Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time to Laugh

by Rita Wetzel of RitasCreationsOnETSY

Are you laughing? Did you know that laughter has its own set of benefits beyond the obvious of being happy and joyful at the moment? Laughter helps us cope with stressful situations. Laughter helps us to relax when tense. Laughter can decrease pain. Laughter makes us more socially approachable. Laughter can increase our energy levels. Laughter burns calories too - maybe we can all lose weight by laughing more!! In short, laughter causes chemical changes in our body which results in all of these benefits! (If you want to learn more, just google "benefits of laughing" and you will find a wealth of information!)

Our HandmadeMN Team Members are into laughter, which contributes to making this group of artists a fun, creative bunch to hang around! Lets start with Twistmo who designs vinyl decor art. I would be ready to laugh and sing when I entered this room!! Such joy and such fun and what a stress reliever!


And, of course, who wouldn't resist a little chuckle or two when seeing these "Laugh" magnets by WildAppleDesign? I'd put them on my refrigerator which means I would lose some weight before I reached in for an afternoon snack!



And I'm laughing right now as I look at redshoes26design's Mouthy Cake Birthday Card! I've got a friend who's birthday is coming up soon... hmmm....


And I can already feel the stress running away and the tension becoming only a distant reminder as I pick up Sacred Suds "Laughing Buddha" soap for a nice hot bath! I will be mellow for sure when I'm done!


Remember to laugh each and every day! Make it a goal! Chase away that stress and tension with a good laugh! Be happy. Be joyful. And remember, our HandmadeMN team members can help you out with that too!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

...a few of my favorite things...

Inspired by three of Pantone's New Colors for Spring 2011--
Coral Rose, Beeswax, and Regatta

$10.00
$16.00
$65.00
$22.00
$55.00
$35.00
$25.00
$12.00
$7.00
$32.00
$25.00

Click on the above images for the listings.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

HandmadeMN Giveaway - The Hobby Room

By Michelle of Evie's Tool Emporium

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

This week Andrea of The Hobby Room is giving away these gorgeous 4 Swarovski bobby pins.

These lovely Swarovski crystal bobby pins are a beautiful accessory for any woman or girl. Each measures approximately 2 1/4 inches long total, and each is made with quality bobby pins and Swarovski jewelry elements, attached with an industrial-grade metal adhesive.

How to Enter:

Visit Andrea's shop, pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it.

Open to US residents and Canadian residents.

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 HandmadeMN Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7. Follow thehobbyroom on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

9. Become Andrea's Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, April 9th, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!
HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fun Friday Finds ~ A Handmade Flower Garden (Part II)

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

A Handmade Flower Garden 
(Part II)
(Click on the view Etsy Treasury!)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below

First Row (Left to Right): choosingbeauty, sparkflight, ArtyDidact, STELLAandHODGE
Second Row (Left to Right): Crafterall, greensquirrel, SteampunkVintage, yourssincerelygifts
Third Row (Left to Right): MaryLittfin, OdodoOriginals, JuJuBeesBoutique, Trigo


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

VintageMN

by Jami Klehr, Sweet Baby Dolly

Warm up with some vintage on this c-c-cold Minnesota day.

I guess some things never change.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Featured Shop ~ Cindy Lindgren

By Sara of Auntie B's Wax

According to Wikipedia, the "Arts and Crafts movement advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration." The Arts and Crafts movement is also the inspiration Cindy Lindgren uses in her art.

Cindy's shop is full of botanicals and things of nature. At this time she offers her illustrations in the forms of prints, cards, and rugs.



The palette Cindy uses has a calming sense to it. The designs are simple, yet hold the true essence of that which she illustrates. Who wouldn't love a friendly, hand-written note on these beautiful note cards?


And any room could be brightened up with a rug decorated with Cindy's design, like this one:


There are also textiles with Cindy's cheery illustrations available at her shop.

The shop of Cindy Lindgren is full of wonderful things to brighten up your life in a style reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts period. Check it out ~ I bet you'll be happier for it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Kellybean Kreations

By Jessica of Clay By Clay

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

This week Kelly of Kellybean Kreations is giving away this set of coasters.      

These lovely wolf coasters were made with resin, a wolf head drawing, and are backed with felt to protect your furniture.  The giveaway is for a set of two coasters.  Perfect for a cabin, or any wolf-lovers home!

Open to US residents only.

How to Enter:

Visit Kellybean Kreations and pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments)

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 of HandmadeMN. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7.   Become a Facebook Fan of Kellybean Kreations.  Comment back here with your Facebook name.  Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

8.  Follow Kellybean Kreations on Twitter.  Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

Contest ends Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.
Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fun Friday Finds ~ For the Dogs

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

For the Dogs
(Click on the image to go to the Etsy Treasury!)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below

Third Row (Left to Right): ricksrelics, greensquirrel, westernartglass, ArtyDidact  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's Your Favorite Minnesota Product?

Not too long back, Minnesota 2020, a progressive, non-partisan think tank, reported that 68 cents of every dollar you spend at a local independent business is re-circulated into the local economy. In contrast, when you spend $1 at a national chain only about 43 cents stays locally.

Besides all the wonderful Minnesota made items available from HandmadeMN
members, what are your favorite Minnesota made items?

Here are a few of mine:


Malt-O-Meal Cereals (my brother works there - we call him the marshmallow man because he puts the marshmallows in the Marshmallow Mateys)





Monday, March 14, 2011

VintageMN

By Jami Klehr of Honey Girl Vintage


An amazing vintage moment...
While taking her first steps, Baby Barbara paused to tweet about the latest give-away on HandmadeMN.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Rita's Creations On Etsy

By Michelle of Evie's Tool Emporium

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

This week Rita of Rita's Creations On Etsy is giving away this pretty trio of bags: a mini wallet, a zippered pouch, and a drawstring bag.

Trio of bags:a mini wallet, a zippered pouch, and a drawstring bag

This coordinated set of 3 bags are just what you need to keep your purse or briefcase organized. You will receive a mini wallet, a zippered pouch, and a drawstring bag. The outer fabric for all 3 is a red and white floral on black. The inner fabric for all 3 is a black and white floral on a red background.

Mini Wallet
Need something to hold your credit cards? Your gift/reward cards? Your business cards? Wish you had something to hold your money when you want to run out without the purse (it easily tucks into your jeans/pants pocket)? Then this mini wallet/business card holder is for you. A stiff interfacing is used to give it body and it is secured with a pearl snap closure.

Zippered Pouch
The zippered pouch is perfect for keeping all of those small things in one place so they can be readily found. Use it for your keys, lipstick, lip balm, a small hand cream, nail clippers, or makeup. Some phones may fit into it. A small pack of kleenex can also be slipped into the pouch. The pouch closes with a zipper and has a metal clip on one end. The pouch is quilted with straight line quilting.

Drawstring Bag
The drawstring bag is another organization tool for your purse or briefcase. Keep meds or personal items in it. It's perfect too for PC, Phone, and Camera cords.

How to Enter:

Visit Rita's shop, pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it.

Open to US residents and Canadian residents.

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 HandmadeMN Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7. Follow Rita's blog Rita's Creative Nest. Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower.

8. Follow RitasCreations on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

9. Become Rita's Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, March 26th, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!
HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun Friday Finds ~ Biking Minnesota

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Biking Minnesota
 
(Click on image to be taken to the Etsy Treasury!)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): lindenleaf, ekate, MaryFosterCreative, paintedfishstudio
Third Row (Left to Right): AngelEllie, DreamingTreeCreation, ljbe, Crafterall
Fourth Row (Left to Right): SteampunkVintage, choosingbeauty, XOHandworks, wayfaringart.etsy.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Creative Process Interview with Michele Heidel

By Anna Hewitt from Seedling Design

This is part of a series that I am posting weekly on my blog. As an artist, crafter, or creator of any sort, it can be a bit isolated working alone in the studio. It is very inspiring to hear about other people's creative processes and to learn from their ideas. Today I bring you Michele Heidel of Fennel Studio in Rochester, MN. Michele makes a variety of fun and useful items from fabric and yarn. She uses the wonderful term soft goods to describe her pouches, pillows and more. No matter what you like to make, I think you will be inspired by her thoughts on creating her work. I love seeing how other people arrange their spaces and organize their materials and Michele has included a couple of photos of her studio. I am so glad to have the opportunity to share with you the wisdom of creative people like Michele.

First, just tell me a bit about yourself and your creative pursuits.
I live and work from my home in Rochester. I moved here from Chicago with my significant other, Steve, who teaches philosophy at the community college here. We have two friendly and energetic Labs who insist on going for walks during snowstorms.

I have a BA and MA in Fiber Arts from Eastern Illinois University, and while I was a student there I worked at the local art center. I loved the challenges of museum work, and it seemed like a more reliable career choice, so I went through the Arts Administration program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. And for over a decade I worked for several great arts organizations, but I didn’t really do much with my fiber arts during that time.

Then a couple years ago my day job didn’t seem as satisfying anymore. I enjoyed what I did, but I felt like something was missing. I started working with yarn and fabric in my spare time and realized that I was way overdue for tapping into my creative side. When the time was right, I left my museum job to focus on my creative work full-time.

In my non-studio time, I love to bake (and of course eat), read quirky books, pretend to enjoy the treadmills at the gym, and catch up on all the TV and movies I miss when I’m wedged deep in my studio. I also love photography and try to get out with my vintage film cameras when I can.

Tell us a little bit about your work space What do you like about it/why does it work well?
What would you change about it if you could?

We have a spare bedroom in our house that went from a storage area to a studio in one weekend. The walls were covered in awful dark brown paneling, which repainted in light green that the paint sample called “Fennel.” So when I thought about what to name my business, I went with the literal interpretation: Fennel Studio.

I love that it’s a space removed from the rest of the house. If I’m up against a deadline and it looks like a tornado hit, I can escape to another room for a break. And I’m used to leaving the house to go to work, and having a specific place I can call “the office” helps get me motivated.

If I could change anything, I’d want a large sink/washbasin area for hand dyeing, but that would involve some Harry Potter stuff on our plumbing. More realistically, I’d replace the beige carpet with something a little more fun yet durable. And maybe some shelving with doors to keep dust out and yarn in.

What motivates you to create?
I love having a goal. Sometimes it’s a show or a custom order to get me motivated. But really after working and creating every day, it becomes a habit – if I don’t get to my studio at some point in the day, I feel weird. And as I work on one thing, a little part of my brain is puzzling on other possibilities. I guess that means I have a hard time living in the now.

What stalls or inhibits your creative process?
Self-doubt! I second guess myself all the time, especially if I’ve been looking at work by other artists or craftspeople whose work I really admire. Sometimes instead of being inspired, I think that I’ll never be as talented or successful as they are. I have to remind myself that they had to start somewhere too, and probably had the same doubt I’m having now. Then I close my web browser and get back to work.

What or who helps to support your creative work?
Without Steve, I wouldn’t have had the confidence or ability to launch Fennel Studio. When I left my previous job I was also leaving behind a steady paycheck, health insurance, etc., and his support and trust was crucial. My friends have also been very supportive. They give me great feedback on my items and are always encouraging. They also are some of my best customers.

Can you tell me about a project or something you have made that you really love or find really exciting? I’m excited to work more with creating my own hand-dyed fabric and yarn. I did hand dyeing in college, and more recently for a few custom orders, and I remember just how much I love it. When we lived in Japan several years ago I learned shibori dyeing and I’m really excited to dive back to it and incorporate that into my new work.
Can you talk about some things that you have learned from mistakes or failures?
I have spent so much time making things that I thought were absolutely great but didn’t sell at all. So if I’m introducing a new product I keep it to a limited edition at first and pay attention to people’s reactions.

I also learned to stick to a budget. I can go overboard on supplies, thinking “Oh, I’ll use this for something someday!” I have a huge bin devoted to the someday somethings. Now I plan my projects like I would follow a recipe: if I have it, I’ll use it, and if I need something for the project, I’ll put that on my shopping list. No impulse buys anymore.

Tell me a little bit about your creative process – where do ideas come from? When do
you usually do your work? What about the final product?
Usually my ideas come from necessity. I need a small clutch for quick errands. Done! I need something to keep my neck and hands warm. Done! And when I’ve got the function down, I work on making the form as beautiful and artful as I can. Sometimes I get hit by ideas in the weirdest places. Like driving to Target, or unloading the dishwasher. But I’m a believer in that mental trick of thinking hard about a problem, then stopping, and the answer will come to you later.

Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for people who want to create more or people who are trying to earn a living from creating?My advice for anyone trying to earn a living from creating: remember that you need to be paid for your time and effort or you’re just spinning your wheels. I learned this after my first year of not pricing my work appropriately, and I still have a long way to go. A lot of customers and craftspeople, myself included, seem to forget the time it takes to create a unique item by hand, and they forget the intrinsic value (ethical and economic) that handmade local products have. Low prices not only devalue our work and the work of others, but they also prevent us from being confident in our work and making a living wage. We’re worth it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Seedling Design

By Jessica of Clay By Clay

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

This week Anna of Seedling Design is giving away this colorful market tote.    


This cotton tote bag is perfect for anyone who is dreaming of summer or loves veggies! The bag is made of colorful cotton with long straps and a small interior pocket. A carrot, beet and onion are appliqued on the front.  It is 17 inches tall by 14 inches wide with 11 inch handles.  The bag is very sturdy for toting anything from the market to whatever you need when you are on the go.

Open to US and International residents.

How to Enter:

Visit Seedling Design and pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments)

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 of HandmadeMN. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7.   Become a Facebook Fan of Seedling Design.  Comment back here with your Facebook name.  Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

8.  Follow Seedling Design's 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.


Contest ends Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.
Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fun Friday Finds ~ Irish Green

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Irish Green
(Click on image to be taken to the Etsy Treasury!)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): RedPineJewelryDesign, cayennepeppy, BathNBeads, ShaggyBaggy
Fourth Row (Left to Right): ChickaDeesigns, palettepassion, FennelStudio, westernartglass

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Challenge - Friendship


by Michelle of Gotthold Glass Studio

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

Voting ends at midnight on March 15.