Friday, June 25, 2010

Tea Cosy for Mad Tea Parties

Let's meet a talented UK designer. Her name is Ann McGuinness, she is great with needles and for creating fun, funky and adorable home accessories. She has accepted to answer our little questions for us.

- Bonjour Ann, tell us, how did you get started ?
I have been crafting in one way or another since I was very small, and everyone always said "you should try to sell these" The internet is a great tool for people just starting out, so without much in the way of investment I was able to open an etsy shop as an outlet for my crafting tendencies. I all moved on from there.

- Where are you from?
From Glasgow, Scotland originally but now settled in a tiny village about 25 miles to the south, in rural Lanarkshire. A whole different world to the busy city I grew up in.

- Are your creations limited editions or unique?
Everything I make is one of a kind, as it is all hand-knitted, hand-cut, hand-stitched, etc. Even 2 tea cosies will never be identical, the wool I use is not highly processed and the beauty is that the colours and textures differ from one ball to the next.

- When did you start knitting?

My Mum taught me to knit when I was about 8 I think, but I picked up the needles again when I was pregnant, around 4 years ago and it is only since then that I have followed patterns and learned fancy stitches.

- Where do you get your yarns?
All the yarn I use comes from New Lanark Woolen Mill, which is a water powered victorian mill on the banks of the Clyde. New Lanark itself is a world heritage site... well worth a visit if you are ever in Central Scotland.

- Which one is your favorite?
I love working with the pinks and purples, I just love the way the wool takes on the dye.

- Are you a professional artist or is this a hobby?
My crafts are my income, I also run our 'mini-holding' and home educate our daughter so I am a busy lady.... I guess 'artist' is one of my professions.

- What inspires you?

Walks in the woods, flowers in bloom (my sweet peas have just come out now... I just love the colours) I also love a cosy home and I get lots of ideas from looking at magazines and websites about homes around the world.

- What is your favorite piece and why?
I love my tea-cosies, they are chunky and cosy and I love the way they come together.... needless to say I have a few myself.

- How do you promote your work?
I use facebook and twitter, I have my blog and have give-aways occasionally, I try to keep active in relevant on-line forums (especially on Etsy) but there are only so many hours in the day...lol. In real life I hand out my business card and talk to people about my crafts and any fairs I might have coming up.

- Where are you showing your work?
At the moment, on-line - on my own website and at etsy. I have some interest from gift shops, so that is something I hope to move into soon.

- What advice you wish someone had told you when you started?
Keep active, make friends with the on-line crafting community and work on your presentation.

- Do you have any advice for fellow artists?
Keep on keeping on. Don't get disheartened by lack of sales and always consider how you can improve your product.

- any special promos?
Everything from Snowdrops and Daisies comes gift wrapped and can be delivered directly to the recipient. I occasionally have give-aways and special offers through my blog so check in there for offers and promos http://snowdropsanddaisies.wordpress.com/blog

- what would you like to be when you grow up ?
Content and happy :).... or maybe an astronaut.

- favorite jeweller ?
Alibali - just love her style.

- favorite websites ?
Design sponge  I could just spend hours flicking through the pages here.
Etsy, of course, amazing range of handcrafted work from artisans around the world.

- Anything else you'd like to add?
I have recently re-opened my shop after a harsh time with some very naughty builders. I am getting back into the swing of things but sadly my home has been destroyed and I have a long slog ahead of me to get it sorted out. Selling boosts my confidence a lot and knitting really helps calm me down.... now, if I could just find my sewing machine and work table I could get making my new ranges... :)

- Her site www.snowdropsanddaisies.com
- her blog http://snowdropsanddaisies.wordpress.com/blog/

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Top 50 Etsy moms

50 Best Etsy Moms

As reported on Babble.com

Etsy.com is a booming hub for artists all around the world to sell their handmade products, consequently creating a community bursting with creativity and ingenuity. It’s a place to find unique treasures that directly supports some of the most talented individuals and their crafts. Not surprisingly, many of these artists, dreamers, designers and builders are moms like us. They’re balancing the day-to-day parenting responsibilities — sometimes with another day job, sometimes as a single mom — while still squeezing in time for their growing business. (This is where naps and bed times come in handy.) And they’re not just doing it for the money; they’re utilizing this creative outlet while teaching
their children the value of artistry, resourcefulness and determination.
We sifted through thousands of these talented moms to find our favorite 50 of the bunch. (Not an easy feat, you can imagine.) What we love about Etsy moms is the fact that, besides being exceptionally talented and busy, they all create products inspired by a mother’s own needs and wants. That’s why so many of these shops feature affordable, safe and stylish alternatives inspired by motherhood.
Although our picks span dozens of different categories, cultures and time zones, there were overwhelming similarities between the moms. The vast majority described their skills and insatiable need to create as being passed down through the family tree — one generation patiently teaching the next. Even more similarly, each and every one — whether they’ve been crafting for 3 or 30 years — pinpointed their children as inspiration. Often it was the desire to work from home while raising the kids; sometimes a need for better, safer products for their children; and many times it was a dream resurrected from the innocent imagination unfolding before them. Regardless, these moms are all motivated by their children, who in turn will be inspired by their mothers.

Of course it’s nearly impossible to find every talented Etsy mom, so we encourage you to share your favorites and, of course, support these striking talents.

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