Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Roadside Treasure On Middle Tennessee Boulevard

Pssst, want to know a secret? There's a place in Murfreesboro, TN, hidden on the side of the road, with an abundant cache of natural treasure. Like many roadsides in Tennessee, if you look carefully, you might discover fresh, wild blackberries! I picked these berries near family video during the second week of July, but I might go back today and see if there could be more.

Berries are naturally high in fiber, packed with antioxidants, and low in calories, plus, I found tons of crafty and creative uses for my haul of fruit. Not only did I use them in smoothies and to top oatmeal and yogurt, but I used some to make a simple blackberry syrup. This blackberry syrup went into fresh brewed blackberry iced tea and home made frozen fruit bars in my ice pop maker. The best part was that I could control the amount of sugar I added and avoid high fructose corn syrup that is in many store bought fruit products. Best of all, the berries were free and I got a good cardio workout walking to get them and picking them!

If you want to take advantage of the abundance of wild fruit in Tennessee, make sure to respect fences and property lines. Pick your berries without trespassing on private property or get permission from the land owner first. Wear sturdy shoes, insect repellent, long pants, and watch for insects and snakes. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Interview With Nashville Artist and Owner of Paper Finch Studio, Lisa

Thank you to Lisa of Paper Finch Studio, local artist and creator of pieces that range from the eerie to the enchanting, for telling us about your artwork and shop! Let's hear from Lisa about her paintings, her online sales, and where to score supplies in Nashville. After the article, you will find social media links and a sale code. From Lisa:

I've been creating art as long as I can remember, but began selling it when I was in college. At that time, I never had the money to afford original art and made it my personal mission to always offer something even someone with little income could afford if they wanted. I then created a wide range of work at affordable prices that fit a wide range of budgets. 

I continued creating work, and within a couple years had run out of room for it all in my apartment, and began offering it for sale at local coffee shops, retail stores, restaurants, and eventually, fine art galleries. I now live in a small house in East Nashville with my dingo dog and get to be creative in my own home studio. I absolutely love what I do and hope to one day travel to some of the wonderful places my art has traveled to.

I decided to open a shop on Etsy the day after my birthday in 2010. I was starting to make regular sales in local Nashville venues and art fairs, and wanted to expand my reach to online sites. I was drawn to Etsy for it's amazing shopping experience and easy to navigate pages. After reading the seller handbook, I jumped in and never looked back! I also created a website ( and have been successfully promoting online ever since! 

Annabelle Lee Painting

Right now, my favorite piece is a giclee art print of one of my firefly oil paintings titled, "Exhale" ( It really draws in the viewer and has an amazing uplifting and enchanting quality. I get a lot of requests for larger versions as well as custom originals and it's brought in lots of business. I recently began offering various sizes for this piece, and I look forward to making more like it soon.


Currently, I have a large amount of work at the Renaissance Center in Dickson, TN, The Spa of Cool Springs in Franklin, TN, Old Made Good in East Nashville, TN, and Mad Donna's in East Nashville, TN.

 I truly recommend Jerry's Art-a-Rama in South Nashville, Pla-za Artist Materials in Downtown Nashville, and Watkins College of Art and Design for art classes. They both offer a wide selection of things to learn. I buy nearly all my supplies from the good people at Jerry's, but also go to Pla-za Artist Materials occasionally when I'm on a tight deadline.

"The Boy With The Creepy Sigh"

Recently, I've been working to create greeting cards of my work to sell on Etsy, and I hope to offer screen printed canvas bags for the holiday season! I've been posting updates about my progress at if you'd like to take a look. 

Here's where you can find me online:

I have a giveaway on my Facebook fan page for a free robot art print going on this month, as well as a coupon code for 20% off anything in my Etsy shop using code, "JULYSALE." 

Pink Fantasy Woodland

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Easy Photo Editing, Increase Your Etsy Sales!

My Handmade Earrings
We all know how important having great pictures is for selling your handmade products online, but, still, some of us struggle (yes, that would be me here) to get professional looking photographs to use online in my Etsy store. There are numerous photo editing options available, including photo editing software that might be included with your computer or camera. I have a Mac and I was using the photo editing program build into iphoto; however, I desired to add text to pictures, soften my focal area, make collages, and add special effects...and, I didn't want to pay for it. Ultimately, I discovered a website that lets me do all that and more, while being very user friendly. In fact, I liked it so much, I upgraded to the 4.99 a month version, which includes more fonts, overlays, and special effects.

This website is

Photo Collage Made With PicMonkey of my Handmade Products
So far, I have had a great response on Facebook and Twitter to my photo collages and edited photos. The earrings in the first picture sold the day I listed them. I am adding text to photos with my shop name and coupon codes to broadcast using social media. PicMonkey is free to try with several price options for upgrading.

Unfortunately, my digital camera USB cord is broken, so I can't upload pictures for editing until my new cord arrives. I am disappointed because editing my pictures and adding text and special effects with PicMonkey was getting to be quite addictive! I highly recommend this program if you are looking for a very easy to use photo editing and enhancement program.

Happy sales all!