Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Finds: Cool vinyl wall art

I love the beautiful vinyl wall art from Tina Ray in North East Indiana at OffTheWallExpression. She has so many fun designs, and it is an easy, fun, and affordable way to decorate any space!

Tina and Mick are a husband and wife design team specializing in high quality vinyl graphics. They do their own designs, order production, and local installation. Their vinyl is the highest quality and they pride themselves in great customer service.

Tina recommends using vinyl decals to DECORATE, CELEBRATE, make a STATEMENT, MOTIVATE, INSPIRE, make you LAUGH, and get ORGANIZED. Vinyl can be applied to any smooth surface such as walls, dance floors, windows, wood, glass, refrigerators, plastic, bathtubs, picture frames, and many more. Use your imagination!

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and sit down and read the great answers Tina gave me about herself.

Name one thing that not many people know about you.
Honestly I can't think of one thing because I am an open book! I have plenty of quirks, but everyone knows about them!

How did you get your start on Etsy?
We were planning to start our own website when I saw a craft show on television that mentioned Etsy. I checked it out and within two weeks we opened our shop!

How did you choose your shop name?
We wanted the word 'Wall' in our business name, because it really fits what we do. 'Off the Wall' is a little quirky like us, but also catchy!

What does a typical day look like for you?
The only thing typical about my day is that it is never typical! The one constant thing about the day is we all get up at 6:00 am and I make breakfast for the kids! After Mick and the kids leave for the day, I answer emails, convos and print orders. I try to post on the blog, FB, and twitter if I have the time. If I have errands or appointments I generally do those in the morning. I try to exercise too.

In the afternoon I cut, weed, mask and pack vinyl orders. The amount of time this takes varies greatly depending on how many orders we have. I check convos/orders and do some marketing several times throughout the day if possible (also laundry!). By late afternoon I am frequently headed to an afterschool activity for the kids or I'm making supper if we are lucky enough to be home for the evening. When we are home Mick or I check convos/orders again and finish processing any orders I didn't get finished earlier. We frequently don't call it a day until 11:00! I occasionally take a nap, because I am always sleep deprived!

What's your favorite season of the year and why?
My favorite season of the year is any one NOT winter! I love the newness of Spring and the bright green colors! I feel like I wake up from hibernation. I am one of those people who loves the heat of summer! I like to mow, work in the yard, swim in the pool, and grill out! Fall means volleyball and soccer season at our house! My favorite outfit is a sweatshirt and shorts! I am happy through Christmas, then I go into a 'funk' until mid march!

What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
My hardest decision was to close/sell a business I had several years ago. I sold soy candles/lotions and I loved it. Basically a good friend started making candles behind my back. I found out when we both showed up at our church bazaar selling the same thing! Same scents, same jars, same bottles. I was shocked and devastated. I sold the biz, lost some friends and left the church over the situation. She no longer sells candles, nor does the gal I sold the biz to. I will not react so rashly the next time! Live and Learn!

What do you consider your best personality trait?
I have learned to see all sides! "There is always two sides to every coin"! "No matter how thin you spread the pancake, it always has two sides!" I hope I never get called for jury duty!

What's your birthstone? Do you wish you had a different one?
I had to chuckle at this one! I have a November birthday, so my birthstone is topaz. I hated it as a kid! The only piece of jewelry I own with my birthstone is my high school class ring!

You can also find Tina and Mick on Facebook and their blog.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Finds: Polymer Clay

Come away with me on a whimsical journey to FlutteringFlowers.

She began playing with clay when her grandmother took her to a craft store and purchased these small squares of extremely hard clay called FIMO. They went home and her grandmother taught her how to make a basic candycane.

Over time the clays got better, softer. One day her husband surprised her with all kinds of clay, tools, cutters, molds, glitter, etc. She was thrilled, but soon realized that it had been so long that she had a hard time making things like she used to.

Now she is having fun playing with clay again and making beautiful creations.

You can also find FlutteringFlowers on Twitter and her blog.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Finds: All About Cats

Meet Linda from allaboutcats, where you can find handmade items for cats (and for humans who love them). She loves cats and shares her home in South Burlington, Vermont, with three cats that she rescued. These cats now live the life of luxury and are very spoiled. Her kids are grown, so her cats and her keep each other company. Thank goodness for lint rollers!

I asked Linda a few questions about herself, and here are her answers:

Name one thing that not many people know about you.
My first shop on Etsy was called Lost Hollow Creations. I sold denim purses. When I closed that shop, I opened my All About Cats Shop.

How did you get your start on Etsy?
I heard about Etsy through a Yahoo! craft group I was in. A member had listed an item on Etsy, and when I checked it out, I decided to give it a try.

How did you choose your shop name?
Choosing my shop name was easy. Everything I planned to sell was either for cats or for humans who loved them. It was "all about cats."

What does a typical day look like for you?
I am woken up in the morning by my eldest cat, Jerry. Once he makes sure I'm not going to go back to sleep, I get up. That is when my other two cats, Brady and Maggie, need their "first thing in the morning" attention. Next I feed the fish and the aquatic frogs. After drinking a fresh cup of coffee, I usually head to the craft room to make things for my shop. Sometime during the day, I do a little bit of housework. At 4:00, Brady goes into the kitchen crying to let me know it time for his meds and treats. Around 5:00, I eat supper, and then the rest of the evening I watch the news and some shows or a movie.

From whom did you learn to sew?
My mother. She used to make braided rugs, curtains and clothes.

What's your favorite season of the year and why?
Summer is my favorite time of the year because I love camping, swimming, hiking and gardening. Oh... and lawn sales!

What do you consider your best personality trait?
I am frugal which is a good thing because I live on a limited income.

What's your birthstone? Do you wish you had a different one?
My birth stone is Aquamarine. I've never wished that I had a different one.

You also find Linda on her All About Cats Blog and in her other shop called This And That In Vermont where she sells handmade items, supplies and vintage.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Inspirations: Black

I am starting a new feature where I will bring you beautiful pairings of jewelry and clothing or accessories. Hope you enjoy!

Love this pairing of the new cksilver Midnight Remembrance Necklace with this beautiful black dress and shoes from JCPenney.
Midnight Remembrance Silver, Onyx, and Jasper Necklace from cksilver

Black Dress

Black Shoes

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Finds: Adorable Baby Clothes

Meet the woman behind Gramme's House, a beautiful shop with custom monogram handcrafted apparel and gifts from pecanieregirl located in Opelousas, LA.

She is a mother and grandmother, lives in a small community in south La. called Livonia, La., and works as an inpatient hospice nurse. After learning to sew from her older sister years ago, she sewed quite a bit when her children were younger and has recently started sewing and machine embroidery again... and has found she is hopelessly hooked. I can see why - her designs are so beautiful!

Besides spending time with her famiy, she loves making boutique style dresses, baby items and even have my hand in digital and paper scrapbooking.

I had a chance to catch up with her and ask a few questions. Here are some fun things you will enjoy.

Name one thing that not many people know about you.
I am a pretty open book. I use to say that was one thing I would like to change about myself (Wearing my feelings on my sleeve) but I have come to believe that is who I am and at 51, I probably would change. So there is not too much that my family and friends don't know about me.

How did you get your start on Etsy?
I first discovered Etsy after my first grandchild was born and my daughters would look for cute little things on the internet and discovered Etsy through internet searches. Searches would lead me to making items similiar to our "finds". I later joined Etsy as a buyer, but through convincing by my family, I began selling on Etsy with a couple items.

How did you choose your shop name?
When I decided to start selling on Etsy, I needed a shop name. By then, my oldest granddaughter was beginning to talk and loved to come to Gramme's House. Trying to decide on a name, that title seemed to be the only option for the name of my shop.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I still work as a hospice nurse 1-2 days a week. When I am not working and in my shop, the day starts with beginning to work on orders and starting the process of embroidering. Right now, as I am in the process of opening my shop, my day also involves working on processes to get that rolling. Setting up phone lines, credit card acceptence, pricing items for my shop, etc. I am very lucky in the fact that my grown children are involved (as much as they can be with their own lives and responsibilities) and have been very helpful in getting my shop ready for opening.

From whom did you learn to sew?
I learned how to sew from my older sister. She passed away about 1 1/2 years ago and I miss her dearly. I know that she would be very proud of me and that if she were still alive, would be a huge part of my shop and probably even be a partner with me.

What is the one thing you would want to be remembered for?
I love my children and grandchildren. I hope that they remember me as a Mom that has always been there for them, even though I was not always perfect and made crazy mistakes. As I open my shop, also named Gramme's House, that I can be remembered in the neighborhood as someone that they could always go to for gifts and I was always had a welcoming smile.

Do you have any family traditions that you hope are carried through to future generations?
None of my girls can sew. I hope that before my time is up, that I can teach my girls how to sew and embroider. I write down some of my processes so that when I am gone they can read this and hopefully even if I am not around, they can make some of the same things I made.

If you could be anywhere in the world for one day, where would it be?
I quit my fulltime job last July, which involved alot of traveling from one end of the US to the other. There are a few places I would like to visit in the US, but I am ok with not going to for right now. :-)

Visit her also on her blog and on Facebook.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Musings: Parenting Lessons I Have Learned from my Children

Fancy Jasper Inspirational Necklace from cksilver
Over the years, I have learned a lot of things about kids. We have been parents now for over 9 years, and foster parents for about 7 months, and we've learned a lot through the process.

Here are some of my favorite lessons:

Choose your battles wisely. Often there are battles that are not really worth fighting. Learn to figure out which ones are important and which ones you can let go. My daughter went to school last week with three pigtails sticking straight out from her head, two different colors of socks, and two left shoes.

Be consistent. Once you draw a line in the sand with your boundaries, stick to them to the very end. Your kids need to know what to expect from you, and shouldn't be confused about which rules you will enforce or how you will react in a given situation.

React calmly. When one of the kids does something that is against the rules, calmly learn more about the situation and matter-of-factly state the consequences. Don't allow anger to take over, but remain calm and be the bigger person as the parent.

What are your favorite lessons in parenting?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Finds: MysticWynd

Today I would like you to meet my friend Karen from mysticwynd. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has 3 kids, 3 stepkids, 7 grandkids, and she loves to do all those crafts she learned as a child.

Karen hopes to igniting that special spark of uniqueness that lies within us all in her designs. Some things are elegant, some are fun, some are outlandish, some are colorful, some are calming.

I had a chance to ask Karen a few things about herself, and here is what she said:

Describe yourself in three words.
Capable, reflective, and accommodating.

Name one thing that not many people know about you.
If I mention it here, then everyone will know! Okay, in 2006, I married a Klingon on the bridge of the Enterprise with a Starfleet Officer officiating.

Are there any important lessons you've learned the hard way since you started selling your work?
I would have to say I've learned how involved marketing can be...and how it tends to take more time than anything if it's going to be effective.

What one aspect of your business do you wish you knew more about?
I'd love to learn more about metalworking and someday I want to take classes in lampworking!

What's your favorite outdoor activity?
I love going on nature hikes in the mountains, or skipping stones by a lake.

What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
Having to make the decision not to resuscitate a loved one who was dying - that's not a position I would not want to put anyone else in. (If you don't have a living will, write one - because even if you think you've "discussed it," unless it's in writing, it's subject to interpretation and a lot of emotion...Make sure your wishes are clear!)

Be sure to visit Karen in her Etsy shops (mysticwynd, MWElegance, and TheCraftersCabinet), on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, on Handmade Spark, and Creating The Hive.