I’m happy to welcome craft-obsessed Shannon from Make It, a new blogger based in Davis Square, Somerville. She not only blogs, but she’s a crafter herself and loves creating jewelry, painting, knitting and is learning how to sew, too. On top of that, she’s passionately exploring the wonderful world of batik. Shannon even has an etsy store!
Make It focuses mainly on the business side of crafting, so it’s light on eye candy, heavy on well thought out content – Shannon believes in inspiration through education, and posts at least twice daily. Make It offers tips on starting your own business (What’s the right consignment fee for a new boutique? for instance), crafter interviews, selling how-to’s, and a new monthly feature, Ask An Expert. This feature offers Make It readers a chance to learn from those who Shannon deems an expert in their field. She selects a topic that she would like to learn more about, hunts down an expert, asks them a series of questions, and shares the fruitage of her labor with Make It readers. “Everyone is very eager to share their knowledge and I’ve met a ton of talented people”, Shannon says. “The craft scene is mostly female and they I love that there are so many women with entrepreneurial goals.”
Want to know what else Shannon has to say? Of course you do!
decor8: Hi Shannon. Since I’ve already introduced you to decor8 readers, why don’t you tell us about what you’re looking to accomplished via Make It, you know, big picture here…
shannon: I have a lot of goals for myself. Of course, visibility (via Make It) for my own crafty pursuits. I’d love for Make It to evolve to a point where it’s a behind the scenes look at my own experience as I build my crafty business, but I’m not there yet. A book is also something I’m thinking of. There’s definitely a need for a book about the business side of creative enterprises. Someone has to write it, why not me? As I continue to blog, learn more, and meet crafters, the book idea will develop more. I’m currently working on my first freelance writing gig and that’s a direct result of someone from a magazine seeing my blog. Eventually I’d love to start an organization like the Boston-based Artists for Humanity, which is a program that teaches youth artistic skills and then also teaches them about the business side of the arts with the goal of bridging racial, social and economic divides. What an inspiring organization. Make It is a starting point for a variety of creative endeavors that I want to achieve.
decor8: Great goals! From your own experience, and I know you’re new at this, but what is the best thing about blogging thus far?
shannon: It’s such an easy way to get your writing onto the internet for potentially anyone to see. I highly encourage those who want to express their creative side, but aren’t sure where to start, to just blog and develop your ideas from there. It’s so easy and it can lead you places you never anticipated. I see my blog almost as a mini-magazine. I think of the things that I would do if I had magazine about the business of crafts, and then I make those ideas work for my blog. Best part, the budget is lower and the turnaround time is 24 hours instead of 6 months (compared to print publications). The medium of what a blog can be or do is really expanding and I love it. An idea can go straight from my head to my blog and there’s nothing anyone can do or say about it (for better or for worse). On my blog, I answer to no one!
decor8: There are lots of crafty blogs. What do you think makes your blog stand out?
shannon: As far as I know there isn’t another blog offering a daily dose of information about this subject. The Switchboards is an amazing resource, as are a number of other online craft communities: Get Crafty, Supernaturale, Etsy, Craftster. But these are all forum-based communities. Sometimes the problems with forums is that there can be so much information that you have to know what you’re looking for or you’ll get overwhelmed. With my blog, it’s just two posts a day, it’s quick, it’s easy and maybe a reader will hear about something they had never thought of before.
decor8: Let’s switch gears now, shall we? As a local, I’d like to hear what you think sets Boston apart from other cities…
shannon: Boston has alot of the advantages of a big city but feels like a small city. It’s very walkable, it’s very safe and it’s not intimidating in a way I find New York City to be. I also love autumn and no one does autumn like New England! I also really enjoy the proximity to other major cities, in August I went to NYC one weekend and then Philly the next. Everything is pretty accesible.
decor8: What are your favorite Boston-based design/crafty stores?
shannon: Hmm, this is a tough one because as a recent college grad I am extremely frugal. I have relied on Craigslist for so much of my post-college life from furniture to apartments to volunteer opportunities, so that’s my favorite “store” of all time. I also love thrift stores and Urban Renewals located on 122 Brighton Avenue in Allston is incredible.
decor8: Other than blogs, are there any creative websites that you suggest visiting for inspiration?
shannon: I pretty much only visit blogs. I visit The Hunt in NY Times Sunday Real Estate section because they always profile an average person’s space and I love to see how average people live (not magazine people). It also makes me glad I don’t live in the land of $2,000 per month studio apartments. I check Lotta Jansdotter’s site probably once a week. I am a huge fan of her work and her career and she’s a big inspiration. I wrote about her in my second blog post ever. I visit decor8 and other design and craft blogs daily, those are my main source of inspiration.
decor8: What are five subjects that you’d like to learn more about and why?
shannon: I want to become a batik expert, so I want to really dig into that subject. How to be an effective writer (obvious reasons). How to sew and how to quilt. Because batik is the process of designing and dyeing fabric, I want to be able to then make that fabric into something. Also HTML and web design interest me because I’d like to be able to do cooler things with my blog and create my own crafting business website.
decor8: Favorite trends you’re seeing…
shannon: I like the trend towards more organic and handmade items. I think in light of issues like global warming and foreign oil dependence, people are becoming more concerned about where the things they buy come from. That applies not only to gifts and clothing (see American Apparel) but food and furniture. I think it’s great because I want to be a part of the handmade industry, but I also think it makes alot of sense for the planet.
shannon: Pizza and expensive shoes. There’s always room for expensive shoes. :)
Thank you Shannon for stopping by and sharing your blog with decor8 readers.
Due to limited space, I try to keep interviews brief. If you have additional questions for Shannon, please ask her by clicking on ‘comments’ below. Shannon will answer your questions there. Thank you!
(images from Shannon)
Fancy a spot of tea? This isn’t your grandmother’s tea party. Visit Third Drawer Down for limited edition domestic artworks in the form of tea towels, artkerchiefs and artprons. It’s all about bringing a little more artistic flair into the mundane things of life, right?
[Posts are a bit short and sweet today, as I’m rushing around since we’ll be taking off with friends for the next few days after 3pm today). Make sure you check out the blog of the week, Make It, and our book of the week, Junk Market Style. Don’t worry, it’s not how it sounds, the book surprised me with some clever projects and such. If I’m not back today, I’ll be back on Sunday with an interview and some more fresh finds. Oh, and if you’re in Boston this weekend, please do not miss the South End Open Studios, lots of fun! Enjoy!]
(images from third drawer down)
Here’s a creative idea to start off your week! It’s always fun to find new and exciting ways to display things, right? Traditional methods can become quite boring after awhile, but with a dash of creativity, finding an alternative way to show off your things can transform your space into a visually stimulating and appealing place to hang out.
By creating inspirational focal points in your home, guests will linger, conversation will fill the air, and friends will return home with a new eye for their own space. Most importantly, displaying your favorite things (vs. tucking them into drawers or displaying them somewhat incorrectly) makes you feel happier at home, more stimulated, too. Don’t you want your home to sing your song? Your space should tell your story, your home = your life. All of the things you’ve collected and cherished throughout the years deserve a place, whether grouped together on a shelf or dresser top, displayed on a transparent wall mounted shelf or carefully congregated on the fireplace mantle, all deserve a place to shine and be seen.
If you haven’t picked up the September issue of Living Etc (UK) magazine yet, grab it and turn to page 41. There’s this great tip called “Off The Peg” which suggests using a clothes line in your kitchen to display your favorite dish towels. That idea didn’t interest me much, but the thought of using a retractable clothes line did give me ideas for other spaces in the home – over the bed, over the sofa, down a long narrow hallway… I encourage use of this clothes line technique to any room in your home, going far beyond dish towels, to include posters, photography, fabric, even strips of gorgeous wallpaper. Install a clothes line over your sofa, for instance, and clip on 3 bold prints from the International Poster Gallery in Boston (or online). Viola! Art you can rotate without purchasing poster frames.
Living Etc. suggests using a clothes line with metal wall mounts, which I stand behind as well since the look is more contemporary than rope, wood pins, and eye hooks. I would like to see the clothes line extrended across an entire wall, rotating your favorites as the seasons change. How fun! This clothes line and these funky black birds clothes pins are hip and functional, as well as affordable. Gotta love that!
Have you experimented with this display technique in your own home? Do you like this idea?
(images from living etc, international poster gallery, where did you buy that, and
Have you heard of Adorn magazine, the new craft mag on the block for women? Geared towards ladies that love to create as well as those that never progressed beyond 1st grade macaroni necklaces, if you’re willing to learn something new, Adorn delivers. It’s well-written (short + sweet!), informative, fun, and packed with DIY projects from totally kitschy stuff to projects that have a more grown up appeal.
I think it’s a great magazine for all ages, perfect for mom and ‘tween daughter to come together for an afternoon of crafting with her friends, terrific for you and your friends for a Friday night craft meet. Despite how much I tend to dislike craft magazines, this one is actually a huge step up from the typical country kitchen stencil, silk flower wreath, and glue gun galore that’s so present in most DIY publications. Adorn is smarter, hipper, and even smaller than your standard size magazine. The fresh cover first caught my eye, and as I flipped through, I was impressed by the layout and design, full-color photos that inspire, and the appealing typefaces. Adorn touches on trends, party planning, DIY fashion and accessories, and cool projects for embellishing the home. They throw in a little bit of everything, but for some reason, it doesn’t feel like it’s missing focus (no signs that the entire staff has ADD -smile-).
The message Adorn sends forth is clear – carve out time to be creative, whether you consider yourself a lost cause or a crafty diva. Flipping through that pile of magazines on your floor or drooling over what others create isn’t half as fulfilling as making something with your own hands. It also helps you find your own personal style and create a home that oozes with personality and charm.
I found my copy at Borders, however I’ve since spotted them at Barnes + Noble and a few local craft stores, too. You can preview their premiere issue online, and you can check out their blog if you’d like a glimpse of Adorn behind the scenes. Their Fall/Winter issue will hit newsstands on November 7th, so you still have time to pick up their Summer premiere.
Psst: Some of the items created for the product shots are being offered by etsy seller Indie Craft Movie, like these crochet embellished pillow covers and this funky hobo handbag.
(all images from adorn)