Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is So Simple So Sweet

This week, the last Friday of September, we are visiting Heidi Heitz of So Simple So Sweet.  She is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Colorado.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

So Simple- I was originally going to have a hodge podge shop full of lots of different items so I tried to think up a general name that could go for anything. Simply Sweet was my first choice but it was taken already so I came up with the current variation.

ID- I like it and I think it works great! How long have you been crafting, and who taught you?

SS- I think for my puppets I am self taught although for crafting in general I learned from my mother.

ID- Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject?

SS- I don't have any formal training whatsoever- I was a nurse before I decided to stay home with my kids.

ID- When did you open your Etsy store?

SS- I opened my store in April of this year.

ID- Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

SS- I don't sell anywhere else, I barely have time to keep up on etsy so I don't even think about craft shows or other sites! Maybe someday I will have my own website.

ID- What is one of your favorite items in your store?

SS- My favorite item so far is my new Halloween finger puppets!

ID- All of your finger puppets are so cute! Where do you gain inspiration for your items?

SS- A lot of my inspiration comes from my kids, my four year old son is always coming up with new puppets for me to make! My brain is always swirling with ideas, I just don't have enough time to make them all.

ID- Its great to always have a list of ideas going, but too bad none of us have enough time to do them all.  LOL  What advice can you give your fellow team members?

SS- Being so new to business myself I don't know if I have a lot of advice to give. Maybe just keep trying and read everything you can find about running a business and try to have products that are a little bit unique!

Thank you for letting us feature you, Heidi.  Good luck with your business.  So, that's the simple scoop on So Simple So Sweet.  Go check out her store at:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Create a Treasury based on...

 Zaisy is our featured shop for the weekly, "featured item treasury," chosen by last week's featured shop, "Lilly Jane Jewelry." Zaisy will get to choose the featured item for next week.

*Create a treasury based on this gorgeous charm necklace, using at least 8 MSTTeam shops. (Tell a story and/or create a theme).


--The featured item will be posted on Sunday nights. You have that week to make a treasury based on that one item.
--Create a theme or tell a story with your treasury.
--Use at least 8 MSTTeam shops in the treasury
--Post your treasury link in that week's thread so we can all see them, click and favorite, and comment.
--The new featured item will be chosen by the shop that was just featured. (I will choose the first shop).

This can become a great way for you to get shop exposure. If we create a ton of great treasuries, we have a good chance of making the front page.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is Oh My Stars Productions

First, I beg all of your forgiveness for my lateness on posting our Friday Spotlight.  I have no excuse, I just forgot.  Is that a sign of getting old or just being too stressed out?  :-)

Anyway, this week we turn our hearts over to Becky Ray, of Oh My Stars Productions.  She creates in her home in Syracuse, Utah.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

Oh My Stars- I have been saying "Oh my stars" for over 30 years. It is my way of saying,  "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!"  It is great to show surprise, shock or just to say something when nothing else works. Since I have been saying it for so long, my friends know me for saying it, so it was fitting to call my store "Oh My Stars Productions".

ID- That's funny and a great way to have a name that people will remember!  How long have you been crafting, and who taught you? 
OMS- I have been crafting since I was about 3 or 4--making pretty pictures for my parents and grandmas. My first scrapbook that I made was when I was 6 years old from the cards that I received from my kindergarten class. I have taught myself a lot of crafting techniques, but my mom taught me how to sew and my Grandma Ray taught me how to crochet.

ID- That's wonderful, a scrapbook from cards.  Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject?

OMS- No, I do not have any formal training in crafting or art. I just do what I think looks good to my eyes. Basically, I make what I would buy.

ID- When did you open your Etsy store?
OMS- I opened my store on January 18, 2010.

ID- Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

OMS- The only other place that I sell my items are at work. My co-workers love to buy my cards and my crochet trim baby blankets and burp cloths.

ID- That's probably how many of started out too. :-) What is one of your favorite items in your store?

OMS- One of my favorite items that I sell in my store is the ragquilts. They are fun to make and are so warm!

ID- Cute!  I love your burp clothes too! Where do you gain inspiration for your items?

OMS- I gain inspiration for my items from what seems to come naturally to me. I love to make cards and I love to send cards. I love to make people feel happy. I was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer and have been going through my chemotherapy treatments. Making cards has come in really handy as therapy to me, but also to be able to give a quick thank you note to friends who have helped me through this.

ID- Oh, I'm sorry to hear you have breast cancer.  I hope our being part of our community helps lift your spirits.  Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell?

OMS- Because I live in Utah, I have access to some good deals on scrapbooking supplies. I love a good deal and I love to share that with others. So I try to have my prices low because I have gotten a good deal and can share that. I have also found that my pillowcases have become a hot item. I love to have a good variety to share and sell.

ID- That's great of you to pass on the savings to your customers. What advice can you give your fellow team members?

OMS- The best advice I could give is be sure to post new items each week if not every other day. It helps the customers to see your items and store often.

Becky, it has been a pleasure learning more about you and your store.  We all wish you success with everything.  We will show our love by visiting your store at:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is Got Maille? by Christy

This week we are talking with Christy Brown, a transplanted Canadian now living in Utah with her Texan hubby.  And she says she's loving every minute of it.  Let's see what this lovely woman has to say about her business and experience.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

Got Maille?- GOT Maille? by Christy was inspired by the "Got Milk?" TV commercials from way back in the day. I may be dating myself with that one but it was a logo that always stuck with me because it was fun, catchy & I just love milk.. I also love chaimaille.. seemed a perfect marriage!

ID- I think its fun! How long have you been crafting?

GM- Wow, I really have to think back to answer that. It feels like I've always been crafting or creating my own art in one form or another over the years. As a teenager my favorite form of expression was with a basic 2B pencil in sketches which later transitioned to indian inks and later to acrylics on canvas. In my 20's I discovered to love of creating my own beaded jewelry and began a long & continuing love affair with Swarovski crystals that I still enjoy encorporating into my chainmaille designs today.

ID- Who taught you?

GM- I'm self taught. Chainmaille was difficult for me in the beginning & I nearly gave up learning it at all. I had tried it and dropped it many times over the years in frustration, but my determination to learn to create this amazing, ancient craft was strong & I kept trying. This last time I had given up and packed away my pliers & rings for the last time. Then that same night I had a very vivid, lucid dream in which I was taught how to weave chainmaille & told to not give up. I woke up from that dream and immediately unpacked my pliers & rings, followed the instructions of my dream and VOILA! The clouds parted and a path of brilliant, shiny rings were leading the way to many hours of chainmaille bliss.. haha I know it sounds crazy, but that's how it happened! Dreams are powerful things when we choose to listen to them.

ID- I'm glad you didn't give up!  Your work is beautiful! Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject?

GM- No, none.

ID- When did you open your Etsy store?

GM- In Janurary of this year, 2011.

ID- Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

GM- Nothing formal. I do a fair amount of sales directly from my Facebook page & private sales offline, sometimes selling the very pieces I'm wearing while out & about town. That is always a thrill! I am hoping to get more involved with craft fairs in the future & have been invited to join a clan booth at Utah's Scottish Festival next year. I've also started carrying a "brag book" with me in my purse.. just a little 4x6 printed book from Vista Print so that when people are interested I have something to show them right away instead of hoping that they actually go to my Esty shop from my business card. It seems to generate instant interest, sales and most importantly - that personal relationship with potential customers.

ID- Wow, that's great!  Good advice for the rest of us to incorporate into our off line marketing. What is one of your favorite items in your store?

GM- Wow, tough question! I love everything so much that I have one of almost everything for myself haha If I had to narrow it down I would have to say right now, it's my Chainmaille Fidget Balls - they are just so freaking fun to "fidget" with!

ID- They remind me of hacky sacs from back in the 80's. Where do you gain inspiration for your items?

GM- From everything & anything! There's nothing more fun than sitting with a pile of rings and finding the hidden piece among them waiting to be discovered. I can't think of any one inspiration. Chainmaille is such an ancient art that the majority of weaves themselves are timeless and recreated by all maille artists, sometimes in the classic sense and sometimes with a twist.. like my Barbed Byzantine bracelet that started out as a classic Byzantine weave & I found myself adding to it as I went.

ID- Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell?

GM- Chainmaille is it's own niche, I think, so I would have to say yes. I like to think that I have added my own personality to my maille & make unique, interesting pieces among the traditional weaves.

ID- What advice can you give your fellow team members?

GM- We can't make everyone happy and those sales numbers on the page are no indication of our talents, passions or our endless potential. So I will leave you with this, something I'm sure everyone has heard before but it's still so very true. "Love what you do, do what you love." When you love your craft others will love it too, so be true to it and yourselves.. that is what keeps the magic alive. 

Christy, it's been great talking with you.  Thank you for the wonderful advice and sharing your talents with our team!  
You can see more of Christy's chain maille jewelry at:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Infused Designs

You will love the items that Infused Designs offers. Unique and fun gifts that include crochet items, beads, chain maille, and jewelry. I have seen many shops feature her puzzle items in their treasuries. Check her out!

Infused also generously takes time to feature shops on the Mountain Standard Timers team each Friday, as well as generally helping out with the blog, as one of our team leaders. You can see her series of posts here. We are lucky to have her!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is With Love From Montana

This week its is time for us to meet Charlotte and her "Birdy Helpers," as she calls them, Gerry, Rafa, and Chloe.  They are from Billings, Montana.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

With Love- The name for my store kind of happened by accident. I was thinking about something I was sending as a gift to someone else, and talking with my husband about how we put love into what we do every day, and it just popped up! "With Love From Montana!"

ID- That sounds perfect! How long have you been crafting?

WL- Well, I'm 33, and probably since about age 2! The two biggest constants in my life have been crafting and working with animals, and later for the past 14 years, helping people as a math tutor.

ID- And who taught you?

WL- One of my favorite childhood memories is going on "Nature Walks" with my parents and little sister when we were really small. I remember reaching up up up to hold my dad's hand. We would collect different leaves, flowers, acorns, bugs - whatever caught our little eyes - and took them home to press, preserve, or take care of. We made bookmarks out of the pressed flowers and leaves, and had fun making little terrariums for the bugs. Those bookmarks I suppose were the first big thing that I can remember. It was just so fascinating! I think these Nature Walks and the curiosity and love of investigation they instilled in me really shaped who I grew up to be and influenced my choice to study Genetics in college and go into Genetics research until life brought me out here to Montana four years ago.

ID- That's a wonderful story.  Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject?

WL- Yes and no. I did not study crafts or art in college, save "Art History & Appreciation", but I did have wonderful teachers in other areas! For example, my neighbor up the street, an older woman named Pearl Bowers who has been gone for years now, taught me how to crochet when I was only 7, and I've been doing that every since. As children and teens, my siblings and I were all very involved in our local 4-H club, Pine Ridge 4-H. It's funny, I've met a number of other Etsy artists who also have a 4-H background! Mrs. Pickler taught me cake decorating, Mrs. Briggs taught me all kinds of embroidery and needlework, there was an art class taught by a local high school teacher, and a calligraphy and graphic design class taught by a girl going to college nearby at the time. Sweet elderly Mr. Flemming taught leatherworking even. So while that seed for the urge to create was planted at a very young age, there were many, many wonderful people along the way who shared their knowledge and skills with a bunch of kids, unknowingly changing our lives. :)

ID-  That is great that you remember all of those people who had an influence on your creativity.  Now many of us can say that.  So, when did you open your Etsy store?

WL- My Etsy store opened on Feb 22, 2011, and my first sale was on March 26, 2011. I think I'll do a little celebration on the anniversaries of both those dates, kind of like how people save their first dollar.

ID- That is what I plan to do too.  I think we all should. :-) Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

WL- Right now it's just Etsy! It seems too expensive and not worth it at all to do craft shows. Maybe someday that will change for me, but for now, I'm happy with Etsy, though I wish selling on Amazon were not prohibitively expensive. I really appreciate how Etsy makes selling online in a professional venue both affordable and accessible to almost any artist.

ID- I agree.  Etsy is wonderful in so many ways. What is one of your favorite items in your store?

WL- Ohhhh, that is a tough question! Well, I love these because they are made from vintage glass beads that I bought in Sacramento, CA when I first went away to college:
..but I'm also awfully fond of these, because they are just fun and funky and colorful and very "me" if that makes sense, and they are inspired by my pet peacock that I had as a teenager:

ID- Oh those are both very beautiful.  I love the peacock ones especially.  My favorite colors.  Where do you gain inspiration for your items?

WL- Mostly from life. The scientist in me likes looking at things and noticing weird little details, and tinkering with them even more! I'm also very inspired by other artists, and could spend hours upon hours looking at paintings, through magazines, on Etsy at every little thing.... It's like they all call to me, and ask me to tinker and make the ideas my own. I guess that makes it interpretive? I'm not sure... I also love California and I love Montana, so there is also influence from everything from the trees to the wildflowers to the people from where I grew up and where I made my home here.

ID- Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell?

WL- No, not really yet. I *wanted* my niche to be nickel-free or hypoallergenic earrings with an emphasis on genuine gemstones, as little altered from their natural state as possible. So while the biggest section in my shop, "Gemstones for Healing" does focus on this, I feel like there might be more. So, I'm just not sure yet!

ID- Lastly, what advice can you give your fellow team members?

WL- Don't be discouraged by the numbers. It's a horrible trap to fall into getting worried about X amount of sales, or making X amount of dollars. I think what's far more important is to simply DO. Do what you love, and do it often, every day if you can. Someone gave me the advice of listing something new in my shop every single day. Even though that advice will no longer help you in searches after Etsy's move to relevancy, I still think it's really important for a different reason. If you want to be a writer, you need to write every single day. If you're a scientist, you have to read and study and hit the bench, every single day. If you're a teacher or a tutor, you're always thinking about how you can improve your classroom, some lesson, or a technique. The bottom line is: Do what you love, and do it often. You are nurturing your creative self, your creative spirit, and in a way feeding your soul. It's also important to be professional and always focus on customer service, but remember to nurture the part of you that brought you here to Etsy and the Handmade lifestyle in the first place.

Thank you so much for featuring my shop, and thank you for reading about how it came to be.

With Love from Montana,
Charlotte Bottrell, and my Birdy Helpers ♥

Charlotte, thank you for sharing your talents with our team and your advice is great.  Let's all take her advice and Do.  The first thing to put on your "To Do List" is to show her shop some love at:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is Gayl1956

This time around our spotlight shines on Gayl Caul of Gayl's Goodies.  She calls out from Chicago, IL, so while not technically within the Mountain Standard time zone, we are happy to have her as part of our team.  Let's get to know her and her shop a little better.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

Gayl- Quite accidentally. When I joined Etsy, I came as a buyer with no intention of opening a store. To make it easier to remember my login, I decided to use my eBay identity. Little did I know, I’d be stuck. However, it has become a Blessing. Formally, I am Gayl’s Goodies and plan to open an Etsy store with that name.

ID- Funny how Etsy sucks you in.  :-) How long have you been crafting?

GG- My Mom began teaching me to embroider when I was eleven years old and too ill to play outdoors with other kids. I'm almost 55 now. Since then, I’ve branched off in several directions.

ID -Who taught you?

GG- Mom, Mrs. Jansen, my home EC. teacher in grade school; I’ve had a few teachers for pottery and clay; and there have been seminars for others.

ID- Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject?

GG- Other than clay, and home EC. as a child, no. But I have taken scrapbooking, cardmaking, and jewelry classes at stores.

ID- That's great.  Your art work shows your attention to detail. When did you open your Etsy store?

GG- December 2009

ID- Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

GG- I'm closing my Artfire store because there was no traffic. I do have an eBay store, that is where I destash my Vera Bradley purses. I've received a prestigious offer, but haven't decided yet.

ID- Wow, good luck with the offer. What is one of your favorite items in your store?

GG- It has to be my gold and pearl necklace, because I loved it so much, I made an identical one for me. Feels SO LUXURIOUS!

ID- It's beautiful! Where do you gain inspiration for your items?

GG- Easy. Nature. I am a woman of deep faith, a minister, and I love working with the natural materials God created. I love to see how they look in combination. Additionally, I am OCD about my designs, working toward what looks and feels just right.

ID- Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell?

GG- Yes! Not only that, but I have found such wonderful friendships that I am convinced will be lifelong.

ID- What advice can you give your fellow team members?

GG- Trust your instincts, but don’t be afraid to reach out and try new things. BNRs and BNSs and getting active with teams is something new for me. At first, I was overwhelmed, but giving it time has led to some wonderful experiences and increased sales in my shop. Thank you everyone! Wonderful to meet you all.

Thank you, Gayl.  We are glad to meet you and get to know you better as well.

You can see more of Gayl's goodies at:

Mountain Standard Timers Copyright © 2011