Monday, September 18, 2017

Apple Season is Here

by Cindy Lindgren

Before pumpkin-flavored everything invaded the marketplace, apples were the gateway to Fall. For me, September is for visiting apple orchards, baking apple pies or just setting a bowl of them on the kitchen table for snacking. Here's a few items from our HandmadeMN members to get you in the mood for apples.

For starters, I love these plaid totes for carrying your apples home from the orchard or farmer's market. The smaller bins filled with apples keep the apples in sight for healthy snacking.

Fabric Storage Bins by Shaggy Baggy
When you start baking your apples into tasty pies, you might need a new apron for inspiration.
Floral ruffled apron by Bethie Ann Designs
These apple quilted hot pads are perfect for handling hot apple pies!
Available by My Bit of Wonder
Even if you don't have time to bake, you can fill your home with the aroma of crisp green apples.
Handmade Candle by Auntie B's Wax
Not all apples are edible.These charming apple earrings would make a great Fall gift.
Apple Earrings by Dragonfly Adornments
Last of all, I found this wonderfully creative, layered paper art by Crafterall,
Matryoshka "Apple" Nesting doll art by Crafterall.
Celebrate apples by visiting a Minnesota Apple orchard near you! Check out this Minnesota Grown website for a list to check out.



Monday, August 28, 2017

Little Luxuries for $8 or Less


By JeffAmbroz


Handmade can be a bargain!

Let’s face it:  Handcrafted goods often cost more than mass-market items made in factories.  And that’s how it should be.  Prices of handmade products reflect the skills and artisanship of their makers.

However, you may be surprised that many HandmadeMN members offer items at a wide range of price points, many at $8 or less.  When you factor in their unique qualities and special craftsmanship, each of these items is truly an affordable little luxury.

Reading is a simple pleasure, made even more enjoyable by a beautiful, beaded dragonfly bookmark by DragonflyAdornments.  It’s made with cotton cord, glass beads and a pewter charm:  gorgeous materials for an item that sells for $8.

Nature-inspired beauty abounds in this handcrafted bookmark by DragonflyAdornments.

HandmadeMN makers are getting creative in offering value priced items, using technology to bring you artful items for your home.  After you purchase it, this arrow print from DreamhouseCreative arrives to your email inbox as a digital download.  Simply print it on your own paper, and you’ll have an 8” x 10” artist-drawn print ready for framing, for the very low price of $5.

Print at home for just $5:  Affordable art from local designer DreamhouseCreative.
 
UffdaUffdaUffda’s eye pillow will bring you calm and relaxation, for only $8.  It’s created with cotton, batik-style fabric, and filled with flax seeds and organic lavender flowers.  You’ll love using this item on the plane, after a workout, or just to unwind after a long day at work.

Rest your eyes with flax seeds and organic lavender flowers.
For just $6, you can have a whimsical, handcrafted present for yourself or someone special.  This tea-inspired mini zine looks like a tea bag. The maker, SharonsCompendium, tells us, “This little book relates the story of a Buddhist master in China, whose advice to students who wanted to discuss the mysteries of enlightenment was ‘go have some tea.’”  For just $1.50 more, you can add a wonderful gift set option.

For the tea lover:  a little book of whimsy and inspiration.
 
Keep in mind that bargain priced items can still be sturdy and highly functional.  This Scandinavian flowers keychain by relaine is made with three layers of interfacing, ensuring it will keep its shape for years. Nickel hardware and a split ring for your keys make it a pretty and practical bargain at only $8.

Designer style at a practical price:  a sturdy keychain by Relaine.
  
As these items demonstrate, for $8 or less, you can add handcrafted beauty, function and inspiration to your day-to-day life.  Take some time today to explore the many shops of the HandmadeMN Etsy team, and challenge yourself to select an item that will delight you or someone you love for $8 or less. 


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Eclipsed

by Cindy Lindgren

Did you see it? Or not see it? I'm talking about the Total Eclipse that happened on Monday. Here in the Twin Cities, we battled clouds but did manage to catch a glimpse of our 85% eclipse between thinning clouds around 1:00pm.

Susie from Metaling Susie went to the Rose Garden near Lake Harriet, Minneapolis with her daughters. They caught glimpses of the eclipse between clouds and remarked how exciting it was to see the progress of the moon.

Here is a pair of copper crater moon earrings from her Etsy shop in celebration of the eclipse.You can find them in her shop here.



 Shelly and her family went to Lincoln, Nebraska to view the eclipse. She said it was a great view even through partly cloudy skies. The can of Sunkist makes a fun pun for the occasion.

Shelly is sharing a HIP Mini Travel purse from her Etsy shop, Bound to be Creative shop. You can purchase it here.



Below are a few more sun and moon themed items from our HandmadeMN members:
Sun Moon and Stars Charm Necklace by Gemstone Talisman
Women's Sun shirt with UV protection SPF 50 by Margaret Mousley

Sun-dried Cotton Soap by BathNBeads
Palette Passion hand painted a silk Sunflower scarf.
Moon Jewelry by Dragonfly Adornments





Monday, August 7, 2017

HandmadeMN: Celebrating the gifts and inspiration of the harvest!

"Seed Machine" print (detail) by Kelly Newcomer

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Early August was an occasion for celebrating the beginning of the harvest season for the ancient Celts, with games and festivals in honor of the Irish god Lugh, who was believed to have started the late summer festival known as Lughnasadh (meaning Lugh's Assembly, or something like that) in honor of his mother.

"Hiawatha" botanical art print by Lisa Rydin Erickson

Artists and crafters have always taken inspiration from the garden and from the harvest. I found several examples of harvest- and garden-inspired art made by members of HandmadeMN, and a few crafting supplies for your own projects, to illustrate this brief essay. Click on the captions to view the items in more detail and even purchase them if you like.

"Indian Corn" art print from Cindy Lindgren

Some artists even use materials from the fields, such as seeds as mosaic pieces, well-known in Minnesota as seed art or crop art. HandmadeMN maker Kelly Newcomer wrote about that last summer in this blog post you might enjoy.

Cotton fabric available from Anna Tere Designs

Back to Lughnasadh and first-harvest celebrations: One of many legends casts Lugh as the hero in a battle for the fruits of the harvest, which he wins, and then gives the food to humankind.

Illustrated Bible quote by All Things Jane

The festival was later Christianized, sometimes with St. Patrick as the hero who saves the harvest, and adapted as Lammas, or Loaf Mass, to bless the bread baked from the first grains of the season. Scottish bannocks, a type of unsweetened oat biscuit, are associated with this tradition.

Honeycomb earrings made with reclaimed beer bottle glass, by Western Art Glass

Nowadays, I think we could say that our county and state fairs are a kind of early harvest festival, and in that way we carry on those ancient agrarian rituals, with accompanying art and crafts inspired by, and sometimes made from, the harvest.

Corn-filled heating pad by Warm Hugs Corn Bags






Monday, July 31, 2017

Day in the Etsy Life: Illustrator Cindy Lindgren

by Cindy Lindgren

My studio with areas to draw, work on the computer and drawers full of card inventory.
Ever wondered what a typical day is like for an Etsy artisan? It's different for each of us, but I'll give you a glimpse into what it looks like for me.

First you should know I was a full-time Illustrator before opening my Etsy shop in 2009, so I always intended it to be a business where I switched from illustrating for clients in advertising and graphic design to illustrating for myself and selling my work online. Today my business includes my Etsy shop, an Etsy Wholesale shop, working with retail reps at Anne McGilvray & Company supplying art products to museum and gift shops, licensing/royalty work with Modern Yardage, Spoonflower, Check Advantage and Janome, and consignment with The Linden Tree. I create illustrations that are used for cards, art prints, posters, magnets, checks, embroidery designs and textiles.
I print all my own art prints that I sell on Etsy.
My day starts with packaging Etsy and wholesale orders. Thursday I had two Etsy orders and one wholesale card order heading off to California to box up, print shipping labels and walk to the post office. I live near a Byerly's with a mail service pick up twice a day and banking that is very convenient. Plus, the deli and flower departments are welcome distractions. If I post something on social media, it's usually in the morning after I photograph the listing or have an art show event to share.

I work around the Twin Cities rush hours by doing most work errands between 10 am to 3 pm. Today I pick up postcard promos for The Women's Art Festival at the organizer's porch and deliver a wholesale card order to St. Croix Retail. I deliver all my local wholesale orders to shops like the Minnesota History Center so I can see how my cards look in the shop, get to know the staff and get ideas for new illustrations from them. 
My Birch poster at the Minneapolis Airport store called Uptown.
Most days I eat lunch at home but today I take out my friend out for a birthday brunch at The Original Pancake house to have swedish pancakes with lingonberry sauce. Yum! Then I spend a couple hours working on a new illustration of the Carlson School of Management at The University of Minnesota. A professor contacted me thru Etsy asking if I'd consider illustrating the school building because she'd like to give her graduating students art prints as gifts. Since the UofMN Bookstore is already a wholesale client of mine, I said yes, knowing they would like the illustration on cards as well. I had taken photo reference, drawn up the pencil and was now redrawing it on the computer and adding color. I also spend time doing a little sketching for a new fabric collection I'm working on and keep each project in file folders. I like a tidy organized work space.

Almost every day requires ordering something to keep work flowing smoothly, and today it's ordering boxes of card envelopes from a local company to pick up the next day. Other days it may be ordering cards at a local printer, catalogs, boxes, backing boards, clear packing sleeves or filling orders for posters and magnets. My least favorite part of the business is doing Quick Books for accounting and I have a person help me balance my account and print out tax reports twice a year.

Then late in the afternoon, I head to Lake Harriet to the Trolley Depot to drop off my cards of the two  trolleys I've illustrated for them. They'd like a new card of the depot so I spend some time taking reference shots and talking to the conductor and shop manager about the best angle to show. It's a busy evening at the Depot as kids come at 6pm in their PJ's to ride the trolley and have a story read to them. The depot was my first card client, so they are very special to me. Then I take a short walk by the lake before heading home.

My links:



Monday, July 24, 2017

Handcrafted Items, Made to Order

by Jeff Ambroz
ColorTextureStudio

In this age of mass-produced goods, items that are created just for us hold special meaning and significance.

Many HandmadeMN artisans work with their customers to create unique, one-of-a-kind treasures.  From accessories to home décor to stationery, these HandmadeMN makers enjoy bringing you items that speak to your soul.

“I’m a card maker and I'm passionate about paper,” said Aliya of PlaysNicelyWithPaper.  “I started selling cards because I made so many of them that I couldn't give them away fast enough.  It’s an honor to participate in someone's special occasion even as a small part of wishing someone well, celebrating a new baby or sharing a laugh over good times. My favorite part is when I get a note from someone saying that the card was perfect and the recipient gasped when they received it.”

“One of my most memorable custom orders came from a woman who wanted to make sure her niece had a special sweet 16th birthday. She wanted a culturally specific card that had lots of bright colors and many shiny elements. The final creation was so awesome, and she gave me permission to play in my craft room for hours while I made custom background paper and searched for the highest-shine glitter paper possible. The card was such a hit, her other relatives ordered another one for her niece too.”


https://www.etsy.com/shop/PlaysNicelyWithPaper?ref=l2-shopheader-name

One-of-a-kind card by the PlaysNicelywithPaper Etsy shop.

SusieBHandicraft receives many custom orders for panda afghans.  Great care is taken to ensure the perfect item for each customer.  “When a customer contacts me about using specific colors, I photograph the yarn I think they want to confirm the colors. The joy in custom work is that I know I'm making it for someone special,” said shop owner Sue.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SusieBHandicraft

Customized panda afghans, made with love by SusieBHandicraft.

TuesdayBlueberries has developed a strong following for its custom patches, many created in a fun retro style. “My shop actually started as a vintage shop and has transformed into a patch shop with some random vintage finds,” said shop owner Lisa Jean.  “People were always so interested in the vintage name patches I had, I saw a need and ran with it. I specialize in random. If you have an idea, let's see if we can create it!”

“I have had a couple special orders that stand out in my mind. One was for a little boy's 1st birthday party.  His mom dressed him in coveralls and I made a patch for the back that said "Noah's Garage". It was a cute idea and I loved helping her with it. The other one that stands out to me was an order that I did for the Children's Theatre Company, right here in Minnesota. I made the characters’ patches for the musical The Sneetches. It was so fun to see pictures on their Facebook page of the costumes with my patches on them,” said Lisa Jean.
 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TuesdayBlueberries

Custom patch by TuesdayBlueberries: A special birthday surprise.


Many HandmadeMN designers are ready to put their skills to use on a new challenge.  “I love working with people on custom projects because it exposes me to materials that I might not have otherwise chose to use,” said Nicole of nicolecollodoro.  “For example, I had one person want a custom pendant with copper. I use primarily sterling silver, but while making his piece I really came to appreciate and like working with copper.”
https://www.etsy.com/shop/nicolecollodoro

What kind of jewelry would you create with Etsy shop nicolecollodoro?

These HandmadeMN makers, and many more, are eager to work with you to create a special, handcrafted item that brings a smile to your face.  Contact your favorite HandmadeMN artisan today to start work on your very own custom work of art. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Showing our colors for Canada Day and the Fourth of July

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Both Canada and the U.S. celebrate their nationhood and independence at the beginning of July with picnics and parades and patriotic displays of our national colors — which are, like, two-thirds the same.

Maple leaf rubber stamp from TC Witchcraft Factory
(Click on the captions of any photo to see more info about, and even purchase, the item.)

Canada Day, on July 1, marks the anniversary of the British North America Act of 1867, which joined four provinces, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec, to form the Canadian Confederation.

Ink roller style print of Canada, by Mercurial YoYo

Often referred to as Canada's birthday, it marks a major first step on the way to full independence, which was completed in 1982 when Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and England's Queen Elizabeth II signed the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, which transferred the power to amend the Canadian constitution to Canada.

Red-and-white striped cotton napkins, for your celebratory picnics, by Shaggy Baggy.
And so this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presides over the 150th anniversary of the beginning of a process that was completed by his father.


Americana cuff by Metaling Susie
Meanwhile in the United States, we celebrate the adoption of our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the second Continental Congress, which, to most Americans, is the birthday of our country.

Quilted wall hanging by Hartford Avenue Quilts
But the Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2. In fact, John Adams was certain that the second would be the day to celebrate, as he wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail: " The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival."


Flag onesie by Bethie Ann Baby

But, for the official record, our founding document was dated July 4, 1776, and so that became the date that we celebrate its adoption. 

American flag dress by Margaret Mousley
Although some sticklers for details would say that our country's official beginning was at the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783, which ended the war between us and Britain, and in which Britain officially recognized the United States as an independent nation.

But if we celebrated our nation's independence on the third of September, what then would we do with Labor Day? Move it to July? 




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Friday, June 23, 2017

Boho Bounty from HandmadeMN Artisans

by Jeff Ambroz
ColorTextureStudio

This summer, boho-inspired looks continue to heat up fashion, accessories and home décor.

Boho is associated with the 1960’s and 1970’s counterculture.  The look is relaxed, casual, earthy and handcrafted.  It’s inspired by a vagabond, multicultural and nomadic spirit.  Looks are layered and flowing, and pattern mixing is encouraged.

In short, if you think Stevie Nicks would like it, you can probably call it boho.

Now that you’re familiar with the style, are you interested in adding a little boho inspiration to your summer?

A beaded bracelet by RestlessArtMpls perfectly captures the boho spirit.  Earthy colors abound, and the artisan’s detailed handwork is evident throughout the piece.


https://www.etsy.com/listing/110045256/hand-woven-pink-gold-and-grey-bead?ref=hp_rv
Hand-beaded beauty for the wrist.
This beautiful, boho-inspired wish box by NoelleRollinsArt will help you state your life’s intentions, and manifest them to reality.  It also makes a thoughtful and hope-filled gift for someone undertaking a significant life change or transition.


https://www.etsy.com/listing/208744265/boho-animal-inspiring-or-dream-box-gypsy?ref=hp_rv
This summer, bring forth love and peace.
Earrings by mynaptimejewelry will delight the eye, and nose.  In addition to being beautiful, these earrings act as oil diffusers, letting you lend a subtly peaceful scent to wherever your spirit may take you.


https://www.etsy.com/listing/495721853/essential-oil-diffuser-jewelry-diffuser
The beauty of natural materials, with the bonus of a subtle scent.

Speaking of gorgeous scents, are you familiar with DeepMidnightPerfumes?  This Shangri-La perfume oil is one of many original scents available via Etsy.  Select from a wide range of handcrafted options, from earthy to exotic.

 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/99023344/shangri-la-perfume-oil-cherry-blossoms
Scents for the earth goddess in you.
Every boho outfit benefits from an eye-catching bag.  This bag from PineNeedleDesigns adds a carefree, artistic flair to your wardrobe, and its thoughtful design makes it a practical choice as well.


https://www.etsy.com/listing/266001615/giant-hoito-bag-dark-green-with-crewel
A gorgeous and practical addition for your carefree wardrobe.
As you ease into summer, let the relaxed boho lifestyle lead the way.  Be sure to visit the Etsy shops of these designers, and be on the lookout for other boho-inspired pieces from the many artisans of HandmadeMN.