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Friday, January 30, 2009

Renewing Listings???

An article in the Storque was posted yesterday, after a blog post I wrote on Wednesday. See the article here: Community Topics: Some Thoughts on Recently Listed Items Now, honestly, I am totally confused. I will look to the forums for more information. I will share what I find here in my blog. In the meantime, since renewing appears NOT to be an effective way to get your listings to the top, I will share this listing with you right here.

Crochet Red Flower Necklace

Handmade by Talina crochet flower necklace/lariat to adorn your neckline. Can be dressed up or down, elegant to funky. Made with red 100% mercerized cotton, a 2.25mm crochet hook, and lots of thought, love, and care.Features two chains with flowers at each end. Shorter chain measures approximately 37" with flowers. Longer chain approximately 44" with large flowers. This makes four large flowers total (each 2 1/2" in diameter). Topped with a smaller flower (1 3/4" diameter) that slides up and down both chains to make this necklace customizable. Fits over head.Will make a perfect birthday, anniversary, Valentine's or Mother's Day gift! Or just treat yourself! See more pictures in our Etsy Shop!


Colorful Etsians! Part II

I had a fabulous response in the Etsy forums for colorful items. These are the last 17 who replied. I threw in a few personal faves to make the even 20 Colorful Etsians featured here:

Items show top to bottom, left to right:


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our Downtown Loft--Demolition Stage

We are working with an amazing couple who have been the catalyst for downtown revitalization. You may visit their website and see completed projects/examples of their work at We have been waiting on one building to be completed (inspection is this Friday) for the current commercial tenant of our loft to move out completely. The current tenant has allowed some demolition to begin with the exception of removing plaster from the brick due to the noise. We will be in the biggest loft on the top/third floor. Don't let these pictures scare you!

We are excited about our future and urban living! The walls will be exposed brick. The floors original hardwood. Open living area: kitchen/dining/living with curved walls... So tell us what you think!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Renewing Listings

So, the "experts" say to post new items or renew items daily to keep your shop current. I renewed these yesterday (click on picture to go to the item in our Etsy shop):

My thinking was to renew a cutting board (woodworking category) and a hat (crochet category) to try to reach various shoppers. I believe renewing keeps your items at the top of the list in categories and in the search (maybe in your Etsy-Mini as well?). Happy Etsying!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Colorful Etsians!

I posted a thread on the Etsy Forums on Friday asking Fellow Etsians to show off their colorful handmade items for sale! Listing from top-bottom/left-right:

And that's just the FIRST 16!!! Look for more to follow.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looking Upward

Today is Saturday, and for the months of January and February that means Upward basketball. Both Aaron and Jacob play. They are in the same age group, but on different teams. Last week they played each other. After team pictures and the games, we will be heading downtown to check on the progress of our loft. We are so excited to take our first step toward fully living our art, and today we make it official by signing the lease. We are definitely looking upward!

Oh and for some weekend blog fun... Following up on a post from last Friday. I was tagged by the author of Caffienated Frenzy! Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you. See above.
Post the rules in your blog. Here they are.
Write seven random things about yourself. I will write 7 random things about us {Me and Michael}.
1.) We met online.
2.) I drove an hour so we could meet in person at Bob's Dairyland on Michael's lunch break.
3.) We were married less than 7 months later.
4.) He proposed on Flat Rock at sunset.
5.) We got married on the Summer Solstice at sunset.
6.) We were married on the Blue Ridge Parkway surrounded by friends, family, and gorgeous mountains.
7.) We are living our "happily ever after."
Tag seven people at the end of your post and link to them.
Let each person know they were tagged. DONE!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Colors of the Rainbow Crochet Clutch

Listed today! Colors of the Rainbow Crochet Clutch

ONE OF A KIND!!! This crochet clutch is just the right size to place in another bag or carry alone. Crocheted by Talina with a merino blend handspun/handdyed yarn by EvergreenCreations and then felted. It is finished off with a beautiful handmade {by Michael} maple button and various fibers/ribbons. Dimensions are approximately 7" by 5.5".

I tend to be a perfectionist, and Michael is always saying "embrace handmade" meaning to celebrate the qualities that make handmade items unique. In this piece I express colorful creativity and asymmetry! When felted the right side of the flap drew up more than the left, leaving the interesting angle. To accent that, I placed the button to the left and weaved a narrow red ribbon along the edge of the flap! The felting has made this pouch thick and cushion-y. Perfect to protect your electronics/valuables.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Following in the Footsteps of his Mama

The other night we were all hanging out together in the living room--all except Seth who had gone to Megan's (his girlfriend) and Quinn who was fast asleep in his crib upstairs. Aaron was snuggled up against me on the love seat. I was crocheting. He was playing his Nintendo DS. The TV was on The Mentalist, and Aaron and I were watching intermittently. Michael and Jacob were on the couch. Michael had fell asleep. Jacob was playing on the computer. I elbowed Aaron and said, "Look, Michael's asleep." We giggled, because Michael can never stay awake in front of the TV. He is notorious for dozing while we watch movies. Poor man, he works so hard. He is up late waiting for me to get home from work, after waking at 6:30am, commuting 90 minutes,
working 8 hours making custom furniture, commuting home, picking up Quinn, putting Quinn to sleep, doing dishes, washing bottles, folding laundry I left unfinished, showering, etc. {He IS the most AMAZING husband.} Anyway, Aaron and I resume our activities... gaming and crocheting. I look up again... and this is what I see. I had to snap a picture with my iPhone. His is following in my footsteps, not that I have ever fallen asleep on the keyboard, but I have often let time get
away from me while in front of the computer.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fuzzy Flower Crochet Necklace

I posted this new listing yesterday on Etsy. It is a fuzzy flower crochet necklace. It is made from 100% recycled yarn from CraftyYarn. It features 6 crochet flowers about 4" in diameter for a total length of 80". Wrap it any way you'd like! It not only can be worn around your neck, but also your waist, in your hair, where ever you'd like to wear it! Be creative! Express your unique style and personality with this gorgeous steel gray with orange accented wearable art! After crocheting this piece I did attempt to wet felt it. Because of the fiber content (60% wool, 20% soysilk, 20% mohair) it did not completely felt, but the process did leave it with this amazingly fun and fuzzy texture. I love it, as I am sure you will too! There are more pictures on Etsy.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thinking About Today

As our country prepares to welcome a new President on this inaugural day, I am thinking about how this affects me and my family. One of my resolutions for this new year is to be a smarter consumer. How might this relate to the events of today?

Our economy is the hot topic in the news. Everyone is looking to President Obama to solve our country's economic woes. As I step onto my soapbox, fellow Americans, it is not the President's sole responsibility nor is he/his policies the answer. It is OUR responsibility as consumers to turn this country's economy around!

What is your family's economic policy? Where do you shop? What do you buy? Do you purchase handmade? Is it made in the United States of America? Do you support the arts? Do you shop/buy locally? Do you support your local small businesses therefore supporting your local economy which then supports our statewide to nationwide economy? It isn't "trickle down" people!!! Let's start local and see that effect trickle up!!!

Please stop shopping at Wal-Mart. Please stop buying CHEAP. Spend the extra money. Buy local. Buy quality. Buy handmade. It has to start with me. It has to start with you. NOT with the government. NOT with the President. It is time for AMERICANS to take responsibility for AMERICA!!!

I was inspired to write this post not only by today's events, but by fellow blogger Denise at The Seasonal Cottage and by conversations with fellow Etsian Theresa at Milo Creative Studios. Stepping off of my soapbox now...

I Took The Handmade Pledge!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Pretty in Pink

It was my favorite movie as a teen, and the name for this hat I just listed on Etsy. Wearing it during the product photo shoot {Michael, photographer/husband} certainly made me feel like a teen again. It is fun, flirty, and fashionable. Made out of cotton yarn that is white with various shades of pink. I don't use a pattern as I crochet. When I start crocheting, I never quite know what the end product will be. I mean, I know it is a hat. But I don't know the size or style until I am about halfway into the project. I crocheted a band around it, and added a gorgeous handmade {by Michael} maple button secured with pink ribbon. Check it out here. Wouldn't it be a perfect Valentine's Day gift?!


Friday, January 16, 2009


I was at a loss as what to post today... It is getting late in the day, and I still haven't made my Friday run to the grocery store. So, I'm afraid this isn't much of a post at all. I do want to take the time to thank Kim's Crafty Apple for featuring one of our pieces on her blog. Check Kim's blog out here.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why Wood?

I've been doing Internet reading about wood vs. plastic cutting boards. Why wood? Our simple answer is: It's natural. On the contrary, plastic is "synthetic" or "semi-synthetic" per Wikipedia. We choose to prepare food that our family eats on natural, wooden cutting boards.

How sanitary is a wooden cutting board? Just as sanitary as a plastic one, if not more sanitary! Studies have shown that for some reason (my guess/reasoning is Mother Nature), bacteria do not multiply on wood like they do on plastic. You might reply, "But isn't plastic easier to clean than wood?" Studies have shown that on a smooth surface, yes, plastic is easier to clean. But what are we doing on a CUTTING board? Cutting! And the same study shows that after using a knife on a wooden cutting board and a plastic board "more bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface."
Clean your wooden cutting board with kosher salt or sea salt. It is naturally antibacterial. It not only cleans, but also removes stains and odors. Rub salt into your cutting board, add hot water making a paste, and then rub clean with a sponge.

Still can't get past the fact that you can't throw your cutting board into the dishwasher or soak it in hot water? Then do as this chef does:

I branded a small “V” on one side and an “M” on the other. V for veggies and M for meat. ALWAYS prep your RAW vegetables first, and then flip it over to prep your meats. Then, of course, sanitize when both sides when you’re finished prepping. You should never have to worry about cross–contamination if you use my method. - Hope this helps others! (4/28/08) John PaaProduction ChefWhole Foods Market (Harbor East)Baltimore, MD

Or better yet, buy TWO wooden cutting boards--one for your veggies and one for meats! Visit our Etsy shop to view our various sizes, wood species, styles, and prices of our HANDMADE WOODEN CUTTING BOARDS!

Online sources:


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blogs I'm Following

Well, in order to get some readers, I have been networking, mostly with other Etsy sellers. In the last 24 hours, I have followed 27 blogs (see my Blog Roll) and have barely skimmed the surface. The experts say that having a blog is one of the best marketing tools for your business. I realized last night that although I am not only an Etsy seller, but also an Etsy customer, as are most of the Etsy sellers, I am not doing a very good job of marketing my shop if I am only targeting other Etsians.

So, I asked myself this question (thanks Heather), "Who is my target market/audience/reader?" Well, we sell various things in our Etsy shop, but the majority of our items right now are Michael's cutting boards. How can I reach those who love to cook? So, my goal today is to visit some cooking blogs. Does anyone have one that they frequent? Does anyone have any other ideas how I might reach those who love to cook?

I mention Heather above. I bought her "Savvy MARKETING for Successful Etsy Sellers" yesterday. I already knew of some of the tips she mentions, but I highly recommend this resource, especially if you are a brand new Etsian.

Also, I said not only am I a seller, I am a customer of Etsy. I purchased this yarn from Rebecca and have almost completed a project with it that I am going to sell in our shop. So, stay tuned...


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Joining the Real World of Blogging!

Hi Blogger/Blogspot readers! Welcome to our corner of the blogging world. We want to share with you our experiences as we venture out to reach our dream of living our art. In 2009, our goals are to become successful Etsy sellers, move into our loft becoming urban dwellers, open our studio and gallery in Downtown Kingsport, and work together on our business full time.

"We" are Michael and Talina. We are a blended family and have four beautiful boys ages 10 months through 17 years. Our real jobs currently are: Michael works in a gallery as chief woodworker designing and building custom furniture; Talina is a registered nurse with a background in NICU, Pediatrics, PICU, and OB, but is currently doing telephone nursing. Michael has two BFAs from ECU School of Art in ceramics and wood design. Talina has her BSN from ETSU, but is also a creative spirit, like Michael, and enjoys photography, crocheting, graphic designing, and more. Talina is quite the techie and will venture out to teach herself whatever application she is interested in at the moment. As a family we enjoy spending lots of quality time together, preferably outdoors, but also watching movies, playing PS3, and bowling.

Well, that's a bit about us. Talina always has her iPhone in hand and Michael his Blackberry Storm, so feel free to comment, we'd love to hear from you! Mark us as a favorite, for we plan to post daily. Have a great day!


The Basics

Michael and Talina Ripper met online and when they met in person, they knew they had found something special, a once in a lifetime love. Michael obtained BFAs in both Wood Design and Ceramics from ECU. Talina has always been a creative/artistic spirit, but has her BSN from ETSU and still works as an RN. Talina has three sons, Seth (17), Aaron (8), and Jacob (7). Michael and Talina have a son together, Quinn, who is 17 months. They are getting settled in their downtown loft just around the corner from Michael's studio and the gallery. Their dream of living their art is coming true!


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