Friday, June 27, 2014

DIY Upcycled 4th of July Firecracker Tutorial!

My darling niece and nephew are the stars of this star spangled step-by-step how-to tutorial for making your very own DIY upcycled 4th of July firecracker! Showcased on my sister Andrea's blog (owner of Etsy shop Storybook Artifact), she will explain the entire process of how we put this stunning Independence Day celebratory decor piece together! Making an eye-catching photo prop for your July 4th photography shoot or a patriotic decoration to display during this great American honorary holiday, you will go out in style with a BANG this Fourth of July with this adorable hand-painted, decoupage firework rocket!

Also, featured in my niece and nephew's photo shoot are my vintage original 1950s Town & Country red, white, and blue stiletto high heels from our Etsy sister shop LaOohLaLa Boutique. Little Miss America has them propped up on a pillow and pulling them in her nostalgic Americana Radio Flyer wagon! Mama and Auntie came up with the cutest photo prop idea!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Comment to Etsy's Seller Handbook Blog Article "How to Take Your Vintage Shop to the Next Level"
Me modeling a vintage original handmade 1960s Music Note Mini Sack Gogo Dress found in Etsy shop "LaOohLaLa Boutique"

My comment posted from sister shop "LaOohLaLa Boutique" which I share with my sister, grandmother, and great aunt on the Etsy Seller Handbook Blog Article "How to Take Your Vintage Shop to the Next Level":

Hooray! We are absolutely thrilled to see an Etsy blog article highlighting the vintage portion of this fabulous online marketplace! Please continue to showcase vintage in the seller handbook section of the blog! We can always use more inspiration and guidance with regards to the vintage side of our boutique!

I think the two most important parts in this article are "building a robust inventory" and "focus on photography"; we strive to set our minds to this everyday. More sales take place when you have more inventory for buyers to browse through; they will also be more likely to stay in your shop, keep looking, and possibly buy multiple items. Keeping a cohesive look with your photography helps too! One commenter asked what is best for displaying vintage clothing, a model or a mannequin? I prefer the real-life living model, but a classy mannequin (a bust only or with a face) can be equally aesthetically pleasing to the eye as long as you create the crisp, light, and airy, or themed environment/setting for your background. Striving to achieve the highest quality of photography and photo editing in your capabilities is essential!

My sister Andrea modeling a Vintage Tea Length Floral Prairie Pinafore Dress for her Victorian romantic themed Etsy Shop "Storybook Artifact"

Also, "collaborating with competitors" is a great piece of advice as well...and I think also having other vintage Etsy shops is also rewarding. For instance, I collaborate with my sister Andrea of "Storybook Artifact" who has a vintage Victorian/Romantic themed Etsy shop where she houses women's garments and fancy vintage housewares; we hold weekly photo shoots together and thus provide a model and a photographer! "LaOohLaLa Boutique" is a vintage/handmade boutique that my sister and I collaborate with my grandmother and great-aunt where we house mid century themed women's clothing, vintage pin up ephemera, and collectible designer vintage stilettos along with my aunt's handmade retro themed pin up pillows. The third shop "Eco-Friendly Freckles", I run myself and it houses my upcycled original artwork along with a variety of vintage toys, housewares, decor, etc...because preserving vintage items gives what some may consider an old, outdated, and unwanted item a "new life" by recycling it in a way and providing it to someone who cherishes it! "One man's trash is another man's treasure" and "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" certainly holds truth when it comes to vintage! By having these three separate vintage shops, the Victorian romantic themed items are set apart from the mid century mod sixties themed items; by doing this we create a specific venue for our niche markets to come to and enjoy!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

January in June - A Quirky, Fun Dose of Winter Favorites in the Summertime!
This morning I was writing up a description for another one of my Aunt Mary Lynn's lovely original pin up pillows; this particular pillow displays a beautiful winter scene featuring three Victorian lady sisters partaking in a joyous sleigh ride together in the snow. As the story behind this stunningly scenic pillow was flowing from my fingertips onto my keyboard, a thought crossed my mind, "How ironic is it that I am writing a story about a winter scene in the month of June?". I've been sunbathing with my sweetheart in the heat of summer all week long and the thought of cold snow and chill in the air sounds absolutely delightful! My husband Joe thinks I am funny sometimes because I like hot coffee in the summertime while he is craving an iced cup of java. When I think about it, there are quite a few wintertime pleasures that I enjoy in the summer; so I am going to share a few of them here with you while I sip on my hot cup of afternoon coffee in the sultry month of June (with indoor air conditioning of course) during the summer solstice...the longest day of the year!

Thinking about "January in June" reminded me of an old photograph of my husband's beautiful grandmother Esther on his mother's side; this photo was taken in the 1930s and as you can see the words "June in January" are written in the corner, because she is being very bold wearing her swimsuit and standing (what looks like barefoot) in the snow! Doesn't she look like a classic war era pin up girl?!...Well she sure was! Here is another picture that is more seasonally appropriate for June, she is absolutely adorable!

Once again, I am reminded of one of my Aunt's darling handmade pin up pillows, here is "Sunkissed Summer":

First I want to share one of my mother-in-law Beverly's pretty hand-crocheted scarves (Esther shown above is her beloved late mother). Here I am modeling the crocheted lovely!

A crochet scarf is warm, cozy, and usually considered only a chilly season fashion accessory, this particular handmade scarf from Beverly's Etsy shop "Maddie's Trinkets and Bobbles" has been getting lots of favorites, views, and five features in summer Etsy treasury collections in the last 30 days! I think this can be attributed to its refreshing mint sage color...It is also one of my favorites as well! Here is the most recent summery treasury titled "Pastel Summer":

Now, onto the rest of my quirky, fun winter seasonal favorites to admire in this summery month of June...

My sister Andrea's homemade ginger cookies! I know gingerbread men are normally a holiday favorite, and ginger spice desserts are typically enjoyed during the fall and winter months...but Joe and I are obsessed with Andrea's ginger cookies any time of year! These "Ex Boyfriend Ginger Bread Cookies" can be found in Andrea's Etsy shop Storybook Artifact, and are great for serving around Halloween!

Like I mentioned before, I still love my hot coffee (and tea) during the summertime and these dainty vintage 1950s seafoam green and blue tea cups are the perfect vessels for a hot cup of something satisfying! This set of two can be found in my Eco-Friendly Freckles Etsy shop.

Speaking of coffee, my favorite is an organic dark roast...and this one sounds fabulous! "Sumatran Organic Fair Trade Dark French Roast Coffee" by Redbud Roasters.

My sweet Flame Point Himalayan kitty cat girl "Nozomi" loves snuggling up with her favorite hand-crocheted afghan (it was handmade with love my Esther)! My readers may remember the pictures I have shared of my cat with her beloved matter what the season is, I love cuddling with my precious kitty and afghan! It is a colorful striped afghan that reminds me of this handmade treasure by Etsy shop "Chocolate Dog Studio".

A hot nourishing cup of tea and warm comforting candles are two of my wintertime favorites and these hand-forged carbon steel palm torches symbolize these two chilly season favorites (kratom and candles) combined into one piece! These beautiful heated, hammered, and etched "Rifat Kratom Hand Candles" can be found in the Etsy shop "Fire Fractal Works".

I have always been a fan of the dark, rich, full-bodied brews of the winter season versus the light, refreshing, pale ales so popular in the summer season. My all time favorite is Samuel Smith's Oat Meal Stout Beer; and that is exactly what this handmade soap smells like! That is so awesome! These "Oatmeal Stout Beer Soap Bars" can be found in Etsy shop "Anderson Soap Company".

Lastly, on the topic of irresistibly delicious alcoholic beverages, cinnamon whiskey is often considered a fall/winter cocktail ingredient...but I like it straight and HOT in the summer! Just polished off a big birthday bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey with my sweetie and I think I need this epic upcycled Fireball Whiskey liquor bottle lamp by Etsy shop Liquor Luminations!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Maps, Wait! They Don't Love You Like I Love You! - Upcycling Old Road Atlas Maps in Your Gift Wrapping

♩♪♫♬Pack up, I'm straight, enough, 
Oh, say say say...Oh, say say say...
Wait! They don't love you like I love you
Wait! They don't love you like I love you
Ma-a-a-a-ps, wait!
They don't love you like i love you...♩♪♫♬

As I'm feeling eco-friendly, cutting up an old atlas, and wrapping my Father's Day gifts with beautifully colorful maps, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song "Maps" plays out in my head and I can't help but smile...I love maps! They're so symbolic to me; they capture the reality of the world around us, natural landmarks, and the endless possibility of travel...potential journeys to an infinite array of destinations! Admire the beauty of maps and save them from falling into the depths of the landfills by giving them one last breath of life and a loved one something to smile about.

The upcycled paper gift bow fashioned from recycled atlas road maps was so incredibly easy to make; I discovered how to make them from this informative step-by-step tutorial HERE! My father-in-law treasured his homemade upcycled maps gift bow so much, after opening his gift he wore the bow as a boutonnière!

Would you rather support an eco-conscious crafter than try your hand at making these upcycled gift bows yourself? Well, look no further than the fabulously handmade shops on Etsy; above is a picture of a set of beautifully hand folded gift bows made from old outdated road maps by Etsy shop Pollinator Handmade! Perhaps one day I too will make up some of these handmade repurposed lovelies and add them to one of my creatively upcycled shop sections in my Eco-Friendly Freckles shop.