Saturday, June 27, 2009

Being a Girl Scout Is Finally Paying Off – Some Thirty Years Later!

I think everyone will agree that sales have been slower than slow these past few months, no matter how much interest we are able to generate. Relisting, twittering, chatterboxing, whatever… Nothing seems to be working with any consistency. So, what am I doing, you ask? Doing my best to prevent this economic bust from getting me down by challenging myself to work with new mediums. And in doing so, learning a new skill, or rather, in my case, relearning a new skill, has kept me busy as well as rekindled my love for handmade.

While I must admit that I was hardly the model Girl Scout (I hated camping then and I hate it now), my competitive nature motivated me to work towards earning as many badges as I could before dropping out (I think I lasted a year). One badge, specifically, required I learn to embroider. To fulfill this requirement, we had the option of taking a class from one of the scout’s mothers who was a whiz with a needle and thread. And she showed us how to do a number of stitches which I remember practicing, over and over, until I had them all down pat.

So, did I ever utilize those embroidery skills that I worked so hard to perfect some thirty years ago? The answer is, no, at least not until a couple of weeks ago when I decided to buy some felt after stumbling upon some really cute felt work on Etsy. At first, those skills I learned in that one embroidery lesson did not come to me with ease. In fact, it wasn’t until my third or fourth attempt that I even remembered earning that Girl Scout badge. But when I did, everything started to click and my ability to embroider started to improve. I can’t tell you the names of the stitches I’ve been using to make some new items for my shop. But who cares? The point is that I have generated new interest in my wares, from people who might have not checked out my shop otherwise, simply because I am working with a new medium, or rather, a medium I hadn’t worked with in over three decades.

So, my tip for you is to try something new, something totally different, and see what happens. If you’re lucky you’ll not only generate new business but have a lot of fun in the process and perhaps even find a new passion.

Good luck!

To see my new felt items, feel free to browse my shop:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Flickr Finds: Bright, Colorful, & Retro!

These Flickr finds are from our Retro Handmade Team Flickr group pool. Please feel free to check out their Flickr pages & Etsy shops!

2. Untitled
5. Untitled

Hope you have a great weekend! :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Featured Member: Littlegreenthings

1. What is your shop name?

2. How did you first get started in your craft?
My crafts really took shape when I bought a large stack of 1940's Family Circle magazines at a yard sale a few years ago. Those old ads just screamed "make me into something fun". Decoupage glue + old light switch plate + vintage magazine pic= great response. The ideas snowballed from there.

3. What inspires you?
I am consistently inspired by unabashed laughter and joy, old couples in love, wide and boundless landscapes, others' words that bring order to my thoughts, honesty, truth, being genuinely understood, friendly strangers, unconditional love, unexpected surprises, courageous hearts, whimsy and play, spontaneous fun and positive minds. Every day, though, brings new inspirational surprises.

4. What are your favorite color combinations?
My color combo of choice is most definitely real-deal red with anything. Red and turquoise, awesome. Red and chocolate brown, beautiful. Red and yellow, exciting. Red is just so feisty and energetic and stimulating.

5. What is your favorite item from your shop? 
I love my 1970 yearbook light switch plates. Their kitschy oddball nature captures my humor and style perfectly.

6. If you had to use three words to describe yourself, what would it be? 
Contemplative, playful, hopeful.

7. What superpower would you most like to have?
I have always dreamed of having a magic wand that could turn negative into positive, hate into love.

8. What is the first thing you remember creating?
My second grade teacher was all about creative writing. My first memorable story was unencumbered fantasy made from unicorns, princesses and mermaids.

9. If you could choose any era/decade to live in, when would that be? Why? 
The present is where I'd like to be. Right now is beautiful and refreshing.

10. Where can we find you? (website, blog, etc.) 

Monday, June 15, 2009

And The Winner is... { June '09 Design Challenge }

First Runner-Up:

1) Hippie flowered drees OOAK by Dcartesianos

Second Runner-Ups (It's tied again!):

5) Retro Radio Necklace by RosyRedDesigns

11) Flirty Girl Apron - Fleur by Sweetthings3

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Flickr Finds: Cool Picks of the Week

These Flickr finds are from our Retro Handmade Team Flickr group pool. Please feel free to check out their Flickr pages & Etsy shops!

1. Mommy & Me "Kitsch"en Magnet,
2. Inkjet Printing on Fabric Test ,
3. New Framed collage Art,
4. The Melanie Bag,
5. THE GRADUATES - Pomp and Circumstance Series,
6. Marilyn Monroe

Hope you have a great weekend! :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vote for June '09 Design Challenge: 70's Colors

Last month, we had so much fun participating for our May '09 design challenge and decided to do another one for June '09. There were a lot of great retro inspired handmade items that we ended up with a winner and four (4) runner-ups! Read more about it on this blog post.  Also, Retro Handmade Team wanted to say thank you for casting your vote for last month's design challenge!

--- This month's theme is 70s Colors! --- 

How to cast your vote:
There is an online poll on the bottom of this blog post that you can vote anonymously. 
The voting deadline is on June 12th at midnight EST (Eastern Standard Time).

--- Vote for your favorite item/seller! ---

3) BELT BUCKLE foxy ski lady by Littlegreenthings

6) Retro Deco Pin by Hippybeads

7) Giant Yellow Hibiscus Buttons by LiDDesignsSupplies

8) French Blue Cami by FallingLeafDesigns

10) Maria by 3dDoodles

17) Fancy Feather Earrings by BeautifulStranger

Featured Member: GeminiMoonMosaics

1. What is your shop name?
Gemini Moon Mosaics

2. How did you first get started in your craft?

My first mosaic was made from paper. For a Communications Design class we had to design and then make a mock up of a sign for a fictitious store named “Mudworks”. I wanted my sign to be a mosaic. My mock up was made from hundreds of colored paint swatches (thank you Home Depot) cut into tiny squares and glued down on foam core board. We had to research and write about the actual process of creating the sign. I spent hours reading about mosaics and thinking I could do this! And eventually I gave it a try and loved it.

3. What inspires you?

Many of my designs are inspired by the patterns on the vintage plates I use. Most of the time I design my mirrors around a particular plate focal, piece of jewelry or even a color scheme I find on vintage fabric or wallpaper. A trip to the thrift store or a flea market is inspiration in itself. I am also very inspired by music. There is never a moment when I am in the studio that there isn't music on. 

4. What are your favorite color combinations?

It is a tie between orange, green, yellow & red, and aqua, blue & green. 

5. What is your favorite item from your shop?

I really love this one:

6. What superpower would you most like to have?

Super strength would come in handy so I could nip plates with no problems.

7. What is the first thing you remember creating?

What stands out most to me is not a drawing or craft project, but setting up my Fisher Price people and animals for a “family portrait”. They were in perfect height order and composition in front of their farm and I also added scenery I built out of these really cool blocks we had. My sister still teases me about it and jokes that even then at 5 years old, I was obsessive compulsive and arranging things in a Martha Stewart like fashion. 

8. If you could choose any era/decade to live in, when would that be? Why?

I am drawn to so many things from the 60’s. The music, fashion, home décor. I also think it would have been amazing to be part of a culture that began to stand up and question what was going on. Although there was so much turmoil, there was a generation with a voice that paved the way for change and progression. 

9. Where can we find you? (website, blog, etc.)

I have a website and a blog You can also check out my fan page on Facebook, where I offer fan only specials and giveaways too. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Retro vs. Vintage ~ What Exactly is the Difference?


As a proud member of the Retro Handmade Team on Etsy, I have decided to write a post that clarifies (hopefully) the difference between vintage and retro items that are for sale on etsy. To qualify as "vintage" (according to etsy), items must be at least twenty years old (made before 1989) and must be listed in the vintage category. The word vintage comes from wine terminology, and is a much more elegant-sounding term than "old". Vintage items can be new or used but because of their age are usually used! They become "antiques" when they are at least 100 years old.

Retro, short for retrospective, refers to contemporary, newly-made items that imitate the style of a previous era.

The Retro Handmade Team sellers create new items that resemble items from the past, are often described as "funky" and having a vintage "feel" or "vibe." Some team members actually use vintage materials such as beads or fabric in their designs.

For more information about the Retro Handmade Team, visit the Retro Handmade blog.

(Originally Posted by Suzanne of Threepeats on her Threepeats Jewelry blog on June 1, 2009.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all who voted in the May Design Challenge

I was finally able to snag an Etsy Treasury and honor those that voted in the May Design Challenge at Retro Handmade. Please come view their terrific products and leave a comment. We love to help get the word out about our team and these wonderful folks that have joined us in celebrating our creativity! Let's get everyone to go RETRO!
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