Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fall '09 Art Fair Schedule...

Odd Mall Saturday November 7th
Hudson Ohio

Odd Mall M.I.C.E Participants...


Funky Ferndale Art Fair Sat-Sun Sept 19-20

Funky Ferndale M.I.C.E Participants...

Kristin Perkins

Wool & Water

Renegade Chicago Sat-Sun Sept 12-13

Renegade M.I.C.E Participants...

Sloe Gin Fizz

Emerge & See Friday Sept 11

@ The Crofoot Ballroom Pontiac

Emerge & See M.I.C.E Participants...

Angela Ficorelli

The Jamboree @ Riverside Park Ypsilanti

Fri-Sat Sept 4-5 Jamboree M.I.C.E Participants...

The Peoples Arts Festival @ The Russell

Sat-Sun August 29-30

D.I.Y Ferndale Fri-Sun September 18-20

D.I.Y - M.I.C.E Participants...

Jennifer Joy Creative

Seeds Studios

Barrel Of Monkeys

La Femme Monkita

All Things Grow

Top Knots

Sadies Room

Three Six Five

Sloe Gin Fizz

Courtney Fischer


M.I.C.E @ The Market Sunday Sept.27th

M.I.C.E @ The Market Participants....

Chicaloo Photography & More

Wool & Water

All Things Grow

Brown Joey Designs

Lara & Me Dolls

My Vintage Kitschen

Mind’s Eye Design

KP Glass Jewelry


Sloe Gin Fizz

Courtney Fischer Jewelry

Dang Argyle

Creative Card Solutions

Gypsy Moon Art Studio

Tilt Creations

Hurricane Katrina

Lazy Cat

Eve Van Dalsen
Cjkoho Designs
Lucky Heron Studio
S K Photo
Stick Nymph
Baskets by Rose
Beading Nutritionist
AM PM Creations
Rugs By Us
Such Pretty Colors
J Adams Design
Rain Gems Design
Christine Carole
Art With Annie

Elevated Press

Gertie Gear


Ann Arbor Fiber Expo Sat-Sun October 24-25

M.I.C.E. Participants...

Ridge Show Fri-Sat Nov 20-21

Ridge Show M.I.C.E Participants...

Vintage Urban Girl

Wool & Water

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Interview with M.I.C.E. member Theresa Thompson

Hello again, I am back from a glorious vacation in Italy and when I returned I had a lovely interview sitting in my e-mail in-box just waiting for me to post. Our featured M.I.C.E. member this time round is Theresa Thompson of TiLT creations, She has also been recently featured on Seeds Studio Blog in Scottie's mini M.I.C.E. interviews. Theresa has a considerable Web presence and definitely knows how to market her wonderful creations you can read and follow her blogs (listed at end of interview) and follow her day to day adventures on Twitter.

Introduce yourself, tell us where you're located and describe your work:
My name is Theresa & I run Tilt Creations here in Oak Park. I have lived in Michigan my whole life and crafting for the better part of it. I currently focus on my handmade handbags. Lately I have been doing quite a bit of hand embroidery which I am incorporating into my bags - mostly messenger bags. I plan to branch out a bit to do more arts & crafts that I enjoy.

Grr Argh Black Denim Messenger Bag, Hand Embroidered

How did you get starting crafting?
I have always painted, especially if you count fingerpainting :) It was not until my oldest wanted to be Robin Hood for Halloween...a, um "few" years ago (almost a decade & a half now)...that I began sewing. I am self taught and quickly became addicted to it. I dabble in a bit of everything I can get my hands on - paper, clay, glass, jewelry...and always look to learn more. It is much different than what I did before I became a full time mom...I was an exercise physiologist working cardiac rehab. That involved a very different kind of creativity.

How did you find Etsy?
I was researching how to become a legitimate crafting business when I ran across Etsy in several books. So I popped on over there & did a test run as a buyer before I signed up to sell.

Handbag - Pink Paisley Ann Twist

What's your favorite part of being a Michigan Crafter?
I really like how welcome I feel in the groups online & at craft shows. I have not yet jumped into a crafting circle or anything, although I would like to.

Mocha Blue Spirofloral Zip Pouch

What advice would you give to others who are interested in starting an Etsy

Follow Nike's advice and "just do it". And be patient. Etsy is a very big place and it can take a while until that first sale, or it can be the next day. I have known some people that gave up after only a month of trying to sell online - you need to give it time, just as you would in the "real world". Just keep crafting & keep listing...and get to know your camera & editing program. Pictures are very very important online. I am always trying to improve in this area - it is an ongoing learning experience - just like crafting.

Handbag in Brown and Pink Blooms

What are your plans for the future of your craft business?
I am bad when it comes to this - I admit, I have no solid plans. I just want to continue to learn more crafts, get better at those I do now & never stop.

What is you favorite inspirational place to visit in Michigan?
A great fabric store like Habermans in Royal oak can always get my creative juices flowing. But so can anyplace with great people watching like the zoo and downtown Ferndale & Royal Oak. Just seeing what other people have on or are carrying can get me thinking of new designs & styles. My own home can be great too - my kids are so creative & imaginative - I never know what they may say or do to trigger an idea.

Mollie Clutch in Green Skulls

Anything else you would like to share with MICE?
Just that I look forward to meeting more of you & hopefully joining in some of the fun in person. And looking forward to spending some Sundays in Ann Arbor's Artisan Market.

Thank You Theresa, You have a fun and quirky sense of style and have translated this into beautiful bags.

TiLT creations handmade handbags and accessories can be found at the following sites www.tiltcreations.artfire.com

Blogs: www.tiltcreationstoo.blogspot.com

photos: www.flickr.com/photos/tiltcreations/
follow me at
Twitter: http://twitter.com/tiltcreations
Plurk: http://www.plurk.com/tiltcreations
ByHand: http://tiltcreations.byhand.me

Posted by Ashley

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Interview with M.I.C.E. member Kirsten Buys

Hi everyone it is time for our next interview, this time with Kirsten Buys of lafemmemonkita. Kirsten has been a very active member of our M.I.C.E. google group and has been promoting the best of Michigan's crafters by posting a Michigan Etsy Shop of the Day on her blog www.monkitaknits.blogspot.com. She has listed an Etsy shop every day, going through all Michigan cities in alphabetical order. Some lucky M.I.C.E. members have already been featured and Kirsten is currently on the letter F so there are plenty of opportunities for lots of us to be featured (come on Royal Oak!).

Say Yes To Michigan Vegan Scarf

Introduce yourself, tell us where you're located and describe your work:
My name is Kirsten Buys. I moved to Michigan from Chicago last year and have bounced around the area a bit, settling in Ferndale as of last month! I knit, making scarves, scarflettes (often with vintage buttons), custom baby blankets, and smaller items, like children's belts, coffee cozies and my new beer bottle cozies! Last year I started hand-dyeing wool, which has been an adventure and a lot of fun.

In recent weeks I have started making rings out of Scrabble tiles and some of the vintage buttons in my collection -- many of which came from my grandmother/great grandmother's collections and the rest coming from my boyfriend's mom, who scored at a flea market!

Adjustable Scrabble tile ring -- PICK ANY LETTER

How did you get starting crafting?
A few years ago I started attending Wednesday night wine and knitting/spinning nights at my friend Jay's when I would be in Lansing for work (I lived in Chicago, but had an office in Lansing). After a few visits of only enjoying the wine and watching everyone else knit, I asked Jay (www.jenniferjoycreative.etsy.com and www.noondaytextiles.etsy.com) to teach me to knit. That was around Halloween 2006.

How did you find Etsy?
I think Jay already was on Etsy, and I had been to it once to buy a gift for my sister. Not long after I started knitting, I found myself with about 10 scarves and few recipients. (I tend to jump in head first when I get into something). So, I figured why not! Lo and behold, someone actually bought something from me when I did! My friend Brooke, a graphic designer, made me a great banner, and my friend Jesse (www.denherderdesign.com) designed my tags and business cards, following Brooke's lead.

Hand-Dyed Wool

What's your favorite part of being a Michigan Crafter?
Since moving to Michigan a little over a year ago, I have found the various crafting/artists' groups so welcoming. In Chicago you find yourself in a sea of major events that are amazing to attend (like Renegade Craft Fair), but those are kind of unapproachable and I never felt the sense of community I feel here in Michigan.

Within months of moving, Jay and I were accepted to the Detroit Urban Craft Fair and it felt as though I was welcomed with open arms by the organizers (www.handmadedetroit.com) to participate in their various events. They were so kind and so enthusiastic about what they are doing, it encouraged me to get more involved. I think because of my participation there, Shannon McCarthy (www.comfortablylovely.etsy.com) invited me to do some events in December and April, and through those I found another group of artists who are active and passionate. It all makes me feel at home here and involved in an exciting time and movement, especially here in southeastern Michigan.

Rainbow Bright -- Washable Vegan Baby Blanket

What advice would you give to others who are interested in starting an Etsy shop?
Just do it! There's no reason not to. It's so inexpensive to do and it's pretty gratifying when someone buys something from you and has great things to say about it. I love it when people leave me detailed feedback about how they use one of my items or why they love it. I'm pretty sure I'm not really turning a profit (since I don't have more time to devote to it), but I love it. I believe in unique, handmade art and supporting independent artists, and it's a great community to be a part of. I love that someone in Japan is knitting up my yarn and a group of Starbucks employees in North Carolina are using my coffee cozies.

Vegan coffee cozy

What are your plans for the future of your craft business?
I would love to continue to learn how to do more things. I feel like I haven't taken the time to challenge myself to learn more and would like to do that, so I can create truly unique pieces for people. The store Scavenger Hunt ECO (www.scavengerhunteco.com) in Old Town in Lansing recently started carrying my Scrabble and vintage button rings (and people are even buying them!) which hopefully will help me find the nerve to approach other stores about carrying my items.

Crafting and supporting independent artists is a BIG part of my master plan of "what I want to do when I grow up," but I'm going to save the details until I attempt to execute it, which will be at least a couple of years...

What is you favorite inspirational place to visit in Michigan?
As someone who is relatively new to knitting and and the whole idea of being creative (something I never thought I was), I love going to the amazing yarn stores in the area. I love investigating all of the different yarns, their textures, thicknesses, colors, and just imagine the possibilities. Although I know there are MANY in the area I haven't made it to, I love going to Have You Any Wool? in Berkley, Ewe-Nique Knits in Royal Oak, and Skeins on Main in Rochester.

Vegan Royal Blue Scarflette with Big White Buttons

Anything else you would like to share with MICE?
I'm loving the e-mail list, the blog and the exchange of ideas that's going on with MICE, so keep it coming everyone!

Knitted Ice Cream Pint Cozy

Thanks Kirsten, I love your enthusiasm for Michigan crafters. I posted some of my favourites from your Etsy site, I think an Ice cream cozy might be the best idea ever!

Don't forget to keep an eye on Kirstens blog ( www.monkitaknits.blogspot.com) to see if your shop is posted and to see all of the great talent right here in Michigan.

Posted by Ashley

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Interview with M.I.C.E. member Natalie Zebula

Hi everyone, it has been a while since I posted an interview but we are back up and running with a great one from Natalie from zebuladesign. Natalie made this really easy for me by linking a lot of great images throughout her interview. I tried to pick some of my favorites to illustrate it. One thing I will say is make sure that you take a look through her past sales, there you will find some fantastic hidden items.

Introduce yourself, tell us where you're located and describe your work:
Hello! My name is Natalie Zebula, and I make purses, plus other crafts like cards, notebooks, and baby bibs made from tshirts. I use a lot of felt for embellishment, and I like sorting through vintage fabric at estate and garage sales, if I can find it.

Bee Purse

How did you get starting crafting?
I always had an interest in making things, whether that was drawing, painting, sculpture, or more traditional craft techniques like sewing. I learned most of my sewing skills taking a job at an alterations shop, where I also learned to do fittings. You can learn a lot on your own, too, just by practice. It took me a bit to work out the details on the Scrabble Purse - at first I was going to drill small holes in the tiles to sew them like buttons, but then thought it would be more fun if you could change them and make your own phrases.

Scrabble Purse

How did you find Etsy?
I was searching for crafts online, and I just happened upon Etsy some years ago. It was a lucky find!

What's your favorite part of being a Michigan Crafter?
Learning about other Michigan crafters, like Handmade Detroit! Oh, and living in a beautiful state! We are so lucky to have so many beautiful lakes surrounding us. I have always had a big interest in wildlife and fish, even the ugly ones. I recently made an Anglerfish Purse, which is a bit odd-looking, but I think is a bit cute, too.
Anglerfish Purse

What advice would you give to others who are interested in starting an Etsy shop?
Be consistent, which even I am not so good at! It is hard to balance making crafts with other jobs and life in general. But I think you will have the most success over time if you consistently list new items, maybe just one a week. I also think it is OK to experiment and just try new things, like setting up an Etsy shop, starting a blog, or participating in some craft fairs. Starting an Etsy shop is by far the easiest!
Embroidered Felt Purse

What are your plans for the future of your craft business?
I always hope to keep making things, but one of the benefits of being your own boss is that you can decide how much you have time for. If I'm not feeling terribly excited about craft-making, I'll just take a break until a more compelling design idea pops into my head, like making a purse with twigs!

What is you favorite inspirational place to visit in Michigan?
The Thumb! I love it up north, even in the wintertime.

Anything else you would like to share with MICE?
Sometimes, doing non-craft things can inspire you! I never thought I would like taking pictures as much as I do now, and I use Flickr a lot! It is a way to both share what you see, and also record where you've been. I also liked trying out Swap-bot; the Christmas ornament exchange was fun, and I recieved some interesting ornaments (a two-headed deer, a fuzzy kiwi, and tiny mittens) in return! Through Meetup, I saw some giant telescopes (and Saturn later that night!), and met up with a photography group that took a trip to the Detroit Zoo. So even if you are feeling a bit uninspired, it doesn't take much effort to find something interesting to do.

Love Bib

Thank you Natalie, it has been fun learning about you. You have some great advice about keeping ourselves inspired and productive, I must try to do that!

You can check in on Natalie at her Craft Shop | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook

Monday, June 1, 2009

MICE @ The Market This Sunday

Join us this weekend for MICE @ The Market!

When: Sunday, June 7, 11am - 4pm
Where: The open-air market outside of Kerrytown Shops, Ann Arbor
What: Local Etsy artisans will be selling their work, including artwork, handmade soap, jewelry and much more.

See you there!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Interview with M.I.C.E. member Jill Hamilton-Krawczyk

Hello fellow M.I.C.E. members, I am happy to post an interview with our new logo designer Jill Hamilton-Krawczyk. Jill has to date 4,249 sales from her Etsy shop BarrelOfMonkeys and has 2190 hearts. As such a successful Etsy seller she has some great advice for us all.

Introduce yourself, tell us where you're located and describe your work:

My name is Jill Hamilton-Krawczyk and I currently live in Redford with my husband and our mischievously adorable black pug named Buddha.

By day, I am the graphic designer at Madonna University in Livonia. By night, I design and create pinback buttons, pocket mirrors, button necklaces, magnets and button charms. My button designs vary greatly – funny and whimsical, sarcastic and serene, animals and quotes, cameras, pets and much more. I have created countless custom buttons and I offer wholesale pricing for large quantities. I use professional button machines and quality button parts to make all my items.

How did you get starting crafting?

I have always been artistic – I can't remember time when I wasn't creating one thing or another. About fifteen years ago I photographed local rock bands – it didn't pay a whole lot but it was a lot of fun. In 1996 I discovered the world of art dolls. I attended a number of conferences and competitions where I won many awards. I wrote articles for Art Doll Quarterly magazine and Soft Dolls & Animals, taught classes and gave lectures in the US and Canada. I also organized an art doll exhibit at the American Sewing Expo for seven years. The dolls I created took about 4-6 months to complete. In 2005 I decided to go back to school to earn my BA is graphic design so with studying and homework, I no longer had the time to dedicate to art dolls.

About two years ago, my husband asked me what I would like for my birthday. I had always wanted a button machine – I didn't know why – it just sounded fun. He bought me one, I made a few buttons, listed them in my Etsy shop and they sold right away. Pretty soon I was creating new designs and selling them just as quick. I upgraded my machine and added another for larger buttons and pocket mirrors. My two-year anniversary of button making is coming up in July and I now offer well over 200 different button designs. I love creating pinback buttons because I can combine my skills as a graphic designer with crafting. Button making is perfect for my busy schedule – if I only have a half hour to spare one day I can still get a lot of items made. Some days I spend all day in my studio making buttons and filling orders.

How did you find Etsy?

When Etsy was still pretty new, a friend posted a thread in a discussion group about it. I checked it out, opened a shop and started selling miscellaneous items – handmade bottle cap jewelry, photographs, instructional booklets and other things. It wasn't until a couple years ago when I found my niche with pinback buttons that my shop really took off.

Etsy Addict or Etsy Widower pinback button

What's your favorite part of being a Michigan Crafter?

There are so many great crafters in Michigan… I have met a countless of them the short time I have been involved with the indie scene. Also, there are so many great shows to be a part of. You can go in any direction in Michigan and find a show to participate in that is unique. Michigan is very diverse… that makes it so much fun!

What advice would you give to others who are interested in starting an Etsy shop?

Before you open a shop, develop your name – make that the name of your shop AND the web address on Etsy. It makes it easier for people to remember your shop.

Develop an identity and follow it through on you banner, avatar/icon, business cards, etc. I have a lot of customers who know my booth at shows before they even see my merchandise because I use my monkey logo on all my promotional materials (banners, business cards, signs, etc). It’s good to be recognized!

Take good photos of your items and be sure to give a good description including size and materials used. Many times it’s hard to tell the actual size of an item if there is nothing else in the photo to reference it to.

Have fun with your shop! It only costs 20 cents to list an item so take a chance. Even if the item doesn’t sell right away it may still be bringing customers to your shop to view and purchase other items.

Happy Face Girls - Pinback Button

What are your plans for the future of your craft business?

I would love to add a square button machine to my collection, but those machines are pretty pricey. I'm sure I will talk myself into it someday soon though. I have also been exploring the idea of adding bottle openers to my shop. These are a lot like the pocket mirrors I currently offer but instead of a mirror back, there is a bottle opener on the back and a key ring at the top.

I would also like to do more indie craft shows. Two of my most successful shows last year were the Detroit Urban Craft Fair at the Fillmore Theater and the Shadow Art Fair in Ypsilanti. I have had a number of customers come to the show looking for my buttons as a result of being on Etsy. A number of them contact me afterward to purchase more items or to place a custom order.

But for me, it is not just about the money I make. Of course as a seller it is important to make money with your craft, but what really makes me happy is the fact that people enjoy my work. I want to see somebody wearing one of my buttons as I'm walking down the street one day. That would be so inspiring!

Squid Lady - Great Tasting - Pocket Mirror

What is your favorite inspirational place to visit in Michigan?

I would have to say up north – in the Grand Traverse Bay area. I haven’t been up there in quite some time, but my family used to rent a log cabin each summer. I just loved the smell of up north and being by the water.

Anything else you would like to share with MICE?

I have had so many opportunities come my way in the short time since I have joined the M.I.C.E. group that include meeting other Michigan crafters and designing the new M.I.C.E. logo. I have told a number of Michigan Etsy friends about this vibrant group in hopes that the member count continues to rise and that more events and opportunities become available for everyone.

Thank you Jill for letting us take a look inside Barrel Of Monkeys. Also a big thank you for designing the M.I.C.E. logo (above) which you can download from the file section at micetsy@googlegroups.com. In addition Jill has also made some M.I.C.E. pinback buttons for us at a special rate of 4 for $3.00, I already have mine!
Happy crafting!

Posted by Ashley

Friday, April 10, 2009

Interview with MICE member Kristin Perkins

Hello everyone, I am very pleased to post our first interview with a MICE member on our blog. I knew that I wanted to showcase one of our team members whose work I enjoy and who is very successfully making crafting work for her. Having admired Kristin's work for some time I thought she would be the perfect person. She has, to date 662 sales on her Etsy store kpglassjewelry1 and over 100 listing of, to die for jewelry, so listen up folks we have a lot to learn.

Introduce yourself, tell us where you're located and describe your work:

I’m Kristin Perkins and I live in Ypsilanti. I make glass and sterling silver jewelry in my home studio. I make the glass in my jewelry with the lampwork technique, which involves melting glass with a special torch and winding and sculpting it into various bead shapes. I mount my glass into sterling silver settings that I design and fabricate.

Kristin's home studio

How did you get starting crafting?

I have always enjoyed making things. My mom, dad, and one of my grandmothers enjoyed arts and crafts as hobbies. The things I remember most about growing up involved spending time with my family sewing, making Christmas ornaments, and making other craft projects. Our home was always decorated with things they made by hand or bought at arts and craft shows so I have always had a strong appreciation for handmade. When I was growing up, my mom made a lot of my clothes and I had a lot of handmade toys made by her and my grandmother.

The first craft I began to seriously pursue was jewelry making. I took my first classes in jewelry making and design in high school. I made jewelry off and on since then and in 1999 my classes in glassblowing inspired me to combine handmade glass with my jewelry. The minute I started making glass beads I planned to make it my career. I started by consigning jewelry to Michigan galleries and expanded by bringing jewelry on vacation and selling it to stores in the cities I visited. I searched for galleries online and looked at the type of work they carried to see if my work would be a fit. If I thought it was, I would call them. Gallery owners were amazingly receptive to these calls and I continue to maintain some of my accounts that I found this way. In 2004, I did my first Buyer’s Market of American Craft show in Philadelphia, from this show and each one after that I was able to generate enough business to devote full time to my work.

How did you find Etsy?

In 2006, before she joined Etsy’s staff, I met Danielle Maveal (also a jewelry maker) at a local show and she told me about Etsy. At that time, more than 90% of my business was wholesale and consignment. I had resisted selling online because even though I was pricing my work the same as many of the galleries I was working with, some had already told me they would not order from me if I sold online. In June of 2007, when the economy was causing more of a dip in my wholesale business, I finally decided to set up an Etsy store. I carefully set my prices so that they would not compete with stores selling my work. I found, what I suspected (or hoped) would be true…having an online presence has helped the galleries sell my work and rather than competing, we are working together. It has also helped me develop successful designs quicker because feedback from the end customer is much quicker than it was with wholesale. For instance, by the time I design and make a series of jewelry, it is some time before I can market it to the stores, they buy it, I make and ship it to them, they sell it, and I hear about it. Selling online is much more immediate and this helps me to suggest to them with confidence my best sellers.

Leaf Necklace - Your Choice of Color

What's your favorite part of being a Michigan Crafter?

I am learning more and more about this as I do more retail shows and now that I’ve joined MICE. I mostly enjoy the small shows I’ve done, such as The Shadow Art Fair in Ypsilanti and the Etsy at the Market in Ann Arbor. I am always so appreciative of the support I get from local shoppers and what the organizers of these smaller shows have done to generate appreciation and excitement for buying handmade locally. I am doing my first Handmade Detroit show next week…Craft Revival. I am really looking forward to getting together with other Michigan artists again!

What advice would you give to others who are interested in starting an Etsy shop?

I know I can be doing much more to improve my success on Etsy, but here are some of the things that have helped me. Having professional looking photography is very important and has helped me stand out on Etsy. When it was clear that I was struggling too much with getting great photos, I hired someone.

I also work each day to generate traffic to my Etsy store. Posting a new item as often as I can is a good way…renewing is not as effective as it used to be, but I do still notice instances when that leads to a sale.

I am also doing more art and craft shows than before I joined Etsy and I do get a lot of Etsy sales that were generated from those shows. A lot of customers also tell me that they received my jewelry as a gift and are now buying more. This all tells me that I could be doing much more to get my work in front of people and direct traffic to my store.

Circle Latchback Earrings in Orange and Turquoise

What are your plans for the future of your craft business?

I would love to have my business continue to grow and I’m happy that I now have more of a diverse business (wholesale, online retail, and retail shows). This helps because when one sales channel is down, another seems to pick up. I’ve never wanted it to be a big business and I’ve never wanted to hire people to help me make the jewelry.

What is you favorite inspirational place to visit in Michigan?

My favorite place to visit in Michigan is Frankfort. My family has a cottage on Crystal Lake and I have been going there for years. Many of my friends have wondered why I don’t travel much and I really don’t feel much of a need to. I look forward to going to Frankfort a few times a year.

Reversible Block Necklace in Aqua

Thank you Kristin, for sharing with us. It is great to get some insight into a successful crafting business. Some great tips for all of us. Have a great weekend, happy crafting!

Posted by Ashley