Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dress Your Home In Vintage - Farmhouse

My kitchen is still a work in progress, but after 5 years, it's almost where I want it to be. It has a farmhouse, vintage feel - cozy, warm, lived in.  I'm not talking sheep and doilies, but I do have a penchant for barn stars.  I've limited myself to one big red one over the kitchen table.  We're in the Midwest, deep in the prairie, I can't help my country tendencies, but I've tried to use authentic, vintage finds instead of mass produced, Chinese, fake Americana decor.  I love having vintage pieces in the kitchen - it makes my 1980s cookie cutter home feel more personal, more loved, more lived in.  Each piece has a memory and history, adding to our family story.

I found this vintage bowl in Garden_22 Vintage shop and had to have it.  It's creamy and warm; it feels like it's been held in many hands.   Right now it's on my counter holding a tower of mail my husband never seems to sort through.  I'm thinking about reclaiming it and putting it on the kitchen table.  It would look great full of apples and pears, but I don't eat apples or pears, so that would be a waste.  I might fill it with potatoes, which we eat a lot of and would still look lovely. 

 Here are some other pieces I'd love to add, but am hoping you buy first so that my kitchen doesn't start to resemble one of those rooms on Hoarders.

Vintage Baking Set from ethanollie - I wouldn't even want to hide these in a cabinet

Petite Bundt Cake Pans from AlicesLookingGlass - perfect excuse for eating an entire cake yourself

Enamelware Canisters from TheFancyLamb - wide mouth for scooping flour and sugar

Primitive Wooden Stool from bellalulu - I'd love this in my kitchen if I wasn't sure my 4yr old would crack her head open falling from it

Early 1800s Homespun Flax Blanket from theprimitivehome - imagine turning this into a lovely tablecloth or runner

Metal Film Canisters from SlothArt - could be used for storing spices

Biscuit Cutter, Scoop and Sugar Sack from AnnaBelleVintage -  the sugar sack would make gorgeous linens or a pillow and nice, big scoop for baking

Vintage White Batter Bowl from jenscloset - perfect for small batches of pancakes

Wire Egg Basket from findingfabulous - definitely wouldn't get hijacked into holding mail

I'm headed to the Kane County Flea Market this weekend - can't wait to share my new finds!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fine Art Friday

Can a TV show make people talk about art?  Make it a dinner table conversation?  Or would that be more like a twitter hashtag now-a-days?  I've been obsessed with Work of Art on Bravo and it seems like I'm not the only one.  It's buzzing around the internet, being sold in stores - Michaels has a huge end cap of canvases, paint, sketchbooks - that can't be a coincidence.  I know these media giants work with retailers and mass marketers, putting out these all-encompassing ad campaigns, but however it has happened, I'm happy to see art spreading.

Last Friday I noticed a #FineArtFriday hashtag and thought, genius!  I also thought it could be the result of the show crossing the streams into the Twitter, internet landscape.  (I also also thought I could use it as an excuse to not have to #FollowFriday anymore) The hashtag is the brainchild of Jessica Torrant, a very talented artist I stumbled upon while sifting through Etsy several months ago.  Her work is abstract, colorful, bold, moody; my favorites have this ethereal quality, a quiet, lovely space I'd like to inhabit.

Horizon Line 2

Flowers for Sharon

Carried Away

Last Friday she tweeted and blogged about the #FineArtFriday hashtag movement, which strives to ride this surge in interest of art and show how accessible and enjoyable it can be.  Share what you like, talk about why you like it, share artists you have discovered in your local area, share your own work! Blog about it, put it on your Facebook wall, tweet some of your favorites and use the hashtag.  She described it as not a trickle down approach but a reaching out movement. Our schools, our students, our society all benefit from art being a part of the curriculum, part of the community, part of the daily discussion of life.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day of Beauty

It's still summer, right?  I know we're all getting sick of the heat and humidity, longing for chilly days of scarves and sweaters, but we still have a whole month of August people.  Around here, September can be pretty steamy too. Today's Day of Beauty is featuring crisp and refreshing bath products to help us get through those dog days of summer.

This week's featured shop is Wicked Soaps.  If you haven't tried Misty's sugar scrubs, you haven't felt smooth skin.  Every night, after I get the child to bed, I reward myself with a shower to wash off the grime, sweat, mud, various toddler messes -  her absinthe sugar scrub is so cool and rejuvenating.  Sometimes I switch it up with rosemary mint. My skin literally feels like silk - noticed by the most oblivious of husbands.  She has so many scents - an ice cream assortment to get through the days of heat summer still has in store.

She even has a clearance section right now - Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dress Yourself in Vintage

I have a love affair with vintage. Clothes, decor, jewelry, all of it. In order to avoid going bankrupt I'm starting a new series on my blog featuring vintage sellers and items. Dress Yourself in Vintage is inspired by lillyella's blog - if you haven't read it, stop right now and go. Read. I'll wait.

Okay, are you back? Her blog is wonderful. I love her features, her recipes, her eye for beauty. Her Couture du Jour challenges inspire me to put things together in a way that's beyond an Etsy treasury - I'm sure she'll get tired of me submitting outfits ad nauseam (not that I'm going to stop) but I thought I'd share some here as well.

This week I was inspired by a twitter link from Dear Golden Vintage. Lauren tweeted several links to a shirt, skirt and scarf that coincidentally made a picture perfect outfit (I added the mesh peeptoes that I wish I could squeeze my size 9's into):

Canteloupe Pointelle Knit Top

Black Chiffon Flounce Skirt

Reptile Print Silk Scarf 

1940s Black Mesh  Peeptoe Pumps

You can also check out her blog here Dear Golden Blog

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Treasury East

I was thinking about Treasury East today and how it has changed not only how we promote on Etsy, but how we team build and create relationships among sellers. Rob Kalin has stated his vision for Etsy is to become more community based (i.e. social commerce) and I am now a believer in this dream. I have drunk of the Kool-Aid, and I'll tell you why.

I was very skeptical of Treasury East (TEast) before it launched. No one likes change, but I felt letting everyone create treasuries all the time took away from the specialness of making one. Made it less exclusive, easier to attain - face it, more supply should equal less demand. I didn't even use it when it launched, preferring to stare at my monitor for 15 minutes awaiting the fleeting Main or West opening.

Once I started using it, I enjoyed the wider space - it allowed me to stretch my figurative arms out and changed the whole design and layout. Even still, I felt selfish for making too many at a time, I wouldn't dream of having more than say, five.

Then I really got rolling. I created the Beyond Bridal Team with Jill from ThreadRare and found how useful TEast could be for team building. It allows us to promote each other, to discover our teammates products and talents, it allows us much more opportunity for a team front page (still waiting Etsy! ;)

This team building is a very important aspect of Etsy - on your own it would take hours and weeks and months and years to promote yourself enough to stand out. Teams help you with site questions, open doors - if you're not on a team you need to find one or create one! I have recently joined the Curation Nation Treasury Team and am so excited to have created two recent team front pages. It has lead to treasury challenges, like this one from claireandjanae's blog - which are such a fun way to design treasuries and find new shops!

This brings me back to realizing Rob's community based merchandising dream. I thought it had to do with the Forums at first - which is why it left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't think the Etsy experience should be dependent on the whims and moods of the ever arguing forums. But that was my misinterpretation. I also worried this "community driven" aspect would lead to a kind of incestuous, favor giving relationship between shops (bear with me, I'm not trying to be creepy). I assumed it would lead to shops buying from shops - moving money around Etsy, but not bringing any fresh capital in. Buying favors, building, dare I say, mafias? I worried, and still do, about bringing fresh clientele into the site.

This is a separate issue, and has to do with social commerce, but I have strayed off topic. I am now behind this direction because in the past year I have built such wonderful relationships with other sellers. I have found such a good community within Etsy, and meet new people every day. Treasury East has allowed me to go beyond Twitter, Facebook, blogging - building connections on Etsy instead of outside of the site. It allows me to promote my teammates - and in return, get promoted as well.

Now, down to the nitty gritty - has all this community hand-holding, Kumbaya signing led to sales? In a word, Yes. My sales have increased - I believe the driving force behind them is front page exposure. The front page has some powerful magic and it's pretty hard to get there alone.

Rob stated "In social commerce, our focus is on people, not products. It's our job to build tools for you to use, that help you promote items as you'd like to." Treasury East is this useful tool that is launching our networking beyond what was previously possible. I realize I sound like an Etsy boot-licker, but I'm excited about the direction Etsy is going and thankful for all the creative and talented people I meet everyday and the opportunity it gives me to make a living doing something I love.

I would love to know what you think - please comment on how TEast has changed your Etsy experience. Feel free to link to your latest treasuries!

Curation Nation Front Page

Yay! Was very happy to see my Curation Nation Toasted Treats treasury on the front page this morning! Congratulations to all the shops - happy weekend sales!