Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two More Days 'Til Our Easter Egg Hunt!

In two days the ACE Team launches its first annual Easter Egg Hunt! Beginning April 2 you will have 5 days to hunt down all the Easter Eggs hidden amongst our talented team members' stores for the chance to win valuable prizes totaling $400!!

If you purchase an item from any ACE team member during The Hunt you will also be eligible for a chance to win prizes.

Here are some of the prizes you could win:

Funky Flowers Notepad by PamperedPapier

New Growth Glass Pendant by inthelightglassworks

Pistachio Vanilla Scrubbie by Laksaware

Ellen, The Little Elephant by AGreenElephant

Full details of the hunt will be available on this blog the day the hunt begins Thursday, April 2. Good Luck!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Countdown to the Hunt

Follow this Blog for the chance to win numerous beautifully crafted prizes as the ACE Team launches its first annual Easter Egg Hunt from April 2-6, 2009.

If you hunt down the Easter Eggs you could win some of the following prizes crafted by our talented team of Etsy creatives.

aprilsoriginals - Pleated Bag in Michael Miller Feeling Groovy in Spa

ebspider - Cinnamon Spice Mug Cozy

The hunt is fun and easy. Search through ACE team stores to find hidden Easter Eggs secreted amongst product pictures. Besides the great runner up prizes this contest features a grand prize that is not to be missed.

We will be counting down over the next week giving you sneak peeks of the prizes we will be giving away so stay tuned to this blog for more info. Winners will be announced Tuesday, April 7, 2009.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Laksaware featured on Etsy Storque

Bernie's face scrubbies are featured on Etsy Storque! Check it out here. http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/handmade-weddings-natural-grooming-tips-from-greenunion-1443/


Way to go Bernie!!

Feature Friday!

Welcome to our first (of many!) Feature Fridays. Here you will see some lovely items made by members of the ACE team. Just click on the photos to visit each seller's Etsy shop.
Pink Azaleas - ORIGINAL Plein Air Painting
This painting has me eagerly anticipating springtime which is just around the corner. It would certainly brighten any room. Mention the ACE team blog in the message to seller section to receive 15% off your entire order from Tracey's shop.

Happy Cupcakes Matchbook Notepads
These adorable matchbooks make great promotional items or you could keep some around for jotting down notes. Buy any item in PamperedPapier's shop and get a second item of equal or or lesser value half off when you mention this blog in the message to seller section.

Paper Bangle - Blue Lagoon No. 01
If you're looking for a unique gift, this bangle will do the trick. It is handmade completely out of paper. Receive free shipping on any regular priced item(s) from Newfangled's shop when you mention the ACE team blog in the message to seller section upon checkout.

Article written by Jenn of Newfangled. Thank you Jenn!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Introducing TBQ Designs - The Bead Queen

This week we had the opportunity to meet Lisa of TQB Designs based in Portland, OR. Lisa opened shop on Etsy in July, 2006.

Lisa says, "I first became interested in beads when I was 12 years old. My mother gave me a beaded rope necklace that she no longer wanted and I promptly started taking it apart. It has thousands of little beads in all kinds of colors and I found it utterly fascinating!"

"I have been making my beaded beads for over 10 years now. I am self-taught in the art of bead weaving and developed a system to create these textural rounds, ovals, squares, cylinders, and barrel shaped beads."

How did you choose your shop name?
Well actually, I came up with my studio name while in high school. I have always been rather exuberant and thought of myself and something special and came up with The Queen Bead - for my love of beads. Shortly after making my jewelry for re-sale in galleries years later, I realized that his was quite a popular name in all is forms. So, I shortened it up to just the initials (and it makes people chuckle when they realize it's not my initials)...

What is your specialty and what drew you to it?
My specialty is three-dimensional beaded spheres, ovals, squares and cylinders. I use the one of the smallest seed beads and hand weave them around wooded cores.

What inspired the birth of this item?
I love bobby pins and bobby-pin like hair accessories. I was actually holding one up to put in my hair and realized that it would make a fantastic earring or pendant. I immediately went to my studio and worked up a couple of prototypes and developed the Pin Dot Earring along with a new ear wire that I call the "hair pin curl".

Does this item have any personal significance to you?
I love long earrings. I guess because I have large amounts of dark curly hair and unless the earrings are long and/or substantial, there is really no point in my wearing them. Also, they lend a lot of glamour to any outfit!

What is your favorite part of the process of creating your item?
I actually have two favorites, and I think that is appropriate since I consider the weaving to be a totally separate thing from the metal work; it's a different mind-set.

My first favorite part is actually weaving the beads. Now I know that this may sound tedious and it is, yes. But I actually now use it when I want to be calm and meditative after having a stressful or exciting day. It's my sedative.

My second favorite part is design development. I love coming up with new designs and often get side-tracked when up against deadlines for shows or wholesale order, unfortunately. There is something about the thrill of "figuring it out" -- that vision in your head that you've been carrying around for months. When I finally see if in real life I can hardly believe that it came from me.

Please briefly describe a workday in your studio and how you created this item:

So this is my "Spotted Dot Earring" - named after my handmade bead cap. With this one I start by first making the cap.

I hammer out, on my bench block, sterling sheet metal to give it texture with one of my beautiful specialty hammers (I have several that give the metal different textures). I usually do this in large pieces around 6"x 6". It's one of those processes that I don't actually enjoy since I have to wear earplugs and my arm feels like jello afterward.

Anyway, once the metal is hammered I use a series of cutters and punches to get the disc the appropriate size and punch center holes. I use then my dapping block to dome the discs to give them their cap-like shape. The final step is a bath in Liver-of-Sulfur and a ride in the tumbler for a finish and wash before I use them in any jewelry assembly.

The jewelry assembly is really straight-forward. I use a sterling head pin (also oxidized) and stack up one of my beaded rounds, head pin, and real cultured pearl. The bead cap has been "steel-wooled" in order to remove some of the LOS in order to view the "spotted" pattern. ...and fini!

I can have a studio day from anywhere between 2 hours of work to 20 hours of work, depending on deadlines on orders or shows. Much of my time, of course, is weaving beads while sitting with my lap desk covered in tubes of bead colors or standing at my work bench making ear wires.

If this item is part of a special line that you do, has there been an evolution in your process? For example, if we were to compare the first one you made to this one, what differences would there be, if any?
Oh my goodness, yes! If you were to view my work even 5 years ago, there was no way I was this into sterling silver. I was actually all over the place with the components and elements in my jewelry using many different kinds of pearls, gemstones, commercial components and I even had a gold-filled line. Four years ago, when I quit my full-time job as an Administrative Manager at a high-end gallery chain, I realized that I had so many more ideas about my jewelry and my style really started to develop after that.

I actually ran into a woman a few years ago and she was wearing a pair of my earrings from 1997! I couldn't believe the evolution of my work. But, there were no complaints from her - these were earrings she wore almost everyday she said! What's better than that!

Laksaware featured on Such Cool Stuff!

Bernie from http://www.laksaware.etsy.com/ was featured today on Such Cool Stuff blog. Check it out here. http://suchcoolstuff.blogspot.com/2009/03/laksaware.html

Congratulations Bernie!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sneak Attack!

The ACE Team sponsored a "Sneak Attack" on GoneDoggie's shop! GoneDoggie makes dog collars and accessories for our furry friends. Visit her shop on Etsy! Enjoy the photos below of the lucky recipients of the purchases!

April of MooreMagnets detailed the event for us. Thank you April!

Right now there is a huge economic crisis in this country, and here on the ACE team all members have felt the pinch. However, one very special member and our team leader, GoneDoggie, is facing the even harder crisis of watching a loved one die from terminal cancer. We have read her updates, we have felt the heartache in her posts, we have prayed for her, and many of us have shed tears for her.
Eebee sports a modern pattern of orange and red circles on black

However, this outpouring of support did not seem like it was enough and a meeting was called. During this meeting several members brought up ideas on how we could provide some financial assistance to further aid our friend.

Roland shows off his new pirate collar!

There were lots of good suggestions that will probably be implemented to raise money for other important team causes. However, they did not seem feasible to provide our team member with the immediate financial assistance that we felt she needed.
Sammy in a green dotted collar.

It was not until the idea of a "sneak attack" came up, that we found a way to provide financial support immediately. A sneak attack is where a group bands together to benevolently "attack" a specific shop with sales. As many people as possible then buy items from that shop, resulting in a frenzy of surprise business to the unsuspecting shop!

Maximus looking stylish in a purple paisley bandanna.

There were some members who decided to donate outright instead of making a purchase, and it was agreed that they too would make these contributions during our sneak attack. Some members who are suffering too greatly from the economic crisis and were unable to help as much as they would like. However, a team is only as strong as our weakest link, and we are supporting each other even if it is only with our prayers!
Arrow in her ECU (East Carolina University) Collar

Tabby, brave cat amongst dogs, naps peacefully wearing a contemporary print collar

Even though our dear friend would like to know the details of how we pulled off this "sneak attack" with out her having any suspicions, we would like her to know that each team member contributed in their own way. It is and was our intent to have the light shined upon her, and not upon any one team member.
Another napper, Dakota, wearing his new pirate flag collarSummer, proudly showing off her lovely new GoneDoggie collar!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Meet Connie of HossLass Art

Our featured interviewee this week is Connie of Hosslass Art. Connie is based in Burleson, Texas and opened her Etsy shop in August of 2007.

How did you choose your shop name?
Well, I've always been a horse girl for most of my life, I kept thinking of unique names to try. Using my name in one of these formats (...art, ....designs, ....studio) just didn't appeal to me. One day I was online reading through a message board and saw a username *****lass, and I thought, "Hosslass"! And I've used it ever since!

Desert Runners Tres

What is your specialty and what drew you to it?
I create watercolor pencil paintings and make embellished crafts using my art works, both equally! I feel a certain freedom not locking myself into "just" being a painter, or "just" being a crafter. I love being able to combine both. As a life long animal lover, especially horses, horse art is becoming my specialty. I have always had such a strong bond with horses, and feel so privileged to have them in my life.

I only have been painting in recent years, (after about 25 years of not doing any kind of art, I used to draw and paint a ton when I was growing up), so I'm learning about art all over again. It's fascinating! However, as much as I love painting horses, I also want to do well with wildlife and landscape subjects. Being outdoors in nature plays a huge part in my daily life!. I plan on completing more paintings and gift art in those areas as well.

The Polite Offering

I asked Connie to talk a little about her "The Polite Offering" picture. What inspired the “birth” of this item?
When I was forming art to promote in my shop, I explored ideas for gift items with my own unique twists. I was looking through some art supplies from a seller on Ebay and saw these larger vinyl bookmark sleeves. From there I got the idea to create embellished original painting bookmarks as my signature functional gift art. That way I could combine the desire to create art with beads and natural stones as a special touch to enhance the miniature painting. I don't really want to make jewelry since there are so many others who are much more talented at doing that than me! I am always trying to think of creating unique art pieces that offer a soothing, peaceful beauty with a functional use! Why can't you use something and enjoy original art at the same time?

For this particular bookmark painting, I portrayed a bonding concept between horse and human called "the horseman's handshake". Although I had been around horses since my teenage years (got my first horse at 16) and worked for all sorts of trainers and farms, vets, through many years, in 1997 I got a horse (as a "gift") that showed me I really didn't know as much as I thought I did! She was a reality check that would kick me between the teeth, literally (no wonder her previous owner gave her away to me)!

As a result, I sought out training programs to help me survive handling this horse. It was then I discovered the world of natural horsemanship (NH) which teaches people to understand the way horses really think and treat them with respect, kindness and feel (instead of fear, force and intimidation which is what most "traditional" horse training methods teach). One concept in NH circles is to offer the horse to check you out first, instead of the human just marching up and handling the horse without checking what the horse is thinking. By offering the back of the hand toward the horse and waiting to see if the horse will touch the person first is a very polite, respectful gesture to the horse. It goes a long way to the horse in building trust in the human. It's such a little thing, but it means so much for the horse. In this painting I wanted to portray this small but important gesture that I've learned to mean so much! Hence the name of the painting "The Polite Offering".

What is your favorite part of the process of creating your item?
Once I get the composition laid out and colors I will use, I think my favorite process is the actual painting, figuring out which color goes where and watching the interaction of the colors and water effects. I also enjoy having the rush of ideas about using a little different painting technique here, experimenting with a different color there while I'm "in the moment" of painting! I so enjoy seeing the subject come to life with color and depth, it's like hiking down a trail that I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going and seeing some great scenery surprises along the way!

Please briefly describe a workday in your “studio” and how you created this item.
For this bookmark, the process starts first with a visual image I get in my head of the finished product. This is my guideline. I would then look for reference photos in my magazines or online for colors, values, lighting, structures and see what says "yea that will work!" (I do not ever copy outright any subject from a copyright image). Then I usually make a drawing of the composition for the painting. For some paintings, I will first do a pencil tonal/value sketch drawing before painting. This helps me get a better guide for color values later on.

Then I usually lay a underpainting neutral color on the main subject. With horses or any animal I paint, I always start with the eyes; the eyes are what will balance the structure of the rest of the profile. I then will paint a basic tonal painting and then leave the painting alone for a while. I often paint a little, then go away for a while and then come back and see the painting with "fresh" eyes. I may leave the painting in this kind of state for a couple of days if I feel the need!

Eventually the painting gets to a point where I have to consider it finished, otherwise I run the risk of over tweaking and muddying up everything! For the bookmarks, I often will work with beading arrangements on paper while I'm taking a break from painting. That way I can bounce between the two. Once the painting is finished, I will then create the bookmark tassel with the bead arrangement I decided on. I usually do all the sewing of the beads in one sitting. Then I add glue to all the stitching and allow that to dry overnight before slipping in the miniature painting in the sleeve and finally, the beaded bookmark painting is finished!
Backcountry Lunch Break

If this item is part of a special line that you do, has there been an evolution in your process? For example, if we were to compare the first one you made to this one, what differences would there be, if any?
I would say that the bookmarks are always being improved on. My first couple of bookmark paintings I hadn't painted much with the type of paper used (lenox 100 cotton rag, printmaker paper) so it was an experiment to see how the watercolor pencil paint would react! I also hadn't done much beading, esp. wrapping around a 2mm leather cord. I just figured I would learn as I go and make it work! I now have a much better feel for the paper and am better about sewing beads on the leather cord. I now know which size and shape beads work best and my future bookmarks will use silk cord instead of wire for sewing (I think will offer a softer more finished look). I also first used some simple horse charms and now am experimenting with the matching glass pendants on the tassel end instead, as in the featured bookmark. I now have ideas of different "levels" of bookmarks I know I can create to offer in different price ranges. Everything is always such a work in process, and I love it!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Feature on Made by Hand. By Me.

Bernie from http://www.laksaware.etsy.com/ got some of our team members featured on Made by Hand. By Me. Check it out here. https://www.byhand.me/component/option,com_content/Itemid,70/id,2551/task,view/

Thank you Bernie!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Team Member Featured on My Shopping Connection

Ruth's wonderful, custom pet portrait pendant was featured on My Shopping Connection. Check out her feature here. http://www.myshoppingconnection.com/shoppingbymail/galleria/jewelry/custom-pop-art-pet-portrait-pendant.php

Check out Ruth's shop at www.alloverart.etsy.com to see all of her fantastic wearable art!