Friday, November 30, 2007

Alternate Bliss

I'm a mixed media artist. Right now I'm focusing on making fine silver jewelry, watercolors and Art Charms featuring my artwork images. Currently I have two Etsy Shops. One for my art and one for my charms. Feel free to stop by my etsy shop if you see something here you like. On occassion I post some of my art on Ebay, but my primary shop for my independent artwork is my ETSY shop.

See her Etsy store for even more great gift items:
Alternate Bliss
and her blog to learn more about the artist:
Alternate Bliss Blog

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Etsy Beadweaver's November Challenge

The voting time has been extended so, please take a moment and look at these beautiful pieces that these ladies have put their hearts and souls into and vote for your favorite! They are truly gorgeous creations! Just head over to the Etsy Beadweaver's blog at and you can view each piece up close and then cast your vote by clicking the button next to your favorite then click the "Vote" button at the bottom!

Simply Said By Sarah

"Sarah Orton is a graphic design student in North Carolina. Her flair for design stems from a lifelong interest in crafts and her pieces demonstrate a fun spin on a contemporary sense of style. Encouraged by the requests she’d begun to receive from fellow employees and friends, Sarah decided to combine her creativity with her business sense, and Simply Said by Sarah was born. Each piece is handcrafted and unique, and is sure to add a tasteful touch of originality to your home!"

And as stated in her shop:
NEDA is dedicated to expanding public understanding and prevention of eating disorders and promoting access to quality treatment for those affected along with support for their families through education, advocacy and research

Millions of women, men, girls and boys suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders are illnesses with a biological basis. They are very serious, life-threatening illnesses and currently there is no cure. Help is available and recovery is possible for these sufferers. Every donation counts.

To purchase just go to:
Simply Said By Sarah
And learn more about the artist at her blog:
Simply Said By Sarah Blog

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Celtic Goddess Jewelry

Celtic Goddess Jewelry was started in early 2001. My name is Andee Harston. Art has always been prevalent in my life. I love to draw, paint, sculpt, make jewelry and most recently, photography. I am influenced by spiritual learning, nature and goddess and celtic imagery. I identify very strongly with my celtic heritage. I am a Buddhist pagan living in the Orlando area. Please feel free to contact me for further information or custom inquiries.

Specialties include:
*Goddess jewelry, Pagan, Gothic, chakra, dragonfly, butterfly
*Buddhist and Zen Jewelry
*Artwork and photography
*Custom and Unique Pendulums and Divination (all pendulums come with free instructions!)
*Headpieces and tiara's
*and more!

~~~Member of Earth Path Artisans street team~~~
~~~Member of FAE : Fantasy Art of Etsy~~~

Sacred Waters
Celtic Goddess Gallery
Celtic Goddess Jewelry
Buy Indie Blog

Andee in her own words.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Indigo Luna

My name is Rachel Kitterman and I am an art addict. My primary passion is fabric and I have been making art quilts and dolls for over a decade now. I also love paper, altered art, mixed-media, knitting, crocheting, jewelry, artist books, photography...pretty much, if it will hold still, I'll make art out of it. Here (in her shop) you will find an ecclectic sampling of all the creative things I love to make.

I also write and I'd love it if you'd come by to check out my blog at Indigo Luna Blog

Proud member of EarthPath Artisans Street Team E.A.S.T. Search for "east" to see other amazing goodies made by this talented team.

I have always been an artist. I have always drawn, cut, pasted, painted, collected, sewn, written and dreamed. I have been driven by the question, “What if?” (and fighting against its archenemy, “That won’t work!”)

I also wear many other hats. Among other things, I am a sign language interpreter, an energy worker, a minister, a blogger, a wife to a wonderful and creative man and a mother to two wild and amazing little girls. All of these roles shape and change and inform my art.

I am a 5th generation Oregonian. This lush and verdant environment is in my blood. I grew up in a valley surrounded by tree-covered hills and blessed with a great deal of rain. I memorized the names of flowers as a child. I picked basketsful of mushrooms in the damp woods and studied moss and built forts inside of blackberry thickets. After traveling the United States, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

My work has appeared on the cover of the 2005 Quilting Arts Calender, in Artella Magazine, Art/Quilt Magazine, Fiberarts Design Book 6, as well as many juried shows.
See her Etsy store here: Indigo Luna
and her blog here: Indigo Luna Blog

This is Rachel in her own words.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Etsy Beadweavers' November Challenge: Let The Voting Begin

Please, please, please go over to the Etsy Beadweavers' Blog and vote for your favorite piece in the monthly challenge. This month's challenge was "Caught in a Net" and there are 31 gorgeous entries to choose from! Check them all out and vote for your favorite!
Etsy Beadweavers

Earth Charms

Kirsten of earthcharms makes jewelry intended to have a positive effect upon the wearer. When you peruse her Etsy store you will notice that each piece in her shop has a little statement underneath about the metaphysical properties of the stones used in the design; even the numerology behind them.

Her specialty is macramé using waxed linen cord, incorporating natural gemstone beads, and she uses a lot of Hematite, Prehnite, and Fluorite, each of these gemstones having a special meaning.

My favorite pieces of hers are the elaborately knotted chokers which have a lovely, lacy style and very polished and elegant upscale look yet without any hint of pretentiousness. One can look at the work and sense the path each hand has taken from beginning to end of the making imprinted upon the finished piece. Unlike a lot of the macramé you see out there her ends are nice and neat and inconspicuous, and they have a svelte braided taper as they transition from the body of the piece to the beaded closure, graceful as the neck of a swan.

I have always had a special place in my heart for buds on branches, and the way she places her beads on the cord reminds me of the way a bud nestles ever so gently to its stalk. It looks deceptively fragile, yet is quite firmly attached. Many of her descriptions touch on the concept of centeredness and staying or becoming grounded, and this is a recurrent theme in her work. Perhaps the symbolism of the beads perched seemingly precariously on their stem is a metaphor for the delicate balancing act between reaching out to take a risk for positive change while at the same time being cautious not to lose her footing in the process of her forays out into an uncertain world. We are sometimes stronger than we know. Should catastrophe befall us and we are tested, we often discover that another day passes and we wake up intact the following morning, surprised maybe, but relieved and a little proud for not having “fallen off our tree” so to speak, despite the killing frost.

For a gift your loved ones will really appreciate, go to her online store:
Earth Charms

and to read more about the artist and her current news, take a look through her blog:
Earth Charms Blog

article written by Pippit

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Summersea Herbs

It has been said that most all of today's medicines are derived from natural sources before being processed, treated, and translated into something synthetic. It never made logical sense to me that the good natural ingredients be seperated out, watered down, then put back in the form of lab created substitutes, when the "real thing" in its full strength is there for the taking and it's as accessible as your back yard.

Tracy "W", owner of SummerSea Herbs is a certified medical herbalist with 10 years’ experience, and a practicing Green Witch. She handcrafts her herbal products with the finest organically grown and ethically wild-crafted ingredients available, in a pet-free/smoke-free environment separate from her home.

All her ingredients are organic because she believes products that are not irradiated or treated with pesticides or sprays are better for your body a well as your spirit. Taking this extra care to provide you with pristine, unadulterated products costs a little more, but Tracy believes it's worth it! As a sole proprietor, she personally makes each concoction in small batches the old fashioned way in order to maintain high quality control standards and to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Her love of nature clearly shows in her reverent preparation of natural growing things to be of benefit to her customers. She has a healthy respect for the herbs that come out of the ground, and all of her medicinal and magickal preparations were developed as a direct response to those she serves in her community. Tracy takes great pride and satisfaction in knowing that her herbal products are helping others and doing so as naturally as possible.

In today’s lacking healthcare system such funding can be hard to find and when it is available it gets tied up in agencies’ red tape, is extremely limited, and many who become seriously ill are blindsided by the astronomical costs, insurance claim denials, and limits and ultimately find themselves out of luck, but here the solution is so simple and direct! What a caring and proactive thing to do! I hope more people take Tracy's example and follow suit to do something like this for someone close to them when a catastrophic problem arises. It would be a much more compassionate world if everyone took this kind of initiative! I have always been a believer that one must put love into action rather than merely passing on distant and removed well-wishes, and feeling helpless to do anything, as so often happens when one is stricken by illness. Most every problem has a solution if each one of us determines to think outside the box and takes stewardship of a piece of it. Those who receive this blend benefit as well, so it’s a win/win for everybody involved.

Tracy is the founder of EarthPaths Artisans Street Team (E.A.S.T.)

To partake in these unique and beneficial items for you or as a gift for friend or relative, go to her Etsy store:
Summersea Herbs
Read more about her and informational material she offers in her blog:
Summersea Herb Blog

article written by Pippit

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kreative Mindz

KreativeMindz located in Wordsville, Ohio is the brainchild of Aly and Beau Stacy. It includes a variety of sewn items and woodwork.

Interestingly the couple has both been in lines of work that involved making things with their hands. Aly used to work in the in set building and design for commercials (and sometimes still does), but mostly stays home now with her children. Beau is a carpenter who builds Timber Frame homes.

Aly’s style was first influenced at age 15 when she was planning to go see the Grateful Dead. She admired the gypsy style shirts and skirts she saw on other concert-goers, so she decided to sew a patchwork skirt so she’d have something “cool” to wear. At the time not many of these types of clothes were available commercially or at least they weren’t readily available, so this got her thinking about beautiful fabrics and what she could do with them. Her husband grew up learning woodworking from his father, so the handmade wooden boxes were natural for him to make. The skills both brought with them complemented each other and were probably what brought them together and what makes them a good fit to this day.

The work of the two has a decidedly spiritual feel to it drawing from African symbolism and a natural, earthy quality, almost pioneer-like.

This husband and wife team belongs to Etsy EarthPath Artisans Street Team.

When asked how her spirituality impacts on her art, Aly responded, “I do not practice any set "religion", but I am a VERY spiritual person and feel very connected to the earth and the universe. When I am creating a piece, I will only do it if I'm in the right "space". NEVER do I sew if I am unhappy or angry, or any "negative" emotion. When I sew I am thinking good things and putting good intentions into what I am making. If it is a custom piece I think of that person and what the item will be for them. I believe that my intentions go into the piece. May sound fruity, but this is what I believe and have even been told that others could "feel" these intentions.”

Having her son at the tender age of 20 all naturally was a life-changing experience for her and an opportunity for personal growth. It was empowering and enlightening and quite a learning experience.

They are not currently selling their work in any stores but plan to start doing so in the New Year.

Aly used to sell her clothing at shows and festivals many years ago and she has found that her handmade pants seem to sell the best; lined patchwork pants back then, and her Capri pants with appliqué on Etsy.

Aly would like to expand her skills to include felting and batik, and Beau would like to start making bowls and cooking utensils.

When asked about their goals for their business Aly says “Honestly, I would like our business to be our main source of income. It is our dream and our be able to work at home and raise our children...all at the same time. The kids really get in to our projects now.”

Be on the lookout for more hotpacks, keepsake boxes, and some stockings for the holidays. Buy a special gift for a loved one.

Go to their online store for more great gifts:
Kreative Mindz

and to their blog to keep up with what’s going on with the artists: Kreative Mindz Threadz

article written by Pippit

Friday, November 23, 2007

Contas Brasil

Contasbrasil, a multi-pronged network of online stores and a more recently added boutique is owned by two sisters from the city of Curbita, capital of the state of PARANÁ, in the south of Brazil. Suzy Wortberg and Bebê de Soares and a third artist, Suzy’s best friend Ana Paula Vilas Boas (creator of The Waterfall Necklaces) make jewelry for the enterprise. The most recent addition to the close-knit group was Sandra Fukelmann with her unique doll bags after Suzy shared a stand with her at the fair CPD in Düsseldorf.

On November 15th, 2007 Suzy opened their new brick and mortar store in Cologne. While she was taking care of the renovation of the shop, her sister Bebê was busily promoting it on the web. To make her new shop a "must visit" when tourists come to Cologne, Suzy decorated the walls with coconut shells and the fabric that they use as a bag for their necklaces (called chita). Now that the majority of the preliminary work is completed Suzy hopes to have more time to network.

Currently the new store sells only ContasBrasil jewelry and Doll bags and until now has been the only store in Germany to carry them.

It all happened a bit more than two years ago” says Suzy. “I was already living in Germany for 13 years with my husband and daughter and had finished my ballet Dancing career. As a Christmas present, I got a beautiful necklace from my best friend Ana Vilas Boas, who lives in Brazil. She is an Architect and we’d danced ballet together. It was a piece made by her. She had never done jewelry before, but just for fun, started to make some and give them to her friends. I was fascinated by her talent! I asked her to make 4 other pieces so maybe I could show them to my friends in Germany.”

Back home in Germany Suzy looked at her jewelry box, took some pieces that were broken and some others that she was a bit tired of wearing, carefully chose some of the beads, and decided to give it a try herself. She created her first necklace and once she started she was captivated by this new excitement she felt as the beads were strung onto the nylon thread (the only thread she knew to use at that time.That very first necklace she made was similar to the necklace Beads Allerei and the very first one she ever sold! After that, she began selling Ana Paula's work with hers.

Then came the name of the shop, Contas, which is an old Portuguese name for all kinds of beads and the logo. She described how she wanted it to look and her husband drew it. Bebê was then an actress, living in Sao Paulo at that time (actually she was in Germany before Suzy moved there, and then moved with her German husband and kids for 6 years in Brazil). After 4 months of selling very well but mostly to friends and family, someone told Suzy she should try a fashion fair.

“Bebê, who was then moving back to Cologne helped me a lot” said Suzy, “ because she could buy beads and Brazilian stones for the collection in Brazil and also look for someone that could make our folders, banners, etc for the fair. Here in Germany it can be immensely expensive!” Bebê got so involved with everything that even she began to make some necklaces. A bit embarrassed, she told Suzy she would like to send some pictures of her work. “I couldn't believe my eyes” Suzy exclaimed, “especially when I saw them (come to) life! And that's how everything happened...”

Bebê and Suzy currently live in Cologne but they fly once or twice a year to Brazil where their large family lives.

ContasBrasil became a full time job for Suzy. Bebê started rehearsing for a new theater play a month ago, but still manages to make wonderful pieces for the new shop. She is continuing to promote the shop on the web, and plans to keep making jewelry for Contas.

Ana Paula still works as an Architect in Brazil but never stopped creating her beauties for the business.

After the fair, Bebê’ and Suzy placed work in 15 shops in Germany. After that Suzy set her sights on opening her own shop. “Four shops are still selling our work and now that my big dream became reality, I can plan the fairs again.”

Suzy remembers an early experience with a particularly promising and interested customer.

“My very first client at the fair was someone from Japan. I was very impressed by that. In the end we never managed to make big business with them because we make everything ourselves and the pieces are unique. So it became impossible to fulfill the expectations of the Japanese...but this shop now is my big success! I have to say thanks to Bebê’s perseverance; whenever some technical problem would appear, she was immediately looking on (the) internet for a solution, better material, new methods; our work improved a lot!

I think my mother's perfectionism in her work (she has a ballet school in Brazil) and my father's great communication talent to people (he is an Ophthalmologist) were somehow a big influence to the quality of work we are delivering. We experience a great amount of positive feedback not only because of the beauty of our jewelry, but also the way we transmit what is behind this work; our Brazilian identity.”

The most expensive piece they’ve sold was one of Bebê's necklaces, a very exquisite design, with a big yellow Agate, Brazilian seeds, Lapis Lazuli, and Swarovski crystal. The buyer was so enchanted by the piece that price was no object!

Although up until now ContasBrasil has only produced beaded jewelry, Suzy and Bebê plan to learn soldering to expand their repertoire of techniques.

In preparation for the coming holiday season Bebê is making X-Large necklaces, Ana Paula, the Pernambuco Collection (Pernambuco is a State in Northeast Brazil, very warm and colorful, where she spent her last Holidays) and Suzy is busy working with metals and stones.

ContasBrasil has done a great job of selling its exotic cultual image, a growing practice in business once frowned-upon but now recognized as a very savvy and effective marketing practice. It is a beautiful example of how diversity can be an assett rather than a liability, a perfect way to celebrate a heritage and a means through which to educate the public on the value of preserving culture in modern society.

Be sure to check out their online Etsy store:
Contas Brasil Shop

Their other website:
Contas Brasil

and to learn more about what they’re doing, take a look at her blog:
Contas Koeln

article written by Pippit

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Liz Staley's Realm of Nerdiness

This is Liz in her own words:
I grew up in Baltimore, but am now living in Greenville, NC. My mom got me into arts and crafts when I was really little (I wanted to help her paint ceramics when I was a baby, so she'd give me a paintbrush, a cup of water, and a rubber ducky. Took me awhile to figure out that it's supposed to change colors when you paint it though!). Ever since then I've loved to draw and create things.

Now, I love doing art, crocheting, and am getting into making ACEO cards and sewing. I've been crocheting and drawing for years. I also love to make button pins. I tend to go on what I like to call "craft binges", where I'll make a whole bunch of a certain thing, so if you see long stretches of buttons or crocheted items in my listings, you'll know I've been on one!

My hobbies when I'm not creating things are watching anime, playing tabletop role-playing games (Dungeons and Dragons; Big Eyes, Small Mouth; D20 Modern, West End Games' D6 System, etc), building web-pages, and playing on GaiaOnline[dot]com. I also have a gallery on DeviantArt and Flickr, both of which you can find with the user name lizstaley as well.

I find that I really enjoy blogging about my crafts as well! You can visit my blog at

In addition, I also write and illustrate a story that I publish to the web, and have been working on since I was a senior in high school. It's gone through many, many versions and updates, and I'm eventually thinking about having it published. You can check that out at

Oh, and I'm an emote junkie, so... BE WARNED!

And when you visit her Etsy shop, this is the first thing you'll read!
Welcome to the Realm of Nerdiness, where you'll find all sorts of nerdy creations! We love custom orders- please contact us if you'd like something in a different size and/or color and we will work with you!

Our buttons make great stocking stuffers! Give a little bit of nerdiness this holiday season!

Please don't hesitate to ask me any questions about my creations-- I don't bite... unless you steal my role-playing dice.

Proud member of EarthPath Artisans Street Team.

Etsy shop: Liz Staley's Realm of Nerdiness
Blog: Live Wire Chick

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen BlogRoll

Banana Showcase

Kelly VanVoltenburg is the owner of Banana Showcase which is located in Duncanville, Texas. She offers lively floral prints and repeating patterns in her cloth items which include her specialties - handbags, Kleenex holders and keychains. Some of the fabrics she uses are vintage and others are contemporary. All items are made in a pet-free and smoke-free environment.

You can tell by her descriptions that the bags she makes are built to last. Many have multiple layers and are triple-stitched. And if that's not enough to convince you to snap one up as her prices are fabulous!

A little about Kelly and her craft in her own words:

Just one girl and a very loved sewing machine -- that is all there is to Banana Showcase. I have been a crafter since I was a very little girl. I love to make things with my hands and now having people use the things I make is so exciting. I have sewn since I was a teen but recently discovered that purses are so fun to create. I also love visiting thrift stores so you will find that some of my bags are created from vintage fabrics or other vintage clothing items that have been repurposed to become purses.

I will do custom orders, so feel free to contact me and we'll talk!!

See her Etsy store to get one for yourself or to give as a gift:
Banana Showcase

Or to learn more about the artist go to her blog:
Kelly Van Voltenburg

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sweet Irie Originals

Established in 2005, the Sweet Irie name came about from the newest addition to my family; my kitten, Irie. Her name means, supreme joy; quite fitting! She is the light of my life and the inspiration for my jewelry, as she likes to help me work! Although I have to admit she isn't much help! She loved to play with the jewelry and balls of hemp I once used; stringing it all over the house. Needless to say, she now has her own stash of 'toys' lying around. Just as well, I have since moved on from making hemp jewelry and create the beautiful handmade beaded designs you will see throughout this store. I do hope you enjoy!

I am a proud member Etsy FEST (Florida Etsy Street Team)and Etsy Bead Street Team! Please check out our blogs for awesome group information and events:
Etsy Fest Blog
Etsy Beadstreet Blog

To see more of this jewelry artist’s work go to:
Sweet Irie Originals
Or check out her blog:
Sweet Irie Originals Blog

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lost Mitten

Lauren Yakiwchuk of Lostmitten was inspired for many of her creations by her love of video games. She also loves to knit and crochet, to create journals and other paper goods, does needlepoint, acrylic felt creations, pinback buttons, and jewelry.

She lives in Brantford, Ontario, Canada with her finance Paul (who is also really into video games).

"I always wanted to learn how to knit and crochet" says Lauren. " I taught myself how to knit over five years ago, and just learned how to crochet this past year. I love to create with many different mediums, so basically I work with whatever I can get my hands on - whether it be fabric, paper, plastic, beads, buttons - I like to be creative with whatever I can find!"

Her most successful products are her video game themed items. "Thankfully, there are lots of other people out there who share my geeky passions for crafting and video games!" Lauren remarks.

"I share meaningful experiences with customers all the time - it has been wonderful to meet so many people through my crafting. Lately, I have met a wonderful group of people who are also participating in the "90 Features in 90 Days", so it has been great!"

Lauren tends to keep her most elaborate pieces for herself, not wanting to part with her biggest masterpieces. "One of my pieces is a completely needlepoint scene from the video game, Mario 1 for the NES - and with a fully stitched background and the piece measuring slightly over 8" by 10" - it took at least 30 hours to complete."

The artist is interested in learning more advanced work on the sewing machine, and would also love to get into silk creening.

For the holidays Lostmitten will have video game related crafts, knitted wear, things for the home, pinback buttons, and more.

"I'd love to keep doing this" Lauren says. "It is a second income for me, and more of a fun hobby, and I'd love to keep it like that! I love to continue to challenge myself to create new, one-of-a-kind, and creative items that no one has thought of making before.

Get something for the gamer in your life or something a little more traditional for the Japanese art enthusiast at Lauren’s online store this holiday season: Lost Mitten Etsy Shop

Keep an eye out for her new website coming soon: Lost Mitten
To learn more about the artist and her current works go to her blog: Lost Mitten Blog

Article written by Pippit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Zoe Stewart UK

Meet Zoe Stewart from the UK:
I live in gorgeous Yorkshire with my husband, who is in the forces and my cat, who is ginger and fat, but good company when he is off working. I work part time in the local camp nursery with the 2-3 year olds, reading stories and playing in the garden. 18-1 is a bit of an unfair number but they are all great so I don't mind. The rest of the time I spend sewing.

I decided over the last few months about what I wanted out of life and how to get there and deciding to start my own online business seems like a good idea. It means I get to work from home and see my husband which is an advantage since he goes away a lot for work.

So where do I start? I have my sewing machine ready and my fabric, a cup of tea and a smile......

So lets get sewing!!! I can't wait to get out there and get noticed, so check out my other pages and most of all smile and have fun!!

I have just graduated with a BA in fashion from the school of textiles in the Scottish Borders and I really enjoyed it. I love beautiful and quirky fabrics and creating all things unique, wonderful and nostalgic.

I make gorgeous hearts filled with lavender or heather, in a range of cute and quirky fabrics, I also make a range of quirky creatures from scottish tartan, which are filled with non-allergenic fluff,

If you need something in a particular colour or fabric let me know and I'll do my best to help.

Check out what else she’s got in her Etsy shop: Zoe Stewart UK
and to learn more about the artist see her blog: Zoe Stewart

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wyred on Wire

Alicia of Wyred on Wire reminds me a little of myself in that I started with elastic cord and pony beads and once hooked, the beads and supplies just became more sophisticated and expensive. We haven't put them down since!

Alicia says of herself and her work:
I was born and partially raised in NB Canada, I fell in love at the tender age of eight when as a christmas gift my grandparents gave me a large beading kit. From then on I was always making some form of jewelry or another. I still very much love making jewelry, the only thing thats changed is my range of materials from plastic stretch cord and plastic pony beads to sterling silver and precious stones. Recently I have realized as an artist you can't completely limit your materials and be happy for too long and I have many ideas for fresh and unique designs using a variety of materials. Each piece of jewelry I make is an extension of myself to you. There's no mass produced here, just pieces that are as unique and special as you are.

I am a proud member of Etsy Moms street team and Etsy Bags.

To see what else Alicia has available go to:

and to read more about the artist, go to her blog:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Elle Belle On Etsy

Ellebelleonetsy is an online Etsy store located in St. Petersburg specializing in baby and children’s items. Very rarely does one see a microenterprise business arrangement here in the US in which 5 people come together, agree consistently enough to stay organized, and work so well as a team to create and market their work. This group of mothers is an excellent example in which people unselfishly threw their best skills into the common pot to tackle a need, put their heads together to meet it, and as a result, share in the rewards.

Stacey whose day job 3 days a week is in Human Resources creates slings, tag blankets, and the embroidered objects, her mother, Tressie, a realtor in Illinois who crochets, and friends; Ann, who is employed part-time at target and sews quilts, Karie, who works part-time for her father’s mortgage company, and makes chalkboard placemats, chubbies, and nursing covers, and Jennifer who works full-time for a large financial company and makes dresses. Interestingly they all work outside their craft in very traditional jobs.

All 5 of these women started out making things for their own children and even though each only had one or two unique specialties, collaborating, they found, was more fun than doing it as solitary proprietors, and in no time their Etsy shop was full of useful and clever items.

Complete profiles on each of these partners are on the website in the artist profile pages.

“I've always loved all kinds of crafts” says Stacey, “but I've found that I get a greater sense of accomplishment from creating things that are useful as well as aesthetically pleasing. For me, the vast array of already beautifully designed fabric choices makes creating something half as difficult.”

Ellebelle sells some of their products in stores... ironically none of them local because people have contacted them via Etsy to sell in their brick and mortars (stores). “We've had the most success selling at local upscale malls when they host craft events. We've tried traditional craft shows, edgier urban shows, as well as Family and Baby Expos and although they've been fun and profitable in their own ways, we do the best over all at malls.”

Because each collaborator brings different skills and experience to the table there is a lot of learning inside the circle that takes place. They tend to draw more from others inside the small group than from other artists in the field. “Working with each other brings "Ah-Ha" moments all the time” she says.

Stacey also admits that their children are a big motivator and inspiration. “We've all crafted at some level prior to having our children, but they bring purpose to what we do. I started Elle Belle because I received a sling as a gift and it made being a first time Mom so much easier for me and being a baby easier for my little one. She loved it and so did I. I wanted to share the experience we had with other Moms and I also knew I could make a sling better than the ones I used. My heart skips a beat when I see a Mom in the mall carrying their baby in one of my slings. I feel like I actually made a difference.”

The cooperative’s biggest ticket item sold was a quilt made of T-shirts commissioned by a woman for $450 while set up in a mall. “We had displayed a quilt made from baby clothes and she asked if we could make one from T-shirts she had collected from rock concerts.” It was an unusual request compared to the items they were used to making but the women were up to the challenge.

When asked which new techniques Stacey is interested in learning she said, “I would really love to learn to felt! We had a pumpkin decorating contest at work for Halloween and I wanted to felt my little pumpkin so bad! Can you even do that? I didn't have time to try it out because I was getting ready for an event, but next year I plan to have a field of felted pumpkins for sure!”

Coming soon is a super cute line of Christmas pillowcase dresses ready to debut at a show the 5 are doing this weekend, to be listed on Etsy afterwards (what’s left of them anyway). They'll also have the perfect stocking stuffers - Christmas themed Chubbies, and crocheted slippers. “We have a few more local events planned for the rest of the year, so we'll likely just post more of what sells well at those in the Etsy shop.”

Long term, Stacey hopes that their Etsy shop will be the primary source of income for Elle Belle. As much as she really loves doing local events, she’d prefer to have them be supplemental income for the shop instead of the primary.

These friends/business partners have an ideal situation; a blending of meaningful work and social interaction all rolled into one. “We're already accomplishing what I want most out of this business which is to spend time with friends doing something we love and sharing the resulting creations with as many people as we can.” It all goes to show that when you enter into a common vision with others what you gain is way more than you ever imagine.

Find that special gift that you will really use at: Elle Belle On Etsy

and read more about this inspiring business on their blog: Elle Belle Blog

Article written by Pippit.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mommy And Me Boutique

"Corline of Mommyandmeboutique based in California started making her sewn items only 2 years ago and they are in great demand. There is something about this kind of product that just seems to sell itself. Perhaps part of it is that it's functional, but the other part seems to be an insatiable desire on the part of parents to dress up their children." Having two daughters, I could never resist these adorable dresses and outfits when they were little!

Corline says of her wares:
Designer fabrics, beautiful trims and ribbons are the materials I love to work with to bring you items that you can be proud to purchase and enjoy using. Loving care and personal expression are put into each one. Aprons for adults and chidren are my speciality. Whether it be cooking or entertaining, these aprons are designed for today's mother and child to show off their own sense of style; you can be sure "these are not your mother's aprons."

To see more of these gift items go to Mommy And Me Boutique
and read her blog here Mommy and Me Boutique Blog