Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meet STE Members Gemma and Lexi of Mother-Daughter Duo LexiandGem

Steel Town Etsy members Gemma and Lexi of Etsy's mother and daughter duo Lexi and Gem lovingly handcraft jewels that blend two delightful spirits into beautifully simple, sweetly delicate, and memorable pieces. Read on to meet the talented artisans behind their inspired work.

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

Hi, I'm Gemma (Gem of
Lexi and Gem), a stay at home mom of two great kids, Lexi and Connor. I'm married to my high school sweetheart.

I, Lexi (the other half of Lexi and Gem), am currently a junior at North Allegheny High School and hope to one day be a Veterinarian. We live in the Ingomar area of the North Hills and are life long Pittsburghers!

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Gem: I like to hike and garden. I really enjoy cooking and having dinner with friends.

Lexi: I like art, watching movies with friends, baking cookies and shopping.

We both love to travel, and we also volunteer together at Animal Friends as doggy foster parents.

What first made you want to become artists?

It wasn't really a conscious decision. We've always enjoyed doing crafts together, from the time Lexi was a little girl. We've done almost every craft imaginable, from finger painting to candle making. Once we became more serious about becoming artists, we started taking classes and workshops. Starting our business on Etsy was Lexi's crazy little side project that grew totally out of control (in a good way!).

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

When we do gemstone pieces, it's kind of a free for all- we pull out the stones and the ideas start flowing. With all of the colors, shapes, and sizes the possibilities are neverending. When we work with Precious Metal Clay (PMC) to make the fine silver pieces however, the process is much more structured. The nature of the clay demands that ideas already be in place before the creating begins. We often sketch out ideas and cut out templates before we start rolling the clay. Felting is a bit of a mystery in that we choose the colors but the flowers design themselves, the wool being sort of in control. We are often inspired by nature and things around us, and current styles and trends play a role when in designing our pieces.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

Gem: favorite handmade pieces are the ones my kids have made. I have their framed artwork hanging throughout our home. I truly loved the Christmas tree we had decorated when the kids were in elementary school, the ornaments were almost completely handmade, I particularly loved the origami garland we made together, sadly it's no longer with us.

Lexi: My favorite handmade piece is the ceramic Merry-Go-Round my mom painted for me when I was little.

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

TOP 5 Pittsburgh Places
1. The Strip (love the food!)
2. The Three Rivers Arts Festival (so many talented artists)
3. Ross Park Mall (yeah, we like to shop)
4. The Incline (cause the view at the top is amazing, and the ride's pretty cool too)
5 .North Side Farmers Markets (the chocolate chocolate chip raspberry cookies are worth the trip)

TOP 5 Movies
1. Pride and Prejudice
2. The Brothers Bloom
3. Penelope
4. A Few Good Men
5. Shawshank Redemption

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

Don't let your inhibitions stop you! If you love to create, follow your dream. We'd also suggest networking to get support. Joining the Steel Town Etsy team has been wonderful for us. We've met some really talented artist and have learned alot.

What are your favorite features on Etsy?

We like to peruse the front page, especially the featured sellers.

How do you promote your work?

We promote by word of mouth and social networking. We're on
Twitter and have a Facebook Fan Page. We've recently started doing craft shows as well, to increase our local exposure.

In five years I'd like to be...

In five years I (Gem) hope to be still creating and I (Lexi) hope to be entering Vet school and creating as well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How To Make Your Own Banner

Hello! My name is Erin, from Creek Bed Threads, and I'm going to be doing a few guest posts on the STE blog here and there. This tutorial, which is also posted on my blog, is great for when you want to change up the look of your Etsy shop or blog quickly and easily.

Today I am going to show you how to make an Etsy or blogger banner for free, using the online photo editing program called picnik! Etsy banners are very simple to make, but can often be very frustrating if you're not used to using photo software. For those of you without an Etsy shop, but with a blog, it's also nice to have a banner stating your name and what you do at the top of your blog, rather than just text. This will teach you how to do that! Please note that you can click each image to enlarge it.

I'm going to use a standard Etsy banner size to do this, which is 760 pixels wide by 100 pixels tall. If you're not familiar with pixels, it's ok, you really don't need to be. It's basically just the way computers measure size, similar to inches or centimeters. A one by one pixel square is just a very very tiny dot on your computer screen.

First, let me give you the starting template. This is just a plain old rectangle, but I've colored it a very slight gray. This color will not necessarily show up in your final banner unless you want it to, but it's easier to see in picnik.

To start, click on the image below. It will open in a new window (it is necessary to open it in a new window in order to get the correct size).  Then right click the image, and save it to your computer somewhere where you will remember it. Feel free to rename it however you'd like.

blank etsy banner

Now head over to picnik. You'll see this:

Go ahead and click on 'Get started now!' You'll then want to click 'Upload photos' and choose the image that you just saved.

Now you will see the gray box in picnik. We're ready to get going now!

Click the tab at the top that says "Create". Below that, click on "Text".

For now, we're going to leave the gray box - we can change it later.  Instead, we're going to go ahead and add some text, like your blog or shop name, and a tag line. To do this, click on the "text" button.   In the box, type your blog/shop name, I'll use Creek Bed Threads. Click "Add". Now you can change the color to whatever you'd like.  Remember, we'll change the background color in a minute.  Look for the "text properties" box and click whichever color you'd like. To change the font, click any font on the left side menu.  Make sure you don't choose a "Premium" font, though, you have to pay for these!  There are a lot of great free fonts available.

You can also resize your text by dragging the corners of the text box.  To add additional text, just head back to the box in the top left, type your additional text, and click "Add".

Now we're going to add some color behind the text. Click on the "Stickers" link, which is right next to the "Text" link you clicked earlier.

Look along the left hand side of your screen. You'll see many different options. The first thing we want to do is change the background color. To do this, we're just going to add a solid colored rectangle. Scroll down until you see "Geometric" and click on it. Click on your image and drag it to create a new box. Use the sizing handles to make it about the same size, or a little larger, than the original gray box. Now you can adjust the color of the rectangle by choosing a color in the "sticker properties" box. Just click anywhere on the colors shown to choose the color you want. I've shown this one in pink.

But what happened to our text????  With the rectangle selected, right click and click "send to back".  This will put it behind your text!

Now is the time you may want to play with placement, colors, etc. Each time you click on an object (your rectangle, text, etc.) you will see a properties box. This is where you can change the color, font, etc.

If you'd like a border around your image, add another rectangle in the same manner as before, but size it slightly smaller than your image. This will create a "border". Again, it will hide your text at first, but right click and click "send backward" ("send to back" will push it too far back). Repeat the right click - "send backward" until you can see all of your text.

Ok, now it's time to make it pretty. Make sure you're still on the "Stickers" menu. Now you can scroll around and check out all of the fun images and icons they have for you to use. There are many options! Beware for the "premium only" icons, though, you can't get these for free. Keep scrolling down and there will be more free options!

Here is what I chose to do. Notice that I changed my background rectangle to pink, and added another white rectangle on top - but this time I used the option with the rounded corners rather than the square corners. I also added some squiggly leaf things - these are actually two stickers that I arranged to touch, making it look like one. You can easily flip, rotate, and otherwise edit the stickers from the properties window that shows up when you click the object. Remember, to change the layering of any object, right click on it, and click "send backward" or "bring forward". If you want to send it all the way to the back or front of your objects, click "send to back" or "bring to front".

Here is another option I played around with, just keeping the gray background.

Once you're satisfied, click the "save and share" tab.  It should realize that you want to save it at 760x100 pixels, but just check to make sure.  Then click "save photo"!  That's it!  Now it's ready to be added to your shop or blog.

I would LOVE to see your creations if you try this!  Please leave links!  And if you have questions or need clarification on anything, just ask below and I'll try to respond below as well.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Introducing Today's Featured Seller: Nicole of aBc Children's Designs

Nicole of aBc Children's Designs is one of the many new members of Steel Town Etsy.  She creates adorable custom children's clothing like the pillowcase dress pictured above on her lovely model.  Please check out the interview below to learn more about this talented STE artist...

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

Hi! I'm Nicole Bomeli, everything woman at aBc Children's Designs. I live in Regent Square in the East End of Pittsburgh. I moved here from Charlottesville, Virginia 4 years ago when my husband started his surgical residency with UPMC. Before moving to Pittsburgh, I taught elementary school for 6 years. Currently, I am home with my kids, Alec 3 1/2 and Caroline 13 months.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
My most important (and time consuming!) job right now is full-time Mommy. My husband works crazy hours, so the kids and I spend A LOT of time together. However, they are also the inspiration for everything I make for my shop, so maybe I'm always creating?! When the kids are in bed, I work part-time as an online math tutor for I teach kids all around the country via an online "classroom" and get to keep my long division skills sharp. In my free time, I like to cook, garden and generally be outside in the warmer months.

What first made you want to become an artist?
I learned to sew from my mom and grandmother, both of whom are excellent seamstresses, though they would tell you that they are NOT artists since they have to use a pattern for anything :) My mom always made our Halloween costumes, created beautiful smocked dresses and all sewed party-ware or special occasions. Lucky for me, those clothes are still around and my daughter is wearing them now! Having my own kids made me want to renew those skills so I could make special things for them.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
All of my designs are inspired by my children. I started with huge flowered headbands when my daughter was born with peach fuzz for hair. Later, I discovered historic pillowcase style dresses and began making them for several friends. Everything else has just spiraled from there. Around Valentine's Day my son started asking why I only make things for girls, so I added a few "boy" style tshirt and hoodies so that he can have something special too. As a mom, I make sure that everything I make is easy to wash and wear since no one likes to hand wash kid stuff!

As far as "when," I sew in my upstairs "studio" whenever my kids are napping or my husband is around for a couple hours to help out. I knit whenever a project comes along. I love that knitting is something I can do with the kids around too. For materials, I try to stick to sturdy cottons and brand-name tshirts that don't shrink or fall apart with repeated washing.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My husband is a woodworker in his spare time. When we were in college he made me an inlaid jewelry box that still holds all of my earrings. My other handmade treasures are all the dresses my mom smocked for my sister and me that have now been willed down to my daughter.

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

1. The Dinosaur Museum (aka The Carnegie Museum of Natural History)
2. Carnegie Science Center
3. all parts of Frick Park
4. Square Cafe in Regent Square
5. the Zoo

James Patterson
Pat Conroy
Jodi Picoult

Modern Family
Friday Night Lights
The Blind Side

Zac Brown Band
Tim McGraw

What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?
As someone completely new myself, I can only say to network as much as you can! STE has given me a great gift of getting to know other Pittsburgh crafters and learning so much for each of you. My other other suggestion would be to always have your craft on you. i just made my kids appliqued hoodies so they can model for me where ever we go!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love Etsy! I think its great that it is so affordable and easy to use. I love to shop the gift guides and treasuries. As a very small time seller, I don't really have any problems with the site. My only issue is that I wish Etsy could accept larger photos. I'm always taking them on too high of a resolution and then having to do everything over again.

How do you promote your work?
My kids wear it! I also keep business cards on me at all times. I'm hoping to find time to check out Wildcard and possibly start selling there.

In five years I'd like to be...
making more children's clothes and designing my own patterns.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day with Steel Town Etsy

This coming April 22nd is the 40th annual Earth Day for you guessed it, our very own planet Earth! This is a time to think of our environmental impact on the planet and ways to effect this positively in our lives- whether it be recycling and re-use, using less and more efficient power, or shopping locally.
To promote Earth Day awareness several STE team members are running promotions in their Etsy stores ranging from free shipping to up to 20% off. These shops and others on our team offer Earth Friendly products and practices, keeping the Green spirit alive all year long!

Here are some Earth Day Promos running this week in our team:

Vintage Hotcakes
Fabric Creations and Accessories often with recycled materials. Unique, affordable & best of all handmade!!!~
Promo: Spring Cleanup Sale Going on Now through April 22ND Earth Day, hooray! (Prices already reduced).

Charmed By Nature

Handcrafted Jewelry with a Sense of Humor~
Promo: Earth Day Sale - All items in store are 20% off through 4/22. Convo shop for details

19 Moons Jewelry & Accessories

Handmade jewelry incorporates vintage & recycled materials for fantastical eco-friendly finds
Promo: EARTH DAY SALE in Progress! All items tagged Earth Day are 20% off through 4/24 (except for custom pieces). Please convo me about the desired item and I will make a special sale listing for you. Search my store for "earth day" or just follow this link

Barker Bell Herbs & Heirlooms

Trying to save the world, one craft at a time, by creating unique repurposed and upycled handmade goods...
Promo: BarkerBell is offering 20% off storewide until April 23rd! Convo her on Etsy prior to purchase so she can create a sale listing and not over pay Etsy fees. Buyer should include the message "Earth Day Sale" in the convo subject line.

Jet Pack Agenda
Screen printed T-shirts using USA made shirts and local water based inks and eco friendly clean-up methods. For more information on his particular eco-friendliness can be found here:
Promo: Free Shipping on all T-Shirts on Earth Day April 22nd!

That's What She Thread
Hand sewn clothing and accessories
Promo: Free Shipping on all items on Earth Day, April 22nd!

If you are in the Pittsburgh area come out this week to celebrate the local Green and Art Scenes! You will find awesome handmade wares by our Steel Town Etsy team-

Friday April 23rd:
Arts & Crap Festival 12pm to 5pm, At the green space across from Schenley Plaza. Sponsored by Original Magazine- this will be outdoors and includes STE's 19 Moons and many other awesome vendors- the weather forecast is looking good! Besides Vegan Cupcakes and Hoola Hoops there will also be a clothing swap. Music by WPTS

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.

Saturday April 24:
Party for the Planet & Green Marketplace at the Pittsburgh Zoo, Pittsburgh, PA. April 24, 2010, 8-4pm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Member Feature: Kym of Heavenly Creations

Introducing Kym of Heavenly Creations, a new & active STE member! Kym's lovely jewelry creations are skillfully crafted & are a compliment every wardrobe!!! Please check out the interview below to learn more about this talented STE artist...

Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Kym Laret, and I live in Penn Hills. In addition to designing jewelry, I am also a stay-at-home mom of two preschoolers, hair dresser, and opera singer. My husband and I met while performing and both sing with the Pittsburgh Opera. I've also done shows with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Savoyards and sing weekly at Third Presbyterian Church.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
All of my jobs are creative! It's awesome that I get to surround myself with art all day, every day. My main job, of course, is to be a mom. That requires extreme creative thinking, since my kids keep me on my toes all the time! As I mentioned, I sing professionally, and I also read, quilt, and crochet when I have time, and am not working on a jewelry project.

What first made you want to become an artist?
I don't know that I really had a choice. Everyone in my family (except my dad) is artistic. My brother is a painter, and my sister is a quilter -- she actually has an Etsy shop as well, The Quilted House. My mom has always sewn and she sings as well, so music and art were always a part of my life. I started out with music, thinking that visual art was better left to my brother & sister, but I wanted a fabulous tiara for my wedding, and my sister introduced me to the art of French beaded flowers. A couple of years later, I made myself some beaded headbands and fell in love with the process of playing with color and beads and figuring out what works.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I basically take my little containers of beads out and just let them speak to me. Sometimes I put things together to see what'll happen, and sometimes it just flows. I also get a lot of inspiration from jewelry shows on TV. It helps me to see what's popular and sometimes that sparks something. I do a lot of my work at night, after I get my kids to bed. Since I've always been a night-owl, it works out well for me. Plus, I can't really have all of my supplies out when the kids are around. Whatever I've created the night before, I photograph in the afternoon while the kids are napping. It's amazing how many photos I take to get 5 good shots for my Etsy listings! I've also been doing a lot of work in the afternoon on my sunporch instead of in my basement craft area, because working in the beauty of the day really inspires me.

I love working with sterling silver, pearls, brightly colored gemstones, and lampwork beads. In fact, I'm planning to take a lampwork class to create my own pieces. My favorite bead store is Your Beading Heart in Irwin, mostly because she has a great selection and great prices, but also because she has a classroom that you can see from the main part of the store with a TV for the kids. I pack some snacks and can actually spend several hours shopping for beads without having to worry about the kids touching things they shouldn't.

My creative process is actually pretty organic: sometimes I'll have a jewelry design in my head, and on those days it just flows. When I really have to force it, it stops being fun, so I’ll pack it away and come back later. My goal is to find a good balance between following what the market demands, trends, and all that and following my heart and making what speaks to me. Finding that balance will allow me to have fun AND be successful!

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Probably the quilt that I made for our new bed last year. It's a king sized quilt, and I had to move all of the furniture in our living room to lay out all of the blocks. It was such a labor of love, and its beautiful! It wasn't as heavy as I wanted it to be, so I made it into a duvet cover of sorts. It's red (my favorite color), green (my husband's favorite), and yellow (the color of the room). It was also a challenge to make a red and green quilt that didn't scream Christmas.

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


Out in our boat on any of the rivers
Our campsite in the Allegheny forest
Any of the Carnegie Libraries
On stage at the Benedum
Three Rivers Arts Festival

Stephanie Laurence
Julia Quinn
Christopher Moore
Elizabeth Lowell
Christina Dodd

movies/tv shows
Grey's Anatomy
Private Practice
Sunday's Best
Mystery Diagnosis
Masterpiece Classic

songs/musical groups
Yolanda Adams
Cece Winans
Take 6
Jessye Norman
Leontyne Price

Lima Beads
Fire Mountain
Shipwreck Beads
The Ring Lord

What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?
Find a group of like-minded artists and network!

How do you promote your work?
I sell my jewelry at 2 shops in the Pittsburgh area: Crafted Treasures, in Monroeville, and Blossoms of Verona, in Verona; and I have their addresses on my business cards. I've started "accidentally" leaving them in all of the books I return to the library and I make a point of having them with me all the time so that if I have an opportunity, I can give them to someone. I also constantly wear jewelry I’ve made, especially to church. My church choir knows I make jewelry, so I make myself something new every Saturday to match my outfit. Also, I have a small display in the salon where I work -- and I make a point of at least wearing earrings when I'm in the salon so that people make the connection. Other than that, I tweet like a fiend and post everything on Facebook. I want to make a Facebook page just for Heavenly Creations, but there's just not enough hours in the day!

In five years I'd like to be...
in the black. My husband is very fiscally frugal, so he doesn't understand my obsession with beads when I'm not breaking even yet. But I've been doing this for less than a year. It takes time to build a successful business, but I'm getting there!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Please enjoy a few minutes getting to know Diane Wright of Diane Wright Designs, Our Steel Town Etsy Featured Crafter of the Week!

Diane's pieces of delicate beadweaving beg to be picked up and draped on your body so you can appreciate how they move and delight in watching all those tiny beads reflect the light. Find out what inspires Diane in her art and in her city below:

Tell us a bit about yourself –
Hi, I’m Diane Wright and my company is Diane Wright Designs – Handcrafted Jewelry. I grew up here in Pittsburgh in the North Hills and after living in New York and Los Angeles, I decided to come back home. I currently live in Aspinwall with my husband James. We have one son, Jamie, who is a documentary filmmaker and lives in Brooklyn. Prior to creating Diane Wright Designs, I taught English and Theatre at Rogers Creative and Performing Arts Middle School in Garfield – A Pittsburgh Public School magnet. In addition to being affiliated with Steel Town Etsy, I am also a member of the Pittsburgh Craft Collective and Mount Lebanon BNI (Business Network International).

Apart from creating what do you do?
Well, in one way or another I think that I am always creating. I love gardening and have both a vegetable garden and a perennial garden. Since I live in a townhouse most of my vegetables are grown in containers. I also like to travel and last year was fortunate enough to take a trip to China and hold a teenage panda in Chengdu, China.

What made you first become an artist?
My grandmother was a ceramicist so my earliest remembrances were in her studio. It was so much fun. My brother was also a visual artist. I started out in theatre as an actress in New York and Los Angeles and continued working in theatre after I returned to Pittsburgh working with middle school students. Teaching is an art also. After retirement I began creating jewelry in earnest with Diane Wright Designs. I was looking for something to keep my creativity going and I keep learning new and interesting techniques all the time. My grandmother kept creating until she died at the age of 92.

Describe your creative process
I would have to say that my process is organic. I do start with a drawing of concept of what I would like to create but it changes as I work with the piece. I am very flexible in terms of design and know it will change from inception to finished piece. I just keep looking at the work to know what I need to do next. I work mainly with peyote and herringbone stitches for my beadweaving and with copper and sterling silver for my hammered cuffs. I like trying new mediums and techniques and never know how they may all come together.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
I would have to say that the pieces I cherish most are two clay pieces my son made when he was in elementary school – one is a mug with a fox head and the other is an alligator. I also have a tile top wrought iron table made by my grandmother which is a cherished piece of mine.

Name 5 places in Pittsburgh to be
I don’t stray far from home so I spend a lot of time right here in Aspinwall, which is a neat little town. I also like what is happening with Lawrenceville. It is really reinventing itself as a creative and artsy destination. I still like going to Shadyside although it has changed greatly from when I was a young person. I also like going to the theatre – especially the City Theatre in the South Side and The O’Reilly theatre downtown. I think theatre gets into your inner being. I do watch TV and like the dramas like The Good Wife and Grey’s Anatomy. Although I do have to say Two and ½ Men and The Big Bang Theory make me laugh.

What advice would you give to artists new to the Pittsburgh Craft scene?
Get involved. Get out of the studio and get involved with some of our arts and networking groups that we have here in town. Do local craft shows. Don’t be afraid of not being ready – just do it and enjoy what you are doing. Have fun with your art!!

How do you promote your work?
In addition to having an Etsy site, I exhibit in about 20 craft shows each year in the tri-state area. I also have pieces at Wildcard in Lawrenceville and So Me in Glenshaw. I am also working on a few other shops in which to showcase my work. I also work a lot by referral and do in home/in office shopping and custom work.

In five years, I would like to be…
Still creating jewelry and doing shows. Still having fun!!

To see more of her work please visit Diane's etsy shop at Thanks for the interview Diane!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Get to know Mandy of M. Giehll Creations

Steel Town Etsy is pleased to present Mandy Giehll of M. Giehll Creations. Lover of mixing and matching different colors and textures and of all things handmade, Mandy's shop is brimming with eye candy. "Etsy allows me to combine all of these things I love," she states in her profile and her offerings show off her diverse interests. Get to know a little more about Mandy and her incredible work below...

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

Hello, my name is Mandy. I am married to my college sweetheart Matt and we have a two year old son named Jackson. I've lived in Western, Pa all my life. I grew up in a small town called Oil City. I graduated from Mercyhurst College in Erie in 2003 and moved to Pittsburgh a few years later. We live in the South Hills which is where my husband grew up. I love all things handmade. I have to credit my mom for my love of crafts and vintage things. I have such great memories growing up and going to local craft shows and antique shops with her all the time.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Besides being a mom to an awesome little boy :)... I am a part time bartender at the Sharp Edge Brasserie and have really come to appreciate good beer. I love to spend time outside with my family and friends. I love the summer and fall. It also seems like someone is always having a picnic or BBQ. There is always a festival or fair to go to. And I love sitting by a camp fire and enjoying good company.

What first made you want to become an artist?

I really have never thought of my self as an artist, just creative. Throughout my life I have always had a creative outlet of some sort. I was a dancer from the age of three right through college. I started making hemp jewelry one summer to make some extra cash. Then when we were planning our wedding, I decided to make the centerpieces for the reception, which turned into topiaries. My latest creative outlet is my wrapped bangle bracelets. I love making them!

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

My creative process is pretty random. When it comes to the bracelets, I never know what they are going to turn out like. I usually pick up a few strands of yarn and start wrapping. Sometimes I like how they turn out... sometimes not so much, so I start over again. I make a lot of my things while my son is napping or late at night. It is my way of unwinding for a bit. I love working with silk flowers, hemp, yarns, beads. I also love photography and plan to dedicate some more time to it this summer.

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

1. The North Shore for a Steelers Game...there is nothing like the atmosphere there during a tailgate party before the big game. So much fun and half the time its with people you don't even know.

2. View through the Fort Pitt Tunnels....every time I drive through the tunnels coming from the South Hills I feel like I should take a picture!

3. Primantis...nuff said.

4. Kennywood awesome park with such an old time feel. A great place to spend a hot summer night.

5. First Niagra Pavillion...or as I call it "Star Lake". I love going there for a great concert. Lawn seats are reasonable and it's always a fun time with friends.

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

Just go for! I am as new as you get :) I am hoping to participate in my first craft event in the coming months. I really try to spread the word about Etsy to anyone I know who is an artist. It is such a user friendly way to share and sell your art. It's also very inspiring.

What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?

I love the alchemy feature. I love making custom orders and also putting out bids for things I cannot find anywhere else. The treasury is fun too, I just wish I could make more of them....always seems like its full.

How do you promote your work?

I do a lot of promoting through my Facebook Fan Page. I have great family and friends who keep the word of mouth going too! I will be the first to admit that I am not the best at self-promotion. Come to think of it....I need to make those business cards.

In five years I'd like to be...

Still happily married with a little brother or sister for Jackson. And, of course, still fueling my creative outlets. I also would like to devote more time to my photography.

Thanks for your time, Mandy! Check out M. Giehll Creations at

M. Giehll Creations was also recently featured at the Daily Diva Dish. Take a peek:

We're thrilled to have you as a part of the STE team!