Sunday, October 21, 2012

Salutations Sunday with Josh and Teo and a GIVEAWAY

Please shout out your salutations for Jenny and her Etsy shop Josh and Teo for my Salutations Sunday feature!

Practical but stylish handmade creations for babies and mamas!

Jenny has also offered one of her creations for a giveaway...please see all of the details after the interview. Now let's discover her creative story...

Toy Leash Tether Strap in Rainbow Stripes
What is the first creative memory you have?

The first time I remember being called artistic was in Grade 1. I had just finished painting a picture of a tree and my teacher Mrs. Patterson asked me if she could keep it. I was so proud of myself! My Mom told me later on that my teacher was really impressed with my painting because it was so realistic – with lots of branches and leaves. There’s a bunch of other moments but this one was my first. My forte is sewing and I remember experimenting quite a bit with a needle and thread before my Mom would allow me to use her Singer. I tried to sew clothes for our dolls and even stitched up Barbie’s head! At the time, I didn’t think to use beige thread so we ended up with FrankenBarbie. Please don’t ask why she needed to be sewn up :) Let’s just say that 3 sisters and 1 Barbie equals trouble!

What or whom began your creative journey on Etsy?

My second child was 7 months old when I opened up my ETSY shop. Prior to that, I was posting pictures on Facebook of all the stuff that I made. Like many here on ETSY, I kept hearing “you should sell your stuff!” I opened up my shop at the end of April 2011 and listed 5 items. After my first sale, my shop took off and I’ve had the opportunity to sell to customers worldwide. ETSY is known for handmade and that’s why I chose to sell on ETSY vs other websites. In fact, I got my first national magazine feature when an editor at Chatelaine magazine saw my toy leash on ETSY.

How did you come up with your shop name?

I kept bouncing ideas off of my husband but nothing stuck. One day, I thought about why I was doing this and who I was doing this for and decided to name my shop after my two boys. Both boys are such an inspiration to me so I decided to name my shop after them. As they start to grow, I’m sure my shop will evolve too. Everything I make is designed and tested for them. If it works, then I put it in my shop.

Toy Leash Tether Strap in Green, Brown, Yellow

Describe what creations you have in your shop

My shop mirrors what I was searching for when I was pregnant with my first son. I ended up sewing many items for my baby boy (now toddler) because I could not find stylish products for baby boys. Hence, all of my fabric choices are unisex so that moms with boys aren't left in the cold! I sell toy leashes, wrist wallets, mini coin wallets, toddler backpacks, tricycle bags, nursing covers, and slim stroller bags.

My most popular items are my toy leashes. I love them and still use them to hold snack cups and toys. I originally designed it to be used with Sophie the Giraffe but it can be used for so much more. I also sell a slim stroller bag which is invaluable to me. I designed it after I got tired of lugging around a clunky big bag. The stroller bag is one of my favourite designs and follows my motto of “practical but stylish”. Lately, I have been sewing toddler backpacks, which I love. Each backpack is custom made and discussed at length by myself and my customer. Throughout the process, I usually end up getting to know these customers very well and I love seeing the pictures they send of their little ones with their new backpacks. I am currently designing some new items and hope to share them soon!

What insprires you?

Every day things inspire me. I look to my children for a lot of my inspiration as well as my day to day life. I market my items as stylish and practical because I love things that are stylish and practical. If it’s not useful, I don’t care how pretty it is. Sewing for boys is a great opportunity to demonstrate some creativity. The marketplace doesn’t have enough “boy” themed items so the sky’s the limit!

Slim Stroller Diaper Bag
What do you listen to or watch while creating?

I usually don’t like to listen to anything while creating as I find it distracting. However, I have started listening to audio books. That gives me the best of both worlds… crafting and reading. I like to sew when I’m at my happiest. If I am tired or not in a good mood, I do not sew. When I sew relaxed and happy, the outcome is always a good one!

Please share a favorite recipe

I have lots but a favorite recipe that I make for my kids is yogurt pops. I posted a tutorial on my blog : . I like to layer them with pudding, applesauce and yogurt. The trick for me is to make them in tiny ketchup cups so that the portion size is smaller. Little kids just can’t eat big popsicles and that’s just more mess for me.
I post my other fave recipes on my blog:

Where else can we find you?
I love to blog about the stuff I make. My blog name isn’t my shop name because my blog is a mish mash of stuff I make, stuff I sell, time with the kiddies, and random musings!

And now let's find out what creation Jenny is offering for her giveaway...

Toy Leash in Black and White
  • 1 toy leash from Josh and Teo's Etsy shop of the winners choice (this black and white one shown is just one example...there are many to choose from in her shop)
***Shipping included for US & Canada entrants ONLY...all other international entrants will have to pay a $5.50 shipping fee

Now to enter...please keep in mind you do not need to do all of the entries, but the more you do the more chances you have at winning!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Welcome Wednesday with We Three Bees and a GIVEAWAY

It's time for Welcome Wednesday with Nicole and her Etsy shop We Three Bees

Nicole is offering free worldwide shipping on any order from now until the end of 2012 (Easter-Standard Time) with coupon code: WTBFREESHIP412

And DON'T FORGET HER GIVEAWAY!!! Details after the let' discover Nicole's creative story

Bandana Bib
What is the first creative memory you have?
Well… apparently I was creative even before my memories were established. My mother just LOOOOVES to tell this story about me! I was little enough to still wear a diaper (you can see where this is going) and, during my afternoon nap, I wasn’t very tired. I slowly came down the stairs, holding a handled mirror out in front of me, very carefully balancing “cookies” to offer to her guest. I can only imagine the horror on my poor mother’s face when she saw what I had used to make the “cookies.” I also, in my careful descent down the stairs, left a hand painted mural behind me on the wall. Oh my! The joys of motherhood :)

What or whom began your creative journey on Etsy?
A relative recommended it to me after seeing some of my sewing projects and I was hooked!

How did you come up with your shop name?
Bees have always been so interesting to me, the way they’re so fragile and yet, so mighty. Just like humans, I guess. “We Three” came from one of the happiest times in my life when my first son was born. It was my loving and supportive husband, Ben, my new little Jack and me, we three. We’ve since had our second son, Dexter and we have to have one more to make my shop name relevant! (At least that is what my husband tells me.) So, if we’re lucky, bee number three will be making an appearance next summer or fall!

Describe what creations you have in your shop

Goodies for babies and children. I’m drawn to cold weather clothing and styles. Not the cold weather, just the clothing. There are lots of different hats and jackets but you'll also find bunting, blankets, and a new addition, The Dapper Fox softie.

Bicycle Bunting & Dapper Fox Softie

What insprires you?
Nature and love, especially the bond that exists between parents and their children. It’s bewildering, overwhelming and bittersweet but being a parent has made me happier than I could have ever imagined. And I’ve always been fascinated by nature- so complex and beautiful.

What do you listen to or watch while creating?

If I don’t hear Papa trying to wrangle two little boys upstairs, I’m listening to Van Morrison or Christmas music (I know. It’s too early… but I know you’re secretly thinking of Bing Crosby and wanting to hear some White Christmas; it’s okay. This is a safe place.)

Toddler Reversible Corduroy Jacket
Please share a favorite recipe
I hate cooking. Well, that’s not entirely true. I hate cooking when I (1) don’t have time, (2) don’t have ingredients and/or (3) don’t have any ideas on what to cook. Usually, all three attack me at once! However, a true fall-time staple in our house is spiced apple cider. You need: one gallon of cider, three cinnamon sticks, a tea blotter filled with equal parts whole cloves and whole allspice, ¾ cup sugar. Dump it all in your crockpot on low heat, give it a stir and wait for the delicious aroma to waft through the house! Perfect for get-togethers. Also, when the party's over, put it in the fridge and re-heat in the microwave- instant "Mmmm!"

Where else can we find you?

Twitter @WeThreeBees


Nicole is offering one free children’s hat with worldwide shipping included. Made to order or ready to ship, any style (bomber/trapper, earflap or pixie hood), size newborn to 8 years. Production time is 2 - 3 weeks and items ship USPS First Class or USPS First Class International. Visit her shop here to see the variety of hats you can choose from!


Please remember you do not have to do all of the entries...but the more you do the more chances you have at winning!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meet Monday with Zappy Cat

Everyone please welcome and meet Melissa and her Etsy shop Zappy Cat for Meet Monday

Quilts and jewelry...two of my favorite things :) Let's discover Melissa's creative story

Turquoise Poppy Trellis Patchwork Quilt
What is the first creative memory you have?

When I was maybe in the 9-12 age range, I started doing a lot of cross stitch and latch-hooking, all from kits at first. I remember being really thrilled to get all those colors of yarns and flosses, and loving the way the picture emerged as you followed the diagrams. But eventually, I wanted to do my own thing, so I started graphing designs of my own. The first one I can remember was a small latch hook rug with a unicorn and, um, I think there might have been a rainbow, too. Ok, so I didn't have any taste, but I had creative impulse like you read about!

What or whom began your creative journey on Etsy?

That'd have to be my sister-in-law, Jenn. Her current shop is Writesy Press, an independent-title self-publishing house. She just self-published "Ripple the Twine" – which she calls “a tomboy-meets-townie love story.” And before that, she made and sold cool things of varied descriptions from repurposed materials. (She recently closed that shop to focus on her writing.) She is also a whiz with faux paint finishes...the entire end wall of my kitchen and living room is faux brick: my idea, her paint expertise. It's so real-looking most people have to go up and touch it. She is a pioneer with nerves of steel, and I stand in awe, and then slooooowly try to follow her example. And darn it, she's younger than I am!

How did you come up with your shop name?

Pretty literally. I'd been thinking for months about what the heck to name a shop that I could live with for a while...something that kind of captured my personality, and hopefully, the personality of my work. But I had come up with nada. Then, it just kind of happened.

I'm a cat person...surprise, right? One day I was following my orange tiger cat George down the carpeted steps to feed him, and when he stopped at the bottom, I gave him a rub and got a nice little “zap” of static electricity, and said, out loud to George, “Ooh, zappy cat!” And then, “Oooh! ZappyCat!” Eureka.

Disk & Dangles Wire Wrapped Bracelet

Describe what creations you have in your shop

I sell quilts and smaller quilted or patchwork things, like table runners and pillows, and right now, am wrapping up a prototype of a quilted weekend bag. That covers the “quilts” part of “Quilts, Jewelry and Things in Between” – my tagline. The jewelry is my outlet for my bead obsession – earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings, so far, made from beads, wire and whatever new technique I am on the scent of. The “things in between” is a work in progress...I have been working on a shoulder bag prototype made from repurposed jeans, fabric scraps and beads. You can see a little piece of that in my shop logo, actually. Beading on fabric is slow work, but I'll get there eventually. I'm impatiently waiting for a shop I found recently to offer a class so I can learn more about that. The owner there made the bracelet of my dreams (but, sadly, not my budget), and I can just see the perfect way to whittle down my bugle bead stash (so I can reorder, of course!).

What inspires you?

Color...interesting materials...texture...movement...pattern. In everything. You name it!

What do you listen to or watch while creating?

Usually, iPod shuffle or Pandora internet radio. Lately, I can't get enough of my Jeff Buckley station, but I also rotate pretty heavily between my Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Blondie, the Pretenders, Modest Mouse and Arctic Monkeys stations. Just depends on whether it's a melancholy day or a manic one. And whether I'm feeling 80s, 90s or 00s!

Amber & Blue Leaf  Earrings
Please share a favorite recipe

It's getting to be soup weather, so I think I'll go for my version of my mom's version of Tortellini Sausage Soup. I'm kind of a just-go-for-it cook, so apologies to any of you out there who are in need of accurate quantities!

Beef stock (homemade's the best, but a couple of vacuum-sealed containers or about 5 regular sized cans – preferably reduced sodium – will do fine)
Two 28 oz cans of tomato puree
One can of peeled whole tomatoes
One regular size can of tomato sauce
One can of tomato paste
Your choice of veggies: I use onions, sweet peppers and garlic all the time, but sometimes occasionally throw in a sliced carrot or two just for some extra veg
One pound of sausage...good quality, non-gristly is the way to go sausage will be a dealbreaker! Also, I've made this with pork (my favorite) and with chicken or turkey sausage (good, too)...go with whichever you like
Optional: a nice belt of red wine (make sure it's one that goes with tomatoes...some don't! Nothing too sweet or too sharp, in other words.)
Grated parmesan (even better if you have a rind to toss in the pot)
Spices: Again, go with what you like, but I use dried basil and oregano, and a bit of salt
Package of either fresh or frozen tortellini

The directions: Chop the veg. Brown the sausage and drain all but a tablespoon or two of the fat. Toss the veg in the remaining fat and cook until things start to soften up a bit. Then it's all about dumping: dump the stock and all the tomato products into a big stock pot and dump the veg and sausage in that. Add that glug of red wine, if you want, and your parmesan. Then simmer until everything's heated through and you're happy. Just before you're ready to serve, add whatever spices you want and add the tortellini and cook til it's done. Then eat up. If you're a cheese nut like me, sprinkle some Parm on top of your bowlful. Good, good stuff on a chilly day.

By the way...pretty sure you could do this in a slow cooker without much difficulty. You slow-cooker people know who you are and what you need to do!

Where else can we find you?

Right now, it's just me and Etsy, but I'm working with the goal of starting the craft fair circuit one of these here days! I have the I just need to produce! Anyone got some extra hours you want to send my way?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Salutations Sunday with The Recoverie

Please join me in saying howdy to Dani and her Etsy shop The Recoverie for my Salutations Sunday feature!

The printing process is quite extensive, and no two pieces will be exactly alike. I hand carve all my original designs, and custom mix all my inks. Now let's discover Dani's creative story...

Rose Linoleum Block Print Linen Pillow Case "Lotus"
What is your first creative memory?

Making daisy chain bracelets in a park with my mom while on a field trip in elementary school. Making sculptures out of wet sand, sticks,shells, and seaweed at the beach. Watching her sew my ballet rose petal skirt and crown for my big ballet debut. Too many to even name. I was lucky to come from good artistic genes and people constantly encouraging and supporting my creativity. I don't think I would have pursued the art field otherwise!

What or whom began your creative journey on Etsy?
I found Etsy a few years ago shopping online. At first I just thought it was cool, but then began to realize how far it stretched, and what that could mean for me. After I moved to San Francisco and started selling at local shows, people kept asking if I had an Etsy shop I could direct them too. The next few months I stopped doing shows and set up my site, and now I'm up and running.

How did you come up with your shop name?

I wanted the name to reflect a general meaning for old things becoming new again, and given a new life. The name "Recoverie" also ended up lending itself well to the reupholstering aspect of my shop too. 

Teal and Coral Lime Burst Block Prints

Describe the creations in your shop

I started out selling 8 x 10 prints of my simple designs and small found home accessories. I have now expanded to soft home goods like pillow covers and dish towels printed with original patterns, and small furniture that I refinish and reupholster. I really enjoy creating the designs and applying them in a functional way.

What inspires you?

I am completely inspired by the architecture in San Francisco where I live. Most of my textile designs started after seeing a certain shape on a building and building off of that. I also love Art Deco and especially Art Nouveau shapes. 

Multi Color Block Print Napkins - Set of 4
What do you listen to or watch while creating?

Any kind of music. TV and movies distract me, but if you plug me in at a coffee shop with headphones and a good chai tea, I'm a machine.

Please share a favorite recipe

Cheesecake Truffle Bombs

 24 -32 truffles

For the Cake-Truffles

* 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
 * 3/4 cup sugar
 * 3 large eggs
 * 2 teaspoons vanilla
 * 1/3 cup whipping cream
 * 1 pinch salt 

For the Dipping

 * 12 ounces milk chocolate, melted
 * 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted 


1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper; spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In blender: mix the cake ingredients until smooth, pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake until set (about 30 minutes); cake should be firm, but not dried or curling around the edges; cool in fridge.

4. While the cake is chilling, line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

5. Cut cake into 24 or 32 small squares; place on lined baking sheet; freeze for 1-2 hours.

6. Near the end of the freezing time, melt dipping chocolates (SEPARATELY).

7. TO FINISH: Using a fork dip each square in the melted chocolate on all sides; set on parchment lined baking sheet until set. These can be dipped in another chocolate or drizzled with white chocolate (optional).

8. Freeze briefly to set.

9. Transfer to small confectionary paper cups (optional).

10. Seal truffles in a zip-top freezer bag for up to two months.

11. Serve frozen or slightly thawed.

Where else can we find you?


I'm hoping to get my site, up and running by the end of this year, otherwise I have been selling at a lot of local San Francisco shows such as the Indie Mart. Updates and information about my shows can be found in my Etsy shop announcements.

Framed Fabric - Brown Linoleum Print "King and Queen"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tribute Tuesday with Alyssa Critters and a GIVEAWAY

Such a fun and adorable shop today for my Tribute Tuesday with Alyssa and her Etsy shop Alyssa Critters

Home of adorable crocheted octopus and jellyfish plush amigurumi...Alyssa has also offered one of her "critters" for a giveaway...please see the giveaway details after the interview.

Now let's discover Alyssa's creative story

Jumbo Octopus Amigurumi Plush
What is the first creative memory you have?

As a child, I would always love to make things, and one of my favorite things to do was try to create something instead of buying it. One of my birthday parties was held at home in our backyard and I was super excited to make sponge-painted t-shirts with all my friends! However, anyone who’s ever been in South Florida during September can guessed what happened next: torrential downpour! We moved all the stuff to the porch and I’ll never forget all the paint stains we made during that super fun day :P

What or whom began your creative journey on Etsy?

My grandma gave me all her old crochet and knitting supplies when I was in my last year of high school, and I taught myself how to use them with a combination of the books she gave me in Spanish and YouTube videos for some of the more tricky stuff. As any crafter knows, there comes a time when everyone you know is sick and tired of all the things you make for them! (; This coincided with lots of requests coming in from people that had seen my creations through someone else (one of those “my friend’s sister’s aunt’s cousin’s daughter’s best friend” kind of thing haha) and just had to have one! My eyes were opened to the fact that other people would love to have my creations in their lives, so I researched online venues that would allow me to sell my handmade goodness. The rest is history (;

How did you come up with your shop name?

I started my shop with the username “alyssacritt” just like I use everywhere else online because my full last name (Crittenden) is just too long. My shop started out with random crocheted items, pop-up cards, and beaded bracelets. Once I decided to focus on colorful creatures, I reevaluated my brand and ended up changing the name! (: I think the new name suits me much better, and everyone gets a kick out of the play on my last name.

Jumbo Rainbow Octopus

Describe what creations you have in your shop

I sell adorable crocheted critters called amigurumi, which is basically Japanese for knitted or crocheted stuffed animals. At various times I have sold cards and bracelets and other random goodies, but those are mostly on a whim. Eventually, I always realize the difficulty of selling certain goods online when the buyers can’t pick up the product themselves, and then I decide to stick with adorable plushies!

Jellyfish Amigurumi Plush
What inspires you?

Like any other crafters, one of the most inspiring things is taking a trip to the craft store! I love to ride my bike to the local Jo-Ann’s and browsing the ENTIRE store! Sometimes you can find supplies in a section that you would’ve never thought to look in and find a new and unexpected purpose for a fun product!

What do you listen to or watch while creating?

I listen to a lot of old music, but my favorite genre is 80’s music. Hey, I was alive for four months of ’89 so that’s allowed, right? :D When I am alone, I usually have music on while I am creating. But when I am spending time with my little brother or the two kids I babysit, I often crochet while watching cartoons with them like Phineas and Ferb and Avatar the Last Airbender.

Please share a favorite recipe

One of my favorite recipes is a microwave chocolate cake that I discovered fairly recently! I mean, it only has seven ingredients (one of which is Nutella!) in practically microscopic proportions that you can mix in a microwave-safe bowl and then three minutes later you have a tiny, delicious chocolate cake! :D I created this simple graphic to explain the recipe. I love to top it with fresh whipped cream or serve it with ice cream.

Basically, you mix these ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl:
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
4 tbsp Nutella
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
4 tbsp flour
Microwave for about 3 minutes. You can cut into it to check if it is done because microwaves vary (:

Where else can we find you?

I created a Facebook fan page for my shop where I post coupons, new creations, and interesting things from around the web:

And I’m on Twitter, of course!

I have a blog (sort of) at and where I post things that I make, some of my Instagram photos, and funny or interesting things that I find.


One large octopus in your choice of color!!!

NOW TO ENTER...please remember you do not have to do all of the entries...but the more you do the more chances you have at winning!!! Good luck :)" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway