Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Citrus Lime Green gifts from the Buffalo Etsy Team

Friday, July 25, 2014

Did I really just quit my job?

I've been my own boss for about 4 weeks now.

I'm starting to get used to my demanding ways,
never being satisfied with the results, giving no recognition for a job well done, and the disregard for my personal life.

As Pete Townsend penned - "meet the new boss,
same as the old boss"

Well, it's not quite like that!! I have to say that I am honestly enjoying the first month of working for myself. I do, however, feel like there is more pressure to perform and certainly more hanging in the balance.

It's probably too early to give much insight, but I have discovered that setting up a routine has helped keep me on track so far.

Being a creature of habit, I knew in advance that I needed to create what  a "work day" would look like, before I began. It seemed it could be a little too easy to get distracted and find myself doing things other than working.

I have two objectives - making and selling my products and growing my DIY website.

With that in mind I have split my day up so the mornings are dedicated to writing new content and maintaining the web site, managing some of the social media (I took a Pinterest course that was very good and have started to work on expanding my business using it), as well as some of the administrative things related to selling my frames.

The afternoons are strictly dedicated to the workshop and creating products to sell.

I don't know how long I will be able to go before this model is disrupted, but I am expecting changes and am ready to adapt as needed. I'm not thinking about picking up any part-time work - yet. I am somewhat comfortable with what I have saved and am happy to say that the month of July has been better than expected as far as frame sales and revenue from the web site.

Next month, I will detail some of the things I did prior to leaving my old job to prepare mentally and financially for this adventure. In the mean time I recommend these two books to anyone who is on the fence about their current job:

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Have a great month!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Creative Spaces: Where Buffalo Etsians Make Their Magic.

This month’s featured artisan is Sara Goldhawk of Goldhawk Pottery Etc.

Along with running her Etsy shop and being our team captain, Sara is very active in the community teaching classes and exhibiting at craft shows.

Sara has been making pottery officially since about 1998. While living in Washington, DC she decided to learn how to make wheel thrown pottery at a community studio. She’s been making it as a business since 2010.

I asked Sara where she learned her craft. “I have a degree in fine art from Daemen College where I took a hand-building ceramics class, but I did not learn how to “throw” on the wheel until I started at a studio in Washington, DC.  While they were considered lessons, I mostly watched my studio mates at work and eventually got the hang of it.  Since starting my own business, I’ve learned a lot from watching You Tube videos!”

Those of us that work from home have to find a place to create and contain all of our supplies and finished work along with packing supplies and all that comes with
making and selling.


Sara said she feels lucky to have a home studio in her Williamsville basement.  “An old pottery wheel was donated to me by a family friend! I love being part of a community studio, but having my own offers a lot more storage space and flexibility.  I also have the added pleasure of having a little thief who watches me – my 1 ½ year old cat Jet.  Recently he has started stealing my paint brushes and taking them upstairs.  I’m not sure what the fascination is but it’s kind of funny!  He has a brother, Jesse, who has no interest in stealing”.
Having a place of our own where we can go to do what we love can be so important to an artisan. Sometimes we just need to shut out the rest of the world so we can dream and plan and create!

Sara shares what she enjoys most about working in her own space, “I love working with my hands and crafting something out of nothing.  It may sound corny, but there is an unspoken language - I don’t talk while I’m making it.  I just know when it’s right. Also, I am fully in control of this process, and I make every part of my pottery (except for some tiles that I have recently started to paint). In addition, while I’m nervous having the cats around while I’m glazing (I don’t want them getting dust on their paws), I love it when they visit to watch me at work.  So I’m rarely alone!”

I asked her what her “dream studio” would be like. “A bigger, cleaner studio with someone else who does the cleaning!  Keeping the studio clean, and recycling clay is hard work.  There’s a lot of dust from the clay (you have to pound dry clay back into a powder to recycle it), but also dust from the pottery glazes that float around.  More shelves would be nice and perhaps a larger slab roller for bigger items such as platters.

Sara is one busy women!  She has a very tight schedule in the summer due to her craft shows.  “I show twice a month at the Saturday Artisan Market at Canalside from May to October, so I need to have new work ready twice per month.  That means making pottery (wheel thrown and hand-built) daily for a week (sometimes up to 8 hours a day) followed by a bisque kiln firing, followed by 2-3 days of glazing (which can take up to 7-8 hours a day especially if I am painting details on my work). 
From start to finish, pottery requires at least a week to building, dry, trim, fire and glaze, but it usually takes up to two weeks to complete most things. The day after the kiln is fired and cooling is my most relaxing day because I can do other things.  I can take photos and tend to my Etsy shop, etc. FYI – I consider pottery a part time job, though sometimes it is full time. I do also teach community classes and have consulting work (in arts education) so I have to juggle my schedule quite a bit”.

Having a home studio can require some planning especially if your craft will take up a lot of space. Finding out what works for other crafters can be helpful to those just getting started.

Sara’s pottery requires some expensive equipment and a fair amount of space and consideration.  “If you have never made pottery before, I would not suggest creating a studio without solid experience.  I do have my own kiln which is in the garage, and that required a special electrical set up that only a qualified electrician can do.  My kiln is very large so it requires a lot of power, but there are smaller kilns out there for small loads that may not require as much. You can see many videos of me unloading my kiln on my YouTube page.  I would suggest doing a lot of research before venturing into setting up a studio.  And yes, I’d recommend having a cat or two around to keep you company”!

It has been so interesting learning about Sara’s studio and to see where she creates her beautiful pottery. Thank you Sara for the wonderful photos.

 You can find Sara’s work at:

Twitter: @saragdc


Monday, July 14, 2014

Summertime...and the Living is Easy: A Collection from the Buffalo Etsy Team

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Buffalo Etsy Team Interview: Sinthea from Knit•Laugh•Wine


Sinthea and artist-husband Justin opened their Etsy shop, Knit•Laugh•Wine, in December 2013. In addition to running the shop, they both have full-time jobs outside the home, and run around after four young boys ages 2, 6, 8 and 12. Dissatisfied with similar, commercially available products to prevent the inevitable baby boy peepee spray, she designed a knit version. In June, she applied for a copyright for her unique pattern.

With four sons, your knit specialty was born out of necessity. Was it after the first one that you thought "Enough is enough" ?
>>>  Honestly, I didn’t learn to knit until after boy number three, Grady, was born.  We started using cloth diapers to be environmentally friendly as well as to stop using disposables because of harsh chemicals. With cloth diapers, I needed diaper covers to stop any type of leaks he had. The wool covers I bought were hand-knit with hand-dyed wool. They were beautiful but very costly. I was paying for yarn and a knitter to make them. I finally said enough is enough and learned to knit. It was only after I learned to knit that I saw adorable Pee-pee TeepeesTM and I thought man, what a great idea! I’ve been getting sprayed for years! I saw teepees that were made of fabric and sewn. I thought if I can make them myself by knitting them it would save me some money — plus hand-knit goods, I feel, are always more durable than goods made of fabric, especially when it comes to urine. I’ve been knitting them ever since and they have really come in handy since we decided to add to our family. Of course we have yet another little boy!

How is your product different?
>>>  There are many products you can buy that are made with fabric that will shield the urine spray, but my hand-knit ones feature:
• AIRFLOW  Tiny holes help with airflow, for a more comfortable baby.
• BETTER FIT  Due to the nature of yarn, our covers are very stretchy for that perfect fit. Fabric covers don't stretch, and fall off when baby moves.
• COMFORT  Our covers are knit in a circle, so there are virtually no seams to cause irritation.
• DURABILITY  Acrylic (if you choose our acrylic) is resistant to moths, oils, chemicals and deterioration from sunlight — unlike fabric. Fabric covers become thin and fade after a few washes. Handknits last a very long time and can withstand years of use.
• UNIQUENESS  You can find sewn covers everywhere, but hand-knit ones can only be found through Knit•Laugh•Wine. You will never give the same gift as someone else at a baby shower!
Do you ever make anything for yourself?
>>>  Sometimes! With four little boys, most of my knitting is for them. Winter hats, mittens, scarves... they pretty much lose them as soon as they put them on! When it's time to knit for myself, it's usually a decorative cowl or small scarf. If I am feeling up to a challenge, I will knit myself a pair of socks. There's nothing better than the feeling of hand-knit wool on your feet, but they're very time-consuming so I only have a few pairs.

I've heard knitting described as a portable craft. Where's the most unusual place you've knitted?>>> The most unusual place was at an annual, worldwide event called "The Big Latch On." Mothers who breastfeed try to break records for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously. It's fun to be part of it, and my son Sullivan and I have been in the world record two years in a row for "most babies nursing at the same time." I have knit there while waiting for the event to begin. I knit little hats that looked like breasts to bring awareness to breastfeeding in public. I gave them away for free at the event. The mamas loved them!

You also offer knit wine glass cozies and boot cuffs in your shop. Any new products on the horizon?>>> Due to the season we will, very soon, be adding lots of reusable, environmentally friendly, hand-knit market bags. I use them all the time at farmer's markets and the grocery store. I get many compliments on them! They're so handy... they're small and compact yet stretch a ton — plus they are durable and machine-washable. Keep an eye out for those in the very near future.

One last question, just for fun: Do you and Justin own anything fragile?
 >>> Absolutely not! We discovered that sofas and box springs are fragile, even though you wouldn't think so.

Instagram: Knitlaughwine

Wanelo:  www.wanelo.com/Knitlaughwine

Many thanks to Nicole Johnson of Mealy Monster for initiating the original Buffalo Etsy Team interviews!

Until I ask questions again, this is Carla from 716 Buffalos wishing you a happy summer and loads of Buffalove!  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Unusual storage options

I love organizing stuff.

Now, this doesn't mean my house is organized a la Martha Stewart Living. What it does mean is that I buy a lot of containers, boxes, shelves, and other crap. I'm constantly on the hunt for a "better" way, especially when it comes to my jewelry making.

Some of my Etsy items have been a challenge to store. I have a decent system going on with the jewelry boxes and mailing envelopes - both conveniently fit into a wide plastic storage drawer.

Other things have been more of a "that'll do" situation. For instance, the earring cards. I make them myself from cardstock so they fit into small boxes.

I have four different size and storing them has been really strange - they're too long for a lot of small storage. At first they were just in a pile. I bought one of those small metal divider racks from Walmart and put them in there, but they fell out the sides and it was generally Not A Good Idea.

Last year, I found these little flip-top boxes from Walmart that were just the right size, and cut the lids off. Shame that I could NEVER find those boxes again, because I needed more to store all the card sizes. Ah, Walmart. I was getting really frustrated trying to fit my square-peg earring cards into the round-hole plastic storage boxes that I found at Michael's, Walmart, ACMoore and everywhere else. Nothing was small enough, wide enough or compact enough to really work.

A few months ago, I stumbled on this really cute little box and had one of those "aha" moments. It had been misplaced in the jewelry section, and the label said it was for fishing lures. So I wandered over to the fishing gear section and lo and behold:

Under $3! I never in a million years would have guessed that a fishing lure box would be perfect for storing my earring cards.

Awesome! I snapped the lid off and now I have a perfect storage solution for my earring cards.

What kind of containers have you found work particularly well for storing your Etsy craft goods? Let us know in the comments!

— Jocelyn | paragraphloop.etsy.com

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Baby and New Parent Gifts

Looking for that unique and handmade gift for a baby shower? Or something for the new parent? Find it here from Buffalo Etsy Team members!