Friday, January 29

Saturday Shopping!

What a better thing to do on a Saturday, then to shop! I love to browse around the net looking for items to add to my wish list. I thought it would be fun to include those here. Not only the items I like, but a little bio about each of the artist who created them. I am on the art sites a lot...and I do mean a lot (just ask Ky the Amazing) When I found an item I liked I bookmarked it, then asked the Artisan/Crafters to tell me a bit about themselves. I’ve not edited the responses, nor did I give them any sort of direction- just asked for 500 or so words telling us all a little bit about themselves. Personally I have loved reading the bios and hope you do too. I do not endorse any of them personally of course, I just can’t do that. But I have found them all to be very friendly and wouldn’t hesitate to click the buy button. You can get to their stores by clicking the store name!

Be sure to come back next week. I will have more! This week I brought you 10 items from my wish list, next Saturday I will bring you 5 more!


The Bumpkin

P.S. Don’t forget to check Huckleberry Bumpkins Folk Art while you’re shopping! *wink*


COOL STRAPS (please see the ad on this page!!!)

Custom guitar strap artisan, Terri Hearne of Cool Straps Custom Handmade Guitar Straps, has created a singular niche in the world of music accessories with her custom handmade fabric guitar straps. From monograms to palm trees, Terri is able to capture, through her fabrics, threads, beads, appliqués, and any number of creative devices, the images musicians want to convey to their audience.

Terri began making guitar straps in 1998 when her then 14-year-old son asked her to decorate his $5 Ernie Ball strap. After conducting a series of interviews and surveys of musicians, she developed a strap design to address their concerns about quality, construction, durability, functionality, and appearance. The result of those surveys is an intentionally over-engineered, extremely durable, absolutely unique guitar strap.

Terri’s strap foundation is a 6-foot long, 3-inch wide, 2000-pound-test commercial grade polypropylene strip. The 3-inch width addresses the issue of weight distribution on the shoulder, a major comfort consideration for guitarists. The 6-foot length addresses the concerns of bass players and tall guitarists who need a considerably longer strap. A decorative top fabric is based-stitched to the foundation and embroidery, beads, appliqués, pendants, jewels, or other ornamentation, are then applied to the top fabric to create the image her buyer wants or the image she has in her mind. The back of the strap is lined with complementing satin or rayon, slick materials that keep the strap from grabbing and bunching musicians’ shirts as they play.

Terri’s leather button tabs are unsurpassed in their strength and longevity. A common failure of conventional guitar straps is the eventual tearing of the single layer leather tab, which renders the strap completely unusable. Terri’s leather tab design has overcome that problem. Her preferred leather is an 8-inch length of suede that has been doubled over a commercial grade anchor bar. The two halves are glued with professional strength tanner’s glue, then double whip-stitched around the perimeter of the tab with heavy waxed leather sewing thread. While ordinary strap tabs are always black, Terri uses a variety of stained leathers—not only black but chocolate, brown, grey, and buckskin, creating a truly customized quality to the strap’s appearance.

All this attention to the quality of materials and construction, and the creative freedom that comes with a strap created utterly from scratch, does not overshadow the paramount consideration of cost. While Terri’s straps have been bought by well-known musicians, her heart is really for local musicians. With her two sons in their own band, Tailgunner Joe, Terri realizes how precious every dollar is to young, struggling musicians and how important confidence is when a musician steps onstage. That is, ultimately, what Terri wants to give her buyers, not just a great guitar strap but the sense of specialness every musician needs to succeed? Consequently, her straps are priced to be accessible to even the most modest budget. Musicians need not settle for the ordinary anymore when the extraordinary is available at Cool Straps Custom Handmade Guitar Straps.

Fantasy Clay

Tell me about yourself: I always hate this question. I don’t have much to tell, I’m Susan Averello, married to my college sweetie, still living in the same city where I was born, mom of 2 teenagers. I’m not really that exciting. I’m a little on the geeky side. I work, I eat, I sleep and in my spare time I am a polymer clay artist. I did however always like art. I drew, I painted, and I used bread dough, anything I could get my hands on. I was probably the only kid who looked forward to art classes.

I tried many mediums over the years, but about 10 years ago I found polymer clay, completely by accident. It moved me like nothing else did. The colors are spectacular and mixable and it is easy to use. It allows for so many possibilities. More than anything I like making more sculptural pieces. Making creations and figures are especially fun. I feel like they came to life in my hands; after a certain point they have their own personalities and I am just adding the finishing touches. I love making fantasy pieces because the rules are my own and I can go in any direction with how I want them to look. They are like little friends; each one is completely different being, even when I made similar items.

I like to keep expanding my repertoire. I started adding beaded embellishments to some and then tried steam punk, using gears and metallic’s for an old fashioned industrial look, most recently I have started making faux rock beads. I don’t stop with the older techniques; just add to what I already know. Each new technique just builds on what I already know. Part of keeping fresh is doing custom work. I always accept custom jobs, if I am capable of it. Customers can have great ideas of what they want, things I wouldn’t have tried unless someone requested it, either because I didn’t think of it or just let it go. Sometimes it is a brand new technique or item for me, other times it’s using a color scheme that hadn’t occurred to me for a type of piece. I keep myself open to new ideas where ever I can find them.

Carla & Crew

My name is Carla and my ornaments glow in the dark once they're exposed to light. I started making onaments for family and friends as gifts because when my kids were little I found myself divorced and couldn't afford gifts for family and friends. It took me a few months to figure out this idea that was in my head. After about 6 months, I took a box of them to work to show the ladies I was working with and they offered to buy them. A few years later I was working on a different project and ended up with glow in the dark glitter. I buy the glitter direct from the manufacturer to keep down on the cost of materials and buy in bulk as much as possible. I learned that buying in bulk keeps costs down when I was making bath & body products. (I still make them sometimes for personal use as well as a few wonderful customers that are spoiled, lol. So from time to time you will see some B&B items in my studio. For a few years B&B paid the bills and then the ornaments took over.) I'm a single mom of 2 teenagers that I home-school. My son is a senior this year and my daughter is a sophomore. They both help with the business if I need them to and they have time. This is my full time job.

At Christmas I have a kiosk that is shared with a friend at our local mall (it's a small mall compared to most but it's pretty busy at that time of the year) and we are right beside a craft consignment store near JCPenneys so we get a good amount of traffic. We're there from a few days before Thanksgiving all the way through to Christmas eve, 7 days a week.

There were several customers asking me if there was any way I could do personal photos so after about 2 years and spending more money than I care to admit to, I figured out a way to make them. They take quite a bit more time to make but they are so much more personal than any stock design ever could be. At the mall we got orders for over 200 custom ornaments. (I stopped taking orders about a week before 'normal' because I wanted to make sure they could ALL be done in time for Christmas.) Last year I think I figured we made over 6,500 ornaments (I won't tell you how many were broken on purpose because I didn't like the way they looked but I have standards that they have to meet before I'll even try to sell them) and of course since they're glass we usually break a couple in transport from 1 show to the next no matter how hard we try.

When we make Awareness Ribbon ornaments we donate a set amount to that charity, for example, 2 years ago I made 12 dozen Breast Cancer Awareness ornaments and donated $144 to Relay for Life. We have a growing number of Ribbon designs now with more coming soon.

KS Inspirations

My name is Kayla Sparacino. I’m married and the mother of a toddler, as well as a full time college student. My major is nursing but plan to graduate with a degree in history as well. I work in my room while watching movies often with my son. We can’t get enough “Fraggles”. I’m not sure there is one thing to define me. I’m a mother, wife, I make jewelry and I love old trans ams! I make jewelry that I wished I could find and never could. My family helps at times. My husband likes the fact that I have a hobby that uses tools and he will find those for me and surprise me with them. My son looks at several items and tells me what he thinks they look like. I have many ideas that have come from that. I live with my husband, son, grandmother, three cats, dog and even some fish in a very rural area of central Kentucky now. I am very secluded and surrounded by nature. It inspires me more and more. I’ve lived in four other states before this. We moved here because of the better job selection. I learned my craft from a few places and my grandmother first. She and I both do a fair amount of embroidery, and knitting for that matter. She got me started a few years ago with bead weaving. I have since moved on and taught myself other skills. Mostly from looking at how things were made and what tools you can work with, then there is the majority that is from experimentation. That’s my favorite. I’ve been known to raid my husband’s tools to see what I can do with them. I even get my plain copper wire from left over car parts after he has worked on them. I really think handmade is very beneficial to society. Environmentally there is less waste, be it from machinery or supplies. Then you are directly helping the individual that made the item, and getting skilled work. I’m almost afraid to imagine where I would like to go with my jewelry next. Being able to live off my work is a dream! I started KSInspirations on Etsy as a way to fund a hobby. I would love to learn as many more techniques as possible and maybe incorporate more skills I already have into my work. The best advice I can give is to experiment and don’t give up. The more you experiment the easier it will be to find that little detail to set you apart from the others. And it is the most fun. Don’t be afraid to ask small children what they think. They will tell the truth. They know pretty when they see it and not afraid to say something isn’t. Look for inspiration in the most obscure places. It seems to work.

GoldenPond Studio

MY name is Jessica Felix and my business is Golden Pond Studio. I am a Jewelry Designer who makes great quality designs that you can wear no matter what the occasion. I Have always loved jewelry for as long I as I can remember. I have always wanted to be a volcanologist... well since 3rd grade... before that i wanted to be a marine biologist; needless to say I was a very odd child. I was always picking up rocks and toting them home. Instead of playing at the playground I would look in the gravel they had on it for hidden "treasures". Starting around Jr. year of high school I found a great little shop in the town where I worked at the time. It was a bead supply and jewelry shop. You can imagine what happened next.. yup that’s right I found out that I can make great jewelry with my amazing little "treasures" that I had collected over the years. Ever since that day I have never been able to get enough of it.. I love all types of designs and all types of mediums. My personal favorite is of course stones and natural items but I am really starting to expand my wirework.

I got my business name because of the pond at my mom’s house. The neighbor boy saw that some feeder goldfish got thrown out to die and he tried to save them by putting them in our pond. Well save them he did. It just so happens feeder goldfish are a low oxygen carp and guess what kind of pond we have, that’s right a low oxygen pond. My family is now the proud owners of hundreds of feeder goldfish is all colors and sizes.

I started my business by making jewelry for the people I worked with and it grew from there. What was once a way to make money on the side is now my full fledged business trying to make it out in the big wide world. I hopefully will be in business still when I am 90 because I truly do love to design and make unique pieces for others to enjoy. I find my inspiration for many of my designs from everyday things... while on a walk or playing with my dog, or just hanging out with my family or my guy. The world is endless when it comes to new ideas to design into jewelry.

By Camille

Tell me about yourself? My name is Camille Jacks Morgan and I am an obsessive compulsive creator. Originally from Jamaica, I suppose it's kind of interesting that I love to create scarves, wraps etc. After working with yarn for a while I started trying to crochet with other materials like wire and, leather and jute. I hold a B.F.A. in Computer Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, but I have often regretted not pursing my first design. My shops are "by Camille" on Artfire, "cmorgan3511" and "homebycamille" on Etsy. I also write for Most of my articles are for the Crafty Kids department.

Tell me about your craft/mediums. I have been obsessed with crocheting since I taught myself about 5 years ago. My new passion is Tunisian crochet. It's easier on my hands and the finished piece has the look of knitting. I also love creating jewelry. I'm partial to semi-precious stones, copper and silver. Oil painting and pastels are other mediums I hope to enjoy again sometime in the near future.

Why do you love your particular mediums? I derive tactile pleasure from handling yarn. Just walking down the aisle taking in the variety of textures and colors makes me giddy. I also enjoy the look of crocheted wire, in particular copper.

What are your influences? What doesn't influence me would be easier to answer! Designs pop into my head all the time just from looking at a flower, magazine or just about everything around me. My head hurts sometimes because I can't make things fast enough! So I have started to keep a notebook in my handbag for sketching.

Tell me about your most enjoyable experience with a customer. To date my most enjoyable experience was receiving an order for a moonlight mohair shawl I had made. A lady in Australia ordered it for her wedding. I was honored that she chose something I made to wear on her special day.

Any advice to new or young sellers just getting their feet wet? It's not easy and it doesn't happen overnight. I am constantly learning about new ways to promote my stores and I spend an inordinate amount of time doing so. I discovered the Forums on Artfire and have met so many wonderful, inspiring and helpful people. I have to be careful not to spend all day interacting with them.

Tell us a bit about the space you create in? How has it evolved since you started your craft? My space? That would be my dining table for sewing and my couch for crocheting. I keep a project bag in the car and crochet whenever I have to wait or while my daughter is swimming.

Who is the person most supportive of your craft business? How do they
support you? My close friend Gail. She has been feeding my yarn addiction for a while now. She finds cool yarn in Miami and mails them to me all the time. She also gives me input and ideas on my items

Time Creations

My name is Roberta Gauci, I am from Malta, which is a small island in europe. I was born in Malta and I really love my country. I am married and have a child of 4 years old, she seems that she will be loving jewllery as me. My husband supports me a lot, however sometimes he thinks I am a dreamer and I will never arrive at the top. However I really think that if you are determined and always move at your own pace you will do it.

I started making jewelery with a small pack of fimo clay, wow it has been a year now and if you see my first itmes now I see them horrible. I improved a lot and will improve more and more. At this moment I am having a Pandora crisies, I really got in love with these beads and so I am trying to make everything with these fatastic beads. You can see some of my works on my blog which is

I am doing this as a part-time job since I have also a full time job. My job is a secretary where sometimes it is really boring. Well since i got these Pandora craze, I am making my colleges spending money, since they are all my loyal clients. Well my wish is that one day I will open my fatastic shop not only online but also a real shop in Malta.

Craft Cove

I make all sorts of jewelry, beaded flowers and crafts. I have always just had a natural affinity for all types of crafts. At Craft Cove you will find chainmail jewelry, wire worked jewelry and beadwoven jewelry, as well as three dimensional beaded ornaments and charms. I also have another website called Flower Cove. Here I've listed everything to do with flowers. There are French Beaded flowers, Victorian beaded flowers and flower bouquets, as well as hair accessories, including barrettes and pins, and hair flowers and fascinators.I do all sorts of beadweaving, I think I've done nearly every sort there is, I find it much more satisfying than just stringing. Some of the weaves I do include, right angle weave, peyote, square stitch, brick stitch, herringbone weave, and many spiral ropes.I live in Churchill, Australia, and my name is Jenny Lawson.

Eruanna on Artifire

I work with a wide range of mediums and make prints as well as originals. My main area of focus is the fantasy genre and the human form, so much of my work contains themes like elves, fawns, merfolk, vampires and other creatures of legend, as well as a lot of whimsicalised nudity and celebration of the human body. I believe body image and the way society reacts to and feels about nudity and the body to be very important subjects that I seek to address as well as areas of sexuality and how we as people relate to each other, through my artwork seeking understanding and social comments. Femininity and masculinity and how such concepts relate to us and how those in turn relate to each other and how they are expressed, are very common themes in my work and I seek to perhaps inspire someone to give such subjects some thought. And, for all that, to have fun and not take myself too seriously, learning to laugh and to love and to share with others. My work is my expression to the world and a sharing of myself, seeking to broaden the mind of the viewer as well as my own.

Clack House Handmade Candles and Tarts
Hi! My name is Chasity Anne Clack. Owner of The Clack House Handmade Candles & Tarts. I'm a stay at home mom of 5 very energetic boys. Lol..You could say life can get pretty interesting! I hand pour candles & tarts right out of my very own candle kitchen here in South Georgia. I absolutely love it! It's so much fun bringing my ideas to life. As you can probably tell from my listings, I absolutely LOVE bakery scents. I welcome custom orders. If you see a listing but want to change the color or scent, let me know, I'll change any of my listings to suit your needs!! At The Clack House you will find one-of-a-kind 100% pure soy candles. All items are made to order and are "baked" fresh! I’ve been making and selling candles and tarts online for 5 years. I’ve recently joined Artfire and I am so excited for what’s in store.

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