Friday, December 30, 2011

The Little Match Seller

Handmade Jewelry Box/Keepsake
Even though I love ribbon, and I'm absolutely in love with vintage style handmade journals, my crafting adventures started with something unusual - matches.

Growing up, I used to watch my dad creating miracles with matches. He'd light them, scrub the top with a knife, and put together ships, military tanks, jewelry boxes... One time he even made an Eiffel Tower from matches. Now, that really swept me off my feet. I'm still not quite sure where he got the idea from, but I never saw anyone doing anything similar until this day.

Now that I'm all grown, and living 7000 miles away from home, I'm trying to "copy" dad's little miracles myself. It makes me feel closer to him, it's keeping the newly established family tradition alive, and most importantly - in those moments of creating, in my own world, I get to be daddy's little girl again.

How did you start crafting? What inspires you? I would love to hear your stories.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Etsy Blog Party

Hello everyone!

I thought it's time to know all the blogging Etsians out there better so I am hosting a link party!

All you have to do is follow these steps:

1. Have a blog.
2. Link your latest Etsy item in the Linky tool below.
3. Make a post about this with a link back to my blog so you can promote yourself and help promote the others.
4. Leave a comment with your blog post so we can come visit you.
5. Display this badge:

Share some love to the other participants by visiting their shop and blogs.

:) Let's party!

My latest item:
Funny Valentine's Day Card
This is where you can link your items.

Click here for the original post.

Have a great day everyone!



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Preserving the Cultures of the World Through Your Creative Work

ACEO Croatian Girl Matryoshka Art Print on my "The True Vampire" Jewelry Box
Today I've found something special in my mail box. It was small enough to fit in a regular envelope, and yet big enough to put a huge smile on my face. I received my ACEO Croatian Girl Matryoshka Art - Print I ordered from Amy Perrotti.
Why is that so special, you ask? First of all, the art work Amy did is amazing. I never thought you could be so precise in details when it comes to expressing creativity through digital form, but she proved me wrong. I still say I couldn't.
Second, even though I live in the United States, I was born and raised in Croatia, and this special ACEO Croatian Girl Matryoshka Art-Print is sitting on my desk now, reminding me of home, and putting a smile on my face every time I look at her.
Third, as Amy says on her Etsy profile page her "Matryoshka illustrations are original designs, her artistic interpretation, inspired by various cultures. They share common design elements to both unify the collection and to illustrate that all cultures, all peoples, have much in common." And that is the most important part. 
As a person that's coming from a country that doesn't even count five million people, preserving my culture, tradition and values is very important to me. Finding Amy Perrotti was a blessing. The first thing I did, I messaged her basically asking her to design a Croatian/Istrian Girl Matryoshka. I was not expecting she would already have her, because we are so small, and... well, most people I met in the United States so far, never heard of my country. 
Therefore, I'm happy I found Amy Perrotti, a talented artist who is preserving and celebrating the cultures of the world through her unique, creative expression. If you like Matryoshka Girls, beautiful illustrations and art-prints, or just various cultures in general, visit Amy Perrotti's Etsy Shop and/or her blog. You will not be disappointed.
Another thing I should definitely highlight about Amy is the way she treats her customers. I ordered one ACEO art-print from her, and received two, with a personal thank you note from the author as well as her signature on the back. 
What a precious contribution to my future ACEO Matryoshka Girls collection :).
In the picture above you can see my Croatian Girl Matryoshka displayed on the jewelry box I crafted myself. To see more of my work, please visit Istria Design on Etsy.
I wish everyone a fruitful and creative day.



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why Buy Handmade Gifts?

Available in my Etsy Shop
Handmade gifts last longer, hard work and talent is invested into making then, and they make a more personal gift than something that just came out of a cold industrial machine.
Every year for Holidays we deal with the eternal dilemma - what to buy? There's usually not enough time left to think so mom gets a wallet from Walmart, sister gets some kind of a perfume, and dad gets a bottle of liquor just like every year before that. It is time to end the Holiday stereotypes, to move our personal boundaries, and to give something our (great)grandmas would give themselves - handmade gifts. You can easily make them yourself or buy them from someone that made them with their own hands. With love. And that is not just a phrase, trust me.

Handmade is more personal
When you give a handmade gift to someone, it's like you wrote a letter to that person. It's personal, intimate, it speaks volumes about how much you care for that person. You didn't just stop by the first accessories store and bought you girlfriend earrings that every other High school girl has. You bought unique handmade earrings made of curled wire with her favorite stone. You didn't send an e-mail, you wrote a letter.
At the same time, you're not even aware that those same earrings have their own story. They've been made by someone that enjoyed making them, and their love is engraved into the product. Therefor, these earrings are already spreading positive energy. They were not made by a machine or by an underpaid citizen of a Third World country. Carefully selected material, detailed technique, and "quality before quantity" principle definitely guarantee a long life for handmade items.
When you're buying a handmade gift, you contact the manufacturer directly, it is possible to make personal arrangements regarding the way and time of delivery, without waiting in the line of a gigantic superstore, without having to deal with nervous cashiers or their fake smiles. Besides, artist will appreciate your feedback about their product even more than your money.

Meaning for the artists
Most of the creatives didn't start creating because of money, but because of the pure enjoyment that they get out of it. Most of them have their daily jobs, while the handmade "business" is usually reserved for spare time. We all want to do for living something we enjoy doing, but if you buy mass production items it is not very likely you will help anyone's dream come true. It is more likely you will only help those big corporations get even bigger and give them even more power to abuse their employees even more. But if you buy handmade items from individuals, that put their own hands and talent into it, you're helping them to get a step closer to keeping their dream alive. It means that you support their work and creativeness, which makes you a co-creator of the new economic wave.

Eco aspect
It is very important to highlight that the new wave of artists is very focused on recycling and renewing old items, which is extremely important for the society in general. For example, you could end up buying a gorgeous purse made out of used fabric or a pendant decorated with post stamps from the last century. To make a handmade gift you don't need heavy industry, which helps to lower the emission of poison gasses. Don't forget the human rights as well. When buying a handmade product you know exactly whose work it is that you're buying, you know there's not a factory that's exploiting children standing behind that product.

Keeping the tradition alive
Lets go back to our (great)grandmas from the beginning of this post. They would most definitely leave their grandchildren beautifully packed scarf underneath the Christmas tree - the scarf they made themselves. Why don't you try the same thing? Or maybe something similar? The investment is minimal, all that it takes is a little of your time, love and imagination. But the result will be very much appreciated.
Be the inspiration to others, especially to younger generations. Familiarize them with the emptiness of soulless mass produced things, and show them the world of creative expression, where they will learn to value their own, and others work and talent.

What are some of the best gifts you ever received? Were they personalized gifts or mass production items? What made you remember these gifts? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.