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!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lizzie Joe Designs

When I first came across today's featured, shop, Lizzie Joe Designs, I was instantly impressed!  Owner Jennifer repurposes wine corks into the most interesting creations - from coasters, to napkin holders to serving trays and more.  Not only does she recycle what most of us discard without much thought, but she skillfully turns them into functional and super fun creations!

Black Wine Cork Serving Tray

CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
JB: Hello! My name is Jennifer. I live in Virginia with my husband and 2 kids. I love creating new and interesting designs, especially with recycled, upcycled and repurposed materials. My favorite thing to work with is wine corks. I am inspired by just about everything I see. Art just makes me happy!

White Framed Wine Cork Accessory Holder

CM: What inspired you to start working with cork?
JB: A couple of years ago, I realized I had collected enough corks and that it was time for me to either do something with them or give them to someone who would. So I decided to make a wine cork board for my kitchen. And I had so much fun doing it, I started thinking of other things I could make with wine corks and from there my Etsy shop was born. I absolutely love creating new designs that are both useful and pretty and appealing to both men and women.

Set of Four Aqua and Brown Floral Wine Cork Tile Coasters

CM: How long does it take you to make a piece to sell? What's the process like, and where to you get all those corks?
JB: It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the piece. I work several days a week, mostly at my kitchen table, designing, cutting, sanding, and gluing. And, no, I didn't drink all that wine myself! I purchase corks from a few online sources and have family and friends save their corks for me. If anyone out there has any corks they don't want, just send them on to me!

5x7 Wine Cork Picture Frame

CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
JB: I love the people I get to meet and chat with, the teams I am privileged to be on and all the amazing ideas I get to see everyday. I have over thirty pages of favorite items! With so many creative people in one place, why shop anywhere else?
The most challenging part of Etsy is making sure my shop is seen. With so much talent out there, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. So I make sure to spend time online promoting as much as possible. I love to feature others through my treasury making and appreciate it when they return the favor. And blogs, such as your beautiful one here, definitely help the cause! Thank you for taking the time to feature Etsy shops!

Verdigris Frog Hook Wine Cork Chalk Board Message Center

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?
JB: Right now, I am loving my Honeycomb Coasters and my Verdigris Frog Hook Wine Cork Message Center. Both items just get me thinking about summer!

Honeycomb Wine Cork Trivet 

CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)?
JB: Winestone Birdhouses is one of my absolute favorites! I just love her creations! And I'm totally in love with the sweet plush animals that 5 Orange Potatoes makes. So cute and cuddly! And these Linen Fruits by liradesigne are simply amazing to me!

Wine Cork Chalk Board

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

Monday, June 6, 2011

CM Creole Creations

This week's first featured shop is CM Creole Creations!  Owner Meghan resides in New Orleans and designs unique handmade clutches, purses and bags.  I love Meghan's creations because of how bold they are are while also maintaining a confident simplicity.  When I learned she not only designs and sews all the bags herself, but actually makes all her own material, I was even more impressed!

Small Tote Bag - Large Polka Dots
CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
MS: Hi, my name is Meghan Satter, and I am the designer/owner of CM Creole Creations. I live in the New Orleans area with my boyfriend and our miniature dachshund, Delacroix. I'm a full-time student at the University of New Orleans with a major in History, concentrating on New Orleans history. If I were able to minor in German, I probably would. When I'm not working on new designs or sewing (which is rare), I can usually be found reading or outside in my ever growing vegetable garden.

Handmade Purse - Black and White - Small

CM: When and how did you start sewing? Did someone teach you?
MS: While my profile on Etsy says I first started sewing in high school, I really started sewing at the age of 7. My mother took her sewing machine out to hem a pair of pants and I asked her if I could make some pajamas for my panda bear. She of course said yes, and showed me how to use the sewing machine while she worked the foot petal. When I reached junior high, I was placed in the Home Ec. class by mistake. Since there were no other electives open, I was stuck in this class that I really didn't want to be in. However, this turned out to be the best mistake because I was taught the fundamentals of sewing and design.

Sunglass Case - Red and White

CM: I noticed you make all your materials by hand. How long does it take you to make a piece to sell? What's the process like? Your workspace?
MS: The amount of time really depends on the piece. My larger bags can take up to 24 hours, while the smaller cosmetic bags usually take 2 to 2.5 hours.
The process of making a piece can be very frustrating. When I see a design in my head, I want to rush to my work area and start creating it. However, I first have to draw out the design, then figure out the sizing and materials that will be used. After making a layout, I make a pattern on tracing paper - which can sometimes come out wrong. After cutting out the pattern with the fabric, I start marking specific areas that need darts, pleats, etc. When that's all done, I can start sewing the piece.
My work space is located in my former dining room - it was never used anyway. I added shelves for storage and made a large paper mache "C" and "M" to give it a more "this is my office" look. I try to be a tidy sewer, but in reality, 1 minute after I clean and straighten everything, it looks like a tornado came through. It also doesn't help that my "helper", Delacroix, loves to play with the fabric scraps that fall to the floor.

Cosmetic Bag - Green - Floral Print - Faux Leather

CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
MS: I would first like to say that I am thrilled that I found Etsy and I am able to sell my items there. If it weren't for Etsy, I don't know where I would be selling or if I would be selling my items. The best thing about selling on Etsy is that I am able to put something out there that I put my heart into and having other people buy and heart it. It gives me so much gratification knowing that others like my creations.
I have two big things that I find challenging with selling on Etsy. The first one being that potential customers aren't able to feel and hold my items before buying - obviously this isn't something that can be solved on Etsy. The second challenge is getting my store noticed. There are numerous talented purse makers on Etsy, so making my items stand out can be challenging.

Pleated Clutch - Navy Blue - Polka Dot

CM: What's your favorite item from your own shop right now?
MS: Tough question! While I love all the items in my shop because I feel they reflect my style, I have two favorite items: The Pleated Clutch and the Zig Zag Foldover Clutch. I love navy blue and the texture of the fabric for both pieces. I also love that the foldover clutch can also be used as a tote.

Foldover Clutch - Tote - Navy Blue - Zig Zag

CM: Do you have a favorite shop or item on Etsy? If so, which one(s)?
MS: I could probably write a short book on my favorite items, there's so many. But my 3 favorite items are this Woven Merino Wool Blanket, this Dupioni Silk Bolero, and this Simple Pearl Necklace.

Foldover Clutch - Tote - Zig Zag - Black and White - Chevron

Thank you, Meghan!  I have some more great shops lined up this week... stay tuned!!