Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Etsy Seller Spotlight...Bridget Farmer of Bridbird

I recently came across the amazingly talented Bridget Farmer while browsing through Etsy. Bridget was kind enough to answer a few questions that I could share with my readers. The following are excerpts from our correspondence.

Tell us a little about yourself.
"I am originally from Northern Ireland, I grew up in Belfast. I have always made things and always loved drawing. I did a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Edinburgh Collage of Art in Scotland but realised that wasn't the subject for me. I do have a lot of jeweller friends though which is a bonus! Instead I stuck with my drawing and continued working in that medium. It wasn't until 2006 when I came to Australia to travel and visit friends that I discovered printmaking. I did a weekend course in drypoint printing into perspex and that opened up my new world to me! I found printmaking was a wonderful way to take my drawings further and now I have my own printing press at home! You see, I have two Etsy shops. One for my serious printmaking www.bridgetfarmerprints.etsy.com and one for my gocco screenprints and felt brooches and artist books www.bridbird.etsy.com. I also sell my etchings in galleries in and around Melbourne. And I sell my screenprints and brooches in shops in Melbourne and at markets."

When did you start printmaking?

"I started gocco screenprinting early 2008. I discovered it through Etsy and decided to buy one. Really I'm still experimenting with it, it's difficult to fit everything in the week. Some weeks I concentrate on gocco, other weeks my etchings or felt brooches or artist books. Sometimes I wish I only concentrated on one thing, but I don't think I could work like that! I also did a masters in printmaking at RMIT in Melbourne (but this was more to get a visa and stay in the country because I had met my partner who is Australian!)"

How long have you been making your bird brooches?
"I've been making my 100% natural wool felt hand stitched bird brooches (bit of a mouthful!) for about a year now. I honestly can't remember how I started making them, I think it was just down to playing about with materials. I think it's very important to play and I probably don't do enough of it. I have a website just for them www.featherstitchfantail.blogspot.com . You can see their progression and how they have changed over the year!"

Why birds?
"Now, why birds? ummmmm, I'm just not sure. I've always loved birds, they're just such a pleasing little compact shape. I've tried doing other animals in my bird brooches, but they just weren't as successful. It feels comforting every time I start cutting out the bird shape in the felt, it just feels natural to me.
Now, the birds in my etchings are mainly due to my experience of Australia. I always notice birds where ever i go. At home I can name most birds, but when i came to Australia it was such a shock to me how different they all were and how different it all sounded. I became even more obsessed and had to find out what all the birds were. My bird etchings are sort of like my explorations and discoveries of Australian wildlife."

What is your favorite piece?
"My favourite piece. thats difficult! I have favourite brooches every now and then. Possibly the felt brooch I have at the top of my blog page is one of my favourites. I also like my new gocco prints of my felt brooches, http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=21449154 . I want to make more of these, but haven't had the time yet. With my etchings I think I'm favouring the print that is featured as my home page on my www.bridgetfarmer.com website. It is two Australian crows. I'm still in the process of finishing my website. My computer I was working on just died last week, so I haven't had the chance to finish it off. It's mostly done though!"

Tell us about your success on Etsy.
"Well, I guess I started not really knowing what I was doing, but I knew I had to start in order to sort it out. There was only so much planning that could be done and then the rest had to be learnt by doing! After about 5 months I decided to split my work into two shops to keep my etching separate. This was about the time I was beginning to get picked up by galleries. I was starting a years scolarship at the Australian Print Workshop in Melbourne. I think it took me a good 6 months before I felt settled into Etsy and had regular sales. It's quieted off a lot since the new year, but I'll keep going! I enjoy working from home, we recently moved into such a lovely house that it's a pleasure to be at home.

Next September my boyfriend and I are planning to move back to Belfast for a year or so. I intend to keep working like this, there is a printworkshop there too ( I can't bring my press over, it's so heavy!) which I'm really excited about. It'll be good to have a change, see what new work happens!"

Here are Bridget's websites and blog addresses...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Back from Vacation

I'm back from my vacation and working in my office. Thought you might enjoy seeing some of my Etsy favorites for the office.

1. Moss Terrarium No. 93 by madebymavis
2. Bookshelf with Books and Vases by LanaKole
3. Orange Leaf Glass Pebble Magnets by ksickles
4. Hoop.dee.do Bulletin Board by LittlePrettyStudio
5. Kitty Wall Clock by Kuzniart
6. Paisley Treasure Box by SisterButterfly

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Great Old Friend

How cool is this? I was searching the web for a picture of the sewing machine my grandmother taught me on, and lo and behold I found it.

Isn't this a great machine? I just love all the gold scroll work on the base. It brings back memories of playing in the little bedroom on the second floor of her house. All Grandma's bedrooms had a name...the sewing room, the blue room, the gold room and Grandpa's room. The sewing room was the smallest of the bedrooms and the machine sat on a great old wooden sewing table in the corner. It had a single twin bed and a dresser. One of the dresser drawers was the button drawer. There were hundreds of buttons in that drawer. Oh, what I would give to have them now. My sister and cousin and I would play with them for hours. What a great memory. I miss Grandma!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm Featured in a Blog

Just a quick thank you to TipTopsDesigns for the blog about my shop. I really appreciate it!
You should check out her Etsy shop. Really cute items!

Treasury...Whispering Trees

Thanks to BlushingMermaid.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Top 10 Things That Kill My Sewing Bliss

I thought it might be therapeutic to write down the things that ruin my sewing experience. Well, actually, they don't ruin the experience, but they make it less fun for sure.

10. When my rotary blade gets a burr and skips during a cut.
9. Having to rip a seam out...any seam, for any reason.
8. When the fusible side of the interfacing is face up when it should be face down and it sticks to my iron.
7. Running out of bobbin thread in the middle of a row of stitching.
6. Not having the color thread I need. I have a whole drawer full of thread, so it really shouldn't happen. Ugh!
5. Breaking a needle in my machine.
4. When I can't find my scissors...and I have about 12 pair.
3. That hole in the edge of my cutting mat that they put there so you can hang it. Really? I mean, who hangs their cutting mat. I'm always trying to rotary cut and run over that hole. That HOLE!
2. When the fusible side of the interfacing is face up when it should be face down and it sticks to my iron. Okay, I know it was #8, but it really upsets me.
1. Waiting for the iron to heat up. I mean. I like the automatic shut off because I tend to forget, but come on...every time I leave it alone for 5 minutes??? Really???

Okay, I feel so much better. It's good to vent. Ha!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Collage...Got the Beach on the Brain

I'm going on vacation tomorrow and thought I'd pick some beachy items for your viewing pleasure!

1. Sand Dollar Tote in Corn Flower Blue by willywaw
2. Long Tails on Beach by tbangs
3. Seaside Vacation bracelet by BethanyRoseDesigns
4. Seaside Cottage by SignsbyDiane
5. Anchors Away Nautical Buoy Earrings by ShySiren
6. Beach Glass Necklace by surfandsand

Friday, March 20, 2009

Collage...On Vacation-Going to the Beach

1. Balmy Bahamas by lauratrevey
2. A Gift From the Sea by Alisapaints
3. Summer Day by Studio155
4. White Sands by HammelmanArt
5. Beachside, Too by CarolSchiffStudio

Thursday, March 19, 2009

21 Reasons to Support Independently Made Products and Say NO to Mass Market

I ran across this list tonight during my regular blog search and thought it was worth sharing.

21 reasons to support independently made products and say NO to mass market...

1) Buying from independent, small scale producers is better for people.
The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. We are encouraged to be consumers, not producers, of our own culture. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost. Making yourself or purchasing from a small scale independent artist, crafter, or shop helps us reconnect.

2) Making yourself or buying from independent, small scale producers is better for the environment.
The accumulating environmental effects of mass production are a major cause of global warming and the poisoning of our air, water and soil. Every item you make yourself or purchase from a small-scale independent artist or crafter strikes a small blow to the forces of mass production.

3) Making yourself or buying from independent, small scale producers makes for better gift-giving.
The giver of a handmade gift avoids the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, she or he feels the satisfaction of supporting an independent artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is limited edition or one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that can be seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.

4) Many small scale producers use recycled materials.
There is too much stuff in this world already. Lets re-use some of what we have.

5) When you purchase from an independent small scale producer, you are generally purchasing from someone who enjoys what they do and takes pride in what they make.
Such a product holds positive energy that spreads and touches all who come in contact with it.

6) Rejecting chain store culture in favor of a more personal product produced in a limited quantity is a thoughtful, conscious decision and connects you in a very real way to another human being...your purchase affects real lives, not a faceless, deep pocketed corporation .

7) Products made by small scale producers are more than just a product.
There is love, thought, creativity, passion and uniqueness.

8) Independently made products are more fashion forward, fresher and more original.
Many times they are conceived of and made the same day...not pre-ordered 6 months ago from an overseas factory based on projections.

9) You can be the first one of all your friends to discover a great designer.

10) If you make or give an indie product as a gift, you are telling the recipient that you cared enough about them to buy or create something as individual as they are.

11) When you purchase an indie made product you are contributing to an insurance policy that helps to keep creativity alive, enabling more unique and different items to become available over time.

12) Because buying from a small scale, indepedent producer does not require fighting for a parking space, having your ears pierced by blaring holiday music, walking around in a daze under flourescent lights, fighting to push a shopping cart with one bad wheel, or having a cashier you don't know ask for your phone number and zip code.

13) Because buying indie items or making your own are what your Grandma used to buy or make.

14) There is a personal connection between you, the product, and the product's creator. There is someone you can email and say "Thank You, I love your product!" and actually get a response back, which spreads warm and fuzzy good karma around for everyone.

15) Supporting indie producers is absolutely vital in this current economy.
We need to support local, small businesses and artisans over the big corporations.

16) Someone put their time, attention, and love into it.
It wasn't mass-produced in some factory where several people attached one item to create the whole over and over and over again.

17) Quirkier.
Big companies won't commit machines and factories to make quirkier, odder things at the risk of not selling 1000's or millions of mass produced units. But that is exactly what is best about limited edition stuff... Odd ideas, colors, and combinations that may not be commercial but are definitely fun.

18) Buying indie/small scale shows our children that not everything in this world needs to be mass produced.
It teaches them to love and appreciate the unique and the imperfect. And it inspires them to do their own creating as well.

19) By communicating directly with the producer you may be able to customize your item!
If Target only sells that scarf in blue and green, you can't ask to have it in black and white.

20) When you buy indie/small scale, you are usually buying directly from the producer.
You aren't lining the pockets of some faceless corporation or paying for fancy advertising and PR. You are taking part in a process of revising our economic model to one that rewards hard work, talent, creativity, initiative and personal responsibility.

21) Because there isn't anyone else in between the producer and the customer, deciding which ideas should and should not be produced.
Whether an idea is bad or good, the customer and the producer get to make that decision themselves.

Tips From a Pro-Etsy Bag Team

Just thought I would share an article that was posted on Etsymarketing.org about our Carried Away Bag Makers team. Enjoy!

"Tips From A Pro - Etsy Bag Team
Posted by EtsyMarketing.org in Site Features, Social Networking Tips on 03 19th, 2009 | no responses

Tips From A Pro - Etsy Bag Team (Post #2)

EtsyMarketing.org was excited to speak with Krystal from the Etsy Team “Carried Away” regarding Etsy Street Teams, group successes, and the potential pitfalls of being involved with an Etsy Team.

In our first Carried Away post, Team Leader Krystal told us about the Team. Now, Krystal and other Team members tell us what works for their Team.

What does good Etsy Team need to do?

First, Krystal outlined her personal views for what goes into making a great Team:

#1: The Team Leader will make or break the team. “The person that leads your team sets the tone for the entire group, just as in any social structure,” Krystal said. “It has been my experience that most large groups need a strong personality to keep the group on course, especially as they grow. I’ve been involved with online gaming guilds and real-world volunteer organizations and have seen both strong and weak leaders, so I am trying to be what I consider a “strong” leader. This does not mean “dictator”, but more a guiding entity who is always looking out for the “big picture” of the group’s mission. It needs to be someone who listens a lot and is diplomatic, yet still has the force of personality to stop a circular discussion and make a fair ruling that as much as possible benefits everyone and keeps to the group’s goals.”

#2: Active Members at every level. “Along those lines, any large group is only as strong as it’s members,” Krystal explains. “People need ways to be actively involved in the group and they have to feel as if what they have to contribute (large or small) is valuable to the group or team. It is important for the Team Leader to make sure promotions, discussions and duties are as inclusive for those who have a lot of time to give to the Etsy Team as well as for those who may have only a limited amount of time.”

#3: Acknowledge Contributions. “It is also vital that a Team Leader welcome and acknowledge all levels of contributions and try to reward those who do contribute in whatever way they can in accordance with how much they give. Like all volunteer organizations, you get out of a team membership what you put into the success of the Team,” Krystal tells us. “A good leader knows that not everyone will pull at 100% a 100% of the time and you have to work with what you have at that second and adapt to changes in participation levels.”

#4: Tell Members up front what standard of conduct the Etsy Team expects from them. “Every successful Etsy Team is an environment where people feel respected, valued and welcome,” Krystal said. “It’s easier to be a lot meaner behind a keyboard than it is in person or to misinterpret someone’s comments, so our rules try to address setting a tone for how the team treats it’s members. These rules are clearly posted in our forums, where any Team member can read them. I feel that this prevents a great deal of trouble before it even starts.”

Here is the take-away from Krystal’s thoughts:

When working within an Etsy Team, do what you say you will do and do it when you said you would do it.
If a seller decides to bow out, Krystal suggests to do so politely and promptly notify the affected parties.
In the Carried Away Etsy Team, any comments made while a part of this team in any public place, including the Team’s private ning.com group, must always be polite and professional as if Team members were speaking on behalf of their employer. Sniping or personal attacks will get you banned, permanently.
Next, we heard from the Carried Away Team members about what works within their Team:

Carried Away Team member April, of Etsy’s April’s Originals, says, “Teams are a great place for business and social growth. For me personally, I have a number of things Teams are great for.”

April shared with us a list of benefits to being on a Team:

Etsy Teams should promote one another in various ways, encourage one another.
Etsy Teams are a great place to bounce ideas around and get input.
Etsy Teams are a wonderful place to socialize about your business, sometimes our loved ones at home are a little tired of hearing us gab about Etsy and business all the time. This is a great place to get that out and give your family a break!
Etsy Teams are a great place to make friends all over the world and/or right around the corner.
Carried Away’s GlintGear also weighed in. “This is wonderful! I love all of April’s suggestions! I know I haven’t been as active on the ning [our private team chatter] site as others, but for me being new to Etsy, I LOVE the non-pressure style that Krystal has set up. It gives those of us room to get supported and take it at our own pace. I’m in another local Etsy team, and they are all about street fairs and are hitting it pretty heavy. I haven’t been able to get it together to do much and am wondering when I’ll get an email from them to step up or step out! And they don’t really give much energy for tips to promote on-line sales. So I think this team’s structure is great for Etsy sellers at all levels to take it at their own pace.”

Etsy’s Uniquely Nancy added, “All chances to promote are good. I am not real active here [our Team ning.com group] either.. My computer skills are just not up to the rest of you younger girls. I’m glad you are able to do so much for this team. I think this idea should be picked up and run with it.”

Wendy, from Etsy shop BagsAndBuds, told us, “First and foremost, a Team should be supportive of every member, no matter how involved they are. You never know when something will happen that will entice a less involved member to be more involved. Be it a forum posting, a “how to”, a new photo, or just more time in their own busy schedules. Many of us have other full-time/part-time jobs that don’t allow us the time to participate in everything.”

“Second,” Wendy said, “forums and blogs should be updated regularly. I’m not likely to revisit a blog that doesn’t have new postings on a regular basis. Every day I get on our blog and Ning page, I see something new. Everyone should be encouraged to submit ideas, photos, articles, etc. The contests/giveaways and other online activities should be easy enough for any level of computer skill. And for those who are less experienced, Etsy Teams should encourage their members to assist. Maybe even to have designated “help” members.”

“Also, new members should be actively recruited by all on the Team,” Wendy told us. “I like to send Etsy convos to shops when I see something I like. The more, the merrier in my opinion. Activities like giveaways, contests, monthly themes, promote a sister, etc. should be coordinated. There is always something going on with CABTeam.”

“I would also encourage Teams to divide up the work load,” Wendy suggested. “I think it’s great that Krystal and April spend so much time on the blog and Ning. But I don’t want to take advantage of them either. Obviously, there need to be people in charge who keep things going, but there should be others assisting as needed.”

After hearing from both the Team Leader and individual members from Carried Away, our team at EtsyMarketing.org is even more convinced that the power of Teams can increase your shop’s exposure. A big thank you to the Carried Away Team for outlining what works and what doesn’t for their Team!"

:: The “Get Social on Etsy.com” Team ::

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Big Bag of Luck Giveaway

A little hunting could get you a lot of luck during St. Patrick's Day week. Are you ready to get carried away with us and a win big bag of prizes? The excitement is building over on our teams forum as we finalize the prize list and start hiding lucky shamrocks for our giveaway next week.

Join us for Carried Away: The Big Bag of Luck Giveaway
March 13-23rd, 2009

The giveaway is pretty simple, just hunt through all of our SHAMROCK SHOPS to find the hidden clover or the words "bag of luck" in the item description and you could win the grand prize, valued at over $100(US!). There are many smaller prizes as well.

If you've been thinking about snapping up a handbag or other great handmade delight from our team mates, the giveaway week is the perfect time! Browse through our team member shops (a full list is at the bottom of the blog) and mark your favorites. Come back during the giveaway and make a purchase of just $10 for ANY team shop to earn five entries for FIRST PLACE (value+/- $60 (US!). Purchase just $25 from any SHAMROCK SHOP and get 5 extra entries towards the GRAND PRIZE !

This promotion is available to worldwide and many of the prizes include free shipping.

Full details will be posted on March 12th.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Treasury...CABTeam Yellow

I just love yellow. It reminds me of spring Daffodils and Crocus and summer Sunflowers and Black-Eyed Susans. Enjoy!

And the Winner is....Janetfaye

We want to thank everyone who participated in the Agate Earrings giveaway held here on my blog. This was my sister's first giveaway for her new Etsy shop. She really appreciates your participation and comments. If you look to the right of my blog you will see a Random Prize Picker from Random.org. This is how we chose the winner.

Here is the list of participants:
Audrey Feb 21 7:35pm
diesel51 Feb 21 7:58pm
BunnyB Feb 21 8:21pm
Judybrittle Feb 21 9:00pm
Vivien Feb 22 12:59am
Rosalynn Feb 22 1:38am
Sabrita Feb 22 4:21am
Janetfaye Feb 22 6:33am
Cheryl F.(the lucky ladybug) Feb 22 11:36am
Erin Feb 22 11:37am
Nelsby Feb 22 1:38pm
Jenna Feb 22 5:00pm
Shanda Feb 23 1:58am
Sena Feb 23 3:40am
ShelleyK. Feb 23 3:12pm
Danaj Feb 24 9:27am
Deborah Feb 24 3:20pm
Michelle Feb 25 11:50am
Playswithclay Feb 27 3:30pm
Aleda March 3 2:25pm
ljsfunone March 4 10:19pm
Suzanne March 6 8:16pm
Congratulations to Janetfaye! We will be contacting you by email to get your shipping address.

Etsy Seller Spotlight...Daily Threads

I am so in love with these little fabric gems. Not only are they beautiful pieces, but they come with a poem written by the artist. Here is a description written by DailyThreads.

"As you look inside the window and door of this sweet little dimensional house, you’ll find this poem (written by me). The doormat reveals the theme of the text. Each house is one of a kind, signed and dated on the back.

I created this series inspired by daily walks in my many neighborhoods and travels through the years. Passing by, you only see the outside shell of a house. Curiosity peaks when you see a window without curtains. What happens behind those walls? Who lives there? What are they doing? The rare open door almost seems like an invitation to come in. I have left the windows and doors wide open in my collection of houses for you to peek inside. I welcome you all.

Made up of painted fabric on a thick stabilizer, printed cotton scraps, zippers, beads, buttons, rick rack and / or any other embellishments I may have on hand. Stitching gives it depth and texture."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Treasury...My Sister's First

Treasury...Green Gorgeous Green

I got a Treasury tonight. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Etsy Giveaway

Today is the Last Day to enter to win the Agate Earrings from my previous post. Hurry, hurry!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New in my Shop...Pop Garden/Carnival Bloom Tote

I've been busy this weekend. All these flowers are getting me excited for Spring.



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