Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Featured Artisan, Elaine M, Braided Knot Jewelry

"I would love to visit Tennessee! I've always watched in movies and the scenery always seems breath taking. Also I know country music has a strong influence in your state and I have a soft spot for this kind of music... I also love the history and heritage associate with this area..."
-Elaine M

Green Aventurine and Moonstone Handmade Bracelet

Today's featured artisan, is Elaine M, owner of online jewelry, or as she would say, jewellery, shop Triouz . Elaine specialized in gemstone jewelry made using decorative braids and knots. She is from Brighton, England, but found our team and felt right at home. Let's take a look at some of her handmade items and find out a little more about our fellow artisan from across the pond! Below, you will find stunning photos of Elaine's work and snippets from our conversation.

Amber and Carnelian Bracelet
I used to make jewellery when I was younger when I was 13 years old. I always loved to make crafty things but making jewellery was something I truly enjoyed. I never sold them at that time, I would just make them as gifts to friends and family. I loved to go to the bead shops and I could spend hours in there. I learned it at that time looking closely to other pieces and figuring out how they were made. I always found it quite easy and a relaxing time for me. I remember I used to spend hours in my bedroom making different things... I got older and lack of time made me leave all that behind... 

Triple Wrap Bracelet
Just a few months ago I was listening to a podcast and she mentioned she used beading as a good way to unwind. I guess the fire just lighted on me again... Also about a year ago I started to explore the gemstones and their healing properties in my own life. I was going through a down phase, when you start to think if there is more to life than just work, money, etc... I felt a profound difference in my life since I started incorporating the stones. But I decided I wanted to use the gemstones in my body also during the day and going around shops I never found jewellery I would like and also the stones would always be combined and wrapped with metal. I wanted a more natural kind of jewellery, where the stones would also be direct in contact with my skin. I come originally from Brazil, a warm country, and I guess my design reflect this summertime accessories style...

Jasper Bracelet
I also learned a lot about numerology and the power of three in this past year and I try to apply it to all my pieces in the number of knots, strands and beads I use. The intention is always to enhance the healing the stones naturally provide. 
I love all the stones in different ways, if I had to choose one Amethyst would be the one, I love its color and calming properties. But lately I have developed a passion for Labradorite...
I would love to visit Tennessee! I've always watched in movies and the scenery always seems breath taking. Also I know country music has a strong influence in your state and I have a soft spot for this kind of music... I also love the history and heritage associate with this area...

I started my shop as I wanted to share my jewellery and the healing power of stones with other people. My aim is to make fair priced well thought pieces that will bring something different to people. I see Jewellery not only as way to improve appearance or express ourselves but a way to bring something very special and meaningful to our lives.

I have a facebook page where I also announce promotions, etc. I'll be giving away 2 bracelets this Thursday to celebrate 2 months of my Etsy shop! Please feel free to like page to take part in that or share with your readers...
I have a blog also but it's where I write some thought provoking thoughts I sometimes have...www.elainemartini.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/English

Best wishes from Brighton UK

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I Love You, Mom, Local Picks for Local Gifts

Lace Earrings By http://www.etsy.com/shop/earringsbysusan
Mother's Day is only 2 weeks away. That is plenty of time to find the special gift for your Mom, but, if you are shopping online, you might want to buy soon, to insure plenty on time for shipping. Today, we are featuring gift selections for Mom, based on local submissions on the Middle Tennessee Etsy team discussion boards. All the artisans are from right here in Tennessee, most of them close to the Nashville area. Let's see what handmade items you can find for your mom this holiday!

Jewelry and kitchen items are always a popular choice, along with accessories, art, and home decor. If your mom is the DIY type, she might enjoy a gift certificate for craft supplies or a class. Many sellers offer personalized options, where you can customize stamped jewelry, embroidered goods, photo lockets, mugs, and more, just for her.

Personalized Embroidered Towel from http://www.etsy.com/shop/CanDoStitching
Prim Pillow from http://www.etsy.com/shop/CanDoStitching
Vanilla Lotus Candles From Mylana
Pink Passion Body Mist from Kiia Bath and Body
Crocheted Afghan from 3csshop
Custom Made Top Quality Pillow Inserts from Fine Linen and Scarlett by Nancy Turner
Handmade Glitter Vases from Creative Glass By Becky

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Featured Local Seller, Cynthia Weaver from 3Csshop

Handmade Card and Key Holders

Today we are going to hear from Cynthia, a local artisan and owner of the eclectic online store 3Csshop

Cynthia makes a little bit of everything, from crochet to wooden bat houses and has some pretty funky supplies, like agate pendants and quartz stones! She even has a few vintage items in stock. Below, you will find some pictures from Cynthia of her wares and a few words about her shop, crafts, and living in Tennessee.

Drawstring Tote Bag
I'm a former RN who loves being able to indulge their creative side now. I do crochet items, mostly, but also like to use a wood burner from time to time, sew and do other hand stitching crafts.

I learned crafting during adolescence. Mom was a stay-at-home who was quite artistic and creative herself, so I guess it the muse just got passed down. I learned how to crochet at Mom's elbow when I was about 10 years old. 

The first crochet item I ever made was a Christmas stocking, if I recall correctly. 

I live in the small town of Woodbury. Not only are the hills here gorgeous in every season, there's fishing and hiking in the "backyard" and antiquing downtown. Not to mention most of my family are close by as well. 

There are craft supplies everywhere, but if you mean yarn and such, I must travel the miles (all of 15!) to the next town, Murfreesboro, where I can find at least 5 places to go to buy yarn and fabric. Jo-Ann's and Michaels (two of my favorite haunts) have classes for many types of crafts. 

My Facebook page for my crafts is entitled "C's Crafted Creations" and, from time to time, I do offer coupon codes. I've been toying with the idea of doing another real soon. 

I plan on branching out a little with sewing, pillows and inserts especially. I've sewn a couple of baby and children's blankets for family, made a pillow, and a tote bag (which is for sale at my shop) and I'm still crocheting - always the happy hooker!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Featured Artisan: Creative Glass By Becky

Carousel Horse Glass Art By Becky Nowak

Today we are going to talk to Becky Nowak, a Middle Tennessee resident and owner of the new Etsy shop, Creative Glass By Becky

Becky is pretty new to Etsy and could sure use some local support, so please favorite her shop or follow her on pinterest if you have a moment. Now, let's hear from Becky about her crafts and see some pictures of her work.

Hummingbird Glass Art Block

I have always had my hands in many things, love learning new things or teaching myself. I love to "create" so I try to find different things to make all the time.

Now that I am retired I can devote a lot of my new found spare time to "create". It is such a great feeling to get in my craft room, sit down and start creating!

I have been doing "Gallery Glass" for several years. I self taught myself. I did many windows in my home and other homes as well. I sold them on a local Maury County Website. I offered at that time framed art and sun catchers. I also shared a booth with a friend and sold them @ Mule Day one year!

When I decided to start working with glass in many different forms, I made several of my "sand-art" vases. I LOVED the look that I got with the glitter and paint and how using different brushes and techniques, each one looks so different and beautiful.

Glass Block Purse Lamp

I live in Culleoka (Middle TN). We live in the country and we love it here. It is so beautiful with it's rolling hills and the people in our community are so friendly.

I usually get a lot of my crafting supplies at Hobby Lobby in Columbia, about 12 minutes north of where we live.

I have a Pinterest site 

I plan on introducing my line of 100% Pure Room Sprays, (I said I always have my hands into something)! I have been making these for several years for myself and I currently sell them at my massage therapist's office. They are made with Essential Oils of the finest quality and distilled water, all natural no synthetic anything.

Glass Glitter Vase

Monday, April 22, 2013

New To The Team: Blue Cloud Crochet

Handmade Chevron Baby Blanket
Let's all welcome Samantha Rothschell from Tullaholma to the team! If you have a minute after reading the article, take a moment to favorite her etsy shop, to wish her luck. Samantha is a crochet artist and is brand new to our team! Thank you for joining us, Samantha and taking the time to allow me to interview you for the blog. Here's a link to her shop: Blue Cloud Crochet
Samantha's Online Crochet Shop

1) Please tell us about yourself and where you live in Tennessee.
I'm a single mom soon to be remarried (in June). I've been living in Tullahoma (again) for the last 2.5 years. I had to move back in with my parents after my ex-husband left me. I have a bachelor's degree from MTSU in vocal/general music education. My primary instrument is the piano, which I've been playing for over 18 years now. It's entirely strange to be subbing and look at the students and tell them I've been playing my instrument longer than they have been alive! 
Tullahoma is a small town that is actually closer to Huntsville, AL than it is to Nashville. It's close to the Arnold Air Force Base.

2) When did you learn to crochet and what other crafts do you do?
I first learned to crochet when I was 7 from my Nana, but then didn't really do anything with it. I picked it back up again when I was in high school, but mainly made scarves and simple patterns. I was stubborn and didn't want to learn how to read a pattern, but then a couple of years later, while I was married, I had to figure it out. Since then, my passion has been making neat little doo-dads for folks as gifts and finding patterns with techniques I haven't had the chance to fiddle with before to push myself to become better at my craft.
I tried to teach myself to knit once . . . that didn't go over well. I do still have the materials, though, and hope to be able to find the time to mess with it again. I also sew a bit, though I generally suck at it. I really sucked at crochet in the beginning, too, though, so I haven't lost hope. I just find simple patterns to mess with to master the basic techniques before I move on to anything else. That's pretty much the way everything works, and I'm okay with where I am, though also excited to progress.
I also like to just DIY a lot of things around the house. My general motto is, "why pay someone to do something you can do yourself?" For instance, I just finished detailing my car. I did it for less than $20, to boot. Saving money makes me happy.

Sunshine Doily
Handmade Rug

3) What is your favorite type of yarn and your favorite places to shop for yarn in Tennessee or online?
I love Hobby Lobby, honestly. We don't have one in Tullahoma, so I have to really stock up whenever I visit Murfreesboro. I think I like it so much mainly because I can feel the yarn before I purchase it. I can't stand the feel of Red Heart acrylic. It's so rough. I really prefer softer yarn, and Hobby Lobby's brand called "I Love This Yarn" is a MUCH softer, yet also affordable substitution. I haven't tried to buy any yarn online, yet, probably because I couldn't feel the material.

4) What future plans do you have for your shop?
I'd really like to just sell something hahaha! I'd love it to get to the point where I have multiple contributors and employees, as well. Perhaps that will happen in the next year or so! I love this idea, because other people can bring different experiences, different types of yarn, different techniques, different color palettes that I wouldn't otherwise think of, and so on.

5) Any social media links for us?
BCC is on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and I have a blog that I haven't done much with, but I plan to. Here are the links:

6) Is your shop having any sales or promotions?
I tried to have a promotion not too long ago, but it flopped, because I didn't plan for it well enough. I plan on revamping it in order to put it to full effect next month.

Crochet Star

7) What is one tip you would give to new Etsy shop owners?
This is hard, because I'm still new, as well. I would just say to be willing to take advice from veteran shop owners & be accepting to anyone who is willing to help you in any way. That's the stance I'm trying to take, anyway! It seems to be doing well so far.

Crochet Jewelry

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Recycling Project: Turn Your Old Containers Into An Herb Garden

Mini Herb Garden In Old Bowl

The sun is shining and spring is in the air, in Middle Tennessee, at least. Those of you in other areas, might have to wait a bit, but the time to engage in spring cleaning and outdoor planning is here! Did you know that gardening is America's number one most popular hobby? Today, I am going to share with you my latest spring project, mini container gardens, some using old bowls and pots I found while doing my annual big house cleaning. I was also able to use some old terracotta tiles that were salvaged from a friend's home remodeling project.

First, I had to get some plants to use in my container garden, so I headed to Martin's on Broad St. in Murfreesboro, one of my favorite stores. They have any kind of plant you could ask for, from vegetables to houseplants, and larger trees and shrubs. This week they are offering 1.00 off on all 3 packs of herbs, so that is what I purchased, herbs and some other plants.

More Plants with a Handmade Garden Tile
You will need to separate your plants into compatible groups, based on the amount of sunlight each plant needs to thrive. Keep full sun plants together and put shade loving plants in a different pot. You can move your containers around during the growing season to give the vegetation more or less shade. The plants in the blue bowl at the top of the post are all sun loving plants, dill, strawberry, chives, and cilantro. The smallest pot has patchouli, which needs partial shade.

Next, you will need to prepare your containers. I made drainage holes, using a kitchen knife, in the blue bowl and lined the bottom with broken shards from the red tiles. This will help the water drain, so the roots of my plants will not rot. The pottery shards also give weight to my container, so it will not tip over during a storm or windy weather.

Now, fill your containers with potting soil and plant food. I used regular potting soil in a bag and miracle grow plant food. The gardening center sells many types of plant feeds for flowers and vegetables and potting mixtures for different types of plants. Make sure you are using the appropriate type of soil and food for your project.

Tile Used for Decor and Broken Pieces Put in Bottom of Containers
Finally, decorate your mini garden. I used the rest of my pottery shards from the tile above, along with some river rocks and a blue castle figurine. I also used a whole red tile to make a garden stone. It is decorated with alcohol inks and stickers and sealed with a waterproof varnish.

You may need to repot aggressive growing plants into larger containers throughout the growing season and stake up vegetables. Relocate your plants to a garage or covered area in case of poor weather. Water your plants regularly, and if any die, don't give up! Simply choose a new type of plant to try instead.

Garden Tile

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Decorating Glass With Rubber Stamps

Hand Stamped Candle Holder With Purple Ink
Today, I was inspired to play around with using rubber stamps to decorate glass, while making a gift for my mom. I am going to share with you some of the tips and tricks to get the project finished the way you want, with a stamp that will last. After I was finished, I washed the exterior with soap and water and the ink didn't budge! It did appear somewhat duller, so I cannot recommend a project that will require repeated washings.

The total cost of materials for the project was 40.00, but I can use the basic equipment over and over.
Ink for glass = 10.00
Rubber stamp set= 3.00
Heat Gun= 25.00
Votive holder= 2.00

-Choose the correct type of ink for glass. I choose the brand Stayz-On (purchased on Etsy.com). Alcohol inks will work too. Make sure the ink packaging says it is permanent ink and will work on glass.
- Frosted glass makes the stamp show up better and gives some grip to the surface, so your stamp doesn't "slip". You can stamp clear glass, too, but the design will not show up as well.

- You can use regular rubber stamps or foam stamps.

- Make sure your glass is clean and dry before stamping.

- Use a light touch when stamping and don't "grind" the stamp in. The ink could bleed or smear.

- To quickly dry the ink, use an embossing gun or heat gun, to heat the ink for about 30 seconds, until it is shiny. This "heal seals" the ink for extra longevity and makes sure the ink dries quickly, without smudges. You can buy a heat gun at any home improvement store. You don't need a top of the line heat gun for crafts, one in the 20-30 dollar range will be just fine. Be careful around paper and flammables with the heat gun. They get VERY hot!

Heat Gun