New Addition - Etsy Spotlight of the Week

Welcome to my new weekly spotlight on a talented Etsy Artisan! I will be featuring one seller every week (or so!). I invite you to take some time to visit the shops, browse around and enjoy their creations! I am so proud to be a member of such a talented community! I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I enjoy putting it together!

So without any further ado...
This week in the spotlight is Lurearts. Pam McFadyen is a very talented clay artist who works out of Toronto, Ontario.
Here's what she has to say about her art...

"There is something special about things made of clay. Each piece is unique and imperfect, much like us. I began my career in art as a painter but have become enamored by all things ceramic. I purposefully aim to make each work unique so the personality of the piece is evident even when it is part of a set. I create functional art with high fire stoneware that is meant to be used. Once you fill your home with handmade things you will notice that you gravitate to your favourites like the green ceramic mug or the brown clay bowl.

I am constantly striving to perfect and experiment with the chemistry of my glazes but have become attached to pale greens and tans because they have a subtle complexity that keeps me finding beauty in the same piece no matter how many times I have seen it. The gentle colours also allow the form to take precedence so the piece must have strong line, shape and personality. My newest glazes are watery colors such as Midnight Sea and Waterlily green. All of my bowls, mugs and ramekins are thrown and trimmed on a wheel yet may have trace elements of hand altering to complement the design of the piece.

I enjoy using texture in my handbuilt works. I design and carve plates that I then use to impress a relief botanical texture into my slabs. The delicate textures allow the glazes to break and pool which creates stunning colours. I am inspired by the simplicity of Asian design and the complexity of Rococo embellishment. Aiming to create a balance between these two contrasting sensibilities keeps me creating new and interesting works."

Go ahead, take a moment and discover her art for your self. I assure you, you won't be disappointed.

I,myself, am very drawn to pottery, perhaps it's the Taurus in me! I love the many shapes it can hold, its connection to the earth, it's strength and long lasting beauty. Pam has a wide selection of treasures including pendants, vases, bowls and my favourite, MUGS! Become a fan of Lurearts and the creations of Pam McFadyen - I know I have!

Babies + Afghans = SWEET!

Is there anything more adorable in the world than a happy, smiley faced, chubby cheeked little cutie pie snuggled up with their blankie? You'd be hard pressed to find it! (Okay so a basket-full of kittens or puppies might be a close second!)

I have been making afghans for over 15 years now, and since having my own child, I have really found a great amount of satisfaction in making baby afghans. Pretty much anyone who knows me and has had a baby has been a recipient of an Auntie Dawn baby afghan. I have been very fortunate to have such a supportive family, most of whom have actually purchased many of my creations as gifts!

All of my blankets are worked as if I were making them for my own child - I put a lot of love into each and every stitch. Because I enjoy doing this so much, it is never a chore or there is never pressure to meet a deadline. Every blanket is a professionally finished product paying great care to attention to detail. I am always learning new techniques and trying to keep up with the trends. I am always scouring books, websites and blogs for new ideas and beautiful new patterns to try! I love keeping my hands (and mind) busy.

Recently I have been busy making a nice quantity of stock for my shop doe Studio, found on Etsy. I have taken over the nursery until *fingers crossed* we need it again, using it to store my yarn and finished goods! I also use it as a "photo studio", taking a lot of my listing photos with my son's favourite Rocking horse.

Not only are my blankets beautiful, they are functional as well. They serve to keep those cool breezes and winter winds from making your baby uncomfortable (and we all know how much fun an uncomfortable baby can be!). They serve to protect your baby from the elements (sun, wind, light snow and rain). They serve as a comfort to your child and become a "sweetie", and can even become family heirlooms. Never underestimate the power of the blankie! See all of my available Baby Afghans for sale.

Who knows, maybe you have a little sweetie that needs a "sweetie"!

Ontario Crafters - Come print your Michael's Coupon

Calling all Ontario Crafters and Michael's addicts!

Being a self confessed addict of Fibrous wonders... I thought I'd pass along this link to a great website! I don't know how many times I got up to that checkout without a coupon! NEVER again, folks, never again!

FlyerLand Michael's Coupon for 40% off!

Now you'll never be stuck at the register without one of these! You'll have to come back weekly for your updated coupon...they do have an expiry date!
Happy *discounted* Crafting!

Fall is around the corner and I have been busy building my stock of ridiculously fantastic scarves and cowls. I am honestly having a hard time keeping my listings up to my creating!! My apologies for the photos also. I honestly haven't had the time to properly edit them! So as soon as I have some time I will go back and edit those recent listings!
Below is a collage of my yet to be listed Flower Chain Lariat Scarf. You've seen it here first! Keep your eyes peeled on my'll be arriving on the store shelves soon!

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Here's a sample of my stuff!!

Next time you are in the market for something fun, beautiful and functional - stop by my Esty Shop!

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Some of my creations!

Stash busters!

Need ideas to use up your huge growing pile of yarn? My favorite stash buster is the Scarf! There are so many ways to create fun and funky items that fit your style or help to fill in your "gift" gap. I love to make scarves as gifts for family and friends, and sometimes for no reason at all (except that I just can't stop crocheting!!). *FREAK* So here's how I tackle the huge pile of yarn to make the perfect scarf.
Take 2 or 3 different types and thicknesses of yarn. I generally take one acrylic, one novelty yarn and add in a third of what ever is kicking around. I like to make sure that the yarn colors compliment each other - but that is simply my taste and is not entirely necessary! Experiment and have fun. There is no wrong way to do it! Now that I have chosen my colors and yarns, I grab my great big Q sized hook and start my chain. I enjoy using the big hooks, your scarf will work up fast and it will be nice, loose and soft. Whether you work width wise or lengthwise is up to you, but at this point (while you are making your chain) you will need to decide. That's part of the fun, just shoot from the hip,baby! So once you have decided upon how you are going to work the scarf, now it's time to choose your stitch. Here are some simple stitch ideas to try:
Single crochet (sc) in each chain/stitch
Double crochet (dc) in each chain/stitch

check out for more stitch ideas.

Now once you have reached your desired size, finish off and weave in the ends. If you have enough yarn left, even if its just one of them, feel free to add a fringe. I have been know to use old VHS movies to wind my wool! Take your wool, wrap it around your template to achieve desired length and fullness of fringe(say 6 times or more if you like), snip one end, holding the other in a loop. Using your hook, pull loop through the end of your scarf. With the hook still in the loop, wrap strands around and pull through loop. Pull to tighten. Repeat to add as many little fringes as you like. Or maybe you like pom poms. Perhaps you like nothing at all. YOU are in total creative control here - do whatever suits your mood!
The most important thing to remember is to have fun, enjoy what you are doing and know that eventually your "stash" will hug somebody special.
And if you are finding that a scarf is a bit too much for you (or you just don't have enough yarn), try a java jacket, face cloth or dishcloth. This are all fun, functional and will slowly help use up that stash.
And besides, it make me feel slightly less guilty about bringing home a couple more bags of new yarn if I've created something constructive and beautiful with what I already have!!

Tips for listing on Etsy

Yes it's true, a whole month has gone by without one single blog...
Must make an modest effort to do this blogging thing more often!

Lots has been going on. I have been crocheting like a crazy woman (just ask the hubby!). I have so much stuff ready to I need to do my thing! Need to take photos (no problem), write my descriptions and commit myself to sitting at the computer for a while!

Here are some tips (or at least a couple of ways that I try to make it easier for myself) for creating a new listing for your Etsy shop.

  • Photos: Your photos should be your number one priority (aside from creating your masterpiece of course!). Ultimately this is what's going to "sell" your product. Make sure you have good, clear photos. I like to "display" mine as much as possible, using props if you have them. Be sure to indicate in your listing that your props are not included. Ensure your lighting is good, either use a light box or nice, natural light. Check these out: Picasa is a great photo editing program and it's free! Webresizer compresses your photos for easier uploading.
  • Descriptions: It's easiest to compose your descriptions in a word processing program so you can work at your leisure and use the spell check feature. Alternately, send yourself an email. Compose as usual, include your description (doing a spell check) and attach your photos. In this email, you can also make notes to yourself about price, quantity and tags. Now you are good to go!

Following the directions for listing your item on Etsy is very straight forward. Don't be intimidated, and don't worry. The more you do it, the easier it gets! I have found that browsing or posting in the forums if you have a problem will usually get you a lighting fast resolution to your questions.

Good luck listing your goodies, and if you ever have any questions, come by my shop and convo me. I'll be happy to help!!