Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crafty buggers - theage.com.au

Once the epitome of uncool, craft is making a comeback with a new generation. Rachelle Unreich threads up to find a burgeoning movement that is hip, political - and just a little divided.

If you were to meet Gemma Jones on the street, you might notice the following: hair swept up in a beehive, distinctive, quirky tattoos (one, on her arm, features a hand pointing to a teapot), loud clothing and a green plastic necklace that says "snotty". You might be surprised to learn, then, that Jones also started her own craft group. Mind you, hers is not your crochet-a-tea-cosy group of grannies: her "alternative craft co-op", the Kaotic Kraft Kuties, once got together and turned old band T-shirts into knickers. "I'm probably at the young, punk-rock end of the craft community," she says.

Is there such a thing? Yes, indeed. The art of craft has gained momentum with the hipsters. Sewing, toy making, knitting, crocheting, embroidery and printing - in that order - are the most popular crafts, says 40-year-old Pip Lincolne, who sells many such handmade items at her store, Meet me at Mike's. The author of a book of craft projects, she also heads up craft circle Brown Owls, which has 250 members and a Facebook presence. Clearly, Nanna's not the only one making Afghan squares any more.

"Crafting used to be looked on as something for grannies or Stepford wives, but apart from an amazing way to get creative, people also do it to be green and sustainable. It's the 'mend and make do' ethic," says Lincolne, explaining its appeal. "And now, with the global financial crisis, people are staying home and crafting or reading. It's lovely to be able to sit in front of the tele and end up with something unique."

But these women - the groups are almost exclusively female, mainly between 20 and 35 - aren't just meeting to complete their quilts. Says Lincolne: "The craft community is like a big, stitched-together sorority. I had no hesitation, for instance, to email (documentary filmmaker) Faythe Levine in the US, asking her over for a cup of tea when she was in Melbourne (to promote her film on craft, Handmade Nation), because we're cobbled together with the same sort of glue - we both like making stuff! And she came over, we hung out, I introduced her to other friends. The craft world is about making, music, food and friends - and the other elements are as important to me as the 'making'."

Gemma Jones agrees. "Half of the reason people come is social. I can definitely say I've made some friends for life." To wit: Ink & Spindle is a Melbourne screen-printing studio whose owners - Lara Cameron, Bianca van Meeuwen and Tegan Rose - furthered a friendship through the craft blogging world and set up shop together. "The community feels old-worldy and everybody knows everybody in it: if you think back to the pre-industrial revolution, it's the sort of community you'd have in your village then," says 25-year-old Rose.

Only this is a village with broadband access. Nearly every modern crafter concedes that the internet has changed the world of crafting, since DIYers start blogs, form online clubs, post photos on Flickr, swap ideas and sell their wares online. Etsy.com, a marketplace for all things handmade, has been going for less than four years but has 170,000 sellers on board. According to Bec Davies, 32, owner of madeit.com.au, which features 350 Australian sellers, "The internet becomes a large part of your life: not only as a selling tool, but a social network where good friendships are formed." But Jones points out that "while the internet plays a strong part in keeping the network together, what makes crafting appealing is the very hands-on, realness of it all."

Perhaps that's why it's not a passing whim, forgotten when the next Twitter trend arises. "Rather than a fad, it's a way of life," says Lincolne. Part of Lincolne's philosophy is that crafting should create something positive. "Twice a year, Meet me at Mike's puts a call out for people to craft for the Mirabel Foundation (which helps children who've been abandoned or orphaned due to parental drug use). They make a soft toy, and we pass them on to the kids at Mirabel. But first, we display the toys for two months in our shop window; it's important that our neighbourhood sees that we're putting (something) back in." Similarly, the Kaotic Kraft Kuties held a raffle of donated craft and artwork that raised more than $12,000 for bushfire survivors.

Rayna Fahey, 29, of www.radicalcrossstitch.com, takes the notion of crafting for good even further. As part of one of the "craftivists" around, she uses craft as a form of creative action and protest, addressing topics such as indigenous sovereignty and women's liberation. As such, she's the co-founder of the Melbourne Craft Cartel - for crafters with a radical edge - which runs events and produces a podcast. She thinks craft has become hip because "many young people have come to the conclusion that rampant consumerism has to end". The resurgence of handmade has a lot to do with people wanting to reduce their impact on the Earth. She also sees the current financial crisis as a factor. "It's certainly increased interest in the economic benefits of craft. The last time we had a global depression was the birth of the classic craft saying, 'Use it up, wear it up, make do or go without'."

By contrast, Jones believes the edginess inherent in the new craft movement has resulted in an attitude that's almost "anti-nesting". "I don't think that the personality of new crafters is about retreating or getting cosy or feeling the fear; it's about getting out and being loud."

Within crafting, there are different approaches. On the one hand, Jones represents the attitude of many crafters who've responded to a world that combines kitsch and creativity. "It's about doing things in an individual way, and it's a bit dirty and a bit wrong," says Jones. "It's about injecting a bit of humour into it. It's not about getting all the stitches right; it's about having fun."

Typical of this point of view is Shannon Lamden, who sells everything from tote bags to cushions through her Etsy store, Aunty Cookie. "I am self-taught; I don't come from an overly crafty background, and I can't sew a straight line, but I try hard and I like to think I cover up my mistakes well."

At the other end of the spectrum are crafting traditionalists, such as Pene Durston, 43. She owns a craft design store, Cottage Industry, sits on the board of Craft Victoria and airs her opinions on MissPenPen.blogspot.com. With a weighty background in textile design, she also teaches at RMIT. "Craft is not something I've come to in the last couple of years. A lot of people crafting at the moment came to it really late. There's a whole generation of people who never learned to knit or crochet or mend - they just went to a store and bought ... it's a different mentality." While Durston has no problem with this approach, she has reservations when it comes to some of these goods being sold.

"These days, a lot of people are selling crap; it's not up to a good enough standard ... Now, craft is a very loose term covering a lot of things - ceramics, textile and fashion - and it's also done by hobbyists, as well as professionals. There is a vast difference." Although she stresses that there's a place in the craft world for everyone, she is concerned that the ethos behind institutions such as Craft Victoria could be lost - "the importance of the 'hand' in the production of work, and the high level of skill invested by makers in their craft."

Her thoughts are partly echoed by Douglas & Hope owner Cathy Hope, 39, who sells her quilts - along with fashion and homewares - through her store. "Quilting is such a long-term investment; the first ones I did took a year each to make. There's a fine line between good, commercial craft and - without saying it awfully - the bad. I would encourage everyone to sit at night and do something creative. But when they want to turn it into an industry ... there needs to be a certain standard of quality."

Still, both groups would agree that the world of craft is more vibrant than ever. Levine's movie, Handmade Nation, outlines the indie edginess of craft, featuring artists such as Whitney Lee, who uses latch-hooking pornography to convey her views about the way women are portrayed in the media. Levine's film also profiles a guerilla knitting group named Knitta ("PolyCotN" is the name of one of the founders), which places knitted objects in public places - one wrapped around a cab antenna in New York, another covering a rock along the Great Wall of China - making it a yarn version of graffiti.

"For a long while," says Jones, "craft has been a little bit of a dirty word, but now people are embracing it and giving it new value. I'm glad I've been part of that ... There really is a big groundswell of people who want to connect with crafting. Maybe it's partly fashion and trend-hopping, but some of these people who jumped on the bandwagon have had their lives changed. They're not getting off."

Want to get crafty? Places to start

www.Etsy.com Sells handcrafted items from all over the globe. Prices are in US dollars, but most sellers ship to Australia.

Meet me at Mike's (http://meetmeatmikes.blogspot.com, 63 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy) Fashion, homewares and quirky gifts make up this cool emporium.

My Poppet (www.mypoppet.com.au, 717 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield South) Carries handcrafted clothes and accessories plus kids' decor and toys.

Patchwork on Central Park (www.patchworkoncentralpark.com.au, 148 Burke Road, Malvern East) Fabric heaven for sewers, with patterns and kits available. It also runs classes.

in.cube8r (www.incube8r.com.au, 321 Smith Street, Fitzroy) More than 75 crafters hire cubes to showcase their wares.

Craft Victoria (www.craftvic.asn.au, 31 Flinders Lane, city) Its shop, Counter, features limited-edition homeware items, jewellery and accessories. An exhibition Viva La Craft! is on until April 24.

http://craftcitymelbourne.blogspot.com A directory of what's happening in Melbourne's craft world.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Special Order : A Handmade Proposal!

Spring time is almost here so that means time for wedding & baby season. It also means its a perfect time for handmade gifts! I've been selling quite a few knit baby beanies lately and also had the pleasure of helping out a fellow Estian with a marriage proposal! I've had a lot of requests for fortune cookies with custom messages but had yet to get around to working out the details (so many projects so little time)! But when I got this custom request it was hard to say no & hopefully they won't either. Of course, I can't see anyone refusing an awesome proposal like this! This little memento will also make an exceptionally cute keepsake! So happy I could be a part of such a neat & important surprise! (Leaving out the details as to not ruin perfectly awesome surprise, hopefully will get to post about this cute couple later!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flickr Picks : Lova Revolutionary Blog Flickr Pool

Check out the Lova Revolutionary : Blog Flickr Pool! Join if you wish & add some lovely photos of your handmade goodies, crafts, or art! I'll be featuring my picks on the blog Monday, Wednesday, & Friday!

Etsy Shop Fav : Lost River Rags Soap

My recent order from Lost River Rags! That Nag Champa Soap has been smelling up my bathroom since yesterday! It smells so delightful in fact, I almost considered taking an extra shower yesterday just so I could open it!! My order also came with an excellent little face scrubbie & sample! horray!

Handmade soap is one of the best things since sliced bread. If you haven't tried it, you really need to! One of my favorite soap shops on Etsy is Lost River Rags! Lost River Rags specializes in Natural Soy Wax Candles, Goat's Milk Soap, Goat's Milk Lotion, Soy Soap, & Shea Butter Soap and the stuff is absolutely lovely, after trying this wonderful & fragrant soap its hard to return to that old standard Dove, Ivory, or Caress! You also realize how much store bought soaps, shampoos, body wash etc. smell an awful lot like chemicals. Also there's just something comforting about reading a label on a product and recognizing the ingredients or at least being able to pronounce the ingredients! I know all you ladies want to give in to those Bath & Body Works coupons but absolutely nothing smells as good or is as good for your skin as handmade soaps!

Lost River Rags is a husband & wife team from Broadway, VA. They have a lovely assortment of soaps, candles, face scrubbies, lotion, & gift sets to choose from - if you can't decide you can also try one of their soap samplers! They are also very willing to do custom orders, super friendly, and have awesome products. Shop Lost River Rags @ Etsy!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Etsy Shop Fav : hotelle motelle

I heart hotelle motelle ! A one of kind handmade clothing line from Vancouver, Canada, made in a brilliant & exciting mix of new & repurposed fabrics. A hint of vintage, with modern designs, that looks incredible but also appears comfortable & functional. I'd love to see this line up close! Find awesome hoodies, dresses, skirts, belts, and more @ hotelle motelle!

hotelle motelle @ Etsy

hotelle motelle Blog

Find Lova Handmade in Real Life! Shop at awesome stores!

Howdy strangers! Just thought I'd let you know there's awesome stores out there where you can find my goodies and lots of other great stuff too! Plus you're shopping at non-corporate, women operated, local businesses that support artists, crafters, & independent designers, and I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my loot at cool places like that!
Buy handmade & shop local!

Lova Revolutionary : Handmade + Art is now at these super fine retailers:

Wholly Craft!
Columbus, Oh

Baltimore, Md

Double Dutch Boutique
Baltimore, Md

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Peace, Love, & Retro Art! Rachel Loves Peace @ Etsy!

I heart Rachel's retro lovin art & artists who enjoy spreading some peace, love, & happiness where ever they go! Her fancy little Owl paintings & prints are sure to bring some delight, they look like they were snatched via time machine from the 60's or 70's! A fab gift for the modern flower child!

Visit Rachel's Etsy Shop : Rachel Loves Peace
Stop by her Blog: Rachel is a Dreamer

New! Spring Time Owl & Bird Brooches @ Lova Handmade

P.S. Made that pin cushion jar from Craft Puddings Tutorial, used vintage linen, kinda cute!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Medium - NYtimes.com


Kathy Cano-Murillo — better known to fans as the Crafty Chica — has gradually expanded her audience for years, making objects with a glittery Latino aesthetic and offering instructions and tips to those who want to do the same. Her most recent venture is the creation of a line of branded craft supplies and packaged projects, and it is finding its way into mass retail. In a way, this is a natural transition: first, Martha Stewart told us what to do, then she sold the branded material we needed to do it. But this may be less a story of someone with a niche following going mainstream than an example of the evolution of the do-it-yourself business in general.

In 1990, Cano-Murillo and her husband, Patrick Murillo, began collaborating on paintings and other items, using what she calls a Mexican Pop Art style: bright colors, skulls, saints and campy-vintage imagery. While they had some success, they also had trouble turning it into a sustainable business, and Cano-Murillo, who lives in Phoenix, took a part-time job in the production department of The Arizona Republic newspaper. She became a news clerk and later an entertainment writer. She resisted an assignment to do an “arts and crafts” column for the paper until she discovered the Web site Getcrafty.com, where a new and more youthful version of the D.I.Y. idea was taking shape; that was 1999. By the following year she wasn’t simply writing about the craft scene; she was part of it, starting her own CraftyChica.com site.

Cano-Murillo, who in conversation projects astonishing positivity, calls her entrepreneurial style “enthusiastic desperation.” This translates to a range of tactics to convert creativity into a business: selling handmade jewelry and various arty objects; publishing several how-to books (her latest, “Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing,” is just out); and even offering a Crafty Chica cruise-ship package. Her product line — including Crafty Chica Glitter, Mojito Papers for use in scrapbooking or decoupage projects and the Love Shrine Workshop-in-a-Box — first appeared on the shelves of Michaels, the big-box craft-supplies chain, and a variety of independent shops last year. But the aesthetic of Crafty Chica and of much of the Web craft generation seems in some ways an odd fit for traditional craft retail. Cano-Murillo recalls searching a trade show for examples of “cool, Latino-centric” craft products just a few years ago and finding nothing more than jalapeño stickers and the like. (“Ooh, olé,” she says dryly.) But at the most recent Craft and Hobby Association convention and trade show in January, that decidedly mainstream organization made the “indie craft” movement a main focus, choosing Cano-Murillo as a success-story special guest on the subject. (Another featured guest was Jenny Hart, whose Sublime Stitching embroidery designs run more toward tattoo art than, say, floral patterns.)

Anecdotal reports have suggested that the business of crafting may not be suffering quite so much as the rest of the retail landscape in the current recession. But whatever the state of the economy, the Craft and Hobby Association is largely focused on expanding the sales of its mass-oriented member companies. (Alt-craft aside, the show also included a preview of craft products from, of all people, Paris Hilton.) And it’s fair to say that some indie crafters are skeptical about the attention. CraftyPod, an influential blog and podcast, noted with exasperation that the material at the show described new-wave crafters in the context of “the hippie generation.” Cano-Murillo is perhaps uniquely situated to bridge this craft gap. She’s widely known in the indie world and has built her own contact list of a few hundred indie stores. But last year she quit her newspaper job to work for Duncan Enterprises, maker of well-known craft products like Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue, and that move made it possible to approach big chains like Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft. (She still writes her syndicated craft column.)

What Cano-Murillo seems to get is that if the mainstream D.I.Y. business considers the growing indie craft scene as a way to expand its market, then any given indie crafter can seize that attention to do the same thing. For her the point isn’t to become another Martha Stewart — it’s more the opposite of that. “Martha has always been an inspiration to me, in a weird way, because I cannot do her type of crafts, no matter how hard I try,” Cano-Murillo says. “So my thing has been embracing that I can’t do it — and celebrating my own style.” And now, it happens, she can do so in a mainstream retail setting.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Craft Revolution - Columbus Dispatch

New generation of do-it-yourselfers churns out goods
Thursday, March 5, 2009 3:39 AM
Embroidery instructor Amy Dalrymple Murphy, left, helps Jill Burton get started during an embroidery class at Wholly Craft!

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Embroidery instructor Amy Dalrymple Murphy, left, helps Jill Burton get started during an embroidery class at Wholly Craft!

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Crocheted anatomical heart Shannon Gerard (Toronto): $8

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Crocheted anatomical heart Shannon Gerard (Toronto): $8

Bottlecap pin Emily Kircher (Madison, Wis.): $5

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Bottlecap pin Emily Kircher (Madison, Wis.): $5

Ohio corn pin AmyD (Columbus): $5

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Ohio corn pin AmyD (Columbus): $5

Hand-sewn stationery Umbrella Girl Productions (Columbus): $7

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Hand-sewn stationery Umbrella Girl Productions (Columbus): $7

Olivera Bratich, owner of Wholly Craft! in the Clintonville neighborhood

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Olivera Bratich, owner of Wholly Craft! in the Clintonville neighborhood

Inside a cotton-candy-colored shop, where crocheted cupcakes hang in the windows and indie-rock tunes float through the air, seven women sat with sewing needles.

Their teacher, 39-year-old Amy Dalrymple Murphy, sporting pink Converse sneakers and jeans with pinup-girl patches, struggled to perfect a difficult stitch.

"OK, this one makes you want to shoot someone in the face," she said. "But isn't it pretty?"

Hosting the kitschy klatsch: Wholly Craft!, a Clintonville neighborhood shop whose shelves hold jewelry made from recyclables, tote bags fashioned from T-shirts and body soap in the shape of grenades.

Patrons can buy washable cloth menstrual pads, aprons with a sewn-in pocket for beer bottles or embroidery patterns featuring geese and the phrase "Honk if you're horny."

"People think things are low-quality if they're goofy," said shop owner Olivera Bratich, 28. "But the best stuff can be offbeat and irreverent."

Although independent crafters have been doing business for years, their wares were typically relegated to infrequent bazaars or homespun Web sites.

A rise in the do-it-yourself culture, blog buzz and the desire to shop locally have helped old-school crafting make a comeback, fueled by new-wave aesthetics and an all-inclusive attitude.

"There's been a big resurgence," said Adam Brown, spokesman for www.etsy.com, a New York marketplace for crafts. "You're buying directly from the creator."

Founded in 2005, Etsy counts 200,000 active sellers and lists 3.2 million handmade items. It took in about $90 million in total sales last year.

Murphy was one of only a few Etsy sellers in Columbus when she joined four years ago. Now, Brown said, central Ohio counts more than 1,000 sellers on the site, with several locals among Etsy's overall top earners.

"(Etsy) changed what people's idea of crafting is," Murphy said. "I could relate to all this stuff I had never seen before."

Such business, however, isn't exclusive to the Web. Brick-and-mortar spaces for crafts are growing, and, in some cases, thriving.

Bratich opened Wholly Craft! in 2005, moving two years later to a larger neighboring storefront as her clientele grew. The goods, sold on consignment, are made by independent crafters throughout North America with cheeky product lines such as Damned Dollies and Get Felt Up. Many sellers are in central Ohio.

Murphy, who makes custom clothing from "found" materials, opened a shop nearby last summer.

Sew to Speak -- a store dealing in independent fabrics and sewing instruction, which last month celebrated its first year in business -- operates on High Street north of Henderson Road.

And, in December, Washington transplant Libby Bruce opened the high-end yarn store Wonder Knit next to Wholly Craft! along a retail strip the 27-year-old has dubbed the "Clintonville Crafts District."

Meanwhile, about 20 alt-crafters known as the Columbus Crafty Cotillion meet monthly to encourage one another while cultivating and promoting local crafts.

Most sellers still rely on day jobs to make a living. But the work, with its anti-corporate roots in punk-rock culture, is satisfying, said Emily-Kitturah Westenhouser, a 30-year-old Columbus art teacher who makes hand-sewn stationery from vintage paper.

"I think people are really excited to buy handmade things," she said.

Amy Neiwirth, an art teacher from the Short North who creates polymer-clay jewelry pieces that resemble food and sweets, said she's "lucky to break even" but has expanded to sell her crafts at Chicago and Boston stores.

Thanks to networking, Neiwirth's work last year caught the eye of Hollywood: Pieces from her Sweet Stella Designs label were included in the MTV Movie Awards gift bags.

"My time-management skills are getting a workout," said Neiwirth, 28. "It's a labor of love."

Her peers understand.

At a recent Columbus Crafty Cotillion gathering, an open get-together on the last Monday of each month at the Surly Girl Saloon, the ladies wind down by talking business, Bedazzlers and boyfriends over beers.

"I know I can come here and say, 'What are you working on?' " said Megan Green, a 31-year-old office manager and crafter from Merion Village who makes soap and plush monsters.

"They're an awesome source of inspiration."



Some developments in the growing alt-craft scene:

• The addition of an indie-craft fair to the sixth Agora gathering, a twice-yearly art, music and performance show at Junctionview Studios in Grandview Heights

• The return of Artisan Sundays at the North Market -- a summer craft sale founded last year that will be staged twice monthly from May through October

• The continuation of the Craftin' Outlaws and Tiny Canary fairs in the fall (seller applications for both events are up, organizers say)

• The debut -- in the spring -- of three new craft-centered events: Kidzartz, the Columbus Torah Academy Craftstravaganza and the Etsy Team Columbus Eco-Chic Craftacular

• The Ohio State Fair's recent approval of Columbus Crafty Cotillion's indie-craft bazaar at this year's fair

Hey Ohio!!! You can now find Lova Revolutionary : Handmade + Art @ Wholly Craft! Stop by and check out my lovely Owl Brooches, Birdie Brooches, & Big Tweet Plush! (P.S. My fam hails from the Cleveland Area, Go Ohio! Get Crafty)

Crafting: A Silver Lining in a Tough Economy - MSNBC.com

Looking for an outlet for your creativity? Crafting is bucking the economic meltdown. Here are the latest crafting trends you should know about.
By Laura Tiffany
updated 2:00 p.m. ET March 11, 2009

In economic times like these, the urge to hunker down in your house, limit spending and jump off the merry-go-round of shopping, credit and consumerism can be strong. And one way for people to step outside the system, if just for a few hours a week, is crafting. Rather than being a consumer, a crafter becomes a manufacturer; the end result of a night on the couch isn't three hours of empty Tivo space, but a scarf, toy or handmade holiday ornament that one can give away, keep or sell.

While data are still being compiled for 2008, the Craft and Hobby Association reported that in 2007, craft sales in 39 categories reached nearly $32 billion, and nearly 57 percent of U.S. households engage in crafting. Online handmade goods siteEtsy.comreported $88 million in sales in 2008, a significant increase over 2007 sales of $26 million. With 1.9 million members and more than 200,000 sellers, Etsy enjoyed $9.9 million in sales in January alone.

Like most retail sectors, it's likely that craft sales may decrease in the coming months. But all signs point to more and more people diving into this market, both as consumers of supplies and handmade gifts, and as entrepreneurs selling their own items and supplies.

At the January CHA show, spirits were high as manufacturers and retailers recognized that the economic climate creates more folks ready to put needle to fabric and stamp to paper to join a crafting revolution that's been in the works for more than a decade.

Some of the big crafting trends present at the show, which featured more than 900 exhibitors, include:

  • Scrapbooking. This is the most robust craft category that CHA tracks, and scrapbooking companies had by far the strongest presence at the show. While paper still rules scrapbookers' supply cabinets, many crafters are taking skills such as stamping, painting and decoupage into other media for jewelry making--like sandwiching tiny art between glass slides for a pendant or stamping blank wooden bangles. Another trend is personalization of supplies--companies such asBoss KutandJustRite Stampersallow crafters to create their own supplies, such as die cuts and acrylic stamps.

    Most heartening, there's still plenty of room for startup companies in this field.Rusty Pickle, a paper company that defines itself in the marketplace with its edgy designs, was started in 2003 by Tasha and Lance Anderson. They release new designs monthly, and most of their products are sold in independent scrapbooking stores. The Andersons reach such stores organically, by teaching at more than 30 scrapbooking conventions across the country.

    Christian and Angela Magnuson startedUnity Stamp Co.in Minnesota just last May. They're receiving a good reception online for their unique eco-friendly stamps, which contain significantly less wood than traditional stamps and are packaged with recycled paper. "There are some people who are going to change [to our stamps] just because they like our packaging," Christian says.

  • Green crafting. It turns out that the Magnusons are on the forefront of the huge green craft movement. Scrapbooking suppliers are using recycled paper. Manufacturers such as Berwick Offray and Coats and Clark are using earth-friendly materials--bamboo, recycled cotton and a new acrylic blend created from recycled water bottles--to create yarn and ribbons. Wooden bangles, fromDIYBangles.com,come from a tree in India that reaches full growth in just seven years and requires no chemical processes for drying.

    "Crafting in general is kind of green," says Sarah Meehan, marketing manager for Stampington & Co., an independent magazine publisher that's launching Green Craft magazine later this year and already features re-use titles such as Altered Couture. "People are recycling and reusing things that they have, revamping them, bringing them up to speed."
  • Crafts for kids. Kid-specific kits and products are hotter than ever, even in this tough economy. "Unfortunately, the schools cut a lot of creative areas, so it's up to the parents to do it at home. And I really think [crafts have] become an important part of the American family," says Jenny Lowe, design director of Moorestown, N.J.-basedSbar's Inc., a 50-year-old supplier of family-friendly crafts that has lived through its share of recessions. "Kids are just so eager to accomplish something. And let's face it--crafting gets them away from the computer."

    Some companies foresee growth in this area because of parents wanting to craft with their kids. Parents can purchase a $15 kit and have a fun evening at home, rather than pay $50 to take the family to the movies. There are also ancillary customers, such as church camps and Scout troops. And of course, there's always the need for kids' birthday gifts, too.

    "We've grown our business," says Melissa Milne, North American sales vice president forThe Orb Factory, a Canadian company that makes Sticky Mosaic kits, which allow kids to make mosaics with paint-by-number-style stickers. "Our year-end is March 31, and we hit our target for this year two months ago." The company, which was started by owner Steve Kay in 1993, will see its sales increase 50 percent, according to Milne.
  • Sewing. Among crafters, sewing is the new knitting. "The No. 1 craft onCraftsteris sewing clothing. It's disproportionately popular," says Leah Kramer, founder of the site. Trend Hunter Research listed "Credit Crunch Couture" as its No. 1 trend, citing the poor economy for an uptick in interest in making your own fashions.

    When indie crafter Kathy Cano-Murillo set out to design her second line ofCrafty Chicaproducts for Duncan Crafts, she chose to target sewers with her trademark Latino motifs. "I knew that sewing was an emerging trend, and my [grandmother] was a really good seamstress. That empowered me," says Murillo, who's run her art business with her husband for 19 years in Arizona. "So when it came to do the second round of CraftyChica, I was like, 'Please, can we do stuff with fabric.' "
  • Tough times tend to spur creativity. As an entrepreneur, there are few better ways to channel your creativity than in a crafts business. Whether you start to find your artistic voice or you do it to sell personalized gifts, crafting makes the most out of your creativity--as an artist and as an entrepreneur.

    URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29638824/

    New @ Lova Handmade : Faux Corsage Brooches!

    NEW Faux Corsage Brooches : made from Felt & Vintage Fabric!


    Luck of the Irish! St Patricks Day Finds @ CRAFT Magazine Flickr Pool

    St. Patty's Day Wreath by Lish706

    St. Patty's Day is just around the corner! Hope everyone will have a great time trying not to get pinched & drinking green beer! Here's some of my St. Patty's Day Favorites from CRAFT Magazine Flickr Pool!

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Show me some love @ Paper n Stitch!

    I'm collecting love or hearts rather, over at my Paper n Stitch exhibit! Visit my Lova Revolutionary : Handmade + Art exhibit & heart my shop! Help me win fun stuff!!!

    Lova Revolutionary : Handmade + Art @ Paper n Stitch!

    P.S. : I have a blog giveaway coming up soon! Stay tuned! Also offering FREE SHIPPING on ALL BROOCHES until March 15th!

    Animal Friendly Etsy: Beantown Handmade

    I heart Beantown Handmade! I've been trying to take a good photo of Captain Nibbles (my insane black lab) so I can get a handpainted portrait necklace made! How they are able to get Bean to pose so perfectly, I do not know! Anyhow, If you're looking for a perfect gift for your pooch or an animal lover you know, Beantown Handmade is the place to shop! An awesome selection ranging from sweaters, scarfs, neckwarmers, notecards, sticks, & much more! Also a great place to find a neat gift for a Boston Terrior lover!

    Visit Beantown Handmade : BeantownHandmade.etsy.com!

    Gettin Squirrely Sweater $30.00