End of Season Sale!

Being the last day of February, I’m starting to prepare for spring and summer items in the shop.  But first I’ve gotta get rid of all this winter stuff!

40% Off - Hand Knit Fingerless Gloves - with or without White Pom Pom

Welcome to the End of Season sale, where all ready-to-ship items are 40% off! (Yes, it’s awesome, I know.) So, if you’ve been admiring anything in the shop, now is the time to pick it up before the sale ends.

40% Off - Chainmaille Earrings - Bronze Mobius Flower

I’ll also be featuring a different item in the sidebar everyday for the sale, so check out the shop to see if anything catches your eye!  Start stocking up on scarves for next year’s holiday gifts or get yourself a cool new pair of earrings just for the heck of it.

Go crazy at LittleNoteCrafts!

40% Off - Long Crochet Fashion Scarf - Open Lace Design in Ocean Blue

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!

Giveaway Winner!

I do believe I’m quite a few days late on this announcement, but I wanted to congratulate Ayla for winning the 50 Follower Giveaway!  Yay!

Ayla, please email me your mailing address (at littlenotecrafts@gmail.com) so I can get your jewelry set out to you as soon as possible.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!  I look forward to the next 50 followers 🙂

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 – 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!

Friday Feature – Melanie of My Creepy Critters

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 Melanie from My Creepy Critters on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.

I’m a tattooed girl that loves yarn, hockey, beer, and cats. When I’m not making things (and sometimes while I am) I’m either at Colorado Avalanche games or watching them on TV. I love living in Colorado. We have the most micro breweries per capita next to Germany. I enjoy drinking double IPA’s, wheat beers, pilsners and stouts. I also spend quite a bit of time hanging out with my kitties. I have two, 11 year old Meow Mix and 8 month old Scout. I make them toys to play with all the time.

I try to combine punk and hipster styles with everyday items. I really like bright colors and great patterns. I’m currently working on some new sweaters for the fall that combine everything I’m striving for.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I learned to crochet from my aunt when I was about 7-8 years old. I still have the first blanket I ever made. It’s horribly uneven and pale yellow. I learned how to sew around the same time from my ma and I taught myself how to knit using YouTube about 5 years ago. I think it’s safe to say I have a lot of experience.

It all started when I worked in a call center and read through all my books. I found a half crocheted blanket that I started for my Ma a couple years earlier. I finished that and decided to learn more about crochet. I started making stuffed animals.

My first critter was an Angry Bunny that showed my disdain for call center life. A coworker asked me what I was making and I said, “Oh, it’s just my creepy critter.” I told my mister about it and he said that was a great name.

Amigurumi Crochet Bunny, Angry Bunny

Amigurumi Crochet Bunny, Angry Bunny

What influences your work from your life or city?
I have an intrinsic drive to be different. I see cutesy stuff everywhere but it never really seems to represent who I am. I create things that I like that have pieces of me in them. I’d like to think that I’m not the only one looking for something completely different.

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
I usually make kitty toys. There’s nothing better for a dull day when I’m feeling uninspired than making a tiny stuffed lobster and seeing Scout carry it around and nap with it.

What is your best achievement?
I’d have to say my best achievement would be participating in the Drop Dead-Goregeous fashion show two years in a row. It’s a great charity fashion show that benefits the Turning Point youth center. www.turningpnt.org/

What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade to me is something that’s I’ve created. It’s a lot of planning and ideas long before it gets to my hands though.

Amigurumi Crochet Fox, Fantastic Hipster Fox Made To Order

Amigurumi Crochet Fox, Fantastic Hipster Fox

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I do offer custom items. I make quite a few of them. It’s something that I really enjoy. I’ve come to the realization that my talent is not just in coming up with great ideas, but in the ability to create tangible items from other people’s great ideas.

What plans do you have for the future of you business?
I’d like to grow and expand my business to not only be about stuffed animals but about clothes and pet toys as well.

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Patience is key. It takes a lot of hard work to create things and to put them out there. Advertising is hard and tiring work. It’s all worth it when people buy your items though. It’s important to stay positive and patient.

Many thanks to Melanie and be sure to check out the rest of her shop for more unique 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!

Friday Feature – Valerie of Valerie Tyler Designs and Miscellanea by Valerie Tyler

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 Valerie from Valerie Tyler Designs and Miscellanea by Valerie Tyler on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.
I sell in two stores on Etsy www.valerietyler.etsy.com which is my signature metalwork line. This line has my oxidized and textured sterling silver that I saw, forge, rivet, solder, etc…

www.valeriemiscellanea.etsy.com is my line in which I play with trends and current fashions. It incorporates more brass, vintage materials, and rough raw gemstones.

I run an entirely one woman business, and do everything myself from the jewelry creation, to the packing and shipping, accounting, marketing and branding. I do have a wonderful assistant at art shows though–my husband!

It’s hard to think of anything these days that’s not related to my business, as I’m reveling in this full time artist life. For fun though, I’ll sometimes join my husband at one of his autocross car races (I’ve even driven the car a few times myself), I hike in the national park, read, or tend to an herb garden.

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
It all came about rather naturally. I took one class in college on jewelry-making for a fun elective, then got busy with graduate school and work, but had a renewed interest around 2006-2007. I then did a lot of research, reading, and experimentation with techniques to hone my skills. Sometimes I find not having been “formally” trained in particular practices has helped me be more creative.

Post earrings, mixed metal flowers

Post earrings, mixed metal flowers

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
I love the combination of industrial style and natural influences you can find in greater Cleveland. There’s great architecture, beautiful parks, and art that abounds

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
I surf etsy! LOL. I also collect books on all sorts of cultural designs and art so I’ll go peruse them for shape and pattern ideas.

What is your best achievement?
I was really honored to be a part of the Cain Park Arts Festival this year. I also am thrilled that this year I grew my business enough that I took the leap to doing it full time.

What does handmade mean to you?
This one’s easy—made by your very own hands! In my case it means I’ve done some combination of drawing, cutting, polishing, soldering, riveting, sawing, bezel-setting, oxidizing, antiquing, hammering, wire-wrapping, and so on. Though I will say my favorite thing to do is hit metal with a hammer!

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I do have a line of custom initial jewelry in my Miscellanea shop that included monogrammed necklaces and rings.

Initial Necklace - Letter V

Initial Necklace

What plans do you have for the future of you business?
This year I’m expanding the collections available to boutiques and galleries throughout the country.
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Keep a healthy balance between the business and creative aspects. Be ready to work, and be sure you love it. To succeed you need to put in a lot (A LOT) of hours.

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

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