Meet Etsy Seller Kooky Critters

Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today we would like to introduce you to Holly
and her Etsy shop KookyCritters

Kooky Critters has been selling on Etsy since February 2010, she specialize in making quirky and unique plushies. Today she is sharing a little about her shop and selling handmade items.

What motivated you to start your shop? 
My motivation to start this shop was most definitely my 3 kids.  We had spent a rainy summer day at the book store, looking over many craft/make your own softie sort of books and I had that "a-ha' type moment ("I could do this...").  We spent the next few rainy days (we had a long rainy stretch there) sketching our own monsters and ideas for plushies.  We had fun and they were so excited!  We started making some of them as gifts for friends and neighbors.  When they were a hit, a friend said to me "This is it, you know... you need to take this an run with it!"  I was hesitant at first, but the kids pushed me along and 3 years later, here we are.  :)

What is the story behind your shop name?
Kooky Critters was the name we came up with to convey the meaning and intent behind our creations.  They are meant to be silly, to make people laugh.  They are not supposed to be perfect as though made by machine...  They are carefully hand cut and stitched and not always perfect, but I think that is part of their charm.

What surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
I guess what surprised me the most is that people from all over the country that I did not know were buying up our Critters.  Each time an order came in it was so exciting!

What's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?
My philosophy is this: Life is what you make of it, so why not make it fun.  Our Critters and their personal bios are pretty goofy and intended to make our audience laugh.  I really do crack up each time I finish stitching up a Critter... really!

What do you do when you aren't working?
When I am not working, I am hanging out with the kids, driving back and forth to music lessons, Tae Kwon Do, walking the dog, playing the piano, digging in the garden, spending time with my amazing husband and enjoying this little life I have made for myself.

Boredom Busters for Kids and Adults

Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Here in NE Kansas schools, the local Colleges and Universities canceled classes again for the third day in less than a week.  Unheard of.  We are covered in a beautiful thick blanket of heavy, heavy snow - perfect for making snowmen.  In fact, the children are just now putting the finishing touches on a snow family to stand watch out front.   

If you have some crafty little souls in your house who are complaining of being BORED - heaven forbid - let us suggest these patterns and printable PDFs that will allow you to quickly get them engaged in a productive project that won't end in 30 seconds.  If these don't match your children's skill or interest level, don't fear, we have an amazing archive of projects, tutorials, and activities - check out all the categories you can search in our sidebar, bottom right!    

Sugar Bunny Cookies

Posted Monday, February 25, 2013

Spring is nearly here! And with that comes Easter yay!!
I love Easter! So many happy bright colours, and chocolate and playing outside in the sunshine again! Happy times : )
Getting all excited for Easter I wanted to make some cookies for the weekend, so made bunny cookies!

I used a basic sugar cookie recipe to make them, then added white icing and chocolate sprinkles. So super easy, and if you don't have a rabbit cookie cutter, why not make flowers with coloured sprinkles?

  • 100g Butter
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • Splash of vanilla essence
  • 225g Plain flour

Put the butter into a bowl, (if like me you forgot to take it out of the fridge to soften, zap it on a very low heat in the microwave so its soft but not melting). Add the sugar to the butter and mix together until it is light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix it up well again.

Slowly add the flour to the mixture, it works best to mix in with a spoon and not electric mixer I find.

Once the flour is mixed in, knead the mixture into a smooth dough. This bit is important for a nice texture and for rolling!

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 15-30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 180*C. While the oven is heating sprinkle a surface with some flour and a rolling pin and roll  out the dough to about 1cm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out your cookies and place them on a lightly greased baking tin. You can place them close together as the cookies will not grow in the oven.

Bake the cookies for 10 mins in the oven, until the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Leave them to cool on a wire rack before eating/decorating.

For the icing I used Brown Eyed Baker's tutorial, and managed to do it, although I have never been very good at icing!!
And then you add the sprinkles while the icing is still wet. And thats it! Enjoy your spring cookies!

Though the Weather Outside is Frightful

Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013

This was what my road looked like last week after 3 feet of snow fell in Connecticut.  I love the way the trees look in their winter white, but it's getting a little old. The snow, that is.  It's pretty at first, but now a week later, melting and refreezing, dirt thrown from the snowblower, the picture postcard charm is gone.

If I can't look outside for signs of spring, I'll try inside instead.  In my studio, I pulled out 50 yards of pastel and floral prints that I bought in the Garment District in New York, last year.  Why I haven't done anything with them yet, I can't imagine.  But I was very glad to have their cheery prints flung over my table. I am going to sew up a spring.

 If you can't wait for April showers or May flowers either right, now is a great time to check out these Etsykids Shops on Etsy.  Here are a few signs of early spring, delivered right to your door.

Leilas Flower Garden has everything you need to grow a garden on a bedroom wall.  You don't even need dirt or a shovel.  Never mind my daughter's room, I want these for my studio right now.
Crochet Village sells every pattern you could need to whip up your own bit of warm whimsy. The flamingos make me want to book my Florida plane tickets, right now!

A trip to  Masterpiece of Fun Art shows pages of little critters, cupcakes and cuties that will delight anyone with the winter blues.  The google eyes on these suns, made my day extra sunny.

EtsyKids Design Challenge: It's time to Vote!

Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's time to vote for your favorite item! Voting will be open until February 27th. This month, EtsyKids members were challenged to create an exciting new item based on a theme "First Days of Spring". We received a lot of fantastic entries, please vote for your favorite from the list below.

Meet Etsy Seller MaiseysDaiseys

Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Today we would like to introduce you to Jill
and her Etsy shop MaiseysDaiseys

MaiseysDaiseys has been selling on Etsy since January 2010, they specialize in making lovely paper mache accessories and flower hair bands designed by her daughter. Today she is sharing a little about her shop and selling handmade items.

What motivated you to start your shop? 
My daughter!  Our shop came into being because of her little creative head. When Macy was eight years old, she decided to make some jewelry that she and her friends could wear.  They loved it so much that she kept making more and more.  Most of the beads that she used were daisies, but one day she decided to try making beads out of paper. She started selling this new design at her schools art festival where it was a big hit. The following year, she and I thought her booth needed a little decor to go along with her jewelry, so that's when we made our big paper mache flowers.  We found that buyers of her jewelry loved those flowers too, so we started making them to sell. A short while later she thought ""why not try and put those paper mache flowers on a headband?"" She needed a little help from me, we tried it and it worked! We were so happy!
At this same time, Macy's other passion was dance (and still is).   With the money she made selling the headbands, she decided to put towards dance.  From her sales she has been able to pay for classes, competitions, costumes and workshops.  It continues to this day.  We are so grateful that we created our little shop which ended up being a great source of extra income too!

What is the story behind your shop name?
Because of her success, her little business was now in need of a name.  Her grandparents had nicknamed her "Maisey" playing off her name Macy. It only made sense to name it MaiseysDaiseys because of the combination of the original daisy beads and her nickname. It suites our shop well.

What surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
We were most surprised at how the sales immediately took off and all the positive feedback we received.  It is so fabulous to hear how pretty, creative and unique people think our flowers are.  Those wonderful comments mean the world to us and we are so appreciative.

What do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
Trying to keep up with the demand.  All our flowers are handmade at the time of  ordering, and if we get a lot of orders at one time, trying to make them quickly can be a little challenging. In the summertime we have a booth at our local "ParkSillySunday Market" every Sunday and the tourist crowds are huge. The demand for our flower headbands is so great, trying to make enough product for the next Sunday can be very overwhelming.   But we are so happy with all of our sales it is worth all of our time and effort.

What's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?
I think quality has to be the first priority.  I stand behind my product, and want everyone who purchases one of our flowers to be happy with their order.  If they are happy, we are happy and hopefully they will want to purchase from us again.  Communicating with your customer is very important too.  If they have a question about their order, or want something custom made, staying in touch is very important.  Like I say, if your customer is happy, then you are happy too!

How would someone (other then you) describe you?
Creative and hardworking.  I think both together make a great combination.  With hard work comes the reward.  I truly believe that.  Although others might describe me as crazy as I am bent over the dining room table trying to get orders filled while my back is killing me and my hands are so sore I can barely hold my scissors anymore.  I'm sure many Etsy sellers can relate to that!

What do you do when you aren't working?
I love running marathons so you can usually find me out on the roads, and since I live in the mountains you can find me running the trails with my dog.  I also love spending time in bookstores trying to find my next great read.  I could spend hours at a time reading a good book.  But my favorite time is family time.  I love to sit and have hour long chats with my daughters or dinner and a movie with my husband.  Good quality time with my family is very important to me.

Anything else you'd like to tell us or share?
I love being an Etsy seller.  It is a great community of fabulous, talented artists and my daughter and I feel honored to be a part of it.

Happy Valentines Day!

Posted Thursday, February 14, 2013

Meet Etsy Seller HelensCrafts

Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Today we would like to introduce you to Helen
and her Etsy shop Helen's Crafts

Helen's Crafts has been selling on Etsy since August 2010, she specialize in making adorable crochet baby hats with quality yarn and threads. Today she is sharing a little about her shop and selling handmade items.

What motivated you to start your shop? 
I learned to crochet, knit, and sew as a child. Craft was a big part of my childhood, and my mom encouraged creativity in her children. I worked professionally for several years in the sewing and crochet world, where I learned how to present crafts to the public. For a long while my friend Donna encouraged me to share my crochet skills by opening an Etsy shop.  In 2010 I finally took the plunge and opened Helen's Crafts. I have chosen to make baby and children's hats, using my four beautiful grandchildren as inspiration for my creations. 

What surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
The biggest surprise was how much time is required to maintain my shop. I had not realized the time necessary to list the items, work on photography, get orders through the "shipping department," etc., etc. There is always something behind the scenes that needs to be attended to. It takes almost as much time to keep the shop running as it does to make products for the shop.

What do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
Trying to keep on top of SEO (search engine optimization). It is a constant struggle to try and keep my shop relevant. And there is always something to learn about how to get my shop "found." There are so many good shops on Etsy, that if you don't keep on top of it, your shop will quickly drop through the cracks. 

What's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?
I believe in giving my customers a quality product at the very best price. I try to treat all my customers as I would like to be treated. One of my pet peeves is when I order something online and it takes weeks to receive my order. I make it a priority to get orders in the mail within a maximum of 3 days.

How would someone (other then you) describe you?
I have been described as competent, self assured, and artistic. My family often call me stubborn!

What do you do when you aren't working?
When I'm not working on my Etsy shop I often find myself crocheting owl hats for my grandchildren. I have four grandchildren, and they are always letting granny know what colors they would like for their new hats. If there is time left after all the owl hats, I have a passion for knitting socks for myself. 

Anything else you'd like to tell us or share?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my Etsy shop is when a customer sends me a picture of their precious baby wearing one of my creations.

Helen's Crafts is offering 15% discount to our blog reader.  To use the coupon, visit her etsy store and enter code 'ETSYKIDS15' at checkout. The voucher is valid until Friday 22nd February 2013.

EtsyKids Design Challenge: We have a Winner!

Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We are happy to announce the winner of our last month's challenge - Heart banner/ garland/ bunting by LullabyMobiles!

"This beautiful hearts bunting/ garland/banner is completely hand cut and hand stitched by me with white thread, and a total of 15 eco-friendly felt hearts in bright pink, grey, snow white and threaded with white ribbon. Each heart has been stuffed with hobby fill to create a cute plump effect."


LullabyMobiles offers an absolutely adorable selection of nursery decor.  It's filled with unique mobiles and banners in delightful array of patterns and designs, all hand made by a talented stay at home mom.  Please be sure to check it out here!

Tutorial:: Swaddling Blanket

Posted Friday, February 08, 2013

By Grace, of Fun Little Things

Grace of Fun Little Things, shares her tutorial for making swaddling blankets.  For our non-sewers, Grace offers similar blankets for sale in her Etsy Shop.

These blankets are one square yard, flannel on one side, cotton on the other, bias tape around the outside.  Each one is different depending on which fabric (or fabrics, let's be serious) I'm loving at the time, but I love them all.  I will be honest here.  I realize I'm in the business to actually sell the things I make, but when anyone at the farmers market actually picks up one of these blankets, my excitement at the prospect of a sale is tempered a little by my love of the blanket and not wanting to see it go.  I am aware that this is totally ridiculous, but it is the truth.  

They are prefect for wrapping up a new little baby to keep them warm, putting over them in the stroller on a breezy day, or as my wonderful friend Liz recently posted on FLT's facebook page, lying out on the ground outside or at other people's houses for your baby to lie on and not have to touch the dirty, germy floor.  

  • 1 yard beautiful flannel fabric of your choosing
  • 1 yard beautiful cotton or voile fabric of your choosing 
  • 2 packages of Dritz double-fold bias tape in a matching or coordinating color or 4 yards bias tape if you are buying it by the yard.  
  • Matching or coordinating thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine or needle

Easy Step-by-Step:

Step 1: For those who may be new to this, step 1 is to always wash and dry the fabric.  This way any pre-shrinking and machine washing weirdness will happen before you painstakingly measure, cut and sew; making your end product machine washable too!  A must for baby items. 

Step 2:  Put flannel and cotton wrong sides together (so the good side of the pattern, or right sides, are showing on the outside for both of them.  A big table helps, but it isn't a necessity.  You can always use your bed, or a clean section of the floor.  

Step 3:  To make it into a perfect square, instead of an imperfect rectangle, all you have to do is take one of the straight edges and fold it into a triangle - like towards one of the side edges.  Cut off the long skinny strip on one end and straighten up the other edge if the lady at the fabric store did a less than stellar cutting job on your fabric.  

Step 4:  Start at any corner and put the bias tape along the edges.  When you open the bias tape, if you haven't used it before you will realize how easy this is, even if it seems mysterious.  Just put the two layers of flannel and cotton between the two sides of the bias tape, right up to the fold.  Pin the tape in place at least 5 places along each edge - more if it will make you feel safe when sewing.  

Step 5:  You have two options at the corner.  The best, and most professional looking option is to fold the bias tape so it overlaps and has a diagonal like right at the corner.   

The other option and what you will have to do at the 2nd and 4th corners between the two packages of bias tape, is to cut the bias tape off at the edge of the fabric and start it again going down the other side.  

Step 6: Put your pinned blanket next to your sewing machine, take a little break, grab a beverage, maybe check your facebook.

Step 7:  Sew straight around all 4 edges.  Take out the pins!  Cut off the little strings left at the beginning and end (if all went well, these should be on the same corner). 

Step 8:  You are done!  Snuggle with it!  Wrap up your baby in it.  Text pictures of it to your family and friends so they can reply with things like, "omg!" and "so cute!".  Post a picture of your completed blanket to FLT facebook page.

Grace's Etsy Shop funlittlethings carries sweet and simple handsewn and embroidered items to make you or someone you love smile.  You can get to know her and see her creative process by following her blog, Fun Little Things.  

National Pancake Day

Posted Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Happy National Pancake Day!!
Hope you are enjoying some pancakes for dessert tonight. Why not try a new recipe for super fluffy pancakes?

Ingredients: (makes about 30 small pancakes)
280g Self-raising flour
50g Caster sugar
2 Eggs
300ml Milk
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a big bowl.
  2. Mix the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl.
  3. Make a well in the flour mix and add 1/3 of the milk mix. Mix it all up and keep adding more of the milk mix slowly so you don't get any nasty lumps!
  4. Once it is all mixed together you can decide if you want to add extras (like raisins, lemon juice & zest, blueberries etc)
  5. Dip a kitchen towel into some oil and wipe the bottom of a frying pan with it. You really need very little oil for these pancakes! I oil the pan once at the start only, no need to do it more.
  6. Heat the frying pan over the lowest heat on your stove. Using a dessert spoon, spoon 3 lots of pancake mix into the frying pan to make 3 small separate pancakes (you may be able to fit 4 in at once if you have a large frying pan).
  7. Leave the mix alone (really don't touch it!) When the tops of your pancakes are all covered in bubbles (usually 2-3 mins), carefully flip your pancake.
  8. Leave for another minute or so. To test if they are done try nudging them gently with your spoon, if they move freely they are done, else give them a bit more time.
  9. Dress with chocolate sauce or maple syrup and enjoy!!

Thank you Stephanie from Toastie Studio for sharing this yummy recipe, we hope you enjoy your pancakes!!
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