, was a renowned woodcarver and he instilled a sense of culture through art and craft in my family which has lasted generations. I saw other family members carrying on his legacy and I knew I wanted to be part of that. As far as how I became interested in clay, I just loved the work of Mohawk artist Tammy Tarbell. I even told her one day, when I was a teenager, I loved her work and I was going to try to do clay one day.  She actually remembered, and reminded me many, many years later, and said “and you actually did it”. It was a very amazing moment for me.

What are you most proud of?
I feel most proud when I am actually able to inspire the younger generation to do art. Recently my 9 year old niece did a couple of double curve ATCs in my style. I had to have it, so I traded her for one of my cards.

Silver and copper tree of life

black beaded triangle earrings

     Earth Mother with face,

Thank you so much Jessica for this fascinating insight into yourself and your work. What a wonderful heritage and a great family history to be a part of. 

Do go and visit Iroquois Designs and see for yourself the wonderful work Jessica does. Click here. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

BraceletsByJen. Shop of the Week no. 2

Every Saturday a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week from the number of treasuries made for them. This week that honour belongs to Jenn of BraceletsByJen. This is the winning Treasury.

As I open up Jenn's shop page, I'm struck immediately by the vibrant colours she uses in her bracelets. On looking closer, you actually see a combination of colour, then the stunning patterns jump out at you. So who is the person behind the shop? Let's find out.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

I am a single mother to a wonderful teenage boy. My son and I live in the Boston area. I have always had a passion for creating crafts. As a child, I would make friendship bracelets for all my close friends in school. Today, friendship bracelets seem to be appearing on the wrists of everyone from children to adults.  The history of a friendship bracelet suggests that a friendship bracelet is given as a sign of friendship. It is intended to be tied on the wrist of a friend and work continually as a symbol of lasting friendship. You can also select colours for a friendship bracelet that reflect the character traits of the intended recipient:
Pink – kind
Red – honest
Orange – Energetic
Green – responsible
Blue – loyal
Black – strong.
Others also say that while the recipient is having the bracelet tied on their wrist by their friend, to make a wish. Traditionally, the bracelet is meant to be kept on the wrist until it’s worn and disintegrates naturally. At that time the wish is supposed to come true.
As time passed, and I was learning new and exciting patterns, I wanted a way to be able to share my work with other people. This is when I decided to open my Etsy Shop.

             Gradient Green Chevron Pattern 

What inspires your work?
I find that creating any type of craft, not just friendship bracelets is soothing. I’ve always used it as a way of unwinding from a long day, or to just relax on the weekends.

What are your favourite colours?
My favourite colours are teal, turquoise and purple. However, when I create my bracelets I enjoy creating

               Ombre/Gradient Purple Chevron 

them in an ombre or gradient looking. This technique involves picking a colour and starting with the darkest shade of that colour. Then you proceed with the next lightest shade of that colour, then the next and so on until the colour is as close to white as possible.

What is your favourite medium/material?
The material I use most in my work is embroidery floss thread. However, I have recently just started using some new materials such as silver clasps and chains. I found that not everyone wanted to tie their bracelet on in the traditional way. Therefore, by cutting the braided ends off each bracelet and adding a clamp instead, along with a lobster clasp, allowed for easy removal of the bracelet.

                                     Intertwined Pattern Embroidery Friendship Bracelet

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I don’t get to see my family often as we are spread out among Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Therefore, I would have to say my favourite destination is my father’s house in New Hampshire. Each Christmas my entire family gets together at his house for dinner and to exchange gifts.

What are you most proud of?
I was a mother at the young age of fourteen. Many people thought that I would never complete high school, as I was a freshman when I gave birth. However, I am happy to say that I graduated in June of 1997 at the top ten percent of my high school class.

Blue Hand Knit Long Warm Scarf

                  Neon Arrowhead Pattern


Set of 3 Mini Halloween Colored Candy Stripe Pattern

Thank you Jenn for taking part in this. 
Do visit Jenn's shop, there are lots of beautiful friendship bracelets and more for you to see. Click here. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Quinny's Crochet, Shop of the Week No. 3

Every Saturday a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week from the number of treasuries made for them. This week that honour belongs to Carol of Quinny’s Crochet. This is the winning Treasury.

Carol lives in Illinois and very much enjoys her garden, and making jams and pickles, but she loves nothing more than raiding her yarn stash and crocheting something new for a baby, or a friend, or a custom order.
On browsing through Carol’s shop on Etsy, I get a feeling of warmth and softness, with vibrant colours and I am transported to warm log fires, flickering flames and all the comforts of long evenings at home.  Let’s hear a little more about Carol.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work

    Handmade Baby Girl Christening Gown, Bonnet and Booties 

I have been crocheting since I was a young girl, it is what I love to do. I always gave my crocheted items as gifts and everyone was always so delighted with them. I love the look on people’s faces when they are given a handmade gift, I think it’s so special and means so much more. I really enjoy making baby clothes, they are so cute, and hopefully one day can become family heirlooms. I also sell scarves and headbands in my shop. I love picking out the yard and colour and deciding what stitch to use for a specific item. That is part of the fun of creating something.
When people started asking me to make things for them to purchase I decided to open my shop on Etsy. I am really enjoying the experience. It is so great to be able to sell what I make so that I can keep making more. I love when I get asked for a customer order, it is awesome to work with a customer and be able to make something just for them and know they are getting exactly what they wanted.

            Baby boy camouflage vest and hat 

What are your favourite colours
I love all colours and it is difficult to pick a
favourite but I really love all shades of green.

What is your favourite medium/material?
I like to work with acrylic yarn it works up well and is easy to take care of and comes in a wonderful array of colours.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I don’t get to go on holiday much but anywhere with a beach works for me.

          Baby Girl Jacket Hat and Booties

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I really admire all of the wonderful talented artists of handmade items. It is wonderful to own something that someone has created with their two hands.

What are you most proud of?
I love the responses I get from my customers; it makes me so proud of my work, when they tell me how much they love the item or how well made it is.  I pride myself on producing well-made practical items that will last.


Thank you Carol for your input into this blog.
So if you would like to browse through Carol’s wonderful shop, click here. You will not be disappointed. The quality speaks for itself.  

PS. You'll notice I've missed shop of the week no.2. I will catch up with that one at some point, but the shop owner is so busy with orders we'll have to make up for it later. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Introducing Shop of the Week!

Since I joined Etsy’s All Handmade by Me Team, things have been moving at a much faster pace than any of us ever imagined. I run the treasury threads, and among them I run a Shop of the Week Treasury, in which every treasury will feature the chosen shop of the week. I chose the first ever one, and after all the work she did to set up the team, who better to be our very first shop of the week but SMARTdesignsbyStacey.

So as well as my occasional random ramblings, I will be featuring the shop of the week each week. There will be a few to catch up on right now, but in time it will come back down to a weekly feature. 

Stacey Sobelman was born and raised in St Louis, Missouri, and was always known as ‘the creative one’ in the family, and has been writing and illustrating her own books since she was six years old.  Stacey was first introduced to graphic design at High School, and was on her school newspaper staff for four years.
Early this year, Stacey was asked by a friend to produce some fliers. Once they were done, her friend wanted to have her facebook page address to thank her publicly for such a great job. Of course Stacey didn’t have a facebook page then, in fact she had never even considered a career in graphic design; she just loved doing it. So SMART designs was born.

In August this year, SMARTdesignsbyStacey was opened on Etsy, just as new guidelines came into the spotlight. Stacey read the forums, understood the need for a voice for handmade artists around the world, and set up the team All Handmade by Me Team.  The rest is history.

So let’s hear a little about the dynamic and energetic Stacey Sobelman.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

Snowy Winter Tree 4x6 Blank "Season's Greetings!" Note Cards (Digital Print)

As a graphic artist, I design and create digital artwork. My favourite subject to work with is nature, specifically trees. I create a lot of holiday artwork including cards and invitations. I also do a lot of custom work with other artists where I creative logos and banners for their businesses.  I really love these custom jobs because they give me a real sense of accomplishment. Seeing my artwork being used to help someone’s business is really rewarding.

What inspires your work?
I’m not entirely sure where my inspiration comes from to be honest. I try not to draw too much from other artists because I work on a subconscious level and always worry that someone else’s artwork will appear in my own. Most of my ideas just seem to come to me, as weird as that sounds.

What are your favourite colours?
My absolute favourite colour is purple and I work with it a lot. I would say though that the colour that

                               Sunset Digital Print 10x15

appears most in my artwork is actually black. I really love the stark contrast I can achieve by using black with any other colour. Almost all of my pieces employ black for this effect.

What is your favourite medium/material?
I am a graphic artist which means that I use a computer as the medium through which I creat my handmade artwork. Graphic design is a relatively new artistic medium, so there isn’t a lot known about how it works. There is a lot of speculation about whether or not graphic art is truly handmade. I assure you that it is. I mix my colours from scratch by using bits of blue and red and yellow much like a painter. I draw my art with my fingers on a trackpad, much like finger painting. It’s just not as messy.

     BOOM! Comic Book Wall Art 12x12 Digital Print

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I spent a month studying abroad on an island in Greece and I just loved it! I am dying to go back to the Mediterranean as soon as I can afford it.

What other artists work do you admire and aspire to?
I’m probably weird in the fact that I don’t really aspire to be anyone other than myself. I don’t mean that to sound self-centred, but I really believe that my artistic style is my own and I don’t’ really want it to mirror anyone else’s.

What are you most proud of?

All Handmade By Me Team Banner Assistance

The All Handmade by Me team. Hands down. This team is truly my biggest accomplishment and it is really only just beginning! I have never been listened to before, so the fact that there are over 1,300 people who believe in my mission to keep handmade alive is just remarkable to me. I am so humbled by everything that has happened! I keep expecting to wake up and realise that these past months have been a wonderful dream, but every morning I wake up and it’s real. People message me all the time to thank me for everything I have done and I am shocked every single time. I always respond with ‘’no… thank YOU!’’ I just cannot believe that I have created something that has become so important to myself and to so many other people. It’s incredibly rewarding.

Stacey also offers a service to place her own designed team logo on your banner as a team member, or to make specially designed logos that match your branding in your shop.  Thank you Stacey.

                Four Seasons Art Work, Digital Print, 4 Panel, Modern Art

If you would like to join Stacey's team, click here to apply. All we ask is that you are all handmade in your shop,