Local Update: Handmade Marketplace Booth

About a year after relocating, I finally found a local spot to sell my handmade items. 

If you didn’t read my post about moving, my husband left active duty military to start a gym with some friends. I chose to be optimistic that our relocation would be an adventure and not a disappointment. I guess it’s been a little of both. 

Besides the usual stress of moving and the challenges of adjusting to civilian life, we have had some unexpected difficulties and found ourselves pretty isolated in the life we choose to live as business owners. But we have enjoyed slowing down, spending more time together, and finding little things to appreciate about this unique and interesting area.

I had also planned to get my work into some local shops or galleries, and for a while, my search was very discouraging. But I finally found a new shop in Lebanon that specializes in handmade, recycled, and vintage items from local artists and businesses. As soon as they had a booth I could afford, I reserved it. Now there’s a little display in the back full of my jewelry, accessories, cards, and even a few paintings. 

I’m hopeful that this will be a great opportunity for me, not only as a way to grow my business, but a way to be a little more involved in the community. Check out The Marketplace at the Mill’s Facebook Page, and if you’re local, see my stuff and more in the shop upstairs! 

Advertisements

Thoughts on Color Theory and Being Yourself

I finally got a chance to buy Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio, a book I’ve had my eye on for a while, and so far I am not at all disappointed.

The book is about color theory, color mixing, and choosing colors for a project. I’m actually pretty good at the mixing part; making decisions is where it gets tricky for me. In addition to both of those issues, the book includes some very interesting information on how we relate to different colors for different reasons. 

It also contains some exercises. I skipped ahead to one where you mix each of six basic colors with a little of each of the colors next to it and a little of each of white, gray, and black. It shows how some colors change more than others due to pigment strength.


I really enjoyed seeing all the variations together, and knowing I’d have a reference point for future projects. But I was a little disappointed when I got to yellow, one of my favorite colors. Most of the finished palettes were essentially 12 different versions of the original color. But the yellow ended up turning mostly orange, green, and brown. 

Suddenly I felt like I could really relate to the color yellow. It’s not any less awesome than the other colors, but gets overpowered by them anyway.

I’ve been going through some personal stuff that has really driven home the feelings of worthlessness that can come with living as an artist with depression. I’m not saying I want a different life, but I do get tired of being dismissed by people because my problems aren’t as visible as theirs and my priorities are somehow less important. 

That being said, I’m also trying to stop being a pushover. Making your own decisions means you can’t please everyone. I still consider other people, but I actually think you can do that better if you take care of yourself first. 

It seems we’re all a little bit like colors. Those around us can bring out the beauty in us, or they can turn us into things we’re not. We can lose ourselves in other people’s needs and expectations. 

So if you can relate to yellow, too, I hope you will give yourself permission to prioritize what you want and believe in. After all, it’s your life.

Mixed Media Beach & Floral Art

A couple years ago I started experimenting with combining my two favorite mediums, acrylic paint and polymer clay. I painted simple backgrounds and created basic dimensional shapes, then combined them together on canvas boards. The first set was floral-themed.

Meanwhile, through my jewelry making, I’ve been developing my polymer clay caning skills. So when I got back to my mixed media work, I started making the clay embellishments more detailed. 

I also received some acrylic mediums as a gift. Some of the textures worked perfectly for sand and waves, so I made a beach set for summer, incorporating more clay pieces as focal points for more detail and dimension.


It’s wonderful to find that two great things can be even better together. The larger pieces, some of which can go together as pairs, would accent a room nicely, and the smaller ones can be used as bookshelf art. I even made some magnets! You can find them on My Website or My Etsy Shop. I had a lot of fun creating these pieces and hope you will enjoy them too.

New in the Shop: Custom Fairy Houses

If you follow me on social media, you may remember a purple floral/hobbit-inspired fairy house I made for my herb garden with a broken wine glass and, of course, polymer clay.

That was a couple years ago, but things have gotten a little slow recently and I was looking for new ideas again. Fairy gardens and miniatures are all the rage right now, and I love fantasy and making tiny things. It’s also a great way to reuse glass jars, which unfortunately are not recycled in my area.

So I posted in a Facebook group and got some people interested, and these are the first couple pieces we came up with together, as well as a remake of mine. After leaving it outside year-round, I learned what I needed to improve for it to last. I also made a couple extra tiny versions for indoor teacup gardens. 


You can browse my full collection of home decor, which also includes some office and jewelry organization items, on Etsy or on my website.

Do you have a fairy garden? What’s your favorite thing to decorate it with? 

Handmade Knit & Crochet Supplies and Giveaway!

Today I’m excited to announce a new product line and a giveaway collaboration, both created especially for knitters and crocheters!

Another Etsy seller saw the sheep earrings in my shop and suggested I make some stitch markers. I thought about it for a while and then ended up making six sets of stitch markers and six matching crochet hooks!

The full collection – sheep, pigs, frogs, coffee, cats, and UFOs

Some of the designs are inspired by knit & crochet slang terms; others are based on things you might have with you while you craft. The stitch markers come in three styles for different types of projects, and the hooks come in various sizes. Each item is handmade with polymer clay and designed to make your yarn crafting projects even more fun. 

And now for the giveaway!

I’ve teamed up with two other crafters to create an awesome yarn-themed prize pack. In addition to a set of my sheep stitch markers from Noelle Lewis Art, the winner will receive two cute and convenient handmade hook & needle cases from Ellen at The Chilly Dog and some gorgeous hand-dyed merino silk yarn from Barbara at Kitty Mine Crafts

Enter to win this yarn lover's gift set!

The giveaway runs from April 24 to May 15. Due to shipping costs, it is only open to US residents. Head over to Ellen’s blog post to participate, and please share with your crafty friends! 

Website Update – New Platform

Last year I decided to try again with running a website in addition to my Etsy shops. I committed to a six month plan with Weebly, and my bare minimum goal was to make enough sales to cover the fees. It took me almost the full six months, and only one of those sales came from someone I didn’t already coordinate with elsewhere, but it happened (and I appreciate every single order). 

So I’m going to continue running my website, but with a different platform. Weebly was easy to use, reasonably affordable, and had most of the features I wanted. But for a few dollars more (or less, depending on the timeframe) Shopify will give me a couple things that were missing from my site, as well as the ability to sell directly on Facebook and Pinterest.

It’s taken some work to get set up again, and to keep a website going in general, but I’m excited about having even more possibilities for my business. Customers will have more ways to shop, and I hope to be able to focus on doing my best work instead of competing with what’s trendy in a certain marketplace or trying to keep up with constant updates (I’m referring to Etsy, of course, but I will still be taking advantage of their built-in traffic). 

I’m starting with a monthly plan but would love to commit to a year as soon as I can afford it. This would save me a little money, but mostly it would motivate me to make it work. I think most of my failed attempts to branch out in the past were not so much about the platform but the fact that I wasn’t ready and didn’t realize how long it would take to see results. 

This year has gotten off to a rough start but I think things are going in a good direction and I hope I’m right. So if you would like to support my work, please check out The New Shop, share with some friends, or give some feedback here. If you’re a fan of My Facebook Page, you can use the discount coupon at the top of the page for your first purchase! 

Vote to Decide What I Paint Next!

I mentioned that one of my goals for the year is to finish one painting a month. This will be a bit of a challenge with my main focus being on selling jewelry, so I’m going to go ahead and say it counts when I finish a long-time work-in-progress or do a commission. Either way, painting is really important to me and I want to spend more time on it.

I also take A LOT of nature photos. Between those, my product photos, and photos of my cats, I constantly have a storage problem on my phone. But more to the point, I’ll probably never paint all of them and it’s hard to choose between them. 

So I started a photo album on my Facebook Business Page where you can vote on what I’ll paint next. No obligation to buy, of course, but you get to be involved in the creative process, and I get some help deciding what to do next. If you happen to be interested in buying, I can also do custom work.

If that sounds like fun, head over to my Reference Photo Album and start liking & commenting on your favorite photos, or share the album with your friends!