August 23, 2009

Mumbot - Featured Etsyian

Often, whether through chat, forums, or a search through the myriad shops on Etsy, I come across a shop so unique, so exceptional, so fantastic - that I wish I were a buyer. Mumbot is a shop on Etsy that, since I can't buy from directly, I want to share with all of you. Hopefully, you will be moved to purchase on of her pieces - and I can live the purchase vicariously through you. If not, at least you'll learn of another absolutely delightful Etsyian with amazing talent and vision!

Mumbot sells original paintings as well as the more affordable prints of said paintings. She offers prints with high-definition inks on either matte paper or velvet fine art paper. Her subject matter is predominantly based on childhood dreams, adventures, and fears - yet there is an overarching theme of comfort and protection in them. I found that her influences are diverse: ranging from Hiyao Miyozake ("My Neighbor Totoro", "Spirited Away") to traditional Native American spirit art.

Her profile, as quoted directly from her shop, gives you a sense of who the artist behind Mumbot really is:
"Jade Kuei (b. 1981) is a new media artist, designer, illustrator and animator based in Jersey City. Kuei was born in Los Angeles, California and has also lived in Las Vegas and New York. Ms. Kuei graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2003, focusing on fine art and two-dimensional animation. In her freetime she has been hard at work developing powerful creative formulas. Kuei illustrates whimsical yet haunted abstractions of her own dreams and experiences. Her 3 year old son, Everest and his superpowers, have been catalysts of inspiration and as the fulcrum for her further documentation, he remains the key to unlocking her magnum opus."

August 22, 2009

SUNDAY SALE - Starts, Ironically, Saturday!!!!

Having a big sale in my shop - I want to see if that gets any of you lookers into buyers ;).

I've also updated my listings with some simple instructions for those who are new to Etsy.

Happy Shopping!

Friday Feature

Every Friday, I am going to be posting new listings for my customers to look forward to. It's always fun to know you can go to your favorite shop each week, and find new treasures. I had that experience this week myself, at the thrift shops! There's always new goodies - and I was happy to take several home with me. These vintage rosewood burl bookends are my absolute favorite buy this week. Rosewood burl is a rare find - this specimen has gorgeous chocolate veins, with rosebrown rings, and honey hued swirls.

Approximately 10"H x 6"W x 10"L, the bookends have some definite heft to them. They're strong enough to hold up your heaviest showpiece books.

August 19, 2009

Name That Scream

I swore I wasn't going to do a third post today, but well, add it to my list of blogging taboos.

I just found this article on NPR and it's too much fun!

Urban Usonian

I love this flat, designed by Owner/Photographer, Kent Dayton and Architecture Firm Grant Studio. Naturally, being a lover of the mid-century modern design movement and colors - this photo drew me into the article immediately. What I found was an amazingly utilitarian, minimalist, color brilliant, transitional space. Dayton boldly makes efficient use of the small space, with a fold-away bed in his studio. A giant, sliding door separates the work/sleep area from the general living area when necessary, allowing for flexibility that traditionally designed homes do not have. Ascending ceiling heights as you move throughout the space can make the rooms feel spacious or intimate.

For a novice of Frank Lloyd Wright's work like I am, I was surprised to learn that Dayton's design was inspired by his philosophy.

Great article - I've already said too much, but I can't speak for the slideshow! Stunning!


Part of my weekly business routine, is to go to the thrift stores, salvage yards, and antique stores combing the places for great finds. This week was particularly satisfying, as I found soooo many goodies - but also a bit frustrating as I want to keep them all for myself!

One of my favorite finds was a Beatles trading card! Ohmigod - I love the Beatles, can hardly get enough of them and their prophetic music. I never knew these trading cards existed, and they are sooo fun! On the front, there is a photo of the Beatles (all, one, or a couple); while on the backside, there is a mini-interview with one of the Beatles!! I picked up this one yesterday - be sure to read the interview with Ringo about the show in Paris - too funny.

August 18, 2009

Interview with Elizabeth Normand

First in a series of weekly interviews with my favorite fellow Etsyians, is the interview of Elizabeth Normand. She's been on Etsy since August 2008, with good success. Her focus is on creating apparel, accessories, and home decor using upcycled materials. I am so greatful for her in-depth, and personal responses. If you ever wanted to know Elizabeth Normand better - here's your chance!

You're a fourth year fashion design student. What are your goals once you have a degree? Can your Etsy followers expect to see complete lines in your shop soon? Who are your top three influences?
Yes, I am going into my fourth year of fashion design studies. At the University of Cincinnati, it is a five year program, so I've got a little while to go still. I've always dreamed of bringing fashion to Cincinnati by having a store of my own. The best case scenario would be to have a small team of seamstresses to help me produce all my products. I really believe that handmade is best, so avoiding bigger manufacturers or outsourcing is a priority for me. I would also love to grow my Etsy shop and remain loyal to this website that has really given me my start. Etsy followers can most definitely expect to see complete seasonal clothing lines, hopefully sooner rather than later. I've been approached to sell my clothing and purses at a store called NVISION in Cincinnati. This has helped me begin to plan collections of clothing, rather than produce garments at random.
One of my biggest influences definitely comes from being Catholic. I find such beauty in the tradition and history of this religion. It is inspiring to see beautiful religious paintings, statues, and ancient relics, but my religion also drives me to create based on modesty. My religion and my desire to be a good example of it pushes me to show others that modest, humble clothing is also quite beautiful.
A more fashion-related influence on my life is Diane von Furstenburg. I find her designs to be so elegant and intelligent. Her designs make sense, and accentuate the person wearing them instead of the other way around.
My third influence comes from other crafters. Etsy has provided me with a connection to wonderful people worldwide who are showcasing their talent. I find their stories and their work so inspiring.

I noticed you've been in the press quite often, both locally in Cincinnatti, and online, featured in blogs. How did you get noticed by the local press? Have you had a positive response from being in local press?
I have had the good fortune of a lot of local support. News of my shop has spread by word of mouth. I've made lovely connections with people at DAAP (part of the University of Cincinnati) and the college newspaper. It has surprised me to be contacted by different Etsy users and asked if I would like to be featured on their blogs, but it really warms my heart. It is great to know that there are such kind people out there!

Clearly, you have a love for using vintage materials - whether in your fashion, accessories, or home decor. I particularly love your Vintage LP Bowls. How do you come up with such fresh ideas for old materials?
Growing up, I was always getting into stuff, mixing odds and ends, and putting things together in a new way. I used to keep a big bin under my bed, which I referred to as my "junk trunk" and kept every little bit and bobble I found... film canisters, cardboard rolls from toilet paper, pipe cleaners, anything. This junk bin would entertain me for hours on end, and I would make new little toys and gadgets. So it is really fun for me to sit down with something seemingly useless like a pile of records sitting in the thrift store, and turn them into something new, like a funky record bowl.

August 15, 2009

Why I Can't Keep Politics Out

I've been so out of touch with the world at large as I focus in on my own little world of starting a business and loving my family. Today, I finally decided to check the news. My reaction: What the hell is going on in this country?! I think it would be honest for most Americans to admit to some anxiety about the State of the Union; but I can't understand why the numbers of people polled are so quick to blame Obama and jump into a frothing, racist terror suit. We spent eight years in the grip of some of the most corrupt leaders in our country's history - eating our fast food, watching American Idol" or some other inane "reality" show, being lied to by the media. Now Americans want to stand up and fight for their freedom??!! Your anger with the government and military-industrial complex is understandable. In fact, I'm glad to see most people have finally started believing they have the power. But it manifests in racism, threats to the President (who I believe, is trying to make positive changes within the system), and hateful behavior. It is not just ugly and terrorizing - it's unproductive. Get out in your communities and educate people about what's going wrong with this country, get involved in the change. No one needs a revolution of White Supremacists, thank you very much.

I swore I was going to keep this blog focused on business and craft only, but my resolve was crushed when I perused the news today. Focus America. That's the only way we can have Change We Can Believe In. Americans have sat on their duff while big business and government had a steamy affair for too long. Get off the couch and do something. Something positive - for your sake and the sake of those around you. Especially the children. Be a role model - not an ugly, screaming, hate-monger. Let's have this be the time to be proud of our Country, Americans.

August 14, 2009

My First Etsy Treasury

I'm so excited - I finally made my first Etsy treasury list! It takes awhile to wait it out, the lists are usually much higher than 333; but I waited and got a sweet spot!

I can't wait to let all the sellers know that I've compiled my favorite pieces of theirs into an awesome treasury of EcoFriendly Stylish products!

The list is called: Green Style - Because going green doesn't mean giving up style

These sellers definitely prove that with their noteworthy items. Apparel and accessories made from recycled materials, organic or sustainable materials, and upcycled goods that would have otherwise been tossed.

August 13, 2009

New Listings - Vintage Finds!

I'm so excited to see how my new Vintage postings do?! I have some fabulous finds, featured in my shop. The songbird paperweight is my favorite. Such a sweet desktop companion! Woke up this morning to the delightful news of sales! It's so exciting everytime someone makes a purchase - whether it's something I've designed and made, or found new life for - I feel so good!

Can I just take a minute here to say how much I appreciate my man? Always when I'm working in the morning, he's taking care of our sweet girl, Marley Skye. I can hear her giggling from across the house while Daddy tickles her or just plays Monster - her favorite game. It's a joy and a blessing that we are still both able to be home with our daughter. I love my family. Gotta go give them some love!

August 12, 2009

Mooshoopork on Etsy - One of my Favorites!

It's funny, while chatting the other day, I came across this gal that was hilarious - not to mention talented. I LOVE her shop, Mooshoopork - full of fun wooden toys - perfect for replacing plasticy, licensed crap toys that kids are overwhelmed with. Her take on toys reminds me of Haba toys - the best toys you can buy for little ones - she uses wood and a non-toxic paints and finishes. Also, she makes great journals.

You can also check out her other shop, Little Papoose:

The dress is from Little Papoose!

August 11, 2009

Chatting on Etsy

Today, I started a chat room on Etsy in the hopes for some productive brainstorming and promotion. The chat room topic was "Eco Friendly Shops/Listings - for Sellers and Buyers". It was somewhat productive chat. While we didn't get any Buyers in the room to talk about who their favorite sellers are and why, we all went around and discussed what steps we could take as Sellers that we haven't already to be more green. One idea for an artist was to buy natural or milk paint, or to make her own vegetable dyes. Another idea was to have at least the collateral in the shop be printed on 100% post consumer paper with soy/vegetable inks.

At Elan Vital Anthology, I already have taken many steps to make sure that each product has at least two factors that make it environmentally conscientious. And I just found a printer that has great looking stuff, which is all on 100% post consumer paper with soy based inks. Check out the link to their site if you're looking to improve the impact your collateral makes. And I came up with a great idea today to solve my "free gift" issue. Etsy sellers can get 50 free business cards with photos and/or text. I'm going to have cards printed with recipes for natural cleaning products, high mercury fish to avoid, the dangers of parabens, pthalates, and SLS. I figure it's in the spirit of my shop to share what I know with my Buyers on how they can make sure their environment is healthier.

It's still a niche market to be eco friendly, environmentally responsible, or green. Whatever you call it - I want to be a part of it. Since having a daughter - my view on the future has radically shifted to preserving her future and the generations after her.

Playing on my iPod: My Brightest Diamond, "Bring Me the Workhorse" (a bit like Tori Amos - check her out!)
Books I'm reading: Still reading "Positive Discipline"
Movies I'm watching - Who has time for movies now?!

Promoted Item from my Etsy Shop: Marshmallow Pouf Floor Pillow made with Upcycled Vintage Tablecloth and Sundress

August 10, 2009

First day of Blogging

Well, well, well. Whoever said it was easy getting up and going on Etsy hasn't sold anything yet. Today I spent the morning creating ads, tweeting, chatting, posting in forums, and joining other various social networks. Tomorrow I will be reshooting half of my listings as the first round of photos was crap. I've had one sale in ten days of being a seller - so that feels good considering the economy and all. I'm learning more than I ever thought I would about marketing online. Consistently and shamelessly self promoting.
I've met a lot of talented and hilarious sellers within the Etsy community. If you're thinking of opening a shop - just know you'll meet a lot of great folks with a great willingness to share tips for success and give you feedback.

Aside from the shop, I'm still relaxed and happy from our family trip to Elk Lake yesterday! It was the first time my babygirl saw a lake, and what's more, got in it! Afterwards, we had the neighbors over for dinner - a nice couple with a newborn. I think every new parent should have a friend with a one year old - it's so beneficial for both families! New parents get advice, understanding, hand-me-downs; and those with one year old (like me) get to realize how much they've learned from their child in such a short span of time.

Playing on my iPod: Queen: Greatest Hits --- love the spirit of Freddie Merkury!
Books I'm reading: "Positive Discipline: Birth to Three", "Everything You Think You Know is Lies", "A People's History of the United States" (need some good fiction recommendations!)
Movies Just Watched: this is embarrassing..."Collateral" --- total steamer!