Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Heather Ross On life, work, and Pocahontas

When we found out that Heather Ross, fabric designer extraordinaire, was coming to Philly to promote her new book, Weekend Sewing, I jumped at the chance to be able to ask her some questions about her life, inspiration, and design process. I often find myself admiring the women who make everything seem so naturally simple, so perfectly effortless, as if the ideas have been there all along, and just flow out of their minds and into their craft like easy squeeze mayonnaise! Heather is the perfect example of this, which is one of the reasons I think she is so successful, another might be her secret lemon bars. Enjoy the interview below, and be sure to join Heather at Spool this weekend for a book signing and special project session!

You have been textile designer for a while now, and writing a book about what to do with all that beautiful fabric seems like a logical step. What were the most enjoyable parts of producing it? What obstacles or problems did you have to solve along the way?
I loved the process, but I loved the people more. Working with a publisher like STC gave me access to some of the most talented people in the industry. I also loved that we got to go to some of my favorite wild little places for the photo shoots. I had to learn how to “be edited”, which was huge for me, very challenging but extremely rewarding.

Weekend Sewing is coming out at a time when many people are cutting back on spending money on clothing, how do you see your book fitting into this new, simplified way of life?
Liesl (of Disdressed) and I made a little quilted jacket from the Lucys Kimono pattern, and were amazed that it looked like something that would have cost literally hundreds of dollars in a boutique, and yet required only about $10 worth of fabric! That’s a nice feeling, that we are providing resources that help people to have beautiful things without spending a lot of money.

What is your favorite project in Weekend Sewing, and which projects would you recommend for sewing beginners?
My answer changes every time I get this question! Currently I am obsessed with the smocked sundress, which is so much fun. Lots of patterns, like the sundress, employ elastic thread, which is such such a fun little trick...

Can you tell us a bit about your design process? What types of media do you use to produce your designs?
I start with a sketch, and scan it into Photoshop. I can then add color and fine lines and build repeats much more easily. I like my art to maintain a hand-drawn feel, and have never been able to accomplish that with Illustrator, even though I know plenty of designers who are very happy working in both. I draw and color everything using Photoshop channels, and build files that go directly to the engravers computer. I started doing this because if I just provided my paintings or my artwork on paper, the engravers would re-draw my stuff, and sometimes I would not be able to see my hand in it at all. I have been using a stylus and a wacom tablet for about 8 years, and am utterly incapable of managing a mouse! My friends get really annoyed when they try to use my computer and have to try to figure out the stylus, so I keep a mouse handy, but its definitely the cleanest, whitest thing on my messy desk.

A lot of your fabrics have a connection to nature, something that people don’t normally associate with the big city. How does living in New York influence your work?
I miss living in the country very much, which has driven me to develop some of my best work. There is a reason that love songs, when written while you are in love, sound so shmaltzy compared to the haunting post-heartbreak stuff. You just have so much more to say about something once you have lost it and begun to realize how much it meant to you, you know?

What inspires you, and if you could meet one person, who would it be?
I really honestly believe that if history had allowed it, Pocahontas and I would have been total BFFs.

Can you give us an idea of what a typical workday is like for you?
I work from home, so much of my day revolves around bargaining with my dog about when we will go for a long walk. I usually go for a long neighorhood stroll for coffee wiht him first thing then spend much of the day in front of my computer, drawing or emailing, and as much of my afternoon sewing or sketching. I am also on the phone and emailing a lot, the latter complicated by the fact that I do not know how to type properly. I really couldn’t see a need for it back in high school. Boy was I wrong.Recently I made a commitment to getting fully dressed every single day, things were getting a little too casual and a teensy bit sloppy. Its amazing how much better you feel when you have clothes on, as opposed to sweats and your husbands musty tee shirt.

Two team members featured on papernstitch!

From March 23-April 26, two of our team members are featured on the juried online exhibition site papernstitch! Please go check out our work there and vote for us! (The exhibitor with the most votes wins a free showcase and $150).


Jen McCleary

Monday, March 23, 2009

Photos from March Mtg

We are in the process of relocating this blog to Handmade Philly. Please click HERE to see photos from this month's monthly mtg.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Philly Makes!

As previously mentioned, quite a few of our team members recently participated in the Thing A Day project, making one thing each day for a month and then posting about it. I personally made it only halfway through…though I was continually making things, the daily posting requirement was very time consuming.

Some members of Handmade Philly and the Philly Etsy Team have decided to create a new project because we wanted to continue to have a place to share our projects and to see what others are working on. Philly Makes participants commit to making and posting one thing per week. We’re defining “thing” pretty loosely - it could be just about anything you make, even something cool you made for dinner or whatever. It doesn’t even need to be a completed project - if you have a work in progress you want to share, that’s cool too!

Want to join? Artists, crafters and designers can send an email to Jen with a brief description of what you make, how you would like your name listed in the Participants list, and your web URL if you have one!

Heather Ross is Coming to Philly!

Fabric designer and author Heather Ross will be joining us on the Philly Etsy Team Blog Monday, March 23rd to talk about her fabulous new book, Weekend Sewing! Click here for a complete list of her blog tour and interview schedule. Then be sure to mark you calendars for her Friday, March 27th appearance at Spool, where she will be signing copies of her book. Spring is coming, and her simple and satisfying projects will have you whipping up a new wardrobe in no time!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Team members participate in Thing a Day!

This past February some members of our team participated in the Thing a Day project. Participants were to create something daily and post it to the Thing a Day site every day for the month. Just about anything could count as a "thing," from a work of art to a new recipe to a shop update. This project was a lot of fun and was great for motivation and trying new things! Stay tuned for a similar weekly project forthcoming for the Philly Etsy Team!

Here's what some of our members made:

Crocheted beasties and other fun things by FlyingFox

New pattern designs from RedRedOrange(She's running a contest on her blog right now where you can pick your favorite patterns and win free cards featuring your favorite design!)

Cool jewelry and other things from Miss Koco:

Tomato seedlings, cute critters, and other projects from Sqrl

Lovely photos from Mojoroneno

Daily drawings on old computer punch cards from Jen McCleary:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Red = Power Color All Year! Etsy Treasury

Here is the latest Philly Etsy Team Treasury!
Please leave a comment on Etsy while viewing.

You can always search for Philly Etsy Team
items by using these colors:

Red // Orange // Yellow // Green // Blue // Purple

The following Etsy shops are featured:

Click this image to view the current team Treasury!
This Treasury will expire on Thursday evening, March 5, 2009.

Please leave a comment on Etsy while viewing!

Curated by Pigeons in the attic
Created by pigeonsintheattic

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Philly Etsy Team Members Donate Items to Art Auction & Raffle

Mew Gallery has become an important community hub for artists and crafters in the Philly area. Not only do they hold art exhibits and consign w/ tons of fabulous independent super-talented folks, they also serve as a meeting spot for Philly Etsy Team monthly meetings and events including Craftadelphia. When we were preparing for the Philly Sewing Collective’s Swap-a-rama-rama, Mew allowed us to set up tables and sewing machines which enabled us to work as a team to sew the goodie bags we gave out.

Once a year, Mew holds a Fundraiser. Now you might wonder why a for-profit organization would be having a fund-raiser but have you ever wondered why there aren’t more fabulous places just like Mew? Well one of the many reasons would be utilities and another is rent. Seriously…I want to be sure these guys are here for another year, because they in turn help to ensure that the Philly Etsy Team and all the independent artists in this community have a place to sell their glorious goods and a place to meet year round. So if you are in the area, please consider stopping by so that you can help support local arts and join us for the fun.

When: March 3, 2009 from 6 to 10 pm

Where: South Philly Tap Room, 1509 Mifflin Street, Philadelphia

What: Beer specials, silent auction, raffle, djs, dancing, and general merriment.

How much? $5 suggested donation

Win fabulous stuff (photography, paintings, prints, jewelry, clothing, zines, candles, ceramics, and sooooo much more!!!) from participating artists:

Alina tees & zines, Anna Burke photography, Beck’s Buttons jewelry, Bell Buoy Press, Boto Designs, Faceplant Wasted, Flying Fox, Gray Nation, Isaac Bushkin, J.L. Schnabel, Jessica Liddel, Joy Stember, KnitKnit, Lana Heckendorn, Lauren Lopez, Leslie Albend, Megan Dorien, Mike Geno, Miss Koco, Nicole Rae Styer, Rebelle Couture, Sarah Myers, Shannon McLaughlin, Sideways E, Tiny Airplanes, Tranquility jewelry, Un De Six clothing, WabiSabi, Warren Veith, and COUNTING!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Philly Etsy Team wins 3rd Place at the Pabst Blue Ribbon Craft Challenge!

Headliner Band, (as seen in above slideshow): Wes Mattheu and the New Way Down, Thanks to all of the bands who played at the PBR Craft Challenge! The Sideshow Prophets, Kill You in the Face, The Great Unknown, and Univox

Philly Etsy Team wins 3rd Place in the Pabst Blue Ribbon Crafting Challenge
Congrats to all of the PBR Craft Challenge Winners!

On Saturday February 21st a few of the Philly Etsy Team members got together and shared a table for the Pabst Blue Ribbon Crafting Challenge, organized by the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market, and sponsored by Pabst!

Please see Rebecca's blog for more PBR Event Pictures! Please see Rebecca's blog for more PBR Event Pictures! Please see Rebecca's blog for more PBR Event Pictures!

Honorable Mention: Bettie and Earl

Honorable Mention - Bettie and Earl PBR Craft Challenge

NY Etsy Team Member BeadscarfRight next to the Philly Etsy Team Table was a member of the New York Etsy Team "Beadscarf" Please see the New New Team's, (NY,) Etsy profile, and their blog.

The Philly Etsy Team was also interviewed by Nick Diulio, Beer Expert, Writer, among many other things. Please visit Nick's blog to read more about him!

There were many other crafters who attended this all-PBR Themed Craft Challenge. If you were present at this event please leave a comment with your website information!

* It was just so difficult to include every crafter here, but we just had to give one last shout out to Amanda Shames Illustration!

Amanda Shames Illustration

Thanks to for yelping about this special PBR Event!

Please click Play >> to view pictures of their Jenga game!

And last but not least a huge all-time thank you to Julie of the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market, and Daniel the Field Marketing Manager of Pabst!

Please be sure to visit the official
PBR Website, and PBR Art Gallery!

More Pictures from the Monthly Team Meeting at Mew Gallery

Just wanted to post some extra info, to make sure Allison gets a deserving highlight for explaining Google Analytics to the team. Please see below.

Additional pictures from our Monthly Meeting at Mew Gallery, February 2009

Slideshow pictures by Pigeons in the Attic

The Philly Etsy Team came together for their February Monthly Team Meeting at Mew Gallery. Many thanks to co-coordinator Allison Ostertag for preparing the agenda, and keeping us on topic as much as possible. Allison and all of the team coordinators are offering a "Shop Make Over Series," in which they will be giving us their collective advice on our Etsy shops. Make-over volunteers are able to sign up through the Philly Etsy Team's google group message board. Allison also presented a virtual display of Google Analytics. It is an important tool for anyone with a website, blog, Etsy Shop, or otherwise. Google Analytics allows one to track every visitor to their site, how long they viewed, and how they arrived upon your site in the first place. It will also tell you the exact geographical location of each visitor, from city to US state, to international countries. Allison suggested to view your visitor statistics by US State, then simply search through Etsy and heart all of the wonderful shops in states where there has been minimal internet viewing.

Most importantly, we had some wonderful guests, Leah and Andrew, from the new "Made in Philly". Their special project involves creating a "curated selection of handmade arts and crafts for the home" featuring artists in Philadelphia and the surrounding metro area. They expect to launch their first catalog in Mid-May, with biennial printings thereafter. "Made in Philly" has long-term goals of opening a retail venue, and carving a unique niche in the American craft market by featuring our favorite city of Philly. For more information on how to participate in "Made in Philly," please visit their website: Tree Boom, Made in Philly.

Thank you to all of the Philly Team Members who were present at Friday's meeting: Allison Ostertag, Pigeons in the Attic, MWM Designs, Suelynne in the City, Insitu Decorative Arts, Evening Star Gallery, Jen McCleary, Beck's Button's, and the new Made in Philly.

Friendly Reminder: You can find team member's shops by using "Philly Team" in the "All Items Search".

Team Meeting February: 3rd Friday of Every Month!

Becky Lee demonstrated how to create a Treasury

Andrew told us about the Made in Philly catalog

Suzanne told us about her South Street storefront idea

Join us for the next meeting at 6:00 pm on March 20
at the Mew Gallery at 906 Christian St.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Philly Etsy Team is on Facebook and Myspace...

Become a fan of the Philly Etsy Team on Facebook!! And friend us on Myspace: PhillyEtsy Team MySpace Page. And of course, always check out the newest items on Etsy from all of the Philly Etsy Team members; simply search for "Philly Team" on Etsy. (Reposted from ARTisEVERYWHERE's blog.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Thing-a-day is a month long project; each participant commits to make one new thing (project, sketch, etc.) per day and share it on the group blog. Here is a link to the thing-a-day blog. Quite a few members from the Philly Etsy Team are participating. Here are links to their posts: Jen McCleary, Girls Can Tell, Miss Koco, RedRedOrange, MaryJo Rosania, Studio Captura, Sqrl & Bee Studio & Flying Fox Designs.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

See Our Ad in GRID Magazine

GRID Magazine is a new Philly magazine
focused on sustainability here in the city
and practical, low cost things to do, cook,
places to visit, ways to lower your bills and
HANDMADE stuff like ours. You can read the
whole magazine on-line at
Our ad is on page 7!