HIJACKED! (Friday Favorites #12)

Hello all, this is Nichole Archer from the Lilac Lobster. I’ve commandeered Stacey’s blog today as part of her birthday present from me. Everyone deserves to at least have their birthday off. So, without further ado: my Friday favorite: SMARTdesigns by Stacey.

Sorry, there’s some ado..

You all know about some of the amazing things Stacey has accomplished in the past year, she’s posted some details here and most of you know her from Etsy or Facebook. She’s come to know many fellow Etsians as friends, and it warms my heart to know that she’s found such great people that share her interests and passions. But some of you may not know how truly incredible Stacey is. She’s my best friend (so I’m a bit biased, sue me). We’ve had some great times. We bonded over Friends and Lisa Frank (and basically anything from the 90s) and cheered on the Tigers. When my husband and I eloped, she insisted that I have a bouquet, gave me a fondue party, supplied my something borrowed, and was next to me every step of the way. It hasn’t been all rainbows and glitter, though. Over the course of our friendship, we’ve both had our hearts broken, we’ve lost friends that we thought would be around forever, I’ve become a boring and responsible army wife, and now there’s 700 miles between us and we’ve spent way too much time apart. But in spite of all that, all the things that have ended other friendships, we’ve become closer. We’ve taught each other that nothing can replace true friends and that loving yourself and following your dreams is what’s important in life.

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So, who is Stacey to me? Apart from my best friend, my lobster, and the cheese to my wine? She’s a leader, an inspiration, and a motivator. A creative soul that is passionate about what she believes in.

You can see it in her shop. It’s absolutely full of unique digital art that you won’t find anywhere else. She finds inspiration in everything and hearing how excited she is about her next piece always makes me smile. One of my favorite pieces, A Life For All Seasons, was her first piece. It’s the first time she considered herself an artist and it was so nice to see she finally had some of the confidence that I had in her all along.

A Life for All Seasons

A Life for All Seasons — I have this piece proudly hanging in my dining room!

One of Stacey’s favorite pieces is Live, Laugh, Love: “It’s purple and it looks like glitter, you know me.”

Live Laugh Love

Live Laugh Love

You can see it in her custom work. My husband and I eloped, we haven’t had a wedding yet, but we will. A superhero themed wedding. Because we’re awesome, that’s why. And Stacey has done so much to make our graphics special and unique  and exactly what we wanted, because she’s awesome, too. She transformed my drawings and ideas into beautiful pieces that still fit my and my husband’s personalities, and she had some incredible ideas of her own!

“I had the most fun working on your wedding because it was for my best friend and I had someone to work really closely with. And now I’m becoming quite knowledgable about comic books.” I’m really proud of her for that last bit, too.

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You can see it in her efforts with the All Handmade By Me Team, which she founded  only a few short months ago (October 2, to be exact) and now has over 1,500 members. A team specially created with both the buyer and seller in mind. It’s a community of marvelously creative minds making one of a kind handmade artwork and forming lasting friendships.

Jill Brandt of Aksel Arts had this to say: “After the creation of the All Handmade by Me team, I got to know Stacey on a personal level and I can say that she is a wonderful and talented artist and I am so grateful that I get to call her a friend.” There’s not another team like it.

“My goal for the team is that we get people not on Etsy to know about it. I want the rest of the world to know about our team. At that point, the sky’s the limit.” For more information, visit the team page.

You can see it in my shop. Okay, maybe YOU can’t see it, but I sure can. She convinced me to open a shop on Etsy, made all the digital art for my shop and my Facebook page, and she’s always giving me tips and ideas and pointers. She also made my mascot, Lobby the Lobster. “I’m rather partial to Lobby. He’s one of my proudest creations and he gave me the confidence to try new things with SMARTdesigns.” To see all the incredible work Stacey has done for my page, visit my Facbook page and my Etsy shop (a bit of shameless self-promotion is ok, right?).

Stacey started all this because she loves it (and because a little birdy told her it was a brilliant idea; she’s seen my ‘I told ya so’ dance). She loves her customers, she loves her art, and she loves all the new friends she’s made along the way. She motivates me to create something new every day and is an inspiration to me, and I’m sure to everyone on the All Handmade By Me team.

Visit SMARTdesigns on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Glitteriffic!! Friday Favorites #10

I have been waiting for weeks to feature this week’s Favorite! I had to wait because the item being featured was a Christmas gift and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise! But, now that Christmas is over, I am happy to feature Rara’s Jewels!

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Rachel’s shop is filled with adorable resin artwork. The fun colors and use of glitter makes some people think that her shop is just for children, but Rachel says that is a common misconception. In fact, Rachel sells mostly to “teens and college aged girls who are interested in alternative fashions, such as lolita, fairy kei, and pastel goth.” I had never heard of these alternative fashion movements, but there was something about Rachel’s jewelry that drew me in.

My Purchase from Rara’s Jewels:

As I mentioned in my last Friday Favorites Feature, my best friend Nichole and I live several states apart. I was looking for something I could send to her for Christmas that would keep us close. Then I remembered Rachel’s shop!

IMAG3101_1_1I purchased two of these rings, one for Nichole, and one for myself. Nichole and I are both children at heart and we’re a little “weird” by most standards, so these rings were perfect for us! We might not be part of the alternative fashions that Rachel had in mind, but we both love her rings!

After I made my purchase, I did the one thing that Etsy sellers hate–I realized that I didn’t think things through before placing my order. I was so excited about the rings and the fact that Rachel had promised to add extra glitter to them, that I completely forgot about Nichole’s metal sensitivity!

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The rings pictured on Rachel’s Etsy shop have metal bands.

Even though this was entirely my screw up, Rachel could not have been more accommodating! I contacted her and asked if there was any possible way to order a band that would not make my best friend break out in hives. Rachel assured me that she would find something that would work.

That very day, Rachel contacted me to tell me that she had found an answer! She found bands sold by another Etsy seller that were metal but were covered with a thick enamel that would prevent the metal from making direct contact with the skin.

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The enamel band is perfect!

“Jewelry has always been a problem for me since I’m allergic to metal, but Stacey found someone who went above and beyond and specially made a ring that is super cute and wonderfully made for me! I’ve worn it every single day since I got it!” –Nichole

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The reason to buy from handmade sellers rather than big box stores is simple: Handmade sellers truly care.

Did Rachel have to accommodate me when I started asking for alterations and special treatment? No, of course not! I had already ordered my rings and it was my mistake. But she did. And that’s what sets Rachel and sellers like her apart from the rest.

Rachel, the Artist with the Glitter:

Rachel is a college student who loves crafts! She is even younger than I am and she has had her Etsy shop for years already!

“My parents have always been crafty and I would make things with them. My mom found out about paper beads and I started making them with her. I quickly got addicted to making them and making bracelets and necklaces with them. After a while I started looking at other crafting mediums and found out about polymer clay. I was never really that great with polymer clay, but it was fun to work with. There were all sorts of tutorials on how to make cute food jewelry and it got me interested in making other cutesy jewelry. My first year on Etsy was my experiment year. I sold polymer clay jewelry, kandi bracelets, hair bows, and such.” –Rachel

Now Rachel focuses mostly on epoxsy resin. If you take a look at her shop, you’ll see that she uses lots of different colors and accents in her pieces. The glitter she uses is actually what drew me to her shop. I, admittedly, have an unhealthy obsession with glitter.

“It’s now been a little over a year that I have been working mostly with resin. I enjoy it because it is a pretty versatile medium. I can color it almost anyway I want and add various mix ins like glitter, spangles, sprinkles, small candies, and such.” –Rachel

Rachel is also a Team Leader of the All Handmade By ME Team.

“I joined the team because I believe in supporting handmade. Buying handmade has a completely different feeling than buying from a big box store. When I buy handmade I know I am getting something that the creator put their heart into.” –Rachel

The Best Part?

“I think it is when I see and hear people’s happy reactions about the items they ordered. I know it probably sounds corny, but it feels rewarding. I love hearing the sweet and kind things my fans say.” –Rachel

I’m glad I’m not the only one who is a bit cheesy when it comes to customer satisfaction! I know that my face absolutely glows whenever I get a positive review and I know that people are happy with their purchases! I hope Rachel knows how happy she made my friend Nichole and me!

Not Just Jewelry!

Rara’s Jewels sells more than just resin jewelry! Here’s a look at something else Rachel makes, cell phone cases!

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This is Rachel’s favorite item in her shop now.

Want to Know More?

Be sure to check out Rachel’s Etsy Shop to see what else she has for sale! You can also find out more about Rara’s Jewels here:

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Be sure to check it out! And comment below to let me know what you think! I’m anxious to hear what your favorite item is!

“Because you’re there for me too…” Friday Favorites #9

Today’s Friday Feature is a shop that is very special to me. This talented artist inspired me (and convinced me) to pursue my graphic design in the first place. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to start SMARTdesigns at all. So, it is only natural that once my business became successful, I started bugging her about starting her own shop. A bit of karmic payback if you will.

I am proud to announce that my very best friend, Nichole Archer, has taken the plunge! Her shop, The Lilac Lobster is now open!

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This is a look at Nichole’s Etsy shop! It’s brand new, so her inventory isn’t huge yet, but her list of ideas is several pages long!

How it all started:

Almost a year ago (February, 2013) Nichole came to me about creating fliers for the bar she managed. She knew that I liked to create things on the computer and thought I should go into business for myself. To be honest, I thought she was a little crazy… But then, that’s Nichole for you! Nichole is my biggest supporter and she believes in me more than I believe in myself most days. So she prodded and cajoled and I caved. I created my Facebook page for SMARTdesigns!

I never dreamed that I’d be successful and I never even considered opening a shop on Etsy at this point. But Nichole kept giving me projects. I created two fliers and a new logo for the bar and had no sooner finished that than Nichole had a new project… She decided to have a superhero themed wedding and wanted me to make all the artwork! I’ll definitely have to do an entire blog about this wedding one of these days.

Every time I finished a new piece, and often even before the piece was finished, I would send Nichole pictures. She has been my extra set of eyes since the beginning.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us! We’re tailgating for a Mizzou Tigers Football Game!

Then what?

This summer, Nichole moved to Texas with her husband. It was difficult at first, having my extra set of eyes so far away. But naturally, Nichole made it work. We started sending elaborate care packages…

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Nichole made two of these, one for herself and one for me! This bracelet is inspired by our favorite TV show, F*R*I*E*N*D*S and came with a letter explaining what each charm represents in our friendship.

When Nichole sent me this charm bracelet, I got to see just how artistic she really is! I had always known she loved crafts, but between work and school, we never had much time to do them before now.

At this point, I had been on Etsy long enough to know that there were people with much less talent than my best friend making a living selling similar creations. I started pleading with her to open a shop. (And not just because I wanted the referral benefits!)

FINALLY:

It took a few months, but I finally wore her down and convinced Nichole to pursue her talents further. She caved!

The next step was to help her come up with a name for her shop. Because of our love for F*R*I*E*N*D*S, Nichole and I have an affinity towards lobsters. There’s a scene in F*R*I*E*N*D*S where Phoebe explains that lobsters mate for life and walk around the tank holding claws and therefore, your true soulmate is your lobster. Nichole and I talk all the time about how she may be married to the man she loves, but I’m her lobster.

So, when we started brainstorming names, I immediately suggested something with lobster in the title. As fate would have it, we both came up with the name “The Lilac Lobster” at the exact same moment. And thus, The Lilac Lobster was born!

Lobby the Lobster:

The obvious next step was to create a lobster to be the mascot for Nichole’s shop. I got to work immediately!

Because Nichole is my extra set of eyes, I took pictures of every step of the process and sent them to her while I worked! This is a slideshow showing how Lobby the Lobster came together:

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And here is the final product:

Lobby the Lobster


Lobby the Lobster

A Custom Banner to Match:

Next I made a custom banner for Nichole’s Etsy shop. This one is by far, my favorite custom banner yet!

The Lilac Lobster Banner

Fun fact: The font I used for this banner is actually called Lobster.

Alright, enough about me! Let’s take a closer look at my talented best friend!

The Lilac Lobster:

Now that you’ve read the origin story of The Lilac Lobster, you probably want to know more about what Nichole creates! Nichole has multiple talents so her shop is not limited to one specific medium. She sells both polymer clay charms and crochet creations!

I am especially partial to her charms. I am fascinated by the intricate detail work she is able to do with such tiny pieces! And really, could these BE any cuter?

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Set of 3 charms! Available in her Etsy shop! (Click this image for details and pricing)

This S’mores Set is my favorite item in Nichole’s shop thus far. But, I’ve seen her list of ideas for future charms and I expect that her charms will only get cuter as she progresses!

Nichole’s crochet is absolutely beautiful as well!

 This newborn take home kit isn't listed in her shop right now, but just look at how adorable it is!!


This newborn take home kit isn’t listed in her shop right now, but just look at how adorable it is!!

What’s Next?

As I said earlier, Nichole’s business is very new. In fact, her Etsy shop only opened its doors this week. That said, I am 100% confident that she will flourish and prosper! I have seen her list of ideas and I know that she adds to it constantly. There is no doubt in my mind that Nichole will continue to outdo herself for many years to come.

So what should you do? You should LIKE her Facebook Page The Lilac Lobster to make sure you get all the updates! If you’re on Etsy, you should FAVORITE her Shop LilacLobster so you are always notified of her new listings! Let’s show her a little love and help her get her new business off the ground!

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Good Luck Nichole! I love you!

My Favorite Things! Friday Favorites #8

Today I decided to do my Friday Favorites Feature a bit differently. Instead of featuring just one of my favorite shops, I decided to feature a plethora of my favorite handmade items! I had the idea when I was working on a team treasury yesterday. With my birthday only 6 weeks away, I thought it would be a good idea to start thinking about a handmade birthday wish list!

This is the treasury I made:

My Wish List Treasury


Most of the items in this treasury are from All Handmade By ME Team Shops! To see this treasury on Etsy, just click on this image!

For my treasury, I chose to stick to one specific color scheme. Since purple is without a doubt my favorite color, it seemed like the logical choice! But, with that in mind, there were several items on my wish list that didn’t quite fit this color palette.

Here are some other items on my birthday wish list:

I absolutely love decorating my room. When I was younger, I briefly contemplated a career as an interior designer. Then I saw how much math was required and I quickly changed my mind. Nevertheless, I love interior design! Someday when I have my own home, I would love to plaster my walls with artwork! There are so many talented artists in the All Handmade By ME Team!

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I absolutely love this painting! I could see myself decorating an entire room around this painting! I don’t have a home for it yet, but maybe someday!

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In the summer of 2012, I spent some time on the Greek island of Thassos. Ever since, I have longed to return! This painting reminds me of the beauty of the Aegean!

I also made an entire treasury about my wanderlust to return to Greece! To see it, click here: I Left My Heart In Greece

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This painting is so fun! I could totally picture a pink restroom with a lighted vanity and this painting reflected in the mirror!

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These notebooks are so colorful! As a writer, I collect mini notebooks and try to have one with me at all times. I haven’t been writing as much as I should lately, but that’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions

I have decided I better cut myself off here before I spend an entire day cataloguing the hundreds of things I would buy for myself if I could afford to do so. I hope that you will take some time to check out the shops featured here. They are run by remarkably talented artists with many wonderful items that I did not have a chance to feature here.

I really like the format of this blog post. Keep an eye out for more posts about my favorite things! There are many more that I don’t have time to share right now.

On a completely unrelated note…

Remember, SMARTdesigns is having a sale through the end of today! Use the coupon code SUPPORTHANDMADE for 20% off a purchase of $20 or more! Many items have already been marked down and shipping is free!

Sorry for the self promotion! Comment on this post and let me know what you think of the items I featured! I’m anxious to hear what you think!

Starving Artists Unite! Friday Favorites #6

On Monday I did a little shopping of my own. I decided I shouldn’t just talk the talk about supporting handmade sellers, but I should also walk the walk… or well, put my money where my mouth is. Cliches aside, I decided to buy from my fellow handmade sellers on Handmade Monday and I could not be more pleased with my purchases!

So today’s Friday Favorite is…

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Here’s a look at today’s featured shop:

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The piece that I purchased from Marty Carr is a painting that I simply fell in love with. In thinking about this blog post, I keep asking myself what it is about this painting that made me need to buy it, but I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. I think it’s something about the way the colors flow together. This piece feels so alive to me!

 This is the painting I purchased on Handmade Monday from Marty Carr.


This is the painting I purchased on Handmade Monday from Marty Carr.

I chose to feature Marty today because she reminded me why I started this blog sequence in the first place. I wanted to feature real live PEOPLE who sell artwork. Let me explain…

When I purchased this item, Marty responded to me online. She is familiar with my artwork and when she heard her CHA CHING and saw my name, she thought she knew what piece I would have picked. And to be honest, the piece she was referring to is actually much more my style than this piece. I thought that was really exciting because it shows an attention to detail that is often lost in the retail world. Marty knows her customers. And that’s really special.

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This is the piece Marty was talking about. It is definitely my second favorite!

After we joked about our mutual love of trees, I asked Marty a shipping question and she went right into professional mode. I had told her I was concerned that my mailman would ruin her painting and she assured me that she would do everything she could to make sure that didn’t happen…

This is what showed up at my front door this evening:

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My painting was wrapped so securely that it was thicker than my finger!

Here’s the thing about handmade sellers: They care. There’s a real person on the other end of the transaction. I don’t think I can stress enough how much of a difference that can make. I was able to voice my concerns and they were addressed. And not only that, Marty went above and beyond. My painting was wrapped in tissue paper and bubble wrap and reenforced with a foam board and placed in a padded envelope. It arrived in perfect condition.

In case that wasn’t enough to show her care and dedication, Marty also included a handwritten note with my painting. She thanked me and then gave me tips about where I could find an affordable mat and frame for my new painting. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had that kind of buying experience when I shop at Walmart or Macys.

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My favorite part is “starving artists unite!” :)

Since I’m writing this blog post only moments after my doorbell rang, I haven’t hung Marty’s painting yet. But, I still thought I’d show you all the place I have picked out for it…

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I think this piece will look lovely above my dresser!

 

Thank you Marty for your beautiful artwork and your superb customer service! I hope that all of you will take a moment to check out Marty’s shop. She has some truly phenomenal pieces for sale and in case you haven’t been paying attention, her customer service rocks!

So go support a handmade seller! Comment on this post and tell me what your favorite Marty Carr original is!

I’m off to Etsy to go leave a 5 star review for Marty! ;)

UPDATE: All Handmade By Me Handmade Monday Sales

UPDATE:

This post got such a positive response that I decided to update it in time for Handmade Monday! Here is an updated list of All Handmade By ME shops with Handmade Monday sales! Enjoy!

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Today I’m going to do my Friday Favorites Feature a little differently. Handmade Monday is fast approaching so I decided to take this opportunity and feature a handful of my favorite shops from the All Handmade By ME Team that are having Handmade Monday specials!

I created a Facebook event to help spread the word about our team’s sales and deals for Handmade Monday, but I thought I’d take some time to share some of my favorites with you. Some of these shops have been featured before and some of them will be featured in the future. This is just my way of making sure you all hear about the exciting Handmade Monday sales going on! I know that there are several team members who I missed when making my list (and even checking it twice!) so for information on all of the sales and specials from the All Handmade By ME Team, click here!

Aksel Arts:

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Look for new items listed for Handmade Monday along with discounts to be announced!

The Astral Charm:

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HMM10 for 10% off any purchase, and FREESHIP35 for free shipping on any order over $35.

Black Raven Creations:

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10% off all orders up to $35 and 20% off all orders over $35

Bracelets By Jen:

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For Handmade Monday use coupon code: HANDMADE15 at checkout to get 15% of your entire order. No minimum purchase. Coupon code valid on November 25, 2013 only.

Cally’s Creations:

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50% off orders of £8 or more. Coupon code: CALLY50

Creative Treasures:

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I will put all of my compact mirrors down 20% (refundable on paypal).

Debbie Shine:

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20% off everything in shop!

Earth Jewelry:

 15% off on orders $15 and up


15% off on orders $15 and up. Coupon Code: HANDMADEMONDAY

Eureka Springs Rocks:

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10% discount on any purchase made, effective only on Monday, November 25th, 2013.

Flaherty Naturals:

 On Handmade Monday any Etsy customers using FMB10OFF will save 10% on their entire order AND each item will be gift wrapped....for free


On Handmade Monday any Etsy customers using FMB10OFF will save 10% on their entire order AND each item will be gift wrapped….for free

Hanover Merry Makers:

 20% off entire shop on Handmade Monday!


20% off entire shop on Handmade Monday! Use code HHM25.

HomeKissed:

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20% off All Wreaths and $3 off Ornaments ($8 and up)

KMHK Artistry:

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Entire shop 20% off on Handmade Monday

Lady Honsa:

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Coupon Code: MONDAYHAND15 for 15% off storewide

Lari’s Jewelry Designs:

 15% off coupon code in my shop announcement that will be valid on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 only.


15% off coupon code in my shop announcement that will be valid on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 only.

Love2Quilt:

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A 10% discount on everything in my shop. In addition, HBM team members will receive a complementary gift. The sale will be conducted from November 25 to December 15 with coupon code HBMT10.

Ma’at Silk:

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FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on all orders over £9. Only on November 25th! Code: HANDMADEMONDAY.

Marilyn’s Trees:

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10% off any purchase made i on Monday November 25th 2013 only! Coupon Code: HMM01

Nadia’s Knits:

 All Scarves at Nadia's Knits will be 10% off!


All Scarves at Nadia’s Knits will be 10% off!

PuffyTheSlayer:

 20% off on all orders over £10 coupon code handmadmonday


20% off on all orders over £10 coupon code handmadmonday

Quinnys Crochet:

 Coupon code handmademonday15 for 15% off everything in stock


Coupon code handmademonday15 for 15% off everything in stock

Rara’s Jewels:

 20% off shop! Coupon code to be announced.


20% off shop! Coupon code to be announced.

Scarlet Rabbit:

 RABBITRED for free shipping. RABBITEARS for 25% off


RABBITRED for free shipping. RABBITEARS for 25% off

Stella Ziganti Designs:

10% off $25+, 15% off $50+, 20% off $100+!! Use coupon codes HANDMADE10, HANDMADE15, and HANDMADE20.


10% off $25 or more, 15% off $50 or more, and 20% off $100 or more!! Use coupon codes HANDMADE10, HANDMADE15, and HANDMADE20.

Tess and Ivy:

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15% off purchase with code FALL15

Watercolored Windows:

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20% off with minimum purchase of $20, coupon code HANDMADEMON2013, also free shipping domestic only until 12/24/13, coupon code FREESHIP2013!

I hope you will take some time on Handmade Monday to shop at these wonderful handmade shops! With variety like this, I am sure you will find something for everyone on your list! Last, but certainly not least…

SMARTdesigns By Stacey:

Of course I am having a sale as well! I will be releasing several new pieces that I am very excited about! I will also be offering bundle deals and coupon codes that I will announce on Handmade Monday. To follow all of my updates, click here!

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Do you plan on shopping on Handmade Monday? Comment and let me know what you’re shopping for!

Friday Favorites #5: The All Handmade By Me Team

Today I’m going to do my Friday Favorites Feature a little differently. Handmade Monday is fast approaching so I decided to take this opportunity and feature a handful of my favorite shops from the All Handmade By ME Team that are having Handmade Monday specials!

I created a Facebook event to help spread the word about our team’s sales and deals for Handmade Monday, but I thought I’d take some time to share some of my favorites with you. Some of these shops have been featured before and some of them will be featured in the future. This is just my way of making sure you all hear about the exciting Handmade Monday sales going on! I know that there are several team members who I missed when making my list (and even checking it twice!) so for information on all of the sales and specials from the All Handmade By ME Team, click here!

Aksel Arts:

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Look for new items listed for Handmade Monday along with discounts to be announced!

The Astral Charm:

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HMM10 for 10% off any purchase, and FREESHIP35 for free shipping on any order over $35.

Black Raven Creations:

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10% off all orders up to $35 and 20% off all orders over $35

Cally’s Creations:

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50% off orders of £8 or more. Coupon code: CALLY50

Flaherty Naturals:

 On Handmade Monday any Etsy customers using FMB10OFF will save 10% on their entire order AND each item will be gift wrapped....for free


On Handmade Monday any Etsy customers using FMB10OFF will save 10% on their entire order AND each item will be gift wrapped….for free

Hanover Merry Makers:

 20% off entire shop on Handmade Monday!


20% off entire shop on Handmade Monday! Use code HHM25.

HomeKissed:

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20% off All Wreaths and $3 off Ornaments ($8 and up)

KMHK Artistry:

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Entire shop 20% off on Handmade Monday

Lari’s Jewelry Designs:

 15% off coupon code in my shop announcement that will be valid on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 only.


15% off coupon code in my shop announcement that will be valid on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 only.

Love2Quilt:

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A 10% discount on everything in my shop. In addition, HBM team members will receive a complementary gift. The sale will be conducted from November 25 to December 15 with coupon code HBMT10.

Ma’at Silk:

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FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on all orders over £9. Only on November 25th! Code: HANDMADEMONDAY.

Marilyn’s Trees:

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10% off any purchase made i on Monday November 25th 2013 only! Coupon Code: HMM01

Nadia’s Knits:

 All Scarves at Nadia's Knits will be 10% off!


All Scarves at Nadia’s Knits will be 10% off!

PuffyTheSlayer:

 20% off on all orders over £10 coupon code handmadmonday


20% off on all orders over £10 coupon code handmadmonday

Rara’s Jewels:

 20% off shop! Coupon code to be announced.


20% off shop! Coupon code to be announced.

Stella Ziganti Designs:

10% off $25+, 15% off $50+, 20% off $100+!! Use coupon codes HANDMADE10, HANDMADE15, and HANDMADE20.


10% off $25 or more, 15% off $50 or more, and 20% off $100 or more!! Use coupon codes HANDMADE10, HANDMADE15, and HANDMADE20.

Tess and Ivy:

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15% off purchase with code FALL15

I hope you will take some time on Handmade Monday to shop at these wonderful handmade shops! With variety like this, I am sure you will find something for everyone on your list! Last, but certainly not least…

SMARTdesigns By Stacey:

Of course I am having a sale as well! I will be releasing several new pieces that I am very excited about! I will also be offering bundle deals and coupon codes that I will announce on Handmade Monday. To follow all of my updates, click here!

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Do you plan on shopping on Handmade Monday? Comment and let me know what you’re shopping for!

Seeing Spots! Friday Favorites #4

So far I have featured a sculptor, a quilter and a jewelry maker. Today I will be featuring yet another artistic medium which only goes to show that there is limitless variety among the talented handmade artists on Etsy. Today’s Friday Favorite is a talented painter named Cathey Ihms.

Featured Shop: Tess and Ivy

Tess & Ivy

I asked Cathey how she came up with the name for her Etsy shop. As a writer, names always intrigue me and I was curious how she settled on such a unique name:

“It’s a funny story actually. One day while looking at the front page of Etsy, I saw a cute lipstick holder that I thought was from a shop named Tess and Ivy. My first thought was ‘that’s such a cool, Etsy-sounding name. I need to come up with a name like that.’ When I looked closer though, the shop was actually named Less and More. So Tess and Ivy was free for the taking! My aunt says it was meant to be since I saw something that wasn’t there.” – Cathey

The items in Cathey’s shop are all repurposed vintage pieces. Cathey takes bowls of all shapes and sizes and paints them using tiny dots to create something colorful and artsy out of something old and plain. Cathey is constantly searching thrift stores and estate sales for new pieces to paint.

“I have a lot of people who help me look as well. There are numerous people from my
church who check out every thrift store and flea market they pass, even while traveling. So I have eyes from Texas to Colorado to Arkansas helping me look. It’s a good thing too, as I think I’ve completely bought out Dallas’s supply!”
 – Cathey

Once she rescues a vintage piece, Cathey spends a considerable amount of time trying to decide what colors would work best on each bowl. Sometimes she posts online asking for fan input which I think is especially cool! (And not just because she considered my recent suggestions).

The end result is absolutely fantastic! Take a look at Cathey’s shop and you’ll see what I mean! The way she recreates a vintage piece is–for lack of a better word–so cool!

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I love the shape of this piece! The dots make it look like this bowl is in constant motion. I can’t really explain it, but it’s like this bowl has a life of its own! (in a cool way, not a creepy one!)

 

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I am a sucker for all things purple, so my eye was naturally drawn to this piece from Cathey’s shop. I really like how she used white and tan with the purple to give a level of contrast to the piece! Very nice!

 

 

Dots, Spots & Circles:

I chose to feature Cathey today because we have a lot in common. Actually, it’s pretty freaky just how much Cathey and I have in common. We both spell our names with an E that often gets forgotten by the general public, we’re both huge fans of the TV show F*R*I*E*N*D*S, and we both have a weird obsession to dots. Dots, spots, circles of all colors!

Take a look at these two images and see how similar the styles are!

Cathey's Dots

Cathey’s Dots

dots

My Dots

 

Now, I have the benefit of being able to create my dots on a computer, but I have no idea how Cathey manages to make hers so round and uniform with paint! I have to say, I’m a bit jealous of her talent.

When I asked Cathey about her art, it sounded almost as if I was answering my own questions! Like Cathey, I love seeing how a piece just seems to come together as I work. That’s the thing about dots. When you are working with such tiny elements, there is an element of surprise when you step back (or zoom out) and see the whole piece! It’s really exciting in a way that only another dotter could really understand.

Cathey’s Favorite Piece:

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“I love the apple shape and shades of red are so fun to work with. I absolutely love painting my bowls. It’s amazing to see the transformation from a plain vintage bowl or tray to a beautiful glossy piece covered in hundreds of tiny dots. I enjoy seeing how each piece turns out completely unique. Although sometimes I do start seeing spots!” – Cathey

I can certainly relate to Cathey’s statement!
[she types, as rainbow colored spots swim in front of her eyes]

Want to know more?

Want to know more about Cathey and her shop Tess and Ivy? Of course you do! Check out her blog Cathey with an E and read all about it! While you’re there, read the post she wrote about me! It is beautifully written and very sweet!

Also, be sure to LIKE Tess and Ivy on Facebook!

Cathey with an E: www.catheywithane.com

Tess and Ivy on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tessandivy

Do you love Cathey’s art as much as I do? Well you’re in luck! Cathey has a storewide sale going on right now! Just enter the coupon code “FALL15” at checkout to save 15% off every purchase!

If I go into debt, I blame Suzanne: Friday Favorites #3

There are so many talented artists on Etsy, but lately one has really stood above the rest in my opinion. Today I am featuring the one shop that will probably send me into debt because I love her jewelry so damn much! Today’s Friday Favorites Feature is my personal FAVORITE Etsy shop…

Stella Ziganti Designs

Here’s a look at Stella Ziganti Designs, a beautiful jewelry shop run by my new friend, Suzanne Smith:

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Suzanne is a new seller on Etsy, even newer than myself, but you would never know
it by looking at her pieces or her shop!

 “I’ve only been selling my jewelry since June of 2013, and only on Etsy since Sept 8, 2013! Oddly though, it feels like I’ve been doing this forever, and is exactly where I belong. I love putting a smile on peoples faces, whether it’s by cracking a joke or baking them cookies… making people happy feels good, and right, and how I wish everyone was in a perfect world! I’d like to think [and hope] that by making beautiful things, I get to brighten a face every time someone gives or receives a piece of my jewelry.” – Suzanne

And it feels like Suzanne has been selling forever! Her shop is extremely professional and has the feel that she knows exactly what she is doing. If I didn’t know for a fact that everything in her shop was 100% handmade by Suzanne, I would probably assume they were made professionally somewhere. Her jewelry is THAT good.

Better than the average jeweler:

Suzanne’s jewelry is inspired by the beauty of nature, so she never dyes the stones she uses. This means that all of her pieces are completely natural! Suzanne doesn’t get her stones from giant factories overseas and her jewelry is not mass produced in some third world country. It’s just stones from nature, some tools and Suzanne. Obviously she has suppliers and whatnot, but I want to stress that her pieces are completely and totally handmade by a real artist. I don’t know much about jewelry or the skills it takes, but I know this much: I LOVE EVERYTHING in her shop. With Suzanne’s pieces, you just know that you won’t find anything like them anywhere else. Are her prices more than say Target? Yes. Are they absolutely, positively worth every penny? ABSOLUTELY. I’ve actually worried about whether or not Suzanne’s pieces are just a little too pretty. They’re so incredibly gorgeous that I would be afraid that they would upstage me! But, Suzanne has assured me that this is not the case.

Here’s the thing you need to know about jewelry on Etsy these days: There are beautiful treasures there, but they’re buried. You will find a lot of cheap, junk jewelry when you shop on Etsy. It has been overrun by mass producers and foreign factories. BUT–and this is a big but–please do not give up hope! I can promise you that there are talented artists underneath the heaps of garbage.

Available in her shop:

Now normally I would include a bunch of images of my favorite pieces from Suzanne’s shop, but I don’t want all of you to snatch them up before I get a chance! Almost everything in this entire shop is on my wishlist. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if I won the lottery, the very first thing I would do would be to write Suzanne a check for every item in her store.

 So instead, here’s one of Suzanne’s favorite pieces:

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“This is one of my all time favorites…it’s girly and pink, but the stones have swirls of silver that give them personality. It is not a bright ‘perfect’ pink, but the imperfections make that stone better in my opinion.” - Suzanne

It is statements like this one that just really prove to me that Suzanne is not only extremely passionate about her craft, but she also has a real talent for seeing the beauty in something and pulling out that beauty so that everyone can see it. In today’s society, mass produced items are taking over the world. Everyone wants what they want right away and they want it cheap. What people don’t seem to understand is that there’s a tangible superiority in handmade pieces. They’re just better. And why are they better? Because the Suzannes of the world are out there putting their hearts into their creations and making the world a more beautiful place for all of us.

I urge you to go to Suzanne’s shop. Go right now! I’m anxious to hear what all of you think! Please post below with your favorite pieces from Stella Ziganti Designs!

Giveaway:

Suzanne is running a special contest right now! You should enter! But don’t expect to win, I am on a mission to win this contest if it’s the last thing I do! :)
Here are the rules: 
Giveaway time! In an effort to get my page to 100 likes and help people find my new shop in time for the holidays, I’m doing a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to my shop! No minimum purchase required, and it will be good for any item currently listed or even a custom order!

To enter the drawing, all you have you have to do is promote my Etsy shop or the Stella Ziganti Designs Facebook page, follow me on twitter @stellaziganti or any combination of the above…You can like, follow, pin, tweet, share or nail flyers to telephone poles.

Post on Facebook with updates as each promotion gets another entry into the drawing and I want to give credit for each one! Contest ends 11/14/2013!

Stella Ziganti Designs:

Visit her on Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/StellaZigantiDesigns

Visit her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/stellaziganti

Follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/StellaZiganti

 

 

Comments on the original post:

Thank you for writing this Stacey. I appreciate the kind words, they really mean the world to me! –Suzanne

 

I am another jeweler on the All Handmade by me team and also use semi-precious gemstones and sterling silver. But I have to admit, everytime I stumbled upon one more piece of Suzanne’s jewelry while I am browsing in the team, I always feel delighted and happy. Suzanne, your jewelry is soooo pretty, simple, elegant, and nature loving. My favorites are all the necklaces in the gradient colors, from light to darker in the same color scheme.
Please continue doing your work (even if we are in direct competition somehow!), you are making the world a better place with your art. –Virginie

 

I bought one of Suzanne’s necklaces after being on the team and it is my favorite!! I adore dainty, well crafted pieces. Her jewelry is the kind you will forget you are wearing because it is so comfortable but everyone else will comment on because it’s so darn pretty. Suzanne is on my wishlist for the holidays!! –Angie

 

In my opinion, Suzanne should print and framed this article! She definitely deserves such compliments, specially by a so talented writer ! :) –Nadine

A Beautiful Gift: Friday Favorites #2

For this week’s Friday Favorites Feature, there was no one I considered featuring instead of Patricia Caldwell. On Monday, Patricia reached out to me to provide words of encouragement because she thought I might need a hug lest I lose my patience over the stress of creating and managing the All Handmade By Me team on Etsy. Not only did Patricia send me a virtual hug, but she said this: “I think you should go to my shop and pick out an inspirational word quilt from my sale section as a present just because.” I was absolutely shocked. What had I really done that warranted such a generous gift? After several messages back and forth asking if Patricia was really serious about her offer, I selected my piece and just sat there, beaming at my computer screen.

This is the gift I received:

PEACE

Patricia Caldwell is not only one of the sweetest people I have ever met, but she is also a remarkably talented artist. Look at the detail in the piece above! This quilt is only 12×12 inches, so you can imagine the delicate detail work that went into it! I personally know nothing whatsoever about quilting or textile art, but I know what I like and I LOVE Patricia’s pieces! Her shop, TheButterflyQuilter is filled to the brim with beautiful pieces like this one!

This is what Patricia said about her inspirational quilts:

“I started doing inspirational word quilts to give and sell to people who really wanted something to uplift them every day. I have one hanging at the end of my bed on a wall so it is the first thing I see in the morning. So good to start the day on a positive note. I have made these for so many wonderful people.”

Patricia has made over 200 of her inspirational word quilts. She has decide to discontinue the line to pursue new projects, so they are on sale in her shop for 30% off. Get one while they last!

TheButterflyQuilter:

 

Picture 18

I was absolutely fascinated by this quilt that Patricia sent me, so I went and checked out her blog! On it, she writes about her artistic process! I loved reading about how these lovely pieces are made from start to finish!

 Visit her blog: www.thebutterflyquilter.wordpress.com

“Bella the Fox”

fox

“Bella the Fox” on Etsy: www.etsy.com/listing/159926608/fiber-art-wall-hanging-quilt-fox-nature

 

This quilt is one of my favorite pieces from Patricia’s shop! I went to her blog and started reading about this piece and I was just in awe of the tremendous talent that went into it!

 

Read what I read: www.thebutterflyquilter.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/wip-wednesday-22-bella-the-fox-in-progress/
And: www.thebutterflyquilter.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/chapter-20-finishing-up-bella-the-fox/

 

Award Winning Quilts:

flower

This quilt won second place with this quilt last year at the American Quilting Society Quilt Show in Des Moines

 

 

tree

And this one just returned from another prestigious Quilt Show

 

Conclusion? Buy Quilts!

 

I have told you several times that the concept of buying handmade is one that I am very passionate about. In this economy, it might seem easy to buy Black Friday deals rather than buying sometimes quite pricy handmade finds. But here’s the difference: You won’t find art like this at Walmart. You won’t find a quilt that is carefully planned out and lovingly made. You won’t know who made it because it won’t matter. When you buy handmade, you buy something with a story, something that has a soul. I will never forget the love and dedication with which Patricia makes her quilts. And I will never forget the generosity she showed in giving me this gift simply because she thought I could use cheering up. Walmart might have the best prices, but you won’t get the feeling that you get when you support an individual artist.

The members of the All Handmade By ME team are some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They truly love what they do and you can just tell how much care and dedication goes into every stitch. To see the work of some of my other teammates, tune in every Friday for a featured shop!

 

You can also visit our team on Facebook for a directory of our shops!
www.facebook.com/allhandmadebyme

What do you think of Patricia’s artwork? I’d love to hear your comments!