Thursday, January 29, 2009

in the cafe spotlight: maked

Featured Etsian: maked
Shop link:

Vintage Button Ring - Tuxedo (by maked)

Give us the basics:

We're Maked (like naked only craftier). We're a collaborative group of 4 women in Vancouver, BC. We met through and decided to craft together and sell our wares to fund the purchase of more craft supplies. We have fun and share crafty knowledge with each other. Between us we do almost every craft you can think of, we: sew, knit, crochet, weave (I just started), spin, dye fiber, bead, make soap, make candles...I'm sure I'm forgetting something!

What’s your favourite smell?
Freshly baked cake. yummmmy.

How long have you been doing your craft?
I've been sewing since I was big enough to hold a needle and thread. My crafty road started with beads waaaay back - I got some seed beads somewhere and started stringing them together. For a long time beading was my only craft. Then I found and my craft world exploded. I blame much of my current craft diversity on the other Maked girls. I think we've all been crafting since we were kids. We've been crafting together as Maked for about a year now so we've just gotten started!

Who/What inspires you in your craft?
We're inspired by the creative people on etsy and craftster and in Vancouver - people who do their own thing, have their own style; it's fabulous to see so much creativity out there! Our stuff is always a mixture of the styles of the 4 Maked girls so the end product isn't easy to predict - which adds to the fun.

Necklace with Yellow Delica Bead Pendant (by maked)

What’s a normal day for you?
We all work full time at non-crafty jobs so Maked work gets done in the little bits of time left over from full time work and other life demands. We usually meet at least once a week to discuss things or to have a craft session. With 3 or 4 of us getting together at once, we can get a lot done in a little bit of time.

What advice would you give Etsy sellers just starting out?
a) relax, it takes time, don't expect overnight success.
b) promote yourself, don't just set up shop and wait for people to find you.
c) have fun
d) marvel at how easy it is to have an online business that lets you sell your things to people in far away places - this really is an amazing thing.

How do you discover new things on Etsy?
Through the forums, and by browsing around randomly (or while searching for a gift). Our favorites are exploding with amazing, fabulous stuff. I rave about Etsy to my friends - it's just so much better than mass produced stuff from a's works of creative genius from the artist direct - that's an amazing thing.

Howlite Ring of a Feather (by maked)

There's more info and pics on the maked website: and on our blog

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chinese New Year

Happy New Year to my fellow Asians! Today marks the start of the 15-day celebration of the New Year in the Lunar Calendar (yes, we celebrate for 2-weeks, isn't that awesome?)

For me, growing up Asian in a Canadian household, we only observed some of the traditional Chinese festivities, but they were always lots of fun, like receiving Lucky Red Envelopes (which, alas, I have to give out now, since I'm married), lots of candy and even more food!

This year is the Year of the Ox, which, according to Wikipedia:

"The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. People born under the influence of the Ox are kind, caring souls, logical, positive, filled with common sense and with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Security is their main preoccupation in life, and they are prepared to toil long and hard in order to provide a warm, comfortable and stable nest for themselves and their families. Strong-minded, stubborn, individualistic, the majority are highly intelligent individuals who don't take kindly to being told what to do."

Do you know any people born under this sign?

February 19, 1901 - February 7, 1902
February 6, 1913 - January 25, 1914
January 25, 1925 - February 12, 1926
February 11, 1937 - January 30, 1938
January 29, 1949 - February 16, 1950
February 15, 1961 - February 4, 1962
February 3, 1973 - January 22, 1974
February 20, 1985 - February 8, 1986
February 7, 1997 - January 28, 1998
January 26, 2009 - February 14, 2010

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dollar Daze

I'm running a surprise sale this weekend!

From January 24-26, the shipping fee for all items in my pandacub shop is only $1.00 for the first item and $0.25 for each additional item!

Have you had your eye on a cute hair accessory for a while? Now's the perfect time to pick it up and save a little bit of money too!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a pony a day...

...keeps the bad hair days away! :)

New in the pandacub shop - a set of 7 different adorable ponytail elastics. Now you can add cuteness to your day every day!

I'm also working on making a set of 7 ponytail elastics that feature patterned fabric so on those days when you want to wear something a little more "formal" at work, you have other elastics to choose from!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

50 books in 2009 - update 1

This year I decided to set up some goals for myself, one of which is to read 50 books in one year. 50 books doesn't seem like a lot, until I worked out that it was one book every 7.3 days, so a book a week, which, for me, is a little more reading than I generally do. And as you'll find out, I generally don't go for light reading, which means most of the books I read aren't ones you can finish in a couple of hours, curled up in a couch, but I'm going to do my best!

If you have any favourite books that you think I might enjoy, please leave me a comment or send me an email! I'd love to hear some of your book suggestions as I'm always look for something good to read!

Anyhow, I finished my first book of 2009! (Hmm, it's already January 18, so I'm behind schedule!!!) As I finish books, I'm going to add them to update this list so that you can see how I'm doing with this particular goal!

1. I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

in the cafe spotlight: LuvNknit

Featured Etsian: LuvNknit
Shop link:

Cable knit bag in black (by LuvNknit)

Give us the basics:, Lakewood OH, (suburb west of Cleveland), Handknit and crocheted apparel and accessories.

What’s your favourite smell?
"New baby smell"

How long have you been doing your craft?
I think I was born with the crafting gene. I was always interested in making things but have only been selling my creations for about 12 years or so.

Who/What inspires you in your craft?
I get inspiration from anything! Sometimes I see a button and design a purse around it. Sometimes I see a particular color yarn and it just begs to transformed into something fabulous! I have a lot more ideas in my head than I have time to create!

Lotus bag in spicy pumpkin (by LuvNknit)

What do you like least about your craft?
I hate cutting out patterns on the rare occasions that I use them, hate weaving in ends, cutting stray threads you know, the boring stuff! Once I get to that point in a project I get bored with it and start itching to get to the next one.

What’s a normal day for you?
Well, I'm pretty busy. I have a 2 year old, 7 year old and 16 year old and babysit 2 kids under 2, 3 days a week. The majority of my time is spent with the kids, then of course there's housework, cooking, homework. I also work 3 nights a week as a nurse on the night shift, since I happen to be a night owl. A lot of times the only time I have to pursue my crafting is on my nights off, so I often stay up till 3 or 4 am. Somewhere in all that mess I try to carve out a little "husband and wife time" ;)

What advice would you give Etsy sellers just starting out?
I was very discouraged when I first started out. I've been told for years I should "open my own store" and loved the idea of selling my creations on line. Then I did and...nothing. no sales. When the sales didn't come in I thought "Oh man, my stuff is crap!". It took a while for me to "get" that if no one sees your stuff, no one will buy your stuff. You can have the most appealing product in the world, but if no one knows about it you won't sell a thing. I wasn't aware I had to promote. So, my advice is : Have faith in yourself and your talent. Work hard on getting your name out there. Give it time and all the effort you have the time and energy for.

How do you discover new things on Etsy?
Oooh I just love the "pounce" feature. I love going through the "undiscovered shops", after all, I was one of those not so long ago. I think it might be nice if they had a "approaching milestone" feature. You know, shops that are waiting for their 10th, 100th or 500th sale. That would be cool! There is so much talent on etsy it's almost overwhelming.

Purple passion cable knit bag (by LuvNknit)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

happy birthday to meeeee....

It's my birthday tomorrow and my lovely husband is taking me to dinner at one of my favourite Sushi restaurants! :D I can't wait!

But I'm not the only one getting gifts! I'm giving my Etsy customers something sweet to celebrate my birthday - I’m giving my customers a gift of free magnets!

For every item you buy, I’ll include 3 random fabric button magnets – it’s a sweet little surprise just for you! Buy 1 item, get 3 magnets, buy 2 items, get 6 magnets, and so on.

Offer applies to all purchases made from 11pm (EST) January 11 to midnight (EST) January 12, 2009 at my pandacub shop. No extra shipping will be charged for the magnets. I will randomly choose 3 different magnets to include with your purchase.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

stand mixer heaven

One of the first "big" purchases for my kitchen after getting married was the long-dreamt about KitchenAid Stand Mixer Professional Series. I was in love with this thing, but it takes up a lot of room in the kitchen and that's something I just don't have.

Anyhow, yesterday, we decided to finally pull it out and give it a whirl.

Paul, my husband, decided to make his ultra-rich double chocolate cookies (dark chocolate cookies with chunks of white chocolate chips. The mixer definitely made dough-making super easy and fast.

In no time, he was putting trays into the oven! Since I was busy making my own cookies, I barely had time to take a photo before he popped them into the oven.

The last time we made these, Paul made the dough using an ancient hand mixer and we definitely noticed a difference in how the cookies turned out. They looked very consistent and super professional - completely with the pretty crackling on the top!

In the meantime, I was busy trying a recipe I've always wanted to try but never have - Snickerdoodles. I think I've always wanted to make these cookies just so I could say the name.

Again, the stand mixer made mixing the ingredients a breeze.

I love the part of rolling the cookie balls in cinnamon sugar before baking - it smells delicious! From now on, I'm sprinkling cinnamon sugar on everything!

The final result was even better than I had hoped, considering if was my first attempt. They cookies are crispy at the edges and soft and moist in the centre, making for one of my favourite cookies to make to date! (Ok, so I've only made like 3-4 types of cookies ever, but this is still on top!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

in the cafe spotlight: kimforbeads

Featured Etsian: kimforbeads
Shop link:

How long have you been doing your craft?
I have been beading & selling my work for approx. 18 yrs & I love it.

Who/What inspires you in your craft?
Everything inspires me, colors, beads, my children, nature, moods, feelings, people, stories, clothing. I could go on & on, I get inspired in my dreams & when I am awake. It is hard to turn it off to go to sleep at night.

What do you like least about your craft?
There are never enough hours in the day, & I have so many ideas, that I can't get them all done.

What’s a normal day for you?
I get up at 5:40 - get ready for work, go online while eating my cereal and check convos with Etsy & the forum, post some, then finish getting ready for my day job. At lunch I am either shipping product I sold, beading or on Etsy on the forumn or making a treasury. After work I do the usual mom things, dinner, dishes, cleaning, play & read with my 7-yr-old. My other child is no longer a child at 19, almost 20 yrs. Then I tuck my young one into bed, & either bead or go on to Etsy or both. I am up every night until about 12:00 or 12:30 - depending on how much I need to get done. Then I start all over again. My husband has medical problems, and is not able to work, so I have to keep up these two jobs - late hours and crazy pace to make ends meet. If I had my options, I would & have in the past, just be beading, instead of having my full time day job.

What advice would you give Etsy sellers just starting out?
Be patient, Be kind, Listen, Share, Respect & Take great pictures (I am still working on that one.)

How do you discover new things on Etsy?
Search on the forumn, talk to friends, & I am sure there is a lot I do not know yet. That is the fun part, discovery.

Monday, January 5, 2009

new fabric means new products

Back in early December I bought some new fabric and I finally made some cute new accessories for my shop and got them listed. Here's a few of the new products - aren't they adorable?

Cute new bumblebees (I also got this fabric in brown, but I love the blue!)

Haha, this little dachshund was too long for one magnet! :)

I've been looking for this little sailor boy fabric for the longest time and finally found some on Etsy at a great price, so here he is! Isn't he adorable?

At the Holiday Trunk Show at the workroom back in early December, my robot magnets sold out super quick and I had to remind myself to stock up on the robot fabric whenever I can. And I was also asked to expand the robot "offerings" in my shop. So here are some robot bobby pins for the techie gals!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

my goals for 2009

I never make New Year's Resolutions, because they seem to last for about 1 week! But I did want to be semi-ambitious and set some goals for myself for 2009, some realistic and some a bit loftier. I thought it would be fun to check back at the end of the year and see how well I did. *huge breath* so here goes...

Ok, first the more vague ones, like:
* cook more often and try new recipes (oh, and eat healthier too)
* keep building my Etsy shop, pandacub
* spend more time with friends and family
* continued supporting the craft/handmade movement

Alright, now the ones I can actually keep track of:
* read 50 books this year (50 doesn't seem like a lot, but when you work it out, that's one book a week, so it's still pretty ambitious!)
* buy a house
* blog at least once a week
* hit 250 sales by the end of the year (starting off 2009 with 59 sales)
* get rid of all my old magazines (is anyone really impressed that I have 5 years worth of InStyle sitting in my office?) by scanning and keeping only the useful articles

As the year progresses, I'm going to re-visit this list every so often and see how I'm doing, and maybe even add a few more goals to the list.

Do you have any big goals you want to accomplish in 2009?

Friday, January 2, 2009

christmas gifts from etsy

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I've really put a lot of energy lately into re-discovering "the crafty life" and I noticed that the handcrafted spirit is extra-strong around the holiday season.

Although I did buy most of my gifts at the usual shops, I did manage to snag a few beautiful gifts on Etsy.

My sister, who is way craftier than I am, sews (which I would love to learn how to do) so I got her a couple of fun pincushions. My sister and I also share a weird affinity for fake food, so I just HAD to get her the sushi pincushion!

Sushi Pincushion by MissLittlejeans

Mini Blue Daisy Pincushion by TheBlueDaisy

And I got this stunning journal for my friend, who's a big Shakespeare fan. This journal is even more beautiful in person and I had a hard time giving it up! I may have to buy another one for myself! Elizabeth, the artist who designed the cover, has her work sold at the Globe Theatre (Shakespeare's theatre, for those of you who don't follow these things) and at Shakespeare festivals around the world and it's easy to see why! She's super talented!
Hamlet Journal by immortallongings

Not to be outdone, my sister (who I already said is way craftier than me) made me this adorable change purse from one of my favourite fabrics! It matches the wristlet purse she made me earlier this year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

HAPPY 2009!

I just wanted to wake up from my "stayed-up-too-late-last-night" state and wish all my friends and family and wonderful new year! May 2009 be filled with warmth, happiness and lots of crafty fun!