Feature Friday: Carrie Mayer of BlessedBe

Today's interview is with Carrie Mayer of BlessedBe. Carrie is a new member of our team and we are happy to have her with us!

How did you first hear about etsy?

My cousin started a shop on etsy several years ago, so she told me about it. I shopped etsy before I ever thought about selling on it.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

I am so blessed! I have been married to my best friend for 13 years. We have 2 wonderful sons, age 7 and 4. I live in a small rural community in Northern Kentucky. I am a born again Christian, so my work reflects that. Since I have given my life to Christ, I feel lighter, if that is possible. He has taken on my burdens, so now I have more time to spend praising Him!

My favorite medium, right now, is beadwork. My mom took me to a local bead shop for a class and now I'm hooked! I also love clay and fabric. I love to make little stuffed monsters and felt food. It's rare for me to stick with one thing too long. Like most artistic people, I am always looking for new things to try!

How did you get started as a designer?

Last year, I purchased a glass tile pendant kit from a seller on etsy...I thought it looked like fun! I was taking a bible study class at my church and I was inspired to create jewelry about my faith. Folks at church started to ask for my pieces and, viola, BlessedBe's was born! My Christian jewelry has opened up doors to witness about our Lord and Savior, which is awesome!

What inspires you to create?

Everyday I ask God to lead me where He wants me to go. Being able to use my God-given talents to praise Him is a great thing!

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy street team?

I have only been a member of BEST for several months, but my team members have been so helpful. Everyone is so friendly and willing to give advice. I am especially grateful to Libby for all the work she does for the team.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

Do it because you love it, not to make money. I spend way more on etsy than I make, but that's okay. Also, join a team. Etsy and BEST have truly been a blessing to me.

Thanks Carrie for the interview! To see more of Carrie's Christian inspired jewelry, check out her etsy shop, BlessedBe. Carrie also has a blog if you would like to know more about her!

If you would are a team member and would like to be featured during the month of August, leave a comment below or contact Kim Ries.


Kentucky Wild Weeds: Poke

This week, Kentucky Wild Weeds focuses on a plant called "poke."

I am sure all Kentuckians recognize this plant, it’s everywhere in Lexington. Birds love to eat the berries and they end up “depositing” the seeds everywhere they go. You’ll see little poke plants sticking out of cracks in the sidewalk and on roadsides they’ll grow up to 7 feet or better.

Some people like to eat the young Spring greens (my sister freezes some every year), and some eat a berry a year to prevent arthritis. The most active part is the root. Poke is a VERY powerful lymphatic cleanser and can really help clear infections out of your system. You can easily make a batch of root extract in the Fall that will probably last a lifetime. A dose is one drop of extract in a little water. I have seen one or two doses completely clear up swollen glands in a day. To prepare an extract, the root should be gathered in the fall after the foliage starts to die down. Wear gloves when handling this plant because it is toxic. Clean and chop a fresh root, fill a jar halfway then fill the jar all the way with 100 proof vodka. After a month you can strain out the plant material and store your extract in a brown or blue glass bottle.

You can also use the root to make an infused herbal oil to massage over swollen glands and to break up breast lumps. This remedy is too harsh to use every day so it’s not good to use as a preventative.

If you have any questions about using this plant click here for my store and start a conversation with me.

Thanks to Jackie Alberti for featuring a native Ky plant for us each week!


Feature Friday: Harmon Art

Today's feature highlights another husband and wife creative duo on the Bluegrass etsy team, Brian and Emily Harmon of HarmonArt. They have shops on etsy and artfire and specialize in hand built earthenware and fine art gourds. Like so many others, I have always been drawn to art that represents nature, especially items with leaves. So I am delighted to share this interview with you and introduce you to two very talented artists!

How did you first hear about etsy?

My wife has always been a fan of handmade jewelry. I first found Etsy when looking for Christmas presents for her a few years ago. It took us several years to decide that our work would work for Etsy as well.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

HarmonArt is a husband/wife team. We are both teachers. I teach high school art while my wife is an elementary librarian. We love our jobs because they afford us time off in the summer to devote to our true loves of earthenware ceramics and fine art gourds all with a natural, autumnal theme and color scheme.

How did you get started as a designer?

My wife grew up on a farm that raised gourds. She was always surrounded by them and found something beautiful to do with them. I am technically a photography teacher. I love it, but it is so technical. I got into clay because it is so different from photography: physical, malleable, dirty. I just love them both for opposite reasons.

What inspires you to create?

We are both inspired by the warm, earthy colors and organic shapes of autumn. Leaves are one of God's most overlooked but beautiful pieces of artistry. I am always looking at the details of tree leaves and they often find their way into our art.

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I've been a member for about 2 months. I heard about the team through ArtFire actually. My wife and I also have a shop there. It is much smaller, so it is sometimes easier to connect with people. I first discovered ArtFire's version of TeamBluegrass and then sought it out on Etsy.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

I am pretty new to online selling, but it was a total surprise to me how much promoting is important and necessary. I check my Google Analytic every day. Days when I intentionally spend time promoting via Facebook, Forums, link directories, Twitter, etc, I always see results in my page views. In terms of getting your shop viewed, the ball is really in your court.

Anything else you would like to add?

We have been doing art shows for years, and just this year jumped into the online art market. So far we love it and look forward to a long online career.


Thanks to Brian and Emily for this interview and for letting us know a little more about your art. We are happy to have you on the Bluegrass etsy team! Be sure to check out their etsy shop here to see more of their nature inspired art.

To see more examples of the talent on our team, go to www.etsy.com and type teambluegrass in the search box.

If you are a team member and would like to be featured on an upcoming Feature Friday post, contact Kim Ries or leave a comment here.


Share our Success: Rayela's Fiber Focus

We are pleased to announce that Rachel Taibi of Rayela Art has reached 1,000 sales on etsy after opening her shop only two years ago. Her very popular blog is a great resource for fiber artists. And her recent blog post gives etsy sellers some great tips on how she made it to 1,000 sales!

Click here to read more about Rachel's tips for etsy success.

Congratulations Rachel on your accomplishment! We are proud to have you as a member of our team!

If you are a team member and have been recognized for your art or some art related accomplishment, please let us know. We'll feature you in an upcoming post!


Share our Success: Libby Goldsmith

Congratulations to our team leader, Libby Goldsmith of Auroras Garden and Maylees Garden. Libby was recently selected as a writer for Handmade News. Check out Libby's bio and watch for her upcoming articles at Handmade News.

To find Libby's published articles, go to the Handmade News site, click the Marketing tab on the right and you'll see Libby's picture. Click there to see the articles she has submitted.

On behalf of the Bluegrass etsy team, congratulations Libby!

Team Members: If you have been published or recognized for your work, please let us know. Contact Kim Ries at kimberven@earthlink.net. We'd love to share your success with everyone! Let us brag about you!


Feature Friday: Brenda Herp - Iris in Bloom

Today's Feature Friday highlights the work of Brenda Herp of Iris in Bloom.

How did you hear about etsy?

Martha Stewart did a segment on etsy one day and I thought that would be a good thing to try. I mentioned it to my friend and she went and set up her etsy site and said it was easy to do. I found out it was so simple to do and I have loved the concept of how you can advertise your craft and meet lots of different people and artists.

Tell us about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

I have always been involved in some kind of crafts whether it be sewing, crocheting, or decorating. I got into machine embroidery about 11 years ago and I have been obsessed since. I love to mix colors and put embroidery designs together on shirts, towels, denim or whatever I can put it on. There is no limit in what you can achieve with embroidery. Everyone has an idea of what they want and it is fun to make the item and see the satisfaction when you give it to them.

I do craft shows and have a lot of customers that spread my name because of what I created for them. This gets me phone calls with special orders, etc. I have sent orders from my etsy site to Oregon, New York, Oklahoma. Positive feedback is great and that makes you feel good about your work.

How did you get started as a designer?

I would not say I am a designer, I just put embroidery designs together
with colors that fit the item I am doing at the time. Maybe I am not sure
of the question of what defines a designer.

What inspires you to create?

I get a idea of what I think a design that I have bought will look
on a item, and away I go. I love creating and working with my hands.
A lot of what I do is one of a kind and I tell my customers "you have
an original!" They like that idea.

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

My friend Becky Keith (she is on the Bluegrass etsy team too) told me about it. Actually, her friend Carolyn (Cowgirl Rosie) and her daughter Robin were the brain behind the team. They had the idea and went with it. I have been a member for several months. I started my etsy website, IrisinBloom in March 2008.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

Etsy is a good source to advertise your crafts and a way to tell
everyone about what you do.

To see more of Brenda's work, you can visit her Iris in Bloom etsy shop here.

Thanks Brenda for allowing us to interview you and learn more about your etsy shop. If you are a Bluegrass etsy team member and would like to be featured on an upcoming Feature Friday, contact Kim Ries at kimberven@earthlink.net.

To see more work from this talented Bluegrass etsy team, go to www.etsy.com and type teambluegrass in the search box.


Share our Success: Jama Watts

Congratulations to our team member Jama Watts of These Precious Things. Jama's work was featured in the 2009-2010 Fire Mountain Gems Best Sellers Catalog. If you have a copy, check out page 258 for a close up view of her intricate work. Congrats Jama! The Bluegrass etsy team is proud of you!


Kentucky Wild Weeds: Mullein

Here is another installment in our weekly feature on plants in Kentucky and their medicinal uses. Thanks to Jackie Alberti for writing these each week!

Mullein is found all over the place and is another great medicinal. This plant can be as much as 6 feet tall - the stalks used to be dried, dipped in wax and used as torches. The most useful parts are the leaves and flowers. The leaves are expectorant and are used in teas and smoking mixtures to treat asthma and colds. The flowers can be infused in olive oil to make an oil to sooth irritated skin and especially to treat ear infections. To make the oil, gather a small handful and place in a jar, cover with oil and let it sit for two weeks. Then strain out the flowers and store the oil in the fridge. I also like to infuse some garlic cloves and add a little St. John’s Wort infused oil. There is also an essential oil available but I have not tried it yet.

Mullein will take root in any clear space, loves poor soil and the seeds are believed to remain dormant for up to 100 years!

You can comment here or contact me through my etsy store if you would like more information on any of my articles or anything else.


Feature Friday: Whimsy Beading

Today's Feature Friday focuses on the husband and wife team of Joey and Kelly Graves of Whimsy Beading and Whimsy Wearables based in Lexington, Kentucky. They are new to our team and I think you will find today's interview very interesting!

How did you first hear about etsy?

We’d known about Etsy for a little while before joining, just from seeing links posted to our online communities. It was definitely word of mouth, or in this case, word of internet!

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

We’re a husband and wife team of crafters. We tend to aid and abet one another’s crafting of the moment, be it soap making, needlework, or beading – we have two closets in our house completely full of crafting supplies. We both love to create new things and learn new techniques in the crafts we already know. We’ve both been cross-stitch model stitchers for The Stitch Niche in Lexington for years now, though Joey is more active in stitching models right now than I am.

As for a favorite craft, I’m not sure there is one. Sometimes, it’s all knitting, all the time. Sometimes it’s cross-stitch, and right now, our living room has been taken over by boxes of beads of every shape and size. That’s our relaxation time – to be together with a television show we like, or maybe a movie or an audiobook and craft. I’m an accountant and Joey was most recently a parts analyst for a company that supplied parts to Toyota in Georgetown, so at the end of the day, relaxing and actually creating something with our hands is a great way to relieve stress.

How did you get started as a designer?

Honestly, we both just fell into it. It’s a journey of discovery every time. You master the basics, then you go on to learn some new technique, or think about the principles in a different way, saying “I wonder if I could…” and then you find out if it works. If it doesn’t, you try something else or you rework it a different way until it does. “I wonder if I could” is sort of our mantra. We work well off of one another in that respect, since we each have different ways of seeing a problem and approaching the solution. Sometimes it can lead to an almighty row, but that’s part of the creative process too!

Our first real foray into the world of crafting as a business was creating and selling full-length film accurate scarves to the Harry Potter fandom under the name Whimsy Wearables. We're both big fans of the books and movies, so it was something that developed from wanting accurate costume pieces for ourselves and for our friends and nothing really available commercially that would fit the bill. We sold scarves from 2003 to 2007, and still accept large orders for scarves from time to time. We've outfitted one large group of University of Kentucky fans and later their kids in similar style scarves.

We got into beading when Joey found a very pretty beaded stitch marker he liked, and he started playing around with making some of his own. I'm a huge fan of jewelry and I love the versatility of beads, but I was frustrated with the lack of pretty necklaces available to plus sized women. Not everyone has a neck that's fourteen to sixteen inches around, there aren't that many choker style necklaces to fit a plus sized person. So my start in beading was making jewelry in the styles I liked in a size that would be more comfortable. Whimsy Beading specializes in making plus sized chokers, lariats and bridal jewelry, though we're always happy to shorten a necklace at the request of the customer.

What inspires you to create?

Oh, everything. Clouds, the way the light is shining off a glass in the kitchen, or those beads or that pendant hanging there in the store that you have to have but don’t have a use for…just yet. We tend to do a lot of people watching too. What are people wearing, what’s the new thing? What’s an old thing that deserves to come back, what can be used in a different way? We’re always asking questions like that.

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

We’re definitely the newbies to the team, we just joined in June. Libby was very welcoming.

We heard about the Bluegrass Etsy Street Team through Jackie of GloryBeHerbals. Joey has been friends with her for years now. They got to know one another when Jackie would pick up the mail and packages at the company Joey used to work for, and they’ve stayed in touch, especially when Jackie started working in the Versailles Post Office. Because of our annual fundraiser selling silk lilac pins to raise money Alzheimer’s research (http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/main/19273092), Joey would often be in the post office delivering packages to go out. He mentioned that we had an Etsy store, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

Don’t be afraid to try something new, something you’ve never done before. Always strive to learn more about your chosen craft and improve yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or to help others.

Thanks Kelly and Joey for letting us interview you and learn more about you! Be sure to check out the variety of items found in the Whimsy Beading etsy shop. And their blog can be found here.

To learn more about the talented Kentucky artists on etsy, go to www.etsy.com and type "teambluegrass" in the search box to see more!


Kentucky Wild Weeds: Goldenseal

This is another of our more valuable native plants. Early colonists took a quick liking to this plant and exported enormous amounts of goldenseal roots to Europe. World-wide demand for this plant remains high to this day and it has become threatened in the wild. As you can see, it is easy to raise with requirements similar to ginseng (shade and compost).

Goldenseal is an immune stimulant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and relieves excess mucous and infections very quickly. It is great paired with Echinacea to fight colds and flu. It will irritate mucous membranes if overused so once you start to dry up you should back off on dosages. The belief that goldenseal will mask drug use on a drug test is false. This belief has lead to abuse of this plant and tons of valuable medicine has been wasted. Goldenseal should be used only when it’s really needed and just so you know, it tastes exactly like it smells!

Thanks so much to our own Jackie Alberti ( GloryBeHerbals ) for the fun and educational article!


Monday Feature: Peacock Theme

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

This Feature will be posted on every Monday with different themes, artists, and items made by Bluegrass etsy members.

This week, four amazing artists and their items were chosen for this feature.

This week's theme is peacocks or colors of a peacock.

1.LunabudKnits: Hand Painted Combed Top Mohair Roving 118 g 4.1 oz - Water Lily

2.TheArtisticTouch: From blues to green bracelet

3.LeslieN: Peacock Chrysocolla Bracelet

4.ChamberryCherry: Peacock Fascinator

48 for Larry

Larry Hamm over at Chelsea Lynn Designs on Artfire is a friend of many in the world of handmade, he is also the voice of The Crazy Train on Blockhead Radio. Larry has a fantastic wife Janet, and an 8 year old son Jacob who live with him in Lansing, NC deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Larry is a friend to everyone and just an all around swell guy. He is most definitely the "shirt off your back" kind of friend. Right now, all of Larry´s friends and Blockhead Radio are teaming up to help him out in a tough time.48 for Larry

Larry is a disabled diabetic who currently has lost his health insurance. His medication alone monthly is over $2,000. Larry is not receiving disability, he has not been approved yet. His wife is the only source of income and she doesn´t make enough to cover his medications. Larry´s doctors have given him an outlook of only 18 months to live if he doesn´t receive a $17,000 gastric bypass surgery as soon as possible. Larry and his family need all the help from their family and friends they can get! Jacob and Janet need Larry to hang around here with them as long as he possibly can! All of his friends surely want Larry to stick around too!


All of us at Blockhead Radio are gearing up for the biggest Radiothon you´ll ever be a part of! July 24th at 6pm until July 26th at 6pm, Blockhead Rod will be live on the radio for 48 hours straight raising money for our friend Larry. A silent auction of donated handmade goods will also be going up on the home page of Blockhead Radio with 100% of the proceeds going to Larry.

If you would like to be a part of this wonderful event, please email DeDe Sorensen at: 48forlarry@blockheadradio.com Please donate any handmade items you can for the silent auction have your emails in with your donations by July 22nd. If you would like to donate cash for Larry’s prescriptions and surgery please visit Blockhead Radio July 24th through July 26th. There will be plenty of ways to get your donations in.

Keep listening to Blockhead Radio for fantastic indie music, and how you can help Larry Hamm of Chelsea Lynn Designs.

If you wish to repost this on your blog please do so the writers of this have given permission to do so. Please help us spread the word!

If you are on twitter please use #48forlarry as a hashtag when twittering about this.

I encourage as many team members as possible to help out with this very worthy cause. Lets help Larry and his family, and lets show them some love. If you cant donate an item or buy at the auction, please post this to your facebook, twitter, and where ever else you can post it. Help us get the word out.


Our Hot July Team Giveaway!!

Congratulations to Toni Johnson of Vernon Ave our winner for the month of June. She wins the lovely earrings created by Jama Watts of These Precious Things. Congratulations to Toni!

Our giveaway for the steamy hot month of July is brought to us by Stephanie Key of Momosbows. And very appropriately, her giveaway is flip flops!

One pair of Polka Dot Princess Flip Flops (in pink or white) and a matching bow!

This style of Princess flip flops are available in pink or white. The sides are braided with pink, green, and white ribbon for that special look. Complete with green and pink polka dots and a tiara, this pair is a great gift for:

-Flower girls
-Birthday favors
-A Pageant Contestant
-Or any day for that special girl

All of my bows are secured with elastic cord and the ends are heat sealed. There are no pokey wires to worry about here! The tiara is nestled between two bows to ensure that it sits up far enough away from little toes. These are new, quality made, Cariris flip-flops (no cheapos) that retail without the bows for $8-$15.
These are available in the following kids' sizes:
and Toddler sizes with a backstrap:

They are valued at: $18.00 with the matching bow valued at $7.00

How Do I Enter?
In order to enter this drawing, please visit the Momosbows store, then come back to this blog and post your comment. Tell us what you like about Stephanie's shop or tell us about your favorite item. If you post this giveaway on your blog, let us know that too, for an additional chance to win. Also, if you twitter the contest, let us know and you get an extra chance for that as well.

We'll draw a random winner on July 31 and will announce it here.

Good luck to all!


Feature Friday: Sara Andrus of the Savvy Stitcher

This week's Feature Friday focuses on Sara Andrus, the Savvy Stitcher! Here is the interview that recently appeared at our Facebook page.

How did you first hear about Etsy?

I first learned about Etsy when I was in a gift shop in my hometown. A girl who had pendants for sale there had her Etsy site on her business card. I really liked her style, so I wanted to check out her store. I immediately fell in love with Etsy, as I already loved all things handmade!

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art.

I am a 24-year-old girl and live with my husband in Western Kentucky, where we both grew up. We’ve been married for almost a year now and he is very supportive of my “craft”. My favorite would have to be sewing, but I am constantly trying new things. Currently, I love making the fabric coffee cozies. They seem to be a really hot item right now and I love coming up with new designs and ways to spice them up!

How did you get started as a designer?

I have always been into crafts. I started out scrapbooking, but realized it was way too time-consuming for my taste. I then branched out to stamping and other crafts. When I went to college, my roommate taught me how to use a sewing machine and that was it! I am completely self-taught (other than having her teach me to thread the machine, etc.) and I am always looking for fun new projects.

What inspires you to create?

I love vibrant colors and fun patterns. I also love buttons of all shapes and sizes. I hope to incorporate them into my crafts more often in the future. I’m inspired every time I go into Hancock Fabrics. I will always come home with a new fabric and will have to immediately get to the sewing machine and create something with it. I have more fabric than I know what to do with!

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I have been a member of the team since December of 2008. I came across the team when searching the Etsy site and decided it was perfect for me, as a Kentucky crafter!

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

My advice is to figure out what you have a passion for. Then, whatever medium that may be, always create what you love. Search Etsy frequently and see what is popular, then try to incorporate that into your art, but put your own spin on it. If you don’t love it yourself, you won’t stay excited about it. Don’t create something just because you think it will sell. I found that out early. If you’re excited about it, other people will be, too! Promote, promote, promote! Start a blog. Above all, be true to yourself and your art.


Thank you Sara for the insight into your creativity and for sharing with us how you got started with etsy. Glad to hear your husband supports your crafting!

If you haven't visited already, check out Sara's super cute etsy shop!

Watch each Friday for another installment of Feature Friday!