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It’s Etsy Team Game Day again!   Today my Oregon Duckies don’t play ’til evening, and we’re going to have a crowd of people over to watch, so i’m typing to the sounds of Oklahoma State v. Kansas State.  I’ve missed the past two Saturdays of posting because I’ve basically been sick for a month.  This is NOT an auspicious start to the winter season, especially since my 9 year old’s been home from school sick for this entire past week.  Talk about a drain on a crafter’s creative energies….  It’s a miracle I’m still coherent.

Anyway, enough about that.  I’m fine now, and I’m excited to be back in the saddle again…  with a feature on my Crafting in Color Teammate Mouse Market—maker of miniature dollhouse food and jewelry!

Now, before I get started, a little background.  Those of you reading who know me, know that I have a secret passion for dollhouses.  In fact, my very first post on Facebook was to narrate the progress of a dollhouse I was building, allegedly for my daughter.

This dollhouse was a meaningful project.  Dollhouses and miniatures were loves that i had always shared with my EXTREMELY CRAFTY Mother, who I always describe as “the Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart.”

For years we talked about making one, but we never did, and soon I was grown and gone from the house and our chance was past.  At least, until I had my own daughter.  When Miyako turned one year old, my mother bought a really nice dollhouse kit for us to build together for her.  But, I lived in Oregon, my mother in Pittsburgh!  And I was a new assistant professor, scrambling to get tenure.  The dollhouse was not built, and not built, and soon 10 years had passed.

But when Miyako was 10, our family moved into a historic old Victorian in Illinois that we started renovating, and somehow the Grand Dame, as we called that lovely house, inspired me to get out the dollhouse kit, and build it.

My daughter greeted the project with total indifference.  She’d never once spent a minute willingly with a doll in her life.  She’s a paper and pen girl.  But I loved that dollhouse with a passion.

The kit was an old-school one, that included an enormous quantity of real wood detailing that all had to be hand-cut and sanded, and then sealed, and painted, and then finished.  It took about 2 weeks of Paper Demon-level obsessive work.  I sewed tiny curtains, of course.

Naturally, when finished, I became even more obsessed with finding tiny objects to fill it.  And this is where my true love of miniatures came out. Fortunately, we lived in the midwest at the time, and went to the farm estate auctions weekly.  What a grand source of lovely old pieces for a dollhouse!  Even a little family of cornhusk dolls to move in and tiny kittens as pets and squirrels for the rooftop!

However.  It was my son who came to love the dollhouse.  As quasi Deathstar for his Lego Storm Troopers….  Sigh….

Lego Clone Troopers take over the house and use the facilities

I decorated the dollhouse for Christmas, but soon the overall indifference of my children and the quizzical looks of my partner, as well as our upcoming move back to Oregon, put paid to my dollhouse obsession.  And I never got to indulge myself in what I REALLY wanted to buy, which was MINIATURE FOOD FOR MY DOLLHOUSE FAMILY.

And this, dear patient readers, is where Mouse Market comes in.  Mouse Market is an Etsy shop dedicated to handmade dollhouse miniatures and jewelry, all made from polymer clay.  Now, there are PLENTY of miniature polymer clay food makers out there…..  but trust me, none of them are in the ballpark of Mo Tipton of Mouse Market.

Mo Tipton, Creative Genius behind Mouse Market

Mo explains that she combines

my love of miniatures with my training as a pastry chef and a graphic designer to create detailed, realistic foods in 1/12 scale…

But, she’s too modest.   “Detailed,” and “realistic” doesn’t do her pieces justice.  Because they go beyond realism to encompass a whimsical wit and a sweet affection for food itself in all its homey glory.  In other words, it’s not just her technical skill in reproducing food in clay, but her sense of which foods to feature, and why.  Take her matzoh ball soup, for example. 

Or her breakfast in bed tray.

These are the foods of love and comfort, lovingly recreated to make a tiny home within a home.

I was taken with her sweet Halloween-themed items, like her skull cookies displayed on a plate of glitter.

But my greatest joy, prompting me to call my partner away from her beloved football to come to the computer, was her tiny package of fresh atlantic salmon.  We buy fresh salmon every week (to be fair–we don’t buy atlantic, only fresh pacific!), and any self-respecting dollhouse of mine will need to have this in its tiny refrigerator.

For those who are dollhouse-deprived, rest assured that Mo also makes the most delightful jewelry ever.  She’s currently featuring these Rainbow Layer Cake Earrings, which I want to point out, are just perfect for October, Gay Pride Month.

One of the things I love best about her work is that she gives it a backstory.  For example, she doesn’t just make Broccoli Earrings, but *Organic* Broccoli Earrings (in a *Spicy* Cheddar Sauce).

When my dollhouse comes out of the shipping cube, and gets set up in our new house,  just in time for Christmas, I am going to lay out a minituare Christmas dinner spread the highlight of which is going to be her STUFFED TURKEY WITH SQUASH RINGS, SWEET POTATOES WITH MARSHMALLOWS, and her CHRISTMAS COOKIE TRAY.

And my little cornhusk dolls from the prairie are going to be SO happy…

Find Mouse Market at these places:

On Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mousemarket

At her blog: http://themousemarket.com

On Twitter:  http://twitter.com/themousemarket

On Flckr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/themousemarket/

Etsy Team Game Day is here, and although the Oregon Ducks game is over (of course my Duckies won!)  I still get to type to the dulcet tones of LSU and Florida (with 3 minutes to go in the 4th [post-script: and what a game that ended up being!])

I’ve recovered from the dreadful attack of stomach flu that robbed me of my Saturday last week, and made me fill in with just a stop-gap post on my Queer Etsy Street Team comrades.  And now I greet this week’s remedial (?) Etsy Team Game Day Post day with renewed enthusiasm!

Today I’m extra-excited, because I get to feature the splendiferous Queer Etsian, Michelley Queen of Queens! Why do I love Michelley?  Well, first off, how can you not give respect to someone who calls their Etsy shop an “arts and crafts chop shop [and] surreal smorgasbord of whimsical, fierce, fine art.”

 

Lucifist Lucifer--Surreal Fine Art Giclee Print

 

And then she goes on to describe her art:

My art work marries childlike whimsy and feminist defiance as viewed through an absurdist lens. All of it….conceived, designed and handmade, by me, usually in a frenzied state of creative compulsion.

 

"I'm not a Humanitarian, I'm a Hell-Raiser" Mother Jones Print

 

Those of you now reading who know me at all (and some of you have known me since high school [[I’m talking to you, David and Martha]]) will be laughing at this point.  Whimsy, feminist defiance, absurdist lens, frenzied state of creative compulsion….  who are we talking about here?

 

Hysterical Bitch--Surreal Fine Art Giclee Print

 

Hysterical Bitch?  Hellraiser?  Obviously I’m going to appreciate this woman and her art.

Michelley is an award-winning artist who has been creating since childhood.  As she tells us,

I was born an innately dramatic child, in the great state of NJ, in the late ’60s, to equally dramatic parents. My imagination has always been a juggernaut and I began compulsively creating art at a very early age. I was hugely influenced as a tot by fairy tales, psycho-sexual vampire movies made in Italy, the wonders of nature and Bugs Bunny in drag.

It is the Bugs Bunny influence that I find most inspiring.  How many artists’ ouvres encompass the demented, homicidal bunny motif?

 

Some Bunnys Gonna Pay---Surreal Fine Art Giclee Print

 

But beyond all this, I again pay homage to another Etsy Team Leader.  I am grateful and humbled by those generous Boddhisattva-like individuals who devote their valuable time to making our teams run for the rest of us.  Michelley runs the Queer Etsy Street Team blog, and manages the Queer Etsy Collective Shop, which gives all proceeds to a charity working on preventing suicide among gay youth.

I can’t close this post on Michelley Queen of Queens without mentioning her Day of the Dead Soaps.  Day of the Dead is coming up, folks, and do you want to be caught dead without banana-cream scented skull soap?

 


Banana Cream Scented Skull Soap

 

Find Michelle Queen of Queens at these places:

on Etsy:    http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenofqueens

on her webpage:   http://michelle-cartaya.artistwebsites.com/index.html

on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/QueenofQueensArt

Faithful readers will have noticed the absence of my Saturday Etsy Team Game Day Edition.   The spirit was willing, but the flesh was in bed with a ferocious attack of stomach flu (or food poisoning…hard to say).  It came, consumed my Saturday, and was gone by Sunday morning.

I owe my Queer Etsy Street Team a feature!  But now it’s Monday, and the University of Oregon Ducks aren’t playing in the background, and I didn’t have a whole day to dwell on the fabulousness of my team-mates, and I just don’t feel like the Game Day Cheerleader that I like to spend my Saturdays being!

To tell the truth, I’m still not feeling so hot.  And, did I mention I’m at the laundromat?

So, let’s do this.  I’m going to share some of my most favorite items from a few of my fellow Queer Etsy Street Team Shops.  These are things I’ve been coveting for quite awhile now.  And now you can covet them too.  I’ll put the links to their shops in so you can click through freely and enjoy the bounty of queer creativity at your fingertips..so to speak.

And next Saturday, when all my parts are rejoined, I’ll get back on the Game Day Horse and take another, for-real ride over to Queer Etsyland.

Green Alien Bead, from the Fabulous Crowbirdie Beads

Your Must-Have Christmas Skull jewelry by the ever-eclectic BunnyKissd

Subtle woodworking style by Ramshackle Studios

Haunting brushed glass briolettes from Gilliauna

One-of-a-kind take on LGBT Pride jewelry, by Elles Beads

And last but not least…

A demented, homicidal bunny, courtesy of QueenofQueens

Stay tuned!

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams:  last week it was Queer Etsy Street Team.  This week it’s Crafting in Color Team.  So suit up, Crafting in Color Team, and let’s go!

————————————————————————————————————————————————

There are different kinds of shops on Etsy.  There are those that are totally focused, have a single item or type of item, create that one thing perfectly, and sell it steadily.

And then there are shops that are a little crazier, that reveal the presence of a curious and restless creative spirit, someone who’s willing to experiment with new materials and different ideas.

You probably can guess that I am partial to the latter.  If you didn’t know that, you haven’t visited my PaperDemon Jewelry shop yet.

And that’s why I love Glamasaurus

This is a shop that I appreciate on a human as well as an artistic level.  The artist, Andreanna Kostantas, is an American expat living in Switzerland, and she’s clearly someone with a sense of humor.  From her motto– “so sweet it will give you cavities” –to her unpretentious list of preferred materials –“polymer clay, plastic, glue, pixie dust” — she’s a person who just doesn’t take herself and her art too seriously.  And on Etsy, which definitely has a  lot of the “artiste” attitude going on, that is refreshing indeed.

Whether it’s her Lego earrings, her polymer clay donut, cookie, and cupcake jewelry, or her mysterious and charming shrubbery, Andreanna  makes things that make you smile.

Surely you need a set of yarn shrubs that have been, in Andreanna’s words, “carefully shaped using my keen shrubber’s sense.”

And for those of you looking for Hello Kitty gauged studs, her shop is certainly the place to go.

I appreciate artists who are willing to be goofy and willing to admit mistakes.  I like seeing that she still listed the goofy Domokun Cupcake necklace above, even though she “iced it kind of lopsided” (so it’s on sale!).

And it goes without saying that I like her Japanese-inspired aesthetic!  As her shop description reads, “Kawaii Harajuku Sweets Deco Kitsch Jewelry Accessories”  From Domokun, to her Hello Kitty studs, to her recent “kamikaze guitar pick bracelet,”  she definitely has a thing for Japan.

And, I also appreciate artists who help other artists out.   Andreanna does major work on behalf of the Crafting in Color Team.  She’s one of the main CIC Team Leaders, and definitely keeps the trains running on time.

For someone as utterly disorganized and random as me, this kind of contribution is astounding.   How does she do it?  I don’t know.  But  I am so grateful.

Check out Glamasaurus over the web:

http://blog.glamasaurus.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mommysaurus
http://www.twitter.com/glamasaurus
http://www.myspace.com/glamasaurus
http://www.facebook.com/Glamasaurusshop

The Paper Demon is working on an ebook on tips for Etsy Success!

I’ll be sharing one tip a week for the next few weeks, as I get ready to launch the book.

This week’s tip is:  price your items right!

Pricing is a bit of an art form!  Price too high and your customers will run away.  Price too low and your potential customers won’t take you seriously.

In general, sellers on Etsy tend to price too low.    Remember that your work is handmade and only you can set its true value!

When in doubt, raise your prices!

A higher price gives a stronger impression of value for your product.   Of course this has to be backed up with superb photos and compelling and exciting (and thorough) product description.

And of course your customers have to be able to find you, which means working hard on keywords, tags, and advertising and promotion.

But in the end, you want to communicate that your products are valuable.   Pricing is one important way to do that.  Look at your competitors, and get a general idea of the price range in your craft area.  Then lean toward the higher end!

Here’s the key to Etsy success:  Want to sell more?  Raise your prices!

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams: last week it was Crafting in Color. This weeks it’s  Queer Etsy Street Team.  So suit up, Queer Etsy Street Team, and let’s go!

Thomas Saylor, of ThomasSaylorDesigns, has been a friend as well as a teammate to Paper Demon Jewelry since I started my shop on Etsy this past June.  He sent me a kind welcome to the Queer Etsy Street Team, and was the first to suggest that I make a business Fan Page!  [*pause here to click and become a fan if you haven’t yet!*]  I’m forever grateful to him for that!

Thomas makes mouth-wateringly gorgeous  fabric creations—pillows, draperies, bedding, quilts, placemats, baby gifts, wedding accessories, kitchen and bath decor, and cell phone cozies, to name a few. 

What I love most about Thomas’ designs are his spectacular sense of color and pattern.  He’s very selective about the fabrics he uses!  To make the grade they have to be bold, modern, vibrant, and geometrically-inspired.

He has a terrific sense of the most current color combos, like the one above—grey and crimson.  Or the one below:  lime green and turquoise.    Come to think of it, he really ought to be a member of Crafting in Color Team too!

My personal favorite is this pillow cover in one of the hottest current color combinations:  grey and yellow.  I am crazy about grey and yellow, but kind of intimidated by it!  But Thomas does it absolutely beautifully, with his inimitable sense of style!


If I had a house that was stylish and hip instead of random and demoralizing, I would totally have these pillows on my hypothetical white Danish modern sofa.  As it is, this will be the go-to pillow cover for the next housewarming gift I buy for hip friends.

Or, one can skip the sofa entirely and just carry ThomasSaylor style along as a cel phone/ipod cozy!

And how about this:  never be without a cocktail napkin again with these ultra-clever wrap-around coasters!  Form and function in one fabulous item!

The perfect Christmas gift for the wine-lover in your life!

Thomas describes himself like this:

I am a student, a writer, a housewife, and a self-proclaimed crafter extraordinaire. In the past, I spent several years working in the banking industry before ultimately quitting my day job to pursue my dream of starting my own business at home. I’ve recently married my soul mate, Christopher, and we live in Richmond, Virginia with our impossibly annoying yet undeniably adorable “children”, RileyBoots, Salem and Louis. The anarchy in our apartment is matched only by pet fur.

And did I mention he’s as cute as a button?

Thomas is always out and about the internet supporting the Queer Etsy Street Team, promoting his splendid creations, and being his fabulous queer self.   Check out all of his fun sites:

on Etsy:  http://thomassaylordesigns.etsy.com

on his website:  http://thomassaylordesigns.com

on his business blog:  http://thomassaylordesigns.blogspot.com

and on his personal blog:  http://yourdailythomas.com

and on Facebook:  http://facebook.com/thomassaylordesigns

Folks ,

just a quick note to share this story of Kimberly Wilson, a wonderful artist who in July lost her studio in an electrical fire.

Her story is shared on one of my favorite daily art jewelry blogs—Daily Art Muse (a spectacular resource—check it out!)

I made a donation to help her rebuild, and if you feel so inclined, please consider donating too.

Thank you!

Karen

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