Thursday, January 30, 2014

Acorns in a video, IN AUSTRALIA!

One of the shops that sells my acorns happens to be in Australia! It's a great little boutique called The Happy Cabin.

Last week, they created a mini-movie about the darling little place. And my acorns ended up in lots of the shots! You can check out the video HERE.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

We Make Portland Awesome: lil e creations

"We make Portland awesome" is a twice-monthly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Erin of lil e creations

Who are you?
Hi! I’m Erin, or “lil e,” which was my childhood nickname and the origin of my business name lil e creations. I’ve been creating my whole life… pilfering the recycle to make candy dispensers, weaving kids’ potholders on metal looms… okay, I’m still doing the latter as certain family members won’t let me stop: twenty-eight years and counting! In high school I discovered thrift stores and vintage clothes and out of altering-necessity for my still growing 5’11” frame I learned to sew. Having always loved dress-up, this opened a whole new world of creation. It was while pursuing a degree in Arts and Crafts at The Evergreen State College that I discovered I was a fiber artist.

What do you make?
Like many crafters, my hands won’t stop and they are all over the place!

My primary Etsy shop, lil e creations, focuses on wire-free wings and costumes. I wanted to create a lasting product that could withstand rough-and-tumble play: by kids and, who are we kidding, myself!

Last year, I also launched two new shops: Images by lil e, which is a shop of cards and small canvases featuring found heart images and a wedding favors shop called wedding fun by lil e.

Besides making things, what do you do?
Currently, I am setting up a blog that launches on Valentine’s Day called 365Hearts. As the name suggests, each day’s post will be of a found heart image, from myself and guest heart contributors.

Otherwise, I love playing in nature. I love swimming in fresh water… lakes, rivers, ponds (I may be part otter). I still love dress-up and encouraging others to dress-up. I love reading, especially historical novels. I recently built a barn-shaped Little Free Library on the Olympic Peninsula with my nephew. I adore weaving but don’t do it as much as I’d like. And I love baking… good thing I have all those handy potholders!

What inspires you?
In the world of wings, I am most inspired by the custom requests I receive. I love the imaginative ideas people come up with and using the part of my brain that pieces together how to make those ideas a reality.

Where can your work be found?
You can find my work on Etsy… challenge me with a ridiculous concept for wings!
This year I am also working towards being in brick-and-mortar stores as well.

What do you love about Portland?
I lived away from the Pacific Northwest for 5 years and I was ecstatic to return to where things are green and the mix of people are fantastically outrageous. I love all the delicious food at my fingertips and being so close to the coast and the mountains.

Make sure you check out lil e creations' Etsy shop. Thanks for sharing, Erin!
And if you'd like to read more We Make Portland Awesome interviews, you can check out the full collection HERE.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I'm Reading: The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a book I was in high anticipation of reading. It's from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. It's a fiction book, which is different from my usual fare of nonfiction (mostly memoirs and how-to books). But in this one, MOSS is a central theme! And you know I'd have to check that out!

This massive novel is a 500-page birth-to-death narrative of the life of a woman botanist named Alma, set in the 19th century. Her life's work ends up being the study of mosses. The book is a very fun ride, taking the reader across decades and continents, with themes of love, death, work, science, and evolution woven throughout.

I read the entire thing within a week. It was amazing. And the cover is gorgeous!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

We Make Portland Awesome: Modern Cabin

"We make Portland awesome" is a twice-monthy series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Crystal of Modern Cabin

Who are you?
I am Crystal, the maker behind Modern Cabin. My husband and I live in NE Portland with our two little ones. I am thankful to be able to be a full time mom by day, and a creative Etsy shop owner by night!

What do you make?
My featured products are upscale waterproof picnic blankets. They are meant to be one of those items that you always have with you, because you never know when the need for an impromptu picnic may arise. I also make pillow cases and have many plans to add products in the future.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I also run another etsy shop called PoBa, where you can find fun bandana bibs for the small set. By day you can usually find me chasing after my 3 year old & 9 month old, planning silly crafty parties, and once in a blue moon creating glass art with my husband.

What inspires you?
Textiles, nature, my toddlers imagination, my husbands art, museums, great curated design collections. It is hard not to find inspiration living here.

Where can your work be found?
You can find bits and pieces of my work at a few boutiques across the country, but my etsy shop is the easiest place to shop for the current collection.

What do you love about Portland?
Portland is absolutely the craftiest and friendliest place that I have ever lived. I love that it is such a great place to raise a family, but it is also gaining a lot of recognition for the local artists and artisans. Any place that has the countries largest independently owned bookstore and largest independently owned fabric store is alright in my book. Oh, and the food is pretty noteworthy too!

Make sure you check out Modern Cabin's Etsy shop
Thanks for sharing, Crystal!

Monday, January 6, 2014

End of the Year Gratitude + 2013 In Review

Happy 2014, friends! As you can see, this post is a few days late. A mid-week holiday is crazy-making enough, but add to that being out of town from early morning the day after Christmas till an hour before midnight on New Year's Eve, plus the general exhaustion of the last couple of months, and I'm experiencing a kind of unpreparedness and lethargy unmatched in recent memory. I cobbled together my New Year's Resolutions on January 4th, and so enter the year with a rather strong sensation of being "behind" somehow.

However, as I process the past year, I am struck with a strong feeling of gratitude and accomplishment. The year was better than I'd hoped in many ways, and my business met or exceeded almost all of the goals that I set at the beginning of 2013. Some of those numbers felt challenging and/or arbitrary, but somehow they came together at the end of the year. I made "hopeful" goals (like sales totals) and goals that I could control (like how many blog posts I should publish during the year). I worked very hard, and I'm also glad for the bits of luck that helped me along.

2013 was a year of growth, for sure. I expanded my product lines, created new packaging, made a new sign and mushroom display for shows, completed my largest order ever, participated in my first out-of-state show, began offering House of Moss wholesale, opened a shop on Square Market, refined the We Make Portland Awesome Project, quit my day job, celebrated House of Moss's 3rd Etsyversary, was invited to sell on, won a copyright settlement against a large corporation, attempted a more extensive holiday show schedule than ever before, and was featured on the Etsy Wholesale blog.

But the successes I experience are not just a product of my own efforts. Alongside me, I sense a large number of other people whose support has meant the world to me and my business. To these people and many others, I would like to express my deep gratitude:

To Erik: Thank you for your unwavering confidence in me and my business. Thank you for bringing me coffee, for insisting on helping me out at shows even when I say I don't need it, and for making me take breaks.

To Mum and Papa: Thank you for supporting me all along, and for providing for my basic needs while I've grown my business.

To Karl and Nancy at Allegra: Thank you for your flexibility with my schedule while I worked there, and for graciously and supportively letting me go when I decided to take House of Moss full-time.

To Torie & Cathy of Crafty Wonderland: Thank you for creating the kind of local atmosphere where handmade is respected and appreciated, and for putting together the best shows in Portland!

To all the shops and shopkeepers: I love all of you! Your friendly faces make my errands so much more enjoyable.

To my fellow makers: Thank you for the inspiration that your stories bring to me. Thank you for the "shop talk," commiseration, and encouragement!

To all those with whom my work has found a home: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting the handmade community and, more specifically, for supporting me and my business. I love meeting people who "get" me, who share smiles or kind words, or who bring pieces I've made back to their homes. You all make this possible.

2013 was a good, full year. 2014 is looking to be great too! Thank you to everyone who has followed along with my business. I'll continue to keep you posted. :)

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