Monday, May 15, 2017

Get to Know Etsy Studio

by Cindy Lindgren
Tribal Fox cross stitch pattern by Hop Stitch Designs
 Attention all you DIY fans, Etsy has created a new market just for you "makers". It showcases projects and craft supplies and also shares crafts project ideas. For example, the piece above is a digital download available to print immediately-no waiting for it to be mailed. The pattern includes a color image for reference, symbol charts and DMC floss list you'll need to complete the project. HandmadeMN member Hop Stitch Designs offers this design and many more in her shop.
I learned a lot by just searching all the different offerings available.The Etsy Studio categories you can click on below are:

  • Home &Hobby- home improvement, food, floral, candle making and more
  • Jewelry & Beauty-hat making, hair crafts, soap making, face painting, and tattooing
  • Paper, Party & Kids- papercraft, party & gifting, kids' crafts
  • Sculpting & Forming- pottery, molding & casting, carving, mosaic making,glass art and more
  • Sewing & Fiber-besides the obvious, it includes shoemaking and upholstery
  • Visual Arts-dyeing, batik, printmaking, photography, painting, calligraphy and more
  • Projects- a variety of projects, time required and skill level for each.
Let me highlight a few of our local suppliers for you.

Beautiful handspun Shetland wool by Kaleidoscope Kitty
Says Teal cotton duck fabric, Anna Tere Designs

MiniMushrooms grouping of Riley Blake designs is one of many fabrics she offers.
Earth Grown Crayons offers her unique variety of Handmade crayons under the Paper, Party & Kids category.
Squirrel design just one of many offered by Earth Grown Crayons.

Maybe you are a jewelry maker looking for charms, beads or other materials for your next project.
Our Deeders Beads can help you out.
Gold plated charms in the shape of Conch Sea Shells
Jewelry making tools are available from our HandmadeMN member's shop Evies Tool Emporium.
Jewelry saw and blades for the budding jewelry maker.
The Paper, Party & Kids category also includes stamping, bookbinding, origami and more.
TC Witchcraft Factory hand carved this Running Puppy rubber stamp.
Crafterall offers high quality paper scraps leftover from her paper projects that may be perfect for
your next paper projects. 

The Projects section was really fun to explore. They show a project and all the steps to make one yourself. What's really easy is they round up all the materials from various Etsy shops so you can order all or part of what you need in one step. 
How to Make a Paper Flower Spring Wreath

It's worth your time to explore what's available online in the new Etsy Studio. 


Monday, May 1, 2017

May is for Gardens and Moms, and for Home grown and Hand made

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Happy May Day! 

It's a time to dance around the May pole, deliver May baskets to neighbors and Grandma, and honor workers and the fight for the eight-hour workday.

Flower garden zipper pull by Relaine
But for the garden obsessed, like me, it really marks the beginning of the first month of intensive gardening, when we have the most energy and inspiration for getting out and making our little patch of earth beautiful again.

I've been a gardener for more than 40 years now, which has given me lots of opportunities to learn from my mistakes, and to develop an appreciation for both the practical and aesthetic aspects of gardening.

Here follow a few tips from the lessons I've learned, along with some Minnesota handmade items that complement them.

Hey! These would also make terrific Mother's Day gifts, wouldn't you know.

When perusing my garden journal this spring, I was reminded that I was a little slow to start picking Japanese beetles off my roses last year, which led to an increasingly difficult problem to manage. Reading about that reminds me to be watchful so I can address the problem as soon as it begins, and to take preventative measures, such as applying beneficial nematodes once the ground is warm enough.

That's just one reason why a garden journal can be one of your most useful tools, and this unique handmade journal/scrapbook made by TC Witchcraft Factory may be just what you need to get started.

Garden Journal from TC Witchcraft Factory

Glass honeybee from Western Art Glass
Gardens that welcome butterflies, bees, and other insects are not only more productive, but also more beautiful, as these dainty creatures hover and dance in the air like fairies while providing useful services such as pollinating our crops and patrolling for pests. Helpful insects will feel at home in your garden if you don't use pesticides, if you're not overly tidy (weeds in corners and in the lawn are a banquet for beneficials), and if you plant a variety of flowers, especially native ones.

Seeds and sometimes plants of a few Minnesota native and butterfly friendly flowers are available from The Owl Shop, which also sells vintage items for home and garden. This is rose milkweed, also known as swamp white milkweed, which is a more attractive and less weedy variety than the common milkweed, but just as appealing to monarchs. The seeds can be planted now, or check with the shop to see if they expect to have some plants ready soon.

Rose milkweed seeds are available from the Owl Shop
When I go out to weed, I carry two buckets: a small one with my tools, and a larger one for the weeds. But I don't really need all my tools every time, so I'm thinking that this cotton canvas half apron from Anna Terre Designs would come in very handy. It has three deep pockets for small tools, gloves, or seed packets, and a loop for holding a long-handled hand hoe. She has several of these in different patterns and fabrics.

Apron from Anna Terre Designs
And here's a weeding tip: Too overwhelmed to tackle the weeding in mid summer when it's hot? Just edge the garden instead. You'll be amazed by the illusion of tidiness it creates; I have received complements on some very weedy gardens with neatly defined edges.

After a session of digging and weeding, be sure to wash hands and arms throughly with soap and cold water to remove not just dirt, but also plant oils that can irritate skin or even cause a rash. Why cold water? To avoid opening pores and allowing those oils to penetrate the skin. That's what's recommended for treating exposure to poison ivy, but other plants can also cause dermatitis, depending on your particular skin sensitivities and the plants in your garden.

Unscented soap from Faith, Soaps and Love
Why not use a wholesome handmade soap to clean the grit and plant oils off your skin? This rich unscented soap from Faith, Soaps and Love is a fine choice for all skin types, although they also have herbal soaps if you prefer something a little fancier.

For extra good measure, you could follow that with some soothing Gardener's Balm from Bath-N-Beads.

Gardener's Balm from Bath & Beads

One of the joys of gardening is bringing in a bouquet of lovelies to enjoy indoors. Picking flowers also promotes more blooms, and in the case of spring bulbs, it directs the plant's efforts into nourishing its roots for next year instead of trying to turn blossoms into seeds. Also, picking large-blossomed flowers like peonies before a rain can save them from becoming too heavy for their stems to support (just be sure to hold peonies upside down and shake out the ants before bringing them inside).

Flowers in a Vase original watercolor by Kelly Newcomer
I have an older urban garden with an abundance of hostas and daylilies. I've removed a lot of them to make way for a greater variety of plants, but I do like keeping a few around, in part because  their leaves actually look very nice in floral arrangements.

After you've gathered a nice bouquet from your garden, show off your homegrown beauties in a handmade vase, such as this lovely oval ceramic one from Diane Gamm.

Vase by Dianne Gamm

Display individual stems and small bouquets in a unique bud vase made with Lake Superior stones from Naturally Unique Rock. 

Assorted bud vases from Naturally Unique Rock

Smaller bud vases, like this one by Nicole Baxter, are great for sweet little posies, as well as the daisies and dandelions that kids like to pick and give to Mom or Grandma.

Ceramic bud vase from N. Baxter Pottery

Come to think of it, a handmade vase filled with flowers, whether from your garden or the store, makes a very nice Mother's Day gift even for moms who don't garden.

And here's one more gardening tip especially for Minnesotans: No matter how warm and tempting the weather may be in early April, don't be fooled into jumping the season. And never ever plant tomatoes before Memorial Day weekend!

Trowel Tomato art print by Cindy Lindgren

Monday, April 24, 2017

Let’s Get Cooking with the HandmadeMN Etsy Team!

by Jeff Ambroz

Celebrity chefs are the new rock stars.  Ina Garten, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis draw huge television ratings, inspiring us to cook exciting new dishes in the comfort of our own homes.
With a little help from our HandmadeMN makers and artisans, you too can take part in the cooking-at-home trend.
Before you start preparing your all-star meal, put on a reversible apron from BethieAnnDesigns.  Functional and pretty, this apron will keep you clean in style.
This beautiful apron is reversible, and will add colorful flair to your kitchen endeavors.
A Minnesota-themed towel by lyriccol will add fun and cheer to your kitchen prep.  These cotton towels are made with non-toxic fabric paint, and also make a great hostess gift.
You can now show your state pride in the kitchen!
You’ll be honored to present your kitchen creations in this wood-fired, large striped serving bowl by suepariseaupottery.  Featuring non-toxic glazes, this piece will also serve as a lovely art piece in your kitchen and dining room for many years to come.
Enjoy this gorgeous bowl today, and leave a well-loved heirloom for the next generation, too.
Even gourmet chefs have a few time-saving, tasty tricks up their sleeves.  When you need a savory treat in a pinch, try a dip mix by SherriLynnsinPierz.  With 8 flavor options, you’ll always have something new for your guests to try.
Which flavor will you try first? Or will you mix 2 to make your own custom combo?
After all that work in the kitchen, you’ll also need to clean up.  Fortunately, clean up can be a lot more simple with this set of three floor cleaner covers by Pinnetta.  These covers will save you time and money, and they’re also a great eco-minded choice.
With this fun clean-up option, the kids may want to get involved, too!
Thank you to these skilled HandmadeMN makers for their functional and beautiful wares, and for inspiring us to finally try that new recipe we saw on TV.  Be sure to check out the many Etsy shops of HandmadeMN for even more fantastic ways to get cooking at home.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Auntie B's Wax and The Farmer's Daughter

Reposted by Cindy Lindgren

We love to share stories about local Etsy artisans and the local shops who sell their work.  HandmadeMN member Sara Werzel has her Auntie B's Wax products in The Farmer's Daughter shop in White Bear Lake. Recently the White Bear Lake Magazine did an article featuring their relationship and Sara wrote about it in her blog. 

Here is a link to Sara's blog with the article

Monday, April 17, 2017

Earth Day Friendly Collection

by Cindy Lindgen

With Earth Day approaching on Saturday, April 22nd, it is time to showcase our makers who use recycled materials in their work.

Recycled Fabric rescued from an Interior Designer studio before it hit the trash bin.
This stylish handbag was designed and sewn by
Margaret Mousley

Naturally Unique Rock is saving Earth's fresh water--one cube at a time. These Whisky Rocks are cut from waste granite from a countertop supplier in the St. Cloud area.

Would you believe this is made with strips of recycled blue plastic bags?  Susie B Handicraft crafted this all-season wreath. Think of all the bags saved from the landfill with this!

Gemnorde created this WaterSky statement necklace, taking it's inspiration from the Earth, is made of 90% recycled vintage beads, rhinestones and jewelry findings.

Regan's Brain says this pillow fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles!  What a great decor statement piece.

This reusable travel mug replaces paper cups and plastic bottles. It's also constructed out of  recycled oak by Just Turned. It's a win win.

These mini journals by Sharon's Compedium are made with a mix of upcycled and recycled materials. They're so tiny because the strips of paper are from other projects and the covers are from packaging. This one is made from a box of Yorkshire tea.

From scraps to scrumptious, these tiny metal dangles have been recycled into swinging earrings. Ejoy from Metaling Susie!

Cloth napkins are reusable and limit paper waste in your kitchen. Shaggy Baggy offers  a variety of styles in her Etsy shop.

How will you reduce, reuse and recycle this Earth Day?


Monday, April 3, 2017

Handmade Easter items from Minnesota

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Easter is both an ancient festival of spring and nature's awakening, and a deeply religious celebration for Christians, marking the resurrection of Christ. 

Everyone enjoys marking the occasion with symbolic and festive objects, as well as traditional foods like eggs and candy. Especially jelly beans and chocolate. ... And Peeps. ... And those almond M&Ms in pastel colors. ...

A flock of migrating peeps in the grass

Hello! Before we go too far astray on a sugar reverie, let's consider these excellent handmade-in-Minnesota items for gifting and celebrating in all those many ways. 

For religious observants, surely the most important symbol of the occasion is the empty cross.

From Metaling Susie, this rustic cross is suitable for men, women, girls or boys.  

This small pocket cross is sandblasted on Lake Superior stone by Naturally Unique Rock. It comes in a set of two and is perfect for Easter, confirmation, or other religious milestones.

Also symbolic of the resurrection is the Easter lily. Here's an elegant stylized version by Cindy Lindgren.

Gayle Thorsen of Gemnorde suggests that you forget about an Easter bonnet and instead don this delicate necklace-wreath of pink, rose, and cream flowers, with spring green rhinestones. It's made of 80 percent vintage findings and is truly one of a kind.

And let's not forget about the bunnies!

Little Wooden Wonders has a few different bunny toys and puzzles along with baby chick toys. Like this wooden bunny toy car.

While Sock Monkey Angel offers this adorable Peter Rabbit Sock Bunny; sure to bring a smile to anyone's face.

My Little Chickadee offers personalized commemorative Easter ornaments, in both pink and blue color schemes. 

Finally, here's a fun and durable alternative to the Easter basket from Nicole Baxter Pottery. This ceramic bowl is just begging to be filled with bright, colorful Easter eggs. (Or, might I point out, candy!) 


Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Quilter's Journey

by Cindy Lindgren

How does one become a quilter? The stories can be as different and beautiful as the quilts they create. This is HandmadeMN member, Nancy Hovland's story of her evolution.

"I believe every artist starts out at some point during their life with an interest and desire to create something beautiful. It could start at an early age, or later in life. It doesn't really matter if it's something you love to do. I used to think I wanted to pursue a career in art but after a failed attempt to get accepted into the National Art Honor Society in high school, I pretty much gave up. Not enough talent, I decided. At that point I wanted to draw, paint and other areas like that. Little did I understand that there are many ways to express creativity as well as so many opinions on what is good art.
Nancy Hovland
One thing I did start early and continued with for years was sewing. I first started out making Barbie clothes at about age 10. As if she needed more! My mother was willing to buy patterns for me and I used leftover scraps of fabric from the clothes she was making for me. That's another story. However, that's how I learned to read patterns and put something together.

I decided to make this into a business opportunity! I put the clothes into my Barbie closet/suitcase and went door to door trying to sell these fine items. Those were the days when people actually answered their doors. Those who did listen to my sales pitch looked at me with confusion and ultimately rejection. Oh well. My Aunt Opal was my champion and bought several Barbie clothing pieces from me, supposedly to give to my cousin. Everyone needs someone in their life like Aunt Opal.
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Fast forward to 1980 when I spotted a quilt store near my house. I so wanted to learn to quilt but was nervous. I wouldn't even go in the store so I called them instead! The woman who answered, asked if I could sew and after I said yes, she said then you can quilt. So I signed up for a class and since then continued to take many classes at many different shops. Materials, tools and methods have changed over the years.

In about 2009 I decided I didn't have enough room in my house to keep making quilts but I didn't want to stop. I read an article about Etsy in a quilt magazine and decided to open my own shop  called Hartford Avenue Quilts. In addition to selling my quilts on Etsy, I do art shows and continue to take classes. Like any skill, creating is a learning process that never stops, nor should it. I am now using a software that allows me to create my own designs. 

Over the years I've owned a total of four sewing machines. I love fabric, I love all kinds of styles and colors. I love to see how I can put something together that I think is beautiful. I also love quilt stores, quilt shows and quilt magazines and books. I have no plans to stop learning and creating."

You can meet Nancy and see (and buy) her quilts at St. Anthony Park Arts Festival on Saturday, June 3rd, in St. Paul. Here's more details at this link.