GG: It’s not easy being green

With all those gorgeous handmade items available from the various Handmade Philly members, it’s so hard to pick just a few for a guide!! I know green has been used as a focus in the past but I think it’s definitely one worth going back to especially as all our green leaves start slipping away.  I’m sure you’ll agree after you’ve checked out the following items, available now (just click the picture!).

Green printed shirt from Bud and Branch

Felted Wool Mobile from SqrlBee

Green (while they’re not green in the photo, you can custom order them in green!! With any monogram you’d like! :)) monogrammed napkins from MaryJo Rosania

Chompin Broccoli print from You Wanna Talk Jive

Mung Bean Pendant from Real Fruit Jewelry

Three pack card set from Mattson

The Andrea from Steel Pony

Frida earrings from Night Owl Designs

Thank you notes from The Lettered Set

Green cloth mobile from Poppy and Bean

Sewing basket by BGartman

Stuffed owl from Crinoline

Papier mache pear from Insitu Decorative Arts

For purple, blue, white – or any other color you can think of – check out more items available here!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

GG: Autumn Glory

Ahh, finally the autumn is upon us! Even though the weather here in the northeast is kind of faking us out (high 70s and humidity?? where am i?!?), I promise that fall is on its way. And in preparation for this lovely season to come, I’ve gathered some wonderful items from the artisans of Handmade Philly.

Neck cowl from Lemonhalf

Fingerless Mitts from Blue Betty Shop

Autumn leaves necklace from Chandeluse

Beret from Mels Bells Cloche Hats

For the birds flying south this fall – a necklace from LaRoca Gallery

Scarf from Punk Rocknits

Tea bags print from PragyaK

Toddler slippers from Wooly Baby

Cup of joe locket from KVanvliet

Flower bath salts from Volta Soaps

Forests of the world stationery set from ReadWriteBooks

Green glass earrings from Wydinya Studio

Even if you’re not prepared to move into fall, don’t forget to check out a ton more items available here appropriate for any season!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

Meet Anna Holler of Fiber Gut

1.      Would you introduce yourself, your background and about the origins of your work.

My name is Anna Holler.   I’m a Philadelphia based artist and mum to two little girls.  At some point in my early 20’s I walked into a fabric store and picked up a few yards of fabric, a needle, thread, some elastic and a few buttons and went home to make a vision come to life.  It took months to stitch together one skirt, but each article of clothing that I made was a true work of art.  As soon as I was able to scrape together the money, I ran out and bought myself a little sewing machine.  It was nothing fancy, but it got the job done.  Soon, I was running home from work and classes to force my imagination out into the tangible, real world.  Before long I was only wearing clothes that I made and soon after I was putting together custom outfits for friends, which was naturally followed by selling them to strangers.  This was before the days of Etsy, when having my own website seems like a tech-savvy impossibility.  At this point I would sign up to vend at music festivals all over the east coast and travel with my dresses, a tent and a table at all times. 

After my children were born, I found it very difficult to sew.  I’m the sort of seamstress who abandons all sense of time when she’s designing and I lose myself in the process.  With two tiny daughters to care for, I was too tired to clean up the tornado of a craft space and lacked the motivation to do much more than watch TV at the end of my night.  It was around this time that I became interested in knitting.

I ran out to my local craft store and bought myself one of those “teach yourself to knit” kits.   I read it and taught myself (sort of.)  Soon I learned that this book was impossible to follow.  I signed up for a few lessons from a local yarn shop and realized that I had taught myself incorrectly and had to relearn every stitch and technique.  I also discovered what beautiful yarn is. 

2. What do you think makes your work different?

One of the things that is unique about my work is that I do not use patterns.  I work from imagination, which makes each of my articles entirely unique.  It is a creation, rather than a replication.   I value this a lot in my art. 

3.)  What are the things you do best?

I have a real knack for color.  I love bright colors and rich fibers.  The yarn I use tends to be locally spun because I feel committed to supporting Philadelphia’s local artists.  If it is locally spun, it is pure heaven.  Choosing yarn is something of a religious, spiritual experience for me.  I don’t actually feel as though I choose it at all.  It chooses me.  Or, at least that’s what I tell my husband when I come home from Loop with an empty wallet and a guilty conscience.  “I was powerless!!!!”  Sometimes I struggle with the yarn that I use.  It’s usually incredibly expensive, which means that I have to raise the prices of my goods.  This is the dark side of crafting for me and I hate it. 

In these pictures you see the green cowl that is an adjustable neck warmer, hand-knitted with Spud and Chloe organic silk and cotton yarn.  It’s embellished with blue crystals.  The other one is a chunky neckwarmer made from merino wool and embellished with a large, yellow, wooden button.

4.) How has the popularity of the internet effected your business.

 The Internet brings great possibility.  I am still very tech-scared and so I haven’t utilized the great and vast powers of the e-world as I should.  I’m working on overcoming my electronic fear and making some positive changes in this respect. 

5.)  What is your workspace like?

One of the things that makes knitting such a great art for me is it’s ability to work on the go.  My work place is seriously the world.  It is my couch as I’m cuddled up with my dog and husband.  It’s the passenger seat of a car.  It’s the waiting room of a Dr’s office.  It’s in a coffee shop with a friend.  Some of my nicest pieces have been developed on airplane rides.  I don’t store much yarn because I tend to use it all right away.  Even my scraps are crafted into small embellishments.  And my knitting needles are constantly being misplaced and left behind.  I should probably find a better way of storing them! 

5. How did you come up with the name Fiber Gut for your etsy shop?

The name Fiber Gut began as Gutsy Girl Fibers and was later shortened to Gutsy Fibers.  I wasn’t comfortable with this name, and my husband suggested Fiber Gut.  I like it.  It sounds tough (and I’m pretty tough.  “Grrrrrrrrrrrrarah.“)  

6. What are your plans for 2010?

This year I’d like to see my Etsy shop grow a bit and become more disciplined as an artist.  I’d also like to begin incorporating my partings and decoupage projects in my shop.  I’m very interested in participating in Project Linus as well.  (  It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t made the time for yet. 

Newly, I’ve become aware of Handmade Philly and am interested in participating in the group.  I see so many fun craft events listed and would really like to display my art in this respect. 

I do tend to become incredibly focused on one thing at a time… but I am constantly creating.  Whether my creations be people, food, fabric or yarn… I am always involved in something that is in the process of becoming and evolving.  I do not like to follow other people’s directions, and so I suppose that I am pretty good at implementing my own visions and making them tangible, beautiful things. 

You can find more of Anna’s beautiful things at her etsy shop.
 and check her out on facebook.!/MamaHoller?ref=ts

Hope you enjoyed another interview and thanks for reading — Jan www.thejmccollection,com

Spring Flowering

Just a wee bit of color pushing through the wintry landscape…perhaps a tinge of gold at peel of a birch, a glimmer of purple-hued crocus sparkling on the forest floor, dewy moss casting a brilliant green to the edge of a creek, or the whisper of a snow drop petal’s sweet welcome. All of these things bring a feeling of renewal, revitalization, and quiet awakening as we emerge from our wintry dens to feel the balmy new breezes of springtime. In perusing the artistic coffers of Philadelphia artisans, I found the following gold-tinged blossoming gems. That delicate eruption of color from the milky whites and frothy cream is enough to remind me that warmth is nigh, even if I still have to pull my hood up over my head for a few more weeks.


These absolutely stunning fairy wings are the exquisite, careful work of Rebecca Dixon, proprietor of etsy shop, Up from the Ashes I just hope that one day I can become the owner of one of these accessories to fantasy delight!

Grace Christie's lovely 'Rain' earrings

Grace Christie's lovely 'Rain' earrings

No one can deny the striking beauty of Grace Christie’s bejeweled creations. Like the afternoon sunlight filtering through a light spring drizzle, these earrings sparkle with a many hued light. You can find Grace Christie at her etsy site of the same name.

Sew Fragrant's Little Birdie

Sew Fragrant's Little Birdie

A delightful touch of whimsy for the Easter Basket, the Baby Shower, or any other event that delivers – in hushed tones, perhaps – spring growth, new growth, little birdie growth and happily, the arrival of little ones. Philly artisan, Patti, gives us all the chance to offer such sweet gifts at her shop Sew Fragrant.

SayHiBeth's adorable vintage magnets

SayHiBeth's adorable vintage magnets

What says ‘spring’ more than the hurry of little girls to begin skipping rope outside. I might not be little, but it seems pretty appealing to me! And I will say that for the two and a half year olds like my daughter, nothing is more appealing than getting out of doors at long last. And for such joyous weather! Say Hi Beth’s etsy shop is full of all kinds of wonderful vintage magnet sets. It won’t be long before some of these adorn my own fridge.

Harvest Sky Ring

Harvest Sky Ring

I know, I know, the name of this ring is “Harvest Sky” but who can mistake that clear blue of springtime, the golden branches merely a hold over from winter bareness, their silhouettes bathed in the hazy light following a light shower? Well, I can pretend. Isn’t that the glory of art? We see what we want to see. My stepmother already wears one of Dierdre Ryan’s photo rings, and many more can be found at her etsy shop, blackbird72.

Jen McCleary's picture postcard

Jen McCleary's picture postcard

For someone who delights in collage, Jen McCleary seems to have no end to the creative expanses of her imagination. Her artwork jewelry pieces are completely original and beautiful to behold, especially in person. And what’s this? Wonderful postcard prints of her collaged art pieces. And for a dollar? Astounding. Sign me up! And you, too, dear reader, should visit her shop for more. Find her at etsy under the name JenMcCleary

New springtime creations are all around us! Look for us locally area events, including the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and the Fishtown Shad Fest for new, interesting, and endlessly creative creations.

Lilith's Apothecary glycerin soaps

Lilith's Apothecary glycerin soaps

Sarah Powell, is a medical anthropologist, herbalist, crafter, and the sole proprietor of the natural bath, body & herbal tea business, Lilith’s Apothecary.

Philly Etsy Team wins 3rd Place at the Pabst Blue Ribbon Craft Challenge!

Headliner Band, (as seen in above slideshow): Wes Mattheu and the New Way Down, Thanks to all of the bands who played at the PBR Craft Challenge! The Sideshow Prophets, Kill You in the Face, The Great Unknown, and Univox

Philly Etsy Team wins 3rd Place in the Pabst Blue Ribbon Crafting Challenge
Congrats to all of the PBR Craft Challenge Winners!

On Saturday February 21st a few of the Philly Etsy Team members got together and shared a table for the Pabst Blue Ribbon Crafting Challenge, organized by the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market, and sponsored by Pabst!

Please see Rebecca's blog for more PBR Event Pictures! Please see Rebecca's blog for more PBR Event Pictures! Please see Rebecca's blog for more PBR Event Pictures!
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Honorable Mention: Bettie and Earl

Honorable Mention - Bettie and Earl PBR Craft Challenge

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NY Etsy Team Member BeadscarfRight next to the Philly Etsy Team Table was a member of the New York Etsy Team “ Please see the New New Team’s, (NY,) Etsy profile, and their blog.

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The Philly Etsy Team was also interviewed by Nick Diulio, Beer Expert, Writer, among many other things. Please visit Nick’s blog to read more about him!

There were many other crafters who attended this all-PBR Themed Craft Challenge. If you were present at this event please leave a comment with your website information!

* It was just so difficult to include every crafter here, but we just had to give one last shout out to Amanda Shames Illustration!

Amanda Shames Illustration

Thanks to for yelping about this special PBR Event!

Please click Play >> to view pictures of their Jenga game!

And last but not least a huge all-time thank you to Julie of the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market, and Daniel the Field Marketing Manager of Pabst!

Please be sure to visit the official PBR Website, and PBR Art Gallery!

Monthly Meeting Photo Album January 2009

Here are a few of our favorite pictures from the Philly Etsy Team Meeting at Mew Gallery! January 2009, 3rd Friday of the month.
Etsy shops who participated at the team meeting, and are in the following photographs: Sue Lynne in the City, Beck’s Buttons, Jen McCleary, Best Available Productions, Studio Captura, Mousse au Chocolat, Red Red Orange, Say Hi Beth, The La – La Theory, Sqrl & Bee Studio, Jerica’s Jewelry, Pigeons in the Attic, and many thanks to meeting leader Allison Ostertag.

Photo by Pigeons in the Attic, Philly Etsy Team January 2009Photo by Pigeons in the Attic, Philly Etsy Team January 2009Photo by Andrew of Sqrl and Bee Studio

Photo by Pigeons in the Attic, Philly Etsy Team January 2009 Photo by Pigeons in the Attic, Philly Etsy Team January 2009

Photo by Pigeons in the Attic, Philly Etsy Team January 2009


Meeting Maria Thomas, Etsy’s CEO

On Thursday, October 23rd, a group of 6 Philly Team Etsians met with Maria Thomas,
the CEO of Etsy. Rumored to be a simple meet-and-greet, the gathering quickly shifted from social pleasantries to a vibrant Etsy research and development session. Maria guided us with incisive questions. Her goal was to stimulate an informative talk session where she could be like a fly on the wall, listening and taking notes that could guide future improvements for Etsy.

Etsy’s CEO was really interested in our experiences as individual Etsy sellers, so we started there. As we went around the circle introducing ourselves and sharing our stories about discovering and using Etsy, our small group revealed itself to be pretty diverse.This helped with the lively discussion that followed.

*One attendee, Jennifer of jericasjewelry, is new to Etsy.
*Suzy (KlaatuCollection) has been with Etsy since its beginnings.
*Sarah (RedRedOrange) relocated from San Fran.
*Allison (AllisonOstertag) is a strong member of Etsy and the Philly Team.
*Sarah ,our hostess, is head of all the Etsy teams world-wide as well as proprietress of girlscantell.
*And yours truly, Suzanne, is a one year etsian (insitudecorativearts) just returning to active membership.

One thing I love about Etsy is the ever-present evidence of thoughtful, supportive and persistent in-house development. New features and tools seem to be always in the works, which is a good thing. Yet with complexity and rapid growth come challenges. With these realities in mind, our group began sharing feedback about the pluses and minuses of the Etsy interface system as it impacts both sellers and shoppers.

Navigation and search capabilities are at the forefront of any talk about Etsy. We talked about tags, the linking search words entered by sellers. How can we make things even easier for shoppers searching for goods while increasing traffic and sales to appropriate shops? Search results from entering tags can number in the hundreds, with the most recently listed (or re-listed) goods given priority at the beginning of the long list. Is this helping people find the incredible items they covet or is it a daunting hindrance?

Our new member Jennifer was often the focus for questions about the Etsy system. She wasn’t shy about pointing out the problems she had encountered as a first time seller setting up shop.
Maria made clear that making the site more user-friendly and fun for novices, whether they be buyers or sellers, is a priority for her.

The pros and cons of listing items was next on the agenda. It is a task that many busy crafters find overly time-consuming. The square format for thumbnails was bemoaned; Is there some way to have a tool where the seller could manipulate their photo within the square crop to avoid cutting off important features? How about sellers that have different colors, sizes, etc., available for one item? Is it possible to incorporate those choices into the listing process rather than requiring sellers to list each similar item separately? Or rely on customers using convos to indicate size, color and other variations, which buyers many times forget to enter? Customers would than have the option to fill out this info during a purchase transaction.

Support features for Etsy members were examined . Many described their difficulties in locating and using The Storque( the Etsy Blog), Community, Treasuries (did you know there was a Treasury West? I didn’t), The Virtual Lab (Thursday event where you can log on and ask questions. I didn’t understand this great feature either). Improvements seem to be on their way in this realm.

The benefits of teams, especially those based on locale like the Philly team, was discussed throughout. Locale teams, versus those defined by art form, used to be called Street teams but that moniker is kinda being fazed out. But the distinction still stands, and i think our members will agree that there are many benefits inherent in joining a real, rather than virtual, team.
Some of the team benefits delineated were:

*Pooling of skill sets to share for group projects.
*An ever-growing base to ask and answer questions about Etsy and crafting in general.
*Organizing of local craft events.
*Mentorship and support for new members.
*Resource sharing.

The possibilities seem endless.

So, our productive meeting sadly came to an end. We all stood up, drank a little more wine/mineral water while Maria was shown one of the teams’ goodie bags from DesignPhiladelphia. Then, as we loosely gathered out front, Maria seemed to disappear. As we looked up Ninth street we could see her gamely hailing a cab, NYC style. We waved good-bye as she sped away to catch her train for Brooklyn. She truly is a busy CEO.