Sunday, August 30, 2009

Featured Shop: Wooly Red Rug

By Sara of Auntie B Online

I have a secret fantasy of living on a hobby farm. Of course I'm a total city girl and could never survive on a farm for all the flies, dust, and manure. But in my fantasy I'm dressed in my cute little jumper and mud boots, bucket and stool in hand, ready to milk some cows. Also on my farm would be hundreds and hundreds of sheep. I love sheep. They're so cute and woolly and they stick their little pink tongues out when they baa. In my fantasy I would shear the sheep and spin their wool into the most luxurious yarn ever seen.

Alas, I have no sheep and I don't know how to spin wool into yarn. But I do know someone who has taken the yarn made from the fluffy wool of my imaginary sheep and has created the most glorious pieces of art. Laurie Lausen. Her shop, Wooly Red Rug.

Laurie is a true master of her art. She knows how to dye and hook yarn into beautiful rugs, runners, and mats. She also hand-dyes wool fabrics and cotton threads. The colors are fabulous.

Check out this cute item: It's the Wool Lover's Journal; a journal cover made with hand-dyed fabrics and threads. Look, there's an applique of one of my sheep.




The Americana Hearts and Stars Runner is one of Laurie's original designs and I just love the primitive colors. Not only did she design it, she hooked it herself! What a woman.



Laurie did some more designing and hooking with this lovely chair pad featuring my fantasy sheep. She suggests the Hilltop Chair Pad can also be used as a table mat. Anything that is so pretty and can serve dual purposes is simply a must-have.


Laurie Lausen is such a gifted artist. She also has a really nice blog called Prairie's Edge Primitives. Wooly Red Rug is a wonderful place to pick up a little piece of that hobby-farm fantasy you might have. Thanks, Laurie, for fueling the fire.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun Friday Finds ~ Never Felt So Good!

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Never Felt So Good!
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these Minnesota shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): byrdandbelle, BathNBeads, FennelStudio, XOHandworks
Second Row (Left to Right): harvestmoonbyhand, VantasticDesigns, PlushroomSoup, glorioushats
Third Row (Left to Right): pinswithfury, LovelyMPLS, CreativeSundries, MichelleAndHerDog
Fourth Row (Left to Right): SecretSnowbird, KitLane, TranquilNook, infraredstudio

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...



My friends at Ferndale Market in Cannon Falls recently announced their joy that the word Locavore had been added to the 2009 Collegiate Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In the latest edition of this dictionary Locavore is defined as “one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible”. Since Ferndale is a market focused on selling local grown, raised or produced foods, I can understand their excitement. But it made me think – what is one who uses other locally created products like those found on Etsy made by the members of the HandmadeMN team called? Is there a name for those of us who buy local products from local companies or artisans whenever possible? Anybody know the answer? If there isn't one, maybe we should create one.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to School with Handmade Style

It's back to school season, as you can see by all the displays in every store you go to these days. Why not shop handmade for your back to school supplies?

Everyone needs a book bag.








Indigo denim pleated school bag by hippopotamus gifts










Rectangled in red bag by pinswithfury





Or something to keep your pencils in.












One-of-a-kind notebooks for jotting down all those flashes of brilliance.






Red Label Memo Pad by TC Witchcraft Factory
























Mr. Clever Note Pad by Scissor Savvy




And, most importantly, a super cute bag to bring your lunch in.








Sunday, August 23, 2009

HandmadeMN Giveaway - From Out of The Cracks

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

Congratulations to Lynn, last week's giveaway winner! Lynn runs Midnightcoiler on Etsy. Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!


Today we bring you a beautiful red coral beaded bracelet from Cheri of From Out of The Cracks. Check out her shop for some beautiful jewelry!


Let Fall begin with this bold red coral and brass bracelet. Hand wrapped brass links bring together coral, bronzite, faceted jasper and brass beads with a red coral pendant. A great vintage bead, lots of detail and charms really bring this piece together. This bracelet has a very unique hammered brass hook and eye clap that will steal your heart. Will fit wrist 6 ¾ to 7 inch.


How to Enter:
Visit Cheri's shop on Etsy, pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

Both US and International residents are eligible!

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!


For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a Facebook fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, September 5th at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win


Friday, August 21, 2009

Fun Friday Finds ~ Around Here

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Around Here
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): auntiebonline, cayennepeppy, StephaniesStitchings, fuzfrenzy
Second Row (Left to Right): pinswithfury, greensquirrel, andreatedford, soaking
Third Row (Left to Right): ModernMeetsWhimsy, Crafterall, saffronsparrow, fromoutofthecracks
Fourth Row (Left to Right): notapotato, XOHandworks, BathNBeads, kellybot

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Natural Living for Families

by Ann Rinkenberger

Parents today have an abundant number of choices in raising their children. Barbara Patterson, a seasoned Waldorf teacher states:

"What may seem 'normal' or acceptable in society today is not necessarily what is 'healthy' for families and children."


Getting back to the basics - a more simple, relaxed lifestyle; open-ended toys made of natural materials; and healthy, home-cooked food enjoyed together as a family - is something I strive for with my family. Although it would be nice if every day looked like this, the reality is...it doesn't. However, it is something that I'm working towards.


In Beyond the Rainbow Bridge - Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven, the author writes:

"Children take into themselves everything they experience in the environment. Whatever is in children's environment will be in them. Whatever is in them will affect their physical and spiritual growth. By positively affecting your children, you are beginning to impact your grandchildren's lives!"



With that in mind, I browsed through handmadeMN members' items on Etsy, and found these items that would be great for families wanting a more natural lifestyle:


Yin-Yang Nelephant by DangerKittyDesigns



Baby Love Felted Soap by BathNBeads



Super Absorbent Burp Cloths by TheHobbyRoom


BaaBaa Black Sheep and 3 Bags of Wool by harvestmoonbyhand



Everything in a Laundry Soap but Less by JulieMeyer



Prim Patches Hooked Runner by woolyredrug

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

July Challenge Winner

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

Congratulations to Ann of Harvest Moon by Hand for winning July's HandmadeMN monthly challenge!

Thanks to all who participated in this month's challenge, and stay tuned for some great "Purple Rain" entries in the August challenge!



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Is Your Favorite Quote?

By Michelle of Evie's Tool Emporium

What is your favorite quote and how has it influenced your life?
This is my favorite quote and how it has influenced me!


You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

The last sentence in particular has influenced my life on more than one occasion. When I think there is something I cannot do, I try even harder to accomplish it. It is as if that sentence is a challenge in my life to be even more than I think I can be. The calm after the storm if you will!

Please leave your favorite quote and how it has influenced you in the comment section.

Thank you in advance for sharing!

Michelle-

Sunday, August 16, 2009

*Faves* The Right Tools and Talent

Browsing through the favorites from HandmadeMN members, I came across two Etsy shops that sell hand-tooled leather goods. "Moxieandoliver" is one of fromotofthecracks favorite sellers, and "brigit" is one of StarglowStudio's favorites.


Doing an Etsy search for "tooled leather" I also found an Etsy shop located in right in Minneapolis, Minnesota--"manitobagifts."


Interestingly, these three Etsy shops span coast to coast--moxieandoliver in Seattle, WA, brigit in Sewell NJ, and of course, manitobagifts, located right here in Minnesota!


These are a few of my favorites from the favorites and the search. =)


KEY and LINKS

A. Personalized Initial Keychain by sunrising (Great "guy" gifts are always hard to find.)

B. Leather Hair Barrettes by brigit (Perfect Boho accessory)

C. Tooled Leather Belt by brigit (Another great "guy" gift)

D. Spring Green Pouch Bag by manitobagifts (Green that goes with everything!)

E. Ginger Big Big Big Purse bymoxieandoliver (Drool, the picture says it all.)

F. Bungle in the Jungle Hand Tooled Leather Wallet by shootfromcanada ("A little tribute to Jethro Tull")

G. Sakura Steampunk Garden Purse Wallet by moxieandoliver (A beautiful work of art!)

H. Revival Hand Tooled Leather Shoulder Bag by CopperSpringsLeather (Classic)

I. Leather Guitar Strap with Lambs Wool Shoulder Strap by WTLeather (I want one of these.)

J. Tooled Leather Antique Brown Eyeglass Case by manitobagifts (Lovely tooling)

K. Hand Tooled Leather Flyswatter by brigit (Great hostess gift for someone who has a cabin!)

L. Spring Tara Purse Wallet by moxieandoliver (Another beautiful piece)

M. SmokeyWallet with you own custom quote branded onto the outside by moxieandoliver (This is a wow!)

N. Woody Wallet by moxieandoliver (For the guy that appreciates quality and craftspersonship)

O. Tooled Leather Cell Phone Case in Emerald Green by manitobagifts (I love the green.)

P. Tooled Leather Plains Flower Leather Cuff Bracelet by RHolmesCustomLeather (Forget the tatoo, wear this.)



Friday, August 14, 2009

Fun Friday Finds ~ Give a HOOT, Don't Pollute!

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Give a HOOT, Don't Pollute!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): ShaggyBaggy, TheCozyCorsetCuff, WildDogStudio, JulieMeyer
Second Row (Left to Right): ElizabethHurley, XOHandworks, Fandangled, elylow
Third Row (Left to Right): CrazyBusy, saffronsparrow, scissorsavvy, SteampunkVintage
Fourth Row (Left to Right): kellybot, oddartist, tinab76, harvestmoonbyhand

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Handmade for the Foodie

Handmade items perfect for those who love to cook and entertain.

Handmade for the Foodie

Tall Fabric Bowl by Byrd & Belle
Row 2: Sandwich & Snack Bag Set by Julie Meyer
Row 3: Path of Fallen Leaves Sushi Set by Meghan Elizabeth Pottery
Single Serving Berry Bowl by Sue Pariseau Pottery
Row 4: Paris circa 1740 Coaster Set by Gertie Byrd

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Featured Shop: Sterling Sun Jewelry



At HandmadeMN there are numerous jewelry makers, all with outstanding talent. Today I'm admiring the work of Kerri Norman of Sterling Sun Jewelry.



Kerri has such an simple and elegant way of design. Sterling Sun Jewelry is brand new, but it is clear Kerri has been working with metals and stones for a very long time.

This necklace is so intriguing with its asymmetry; the beads and chains have been precisely placed to hang evenly despite its lack of mirror image design.


Asymmetrical Gold & Lapis Colored Beaded Necklace



I really like this next one. Kerri claims to have gone through "an eye theme" for a while. This pendant looks like exotic sorrow to me. Stunning.





Kerri's work is breathtaking. And besides having so much talent, she's really, really nice. To see more, visit Sterling Sun Jewelry.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Stars Apon Thars

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

Congratulations to Jessica, who was last week's giveaway winner! Jessica runs Crazy Daisies Designs on Etsy. Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this weeks giveaway!


Today we bring you "George", from Denise of Stars Apon Thars. Check out her blog to see her latest needle felted critters (she'll be listing them in her shop soon!) If you scroll towards the bottom you can see a slide show. They are so cute!



George is 6" of 100% needle felted merino wool and took a bit over 6 hours to make. He is wonderfully soft to the touch and very cuddly, but do not let him fall into the paws or teeth of animals or young kids . What is he? Denise calls her animals "Franken-critters", as they are a blending of different animal features. Technically, this would make him a Chimera. He doesn't mind a spot cleaning with a wet washcloth but is not fond of being submerged (he is part cat after all). He does enjoy a nice blow drying on low/cool setting to fluff up his fuzzy bits and get off any dust.


How to Enter:
Visit Denise's blog, peruse her posts or scroll to the bottom to see a slide show of her fun needle felting. Pick a favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

For this giveaway you must be a US resident.

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!


For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a Facebook fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, August 22th at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win


Friday, August 7, 2009

Fun Friday Finds ~ Got this in the bag!

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Got this in the bag!
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): pinswithfury, XOHandworks, elylow, harvestmoonbyhand
Second Row (Left to Right): maryellenscrafts, cayennepeppy, byrdandbelle, palettepassion
Third Row (Left to Right): FennelStudio, JulieMeyer, ShaggyBaggy, retrovertigo
Fourth Row (Left to Right): BathNBeads, illoominations, notapotato, lunafeliz

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So you want to start selling at shows - Part 2

Okay, you’ve decided on a show(s) you’d like to try, made your applications and have been accepted. Now what? Well, I think you’ve got a few business items to take care of if you haven’t done so already.

Task 1

Consider opening a merchant account to accept credit cards at shows. Credit card processing is easy for us on Etsy, but at shows it’s a little more difficult. If you don’t already have a merchant account there are endless options available to you. Just as the options available to you vary, so do the costs associated with a merchant relationship. Do you want to use the old style imprinter to process? It’s cumbersome, but sometimes cheaper especially if you have limited access to electricity at many shows. Or you could go all out with an electronic processor that uses wireless communication. This is more expensive from the equipment standpoint, but a timesaver on the processing end. Because many of my shows are in locations where I don’t have wireless service, I use an imprinter and phone my card sales in at the end of the day.





Many trade associations, councils or organizations have a partnering relationship with a merchant bank to offer services at a reduced rate to members. My merchant account set up and processing had reduced fees from the bank because of my membership in the Potter’s Council. Most people who have merchant accounts agree that their sales increase because they’ve made a purchase more convenient for the overwhelming number of people who use credit and debit cards over other forms of payment. I like this little portable imprinter.




Task 2 -

The purpose of a show is to sell your products, but ultimately, you want to cultivate long term customer relationships. So you’ll want some promotional materials for the people who make purchases and those that browse so they can take information home with them. Some important items include are business cards, product care cards, upcoming event cards and a mailing list sign-up sheet.

What others have you seen from other vendors? I usually have a small table at the side of my booth for these items, including information about other people or products I promote. All these cards can be ordered from your local printer, office supply store or online so do some shopping and see what you find. I’m always amazed at the people who call me, sometimes a year or more later, because they kept a card they picked up at show.



Task 3 –

How are you going to package your products after a sale? Jewelry frequently is placed in a pretty box or draw string bag or large items like metal garden stakes could have a large plastic bag wrapped around them. Whatever your product, consider how you’d like to present it to the purchaser and order the materials necessary to do so. The size of my products vary from coaster size to 18” platters so I have three different size shopping bags with very secure handles and newsprint on a roll to wrap them safely for the purchaser to carry. Everybody’s needs here will be different, but consider your needs and then take time right now to order the appropriate supplies.





Are you overwhelmed yet? Sorry, that’s certainly not my intention, but I firmly believe you get what you put into a show. Presenting yourself and your product well will pay off if you’ve done your homework and chosen a show that is appropriate for your market.


Be well



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eight Questions with...Ann Rinkenberger



Meet Ann Rickenberger. Ann lives in beautiful Scandia, MN just 40 miles away from the Twin Cities. She is a stay-at-home mom of two daughters that she homeschools. Her etsy shop is called Harvest Moon By Hand. You can also find her on her Flickr site which shows pictures of family life, creative projects, and homeschooling. She also has a Harvest Moon By Hand blog.



1. What types of items do you sell in your store?

The most popular item in my store is by far the translucent window stars. These are some of the first items that I started with when I opened my store, and I continue to add new patterns and colors each month.

I also sell:

- art kits and supplies for creative people of all ages (children to adults);
- all-natural children’s toys (e.g., felt food, small stuffed animals that tie into children’s books);
- supplies for sewers and homeschoolers (e.g., fabric-covered buttons, needlebooks, patterns);
- handmade gift items (e.g., fabric gift bags, eco-friendly postcards, greeting cards featuring my photographs, Christmas ornaments); and
- educational supplies (e.g., postage stamp sets).

In addition to these items, I also do custom and wholesale orders based on what people see in my store or on my Flickr site.

2. Where do you get your inspiration?

I am inspired by the creative work that I see on Flickr and Etsy. I also like browsing through craft books and magazines that I check out of the library.

Living in a rural area, I’m always inspired by nature and wildlife.

Last, I’m inspired by my daughters. It’s interesting to see what they use when they play, what their play centers around, and what they tend to gravitate towards when we go shopping. I try to create all-natural items that they and other children would enjoy playing with and using.


3. Do you have a specific space where you do most of your work?

I have an office in my home where I do the business aspect of Harvest Moon by Hand. For origami and hand-embroidery, I tend to lay down so that my eyes are within 5-6” from my hands and the piece I’m working on. For items that I sew on the sewing machine, I sit at the dining room table.

4. When did you first start crafting?

As a child, I loved to color, draw, and do crafts. My parents were very supportive of creative expression, and registered me for summer school arts and craft classes. When I was junior high, I took a lot of art classes – including pottery, calligraphy, and rug making. Now as a mother, I enjoy crafting with my daughters and seeing their enthusiasm for expressing their creativity.

5. Do you do any crafts or art beyond what you sell?

In addition to origami (the window stars), hand-sewing and embroidery, and needlefelting which is represented in what I sell, I enjoy photography, cross-stitching, needlepoint, quilting, and decoupage. I’ve made ATCs, altered matchboxes, and other mixed-media work.


6. What are your favorite places to buy supplies?

My favorite place, by far, is the Minnesota Waldorf School. They have a wonderful selection of 100% wool felt, wool, and other natural supplies for making the items that I sell in my shop. Joann’s and Michaels are two stores I could spend hours in.

7. What is the best thing you've ever done to promote your Etsy store?

I try to stay visible by listing often, by listing a variety of items, and visiting the Forums. I also have business cards which I include with each order.

8. What other Etsy store(s) do you really like?

There’s so many wonderful stores on Etsy. These are some of the ones that I particularly like:

LeiLiLaLoo
Orit Dotan Dolls
Ruby Mountain Dye Works
Spirited Woodland
This and That from Japan
Urban Paisley Handmade
ZooLooNaturals

If you are a member of HandmadeMN & would like to be featured in Eight Questions email me at katbaro at yahoo dot com.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

July 2009 Challenge - Circus

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

This month's challenge theme was "Circus". Check out all the fabulous entries below, then scroll all the way to the bottom to vote for your favorite! The winner will recieve an advertising spot on our blog.

And watch next month for some fabulous entries celebrating "Purple Rain".

Voting ends at midnight on August 18.



Hand Painted Circus Brights Silk Scarf


Submitted by:
Palettepassion









Circus Wagon Wheels - Bottle Cap Magnets

Submitted by:
Auntie B Online











Carnival - Fine Silver Pendant

Submitted by:
Wild Dog Studio








Garland of Origami Window Stars

Submitted by:
Harvest Moon by Hand






Ringmaster Moustache


Submitted by:
Glorious Hats











I'm Off to Join the Circus

Submitted by:
Suz and Roo








Vote for Your Favorite Now!