Etsy Feature: iwundervintage

Thanks to my new obsession with sneak attacks, I’ve met some really fabulous people who run great shops on Etsy. We’ve started a new game called “The $20 thingy” where we pass $20 around buying from each other’s shops until Friday’s sneak attack at which point whoever has the $20 gets to spend it on the attack. It helps someone participate who might otherwise not be able to, and it lets us boost our sales and feedback.

My first purchase through the game was from iwundervintage.etsy.com. This is one of two shops run by Jennifer Wunderlich–she also sells yarn and handmade scarves at iwunder.etsy.com. Jennifer’s vintage shop is a treasure trove of vintage scarves, glass wear, and more. I bought two lovely neckercheifs from her with the intention of turning them into hats.

I admit I’m fascinated by vintage stores on etsy. I’ve never had much patience for thrift store and estate sale shoppping–I know you can get great things shopping like that, but I don’t have the patience to find them amongst all the old junk. People like Jennifer do all the hard work for your–finding and offering only the best vintage treasures. Jennifer was nice enough to take time out of her day to answer a few questions about both of her shops for me.

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Do the scarves I bought from you have any particular story behind them?
Unfortunately, no there is no real story behind these scarves. I just loved the orange one though because it reminded me of coral or sea anemones, and I’m a marine biologist so those shapes speak to me in ways that only someone who studies coelenterates could understand. Actually someone who studies coelenterates would tell me that I really should say cnidarians. But back to the scarves…

In general, where do you find such awesome stuff for your vintage store? How do you weed out “old treasures” from “old junk” or is there no such thing as junk in your mind?
I have a series of thrift stores in town that I haunt on a regular basis. Over the years of hunting and pecking, I know which stores usually have the good treasures vs. the old junk. I visit the good treasures stores once a week, usually on Fridays, and the old junk stores once a month if I have a free moment.

What does the handmade movement mean to you?
I guess the handmade movement is kind of like a little revolution, even within etsy. Encouraging etsy sellers to buy from other new etsy sellers, keeping the momentum going and reminding all of us what is really important–buying handmade from other crafty artsy people too.

What do you think is the importance of art and creativity in society?
Oh man, art and creativity is so important. I am a scientist by day and that is very rote and organized, so having the release of art and creativity at night makes my brain feel alive and well. I can almost feel my brain pulsating to my circadian rhythm when I am in my creating mode. I recently learned that Vincent Van Gogh painted an entire painting a day, and he did that very frequently. If he can do it, I can create something every day too.

You also do knitting and yarn dying. Do you spin your yarn as well?
I do not spin yarn. I refuse to learn how to do that. I would need a whole new room, new set of tools and toys, new job to pay for the tools and toys, etc etc. I’ll just stick to dying already spun yarn with kool aid and call it a day.

Where do you look for inspiration in your yarn creations?
Well, since I use kool aid for dying, I am really limited to their color/flavor palette. I have a grocery store nearby that stocks an insane variety of kool aid flavors, and I have bought them all at one time or another and tried them out. I have a master list I keep that has the flavor name from the kool aid packet and the actual color that the yarn ended up being when I used that flavor. I play around with them and rearrange the color combinations from time to time, but I’ve also had several custom requests turn out to be best sellers that I keep in stock. Mardi Gras was that way, someone from New Orleans wanted yarn dyed gold, green, and purple and voila, now it’s a mainstay in my etsy shop.

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If I ever start knitting again (which I do sporadically) I’m definitely getting some of Jennifer’s yarns. And I’ve got my eye on several of her scarves too, because they are just so much fun to make into hats! Here is the hat I made from the black floral scarf:

Crafty Wedding Update

I can’t believe that my wedding is less than 2 and a half months away! With the semester ending at the beginning of May, much of the spring snuck by without much progress on the wedding crafts. This weekend Hassan and I made up for it by cranking out the last of the invitations. I’ve written before about our shared love of crafting and the first steps in our invitation making. After making our paper, we airbrushed the outline of a tree with our initials carved into it, and the outline of two peacocks: one in blue and one in green. On the front we airbrushed the words “You’re Invited” and an elephant. We finished the front off with a flower stamp we carved from lino blocks for our save the date cards.


On the inside, after we airbrushed the peacock outlines, we added peacock feathers to their tails (you can see them poking out of the folded invitation). We printed off all the relevant information on transparent vellum paper and glued that to the inside:


And today I finally got over to my friend’s house to work on my wedding dress. I’ve posted the basic design and some wedding dress progress photos before, but I haven’t gotten to work on the dress at all in over a month. I’ve finished what I’m calling the main part of the dress now–I still have to do the lining with the underskirt, the boning, and the weird wrappy bits.

Here is the front:
and here is the back:


The mannequin has larger hips than I do so the main part of the dress doesn’t close all the way. The white train that you see is actually part of my mock-up and will be a silver-blue silk in the actual dress

I won a giveaway from Dingogirl’s Den!

At the beginning of the month I entered a give away at the Etsy Team NorGA Blog. Every month, one of the sellers of the North Georgia Street Team does an interview for the blog and offers up an item for a give away. May’s featured seller was Dingogirl66, also known as DingoGirl’s Den. Dingogirl sells awesome pillows, art dolls, tooth fairy pillows and really cool zipper pouches. This is the pouch that I won from her store:


I love the octopus and seahorse fabric! It’s a great size, and well made too. Thanks Dingogirl!

Sneak Attack Part II–The Attackers

Today is Monday, and you know what that means! Another Sneak Attack organized by Micheal Phipps of www.handmademovement.com. This is the second half of my two part series on Sneak Attacks that began with Sneak Attack Part I: the vicitims. In this section, I will share some discussions I’ve had with key players in organizing sneak attacks.

Michael Phipps of Phippsart:

Michael opened his Etsy shop, “Phippsart,” in 2007 with the encouragement of his sister. He has a wide variety of silk screened shirts and fine art selections. He started the first Sneak Attacks on September 24, 2008 because he wanted to be able to share the exhilaration he experienced on getting his first sale with other people.

“I also figured that if it were a thrill to get one sale, how great would it be to suddenly have a whole swarm of business in just one day?” recalls Michael in his article on Sneak Attack in Etsy’s blog, the Storque.

Michael launched a website called the Handmade Movement to promote and keep track of the Sneak Attack. He defines the handmade movement as “the collective of people creating and making new things in overcrowded rooms in their houses or studios, as well as people who choose to purchase and enjoy those creations.” He founded the Sneak Attack to encourage such creative people.

Theresa of MichiganHemp:

Theresa opened MichiganHemp in February 2009. She’s been making Hemp Jewelry for over six years, but found her offline venue opportunities in “Michigan’s tip of the Mitt” rather limited. loved participating in Sneak Attacks so much that she started a Sneak Attack Team! She learned about sneak attack from the Etsy forums. “At first I was a little nervous,” she admits, “but after reading the posts of the people that were chatting, I found it impossible to hold back!” The people in the forums answered all of her questions, and she has only missed one sneak attack since that first day. I asked her why she participated with such enthusiasm in the Sneak Attacks, and like Michael, she linked it to her own experiences as a new shop on Etsy. She described as a “wonderful way to ‘Pay it Foward’…It feels so good knowing that we are helping new and undiscovered Etsy shops feel that sense of compassion and generosity that this group of “attackers” really portray. We genuinely care, and what a better way to welcome someone to the wonderful world of Etsy!”

Theresa decided to start the Sneak Attack team after searching unsuccessfully for a team to join. Since so many people participate regularly in the sneak attack forum, it seemed natural to Theresa that they should form a team. “After scouring the team profiles for weeks, I decided that the only team that would be the perfect ‘fit’ for me was the Sneak Attack team. I asked a few of the forum regulars if they would join a Sneak Attack team if there was one, and got a huge response. That same day, I put together all of the necessary information and sent if off to Etsy for approval!” Etsy is still processing the paperwork, but hopefully the team will be official soon.

Part of Theresa’s enthusiasm for Sneak Attacks comes from a larger love of all things handmade: “here is just something so special about knowing that the item was made with someone’s loving hands, and that there is a little piece of the creator’s heart and soul in the item. I think that everyone should be able to feel that special feeling, and by spreading the word about handmade, maybe someday they will.”

Still have doubts about Etsy? Let Theresa convince you: “I have only been a member of Etsy for a couple of months, but I can honestly say that some of the people I have gotten to know are better friends than what I have offline. This community of people is absolutely amazing! They are so helpful and genuine. If anyone is looking to join an online community, there is no better place than here!”

Joyce of HappyCloudMoments:
Joyce of HappyCloudMoments started making jewelry when she saw a bracelet she wanted and decided to try to make it for herself. Soon she was making jewelry for all her friends too, but My beads were stacking up and I know I need an outlet for my creations. I have only so many friends that I can “deck out” in crystals.” She didn’t want to sell on ebay–the fees are too high. “I remember Etsy, this awesome looking site I saw a year ago when I was looking at web application technology. So, I looked into selling here and it looked simple enough. I signed up and got sucked into this vortex of creating and marketing and getting to know other great artisans.”

Joyce was the sponsor of the first Sneak Attack I participated in. That means that she had the resonsibility of searching through new Etsy shops and nominating the ones that would be attacked. Sponsors give a list of their favorite new shops to Michael, who double-checks to make sure the shops meet the requirement. I asked Joyce how she chose the two shops in the Sneak Attack I participated in:

“I pounce around a lot, go to chat room and read the forums to find candidates. I usually look for at least one shop that has low price point, like the magnetic bookmarks from YaneShops. It has a good variety and seemed very active. And, like someone said on the thread, people can always use more bookmarks.

For SecretLolita, it was a little more dramatic. I found this other hair pin shop through Twitter and Michael approved that shop. But, it went on vacation the day of the attack! So, Julia from customcute helped me find a similar shop that meets the requirements. The hairpins are so pretty! Who can resist?”

Like most people, Joyce participats in the Sneak Attacks for the “warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I hear from the victims, their disbelief and renewed faith in themselves.” She sponsors shops as a way to help out when she can’t afford to shop.

Sneak Attackers have found all sorts of ways to support each other and the Sneak Attack movement. Many Sneak Attackers have started listing Sneak Attack Support Items–all money from these sales is used to purchase items during Sneak Attacks.

Don’t forget to stop by today’s Sneak Attack thread in the Etsy forums! Say hello, stay to chat–even if you can’t afford to purchase anything today I guarentee you will meet some awesome people and you’ll help keep the publicity of Sneak Attacks high in the forums!

Which Squirrel is your favorite?

I took some more squirrel photographs and I’m trying to decide which ones to list on Elephunk’s Eyes. I need your help! Please leave a comment with your vote for favorite squirrel:

1. Squirrel Contemplating a Tree

“Should I climb? Or should I hang out here in the pine needles?”

2. Squirrel Belly

You know you want to rub the fuzzy belly! I seem to have caught some squirrel nipple here–if I list it, should I tag it mature?

3. Squirrel in Profile:

Maybe pine needles are the place to be after all….

4. Lunchtime for Squirrel:

Maybe there is something delicious in this trash can..

5. Don’t list any of them. Squirrels are cute, but these photos won’t sell (please be honest, I won’t be offended I promise!)

6. List all of them! Squirrels are cute, and these photos will sell like hotcakes!

New Shop: ElephunksEyes

Some of you may have noticed the second etsy mini that showed up on my blog the other day. Or if you follow me on twitter you may have noticed that I’m tweeting about giraffe photographs a lot lately. What is going on? you might ask. Well, in part because I am Etsy-obsessed but haven’t had much time for crafting lately, and in part because I have 6 gigs of photos sitting on my hard drive collecitng metaphorical dust, I’ve decided to open a second etsy shop for my photography. Its called Elephunk’s Eyes.

These are a few of my favorite photographs available in my store:

This next one is in my special “Elephunk’s Orphans” section, which like the section with that name in Elephunk’s Trunk, has a percentage of the sales donated to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, also known as the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage:

Now, I generally don’t like to post too much about my own Etsy store–this is a blog, not a billboard! But I wanted to let you know what I was up to, and well, ok fine I want you to check out my new shop!

I would love your feedback on the new store: Does my organization of sections make sense? Is it clear how to get photos in the size you want? Is there anything you would like to see more of? Less of?

And it wouldn’t be shameless self-promotion if I didn’t tell you about my grand opening sale! For the month of May you get a free ACEO of your choice with any regular print purchase. Just let me know which photo you would like printed as an ACEO in your message to the seller.