Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Wordy Wednesday

I know that Wordless Wednesday posts are more the norm than Wordy Wednesday posts, but today I wanted to post about something which I have been thinking about for some time.  Today I want to discuss words and how I use them, especially in my day to day interactions with others.  I know this post covers a more serious topic than I normally write about, but I hope you will all benefit from it anyway.
As someone who frequently blogs, writes item descriptions and chats on Twitter, Facebook and various online forums, my words, and the ways in which I use them, affect not just the people I see face to face, but also people whom I might never meet in person.
I see the way my words affect people quite clearly each day when I see my girls' reactions to the things I say to them or hear them mimicking my speech patterns in their conversations with each other.  So, I have been thinking about some of the Bible verses I have read which address the issue of how we use our words.  I realise that many of you may not share the same faith and beliefs that I do, but I think the principles behind these verses are ones to which many people can relate.

One of the first that came to mind was James 1:19-20 which says, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's [or woman's] anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."  Ashamedly, I often find that I am slow to listen and quick to become angry, rather than the converse which is recommended in the first part of these verses.  While I am not perfect and can let tiredness, stress or hormones get the better of me, these really are no excuse for the way I find myself responding to others.  Not that there isn't a time and place for appropriate anger, I'm just saying that my first response is often NOT the most appropriate one.
Two other verses which remind me of the importance of watching my speech are Proverbs 12:18, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." and Proverbs 16:24, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."  I like these verses because they remind me just how wonderful kind and well-thought words are to those who receive them.  I know from experience how sweet it is to receive an email from a customer telling me how much he/she loves their new purchase, or how happy it makes me to hear my family rave about how great dinner was.  And I see in my girls' faces and postures just how much a few encouraging words from me can lift them up and how low I can tear them down when I shout at them without thinking.
So what am I going to do to improve the way I use my words?  To be honest, I think that this is something that I am going to be working on for the rest of my life, with ups and downs and good days and bad thrown into the mix.  Someone like me probably needs these verses stamped onto my hands and forehead to remind me to think before I blurt out something I cannot take back!  But I am not going to let that put me off.  I plan to pray about it and keep working on improving my failings, one little bit at a time.  Will you help me?

Monday, 28 June 2010

Vintage Art Print Ideas

microscope vintage art print dictionary two cheeky monkeys Etsy

In the last few months I have had a lot of fun designing and creating my range of vintage art prints.  I have been quite overwhelmed by their popularity and am so thankful to all of you for your support in purchasing prints or blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking (is that a verb?) about them!
I have been spending the last few weeks searching for a wider range of images to use in my prints after some of you mentioned themes or images which you loved.  I have already introduced some biology/geekery and kitchen-related art prints into my store and am now working on introducing more "masculine" prints after a friend bought a print for her brother-in-law and suggested I add prints with machinery, vintage gadgets, etc.
I also thought that monogram or initial art prints might be worth considering.
Therefore, today I am asking you, my readers, what you would be interested in seeing instore.  What kind of art prints would you buy for yourself or others?  Do you like flowers and plants, or maybe you want something specifically for decorating your craft room, study/office or dining room?  I would appreciate any ideas you have, and in the mean time, will keep hunting for more lovely vintage illustrations!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Feature Friday - New CreatioNZ

Now I know there is normally a lot of trans-Tasman rivalry between Australians and New Zealanders, but I wasn't about to let that stop me from featuring the amazing Jocelyn of New CreatioNZ!  Her store is full of beautiful photographs, paintings, ACEOs, stationery...the list just goes on!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in the beautiful, far away land of New Zealand, also known as 'the land of the long white cloud'. I moved here from South Africa 13 years ago with my husband and two children. We have since had another delightful surprise to complete our family of five. I work in the local Christian School that my children attend. It suits me perfectly as I go and come back with my children each day and have the holidays off with them. I work with children that have special needs. Though I would love to be a full time artist, that is not to be at the moment. I am just very grateful to be able to have a job that still gives me time with my kids.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Easy going, artistic, procrastinator, quiet, Jesus lover. (I had to have help from my family with these).

When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
I have been tinkering in all sorts of crafts since a young age but it is now that my children are past the age where it's all 'hands on' that I have really found my passion. My hat goes off to those of you who are in the midst of babies, nappies, sleepless nights and CREATING!

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
I absolutely love to paint. I enjoy the spontaniety of contempory art and very seldom paint in a realistic style as I feel thats what my camera captures for me. Which brings me on to my second passion: photography. I love especially to go close up and capture the things that we often miss. We have such an amazing creation around us that leaves me awestruck. Needless to say, I photograph mainly nature themes. It doesn't stop there though. I love to try new things and am keen to give anything a go, so you are likely to find a few other random odds and ends in my shop too. The next on my list is flamework! But as I said earlier, I am a procrastinator, so who knows when that will be!

When and how did you start selling online?
I have had my shop open for just over a year now. Etsy was mentioned to me by my neice who lives in Australia. I had never sold online before so it was all new. Etsy is almost an unknown here in New Zealand so I am very grateful to all my customers who have trusted me and my packaging to get their purchases to them all over the world!

Describe your store in 5 words
Inspired...contemporary painting creative photography

Where can we find you online?  
Etsy shop

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Relaxing With Some Craft - Card Making

First off today, I want to thank all of my readers for putting up with my rather haphazard and rushed blogging this last month!  As many of you know, we have struggled with an almost continual cycle of illness this year, with each of my family members taking it in turn to be sick.
So today I thought I would blog about some crafting I have been doing once the kids have gone to bed.  I know most sensible mothers dealing with sick kids (or their own illness) would probably drag themselves to bed once the kids are asleep, but I find that picking a simple craft project to tackle really relaxes me.

And when I say simple, I really do mean simple!   I made the card above for a friend of mine who plays the electric organ.  It was fun digging through my various papers and ephemera to find complementary flowers, brads and paper, but it was a struggle for me to cut up the vintage sheet music for the accent on the bottom of the card!

I made this card for my mother-in-law (hmmm...I am suddenly seriously hoping that none of these recipients is reading my blog post...oh well).  I don't consider myself to be very "girly", but I do have a penchant for lace and flowers and thought a combination of the two would work well.

Some of you will have already seen this final card on my store Facebook page.  For those of you who haven't, I made this card for another musical friend, who happens (funnily enough) to play the French horn.  The design of this card was inspired by my vintage art prints, but I used my vintage sheet music for the background since I had already plucked up the courage to start cutting it up.

I am quite pleased with my efforts and have even started researching the possibility of producing vintage art cards to sell in my stores.  But more importantly, I had a great time making these cards and am really hoping that their recipients will feel special receiving them.
So, as I wrap up this blog post, I would love to hear whether you craft or create to relax.  And if you do, which crafty endeavours do you find to be most relaxing?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Facebook Fan Sale!

I have been rather overwhelmed by the positive response to my recent foray into the world known as Facebook and cannot believe that I already have over 100 "likes" for my store fanpage.  I want to thank everyone for supporting me and my little jewellery and art store!!

To celebrate reaching 100 Facebook fans/likes and my upcoming first anniversary on Etsy, I am having an exclusive Etsy sale for my fans.  To be eligible for my sale, go to my fanpage and click the "like" button.  Then head to my "Discussions" tab to find out the sale details.  So if you have been drooling over any items, get on over there before they are snapped up!

Regular readers of my blog will also notice a new addition to my sidebar.  I have finally decided to send out newsletters (I am hoping to send these out bi-monthly, but we will see whether I can actually keep up with this schedule) where I will share sneak peeks, store news and exclusive sales and giveaway information.  And don't worry, I will not be sharing any of your details with anyone else!  Your email address will be used solely for the delivery of my e-newsletter.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Feature Friday - Jewellery by Ange

Our feature Friday artist for this week is the fun and cheeky Ange of Jewellery by Ange.  Ange is another Australian artist and has a beautiful jewellery store on Etsy (and a few other locations).   She is the wonderful woman who got me involved in DUST, so all you DUSTers know who to blame now!  Ange also has the somewhat dubious honour of being the one who bestowed upon me the nickname of "Chatty McChat Chat" (I can't believe I'm actually telling everyone this nickname).  This is what she had to say about herself and her store:

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, my name is Ange (and I’m awesome) and I live in Brisbane, Queensland in gorgeous Australia, with my equally gorgeous fiancĂ© Josh.  We are renovating our house – have been doing so for over a year and have at least another year to go!
Sadly, I have a day job.. no, wait, it is great that I have a day job – it pays the bills, especially with the renovation, it’s needed.  It’s not creative or fulfilling though – which is why my creative stuff really is a mindsaver.  It helps me relax – especially when I get to hammer stuff!

Describe yourself in 5 words. 
Awesome, animated, attention-seeking, addicted (to silver) – OK that was more than five, but I tried. Hahah.

When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
As soon as I had the motor skills to!  Ever since I can remember I have painted, crafted, read, written, sang, danced and made a mess!  When I was about 10 I used to string seed beads onto fishing wire into rings, bracelets and necklaces – I even came across one recently – lets just say I’ve learned a lot since then!  My most recent jewellery making experience started when I pulled apart some awful bridesmaid jewellery and made it into something more my style – much simpler and less frou frou.

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
I make jewellery – sterling silver is my favourite medium, and wire is my favourite material in particular.  I love to bend, wrap and hammer this into something gorgeous, but tend towards pieces that are simpler and more streamlined. I’m not a ‘fussy’ girl.

When and how did you start selling online?
A friend introduced me to etsy and helped me get started.  I started about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back.  To supplement my store, I also sell on Madeit, Zibbet and hold jewellery parties which are my favourite way to sell -  much more social and fun!

Describe your store in 5 words
Streamlined and sexy simplicity… I’ll give you four since I went over with my other five words… did I mention I have a problem with rules?  Hehehe.

Where can we find you online?  

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Two Cheeky Monkeys is Now on Madeit!

Okay, so today I have a confession to make.  I know I often complain about the stress of being a mother, keeping up with the housework and taking the kids to their various activities all while trying to run and effectively promote my Etsy store.  But...I have been toying with the idea of opening a Madeit store so that I can sell my products in Australian dollars (and I know some of you have asked for that too).  And I finally took the plunge yesterday and opened up my store!

rochelle vintage dome rose ring two cheeky monkeys on madeit

So, for my Aussie blog followers who have been dying to purchase in their own currency, your chance has finally come!  I haven't got much listed instore as yet, but I am slowly adding listings.  I am not sure how much of an overlap I will have with my Etsy store.  Certainly the style of products will be the same, but obviously I cannot list the same one of a kind item simultaneously in both stores.  If you see an item in my Etsy store and would like to purchase it from my Madeit store, please contact me and I will list the item for you.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Bath Fun - A Bath Bomb Tutorial


Today I thought I would share a fun little tutorial for bath bombs, one of my kids' favourite bath time treats (bubble baths are also VERY popular here).  If you are looking for a way to entice your kids to get clean more regularly (or just want to spoil yourself), then this might be just what you are looking for!  These bath bombs are very easy to make in bulk so this project is also suitable for making large numbers of gifts or party favours.

1 1/2 cups bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup citric acid (I buy this in bulk from my health food store)
1/4 cup mineral or rock salts (optional)
1/8 cup dried petals such as lavender or chamomile (optional)
2 tsp almond or olive oil
2 tsp essential oil in your preferred fragrance or combination of fragrances
1 tsp water
5-6 drops of food colouring in the colour(s) of your choice (depending on how dark you want the colour)
Moulds for your bath bombs

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large ceramic or glass bowl using a metal spoon.  But make sure that all of your equipment is bone dry first!
2. Mix the liquid ingredients together in a small bowl.
3. Quickly mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, making sure that the mixture does not start reacting in the bowl.  Your mixture should look fairly dry like the picture below.

4. Press your mixture firmly into your moulds (you should not need to oil your moulds).  I have no idea what the original use was for these moulds, but when I saw them at my local op shop, I knew they would be great for bath bombs!

5. Leave in a warm and dry place overnight  (ensuring that pets and small hands can't get to them, or you will end up with a mess and disappointment).

6. Carefully turn out your bath bombs once they have dried for at least 8 hours.

7. Enjoy a relaxing and beautiful-smelling bath!

1.  You can purchase round bath bomb moulds, but I like to use small jelly and chocolate moulds. You could always use ice cube trays in a pinch, although I wouldn't recommend using them for ice ever again, LOL.
2. Always make sure that the essential oils you use are suitable for use on the body, such as for massage or for adding to soap.
3. I would avoid making bath bombs on particularly humid days.  Mine never turn out quite right in humid weather.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Feature Friday - Crafty Crackpot

This week's featured artist is Caitlin of Crafty Crackpot, who creates sweet items for little ones.  She is a fellow Australian and member of DUST, the Australian Etsy street team.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Canberra with all my family. There are 13 children in my family, so there is always lots going on. I suppose in a sense that is what my full time job is: helping out, teaching younger brothers and sisters and things like that. Craft is a little bit on the side, but I love every minute of it.

Describe yourself in 5 words.Bookworm, seamstress, florist (well still learning), fairly quiet, Christian

When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
My Mum was always into knitting, and so I learnt to do that at an early age. After that it was like I couldn't get enough. I've tried most craft, but my passion is defintely the sewing machine!

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?I create children's clothing, quilts, and soft toys mostly. There are a few oddballs thrown here and there occasionally, but that that is what I mainly love to create.  I love to use 100% cotton (patchwork material), especially lovely floral ones.

When and how did you start selling online?
I started selling online in November 2008 - the reason I started was because I had made all these items and did'nt know what to do with all of them. A friend had an etsy store, and I thought I may as well try it out and see. It started out as a hobby, but I'm hoping to turn it into much more than that.!! Fingers crossed.

Describe your store in 5 words
Bright, cheerful, fun, playful, kids

Friday, 4 June 2010

Feature Friday - Random Ally

This week's feature Friday highlights another Aussie seller - Random Ally - which is run by two sisters, Sarah (yellow tee) and Kat (grey tee).

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Random Ally is an art inspired fashion label bringing art and fashion into fusion. Both my sister (Sarah Lloyd, 27) and myself (Kat Lloyd, 20) choose to produce unique designs with a strong artistic influence, on top quality ethically manufactured clothing.
My sister and I were brought up with art in our lives but grew up in a town where it was not a part of many people’s world. It wasn’t until we moved to the small coastal town of Robe SA that we were surrounded by other artists and were finally able to embrace our artistic side.
Despite having our business as our first passion we both have “day jobs”. Starting our business from nothing means that everything must go back into it, and therefore means working for others is still a part of our lives. Despite this, we still keep our personal artwork as a major part of our day to day scene. From local art prizes to exhibitions we somehow find the time to keep our artistic personalities satisfied.
All our designs are inspired by the things in our live. Influences such as our local area, music, friends and media are a big part of our designing process. Sarah and I have different styles but some how we manage to bring them together to create fun and exciting designs. Sarah finds inspiration from fashion, shoes and music; where as I find inspiration in graffiti, manga and rockabilly. Due to our differences we find that we can offer a variety in designs and products for our business.
Describe yourselves in 5 words.
We are both artistic, outspoken, imaginative, political and dedicated.

When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
We have both been doing art for most of our lives but it wasn’t until October 2008 that we decided to start our business. Sarah and I were both working in jobs that we did not enjoy, and wanted to be able to be creative and work on our own terms. We both love clothing and were both frustrated by the lack of quality, individuality and ethics in the products around us. So we decided to base our label around these three factors. We had just over a month until we had to get our first products ready for sale and there were a lot of highs and lows getting started. With the help of our family and friends we had our first range of t-shirts ready for a festival in our town. From that our business grew quickly with commissioned designs and retail stores picking us up. We are determined to keep our business fresh by continually adding new designs and items as well as tying new thing.
What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
We started off screen printing t-shirts for women and within a matter of months we moved on to men’s t-shirts as well. This year we have launched our cotton screen printed scarves and homemade badges. With all our products we look for ethical material and quality. We try not to use chemicals in our screen printing so that it benefits both the environment and the wearer. Our badges are made from both printed paper and material. We are in the planning stages of bringing out new items such as bags and jumpers. We prefer to print on cotton as it gives us the best quality print and is comfortable to wear.

When and how did you start selling online?
We started selling on-line at the beginning of 2009. It was only a couple of months into our business adventure and we tried selling on Ebay but it wasn’t what we were looking for. Sarah had read about two great websites for designers, both Australian and worldwide. Ever since then we have been selling on Etsy and Madeit. In March  of this year, we launched our website where we sell all of our products.
Describe your store in 5 words
And of course Random!

Where can we find you online?
Random Ally has its own website at where you can purchase our products, sign up for our newsletter and specials and simply see what’s happening in the world of Random Ally. We can also be found on Facebook and our products can be bought at Etsy and Made It

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Wednesday Wonderfuls

I don't know about you, but I love to decorate my home with art work and photos.  Admittedly I probably need to spend one weekend sorting out a more aesthetically pleasing way of displaying my art and photos, but in the mean time, I leave you some gorgeous art work from several wonderful Australian artists.

White Pelargonium by Michelle's Art and Photography

Red Bird Blue Apple Print by One Red Robin

Marbled Rose II by Sandra Darling

Butterfly by ishandchi