Category Archives: Featured Sellers

my handmade hero: BHO Bags and Purses

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my Dad's custom christmas gift

custom brush roll created by BHO bags and purses

Amazing things can happen when you put out feelers into the handmade world. As a creator of handmade and someone who spends a lot of time supporting handmade artists and creators, I have of course been giving handmade gifts for a long time, but the only times I’ve ever given handmade to my Dad was when I created it myself. Honestly, it is hard to give for my Dad who at 81 isn’t terribly interested in shopping and doesn’t think he needs anything. But this year I put out a request to my handmade community on madeit asking for help to find a handmade gift for Dad – specifying that he does not wear jewellery (not even a wedding ring), is an artist, doesn’t have hanging space on his walls or shelves as he has too many of his own works to display, doesn’t need any kind of gadget or tech accessory, and is not a metrosexual guy. Within minutes, Rebecca of BHO bags and purses had replied offering to create a custom designed, personalised, leather brush roll and I was thrilled!

I was already very familiar with Rebecca’s work, as she is a fellow Western Australian designer and makes beautiful leather bags, purses, and wallets and here she was offering to create something a bit different from her norm but eager and willing. I can also say that it was so easy to work with Rebecca and once I measured out Dad’s brush sizes (in a top secret mission) and provided some simple information I was able to choose from Rebecca’s design options and was provided progress pictures along the way. A totally delightful and easy experience.

So this is what my father, artist Arthur Raston, and member of the Water Colour Society of Western Australia will be receiving for Christmas in 21013 – a thing of beauty isn’t it!

I can’t help but share a few of BHO’s other offerings because, well, they are spectacular and will make beautiful, long lasting gifts for the folks on your gift list.

 

 

Thank you so much Rebecca, you are my handmade hero (heroine!) your generosity in your time and your loving handmade work really touches my heart and I hope Dad will proudly brag about his handmade brush roll – we will be sure to recommend BHO always.

 

 

 

 
 

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featured handmade seller: Belinda from Studio Astratta

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This always puts me in a good mood: introducing an amazingly talented and dedicated handmade small business artisan, and Belinda from Studio Astratta has created work that puts me in a good mood every day – she created the wooden decor word ‘dream’ I showed you in a previous post, that brightens up my studio. I also have the mini easel artwork “all you need is love” that Belinda is featuring in today’s blog post, you should get one, honestly!

Belinda, Studio Astratta

Belinda, Studio Astratta

Introduction:

Hi, I’m Belinda, creator behind the home decor label Studio Astratta.

I’m a Sydney girl but followed my heart to Brisbane a few years ago, where I live with my wonderful boyfriend in a beautiful bayside suburb.

Studio Astratta is all about unique and inspirational handmade home decor and gifts, including abstract paintings (‘astratta’ means ‘abstract’ in Italian), mini canvases featuring inspiring quotes, wooden words and ampersands, pen holders and ceramic coasters.


Where did your creative journey begin?

For as long as I can remember, I have loved creating (and selling) beautiful things. As a child I would make things (think mice made from seashells etc) and sit out the front of my house with a little table, selling my creations to neighbours and anyone passing by!

In high school it was all about drawing. I even created a family of elf characters! I still have the drawings.

I began creating more seriously a few years after finishing high school, when I taught myself how to make jewellery. I spent a few years designing, creating and selling jewellery before deciding that it wasn’t for me.

I moved from Sydney to Brisbane in late 2010 and began abstract painting in an attempt to fill the empty walls of my new home. After receiving lots of positive feedback from friends and family, I decided to sell my paintings and in early 2012 Studio Astratta was born. My attention has since turned to paper craft and Studio Astratta has evolved from abstract paintings to a range of home decor pieces.

inspirational mini easel artwork

inspirational mini easel artwork


What kind of things inspire and excite you?

I have always been inspired by quotes and words. I surround myself with them – stamped onto jewellery, printed on cushions, inked onto china, scrawled on scraps of paper… Many of my products also focus on inspirational quotes and words, so my studio is full of them!

I also draw inspiration from magazines, Pantone colour forecasts and on trend patterns like chevron and Aztec prints.

As for what excites me – every sale I make and every time my work is featured somewhere! It’s also exciting when I come up with a new idea for a product or find the exact supplies I have been looking for.

love, wooden home decor

love, wooden home decor


What is the biggest challenge you have had in your creative life, and how did you overcome it (or are you currently tackling it)

I find photography one of the hardest things about selling my creations online. It’s so important to have the best photos possible. I recently rephotographed all the products in my store based on tips and advice from fellow madeit sellers. There is still definitely room for improvement but I’m much happier with my new photos and have received great feedback.

Some of the most important things I’ve learned are to avoid using distracting props, to include ‘in use’ photos, and to edit the brightness and contrast to make the photo POP! I use picmonkey.com and Microsoft Picture Manager for photo editing.

ceramic coaster sets

ceramic coaster sets


What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?

My ultimate dream is to be able to work on Studio Astratta full time. Other than that, I hope to continually exceed my sales goals and possibly sell my work through carefully selected shops and markets, in addition to my madeit store.

wooden ampersand

wooden ampersand

You can support Belinda and Studio Astratta here:

www.madeit.com.au/StudioAstratta

www.facebook.com/StudioAstratta

www.pinterest.com/StudioAstratta

www.studioastratta.blogspot.com.au

Thanks Belinda, and I wish you every happiness as you live and create for Studio Astratta.

featured handmade seller: Holly from Zuri

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Another special day for me, I always enjoy introducing the wonderful creative souls who bless this world with their handmade goodies, and today I’d love you to meet Holly of Zuri, here she is in her own words…

Holly is the creative talent responsible for Zuri

Holly is the creative talent responsible for Zuri

Introduction:

Hi I’m Holly, creator behind the accessory and jewellery atelier, Zuri. I was born in Oxford in 1981, yet my folk’s emigrated from the UK to Australia in November 1981 so I’m Aussie bred! I’m now long married to an Australian Air Force man and we have 2 children, our 6 year old son and a 3 year old devil, ahem daughter! We move on average every 5 years and are now in Canberra where ‘husband’ studies full time Electrical Engineering. Our first winter here is…interesting! It’s a very beautiful place and we are so excited to be living here!

handmade by Zuri

handmade by Zuri

Where did your creative journey begin?

I’ve always been artistically inclined which I inherited from my mum and discarded mathematics as early as I could to fill my school days with art and drama. (The irony that I am now married to a mathematical genius!)

Once my daughter was born in 2009, my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of little girl’s accessories and I discovered quite quickly I could create my designs to suit my own tastes, which are very particular! I started with button hair ties with unusual fabrics, untypical of children’s fabric. I also made accessories for friends and received so many compliments that I decided to ‘found’ my little business in March 2012.

I’m highly inspired by beautiful, gifted photography. I like to think I also have a fairly good eye for it! I find inspiration in all things natural, especially isolated West Australian beaches :sigh:  how I love the ocean. I’m a big outdoors person, exploring, 4WDriving, camping and picnic bbq’s. Our family loves cooking delicious food and we all hold great importance in fitness.

Individually, I really enjoy eclectic fabric designs, Moroccan, Metallic’s, Mohave, Aztec, all things ‘peacock’, neon’s and particular patterns suitable for the buttons I use to make hair ties. I then lead onto button earrings as my fabric collection ideally appealed to a higher demographic. Rings, necklaces then clay as it’s so fun to use, the outcome is stunning and there are endless designs to create out if it.

button hair tie by Zuri

button hair tie by Zuri

What has been your biggest obstacle in your creative life?

Because of our transient lifestyle I’d found it hard to adjust from job to job and decided it best to stay-at-home and raise our children, focusing on attempting to keep them settled in anticipation of moving or times when my husband is away. In our recent move from West to East, my business was put on hold for 5 months whilst we camped across the country and then lived in a hotel till our new home was ready. I was slow to start up but I’m in full swing now! I’m always eager to make new designs out of new mediums so the future for Zuri is always exciting! Sometimes I have so many ideas my wallet cannot possibly fund them all, I’m certain we all feel this way at some point in our lives! My newest challenge comes in the form of a bread and butter job, my first in 7 years! I vow to always find time to create and inspire!

jewellery by Zuri

jewellery by Zuri

What dreams to you have for the future of your creative business?

I’m edging towards 18 months with Zuri and my next big goal is to do a market but I confess I’m procrastinating! My goal is to get one under my belt by Christmas! We shall see J

You can support Holly and Zuri here:

www.facebook.com/ZuriAtelier

www.madeit.com.au/Zuri

Thanks so much Holly for adding your gorgeous work and insights into your creative life to the Starzyia blog, and thanks to my readers who are still visiting previous featured seller posts and getting to know the wonderful guests and their work.

one more beautiful pic from Zuri!

one more beautiful pic from Zuri!

Featured Handmade Seller: Sally Dixon, Razzle Dazzle

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For the first time I am featuring a second handmade maven in one month – meet the wonderful creative soul I could not overlook because, well, her creations are so amazingly adorable! Here is Sally Dixon in her own words…

Introduction:

Hello, my name is Sally and I’m currently living in Hope Valley, not far from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. My business is called Razzle Dazzle Creations.

Small, fiddly, intricate creations made with a touch of Razzle Dazzle – that’s what I love to make! I design and make critters and novelty items such as brooches, finger puppets, play food and more. Felt is my usual medium.

made with a touch of razzle dazzle

made with a touch of razzle dazzle

Where did your creative journey begin?

I create because creativity is built into my nature. I can’t stop! My journey began in my childhood. I went through many creative phases: cake baking, fimo modelling, and sewing. At home I was provided with encouragement and freedom to experiment and invent. I remember designing and sewing tiny felt teddy bears as a 12 year old. I ended up with an army of them, each unique in colour and outfit.

matchbox critters by razzle dazzle

matchbox critters by razzle dazzle

What kind of things inspire and excite you?

What inspires me?

Magazines and books filled with cute creations.

The internet, particularly Pinterest. It’s filled with tutorials and pretty pictures.

Listening to the success stories of other handmade business owners.

What excites me?

Meandering through craft store aisles filled with rows and rows of buttons, beads, ribbons, pretty papers, fabric and more!

Trying out a new design which began as a unique idea in my head.

Finding an email in my inbox with an order for a product. Never tire of it!

felt cats and critters by razzle dazzle

felt cats and critters by razzle dazzle

What is the biggest challenge you have had in your creative life, and how did you overcome it (or are you currently tackling it)

A big challenge to overcome is confidence. Self doubt can easily set in. I sometimes find myself thinking: Are my creations good enough to sell? Will my customer be pleased when the item arrives in the post and they see it in person? And a new one: Will my items sell in the gift shop? The key is to hold onto the encouragement you receive. Listen to the positive words about your creations, and just keep at it. The more you create, the better you get. And allow yourself to enjoy the process.

pouch key rings by razzle dazzle

pouch key rings by razzle dazzle

What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?

Razzle Dazzle Creations began as a hobby, but it’s slowly growing. I hope to do two creative pursuits full time in the future: write books, and continue my business. I’d like to make a proper living from both pursuits. In terms of my business, I’d like to have my creations available in more stores. I’m working on that at the moment. My products are currently available in two stores, but this needs to grow! I’d like it to become more consistent online as well. At the moment it fluctuates from periods of no sales to periods of many sales! I’m also thinking of writing a craft book…we’ll see how that goes!
Support Sally & Razzle Dazzle:

Madeit: www.madeit.com.au/razzledazzle

Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RazzleDazzlebySally

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RazzleDazzlebySally

Blog: http://razzledazzle7.wordpress.com/

mousy and ted in bed! by razzle dazzle

mousy and ted in bed! by razzle dazzle

Thanks so much Sally, for adding your beautiful work to the blog and sharing an insight into your creative life. Wishing you every happiness as you continue on your journey and good luck with the writing too, it’s a wonderful pursuit.

featured handmade seller interview, Michelle Yates, The China Hutch, madeit

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This month has taken an interesting turn, I was looking for someone who really wanted to be featured seller for June (I usually send out invitations to specific people with stores that I ogle) I knew that if I put out a cattle call, I would get someone who was ready and willing – what I didn’t expect was that I would have so many diverse and amazing applicants, and I have decided to try to feature two people every month at least until August. If you missed the cattle call, it probably means you don’t follow me on facebook – so if you want to have access to these chances, you might want to join me there on my Starzyia page.

Without further ado, here is my number one choice for featured seller…

you shall have a fishie, The China Hutch

you shall have a fishie, The China Hutch

Introduction:

My name is Michelle Yates and my online shop is called The China Hutch, I live in Melbourne Australia and I paint porcelain and bone china. I use on glaze paints on the porcelain which I then fire in a kiln at 820C a number of times to achieve a depth of colour.

Where did your creative journey begin?

I learnt the technique of painting on porcelain over 25 years ago here in Melbourne at a school where I attended classes one day a week, on one of my days off from my real job as a Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital. I learnt in the classical style of the day and have since developed my own styles.

hand painted plate, The China Hutch

hand painted plate, The China Hutch

What kind of things excite and inspire you?

So many things inspire and excite me, a picture in a book, a cartoon, a card, something from my childhood, an animal – eg. Our little Schnauzer, an image on the computer.

hand painted wedgewood plate

hand painted Wedgwood plate

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your creative life?

We lived in Holland for nearly 7 years in the 1990’s and I could not work on an intensive care unit as my dutch was not good enough, so painting became my occupation and I gradually built up a large business painting porcelain.

Now I am trying to build up another business in Australia – on line, as I have retired from nursing, it is hard to re-establish myself and at times I get disheartened and wonder why I try, then someone will buy a piece of my work and I am inspired once more to keep going. I say my paintings are an ‘Antiques of the future’!

hand painted royal doulton cake stand

hand painted royal doulton cake stand

poppy & butterfly painted wedgwood

poppy & butterfly painted Wedgwood

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Michelle and seeing her amazing work, if you’d like to show her some support here are the links to her store and facebook page:

madeit store

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featured handmade seller interview: Kylie Findlay from bySAGEdesign

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Hi, time for me to introduce another wonderful handmade artisan – this time its someone I have been online store ogling for a couple of years so I’m extra excited – Kylie from SAGEdesign a talented designer and creator based in Australia. I find Kylie’s work is beautifully detailed, yet at the same time captures simple pleasurable moments to create and keep happiness with you always.
bird lights by bySAGEdesign

bird lights by bySAGEdesign

Introduction:
My name is Kylie Findlay and I design and make decorative homewares products for bySAGEdesign.
Where did your creative journey begin?
When I was born I think! I have always enjoyed being creative in varying degrees – as a child, in school and as an adult. There have been significant points in the journey though and going to uni to study Visual Art a few years ago was one of them as it became the starting point for bySAGEdesign.
girl on a swing

girl on a swing

What kind of things excite and inspire you?
I get very excited by other people’s artwork.
I am also inspired by life and memory… people and our connections with each other and other living things. Interaction, emotion, expression, love, hope and human refection in nature.
I am drawn to simple design and things that look pretty. I am one of those people that judges a book by the cover and chooses a bottle of wine because I like the label!
earring tree bySAGEdesign

earring tree bySAGEdesign

What is the most difficult creative challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? (or are you currently tackling it?)
I think being creative and making artwork is all about overcoming challenges. So there are constant challenges! One challenge I am faced with in my business is limited time. It takes time to create work… time to experiment, to reflect, to absorb… it is hard for me in business to allow myself this kind of time without feeling frustrated that I am wasting time. I am constantly reminding myself that this is a necessary part of my creative process.
little boy nightlight

little boy nightlight

What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?
Wow… what dreams don’t I have ha ha!? I have lots! I guess the basic one is to continue to create, grow and evolve, be inspired and hopefully also to inspire others.
Find more about bySAGEdesign here…. and Kylie has generously offered 15% off coupon code: STARRY (valid until the end of July 2013)
Thank you Kylie, it has been a pleasure “meeting” you after being a fan of your work for so long, I wish you every happiness and success on your creative journey!
ornament bySAGEdesign

ornament bySAGEdesign

Featured Seller: David Wright from Bare Hands Personalised Jewellery

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It’s time to meet another very talented and fascinating member of the handmade community, this time I’m introducing you to David Wright of Bare Hands Personalised Jewellery, so I hope you enjoy this feature and show David and his wife some wonderful support.
David of Bare Hands Personalised Jewellery

David of Bare Hands Personalised Jewellery

I’ll let David introduce himself in his own words:
Hello, we are Bare Hands Personalised Jewellery from the northern suburbs of Perth and are a  husband (mostly) and wife (sometimes), fairly new,  small business,  making items of jewellery from Fine Silver (99.9 %), mostly personalised – which can mean names stamping / messages, finger foot and hand prints  but more recently exploring more non-personalised ways to be creative with the silver making process. Yes you may think it odd for a male to be messing about in a studio getting in touch with his creative and some might say ( and have ) feminine side – but hey ho – its good for the soul! I also am a professional tiler and work 7 shifts a fortnight with guys with autism. In my spare time (what’s that ?) I spend time with my two lovely boys and enjoying playing saxophone.
Where did your creative journey begin?
I got the idea of taking this particular path from my sister in the UK who runs a similar, quite successful company ‘Lucy Locketts’ and originally thought of setting up a franchise of that, over here in WA. After thinking about it and googling for a teacher or course, we found someone very local offering the exact thing we were looking for, did it and never looked back – which was just as well remembering back to  some of the first items that we made! We’re also exploring the possibility of glass beading and have booked a course – silver and glass can look great together.
a sample of David's wares

a sample of David’s wares

What inspires and excites you?
Hmm I’m a true believer that there is a greater intelligence at work constantly, and if we allow ourselves to trust in it, then inspiration and  creativity can flow freely without the need for too much thought – I certainly know this to be true with music. I like to let the customer provide inspiration for their own piece as obviously every customised item is different – its certainly exiting when it comes together and you get good feedback from the customer.
handprint jewellery

handprint jewellery

hand stamped jewellery

hand stamped jewellery

 

What is the biggest creative challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it (or are you currently tackling it?)

Pricing is a constant challenge, a battle of getting a balance between affordable and competitive yet making it worthwhile, please tell me I’m not alone here! (No David, not alone, I can hear the sighs of empathy rolling in from readers across the globe) Sometimes I just think ‘sod it’, its worth $X and I’m not selling it for any less. When people see a price sometimes, the natural reaction is ‘HOW MUCH!?’ but any small business owner would be able to give you a list as long as their arm about hidden expenses / time and not to mention for us , the price of silver. Sometimes I feel like explaining the whole process that goes into, for example, our miniaturised hand and footprints, stamped onto silver. I’m sure some people think we have a little elf that we summon whenever needed, to give us a quick dance and place his hand and feet into the silver for us.  At a market once, I was explaining that we not only offered fingerprint jewellery but hand and footprints too and pointed to a pendant I had made with our sons prints on, to which she replied in all seriousness  ‘Nah, their hands aren’t that small’

personalised fingerprint jewellery

personalised fingerprint jewellery

 

What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?
I’d love for what we offer to grow to the point where our products become somewhat of a ‘brand name’  even if it’s just locally – just like people talk about other brands to us when sharing our excitement in what we’re doing. I think the key might be to be unique, remain true to yourself, have faith and anything is possible – you just have to create it. My sister and I remember a quote that goes something like ‘some people look at a rock and see a rock .. others see a cathedral’
personalised jewellery is a great way to show your love

personalised jewellery is a great way to show your love

How to connect with Bare Hands Personalised Jewellery and David:
Although I’ve only been on Etsy a few months, it looks like a great medium for being amongst like minded sellers and we also have a facebook page www.facebook.com/barehandspersonalisedjewellery – which has a back catalogue of items we have made in the past.  One awkward aspect of making everything to order is that you never have anything for display purposes as it goes out as soon as you’ve made it. You may notice the same names cropping up on some of our items – names of very patient family members who see pictures of something that they’d love to be wearing, but never actually receive!
I’d like to thank you David for being willing to be featured and sharing the beginnings of a very exciting journey into handmade, and wish you every happiness for the future.

Featured Handmade Seller: Julia from Heartfelt Design Studio

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Julia from Heart Felt Design Studio

Julia from Heart Felt Design Studio

I’m very delighted to introduce you to Julia, or perhaps you already know her as the wonderful personality and creative artist who creates by hand the most amazing nuno felt scarves and garments offered by Heartfelt Design Studio. Julia is this month’s featured handmade seller and interviewee. I’m extra proud to share with you that Julia is a fellow Western Australian designer and don’t tell my Mum, but I’m secretly stalking Julia’s newest creations so I can spoil mum with something divine for Mother’s Day or her birthday this year.

I’ll let Julia introduce herself now:

Hi my name is Julia and I LOVE nuno felt.
If any of you haven’t heard of this before it is a relatively new Aussie invention based on the antique art of felting. In 1994 Polly Stirling and her partner devised a softer lighter form of felting more suitable for the climate of the Southern Hemisphere. In nuno felting wool and silk fibres are combined with any open weave fabric. My preference is silk. During the felting process the fabrics and fibres meld together to form a new and unique material. To me it’s a bit like witnessing the emergence of a butterfly and always puts a smile on my face and in my heart. I get great delight in designing and making my products which I sell from my home based business Heartfelt Design Studio and online through my etsy shop.
a look at Julia's studio

a look at Julia’s studio

Where did your creative journey begin?
A defining moment was when at age 6 I received my first pair of glasses. What an amazing experience! Colour and definition when previously there was just a bland haze.
My poor mum tells me that I told her she looked a lot prettier before I got my glasses ; )
That along with my introduction to dance at 8, my love of musical theatre and an burning desire to experience life to the fullest has lead me on an amazing journey filled with challenges and beauty.
I have had fantastic role models in my parents and grandparents who taught me from an early age to never be afraid to have a go at new and often daunting experiences and I feel even more importantly to remember that every mistake is actually a learning experience.
What kind of things excite and inspire you?
I have many inspirations and things that excite me. People who overcome adversity; art, music and dance but most of all my amazing family. I also conduct beginner classes in felting and get great delight and inspiration from the children and adults that I teach. Their joy and wonder is so contagious!
red crinkle scarf

red crinkle scarf

What is the most difficult creative challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? (or are you currently tackling it?)
What I really struggle with is the time, effort and confidence needed in promoting my product . I sometimes wish I had a fairy godmother to take over this role.
Felting has an incredible amount of variables in the process and I used to get disappointed when the end result was not quite what I had envisaged but now I am learning to enjoy felting’s “little surprises” and know some things are just meant to be.
feather and felt creation

feather and felt creation

 What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?
I would love swathe more glorious ladies in my scarves and wraps. To have the opportunity to display them at their optimum. Although I love my little online shop there are limits to the story that can be told by a photograph. I always use the highest quality Australian superfine merino wool and silk in my designs and really wish that I could portray the feel and lightness better.
inspiration: ocean reef

inspiration: ocean reef

where would you like people to view your work or interact with you?

My home based shop is in Greenwood Perth Western Australia and I can be contacted through my facebook page. www.facebook.com/HeartfeltDesignStudio
and my online shop address is www.etsy.com/shop/juliaheartfelt

Julia, thank you so much for being part of the Starzyia blog, you are a wonderful member of the handmade community and a treasure, I wish you every happiness and a wonderful creative journey into the future.
to my readers: thank you for taking time to get to know Julia and give her your support, you’re awesome!

Please Meet: Jenny from Kitchen Aromas, handmade soy candle artisan

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I know it has been a long time since I’ve featured a handmade maven on the blog but I hope you will agree, that this will totally make up for that! I would love for you to take the time to meet Jenny and see her wonderful handmade creations.
Strawberry Shortcake scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

Strawberry Shortcake scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

Introduction
Hi my name is Jenny and I run Kitchen Aromas, creating deliciously scented soy candles.

Where did your creative journey begin?

I have always had two passions in life – animals and the enchanting world of fragrances….from beautiful roses, to cooking, to incense or the sweet smell of the Australian bush, scents can move my emotions like nothing else.

As I’m sure is the way with most handmade businesses, Kitchen Aromas was all started by accident!  A few years ago I ordered my first “DIY candle making kit” from a store online just to give something new a try.  In the package I received, along with all the ‘usual’ scents like lavender, there was an ‘Apple Pie’ fragrance.  At the time I didn’t even know it was possible to make a candle smell like food! (well, other than the plasticy, lolly type scents you sometimes see – erm…Ive never smelled a strawberry like that..)  So I set to work and created my first ever soy candle.  Once I had sampled that scrumptious scent, the idea for Kitchen Aromas was born!

I began scouring the internet and craft stores for fragrances that made my mouth water, then, I went a step further and started mixing some of my own. I used trial and error, each time bringing them closer to my childhood memories of aromas that would drift out of my Mum’s kitchen.   The idea of soy wax appealed to me above paraffin wax due to environmental and health factors.  I have a dog who is highly allergic to many chemicals, so natural soy seemed like the perfect option to me.

pumpkin bread scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

pumpkin bread scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

What kind of things excite and inspire you?

The moment a “recipe” for a new fragrance starts to come into my mind, I become ultra excited, and consumed by getting it just right!  I love hearing new suggestions from my customers too.  My business vision is first and foremost family orientated – food is so often something that people see as a comfort, a reminder of happy gatherings and family time.  Being able to bring a scent to them that triggers those memories is very important to me.

aromatic gingerbread scented candle

aromatic gingerbread scented candle

What is the most difficult creative challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? (or are you currently tackling it?)

There are always a million challenges in making the perfect soy candle!  There are so many websites that can give you a step by step guide….but you quickly discover that for each step there seems to be 5 things that can go wrong.  One of my biggest challenges at the moment is dealing with the Perth heat – candles setting in 40 degree heat end up looking like a chalky, holey mess!  So my candles are only made way after the sun goes down, in the (slightly) cooler nighttime breeze.

What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?

At this stage I’m focusing on building Kitchen Aromas into a brand that people know and trust.  Something that my customers would recommend to their friends and family without hesitation.  In the future I would very much like to open a small brick and mortar shop in the Perth Hills, where I live, while also continuing to sell online to other parts of Australia.

chocolate chip cookie candle by Kitchen Aromas, etsy

chocolate chip cookie candle by Kitchen Aromas, etsy

You can connect with Jenny and Kitchen Aromas through the following links

www.kitchenaromascandles.com

www.facebook.com/KitchenAromas

www.twitter.com/KitchenAromas

Blueberry Cheesecake scented soy candle, Kitchen Aromas

Blueberry Cheesecake scented soy candle, Kitchen Aromas

I hope you will show Jenny and Kitchen Aromas your wonderful support and join me in wishing her the very best for a fulfilling, exciting, and amazing creative journey as she grows her dreams and spreads her wings. Thanks, Jenny, for allowing me to feature you and your beautiful creations and photography.

 

 

Introducing Marg, from Itchykoo Kids Clothing, featured etsy seller

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Lovely Marg, from Itchykoo

I’m very happy to introduce my newest creative profile, for Marg from Itchykoo, please enjoy her interview, and her wonderful handmade creations…

Introduction:

Hi I’m the person behind itchykoo kids clothing – variously known as Margie, Maggie, Margaret, Mrs C, Mum (and very recently Grandma). I’m a happily retired primary school teacher. I loved teaching – was passionate about it – but knew without a doubt when it was time to change, that there were other ways to live my life. My husband and I regularly take off in our trusty Prado exploring this beautiful country. We have an off road camper which allows us to get a bit off the beaten track.

When at home I do a limited amount of relief teaching, I do a couple of days of voluntary work with St Vincent De Paul and of course get to create fun kid’s clothes. Times that I really look forward to are family get-togethers with my daughter, my two sons, their wives, and my baby granddaughter.

I’m an avid reader and enjoy spirited conversations (especially when sharing a nice shiraz!)

 

behold, this is how the magic happens

 

Where did your creative journey begin?

Aunty Marj was a dress designer who had worked in Paris pre WW2. My sister and I were lucky kids having a childless aunt who loved to dress us! She was the best sewing teacher. I scrounged fabric off cuts to create doll’s clothing. I progressed to making my own clothing and then sewed for my sister and mother.

When I was at teacher’s college, my flatmate was a fashion design student. We had lots of fun making our own clothes then (there wasn’t the brand name obsession of these days). Over the years though life became very busy and I didn’t have much time for this special creative outlet.

I got back into sewing when I couldn’t find a suitable lightweight handbag (my shoulder was giving me a lot of pain at that time). I ended up making a few handbags. To encourage me in this, a lovely lady gave me a huge box of Moda fabric samples and off-cuts. Well most of those fabrics were not suitable for handbags, but little dresses – most definitely!

My niece who has a web design business, saw what I was doing and told me that I just had to start selling on etsy. So she helped set me up and before I knew it itchykoo was launched.

Daisy Days Dress by Itchykoo

 

What kind of things inspire and excite you?

I’m a fabric junkie! I’m drawn to strong, vibrant colours and love running beautiful textures through my hands. Childhood is the perfect time to enjoy being able to wear fun colours (so parents, allow them that joy before your children turn into inhibited adults!).

I rarely design an item of clothing and then decide upon the fabric. It’s almost always the fabric (or trims) that inspire the creation. I dress fairly plainly so my family have speculated about why I love to create girlie outfits with lace and ribbons etc.

the Flowers & Bees Dress

What is the most difficult creative challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? (or are you currently tackling it?)

My most daunting creative challenge is an ongoing one, and it’s one of validity or worthiness. I look at other people’s work and think it looks so much better than mine. I know the finished quality of my work is of a high standard, but worry about the design elements. Having immediate feedback at markets is always very affirming.

Cowboy Shorts

 

What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?

I love that I can create one-of- a- kind outfits and am not at all interested in the idea of mass production. I could happily sew every day and would love itchykoo‘s sales to boom (allowing me to give up those few days of relief teaching). To make this happen I will need to do a lot more marketing, both online and weekend markets.

I’m interested in learning more about working with modern stretch fabrics in order to do more in baby wear. We’ll see what happens with that train of thought.

Baby Booties

 

If you’d like to view the complete range of beautifully handmade creations by Itchykoo, here is the link to Marg’s etsy store itchykoo

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Marg, a wonderful Australian member of the etsy community.