Monday, March 31, 2008

The Search For Stones

by Maria of MariaMaria

In being an artist/crafter, I find I am always looking to re-purpose items or find new items at an inexpensive cost while creating quality items. I love making jewelry and embellishing them with stones. Here are a few ways to obtain stones at the least cost to you:

1. I have personally lost many an earring (most women have ). If by chance it belonged to a pair that had stones these can be used in your current jewelry making projects.

2. Thrift stores, always a good choice for re-purpose jewelry - try your local stores.

3. a great source for stones, tools and other craft items. You can search specifically for the items your looking for, or under various sections like Crafts/Hobbies, Jewelry, Tools. Research the web for retail prices and set your limits to what you will pay for an item.

4. is my best source for semi-precious, precious stones and Swarovski stones. Some of the precious stones even come with gemologist certifications. You can search under Jewelry and look under Loose Stones - also check in the Apparel section under Women's Accessories. The last section you can check under is Other, Art Collectibles/Other. Read the listings carefully to determine if they are natural or lab created stones; set your limits and bid accordingly. Note: they usually have multiples of items or lots you may be looking at, so if you missed out on something, try back again and be mindful of this when bidding.

You can find Maria's Inspirational Jewelry at MariaMaria or

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Custom made fashion by African Fashions

Heres a little on custom made fashion, the step by step process.

I know for one I love to have my suits tailor made and working in the fashion industry for a few years found that more then just a few women love it too...
Well one of my fellow team members, Roseline Meier of African Fashions, has had the privilege of doing a custom order and sharing the experience with us...

On the 16th of March someone wanted a vintage dress custom made.All she (the customer) said was, "Hi! I am looking for a vintage inspired sun dress but I would like something embroidered or appliqu├ęd with cupcakes. I am kind of open to ideas about the dress but I would like something flattering and something made with nice, non-scratchy material."

So Roseline sent her a bid (quote) and told her she could make a dress to look like this:
Roseline says she picked this design because it was like the customers avatar. She accepted the bid and I told her for a proper fit I needed all her measurements, so I sent her to this web site and told her to follow their directions using their chart to give us your complete measurements.
After that then I started sewing.

First I do the top. Then I add the collar.

Then I add on the skirt...

Then its time to put it all together...

Roseline Meier says, 'CUSTOM ORDERS WELCOME!' Roseline can design and sew whatever you want, and not just women's clothing either, but also men's and children's clothing. She also tells me she can create any style of clothing, not just afrocentric and she's an expert seamstress. She creates all her own designs and can copy a design of your choice.

Roseline says, "I am so adept that from the scantiest of information, like a picture or sketch, I can sew for you the fashions you desire. We are happy to quote you a price."

Having some background in fashion and talking with Roseline and watching her at work I can truly tell you she is a great designer and sewer. Don't believe me check out shop and if you still need more proof read some her feedback:

Dear Roseline,
I'm delighted with my purchase. The kaftan is just as pictured, and it's great having an easy-care fabric in such a stylish print. You provided A1 communication throughout the process. Also, I appreciate you being reasonable about shipping cost to Canada.
thank you,


It looks fabulous!
Yes, that is the correct address! Thanks for the additional pictures! I love the "artist at work" shots! :)

Wow! What more can one say?
I don't know about you but I love to see the work of a crafter at their best and there are just somethings I love to see being put together, the mechanics of it and all.

Well Thanks Roseline for sharing that and if you like what Roseline of African Fashions can offer and you have a style or design for a dress or outfit tickling your fancy then why not have it custom made to fit and by a great seamstress like Roseline...

Check her out today don't waste time! AFRICAN FASHIONS

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spotlight On...

Renaissance Austin of Raghouse International!

What an amazing young woman she is! After reading her interview, I found myself quite inspired and I'm sure you will too. Be sure to visit her shop where you find some beautifully and professionally crafted works of wearable art!

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
Hi everyone! I am Renaissance Marie Austin and I am just an all around artsy person. When it comes to the visual and performing arts I am totally consumed. I was born and reared in Los Angeles and was a peculiar child, quiet, and shy, very sentimental and passionate about dreams and life. The first thing that I discovered about myself was that I had a gift of singing. I started hand sewing when I was very young pulling curtains off the window and making skirts out of them. By the time I was 12 I made a complete outfit by hand. I got my first sewing machine when I was 15 and at a friend’s yard sale, but somehow my knitting and crocheting took over my sewing in 2000 and it was fiber arts all the way.

2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are doing currently?
Currently I am writing and producing music as well as getting ready to start a new job, so I will be working for the man putting in my servant time for a year or so.

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
I offer a lifestyle everyone is worthy of and longevity of style and comfort through my original knitwear and crochet fashions, accessories, and jewelry.

4. Where do you create?
I create everywhere! At home, in the car, at the studio. Wherever I go my needles, hooks, and yarn go with me.

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from God, texture, color, what’s going on socially and environmentally in the world, mood, emotion, and inspirations from others.

6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
I learned crochet from my grandmother when I was eight years of age and just took it and ran with it. When she saw that I caught on well, she would have me sit with her and show me new things. We still share our love for crocheting even now. After avoiding knitting for some years, I finally taught myself how to knit about two years ago. I am so glad that I learned crochet first because I was able to pick up on knitting very easily. I recommend that to anyone who wants to learn both or just knitting, to learn the basics of crochet first.

7. How do you promote your wares?
I do a lot of promoting on Etsy of course, Myspace, email blast and mailing lists. I’ve had a local following for some time now and am so grateful to those who have grown with me. They are so happy to see that I am online now. I also do a lot of word of mouth wherever I go. Business cards, postcards, promotional items, anything that they can make use of and remember me by. I am a walking advertisement at all times. I used to have my whole living room set up as my physical boutique, but have now move everything to my back room, except for my hats and a few displays. This way when people enter my home they can still see what I do. They ask if I make the hats and I say yes and then tell them about etsy!

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
Wow, great question. I learned first that having a gift or many gifts and talents is so important because if you put those talents to use you never solely have to rely on anyone or any job. Being shy I’ve learned how to sell to people where before I was uncomfortable selling things to people. I’ve learned buying patterns of different ethnic groups. I took a Branding and Marketing course that really showed me why I wanted to create the business that I have. When I say Raghouse International is a lifestyle, it’s about living life with texture, comfort and a healthy glow. It’s in what you wear, what you eat, and the art that you love. This is the mood that I offer to people. I truly learned that you have to stand strong against the people who don’t believe that crafting can be highly profitable or even believe that what I do will go anywhere. I learned to be the example to those who are afraid to go after what is really inside of them because they believe that they will fail. I find myself telling others all the time that if you believe you will not fail. I never ever thought I would fail and by my example people are inspired.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
Yes. I would say first to be confident and have determination. You always have to motivate yourself even when there is no one around to motivate. Without confidence, motivation, and determination you will have not will to move forward and you have to have that. That is the first thing. Be very patient with your craft whatever it may be. Never think that you have arrived with the best product because there is always, always room for growth in your skill, just as I am still growing. Be humble always and don’t let your skill blow your head, especially if you are really, really good at what you do. Truly find out where you belong. So many people suggested ebay to me and I was so unsure about signing up there. I am glad that I waited because when I found etsy, I knew that this was where I belonged. This was my niche. I knew it. I felt in my heart and in my spirit and since opening my shop, etsy has been very good to me. So know in your heart that you are making the right move, going to the right marketplaces, festivals, and being in the right place even online. Know you market and brand yourself. It’s one thing to make something and say this is nice and it’s another to make something that the consumers will love. Listen to your customers because often times they see things that we can’t see from a consumer’s perspective.

10. Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here?
Oh yes. I am a huge lover of wood. I just don’t know what it is about wood. These are some great shops. Orno, Paradise Hill Designs, and Sketchbook. I also love all the Etsy Artists of Color.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March Madness Scavenger Hunt Is On!

Etsy Artists of Color Scavenger Hunt

Come play this week to win a basket with wonderful handcrafted items in a variety of media. Discover some great new artists and have fun along the way! You must be an Etsy member to win, both buyers and sellers are welcome! No purchase is necessary to win. Members of the Artists of Color Team are not eligible to win.

How to play?
Visit each of the participating EAOC shops listed and look through the pictures in their shop listings (recent sold items included). Some shops will contain one picture of a "letter" hiding in one of their shop listings. Search through the participating shops and jot down the "letter" and the name of the shop you have found the letter in.
After you have found all of the letters (15 total), then unscramble them to complete a word. When you think you have solved the puzzle, please convo me ( with your entry and your name, if you are correct your name will go into a drawing to win the prize basket. (Only one entry per member.)

You can also find these rules and the list of shops at Etsy Forums.

What's the prize?
Everything has been handcrafted by member artists. From the top going clockwise:

Reversible headband by Callidora
Golden crocheted earrings by Bklyn MOMOs
Kiwi magnolia soap and satin cream by The Ivory Magnolia
Four occasion greeting cards by Handcrafted by LaMar
Earrings and heart pendant by Marcia Palmer
Spring poker chip magnet by Ginger Lime
Coin earrings in a tin by Satin Doll Co.
Mother of pearl coin earrings by Jamilary
Snap clutch by Urbanknit
Small mosaic votive by Mosaics by AH

Contest ends at 12 midnight EST, March 31th. All correct entries will be entered into a drawing and the winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, April 1st. The lucky winner will be contacted by ‘convo’ on Etsy and the results will be posted in the forums and on our team blog.

Good Luck!

Monday, March 24, 2008

No Sick or Vacation Days!

There's something I realized this past week…

There are no Sick Days, Vacations and /or days off when you are an artist or crafter.

I recently had a baby shower order of 70 invitations that needed to be done and like many of my male counter parts I waited almost to the last minute to get them done. These invites had a 2 fold flap front, nice sheer lace ribbon and acrylic pacifier.

Inside, I used vellum translucent paper with pink baby footprints. I added a pacifier and rattle stamp to the inside side flaps and vellum stickers.

Shortly after completing that order I had to quickly get myself together because I had a show coming up in the next week and a half. This being my first show and me myself initially being a shy person, wanted every card I brought to this show to be as close to perfect as I can get it. I mean I wanted my cards to look as good as if they were mass produced in some factory and sold everyday in stores. But as I said in my first statement,

There are no Sick Days, Vacations and /or days off when you are an artist or crafter.”

And the truth of this statement hit me hard one Wednesday. I had gotten so sick I could hardly move…but do you know how it feels to be unable to move and do something when your brain is running as fast as a locomotive? Well that was the case. My wife walked in from work and said, ‘Ah my baby’s sick?’ I nodded my head with sad puppy eyes, and then she turned around and said to me, ‘You know there are NO SICK or VACATION DAYS for an artist! So you need to take a nap and get back to work, your show is in 3 days!’

(Sorry not the greatest picture taker)

Well I made it to my show with 88 pieces of inventory, no where near what my entire collection consists of. I’m glad to say, for it being my first show, and a show of its kind, I did very well for myself. I pitched my FREE customization, my FREE personalization and my VERY, VERY LOW prices! HOORRAY! Yes, that is what the little man inside my brain said then and is still sitting on a cloud saying it now!

My point here is that no matter what, you have to push until something happens! When there is something out there that you want, you have to go out there and get it. Yes sometimes you have to take a back seat to yourself, but the benefits you will reap will be worth it at the end….So keep on keepin’ on, and always believe in yourself, because if you don’t believe, who will?

by LaMar Lynch of Handcrafted by LaMar

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spotlight On....

Dedra Harvin of The Ivory Magnolia!

Dee is one of our Team Leaders! She is dedicated and talented member of Artists of Color, making many things happen behind the scenes. There are many fantastically scented items in her shop! The Ivory Magnolia brings paradise to the body with natural, high quality, 100% handmade bath and body products. Her products do not contain harsh detergents that cause skin irritations, but are loaded with natural ingredients guaranteed to soften, nourish, and recondition the skin. Luxurious products made fresh and delivered to your front door. Here's your chance to learn about the woman behind the fabulous smells.

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
My name is Dedra, but online I prefer to be called Dee. I'm a pastor's wife and stay-at-home-mother of 3 beautiful children. I’m a former tax auditor with 10+ years of experience in fashion merchandising, management, and consulting.

2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are you doing currently?
Being creative is my life. In addition to my bath & body business, I make floral arrangements, gifts baskets, t-shirts, paper goods, pillows, and handbags.

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
I make all kinds of bath & body treats including body lotions, creams, sugar scrubs, soaps, and sprays.

4. Where do you create?
I have a butler’s serving pantry that I have turned into a laboratory. It’s a small area but it works for now. Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford a butler.

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Being a southern gal, I am inspired by food and nature. I’ve often thought about making “grits and grass” soaps and “bacon & fried chicken” body creams.

6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
It all started out of on my own curiosities and I began experimenting with items in my kitchen. My first creation: a sugar scrub made with olive oil, sugar, and green tea leaves from a tea bag! It smelled horrible, but worked great! Not only did my skin look and feel better...but I felt better! I began to research and experiment with other natural oils from a local fresh market. I soon connected with a local bath & body supplier, who shared with me a wealth of knowledge on formulating and preservation. I’ve been doing this for almost 2 years, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

7. How do you promote your wares?
Word-of-mouth, giving samples to strangers, freebies to family & friends, and handing out business cards everywhere.

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
Organization is a must.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
Take clear, sharp pictures, print your own labels, get free/low cost promo material from, and provide quality customer service.

10.Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here? is an awesome artist in Costa Rica who makes professional products to help you promote your shop. is a fellow South Carolinian whose artwork I adore.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Spotlight On....

Dolapo James of Urban Knit!

Her aim is to create new and interesting accessories for those with a taste for something different. Each hand-made piece is created to give the wearer the satisfaction of uniqueness and at the same time provide everyday accessories to complement various styles and reinforce the spirit of individuality. Her current collection consists of one-off bags and scarves that have all been lovingly made.

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
My name is Dolapo James. I am Nigerian. I grew up in Lagos currently work in London (England) as an architect.

2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are doing currently?
I have a fantasy creative life and then a real creative life! I am an architect.

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
I hand-knit and crochet chunky woolen scarves, scarflettes and neck warmers. I also make bags and purses from fabrics sourced in Nigeria; mainly batiks, prints and 'aso-oke'. I recently opened a new etsy store where I sell items made out of repurposed paper and plastic. These are made into envelopes, bags and so on.

4. Where do you create?
In my tiny little living room, I dream about having a studio someday soon.

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everything really: animation, city living, cartoons, reading, movies, TV, different cultures, music. Anything really.

6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
My mum taught me how to knit and crochet when I was little. I taught myself to sew (still learning) and try to learn from people around me who know how to make things.

7. How do you promote your wares?
On Myspace and Flickr. I blog. Sometimes I take out paid advertising on design blogs and Indie magazines. I have a Facebook group which consists mainly of friends but there is nothing like word of mouth!

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
Perseverance. It is absolutely essential.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
Try new things; learn from other people who are more experienced and experiment!

10.Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here?
My favs list is way too long but a few are: Sugarcane, because she was a great help when I started selling on etsy; Bombus, because I love comics and maps; Mamastaub, cool buttons; Mediumcontrol for great customer service; Jamtartbaby, and many many more.

A note from the interviewer: Next week is Dolapo's birthday! Wish her a great day and celebrate with her by buying a little something for yourself :)


Monday, March 10, 2008

Add a Little Color to Your Easter

These Team Members are offering some wonderful specials on their handcrafted items. Buy for yourself or as a gift for someone on Easter. Put a little Spring in your life - buy handmade!

Ayana Creations Lily BOGO - buy one get one 1/2 off
Satin Doll & Co. Bogo: Buy One,Get the Second 1/2 Half
OrigamiCentral Buy Two, Get the 3rd item free!
REiGN 15% of All Handbags
Callidora Custom Handbag orders rcv Free headband or holder
quejimenez free shipping and 10 % off pastel colors (not to be combined with st. patty's)

Please mention code EASTER to receive these specials.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spotlight on.....

Mimi of Ana Aya & Company!

Mimi was born and raised in sunny Southern California. A woman of many talents... mama to 4, designer, writer, founder & creator behind Ana Aya & Co.

Ana Aya & Co. was in development for 2 years before making it's grand debut in January of 2008. Ana Aya & Co. strives to offer an affordable alternative to commercial beauty products in a personalized range of colors and scents to allow your natural beauty and individuality to glisten through.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Vintage Art of French Beading

By Crystal Leslie of Ayana Creations

There are two methods that can be used to make beaded flowers, the Victorian method, also known as the English or Russian method, and the French method. The main difference is that in the Victorian method, the thread or wire passes through each bead twice or more, and the wire passes from row to row on the sides of the petal or leaf. With the French method, the wire passes through each bead only once, and passes from row to row in the center of the individual piece.

I use the French beading method to create my flowers. Thousands of tiny seed beads are strung onto flexible wire and shaped into various flower components. These parts come to life when they are crafted to make flowers and foliage. Next the stems are wrapped with floral tape. The stems can also be wrapped embroidery thread or beads for a more dramatic effect. I prefer embroidery floss because it has a silky finish.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Save Some Green!

Etsy Artists of Color Team is celebrating the color green in honor of St. Patrick's Day! The following shops are honoring these promotions now through March 17, 2008. Save some green on your green. Just mention code EAOC GREEN during checkout and wait for an adjusted invoice. - 10% off anything green - Free gift with every purchase - 17% off any Cucumber Melon, Lime Mint, or Kiwi item - Free shipping throughout the continental US - Free pair of $10 earrings with a $65 purchase (total before shipping) - 10% off anything green - 15% off anything green

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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