Monday, September 6, 2010

Life is Tough, Nuns are Tougher

I've long been a fan of kitsch.  Religious kitsch has its own special place in my heart since I grew up Catholic and my favorite aunt was a nun.

I found the perfect bracelet from Sister Mary Martha's Etsy shop Heaven Help Us.  You know, I'm pretty sure that Sister Mary Martha isn't really a nun.  I doubt that the Catholic church condones their nuns running a side business.  If they did, I'm sure we'd have far more common sights like nuns on the corner selling Holy Water Lemonade for 5 cents. I would buy that but the pope might frown.  But with a personal motto of "Life is tough.  Nuns are tougher." I don't think I can pass up the lure of the Jobs and Income Set of saints medallions bracelet. 

Sister Mary Martha specifically grouped these saints together for their beneficial effect on for finding a job and keeping a stable income.  Perhaps an unlikely grouping.  You wouldn't see these folks gathering after work for happy hour.  What would they talk about?  There's Pope John Paul II, who had the longest run in history for as a Pope (the stability factor;) St. Expeditus, the patron saint of things that need to get here in a hurry;  the Infant of Prague, the patron of financial stabilty; St. Martin de Caballero, who according to Sister Mary Martha "would give you the shirt off his back; and finally, St. Francis of Assisi, who made a close friend of Lady Poverty, just in case you need little help dealing with the fact that it's hard to make ends meet."

Perhaps an unlikely grouping.  You wouldn't see these folks gathering after work for happy hour.  What would they talk about?  But for a prayer bracelet, heck it just might work.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Member Story- Erin MacMahon

Here is Erin MacMahon's story:
My Etsy shop,, is a jewelry store with necklaces and earrings designed and created by me! I never intended to sell jewelry; I only started making my own when I realized how grossly overpriced most costume jewelry actually is – gemstone beads, plate metal chain and findings do not often add up to $200 – and that it wouldn't be too hard to replicate some of the designs I liked. My first attempt, about 6 months ago, came out pretty decently (or so I thought at the time – I recently found it and re-made it more professionally :). So I started making necklaces to give as gifts for birthdays, Mother's Day, etc – something personal and unique for my friends and relatives. Later, I made a Twilight-inspired necklace for myself, and then tried (unsuccessfully) to sell copies of it on eBay.

I am a business student now, but I'd always been in the interior design field. For years, I was in the sales department at different furniture stores and loved the design aspect, but hated being a salesperson – it really does change your personality over time, and not in the best way. Earlier this year, I finally had enough; I could not continue in sales any longer. I started looking for another job, but guess what? Employer see “salesperson” on your resume and want to give you yet another sales job – and believe me, they are all the same. So … the truth? I quit my job.

I know it's a crazy thing to do in this economy, but I had a plan. I gave one month notice and began to set up a home-based business: interior design, home staging for resale, personal chef, and housekeeping are just a few of the services I planned to offer. Fast forward two months, and I had gotten nowhere. Zero calls, emails, and clients. My savings were gone and, to be honest, it was a miracle they'd lasted me that long.

That was when I stumbled onto Etsy, looking for a unique gift, and realized what an amazing concept the site has: an open community for artisans, sellers of vintage items, and suppliers, with minimal operating costs. After some thought, I decided to just go for it!

That was about 2 months ago, and I've already learned a lot since then. I've redone my photographs (multiple times), tweaked the listings a million times, added more items, re-listed items (haven't seen any benefit there), remade all my graphics, tried out Showcase (not worth it, in my opinion), and fell in love with the Treasury feature. I have a Facebook page, thoughtfully created for me by my best friend, through which I post interesting little tidbits to draw people to my Etsy shop, and I'm trying out Facebook ads right now (inexpensive, but not yet sure whether it's worth it). The one thing I have found to be effective at gaining exposure has not been any type of paid advertising, or really any kind of advertising at all: it's the Treasury feature on Etsy. I started to put together lovely collections, just for my own entertainment; a seller found her item in one of my treasuries; she made her own treasury and featured me in it; that treasury made the front page; my item gained 600 views in one day.

That's my best advice for any seller: promote other people's work. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it absolutely works; the more you help other sellers, the more they will help you. I haven't seen as dramatic results from any other experiment I've tried. Still, I have yet to make my first sale – any advice anyone has there is welcome! - but I'm not as worried anymore; I know I'm slowly gaining more exposure in the huge marketplace of Etsy, and the sales will come for me as they have for other people. Teams, like this one, are another great opportunity from Etsy – I've joined several and am trying to stay active in all of them. I hope to eventually be able to pay my bills from Etsy profits, then take metalworking classes to improve my skills, and some day have a gorgeous inventory of unique items and a devoted fan base. For now, I'm still learning – I'm definitely no expert yet, but I'm having fun with it on a daily basis, and hoping that the money will follow!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Member Story- Jrosenberry1- New Leaf Designworks

I work with Polymer Clay, making figurines and jewelry. It's a lot of fun and it's very fulfilling. :D

Working with Polymer Clay was begun as a whim ... I wanted to make miniature ornaments for an Advent "Christmas Tree Calendar" - we needed 25 small ornaments which would be added daily. The beginning ornaments were pretty lame (!) but my son joined in and he loved it. My husband and I will always treasure his little ornaments.

There was some leftover clay, so a couple of months later I decided to make a little "garden gnome" for my dad. He loves garden gnomes. Everyone liked the little guy ... I made more and more till we had a veritable army of gnomes!

I've been crafting - in one form or another - for most of my life. But I've only been working with polymer clay for about a year and a half. Every day is a learning experience and daily I see new techniques, tools and items to experiment with.

Formerly, I worked at a history non-profit and lost my job when the position was moved over 3 hours away, to Washington, DC. It was a huge loss, but now I'm glad to be out of there. I'm healthier and happier now. So sometimes a terrible event is really a blessing in disguise. (Even if you don't feel "blessed" at the time.) Out of a desire to "make ends meet" I've learned to produce a large number of objects, to market myself, to use contacts, and to explore options out there. It keeps me on my toes - looking for new ideas all the time, things that "the public" will like ... while I also do "art pieces" or "personal pieces" which are not for sale.

My advice is to "never give up". In the words of Winston Churchill:

...Never give in, never give in,
never, never, never, never-in nothing,
great or small, large or petty - never give
in except to convictions of honour and good
sense. Never yield to force; never yield to
the apparently overwhelming might of the

My web site (always under construction) is

All the best ....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Member Story - Charming Prints

Charmingprints makes some amazing quilts!  She's taken a break from quilting just long enough to share her story!

Charmingprints Story:

I have always loved making and creating things, and doing artistic crafts. I fell away from it though while I was in military college and the Navy. When I finished my term, I began to work for a Fortune 50 company in retail distribution, while beginning my family. I met a great lady when my daughter was young and we began to spend time together during the day (I was working nights). She showed me how to quilt, make jam and raise chickens. I have since lost touch with her, but I will never forget the skills she taught me and the friendship we shared. Over the years I made quilts for family members and friends, to bring peace of mind from the empty career I was trying to build.

I've lived in many states between that company and the next one I worked for (same scenario, different corporation). By November 2009, I was managing a 1.4 million square foot distribution center full of import products, to be distributed to the 301 stores my building serviced. My annual P&L was $328 million and I had up to 180 staff. But I was also a single mother with 2 daughters, and an 83 mile commute each way. I was bordering on miserable trying to balace work, life and that horrendous commute.

My boss allowed me to work from home part of the time, which was helpful. Until November 12th, 2009 when he fired me for attendance (not showing up for work). I was shocked, but not. Relieved but scared. I was overjoyed but terrified at the prospect that I had to make a decision about what to do next.

I can't even stomach the thought of going back to an office job, commuting or wearing a suit. Fortunately, I still have some time and savings to pursue this dream. The dream of raising my girls, not letting a daycare's minimum wage workers do it for me. The dream of supporting myself and my family, without having to support something I don't believe in and feel spiritually stripped at the end of every day.

I had to put my fear in my back pocket and sit on it. I had to overcome my anxiety about what tomorrow might hold and embrace the excitement of that prospect. I didn't want to show my girls that I would not be so easily defeated; that I planned well and could and would thrive from this blessing in disguise. So here we are.
 Visit her shop today!  Charmingprints

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Member Story - Sewinmachine

Here's a wonderful Etsy shop that sells unique and very functional ipod covers! 

Thanks to Sewinmachine's Jennifer Waldron for sharing her story:

Art is the first thing I remember being good at doing. I have always loved art and crafts. In the past I have drawn, painted, made pottery, 3d glass paintings, and photography. I have also taught myself how to knit, crochet, and sew.

I currently sew handmade iPod and cell phone cases out of eco-fi felt, which is made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles. Cases are hand sewn and bring a smile to your face with their happy animal designs.

I have been working since I was 15 years old. Even throughout college I kept at least 2 steady part time jobs. I graduated in 2007 and planted myself my dream job as a first grade teacher in Monterey County. Teaching isn’t as easy as you would think, but I loved my job, especially the kids. In Feb. 2009, I found out that due to budget cuts I would not be rehired for the following school year. I became very depressed and didn’t know what my next step in life would be. I moved to Northern California to live with my boyfriend while he finishes up college, he will be graduating in May.
While shopping for our new apartment at Ikea, I came across an awesome orange and black bird fabric that I just couldn’t live without. I decided I wanted to make it into a purse and taught myself how to sew. The purse idea slowly evolved into ipod cases and then Sewinmachin was born! I love my new job!! My boyfriend is a full time student, so Sewinmachine along with my unemployment check (which expires in May) supports us right now!

Loosing my job was very hard for me. I felt like all of my life long dreams were crushed and that I would never be able to pick myself back up, but I have… in a way that I never though possible. If you are in a similar position, you can turn your life around too, just do what you love and keep with your craft!

Visit her shop today! Sewinmachine

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Member Story-Jillian Guarco

Jillian Guarco has shared her story!

What kind of art/craft do you do?

I work mostly with Polaroids, making collaged images. It's all about experimenting, manipulating, and playing with the film. I use the images as prints and most recently window ornaments and earrings. I also do tons of mixed media and some digital photo stuff. My past work includes 4x5 film and a digital series called "the bug collection" where i made dioramas and used real insects. My website is:

How did you get interested in it?

I loved photography in high school, it was the only thing that made me keep showing up. I'd skip classes to use the darkroom. I eventually went to college for it, initially to study documentary and photo journalism. I wanted to change the world. I still want to change the world, but I do so with art instead with social documentary. The concept still seeps in though at times. Maybe now it's more social commentary. ;)
It was easy for me to get hooked on Polaroid’s. They were instant, and this was during the times when digital was just coming out, and I was very much a film snob. I still love Polaroid for the same reasons- its instant gratification. I get impatient. I work with them "hands on". Many times they are mistaken for Photoshop, but I can't bare sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time. I only use Photoshop for printing the Polaroid images. Sometimes I go as far as color correction. But most don't need anything at all.

How long have you been crafting?

I guess my whole life, but I didn’t take it seriously until a few years ago. I always made art, but crafting is a little different. It's more therapeutic. I get crazy in the head when I make the "art"- the actual images, but when I’m making the crafts (like the window ornaments), I relax. Listen to music, breathe, think clearly. It saves me from being nutso all the time.

What was your day job and what happened?

I had moved from San Francisco to Athens, GA and it took me forever to find a job. I finally found one screen-printing and worked there for about 1 1/2 years. Then business slowed and eventually came to a halt. I was laid off. I collected a small unemployment check and worked odd jobs. I tried to do things I never had time for- read, make stuff, hang out with friends. But it all made me feel guilty, and I tried to find work, but nothing was working out. I took a deep breathe and started making stuff full time. What else was I going to do? I was a stress ball. I had always participated in craft shows during the holidays, so I started seeking out ones that happened during the rest of the year.

How did you turn a negative to a positive?

I took the unemployment as a sign that I should follow my passion and heart. It isn’t easy- when the phrase "starving artist" is thrown around all the time. No one thinks it's possible, sometimes it's hard for me to think it's possible. But the world is changing. People like handmade things. There is more appreciation, people are starting to see it as a career and job and not just a hobby. But I guess it's easier to go full force into it, when you are actually starving! It puts more intensity behind it all. Instead of being afraid of failure, there is just no failure option. You make it work because you HAVE to. But it gets tricky. You don’t want to sacrifice your artistic integrity. You have to keep being yourself and stay honest and true to your unique creativity. I make things that I like to have in my house. Not what I think other people want to have in their house. It can be confusing and daunting, but I believe people can tell when you ardent sincere. And when art isn’t sincere and from the heart, well then buyers might as well go to Wal-Mart to buy stuff to hang in their house.

What affect has it had on you and your art/craft?

At first I was creating depressed and worried. I even began hating my own images. But I worked on my insides and my frame of mind. Then I began to play again. Experiment, embrace mess ups and accidents, thought more about what I could offer the world. I began to believe that it was all going to work out. I couldn’t stop creating if I tried, so why not have fun with it. Not many people have the guts to wake up everyday and be themselves, and then put it out there for everyone to see. That is an art in itself. I'm so proud to be an artist, even if that means I’m poor. I can sit and work alone for hours and I’m comfortable in my own skin. That's a huge challenge for some people. I'm happy more and more people are doing it. It makes the world a better place.

What would you like to tell others who are going through the same things?

Deep breathe. Everything happens for a reason. We don't always get what we want, but we always get what we need. Believe that, and it will be true. And then keep creating. Don't be hard on yourself, but work hard. Cut yourself some slack, but don't slack off. When you're struggling, make contact with another artist so you don't feel alone. We all feel it. We can all use some encouragement and reassurance. And we will all get through it. You have enough guts to live a life creating, even when it doesn’t pay. See the courage in that! Some people were meant to be doctors, others were meant to be artists. Be an artist! Action.
Visit her Etsy shop: Jillian Guarco

Friday, March 19, 2010

Member Story - Susan Williams Designs

Thanks Susan for sharing your story!

What kind of art/craft do you do?
I make jewelry mainly from guitar picks and hardware, but do other jewelry too. I mostly use glass beads and stone beads. I also do some painting and have a shop for that

How did you get interested in it?
I took a lot of art in high school (a very long time ago) including jewelry. I majored in Constructive Design my first round of college.
How long have you been crafting?
I have been crafting since I was a little girl. My parents are European and so we learned embroidery, crochet, knitting, sewing, etc. Wish I remembered how to crochet and knit.What was your day job and what happened?
My last REAL job was at an equine hospital. I worked in the accounting department. I left the job and moved to Tennessee, but we returned to the area eight months later. By then, the job market was starting to collapse. There weren't a lot of decent jobs in this area to begin with. I have done some temp jobs, but even now, there really aren't even menial jobs available and they won't hire me anyway, because I am overqualified. I have applied everywhere.

How did you turn a negative to a positive?
This really has turned into a plus for me. I have always worked while my daughter was little and in school. I want to be home for her now, even thought she is in high school. Her friends complain they don't have enough quality time with their mothers and my daughter tells them she has TOO MUCH quality time. We get to do a lot of stuff together because I am not chained down to a job. I also am now going to college and will hopefully end up with a Masters in Library Science and a new career that I will love.
What effect has it had on you and your art/craft?
I haven't been creative in a long time. Jewelry making has kept me from going nuts. Gave me something to do. I am hoping that at one point I may even make a profit. But even so, I still do it because I enjoy it and I love Etsy and all the support they have given me.
What would you like to tell others who are going through the same things?
Each day is a new day.
It is okay to cry.
Tell everyone that you are looking for a job.
Ignore the ones that tell you that you aren't looking hard enough.
It is okay to ask for help.

Tips/Ideas for Promoting your shops/ etc.
Blog, facebook, twitter, and join teams. You have to get out there. Tell everyone what you do, wherever you go. Promote yourself.

Where else can we find you?
My blog:
Become a fan:
My etsy shops:

Friday, March 12, 2010

An Etsy Treasury

Thanks to Crochetize for a wonderful Will Craft for Food Etsy Street Team treasury.

Check out her blog:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Member Story - Girly Girls Crafts

Girly Girls Crafts was kind enough to share her story with us. In knit great?

What kind of art/craft do you do?
I knit. I sew. I felt. I basically love playing with yarn.

How did you get interested in it?
I started out making films. I was a student filmmaker and I was creating a stop-motion animation. I created little cloth dolls that I needed to animate. I wanted them to be realistic so I added yarn hair.
There was so much yarn leftover I thought I'd try to do something with it. I read somewhere that knitting was hard yet a great stress reducer for those lucky enough to get into the habit.
I started out on acrylic, moved on to cotton and made the leap into wool.

How long have you been crafting?
I took up knitting in 2008. But as a little girl my mom tried to teach me crochet. I hated it. It was a frustrating experience. I did hold onto one very important technique, the slipknot. I can make those in my sleep.
Since I started I've been knitting everyday. I knit when I watch tv. Travel. On vacation. I made knitting my compulsion. My hands do all the work so it has become like meditation.

What was your day job and what happened?
I was a full time student at the university and I was a student "Film Producer" for my University's Career Services. Media jobs have weird job titles. I basically produced commercials for Career Services. Casting actors. Writing scripts. Shooting and editing videos.
In the beginning the job was full of creativity and the whole office was really excited about my work. Then the economy tanked. Everyone was on the chopping block. My boss and I had put out the word that I needed an intern to help conduct these commercials.
I trained the intern. And he became my replacement in the following spring. The last two weeks were hard for me. I felt that I gave so much of myself to a job that offered so little in return.
After that I applied everywhere to no avail.

How did you turn a negative to a positive?
For my final semester I took up a few art classes. I was doing an all nighter on a sculptural project and I felt in that moment that I would love to do this for a job.

What effect has it had on you and your art/craft?
The difference between filmmaking and my knitted objects was how I felt upon completion. I never enjoyed screening my films. I always felt like I could have done more. With my knitted pieces I love what I create. I show them off. I come out of my shell.

What would you like to tell others who are going through the same things?
I think when I started making art, filmmaking, I was making them for myself and I was never satisfied. With knitting I started making scarves specifically for my Aunt. She has cancer. She wears those scarves everywhere.
I was so proud of those first knits. What I really loved was how those knits were providing her with comfort.
It really does make a difference when you put yourself aside and start making things for someone else.

Be sure to check out Girly Girls' wonderful knit creations at her Etsy shop!

Girly Girls Crafts

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Win this amazing handmade glass dish!

Amy Kirkman's Glass Studio is doing a contest for this beautiful shushi dish! Go to for the details!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Gigglebot does! As her shop title says, her shop is full of cute and she's brought us these fab buttons to where when out and about. Who knows, maybe it will strike up a conversation. Have your business cards handy when you wear it!

Click here to visit her shop: Gigglebot

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winner for Tiamagic's Giveaway!

Earlier in the blog we had a contest where Tiamagic was giving away all 3 of these adorable plushies.

We have a winner! Drum roll please..... and the winner is DOODLEKAZ!!! Congrats!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Member Story - Nicole Hill

Nicole of Nicole Hill Handcrafted Artisan Jewellry shares her story with us. I can think of worse places to craft for food than the South of France! Nicole handcrafts some amazing and unique jewelry pieces including pieces with European chainmail and pieces in copper. Thanks for sharing your story Nicole!

Come Rain or Shine
By Nicole Hill

I started making jewellery about 18 months ago, while working full-time at an admin job in London, living in Brighton (about an hour and a half's commute, each way) and studying for an MA in International Relations. I like to keep busy.

Slowly though, the combination was driving me mad - and my partner was getting similarly fed up of the long commute, long hours we were both doing, and the tiny amount of time we saw each other for while we were both awake. He applied for a job (unbeknownst to me) down in the South of France, got called for interview, then got offered the job. With a start date of 6 weeks later. My job were very understanding, and in fact, I'm actually only temporarily unemployed - they've let me go under a career break scheme, where they undertake to take me back at some point. Despite the short notice, and me leaving them in the lurch - which I do feel bad about, even if the job itself was slowly killing me - they had no problems releasing me, and so in the middle of summer, we moved down here with suitcases on a airplane (I'm still haunted by how many of my books we had to throw away, and the amount of excess luggage we had to pay nonetheless...)

I spent the first month here finishing my MA dissertation. (Well, ok, starting it, too. I'm good at procrastination. I got the whole thing done in about 2 weeks, the last 2 weeks before the deadline...) And then I halfheartedly looked for "real" jobs, while making the most of the sunshine. Sadly, the south of France is not immune to the economic crisis, even if our little village sometimes feels like it's in another world, and there are almost no jobs. None of those few that do exist are anything I'm remotely qualified for. So, I've registered as self-employed and am trying my hardest to make this work - the alternative is moving back to the UK and the rain and gloom. Which I'm so not looking forward to having to do. This year will be my year, I'm hoping!

We can afford to eat, just about, but we'd be able to afford it a lot easier if my jewellery takes off - not to mention being able to afford to be ill and the like. Will craft for drugs sounds wrong though ;-)

Visit Nicole's shop for some truly one of a kind jewelry.

Valentine's Day

Counting down to Valentine's Day.... Check out this gorgeous bird pendant from Polkadotmagpie. This would be a truly unique present for your Valentine. Forget "He went to Jarrod's and bought me flowers from the damn Piggly Wiggly again!" Be unique!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What?? Team Mugs??

Yes, why stop at T-shirts when you can get a mug too?

I went a little Zazzle crazy and added mugs. I can't wait to get mine!
And for those who live on coffee alone...And if you're a tea drinker....I've got you covered...

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Will Craft For Food T-Shirts Available Now!

Get it while its hot! New T-shirts designed for the Will Craft For Food Team and anyone else who wants them!

You can also customize the t-shirt type and colors if you like.

Click on the shirt to get yours!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Manic Monday Blog Giveaway!! From Tiamagic

Tiamagic is doing a giveaway! Win ALL THREE of these adorable plushies!

Give Away Rules: Read below on how to enter. A winner will be chosen at random (scientifically out of a hat or something just as random) and will be notified on the blog.

Deadline: Monday, February 15th and midnight. The winner will be announced on Tuesday!
Here's how to enter. Pick one or all of the ways to enter below. 1 entry means, your name will be entered once but if you make a purchase, your name will be entered 3 times for a better chance at winning! Enter all of the ways and you get 9 chances!

1. Comment on THIS blog entry below: 1 entry

2. Heart tiamagic on etsy: 1 entry

3. Purchase from tiamagic's etsy store: 3 entries

4. Follow or comment on tiamagic's blog: 1 entry each

5. Fan tiamagic's facebookpage: 1 entry

6. Follow tiamagic's deviant art: 1 entry

7. Follow tiamagic's dead backpacks on twitter: 1 entry

Open to continental US residents only. (Sorry to our international mates, but shipping costs are too hefty.)
Good Luck!