May 2009



I’ve been contemplating a new blog since last Wednesday, but I’ve been consumed by my latest project – painting acrylic portraits of cats in Regency dress. The first one I completed was “Red Coat Dominic”, wearing a British 19th century uniform. He reminded me of Col. Brandon in the portrait, but devilish Dom swaggers more like Mr. Wickham. 😀 He’s for sale right now in my Etsy shop www.taraflyphotos.etsy.com.
Here’s my latest work-in-progess… I’ve actually completed a bit more of him, but my camera batteries were dead this afternoon (too many Etsy photo shoots!) so while I’m waiting for them to recharge, I’ll discuss another excellent Etsy seller:

I think I first discovered Starless.etsy.com through an Etsy-finds e-mail, and when I saw her delightful koi pendants, I had to check out her shop.

She creates the koi, water, lilypads, and flowers all from polymer clay.. look at the lovely pattern of the sparkling water; she rolled all those strands of clay by hand. Clay is something I’ve always been fascinated with, but haven’t used since I was a little girl. Seeing works like this inspire me to dip my paws back into it… Works like Starless’ however take real talent.

Just take a look at this lovely jewelry box with the clay koi pond cover! Just imagine the hours of meticulous work that went into sculpting all those details! It’s the loveliest jewelry box I’ve ever seen.

She recently finished college with a degree in biology, and says that selling on Etsy is a fun hobby while she searches for a “real job”… I believe she’s already found her calling and just doesn’t realize it yet. 😉 There are too many biologists in the world today. We need more koi pendant sculpters!

An update on my last blog: I finally purchased some soap from Seaspritesoaps.etsy.com
and I must say, it was well worth it! She even sent me free samples. Whoo hoo! The Honeysuckle soap smelled delightful, but more importantly, it kept my rough hands soft for hours afterwards. 🙂

And just in case my two readers may worry that my cynical, sarcastic view of the world has waned in the glow of Etsy-goodness, it hasn’t! Fear not! I have plenty of ravings scratching from within my skin, trying desparately to break free and run rampant across the pages of this blog… I’ve merely kept them tranquilized for the last couple days with large vats of coffee and Capt’n Crunch Cereal.


When it comes to skin-care and beauty products, I have always been extremely low maintenance. A bar of cheap, store-brand soap and hot tap water cleans my face and body just fine! Nevertheless, I’m a sucker for a good suckle… honey-suckle, that is. It’s a difficult fragrance to find, and after searching once for a honeysuckle perfume, I stumbled across a wonderful body lotion (from Bath and Body Works) which was being discontinued. Just my luck! I purchased the last two bottles, kicking myself that it had taken me 26 years to finally step inside a yuppie boutique store …and I was too late!

I had no intention of purchasing soap when I logged into Etsy this morning, to check my own store stats. But a stroll into the Community forums to read the latest drama brought me to one particular thread, and a seller whose avatar caught my eye.
Her image of a digitally rendered pixie character, and her shop title – SeaSpriteSoaps,
made me curious enough to check her out.

The first listing to jump off the screen and bite me – right here, on my nose – was her $5 bar of Wild Honeysuckle soap! With its twirled patterns of rose, yellow, and cream, it looked good enough to eat… like ice-cream sherbet. Almost too good to subject to the cruel fate of slowly dissolving in my bath tub.
She made this beautiful piece by hand… using what soap manufacturers refer to as
“the cold compress” method, which means absolutely nothing to me.
I just knew it was pretty to look at, and probably smelled even better!

Browsing a bit further, I found a listing for A Soap Sampler, 16 small slices of different colored, fragrant soaps to test. About 1/4″ thick, they were similar to the bars you’d find in hotel rooms, but much more appealing.. this sampler is only $9.00 and I knew immediately it would make a great gift basket idea! Simply find a cute woven basket and line it with fabric, arrange these little scrumptious soaps inside… perhaps shrink wrap it and tie with ribbon… Voila! The price was perfect, the gift unique, and I was getting excited thinking about the possibilities of recipients.

The following scents are generally included (sometimes varying due to availability):
Bay Rum Spice
Blood Orange Patchouli
Calabrian Violet & Bergamot
Caribbean Dreams
Celtic Moonspice
Coconut Lemongrass
Gardenia
Lemon Verbena
Polar Express
Secrets of India
Tangerine Lavender
Tassie Lavender
Vanilla de Madagascar
Wild Honeysuckle
Winter Solstice
Wisteria

I’ve been blessed to be allergy-free, and can slather whatever I like onto my skin, but for those of you who stand in the aisles and carefully read ingredient labels, all of her soaps contain the following:
olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, castor oil and shea butter, plus fragrance or essential oils. Some soaps also “include cosmetic mica or FD&C approved colorants and dried botanicals.”
Each listing will include it’s own ingredient list.

Stephanie of Seaspritesoaps, like many of us Etsy shop owners (including myself), is a wife and mother (with two children of her own, and three grown stepchildren), she is living the dream many of us share… to make money doing what we love! She’s a retired clinical psychologist – (I love messing with their minds!) who lives in Naples, Florida. She was taught the craft several years ago, by a friend, and immediately took to it like…soap to water. (my bad pun, not hers)
In her profile, she states:
“I love being an ‘alchemist’ who makes soaps, creams, balms and other useful and helpful potions with my own two hands. I love especially the creamy richness of handmade soaps, and the fact that they don’t strip my skin of oils. In fact, I was amazed the first time I washed my hands with my own soap and found that my skin wasn’t tight or dry, and I didn’t need to use hand lotion. Even my husband noticed how wonderful these soaps are on your skin, and now he shaves with my soap. My kids love it too. We haven’t used commercial soap in years.”

Well, yeah! If you can make your own, why waste your time at Wal-Mart? 🙂

**www.Seaspritesoaps.etsy.com also includes lip balms, salves, and perfumes.**

Her talent for needlework led her to open a second Etsy shop FaeryKnots.etsy.com,
with a small selection of cute, crocheted fairy dolls made from sparkling yarn.
She also has an interesting and informative blog: www.Heartcrafts.blogspot.com.


I should probably be updating my two readers on the status of our recent move, and how we’re settling in… The landlord did provide us with another stove and refrigerator. Joe is painting the walls, and has plans to build a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the dining room, which has now transformed itself into my art studio. We were originally going to utilize it for the children’s play area, but the entire house has been taken over by toys, and we haven’t had the manpower to defeat them and force their retreat. So, art studio it is. We have yet to get neighbors for the upstairs half, although the landlord has been showing the place to a steady stream of prospects. The layout was so unconventional and cramped, I can understand the hesitation. Fortunately, both were vacant when we signed our lease, so we were able to choose the space better suited to us. 🙂
We were actually musing about purchasing the entire building from our landlord, if he continues to encounter problems renting. I’ve developed a bit of a crush on this house, even though it IS ungodly outdated and not without it’s share of faults. There is much character in this place, from the glass-panelled French doors in the dining room, to the 10′ high ceilings and knotty, pine cabinets. We’ll think about it, when renewing our lease, if all goes well and we want to stay. It would be nice to convert the entire house back into a single-family residence, as it was intended to be.
My maternity leave officially ended on Saturday, and I’ve returned to work two days per week: Thursdays and Saturdays. Although it was odd at first getting accustomed to a new, lower-grade position, it was also incredibly liberating. I didn’t sense a loss that some claim to feel when being voluntarily demoted. I don’t judge myself by my 9-to-5 job status, but rather by goals I’ve set for myself. Currently, I’m steadily reaching my milestones in this creative business venture to become a full-time artist. I hope, by the end of this year, to be making enough money through my art sales to consider myself self-supporting and therefore feel less guilty about quitting my part-time job altogether. I’m enjoying the time I spend with my family, although most days I find myself glued to the computer for hours; working on my websites, networking, or creating digital art. I feel particularly guilty doing this, but at least there is communication and companionship to be shared, even though I may not always be giving them my undivided attention. I can easily attend to their needs, and take (many!) breaks throughout the day to be with them. Most of the time, Jacob is napping on my lap! Can’t ask for a better job than that. Juggling family and work, now that I primarily work from home, is a challenge that I’m working to overcome.
I have so many irons in the fire at this moment, project wise, and I can’t seem to get caught up. I’m excited however about two latest projects – my handmade greeting cards, each featuring a photo of my art, and my regency cat portraits. I’ve started with Dominic as a British “red coat” soldier, and will be adding gentlemen and ladies to the collection soon! You can check out my progress on my Facebook fanpage. I’ve uploaded pictures to share with my fans!
I’ve also decided to begin a weekly series on Etsy sellers whose shops catch my eye.This will also, hopefully, help me to keep focused on updating this blog for my two dear readers. 🙂
So, I am off to a clean page in Notepad to write my first Etsy Seller promo!