Sunday, November 25, 2012

What A Week!

The past week was quite exciting for me. First I lost my phone and got very upset about this. Then I bought a new one and was very excited (amazing, my old phone was only a year old and the new phone is already so much faster and easier to handle). 

Then I also discovered that one of my favourite singers, Sufjan Stephens, released a new box set of Christmas songs. This is my favourite song (Lumberjack Christmas/No one can save you from Christmases past): 

Here's a little commercial for the video:

 Otherwise I've been busy knitting Christmas stockings this past week, here's what I did:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My favourite song: Kentish Town Waltz by Imelda May

One morning, I woke up to this song playing on the radio and it stayed with me all day:

I thought this song would become hugely popular when I first heard it, it's such a perfect song, and feels like Christmas to me, anyway. I love the bit about living over the off-license (because so do I) and eating stew (I like stew). 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the questions I get asked:

Q: Can I still get my order in time for Christmas 2012?
A: Sorry, no. I'm swamped with orders and can't guarantee delivery for new orders. Orders already placed and paid for will ship before the 14th of December. Should they not arrive in time, please contact me, and I will issue a partial refund.
Q: How about express shipping? How much would that cost?
Personalized Knitted Christmas Stockings
A: A lot! About 65 $ for 1 to 5 days delivery.
Q: Why should I wait with my order until next year?
A: Because you really want my stockings, you think they're beautiful, unique and hand knits just take time (but they're worth it). Also, as an incentive, I offer a discount for orders placed for next year. This discount will be available for orders placed before May.

Q: Can you make these stockings out of pure wool?
A: Not exactly these, pure wool will have a different look and feel, and there aren't as many colours.
But I'm going to introduce a new line of pure wools stockings next year. To be informed how they turn out, make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, or subscribe to my newsletter ( Link )

Q: Do you ship to the US/Canada/...?
A: Yes, I ship everywhere. There is a flat rate for "everywhere else" in my listings. I ship from Ireland and it usually takes 7 to 10 days to get anywhere in the world.

Q: What is your policy for refunds?
A: I will refund the full price (or replace the items) if they get lost in the post. I will take the items back and refund the money if you don't like them.

Q: Where can I see more of your stockings?
A: On Facebook: Link Or on my blog: Stockings Etsy shop: Shop
But feel free to request different color-combinations.

Q: I'm a blogger and would like to do a review/ giveaway of your products. Would you be interested?
A: Maybe. Feel free to contact me, send me your blog stats and I'll look into the possibility.

Q: I'm a photographer looking to trade props for photos. Would you be interested in doing that?
A: Maybe. Please contact me to discuss the details and send me a link to your website/ facebook or blog. Though I can't do it in the busy season. Anytime between January and September would be great.

Q: I'm a knitter as well. Would you sell me your pattern?
A: I'm not quite ready yet. I find it very difficult to write a pattern for my stockings. I've taught knitting stockings in person, in my knitting group in the Walkinstown library in Dublin, Ireland, and my student made three beautiful stockings. I'll be looking for pattern testers in the future, so if you give me your email address, I'll send you a draft of the pdf pattern when I'm ready. By the way, the knitting group is great fun, we're meeting Wednesdays at 6.30 - 8 pm, everyone is welcome to join!

Q: Would you be interested in trading?
A: I might be. Send me a link to your shop and I'll have a look. Things I especially like are: Handbags, Knitting needle bags, toys, cute things, patterns (i.e. vintage patterns), gifts for my family and friends.

Q: Gigi, love your stockings, I would like to order 3 now for my family and I want to have more kids, so I want to order more, when I have more kids. Do you plan to keep selling these stockings in the next few years?
A: Well, yes, it's great fun and I like having my little shop. So I plan to keep selling, for sure. Fingers crossed, I'll be healthy to knit for many more years. I don't rely on this shop to survive, but I'm taking it seriously and put lots of effort into building a following and brand, although I have an office job to earn the money.
Unique stockings
Q: I would like to put my newborn baby in the stocking for the Christmas pictures. Do you think it would fit? Can you make it bigger to fit.
A: I would probably have to make the stockings bigger, send me the measurements of your baby (this sounds strange). And don't hang the baby in the stocking up on the fireplace! I can't imagine that being safe! However, I'd be extremely interested in seeing a photo of it...

Q: Are the stockings lined?
A: No, they're not lined. However, the material is quite thick. The hanger is attached very firmly.

Q: How do I use coupon codes?
Handknit Christmas stockings by Gigi82Knits
A: When you checkout on Etsy you will be asked to enter the coupon code that I will provide to you.

Q: Can you do an order of 5/6/7/8 stockings?
A: Of course. It will take longer though. Just contact me, if you want a different quantity than the one in the listing.

Q: My relative passed away who knitted the family stockings before. Can you copy the design, size and color of our stockings for the new family members?
A: Yes, but be prepared that it's not the exact same stocking. Every knitter has their own style, apart from the obvious: The color might be different, the tension and size might be different, I knit the heel and tip in a certain way, someone else would knit them different. The stocking can feel completely different.
But I've done it before and it was working out. My customer was just very happy to be able to continue the family tradition for the new family members.

Q: Gigi, you have amazing skills. Where did you learn this?
I knit all stockings myself and by hand
A: Why, thank you ;) I learned to knit when I was very young, I wanted to knit like my mother and grandmother. I learned to knit socks on 5 needles, then in the last few years I moved on to stockings, which is basically just a giant sock with fancy fair isle patterns.

Q: How long does it take you to knit a stocking?
A: About 12 to 15 hours. Sometimes I mess up and have to rip back, then it takes longer. I knit in the evenings about 3 hours and on Saturday and Sunday, about 8 hours each. Unfortunately my time is limited, and I want knitting to be fun, so I won't do an all-nighter.
Q: Gigi, I would like to have a shark/ hockey stick/ brown bear on my stocking instead of the classic beautiful items you put on it. Is that possible?
A: Yes, of course. It will take a little longer until I have it ready, though. I will send you a photo of a drawing to approve before I start. Once it's finished, I probably want to keep the photo to offer as a custom-made listing, if that's ok with you.

Q: What are your plans for 2013?
This one is still available for sale (Nov 15th, 2012)
A: Product wise, my plans are:
The frequently requested pure wool alternative will be introduced. I have decided to go with Donegal Tweet, Irish wool.
During the summer I want to stock up on stockings that have no names on them, just the patterns. I want to have a few different colour combinations, and four stockings each with different patterns.
I'll make more Mr & Mrs stockings (smaller size) that make great wedding gifts for winter weddings.
Colour-wise I think there'll be more brown, creme and red ones, or black and white ones. I really like these classic colours.
Still interested:
Custom made stockings on Etsy
Ready to ship stockings on Etsy 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas gifts from Stalking the Wild Snark

What is your name and shop name? What do you sell? How did you start selling what you are selling?
I am Natasha and my store is Stalking the Wild Snark. It is named after a Lewis Carroll poem. I create a variety of items from paper goods to earrings and even doormats, but every item is either nautically-inspired, recycled, or both. My 'signature' items are crafted from traditional maritime knots. As a former tall ship sailor, these knots are near and dear to me - I hope to keep this dying art alive. My Etsy store says it was started in April, but I didn't list any items until June 2012, so I'm still pretty new to this.

How do you celebrate Christmas?
My favorite Christmas traditions are opening one present on Christmas Eve and actually celebrating the 12 days of Christmas all the way through to Epiphany.

What is your favourite Christmas song?
I love Good Kind Wenceslas.

What is the best present you've ever gotten?
A five--piece set of aluminum core, stainless steel clad cookware.

What is the best present you've ever given?
A battery-operated, belt fed Nerf machine gun. At least, I thought it was pretty cool.

Visit Stalking the Wild Snark on Etsy

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Christmas Stockings (almost) finished

Group photo of my current (stocking) projects:

The white, green and red ones (8) are for 1 customer, then there is a set of three in the bottom right hand corner and just one stocking, and one will be reviewed by a blogger (another giveway is being organised...). 

I haven't attached any hangers, oh no! My least favourite part, times 13.

I have 7 more stockings to knit in the next 2 to 3 weeks, and then it's my Christmas break! Hopefully, I can attract some more customers to place orders for next year. I'm offering a generous discount... Stockings on Etsy  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas Gifts from A List Designs

What is your name and shop name? What do you sell? How did you start selling what you are selling?
Our names are Brenda and Alea, and we're a mother/daughter team. I (the daughter) started making beaded jewelry, as a hobby, in 2004. My mother also picked up the hobby in 2007, with my instruction. In 2009, I enrolled in a classes with a professional metalsmith, to expand my skills. Finally, in 2010, my mother and I decided to start selling our designs, so together, we launched A List Designs

How do you celebrate Christmas?
During the holidays, we usually bake cookies, drive around looking at Christmas lights, and donate to one of the local Angel Trees. Then, on Christmas day, we exchanged presents, relax, watch A Christmas Story, and enjoy a big holiday dinner.

What is your favourite Christmas song?
Amethyst Chandelier Earrings
I like Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas. My mother is a bit more traditional and prefers "Joy to the World."

What is the best present you've ever gotten?
I was in dire need of a washer/dryer for a long time, so I can't even express how elated I was when I received one a couple of years ago. My mother received a Nook last year, so now she makes time for reading everyday, which is one of her favorite hobbies.

What is the best present you've ever given?
Both my Mother and I make notes all year long, when people mention the things they want. There's nothing more exciting than seeing the surprise and joy on someone's face when they realize you were listening. :)

Visit A List Designs on Etsy 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Christmas Gifts from SeriMarea

What is your name and shop name? What do you sell? How did you start selling what you are selling?
Personalized Friendship bracelet
I'm Isobel from Seri Marea Jewellery - as the name would suggest, I sell jewellery, with a particular focus on friendship bracelets, particularly custom-made bracelets. I think they'd make great stocking stuffers, as they have a lovely personal touch without being too expensive!

How do you celebrate Christmas?
At home with my parents and sister- presents, big Christmas lunch, and lots of Christmas TV!

What is your favourite Christmas song?
Leather Wrap Bracelet
I love all the most traditional hymns- Once in Royal David's City, We Three Kings etc.

What is the best present you've ever gotten?
Tough one! It would have to be something from my mum- she always buys me beautiful clothes!

What is the best present you've ever given?
I tend to panic-buy presents, but I've managed to buy a few people spot-on books that I know they absolutely love! Obviously I'd like to say my bracelets are the best present I've ever given, but this is actually my first Christmas since I started Seri Marea jewellery!

Visit SeriMarea on Etsy

Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas Gifts from MuddPuddleStudio

Personalized Cup
What is your name and shop name? What do you sell? How did you start selling what you are selling? 

My shop is called MuddPuddleStudio. I sell beautiful hand craft pottery as well as awesome ceramic sculptures. I have been selling sculptures for over a decade now, and now these wonderful mugs this year only.

How do you celebrate Christmas?
We love going to festivals, good food, good friends awesome gift giving!

What is your favourite Christmas song?
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas brings it home for me.

What is the best present you've ever gotten?
Clay. I recently gave up art, but was given some clay, and I fell in love all over again.

What is the best present you've ever given?
I gave and installed excise equipment for my grandma, who broke her leg, it helped rehabilitate her leg.

Visit MuddPuddleStudio on Etsy

Monday, October 29, 2012

Christmas Stockings set of 6

I've almost finished my largest order to date, a set of 6 stockings.

 All there is left to do is darn in some threads and knit and attach the loop. I like the dark green/ red colour combination on these.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3 Arm Sweater

A little while ago I knitted this little sweater:

Obviously it was inspired by the cute page error message that comes up on Etsy:

I had so much fun making this and just thinking about this... I made up the pattern as I went along, I had a pattern for a regular little jumper, and then added the extra arm.

The sweater is listed in my Etsy shop, just for fun. I get lots of comments and it gets featured in lots of treasuries, well worth the 20c listing fees ;) Also, quite a few people apparently search for 3 arm jumpers on google and etsy (I see that in my shop stats). There must be a market for it! One day, someone with a weird sense of humor, like me, will buy it.

Etsy listing

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stocking Stuffers from OnlyMadeOnce

Introducing Carol from Only Made Once:

My name is Carol Wagner and my Etsy jewelry shop is called Only made once.
I make one of a kind beaded necklaces, bracelets, earrings, bookmarks, and key chains.
Dangle Bracelet

I have always loved beaded items and even have a very large beaded Christmas ornament collection. 

I started buying beads about 8 years ago and have been making jewelry ever since! I love working with copper and brass metals and mixing them with beautiful glass earth tone beads that I have found.

All of my jewelry items make great stocking stuffer ideas. Each year I make items for friends and family, and have even given my jewelry and bookmarks as bus driver and teacher gifts.

Christmas is a great time to spend a little extra time with your friends and family. We love to have movie night and take in all of the old Christmas classics. We always find time to go for a drive with the kids and look at all the neighborhood holiday lights.....and we always find time to play outside in the snow!
Pendant Necklace

Friday, October 19, 2012

Stocking Stuffers from Supersock

What's your name and your shop name?
SUPER SOCK, but you can call me sock, or super :)shop name is Supersock

What do you sell?
Christmas Robots
Geeky treasures from recycled junk converted into robot lamps and usb superhero gadgets to one of a kind paintings

How did you get into your craft? 
I grew up in a very environmentally friendly town that encourages recycling and upcycling anything and everything

Who/ What inspires you? 
helping to save the earth and reducing waste (and making cool items that people actually appreciate out of junk).
Money Clip

How is Christmas celebrated in your family?

We used to invite a bunch of people for the sake of obligatory gatherings and suffer lengthy discussions of bland crap. Now, years later, we have learned that it is better just to have a handful of family members gather around in a cozy home. The tree is plastic, of course, to save the environment.

What is your favourite Christmas song? 
Ooh that is a good question. I like Stevie Wonder's Someday for Christmas

What is your favourite tradition? 
Mislabeling presents to disappoint family members--labeling something soap when it is really a towel etc...

What's for dinner this Christmas? 
Vegetarian meatballs! and then of course the traditional things we stuff ourselves with and then feel ashamed to weigh in on the scale--such as pumpkin pies..

What Christmas gift did you get as a child that you particularly remember?
A used pen

Share your tips for non-stressful, peaceful Christmas. 

Get rid of the tradition if it's cumbersome and makes one lose the joy of celebration--if you're obligated to invite all of the extended family and their family and their family, tell them the pope is calling you, and you must excuse yourself...never return their calls...organize a quiet gathering with a few family members...also shop weeks before if you can.

Which stocking stuffer do you sell? What's the story behind them? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends?

Batman Flash Drive
Oh good heavens...too many.We sell recycled superhero and batmobile usbs (the story is we like upgrading discarded toys that adults will enjoy--toys that will be appreciated by perpetual youth)Of course I have given away many things and kept more of them myself--I do feel greedy with things I make, and sometimes I'm sad to see them go, but happy they will find a home instead of sitting here collecting dust

Visit Supersock on Etsy

Stocking Stuffers from Loves You Stationery Co.

What's your name and your shop name? Jenn Fisher of Loves You Stationery Co.

Set of 8 Christmas Cards
What do you sell?
Handmade Stationery (Cards, Stationery, Party Supplies etc.)

How did you get into your craft?
I love weddings and handcrafted almost every stationery aspect of my wedding to my amazing hubby, Bryce. Bryce is also a US Marine and writing letters has always been a huge part of our relationship, it's so romantic. Even before I made my own stationery I would always decorate the cards and paper I would use to write him!

Who/ What inspires you?
I am usually inspired by the materials I am using. When I buy new materials I like to separate them into the sets I will make from them and then put them in a basket that I will randomly draw from to make my next item. It keeps my creative bone from getting fatigued and makes the creative process really fun. There are other ways my materials or themes inspire me but that's my favorite!

How is Christmas celebrated in your family?
With traditions, lots of them. When I have to miss one it makes me so sad. My husband is stationed on a base far from my family so sometimes we've had to miss parts of the holidays and it always breaks my heart, but since we've started our own family we have started to create our own traditions and it makes the holidays special in a whole new way!
Holiday Card with Felt Message

What is your favourite Christmas song?
I have two, "All I Want for Christmas is You" by pretty much anyone, and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" by the Barenaked Ladies feat. Sarah McLachlan. But I listen to Christmas Music a lot and really love most every song.

What is your favourite tradition?
This is hard but if I have to pick I would have to say decorating the tree and the house. I have a lot of holiday memories and they all tend to start with that act. 

What's for dinner this Christmas?
Christmas Eve is Prime Rib at Grandma's and then Christmas Day is a buffet of different amazing foods we generally have every year that can sit out most of the day so we can graze through the activities of the day.

What Christmas gift did you get as a child that you particularly remember?
I don't know that I could count myself as a child but I was a young teen and it was a wonderfully amazing sewing machine my parents found for me. I never thought I would be able to get one and they found it just for me! I still have it and it is a treasured tool in my craft area. Thanks Mom and Dad! 

Share your tips for non-stressful, peaceful Christmas.
Remember why you love this season. What it means to each of us and our favorite parts may be different, but the themes are all the same, Peace, Love, and Family! And do some shopping on Etsy, there is nothing like finding the perfect handmade or hand-chosen gift for the people you love!
Firework design note cards

Which stocking stuffers do you sell? What's the story behind them? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends?
I sell great stationery sets! I started making them as gifts for my family one year after finding out my husband was due to deploy soon (I even found matching stamps to put on them so all they had to do was write the letter.) They loved them and told me I should try selling them. I found Etsy and the rest is history! I have a lot of different types that are great for all ages and styles. There are quite a few sets for $10 or under and then there are others for $25 or under. Many can be customized as well with the recipients name or monogram, just contact me for more information and options!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stocking Stuffers from DemHadesSeinRapunzel

What's your name and your shop name? 
My name is Nicole Schroth. The shop is called DemHadesSeinRapunzel which basically is bad-grammar German for "Rapunzel (guess you know the fairytale) of Hades (God of the Underworld)". I took this name because my avatar in forums usually is Persephone (Hades wife) and I love long hair. I have deliberated over changing my shop name several times but it's essentially me, so I decided against it.

What do you sell? 
I sell handknits made of special yarns. I put great emphasis on the use of natural fibres, be it lambswool, alpaka, llama, mohair...The first items were headbands, with long-haired women in mind who like to wear hats but can't put their bun into it. That brings us back to the shop name I guess...

How did you get into your craft? 
I started off at a time when many women seem to get crafty - during pregnancy. I didn't have a clue. Everything beyond purl and knit was an unknown. I started to teach myself from books and trying stuff. And loved it!

Who/ What inspires you? 
Nature is a great inspiration for me. I'm awed by nature's designs to create things overwhelmingly beautiful just out of the simple need to fulfill a purpose. One example that just springs to my mind are chameleons. These are gorgeous creatures, but their vibrant colors were "invented" to make them blend in with their background and thus for survival.

How is Christmas celebrated in your family? 
Family relations are complicated so we end up inviting people at different times around Christmas. The first day is reserved for my daughter, husband and myself.

What is your favourite Christmas song? 
Silent night. It is heart-warming and soothing.

What is your favourite tradition? 
Putting up and decorating the Christmas tree. I guess it's the creative process joined by candle light, and tea and cake to go with it. ;)

What's for dinner this Christmas? 
A turkey. What else? Since my time in England it has to be a turkey. And cranberries, and chestnut stuffing (American recipe).

What Christmas gift did you get as a child that you particularly remember?
Uuh, that's a difficult one. I clearly remember a Barbie, LEGO (was crazy about it and still am LOL) and a bike. I never got crafty stuff and always thought I had no creativity in me.

Share your tips for non-stressful, peaceful Christmas. 
Start early, prepare everything there is to prepare beforehand. Make guests help and bring something. That's the stressful part sorted. Peaceful? It usually is and separating people who do not get along is unavoidable sometimes.

Which stocking stuffer do you sell? 
What's the story behind them? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends? 
My stocking stuffers are finger puppets. When we got our baby, I, as a scientist, was very interested at how babies perceive our world during their first weeks and months. The perception of colors and the importance of facial expressions stuck in my head most. That is what I want others to know as well. There are loads of pastel colored items out there which might look great to parents and grandparents but are completely lost to those tiny baby eyes. Unfortunately, lots of people in Germany decide not to have children, so the list of parents-to-be is short in my circle of friends.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stocking stuffers from The North Way Studio

What's your name and your shop name?
Hello! I'm Maria from The North Way Studio on Etsy.

What do you sell? 

Heirloom gems crafted into gorgeous and unique pieces of jewelry with the help of 14k and Rose Gold.

How did you get into your craft?

I've always had a bit of an addiction to shiny objects--one day it just sort of happened and I haven't been able to stop since!

Who/ What inspires you?

I find a lot of my inspiration comes from nature or just random events in life. A spicy chai latte could transform into hammered rose gold encrusted with cinnamon and clove hued gemstones.

How is Christmas celebrated in your family?

My sisters and I always wake up at the break of dawn and see who can get our parents up the fastest. We've been really fortunate enough to all be together every year and even though my sisters and I are full grown adults, we always seem to end up in the same bed Christmas Eve, giggling like little girls again. Except now in the morning, we're all drinking coffee right along our parents.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

The entire Nutcracker Suite!

 What is your favourite tradition?

Just being with family and having way too much to eat!

What's for dinner this Christmas?

Cranberry sauce, homemade bread, some sort of meat for the rest of my family (I'm a vegetarian), roasted vegetables and a whole plethora of pies!

What Christmas gift did you get as a child that you particularly remember?

My American Girl Doll is always something I will treasure. She was the only thing I wanted one year and my mother kept telling me that they couldn't afford it. That Christmas morning I woke up to a package from Santa and it was my Molly doll! It was absolutely magical. I still firmly believe in Santa regardless of what everyone else says. Why would you want to ever stop believing?

Share your tips for non-stressful, peaceful Christmas.

Eat a lot of pie, cookies and always have just a bit too much coffee!

Which stocking stuffer do you sell? What's the story behind them? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends?

I sell lush gemstone jewelry that could easily fit within a stocking--not to mention under the tree! Every jewel is lovingly picked to be absolutely perfect and then created within a certain design I see floating about my overly-caffeniated mind. Of course, my sisters and mother are always swiping little bits and pieces of my work--they deserve it and I couldn't ask for more beautiful models!

 Etsy Shop

Stocking Stuffers from Got Milk Glass and More

What's your name and your shop name?
Donna Fluegel from Got Milk Glass and More

What do you sell?
Everything vintage

How is Christmas celebrated in your family?
My hubby and I don't have family close to us so we meet every year with a big group of running buddies who also don't have family to go to. The host makes the turkey and ham and everyone brings his or her favorite dish to share. My contribution is usually an unusual cranberry sauce which changes every year.

What is your favourite Christmas song?
I'm not a traditionalist by any means. My favorite Christmas song is Alvin And The Chipmunks - Hula Hoop - Christmas Song.

What Christmas gift did you get as a child that you particularly remember?
My favorite was an erector set. I was and still am a tomboy!

Which stocking stuffer do you sell? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends?
I sell all sorts of small items that can be stuffed into a stocking. Obviously, jewelry is the easiest, but there are so many other fun, small, vintage items that will fit. I love going thru my shop with family and friends and seeing which pieces they like and then surprising them with these items as gifts. I also love to bring cookies to parties on pretty, vintage plates and trays and leave the plates as a gift to the hostess.

Etsy shop

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stocking Stuffers from Caffeinated Papercuts

What's your name and your shop name? 
I'm Jen, the owner, chief coffee-drinker, and head paper-cutter of Caffeinated Papercuts 

What do you sell? 
Greeting cards, wedding invitations, tile coasters, recipe clips, gift tags, treat bags, magnets, coffee cozies, ornaments...and that's just what's already made and not still rattling around in my head! I have a paper addiction, so if I can think of something fun to make out of it, I do it! That way I get to buy more paper and make more things. 

How did you get into your craft? 
Well, not necessarily the way you would think. I didn't ease into it through classes or scrapbooking or the like, I jumped in the deep end! When I was looking for wedding invitations for my own wedding, I found absolutely nothing I liked. Nothing! I remember looking through catalog after catalog and seeing nothing but bland, overpriced, over the top invitations that did not reflect my style at all. So, I tossed the catalogs aside and started designing my own invitations...then the programs...table numbers...thank get the idea. I've never looked back.

Who/ What inspires you? 
No one thing, usually it's a combination of elements; colors, nature, the time of year. Sometimes it's a beautiful piece of paper I just *have* to find something to make out of. Other times it's coming across an item and going "well, they almost had an interesting idea here...but if I changed this and that, added something here, then you've really got something!" I never know when inspiration will hit, so I've learned to always be open to it.

How is Christmas celebrated in your family? 
Hahaha, get comfy, this is a long yet fun story! Our celebration starts on Christmas Eve morning with breakfast out with my whole family; parents, sister & fiance, my Gram, and my husband & son. Then it's home to run around like crazy finishing up all of the wrapping & gift-making for my in-laws before heading out to their house for Christmas Eve dinner. My husband has 3 brothers, 2 step-sisters, and 1 step-brother. When you add in fiances, boyfriends, girlfriends, and a nephew plus some extra extended family, I fully expect there to be...let's see, carry the 2...18 people in the house this year. Maybe more as you never know who will drop in to say hello. 
Dinner is had, gifts are exchanged, and general silliness ensues. When we finally leave there, it's back home to tuck a little boy into bed before Santa arrives. Christmas morning is just us and the kitties at home and I wouldn't have it any other way. The iPod is playing Christmas music, stockings and presents are opened, and 5 cats are chasing paper balls around the house. Later on in the day we make our way over to my parents' house for dinner, where we're joined by my sister, her fiance, and my Gram again. More presents, more food, and more silliness follows. Eventually we make our way back home and usually fall asleep by the tree. It's a very, very enjoyable couple of days.

What is your favourite Christmas song? 
Oh no, don't make me try to pick only one! I don't think I can, truly. It's not Christmas for me until I've listened to Robert Goulet's Christmas album, all of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra albums and some Canadian Brass. What's now going through my head is Neil Diamond's 'The Christ Child is Born' (at least I think that's the name of it, don't hold me to it).

What is your favourite tradition? it greedy of me to say presents? :) It's seeing all of our family and watching their faces when they open your gifts. It's laughter, running jokes, and stories. Oh, and I HAVE to ready 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Little Critter's Christmas on Christmas Eve. My dad always read them to my sister & I (yes, even well into our teens and early twenties) and now I get to read them to my son. It's not Christmas without them!

What's for dinner this Christmas? 
Christmas Eve, I have no idea. We show up and there's tasty food. Christmas Day there will be turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, cranberry sauce (that they won't let me have until the very end...I might love it...), and stuffing. We always have the same thing.

What Christmas gift did you get as a child that you particularly remember? 
I was big into My Little Ponies and the old Kitty Cucumber collectibles, so getting those were always a treat. Homemade Care Bears that I still have are right up there, too; my Good Luck Bear sits in my craft room to keep me company. Each year we get a 'special' ornament and it's always exciting to see which one. 

Share your tips for non-stressful, peaceful Christmas. 
As soon as I have one, I will gladly tell you how I did it!

Which stocking stuffer do you sell? What's the story behind them? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends? 
I have several, but a few have good stories. I gave my sister and her fiance two sets of handmade coasters last year for Christmas. One set was their initial (when she marries, her initials won't change) monogrammed in her favorite colors, the other was a set of kitty & puppy artwork for their pets. They loved them so much, they looked at me and said 'you should sell these!' At the same time, I made glass glitter ornaments for everyone in the family. They loved them so much I was encouraged to make those as well. Needless to say, both can be found in my shop now in a wide variety of patterns and colors. I also have sets of cards, recipe clips, magnets...they're all just useful things that *I* would want to get, so why not make them available to others?

Visit Caffeinated Papercuts on Etsy

Stocking Stuffers from Eden and Friends

My name is Michele and my shop name is Eden and Friends. It is named after my little one Eden. I sell handmade soft toys, dolls and Bears. I used to make jewelry in granulation and enamel style until I found Eden lighting my torch and switching on my kilns!She was 3 at the time. I decided since the market for me was a bit flat that I needed a new hobby so fell back into sewing and at Eden's request made my first Weenie Steakboy dog doll.It was so well recieved among friends that I decided to get back into making soft toys which I love. I watch a lot of cartoons with Eden and also her books have lovely illustrations in them- lots of ideas in them for me to start with. Somehow it is always a nose that gets my interest first : ) 

We live in Texas now but I grew up in Africa- summertime, watermelons, swimming and a huge family barbeque. Now it is just us three. I love the fact it is cold as all Christmas songs we grew up with talk of snow and cold weather! We put things under the tree all wrapped up for the special morning. We open our presents together and spend the day watching Eden play with hers.Often we sing carols and make the dog howl- we must sing really badly? My favorite song right now is "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth". Eden is an active child and bashed hers out at 3 years of age. This year she will be seven and still does not have them.
Our favorite tradition isputting up the tree together and switching on the lights for the first time that season. Eden makes a new ornament every year for our tree. MMMMM,dinner will be a leg of lamb, roast potatoes,champagne and probably a chocolate cake. Dad gets to do it all... I hope.

My best memory of a present was a wooden carved bear cub my mom and dad gave me. I still have him and he guards my front door. Another is a handmade and handpainted doll crib from my grandparents that they made for me. Eden uses it now for her dolls.

I agree on batteries- lots of them, and even more wine for mom : ) We stress contacting family on Christmas as we are all so spread around the world so the day is spent skyping and chatting to family which in some ways is sad, but so good to see them on a specil day too.

I sell all kinds and sizes of soft toys. My small dogs do well and are perfect sock size. I am dog crazy so I make lots of them : ) They are handmade and stitched to last a long time. I love adding on to a gift of a bear or a doll and seeing the joy on the little ones faces as they realize their new doll (or old one) has a pet for Christmas/ birthday. People who love certain breeds have even bought them to put on their desk at work- they do fit into a tea cup.I try to detail the animals and so far they have been well received.

Eden and Friends on Etsy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stocking Stuffers from Little Soap Suds

What's your name and your shop name? 
I'm Sarah Ann and my business is Little Soap Suds. Though locally I am known as Soap Girl...I can live with that, lol :)

What do you sell? 
Handmade dessert & sweet flavoured soaps, bath bombs, candles.

How did you get into your craft? 
It has been a passion of mine for years but I wanted to offer something different and I love desserts, haha :)

Who/ What inspires you? 
My family, my friends, my boyfriend - they have all supported me throughout this. And the people I meet along the way - other crafters, customers - it's an amazing community of people. 

How is Christmas celebrated in your family? 
Very traditional. We get up early, exchange gifts, watch movies and just spend quality time together.

What is your favourite Christmas song? 
I like Silent Night :) But there are soo many - IT'S CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! We all do it :) 

What is your favourite tradition? 
Black Forest Gateau Cake Soap
Spending Christmas Eve snuggled up with hot chocolate, cookies and watching Home Alone 2 - I love it!

What's for dinner this Christmas? 
I'm the chef - so it is turkey and all the trimmings. I don't let anyone else help me!!

What Christmas gift did you get as a child that you particularly remember? 
One of my favourite gifts was a handmade baking book my sister made me - she put so much thought into it and found some great cakes!!

Share your tips for non-stressful, peaceful Christmas. 
Gingerbread man soap
Just enjoy it - if things doesn't go to plan it doesn't matter. And use the time to spend proper time with your loved ones - get out the old board games!!

 Which stocking stuffer do you sell? What's the story behind them? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends? 
Perfect Stocking Filler
A lot of my range of soaps and bath bombs could be used as stocking fillers. But the Christmas themed ones are the Gingerbread Man Soap, Candy Cane Bath Bomb (with soap inside), 4 Mini Xmas Soaps (1 Reindeer, 1 Tree, 1 Santa and 1 Gingerbread Man) and Champagne Glitter Bath Truffles.oh and the chocolate chip cookie soaps.

I love Christmas and it is a time to indulge but everywhere just has selection boxes and chocolates - even as a kid you always get more sweets than you will ever need!! I wanted to create some fun themed sweet Christmas products that lasted longer than a selection box, that people could relate to and that wouldn't rot kids teeth and have everyone rushing to join the gym in January! So this year my motto is ditch the selection packs and go for the soaps - an unusual special gift that hopefully people will love as much as I do.

Little Soap Suds on Etsy 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stocking Stuffers from A and R Accessories

What's your name and your shop name? 
Tonya, Amory & Rosalind Accessories

What do you sell? 
Handmade jewelry and accessories

How did you get into your craft? 
I've always been big on doing crafts and decided to try to make a couple necklaces and I got hooked. I love making jewelry :)

How is Christmas celebrated in your family? 
Christmas is a big to do in my family. I come from a big family. I have 6 siblings and the older 3 all have spouses so it's always a full house. We get up before the sun to open presents and around 11:30 my mother's side of the family comes over and we have brunch and do our gift exchange. 

What is your favourite Christmas song? 
Sleigh Ride

What is your favourite tradition? 
Opening our Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Which stocking stuffer do you sell? What's the story behind them? Have you given them as gifts to for your family and friends? 
I sell handmade jewelry and accessories as stocking stuffers. Everything from my shop is handmade by me. Some of my friends have my jewelry and they all seem to really enjoy my work.

AandRAccessories on Etsy