Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Finds: Coffee, Tea or Me?

I'm ridiculously proud of today's Etsy mini. The important topic this time around is coffee and tea. Check out the awesomely caffeinated things I found:

So now I have an important question for everyone: which is your poison? Are you a caffeine-instead-of-blood type or more of a chamomile sipper?

I have tea every morning at work. Lately, it's been either decaf green tea with mint or chocolate caramel enchantment chai, both of which are from Celestial Seasonings. I only reach for coffee when the need is dire or I'm in a boring meeting. I'd love to hear about your hot-beverage habits!

CPSIA and Senate bill 374

I wrote to my representatives back in December protesting the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and its negative impact on the handmade community. I did a post about a month later recounting Sen. Tom Coburn's response. Today, I received an email from Sen. Jim Inhofe. (I have still heard nothing from Rep. John Sullivan. Way to represent your constituents, John!)

It's a long email, so I won't recount the whole thing, but there is a section in particular that will interest all of you. Inhofe wrote:

"You will be pleased to know that I am a cosponsor of S. 374 which would amend the troublesome provisions in the CPSIA. Specifically, S. 374 would postpone the implementation of testing and certification requirements to allow the CPSC to clarify the new regulations and allow for additional public comment. Additionally, S. 374 would exempt thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales and other resellers from the CPSIA's prohibitions. This bill would also prevent the retroactive enforcement of the CPSIA to ensure that only products manufactured after February 10th would have to comply with CPSIA's testing and certification requirements. Therefore, manufacturers and retailers will not need to worry about un-sellable inventory that was considered safe prior to the passage of the CPSIA.

Additionally, in order to prevent costly duplicative testing, S. 374 would permit small manufacturers to use the certificates of compliance from their component suppliers to certify that the components adhere to the lead standards. Finally, considering that small businesses generally do not have the resources to employ staff to solely focus on regulatory compliance, S. 374 would require the CPSC to provide a compliance guide to small businesses. In addition to providing the compliance guide, S. 374 includes a good-faith exemption for businesses should they accidently violate CPSIA requirements.

S. 374 is currently pending the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. In order to facilitate compliance with the CPSIA, the CPSC regularly updates its website ( to provide current information on the implementation of the CPSIA and to answer questions from businesses and consumers. The CPSC has also included on their website a "Guide to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities." The guide may be found at You may also contact the CPSC at 1-800-638-2772. As businesses and consumers prepare for the full implementation of the CPSIA, please consider my office a resource. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or comments. Again, thank you for contacting me. Your input helps me serve you better in the U.S. Senate."

The second paragraph in particular should be of interest to us all. Allowing crafters to present testing certificates from the manufacturers of the actual parts is the action that makes the most sense. This way, we all know that our components are lead-free, but the burden is placed where it ought to be: on the producer, not the consumer. Additionally, the provisions to clarify CPSIA's rules would also be helpful since so much of the act is confusing and seemingly contradictory.

I urge everyone who makes or buys handmade items to write, call or email their senators to support these changes to the legislation. Check out WackyHermit's post for senators to call and a script to use. Remember: CPSIA effects us all, so get your voice heard!

Team treasury

Check out this amazing, Deluxe-inspired treasury created by TotallyCrosses! It features great pieces by 12 different team members, all of whom may well be at the Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar on May 9.

(Speaking of which, applications are due Sunday, so if you want to sell at this super-fun event, click here.)

Thank you, TC!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Swap-O-Rama-Rama Coming to Tulsa!

After a wildly successful run in Oklahoma City, Swap-O-Rama-Rama is coming to Tulsa next month!

Swap-O-Rama-Rama, the brainchild of Wendy Tremayne, offers an alternative to consumerism. Participants bring a bag of second-hand clothes plus a small monetary donation, and planners provide sewing machines, embellishments, and assistance transforming ordinary T-shirts into wearable works of art. For the past couple of years, Stephanie of Reuse Oklahoma Arts Resource has brought the state capital an Oklahoma-based version of the exciting and eco-friendly event.

This year, Christine of weather & noise and such pretty things, who has also brought Green Country two great years of Indie Emporium, is holding a Tulsa-based version of Swap-O-Rama-Rama on March 21 from 1 to 6 p.m. The Collective, on 11th Street just west of Harvard, will be the venue. Everyone is invited, so bag up those high-school club shirts and golf pants you no longer wear, and get ready for the ultimate DIY experience. All items not used will be donated to a shelter to clothe those in need, so it's a win-win opportunity for all.

Stephanie is still planning to hold an OKC Swap-O-Rama-Rama probably in June, but it is still in the planning stages. Check out Reuse Oklahoma Arts Resource's MySpace page for updates. We'll post it in the Events column of the blog, too.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meet Our Members: BuckBoardWoodWorks

It's Monday, so that means it's time to meet another great team member. This week, I'm interviewing the one and only Frank of BuckBoardWoodWorks! He is a relatively new arrival to the team, but we've been so happy to have him and his sense of humor join us. Let's learn some more about the carving king.

1. Introduce yourself.
My name is Frank Shedden. I am in Mustang, Oklahoma and my Etsy store is Buckboard Woodworks.

2. Tell us about what you make. When did you start making it and why?
In 2007 my wife came home with a woodcarving magazine for me to read. I read it and said to self, “Self, ya’ know I think you can do some of that stuff.” So, I gathered up a pocket knife and honed it to what I thought was sharp and had a go at it. I still have a long way to go with this craft as I am just scratching the surface of what one may do.

I don’t think there is really anything astoundingly unique about what I do. However, in many ways it is becoming a lost art. Whittling or carving in my view is sculpting with wood. It is predominately a subtractive process that has little room for oops. Some oops’ can become pleasant design modifications, but just as many are fatal to the process. In essence for every piece I create, I have created lots of mulch for my trees or kindling for the occasional patio fire.

3. How long have you been crafting? When did you decide to start selling your handmade goods?
I have been crafty or creative since an early age. Doodling, drawing, painting, counted cross-stitch, leather craft, photography and woodworking. I started selling handmade if you will, in 1997 when I ran my own construction company. Granted it is handmade on a much larger scale, but I think it counts.

Late last summer I was conversing with a lady in California who is a carver and had an Etsy site to sell her goods. After some discussion and contemplation Buckboard Woodworks was born.

4. Other than what you sell, what's your favorite thing to craft?
I don’t know that I have a favorite, there are just some things I do better than others. I have recently renewed my interest in drawing, and painting is sure to follow. I have been a photography addict since High School and it is still an integral part of my expression. I also make chainmail. No, not the silly letters and junk we get in the mail. I am talking about weaving tiny rings of wire or steel together to make armor, garments, jewelry, and other accessories.

5. What do you love best about Etsy?
The thing I like best about Etsy is the ease in which you can sell your items. I think with my craft it is not usually an impulse purchase. It was one that has caused you to think or give pause before buying. I don’t think I have sold a carved item yet that someone didn’t come back and look at it a few times before deciding to buy. At times on the other sites you don’t have the time available before the listing expires.

6. What's your favorite thing about Oklahoma?
I am originally from Wyoming so I guess the singular best thing I like about Oklahoma is that the winters are much, much milder here. I have lived in other states and been stationed overseas with the Army and Oklahoma is not a bad place to be, not bad at all.

Decorative Cedar Spoon

7. Do you sell anywhere else or have a blog, Twitter, MySpace, etc.?
My selling focus is on Etsy. My blog needs some serious attention to make a sales platform and I have been checking some of the Etsy team blogs for ideas. Alas, you can find me at the following as well:

Thanks for answering my questions, Frank. We're so glad to have you on the team!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Finds: Animals!

To bring a bit more organization to this blog, I've decided to implement some standard features. On Mondays, I'll do regular Meet Our Members posts where you'll be able to read interviews with the sellers who make this team possible. On Fridays, I'll do Friday Finds where I'll present lovely items made by our members on a particular theme.

Today, I present to you: animals! If you love animals as much as I do, then check out these amazing goodies:

Click on the images above for these truly wonderful items, or search OKEtsy Team on Etsy for more great items!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Craft Show Checklist

Spring is sneaking up on us, and it brings with it what all us artists and crafters live for -- craft shows! Whether you're an old hat or a total newbie, a great checklist is invaluable at preparing for a show. Below is a list of things I've compiled from a variety of online lists in addition to my own experience. If anything is missing, please leave a comment!

What to bring

  • Tables
  • Tablecloths and/or skirts
  • Chairs
  • Your products
  • Extra inventory
  • Displays
  • Price tags
  • Business cards
  • Banner or sign with business name
  • Mailing list sign-up (if applicable)
  • Bags or boxes for purchases
  • Receipts
  • Calculator
  • Pens (always bring extras)
  • Change (I like $100 in mostly 1's and some 5's)
  • Forms of payment sign (if using)
  • Inventory list
  • Money box or other container
  • Cell phone or laptop for ProPay payments (if accepting)
  • "Knucklebuster" for credit-card payments
  • Custom order forms
  • Something to work on
  • Product tools in case something needs fixing
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Any other tools you might need (hole punch, stapler, safety pins, etc.)
  • Cooler with water and extra snacks
  • Trash bag
  • Camera (you always want it when you forget it!)

For outdoor shows

  • Tent or canopy
  • Panels for sides
  • Concrete blocks or something else to secure tent
  • Rope
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Personal fan
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Extra water
  • Anything that can provide extra shade
  • Allergy medicine
  • Umbrella

Other things to consider

  • Do a mock set-up of your booth sometime before the event, especially if it's your first show. It will give you an idea of how long the process will take, make necessary changes to the idea in your head, and keep you calm the morning of. Take pictures if you're afraid you'll forget!
  • If accepting ProPay or other credit-card processing, bring a list of what information you need with you. You can choose to process cards while the customer waits, during lulls in the show, or at home.
  • Position yourself so you are not blocking any part of your booth but also so you can see all your inventory. Though theft is not rampant, it's always good to keep an eye on everything and be available to answer questions. Never leave your booth totally unattended.
  • Make sure items are clearly priced.
  • Don't spend too much time talking on your cell phone. Customers like some interaction.
  • Be personable without overselling your product.
  • Check out the display rules for each fair at which you plan to sell. Some outdoor shows require certain colored tents (usually white). Lots of indoor ones require sellers fully skirt their tables.
  • Make friends with the seller next to you. Cover for each other on bathroom breaks.
  • Most of all, have fun! Craft shows are a great chance to meet other handmade artists and maybe do a little buying or trading.

I hope this is helpful to some folks. Please feel free to make any additions in the comments!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meet Our Members: AScrappyDesign

I'm very happy to introduce to you Heather of AScrappyDesign, a longtime team member, a true sweetheart, and a real class act. Let's all give her a warm round of applause. Heather, come on out!

1. Introduce yourself to the team.
My name is Heather Mills, and I am sole owner of A Scrappy Design in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, A Scrappy Design is only part-time for me but one day, I will be able to do it full-time . . . just wait and see. :D

2. Tell us about what you make. When did you start making it and why?
I make all kinds of paper goodies such as cards, gift tags, and scrapbooking embellishments. I started working with paper when my best friend got me hooked on scrapbooking, which turned into getting a second part-time job at the local scrapbook store to support my hobby, which turned into an Etsy shop! Making cards, for me, was very satisfying because the recipients were delighted to see a card that was handcrafted with a personal touch rather than just something purchased from a big box store. My cards are something that can be cherished and kept forever.

3. How long have you been crafting? When did you decide to start selling your handmade goods?
I have been crafting for as long as I can remember. I remember as a little girl making crafts with my little sis and selling them at a craft mall nearby. I started selling my paper goods on Ebay and had some success there, but then I found Etsy. It was so much easier for me to navigate and the fact that I could have my own store front was a plus. So, in January 2007, I signed up and immediately started listing.

Birdhouse Thank You -- Handmade Greeting

4. Other than what you sell, what's your favorite thing to craft?
Between my full-time job and my Etsy shop, I don't have much time to do any other crafty things but when I have the chance, I love to draw and paint. Who knows, maybe some day you'll see some of my work in my shop. :D

5. What do you love best about Etsy?
I love all the people here on Etsy...they are all so supportive of each other.

Field of Mushrooms -- Handmade Paper Embellies

6. What's your favorite thing about Oklahoma?
My favorite thing about Oklahoma would have to be the unpredictable weather. I love how it can be 70 degrees when I go to work and as I leave work the same day, it's snowing.

7. Do you sell anywhere else or have a blog, Twitter, MySpace, etc.?
Right now, I don't sell anywhere else online but I do have some of my stuff at the French Cowgirl.

Heather also graciously shared some promotions tips with us in our group forum thread. Since she implemented these steps, her sales have picked up. Here are Heather's (paraphrased) secrets to success:

1. Use your blog wisely. Heather has done two new blog features that have generated some shop traffic.

2. Increase your tweets. Twitter is a great tool, so let your followers know when you have a new item in your shop or a new blog post.

3. Remember the forums. Heather said she avoids the Promotions section, but the Etsy forums are a good place to draw traffic to her blog.

Thank you, Heather!

Friday, February 13, 2009

"I love your guts!"

Looking for a Valentine's Day project with a little less glitter and pink hearts? Our very own Amy of EarlyBirdSpecial worked with Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching ("this ain't your gramma's embroidery!") to bring you this awesome, from-the-gut tutorial! Check out the link to make the one you love a card that tells it like it is.
For more of Amy's awesomeness, check out her blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meet our Members: TotallyCrosses

We have so many fabulous team members here at the Disciples of Etsy. Join me in learning a little more about our very own TotallyCrosses.

1. Introduce yourself.
My name is Terri Cunningham, but all my friends and most family call me TC. My initials are TLC. Isn't that sweet? Anyway, a friend of mine came up with my business name, Totally Crosses, from my initials. My Etsy store is

I have been married for almost 35 years, and we have two boys ages 29 and 19. Our oldest son is married and in nursing school at OU, and I am just waiting on some grandchildren. :) Our youngest son has developmental disabilities and keeps me very busy with school and church activities and Special Olympics. That's why I am so thankful to have a business where I can work out of our home. I actually now have a little studio out back of our house that I am so excited to have. I am a wire sculptor mainly of Christian crosses.

2. Tell us all about your business and what you make. When did you start making it and why?
I sculpted the first cross in February of 2002. I had just come home from a Christian spiritual renewal weekend called the Walk to Emmaus. Upon my arrival, I was informed that a dear friend of mine lost his son in a motorcycle accident that weekend. After attending the funeral, I came home and just sat alone with God praying for the comfort of my friend and his family. I reached for a spool of wire and started sculpting it into a cross without much thought of what I was doing. I then got some beads off of my personal jewelry and added them. I gave that first cross to my friend.

You see, this spool of wire had been lying around our house for months before I did anything with it besides just bending it and flexing it. When I was young, my dad had this type of wire in his work room because he worked in electronics. I loved messing with it because of its flexibility and feel. Unfortunately, if you messed with it too much, it would break, so I was discouraged from playing with it. But sometimes I just couldn't help it.

Shabby Chic Beaded Wire Sculpted Wall Cross

One day while in a hardware store I saw a spool of this wire, and the memories of my childhood experiences came back. I bought a spool of it knowing that I could make something out of it sometime, I just didn't know what.

After seeing that first cross, my husband, Les, encouraged me to make others. He believed they were truly inspirational and that others would love to have one. He took them to a local gift shop, and we were immediately encouraged because the shop owner bought several of the crosses he had with him and ordered more. There was a buyer representative from the Dallas Market at the gift shop that was really excited by the crosses and wanted information on how to get them for his company. However, there was no way to keep up with the demands of a buyer from the Dallas Market with just the two of us doing the manufacturing. But, the excitement was very encouraging to both of us.

Our family and friends kept us busy for months. Meanwhile, during this time, Les designed a manufacturing mechanism enabling him to wrap the crosses (still by hand) but in a way that speeds up the process before I do the final sculpturing. It still takes a long time to produce a cross, but that helped tremendously. My husband is also a wood worker and makes wooden crosses for me to add my artistic abilities to.

So now we have a small business that keeps us both very busy. I display my art at The Market by Quail Springs, I have my main website,, and joined Etsy in June of '08.

Mary Had a Little Lamb of God -- Wall Cross

3. Other than what you sell, what's your favorite thing to make/do craft-wise?
Besides working with wire, I love to knit, paint, learn new crafts, you name it. I can really get distracted with new crafts. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in my life to do all the different forms of art that I would love to try. Or maybe there's not enough money:)

4. What's your favorite thing about Etsy?
I love Etsy because of all the creativity that I'm not exposed to elsewhere.

Valentine Cross Ornament

5. What's your favorite thing about -- or to do in -- Oklahoma?
What I love to do in Oklahoma right now is take our travel trailer out and visit different parks and camps with my family. Of course I always take my wire and beads with me.

Thanks for your thoughtful responses, TC! We're so glad to have you on the team!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Team members in the news!

Several team members, in the form of the Tulsa Craft Mafia, have made the Tulsa World newspaper today. To read the PDF version of the story, click here. The article contains a felt cuff tutorial by KloverStudio, romance novel bookmarks by Hollyrocks, map notecards by weatherandnoise, and a massage oil tutorial by greyeyedesigns (me!). We are all adding the tutorials to the Tulsa Craft Mafia blog as well, where you can also find a great piece on shrink plastic by paperlotus.

So, if you still need to make something for your Valentine, be they your significant other, your parent, your child, or your best friend, check out the tutorials for some great ideas!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Last chance for Valentine's Day!

We're getting down to the wire to order gifts online for Valentine's Day! If you're any Oklahoman looking for a handmade gift this year, try checking with any of the wonderful local artists on Etsy. Search the tag "Oketsy team" to find our members!

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few of my favorite finds for the season of love, no matter who your Valentine is this year. All of these items were made by artists right here in the Sooner State. :)

Gift Guide Feature

Our very own Robin of VintageGardenKnits is featured in the Moms Gifts Guide right now. Go check out her beautiful Jardin Versailles Stole before it's gone!

Friday, February 6, 2009

TotallyCrosses = TreasuryCity!

Team member TotallyCrosses found out that she's in 7 different treasuries right now. Unbelievable! Come check them all out, click the items, and leave comments.

Edit: Miss Thang just discovered that she's in TWO MORE, for a total of NINE! They are:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Big CPSIA news

I'm sure many of you have already heard the latest update from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but I would love to be bearer of good news if you haven't. On January 30, the CPSC granted a one year stay on the lead-testing requirements under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. You can read the full text of the release here. There are a few exceptions, including:

"The stay does not apply to:

Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain children’s products subject to:

Also, if your product is found to contain lead, then you are still liable. This is still good news for the handmade community. I know the collective hope is that, within a year, the Commission and Congress will take all our concens into consideration and rewrite the law in such a way that it protects all consumers (us, too!) without crippling cottage industries.

In covering this issue, the Tulsa-based Fox affiliate (Fox 23, or channel 5 for those of you with cable) contacted Oklahoma seller Dody, AKA Spazspun, once again for her reaction. Back in December, the same station ran a piece on how CPSIA would prove detrimental to Dody and her husband, who create handmade items from things that naturally cannot contain lead (wool and wood). You can still view the story here on the Web site. I want to commend Dody once again for taking such great initiative on this important issue. She wrote letters, organized other sellers to rail against this law, and has really been a mouthpiece for the handmade community. Way to go, hot mama! Thank you for all you do!