Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Featured Artist: Plemon Studios

Today I would like to introduce you to a good friend and extremely talented artist Jeremy Plemon of Plemon Studios.

I first had the pleasure of spending time with Jeremy during a week long sailing trip up the Pacific Northwest with a group of friends, where I was first introduced to his talent.  Everyone on the trip of course had their cameras and were all happily shooting pics of all the gorgeous scenery and shenanigans that come along with cramming 10 people on a boat.  Jeremy could always be found with either his camera or sketch book (sign of a true artist) in hand quietly and skillfully documenting the journey. After returning back from the sailing trip and sharing our pictures with one another, we came to realize that we were fools to be taking any photos in the first place, as Jeremy's photography blew us out of the park!  I mean really here is a comparison shot below.  On the left a rookie photo and on the right one of Jeremy's photos, see...see what I mean!

Jeremy is by far one of the most talented artists I know, and one of my favorites.  Which is why he will be the photographer at our wedding:)  (Yes that is the one thing I have planned for my wedding, the photographer!)  And I am so excited that Jeremy and his wife Erin (a beautiful and talented lady herself) finally decided to open an Etsy shop {Plemon Studios} and share Jeremy's artwork with the world!  They are incredibly nice and helpful and I am sure that Plemon Studios will be a big success.

One of my favorite things about Jeremy's work, is that it's not only well detailed and original, but has his terrific sense of humor layered in!  Currently, Jeremy's favorite mediums are Digital Photography, Digital Painting, and Ball Point Pen on Paper.

Check out these amazing Hand Drawn Mug Shots available at Plemon Studios on Etsy. 

These would make a great gift for that mobster loving man in your life!

And look at the detail in this ball point pen illustration!  
I dont know about you but I have never been able to get this out of a ball point pen.

And if that leaves you wanting more, check out his AMAZING Flickr page...I mean it!  Its full of some really interesting and original photography (like below), and isn't his wife just a doll!

So go check out his Etsy Shop and give it some love!  And be sure to heart it and check back often as he will be debuting some new paintings this month.
Plemon Studios on Etsy at
Plemon Studios on Flickr at

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Tips and Tricks!

I have come across some great tutorials this week and thought I would share them with you here:)
They are all across the board (as I was doing a bit of everything this week) but in general are all helpful to an online business or just for fun.

First on the list is creating your own fabric Labels, have you ever wondered if there was a fast and easy way to make a few labels for yourself?  Well there is!  All you need is some twill tape, easily found at your local fabric store, and some t-shirt transfers, found at your local office supply store.
Check out Patchwork Pottery's Blog for a great tutorial! CLICK HERE

Next on the list is Google Analytics.  For all you other bloggers out there, did you know you can easily add your blog to your Google Analytics?  (this tutorial assumes you already have GA profile set up)  Check out Andy Wibbles Blog for a super easy tutorial on how to set it up! CLICK HERE

Now for all you readers out there who are familiar with photoshop and are wondering how to create one of those really cool flash adds for your shop, this is the tutorial for you!
Check out Creative Tech Tips Blog for well made easy tutorial on how to create a Flash Add with Photoshop. CLICK HERE

And last but certainly not least I will direct you to Handmade Spark for an interesting article I read this week about creating a banner for your Paypal page.  I have always wondered how people do this!  I think it looks great and can clear up any confusion for some first time buyers in your shop:)
Check out this great tutorial on Handmade Spark to get your banner set up!  CLICK HERE

And really did you think I would leave you without any pictures!?  So just for fun I will share with you some recent "for fun" projects I completed:)

Felt Flower - Wet Felting

Super Cute Hat with Fabric Buttons made by me:)

Thanks everyone and have a Great Weekend!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

One Trick Pony

So with the unusual slowness of my Etsy shop this past month it has left me to ponder my tactics and strategies as far as my shop goes.   So many questions are running through my mind, and I thought, "hey maybe you can help me answer some of them" :)
I have never been a planner, always a "Fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl".  I love learning new techniques and making new products, and have found that reproducing tons of the exact same product tends to bore me.  So it brought up the question...Am I a One Trick Pony?  And if so, is it a bad thing?
For me its the thrill and excitement of creating something new and finding ways to make it different or unique to my shop that really gets my creative juices flowing!  Like creating some fun fabric or crocheted flowers and finding a way to incorporate them into a headband...and then making the flower removable so that it can be placed on a hair clip:) Viola!
The funny thing is, I have been taught all the right ways to create a "successful line"on and off of Etsy; create several variations on one theme, have a signature product/image that is recognizable to the customer, stick with one product and offer a lot of variety within that product,  all things that seem to contradict my strategy of making for the LOVE of making!  Do I compromise the way I want to create to make more money?

My Button Earrings (like the ones below) have always been my best seller.  Are they my best seller simply because there are so many to choose from in my shop?


Second on the best seller list would be my Hand Knit Cup Cozys, although I have slowed on these since its getting warmer and I am not sure there is much demand for Knit Cup Cozys. (but I could be totally wrong:)

 And then there is one of my favorites, my Hand Knit Mobius Cowls  in a 100% Merino Wool that is hand dyed by a womans Co-Op in Uruguay!
These seem to do well at shows but I have only sold one from my shop....hmmmmm? 

And then there are my other Hand Knit or Crocheted jewelry pieces.  Like the Bow Tie Necklaces and Button Bracelets and Cuffs I have a few of these in my shop that seem to just be hanging out.

Do I need to create more Hand Knit Button Bracelets and Necklaces for them to do well?

This leads me to my last question. 
What would you like to see more of in my shop?
-Button Earrings
-Hand Knit Cup Cozys
-Unique hand knit jewelry like the Bow Tie Necklace and Button Bracelets/Cuffs
-Or would you like to continually see more new items like Fiber Flower Headbands, and maybe some Aprons..?

And please do not take this as a 'feel sorry for me post' that is not my intention and am not looking for pitty:)
I am simply looking for advice from others that view my shop from a different pair of eyes...a customers eyes.
So go ahead check out my shop AmyMayDesign and leave your feedback in the comments, or feel free to email me with your thoughts, either way I would love to hear your opinions!

Oh and if anyone can tell me what Movie the quote from above is ("Fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl"), wins Free Shipping on their next purchase!
Hint: its an oldie but a goooooodie:)

And be sure to stay tuned next week as I will be revealing a brand spankin' new Etsy Artist who is just amazing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Super Cute 3hr Apron

So last week while baking some delicious desserty treats for some friends we were having over for dinner, I realized I needed an apron.  Even though through some sort of miracle I managed to keep my cute white shirt free of brownie and cookie debris, I really thought in the future I should play it safe and have an apron on hand.  It can be so heartbreaking to get a smudge, spot or spill on a favorite new top!

This weekend while perusing Joanns I just happened to find the perfect prints for my new apron, score!

So yesterday I found myself with a good 3 hour window of opportunity...Can I make an apron from scratch in only 3 hrs, just in time for dinner?   Hmmmmm.  This will take speed, ingenuity, and a little bit of cheating:)

Knowing that half of the "time battle" would be creating a pattern, I decided to cheat and freehand the shape directly onto the lining fabric...although I did use my dress form for a bit of help, I trued up the lines right onto the fabric and in about 20 minutes was ready to cut!  After a little bit of pressing:)
  (I used tailors chalk in blue for the rough design lines, then trued the lines and added seam allowance in red)

*Dont forget! - When creating your own patterns for a symmetrical design, you only need to create a pattern for one side of the garment, then place on the fold.  This saves time and ensures that each side of the finished product is prefectly symmetrical*

I liked the look of pockets, but I wasn't sure that I would be carrying around any cooking utensils in my apron, and figured the only thing they would carry would be food debris.  So to add a bit of color and complimenting designs I went with a simple patchwork-esque wide waist band that would become the tie in the back.  And then decided to incorporate one of the fabrics from the waistband into the neck straps.
After some simple math and about 30 minutes I was cut, pressed and ready to sew!
(The fabrics appear a little less vibrant as they are pinned with right sides together, ready to be sewn)

Another 1hr and 20 minutes later: after a bit of sewing (and miraculously no need for a seam ripper) everything was pressed and top-stitched.  After deciding on some buttons I was ready to add the finishing touches!
(yes thats a cracker on the left next to the scissors...I was hungry)

After adding the buttons to secure the straps, I decided to also add some cute embroidery stitches, the blanket stitch to be exact (thanks to my new book Sublime Stitching: Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart) to the edges of the strap to help secure the edges and highlight the buttons.

And at last the Super Cute Apron was Complete, mission accomplished!

I really am in love with how it came out, and even more excited that I was able to make it from scratch in a small amount of time with no mistakes, this has to be a first!  Cant wait to make the inaugural meal with it tonight...hmmm speaking of, what should I make for dinner?
- Japanese Curry with rice and salad
- Chicken and Pineapple Teriyaki Sausages with rice, miz veg, hummus and pita
- Good 'ol Gourmet Hamburgers with baked potatoes, salad and mix veg

What do you think my inaugural meal should be? :)