Thursday, August 25, 2011

Designs by Tenisha

I'm one of those old fashioned people who still sends hand-written thank you notes.  As such, I'm a sucker for creative stationary and paper goods, and was simply giddy when I came across today's featured shop.  Designs by Tenisha offers graphic design services for unique notecards and invitations, as well as prints, bookmarks, and - my favorite - fun and nostalgic "cootie catchers"!  And did I mention that all of these wonderful creations are super affordable!?

Monogram w/ Border Note Card
 CM: Tell us a bit about yourself:
TP: I studied graphic design in college and once I enrolled in my first typography class I instantly fell in love and realized this was the creative path for me. Then after looking into what type of graphic design field I wanted to get into I thought what better then starting up my own business! Around that time, a friend of mine introduced me to Etsy and I’ve been a member ever since.

8x10 Print - Be Grounded

CM: When and how did you start working with paper? Did someone teach you?
TP: I actually started making my own cards earlier this year, but I’ve always worked on the computer, especially in college. From those classes, I was able to figure out how to set up documents so they would print correctly on different types of paper. One thing I was taught in a graphic design class that has become really useful is knowing the different types of paper and their weights. It’s definitely helped me decide what kind of paper I want to print my products on.

Wedding Rings Invitation

CM: How long does it take you to make a piece to sell? What's the process like? Your workspace?
TP: Usually the initial idea gets scribbled down on a note pad really fast, that way everything gets written down and I don’t forget anything. From there, I will spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days working with my camera taking photographs to then spending time on the computer getting the correct: layout, color scheme, and basically everything down to the little points and anchors in Adobe Illustrator.
Cootie Catcher - Typography - Party Favor

CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
TP: I love selling on Etsy, the entire site is very user friendly, and all of the people who buy and sell are supportive of one another. The only challenging thing I’m still working on is trying to figure out what are the best times to post new items, especially with all of the different time zones, and the correct tags.

Lemon Note Card

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?
TP: My favorite item in my shop is my cootie catcher, which I have four designs for sale right now. My friends and I use to make them as kids all the time in Elementary school, and now I’ve designed them to be used as party favors for any event: Weddings, Birthdays, Baby Showers, etc. Each one is customized with the customers own questions/answers and they can select everything down to the fonts and colors. It’s a great way to have the guests get to know the person or couple and I can also include a “Fill in the Blank” section in the center which guests can fill out.

Another favorite item of mine is actually a collection of cards I’ve created. I have taken various fruit and vegetable photographs, turned them into illustrations, and then inserted a simple tag line on the card to describe it: “Be Sour” (Lemon), “Be Squeezed” (Orange), etc.

CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)?TP: I came across this Etsy shop a couple of months ago called, vinylclockwork. They create custom vinyl record clocks, which look amazing. And such a neat way to use your old vinyl records!
Table Number Cards - Typography Column

Monday, August 15, 2011

Knotty Notions

When I first came across today's featured shop, the first thing that struck me was the clever name: Knotty Notions.  Entering the shop, it's immediately evident that the cleverness weaves its way into each and every creation.  Owner Debbie specializes in wood burned wedding gifts, signs and other natural products, which are beautifully customized for each customer.  With great prices and unique offerings, this shop is definitely one not to miss.

Customized weddng table decoration. Wooden hearts, burned and rustic

CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
KN: My name is Debbie and I'm a 39 year old stay at home mom of 3 kids, and 1 who is out on her own. My background is acting, I have a BA in Drama, but found my passion wasn't there anymore. I run a day home a few days a week and on the other days I run my Etsy store. I've found it to be the perfect combination of being at home with my young children and my teenager and doing something creative that gives me an outlet. My husband shakes his head every day at what I manage to juggle.

Rustic bird house, yellow and blue. Feed the birds in style

CM: When and how did you start working with wood? Did someone teach you?
KN: My husband was the one who suggested wood burning, and my oldest daughter who is in University just happened to have a wood burner. She brought it over and told me to play around with it. I fell in love. The smell, the look, it's really addictive. I am 100% self taught.

Rustic Weddding Keepsake box or Ring Bearer Box

CM: How long does it take you to make a piece to sell? What's the process like? Your workspace?
KN: I wish I was better at drawing, but I'm not. So I look up an image I want to burn. I first sketch, then I burn it, customize it and finally stain it.

It probably takes me 1-2 hours per piece from beginning to end.

The process, what process!! I do bits and pieces when I can in between caring for my children. I sketch when they are awake and we have "arts and crafts time" and I burn when they are asleep, simply for the safety factor.

My workspace is my kitchen counter. Right beside my coffee pot!

Rustic Wedding Wine Box. Personalized with your names or initials

CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
KN: The best thing about selling on Etsy is that I can do it from the comfort of my home, with my 2 year old on my lap if need be. The toughest is that it feels a bit like High School and I'm the shy kid in the corner and not one of the popular kids. It's very hard to not get lost among the big and popular shops.

Wedding Wish box. Personalized for the Bride and Groom. Something blue

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?
KN: I loved how my blue bird wish box turned out. It's delicate and romantic.

Humorous wood burned sign. Phyllis Diller quote. Comes with a chain ready to hang

CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)?
KN: I have a couple favorite items. This one is a vintage love letter in a pendant.
Just simple and stunning.

And this shop is amazing. Such creativity!!

Thanks so much, Debbie!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Virtue Vision Ceramics

I love ceramics; one reason being that I wouldn't know the first thing about creating them.  Today's featured shop, Virtue Vision, offers absolutely gorgeous ceramic creations with evidenced skill and talent.  Owner Sharon, who is based in San Francisco, channels a fantastic imagination into her colorful one-of-a-kind pieces, sculpting everything from vases and platters to even jewelry!

Turquoise Green Ewer

CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...

SV: I’m an art activist living in San Francisco. I love to travel. My work as an artist in community development projects has taken me to Mozambique, Uganda, Brazil, and most recently Haiti. I have worked on several projects here in San Francisco. Searching for inspiration for my artwork has taken me on many journeys all over the world, the only places I haven’t been are Middle East, Japan, China, the Poles and some other countries in South America. My artwork has earned me residencies in Hawaii, Ghana and here in San Francisco, at the De Young Museum.

White and Gold Shallow Oval Platter 
CM: When and how did you start working in ceramics? Did someone teach you?

SV: In art school in the 80s in England, I was actually more into film and Media, but ended up being frustrated by the lines for equipment, so I would go down to the clay studio, which was always empty.
I sort of figured it out on my own, no classes, just occasional teachers giving tips.

Red Green Bird medium Oval plate
CM: How long does it take you to make a piece to sell?
SV: I make so many different kinds of ceramic work as well as paintings and sculpture, it can take anywhere from a few hours to years to complete a piece of work.

Orange Dandelion Vase
CM: What's the process like? Your workspace?

SV: Oh how to describe the artistic process….
Well, first there’s a lot of procrastination, at least a week, then finally in the studio lots of making things, making a mess, thinking they are really badly made, having to keep working anyway, (that is the hard part) and then deciding that was the first trial prototype, then start the whole thing over again until I make something I love. I have a tiny dark ceramic studio within a co op here in SF called Ruby’s Clay Studio. I also have a dark basement painting studio at my house. I call them the ‘Wombs of Creativity’.

Clay Poem Blue Green F
CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy?
SV: That completely different people you have never met want to buy your work, rather than trying to sell it to you friends …. Again!!

Green Tea Cup
CM: The most challenging?

SV: I keep forgetting what I have posted…. So have to make things over again very quickly if I get an order!!

White Cloud Open Eye Pendant

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?
SV: My ceramic pendants.

Oval Hand with Flowers Pendant- turquoise/lightblue 
CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)?
SV: Oh here goes I have so many favourites.
Apart from all my friends, here are some other people I have found and favourited of late…no ceramics included!!
It will continue to grow I’m sure….



Thanks so much, Sharon!  Stay tuned for more great Etsy talent!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Green Man Naturals

Wrapping up the workweek with a shop that seamlessly weaves environmentally conscious with yummy indulgence!  Green Man Naturals, by Robin, offers green unique bath and body products which are made from sustainable, free trade and organic ingredients and are positively drool-worthy.  Love your body and the planet!  In addition to her own tantalizing concoctions, Robin loves creating custom orders where you, the buyer, can create your own scent!  How cool is that??

Lavender Oatmeal and Goatsmilk Massage Lotion--
aromatherapy moisturizer, sensual massage-- 8 oz
CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
Robin: You could describe me as a Wandering Bohemian Entrepreneur. I am definitely all three of those things. I love the idea of doing many different activities and jobs at one time and piecing together a free-as-the-wind lifestyle out of that. I am currently a student in Southern California, though I was raised in Alaska and my heart remains with the wilderness and snow (I sign my text messages "the ice queen"). I study Creative Writing, Music, and History and would love to be an Egyptologist someday. I currently work various temporary jobs (as well as having two Etsy businesses) such as singing opera, chroeographing, cooking crepes, working for the government, etc... My life is like a crazy quilt that is barely staying stitched together! Every day I have the exciting and terrifying thought, "Where and what will my next job be?"

Organic Shea Butter lotion-- choose your scent-- 2.5 oz.

CM: When and how did you start making natural products? Did someone teach you?
Robin: I started fairly recently by just experimenting. I am notorious for going into the kitchen, throwing together ten random ingredients and emerging with a culinary masterpiece. I basically did the same thing with my natural body products. I just let myself make a mess, and after a few tries, I came up with great product recipes.

Starberry Shimmer lotion-- 1.5 oz

CM: What's your process like? Your workspace? Where do you get those amazing ingredients?
Robin: I work haphazardly in whatever environment I am in, which would be an apartment in CA or my parents' home in AK. My ingredients consist of supplies purchased from other eco-friendly entrepreneurs, and all of the used coffee grounds from my workplace (for coffee soap and body scrub). I like to work with just one little light on above the stove and the rest of the kitchen in darkness. It helps me focus my energy and keeps me from getting distracted. I also tend to work late at night, because in the summer here in Alaska it is light all day, even at 2 in the morning. So I go out and photograph my finished products after I get home from opera rehearsal and just as the neighbors' dogs' stop barking for the night. And then I sleep for a few hours before I get up at 6:30 to go to work. It is surreal having light for 24 hours a day. I feel that I should never be sleeping.

Licorice Lime Exfoliating Sugar Soap-- fresh summer scent-- 1 bar

CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
Robin: Etsy's community is definitely the best thing about being an entrepreneur online. I feel constantly inspired and uplifted. And the most challanging thing is restraining myself from buying everything I see! Wait, let me amend that. I think it is also very difficult to sell soaps and body products on Etsy because the smell is such a significant thing for the customer to consider when buying, and I can't put the smell up on Etsy! I wish, rather than pictures, that there could be scratch-and-sniff buttons on my shop page!

Hypnosis Bath Salts-- Lavender and Poppy scented-- 1.5 oz

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?
Robin: My Cinnamon Sweets Soap, scented with cinnamon, orange, apple, carob, and nutmeg is the most delicious smelling item in my shop, and therefore my favorite. However, I recently made some Kahlua Coffee body scrub that I haven't listed yet and it is my new all-time favorite body product. A little sniff of it reminds me that it is Happy Hour somewhere!

Cinnamon Sweets Soap--christmas soap-- 1 bar

CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)?
Robin: I love sooooo many shops. I especially adore DominicElvinDesign's sci-fi creations . My current favorite item is this miniature doll of Sappho from UneekDollDesigns. But I'm also lusting after some items from DreamofaDream and MissVioletLace (who are both great sellers to work with).

Organic Aloe lotion-- sunburn soothing moisturizer--2 oz.
And as if this shop isn't fabulous enough, you can check out Robin's other shop here:
 LaBelleDame Jewelry and Tidbits

Thank you, Robin!!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend... be sure to stay tuned for more great Etsy shops!!

xo Christine (Kezi Handmade Jewelry)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seafarer Gifts

Summer's here, but it sure doesn't feel that way today in finicky Palo Alto.  Sitting here in a sweater and thick socks, I can't stop daydreaming about somewhere tropical.  Since I can't just hop on a plane and fly to Hawaii, I'm thrilled to feature Seafarer Gifts, which offers gorgeous accessories, decor and photography inspired by the ocean.  Inspiration goes a step further, as Seafarer's creations naturally incorporate bits and pieces of the beautiful Hawaiian islands.

Hawaiian Shell Spiral Post Earrings 

CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
Seafarer : I spent my childhood summers on a small island in New Jersey. And even in NJ, where life was usually hectic and fast paced, NYC style, life was different on the island, and I loved it. I always knew it was the life for me. Now that I'm all grown up with children of my own, I still cherish island style, and am grateful to be living in the Hawai'ian Islands. I love being in nature whether it's on the beach or in the mountains and jungles, and that is reflected in my crafts, style and photography.

Elastic Hairband with Purple Shell and Feather

CM: When and how did you start crafting? Did someone teach you?
Seafarer : My mother was very creative and artistic, from fashion to crafting. She would always have some sort of crafts for me to be engaged in, like sewing clothes for my barbie dolls or beading Christmas ornaments. For holidays and birthdays we always made homemade cards and gifts. To this day, my sister and I spend the time we are together doing something creative, and sharing our craft ideas.

Natural Grass Hawaiian Shell Necklace

CM: How long does it take you to make a piece to sell? What's the process like? Your workspace?
Seafarer : I have a few different types of art I enjoy, but the ones I'm focusing on right now are my beach themed accessories, photography, and stencil design. Stencils are based on my photography and design. To create the image, it can take me days and sometimes weeks. Then I can cut the stencil in a few hours. Because of the time involved, I always feel a big sense of pride and accomplishment when I finish.
My mermaid inspired accessories are the result of my love of beach combing. I am a mermaid at heart and love the raw, natural look of sea-worn shells. Depending on the piece, it will take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. I have a desk in my bedroom which needs organizing badly! There are sand and shells all over it!
As time goes on, I plan to feature more of my photography.

Shell Bobby Pins Brown (Set of 3)

CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?

Seafarer : I am new to Etsy, so I am just learning the process. I love the support of the other sellers and teams and getting favorites. The challenging part is the virtual nature of it; I am not there when someone is looking to say, "Here, try it on! " I love selling at my local market for this reason; I get to see the customer wearing my designs. The other challenging thing is waiting patiently for a sale! 

Mermaid's Crown Headband with Hawaiian sand and shells

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?

Seafarer : I recently added a headband which part of me wishes I could have kept for myself!! But I realize that seeing others in my designs makes me much more happy!

Hawaiian Cowrie Shell Post Earrings 

CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)?
Seafarer : The amount of talent on Etsy humbles me greatly!!
My recent finds to whom I keep returning to drool over are:

You can find Seafarer on Facebook here.

Thank you, Seafarer!  Stay tuned for more great shops!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pictures from Paris, etc.

It's been a crazy few weeks for me; traveling and attending more weddings in one month than I have in the past year.  I'm glad to be home, and happy that the love and romance I've seen and felt recently remain with me, even as I set out on rainy morning commutes.  Today's featured shop, Pictures from Paris, etc., does just that - captures whimsical beauty and preserves a delicate romance through gorgeous photographs.  Owner Sonja is able to find charm and enchantment in scenes from everyday life as well as from destinations most only dream of visiting.    

Paris Metro - 9" x 12" Original Signed Fine Art Photograph

CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
SC: I'm obsessed with travel - most recently Paris, in particular. I'm also pretty much still a kid at heart, easily excitable, laugh really easily, and kind of lazy at times.

Rainy Day in Paris - Montmartre - 8" x 8" Original Signed Fine Art Photograph 

CM: What got you interested in photography? Did someone teach you?
SC: When I was in high school, I got really into trying to photograph sunsets, but it was always so difficult to capture the colors. Aside from that, I guess that travel got me into photography, because I wanted to remember everything. My boxes of photos are my catalogue of memories. (As is my music collection.) Later on, in college, I took a few photography classes.

I Love You in 250 Languages and 311 Ways - Paris - Mur des "Je t'aime" -
12" x 24" Original Signed Fine Art Photograph

CM: What inspires your photography? What are your favorite subjects?
SC: I like colorful things, mostly. Flowers, scenery, architecture, desserts. I guess I don't have a particular favorite, it's more about what catches my eye.

Ritsurin Koen - Japanese Tea Garden - Takamatsu, Japan,
8" x 10" Original Signed Fine Art Photograph

CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
SC: I love that I can reach such a wide audience! Imagining that my prints are in so many different places is really cool.
The most challenging part, I think, is making new listings, or renewing older items, so I can keep my visibility up. It takes me a while to make a new listing because I have 1000s of photos that I need to sort through. Picking which ones to use, and then post-processing them can take me a really long time.

Day at the Fun Fair - Paris, France - 5" x 5" Original Signed Fine Art Photograph

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?
SC: My favorite item is my Macaron Rainbow. It makes me happy to look at, and they were so delicious to eat. I took the photo in the kitchen of one of the apartments I was living in, in Paris, so it's a really sweet memory for me. It was my first attempt at food photography, and it was very gratifying.

Macaron Rainbow - 8" x 12" Original Signed Fine Art Photograph 

CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)? 
SC: Oh, man... There is so much awesome stuff on Etsy, I don't even know where to begin I have a lot of shops in my "Favorites" list, but I've been tryng to curb my love for shopping, so I try not to look around too much. I must say, though, that when I first decided to make an Etsy shop, I found AliciaBock's shop to be particularly inspiring.

Cherry Blossoms in Turquoise 5" x 5" Original Signed Fine Art Photograph

Thank you, Sonja!  Stay tuned for more great Etsy shops!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Busy busy busy!

Hi All!

Just a quick post to apologize for the lull in featured shops this week.  I've been traveling like crazy and haven't had much time to work on the blog, but I promise I've got some good stuff lined up!

In the meantime, Kézi and Friends is now mobile phone friendly, so you can check in on your favorite Etsy shops wherever you are.

Also, if you're up to it, check out my shop.  I've tried out some new styles recently, and feedback is always, always appreciated.  And hey, I always love new Facebook fans and friends!  Yea, yea, I know... I'm kind of plugging myself here, but I figure once in a while is OK... ;)

Hope you're all enjoying the beginning of summer!