Etsy Upcycling Weenie Roast

A day late but not a dollar too short. The winners of the Upcycle contest co-sponsored by Etsy have been announced.

One of my picks, the Plasticoat, was runner-up. The others—well—sadly, they didn't even make it to honorable mention. However, with 200 plus entries to slog through, I'm impressed one of my picks even made it. The entries for this contest were overwhelmingly awesome, too.

And that wiener bench—I don't even know how the hell I missed it! I'm glad it won first place. If each one of those crocheted wieners would wiggle and vibrate, that bench would give one killer massage for sore ninja muscles. Honestly, can you think of something better than being kneaded by pulsating plush penises?

Though I think the cardboard chair was a bunch of...Hmpf! Honorable mention my ninja ass.


The entries for yet another awesome Etsy contest have rolled in. This time, the contest is co-sponsored by William McDonaugh and Michael Braugart, the authors of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. The theme is "upcycling", a term the co-authors coined for the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value. In this contest, Etsy challenged users to create an object made from materials that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. You can view all unsold entries over at Etsy.

Winning entries won't be officially announced until February 1st, via the Etsy blog, but below are my top five favorites (in no particular ranking):

Spotlight: Flash Bags

Amazing artist and Etsy seller mLee was recently approached by a company called Flash Bags after they discovered one of her wood block prints through a feature on the Etsy front page. Flash Bags takes interesting, unique and beautiful (in mLee's case) works of art and turns them into simply gorgeous bags like no other, splitting the profits with the artist. Even better is that buyers have some customization control—being able to choose from a selection of artwork and styles to create a unique bag that's all their own. It's a great idea, executed in a stunning way.

Both shop links are definitely worth a browse for inspiration, if not for gift-purchasing.

More Puppets!

Remember StaceyRebecca? A really new blog, Puppet Building, just linked to her after finding my newest favorite puppet—the cute and a peeling banana.

Not much there yet, but it looks like they intend to collect anything and everything about puppets. So far, there are a few links to puppet tutorials.

Of course, my favorite puppet tutorial is from the Make blog on how to make an iPod Sock Puppet out of those annoying and expensive socks from Apple.

Lems' Arm Warmers Update

My customer, "Lemonade", snapped a shot of her in the arm warmers.

I'm simply ecstatic that they fit so well. Making something special for another person and having it turn out so well is one of the greatest feelings!

Craft + Etsy Contest

The five winners of the Craft + Etsy contest have been anounced!

When I first saw it, I knew the interactive pendant by KathrynRiechert (first picture in this post) would win. I didn't follow the entries close enough to predict all of the others. However, I'm really surprised that this entry didn't make the list at all—not even the Etsy front page features the day of the announcements. I thought for sure it would be selected when I first saw it. Maybe I'm a freak, but I thought it was really clever.

If interested, you can view all the unsold entries for the time being.

Spotlight: StaceyRebecca

StaceyRebecca is an awesome and fun seller from Etsy. She makes finger puppets! But not just finger puppets—fun and exciting finger puppets. And not just fun and exciting finger puppets, but finger puppets with a story and personality. You're buying so much more than a piece of felt when you buy one of StaceyRebbeca's puppets—you're buying a little softie of fun to keep beside you when working in a drab and dull office. I really do think she should up her prices closer to $10, the descriptions alone make her puppets worth that.

Selling Your Wares On Flickr

A lot of people—on Etsy and elsewhere—use Flickr to promote their handcrafted wares or other services. When you think about it, it's a great idea: Using a community-based photo sharing site to show pictures of your items and entice buyers to purchase them. Flickr's "photo pools" make this even easier in that you can create groups of people and share photos based on themes; "for sale", crafts, knitting, "I made it myself", and so on. However, Flickr clearly states the following in their community guidlines:

Flickr is for personal use only. If you sell products, services or yourself through your photostream, we will terminate your account.

True to their word, they've been deleting personal accounts right and left. You can read about it in the Etsy forums, among many other craft venues. The ensuing witch hunts have also been noted over at Whipup, who sent an email requesting more clarification from the Flickr team. Flickr's response was posted in this blog post.

So far, photographers selling their services have been neglected in the witch hunts. While I can see why a photo sharing website would be reluctant to go after professional photographers, I've noticed many unscathed photographers on the site who are directly violating the user guidelines as much as any craftisan who advertises their wares via photos on Flickr. At this point in time, I feel like Flickr is unfairly playing favorites. If I hear otherwise in the future, I will certainly make a note of it on this blog.


Further Reading:

Play With Your Food

Of late, miniature food art made from Sculpey seems to be cropping up all over the place. A recent search for tutorials brought me to the amazing work of Pine Studio. The site hosts a number of pictorial how-tos that are not in English, but the gallery is where I spend most of my time. Whoever this person is, they're one of the more detailed and amazing miniature food artists I've seen.

The following picture is from verpabunny at Flickr. They have posted a few other examples of food art that are almost as inspiring as those at Pine Studio.

If you're more interested in purchasing miniature food, there's some amazing sellers who make food jewelry and such over at Etsy. Aoi's Art is one of the more notable Etsy food artists, but I absolutely adore Tatsuko's sushi platter necklaces, earrings, and wall art.

Custom Arm Warmers

These arm warmers were a custom-order from another seller on Etsy, MinervaOrduno. She picked the colors, which were fun to work with but not my typical style.

Acid Arm Warmers
Acid Arm Warmers

Handspun Meal

I have Etsy to thank for my newest money-sucking addiction: handpun yarns. Handspun lacks the regularity of commercial yarns, preventing one from creating using them in intricate projects where an consistent weight is needed to show the detail of the pattern (i.e. The Branching out Scarf). But, you do end up with an incredibly unique item that often has colors and textures more amazing than any high-quality commercial yarn. The inspiration that floods over me every time I look at my newest additions to my stash makes the higher prices well-worth the occasional splurge.

My favorite yarn seller on Etsy is Castleman because of her colors, plying techniques (raisin yarn one and two), and her choice of amazing materials. I cannot do her Tussah silk yarn justice with words. It's soft, silky, shimmery, and environmentally friendly (the silk cacoons are collected after the worms discard them). Also, her silk prices are a great deal when compared to the 100% silk yarns I've seen at my local yarn store. The quality is much higher and the price much lower.

The yellow and blue skiens are silk yarns from Castleman, the other is her "raisin yarn" and a coordinating skein in wool.

Handpsun Silks
Rasin Yarn

And while I'm a Castleman groupie, I do try to buy from other yarnmiesters. Below is a very soft and bulky yarn I purchased from Elysium Yarns. It's merino wool, hand painted in a dark jewel-toned rainbow. So stunning in person, I've been carefully planning how to use it. I'm thinking fingerless gloves as a scarf would be too stereotypical. Fingered gloves would be awesome, but I think it's too bulky for fingers.

Rainbow Jewel
Jewel Rainbow

April Fool's Sale

Bushed Westie

I'm having an April Fool's Sale from March 31st - April 2nd. No, this is not an April Fool's joke, just an April Fool's sale. If you buy my stuff, you get 15% off, free shipping and an awesome bonus CD journal. The CD journal is awesome—so awesome that I'm going to be selling them soon in my shop for $10-$20 a piece. That's how awesome they are!

Reasons to buy my stuff:

  1. My new reading glasses were expensive.
    • My glasses benefit you because they will allow me to write more, read more (so my writing is better), as well as make cooler stuff to sell or give to you as a gift.
  2. I want to clear out some of the stuff in my shop so I can start selling more guy-oriented things.
    • Things in the works: Zombie Survival kits and manuals (this will be awesome); geeky guy tees; gloves, hats and scarves for fall and winter; trendy half-fingered gloves for bikers, street musicians, and hipsters.

P.S. My shop site will be down from 8 PM - 8 AM Eastern Standard Time. That is simply a cruel, cruel April Fool's Joke (hence the sale lasting three days).

Celebration Sale

Well, I will finally be working full-time hours. Even though it's web work, and even though there are some—ahem—issues with certain aspects of some of the work, this means I'll be making money. Soon, Tyler will not have to pay my portion of the rent. Nor will he have to pay for all of my tuition. Also, the small fortune I owe him will trickle back into his bank account. My school loans and massive credit card bill will shrink quickly until they poof into a cloud of green smoke. I will be able to pay for graduate school applications.

The guilt I live with daily for taking my wonderful boyfriend's money will vanish. The worries I have about not being able to provide for my cute, fluffy dog will vanish. The stress and crying and screaming will vanish. The sleepless nights will vanish. The feelings of worthlessness for not even being hired at a cafe or in retail will vanish.

And, to celebrate, I am going to have a sale at my Etsy shop. All items will have free shipping until March 10th (my next payday). Of course, if I know you, then I'll just hand-deliver the items and nix $3 off your purchase. Buy away, my minions, buy away.


During my lunch break, I spent a handful of minutes browsing Etsy and this person's jewelry struck me. It's amazing how detailed it is for being so tiny and for being made out of polymer clay.

When I was in Junior High, I went through a polymer obsession and created countless detailed statues. But comparing all of my creations to their’s is like comparing scribbles made by a child who just learned how to hold a crayon to Bernini's pliant statues.

I'm not generally attracted to things that are so sickly cute, but everything in their Etsy shop has this hard-to-define quality about it that captures the essence of Japanese culture- both traditional and modern.