Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my friends out there, in cyber-space, at Etsy and GCU. 

In 2012 may all your wishes come true!

Cathy  12 / 20 / 11

Monday, December 5, 2011

Greeting Card Maker of the Month: Jennifer of Scrap About Love

I'm Jennifer. By day, I work in TV and IT, by night I'm a wife to a wonderful husband, Josh, and 'mom' to adorable pups, Fry & Leela(Named for the Futurama characters). When I'm not at work or spending time with my family, I have a small time photography business doing portraits and sports photography, as well as my photography oriented Etsy shop: By Jennifer Leigh. My biggest hobby has come to be scrapbooking and card making, which is where my shop, www.ScrapAboutLove.etsy.com comes in.

I have found a huge creative outlet with ScrapAboutLove. I get to play with paper, markers, stamps, ink and glue ~ it's like being back in Art class in grade school (except with a more sophisticated result, lol). When I'm not scrapbooking adventures taken with my family, I'm usually trying to keep up with birthdays and holidays and the like, and on occasion, I find a new idea popping into my head, and that is what ends up in my shop.

The reason I have found that I have taken a liking to creating cards was the reaction I got from my brother of all people. I felt if he could appreciate the time and effort(and love!) put into a handmade card, there would be other people that would appreciate my cards as well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my followers who are in the United States:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't eat too much turkey and enjoy the football games

Cathy 11/ 22 / 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Greeting Card Maker Of The Month: Royal Regards

I'm Sara, of Royal Regards Handmade Greeting Cards and I am a member of the Michigan Trolls on Etsy. I was born and raised in Michigan and have lived here my entire life. I grew up on the East side of the state, attended college in the middle of the state and moved to Southwest Michigan with my husband after we got married a little over 8 years ago. I work full time in the commercial real estate industry (not a realtor though) and spend my weekends and evenings (often into the wee hours of the night) making cards and working on my etsy shop. I enjoy scrap-booking, reading, shopping, movies, photography and interior decorating.

My motto when making cards is that "less is more." I like a clean, simple yet cute and elegant look. I especially love the look of embossed cards so I have a pretty large selection of those in my shop.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fallen On Hard Times

When I was a teenager, Big Boy's was the place to go on date night. I remember ordering from our car and the carhops who brought your food. Usually, a Big Boy sandwich, onion rings and a coke. Our local Big Boy's closed. We didn't even notice they were closed until they took down the sign and the Big Boy statue was gone.

It was rumored that it was due to failure to pay their taxes. More likely they are just collateral damage caused by the recession.

An article in the paper last week said that Big Boy and Denny type restaurants, classified as Family Restaurants are having a hard time, they are aging businesses with an aging customer base.  Places like Applebee's, T.G.I. Friday, and Max and Erma's the next tier up who run specials and serve alcohol are taking their lunch customers.

The flagship Big Boy's on Hall Road in Clinton Township revamped their menu and redid the interior. The colors are brighter, the over head windows are gone, they added a wide screen TV, and they have cute glass cups for coffee and hot drinks. Unfortunately, revamping is costly and will franchise stores be able to afford to do it?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Notes From The Road: International Peace Garden Sept. 11, 2011

It is the 10th Anniversary of  9/11. There is a service in the garden today, where they have laid i-beams from one of the Twin Towers. The flowers are blooming, the day is hot for this time of year so far north. Both Americans and Canadians are present. The RCMP look impressive in their red dress uniforms.

The Peace Garden lies at the northern edge of North Dakota and Manitoba. At times you are in Canada, and other times you are in US.

I will never forget Sept. 11, 2001: We were in Wichita, Kansas, on the 10th we celebrated my birthday. The next day on Good Morning America we watched a plane hit one of the Towers. Later we got caught up in a gas panic and had to wait in a long line to fill up, all they had left was premium at a premium price.

It was a long day. I refused to stop until we heard from President Bush. Then we could eat dinner and find a hotel and decide whether we should head home or go on to Colorado.

Cathy 9 / 11 / 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Notes From The Road: Minnesota

Actually, we are still in Wisconsin, in Superior, our hotel is the last one before you cross to Minnesota. We go over the bridge to Minnesota every night so we can go down to the harbor in Duluth for dinner at Grandma's Saloon. The building right next to the Aerial Lift Bridge in the harbor is where the saloon is located. The bridge goes up when a Freighter needs to go back out to Lake Superior.

Tonight I walked down to the canal into Lake Superior and a big lake Freighter was coming through. It was a nice bonus, I was actually down there to get the two lighthouses on each side at sunset. Due to road work we had to give up going to Split Rock Lighthouse and did the Wisconsin Point instead.

Driving through Wisconsin and Minnesota going west is a wonderful trip for photographers. The weather is still unusually warm for this time of year. Unfortunately, for me, my 7D is having a battery problem. Time to switch to my back up camera body.

We hope it will continue with good weather and no snags in our trip.

Cathy 9 / 20 / 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Notes From The Road: Michigan

 I am on the road again. It has been a year since my last trip. Travel is fun and exciting, I love going to new places and seeing and photographing wonderful things.

My one problem with a trip is getting going. I have trouble getting out the door that first morning. I worry about my house, my cats and a million small things. We have a very competent house/cat sitter. So I really don't have anything to worry about.

We are taking I-75 up to the UP,  there we will pick up Hwy. 2 and head for Manistique. It was raining when we left home, it is a beautiful summer day now. I have spent many a gloomy day up here at this time of year.

Everything is picture perfect, warm and sunny.

I hope the rest of our trip is as nice.

Cathy 9/ 12 / 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Fun Part Of Summer Art Shows

This is our last year to do out door summer Art Shows. Both my partner and I are tired of putting up a display tent. It was 100+ on Friday night when we set up. The heat didn't bring this change for us, we discussed it earlier in the year and decided to only do spring and autumn shows. Inside, with no wind storms, rain, or heat.

This weekend at Algonac Michigan on the St. Clair River, we had rain on Saturday about 5 PM. I went to get the van, and was just driving back when it started to rain, then it went to a full summer storm, a driving rain with wind blowing into our tent. You know it is a bad storm when the photos are blown off the peg boards. Couples shopping helped us. Also to hold us down at the height of the storm.

The next morning driving to Algonac we discovered that there were more and more trees down along Highway 29. Trees down, lines down, a mess on the highway and yards along the way. We didn't get much further, the road was closed. We had to go around the long way, get away from the water, go inland and come around.

I could imagine what we would find when we finally made it to the Art Show. Would our tent be smashed against the railing along the river, in the river or would it be in the post office parking lot across the way.

Fortunately for the many artists, Algonac had been spared, The park along the river was fine.

Everything went well. Unfortunately, it rained again at 4 PM. So the show was over!

I won't miss summer Art Shows. I will miss talking to people who visit our mobile shop.

Cathy 9 / 4 / 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Card Maker of the Month Kat Wauters of H20Works

I’m Kat Wauters. Mom, Wife, Graphic Designer (in no particular order, lol). In past lives I have been, a waitress, a bartender, a telemarketer (for only a day, I was not cut out for this job at all), a waitress again, a pizza chef, a Home Interiors saleslady (home parties), a “real” Interior Designer (went back to school, got a degree), and I owned my own faux-finishing business. Then I got my first computer (went back to school again), discovered Photoshop, and it’s been graphics, advertising and marketing ever since. I worked for Lamar Advertising, the national “Outdoor Advertising” company for 5 years, designing billboard art. It was a hoot, going down the road, seeing my larger than life works of art, screaming out, “I did that one! I did that one!” I think this is what I was meant to do all along. I remember watching Bewitched as a girl and thinking I would like Darren’s job. :)

 I have two shops on Etsy. My first is H20works.etsy.com . It has evolved thru the past 3 years (as much as 10 categories would allow me) into a few different things, but my steadfast product has always been Mini-Notecards. Yep, this is me, I go from designing 30 ft billboards to designing 2 inch Mini-Notecards! I just love coming up with cool designs for them. I am kind of an amateur-professional photographer, so I have a lot of prints in my shops that you can get as ACEOs, greeting cards or larger prints too.

My Other Shop:  H20worksDesigns.etsy.com 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I love Cone Flowers

My side garden by the driveway gets hot. So hot that many flowers won't grow by the brick wall that gets even hotter.  I have a nice stand of Black Eyed Susans and a few Cone Flowers, white and purple.They are fairly easy to grow.

Three summers ago I decided to get some of the more exotic  Cone Flowers: Green Wizard, with no petals. It didn't grow at all. Two summers ago I bought a light orange. It didn't come back the next spring.

Last summer I bought a green, a true orange and a light pink. I gave them a nice spot in the garden, watered them in.

They came back this spring.

Unfortunately, we had a very hot and dry summer. My new flowers struggled to grow. Most of them won't bloom this summer. I tried to keep them watered, but it was too hot. We had one of the hottest July's on record. Hopefully they will do better next year.

This year I bought a red,  above,  when it first blooms it is more orange than red with a frilly head, in stead of the usual cone.

I love the more colorful Cone Flowers, but I finally realized that they need too much care. With several venues online and doing art shows I need plants that I can water and they will thrive.

Cathy August 3, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Greeting Card Maker Of The Month

I would like to introduce Judi FitzPatrick,  the featured card maker for July, from Arlington, MA.

Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. This lovely shade of vibrant rose makes stunning cards.

This lovely card reminds me of Venice. It is actually in Boston: The Christian Science Church as seen from across the reflecting pool.

Check out Judi's  Etsy shop.

Judi FitzPatrick:

"I love taking photographs, making note cards, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and many other crafts; right now I'm 'Phocusing on Photography'. "

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why Did I Wear Blue Today?

Normally, what color I wear to the Detroit Zoo wouldn't matter. But today it seemed important to a large blue butterfly. The blue only shows when they land with their wings open, which is very rare.

I was sitting in the butterfly house ( which is in what was once the old bird house), with my husband between trying to get some images of the hundreds of butterflies flitting around us.

When a huge blue butterfly started to flit from my husband to me. He or she finally settled on my hand and proceeded to check me out with his/ her proboscis. (tongue). I sat there for about 15 to 20 minutes while the butterfly checked me out. It didn't hurt, but when the legs moved I felt the barbs.

Cathy @ Celtic Cat Photos 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Greeting Cards Of The Month

When I think back to summers growing up, I think of roses. My father loved his roses.

For June meet Colorado photographer Julie Magers Soulen. Her lovely flower photographs, delicate roses and beautiful blue and purple flowers make stunning cards.

Not only is Julie an accomplished photographer,  she has a very artistic way of displaying her artwork.

Julie Magers Soulen Etsy Shop

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spotlight On Claylady42 Of Etsy Michigan Trolls

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed doing some sort of craft. I never seriously thought about making a business out of it until 6 years ago. My husband was looking for a hobby while I studied to get my realtor's license, so he bought 1500 ceramic molds. Yep, 1500! Needless to say the real estate market tanked and I got interested in learning about these molds and what I can make.

Once I got the hang of it, I started working with day cares and held parties to teach others this wonderful craft so they could make their own keepsake. Then I discovered hand-building and all the wonderful textures you could add and the infinite possibilities of what can be made. I discovered Etsy through my father- in-law who read an article about it, so I gave it a try.

I'm totally addicted to my clay and Etsy!

My favorite texture is a doily. While helping to clean out my parents' basement, we came across a suitcase of old linens and doilies. I just had to see what I could make with them! Not only do I feel I'm bringing back some sort of nostalgia using the doilies, but I feel like I'm keeping my family's memories alive. I love my ceramics and I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when someone thinks my items would make a nice addition to their home!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Greeting Card Of The Month

Father's Day Card
This is a new feature. Once a month I am going to feature a card from shops on Etsy.

This Is A Special Father's Day Wish
For A Day Filled With Happiness

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spotlight On Kelly Of AttitudesOfRed

Hi, I am Kelly, of AttitudesOfRed. I started my Etsy shop late last year, but began beading long before that. I started beading with a good friend, just as something fun to do, then continued to make jewelry to match certain outfits. I work outside the house full time, and have a husband and two small kids, so my daily life keeps me busy. Now I bead to have time to myself and the peace and quiet that comes with it.  

The name of my shop comes from my lovable and spunky red-headed daughter. She helped me realize that my mood and attitude are what determines what jewelry I am going to wear on any given day. My physical shop is wherever I can find a free minute to work, usually after everyone is in bed and the house is quiet.

I enjoy getting to know other crafters on Etsy, especially those local. I have learned so much from them, and hope to continue to, and to grow my online shop. Thanks for checking it out!

Thanks, again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Is Here In South Eastern Michiagn!

Spring is here. I know it, even though it is cold by the Yellow Crocus in my front yard. My Day Lilies are about 2 inches tall, and so are my Irises.

I planted new Cone Flowers last fall. Orange, Yellow, and a Green variety. Hope they come up so I can take some photos and let everyone see how lovely they are.

Cathy 4 / 7 / 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spotlight on Alpha Dog Photo

Meet Ada, A.K.A. AlphaDogPhoto on Etsy. One day about five years ago my husband and I were visiting the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida when Steve looked down at the sidewalk and said, "look, this crack looks just like a K." That was the start of a very addictive hobby.

We have traveled all over the United States and have taken photos of pretty much every crack and crevice we ever walked by. We go on wonderful vacations with beautiful scenery and come back with photographs of things that look like letters…but none of ourselves. We’ve even been driving down a highway and had to turn around and go back because something looked like a "P". Many times I’ll focus in on something on the ground or way up high--I must admit unlikely places for a Kodak moment. By the time I’m done snapping away, I realize that passersby are looking up or down perplexed and trying to figure out what I could possibly be taking a photo of. Little do they know that it’s something that looks like a letter that will eventually end up on Etsy.
In November 2010 we joined Etsy and wish we had signed up years before when one of our friends told us about it. We tried, and failed many times, at setting up our own website. Merchant accounts, tags, URLs… it was all so confusing. Etsy took a difficult and expensive part of our business and made it easy and affordable. We sell our alphabet photos and unique barn wood frames at craft fairs and Farmer Markets and love meeting new people and being part of the crafting community. What we did not expect when we joined Etsy was that it was also a community, but even BIGGER! I just shipped to the United Kingdom today and "convo’d" with someone in Hong Kong.

Who knew that Steve noticing a crack in the sidewalk would lead to an International business called Alpha Dog Photo?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

To Twitter or Not to Twitter?

I don't know how you felt when you opened your shop with Etsy or Artfire. I didn't know anything about setting up a shop, nothing about online e-commerce, would I need a webmaster to do it? Would anyone look at it? How do you collect the money?

Before I joined Etsy I did get a website, and I had a Business Paypal account and an email account set up by my webmaster. It was still a slow process for me. What to add to my shop. Now I add images that are new and sometimes different than what I sell at Art shows. I love the creativeness that Etsy has given me to try different things. There is so much to do now during the winter off-season. I also love the world-wide market place Etsy has opened up for me to sell my cards and photographs in. And still have the Shop Local option, for Michigan sales.

I am now in the process of converting some of my old negatives to digital, a very slow process, some of them aren't in as good of condition as I hoped they would be in. An example is the blue boat above, taken in 1985, in Connemara, Ireland, on a rainy afternoon. The old boat has been retired. The grounds landscaped and the Abbey enlarged. New boats are in its place, nice boats, but without the character the old boat had.

I recommend Handmadeology, Facebook, and Twitter to new people to e-commerace whether it is Etsy, Artfire, or one of the card companies.

Cathy March 8, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spotlight On MelJoy Creations

Hello, my name is Melissa, I’m “Mel” of MelJoy Creations and a member of the Michigan Trolls on Etsy. I’ve lived in
various areas of Michigan over the years, mostly in the “thumb” of the mitten, which is where my husband and I reside now.

I love all things creative, and art has always been a big factor in my life. In my younger years I was a dancer until illness changed my body forever. Move ahead a few years (okay, maybe more than a few) and I'm still creating, just not in a choreographic form. Crafts are my new outlet. Jewelry, quilts, scrapbooking, card making, wirewrapping...you name it and I enjoy it!

The other half of MelJoy is my mother, Joy, who also lives in Michigan 9 months of the year (I don’t have to tell you which 3 months she prefers to be away from Michigan..ha ha). Over the past two years our jewelry making passions have led us into teaching classes. Then last fall I was introduced to Etsy. The land of handmade…where have you been all my life!? Ha! Within a month, I had our shop up and running.

I would describe our shop as traditional jewelry with a modern makeover. Some styles are classic patterns that my mother learned many years ago. But we’ve taken these patterns and styles of weaving to a new level with designs in modern colors, using more modern styles and variations of beads, crystals and findings. We are very particular of the beads and crystals we use and we’re known for spending hours and hours just deciding on color combinations and weave patterns.
This year we plan to begin selling our jewelry at craft shows throughout Michigan. And we’re really hoping to meet up with some of the other members of the Michigan Trolls Etsy Team, too!

February 20, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Watermark Or Not To Watermark?

I spend a lot of time on Etsy, I find that I could stay at my computer 24/7, and still not do everything I need to do on Etsy or Thistle and Shamrock Publishing. I have to limit my time, do the most important thing first and then go to the next most important one. But from time to time I like to take some time off and browse through what is listed in the Photography Gallery on Etsy. I have never been able to get into a Gallery, not that that is all bad. I have only heard a few good things about them, and many more bad things.

Often in the Gallery I will see watermarks on the Photographs. I have seen discreet to bold across the photo marks. If the photograph is sized at 72 dpi and lowered to medium size I don't see a reason to watermark a photograph. If someone wants to take the time, the watermark can be removed. I have to admit that sometimes I put my shop initials on a photo, never in the center, never at the edge, it is small and in a place it would be harder to remove it from.

When I do Treasuries I never select a photograph that has a blatant watermark on it. It takes away from the beauty of the photograph when you see the watermark first, and then the image.

Happy V-Day everyone!

Cathy 2 / 12/ 11

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spotlight On Michigan Artists

Howdy, I am Willew or Lisa, if you find me in real life. I am currently residing smack dab in the palm pit of Michigan, but dreaming of relocating to a more rural area to live the farm life. About six years ago, I transitioned from the corporate world to life as a stay-at-home-mom and embarked on a journey to a more natural, less-is-more lifestyle. I documented my journey on my blog and discovered the wonderful world of the blogosphere and all that inhabit it. Through this, I found Etsy and immediately knew I wanted to open a shop. It took a few years, but Willew Creations opened this year and I have been thrilled with the experience.

I describe Willew Creations as a treasury of handmade items to green up your self and your home. Our signature item is the hand knitted, cotton, washcloth sets. One of the first things I did to green up my home was to toss all paper products and these washcloths made it possible. I’m still amazed at how much money that one act can save. Soon, I will be expanding our product line and offering: market bags, plastic bag holders, sweeper covers and more. I envision Willew Creations growing into your one stop shop for items to help you save money and be earth friendly.

Contact Info:
Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/shop/WillewCreations

Facebook fan Page: www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Willew-Creations/143248295725451

Blog: bemyleaves.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spotliite On Holiday Cards

Cards are my favorite graphic to create. Here are several I created over the years.

Cathy 1 / 6 / 2011