Etsy · My Witterings · Photography · Things to Make

How To Take Better Product & Blog Photos

Photo and lightbox by Kirby Kerr.
If you sell products online or you blog about food/fashion/your life, then clear and bright photos are one of the most important things you will need, if not the most important.
So I’ve compiled a resource of information, advice, tips, DIY lightbox tutorials, and ideas for setting up a mini photo studio at home – and you can see my page HERE. I hope it helps you out, because I know that I really struggle myself with making my photos look anywhere near professional 🙂
Etsy · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Pillow Pallooza

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of Pillow Pallooza on Etsy, a seller of fun and colourful handmade pillows.
How did you get started in your handmade business ?
I’ve always enjoyed decorating and making things for my home and I find that making pillows is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to transform and update almost any room in the house. When I was first introduced to Eco felt, which is an environmentally friendly felt made of, if you can believe it….. fibers made from recycled plastic bottles ! I was immediately inspired by this humble fabric but I knew the possibilities where endless and I loved how soft it felt.
The first pillow I made using Eco felt fabric was for my boys bedrooms. It was an appliqued pillow based on a vintage poster of an actual police practice target: (www.etsy.com/listing/35964302/target-practice-20-x-20-inch-pillow-in) I wanted to experiment further and design fun and unique pillows. Ultimately this inspired and led me to open my online pillow shop on Etsy.
What first made you want to become an artist/crafts person ?
I never had a choice, it was in me right from the beginning. My father (who sadly passed away) was a very talented self taught artist who had a significant influence on me and in many occasions we used to draw and paint together but we were also each others worst critiques. Even before I began to offer my craft for sale I had been producing arts and craft for myself and my family. I find inspiration from within and the art just naturally makes it’s way out.
Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Having three teenage boys, (20, 18, and 16) at home keeps me quite busy. I like a clean environment and it’s how I stay focused, so keeping my home in tip top shape is quite time consuming. I also love to cook and bake so I spend a lot of time preparing healthy home made meals. I especially love to cook eastern mediterranean foods, it’s what i grew up with and I do it best to the beat of very loud Israeli, armenian or greek music!
How many different places do you sell from?
Etsy is the only place I sell from, at least for the time being . I have 2 other shops on etsy: thequeenofquitealot.etsy.com and bohemianwhimsey.etsy.com
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Well, this doesn’t qualify as “handmade” but rather “footmade”. I cherish my kids first shoes! They are tiny and simply adorable and when you look closely you can see their little foot marks printed inside….. now that is priceless !!!
In ten years, where would you like to be?
First, I plan on being in a drier, warmer climate than here in Oregon. Southern California would be just fine. I also expect my children to be settled around me in close proximity.
If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?
I have so many favorites its hard for me to pick just one. I love to watch foreign movies and especially old movies from the 30’s and early 40’s. There is one particular movie that I’ve watched maybe a dozen times called Johnny Stecchino, directed and played by Italian actor Roberto Benigni. Now if you like watching Woody Allen movies then you’re going to like Benigni’s movies.
What is your favorite part of your handmade business?
Honestly, I love every part of it but my absolute favorite would be the finishing touches and when I finally insert the pillow form and it takes shape.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
That’s easy but I would want to have 2 super powers. The ability to speak any language at any given time and to time travel so I can travel back to when my kids where babies and I can kiss them a million gazzilion times with no resistance on their part.
What is your earliest memory of creating something you were proud of?
When I was in 6th grade I carved out a tea set out of plain class room chalk. It was the cutest thing but unfortunately my art teacher thought so too and she kept it.
Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?
Etsy · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: RACHELelise

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of RACHELelise on Etsy, a seller of beautiful bags and satchels that are right up my street!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Rachel, a recent college graduate and newlywed. I work at home on my bag business full-time and enjoy cooking, traveling, and lounging around when I’m not busy sewing up a storm.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

I’ve been sewing since I was in grade school, and when I got to college, I started selling handmade tote bags at a local coffee shop to earn a little extra cash. I got a really good response from the community, and someone told me about Etsy; I started selling on Etsy during college, and by the time I graduated, it was a full-time job!

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

I really love creating and knew that I would always find satisfaction in working for myself and being allowed to be creative on my own terms.

Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend a lot of time curled up on the couch with my husband and our cat. Relaxing after a long day of sewing is the best! I also enjoy reading, cooking, and eating cheeseburgers.

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I’ve been doing crafts since I was allowed to use safety scissors. I come from a long line of artsy/craftsy folks, and I carry on the tradition proudly. I started sewing, specifically, 12 years ago, and I’ve been selling online for 3 years.

How many different places do you sell from?

Etsy is the most consistent market for me year around. In the spring and fall, I take part in a lot of trade/craft shows in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. You can get information on those shows at my website: http://www.rachelelise.com. I also sell wholesale to boutiques, mostly in the U.S., but sometimes internationally.

Have any pets?

I have a cat named Dagny that likes to sleep in the window of my studio while I sew.

How did you come up with your shop name?

Pretty simple- It’s my first and middle name. I always liked the way they sounded together. The name confuses some people, though… they always ask if it’s my maiden name, or if I’m “Rachel” or “Elise”… I’m both! 🙂 Every once in a blue moon, I run into another Rachel Elise, and we get really excited haha.

What would your dream job be?

I have my dream job! Yay!

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

My Bernina sewing machine, for one. My mom got it for me when I turned 13… I’m 22 now, and it’s still a trooper! Second would be my super-fantastic spring-loaded fabric scissors. I cut a lot of canvas and vinyl, and they are a life saver! The third is a custom table that my friends Shelley and Vaughan built for me. It’s great for cutting out bags, designing bags, and has built-in storage for bags that are in the shop, waiting to be sold!

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

HomeAgain2 – They don’t a have a lot in their Etsy right now, but these are the folks that made the awesome worktable for my studio. They make amazing furniture and are great people on top of that!

IndieThrift – Melissa is super nice and makes adorable accessories!

ZenAndCoffee – Wren makes beautiful and unique gloves. She made a pair for me to wear at my wedding, and I got so many compliments!

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Etsy · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Snappin Studio

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of Snappin Studio on Etsy, which sells lovely stamped copper and aluminium products, including keyrings, jewellery, wall art and bookmarks:

How did you get started in your handmade business?

My mother Daphne Seaman has an Etsy shop, http://www.laureltreestudio.etsy.com/. My girlfriend and I were at an art show with my mom, and thought we could get into art as a hobby. Our initial hope was that it would fund date night. So our search began for something we both liked the idea of, and we settled on hand stamping.
Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Julie and I are both NCAA D1 track and field athletes, and it takes up multiple hours of both of our days. Julie is a hurdler, and I pole vault.

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
About one year in the craft and about 3 months online.

How many different places do you sell from?

Last week it was one place, this week it is two! We have bought our own web site www.snappinstudio.com, and we also use Etsy.com
We plan on expanding soon, and are going to consider offers to put our stuff into some smaller shops in Birmingham, AL.

In ten years, where would youlike to be?

Married with children, still stamping and running track…dream world!


How did you come up with your shop name?

We wanted to name it after something meaningful and so we chose our dog. His name is “Snappin Turtle Bailey Man Seaman”, thus we got SnappinStudio

Do you have another job? What is it?

Yes, students at Samford University

What is your favorite part of your handmade business?

It funds date night, and gives us both something constructive to do together. We get along great when we are both being creative, or trying to figure something out about the business. It has created shopping trips, hunts for supplies, and many learning experiences.

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

Hammer, stamps, towels under the stamping block to cut down on the noise!

If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?

Glass Blowing.

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

My momma’s shop http://www.laureltreestudio.etsy.com/

Hope you enjoyed the interview!

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Etsy · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Too Cute Kawaii

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of the adorable Etsy shop Too Cute Kawaii :

 Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 26 year old stay at home mother to two wonderful children. My son is 6 years old and my daughter is 1 1/2. I was born in the state of Tennessee but moved to Florida at the young age of 8. Even though I reside in Florida, i’ve always considered Tennessee to be my home. It was a big change for me, the scenery, the weather and the loss of friends and family I left behind. I still visit Tennessee and my family as much as I can but I would love to one day move back.
How did you get started in your handmade business?
Being a stay at home mom is both rewarding and hard. We rely on my other half to pay all the bills, buy groceries, pay insurance, etc. He works very hard and I opened my business to help support our family. I never thought that my art would be so loved by many around the world.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I suppose you could say i’ve always been artistic or crafty. I have had an interest in crafts since I was little. My aunt taught me to do a lot of different crafts ranging from latch hook, cross-stitch to bead work and jewelry design. Since I started doing them when I was little I have enjoyed crafts ever since. It doesn’t stop there though. I always loved to decorate.. even the smallest things such as letters and envelopes written to family and pen pals. Drawing would have to be my worst craft. I do draw but simply to sketch out a design or idea i’m working on.
Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
This being my business and being a stay at home mom with two little children, I don’t have much ‘spare’ time apart from working, haha. Sometimes I take a break and have my boyfriend watch the kids. I escape to a public parking lot or local coffee house to have piece and quiet. During these times I usually am able to come up with new and exciting ideas for my business.
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I have only been selling online since July of 2010. Since then my shop has grown and with hope, will continue to grow. I am so honored to know that my work is treasured by children and moms all around the world! It really inspires me when I tend to have those “I don’t know” moments.

How many different places do you sell from?

Currently my only active venue is Too Cute Kawaii on Etsy. In the future, I do plan on opening more stores across the internet.

Do you collect anything?
Yes. I am a true fan of Kawaii. I love to collect different characters from Japan. My collection is very small because I recently had to depart from my collection. It still hurts! However, I’m looking for a new and exciting chance to collect from fellow artists! Since I have been making and selling handmade I understand the true value and hard work put into it. I am now replacing my commercial manufactured collection with bright, cute and inspiring work from Artists around the world.
How did you come up with your shop name?
Many of the items I had made always got the reaction “That is too cute”. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it being a shop name but I thought to myself “It fits very well”. I am pleased to say, that my customers feel the same! I am so honored by this. So, now we are introducing “TooCuteKawaii” to the world!
If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?
I would love to learn to sew. I love the idea of turning yards of fabric into a beautiful outfit. I really have respect for this type of craft and admire all the hard work they do designing and sewing! I’ve seen some beautiful curtains, dresses, car seat covers, baby items and the like. It is just amazing what the mind can create!
What would your dream job be?
To own my very own store. I’ve always had a business mind and would love to have a Brick and Mortar shop. I constantly vision a beautiful store of white and pink with bright colorful products filling the gondola shelves and clothing racks. In reality, I am living the dream of making children smile when they see an adorable piece made just for them!

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
Mind reading, haha. I’m so nosey! I often look at people and wonder just what they are thinking. Although it would seem to be a wonderful power, it may just be a great way to seep into depression. Often people think about their struggles, their worries.. and to carry this burden of knowing would be a struggle all on it’s own. I couldn’t imagine taking the hurt, fears and shame of the people I interact with. It would drive me to insanity and having the term “Curiosity killed the cat” turn into reality.
What is your earliest memory of creating something you were proud of?
When I was just a little girl I made my mother a honey pot in school. It is the worst looking honey pot you have ever seen but at the time I was very proud of it. I still am to this day.. I just cringe a little haha. I often find myself looking back on previous work I have done when I first started and seeing how I have evolved from trial and error. An art takes practice. You always find yourself improving over time and coming up with more unique, fun and entertaining ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of before.

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Etsy · My Witterings

Handmade Sellers Series Begins!

(The photos show some of the jewellery which is going to be listed soon so stay tuned!)
I’ve decided to start a series of posts, starting this week and hopefully being a weekly post, where I will interview an online seller of handmade items. To start off I’m mini-interviewing myself since I don’t write about myself much and I want a demo run. So anyway, hope you like it:

How did you get started in your handmade business?
Well I’ve been buying and selling online since I was 15 so I was already well accustomed to the ins and outs of that side of things by the time I set up my business aged 22. I had begun this craft blog quite a few months before and it was this that made me consider selling jewellery that I’d handmade myself rather than buying products in and re-selling them (which was my first idea). I don’t do things by halfs so once I’d decided on handmade jewellery I spent pretty much all my savings on tools and more pendants and chains than you’d have ever seen in your life!
I then set up a website and ran that until about June ’10 when I switched to Etsy.

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I’d always loved crafts and design technology was always my favourite subject from a very early age. I just combined my favourite hobby with my second favourite hobby (selling online) and ‘The Wellington Boot’ was the result.

Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Blogging, photography, reading, TV (bit of an addict of reality shows!), shopping, designing and doodling, watching films, baking and making lists, lots and lots of lists.


If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?
I’d probably say ‘Cruel Intentions’ which is targeted at teenagers but I really like it and I’m sure anyone who likes edgier rom coms would do too – the soundtrack is great, as is the ending – but I won’t spoil it 🙂

Do you collect anything?
I did start a collection of vintage products which show how people did things differently ‘back then’, or are a bit bizarre, (I have a lipstick applicator which lets you apply lippie all in one go as a sort of ‘stamp’ – not very successfully I’d imagine) but I’ve only got about 4 things in the collection! I also have a large collection of recipe books although that was an unintentional collection lol. I’ve got at least 30 ‘Good Food’ books alone.

What’s your biggest non craft-related ambition?
To go to New Zealand and explore, bungee jump and skydive (eek).

If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?
There are soooo many and this craft blogging lark has opened my eyes to them all – this question is very tough! I want to learn everything from screen printing to weaving, pottery and mosaic. I guess if I had to choose I’d go for ice sculpting though – for something a bit different.

What was the best holiday you’ve ever been on?
Well all of my Disneyland and Disneyworld holidays have been amazing, but I guess the one where I went to Florida has to top the list as it was my 11th birthday whilst I was there and we went to a fab restaurant on International Drive and I fed the dolphins at Sea World, so yep, that was fantastic. Although, one of my favourite moments on holiday was when my brother and I were in the hotel swimming pool in Majorca and a storm started up and everyone went inside whilst we stayed in the pool with the rain bouncing on the water. Was awesome 🙂

What is your earliest memory of creating something you were proud of?
I think it was probably a cardboard and paper mache boat I made in primary school. I loved that boat.


P.S. If you have an online shop which sells handmade and would like to be featured, please contact me via my shop for details, thanks!