Friday, March 26, 2010

Meet David and Chloe of SleepingBunny

David and Chloe of Etsy's Sleeping Bunny make up a talented pair of crafters who create adorable plush animals made from recycled sweaters and unique, handknit awesomeness. And they are members of Steel Town Etsy, of course! David answered the following questions while Chloe was at class, so what's written is from his perspective. :)

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Sleeping Bunny is made up of David and Chloe, who live on the edge of the city near Crafton. David is a full-time chef who currently works at Blue Dust bar in Homestead, and Chloe is a full-time student working toward a Radiological Technician degree.

Apart from creating things, how do you like to spend your time?

While crafting takes up a good bit of our time, we also enjoy just being out of the house. Our group of friends all meet once a week at a local bar to catch up on things. We both cycle recreationally and like being in the great outdoors when the weather's good.

What first made you want to become an artist?

Chloe has always had the artistic touch, and picked up knitting a few months ago while we were looking for a hobby to pass bad weather days stuck indoors. I've always known how to sew, but picked up making stuffed animals after seeing a book on it in a local bookstore. We love expressing ourselves, and are always looking for new ways to expand our crafter-tunities.

What does your creative process look like- how, when, materials, etc.?

I started out just making a few things from the book I bought on making sock animals, but after learning the basics and a few other techniques from the examples, I decided to branch out. My inspiration comes either from an idea I have for a specific finished product I want and then working the sock to match, or from the sock itself just asking to be made into a certain shape (i made a frog out of frog-printed socks, for example)

Chloe usually makes knits by seeing a yarn she thinks would make a great specific piece of attire. She's new to knitting, as I am to hand sewing, so her repertoire is still expanding. She just makes things that she likes and learns along the way.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

I made a vest that I have yet to finish that I really like. It's deep brown corduroy with a blue and brown flannel lining. Chloe made herself a knit change purse that she uses, but I can't say if it's her most cherished. As far as the sock animals go, Chloe really likes
this striped giraffe I made (she even has it in her Facebook profile pic). I'm partial to my sock-o-dile made from a green/brown argyle sock.

What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?

Being new to the crafting scene ourselves, I consider us blessed to have done as much as we have so far. If I could give any advice, though, it would be to network. Steel Town Etsy is a great opportunity that's helped immensely, and we couldn't have done nearly what we have without it. I would also suggest buying the book
"Crafty Superstar" by Grace Dobush. It really helped us lay out, and figure out, what to do when and how to do it, as far as selling crafts goes.

How do you promote your work?

We try to promote our work shamelessly. I always carry our business cards around with me so I can plaster them wherever I can. Any bulletin board is fair game to me. We also promote heavily on Facebook and through our circle of friends. Our blog isn't well publicized, but it's located at

Thanks so much for the interview,
Sleeping Bunny! We're honored to have you as part of the STE family! :)

Check out Sleeping Bunny's handcrafted wares at I Made It! Market's
Chili with the Works: Spring Art and Chili Festival coming up on Saturday, April 10th!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Meet Steel Town Etsy Artisans at April Art & Craft Events!

The craft show season is officially kicking off as Spring rolls in, and we are all super excited to get out there to sell our handmade wares, network with other local crafty folk, and meet our craft-loving Pittsburgh customers!

Look for us at the following upcoming local events, both in PA and OH. We hope to see you there!


April 10th:
I Made It! Market presents
Chili With the Works: Spring Arts & Chili Festival. South Side Works in the former Joseph Beth Booksellers space. Saturday, April 10, 2010, 2-8pm. 60+ local indie craft vendors. Celebrity-judged Chili Contest sponsored by SSW and ESPN Radio. Live entertainment and activities for the kiddos.

April 23rd:
Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District. Shop w/our local artisans at Northside Urban Pathways School at 914 Penn Ave! Art. Music. Dance. Networking. Fun. A free showcase of art and entertainment in the heart of Pittsburgh's Cultural District, Friday, April 23rd between 5:30 and 9:00 pm.


April 9-10th:
ArtIsAlive 2010 sponsored by ArtsinStark in cooperation with The Canton Museum of Art. Canton, OH. April 9-10th, 2010. A great party with great stuff, great entertainment and a whole lot of fun, fun, fun.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Newest Additions to the STE Crew

Our newest batch of STE members is a big one, full of talent and bursting with Pittsburgh handmade pride! Show'em some Steel Town love! :D Welcome, everyone!

AnnieVicar- Handmade art dolls made from scratch - no molds or pre-made parts

archidisiac- Original drawings, sketches, and paintings

atlantisak- Handcrafted jewelry using sterling silver, natural gemstones, glass and unusual materials

AuntEsThings- Custom web graphics and fine art

CraftersEmporium- Destash sharing for the crafty

CreekBedThreads- Various home goods and accessories, such as pillows, purses, and pouches, using current designer fabrics as well as vintage finds

FemmeDiable- Unique handpainted and handmade artwork, crafts, jewelry, clothes etc.

foodforthesoul- Rosaries, chaplets, prayer beads, etc.

gocarrgo- Greeting cards, posters, jewelry using paper cut images and art

GreatStuff2730- Original photography (Angela Rocco Photography) and vintage items

ImageCraftCreation- Handmade jewelry, pandora style bracelets, and custom charm bracelets

jennyrebel- Fiber crafts, mostly little stuffed animals...some pottery to come soon!

Lynniebbags- Handmade bags/purses

MAKOandMYLO- Handmade totes and bags

michelespatterns with scrappykwiltkits- Quilting, rug hooking, needle punch, and embroidery

MommyMakingMemories- Diaper cakes & other diaper baby shower items, and some scrapbook pages

mylittlecornerdesign- Folk art paintings

pimasbeads- Gemstone and crystal jewelry, some supplies and a few antiques

robinsnesttreasures- Handmade purses & totes, vintage jewelry & accessories, stuffed toys, wreaths, & more

rosarenee- Jewelry, primarily earrings and bracelets made with paper beads that I create myself

Samst132- Jewelry for All Occasions!

thedreamingowl- Handmade accessories, created through knitting, crocheting, sewing, and/or beading

thetwistedtree- Quirky paintings, whimsical scarves, and unique beaded jewelry

ThirtytwoFlavors- Hair accessories and charms

uniquedesignsbyjill- Handmade purses/bags

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Steel Town Etsy Saint Patrick's Day Promo Starts Today

The Steel Town Etsy St. Patrick's Day Promo and Sale runs today, March 14th, through this Saturday, March 20th. Visit any, or all, of the participating shops below, find the shamrock listed as a picture in one of the items for sale in the shop, and convo the seller to let them know which listing you found the picture in. Then, just let them know which item or items you'd like to purchase at the sale price of 20% off and they'll create a special listing just for you.

Participating Shops:

Barker's Herbs and Heirlooms
Vintage Hotcakes
Charmed By Nature
Sleeping Bunny
Bitsy Kids
Vic's Kitsch'N
aBc Children's Designs
Heavenly Creations
Silent Lotus
Diane Wright Designs
Pima's Beads
Gee... That's Swell
That's What She Thread
Jet Pack Agenda
M. Giehll Creations
Myers Flock and Fiber Farm
The Dreaming Owl
Unique Designs By Jill
Christie Creations
Atlantisak Jewelry

Enjoy your handmade treasure hunt!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

STE's First Chat and Meetups a Big Success!

Steel Town Etsy's awesome members met last week for our very first monthly online chat since the team's inception in January. We were so thrilled that 16+ people came together! Woot! Much gratitude to all who popped in to say hello.

The team also had it's first in-person casual meetups in the past week- our very first "live" gatherings! On Thursday of last week, a crew of chatty STE peeps showed up at Starbuck's in Sqirrel Hill to get to know one another and chat up all things Pittsburgh and crafty. And last evening, 14 social butterflies came out to Double Wide Grill on the city's south side for yummy food, refreshing drinks, and to network and bond! Thanks so much to everyone who came out!

It's so exciting to see the team explode with newbies (from 8 to 42 in just a few weeks) and everyone's commitment to connect with other Pittsburgh crafty folk, support one another, and build a strong team is fantastic! STE is so happy and honored to have such a rockin' and talented bunch!

Go Steel Town Etsy! We rock! :D

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meet STE Member Megan from "That's What She Thread"

Hooray! It seems as though spring is finally on its way here to the Burg! And right on cue with the spring, Steel Town Etsy is growing in leaps & bounds! This week we’ve got another rock’n new member to talk about – Megan from That's What She Thread:

Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Megan and I live in Pittsburgh with my fiancé Nick of JetPack Agenda. We’re originally from Buffalo, NY. I went to the Art Institute here and fell in love with the city. I taught myself how to sew at a relatively young age and after much pressure from friends and family in the last few years started “That’s What She Thread”. I sell vintage-inspired aprons, dresses, bags, totes, hand-embroidered kitchen-y stuff and as of late, a few baby items.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love hiking, cooking, baking, making home-made jam, knitting, crocheting, frequenting the library, gardening and spending time with friends. It just occurred to me that several of my answers still include creating things…

What first made you want to become an artist?
Until recently, I didn’t ever really connect my sewing with being an “artist”. It’s a really great feeling to be called that! To me it’s not something you choose to be. I just am a lousy shopper, so when it comes to birthdays and holidays my first thought generally is to make someone something. I had a few friends who were constantly telling me I should start trying to sell my stuff, so this July I gave in and started “That’s What She Thread”.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Currently, given the weather as of late, it’s this pair of slippers my sister made me as a Christmas gift. They’re hand-stitched out of upcycled sweaters that she felted in the washer. That and the super-cute business card holder my other sis crocheted for me. It really comes in handy and fits perfectly in my purse or coat pocket, wherever I go.

Name your top five places to be in the Pittsburgh area.
Frick Park – Nick and I love to pack a lunch and come out here. You can easily make a day of hiking, picnicking, and stopping at the Oakland central library on the way home!
Point Park - I love taking out-of-town friends down here on the T from Dormont, especially in the late afternoon before sunset.
Strip District – It is always bustling with people and culture and incredible smells. Also a great place to take out-of-towners, the fish market and open-air produce makes Pittsburgh feel like a big city. Not to mention the numerous different grocery stores (Asian, Mexican, etc.) make stocking up my kitchen super-easy.
Southside River Front Path – A beautiful and quiet summer walking/biking spot. Lots of off-the-path exploring to do here too.
My Backyard Garden – There is nothing better to me than to spend my day off tending to my veggies, herbs and flowers while hanging my laundry to dry in the sun and napping in the hammock.

What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?
Just go for it! It took me a lot of prodding from friends to start my Etsy. I didn’t have much confidence that anyone would actually want to buy anything I made. But when I finally did, and the sales and compliments and custom orders started coming in, it’s an awesome feeling! There is a ton of people here in Pgh that respect handmades, and the support is incredible.

What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see? Etsy is so great and user-friendly! There is this awesome feature where when you list a new item you can immediately post it to your Facebook page. Once I sold an apron within 20 minutes of listing it because someone online saw the post. I also list sales I’m having on there. On the other hand I try to keep up with people “heart”-ing my items and site. Unfortunately, Etsy doesn’t offer notifications when someone has marked you or your stuff as a favorite, so every few days I go through my items manually and try to remember which hearts are new. I wrote a message to the Etsy powers-that-be but they wrote back saying it wasn’t a feature they were planning to add…

How do you promote your work?
I try to wear my stuff and carry around business cards as much as I can. I’m a little shy about self-promotion but it’s easy to work into a conversation when someone asks me where I got my super-cute apron from. I’ve had a lot of luck networking on my Facebook fan page . Recently I’ve started a MySpace page too. My boss at MexiCasa has also let Nick and I hang flyers and business cards on the bulletin boards there and we’ve been allowed to leave cards at a few other local businesses.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Introducing today's featured seller: Paula from Pootinkies

The Steel Town Etsy team is thrilled to have so many new members! We'll be featuring interviews with them from time to time.

The first of these is with Paula of Pootinkies.  We hope you enjoy our interview!

STE:  Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.

Pootinkies:  I'm Paula Luna :) I live South of Pittsburgh. I moved around a bit in my life but Pittsburgh is my heart and soul. I started my company Pootinkies on Etsy after having my son. I saw a serious need for baby things that were not your typical pink and blue. Or ducks. Or nauseating pastels in general. *gag*

STE:  Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Pootinkies:  Number one I am a Mom! I am also a pediatric nurse. I have also done ER and Labor and Delivery as well.

STE:  What first made you want to become an artist?

Pootinkies:  I don't think I ever really sat down and thought-hey! I should become an artist! I have been doing creative stuff all my life really. My Mom is like that too so I am sure I got a lot of it from her. I never really liked the latest fashions or whatever was "in". So I have always done my own thing. I am just really lucky at this time in my life that people are liking what I do!

STE:  Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.

Pootinkies:  Things just come to me. My brain is a funny thing. Most of the time I am laying in bed half awake and half dreaming and I will think of something. Then the next day I will attempt to create whatever is in my mind. Everything I would want for my kid that isn't available I just try to create. Then I add a dash of weird, a teaspoon of quirky, and a touch of scary and then voila! Success! I use soft fuzzy fabrics. My favorite is cotton. I can't stand the things out there for babies in the corporate stores. One layer of half polyester half cotton doesn't do it for me when it comes to a drooling teething kiddo.

STE:  What handmade possession do you most cherish?

Pootinkies:  My zombie weiner dogs, definitely. There is nothing like them. Everyone needs one to have a complete fulfilled life ;)

STE:  Name your top five places to be in the Pittsburgh area, books/authors, movies/TV shows, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.

Pootinkies:  Oh boy. This question is a tough one.  I think I am going to go with just the top 5 places in Pittsburgh:

1. Primantis-Because they do it up right. You put your fries and slaw all on your sammich. You have a cold Iron City beer to wash it down with. Then for at least an hour afterwards you must speak in a thick Pittsburgh accent that only people from here could possibly understand. It's a total out of body experience.

2. The Strip District-You can get anything you want here as far as food goes. Everything from Chinese food to Italian food to Mexican food. You can get it there. Plus I love the feel of the place. The vendors are out on the streets all summer long. It is the ultimate place to get your Steeler gear!!!!

3. Mt. Washington lookouts-You just can't get that kind of a city view anywhere else. It is breathtaking. It's cool to ride the incline up the hill and walk around on a cool summer night. Especially when there is a Steeler or Pirates game going on because you can see right down into the stadiums.

4. Kennywood Park-I love amusement parks. Kennywood has that nostalgic feel to it. Just the smells and the sounds as soon as you walk into that park. It just makes me feel like I am ten years old all over again.

5. The Point-This is a beautiful park that has an awesome fountain! You just can't experience three rivers all at once anywhere else.

STE:  What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?

Pootinkies:  Be true to your own art. Don't be afraid that someone else isn't going to like what you are making. Plus-you are your biggest sales person. You can't be shy. Don't be afraid to ask your friends for a little help in the advertising department. Word of mouth is key. So don't be quiet about it.

STE:  How do you promote your work?

Pootinkies:  Facebook is a big one. I have a fan page on there that really helps. People all over the world are viewing it. I have business cards too. Plus meeting people and talking to everyone and anyone. I have met some of the coolest people just getting involved in groups like Steel Town Etsy. They are really creative and inspiring people. I have flyers and posters that I hang up in various places as well.

STE:  Please finish this sentence, "In five years I'd like to be..."

Pootinkies: A Mom of two ♥

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nifty Craft Show List 2010


Vending opportunities for local crafters and shopping opportunities for the craft-happy (though in many cases, these are one in the same)! ;)

Support local businesses, shop handmade, and bask in the love that goes into every crafty creation!

This is a somewhat random list that is by no means a comprehensive one. If you'd like us to add add an event, email or convo us via Etsy at

(Pittsburgh and surrounding areas)


Saturdays: Lawrenceville Little Flea, corner of Butler St. and 36th. (Goeller's parking lot) in Lawrenceville. 8am-3pm.

Sundays: Pittsburgh Flea, 21st st & Railroad, Strip District. 8am-3pm


Thunder in the Valley® Annual Motorcycle Rally, Johnstown, PA, June 24-27, 2010. For cending info, contact For vending information, contact Karen Soliday at Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Call 1-800-237-8590, x31 or send an email to

25: I Made It! with WYEP's Summer Music Festival, Schenley Plaza, Oakland. Friday, June 25th, 4-8pm. Application.

26-27: Fourth Annual
"Art in the Wilds" Fine Arts Show, Kane, PA, June 26-27, 2010. Applications due March 1st.

27: I Made It! Market's Birthday Party, Jewish Community Center (JCC), Squirrel Hill. Sunday, June 27th, 12-5pm. Application.


Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival, Twin Lakes Park, Greensburg, PA, July 1-4, 2010. Applications due March 1st.

16-18: I Made It! Market for the South Side Works Exposed Artists Market. South Side Works, Pittsburgh, PA. July 16-18, 2010. Application

18: Polish Hill Arts Festival, Sunday, July 18th, 12-8pm. Applications by May 15th.

Discover Presque Isle, Erie, PA, July 23-25, 2010. Applications due June 1st.


14-15: Art Fair on the Boardwalk- Conneaut Lake Art Fair, Conneaut Lake Park. Applications by June 15th.


Co-op Art Harvest, September, 2010. Watch
website for details.

21st Annual Music in the Mountains, Ohiopyle, State Park, Fayette County, PA. Labor Day weekend, September 4-5, 2010. Watch website for details, or contact Friends of Ohiopyle at

The Steeltown Shakedown, Twin Hi-Way Drive in on Rte. 60, Sept 11 from 1 pm until? A pre-65 hot rod/car with live bands, vendors, pin-up contest, trophies, pinstriper and tattoo artist on site, and a vintage movie at dusk! Watch website for details.

Wild Wind Folk Art & Craft Show, Warren, PA, September 11-12.

17-19: The Horror Realm Convention, Crowne Plaza, Pittsburgh South. September 17-19, 2010. Check website for vendor information.

Covered Bridge Festival, Washington County, September 18-19th. Contact Washington Co. Tourism office for vending details. (800)531-4114/(724) 228-5520 or

Ebensburg PotatoFest 2010:Downtown Ebensburg, PA, Saturday, September 25, 2010, 9-5pm. Applications due August 13th.

Franklin Applefest, Franklin, Pa October 1-3, 2010. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Ligonier Days October 8-10, 2010. Applications due March 31st.


23: The Holly and the Ivy Art and Craft Show. Embassy Suites Hotel, Moon Township. October 23, 11am-9pm. Contact Chris at (724) 728-3018 or by e-mail at for more info.

23: St. Thomas More Art & Craft Show, Bethel Park, October 23, 2010. Applications due May 30th. Call 412-833-0031 for more information.


13-14: The Holly and the Ivy Art and Craft Show. Pittsburgh North Marriott, Cranberry Township. November 13-14, 2010. Contact Chris at (724) 728-3018 or by e-mail at for more info.

20-21: The Holly and the Ivy Art and Craft Show. Seven Oaks Country Club, Beaver.
November 20-21, 2010. Contact Chris at (724) 728-3018 or by e-mail at for more info.


I Made It! for the Holidays, The Union Project, Pittsburgh, PA. December 4, 2010, 12-6pm. Watch I Made It!'s website for details.

(Shows across PA and in neighboring states.)


Every First Sunday: Crafty By Nature Outdoor Indie Market, Shupp’s Grove in Adamstown, PA (Lancaster County). May thought October. 9am-4pm.


Lakewood Arts Festival, Lakewood, OH, August 7, 2010. Applications due March 15th.


1-3: Oglebayfest, Artist and Gourmet Markets, Wheeling, WV. Applications by April 30th.


18: Last Minute Market presented by I Made It! Market and Cleveland Handmade, December 18, 2010. Watch
I Made It!'s and Cleveland Handmade's websites for details.