Gift to self, Etcetera category winners
1st place: MagdaleneKnits (she also took 2nd in the wearables category!)
Your name: Pamela Baker
Where are you from? I grew up in Scarsdale NY – then moved to Hartsdale NY (1 mi away) when I got married – I am fortunate enough to be only about 20 min outside NYC.
http://MagdaleneKnits.etsy.com – which features my crocheted and knitted items; and
http://MagdaleneJewels.etsy.com – which feature OOAK Necklaces, bracelets, earrings of Swarovski Crystals, all created and designed by myself!
Blogs: I actually have 2 blogs:
http://MagdaleneJewelspjk.blogspot.com – which features blogs of my everyday life.
http://MagdaleneJewelsblogs.blogspot.com – a blog which features various topics from one of my other Teams’ “EtsyBloggers Team”. I love our “Wordless Wednesday” features, which we post just a picture – “which says it all”!
"Authorized Contributor" for the Etsy Bloggers Team Blog – which each month I do a featured article on one of our Team’s shops.
My YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MagdaleneJewels
Pamela was also one of our first place winners in the December challenge; you can read her interview here if you missed it. Rather than another traditional interview we thought we would show you the other side what makes Magdalene of MagdaleneKnits & MagdaleneJewels tick! This is what Pamela had to say:
Although I started crocheting at the early age of 14; it was something that I taught myself learning different stitches as I went along. Often if I am using a pattern, many times I will use my own interpretation and ideas to create the final piece. Perhaps I inherited my great-grandmother’s skill of her beautiful hand crochet lace pieces, some of which I still have and treasure. I am currently trying to teach myself some of these English crochet stitches, using a 1.5mm hook!
As I have mentioned before most of the inspiration of my crochet pieces and jewelry are inspired by my love of music; it is that embodiment of words and music that help form my creative process, as each song becomes a part of me, and then the creation just seems to unfold. Since my children were born, they were raised on the music of Beatles, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, etc. – I am not sure if it is a coincidence that they are all creative with music as their passion; one son is a “street artist” and has been selling a lot of his work lately (you can see some of his work on my Flickr page); my other son is a producer, editor, director, and films segments for a local TV station, and my daughter is the actress and director of the family. She is currently doing a children’s play in which the little lamb from my shop is making his acting debut! She is also in the theater group that I belong to. Besides acting in a few of their shows, I am also their costume designer and makeup artist. The two plays I think I enjoyed most working on was doing the makeup and costumes for Dracula, and designing the costumes for Alice in Wonderland. http://magdalenejewelspjk.blogspot.com/2008/07/magdalene-actress.html
Besides knitting, crocheting, and designing my jewelry, I also love to do quilting. I have made quilts for my children when they were young, my grandson (classic Winnie the Pooh); my niece’s little girl Maya (Flower Fairy quilt); the green quilt was an engagement present for my daughter and fiancé (Kelly & Danny). All of my quilts were designed by myself since after all these years I still cannot figure out quilting patterns!
Thank you again for choosing my Lace Crocheted Purse and Mohair Neck warmer’s as this month’s Challenge winners! It is a funny story how I came across the pattern for the purse – I had been at Barnes & Noble with a friend having coffee, when I happened to see a book of crochet patterns – I was quickly glancing through when I saw the little purse. I just loved it when I saw it – I figured I could quickly jot down the pattern – the problem – no paper – so using my rent envelope which was in my purse – I quickly jotted down the basics of the pattern writing across the page, around the sides, down the other side – never thinking I would be able to figure out the scribble I so hastily wrote down. When the Challenge came up – I thought about that pattern which was still in my purse – and started working on it. When I finished it, being all in black, I knew it needed that something extra – so looking through some extra fabric from some quilting – I came across a small piece which was just perfect to line the purse with. The Neck warmer was one of those that when I first saw the yarn I fell in love with the colors and knew exactly what I wanted to create with it – when I finished it – it was so pretty that I thought I would keep it for myself for the Challenge!
2nd place: andours
Where are you from: Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY but Colorado Springs, CO is home.
Shop name: &ours (www.andours.etsy.com)
Favorite yarn: Cotton, although it seems difficult to find in the NYC area. Most places carry your basic inexpensive acrylics or insanely overpriced wools.
What was the inspiration for your hamburger iphone sleeve? A ham sandwich! Long story, but yes, a ham sandwich was the inspiration! :)
How long have you been crocheting and who taught you? My mom, a craft genius, taught me how to crochet my junior year of college. My mom has been crafty my entire life (I still have the baby booties she crocheted while pregnant with me) but I didn't develop a love for crochet or crafting until more recently, as an adult.
Do you have a particular project or piece of work that you are most proud of? Sadly, I can't say I have a particular project I'm especially proud of. But the collection of all my pieces displayed together always makes me smile. I'm hoping to start my first granny square blanket in the near future. I'm sure it'll be my pride and joy when done!
Do you follow any trends when deciding what to crochet, or do you have any favorite sources where you get inspiration from? My 9 yo cousin is probably my greatest inspiration. She's the baby of our family and always gives me silly ideas. No matter what, she always says, "but put a smile on it!"
3rd place: Barbiloulou
Name: Barb Durham
Where are you from: Monticello Minnesota and Bahia de Kino, Sonora, Mexico
Shop name: (Barb has 2!) Barbiloulou (everything except felted wool crochet)and HotWetWool (felted wool crochet)
Facebook: Barbara Frame Durham
Favorite hook: My BlueBoy! (Boye E 3.5mm)
Barbara was also a first place winner in the Music Interpretation challenge last year with her Joe Cocker inspired creation http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_qTjd3vmaCQE/TEyQd9nLfXI/AAAAAAAAATQ/GcgyLLNNVwY/s1600/barbiloulou.jpg
Where do you get your inspiration? Inspiration comes from nature, the seashore, the forest, music, sunrises, and my love (or at least respect) of all living creatures. I can't even kill spiders...
I know that your favorite word is turquoise and your challenge winning felted bag is adorned with lovely turquoise flowers. Many of the items in your shop also include hues of turquoise, greens, and blues which are all colors of the seashore where you spend your winters while your summers are spent at home in Minnesota. Do you find that your creative vision in terms of colors that you use changes with your location? Well, not exactly, my creative vision in terms of colors that I use depends on what colors I have. I've not yet found a source for wool yarn here, so I try to stock up before I come down! But I do love turquoise, both the word and the stone, not to mention the color. The Sea of Cortez is turquoise. And since it's nearly time to go back to the states for MY LAST SUMMER OF WORK! I'm almost out of wool, so I've recently been churning out eclectic chunky earthy jewelry made with local beach funds. Like these:
Favorite handmade gift received: white silk baby quilt from Grandma Edie. Still have it, it's all fraying and pitiful.
Favorite handmade gift given: My father's felted amulet bag. I buried it with him. He kept my photo in it, along with his alabaster Zuni Bear totem.
I also make beaded jewelry, and use a lot of found items: seashells etc. Plus I'm writing a candid autobiography for my grandchildren. Aside from my mother (nursing home with end-stage Alzheimer's) I'm the only one left in my family, and nobody knows where I came from. In addition to Barbara’s autobiography, check out this charming calendar that she had a hand in designing. http://barbilou.blogspot.com/2011/03/calendar.html
The best thing about crochet is metamorphosis. Creating something useful or beautiful from a ball of yarn. Plus my mind can be wandering around elsewhere the entire time.
Gifts to self Wearables category winners
1st place: whippleswhimsy
Name: Beverly Whipple
Where are you from: Wernersville, PA (NW of Philadelphia)
Shop name: Whipple's Whimsy (My husband actually came up with the name!)
Favorite hook: Bamboo Handled Hooks
Favorite yarn: I don't have one favorite yarn. I have favorite things about most yarn. Love the durability of acrylic, the feel of merino wool through my fingers; love the texture that alpaca brings out. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. :)
I read in your profile that you were taught to crochet by your grandmother who came to America from Ireland when she was a little girl. I know that your daughter is only 3 but do you plan to pass on the family tradition of crocheting to her when she is older? (It was my "great" grandmother (dad's grandmother) I absolutely plan to pass it down to my daughter and to anyone else willing to learn! Most of us have the desire to share what we love.
What was the first thing you ever made after your grandmother taught you to crochet?
A chain. She taught me and my brother how to make crocheted chains. For weeks our home was decorated, more like, saturated, with chains of all sizes and colors! She then taught us how to turn and make additional rows for a scarf and doll's blanket. Shortly after this time she passed away. When I was older, I wanted to learn to crochet all the things that she had made for us growing up. I took the basics that she taught had have built upon it, literally and figuratively.
I know that you love hoods, cowl, and red colors, all of which inspired you to make your winning hooded cowl for yourself. In addition to making things for your shop you love giving crocheted gifts to your friends and family. Did you find it difficult to make something for yourself or was last months challenge just the excuse you needed to finally get to keep something? It's very difficult for me to find the time to make myself something, so this was the perfect excuse. I not only have Whipple's Whimsy, I also teach at the local AC Moore, volunteer crochet instructor at local high school, volunteer with my church's Prayer Shawl Ministry, am "crazy aunt" and nanny for my nieces and nephew, and take care of my home, hubby, and daughter.
Do you do any other type of crafting or design?
I've tried counting cross stitch, knitting, plastic canvas, sewing, embroidery, scherenschnitte, and beaded jewelry. While some of my attempted projects turn out nicer than I expected, I felt most comfortable with crocheting.
What, in your opinion is the best thing about crochet?
Versatility! That and the whole family heritage connection. There is something about any craft or skill that is passed through generations that gives it a deeper meaning and connection for you. In a way you are connecting with something outside of yourself.
Gifts to self Home décor category winner
1st place: Mamta
We all know our fabulous team captain; Mamta from Mumbia India, her colorful and spirited personality is reflected throughout her crochet designs. Mamta is also the designer behind Crochiya http://www.etsy.com/shop/crochiya her shop that is nothing but crochet and knits, MamtArts http://www.etsy.com/shop/crochiya which features her non-crochet creations like her beautiful paper quilled jewelry all inspired by Indian culture and it’s vibrant colors. Her husband Raj even has a shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/raajma full of gorgeous handmade jewelry and supplies.
What was the inspiration behind your challenge crochet dust bunny?
It's very rare that I use my creations & I wanted to make something for myself. As a child, I loved toys as most children do. But Alas! I didn't know crochet then. When this challenge was posted, I had numerous ideas going in my little brain. But couldn't make anything till the last date. So I frantically searched the www for a quick design and I came across this very nice design on ravelry:
But it was a knit pattern. I instantly knew what I wanted to make. So yes, Crochet Dust Bunny was inspired by the challenge, by this quirky knit dust bunny and to gift my childhood back to me.
We can see from your other shops that you enjoy a wide variety of arts and crafts in addition to crochet. Is there any particular type of craft that you would really like to learn but just haven’t had the chance yet?
Crochet is my favourite craft as I can sculpt just about anything with it. But I don't like to limit myself to just crochet. I like to spread my wings and fly. I've always wanted to learn not one but a many crafts. The ones in my priority list are pottery, farming and learning how to play a flute and a violin.
My mom is an exceptional artist. Ever since I was a baby, I used to see her work with her hands & making awesome ooak things. I really don't know how I got started on the path as an artist, but I remember vaguely about learning sewing and drawing rangoli (a colorful drawing done during one of the largest festival of India with colored sand). I also remember myself cutting newspaper and making decorative garlands when I was about 5 years old. My teachers used to encourage me to decorate my classroom with those and I loved spending hours cutting newspapers, lol.
I know that you are a self-taught artist and can learn to do just about anything from looking at it, what started you on your path as an artist and what is the most important thing art has brought to your life?
Art( mainly crochet) has brought me to myself. I can't imagine being anywhere else and doing anything else. It is so peaceful to be an artist. I guess, only artists can understand what I mean with these words.
What do you do to keep yourself creative?
I constantly challenge my mind by doing what it says is impossible to make. In my book of life, there is nothing which is impossible. My favourite quote is, "Even the word impossible says I M Possible". There is not a day in my life that I'm not creating something with my hands. I never face a creative block. How I do this or how this happens to me? Whenever I want to create, I brainstorm my mind and note it all down in my diary, no matter how foolish that idea may look. Not only this, but I also just look and admire the designs on net and in magazines. If I'm not doing any of these, you'll catch me reading romance novels which are filled to the brim with fashion ideas. ;)
How to you handle the business side of running your Etsy business and do you have any tips for shops that might just be starting out?
Running a business on Etsy is not that easy but not tough either. There are a lot of tips to be successful on Etsy. A few of my favourites are:
1) List items everyday: Whatever you sell, make sure to stay on tops of searches by listing at least 1 to a few items per day. I've noticed that whenever I list something, it not only brings views to that item, but also to other items that I may have listed a few months ago. Those views sometimes turn into sales.
2) Pictures: Although, I'm not an expert in this area, I try to take/ retake pictures if that does not bring good number of views to my items. We all may not be professional photographers, but we can at least try show our items in the best possible manner that we can.
3)Pricing: Yes, the most difficult part of selling for a lot of Etsians. Here's a few tips:
4)Subscribe to the Etsy success newsletters or read the " Seller Handbook" on Etsy whenever you find some time from your busy schedule and especially when you're facing a creative block. ;)
5) Always be willing to learn. There is always something to learn from people who touch our lives. So never stop learning no matter how successful you're in your business.
6) Join a team/s as per your business interest and stay active by talking to fellow artists on the threads. This will keep you informed not only in your art but you'll make great friends who talk your language and understand you.
7) Keep track of your business: I do this on excel sheets, so I know how much I buy, sell, my profits, my goals, etc.
There are a lot of other tips but I guess the space would be less to mention it all here. For the time being this should get you started with your Etsy business.