Nov 4

What do you think about Social Media (by which I mean social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter)? Do you use them? Have you jumped in with both feet? Do you spend too many hours a day on them? Are you afraid to dip your toe in? Do you have absolutely no use for them?

I use both Facebook and Twitter, but for different reasons. I keep Facebook mostly personal, to keep track of friends and family I know in real life (or have a pretty comfortable online friendship with). I use Twitter as an outlet for my more online crafty pursuits, sharing good craft links, links to my current online crafting offerings, connecting with online crafty acquaintences, and sharing and some personal (but not too personal) insights about my life. Follow me on Twitter — be sure to send me a note to introduce yourself!

I signed up for Twitter a couple years ago, but started using it regularly last year after Sister Diane from CraftyPod wrote about how much she enjoyed it. I now use it as a part of my everyday online crafty life.

Well, Sister Diane recently wrote an eBook called “Social Media for your Crafty Business,” about, you guessed it, using social media sites as a tool for your crafty business.

If you are looking for a hardcore online marketing bible about giving people the hard online sell, this is not the book for you. But if you’re looking for an honest and down-to-earth guide to what really works in your online social community, Sister Diane’s book is a great resource.

This book isn’t shy in telling you that old-school, traditional “broadast marketing” (think traditional one-way advertising where the marketer sends out a message to everyone and there is no back-and-forth between sender and receivers) probably isn’t the most effective way for you to use your social networking time and presence. The book will tell you how to build trust and relationships with people in your social network, and why that is the best way for you to use social networks to their best advantage in your crafty business.

Who is the book for? Those who are already involved in social networks (specifically Twitter and Facebook), or wish to be, and who have a crafty business or blog, etc. that they’d like to tie into their presence on social networks.

What will you learn from the book? General info about social networking, friends and followers, and how to provide value in the social networking space. Also, tips for using social media to its fullest, and managing your time on social networks.

What I like about it: This book has a lot of information, and a lot of good principles to think about. It will help you determine why you are involved in social networks, what you hope to accomplish on social networks, and help you make a plan for using them. Sister Diane writes in an engaging voice, is easy to read, like a friendly note from someone who really wants to help you.

Where to get it: It’s available at the CraftyPod Shop for $12.50

FTC Disclosure: Thanks to Sister Diane for providing a free review copy of her eBook for this article.

Mar 26

Megan posted about Networking on the Sampler Blog a couple days ago, and MinaLucia said in the comments “Now if i could just figure out what to Twitter about!”

I thought I would give you a few insights into Twitter and your business, so hopefully I can help you avoid tweet-anxiety!

About Twitter:

First of all, if you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it’s a service that gives you a platform to answer the question “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. Characters include letters, spaces, and punctuation! It’s also commonly referred to as “microblogging.” If you haven’t checked Twitter out, but you are familiar with Facebook, then you are probably familiar with the status updates on Facebook – same idea.

You can access your Twitter account via the Twitter main page, but it is much more usable if you use other methods to access it, such as a twitter client in iGoogle or even with your mobile phone. If you are a frequent Facebooker, you can set FB up to post to your Twitter account when you update your status in FB. There’s a lot more to know about this subject, but I’m not going to focus on that here.

Tweeting:

A “tweet” is what Twitterers call their posts. You can tweet about anything. Start with the standard question posed by Twitter: “What are you doing?” The answer can be as simple as what you are having for breakfast (trust me, a LOT of people tweet about that!) or you can be as broad or as specific as you want to be.

Tweeting for Business:

Many Twitterers-for-business tweet about when they have listed a new product in their shop (along with URL to said item), or the title of their newest blog post, along with appropriate link. It’s totally fine to tweet about what you’ve been producing, but make sure you mix other stuff in there, too! Nobody likes a string of 10 just-promotional tweets because:

Twitter is, at its heart, still a social network!
Remember when Myspace was a fun way to keep track of your friends and promote your business? I barely remember that, either, because now that it’s used primarily for promotion (and SPAM!!), I don’t even log into my account anymore. Once you’ve been on Twitter a few weeks and you notice that some of your friends are all-business, you’ll get bored with the friend who only tweets about her newest listing on Etsy. Remember:

You don’t always have to tweet about your business. Even if your Twitter account is named the same thing as your Etsy shop, your tweets don’t always have to be on topic. In fact, it’s better if they aren’t. Twitter is a way to personally connect with your friends, customers, and potential customers. They want to get to KNOW you, not just be notified when you have a new blog post! Let them know what you ate for breakfast and if your toddler is getting into your crafting supplies. Personal posts will elicit:

@Comments:

On Twitter, you can interact with your fellow Twitterers by sending them comments. Usually, these comments are reactions to what others are tweeting about. You send a comment by typing the @ symbol followed directly by the user’s name. (If you want to tweet to me, type @dollarcraft)

Sending comments to others is a great way to interact and make an impression on others. Pay attention to them, and they will pay attention to you, and possibly start noticing and/or buying your products!

Limitation of Characters:

You only have 140 characters to get your point across in. Be concise and descriptive as possible! URLs can be shaved down by using a service like TinyURL that automatically shortens long URLs so they fit better in a Twitter-type microblog.

Following and Followers:

Once you sign up for Twitter, you might be like, “now what?” To really make it work, you need to follow and be followed. Find some crafty online friends who you already know, or bloggers who you read who also tweet, and follow them. If you need to get started, you can follow me: dollarcraft. If you start following me, send me a tweet so I know why you’re following and where you found out about me!

Many people who you follow will automatically follow you back. Some people believe you should follow all the people who follow you. I don’t. It depends on what you want to get out of Twitter. If it is just a promotional tool for your business, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t follow everyone who follows you. If you actually want to interact with people, it starts to get harder to interact with the people you really care about if you have too many friends. At some quantity, you lose quality of communication.

You can decide for yourself where you stand! I would love to hear your opinion!

So what do I tweet about?

In short:

  1. What you ate for breakfast.
  2. Other things you are doing today. (“Going to see Watchmen with my girlfriend FTW!”)
  3. Things you’re doing that have to do with your business (“packing up order for Singapore!”)
  4. Challenges you’re facing in your business (“ran out of jump rings! placing emergency order!” or “my toddler just ate my new cupcakes!”)
  5. @replies to others (“Congrats on the Sampler mention @wonderlandq”)
  6. Randomness (“I like to eat peas with honey and put them on my knife”)
  7. Promotion of your new Etsy listings, new blog entries, or anything else you want to draw attention (and clicks) to.
  8. Promotion of others is a very friendly Twitter practice (“Check this awesome blog post about dyeing eggs with silk ties from @dollarcraft! http://tinyurl.com/cnkrhj“)
  9. A “ReTweet” is repeating the exact tweet from someone else, usually preceded by the letters RT (for Retweet) and an @reply attribution to the original tweeter. (Example: RT @dollarcraftRosar Pomar ripped off by Oilily??! http://tinyurl.com/ct7j8b)

Hopefully that helps a bit with what you should post on Twitter! Basically, anything goes. Once you are following others for a few days, you will get a feel for the types of things people post, and the kinds of tweets you respond to. Emulate those you admire!

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter!

Follow me on Twitter.

Mar 22

I am in love with the textile art of Vanessa from Ziazia! I love her use of color combinations and texture in making her beautiful purses, totes, wallets, and wristlets. Here’s a little interview:

Shop name/URL:
Ziazia http://ziazia.etsy.com

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 23 year old visual arts student, mother of a lovely 3 year old boy, I live in Tijuana, México with my son and my boyfriend. I am obsessed with color and fabric, I can´t seem to have enough. I started sewing when I was in high school wanting to alter a few of my clothes because they didn’t fit right. My mom bought me a sewing machine and that same machine is the one I’m still using.

What are your main inspirations?
Right now I’m working on pieces that are inspired by the human body, especially the female body. It started with a project I’m working on for a class at the University, and it’s about the formation and transformation of my body in different contexts, starting with family and how we each have pieces of us that we didn’t actually choose: the nose of our father, our skin color, etc. And investigating the body, I grew fond of the pleats in our skin, the lined that time draws in us, a lot of texture. I’m also inspired by the fabric I use.

What’s your fondest crafty memory?
I have a lot of memories from when I was a child, maybe 3-4 years old, and watching my mom make me big bows for me to wear on my pony tail. I loved those big bows. I used to go with her to the crafts store and pick out color ribbons to match my outfits. It makes me smile just remembering those times. My mother was and still is quite a crafty person, I think she was a role model in that aspect and what got me started working with my hands.

What’s your favorite material?
Cotton fabric, hands down. Any kind of cotton fabric in bright bold colors. I love combining different textures and colors.

Any new techniques or crafts that have caught your eye lately?

I want to take on screen printing full on. I have done it in the past and it pops up in my work every now and then, but I want to set up a work area especially for it in my home. I learned the non toxic way in a class and I loved it so I’ve been saving up and thinking of the space in my little home. Expect some screen printing work in the fall collection.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?
I’m really excited about a basic design I’ve been making for the spring collection that consist of bright bold colors, round corners, a tote type bag but with a more flexible use, a bag that goes everywhere with you. It closes with a zipper and it has adjustable strap. The idea is just that: adjustable, comfortable and bright.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?

Work, work, work, and work some more! I think that’s one key point. I’m really bad at promoting and joining social networking sites but I do try a lot of thing and I think that everyone should do what works and feels well for them, whether it be with promoting, events or material for their pieces. Different things work for different people.

Nov 11

I have recently become acquainted with One Pretty Thing, a blog that scours the internet to bring us amazing DIY projects (20 or more of them!) every day! I have been so impressed with Rachel’s picks that I wanted to interview her to find out more about how she does it.

Rachel as Mrs. Lovette

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello CroqZine readers! I’m Rachel, the face behind the website One Pretty Thing. I’m a twenty-seven year old happily married California girl who’s two biggest loves are DIY and her (mostly!) furry family. I think that blogging comes in a close third!

Tell us about One Pretty Thing.

One Pretty Thing is the ultimate stop for DIY inspiration! Everyday I scour multiple forums, websites and blogs to bring together 20 projects for the Daily DIY post. I also post a variety of seasonal and holiday Roundups, kid’s Roundups and I’m getting ready to dive into the Handmade Gift Guide. Phew! Altogether One Pretty Thing links to around 40 DIY projects a day!

When did you get the great idea to create One Pretty Thing?

I think the blogsphere is the most amazing source of crafting inspiration but it can become a little overwhelming. When I realized I was spending more time tracking down projects than actually crafting, I thought that other crafters might benefit from my travels. From there One Pretty Thing was born, and now three thousand people a day head over to check out a wealth of creative ideas.

How much time does it take you to track down all the great things you find and post about every day?

Right now I spend about four hours a day putting together Roundups, around two doing administrative tasks (your email is on the way, I promise!) and another couple of hours a day developing new features that will add more functionality to the site. It’s a ton of work but it’s so much fun!

What kinds of things always catch your eye?

Since I’m currently renovating, anything for the home! I also love unique art projects, such as the junk mail canvas we featured recently, and projects featuring recycled materials.

What kinds of items get the greatest response from your readers?

Reader love projects that make great gifts! I’m seeing a huge focus this year on handmade gift items, and décor. I anticipate my Handmade Gift Guide to be my most popular post series to date.

I seem to dream about crafting (and blogging about it) every night. Do you ever suffer from DIY/Pretty Thing overload?

So far I have yet to grow tired to searching for projects. I’m hoping I never do because I’m having so much fun with this site, not to mention all the amazing people I’ve met! I will occasionally dream about my site crashing or loosing all my unread emails. I’m constantly worried about something happening to my email backlog-I don’t want anyone to think I’ve ignored them!

What’s your fondest crafty memory?

My husband and I had our first date on Halloween and three weeks later, I brought a small potted Christmas tree. I took my then-boyfriend to the fabric store and told him he had ten minutes to spend ten dollars on anything he thought would make a good decoration for a two foot tree. We left with ric-rack, feathers, bells and glittered pom-poms. Watching him carefully choose his supplies and deck out our tree with handmade creations is one of my all-time favorite memories. I remember being so impressed with his creativity and how he turned glitter and feathers into a tree topper. And, eight years later, we still have the potted tree!

I love that story, thanks for sharing! What’s the last crafty project you did?

The night before Halloween I decided to make 20 feet of lit creepy garlands for a friend’s Halloween party. I was up all night cutting tulle but the look on her face made it all worthwhile.

What’s your favorite material?

Currently it’s cork! More specifically, cork on a five foot roll! I recently discovered a waterproof cork sealant that will allow me to cover my dining room table in cork. It’s a project I’ve had on my mind for sometime. I was SO excited to finally find that sealant!

Any new techniques or crafts that have caught your eye lately?

For the last two months I’ve been completely enamored with felting. I’d been oohing and awing over other crafters tiny felted animals for years, but I finally took it up because I wanted to make cute toys for my cats! Yup, I’m totally one of those people.

(Feel free to not answer this, but for the sake of our aspiring professional crafting contingent) Is maintaining your site worthwhile, financially?

Right now the site actually makes no money. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to put up ads for awhile now but I’m still undecided. On one hand, my hobby site has turned into an additional full-time job but on the other, I really want to maintain the integrity of the site. For now my plan is to host an ad space giveaway for indie designers over the holiday seasons. After that, I’ll get feedback from the readers and reevaluate.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?

I’m seeing a lot of indie business owners concerned about the economy but it’s actually a great opportunity for smaller designers. People are focusing more on meaningful, handmade, independent goods that are made to last. Indie businesses can also take advantage of the current economy’s lower costs to stock up on supplies and expand into other markets.

What one thing should every crafter who is marketing her wares do?

Start a blog! I’ve found so many wonderful handmade items from the bloggers I visit. I also love visiting my favorite artist and designers blogs to see what they’re working on and what’s coming out next. All of my holiday gifts this year will be purchased on Etsy and all of them will come from bloggers that I know and love!

What are your kitties’ names?

Lil’ B (Little Bottom) and Chewbacca! They LOVE that I’ve started a website. There is no more valuable real estate to my cats than a lap that stays in the same place for multiple hours. When Lil’ B sees me heading for the computer she jumps on my chair and waits for me to sit down. Every post you see on my site was put together with kitty approval!

Thank you so much, Rachel! I know you’re busy putting together your kick-craft blog, so thanks for taking the time to chat!

Nov 7

I want to hear from you! What is the State of the Craft in 2009?

When did you start participating in the online crafty community?

How have things changed for you in the past years?

Do you sell your crafts?

If so, where? Do you sell anywhere besides Etsy?

How do you think Etsy is doing these days?

Who are the top three most inspirational crafters/designers to you?

What are your three most-frequently visited craft sites/blogs?

What are your three biggest concerns in general for 2009? Will they affect your crafting?

What are your predictions for 2009?

Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or email me at heather@croqzine.com.

Oct 22

By Lynn Taylor, lynnknitter.etsy.com

This article was going to be about the artisans in my Etsy Street Team, Etsy West Michigan Team, but quickly I saw that this was a bit too broad of a subject.  As of this writing, there are 50 members of Etsy West Michigan (EWM or as I lovingly call it “Handmade in the Mitten”) and I could probably write a book with the variety of crafts we all create.

So, it became clear to me that I needed to focus on one aspect of what we do; other than all having stores on Etsy, we do CRAFT SHOWS!

We have the usual folks who do shows only in the fall and up to Christmas.  Then we have those who love to sit outside and do open-air venues.  And that, my friends, is right where I’m going.  You might say that’s been done with the likes of Bizaare Bazaar and Maker Faire, large shows or fiber festivals.  But let me tell you of our own local show that has come about purely by accident.

Fulton Street Artisans Market (FSAM) is actually a spin-off of our local farmers’ Market, which has been in existence since 1922 for farmers selling fruit and vegetables every weekend May through December.

Artisans started showing up, asking for booths.  Produce sellers would be placed in the booths first and then artisans would be given a booth after a lottery.  After this happened for several years, the farmers’ market directors decided that there was enough interest to allow artists and crafters to use the facilities on Sundays, when the farmers’ market was traditionally closed.

FSAM was born in 2004.  It is totally volunteer run and the small booth fee goes to advertising and promotion.  By focusing on the artists and crafters, Lisa and Merrie, FSAM Volunteer Coordinators, hope to attract more crafters and foot traffic by highlighting different artists each Sunday.  August 17, 2008 was set to be Etsy Day.

Rebuilding is the topic for this year at the FSAM.  The volunteers were looking for more artists and crafters to attract to their venue.  Luckily, some of the EWM Team had come across this venue and started to spread the word.  By working with the lovely ladies of FSAM, EWM developed a friendship and then the idea of collaborating bubbled up.  Why don’t we work together?  FSAM will do the promotion and advertising and provide the space for a show; EWM will use the Etsy resources and each of their own wealth of customers and contacts to draw people in, crafters and customers alike.  The Etsy team page came in handy, the Forums on Etsy to announce that any other crafters who wanted to join us for Etsy day could and should join in.  What an opportunity!  All we had to do was reach out and take it!

And take it we did. This could be the start of a beautiful community friendship! Farmers’ Market + Etsy Sellers = Love.

Oct 20
Crafty Scientist Crafty Tool Belt

Crafty Scientist Crafty Tool Belt

Q. I’m doing my first craft show this weekend. I’m not sure how much cash I need to bring with me to make change for people. I’m selling sets of magnets for $8, and pillows for $25.

A. Remember, most people shopping at craft shows will probably have just gotten cash from an ATM, which means twenties, and lots of ’em. This means most of them will not be giving you exact change for what they purchase from you.

If your items have a price that isn’t divisible by $5 (like your magnet sets), you will probably need quite a few one dollar bills. It’s a good idea to have at least $20 in ones, or more if possible.

You will also need a good number of five dollar bills, say $30-40 worth if possible. You could also include a couple ten dollar bills if you had the extra cash available to do so.

Coins: I advise against pricing anything at your booth anything other than flat dollar amounts. Ditch the coins in your starting bank. You already have enough to keep track of during your show!

A conservative till: $20 in ones, $30 in fives = $50
A generous till: $40 in ones, $30 in fives, $30 in tens = $100

If you can’t scrape that much together for change, then just do what you can. Anything is better than nothing, and as you sell things in the day, you will probably sell enough to make some change.

Broke as a joke till: $10 in ones, $10 in fives = $20

It’s a good idea to have a consistent dollar amount in your “till” at the start of each craft show. Write down the amount of your till on a slip of paper, and at the end of the day, subtract the till for the total amount of sales. I also recommend keeping track of which items are selling at your show, but that’s a post for another day.

At the end of the day, take the money you used to start your till out of your sales, put it in a zip-top bag and keep it in your file cabinet labeled “craft show change” so you’ll be ready with change for your next show.

For keeping track of your money during the show, try a “crafty tool belt” from Crafty Scientist (shown above).

I also like this version from riknits/kerrimade. She also has a great tutorial for making a pleated crafty tool belt on her blog.

Kerrimade Crafty Tool Belt

Kerrimade Crafty Tool Belt

Oct 18

Craftypod had an excellent podcast a couple weeks ago about publishing your craft book. Ever since I listened to it the other day, I have been thinking a lot about the process of publishing a book, and I happened to come across this ancient thread at the old Glitter boards (remember those old Glitter days, craftistas? It seems like so long ago… we were all so young and naive!) in which I asked some of the glitterati who had also become published authors a little about the process.

I took the liberty of unearthing the thread for you to read, because I’m pretty sure few people are looking at the old Glitter archives these days.

Topic Writing a book Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By yardenxanthe On 03/24/04
I know several Glitter Gals have written crafty books, and I was just wondering how that came about. I know CraftyChicaAZ writes a column for her newspaper, so the book thing seems like a natural progression.

Anyone care to share on this topic?

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/25/04
hi! my first book venture didnt really come from the column as much as an editor coming across my art web site and then my crafty chica site. i got asked to contribute a project to a book she was producing, and then it kinda took off from there to other things…there are all different kinds of ways to find an “in”, but having a web site is a good start because i know a lot of editors find authors that way…hope that helps!

By yardenxanthe On 03/25/04
Thanks for the info! By the way, I was reading a crafty book at Costco the other day and got all excited when I saw your name in it!

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/25/04
Oh how cool! Which book was it? Thanks for sharing!

By yardenxanthe On 03/25/04
It was “Memory Keepsakes: 43 Projects for Creating and Saving Cherished Memories”.

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/28/04
oh cool, i didnt know that one was at costco!!

yesterday i just signed on for my fourth book! it’s a follow up to my tween craft book that comes out next month. the response has been so fab from booksellers that the publishers signed me on to make it a series before its even been released! very exciting, indeed!

the trouble is, i dont know how i can do all this stuff and work 40 hours at my day job too (and kids and make/sell art). i’m still waiting for word from other pub for two other titles. i would just *die* if they all got approved at the same time. long shot of that happening, but wierder things have happened. i LOVE my day job, but i love making a small dent in the crafty world too. i’m so torn!

By papergirl On 03/28/04
congrats craftychica! Just think that it is a wonderful problem to have :)

By SublimeStitcher On 03/28/04
Congrats Chica! That’s so great. I hope to have the same problems.

My book deal started nearly three years ago when a publishing house in London contacted me about developing a project, based solely on seeing my website. They asked me to write up a proposal, which I did. 33 pages long. I figured, ‘hey, I’ve got this proposal, I might as well shop it around’. So I did, but when I let them know that, they dropped dealing with me. That was fine, Chronicle Books got a hold of it and called one day. I got a literary agent (which is much easier if you have a project in hand -I was collecting rejection letters), and I started working on negotiating a contract.

It’s all a very long, arduous but exciting task. The thing is, once you get past the first project, it’s much easier to get the next one going. I’m working on a follow-up proposal right now.

Uhhhh….let’s see. There’s an excellent book called “How to Write a Book Proposal” by Michael Larsen. I couldn’t have done it without that resource.

Just bear in mind how long it took for me to get all those things hammered out…it will seem to others like “Bam! I have a book coming out…” but a looooot of time, no thank-you’s, and work work work goes into it.

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/28/04
Great point! I should have mentioned that too – those proposals are BITCH to put together and they have to be “right on” in order to even get noticed. it takes a lot of hours on research, brainstorming, writing, editing, samples, outline, etc.

I’ve actually had two other book proposals rejected last year that were very cool ideas that i KNOW would have been great on the market, but they both got rejected. I’m still hanging on to them and plan to refresh them soon and send them to new editors, because you never know – that’s what happened with La Casa Loca.

The bottom line is if you really want to do this, keep plugging away until one hits. It’s worth the effort!!

By yardenxanthe On 03/30/04
Thanks for the good info, girls.

By ndaye On 04/02/04
My two cents:

sometimes things get rejected because publishers don’t “see” a market for them. In other words, they have no idea how the title will make money and if it can make money. Don’t forget publishers are business people and not necesarily in the business of taking risks, but rather the business of making money.

To cringe and quote a Kevin Costner movie:
If you build it, they will come.

In this day and age, self-publishing isn’t as bad an idea as it used to be. In fact, some friends of mine self-published a little booklet on how to be an artist about a year ago and it’s already been picked by a publisher.

>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0740733168/104-8493285-9969512

so you don’t always have to use the middle men. What you do have to have is a good editor, a well written title and lots of energy to publish and promote. If you were going through a publisher you’d still have to promote your ass off, sometimes it’s better to do things yourself.

Aug 27
Attorney Sarah Feingold is the in-house lawyer at Etsy.com and has agreed to write a regular column for the print CROQ! We are super excited to bring you more info to help you run your indie business. In honor, we asked Sarah a few questions to get to know her better. You can read more of her writing at The Storque, Etsy‘s online magazine.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sarah Feingold. I was born and raised in Rochester New York and I currently live and work in Brooklyn New York. My parents are both artists and they started a business while in college which they continue to run this very day! And so yes, I was raised in a very creative and entrepreneurial home. I currently enjoy eating chocolate, going to the theater, reading, and making art.

When I was 12 years old I took my first metalsmithing class at our local art gallary and was hooked ever since. But I knew that as much as I loved metalsmithing, it was not my career path. My love of art made me very interested in the legal issues concerning designs. I minored in studio art in college and even completed graduate level metals classes while in law school. My professional experience includes working as an in house intellectual property attorney for a publisher, interning for a barrister in London, clerking for a constitutional law attorney, working as a legal journalist, and serving as a corporate and business attorney before joining Etsy as their in house attorney.

You’re the in-house attorney for Etsy.com. What does your day look like?
The best part about my job is there is no average day. From looking over contracts, to research, to writing, I do it all. Most people would probably not enjoy all the research and writing, but I find it fascinating. I’m always learning!
You’re also a jeweler. What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love creating jewelry because of the inherent challenges with the medium and scale. I like keeping my pieces wearable, yet geometric and unique, which is a challenge in itself. I have a soft spot for silver, but lately I’ve been getting into copper enameling. I’m also addicted to buying beads and stones of all kinds.
What’s the number one most important legal issue crafters should be aware of?
As an attorney, I have found that many crafters simply do not understand copyright law as much as they think they do. There is a lot of incorrect information out there. It’s important to learn about what copyright law does and does not protect. Sometimes a little research can prevent many headaches.

You wrote a book about copyright called Copyright for Artists, specifically directed at the Etsy community of artists. What inspired you to write it?

I became an attorney because of my fascination with art and my desire to help artists. I wrote my book because I realized that although there are dozens of copyright books out there, most books were really long and written in crazy legalese. My book contains the necessary information concerning copyright law in an understandable format tailored to the artistic community (my book also contains many visuals, like cartoons). And so far so good. I received some amazing feedback. My book is primarily sold at www.attorneysarah.etsy.com as an ebook so I can keep improving the content, keep the price down, and save trees.

Aug 25
hotdogtapus guarding treasure

hotdogtapus guarding treasure

Kellie of For the Love creates fun lunchtime fare for her kids and posts the results on her blog. I have been enjoying her creations so much that I wanted to ask her more about them and share my findings with you.

What inspired you to start presenting your kids’ lunchtime fare in such fun ways?
My girls were bored with the basic sandwich, hotdog, corndog, quesadilla, or whatever I gave them for lunch. It started with cutting up a bunch of things and letting them “play” and make faces or designs with their food. I started getting involved with “playing” with their food and it was really fun!! I also found that the kids ate more with a “hands on” approach.

Where do you get your inspiration for your creations?
I love gourmet food and especially the presentation. I guess it comes down to the presentation for kids. What would they like to eat?!? They always go for the fun smily faces on menues, why not give them that option at home?!? It’s a whole lot cheaper for me to make my own smily face on a pancake then to order one at IHOP. It just makes sense.

Ever serve your kids a plain, boring meal?
ABSOLUTELY!!! They had a peanut butter sandwhich and popcorn today for lunch. Nothing special to it, just put it on the plate and gave it to them. Some days I feel like doing something special, and other days it’s whatever I give them. Somedays they ask for something that they can play with, which is less work for me, and other days they may ask for me to create something. It all depends on the day.

Favorite ingredients?
I am trying to add more things to the pantry. Grocery shopping has become…”Oh, I can make something with this.” It’s like the grocery store has become my craft store!! It’s kind of fun. I use peanut butter a LOT, probably an unhealthy amount, but it’s great for glue. Pretzel sticks are amazing for holding olives, grapes, raisins, marshmallows, or whatever you would use a toothpick for. I seem to make sandwhiches a lot and use cookie cutters (or a tin can) to cut out shapes and then use that as a foundation piece. Whatever I have in the cupboard is what I use!!! All my creations seemingly have the same ingredients though!!! I haven’t gotten to any fancy stuff yet…I am trying to expand my culinary skills.

a creation by Kellie's 5 year-old

a creation by Kellie's 5 year-old

Do your kids have a favorite creation? Do you ever make the same one again another time?
Right now, the kids keep asking for “Squidward”, who is a wonderfully crafted hotdog octopus. I cut the ends off of raisins and use the sticky side to make eyes. So yes, I do create the same thing twice, but I always change something about it. I served the Hotdogtopus with a graham cracker treasure chest filled with marshmallows and raisins, and the next time I served him with homemade cheesy garlic tortillas chips. I like to have variety, but I am sure the kids could care less.

Have any tips for others who want to have more fun with their food?
Oh my goodness….just PLAY with your food!! Skip manners and etiquite and just get in there and be creative!!

You also let your kids create their own food sculptures sometimes. Can you give us a quick overview on how you’d set a project like that up for them?
I choose a random variety of food with different color, texture, and size and put it all on a plate. I usually give them a big plate to create their food sculptures. For example, I would put celery, cut into little pieces, apple wedges, miniature marshmallows, a cookie cuttered sandwhich, grapes and or raisins, cheetos, olives, and a handful of cereal all on a plate and let them play to their little hearts desire!! Whatever you have, use it!!! As far as a time allotment, lunchtime at my house goes from 12-1. That’s it. They have to create and have it all consumed by 1:00pm. I don’t make anything that will be completely time consuming. With 3 kids, I don’t have time for it!!!

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