March 10, 2010

Interview with a.e.wilder & GIVEAWAY

Recently in the Etsy Forums, I came across one of those avatars that captures your attention. It was this sweet little ditty, beckoning me to click-through.

Once I found myself in the Etsy shop of Abigail E. Wilder, I was so glad I took the time to follow my instincts and click on that wee thumbnail of linen and embroidered sweetness - because there is an entire shop chalk-full of even more sweet designs, all with a similar, simple aesthetic. As you well know, when I find myself inspired by a fellow Etsyian, an interview typically follows:

Although the use of linen and embroidery is not a new technique, there is something very fresh about your style. It's hard for me to put my finger on it exactly; but I'm definitely loving the colors and use of vintage buttons. 
     I think that’s what I love about the materials I use:  they’re all so sweetly mundane.  I’m a simpleton at heart so I was drawn to the clean look of color on linen.  Linen has that wonderful quality of elevating whatever design you apply to it. 

How has your personal style evolved over time - and where do you see it going?  When you began your Etsy shop, did you know that this would become your signature technique - or has it been a more organic process?
My Etsy experience has been born from necessity.  She truly is the mother of the invention of the shop.  After my second child I had a doosie of a case of post partum depression.  I couldn’t find an ounce of my “old self” in the aftermath.  And while I wasn’t feeling inspired or creative (at all) I knew there was something to be gained by at least pretending to be creative.  So I taught myself to sew on a machine my mother gave me.  It seemed like a wonderful combination of keeping my brain preoccupied while my hands could work on something.  Needless to say, what resulted were tiny tote bags, embroidered pants, tea towels, and growth charts strewn about the house.  What started as a practical way to stave of the crazies…turned into an awesome experience.  I love every aspect of embroidery and sewing.

I think my style in the shop has just been an offshoot of a “look” I’m drawn to myself.  I don’t know that I ever intended to develop a signature technique, but now that you mention it – there is a theme, isn’t there! 

While I continue to love working with buttons and linen and embroidery, what I appreciate even more is a handmade piece that is timeless.  I wanted items that recorded my babes’ birthdates, but I wanted them to be around forever, not just until I changed the d├ęcor in their room.  Thus was born the BirthDate Hoop.  So more than the materials I use, my process involves providing handmade beauty that will stand the test of time.  This is important to me in case we ever experience another “’80’s”.

We all have many style influences. Who are some of the people you find inspiration from?
        One influence was my time spent in a Montessori classroom as an instructor.  The Montessori philosophy places a high value on setting up and caring for a beautiful environment for the children.  Art prints from the Masters are hung at the child’s level.  Tables & chairs are wood.  The materials children work with and manipulate are color-coordinated.  The color scheme in the room is monochromatic to keep things soothing.  I was amazed at the positive influence a beautiful environment could have on children and anyone, really.  I can’t pretend it didn’t influence my style.

My first two sewing books were Amy Karol’s, “Bend the Rules of Sewing” and Lotta Jansdotter’s, “Simply Sewing.”  These two gals are amazing.  I also love Scandinavian design, Swedish design, clean lines…you know the drill.

Your Etsy profile alludes to "bows and arrows" as well as Montessori. You've got my attention, and curiosity piqued. Please elaborate.
       Well, I mentioned above that I taught in a Montessori classroom.  It was the best time.  And I love now how much the philosophy has seeped into my own parenting.  And yes, I do shoot bow & arrow. My husband handcrafted a traditional long bow for me on my 30th birthday.  I just think it’s an amazing, primitive form of defense.  I only wish it were more acceptable to grocery shop with a quiver of arrows on my back.

Not only has Abigail graciously, honestly, and humorously answered my questions - but she's also agreed to do a special giveaway just for the readers of Elan Vital Anthology! One lucky reader will win the pencil case of choice from her shop - and they are super-cute! This one is my personal favorite:

To be entered to win you absolutely must do the following:
  • Visit Abigail's shop, come back to the blog and comment about your favorite item in the shop, as well as which pencil case you hope to win. (1 entry)
  • Follow the Elan Vital Anthology blog, be sure and comment to let me know you've done so.
For additional entries, you can (each of these is good for 1 extra entry):
  • Tweet about the giveaway, be sure and leave a comment with your twitter id so I can find your tweet
  • Blog about this giveaway, comment with a link to your blogpost.
The giveaway will end on March 16th, at the stroke of midnight - when this blog post turns into a pumpkin. Until that time - it's fair play. The lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on March 17th!

If you can't wait to see if you win, or if you don't end up winning - Abigail's done us all one better - she's extending a secret sale just to Elan Vital Anthology blog readers. At checkout, simply enter "ELANVITAL" in the "Message to Seller" section of Etsy for 15% off your entire purchase.

Good Luck!


jenjems said...

Another great interview! I love the growth charts!

I don't have children, I just think they would look great as a wall hanging!

Really hope to win...

But at $10 I feel like a winner already!

Misty said...

my favorite is the personalized growth chart.
and id like to win the elephant pencil case.
mommy2skie at yahoo dot com

Maria Isabel said...

Ohhh I was blown away by her shop! I bought the Momento Wall hanging with my baby's birth date! I'm so glad you posted this, otherwise I would have never seen that beautiful shop!

julia said...

I think I like the elephant baby date hoop best, and if I won, I would want the elephant pouch too! I am following on Google reader. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I love the Eat Up placemats. My favorite pencil case is the flower zippered case. It's so unique and fun!
june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

following june_spirit2628
june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love the Personalized Growth Chart - Blue and Red.

The Wee Bee Zippered pouch really cute!

Kim said...

what's really fun is that the anniversary wall display is my wedding anniversary and almost right on the year!! Cute xoxoxox

Maria Isabel said...

My favorite piece from her shop was the Bumble Bee Tote. And my favorite case is the Elephant Pencil Case!

lilDdownunder said...

I love Buzz the Bumblebee Tote.

As a teacher, I could always use a pencil case to keep my supplies in order and I love the cute design on the elephant!

dlogston at gmail dot com

Tara said...

Hey everyone -

Make sure to follow the blog on the sidebar - and if you follow with the reader/or feedburner, leave your email so I know.

Thanks and Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I love the placements and the elephant pouch.Thanks for the sweet giveaway fingers crossed. Helen

Louise said...

love the eat up placemats with the mix of natural and primary colors and the elephant pouch! adorable! i'm new to the blogging world and excited to follow you!

The Smith Family said...

I love the button personalized baby announcement like the one you have pictured on your blog...the button colors are AMAZING! I would love to win the button flowers zipper adorable. I just love ETSY and all the wonderful things that are made by hand by people all over the world, I'm always amazed by what I find and how creative people are. :)

Apple Hu said...

I like the Button Flower Zippered Pouch pencil case! It's my fav and the one I want to win... yay :)

Thanks for offering the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Such a cute etsy shop! My favorite is the elephant pouch! Great for school supplies or makeup even.

Anonymous said...

I love the placements and would love the Elephant pencil case!

Anonymous said...

Blog follower!

Jennie said...

What a FABULOUS shop- thank you for sharing!! (I'm one of your loyal blog followers already :)

I love all things personalized, and these are just so special:

Would love to see a wedding one too!

I would love, love, love to win the zippered pouch with the elephant- it is sweet as can be.

I suffered a horrible bout of ppd myself- and I can totally relate to this seller's quest for a way to "stave off the crazies"...etsy was my solution, too :))))

jasmine said...

i love the sweet elephant tote, and i'd love to win the elephant pencil case. it's just because i love the elephant design. :)) it's so cute!

i follow you via google.

Rebecca said...

I definitely love the elephant pencil case the most! It's just too cute!

And I'd have to agree that the growth charts are amazing! I feel so inspired by them!

Great shop, great giveaway! Thanks so much for the opportunity!

(following your blog as

Aero said...

I am a follower of your blog :)

My fave thing from the etsy shop is the linen bee tote bag

I would love to win the Elephant pencil pouch! So cute!

cmwheeler said...

Oh, wow! I love this shop!

Family Ground Rules is fantastic. and I think that the Wee Bee pencil case is super-sweet, too.

(btw... I came across your site courtesy of By Hand Giveaways.)

cmwheeler said...

and I am now publicly following via Google...

jennifer57 said...

favorite item is Solar System Birth Date.

would choose Wee Bee Zippered Pouch. Pencil Case. Epi Pen Case.

@ByHandGiveaways said...

Id love the

Elephant Pouch. Pencil Case. Epi Pen Case.

I cant get my name unless its custom :) danelle

and I love Personalized Wall Hanging

duhnellecarter [at] yahoo . com

@ByHandGiveaways said...


duhnellecarter [at] yahoo . com

@ByHandGiveaways said...


duhnellecarter [at] yahoo . com

@ByHandGiveaways said...


duhnellecarter [at] yahoo . com

Linda said...

This shop is gorgeous...Love the Placemats and Personalized Baby Hoops the best! Love the Bee pencil case!

Linda said...

new blog follower

fairycreations said...

the bee pencil case is my fav and this is what id love to win!


Anonymous said...

Love your items , especially the Personalized Bag, Linen Tote with Bee, its really cute!!

Melissa said...

What a great shop!! I love the Solar System Birth Date Plaque

I think my daughter would like the
Elephant Pencil Case :)

JanuaryWish (at) verizon (dot) net

Melissa said...

I'm a follower :)

JanuaryWish (at) verizon (dot) net

Lady V dZine said...

Following as ladyvdzine.
I love the personalized growth charts.
Thanks for the chance.

Hannah said...

i do love the elephant pencil case, even though it's the featured one :)

Hannah said...


amanda said...

Amazing shop!

I love the New Baby Celebration -- Personalized Wall Hangings!

prettyfnmess at gmail

amanda said...


prettyfnmess at gmail

Linda Kish said...

I like Family Ground Rules

I would choose the Wee Bee zipper pencil pouch

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Carapace said...

Oh, I would have LOVED one of those growth charts as a kid- now I'm trying to think how I could use one as an adult!

I like the elephant, a great deal-- enough to make me forsake my usual Bee totem!


Christina said...

Christina - - I love the Solar System Birth Date, and the Button Flower Zippered Pouch/Pencil case!

Surge said...

I LOVE the growth charts too! Soo cute, favorited her

I follow

JennTRC said...

I like the Eat UP placemats and my favorite pencil case is the Wee Bee Zippered Pouch. Pencil Case. Epi Pen Case! :)

jrerwin6 at gmail dot com

Kate and Oli said...

i like the solar system birthdate and the family ground rules! thanks for the chance to win - i hope i do!

i follow!

jupi said...

Love the alphabet placemats and would love the Button Flower Zippered Pouch. Pencil Case. EpiPen Case.

AmbreRose said...

Great interview! I really like the Hello Sweet Elephant to match my pencil holder. ambrerose(!at)

Shelby said...

I love the Personalized Birth Date on Embroidered Hoop! Its such a cute idea! I follow your blog! :)

Lara said...

Hi! This shop has beautiful pieces: I looove the Bonjour tote bag. And I like a lot the Button Flower Zippered Pouch, maybe with pink buttons? My niece would love me forever!! LOL

My email is svlara(at)gmail(dot)com

Lara said...

I'm a new follower of your blog.

My email is svlara(at)gmail(dot)com

DEBIJOT said...

favorite is the momento wallhanging - I like the elephant pencil case.

Tazim said...

I especially love: Wee Bee Zippered Pouch. Pencil Case. Epi Pen Case.

I am following the blog.


Domestic Diva said...

I like the Personalized Growth Chart -- Brown and Green and would love the elephant pouch pencil case

SAUCY | eff. | BABY said...

My fave item is the Anniversary -- Personalized Wall Display. It's super cute & romantic!

& the pencil case I would like to win is the Elephant Pouch. Pencil Case. Epi Pen Case.



SAUCY | eff. | BABY said...

I am now following your blog. =]



Helen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen said...

I absolutely love the elephant pencil case! My email is thimbletop(at)gmail(dot)com.

Abby said...

I like the Personalized Bag, Linen Tote with 3 Embroidered Flowers

As for the pencil case, since there are only 2 right now, I like the Wee Bee Zippered Pouch.

reviewsbyabby at gmail dot com

Selene said...

Loving the Anniversary -- Personalized Wall Display. So so sweet!

I am liking the Elephant case.


shiki6210 at gmail dot com

bellivas said...

the wee bee please!please!

Jenna Scott said...

I like the placemats! And the pencil pouch pictured on this blog!

Wee Waldorf said...

I love rainbows, so it's gotta be the personalized hoop!

I would love to win the elephant pouch!

Tylerpants said...

I'm a follower. I love the blue & red growth chart, it'd be nice in my son's bedroom. I'd pick the elephant pencil case. Thanks! tylerpants(at)

Lydia Jane said...

Wee Bee Zipper Pouch is adorable...and I think I would choose that one.

Thanks for the great giveaway!


AnnaOj said...

I'm a follower! (:

Joanna O | annaojordonez at gmail dot com

AnnaOj said...

My favorite item would be the personalized linen tote bag with the bee. (: The lining is really cute.

The pencil case I would like to win is the Elephant one. It's cute. And I don't know if its just my family, but if we're going to get something with an elephant on it, its trunk should be up for luck & it is! Personalized with Anna Oj which is my name backwards.

Joanna O | annaojordonez at gmail dot com

AnnaOj said...

I tweeted about your giveaway here:

Thanks, have a fun giveaway!

Joanna O | annaojordonez at gmail dot com