Archive for August, 2008

Muse Promo ~ The Next Person to Buy an Owl or Ball Receives a FREE PDF Pattern

Yep that’s right! Just because it’s Sunday night and I had a whole day to myself to be productive and creative and I’m feeling thankful and generous!
Just head on over to my Etsy shop and be the next person to buy an Owl or a Ball and I will email you a FREE Envelope Clutch PDF Pattern!

Good Luck!


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Muse Stocks the Shop ~ Check Out my New Etsy Items!

Well I have been working slowly and steadily to get some new items I’ve been inspired to make up into my Etsy shop. I have really had to “re-learn” how to be creative and productive post-baby. It’s a different process but I think it has some good lessons for me hidden in there somewhere – efficiency, time management, patience, slowing down the pace. All and all it’s a good thing.
~Stitch-A-Wish Owls~

Isaac the Owl

Stitch-A-Wish Owls make the perfect gift with the sweetest of sentiments. Each one comes with a “make a wish” card for you to write your own personalized wish for the lucky recipient.
Each owl has a name and is stuffed with just the right amount of polyfil fiber so they’re super-soft and squishable for your little one to hold on to! There are two gentle-sounding bells in a cotton pouch stitched safely into the center of each owl.
Babies love the owl’s soft rattle sound and it’s big bold eyes. My son laughs every time he sees one of the Stitch-A-Wish Owls. They will make the perfect companion for your little baby or toddler.
Made with 100% cotton fabric and stitched with LOTS of love.

And ~Stitch-A-Wish Cloth Balls~


Each Stitch-A-Wish Ball also comes with a “make a wish” card for you to write your own personalized wish for the lucky recipient.
They are firmly stuffed for the perfect bounce and roll and have a gentle-sounding rattle stitched safely inside the center of the ball.
Stitch-A-Wish balls are great for all ages – babies love the bright, bold colors and soft rattle sound, while toddlers and older kids love to roll and throw the ball or use it to play a game of catch.
Made with 100% cotton fabric and stitched with LOTS of love.

You can see more of the Stitch-A-Wish collection on the Muse Etsy Shop.

{p.s. I have some other ideas up my sleeve but I won’t reveal those until they are ready to be posted. No previews – sorry!}

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Turn Your Wall into a Great Wall w/ Elephannie Decals

I came across Elephannie doing another pounce on etsy (this is quickly becoming my favorite way of finding new people for “Handpicked Handmade” interviews)! Not only do I love the modern sense of design and color Elephannie creator Coren uses to create her sophisticated but fun line of wall decals I was also very impressed with her more than 2800 sales on etsy in little more than a year. Coren says, although she joined etsy in June of 2007 she just started selling the decals in her shop about 8 months ago. She cuts each decal to order and sends a small practice decal along with instructions with every order for you to experiment with. I’m sure once you take a look at her shop you’ll find that it’s hard to choose just one decal from her huge collection!

Coren | owner & designer of Elephannie

Where do you call home?
Dallas, Texas

Mums Decal

Where does the name Elephannie come from?
I’ve always loved elephants, and in J.R high I did a little doodle of an elephants fanny. I continued to use this doodle as somewhat of a signature on anything I would create. When I was trying to come up with a name my husband suggested using my doodle as my brand and came up with the name because it was of an elephants fanny.

What sort of set up/space do you work from? Do you have a studio space at home? or outside your home?
I have a studio set up in my home…well it’s more of an office that I use to cut out and make the designs. I typically use my living room for preparing and shipping my decals so that I can be closer to my kids.

How did you get into making these decals? Do you have an art background? Are you self taught?
About 1 and a half years ago I came across vinyl lettering, I fell in love with it. I bought a machine so that I could create my own but quickly learned I could do so much more than lettering.
I’m self taught with some help from the Husband; he’s the artist. At first, I would have him help me with designs because I didn’t think I was able to pull them off. I am now more confident in my ability and create my own designs.


Is this a full time gig?
At first it was just a hobby but became a full time gig very quickly.

If so, how did you transition from a “day-job” to Elephannie being your full time gig, and how long did it take?
Before Elephannie, I was a stay at home Mom with 4 children. When I gave my resignation papers to my husband, he refused to accept them!

How do you promote Elephannie?
I don’t really. I’ve been very fortunate to have found plenty of great and loyal customers in the Etsy community.


With an impressive 2800 sales in just one year, would you be willing to share the secret to your success on etsy?
I actually only started selling my decals 8 months ago. I honestly don’t have a clue as to why I’m so successful, I am constantly trying to figure out what it is that set’s me apart. The only thing I can think of is that I have a wide rage of styles, I try to come up with new designs regularly and I am dedicated to making sure my customers are 100% satisfied. I really think taking care of your customers is the most important thing.

How do you manage all the sales?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I’ve got piles of papers every where and am constantly refining my process to find a better way to manage it all.


Coren says, “I’m really excited about a new collection my husband is working on. He has occasionally done designs for me in the past. But this will be something all his own that will bring a new and different flavor to elephannie.”

Coren has also started collaborating with a fellow esty seller Sweet Papery who has turned some of Elephannie’s designs into custom rubber stamps like the one below.

Sweet Papery collaboration

Thanks so much to Coren of Elephannie for taking the time to answer our questions.
You can see more of Coren’s work:
Etsy collaboration with Sweet Papery

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“Handpicked Handmade” Wordle!

Here’s a customized wordle using “Handpicked Handmade’s” URL.
I love wordle!

HH Wordle

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“Quick Tip Tuesdays” ~ Tees by Tomat

Just a quick tip to let you know about one of my favorite sites….
I first learned of Tomat when owner/designer Efi Latief approached my friend, Cora, at an LA Design Expo to ask if she would be willing to let Efi photograph her son modeling some Tomat t-shirts for her website! After Cora told me about this chance-meeting I quickly took a look at the site and fell in love with Efi’s designs, her sense of humor and her eco-conscious offerings for babies & toddlers.
You can choose one of the new organic tanks, tees and onesies or stick with the classic 100% cotton versions.
There are lots of styles to choose from. The designs are fun & modern and they’re guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Tomat Tee

Read more about Efi’s story here.

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Our First Interview ~ Gifts Define

I came across Gifts Define for the first time doing a “pounce” on etsy. I decided to pick my favorite person from the ten people who came up and find out a little bit more about them. I couldn’t resist the adorable felt creations made by Irma of Gifts Define so I checked out her website and I’m SO glad I did. Not only is Irma uber-creative but her attention to detail is A-mazing! And as if that weren’t enough she offers a little something for everyone from baby shower & wedding favors, to pencil toppers, tooth fairy angels, and soft, huggable dolls to custom, handcrafted mobiles, the most adorable wall banners you’ve ever seen and, her newest addition, the go creative art box. I couldn’t wait to write her an email asking her to be our very first interviewee here on “Handpicked Handmade” – thankfully she obliged!
I am so excited to share her wonderful creations with you. And if you visit her blog before August 18th you can enter to win one of her whimsical “Conversation Birds” just by answering two easy questions!

Irma Chia
Artist | Designer of Gifts Define

Where do you call home?
My home country is Indonesia where I grew up. In 2001 I moved to the U.S. to pursue my graduate school. Now, I reside in Tampa-Florida with my husband, Jeff.

Do you have a studio in your house/apartment?
I have a studio in my house. I converted our guest bedroom to become my creative studio/office and of course our home garage for my woodwork creations (which you can see more of at:

What inspires you?
I’m lucky to be able to say that my work is my passion. Gifts Define is the extension of me, of my soul and resonates all of the creative passion I have for creating whimsical little treats that make people happy. I am so blessed to know that with every stitch of every treasure I create, I ultimately bring a smile to other’s faces.

How do you come up with the ideas for Gifts Define?
My hand-crafted creations are inspired by my wonderful childhood memory and an extraordinarily creative family I grew up with. I inherited the artistic skills from my parents, my auntie and my grandpa. I translated my childhood treasures into what Gifts Define is all about. Whimsical dolls, decorative fun functional creations I used to make, wear, play with and enjoy while I was growing up!

Design ideas can pop up in my head at anytime & anywhere from the colorful fabric piles I saw at the craft store, textile pattern, form and pattern in nature, cute pets, the theme parks, the zoo or the cartoons I watch on TV.

On top of that friends and customers often ask me to create a personalized one-of-a-kind collectable doll for gift giving or party favors. They will come up with some challenging custom-made doll requests, which on the positive note would motivate me to be more creative & innovative at the same time.

Choose from many banner styles on Gifts Define or create your own!

When did you start Gifts Define?
My love of dolls began in elementary school in Indonesia. My mom and aunt introduced me to the world of colors and creativity. While in college, I combined my knack for business with my joy of crafts by selling dolls and gift baskets with a friend. However, my studies took precedence and put our business on the back burner. I moved to the U.S. in early 2001 to pursue my graduate studies. To help cure my homesickness, I occupied my time with handcrafting. I once again began making dolls for friends and Gifts Define was born in August 2006.

Is Gifts Define your full-time gig?

Do you have a day-job as well?
I did. But 3 months ago I decided to take a break from my corporate job in hospitality industry and do what I really passionate of doing…full time creating and establishing Gifts Define.

How long have you had a shop on etsy?
I joined Etsy in July 2006 (to shop around) and start selling my own creations in September 2006

Where do most of your sales come from? Etsy? Blog? Flickr? Website? Word-of-Mouth?
Combination of all, really! I always ask customers where did they find us, and they’ve mentioned all of the outlets mentioned above.

What do you do to promote Gifts Define – on etsy, on your website etc.?
Etsy Main Showcase, Promo Giveaway for people who subscribe to my mailing list, Sending out product samples or advertise in prominent bloggers who can help you to showcase or introduce your creations to larger audiences.

You can even choose to customize your own mobile!

Do you have any advice for your fellow crafters?

– Be committed to whatever you are creating, because when you love what you do and put your heart into it, it will reflect into your work.

– Always prioritize quality & craftsmanship – Staying true to the handmade nature of crafting, I hand-cut, piece, and sew each creation to a rigid quality standard, using the best & safe natural based materials like woolen felt.

Thank you again Irma for being our very first featured artist!

To see more of Irma’s work check out:
The main website at
Etsy v.1:
Etsy v.2:
Don’t forget to check out her Blog too:

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Just a quick note to kick it off over here at handpicked handmade.
I have been wanting to start a blog for many years now. In fact, I have started quite a few but none of them have “stuck”.
My intention with this blog is to feature not only my favorite handmade items but the people behind them (when possible) right here on this blog for all of you!
I am really looking forward to getting started!
I hope you enjoy!

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