Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We at the intenyears. family  hope you are having a happy holiday surrounded my friends, family, and lots of chocolate!

Or in Cider's case, lots of rumpled, noisy wrapping paper!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Don't forget the reindeer!

Here's a cute last-minute craft, with free printable tags from The TomKat Studio. Sure, we all remember to give Santa his cookies and milk, but the reindeer do all of the hard work! This treat will make sure they beeline to your place next year!

Reindeer Food Tags

I first spotted the idea on Our Best Bites, with this recipe.

Reindeer Food

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Humor

Have you heard of the blog Hyperbole and a Half? Well, here's a good introduction.

The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Polar Express: Local Line

Here is a link to a post by the awesome Nikki Mueller of Not Made in China, a fellow Charlottean and CrownTown Handmade member, profiling some local craftspeople. If you haven't heard of these artists, take time to check out their shops and websites!

Meet:Your Local Makers

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December All Arts Market

Come by and say hi to the guy and I in booth 105! Perfect place to get those thoughtful, handmade, last minute gifts, that just look thoughtful and handmade. Plus, cash bar! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tasty Treats

I am thankful for the Our Best Bites blog, and this recipe. Bubbling away in the oven as I type.  I love sweet potatoes, but hate marshmallows, so most sweet potato casseroles I skip. Unless my mother in law makes it, because she leaves me a marshmallow free corner. Thanks, Patsy!

When I saw this recipe, which was marshmallow-less AND had coconut, it was going to be on my Thanksgiving table.

Candied Coconut Sweet Potatoes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Worth the trip!

I don't think I ever made the announcement that my organza flower hairclips are now being sold at

in the Plaza-Midwood area.  If you have never been there, GO! Lydia and her staff are awesome, and I could play in the chain section all day.  And the vintage section. And the see where I'm going with this!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Local Events

Check out this blog post from Brooke at the myindiecharlotte blog that features local handmade artists at the recent Dogtopia of Charlotte Craft fair. Lots of Crowntowners were there, including yours truly, intenyears, who thought she wasn't in the picture. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lunch Bunch Thurs. Nov. 4

Lunch Bunch has still been going on! I just have been slack in getting the posts online.  Being smarter than the average box o' rocks, though, I prepared this post the night before. 

When I picked this recipe, I hadn't looked at the weather report. It was cooooold, and rainy, and gray all day long. Perfect for a hot bowl of chili. And this bowl of chili was yummy, and healthy.

You could add a bit more broth, and some toasted tortilla strips, and it would make an awesome chicken tortilla soup, also.

Chicken Chili
Weight Watchers POINTS: 5

Cooking Spray
1.5 lbs skinless, bone in chicken thighs (I used breasts)
1.25 c chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 c chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped (I used diced)
1 14oz can fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
2 tbs hot pepper sauce
1 15oz can navy beans, drained and rinsed
6 tbs light sour cream
6 tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a Dutch oven over med-hi heat, coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken, cook 4 minutes on each side to brown. Set aside.
Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to pan. Cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add reserved chicken, tomatoes, broth, and 1 tbs hot pepper sauce. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes or until chicken is done.
Remove pan from heat. Remove chicken from pan and shred, disregarding bones. (See why I used breasts?!?) Stir shredded chicken into broth mixture. Stir in navy beans and remaining 1 tbs hot sauce (I held off and let everyone add their own). Let stand 10 minutes. Top each serving with sour cream and cilantro.
Servings: 1 cup chili, 1 tbs sour cream, 1 tbs cilantro

We added some low-fat baked tortilla chips on the side. Especially once we realized that substituting chicken breast for thighs dropped the point total to 3. 3!  Go ahead, add some cheese to that puppy, too!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Makings of a Craft Fair

Imagine you are a small business owner. You want to do something good for your community and promote your business. You've tried emails, coupons and ads, but want to try something different for a change. How about hosting a craft show? That is exactly what Nicole Pennell, owner of Dogtopia in Charlotte, NC decided to do.

I wanted to know what inspired her to support local handmade artists and the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte's Center of Hope, a charity which provides food and shelter homeless women and children.
The idea started because one of my employees makes homemade crafts,” says Nicole. “She was getting ready to go to a craft fair in Greensboro one weekend, and we were talking about it. She asked if I had ever thought of holding one here.” She hadn't, and the idea for Dogtopia's craft fair was born.

Nicole went on to mention that as a business owner, she is always looking for new ways to get people to bring their pets in for a visit. Nicole continues, “Although this isn't a dog-related event it gives us a chance to meet a lot of people and show them what a great facility we have. I'm also very community-oriented.” The hosting of a charitable event was a natural fit.

Using social media for input, The Center of Hope was suggested by several people as the charity to benefit. “Most people that make homemade crafts are women” says Nicole, “I think there's something really beautiful about women using their own creativity and hard work to help other women who are going through hard times.”

With the charity decided, she needed artists to present their work at the show. Searching on the internet, specifically Etsy, a web site devoted to handmade goods, she began the difficult task of finding artists. As luck would have it, she contacted a member of CrownTown Handmade. Word spread quickly through the group and many were excited to be part of this special event.

Nicole will be donating all proceeds from the Dogtopia craft fair, including vendor fees and a raffle, entirely to the charity. So, come out and support a great cause, a community business owner and CrownTown Handmade members. If you'd like to participate, or have any questions about the show, please email Check out the flyer here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Headed to the Winchester...

I won't be able to join in on this awesome Make Out, but you KNOW you want to release you inner zombies!

Bored with life? Ever wonder how the walking dead experience the day to day? Time to get into their disgusting shoes for one night...the night of the living dead! Join the legion of the dead (aka the Crown Town Handmade crew) for one evening of horror and transformation.

Vanessa and guest host Brittany will show you how to apply frighteningly convincing Zombie make-up, what details to add to really appear undead, and how to make a delicious concoction of dripping blood to finish your appearance. 

Join us after as Plaza Midwood experiences an invasion of the not quite dead. We will be reverse trick or treating and spreading the word about Crown Town Handmade. Be sure to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting blood all over and bring a mirror and towel. Check the supply list for other Zombie necessities.

CHEAP makeup (Wal-Mart/Target Halloween palates are perfect)
Suggested colors: grey, green, black, brown, yellow, purple & (most importantly)White
Eyeliner: Black, blue, green
Lip liner: Red
Make up Sponges
Clothes that can get dirty because THEY WILL. The Make-Up (and blood) Will Stain!
Liquid latex
“nose putty”
baby powder
baby wipes
make up brushes, like these . Flat and powder brushes are the most useful. You can purchase basic brushes in any make up section of a store or check out Morris Costumes!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Local Events

Join AIGA Charlotte and Common Market SouthEnd on Tuesday, October 26 for an exclusive FREE screening of HANDMADE NATION, a documentary by director Faythe Levine, that follows the "rise of DIY art, craft, & design." CrownTown Handmade crafters will be there with some great handmade items to raffle off! Make sure you are there at 8 pm on the Common Market SouthEnd patio to watch the film and have your chance at some great prizes!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Successful Show....


Those of you who do this most weekends, hats off to you!

I am three weeks into a 4 weeks craft show/event extravaganza. People, last night I fell asleep by 8 pm. 8 pm! Not too long ago, that was lunch time.

When you do participate in several shows, you start building a community, people get talking and acting silly. Hopefully those pictures never see daylight! Anyway,  I have noticed how many times vendors ask each other "Are you having a good show? How many sales?" While money is important, c'mon we ARE selling our stuff at shows, there are other aspects that make a show successful to me.

If you've met my husband, you know he loves to talk. Perfect, since I am a bit shier.  What is often overlooked about this skill, and it is a skill, is how it builds contacts and friendships, especially a good reputation, and those often leads to advance event notice,  calls about product that hasn't hit the sales floor yet, consideration for consignment spots, and it goes on.  I think you are picking up what I'm throwin' down, right?  

Other vendors love what they do, too, so chatting with them is pretty educational. Whether they sell something you work with, or another product completely, it is interesting to hear their stories and why they do what they do. I have found out a ton of info about vintage jewelry just through chatting, info that would have taken forever looking through books and online sites.

So a successful show to me means more than just sales. Making friends with other vendors and customers, building contacts and inventory, learning more about what I love to do are all important aspects. Oh, and good food and no porta-potties. :)

What makes a show/showing successful for you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I am in the middle of a month full of craft shows, art fairs, and a wedding showcase each weekend. I might have to give wine by the box a chance to get through it!

Our first show, AutumnFaire at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, was this past weekend. We shared a booth with Jessica's Jacket and Vanity Independent Creative Design,which was lots of fun, even at 7:30 am, and very successful. So much fun that when Jessica offered to share her booth again at a show this upcoming weekend, Ahlara Art Show in Mooresville, YES! flew out of my mouth so fast I thought we were engaged. So successful that I need to prepare and restock, and make lots of pieces. LOTS of pieces. But everything I touch just seems to turn into....bleh. Boring. Typical. Symmetrical. Bleh.

All that leaves me feeling discouraged, and unmotivated, and uninspired. I will just have to push through it, but any pointers, tips, or ideas out there on how to speed it along will be appreciated. Random acts of wine are appreciated, too. With brownies.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lunch Bunch - Tues. Sept 21, 2010

Do you love Tuesdays as much as I do? This week was Suzanne's week to cook, and she was bringing a mystery lunch as there were several recipes that sounded SO good, we couldn't decide. Mystery lunch might bring back bad memories of your school lunches as a kid, but we at the Lunch Bunch know better, and we were eagerly anticipating the unveiling!

Those of you who have been in the Carolina's this summer know it has been HOT!HOT!HOT! and we are eagerly anticipating some cooler weather. Doesn't seem to be happening, but if we crank up the AC at work we can pretend, and eat some yummy Lentil Soup!

The crock pot was in the break room, and we could smell the soup while we worked, exquisite torture! The keilbasa, carrots, lentils....oh my! And then. You know what, let me just show you.

Swoon. We were a little unsure, as the cake was short and quite frankly looked like an Easy Bake oven cake. I would still eat it, after all, I had an Easy Bake growing up. Who doesn't enjoy baking with a light bulb?!?
But one was a denser cake, almost like a pound cake. Perfect size. Perfect taste. We learned our lesson....don't judge the cake by its layers!


Lentil and Sausage Soup
6 points (we think 5!) Weight Watchers
2 tsp olive oil
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 lb turkey kielbasa thinly sliced
1 1/4 c brown lentils picked over and rinsed
5 c water
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/ tap black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over med hi heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes
2. Add kielbasa, lentils, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes longer.

Vanilla Layer Cake with Chocolate Ginger Frosting

3 points.
Tip: Don't substitute fat-free ricotta, the grainy texture doesn't work as well.

1 c + 2 tbs cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c + 2 tbs granulated sugar
2 tbs + 1 tsp unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/c fat free milk
2/3 c part skim ricotta cheese
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbs packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350, spray two 8 in. round cake pans
2. Cake: In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In medium bowl, with electric mixer on high, cream sugar and 2 tbs of the butter; add egg and 2 tsp of the vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk, until batter is smooth. Divide batter between the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-17 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on rack. Place one cooled cake on platter.
4. Frosting: In a food processor or blender, combine ricotta, cocoa powder, brown sugar, the remaining 1 tsp butter, ginger, and remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla. Blend until smooth. Spread a thin layer over the cake on the platter, top with remaining cake, then ice with remaining frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lunch Bunch- Sept. 14

Another week of Lunch Bunch! What you don't hear is how much we talk about the day of Lunch Bunch before it actually happens. Halfway through the meal, out come the cookbooks! Anyone else out there agree that *ALL* the recipes should have pictures?!? We are often drawn in with the professional food styling, and probably overlook some just as good recipes because there isn't a picture!

This week was my turn to cook. I definitely picked this recipe based on the picture...and luckily it was also the easiest thing in the world to put together. If you have the chicken ready, this is something you could put together while you are putting away the groceries, settling in the family after school, or after a hectic day at work. I even assembled it the night before. And, the servings were huge!

Black Bean-Chicken Enchilada Casserole
7 WW points
Can be frozen
3 8 oz. cans no salt added tomato sauce
1/2 c. salsa
1 tsp cumin
3 c. chopped cooked chicken breast
1 15 oz rinsed and drained black beans
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles, undrained
12 5 in. corn tortillas
1 c. reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. reduced fat shredded monterey jack cheese
3/4 c. reduced fat sour cream (optional)
1/2 c. chopped green onions(optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients; stir. Spread 3/4 c tomato sauce mixture in bottom of 13x9 pan.
3. Combine chicken, black beans, green chiles, and 1/2 c. tomato sauce mixture in a bowl.
4. Place 6 tortillas on top of tomato sauce mixture in baking dish, top with half of chicken mixture and half of remaining tomato sauce mixture. Repeat layers with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and tomato sauce mixture. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve with toppings, if desired. Serves 6.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lunch Bunch - Sept. 9

Mmmm, time for Lunch Bunch again! I don't know about you, but we talk about it all week. All. Week. This time it was Jean's turn to cook, and we were all drooling over the picture of Mulligatawny we saw in a Weight Watchers cookbook. The smell of curry wafting down the hallway completely distracted smelled soooooo good! Jean wouldn't let us peek while she plated it up, but I went in anyway and could barely contain myself.

We decided it was worth it to add the extra toppings at the end to really round out the meal. Sometimes the smallest detail makes the biggest impact.

Mulligatawny 5 points

Cooking Spray
1 8 oz. pkg refrigerated prechopped celery, onion, and bell pepper mix
1 1/4 c. chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
1 tbs. minced peeled fresh ginger
3 c. fat-free less-sodium chicken broth
1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk
1 1/4 c. chopped tomato (~1 large)
3 c. pulled cooked chicken breast
1 tbs. red curry powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. fresh lime juice
1 8.5 oz pkg precooked jasmine rice
6 lime wedges

1.) Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add celery mix, apple, and ginger; saute 4 min. or until tender. Add chicken broth and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; stir in tomato and next 3 ingredients. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice.
2.) While soup cooks, microwave rice according to package directions. Spoon rice evenly into 6 bowls. Ladle soup over rice, and serve with lime wedges.

serving: 1 1/2 c soup, 1/4 c rice, 1 lime wedge.

Optional toppings: plain yogurt, chopped fresh mint, sliced toasted almonds, and mango chutney.

This recipe is something I would make again, especially with the autumn and winter months coming up.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Badges, who needs badges....we do!

When Rachel sent out an email, asking if anyone wanted to help her with a jewelry project involving Girl Scouts, I answered so fast my keyboard smoked. I was only a Girl Scout for a short while, but I firmly believe in doing whatever you can to empower young girls. On Aug 21, I was able to help Rachel Taliaferro of Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry as she taught some wonderful York County Girl Scouts the art of making jewelry to obtain their jewelry badges. We started off with some jewelry history, how to craft jewelry ourselves, materials (AKA, borrow Dad's tools), and how we can use vintage and found items in jewelry. Then, Rachel taught them how to make paper beads, and while we waited for the beads to dry enough to string, everyone decoupaged some jewelry boxes. Who doesn't love Mod Podge?!?

I know I can speak for Rachel in saying that we had a great time spending the morning with the girls, and moms. Thank you so much for letting us share our knowledge (and love!) of jewelry with you!

Here are a few pics.


Beads Drying

Et Voila! Art!

intenyears. display

Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry display

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday's Lunch Bunch

Mmmm. This week's Lunch Bunch is here. Those of you who are wondering what this has to do with jewelry, I work for ,an online retailer of unique vintage & contemporary beads & findings. I'll wait a second for your wave of envy to pass. Not only do I design my own jewelry, I play with beads all day, AND get to share yummy recipes. Again, I'll pause here a second for you to pull yourself together.

What is Lunch Bunch? Once a week, Suzanne, Jean, and I cook one of these recipes and bring it in to share.

This week was Suzanne's day to cook. She brought in Pasta Salad with Apples and Chicken.

Pasta Salad with Apple and Chicken

Serves 4
6 points each
1/3 cup orange juice
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
3 cups cooked whole-wheat pasta
1 cup diced cooled chicken breast
¼ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 5-ounce bag baby arugula

To make dressing, whisk together the juice, vinegar, mustard, and maple syrup in a large bowl.
Add pasta, chicken, pecans, apple, and shallot to the dressing, toss to cop
Divide the arugula evenly among 4 plates. Spoon the pasta salad evenly on top.
Per serving (1 cup arugula and 1 ¼ cups pasta salad): 315 cal, 8 grams Fat, 284 Sodium, 46 Carb, 5gr Fiber, 19 gr Prot

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ladies who Lunch

For the past few weeks, a few of us at work have started to take turns bringing in a healthy lunch one day a week. The rules are:
1)new recipe
2)Weight Watchers (or know the points!)
3)be food-obsessed

I don't follow WW, but I follow good food. I'm always looking for ways to eat *more* good food. I keep thinking "I should blog about this" tonight I am stopping the procrastination and just posting.

Tomorrow is our next Ladies' Lunch, and hopefully, I will not forget photos and share the food-p*.rn love.

But...until then, here is the yummy yummy recipe we had today, an 'unofficial' lunch day.

Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash and Ricotta.

Overall impression was yum! Definitely a recipe that makes you look forward to autumn.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hanging by a Thread


Rachel Taliaferro of Rachel Taliaferro Art Jewelry will lead our next Make-Out session, "Hanging by a Thread" on Aug. 26 at 7:30PM.

Taking a cue from kinetic sculptor Alexander Calder, Rachel will show you how to make grown-up mobiles out of wire, string, origami, paper and/or found objects. If you want a special color of fishing line or string, bring that with you along with any special papers or found objects to make yours unique! As always, Crown Town Handmade will have some supplies. Bring your inspiration, and...BYOB/W for $5/pack/bottle. We wouldn't turn our noses up at a donation, either....

Our last book binding Make-Out was our highest attended ever, so help spread the word so that this fun event keeps growing in our community!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This link was on my Twitter feed today, and makes me wish I was back home in NY so I could get to participate in these cool events. If you are in the area, you should totally take advantage of having Etsy headquarters nearby.

Etsy Craft Night at South St. Seaport.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Holiday Plans

The All Arts Market is returning to the Neighborhood Theatre, and intenyears. will be there! Thanks to all of the great customers who voted us one of the Top Ten Favorite Vendors for the June All Arts Market! If you are in town for Labor Day weekend, stop by and say hi. Free admission, and its gallery crawl weekend as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Win a free book!

Win a copy of the new book, Craft Corps: Celebrating the Creative Community One Story at a Time! Stitch Machine and publisher Lark Crafts are sponsoring the giveaway. All you have to do to be entered into the drawing is visit the Stitch Machine blog before July 30th and comment about who your favorite crafter or maker is and why. Is it someone you know? Someone famous? Be sure to leave a way to contact with you if you win.

Craft Corps is a series of in-depth interviews with 30 well known makers, and 60 everyday crafters. See interviews with fabric designer Amy Butler, stencil artist Ed Roth, Big Ass Book of Crafts writer Mark Montano, and TV icon Carol Duvall. This book is stronger than most craft profile books because includes lesser known quietly successful business owners and people who craft for fun.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Five Friday Favorites (Fashion)

CircularAccessories Looking for my five favorites, I found this dress and and another shirt I loved. I then noticed they were both from the same shop. Kismet. Check out the rest of the shop, you can thank me later.

LamaWorksWoolies. This shop is pretty new, but this cowl caught my eye. I hate being cold, but hate hate HATE constricting things around my neck. Turtlenecks, mock necks,scarves etc. Cowls seem to give me warmth, look cute, but still let me feel like I can breathe.

RedThreaded. Channel your inner Elizabeth Bennet. Mr Darcy not included.

LaMistinguette. My mom (sorry mom) was a teen on the 1950's. I look at her pictures, and wish she had saved those dresses. They were so, so awesome. That is what this dress reminds me of. Makes me want to lean on a cherry 1955 Chevy.

. Everyone needs a cute purse. Even better in pink.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nikki Mueller of Not Made in China is leading a session July 22, 2010, on Japanese book binding. Please join us! We will have supplies, but feel free to bring your own paper/pages for your book. What is Japanese bookbinding, you ask? The simplest answer is pages bound/tied together with string. See, not scary. Now, what kind of pages? Here's a few ideas to jumpstart your creativity:

-why not make pages for an entire 'zine ahead of time and bind it at our session?
-finally gather up all those torn out pages and family recipes you have laying around that just move from pile to pile
-bring prints of your paintings and make your very own art book
-gift idea alert! Make a blank book to use as a journal

Take a look at Nikki's blog to see a book she made in the past:

The usual info: 7:00 pm, free admission, optional BYOB, $5 corking fee per container/6 pack. Sodas for sale. Patchwerk Playhaus, in the back room of Century Vintage, 1508 Central Avenue, Charlotte, 28205.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Five...errr FOUR Friday Favorites

Miss Mossy I don't have the greenest of thumbs, so this Moss Garden Under Glass is right up my alley. Plus, it's cute!

beepart Everyone dig out your edition of The Preppy Handbook! Argyle for your walls.

Hate to admit it, but THIS is the punchline to lots of jokes around here.

Have It Sweet Confections.
If you are like me, your answer to "What is your favorite dessert?" is "yes." I love sugar. Marshmallows, though, are not my favorite...until I saw these.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Start Your Own Craft Fair

Want to participate in a craft fair? None going on in your area, or do you have a group of crafty friends who you always bump into at shows? Here's a great Storque post about how to bite the bullet and truly, do-it-yourself!

Start Your Own Craft Fair

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Party Redux

Here's a great recap of the Etsy Craft Party from one of our CrownTown Handmade members, Nikki Mueller of Not Made in China.

Etsy Craft Party and 5th Birthday!

The cupcakes with the chocolate flowers on top were my contribution. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let Them Eat Paste

Crown Town Handmade, Charlotte's new group of artistic entrepreneurs, is hosting its third monthly Make Out session Thursday, June 24, at 7:30 PM. The event is free and will take place at Patchwerk Playhaus, in the back room of Century Vintage, 1508 Central Avenue in Charlotte.

Come join Amanda Fisher from Verabelle, a vintage clothing line that is as unique as you are, as she teaches us to make decoupage coasters, using magazine clippings and ceramic tiles.

Monday, June 14, 2010


CrownTown Handmade is hosting the Charlotte Etsy Craft Party on Friday, June 18th. It will be a evening of crafting and fun, starting at Midwood Park and ending at the Patchwerk Playhouse! There will be a viewing of Handmade Nation along with craft supply swaps. Oh, and cupcakes. And prizes!

Come join us if you are in the area, or check out your local handmade community if you love elsewhere...its nationwide!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tag, You're It

This past week was the June All Arts Market hosted by Nodarioty. You may remember that the All Arts Market in March was my first craft show, so I was excited to be back. My inventory was very different from last time, so was that first success a fluke, or is my vision something that others really enjoy, too?

One of the things that has been a constant is the feedback about our logo and tags. Each and every time people have commented that they thought the tags were part of the jewelry, and that we should turn the tags themselves into necklaces. Well, don't think we don't listen to our customer feedback.

Our new resin tag pendant made its soft launch at the Market, and out of the 4 we made, 3 were sold. 3 of those necklaces were put together at the Market itself, and they sold as soon as I put them out. I made the last one at 9:50, closed at 10, bet if I had another 15 minutes that baby would have gone home with someone, too. They were on the table, but off to the side, until the usual 'You should make a pendant out of this', et voila! I had one to show. It seemed that besides the logo, what people really liked was the simplicity of the design. Re-using our actual tag and not a replica was a big talking point.

You know us, so we will be finessing the end product a bit more. I mean 'we', since Guy and I both have a hand in this simple design. He does all the resin work, and then I make it into jewelry. I think it is a great collaboration, but then again I am not the one coating small tags with chemical mixtures!

Look for them on my Etsy shop, and at craft fairs near you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Is it time to hibernate?

All Arts Market Wednesday and Thursday was a success. I have now officially gone from being exhausted to being....too exhausted to eat ice cream! I KNOOOOOOW!

I will tell you all about it, catch up on photos, etc., but first, I am taking a nap and snuggling with my dog!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cash Money

We recently became approved to accept credit cards, which I think will come in handy at craft fairs. While it seems many people come to fairs, handmade or art expos with cash in hand, many still seem to carry plastic, namely their debit cards. I am not ashamed to admit that I would be one of them.

At first, when we didn't know how successful this venture might be, we decided to hold off and see if 1)it WAS successful and 2)if we actively noticed losing any sales because we didn't accept them. Because let's face it, as a small business the fees we pay are a much bigger part of our take home, plus who wants to add yet another thing to keep track of or set up?

Well, I did lose a few sales when customers weren't willing to go to the nearest ATM or write a paper check. OK, I wasn't really pushing the paper check thing. We also are selling lots of jewelry, more than I ever expected at this point. So I made a deal with the devil and we now accept plastic. Our first show with it is this week, it will be interesting to see if it impacts our sales immediately.

How about you. Do you accept plastic at shows? What are your reasons for accepting or not accepting credit?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday:Five Favorites

Yay! It is the end of a looooong, but very fun, week. Here are my five random favorites picked from my Etsy favorites list.

My Black Dress
I love, I mean love, dresses. But they rarely fit me off the rack, and well, I can't sew. Alterations get expensive, and I mentally add them into any dress purchase, making many of them not so good a deal. So, affordable custom dresses that reflect my modern retro sense of style? Squeeeee! Check out this one, I love the neckline and the little flounce of white peeking out.

Green Post
Wow. 100% Recycled. Upcycled. Re-Used. That's a lot of -ed's! Oh, and totally plantable -ed. Add to a gift, and its a bonus surprise! Weddings, baby shower favors, the list is endless, and nobody breaks a tooth on those hard jordan almonds that look so tempting.

All I ask is, where were they 11 years ago when I refused to have a cake topper because I didn't like anything traditional? It may be time to order another wedding cake just for the toppers. And the cake....mmmmm, sugar. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, these. Cute penguin couple! Awwwwwwww! Oh, and their Etsy join date? My anniversary. Kismet!

Blueyedgirls' Boutique
I found this shop because this sign made me laugh, case closed.

LaBelle Fairy
Just because....I wish. And my husband wishes even more. These corsets are just so beautiful, having a hard time finding a favorite one to link. This peach one will do. They all just make me speechless.

Wow.Yeah.Okay....on that note I think I am going to head off and have a great weekend. Maybe watch some Tudors ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday: Five Favorites

Another edition of Friday: Five Favorites! This is where I list five random Etsy shops from my Favorites list, and hopefully you'll add some of yours in the comments!

Cantaloupe Corner
Cute, cute, CUTE baby & toddler clothes. What I love is that she does a dye removal process, instead of adding inks and dyes to the fabric. I think this one would be adorable at a beach or, honestly, any wedding. All the men would be jealous.

Dancing Circle
I have a thing for wreaths. If they are displayed in a store, it is impossible for me to walk past them. I dream of decorating doors for different seasons, propping them on photo ledges, or placing candles in the middles as centerpieces. The other thing I love is flowers, any and every. So, this shop is full of dried flower wreaths, and was one of my first favorites on Etsy. Hydrangeas are tops on my list.

I don't understand sweets that cannot be eaten, but they so adorable who needs to? Maybe wearing little donuts, ice cream sundaes, and cakes would keep me from craving the real thing....nah. The mini popsicles are perfect for summer pendants, but isn't this guy cute (ahem, kawaii...)?

Goat Mountain Arts
Who doesn't love yummy smelling bath stuff? Her soap is hand milled, and love the fact that you can get custom orders or order a trial size sample of her soap. Also, she makes me laugh. Sellers should check out Grumpy Haters. Warning, a sense of humor is required!

While her paper and fabric creations are cute, she's on this list because of her extremely helpful e-books for sellers. The Craft Fair e-book is especially cool, and found that sucker listed all over the blogosphere as a resource.

So, did you finish reading the blog, or did you immediately start clicking on links??

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday's Five Favorites

I'm here! I'm here! Things have been so busy I admit the blog has been neglected, but being busy is a GOOD thing. To keep you distracted, I am going to link you to Friday's Five Favorites Etsy shops. In other words, five random favorite shops from my list! I always mean to go back, but time has a way of...look, oooh pretties!!!!!

I just love her sense of humor. One day I was browsing the Etsy forums, and this popped up in one of the threads that was taking itself a bit too seriously. I was hooked (heh) ever since.

Jean Pelle
I fell in love with the decor in the film Mr & Mrs Smith with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. When I went to look up a lighting fixture,
specifically the one in the living room scene, I found out I wasn't the only one. Check out the blog Hooked on Houses if you love set decorating! I about fell out of my chair when I recently found the shop by Jean Pelle on Etsy, and immediately bookmarked it into my inspiration folder.

Sunny SideUp Studio
I just love her spoolie dolls, especially the Cosmic Girl. Wait, I might have just found a new favorite! Reminds me of Nightmare Before Christmas. Aren't they freakin' adorable??

This is not me trying to tell you TMI. Go look, I guarantee you'll have a smile on your face by the time you scroll down the first page. Everybody will want your cooties!!

Creative Thursday.
Oooh, one of my favorite Favorites. I have this print hanging on my wall to motivate and remind me of what I am doing. Her blog inspired me to jump into this business with both feet, and do what I love and the rest will follow.

Have you looked at YOUR favorite lists lately? Feel free to post a random favorite or two in the comments section!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So, I have some pics from the ArtWalk I did this past Friday. I'm sure you don't want to see them, so what shall we talk about instead?

Wait, what? You do?

Let me tell you first that I had a great time. It was the first time I participated, so I had no expectations. The ArtWalk, held by the Cabarrus Arts Council consists of local businesses staying open later and hosting artists' displays, and people walk from place to place to look, mingle, and purchase local art. My only regret is that being an artist, I didn't get to wander to the other buildings and see what they had. I heard there was a tasty NC Wine display.

First, the importance of doing a mock table display at home. I was told the table measurements were 5x30", so we marked out our trusty plywood and set up a display in our garage.

My next post may be on garage organization. Eep. Anyway, pretty sweet looking display, right? It is important to be prepared, because you know what they say about the best laid plans. They turn into tables that are 5X20"....

That may not seem like a huge amount, but it makes a HUGE difference in a display. The tables were free, so I am grateful they were even available! Guy wasn't able to make it, so I had to do some quick thinking on my feet, with a few reassuring texts from Guy. My focus had to be on keeping the most merchandise on the table without cluttering it up.

I think I ended up pretty well. The photographer behind me was Alexandra Pope. It was her first show, and she had photos of the architecture of Barber-Scotia College, and the display was made out of windows they found in the dumpster of said college and refurbished. Pretty darn neat.

Another angle:

Here is the other side of the room, with some new friends that I made. In order, right to left: Nena Wilson Jewelry Designs , Baskets Apropo by Patricia Lindsay , Carolyn Fisher, Artist and Art Educator.

Then reversed:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ohhh, that's what jewelry should look like

Guy here.

So gal has been hard at work burning and poking her poor fingers as she makes more flowers than an Amsterdam tulip garden. I have been trying to get more bezel cups and such to tag all the creations she has made lately. The display at Nectar is going well, so life is good.

A good friend of mine is a professional photographer here in town and I always love to pick his brain about how to improve the shots that I take. Obviously, buying the new camera helped out tremendously and really improved the quality of pictures I was able to capture. I am never satisfied with what I know, I always want to improve how we display gal's work. He told me that if I wanted to shoot truly professional quality pictures of jewelry, I needed to get black glass or acrylic to shoot on. As a side note, he had told me of shooting full bodied nudes draped with wet sheets clinging to their bodies on black glass and how stunning the results were. Now, I am not going to say that gal's stuff is more interesting than hot near naked models, it must be a close second. Ok, maybe third.

I have a list in my head of things to do for intenyears. and when I can I try and knock items off that list. Crossing another item of that list, we went to a glassworks shop and bought a piece of black glass (nude models sold separately, and on back order, who knew?) I only wish we had done this sooner. Imagine the scene from 2001 where the apes find fire and the timpani's are booming and the trumpets start blaring, this was me about 1 hour ago. Rather than fling some poo or throw some rocks, I decided a blog post was probably more appropriate (and more hygienic). So without further fanfare here is a sample pic of the direction intenyears. photography is going.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Flowers

Once you begin to create things, you find that you just.can't.stop. I have lists of ideas of things I want to try when I have the time. Not just one list, but a whole binder, with sectioned tabs, to try and keep a handle on these ideas. Since I seem to sell things pretty much as I make them, you can see where I am having issues trying to find the time to branch out. Worse things could be happening, right?

One of the ideas I did find time for was fabric flower hair clips, kind of an offshoot of the Felt Flowers that I make and will share as a tutorial for CrownTown Handmade April 29. Since launching intenyears. at Nectar, my focus for that line has been garden, floral, and summery. I made these neat organza flowers for a necklace, and thought they would be cute on clips.

I used organza fabric, flame to sear the edges, added czech glass beads, and attached to a clip. Yes, it is a process to make them, but the end result is worth it. I think Guy was a little worried about me veering of the jewelry path too much, but he really didn't say TOO much about it. And, wouldn't you know, those clips were one of the first things I sold that day, to a lovely family from San Diego who had no idea that they just totally made my day. If you are reading...hi! Hope you had a safe trip back!

They made my day because I think selling the first of something you created is a special kind of sale. I remember the first necklace I sold on Etsy, and the first necklace I sold at a crafts show. They are all reminders to make sure that I take the time to try new ideas, because you never know which will be successful.

Make sure you check out my Etsy shop, I added the clips a little while ago. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Working with a new model

I am trying to get some photos together for a Community Craft Night at the end of April for CrownTown Handmade, and I decided to try out a new model. I don't think she's impressed, or I just may not be haute couture enough for her.

Here she is when she first saw who she was working with:

She realized it might not be beneath her:

"Is that brown? Matches my lovely chocolate spots."

"Wait! Is that frame BLACK! Black & Brown??? FAUX PAS!"

Where's my agent? Get him on the cell ASAP! Still waiting on my latte, people!