Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Creative Challenge Results

It's a tie!

Our June creative challenge voting resulted in a tie between CallistoCraft's leash and collar set and FastCrawl's wildflower hair clip. Both received nine votes. So let's try a new vote with just these two challengers and see if we can pick a winner.

Remember, here are your options:

Voting will remain open until 11:59pm on July 3. Get your votes in before the holiday!

Help break the tie and choose your favorite:

Saturday, June 29, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Vol. 15: On the Road

One of these vehicles is mine and the other belongs to a fellow exhibitor at the Boston Mills Art Festival -- take a wild guess which is which :-)

This is a show of "big" work in even bigger tents. Most of the 160 artists are housed in 4 very large communal tents, with about 20 artists in stand alone, individual tents in a center courtyard area.

Set up on Friday morning was tough. I was in the North Tent last year and was able to pull up behind my space to unload. I'm in far end of the West Tent this year, the tent farthest from the unloading area, and had to cart in through damp, rutted gravel. My usually wonderful little cart had a hard time with the loose gravel and it was an unusually long load-in. Load out on Sunday evening will be as bad if not worse, so I may add one more night of a hotel stay to this trip rather than driving home after breakdown.

I shot some video of the load-in which may or may not make it to this blog at a future date. No make-up and sweaty is not a great look for me with the sun glaring in my face :-) But I would like to pull some stills from what I shot to give you a feel for the show.

This is a 3 day show - Friday night being a $50/head Wine Tasting Preview. Attendance was good and sales were okay, although no "big" paintings left my walls this year. But there are 2 more days of the show -- wish me luck!

Here's a link to the show info:  Boston Mills Art Fest

Until next time -- keep creating!


Friday, June 28, 2013

Everything Old is New Again in Summer Parties!

It's summertime!  Are you planning a backyard cookout, pool party or summer gathering?  My motto, "everything old is new again" applies to summer parties as well.  Using and incorporating vintage elements can be a fun and inexpensive way to create the perfect summer party.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Serving ware:

-mason jars to hold silverware, vintage table clothes, vintage punch bowls, vintage coca cola boxes to hold drinks, vintage metal trays, etc.


-handmade cards with retro paper coasters, vintage post cards, new (old stock) invitations, etc.


-vintage fabric bows tied to chairs, vintage chalkboards to label foods, vintage handkerchiefs for garland, etc.


-Get recipes for appetizers and drinks from 1950's cookbooks, make a table containing vintage (new) candies such as baby Ruth, Mary Jane, Cracker Jacks, pick a specific era that your food will represent, etc.

Here are some neat retro items I found on Etsy that would be useful for summer party!

Vintage Tupperware 4 Multi Pastel Color Tumblers / 12 ounce Plastic Cups

Vintage Invitations, Cookout Invitations, Party Invitations, BBQ Invites, Barbecue Invites, Party Supply, New Old Stock

1 James Crates/Wooden Apple Crate- Home Decor, Fireplace Box, Planter, Gift,Outdoor Decor, Wedding Decor, Storage Basket

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Around Town: Where we can find some of Buffalo Etsy Team members this July!

Summer is in the air here in Buffalo, New York and with the change in the season we also start up the summer show festivals. Each month I will be posting a list of Buffalo Summer Festivals that you can find Buffalo Etsy team members at!
For the month of July:

July 6th and 20th
Quoted Mosaic Collage
Goldhawk pottery etc.
AniaJane (20th only)
CDesignIllustration (6th only)
Lily Pickford (6th only)

West Hazeltine Street Sale, Kenmore, NY
July 6th

Silent Mylo Studio

Cain Park Arts Festival

July 12th, 13th, and 14th
Silent Mylo Studio

 Della's Consign Home Decor & Gifts
July 19th
Street Thread 
Larkin Square Classic Car Show
July 20th 
Street Thread 

 Run for Rover
July 21st
Street thread
Ithaca Artists Market
July 26th
Silent Mylo Studio

July 26th and 27th
Jar of Dreams

 WNYBAC Bookfest
 July 27th
Lily Pickford 

Kenmore Farmers Market
July 27th
Street thread

Glen Park Arts Festival
July 27th and 28th
Silent Mylo Studio

Syracuse Arts and Crafts show
July 26th, 27th, and 28th
Mealy Monster Land


Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Interview with Fab Works!

 This week Ruth Fabiano from Fab Works joins us to share more about her amazing hand painted boxes!

Please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Ruth Fabiano. Im a self-taught artist who works mainly in woodworking, painting and illustration. Always learning and expanding, Ive been artistic my whole life. I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York.

How did you come up with your store name?
Well I figured "Fab" is in my name so it should be in the store as well!

How does Buffalo influence your work?
I like the fact that I grew up with a lot of different kinds of people, and also that Buffalo is a humble region that sort of lets you develop artistically without a ton of pressure. I know a lot of bigger cities might have you hurry up and succeed.

What inspires you?
Everything. I know that's cliché, but its true, lol. Mainly though it seems to be the books I read and also seeing work from other artists is huge for inspiration.

What is the best thing about having a etsy shop?
The exposure to people from all over the world. I think I have customers in 7 or 8 countries now, which is amazing.

How do you promote your work to the world?
Im on DeviantArt, Facebook and Etsy. I give out my cards whenever I can, but I think word of mouth is the best Ive had.

What is the hardest part about selling online?
Competition. While the internet is AMAZING for self promoting yourself as an artist, its sometimes hard to get noticed. Luckily I have some unique products and found a "niche".

Where can your work be found locally?
Buffalo Adore mainly.

Do you have any advise or suggestions for new sellers to etsy?
Patience. I didn't sell anything for the better part of a year.

Do you do this full or part time? If full time how did you get yourself to that status?
Full time. I have a bunch of degrees, but ironically no other job has been as stable as this one.

Where do your ideas come from? Everywhere.

What do you do when your creatively blocked? Sometimes I do something totally different. Go back to doing some mixed media or something I wasn't paid for. Or force myself to do a project that I hadn't finished or worked on in a while.

Where can you be found online?

Thanks Ruth for sharing your experience with us!
If you are from Buffalo and would like to be featured on the blog please contact me for more information!!

June Creative Challenge Voting

It was a warm, beautiful weekend in Buffalo; I hope everyone enjoyed it! The business of the coming week is now (among other things, I'm sure) voting for the winner of our June creative challenge. We have three entries inspired by this month's theme of "take a hike", chosen by our May winner, Erin of erinmakesstuff.

Here are our team's hike-inspired entries:

Time to vote! I am going to try doing something a bit different with the voting and use a poll widget. To vote, make your selection below. You're welcome to leave comments, too, as always! Please vote before the end of Thursday, June 27.

Pick your favorite entry

Saturday, June 22, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Vol. 14: Summer Solstice Break

Most businesses have cycles -- busy times that require not only time but a good deal of focus. Summer is one of my busy times, so I’ll make this short and sweet. 

If you are participating in festivals this summer I wish you well. The team is doing a great job of promoting team member show, so be sure to list your event here: 

If you haven’t made the jump yet but are thinking about doing shows in the future, this is a great time to get out and gather information from local shows. See what’s out there, visit fellow teammates, have a good time!

Happy Summer Solstice -- a day late!

Until next time -- keep creating!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Everything Old is New Again in Collecting!

It's that time of year again, garage sale, rummage and flea market season!!  I enjoy going to these sales.  When I go I always have a running list in my head of things that I'm looking for whether it be for my home, Etsy shop or baby on the way.  It's often best to have a general list of what you are looking for because this will help you avoid impulse purchases.  This is a great time of the year, to start a collection.  Below I've listed 15 affordable vintage items to collect.  There are many more!  List your ideas in the comments section below.

1.  teacups and saucers
2.  postcards
3.  nostalgic aprons
4.  sheet music
5.  old buttons
6.  children's books
7.  Christmas decorations
8.  magazines
9.  lighters
10.  salt and pepper shakers
11.  matchbooks
12.  marbles
13.  linens
14.  coasters
15.  wooden nickels

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Interview with Erin from Kitch Towels.

 One week off from interviews and I am back with some good ones lined up!! 
This week Erin from  Kitch Towels shares a little about herself and her etsy shop! 

 Please tell us a bit about yourself?
- My husband & I have both been performing in bands for years ... He plays guitar, I play guitar & sing. (In fact, that's how we met forever ago!)
Anyway, we decided to stop paying someone else to screen print our band tees since Tim (my hubby) knew how to do it. We borrowed $200 from my mom (I mean, come on - we were both in bands so the $$ wasn't exactly flowing!) & bought some used screen printing gear.
That was over 10 years ago, and we have been successfully self employed now for the same :)
I found Etsy & fell in LOVE with it in 2010, opened my shop & became a work from home mommy, while Tim still runs the shop (Steamroller) in dowtown Buffalo, NY.

What do you create? How long have you been working on your craft/art?
- I screen print flour sack tea towels & sew retro style half aprons

How did you come up with your store name?
- My designs are influenced by vintage & retro aesthetics with a modern twist - so I took the word "Kitsch" and spelled it wrong to have the first part of the word kitchen in it - KITCH :)

How does Buffalo influence your work?
- I think the biggest influence is the change of seasons for me - I am really inspired by our wide range of weather - I love it!

 What inspires you?
- EVERYTHING! I love tweaking vintage design with new and fresh modern colors - mixing old with new is my favorite style.

What is the best thing about having a etsy shop?
- I am a stay at home Mommy, so creating my own schedule is the biggest perk for me, but being free to create in my own home is essential to my creativity. I have my own cozy space to create in without the constraints of someone telling me what I can and can't do.

 Do you do this full or part time? If full time how did you get yourself to that status?
- Full time - this is my 3rd year on Etsy and it's only recently become full time...I should also say that, although it's full time for me, it's our family's *second* income. I'm still trying to unlock the "booming business" key to Etsy. As far as I can tell at this point, it's a combination of spending money on the Etsy search ads, amzing photos of your product, and superior customer service. Also - be prepared for the holiday season - It's only June and I'm already working on Halloween & Christmas ideas!

 How do you promote your work to the world?
- I use Etsy Search Ads, as well as social media - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

What is the hardest part about selling online?
- Trying to figure out how to reach the most people possible is tricky - a lot of trial & error

 Where can your work be found locally?
- Cats Like Us, Delish, Burchfield Penny

Do you have any up and coming art shows/craft shows that you would like us to know about?
- This holiday season I hope to do the following events: Quaker Atrs Festival, Cats Like Us trunk show, PUNS (Webster), Queen City Market, and Women In Arts

Do you have any advise or suggestions for new sellers to etsy?
- Network as much as possible with other sellers, take GREAT PICTURES, and try the search ads!

 Have you had any formal training in what you do?
- Nope :)

Do you teach any classes in what you do?

- No

What do you do when your creatively blocked?
- I usually search vintage travel posters and photos online - but mostly, I wait. It always comes eventually, and forcing it is a sure way to create something that you'll hate in the end.

Where can you be found online?

Etsy shop:




   Thanks Erin  for sharing your experience with us! If you are from Buffalo and would like to be featured on the blog please contact me for more information!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Accepting June Creative Challenge Submissions

Take a hike! (with your dog, perhaps?)

"Take a hike" is the theme of June's creative challenge, as chosen by Erin from erinmakesstuff, the winner of our May challenge. Today we begin accepting submissions for this challenge, and we will continue to accept them until the end of Friday, June 21. Last month we had nine amazingly creative entries. I hope we have as many, if not more, this month.

To submit:
  1. Post a picture of your theme-inspired creation/vintage find to a publicly-accessible place online (list it on Etsy, or post to your public Facebook fan page, Flickr, etc.).
  2. Post a link to your entry in the comments below before the end of Friday.

Voting will begin Sunday, June 23. The winner of the challenge will pick the theme for July's challenge. As always, I look forward to seeing what you all have up your sleeves this month!

Happy Sunday, and Happy Father's Day! I know we have some dads on our team and among our blog/Facebook readers, and I hope you're all having a great day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters Vol.13: ....with a little help from my friends.....

It may seem like I’m backtracking. Just a few weeks ago I wrote a rant against unsolicited advice:

I’ll stand by what I wrote. The world IS full of clueless, bad-advice givers. But sometimes, if we’re lucky, we run across someone who offers GOOD advice. Someone who truly has our best interests at heart.

That happened to me just this past weekend. I “hired” a friend to help me with the Allentown Art Festival. I’ve put “hired” in quotes because the pay was low for the number of hours involved -- but what I got in return for my small investment was invaluable information about how the public views my work. I was so impressed by what I learned that I made a video about it:

                               Studio Talk with Mixed Media Artist Alison E. Kurek, June 12, 2013

So.....what’s my point here.....other than shameless self-promotion of my blog post and video? :-) 

It’s this: we have to recognize our strengths and weaknesses. My strengths lie in creating new work. And while I may not be terribly bad at sales and product placement within my display, it’s not my strong suit. Turning over a bit of control to someone I knew I could trust, someone without a hidden agenda, allowed me to see things from a different perspective. Furthermore, paying for that assistance took away any feeling that I was imposing upon my friend. She was no longer doing me a favor -- she was doing a job.

So ask yourself - what are your strengths and weaknesses? Sit down with a pen and paper and make a list. Once you’ve made that list -- tear it up! Don’t beat yourself up for being imperfect!  Build on your strengths and seek out people who can assist you in overcoming your weaknesses. Learn from them and compensate them for their time and assistance. You don’t necessarily have to “pay” in a monetary sense, but you can barter, trade goods and services, and acknowledge that you value and appreciate their time and efforts.

As for determining exactly who may have the right advice for you -- that'll take some trial and error. Hopefully not too much error :-)

Until next time -- keep creating!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Everything Old is New Again at the Buffalo History Museum


I am a nerd and proud of it.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I love going to museums. So when I was looking for something casual to do on a Sunday afternoon, the Buffalo History Museum came to mind.  I had never visited before and wanted to check it out.  One thing I've learned owning a vintage Etsy shop is that you never stop learning.

The museum houses a research library and many permanent exhibits- The People of Erie County, The Native American Gallery, Buffalo Made, Street of Shops and Pioneer Gallery.  My favorite exhibit was Buffalo Made with such items as kazoos, a disco floor and 700 plus inventions and products made in Western New York.  However, my favorite item on display in the entire museum was a piece of 126 year old wedding cake from the wedding of President Grover Cleveland and Frances Folsom in 1886.  Talk about vintage!

The museum has a lovely gift shop featuring many Buffalo Etsy Team members. I contacted the museum for requirements on selling in the shop and have received no response.  If anyone has information about this, please post in the comment section.  Also post if you have items for sale in the shop.

Buffalo History Museum-


Saturday, June 8, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters,Vol.12: Educational Field Trip Time!

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters
     Volume 12: Educational Field Trip Time!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a big, live Art Festival is worth ten thousand of my posts -- at least!

I’m varnishing, framing and matting like a wild woman this week, so I’m writing and scheduling this post on Tuesday instead of barely making my Saturday deadline. This will be short and sweet :-)

If you are still on the fence about whether or not to show at outdoor festivals, or if you are just curious, take a trip down to the Allentown Art Festival this weekend. Nicole Johnson and I will both be set up on Delaware Avenue, and there will be about 450 other artists and craftspeople with us.

This is a great opportunity to do some research. Take a look at the wide variety of work and displays. Look at the tents, the shelves, tables, panels and weights. Look at the work. Check out the prices, the signage, the demeanor of the artists.

Pick out the best display, the worst, the ones that are unique and the ones that seem like a cookie cutter repeat of that display you see at every show.

Pick out your favorite, buy a little art :-)

And most of all -- have fun!

Until next time -- keep creating!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Everything Old is New Again......Buffalo Etsy Team Vintage Shops

Here is part 2 of the Buffalo Etsy Team vintage shop list.  Again, if I have accidentally left any vintage shop out please add it in the comments section.












Thursday, June 6, 2013

Following YOUR Path...Sarah Trumpp 6/6/13

Summer is getting closer and it seems we are
all busier than ever. Families, craft shows,
jobs, book clubs, Etsy teams and treasuries;
not to mention, gardens, golf, graduation parties
and of course making the things we all make!

With that as a back drop, Sarah Trumpp of
WonderStrumpet was still kind enough to give us 
a quick update on how she is doing.

Feel free to wish her luck as she heads into the nerve-wracking craft show season.

Have you participated in any shows
since the May update? What shows do you have coming up? I don't think I have had any shows since the last time we talked. I have Lockport coming up at the end of June, Corn Hill in July, and Elmwood in August.

Since you started working full-time, can you share 1 hurdle that you have encountered that you never saw coming?  My biggest hurdle has been ME, which has been a little annoying. I'm following a dream and should probably not be getting in my own way. Irritating.

Compared to your initial fear or anxiety, has there been something that turned out to be much easier or smoother than you had expected?  I can't think of anything. How doom-gloom Eeyore of me!

How about the reverse of that - something you thought would be easy that turned out to be a headache? Show applications - so much paperwork!!! There was a lot of stuff that I didn't even think about, like business license (luckily I already had it) and tax IDs and whatnot, so I'm glad that's all out of the way.

Free format time - share whatever you feel like sharing  These past few months sales-wise have been pretty slim to none, so I'm a little nervous about all of that. I haven't updated my shop in way too long, though, since I've been hoarding stuff for shows, but I'm going to change that this upcoming week, so hopefully I'll start selling again. Right now I have all of my chips on summer show season, so I'm hoping things go well. Nervous!

Al Pilato

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Interview with Jon from Quoted Mosaic Collage

this week Jon from Quoted Mosaic Collage joins us~

Please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! My name is Jon Bender. I am relatively new to the online art selling world. I grew up here in Western New York and have been an art teacher for 15 years. I try to balance my work, family and art making so that all can survive and prosper. Most of the time, I think I’m fairly successful.

What do you create?
I create mosaic style collages using packaging material under the name Quoted Mosaic Collage. The work is currently divided into two main themes – earth and nature, and beer. I also make repurposed cereal and pepsi box school type pocket folders. I have just started making acrylic mini beer mug magnets for the beer fridge. I am hoping to add a golf section at a later date.

How long have you been working on your craft/art?
 I have been making the collages for about 6 years. I opened the Etsy shop in 2010. Last year was the first time I dipped my feet into selling them in person.

What is the hardest part about selling online?
There are many challenges. I often forget to check listings and realize that a bunch have expired. I’m slow to get new things listed during the school year. I never realized how hard networking really is! Also, I’m not sure of the best way to sell prints is online, and that’s mostly what I sell. I don’t feel like you get a good sense of what it looks like or will look like in your house. But, maybe that’s just me.

Where can your work be found locally?
My goal is to get into more local shops this summer. I am currently in Buffalo Adore and will be selling at the Saturday Artisan Market and hopefully, the Lewiston Art Festival.

What do you do when your creatively blocked?

The best thing to do is walk away. Creativity is a back brain process and often comes later when you are doing something mundane like driving or showering. I try to load up on inspirational materials and then let them stew for a while. Sometimes though, you just have to push yourself through it.

Where can you be found online?
Working on the website. Need more info about a good host!
 Can be found on Etsy @
  Thanks Jon  for sharing your experience with us! If you are from Buffalo and would like to be featured on the blog please contact me for more information!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The May Creative Challenge Winner Is...

Congratulations to our May winner: Erin from erinmakesstuff and her knit sea monster! He is such a charming fellow :) Thank you again to everyone who participated in this challenge. It's so fun and inspiring to see the creativity in our group.

As the winner, Erin had the honor of picking the theme for our June challenge and she has told us all to "take a hike!" So think of hiking and forests, woodland creatures, and flowers and be ready to post your entry starting Sunday, June 16. We will accept entries until the end of Friday, June 21 and begin voting Sunday, June 23.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your blustery Sunday. Have fun creating!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

ART SHOWS 101,Vol.11: An Odd Ball List of items to Take to Your Next Outdoor Show

Outdoor show season has arrived! As you’re rushing to finish up and pack your items for sale, keep in mind that outdoor shows are a bit like camping. You will be outside for a long day or two -- or three. A quick stop at a hardware store and a discount variety store (think Big Lots) can help make those long days more comfortable. Here’s a list of odd ball items you might want to take with you:

Towels: bath towels, kitchen towels, or absorbent shop rags:

Like it or not, rain happens. Dry, absorbent towels can quickly dry off your product after a rain shower, clean up that beverage a would-be customer spilled on your table, and help to prevent mold and mildew growth on canopy walls if you dry them off before packing them at breakdown. 

Bungie cords, Electrical Zip Ties and/or clamps:

Good weights and stakes help hold your canopy in place, but even light breezes can topple signs and shelves if they are not anchored well.  Carrying a mixed bag of the above items can help you focus on sales rather than that wobbly rack or would-be airborne sign.

Clear Plastic sheeting and/or tarps: 

Not all shows will allow exhibitors to drive up to their allotted spaces. Having a tarp to throw over your work before your canopy is up will reduce your stress level on a misty morning. Tarps also come in handy as cover-ups if you plan on leaving your product in your tent overnight. 

Depending upon how watertight your tent is, clear plastic sheeting draped over your work will help you stay open through a rain shower.

Sun Umbrella and/or a sunhat:

Depending upon the location of your space, you may have morning, afternoon or early evening sun beating down on you - for hours and hours at a time

Rain coat, rain poncho, and/or umbrella:

For obvious reasons :-) Also, a change of clothes, or at least an extra pair of shoes and socks can make you more comfortable after a soggy set-up. Also keep in mind that the early morning cool temps you set up in may skyrocket during the day. Changing into lighter clothes as the  day heats up is so much better than stripping down to your underwear :-)

Tape Measure:

Some customers want to know the exact size of a framed larger work or sculpture. They may even walk into your display with written notes about their wall space. Don't lose a sale to a customers who LOVES a piece but thinks it might be an inch too big even if it's not.


To even out wobbly tables, panels and shelves.

Camera and/or smart phone camera:

Don’t forget to take a few booth shoots to use for next year’s applications -- and snapping a photo with your smart phone is great for Facebook posts and tweets about the show.

Cart: - or a similar product. I use the smallest one offered by this company and don’t know how I did shows without it. It’s small and compact and makes a huge difference if you are unable to pull up to your display for set-up and break-down.

Best of luck to everyone doing shows this summer! Wishing you clear skies, comfortable temperatures, and many, many sales!

Until next time -- keep creating!