Thursday, July 29, 2010

wild at heART [review + interview]

I recently came across this etsy shop called "wild at heART". Other than having a cute name, the darling behind the shop, Melissa, creates one of my favorite forms of accessories- hemp jewelry! Hemp bracelets are so nice and versatile. They go with everything, and Melissa sure has talent in handcrafting them. I will move on to the wild at heART classic hemp bracelet that I reviewed, as well as a few questions that Melissa has answered for us. Read on to find out more about her, her shop, the other fantastic items that she likes to create, along with some of my favorite examples of her work in between.
I had the honor of reviewing a pink buttoned classic hemp bracelet from "wild at heART". Melissa was a pleasure to converse with and the bracelet arrived packaged sweetly and safely. I am very happy with the quality of this bracelet. The knotting pattern is stylish and done well. It looks like the bracelet will last for a long time, which is important for accessories, in my opinion. Melissa makes these bracelets in various sizes and this one fits my wrist perfectly. The lone, pink colored button works as a closure as well as adding that nice and pretty touch to the piece of jewelry. I love the simple yet fun look of these hemp bracelets. It has a very naturalistic aura and I have a feeling that this will be a bracelet that I will want to wear often.

Thanks so much for letting us get to know you a bit better, Melissa.

In your own words, who exactly is Melissa?
Melissa can be best described as independent, driven, and passionate. Being a Pisces, she is a creative and caring person. She is obsessed with nail polish and loves 80’s movies! Her life motto is that you have to be able to laugh at yourself from time to time.

Would you rather cuddle up with a good book or go out dancing?
I would definitely prefer going out dancing! Being the outgoing person that I am, I can definitely rock to a good beat! (Even if I do look a little silly doing it)

Cats or dogs?
Dogs! Last year I received a Yorkie Pekapoo puppy for my birthday. Dogs are a little more work than cats, but their loyalty and dependability is completely worth it!

Summer or winter?
Being a high school student, of course I have to choose summer! Having three months off from school gives me time not only to lay out by the pool, but also to create the new collection for wild at heART.

Please tell us about your shop and the items in it, "wild at heART".
My Etsy shop, wild at heART, was inspired by the summer of 2009. Every day I would wake up, lie out on the hammock, and make friendship bracelets. The outdoors has always been a huge inspiration to me, so I try to give my shop the same natural and laid back feel of the green pastures I have grown up around. My shop consists of free spirited friendship bracelets, hemp accessories, and recycled soda tab bracelets. {wild at heART – natural accessories with a splash of color }

How did you get your start in creating jewelry?
As a kid, I was always going to craft camps and art classes, but it was at an after school club that I first learned about friendship bracelets. I saw these older girls creating colorful bracelets and was immediately intrigued. I would watch the technique used to make them, and, after a couple of failed tries, I was able to learn how to make the bracelets. Even then, around age seven, I was selling them to my friends for a quarter!

Do you have a favorite piece that you have made?
Oh, that’s tough! There are several items that I would consider favorites. The hemp with ribbon inside and the summer inspired hemp anklet with colorful beads were two that were hard for me to see sell. The soda tab bracelets are another fav that receive many compliments when worn!

Why do you enjoy crafting?
Crafting for me is an outlet. Being a teenager, it’s important to have a hobby that keeps me busy and allows me to relax. There is nothing better than being able to spend the entire day in my craft room with the music turned up loud and making inspired ideas into reality!

Is there anything that you would consider your inspiration?
Like I said before, the outdoors has had a lot to do with my shop. I have created friendship bracelet collections that were inspired by seasons and weather changes. Growing up around cornfields and green pastures has inspired not only my shop, but also the earth friendly person that I am.

Do you have any advice to someone that might be interesting in starting their own small business?
One of the most important things for a business is to create an image. Think of the audience your products are targeted towards and make a logo or slogan to interest them. You can then use your logo along with your personal information to make a business card to get the word out about your business!

Are you passionate about anything else, outside of jewelry making?
Aside from jewelry, I love antiques and the “junk” market. It allows you to take something old and remake it into something new and unique! I am also very passionate about writing and plan on majoring in Journalism in college.

What is a general day in your life like?
During the summer, I am able to sleep in usually until 9 o’clock. While watching “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, I log onto the internet to check my email, Etsy, and the long list of blogs that I follow. This will usually take until 10:30. Most days I try to exercise before lunchtime. Whether it’s swimming, running, or weights, I try to stay fit in the summer. After lunch I work in my craft room either on an item for wild at heART or giving new life to “junk”. I spend the afternoon relaxing either on a pool raft or the couch. After dinner, I catch the new episodes of some of my favorite shows (Lie To Me, Rookie Blue, etc.) and Jay Leno. Then it’s Goodnight! *School starts at the end of August :P no more sleeping in..

Thank you for sharing, Melissa! Is there anything else you would like to add?
I don’t have anything else to add, but I do want to thank you so much for this opportunity!

In closing, you should know that wild at heART is currently having an awesome sale that won't last long! You can get some great new accessories for a steal. 

I hope that everyone is having a nice week so far, :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Swell Dame Inc. [interview]

Good afternoon, everyone! I'm happy to be introducing Swell Dame Inc. to you today. Swell Dame is run by a creative lady with a very steady hand- Amber, who will be sharing with us. Now, I will let you read on to find out more about her and what she does, in her own words. Enjoy viewing her lovely creations as well! 

When I say _____ you think ______:
Quill: I think of writing which is pretty obvious because outside of my art, my greatest passion and job is being a freelance writer.

Candle: The Renaissance side of me thinks about how romantic it is to write by a candle. Of course, it's not recommended for your eyesight. hehe

Socks: I don't know why but I think of Norwegian winter socks with the beautiful patterns on them. I guess it's because I haven't knitted in awhile.

Rabbit: My answer may be a bit boring, but I think of Spring.

Can: I think of a piece I haven't done yet but have the image of it in my head. Without giving too much away, it would deal with the conflict of humans with the environment. However, I think the piece would have to wait until I'm more well-versed in inlaying wood because that's the way I see it.

Fire: I think of a lot of things. I think of the curious irony that I'm obsessed with a medium that reflects my element as an Aries which is "fire" and fire has always fascinated me. hehe Of course, I also think of my family calling me by my nickname, "Flame thrower," which started soon after I started doing pyrography. hehe

What are a few adjectives that describe you? 

 I would describe myself as - passionate, enthusiastic, dreamer, unique, loud, curious.
What can we expect to find in your etsy shop? 
You can expect to find a eclectic bunch of items that range from art pieces to jewelry to home decor. I also offer custom pieces including plaques and accessories. I try to offer a piece of art that is fit for any budget, so my customers don't feel pressured to buy outside of what they're comfortable paying for.

Do you have a specific style? 

I'm still developing my style but I want it to be influenced by the art deco and art nouveau movements. They appeal to me so much for a number of reasons - the artists' lines are so clean and gorgeous which is perfect for pyrography. And both of the movements weren't contained only on canvas, you can still see them everywhere - on buildings, in jewelry, clothing and the home. They're timeless, stylish and functional and I hope they're reflective in my work.
How did you get started in making handmade?
 I started making handmade as young as five or six. When we sold at local flea markets and garage sales, my mother would set up a table for me and my sister to sell stuff we made, which was mostly friendship bracelets. hehe

But I didn't start making handmade as a serious business venture until a year ago when I found I was really good at working with wood.

Was there a special way that your shop name came about?
It's kind of a funny story because I wasn't even looking for a brand name yet. Up until that time, I knew I wanted my brand to encompass being feminine but  could tell the customers it was vintage/retro and fun. Eventually, it was when I was looking through a slang dictionary for one of my writing projects, I started matching up slang terms and came up with "Swell Dame."


Something unique I noticed in your shop is your pyrography pieces. Could you expand a bit about that form of art and why it appealed to you? 
Pyrography is Greek for "fire drawing" and it's burning an image into wood and sometimes leather. It can be done in two ways; you can either burn it by hand by using a pyrographic pen tool or you can do it by laser. I prefer to do it by hand because it feels natural to me and I have an addiction to the rush I feel when I'm creating something underneath my fingertips.

It appealed to me because I was inspired by lowbrow/pop surrealism art about two years ago; it was something different to look at and to be absorbed by. Among the talented artists that are a part of lowbrow, I really became a fan of two - Audrey Kawasaki and Amy Sol. They use wood as their canvases and they paint their whimsical art nouveau imagery on the wood, which against the grain, really highlights the beauty of their work and the wood at the same time.

Although I knew I wasn't a very good painter, their use of the wood captivated me. So I looked at other types of things you could do with wood and came across pyrography. My first experiment with burning images into palm tree leaves ended badly, but I moved into burning images into wood and everything took off from there!

What is a normal day of crafting like for you? 
Actually, each piece takes about three days of crafting for me. During the week, I will most likely draw out my design on the wood but I don't really start the piece until the weekend when I have free time. I sit on my back porch, listen to the radio and burn the design with my pyrographic pen tool. Then when it's done, I let the wood cool down for a bit while I set up my paints if I decide the piece needs a little color. After I'm done painting, I let it dry over night and the next day I apply 2-3 layers of finish to the piece to protect the wood. And this is where the process diverges into three processes: if it's jewelry, I attach it to the necessary accessory. and the piece is done. If it's a piece of art, I apply a piece of eco-friendly felt and hammer a sawtooth hanger to the back of it. If it's another piece, like a shelf sitter, then it's pretty much done after applying the finish.


 Do you have a favorite material to use or item that you create? 
I have two items of mine which are my favorites so far. And they're my favorites because they're originals of my own creations. With pyrography, it's easy to copy a design to wood and burn it but with an original design, it gives me a little sense of pride. And I've received a lot of compliments for them as well!

The first being Art Nouveau Mermaid Pyrographic necklace. As you can see, the piece is heavily influenced by Mucha's women. And sometimes for me, it can take one image to pull a whole piece together and for this, it was just a simple stock photo of a model holding a seashell, then everything else came naturally. I'm really proud of this one because it was the first original design I ever did with pyrography.

The second being Snow White. I was first inspired by reading a short story by Neil Gaiman titled "Snow, Glass, Apples." After I read it, the image you see in the piece was what came to mind. I had a lot of fun with it and and it's a piece that's very close to my heart.

What is the most enjoyable part of what you do?  
Burning the image into the wood. I always get excited to see what it will look like finished and the anticipation builds as I burn the image.

Is there anything important you have learned through experience? 
Business-wise, I've learned a lot about how everything is taken on a chance. What works for one artist might not work for another. And you'll have to shift all of the time over what works one minute that doesn't work the next. Some people would find that as a strain, but most of the time, I think it keeps things exciting for me.

Creative-wise, pyrography has really helped me with drawing and creating concepts that mean something in my original designs. It's definitely widened my perspective. 

What is next for you? 
I'm going to have one of my illustrations featured in a 2011 journal being made by Etsy seller fantazya. My illustration will appear on April 15 which will be my twenty-third birthday. :)

I'm slowly expanding my work as my budget allows me. I want to expand in jewelry by making bracelets, earrings and brooches. I want to expand in home decor with boxes and serving trays. Of course, I want to make more art pieces as well. And next year, I have a projected goal of making my own little journals that will be hand-bound, handburnt with my designs on the covers and made with recycled paper.

In the distant future, when time will allow it, I want to expand my work into other areas of woodworking. I'm fascinated by inlaying and I want to use a laser woodcutter/wood engraver to incorporate into my work.

Of course, I'd love to see my items in a boutique shop one day. *fingers crossed*
Thanks so much for sharing, Amber! Would you like to add anything else? 
I would like to add a small piece of advice for people who craft or are artisans such as myself. Sometimes, it's hard to find inspiration, so when I'm ready to do a new piece, I have the wood I want to make the piece with on my desk. That way, whenever I sit there, I can ruminate on what the piece could be when I'm working. So leaving, a small object of what you want to make something out of and putting it in a place where you can see it most of the time, may help a little with the inspiration part - it has for me.


Isn't she delightful? I am in awe of her skill in the art of pyrography.
If you would like to follow Amber, check Swell Dame out on:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jewelry Organizer Winner!

Good afternoon! :)

The random number generator has chosen. 
This lucky duck will receive a beautiful Jewelry Organizer from Kirkland's.

  The winner is...
#21- CathyH!

Congratulations, Cathy, you are going to love your prize. You will be receiving and e-mail from me shorty. Thanks to everyone that entered. If you didn't win, don't be too sad- enter the new giveaways in the left sidebar!

Happy Monday,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

WhiteRabbitThreads [Choice of Brooch Giveaway]

"WhiteRabbitThreads" is a sweet shop run by Ammie who is a fashion design student from Glasgow. Ammie is living and studying in London while she attends school. In her shop you will find plenty of adorable handmade pieces like felt keychains and brooches, keepsakes, cushions, magnets, along with some fabulous vintage clothing as well. Before we get to the giveaway, here are a few items that I love!


We have a simple format of *copy and paste* for entries. 
If something applies to you, just fill in the blanks. :)

TO ENTER: Make sure that you are a follower of "Samy in Wonderland" through google friend connect (top of left side-bar) and browse "WhiteRabbitThreads", then leave 1 comment stating:
-I follow your blog, Samy! 

- One of my favorite items from WhiteRabbitThreads is _______ because _______.

- If I am the winner, you can reach me here: _______.

  EXTRA ENTRIES: After doing the mandatory entry above, you may complete any or all of these for additional entries. A random number generator picks my winners, so the more times you enter, the more chances you have of winning! For these to count as extras, please leave a separate comment for each.

I follow Ammie's SoVeryPicturesque Blog!
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I visited Princess Samy Vintage on Etsy and my favorite item is _______ because _______.
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I "Heart" WhiteRabbitThreads on Etsy! My etsy username is _______.
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I "Heart" Princess Samy on Etsy! My etsy username is _______.
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I "Like" Princess Samy Vintage on Facebook! My facebook username is _______.
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I follow whiterabbitshop on Twitter! My twitter username is @_______.
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I follow PSVintage on Twitter! My twitter username is @_______.
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I "Read You" because I subscribe to Samy in Wonderland via RSS feed.
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)

I "Don't Miss a Thing" because I subscribed to your blog and confirmed my subscription!
(1 extra entry - leave 1 separate comment)
[Subscription box can be found on my left side-bar]

I shared this giveaway on my facebook wall! I included a link back to this blog so that my friends can find it. Here is a link, so that you can see what I wrote: _______.
(2 extra entries - leave 2 separate comments)

I tweeted about this giveaway on twitter. I included a link back to this blog as well as "@PSVintage" somewhere in my tweet. Here is a link to the tweet: _______.
(2 extra entries - leave 2 separate comments)

I "Spread the Love" by putting the Samy in Wonderland button on my blog/site! Here is a link to where I posted Samy's button: _______.
(2 extra entries - leave 2 separate comments)
[You can find the button code in my left side-bar]

I blogged about this giveaway! Here is a link so that you can see it: _______.
(2 extra entries - leave 2 separate comments)

I left a new & relevant comment on this non-giveaway post on the Samy in Wonderland blog: _______.
(1 extra entry for each comment, up to 3 - leave separate comments for each entry)

I also entered the _______ giveaway hosted by Samy.
(1 extra entry for each giveaway entered - leave separate comments for each entry)
[This counts for giveaways that are currently open]

ENDS: Aug. 16th @ 11:59 PM