Tuesday, October 8, 2019

New Logo Poll Drawing Results

The majority favored the tri-colored hearts. I liked it too so it will be my main logo. Because I loved the green hearts I've decided to also use them. I have three sub-brands and the green hearts will represent my beaded handmades with this logo:
My paper-crafted handmades will be represented with this logo, where I changed the hearts to fuchsia:

I then changed the hearts to turquoise to represent my handmade embellishments and supplies brand:

I'm so glad that I asked for your help, because it led me to more creativity and satisfaction.

Two people dropped out of the drawing, so that left 7.  If the winner forfeits the gift I will run another drawing. The winner who Random.org picked is: SUSAN! Congrats Susan! Sent you a private FB msg.

I plan to run other drawings for various reasons in the future. I'm sure I will be making some products especially for these drawings. The person who last won a drawing will be dropped from the next drawing so as not to win twice in a row. Sometimes I may draw twice for one giveaway. I've always wished I had more of a chance to win when entering drawings with many others.

Thanks again! This was great fun!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Rainy Monday Motivation For Everyday

A rainy Monday does not suppress creativity. There is very little that can. A rainy day promotes quietness and peace, the perfect atmosphere to foster thoughts of new creations. A rainy day slows us down, so that the dreams of creations that get lost in a busy in-and-out day can bloom into fruition. Embrace your rainy day and make your new creations that have been pressing you to allow them to come forth. Let them live, on a rainy day.

I'm getting together a pkg of paper crafted gifts for a poll I recently ran. It's almost more fun giving away something handmade than preparing an order. Almost. Have you run any giveaways lately? How do you structure yours? Do you run them often?

Embrace your rainy Monday and let your new creations come forth.
Here is a motivational blog that I ran across called Unapologetic Happiness, where the writer offers motivation and tips on how to choose happiness everyday. It is owned by Shanette Mcneill, a health & wellness coach and a certified life coach.

Sparkle Image Credit: Google, Black Birds And Butterflies

Friday, July 12, 2019

JEALOUS MEALOUS: Cette Petite Maison Products With Provenance

Carol-Ann Van Blerk, a maker and crafter of all kinds of things, is the owner of Cette Petite Maison. This french term means this little house. Carol-Ann embraces a simpler lifestyle and her products are always created with sustainability in mind. She offers a small range of not only her items at her website boutique, but also products grown and harvested locally by neighbors and friends.  You can see the reason for her tagline, Products with Provenance.

Organic Lavender Lip Balm from Cette Petite Maison
Her lavender and rose lip balms, Aromatherapy for Lips, are made with beeswax and coconut oil. She also kindly shares a recipe for anyone wanting to make their own.
French Saffron 0.5gms
Cette Petite Maison's French Saffron
For the foodie and crafter, Carol-Ann is offering pure saffron threads harvested and dried by St├ęphanie and friends. Saffron is a key seasoning, fragrance, dye, and medicine in use for over three millennia. One of the world's most expensive spices by weight, saffron consists of stigmas plucked from the vegetatively propagated and sterile Crocus sativus, known popularly as the saffron crocus. ~Wikipedia~

Hoop Art - Vintage French Doily
Carol-Ann Van Blerk's Embellished Embroidery Hoop Craft
Carol-Ann loves vintage lace and buttons, and has been applying them to decorated embroidery hoops. This one features a vintage cotton doily backed with blush-coloured vintage Silk. She also added a scattering of vintage French mother-of-pearl buttons. Hang this handcrafted decorative piece with the attached hand-dyed silk ribbon. This is the smallest of the hoops that she is currently offering.

Ooooh Beads

As a ceramics crafter, Carol-Ann also makes lovely handmade lampwork beads, beading supplies and equipment. She has put that production on hold, however, so that she can concentrate on making other things.

Ooooh Beads

Am I jealous of Carol-Ann's crafting and designing? Jealous mealous! I admire all that she does! I do wish I could spend time firing handmade beads in a large, home-studio kiln, but I do many other satisfying creative things.

Ms. Van Blerk lives in deepest, darkest, rural France with a couple of horses, a dog and 4 cats. She says, I try to live a simple, responsible and sustainable lifestyle. Visit her websites, shops and social media pages to see more of her beautiful work and products via the links below.

Earring Hoops, Lampwork Beads, Earring Pairs, Slider Beads, Turquoise Beads,
Ooooh Beads

Carol-Ann's Websites: 

Cette Petite Maison  https://www.cettepetitemaison.com/

Ooooh Beads  http://www.oooohbeads.com/our-story 


Cette Petite Maison Boutique  https://www.cettepetitemaison.com/p/blog-page.html

Ooooh Beads http://www.oooohbeads.com/ 

Ooooh Beads Etsy  https://www.etsy.com/shop/OooohBeads

Social Media Contact:

Ooooh Beads Facebook  https://isn.page.link/jteR

Cette Petite Maison Facebook  https://isn.page.link/qc4y

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

CRAFTING: Melt And Pour Soap Making Tips 3

Easy Melt And Pour Soap Making Tips 3

Melt and pour soaps can be created and used in a day. Health and beauty benefits can also be quickly and easily added, making them more than sweet-scented body cleansers. The sky is the limit too, when it comes to combining ingredients, designing scents and mixing colors. There are various qualities of products at a wide range of price points. Pouring your first batch of melt and pour soap can be relatively inexpensive as well.

Once you decide on the melt and pour soap base and the color(s), if any, you can begin to think about what fragrance or scent you want for your handmade soaps. The fragrance will largely depend upon any recipe you may decide to use, or if you plan to design your own scent. You can use 1 fragrance or a mixture of 2 or more, and it can be mixed by you or bought premixed.
Hobby Lobby Something Fabulous Soap Making Fragrances
Something Fabulous is Hobby Lobby's brand, but they, like other retail craft stores, have phased out much of their soap making supplies. I still have a little left of the lavender and lemon verbena. At the Hobby Lobby online site, I found Soap Expressions fragrances, including Lemon Verbena, Coffee, Sweet Orange and Peppermint.
Life Of The Party Soap Making Fragrances
Life Of The Party sells cosmetic fragrances in many retail stores. One of my favorite fragrances is vanilla. Their scents are uniquely formulated to work in melted and liquid soap bases. You may be able to find their essential oil blends, like the lavender concentrated oil that I have. It comes in an amber bottle with its own dropper. The amber glass helps to preserve the oil by protecting it from light. All soap fragrances should be stored in a cool, dark place for this reason.

Life Of The Party Lavender Essential Oil Blend

You can choose a fragrance to coordinate with the soap color that you've chosen. I wanted a yellow-green color for the batch of soap below, so I designed a fragrance mixture that included lemon verbena.
Artsy Craftery Studio Melt And Pour Soap With Lemon Verbena Fragrance
Any pure essential oils that are safe for cosmetic, bath and body mixtures can also be used. Essential oils provide stronger, richer scents for better quality soaps. Life of the Party says that essential oils are known to be used to help uplift the emotions, encourage relaxation and stimulate mental focus. Some commonly used scents include rose, lavender, vanilla, lemon, orange, sandalwood, eucalyptus  and peppermint.

Essential oil use is a broad subject and more knowledge is needed to effectively use them than with synthetic soap making scents. Search for info online or invest in a good essential oils book that explains the different types, their uses and warnings.  If you are a beginning soap maker, it's best to start with cosmetic fragrance oils and blends.

Cedar Leather Fragrance Oil sizes
Bulk Apothecary Soap Making Fragrance

Bulk Apothecary offers a good variety of essential oil formulations, including pure therapeutic grade, certified organic and standardized and commercial grade.  They also have more than 15 pages of melt and pour soap base fragrance blends, including names such as cedar leather, champaca neroli twist, Adriatic fig, aspen grass, Bali mango, cottage lace, creamy nutmeg, Snickers coffee, south of France and authentic cocoa. They offer their versions of well-known and designer cologne and perfume scents, as well.

I like that in the Bulk Apothecary melt and pour fragrances descriptions they share a suggested usage rate chart for different products. Most recipes that you will find include the number of drops of fragrance to add. You will also learn through trial-and-error how many drops per batch to use to obtain the scent that you desire. Generally, depending on the recipe, it can take from 15-35 drops, give or take.

Soothing Soaps & Scrubs warns to not use any alcohol-based scents if you want rich fragrance. Examples are body sprays, perfumes and after shave lotions. They can evaporate easily from the high heat of the melted soap base, leaving very little scent. They could also cause unwelcome changes in the soap mixture. Keep in mind that some soap fragrance synthetic blends have alcohol bases. If you want to try using them, you may need to multiply the number of drops added.

Whatever fragrance mixtures, blends or oils that you decide to use, make your melt and pour soaps your own by trying unique combinations of scents, colors and bases.

Catch up with my other quick soap making tutorials:

Easy Glycerin Pour Soap Making Tips 2 ~ Colorants

Liz at The Cape Coop gives some great points on the pros of making melt and pour soaps versus the traditional cold-process soaps.

Information Sources:

Soapplace.com (Life of the Party)

Soap Making Books That I Use: 

Making Soaps & Scents, Catherine Bardey, ©1999 Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, ISBN 1-57912-059-8

Soothing Soaps & Scrubs, D Frantz, D Rodgers, ©2001 Design Originals by Suzanne McNeill, ISBN 157421190-0

The Essential Oils Book, Colleen K. Dodt, ©1996, ISBN 0-88266-913-3

The Herb & Spice Companion, Marcus A. Webb, Richard Craze, ©2000 Quantum Publishing, ISBN-13 978-0-7607-6655-2

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

CRAFTING: Glycerin Pour Soapmaking Tips 2

Welcome to Easy Glycerin Pour Soapmaking Tips 2.

Glycerin soaps can be created in a day. Health and beauty benefits can also be quickly and easily added. The sky is the limit when it comes to combining ingredients, designing scents and mixing colors. There are various qualities of products at a wide range of price points. Pouring your first batch of glycerine soap is affordable and relatively inexpensive as well.

Once you decide on the type, amount and source for your glycerine soap base,  you can begin thinking about the soap colorants that you want to buy. Liquid colors in squeeze/dropper bottles are the easiest to use, but require several drops to obtain rich colors. I have been using soapmaking colors that are found at craft stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Joann's.
Color mixing for glycerine pour soaps.

The Candle Science page for soap making support says, Any water based liquid dye can be used to color your soap. You can also use mica, oxides, clays, or natural colorants. These should be diluted in a small amount of rubbing alcohol first to avoid clumping in the soap.

I currently have a 3-pk of yellow, turquoise and lime, Life of the Party Soap Dyes, which Hobby Lobby has. They also have large, 1 fl oz bottles of Crafty Bubbles soap dyes.
Crafty Bubbles Soap & Cosmetic Dye
Michael's has Artminds Soap Colorant. In reading feedback at the site, some complain that a couple of these moderately-priced soap colors were not true. I have not used them.

ArtMinds Soap Colorants
Bramble Berry has high quality colorants, including pigment blocks and mica powders. Scrape off shavings of the color blocks into melted soap base, or sprinkle in mica powder.
Bramble Berry pigment blocks for soap making.

Bramble Berry mica powders for soap making.

Bramble Berry mica powder sample packs for soap making.

Food coloring can also be used, as Martha Stewart shares in her quick tutorial. From a public Etsy forum discussion on Techniques & Materials, I found these very important tips about using food coloring,

  • some claim that it can stain skin, towels and bathroom fixtures,
  • others say if used in small quantities it does not stain,
  • the colors are known to fade,
  • food-safe is not the same as skin-safe though it may be harmless to skin,
  • best to stick with cosmetic/soap colorants,
  • there can be unwanted bleeding when more than 1 color is used.
If you have pre-made glycerine soap bars, you can use pieces of them or shavings to color your batch. Remember that if you are adding the ingredients to labels, you will need to know the composition of those glycerine soap pieces as well.

Rose scented glycerine pour soap by Artsy Craftery Studio.
I prefer the transparent liquid colors because I like my glycerine soaps to be crystal-like jewel tones. I don't want any opaque or muddy colors, unless I am using a soap base like olive oil, clay, goat milk, etc. Because food coloring has the transparency of liquid soap colors they make good colorants. Since they are edible, they will not hurt the skin or body.
Artsy Craftery Studio glycerine soap with embedded botanicals.

I have heard that some crafters use crayons for colorants. While I can see using them in candle making, I prefer not to use them in soapmaking. They are not cosmetic grade, not made for health and beauty purposes, and they are opaque.

The website FaveCrafts suggests using various spices for colorants, such as paprika, basil and turmeric. Among other good soapmaking tips, they suggest adding the coloring after the scents have been added.

SoapQueen by Bramble Berry gives tips on adding mica powders or pigments blocks as colorants. For the micas, they suggest adding them straight to melted glycerin, or pre-mixing with a tablespoon of isopropyl alcohol.

Whatever colorants you decide to use, make your melt and pour soaps your own by trying unique combinations of scents, colors and bases.

Catch up with my other quick soap making tutorials:

Liz at The Cape Coop gives some great points on the pros of making glycerine soaps versus the traditional cold-process soaps.

Information Sources:

Saturday, May 25, 2019

CRAFTING: Glycerine Pour Soapmaking Tips Pt 1

You can create some lovely, fragrant soaps with health and beauty benefits through quick and easy glycerine pouring. The field is wide open when it comes to combining ingredients, designing scents and mixing colors. As with all crafting products, there are various qualities of products at various price points. It is relatively inexpensive and affordable to pour your first batch of glycerine soap.

Skin tightening lemon verbena and rose glycerine soap by Artsy Craftery Studio

You need a glycerine soap base, which comes in clear, white (with coconut oil added), avocado, olive oil, shea butter and others. Everything but clear is translucent or opaque and the ingredients affect the color of the soaps. If you want to play with color-mixing, start with a clear glycerine base. I like the bright, jewel-tone look of the colors that I add to my clear batches.
Glycerine Pour Soapmaking Tips at The Creative Seller

Glycerine bases are pure vegetable soaps that contain aloe vera and vitamin E, as you can see in the ingredients list in the image below. The standard and widely available 2 lb brick is usually molded into 32 cubes cutting guidelines. It feels hard but glycerine bricks are easy to cut through with a knife or thin cutting blade.
Easy to cut glycerin soap base blocks can come pre-scored.

Glycerine soap bases also come in solid blocks that you would score before cutting. Hobby Lobby's Something Fabulous brand glycerine base comes in cubes. I enjoy cutting the 2 lb bricks and the flat container is easier to stack and store than a bag of cubes.

Glycerine soap base ingredients at The Creative Seller

This brand of glycerine base even has quick instructions on the lid.
How to start making glycerine soaps by Artsy Craftery Studio
It's not necessary, but start with a 2 lb brick of glycerine soap base if you can, because the soap base melts down to less than you would think. The melted soap also empties quickly into the molds, sometimes leaving barely enough soap to finish the batch. With the 2 lb brick, you know that you will usually have enough for standard molds. You can cut off extra cubes if needed.

Store your glycerine base supply in a cool, dry place. If necessary, it can even be kept in the refrigerator.

Now you can decide what you want to use for your soap molds. In Part 2, I'll share mold ideas and what I used when I started out making glycerine pour soaps.

Catch up with my other quick soap making tutorials:



Liz at The Cape Coop gives some great points on the pros of making glycerine soaps versus the traditional cold-process soaps.

To help you get started finding your soap base online, see these searches:

Google Comparison Shopping for Life of the Party clear glycerin soap base 2 lb:

Yahoo search for Life of the Party clear glycerin soap base 2 lb brick:

DuckDuckGo search for Life of the Party clear glycerin soap base 2 lb brick:

Information Sources:

Soothing Soaps & Scrubs, Delores Frantz, Deborah Rodgers, ©2001 Design Originals by Suzanne McNeill

Thursday, May 9, 2019

MARKETING: Mark Your Products For More Sales

If you like to add variety and jazziness to your packaging like I do, merchandise tags can be made out of any old thing. Within the junk mail and household packaging that you get everyday are potential creative tags. Though there is a lot to be said about ordering coordinated business tags, labels and seals, I am an eclectic type of person. I like showing a different tag on each of my items. I make them from greeting cards, scrap paper, recycled artwork and other salvaged items. Here are the fronts and backs of some of my one-off tags:
Handmade product tag by Artsy Craftery Studio: made from tissue box design cut out.

Artsy Craftery Studio merchandise tag made from a salvaged drawing.

Handmade product tag by Artsy Craftery Studio: a salvaged paper star.

Artsy Craftery Studio handmade merchandise tag made from a greeting card cut out.

While tags are a fun identifying addition to your work, they are made to be discarded. As a result, we have to ensure that potential customers can find us by applying identifying/contact info, if possible, onto every piece of work that we produce. 

I committed to this idea long ago when I was disappointed to find myself at home with a favorite item that I had bought long ago. I wanted to find more of the work and had no idea who created it. Though I searched, there was no identifying info on it anywhere. I had wanted to learn more about the person and order more products, but the opportunity was forever lost to me.

One-off tags made by Artsy Craftery Studio
How do you add non-removable business or personal names, acrynyms, email addresses, etc., to your work? Some ways that I do are:
  • adding my name, logo and/or email to the back of paintings, mixed media, etc.,
  • adding cloth tags with business name and/or email to sewing and needlecrafts,
  • if the craft work is very small, print some type of identifying info on it with an ultra-fine permanent marker,
  • incorporate identifying info into digital designs,
  • add tiny, pre-made, customized ID charms to jewelry designs and other accessories, or use an initial charm to jog your customer's memory, or metal-stamp your own charm tags with a custom metal stamp or one that you create. 
For some items, of course, I simply can't find a way to do it. With an ultrafine marker though, there are few times when I can't. Always try to place it in an inconspicuous place, a corner, at the bottom or along the side. If a customer loves your work they will search every inch to find you.

Anything that you provide on your product may one day convert to several sales. If you could have seen me feverishly searching and examining products that I've had over the years for some minute scrap of identifying info, you would understand how important this is. These products have been anything from paper-crafted pieces to sculpture.

I've bought them at department stores, discount stores and thrift stores. Some of my fav items are from thrift stores, flea markets and bazaars, out-of-the way places to where some creative person's artwork or crafted items ended up. They were someone's discards, but they were new treasures to me.

So, don't forget your identifying info, if you can at all add it. It does take extra time, but it's worth it , because wherever your handmades end up you'll be with them. Don't rely on customers to hold on to packing and shipping info. If your product should end up at a church bring-and-buy, that info would not follow it anyway. Be more proactive in marketing yourself and find creative ways to mark your products.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

NEWS:Shopify Absorbs Tictail

The selling venue, Tictail, was acquired by Shopify in November, 2018.  The platform closed in April this year and the acquisition also closed the b-and-m store in Manhattan. This undated statement, at the website address Tictail.com/en, makes it sound like the site will return with a new metamorphosis:

  • We are looking forward to the amazing things we will now be able to accomplish as a part of Shopify - we’re really just getting started. We want to thank everyone involved in the journey so far; our team, our brands, our customers and our investors - and welcome you on to this next chapter, we can’t wait to continue our journey with you. See you at Shopify!
Founded in Stockholm in 2011 by Carl Waldekranz, Kaj Drobin, Siavash Ghorbani and Birk Nilsson, the platform was popular with creatives in Sweden, Germany and the UK. The marketplace exclusively featured a curated gallery of independent global brands, though anyone could open a shop. The site was billed as a DIY e-commerce platform empowering emerging designers to set up a virtual store in minutes.


Friday, May 3, 2019

MARKETING: Roberto Blake On Marketing Yourself

"You should be spending your time on what are called revenue-generating opportunities, and marketing and promoting yourself are a big part of that."

Though Roberto's videos focus on the design industry, his business advice is pertinent across many industries. Listen to what he says in this video about,
  • showing up to promote yourself -vs- giving your competitor free reign,
  • why others are getting the business and sales,
  • the opposite of complaining about not getting results,
  • speaking for your work -vs- letting your work speak for itself,
  • how to close the deal,
  • the secret to his success,
  • and his valuable tips for promoting yourself. 
Learn how to become a more dedicated, savvy, smart and ambitious businessperson by listening to Roberto Blake's videos. Allow his experience, confidence and no-nonsense delivery influence you to higher heights of success in your creative disciplines.

Roberto Blake is a professional graphic designer, creative entrepreneur, public speaker and business coach. He always makes the most perfect points as he delivers his marketing wisdom and business knowledge. 

Roberto creates interesting business videos and none of his words are wasted. Just about every phrase that he speaks is a profound and valuable morsel to squirrel away for smart-business sustenance. His videos are usually of a shorter, non-exhausting length, so it is easy to make time for them.  Listen to Roberto and learn.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

CRAFTING: Weave On A Cardboard Loom

A friend explained to me how to hand weave a simple image. We talked about the warp and the weft and tying off for color change.
Willowbrook Art

EtsyOffsAndEnds at Tumblr
She explained about choosing light colored (neutral) threads for the warp (lengthwise threads), which will cause them to almost disappear when the weft (crosswise threads) are woven in.

Art For Housewives

Sjaneloomba at flickr

She talked about cutting off the tied off threads or weaving them in behind.  I discussed keeping them and incorporating them into the design.

Historic Weaving Website
As a mixed media artist, I rarely remove and throw away anything, unless that is essential to the design. I use virtually everything and I would simply creatively weave it in.  I said I would tie beads or found objects onto the fiber ends. 

Isn't this a lovely circular weave by BeesyBeeFiber?

Thinking more about the tied-off threads, I thought that I could even glue them up onto the background in an interesting, textural design.
Saved By Love Creations
I really like the mug rug, because it is something that can be made quickly. 

This is a very simple, quick and easy to understand video on hand weaving, from taylli at YouTube.

I really enjoyed the quick discussion lesson from my weaving friend.  I don't think I would have ever figured out on my own the information that she gave me. I have known for some time that I wanted to get into art weaving, but hadn't researched it in depth.


As usual, I can hardly wait until I begin my first one.  I plan to keep mine very simple, but we'll see.

Bags To Riches at CraftyStylish

Taylli also shares how to use a hand weaving loom made of cardboard. She features the hands of some of her students. They also show how to make the cardboard loom.

Wouldn't it be exciting to design and make a simple wall hanging?  I'd make an easy landscape to start.  I love nature at lot, including leaves and trees.

Try it and share your experience with pics.

Kato Charles Folk Art
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