Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome To My Studio --- Two Dancing Crows

Today's featured studio belongs to Kelle Arvay of  http://www.etsy.com/shop/twodancingcrows.
I just love having a studio to work in. Mine is a large room that was build off our 3 car garage (to hubby's dismay it's now a 2 car garage) and it is appx 9.5 x 28 feet. I love how bright and airy it is! In the summer I have A/C and heat in the winter. I'd like to invite you to take a tour of my studio! So come on in...

The view above is while standing just inside the entrance.

This view is looking the opposite way. That carpet we actually just changed  and it's now a wonderful berber. Notice that on half the floor I have carpet and the other half is tile. Works well to have one table for painting sitting on the tiled floor instead of the carpet (:

As you walk in on the left is my "office center". That's a fancy name I gave it though it just means it's just my desk, computer and office "stuff".

I love this desk though! I bought it from a antique place that was going out of business. So grabbed it for a steal. That desktop cubby you see, I cut the top so my flat screen monitor would be able to sit back into it. It worked out quite well.

Off to the right of the room you'll find my sewing table. Isn't that little Singer Featherweight just too cute! It's actually the only working sewing machine I have and I just love it! An old multiple cubby tote that has been painted a shabby white serves as a catch all for all my "smalls". It makes a nice little storage tote.

Next we have my painting table. Here I utilize a rotating painting rack for some of my paints as well as a old drawer turned sideways that I filled with paints, Modge Podge and other painting tools. The robin egg blue tote in the center also serves as storage.

Here is a close up of the old drawer. I really enjoy using old or vintage items as storage. Not only are they functional but they have a lot of visual appeal. Note the little oil cans sitting on top. I have a little collection of oil cans and funnels. Not sure why I'm drawn to them but I just find them delightful!

Also you'll notice I use old metal pots like the robin egg blue one on the bottom shelf. These make great little catch alls.

If you are a painter, it's a must to have a way to store all those little paint bottles. Right now I use this little spinning rack. Eventually I'd like to have hubby build me a wall unit where I can store all my paints as well as a built in rack for all my paint brushes. Just have to convince him that I really NEED one.

I love this chair. This sits next to my painting desk in case any guest come to visit or a small child needs a place to sit and help Mommy paint. It's a very comfortable chair too. I picked it up at an auction for $10 I believe. I think that was a great buy. It's amazing what you can snag at auctions for a song.

Most of the things you see in my studio either came from auctions, antique malls or even garage sales. Those places it seems the most interesting things can be found. So next time you see an ad in the paper about a upcoming auction or pass that garage sale sign you may consider going to it! You never know what treasure or bargain you'll find.

This mustard shelf unit I found at a garage sale. It was the ugliest thing until I gave it a make over. Originally it was just this ugly dark wood so I decided to paint it and simply love the results. As you can see it serves as a book shelf, fabric storage and of course display area for some of my goodies.

One can never have enough fabric you know. My stash looks puney compared to others I've seen. But it's growing! I don't know about you, but I have a hard time passing up fabric. Especially if it's beautiful, colorful and feels good to the touch. There's just something about yardage of colorful fabric. Shoot, fabric is a decoration all in itself!

Of course every studio needs a TV. Every now and then I watch HGTV, but that isn't too often as I find it on Sponge Bob more often than not. When my daughter is in the studio with me she manages to get first dibs on the TV. I swear I know every single episode of Sponge Bob by heart now. It's a good thing I like that funny yellow fellow (: We opted to mount the TV up on the wall. This works perfectly and is a great space saver. I also have a radio so at times I'll listen to music while I'm working

This fantastic shelf I bought at a antique mall just as it is for $40. I love the color. As you can see it holds more fabric as well as some knick Knacks. In the drawers there is more supplies and the cupboards below hold more fabric. I should of taken a picture of the fabric in there too but you get the idea I'm sure.

I love that gumball machine. Of course there are no gumballs in it because if there were I'd end up with a tummy ache from eating them all! I have a terrible sweet tooth and love candy. If anyone wants to send me candy...Pez is my favorite (:

This old spindle baby bed was given new life with a coat of soft green. It used to have rockers on it but I took those off so it's more stable.

Believe it or not every now and then I have a litter of Pug puppies that sleep in there. I bring them in the studio if I know I'll be out there awhile and need to watch them. It's adorable as their dam will lay in there as well nursing them to sleep.

A big thank you to Kelle for letting us walk through her studio with her.   You can visit Kelle's blog here,

 If you would like to share where you do your creating,  send us an email through our contact form.   We would love to talk to you about it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Back to School Time

It's that time of year again when most kids have started or are getting ready to start back to school.

Things can get a little hectic if we're not careful, so I scoured the internet for some ideas to help us along the way.

The first article I found was at www.flylady.net
There is a wealth of information to be absorbed here, they talk about establishing habits and not just habits for Mom and Dad... but for the kids!

After my visit with fly lady, I hopped over to organizedhome.com. They also have a lot of great ideas and tips including creating a family calendar and the art of easing your children back into a sleep schedule.

My next stop was at www.justmommies.com The author doesn't have kids in school nor is she in school herself, but she has some really great ideas on getting the household organized by using some back to school supplies.

The final stop was at www.amazingmoms.com where I found ideas for keeping school papers organized, keeping lunchboxes clean and building a school station.

I found some great information to help me and and my family. Hopefully you will too!
See ya Next Time!
Deena Davis

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Selling Online --- Part Three

Today we're featuring part 3 of our Selling Online series and we're going to talk about selling on Zibbet.com

Zibbet is a global marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers of Handmade Goods, Fine Art, Vintage Items and Crafting Supplies.
It's FREE to list your items on Zibbet, and when they sell, Zibbet doesn't take a cut of your sales. You get to keep every penny... That's the way it should be!

Basic accounts are totally FREE. They give you your own shop, web address, promotional tools and customer support, all for FREE. With a Basic account you can have up to 25 items in your shop at a time. When an item sells, you can replace it by listing another one. You can sell as many items as you want and you won't pay.
Premium accounts are $9.95/month. You can upgrade to a full-featured Premium account at any time, and enjoy the freedom of listing as many items as you want, plus the flexibility of having full control over the customization of your shop's color theme, and layout. 
SPECIAL OFFER: If you would like to try out a Premium Account you can do so for free for 7 days,use the coupon code: FREETRIAL

Over the past few weeks, we have talked about selling on Etsy, Artfire and now Zibbet. These are not the only places to sell online. We found many others so be sure to check some of them out. It doesn't hurt to have your things on several venues as long as you feel you can keep up with them.

Some of the other places we found were...

Stay tuned next week for another post about selling online. We're going to discuss selling blogs.

Deena Davis

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Handmade Sampler Giveaway -- Lost Sock Basket DONE

Welcome to another Handmade Sampler Giveaway.    Today's giveaway is sponsored by Bette Shaw of Bette's Tomorrows Treasures.

Bette is a crafter and designer.    Today's giveaway is one of her Lost Sock Fabric Baskets, made from  a Print and Sew pattern designed by Bette and Deena Davis.

What really happens to the missing socks that get lost doing laundry? Do you think this mystery will ever be solved?
This basket is a great place to store the socks you have laying around waiting for it's mate.

You can earn up to three entries by doing the following...

1. Visit Bette's Etsy shop,   http://www.handmadebybette.etsy.com  and come back here and post a comment with your favorite item in her shop. Be sure and leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.

2. Earn one extra entry by becoming a follower of this blog. Already a follower? Just let us know so we can give you credit.

3. Earn an extra entry by posting this giveaway on your blog along with a link to this blog. Be sure and let us know you have done this.

(USA  entries only, please)

The giveaway will start today, Saturday, August 28.   The last day to enter will be Sept. 16, 2010 and the winner will be announced on Sept. 17, 2010.    We will announce it here and contact you by the email address you have left.

Have fun and good luck!

Would you like to sponsor a giveaway?  Are you interested in promoting your store or blog.   If so, just email us. 
We would be happy to send you the details. byyourhandsblog@gmail.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Sharon from Maryland on winning the $20 Gift Certificate from www.ewenmeprintables.com

 You can meet Sharon on her blog, www.sharonkmiller.blogspot.com

The winner was picked using the true generator on Random.org. We want to thank ALL of you who took the time to enter and for all the wonderful comments.

Be sure and come back again tomorrow, we will have a new giveaway starting that you won't want to miss.

Would you like to be a sponsor for one of the giveaways on our blog?   It is a great way to get your craft business noticed.    For information email us at byyourhandsblog@gmail.com

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today's Featured Artist - Annie's Cupboard

Today's featured artist is Sherry Marrero of Annie's Cupboards.

Tell us a little about you?

My name is Sherry and I live in Sunny South Florida with my husband and 2 sons. I am a foodie. I love food. I also love fashion and adore crafting. I am a big time thrifty girl and will stalk my local thrift shops looking for vintage goods to decorate my house with or use in my crafts. I collect certain Pyrex dishes and handmade aprons.

How long have you been in business?
 I have been selling for almost 7 years.

How did you get started?
I started feeling really crafty in my early 20's and would spend hours bejeweling and working with sequins on shirts for my friends and to sell. After the 80's ended I started to make clothing for babies because I was a new mom. I took a sewing class to help me learn the workings of a sewing machine that was offered at my local high school. I then started making Halloween Costumes for my kids and my friends kids. I then moved to adult costumes. I then quit costumes and started making dolls in 2004. It was the best thing I have ever done. I was truly happy making rag dolls that looked as if they were vintage. I love vintage. I then just continued my sewing love and it takes me to new places of creativity every day.

What is involved in making your craft?
I sew a bunch on my sewing machine. I sew dolls, aprons, dresses, bags, purses. I also make doll houses out of crafty little things I can find. So I am painting. I also love to repurpose items. So I will take a vintage pillowcase and make it into a shirt or a bag. I am very crafty with a few baby jars. I love turning trash into treasure.

What is your favorite thing to make?
Currently? Oh dear. Doll Houses at the moment.

Do you have set hours to work?
I treat my crafting like a job. I start at 9am. I finish at 4pm. However I have been known to work the late shift and pull a few weekend shifts too. I can't shut it off sometimes. I  love to craft and seeing how there is just me making everything, I don't mind when I get a little overtime in.

What are your future plans for your business?
There are many goals and plans that I have for my business. I would love to write a book and actually get it published. I would love to have an Annies Cupboard's doll in every single state across America and then work my way around the country.

What does handcrafting mean to you?
 Handcrafted to me means someone who took the time to love something so much to make it with their hands and experience the process and put all of their focus and time and love into what they made.

Where do you sell your crafts at?
I am currently selling my crafts at local indie craft shows and online. 
My upcoming craft show is this Oct. 2, 2010 at Stitch Rock in Delray Beach, Fl. 
On Etsy:      http://www.etsy.com/shop/anniescupboards 
My Webstie:  http://www.anniescupboards.com.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Handmade Spotlight - Let's Sew!

Check out all these sewing patterns we found on ArtFire.com. You can get a closer look at them by clicking the button above.

Thanks for visiting!
Deena Davis

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rag Quilting Tutorial --- Part Four

Welcome to part four of my rag quilting tutorial.   Today I want to give you some figures so that you can decide what size quilt you would like to make.

 You may find you would like to continue on and make a bed size quilt because these larger blocks make the quilting go a lot faster.    The finished large blocks should measure 19 1/2 inches.   When the blocks are sewn together they will measure 18 inches.

Small Lap quilt will take 2 blocks across and 3 blocks down   =   36 inches x 54 inches

Large Lap quilt will take 3 blocks across and 4 blocks down  =    54 inches x 72 inches

Twin Bed quilt will take 4 blocks across and 5 blocks down   =     72 inches x 90 inches

Full Bed quilt  will take 5 blocks across and 5 blocks down    =     90 inches x 90 inches

Queen Bed quilt  will take 5 blocks across and 6 blocks down  =    90 inches x 108 inches

King Bed quilt will take 6 blocks across and 6 blocks down   =    108 inches x 108 inches

From approximately one yard of flannel you can cut the backings for two of the large blocks.   You might be able to get a few more squares from continuous yardage.    I have been cutting the backing pieces out as time permits but I don't have all of them cut out so I can't give exact yardages. 

I was only able to finish one more block this week.

I pinned it together with the first block.  Then sewed them together in a 3/4 inch seam. 

And here is the finished section.

I hope to have a finshed lap quilt size to show you next week.    If you have been following along and have a finished lap quilt done,  we would love to see it.    Just email me through our contact form at the top of the blog and let me know.  

Thanks for visiting today,   Bette

Monday, August 23, 2010

10 Tips To Keep the Crafter More Organized

Are you an organized crafter? Whether the answer is yes or no, maybe these 10 organizational tips will help you along your crafty way.

1. Store small objects, such as buttons, eyelets and beads in small clear containers, you can see what's in them at a glance.

2. Keep all your "like" objects in one place... scissors in one drawer, punches on a shelf, thread in one box. When you need a specific item, you'll know where to look.

3. Use stacking paper mache boxes to store items in. You can decorate them to match your decor and the things inside stay hidden and the space is less cluttered.

4. Make a "kit". If you are working on a project, find a box and put all your items for the project in it. When you're ready to work on it, everything will be there.

5. Are you a painter? Store paint with like colors together.

6. Avoid sewing malfunctions by taking a few practice stitches on a scrap of the fabric you'll be sewing.

7. Keep a threaded needle in your pin cushion. If you are ever in a hurry to sew on an emergency button, you'll thank yourself for doing it.

8. Do you have a lot of crafting to do tomorrow? Plan ahead and prepare a meal for dinner in the crockpot.

9. Using glue? Keep a tub of baby wipes or a damp washcloth handy to wipe off your fingers.

10. Put it away! When you're finished with tools and supplies, put them back where they belong, that way you'll be able to find it next time you need it.

Now it's your turn, leave us a comment with your favorite crafty tip. We'd love to hear from you.

Thank you for joining us!
Deena Davis

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Selling Online --- Part Two

Today we're featuring part 2 of our Selling Online series and we're going to talk about selling on ArtFire.com

ArtFire.com is the home of many handmade sellers from around the globe. Sellers can sell handmade, vintage items or supplies. It's fairly simple to set up a studio and start selling on ArtFire. They have two options. Their Basic Account and a Pro or verified seller accounts.

A basic account is FREE! Yes, FREE!! You can list an unlimited amount of items. A Pro account is $15.95 per month but has a lot more features than the Basic account. You can compare the two accounts here

Unlike etsy, there is no individual listing fee for each item. If you are a pro seller, you simply pay a monthly fee of $15.95/month or if you are a basic seller, you pay NOTHING. Now, keep in mind, you will need a PayPal account and they charge a fee for every transaction. You also have the option of  using Google Checkout and Amazon for collecting payments on ArtFire.com

ArtFire.com has quite a few help guides for any question you may have about selling and setting up your shop. You can find them here

The forums on ArtFire are a great place to find answers and most members are happy and eager to help answer your questions.

Do you have questions concerning setting up an account? You can find the answers here

The key to successful selling online with any venue is promotion. Once you set up your shop, be sure to promote it. You can find many places online to promote your shop for nearly no cost and some that are paid. We will cover promoting your shop in another post in this series.

Thanks for joining us!
Deena Davis

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trash to Treasure --- Dresser Transformation

Today we have a guest poster,   Miss Mustard Seed,   from  http://missmustardseed.blogspot.com/.

Dresser Transformation
What do you do with a dresser that has drawers beyond repair?

You take them out and replace them with a couple of shelves, of course...or at least you have your husband do that and then you paint it. 

The construction of these drawers were ok, but the veneer was in terrible condition.  It was either put new fronts on or take them out.  I opted to take them out.  My husband built two plywood shelves and trimmed them in the original trim that separated the drawers.  Isn't he clever?

I painted the dresser in Creamy by Sherwin Williams and the interior in a pretty blue.

I found a galvanized box that was the perfect size for one of the cubbies.  It's for sale separately, but hopefully whoever sees it will love the box inside and have to buy both.  That's the idea, anyway!

I brought the blue of the interior up to the box mounted on the dresser top. 

 I really love how this dresser turned out...I think I may have to make another. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome To My Studio --- Cave Creek Studio

 We have a new feature here on By Your Hands.   We will be showcasing the places where you create your handmades.

 Today's guest poster is Laura Obiso of Cave Creek Studio.   You can visit Laura's shop here:

I LOVE my studio, and I give thanks every day that I'm able to have my own space in which to create.  For years and years I've worked on my computer desk or kitchen table, so having my own space is a real treat.  Remember to click on the photos for a larger view.

This is my studio building.  It's a 16 x 20 pre-built shed that was delivered here last March (much to the moans and groans of the driver who had to get it off the truck and up this little hill!)  I still have to work on the flower beds next spring - I'm thinking herbs and flowers for drying to use in the dolls, but it's a shady spot so I'll have to do some research on what will grow.

This is the view coming in the front door and looking at the main part of the work area.

This is actually neat, most of the time it looks more like this:

There are windows at each end and windows on either side of the front door, so it's well-lit.  I also have overhead lights and a ceiling fan, and lights on the back wall over the formica work space.  So, as you come in the front door, we'll go first to the right:

My sewing center is to the right of the front door.  I love my cabinet and my new Janome Threadbanger.

One of my best purchases when we outfitted the building were simple thread holders from Walmart.  I also bought a LOT of thread from one company, and I thought it was a pretty neat coincidence that the spools were red, matching the accents on my machine!

Continuing around the room to the left of the sewing center I have an old easy chair in the corner covered with an old quilt - this is where I sit and do handwork, and to the left of that and directly opposite the front door, is this baker's rack:

The baker's rack holds some finished pieces on the top shelf - my Cricut Expression  and other assorted stuff.  I use a lot of tins and baskets to hold small items. One of my better purchases was a set of studio lights and a light box for taking photos - but there's no place to really store them so I just sort of keep moving them around out of my way...so that's the big black light.  There's another on the other end..

OK, to the left of the baker's rack we're back to the main work space.  It's a formica counter attached to the wall and open underneath - great for storage but it does tend to get a little messy.

Try as I might, I have difficulty keeping this space clear.  My vintage buttons are in the antique bowls (and I have boxes and boxes of them under the work bench).  At the moment I have plastic containers, baskets and old tins holding assorted items under the bench, but I'm hoping to find some wooden apple crates for that space. Otherwise, I'll have to make me some fabric boxes.

Continuing around to the left, we come to the other end window where there's a small AC unit, and to the left of that in the corner, is my "office" where I keep a computer, printer, and postage scale.

The little white cabinet I bought for $15.  It had two cute glass doors covering that open shelf and one was broken, so I got a deal.  We took the doors off - someday we'll fix them and put them back on maybe. The cabinet holds my shipping stuff and the computer paper.  The wooden desk is a piece I brought home from my Mother's after she passed last year.  I was with her when she bought it and it's a little bit of Mom - who taught me to sew and be creative - that I keep near.

To the left of the office area, and in front of the other half of the front door (that I really don't use) is this sort of eyesore cabinet that holds all my fabric stash - lots of storage so I'm really not complaining. I keep my shipping boxes on the top of it.

It doesn't look bad when the doors are closed and it keeps the dust off the fabrics and covers up an ungodly mess.

A big thank you to Laura for letting us walk through her studio with her.   You can visit Laura's blog here,

 If you would like to share where you do your creating,  send us an email through our contact form.   We would love to talk to you about it.