The cave, part 2

So there was a part of the cave experience I forgot to mention: copy editing.  This was a hardcore process with many, many hours involved, after which I lapsed into a mini-writerly coma that I am just now waking up from.  So now I am REALLY coming out of the cave.  That and I just turned in the grades for the semester at Pepperdine and I am ALMOST done buying a house.  So I am nearly to the light at the end of the tunnel, which, in my mind, is Book 2 and Idaho.

In May my son and I are off to Idaho for my bi-yearly visit  I am totally stoked, as usual.  Idaho's my heart's field.  This is funny since when I was a teenager, I really desperately wanted to get out of Idaho.  Now I can't wait to get home.  So every year I spend a few weeks visiting my old haunts in Idaho Falls and going to Jackson Hole and the Tetons and Yellowstone (which are all, coincidentally--right? :) settings for UNEARTHLY), a week or so at my dad's house way up in the desert mountains, fishing and riding around on ATVs and antelope-watching, and a week or so in the Boise area catching up with the oodles of friends I have there.  It's wonderfully restful time for me.  That and my mom tends to watch my son in the mornings so I can write.  Which is good, since the first few chapters of Book 2 are due very soon.

The highlights from this year's Idaho bliss will be going to a reading by Aprilynne Pike in Idaho Falls on May 11.  She's a fellow HarperCollins YA writer who has been such a fantastic mentor to me during the publishing process.  And I've never met her in person.  And now I'm going to!  Squee!  (Aprilynne's on tour for the sequel (SPELLS) to her bestselling novel (WINGS).  I'm determined to get a signed copy of both!  Squee!!!

And I am returning to Jackson Hole High School.  Last year the principal was super sweet and welcomed me to haunt the halls of his high school for a couple of days.  This was such valuable time for me--I had written about 2/3 of the book before I arrived at the school, ironically the entire school section of the book, but even so there was SOOOO much I learned by going there.  I took gads of pictures and interviewed the students and teachers on a whole range of subjects, and then I came home and rewrote a bunch of the school sections to make them more specific to JHHS, and I was amazed at how great that turned out--the school really came to life for me.

(me at the top of the tram at Jackson Hole ski area, last May)

So now I'm going back to do the same sort of thing with Book 2.  But last year I was this dreamy little writer who flattered them by wanting to write about their school.  This year I am a soon-to-be-published author with a major publishing house, and they know that people are going to read what I write, and I know that people are going to read what I write, and it feels very different.  I just hope that I can convey my admiration of the school and share part of this amazing experience with them. 

HandmadeMN Spring Market Vendors

by Rita Wetzel, RitasCreations and AndMoreBags


HandmadeMN is holding our first ever Spring Market on Saturday May 8! Over 45 artists and crafters will have booths set up at the Ballentine VFW in Minneapolis. We will have a wide variety of items for sale that day including jewelry, knitted and crocheted items, photos, paintings, notecards, quilted items, and much, much more. Between now and May 8 we will be featuring all of our artists participating in our Spring Market so tune back in often to see all that will be offered!

Here are a few more of our artists who will be at the Spring Market!

Kathryn of SweetGracies makes One Of A Kind (OOAK) outfits for babies and children! Kathryn has made this lovely dress from a 1950's vintage pattern using designer cotton fabrics in three coordinating patterns.




Kat of Katjojo designs and creates cardigans from repurposed secondhand wool, cashmere, angora, and acrylic sweaters.



And look at this Illustration that Elizabeth has in her Elizabeth Hurley's shop!



Christy's passion for needle-fleting is evident in all of her purses, clutches, accessories, and framed pieces. Check out her creations at CBino.



At MissBAccessories you will find Valerie's wonderful collection of handcrafted finery for the small people in your lives.



At Jodi's pinswithfury Shop, you will find hats, purses and totes!



Bags, purses, journals and home accessories with a contemporary design can also be found at Michelle's Fennel Studio.



Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you at our Spring Market! And remember too that we will have a drawing at the Spring Market for our Giveaway Baskets! Contents of each basket are homemade items donated by HandmadeMN team members!

That's it for now... stay tuned for regular updates on our Spring Market. Mark you calendar now for May 8!

When: Saturday, May 8th from 10am to 5 pm
Where
: Ballentine VFW, 2916 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis




Featured Shop - one9designs

By Sara of Auntie B Online

We love jewelry. It's so personal, a reflection of what we stand for or who we are. Designs catch our fancy because of our personalities. Jewelry given as a gift marks a serious relationship. That said, what could be even more personal? Personalized jewelry.

Kristin at one9designs puts her personality into the personalized jewelry she makes for you. She takes sterling silver and hand stamps your mark into pieces you can cherish forever. So pure and simple, yet so meaningful and beautiful.

Take a look at this adorable necklace for the pet lover. A cute little paw charm along with a silver disc with the name of your pet.



Don't forget the jewels. Here is a dainty ring of sterling silver, personalized with your birthstone. I just love the starburst bezel.



This one is all swirly and girly. Silver discs stamped with the letter you want to represent your kids or whatever else suits you, along with a bigger disc stamped with the word "blessed." I think it's my favorite.


What makes one9designs even more special is that Kristin will adjust her shop listings to fit exactly what you're looking for. In other words, she'll make it as personal as possible, just for you. She's nice that way. Visit one9designs and get something really beautiful, really meaningful, and really personal.

Prairie Flowers, an original cloth doll

Last spring I designed a cloth doll I called Prairie Flowers. She is a simple cloth doll, 11 1/2 inches tall, made from 100% woven cotton material. Above is Lillian, one of the dolls I made a year ago.

I've come back to these cloth dolls, to make the pattern available, and to see what kind of different looks can be achieved with this cloth doll pattern.

The pattern for the doll is located here: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/PrairieFlowersDoll.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

A picture tutorial for making the doll is located here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184580@N04/sets/72157623903215816/

The pattern for the doll is a 'template' that is traced onto freezer paper (available here: http://www.dollmakersjourney.com/supplies.html, near the bottom of the page). Trace the pattern to the non-shiny side of the freezer paper, cut out, and iron the pattern to the fabric. The edge of the template is the sewing line, so make sure to leave plenty of space between pattern pieces for the seam allowance.






After the pattern pieces have been sewn and turned, stuff the pieces with your favorite stuffing material. I've mentioned this before, but the best way to stuff a cloth doll is to lightly dampen the pieces with a mist of water. Work the material in your hands after it is dampened, and stuff the body firmly. Dampening the material will help to eliminate wrinkles when you stuff.






It is also VERY important to pay attention to the stretch of your fabric, and how you lay the pattern pieces on the material. These two bodies were made from the same pattern piece; but one was laid on the fabric with the stretch along the length of the body, and the other with the stretch running from side to side. The pattern pieces are marked how they should be placed. Before ironing them on, stretch your material along the grain and across it to determine which way the maximum stretch runs.

After all the parts are nicely stuffed, it is time to make the face, and perhaps add a touch of embroidery to the neckline of the doll. The tutorial shows a way to make the faces you see here; they are a combination of paint (for the iris and pupil of the eye), embroidery (mouth, nose, eyebrows, and iris), and crayon, to blush the cheeks. It is easier to do this and the embroidery before the limbs are attached to the doll.


Two new Prairie Flowers :-) I called them this because of the flowers embroidered around the neckline.

Inspire Me

By Cheri of From Out of the Cracks

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." Albert Einstein

Where does that creativity come from? What was the inspiration, the spark? Do you go somewhere to get inspired?

Here is our featured HandmadeMN artist Lindsay Fox from Chickadeesigns where she creates fun, funky and chunky jewelry, mainly resin pieces with a mod flair. You can also check Lindsay out on her blog or Facebook Fan Page.

The thing that got Lindsay started making resin pendants was the never ending search to find the perfect necklace that would fit her style. Lindsay says, “Sure, there are lots of pieces out there…but I also have a pretty solid do-it-yourself streak in me, so just finding one very quickly became unsatisfactory…I had to create one! I’ve always been very drawn to bold colors and the bold outline type styles of mod/retro/pop art. My inspiration for the patterns I draw comes from various paper and fabric patterns I find that are along those lines. Once I get a feel for the image I want to create, I set about drawing it up in illustrator, then playing around with the colors and finally printing out the pattern(s) and casting them in resin to create my pendants.”

Lindsay says, “Because I make a double layer casting, my pendants are built “backwards” with the front of the pendant being created first then the image embedded in the second layer, all upside down so I can’t see the front of the pendant until all resin layers are set. This adds a bit to the fun because I never quite know if they are going to work out or if I’m going to have a giant air bubble ruining the whole thing until I pop them out of the mold and see the finished work…it’s a bit like Christmas morning for me opening up presents!”



For this particular piece, Lindsay's inspiration came from an iPod commercial where the music starts playing and these patterns start growing from the bottom of the screen. Lindsay says, "I took that idea and ran with it. For me, the pattern that grew from the bottom of the art is the brightly colored, mod feeling circles!"

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Sweet Gracies

By Jessica of Clay By Clay

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

This week's giveaway is from Kathryn of Sweet Gracies. She is giving away this lovely wristlet for your little girl, perfect for a day of shopping with mom!


This children's bag measures 6" x 5" with a wrist strap and a zipper in the back. It features an adorable pale green fabric with little animals and has a coordinating dot fabric inside. The ribbon and trim details on this wristlet are darling.

Open to US and International residents

How to Enter:
Visit Kathryn's shop pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments)

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a Facebook Fan of HandmadeMN. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, May 8, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!
HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Events Roundup: Kick off Springtime and Support Your Local!

We've got a big weekend ahead of us here in Minnesota's capital city of St. Paul, and a lot of events that won't take more than a bus ride or a choice parking space and a good pair of sneakers to visit. Here we go!

Saint Paul Art Crawl
Friday, 23 April, from 6-10pm
Saturday, 24 April, from noon-8pm
Sunday, 25 April, from noon-5pm
This tour of the Lowertown area of St. Paul covers three of my favorite things about St. Paul: the access to public art, free shuttle rides, and cool old buildings and spaces. It's a fantastic opportunity to meet local artists and see where they work, what they do, and how they do it. Kudos to all of the artists to have opened up their studios to any and all who come by - I'll try to stop by this Saturday or Sunday!

Saint Paul Farmer's Market
Saturdays 6-11am
Sundays 8am-1pm
The St. Paul Farmer's Market opens this Saturday, 24 April, for their 2010 season! They'll be open until the end of November. Hey - if you're already in Lowertown for the Art Crawl, check it out! Grab a bag of fresh-from-the-garden produce and head into a warehouse to check it out. There's also great people-watching, a good selection of produce and fresh flowers, and occasionally street musicians and performers.
Check out the website for more locations and dates. Farmer's markets are a great way to support the local economy, and stay a little more green. Buying local cuts down on shipping and production costs. And it's good for you, too.

Alter/Nation: clothing exchange and creative evolution
Saturday 24 April, 1-6pm at The Bottling House
I know I was highlighting St. Paul, but don't be afraid of the twin across the river. On Saturday in Minneapolis, MNfashion Week is sponsoring the Alter/Nation event, promoting the creative reuse of garments otherwise thrown away or forgotten in the back of the closet. CounterCouture hosts, along with Ever After Gowns, Anthem Heart, Yelp, taj salon & spa, Je Ne Regrette Rien and I’ve Got Your Style, with the help of volunteers.
The event includes, but is not limited to, a clothing swap, formal dress donation, on-site tailoring and alterations, fashion shows, live screen printing, and even hair and make-up. Check out the link (above) for more info on the Facebook event page!


MNfashion Week is going strong!
Check out the various event continuing through this weekend, culminating in Christopher Straub's premiere of his new collection at the St. Paul Hotel on Sunday night. (Yes, the Chris Staub from Project Runway - he's local!)


At any rate, even if it's raining, there's plenty to do! So go out, explore the capital and its twin, and support your local!


by Maggie
(cross-posted in Maggie's blog, BodiceGoddess by Maggie)

Fun Friday Finds ~ It's a Pirate's Life for Me!

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

It's a Pirate's Life for Me!
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): jackielehmann, AndMoreBags, vintagenouveaudesign, cayennepeppy
Second Row (Left to Right): palettepassion, PlushroomSoup, SteampunkVintage, LittleRed75
Third Row (Left to Right): AngelEllie, FoxglovePhoto, SageLeafTradingCo, ALineofHerOwn
Fourth Row (Left to Right): waternymph, SuzAndRoo, fromoutofthecracks, Fandangled

Eight Questions with...Trish Watzke


Meet Trish Watzke of Elk River, MN. Elk River is about 40 miles north of the Twin Cities. Trish has been married for 21 years and is raising two teenagers, a daughter who is 18 and a son who is 16. She also works as a Business Office Manager. You can find Trish at her Etsy store, Trish's Beads & Bangles, or her blog of the same name.

1. What types of items do you sell in your store?

Handmade custom jewelry. I work mainly with Copper, Sterling Silver, and Nickel.
2. Where do you get your inspiration?

Nature, textures and looking at all the beautiful stuff on Etsy and searching the web.

3. Do you have a specific space where you do most of your work?

I have a makeshift studio set up in my basement next to the washer and dryer, kinda crowded but its mine. I love going down there and sitting at my table to work and create...I have come along way from just creating at my kitchen table, it is really nice not to have to pack up to have the family eat supper.
4. When did you first start crafting?

I have always been a crafty person, when I was in high school I enjoyed drawing, and sewing. I have been making jewelry since 2003.

5. Do you do any crafts or art beyond what you sell?

No, now I am just strictly jewelry. My husband is a rock hound, so I do help him hunt for agates and will soon be featuring some in my jewelry.
6. What are your favorite places to buy supplies?

Well of course, the local bead store is the most handy, Garden of Beads in Anoka, MN, and Storm Cloud Trading in St. Paul, MN. I also purchase a lot on the web, Rio Grande, Fire Mountain Gems etc.

7. What is the best thing you've ever done to promote your etsy store?

Well so far I only have one sale, so this is for sure a work in progress. Just trying to get my name out there. I am enjoying Twitter, I have over 70 followers.
8. What other etsy store(s) do you really like?

Well, I love lulubugjewelry's etsy store, she is very creative.

Minnesota Hot Dish

by Cheri of From Out of the Cracks

Today's tasty recipe and lovely story comes from Corrin Kaluza of Athena's Little Owl.

Corrin says, "This is a recipe I have known and loved for as long as I can remember, thanks to my grandma, Virginia Hoffman. Whenever we head to her house for holidays, birthdays, or just for an impromptu gathering, I'm always secretly hoping that her "beef tips and noodles" are on the menu. To me, this recipe embodies tradition, family, and warmth. It is comes from the kitchen of her late sister, and my great-aunt, Doris. When I asked my grandma for the recipe and for any background on it, I could tell just thinking of it brought back memories of Doris. So, in a way, making this dish keeps Doris close to my grandma's heart. Enjoy this hearty, but not heavy, dish anytime of the year. It is can easily be adjusted to feed varying amounts of people, just keep the proportions the same."


Beef Tips and Noodles
1 round steak (a large steak; 2-3 lbs)
1 can tomato soup
1 can beef consomme
1 can French onion soup
1 package egg noodles (or more, if needed)

-Cut meat into 1" pieces
-Mix 3 soups together (do not dilute) and pour over meat in an roasting pan or baking dish with higher sides.
-Bake in a 325 degree oven for 2-3 hours, until meat is "fall apart" tender :)
-When the meat is almost done, prepare egg noodles according to package directions
-serve by spooning meat and sauce over cooked egg noodles.
-Enjoy!


HandmadeMN Giveaway - Clay by Clay

By Rita Wetzel of RitasCreationsOnETSY and AndMoreBags

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

Today we bring you this great Copper Chickadee Pendant from Jessica of Clay by Clay!


Jessica creates unique handmade necklaces, pendants, and earrings from polymer and metal clay in both silver and copper. This chickadee pendant is hand stamped and texturized from copper metal clay. The piece is dried, filed, refined, and then fired in a kiln! It is approximately 1 inch in size and comes with a 16" copper chain.

How to Enter:
Visit Jessica's shop, pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

Open to US and Internationals residents.

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a HandmadeMN Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7. Follow Jessica's Blog. Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

8. Follow Jessica on facebook. Comment back here with your Facebook link. Existing followers just leave your Facebook link here.

Contest ends Saturday, May 1, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

An Awesome Opportunity


My family and I had the awesome opportunity to hear Kevin Ford, pilot of STS-128, talk about his adventure aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

Their mission launched last August, 2009 to the International Space Station and took 15,000 lbs of supplies, experiments, and equipment, and performed three space walks. They also took Nicole Stott to the ISS as a space station crewmember, and returned Tim Kopra.

Kevin was informative, funny, and gracious. It was terrific.

Thanks to my brother-in-law Roger for the pictures. I'm the wannabe with the braid :-)

Fun Friday Finds ~ Earthy

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Earthy
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): FoxglovePhoto, trishsbeads, XOHandworks, AngelEllie
Second Row (Left to Right): Crafterall, kellynewcomer, ModernMeetsWhimsy, palettepassion
Third Row (Left to Right): MaryLittfin, GottholdGlass, maebyknot, tinab76
Fourth Row (Left to Right): harvestmoonbyhand , sacredsuds, regansbrain, cayennepeppy

Inspire Me

By Cheri of From Out of the Cracks

“Earth laughs in flowers”. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Where does that creativity come from? What was the inspiration, the spark? Do you go somewhere to get inspired?

Here is our featured HandmadeMN artist Cindy Lindgren from Etsy shop Cindy Lindgren where she creates note cards and prints from graphic illustrations inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement. You can also check Cindy out on her Facebook fan page.

Cindy’s graphic style of illustration was inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement (1880-1920). Cindy says, “Craftsmen looked to nature around them for decorative art themes using native plants and flowers like poppies, pine cones, thistles and roses. Rather than reproducing realistic renderings, they eliminated detail and simplified them to abstract forms. This table linen, of floral embroidery is an example from Eastwood Gallery in St. Paul that specializes in American Arts & Crafts Antiques. It has many pieces whether it's linens, tiles or ceramics that I find inspiring.”


Cindy says, “Like the artists of that period such as William Morris, I prefer plants and flowers I can grow myself to draw from. I sketch the plant over and over until I find its essence in just a few graphic shapes. This Solomon's Seal note card is one example of my work showing how I use the plant's arch and leaves to create a flowing composition, repeat the berries and outline the shapes to help flatten the plant. I scan my drawings and create digital files using flat rich colors. I hope my work inspires you to check out the Arts & Crafts Movement and its rich history of decorative art.”





American Craft Council Show - Custom Flag Banner Demonstration by Corrin Kaluza of Athena's Little Owl


When: Saturday, April 17 from 2:00-2:45 pm
Where: American Craft Council Show - St. Paul River Center - St. Paul, MN

Learn how to make handmade flag banners for any occasion! Corrin Kaluza of AthenasLittleOwl will briefly introduce the different types of banners. Then, she will be lead the crowd in making their own banners.

According to Corrin, "The story behind my banner is simply this. I wanted a little sign for my shop for an upcoming show, and I loved the look of banners I'd seen on Etsy. However, being a handmade type of gal, I knew I could figure out how to do it myself, and I did. I gathered some materials, and about an hour later I had my banner! I knew that this would be a project that could translate to many needs: birthday parties, holidays, kids bedrooms, picnics, weddings, rehersal dinners, you name it. You could make a quick, cute, and inexpensive banner for really any occasion. You can even make your banner upcyled by reusing items around the house (old greeting cards, left over scrapbooking paper, maybe even newsprint/magazines.)"

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Little Louie Crafts

By Jessica of Clay By Clay

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

The giveaway this week is for these fun Elvis pot holders from Tracy and Louie, an English Springer Spaniel, of Little Louie Crafts. Tracy does the sewing and Louie picks out the fabric!

The giveaway is for two colorful potholders featuring the one and only King of Rock 'n' Roll.


The potholder set is made with three layers for extra durability: two layers of cotton batting and an internal layer of Insul-Bright, a lining that reflects heat back to it’s source. They also have a handy loop so you can hang them in your kitchen.

Open to US residents only

How to Enter:
Visit Tracy's shop pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a Facebook Fan of HandmadeMN. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, April 24, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

HandmadeMN Spring Market - Scrapbooks, Invitations, Photos, Cards and more...

by Rita Wetzel, RitasCreations and AndMoreBags

HandmadeMN is holding our first ever Spring Market on Saturday May 8! Over 40 artists and crafters will have booths set up at the Ballentine VFW in Minneapolis. We will have a wide variety of items for sale that day including jewelry, knitted and crocheted items, photos, paintings, notecards, quilted items, and much, much more. Between now and May 8 we will be featuring all of our artists participating in our Spring Market so tune back in often to see all that will be offered!

Today we are featuring some of our artists who use paper in their creations!

Natalie of Ju Ju Bee's Boutique creates beautiful Custom Scrapbooks, Paper Bags Albums, and Greeting Cards. This gorgeous "Queen Bee" Paper Bag Album is one of my favorites:



Courtney from Just Another Day designs Wedding Invitations, Save the Date Cards, Sketchbooks, Prints, and Flat Cards! Just look at this stunning wedding invitation:



At Scissor Savvy, you will find notebooks, sketchbooks, and journals that Gabby has made from old books. Wouldn't your budding artist love this sketchbook:



Erin showcases her artistic talent at Penguin Palace Photography. All of her photos are personally signed! And don't we all wish that our gardens would have these vibrant yellow flowers blooming at the moment!



Mary of Mary Foster Creative is another one of our HandmadeMN photographers. Did you know that she grows the flowers that you see in her photos? This stunning Lemon Lime Amaryllis is so very beautiful!



Interested in Handmade Custom Stationery, Cards, and Invitations? If so, checkout Allision's Foxy Squirrel! Here is a lovely Mother's Day card handmade by Allison:



Cindy Lindgren creates beautiful notecards and prints. She specializes in flowers, plants, and Minneapolis landmarks! Just look at this Tulip Love Card...


Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you at our Spring Market! And remember too that we will have a drawing at the Spring Market for our Giveaway Baskets! Contents of each basket are homemade items donated by HandmadeMN team members!

That's it for now... stay tuned for regular updates on our Spring Market. Mark you calendar now for May 8!

When: Saturday, May 8th from 10am to 5 pm
Where: Ballentine VFW, 2916 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis




Fun Friday Finds ~ Getting Creative with Paper

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Getting Creative with Paper
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below

The crazy days have begun

I have now officially entered production time.  So far this week I've looked over the jacket copy and the galley copy of my book, written my bio for the back of the book, and sent an entirely new author photo to HarperCollins.  It's all becoming more and more real.

Couple this with the fact that my agency is sending the book off now for certain foreign rights and film rights.  So we're back in the time when crazy news could come in any day.  And, in the meantime, more people are reading my book and every now and then I get a really wonderful call or email from someone who really loves my book.  Already.  And it won't be published until winter.

This is encouraging.  I went through a little panicky time right after the novel went into production where I seriously could not step back from my book enough to know whether or not it worked.  I completely trust my amazing and brilliant editor at HarperCollins, but I had completely lost my own sense of the book.  So now it's great that some people who are involved in this publishing/agenting/acquiring rights process are letting me know that they love the book.  It's a wonderful feeling to have even a few fans, even if they are at this point all professionals who are reading my book for professional reasons.  It gives me a sense of just how much I'm going to love having YA fans and getting to connect with them.

Very exciting time! 

 

Five Tips for a Successful Show

So many things go into having a successful show, some are under your control and some aren't. There are hundreds of things you can do to improve the odds of your next show being successful, profitable and pleasurable. Here are my top five tips:

  • Be prepared - Before you leave for a show, consider all the things you’ll need to set up your booth, sell and wrap you items. In addition to the routine sale supplies like credit card slips, business cards, and a calculator, remember a small set of tools, first aid supplies, duct tape and spare hardware for any displays that may use special hardware. Being prepared allows you to be adaptable when something unexpected comes up. Don’t forget some healthy snacks to avoid filling up on unhealthy foods just because you’re tied to a small area near your booth.
  • Arrive at the site early - Allow plenty of time to check in, find your booth, cart your display and items to the booth and get everything set up before customers start to arrive. Setting up while customers are trying to shop is bad for your business, appears unprofessional and is distracting for your booth neighbors and their customers.
  • Be a good booth neighbor - Stay within your allotted space. Don’t obstruct walkways or your neighbor space by spilling into those areas. Just as you paid for the space you are occupying, so did your neighbors. Visit with the other vendors during slow period. If your neighbor is alone, offer to watch their both while they use the rest room and they’ll return the favor. If you are going to get a bottle of water for yourself, offer to pick something up for them too. When visiting with other vendors, be aware of customers entering their booth and break the conversation to allow the vendor to greet their customers. Remember that booths are small and the walls are just canvas. Your neighbor can hear everything you say.
  • Be a part of the community - Many shows, especially those in smaller communities, have local service organizations (LSOs) providing services as a fundraiser for the organization. Most commonly, LSOs will sell food or beverages. While it is tempting to bring all your own food to a show, patronizing and visiting with service organization workers is a good way to gain exposure at the show and build goodwill. Buying food and beverages from LSOs at shows is a win/win for me. I need to eat and the community benefits from my purchase.

  • Stay til the end - We all occasionally are in shows that are slow or not what we’d anticipated. Don’t be tempted to pack up and leave early. The disruption of packing up is inconsiderate to your neighbors and an empty booth is very distracting to customers. Don’t be in a hurry to leave at the end of the day. I’ve frequently had my largest sales of the day while the other vendors are closing up their booths and I was one of the few still open.

  • Bonus Tip - If you are one of the fortunate and have a person to help you at shows be sure to show this person your appreciation. For my roadie, all it takes is a slice of pie and a nap in the shade in the middle of the day. Whatever it takes, be sure they know how much you appreciate their assistance.

Good luck to you this show season. I hope these tips help you have a successful show.


American Craft Council Show - Shibori Felting Demonstration by Renae Redenius


When: Saturday, April 17 from 3:45-4:30 pm
Where: American Craft Council Show - St Paul River Center, St. Paul, MN


Some of you might be familiar with Renae Redenius of Trigo on Etsy because of her great recycled monster coin purses. Renae loves designing things that make people laugh, but she also enjoys finding new ways to use old materials. One of those materials is wool. Whether the wool is hand knit, machine knit, or even store bought fabric, Renae has learned how to re-create the look and feel of these materials through the art of shibori felting.

Shibori felting originated in Japan. It is a felting method which uses small objects like buttons, beads, or pebbles to add texture to woolen materials before it is felted. The wool can also be folded and secured to create interesting accordion effects.

In her demonstration, Renae will give step-by-step instructions on the shibori felting method. She will also share ideas for different projects.