February Featured Seller - Best Loved Child

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Cathy Lane and I, with my husband, started Best Loved Child.  I make artistically painted children’s d├ęcor and play sets.  My parents were ranchers in the wilds of the mountain west but I gave up that life when in college I fell in love and married a California beach boy.  I have a store of knowledge about cattle, farming and wildlife that is only useful now when buying meat at Sam’s or drawing and painting my creations.  I’m a wife to one, mom to six and unbelievably 8 amazing kids call me Grandma.  18 years ago my husband’s company relocated all their operations to Little Rock and we relocated from Southern California to beautiful Arkansas where people still ask me where my accent came from.  I’ve been lucky enough to be doing the Etsy shop for the last 2 years.  When I lost my job, (I used to fire people for a living, Then I got fired) I decided to go for it and have been fortunate to have a supportive husband. 

 Apart from creating things, what do you do?  

I’m an obsessive reader.  I’m very involved with my Church.  In my stay-at-home-mom years I had a custom sewing business and I still love to sew, especially for my girly granddaughters. Hubby and I moved (from 20 miles away) and completely renovated a rental house (I painted or restored, every single surface, inside and out except the roof, myself) and we are planning to do another one. 

What would be the title of your memoir? Why?

“I Could Make That”.  I come from a family of terminal DIY souls.  Mostly, making things yourself was a way to afford things we felt we would never have the money to buy.  It can get out of control.  After my daughter’s wedding my sis said we all should be forced to stand in a corner and repeat “catering, catering, catering” until we believe we are capable of hiring one.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I love seeing other artist’s work. I am very influenced by illustrated children’s books, especially those from 1900  through the 1940s. 

What does handmade mean to you?

Handmade is a unique connection. The best way I know to express my love is to make you something.  My Wrangler jeans were sewn by hand by an unknown someone, but they are not “handmade”.   Unlike those jeans, the quilt my great grandmother made and the mug I bought from a potter in Washington state, connect me to their makers each time I view or use them. Though neither maker knew me, these creations are expressions of love the maker had for someone and/or the love they had for their craft. The handmade movement also represents the ultimate “job creators”.   When we make and sell, we are crafting our own jobs as well as our art/craft and that needs to be acknowledged, supported and celebrated.

Who has been most influential in your craft?

My parents.  They never imagined me to be an artist, but taught me, by their example, that I could learn how to do anything.

When did you know you were an artist/maker?

I always considered myself a maker.  Everyone I knew was a maker. They made quilts, built houses, planted gardens, sewed clothing, created jam and welded parts for the clothes dryer.  When I was seven, I sewed a yellow cotton dress with set in sheer sleeves, a fitted bodice and full skirt for my Barbie.  It was hand sewn, by me, from a pattern of my own invention.  I was proud, but in my family this was not considered remarkable. Becoming an artist took much longer, mostly I think, because I was never exposed to any art education or any artists. (Don’t get me started on the lack of art education in schools.) I kept trying to learn to paint and draw (mostly self-taught) and was well into my 40’s before I started to dare think “I’m an artist”. The Etsy shop has helped me validate that label.  I loved hearing my son tell someone recently “my Mom’s an artist”.

How would you describe your creative process?

It’s fueled by doing.  I have too many ideas running through my head. I keep journal/notebook/sketchbooks full of drawings and images I love.  When I settle on an idea I research photos and images and sometimes take my own photos. My ideas are somewhat vague until I’m doing the actual work of sketching, cutting and painting.  As I make an item, ideas come to me of how it can be improved that I can’t believe I didn’t think of in the planning stage.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?

Maud and Miska Petersham.  They were an award winning husband wife team illustrating children’s books from 1917 through the 1960’s.  I’m so in love with all their drawings and amazed at how they lived and worked together for so long.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

I have so many! Top of the list may be my dining table and buffet with hand carving that was made by a great uncle of mine for another great uncle and aunt. I can’t believe I scored it over my siblings.  I also got teary eyed hanging some of my kid’s grade school handmade Christmas tree ornaments this last Christmas. 

How do you get out of your creative ruts?

I force myself to finish whatever I have on the work table.  That usually clears the problem.  I get “stuck” trying to solve design problems and the best way, for me, is to just slog through it.  Perspiration really helps inspiration.

Where would you like to be in ten years?

I’ll be approaching a birthday that many readers would consider Really Old. I very much hope to be:  healthy, in a smaller house, still creating and selling, better known for my work, traveling more, and living closer to the short people in my life.  

Catch up on all of the Best Loved Child items.  Etsy Store and Cathy's Profile and Her Blog.


Just a Brief Warning

Last night my twitter was hacked! Here is the scenario so that others can avoid it as well.

I got a private message from a team member, who I am sure was a victim as well, that said something to the affect of, "some really nasty things are being said about you here (insert link) I can't believe what they said"

I am a pretty self deprecating person and love to laugh at my own insanity, so I go to the link. It asks me to log into twitter, now I am doing this on my phone so I don't think anything of it. I log in and it says sorry you can't do that.

Okay well I am on my phone must be the problem, oh well.

Five minutes later ALL my followers have been sent private messages with the same silly statement. DANG IT ALL! So be warned, and don't get click happy unless you know for sure what is up!


Sharing the Joy!

We have some really amazing people in our team, and we have been doing featured sellers once a month in order to promote all of our team members to be more successful. We also are having a treasury contest, which we may do maybe every other month or so in order to be the featured seller. We have to have some type of prize, and I think that is a pretty good one!

We have Facebook and Twitter on top of this blog that we hope is keeping team members informed and up to date on a lot of things we and our team members are doing. I personally have followed all team members with Twitter, Liked all the Facebook pages, and followed all the blogs on blogger and Tumbrl. Each morning I try (TRY) to spend at least one hour reading any new blog entries, scanning the twitter feed, and looking at Facebook. I feel like a real geek during this time period, but it helps me stay informed about our team and the amazing things we are all doing.

Our leader Lybly has made her first quilt! It is lovely, see it here. Missy of the Graceful Little Honey Bee is doing a really neat thing with shampoo or I should say the avoidance of shampoo, plus she is expecting! The Twisted Purl is lamenting her lack of blogging, but she is twitterific for sure! We have so many amazing shops in our team, and I love keeping up with all of them, it really give me inspiration for the things we can feature and do as a team!

I have the February Featured Seller selected and her information has been forwarded, so we are excited about that, but she had a great idea! We need a team photographer that makes us all look younger and thinner! Cathryn, I have put the word out now we shall see what happens!

If you want to me March's Featured Seller post your treasury on the team discussion page (there is a thread for the contest) and we will be selecting the winner on the 30th.


Do you Blog? You need to know this!

It hasn't been very long that I have been aiding in writing the blog for our fantastic team. However I never had one of my own, until this week! So here I spent more time that I expected designing and redesigning the silly thing over the past few days. That was a learning experience in it's own right!

After my first post I was so excited I of course told various friends who blog, and one gave me insight which was news to me. You should always "ping" your blog after new posts in order to bring your blog higher in the search results of a search engine. Now I did a little research to learn what this meant and realized that there are a lot of ways to go about doing this. There is the super computer savvy method which involves uploading code to your blog and things which I have no concept of.

However the super fast way is to use a pinging service. The one I was turned on to was www.pingomatic.com which made me think of a pinball machine. I am sure there is some truth to that analogy as well.

Here is the process:

Step One: Go to www.pingomatic.com you will see a data information page like below.

Step Two: Enter your Blog name and the web page address into the form as shown. The RSS is if you have a feed link to include as well. I do not believe any team members have this yet, but you never know! 

Step Three: Next to Common Services in parenthesis is "Check All" click that, and then click each box under Specialized Services. Your entries should look like the photo below. 

Step Four: Click "Send Pings >>" 

You're done! As I said this is not the only method for achieving this goal, but so far it is the fastest and easiest I have found. If there are other services that you know of, please share so we can forward that information on the the group as well. 

This should help bring your blog postings higher in search engine results and as you blog more and ping more you will find more visitors and followers. 

Happy Blogging!


New Year - New Adventures

So here we are 2012! We begin each year with resolutions for weight loss, living healthier, working on our shops, maintaining inventory, and a plethora of other miscellaneous things that arguably we have resolved every year since adulthood.

So I wanted to make a resolution that at least once a week I will post something on our blog from one of our team members. We will have monthly featured sellers that are either randomly chosen by the team leaders, or winners of treasury contests.

We are having a contest RIGHT NOW that will select the March featured seller! http://www.etsy.com/teams/5192/aretsy/discuss/9526416/
Submit your entry and get featured!

We are working on a redesign of the blog to include our directory of shops, which we have had over one third of our members respond with their information.

We are also looking on the interwebz for craft shows etc that occur around the state that our team members might be interested in attending. We of course want to throw our own, but in an effort not to over resolve for the year, we have that on the to do list.

We would love to see participation on the team discussion boards, Facebook, Twitter, comments to the blogs, everything. If you have suggestions, needs, questions, or just want a coffee chat these are the best places to meet up and get those things done.

Let's Go AREtsiers! Those other teams, bless their hearts, got nothing on the talents in the Natural State!

This is the items from our team member this week......

This is a lovely stained glass bird house from Jackie Jasper of  Mountain Lily Farm!


January Featured Seller! - Lucky Pups Pet Supplies

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in the country loving the outdoors, animals, and creating things...and I still do. I decided to major in Graphic Design and graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a Bachelors of Art with a emphasis in Graphic Design.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Right now I'm planning a wedding, so that takes up a big part of my time. I also enjoy the outdoors, checking out new restaurants, and spending time with my fiance, friends and family.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I am inspired by everything around me. People, Nature, Places. Color palettes found in nature are my favorite.

What does handmade mean to you?

Handmade is very important to me. Something handcrafted is so much more special that any item made in a factory.

Who has been most influential in your craft?

My sculpture professor. If it hadn't been for my sculpture classes, I would have never learned to etch.

When did you know you were an artist/maker?

I still don't know that I'm an artist. ha. I just like to make things and somehow people like them enough to buy them.

How would you describe your creative process?

Research – Sketch – Test - Create

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

I would have to say my notebook of drawing from when I was younger. I loved to draw and I have all of them together in a binder.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?

Take a break. If I go for a walk, shopping, or to a movie to get my mind off the project usually when I come back I'm ready to create.

Where would you like to be in ten years?

In ten years I would like to have a family, still working from home, and enjoying life.

Tell us a little bit about your Shop:

LuckyPups specializes in an assortment of custom pet items including treat jars, pet bowls, diners, and gifts. All of our creations are personalized with your dog's (or cat's) name in one of our 15 fun fonts. You choose the font that best fits your pet's personality. We can work with every pet owner to spoil and pamper your pet!

How did you become interested or involved in your craft or art?

I have always been interested in arts, but I became interested in etching in my college sculpture class.

When you made your first sell...what did you REALLY do?

I was SO excited. I told everyone I could and got started on the order immediately. It was finished and ready to be shipped out that same day.

Do you promote your shop in any way? Please, share!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/luckypups.shop

Twitter: twitter.com/luckypups_shop

Blog: luckypupspetsupplies.blogspot.com

I also was recently featured in CityDog Magazine

(finish the following sentence)
This year I would like to accomplish...

a new line of dog bowls for the shop. Maybe even a few collars and dog toys.