Friday, July 31, 2009

Scarves, Belts, & Sashes: Oh My!




They say that accessories make the outfit . . . and they're right! There's nothing more fun than transforming a plain black skirt and top into something edgy, girly, bohemian, retro, or any other style with just a few key touches. You can do it again and again to create endless looks, kind of like dresing up a paper doll. (Speaking of paper dolls, they were great, weren't they? I'm feeling the urge to sniff some out on Etsy . . .) Here's a selection of some of my favorite belts, etc. All were bargain basement/clearance rack finds. I like mixing the patterned scarves with different patterned shoes and purses in the same color family for a carefree yet pulled-together look.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tales from the Trove - Brigantine PTA Craft Fair - Eat Your Junk Food







Pictured here are my Junk Food Bracelet and Junk Food Necklace, both available on Etsy at http://www.thetotetrove.etsy.com/. The junk food charms are actually dollhouse miniatures I found in a craft store. Kids are usually attracted to jewelry like this; I sold a similar bracelet (i.e., not identical, as I make only one-of-a-kind pieces) to a little girl at the Brigantine PTA Art and Crafts show this past June. Last weekend I bought two sets of these charms to make a chunkier version of the necklace for myself. I can't wait to make and wear it because I'm a kid at heart!

Introducing the Jack Handey Quote of the Week

Growing up, my sister and I loved the Jack Handey quotes (of Saturday Night Live fame). I thought it'd be fun to post one here each week. (You can look for it around Thursday.) Here's the first, from Deep Thoughts, Inspiration for the Uninspired:

"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Me and My Heartbreak (tote)


























Here are some pictures of me modeling my Heartbreak Tote and Red Rocker Bangle, both available at http://www.thetotetrove.etsy.com/. I hand painted the tote with my own graphic 1980s design, and I'm in love with the way the black and white checks slice against all of that color. Painting the totes is always an experience. It's incredibly tedious, but as I brush color onto the canvas, I can't help but want to see more. It's always worth it when I see the finished product.

Shoe Mania


Like many women (Imelda Marcos and Carrie Bradshaw to name two), I have a thing for shoes (pictured are some of my favorites). I look for pairs that are patterned, embellished, shockingly colorful, or just plain kitschy. Unlike Carrie, I try not to pay more than $30-$40 for each pair (bonus points for $20 or under!). I once owned about 300 pairs . . . but have since practiced a little restraint. As far as styles go, the higher the heel the better. (What about hammer toes? And bunions? Those are [hopefully] still 50 years away! Anyway, I banish these worries with the ever-useful mantra "fashion over function.") My accessories passion isn't limited to shoes. I am an equal-opportunity shopper who hunts for unusual accessories of all kinds. Once I spot something I like, I instantly begin building outfits around it in my head. It's not much different than the creative process of designing a necklace or sketching a tote bag. That's why I like to come up with fresh, offbeat outfits each day, even if I'm just running errands -- it's not about who I'll run into, but about the thrill of the creative challenge. It would be nice, though, if I really could design my own footwear, like Hillary Swank's character in P.S. I Love You. What woman wouldn't want to be struck by inspiration watching some black and white movie, then discover she has the know-how to craft shoes after working a string of soul-sucking jobs? If only it didn't happen at the expense of losing her husband . . . But I digress. And I didn't intend for this post to turn so serious! So I'll just say "yay shoes!" and call it a day (night). Sweet dreams!

Party (Favor) Time!




























































Okay, time to shamelessly show off some of my most popular items. I have so much fun embellishing and painting these pouches, tiny totes, and skirt purses http://www.thetotetrove.etsy.com/. I always carry a pouch in my purse; it's the perfect size for business cards. I made 40 of them for a customer as party favors. It was one of my most exciting orders so far, especially because I'm a fan of party favors from way back. I was one of those kids who hunted for the stickers and plastic rings instead of the candy in birthday party treat bags.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Addicted to Buying from Other Artists


















































One of my favorite things about Etsy is stumbling upon one-of-a-kind finds! Here are some treasures I purchased from other artists:



Summer Cotton Chicky Clutch - http://www.krystala.etsy.com/
French Fries Cartoon Figure - http://www.fuzzyfigureguy.etsy.com/
Acid Water Seven Pocket Wallet - http://www.rogueempire.etsy.com/
Abstract Sequin Collar Necklace - http://www.buffalump.etsy.com/
Red and White Swirly Cake Necklace - http://www.kawaiicupcake.etsy.com/

My Etsy Favorites box is jammed with other cool shops, too. Knowing my shopaholic ways, I'll probably add new items to my collection soon. Right now I'm on the lookout for a funky fruit bowl to put on my red 1950s style kitchen table. I've checked all the usual stores (you know which ones I mean), but everything was so blah.

Tales from the Trove - Smithville Mayfest and Medford Handmade Faire
















I've been busy this spring and summer, dipping my toe into the wild world of craft shows. It was more work than I ever imagined, and I couldn't have done it without the help (not to mention the upper arm strength!) of my boyfriend. But it was worth it, and so much fun! It's interesting to get instant feedback, good or bad, from shoppers, especially when you're used to waiting for it on the Web. (I don't know about you, but I've definitely been guilty of stalking my own sites, plaguing myself with questions like, "How many Etsy hearts should I have by now?" and "How much tweeting is too much?") The most rewarding craft show feedback is when somone exclaims, "That is the most perfect bag/necklace/bracelet/skirt purse for my daughter/granddaughter/niece/sister!" The most stressful is probably when kids ask, "Mom, can I have it? Can I have it? Can I have it?" as you sink lower in your chair and try to avert your eyes. (I mean no disrespect to craft fair-going children or their parents, as they are some of my best customers! This experience is simply part of the adventure.) That having been said, here are some shots of The Tote Trove tent at Mayfest (5/16-5/17, Smithville) and the Handemade Faire (July 17, Medford). I especially enjoyed the Handemade Faire. It was a great venue, and I had the chance to meet other NJ Etsians.