Pieces of Home Mosaics Shop

Saturday, April 20, 2013

featured artist Barbra Alan

Happy Hello All!
Today's Featured Shop is:
This outstanding shop is owned by:
 Barbra Alan
I asked Barbra to be a featured shop. I just knew her talent needed to be seen by everyone! Her wearable art just took my breath away! Her designs are stunning!
If you are planning a Wedding or having a big Event... you NEED one of her pieces! Her statement pieces will make you the Bell of the Ball!
Get ready and here we go!
What do you sell?
Hand embroidered bead necklaces, collars or bibs, bracelets
 How did you get started with Etsy?
When I started making my jewelry, my son was so excited with what I was doing, he set me up on Etsy. He had heard about it through friends. I didn’t know what to do with it, so of course no sales. In January of this year, I decided to get serious about it and joined some teams and began picking brains. My exposure is growing day by day.
When did you get interested in making your Art?
About 5 years ago I was in a bead store and the lady said “you have got to take a look at this book.” out of the blue. It was Sherry Serafini’s and Heidi Kumli’s book on the "Art of Bead Embroidery” I was still working then so I didn't have time to pursue it but I did buy the book “for my retirement”. I just continued collecting beads and brought them all with me. When I moved to St. Louis to retire, I pulled the book out, took a deep breath, and started making my pieces. It amazed me and my family what came out of me. I do believe the universe directs us if we only listen.
Where does your inspiration come from?

I pick out a cabochon that speaks to me, then invade my stash to find beads to go with it. Or I may be in the mood for a certain color and go from there. I guess it’s mostly intuition. I don’t know if I can do custom orders unless the customer is present to pick out what they want.
 How did you learn your art form?

I am self taught from Sherry and Heidi’s book. Also from Jaimie Cloud Eakin's book. I belong to the Etsy Bead Embroiders Guild and I have learned a lot from them. I plan to take classes to learn more Bead weaving at our local bead store and I have ordered a book to learn Soutache.
Where do you see your Shop in 5 years from now?
I hope successful of course. I plan on having a wide diversity of styles because I get bored easily. I hope to do some competitions and I would like to be a mentor for new people to Etsy.
 How do you manage your time between Etsy and the rest of your life?

Well-l-l-l! Right now I am on the computer all day to bring my numbers up. I do keep my house clean, feed myself and walk the dog. I have a friend that comes over to bead with me every Wednesday so I take off then. I am trying to work out a schedule that allows me to fulfill my commitments to my teams and do my beading. And Spring is coming which means the Battle of the Weeds.
Is this a hobby, part-time job, or full-time job?

A full time job
Do you make or stock items you love, or what will sell?

Definitely what I love. I figure if I love it, someone else will.
Where else can we find you online?

I have a Facebook page – Artistic Beads and Baubles
I am going to plunge into a Blog Page soon.
Did you always want to have your own business?

Yes, but I didn't know what it looked like. Now I am retired and can experiment. Right now, Etsy feels very good. It's exciting to see it growing daily in my views, favorites and followers My first sale was so exciting, I didn’t come off the ceiling for a week. I feel the next customer out there is close, circling like an angel.
Any other thoughts you want to share with us?
I am so grateful for all the help I have received from the people I have met on Etsy. Everyone has made me feel an instant member of the family and are eager to do whatever they can to help a newbie, sometimes spending a lot of their time to make sure I understand what I want to know because I can be dense sometimes. If I get nothing else, I will value the friendships I am developing.
I told you that her Wearable Art would take your breath away! 
A huge thank you to Barbra Alan for sharing!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Featuring The Bears Cave

Today's Feature is....
(Drum Roll Please!)
The Bears Cave 

Laura Butt is the artist and owner of this shop!
People people people.... this shop has the most outstanding photos! About a month ago, I was looking around Etsy and came across this shop. I fell in love with her work. I asked her immediately if she would be interested in being featured on my blog. I am so excited  Laura said "Yes"!!
All I can say is... Enjoy!
Here we go!!
How did you come up with your shop name The Bears Cave?
I named "The Bear's Cave"  after my dog, Bear.
What do you sell?
I sell photography prints.
How did you get started with Etsy?
My mom actually found Etsy first and started a quilt/art shop. I was so happy to learn about a site where you can buy hand-made anything! I joined Etsy in 2007 as a "buyer". It wasn't until recently I opened a shop.
When did you get interested in making your Art/Craft?
 I have been taking photographs since I was young, just for fun. My mom has albums and albums of family photos. Once I started learning more about cameras I took photos of my animals ALL the time....and I still do. I want to have memories to capture and share with anyone who wants to take a peek.
Where does your inspiration come from?
 My inspiration comes from animals in general, my dog Bear and one female leopard at my local zoo. It was watching a man photograph this leopard that inspired me to learn more about photography.
Who taught you or how did you learn your art form?
My mom is no professional photographer, but she has taught me quite a bit about photography. The rest of what I have learned, I either taught myself or have gotten tips and techniques from other photographers I run across. I love any advice I can get.
Where do you see your Shop in 5 years from now?
In five years from now, I hope to see that my shop grows in admirers. Of course I hope to have a number of buyers as well, but I really just enjoy being able to share my photos and hopefully put a smile on someone's face. :)
How do you manage your time between Etsy and the rest of your life?
So far, balancing my life and Etsy has been fairly easy. I enjoy relaxing in the evening and surfing the web. I also spend a lot of this time updating Etsy and going through photos as well.
Is this a hobby, part-time job, or full-time job?
As of right now, Etsy is a hobby for me. I am a full-time dog groomer, a young girl who has found the love of her life and a mom to the perfect dog, 8 parakeets, 4 dwarf hamsters and 3 newts. I hope to eventually grow on Etsy and be able to make this a part-time job.
Do you make or stock items you love, or what will sell?
I stock my favorite photos, hoping they will become a favorite for someone else. I won't stock the photos unless I absolutely love them!
Where else can we find you online?
As of right now, I am just on Etsy.
Did you always want to have your own business?
 I actually never wanted to have my own business. Ha! I love having an Etsy shop as a business though. I guess I've never thought of it that way.
Any other thoughts you want to share with us?
I just want to thank Kate for featuring me on her lovely blog and everyone who takes a look in my shop. I hope you enjoy :)
Thank you Laura for sharing your talent
 The Bears Cave!!



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Featured Shop Owner Nan Curtis

Today you are in for a treat! All Handcrafted Items!
Today's Featured Shop Owner is Nan Curtis!
She is the Owner of  Bynani. 
Sit back and relax! I know you will find something to love in Nan's shop! She makes everything by hand and her items are truly made with love and care.
Let's learn a bit about Nan!
What do you sell?
I sell a variety of sewn items:  women’s and girl’s apparel and accessories; purses/handbags/totes/lunchbags; home décor; “kid stuff,” and toddler/baby clothing and accessories.

How did you get started with Etsy?

I started with Etsy a few years ago when my house began to bulge from all of the things I was making.  I was practically giving things away to strangers and a few of my friends told me I should sell on Etsy.  I started a shop there, but had to take a break because of an illness.  I started my new shop in October.
When did you get interested in making your Art/Craft?
I’ve always “made stuff” (my mother said to me the other day, “is there any craft you don’t do?”) My great-grandmother was an artist and I remember saying when I was young, “I’m going to be an artist and live in Paris!”  That led me to fine art BA in photography and an MA in Art History and I ended up working through the ranks of art museums to become a museum director.  Over that whole period, and throughout all of my life and academic studies, I always sewed. 
Who taught you or how did you learn your art form?
My mother sews, her sister sews, their mother sewed, her mother sewed, and I absorbed all of the lessons anyone would give me.  I began making Holly Hobby (does anyone remember Holly Hobby?) doll clothes when I was 7.  My mother gave me her sewing machine when I moved out of the house (that machine was older than me!) and then gave me another a few years after that when she bought another newer model for herself.  I was able to have that one replaced when my mom came to visit.  We were going to sew together on my machine (which had been her machine earlier).  She took about 10 stitches and said, “how can you sew on this!  I’m buying you a new machine today!”  Shout out to Mom!  THANK YOU!!
Where does your inspiration come from?

I’m inspired by so many things.  Art and design history, nature, architecture and whimsy.  I don’t have any children, so sewing whimsical things for kids is a way for me to get my “baby fix” and it fulfills the child in me.  Architecture fuels my eye for geometric forms and contrasts in color and texture.  As an art historian, I’m constantly thinking of forms that are historical.  And, I’ve always been a “nature girl.”  I live on a large tract of land and am always watching and walking outside.  Birds, animals, plant life, texture, color all make an impact on me.  The combination of all these forms of inspiration goes into my head, mixes around with the other stuff in my subconscious, and then comes out as a design and a sewn good.  I’m thankful for this diversity in inspiration.  It allows me to constantly change up what I’m doing and allows me to make a variety of items.  Hopefully, something for everyone. 
Where do you see your Shop in 5 years from now?
My vision for the future of my shop is a really good question, because as a super smart business woman I . . . . have not made a business plan!  That’s exactly the way to conquer the world and be proprietor of Nanny-poo’s Princess Bynani Empire!  Haarrrr!  OK, in all seriousness, there is a Sunday Artisans Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about 15 miles from my home.  I would like to have a regular stall there, and perhaps do medium- sized craft/art fairs (the larger craft fairs seem to me to attract craftspeople that crank out the same version of a product over and over and over, I’m not interested in that), and to build business on my website.  I also like being on Etsy teams and sometimes fantasize about what it would be like to work for Etsy and coordinate/teach labs and events.
How do you manage your time between Etsy and the rest of your life?
Right now I’m taking a break from my career and am pursuing an MBA.  Why?  Why not!  Actually, I hope the MBA will give me the business skills I need to run my own business.   I am also trying to start a professional organizer business (that’s where the experience of running a museum and having been a  collections manager come in, as well as my experience organizing fabric and my studio!).  So, right now, work is not a conflict for me.  Studying, on the other hand . . . well, it sure does get in the way of my sewing!  Work will become an issue soon, though.  I need to find a part-time job to keep the school gig (oh, yeah, and the eating/being warm/having gasoline gig) going. 
Is this a hobby, part-time job, or full-time job?
Right now the Bynani is a hobby,  a major hobby, that I am attempting to turn into a part-time job.  I really want to reach a point where I can outsource photographing my products.  It takes up so much time.  I hope I can find someone that is skilled enough to photograph well and who will also barter with me. 
Do you make or stock items you love, or what will sell?
I only make things that I love.  I believe that if you make something that you wouldn’t use/wear/own then you won’t make a quality, or desired, good.  I recently moved back to Michigan after having been in Texas for four years.  Texas is where I started the previous Etsy shop (Green Onions Textiles).  Because of moving expenses I had to purge most of my items.  It made me really anxious!  Everything I make is like a baby to me.  I ended up giving everything to my next door neighbors.  They had been so patient with me while I lived there.  Almost every night I would run over to their house with the latest “show and tell,” and they would always oooh and aaah over everything.  I knew that they would find good homes for my creations.
Where else can we find you online?
In addition to the Bynani Etsy shop, I also have a website.  You can visit me and shop there at www.bynani.com.  I write a blog there and post about every four days.  My blog posts are very diverse and range from tutorials, art history, and thoughts of the day.  And I am always open to suggestions for blog post topics.  Please stop in and leave a comment.
I also have many Pinterest boards at http://pinterest.com/nanibynani/ and a Facebook business page at https://www.facebook.com/nanibynani.  I use the Facebook Page a lot to announce new items and sales.  Please stop by there and give me a Like if you . . . should I say it? . . . If you like!
Did you always want to have your own business?
I have always wanted to run my own business.  My mother started her own business when I was a baby.  She typed dissertations (yep, typed, that’s the way it was waaaay back then, typewriter times!), then turned that into a very prosperous typesetting business.  Mom is my greatest source of encouragement and hope, and is the best role model I know.  She’s my greatest cheerleader and has taught me the ins and outs of starting up a business and . . . sigh . . . patience.
Any other thoughts you want to share with us?

I have two final thoughts.
First, buy artisan.  It’s worth it for you, for the economy and for artists.   As major big-block stores keep growing and growing, they are driving out business for Mom and Pop stores and reducing the American GNP.  That’s an economic point of view that is indeed very important.  But there’s an additional reasons to buy handcrafted.  When you buy an artisan product you are buying something made just for you.  It’s unique, it’s a work of art and craft, and you are ultimately supporting the arts, which is so important for human beings.   You deserve to have some art in your life! And, you can be sure that you’ll never be wearing the same scarf/handbag/dress/etc., as anyone else at work or play. 
 Second, I want to say that everyone has creativity inside of themselves.  It’s true that some people are more talented, and perhaps skilled, than others.  But everyone has a creative element; it’s simply a matter of being still, looking inside oneself, and letting it out.  Throughout my career(s) as an artist, art history instructor, and museum professional I have heard so many times, “I’m not creative, I could never . . . . “ But the truth is that as human beings we are inherently creative.  So, give it a try!  See what happens (by the way, that’s what my grandfather always said).
 Best wishes to all and come take a look at Bynani!
Thank you Nan for being my guest today!

I hope you enjoyed learning about Nan and her Fabulous Shop! I know I did! Make sure and stop by Bynani. Mother's Day is coming up!! hint hint! I know I will be popping over to buy some baby goodies.... I am going to be a Nana in October! I now know where to find just right items to spoil that Grand Baby when he or she comes!!!
Pop on over to my shop and see what is new!