Friday Features – Penelope of UniqueP Crochet

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Penelope from UniqueP Crochet on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.   I love being silly for my little boys.  I also love to hunt fro the perfect gift for my beloveds and make unusual gift wraps for it.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?  I couldn’t imagine how creative crochet is (my aunt tried to teach me when I was a little girl, but was not successful). 3 years ago, a friend let me know about internet tutorials and the interesting designs on the net. Once I tried I was hooked and now I can’t stop.
Crocheted Shark slippers

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)  I’m most inspired by my family, and especially my boys.  That’s why I have so many boy’s projects in my shop.  As you can see, my shop is a little of this and a little of that because I get bored easily and I like to create something new every time. Most of my patterns are something I needed personally (a toy for my boys, a gift for a friend’s baby etc).

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?  Actually I do nothing because I can’t stop ideas popping out of my head.  Sometimes I go crazy because I have so many ideas but only two hands to accomplish them.
Funny Crocodile hat Eating your Head-Crochet pattern
What is your best achievement?  My best achievement…is everything I have made that has brought a smile to the face of the receiver of the gift.
What does handmade mean to you?  Creativity and diffusion of  tension. When I have to think or clear my mind I need to do something with my hands.
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?  I  love doing custom made items because it is a challenge for me. For now though I’m more concentrated on creating my patterns because I want to give others the chance to make precious, funny, or silly projects.
New Baby Gift Set crochet pattern-PDF-Permission to sell finished item
What plans do you have for the future of you business?  I hope people find my projects  interesting and give me a boost to continue coming up with unique patterns.
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?  My only advice is if you believe in your crafts go for it and sooner or later people are going to appreciate your work. Be patient!

Many thanks to Penelope and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Nicole of Eva M Designs

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Nicole from Eva M Designs on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop. 

I am the creator of Eva M Designs, a shop that features a little bit of everything. I’ve always loved crafting but didn’t get into the business end of it until I started making jewelry. Needing a way to fund this addiction, I started a shop on Etsy. Eva M Designs is named after my grandmother, Eva Manko, who passed on her crafty-gene to me. I think she also passed on an entrepreneurial spirit — I remember hearing stories of her and my grandfather running all sorts of ventures, from an ice cream shop to selling eggs to clothing alterations. Having recently decided to leave a career in teaching (and a decent salary) to manage a non-profit animal shelter in Olean, NY, I could use a little extra cash. I’d like to make Eva M Designs that “second job.”
As for an interesting fact about me — I am an adoptaholic. I started adopting dogs when I brought home Molly from a summer course I took in Mexico after my freshman year of college and have found homes (generally within my friends and family group) for 5 other dogs since. It’s practically an addiction. The great thing is, I will soon be paid to do it!

Colorful Glass Magnets - Pastels

Colorful Glass Magnets – Pastels

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I’ve always been crafty — I got into scrapbooking in high school, and I did a lot of sewing. For a few years I participated in Civil War reenactments (haha, yes, I’m a geek), so I sewed all my 1860s-era dresses myself. I also made a number of quilts and my prom dress. After I began college, my time was swallowed up with school and work, so it was just within the last few years I’ve gotten back into crafting. I started making jewelry in 2010 — first, for myself, and then as Christmas presents. I briefly ventured into Etsy at that point, but my time was again taken up with graduate school (M.Ed. in Middle and Secondary Ed) and I abandoned that first try. I got back on to Etsy late this fall, utilizing the little time I have after work (when I’m not planning, grading, calling parents, etc.) to create! Finding teaching not to my liking, crafting has been a way to cope with this stressful year. I’m looking forward to my move to Olean, finally getting into a career that I love, and I hope all that positive energy will flow back into my creative work!

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
When it comes to jewelry, I am always most confident about pieces that I myself straight up love. If I would love to wear it, I know someone else would, too. I love working with beach glass – it’s so unique and pretty – so I am in the process of creating some pieces that blend modern, professional jewelry styles (the type of stuff I’d wear as a young teacher) with the use of beach glass as opposed to beads. Right now I’m working on a double strand sterling silver necklace (one strand figaro chain, one basic cable) with beach glass sprinkled strategically throughout the chains. I recently sold a similar necklace that used teal, brown and ivory beads — I am shooting for the same look but with a unique touch! I’m definitely starting to feel I am figuring out my niche. 🙂

Bronze Copper Wire Wrapped Clear White Beach Glass Sea Glass Dangly Earrings

Wire Wrapped Clear White Beach Glass Sea Glass Dangly Earrings

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
Pinterest. Or browse through Etsy. I just love seeing what other people have created, and it always brings ideas to my mind. It’s also just inspiring to look through the listings and see people finding real success selling items similar to my own. It gives me hope that I can get my shop out there too!

What is your best achievement?
While I hope I don’t say this my entire life, the greatest thing I ever created was my senior thesis at Allegheny College. I worked my butt off for an entire year, researching Native American women in Puritan New England, digging through primary resources, creating a REAL and ORIGINAL argument, and writing over 100 pages of text. I even won an award for it from the History department. I really do consider it one of my greatest achievements and probably the thing I am most proud of.

What does handmade mean to you?
To me, handmade means it is not made thousands of miles away in some factory by a minimum wage paid worker on a long assembly line. It means it is uniquely designed and created by someone who sees their work as not just a paycheck but also art.

Mara: 1920s Inspired Opera Length Ivory and Bronze Necklace with Teal Swarovski Crystals

Mara: 1920s Inspired Opera Length Ivory and Bronze Necklace with Teal Swarovski Crystals

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I would definitely be interested in creating custom listings! I have made jewelry pieces for family, friends, and friends of friends, etc. who have seen my jewelry on others, and I would be happy to do the same through Etsy as well!

What plans do you have for the future of you business?
I just want to see my shop grow and who knows from there! I am trying to learn all I can about the business aspects, marketing, photography, social media, etc. and am excited where all this might lead.

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Try it. What do you have to lose?

Many thanks to Jill and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Jill Duke of Jillybeans Studio

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Jill from Jillybeans Studios on Etsy!

Tell me about your shop.
Hello! My name is Jill. I am a six year survivor of head and neck cancer. I had three fourths of my tongue removed. My speech is hindered and I live daily with chronic pain. I didn’t allow the “C” work to slow me down. I have taught myself to make jewelry, crochet, and paint. This has been my outlet and therapy for the physical chronic pain following cancer. And BONUS, I found love to do these things! When I’m not working on my Etsy crafts I also love a good cup of coffee and relaxing with a good book. I’m also a health nut. I love to run, work out, and eat a good clean diet. My husband and I have five children between us so our life is never boring!
By the Sea hand painted canvas 40X50
How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I started painting on canvas in 2005 to find some relief while undergoing chemo and radiation. While my family was sleeping and I couldn’t at 3 in the morning I would be found painting pictures of my children in my kitchen. I then learned I loved painting. Making jewelry and crocheting were something I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy but I tried both and loved them. Now, five years later I alternate my crafts so I don’t get bored with repetition of one craft.
Escape and Relax Starbucks inspired original 30X40 canvas
What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
Relaxation is the key to a happy life. I love to relax in a coffee shop or library setting. I apply the same to my crafts. When I am painting I recreate the coffee shop setting in my home. I am a neat person so I start with a clean home. I play music that inspires my work, open blinds and allow the light to flow through our home, light candles, and make a fresh cup of cappuccino.  If I enjoy the time I spend crafting I find the customer is more satisfied with the finished product.
Hot Pink Princess sign and Granny Square afghan
What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
I have a BIG imagination! I love to pin on Pinterest. It it the worlds biggest craft spot and one of my favorite things to do when I need some “me time” or down time from a hectic day. Having five children is also an excellent source of entertainment and ideas to paint and craft. They ask me to make things for them and their little ideas inspire me to paint and crochet.
Sock monkey canvas and 3X3 afghan gift set
What does handmade mean to you?
My best achievement was learning how to use therapy and my ability to create new things. I found I could no longer work in the real world after living with chronic pain. It is exciting making things and achieving new goals. If it weren’t for my ability to make handmade things I am not sure I would know how to overcome pain or find my purpose. Making handmade items has helped me to come to a good place in my life.
Blue and Green Boys Granny Square afghan
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I do offer custom made items. I offer this is a variety of my work. I can add a name or initials to any hand painted sign or canvas. I have painted many paintings to match children’s bedroom schemes. Some special orders have been made by painting by customer request his or her photo on canvas. I can recreate any afghan in the customer’s color requests. I love to make customer made orders! It’s a new opportunity to expand my creativity at the customer’s request.
What plans do you have for the future of you business?
I have found consistency brings the most from business. Most of my customers have been through word of mouth and friends at church or our community. My Etsy business is still a new baby business. By being consistent, creating the best quality work I can make, and by the help of bloggers like you I believe my store will grow in time.
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Making something you love and selling is great therapy. I’ve found setting goals is the greatest way to feel great about your accomplishments. Make sure your having fun while creating. If you enjoy what you do you will make better quality items. Your customers will also enjoy taking advantage of your beautiful quality work. Good luck creating.

Many thanks to Jill and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Ei Crafter of Colorful Compositions

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Ei from Colorful Compositions on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop. 

My shop aims to bring color into the lives of others. I make and design many customizable and functional items. However, despite the many colors I work with, my favorite color will always be yellow! I have a new obsession with watching movies: they let me live lifetimes within a few hours.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?My shop just started a few days ago. I have always loved crafts and would design small things for myself. Suddenly, I realized that I could bring the items I make to others. Thus, I have little selling experience, but have been doing crafts for many years.

Custom Hanging Hot Air Balloon Tea Light Holder

Custom Hanging Hot Air Balloon Tea Light Holder

 

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)

I create my work to stand out. Since I live in the city, sometimes my surroundings just aren’t colorful enough. Ideas come up on how I can brighten up life, and then I get to work.

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?

I look at nature. I think about how I can bring it inside and convert it into useful objects.

What is your best achievement?

I would say its my first ceramics piece. It was a mushroom cookie jar.

Custom Lidded Mushroom Jar

Custom Lidded Mushroom Jar

What does handmade mean to you?

Handmade means something that is made with the heart. Every handmade piece is slightly different, because people aren’t machines. It means that one took care and time into actually creating something with his or her own energy.

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?

I do offer custom made items. Since my shop is new, I haven’t had any requests. However, I think I will like doing it, because I love trying new things.

What plans do you have for the future of you business?

First, since my shop is new, I plan to make some sales and get into the market. Then, I plan to start a blog for my shop and try to help others.

Custom "Overflowing" Bowl

Custom “Overflowing” Bowl

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items? 

I am new and needing in advice myself, but I would say so far that I have learned that it never hurts to try new things. Post a product and see how people like it.

Many thanks to Ei and be sure to check out the rest of the shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Kris of Boho Groove Designs

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Kris from Boho Groove Designs on Etsy!


Tell me about yourself and your shop.

I started making jewelry on a whim because I wanted hippie bohemian jewelry to wear but didn’t have the money to buy the pieces I liked. I got some tools, some beads and never looked back! I’ve been in business since July, 2012.

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
When I need inspiration a look through my bohemian pin board on Pinterest. I’m often inspired by color combinations and different textures.

What is your best achievement?

My greatest achievement is how well my shop has done since I started about 6 months ago. I’ve had over 100 orders (Etsy and private orders) which far exceeded my initial expectations and goals.

Turquoise Boho Bracelet - Bohemian Jewelry

Turquoise Boho Bracelet

What does handmade mean to you?

To me, handmade means something that has been designed and created by hand.

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?

I do offer custom orders and have actually had quite a few. I enjoy the challenge as well as working in collaboration with the buyer to make exactly what they have envisioned.

What plans do you have for the future of you business?

This year I have started a team for makers of bohemian, gypsy and hippie jewelry on Etsy called “The Hippie Bohemian”. I have a goal of 15 orders a month on Etsy and then additional private sales.

Colorful Bohemian Chandelier Earrings - Bohemian Hippie Jewelry

Colorful Bohemian Chandelier Earrings

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?

The best thing I ever did was hook up with Etsy. It makes promoting and marketing your handcrafted items easy and helps you streamline the process. If you don’t know anything about selling something, Etsy has groups, teams, articles and other various tools to make you as successful as you dream to be. It’s a great community to share your craft and meet other people doing the same thing you are doing.

Many thanks to Kris and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Cassandra of Lyn and Lee

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Cassandra from Lyn and Lee on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.

Hi! My name is Cassandra and I am a small town girl living in a big city. I have a fondness for mercury glass, snickerdoodles, football, animals, good movies and books and love having a great time with family and friends. I create one of a kind jewelry, great for any occasion using semi-precious stones, jewelry that works with jeans during the day and a little black dress at night. I strive to make jewelry that makes everyone feel like that inner goddess that we have in all of us.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I have always love jewelry and have always been creative; it made sense that two would go hand in hand with me and turn into what I loved to do. Lyn & Lee (which are the middle names of me and my sister) officially came into fruition in 2012. I had been creating jewelry for year and a half prior, giving gifts to family and friends for every holiday and birthday until they finally said “Enough is enough! You need to start selling these.” And so the ride begun.

Teal & Peacock Freshwater Pearl Woven Boho Beaded Hoop Earrings

Teal & Peacock Freshwater Pearl Woven Boho Beaded Hoop Earrings

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
So many things influence me, new stones that I just got in, a book I am reading, a color I am currently in love with, etc. The list goes on and on

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
Sometimes I just open everything, just grab and see what comes out of it.

What is your best achievement?
My first sale to someone other then friends or family. I reaffirmed that the road I was heading down was the right one.

Faceted Brecciated Jasper and Calcite Stretch Bracelet

Faceted Brecciated Jasper and Calcite Stretch Bracelet

What does handmade mean to you?
To me handmade means the thought and emotion that is put into a piece.

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
At this time I don’t offer custom items, my pieces are one of a kind, so in a way they are custom.

What plans do you have for the future of you business?
My plans are to keep trucking on and I am looking toward the time where Lyn & Lee is my only full time job.

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
If it is something that you really love, it isn’t always the smoothest journey but then again the things that are worth it never are. And trust me it can be worth it.

Black Obsidian, Cream Quartzite and Purple Fluorite Woven Necklace

Black Obsidian, Cream Quartzite and Purple Fluorite Woven Necklace

Many thanks to Cassandra and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Karis and Dea of Kay Dea Crafts

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Karis from Kay Dea Crafts on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.
KayDea Crafts is run by myself and my twin sister. Our main area of selling is our crocheted toys, which we make our own patterns for. But since we love making things (especially cute things ;] ) there ends up being a wide variety of items in our shop. We also to consignments for local artists from Oregon : )
I’m Karis, the Kay part of KayDea Crafts, and I’m going to school for American Sign Language and Japanese. I also lovelovelove pokemon and am working on some toy patterns for them right now. And some screen printed shirts, too!
Dea is going to school for early childhood education and enjoys long hours of netflix, pokemon video games, and trying to master her beast of a sewing machine, Betsy.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
Crocheting started with senior year writing class. Where it was taken up to fend off encroaching madness and boredom. Crocheting, or just making things, lead into other crafts simply because we’re stubborn and frugal and would rather make it ourselves than pay for it.
Dea has been crocheting for over four years and I have been at it for almost four. But time (when mixed with crafting) just kind of melds together after awhile. When we first started creating it just let loose like a flood gate and it’s literally been the only thing we’ve been doing for the past 4/5 years.

Stuffed Toy Horse, White Pony Doll, Amigurumi Plush, Rainbow Haired Horse, Kawaii Animal Toy, Childrens Nursery Pony/Phoebe the Pony

Stuffed Toy Horse

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
We’re from Portland Oregon and that has a huge impact on the designs of our products and even how we run/interact with our business. All of our products are at least 80% upcycled/recycled from unwanted materials. We believe in the triple bottom line theory instead of just the bottom line.
Besides that we just love cute things.

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
I usually doodle, the best ideas come when you’re just playing around and not forcing it.
Another great source of inspiration is other people. Sometimes you’re too close to your work to be able to see the other possibilities. Interacting with customers at craft bazaars really helps exposure and creative flow.

What is your best achievement?
We’re both still only 20 so we have a lot of time to make/have a “greatest achievement” But as for right now KayDea Crafts is our achievement. We’ve made it to the point where we have people who are fans of our work and have a list of custom orders. The fact that people see our work and appreciate it is a pretty big achievement.

Red Stuffed Penguin, Stuffed Zoo Animal, Plush Penguin, Kids Toy, Plush Doll, Crocheted Animal,  Stuffed Animal - Patrick the Penguin

Red Stuffed Penguin

What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade is yes, being made by a person instead of a machine, but it also means quality. I think it must be from the fact that we make toys but don’t you hate it when you buy something an then in breaks in a few weeks? Days? A truly handmade item is something that is made to last and from the creators vision.
Again, brought on by our frugality, if you spend the money you want it to last. Especially when it comes to kids and their toys, you want them to appreciate them. So we make certain that our toys are cute, have convenient care, and hopefully they’ll be a forever toy.

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
You bet your buttons we do! I mentioned earlier that customers interactive gives great insight for more creative ideas. We’ve done a bunch of custom orders and love doing them, the ideas are great! And it’s special to have something be made just for you 🙂

Brown Monkey Stuffed Animal, Girl Monkey Stuffed Toy, Crocheted Zoo Animal,Soft Monkey Toy, Girls Toy with Accessory - Bianca the Monkey

Brown Monkey Stuffed Animal

What plans do you have for the future of you business?
Make more toys! We usually to pretty well during holiday bazaar season so we need to start creating inventory again. Other than that just to keep doing what we’re doing. We love nerdy things, cute things and making them! It’s good energy that keeps you alive

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Find a niche. Nerdiness reigns supreme on the internet so you want to be able to fine tune your target market. Also learning how the internet works, networking/SEO, are very important tools that will help with your success.

Many thanks to Karis and Dea and be sure to check out the rest of their shop for more adorable things!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Anusha of Prasad Designs

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Anusha fromPrasad Designs on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.

Hi! My name is Anusha and I am a college student from MA. My friend told me about Etsy and after learning more about it, I opened my store. I opened my store, PrasadDesigns (www.etsy.com/shop/PrasadDesigns), at the end of June. I focus on jewelry, everything ranging from necklaces to sea glass pendants. Besides making jewelry, I love reading. I also enjoy traveling, especially to India, which I’ve been to about 9 times.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?

I started making jewelry ever since I was a little girl. I used to make jewelry for fun and only for myself but I have now decided to turn this hobby into a business and share my jewelry with everyone else. I have also taken a couple jewelry classes to learn more techniques and to enhance my skills. Making jewelry and being creative is a passion of mine.

Bright Neon Chunky Emerald Green Stretch Bracelet with Ring

Bright Neon Chunky Emerald Green Stretch Bracelet with Ring

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)?
Making jewelry is a passion for me. I look through pictures online or when I notice someone on the street wearing something unique, it inspires me to make something just as unique as the piece I just saw. Other times, it just comes to me naturally. I could be doing homework and cooking, and a random thought will come into my mind. My jewelry is influenced by everything around me.

What is your best achievement?

My greatest achievement would be my acceptance to my current college. I worked really hard in high school and managed to pull off excellent grades and excellent SAT scores. Because of this, I was able to attend my top school.

What does handmade mean to you?

For me, handmade means being able to be creative and make something beautiful with my own two hands. It makes me feel good when I finish a piece and I can look at it and say to myself “I made that”! I am proud to sell handmade jewelry in my store.

Gifts For Her: Valentine's Day Neon Garnet Red Raspberry Egg Bird Nest Necklace Pendant

Valentine’s Day Neon Garnet Red Raspberry Egg Bird Nest Necklace Pendant

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?

Right now, I do not but I am definitely considering doing this. My business just started but I hope to soon start offering custom orders.

What plans do you have for the future of your business?

I would like my sales to really soar and be more successful this year. I’ve been making jewelry for a while now and I would like to see people share my enjoyment by purchasing items from my shop. In addition, I plan to expand by making more items to stock my store and offer more variety of jewelry. I also want to promote my store as often as I can.

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?

Don’t give up and pursue your passion. It is very easy for us to give up but hard work and determination will come a long way.

Aqua Blue Sea Glass Wire Wrapped Dangle Earrings - Silver Wire

Aqua Blue Sea Glass Wire Wrapped Dangle Earrings – Silver Wire

Many thanks to Anusha and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Laura of Laurie Breaker

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Laura from Laurie Breaker on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.
Hi! I’m Laura, I’m a graphic designer, (recently ex-) adjunct professor, homeowner, music lover, and owner of cockatiels and a puppy. I work in healthcare, love my neighborhood, and am pretty obsessed with my new puppy, Remi, who I adopted through a pitbull rescue in NY state. I’m a huge fan of music, especially in the of punk / folk / post-hardcore / emo / indie / ska spectrum, and have travelled to Gainesville, FL the past three years to attend The Fest. I’ve been swing dancing since college (sometimes more and sometimes less), particularly Lindy Hop, Blues, Balboa, and Charleston. I used to live in Philly, and that city holds a huge piece of me.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I love snail mail. Sending, receiving, you name it. Because of this at some point I had decided to make myself a stamp to use on whatever I’d be sending out. At the time, I wanted it to match my personal brand, so I used typefaces and dots that related to my resume. This stamp turned in to the ‘homestead’, which is actually the newest one I’ve been offering on my shop. I attended a bridal shower for a friend over the summer, and of course used my stamp on the card I gave to the bride there. She made kind-of a big deal about it when she was opening her cards and gifts, so nonchalantly I told her I’d make her one for her wedding.

I ended up making two for her, as I was on the fence on whether to make a more practical or more striking stamp. I had a page of probably 20+ sketches for these, as I wanted the wedding gift to be perfect, and the two I went with have become the ‘Olson’ and the ‘Nelson’ stamps, tipping my hat to the Bride’s current surname as well as her maiden name. She used the stamps I gave the couple on their ‘thank you’ notes from the wedding, and let me know that she had been getting compliments on them. At this point I decided I’d try listing one of these on my etsy shop. That was the ‘Olson’, and I got such an overwhelming response to this stamp that I soon after added the Nelson, and then later on the Homestead. I’m working on some new designs as well to be added in the future.
I’ve been a design professional since 2007, and been obsessed with letterforms for some time before that even. There is a lot of beauty in letterforms, and I love spreading it one stamp impression at a time.

Merry Christmas Rubber Hand Stamp

Merry Christmas Rubber Hand Stamp

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
I have a personal library of books that I imagine I’ll be building for the rest of my life. Looking at typography from the present and the past and how that might be combined is always an adventure. I especially love the work of ESPO (Steve Powers), when I was living in Philadelphia, he was working on a 50-mural series, all typographic, called “A Love Letter For You”. The series is a collection of cute/quirky phrases you might expect scrawled on a whiteboard or napkin to your boo, but serve as a love letter to the neighborhood, from the neighborhood as well–they’re on rooftops and sides of buildings, best visible riding the El (MFL) in West Philly. And of coure, the lettering is gorgeous.

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
An easy fall back is spend a bit of time on pinterest–I’m fascinated at how some folks have an amazing knack at the ‘curation’ of collections of things. If that’s no good, taking a break to go for a walk with my puppy helps out too.
I was fortunate to find myself at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest III this past June in Cleveland, which was chock full of inspiring talks, great music, and an amazing gallery. One of the talks there was titled “Side Hustle” referring to the work that you’re doing beyond your day job, and I’ve first jokingly but now affectionately been referring to my etsy shop as my side hustle.

Plaid Letterpress Holiday Cards

Plaid Letterpress Holiday Cards

What is your best achievement?
I was pretty stoked to win a “Best of Show” at the NY State of Design last winter with a self-promotional package I created. ( cargocollective.com/lauriebreaker/Coffee-for-Time-Trade)

What does handmade mean to you?
Creating something that had anyone else attempted, would not have the same soul.

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
Custom is my bread and butter! Almost the entirety of my sales have been for custom items, just as per the nature of the address stamps.

Self-Inking Custom Return Address Stamp - The Nelson

Self-Inking Custom Return Address Stamp

What plans do you have for the future of you business?
I’d love to continue adding unique design options for stamps moving forward for starters. I’m also seriously considering moving toward all aspects of stationary — invitations and reply cards and the typical wedding or party paraphernalia. Letterpress options may also be available in the future too.

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Just go for it! And listen to what others are saying to you–the thing you make or do that your friends are complimenting you on might be your big break of an item. Keep an ear to the ground.

Many thanks to Laura and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Friday Features – Stephanie of Eileen Avenue

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Stephanie from Eileen Avenue on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.
Hello! My name is Stef and I am a seamstress, recently transported to Akron, Ohio. I opened my Etsy store, Eileen Avenue, this past November, (www.etsy.com/shop/EileenAvenue) after many sleepless nights, a dream, a wish, and a lot of luck. My shop was originally supposed to be dedicated to ooak art dolls. But as things progressed, I decided to go a different direction and focus mainly on children’s clothing and cloth dolls.

Besides crafting, I love books. Not just reading books, but having them around me. One of my favorite places on earth is the library. Downtown Akron has a great library and Kent comes in a close second. But I have always loved libraries in general. There’s something about the potential of a great book that I just love.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I started sewing when I was a just a wee pup. My mom taught me how to cross-stitch before I knew how to tie my shoes, which led me sewing by hand. I used to make myself clothing while I was in high school. About ten years ago, a friend taught me how to use a sewing machine and it’s been an all-consuming love affair ever since. I feel like I’ve been sewing my whole life, really.

Fairy Angel

Fairy Angel

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
Honestly, I find inspiration in the strangest places. Last week I found it looking though some pictures on facebook of a childhood friend. Yesterday I found it while watching the first season of Pushing Daisies. On Monday, I found several quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt that made me want to get up and just work all night long. Sometimes it’s a Social Distortion song. Sometimes it’s while I’m twisting into a strange yoga position. Sometimes it’s watching my cat get chased by her own shadow. Sometimes it just doesn’t come at all.

What is your best achievement?
I graduated from a (not so great) two-year college (which will remain nameless to protect the not-so-innocent) a few years ago with an associate in paralegal studies. I worked really hard and managed to finish the 24 month course in 16 months and with a 4.0 GPA. Any time that I start to get a little down on myself or wonder if I can actually make a career out of sewing, I just remind myself of what I can accomplish when I set my mind to something.

What does handmade mean to you?
For me, handmade is a natural extension of a path I started several years ago when I made the decision to live a more sustainable life. I feel good supporting local farmer’s markets and eating from local sources whenever possible. Supporting those who are making handmade items or repurposing old items feels like the next part of that journey. I am so proud to lend my hands to that marketplace now as well.

The Keith Coat in gray size 3T

The Keith Coat in gray size 3T

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
Yes, I do make custom items upon request. I had originally decided not to do so, but after getting a request from a family member, I actually really enjoyed it. So, I changed my policy to include the offer of custom orders.

What plans do you have for the future of your business?
The next things I would like to add to Eileen Avenue are a few handmade sweaters for children. I’ve been a knit-wit for several years now and I’d like to be able to add that to my shop. In addition, I plan to expand the cloth dolls to include a range of sizes for children to play with.

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
In addition to reading and finding out as much information as possible, make sure that the rest of your life is not neglected. It is very easy for us to get caught up in what we’re working on and forget that we need time for ourselves, too. If you do yoga, keep doing yoga. If you like to cook, make one meal every day. If you’re a crazy run-for-funner, run your little heart out. If reading is your thing, set aside an hour out of the day to indulge in a great classic. The point is, make time for the things in your life that make you creative, not just the work. You will be so glad you did.

Stephanie has been generous enough to offer a special 25% off discount for all of you just for reading my blog!  Simply use the coupon code AMANDA at checkout to claim your discount.

Many thanks to Stephanie and be sure to check out the rest of her shop for more great finds!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!