Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Introducing Ginnie & Jen (Shabee Stitches)

This week, we're introducing two team members, Ginnie & Jen, who are the duo behind Shabee Stitches. This mother and daughter team joined Etsy in June 2007 and feature amazing wedding accessories in their shop. Here they are in their own words...

Two Crafty Gals:

What are your favorite materials to use in your crafts?
We use all sorts of textiles, trims, and beads. Our favorites are reusing and reclaiming vintage and antique textiles, trims and beads that would otherwise be thrown out or overlooked. We also use new fabrics, but the vintage and antiques have a life and a history. It was common in Victorian times and earlier to reuse bits of lace or fabric from those huge skirts the ladies wore and so we feel we are continuing a time honored tradition. We love to try and imagine the women that made these lovely things:what were their lives like? their families? was this made for a friend or for home use? how many hours did it take to create the item? I sometimes find myself creating a whole story for the item as I'm remaking it into something else.

How did you learn your craft or art?
I learned the basics of sewing at a very young age first from my grandmother and then in schools I attended. At the time I went, Home Economics was still being taught and I learned a great deal there. The rest was practice and self taught until I went back to college and took a part-time job in the theatre department making costumes. There I learned to craft many types of theatrical costumes and to rework existing costumes into new ones. Jen caught the bug after she finished college and began beading for fun and to relax. She's still perfecting her craft but has gotten quite good at beading and loves to work out complex color schemes for

Where do you find your inspiration?
Our inspirations come from a lot of places, but mostly the fabrics or trims themselves. We first decided to do this because when Jen got married nearly 2 years ago she wanted a wedding that was Lord of The Rings inspired and it was impossible to find very much that was pre-made. So I (Ginnie) decided that in order to make her wedding what she truly wanted, I would need to make everything-from clothing to tablecloths to gifts from scratch. It took a bit over a year but it was worth all the time it took. It was then that we learned how little is available for brides who have a unique or unusual and very personal vision of their special day.

About the Etsy Experience:

How did you find Etsy?
Finding Etsy was a complete accident. I was looking for a place to sell our wedding creations and happened on a blog about crafting and selling on Etsy and decided to check it out. We had a couple of sales on Ebay but I never thought that was quite the venue we wanted. Etsy provided us with a place to sell our handmade items along side other handmade items and that was just perfect for us.

Describe your Etsy experience.
Our experience over the last year with Etsy as a seller has been a very positive one. We feel fortunate to have found such a great group of artisans and we are very proud to be a part of the best crafting venue on the net!

All About AVL:

What’s the best thing about living in the Asheville area?
For us, first thing would have to be the weather. Coming from extreme Northern New York, 30 miles from the Canadian border, we experienced 200+ inches of snow every winter and temperatures in January and February as low as -34 including wind chill. Winters were very long-from October to April and snow has fallen as late as May. Asheville feels like endless summer to us. Summer here is a bit warmer than we experienced in New York but we love it. Second would be all the wonderful people we've met here. Warm, friendly and helpful.

What’s your impression of the local arts & crafts scene here?
We've found the arts and crafts scene here to be unlike anything we've experienced thus far. The eclectic mix, the incredible community support for arts and crafts, the encouragement of and for the creative process is just unbelievable. The opportunities to share both the finished product and the creative processes has made our experience of Asheville one that we hope to continue for a very long time.

Fun with Ginnie & Jen!

What’s your favorite movie? Actor/actress?
For Ginnie: I'm a born romantic so my favorites reflect that. Currently it's The Lake House, an old one from the 1970's-Harold and Maude and one non-romantic film-Mindwalk-a terrific film about a politician, a poet and a scientist who take a walk around the ruins of an old monastery and discuss the past and the future of science and humanity.
For Jen: Elizabethtown because it talks about being yourself and letting go of the past and having the courage to take chances.

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
For Ginnie: I'm currently reading Vincient Bugliosi's new book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. So far, I find it very interesting and I think many of his conclusions are spot on.
For Jen: Courage by Osho. I liked it because it showed me many things about myself that I was unaware of and it opened my eyes to the possibility of other choices.

If you'd like to see more of Jen & Ginnie's work, check out their Etsy shop by clicking on the Etsy mini below. Their work can also be found at: HubCityJazz, New Orleans, LA at http://www.hubcityjazz.shabeestitches.com/ and Legendary Stitches of Time at http://www.legendarystitchesoftime.ecrater.com/.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Introducing Betsy (wonderland5)

It's time to meet another team member: Betsy from wonderland5. An Etsy member since April 2006, Betsy features felt owls and swaddled babies, purses, pouches, aprons and baby gifts in her Etsy shop.

About Her Craft:

What are your favorite materials to use in your crafts?
I love felt and fabric of all kinds!

Where do you find your inspiration?
Right now I am really inspired by children's books from the sixties and seventies.

All About Her Work:

Describe your Etsy experience (as a buyer and/or seller).
It really seems like Etsy is one of those things where you really get out what you put into it. I have had a really great experience as a seller even though I have not sold very much. I really like that I can work on my shop when I have the chance but when I am totally swamped in other areas, I can let it slide a little and not feel too bad about it.

Do you work another job in addition to Etsy? If so, what is it?
I am a stay at home mom to two small children: Jack who is 2 and a half and Anna who is 6 months. The pay is lousy and the hours are terrible but I can't think of any other jobs I have had where I got to sing and dance and tickle my co-workers like I can these kids. So I guess I keep going with this gig for awhile.

How do you balance Etsy with other commitments?
It can be really hard because I find myself always underestimating how much time something will take--taking photos and writing and posting listings for example. But I have just found that it works best when I can break the tasks down to smaller parts and do a little bit when I have a minute.

Of Local Interest:

What’s the best thing about living in the Asheville area?
The weather! I grew up in Ohio and it is grey and cold in the winter and grey and hot in the summer--I love the blue skies here!

If someone is visiting the area, what is the one thing that they must see or do before they leave?
Eat at Early Girl on Wall Street. And go see my husband's photographs at the Woolworth Walk (shameless self-promotion)!
What is your favorite off-the-beaten path place or activity in Asheville?
Craft-on night at Cloth Fiber Workshop in Biltmore Village--second Monday of every month from 6-9. It's a varied cast of characters working on their own projects and chatting.

Random Betsy Facts:

What quote do you find yourself saying most often?
"Don't make more work for mommy" (the number one rule in our house)

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
This summer I have been really into reading novels about famous women in history including Anne Boleyn, Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth 1. I just finished a trilogy by Sandra Gulland about Josephine Bonaparte that I found really gripping.

To see more Betsy's fantastic work, check out her Etsy shop, wonderland5.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ashevillainous Etsy Homeshow

That's right, the time has finally come. This Saturday from 10 am till 4 pm, at 172 Richland Street in West Asheville, a baker's dozen of extremely talented craftspeople will join forces to fight the evil forces of Affluenza and pledge our allegiance to the nation of of Buy Handmade.

Yep, members of the Asheville Etsy team, and friends will be struttin' their stuff and selling their crafts, and you, yes you, are invited.

What does this mean? Crafty goodness abounding, free chocolate (courtesy of French Broad Luscious Chocolates), organic lemonade, pottery, art, goodie bags, handmade goat soap, hand-spun fiber, cloth diapers, up-cycled hand sewn clothing, jewelry, ephemera, live music, and everything else that you need to make your Saturday in Asheville a boot stompin' good ol' time. There is a rumor that there might be bluegrass covers of Ween songs.

Plus, there will be a raffle for a crafty basket of Etsy goodness!

Here are the magnificent makers of the crafty goodness who will be sharing their splendor with us or the day:








Here are directions:

From Haywood Road in West Asheville.
Head east toward downtown, turn left at Waynesville Rd, between Gas Up and Harvest Records.
Turn left again, almost immediately onto Wetswood Pl.
Go down until you come to the blinking caution light, and the Richland Street intersection. Turn left.
Look for the people with the fantastic crafts at 172.

From Haywood Road downtown/ in Riverarts district:
Go west across the Riverlink Bridge, toward West Asheville.
Turn right at the end of the bridge, on the other side of the river.
Turn left onto Waynesville, then immediately right onto Richland St.
Follow the street up the hill, and across Westwood, down the other side.
Look for 172 on the left hand side.

From the EarthFare parking lot:
Take the entrance ramp under the interstate as if you were going to go East on 240.
Turn left where the sign says "To Craven Street" just before merging onto 240.
Turn right at the T intersection of Westwood Place.
Turn right at the blinking caution light onto Richland Street.
Look for happy crafty people at 172.

Introducing Rachel (Debty Beautiful Beads)

Now that everyone's recovered from what was hopefully a safe and fun holiday weekend, it's time to introduce you to another team member. Rachel of Debty Beautiful Beads began her Etsy adventure early in 2007. Her shop features not only beaded jewelry, but decorative items as well, proving that her talents extend far beyond jewelry making.

About Her Crafts:

How long have you been making the items you sell on Etsy?
I have been doing some sort of arts and crafts that have been intended for gifts/selling for about 3-4 years now.

Where do you find your inspiration? How did you learn your craft or art?
I am a self-taught artist and I can get inspiration from just about anywhere. Family, God's everyday beautiful creations (like a sunset) or just flipping through magazines and books sometimes things will just hit me to combine things to make something completely unique.

On Her Etsy Experiences:

How did you find Etsy?
A friend of mine, her mother's best friend is a crafter and sells (or used to, not sure about now) on etsy and she told her about me trying to get started and just raved about etsy and demanded (lol) she tell me all about it.

Describe your Etsy experience (as a buyer and/or seller).

As a buyer its been fantastic. I've gotten some beautiful pieces and made some great friends. So far, knock on wood, I've not had a bad buying experience. On the selling side, it's been slower than I'd hoped. I knew I wouldn't get rich but most of my sells have all been BNR's instead of straight sells. So I've not really sold as much as I had wanted/expected. [Editor's note: If you're not familiar with Etsy, a BNR is a "Buy and Replace", a system by which you choose an item from a list, purchase it, and then get to add one of your items to that list.]

Do you have any advice to someone who is new to Etsy?
Don't expect to make 100 sales right off the bat. And join in groups and forums. The more active you are the more exposure you incur and the more awesome people you will meet.

On Asheville:

What's the best thing about living in the Asheville area?
I am actually in Franklin, Asheville is about 1 1/2 hours from me but I love going for the bookstores (I am such a bookworm!) and the food!

If someone is visiting the area, what is the one thing that they must see or do before they leave?
Well Barnes & Nobles is a must and then I love shopping the craft stores. It's limited in Franklin so it's a treat for me when in Asheville. And they HAVE to eat at Yoshida's.

What is your favorite off-the-beaten path place or activity in Asheville?
I'm really just now getting to know the "deeper" part of Asheville instead of just the mainstream areas I usually frequent. So I am looking forward to finding some of these places.

Random Fun:

In high school, you were voted (or should have been) mostly likely to… what?
Be a lawyer. I loved the law from my first field trip to the courthouse. And wanted to help people. I never made it to be a lawyer but was a paralegal for several years, which was much more suited to me than being a lawyer anyway.

What are your non-crafting hobbies?
Books, movies, computer and playing all sorts of dvd and board games with my family

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
I just finished the 2nd Odd Thomas book and am starting on the 3rd, by Dean Koontz, and they are absolutely FANTASTIC books.

To see more of Rachel's work, click on the images below to view her shop.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Introducing Jennifer (Merkaba Jewelry)

It's that time again - time to meet another fabulous member of the Asheville Etsy Street Team, Jennifer from Merkaba Jewelry. She began on her Etsy career in 2007, creating handcrafted jewelry using combinations of beads and metals.

On Her Craft:

What are your favorite materials to use in your crafts?
Sterling silver, copper, gemstones, lampwork glass beads, all beads really. And now I'm starting to make my own beads out of gourds.

How long have you been making the items you sell on Etsy?
I've been creating jewelry since college where I began a love affair with hemp and glass beads.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I'm inspired by many things...nature, friends, stories, my son.

Etsy/Business Related Questions:

How did you find Etsy?
I started off selling on eBay and got tired of competing with mass-produced items and the ever-increasing fees. Stumbled upon Etsy from recommendations from other crafty friends.

Is there a story behind your store name?
Merkaba has many meanings. It is a form of meditation and creating jewelry keeps me focused and keeps me very relaxed. I have a great husband who gives me the time I need to take off my *mom* hat for a little while and play with my wire and beads. I find it to be just what I need to keep me refreshed and ready to keep up with all my other roles in life.

Do you work another job in addition to Etsy?
If so, what is it? I am a stay-at-home mom to a fabulous little boy named Camden. It's a all-time job :)

Of Local Interest:

What's the best thing about living in the Asheville area?
The mountains, the climate, the people. I moved here over 6 years ago from Massachusetts and have loved every minute of it. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

What is your vote for best place to eat in Asheville?
Two Guys Hoagies. Mmmmm.

Random & Fun Questions:

What are your non-crafting hobbies?
Gardening, reading, and spending time with my husband, son, and two dogs.

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
I recently finished The Kite Runner, which is a must-read in my opinion.

What is your favorite movie?
Another vote for the Red Violin! Although I really like Songcatcher as well, which is about the origins of music from this area.

Want to see more of Jennifer's work? In addition to her Etsy shop, she also sells earrings at Greenlife and has pieces at Merrimon Galleries, both on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville. The NC Arboretum also has her work available for sale.