Thursday, November 10, 2011

Handmade Arcade this Saturday!

Handmade Arcade will be held this Saturday, November 12th, from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

This event brings a unique shopping experience to Pittsburgh with music, snacks and a Hands-on-Handmade making area. Come meet our Steel Town Etsy team (we'll be there representing Etsy - one of the event sponsors) and buy a raffle ticket to win a basket of locally made handmade items.  A portion of the proceeds from the raffle will go to the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.

Team members who will be vendors at the event:

19 Moons

Whimsical Wonders

Wild Notions

Friday, November 4, 2011

Review Time! Photos to Canvas

Hello Everybody!  Not to long ago, I ordered a canvas with one of my favorite pictures printed on to it.  A friend of mine took it.  I loved how the coloring came out on it and concept of the picture is amazing.  The bare bones of the easel with the human skeleton behind it.  Love it.

So when I had the opportunity to put the photo to canvas, I jump at it.  I love the concept of photos printed on canvas for a few reasons.  The main one being, you get to ditch the frame.  You can move you photo from room to room and not worry if the frame goes with the decor and what not.  The canvas still allows the photo to be a focal point without the cost of a frame.
You can select several different ways to have it printed.  I appreciated that since I wanted the print canvas to have a clean look.  I had the photo printed so that the photo wrapped along the sides.  This way it didn't stop abruptly and get cut off.  Now, the photo can be viewed from all angles.

Shoot over to easycanvasprints and check it out.  Also, 'Like" their Facebook Page and get 50% off your order as well as free shipping!  This is a great gift idea for friends and family.

Check out these awesome canvas photos!

Photos to Canvas

Friday, October 14, 2011

Upcoming Events: Book Release, Raffle Party, and Crafty Halloween Happy Hour!

Wildcard hosts the event of the year with their Wildcard Microcraft Fall Hallo-Witch Craft Book Release Second Anniversary Party 3D!

On Thursday, October 20 Wildcard is having a dual celebration: the publication of Microcrafts — a new how-to book for making teeny tiny crafts — edited and contributed to by local crochet superstar Alicia Kachmar and featuring work by Pittsburgh artists Nadia Marks Wojcik and Tamara Barker. And it’s also the Second Anniversary of the opening of Wildcard.

The event will also highlight Kachmar’s Witch Craft book from 2010, which is perfect for planning a handmade, homemade Halloween.

In addition, the Steel Town Etsy group is hosting a raffle to help local artist Kachmar with her medical bills. Winners will receive one of a set of gift baskets filled with arts & crafts by local artists.

This event is co-presented with Quirk Books, the publisher of both Microcrafts and Witch Craft.

To celebrate Wildcard’s Second Anniversary, the store is hosting a free party with games, music, food & drink to thank loyal customers and neighbors. A timeline for the events follows below:

5-7pm Crafting

Alicia Kachmar, Nadia Marks Wojcik and Tamara Barker will be on hand to demonstrate some DIY craft projects from Microcrafts and Witch Craft. This event is f amily-friendly. Free snacks for kids and books for sale. Costumes are welcome, and the first 25 families receive a free goodie bag!

7-9pm Party!

Crafting time ends as a special guest DJ comes on to celebrate Wildcard’s Second Anniversary.  Both books will still be on sale, but we’ll have food, drinks (bring your ID if you’re over 21), raffles, and music!

Alicia Kachmar: A teacher turned freelance writer, crafter, and all-around DIY-er, Alicia Kachmar enjoys crocheting safety cones, mixing martinis, playing pool, biking around cities and making pies. She grew up in a creative and crafty household in Pittsburgh, needlepointing and sewing before she had really mastered reading. Most of these crafty interests took a backseat to a busy career as a New York-based museum educator/nanny/school teacher, until health travails resulted in a sort of early retirement, and twiddling-thumbs-time-in-bed became her daily routine.

She taught herself to crochet and began to dabble in all those favorite crafts from childhood.

Alicia then opened an Etsy shop called EternalSunshine, creating an entire crochet wonderland of frowning s'mores, happy balloons and everything in between. She is best known in Pittsburgh for her crocheted pierogis, which are for sale at Wildcard, and in the Travelling Craft-O-Tron machine.

Wildcard: First open in October of 2009, Wildcard has quickly become a staple in Lawrenceville and an anchor of the local business community. Wildcard sells a mix of carefully selected cards & goods from independent companies and artists around the country, as well as stocking numerous pieces by local crafters & artists. The store also hosts shows by local artists on a monthly basis. Since opening in 2009, Wildcard has earned numerous accolades in the press, including:

• Best Card Store, Pittsburgh Magazine 2011 Best of the Burgh
• Best Place to Buy Gifts, Pittsburgh City Paper Best of 2010
• Best New Boutique, Pittsburgh Magazine 2010 Best of the Burgh
• Best store for people who don't get enough of Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh City Paper Best of 2009

Owner Rebecca Morris is a Shaler native who serves on the Lawrenceville Mainstreets Committee and is also active in the organization of Handmade Arcade. She lives in Lawrenceville.

For more information, photos, or to set up an interview, please email
The following week, Steel Town Etsy will be teaming up with I Made It! Market to present: 
Wednesday, October 26 · 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Location: Tin Front Cafe
216 E. Eighth Ave

Homestead, PA 15120
(412) 461-4615

Join I Made It! Market and SteelTown Etsy Crafters for a Wickedly Fun Happy Hour! 
Come and hang out - we'll have some crafts and the Tin Front Cafe will offer some spooky specials - this event is purely social!

Kids welcome.

If you're on Facebook, please visit the event invite and RSVP here

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Selling and Accepting Gift Certificates 101

I've seen this topic up on the discussion boards a few times.  And is something I wondered about for a while.  How do I sell and accept  Gift Certificates through/on my Etsy shop???  I would read the Etsy Blog Post about gift certificates and it always confused me.  Well, I finally figured it out.  And since the holidays are fast approaching, I'll now share it with you!


Step One:
Decide and write up your Gift Certificate Policies.  Will they expire?  Can you use them on custom orders?  Can they be used at the craft shows you participate in?  Will they be mailed out or emailed to the buyer?  Will the certificate be sent to the buyer of the certificate or it's intended recipient.  These are important questions the customer might have.

Step Two:
This is the fun part!  Design your gift card.  Try to make it match the overall branding of your shop.  Include things like your shop name, the certificates value, and a unique code/number for yourself.  See what I did here.

Step Three:
The unique code is important.  Why?  Several reasons.  First, it keeps you organized.  It helps track how many certificates you sold and lets you know what non-cash orders you can expect in the future.  I suggest making a excel worksheet of the certificates you sell.  This will also help keep track of the value on the certificate if it is not all used at once.  Here's a rough mock up of what I'll be doing.  After taking several classes in college about working with excel... I still don't know what I'm doing.  But we can all stumble through the basics.  It also helps you know who still owes you a balance!  How to rectify that comes a little later.

Step Four:
Write up your Etsy listing.  You may want to include your certificate policies in the listing as well as ideas for the buyer on why they should purchase it.  Maybe their best friend wants a pair of chandelier earrings but they aren't sure what color to get.  Something like that.
I suggest only doing a couple listings, a low value and high value.  This way you can avoid unnecessary listing fees.  And if you want to open yourself up to be contacted for a different value, you can.


Step One:
Enable the payment option "other" in your Etsy shop.  Click on Your Account.  Then, under Shop Settings (on the left column) click Shipping & Payment.  Then you enable the "other" option.
Step Two:
So a transaction has occurred.  Three things can happen.  
A)The customer entered the gift certificate's unique code in the Note to Seller upon checkout and the balance is covered perfectly.  $25 Gift Certificate to cover a $25 order.  If this is you, Move to Step Five.
B) The customer entered the gift certificate's unique code and they still have money left on the gift certificate.  Now, you can mark this all down in you excel worksheet.  Then, send the buyer a messenger/email notifying them of the certificate's new balance.  If this is you, Move to Step Five.
C)  The customer entered the gift certificate's unique code and the gift certificate is not enough to cover the whole balance.  Let's say they still owe you $15.  Head on over to PayPal.  You need to send them an invoice.  Here's the Etsy Blog Post on PayPal invoices, also.  Hit the request Money Tab , then the create invoice button.
Now, fill out the invoice.  I've decided to just use the default template.  Add your shop logo, check that your information is correct, and the recipients (of the invoice) email address.  This email address you can get off of the Etsy Transaction information.  For the Invoice information, the invoice number should be the certificate's unique code.
Then fill out the rest according to the transaction.  The item ID should be your Etsy Transaction ID. The discount I use to refer to the gift certificate.  Term and Conditions, I put my certificate polices in there, also.  Add a note if you like.
Now, send the invoice. And move on to Step Five.
Step Five:
Ship & Celebrate!

+ Make sure the user of the gift certificate knows to include the gift certificate's unique code in the Note to Seller upon checkout.  Put it in the listing, mail instructions with the certificate, or instruct so directly on the certificate.
+You may also want to make it a policy that you won't ship until payment is made in full.  And make sure the customer is aware of it.
+I've given my shoppers the option of mailing or emailing the certificate.  But I'm still charging a small shipping fee either way.  This will help cover my listing and other fees.  You don't have to do this.  Just something to consider.

Well, I think that's it.  Share any other tips you like or let me know if you have questions!  I know this was lengthy.  But hopefully it helps!  Good luck this Holiday Season!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fundraising & Localfest at Bocktown Beer & Grill

Stop down at Bocktown Beer & Grill tonight from 6:00 - 8:00 pm for their third annual Localfest. They are located at 690 Chauvet Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275, in Robinson across from the Target.

Meet and greet with some of the local purveyors, artisans and friends that make Bocktown possible. Learn more about Buy Fresh Buy Local and how they support and grow our Pittsburgh area and surrounding communities, and see how you can too.

The event will also feature craft beer tastings, wine samples, and live music from Pete Bush from Pete Bush and the Hoi Polloi.

Our team Captain will be there vending and selling raffle tickets for the Steel Town Etsy fundraiser to help benefit one of our members, Alicia Kachmar of Eternal Sunshine, who suffers from Ulcerative Colitis. She has had the second of three surgeries to rid her of the disease and, despite having insurance, has mounting medical bills. More fundraising activities will be coming in September, so watch for news of those in a future post.

Tonight's basket features items such as books donated by Quirk Books - Booze Cakes and On A Stick (80 Party-Perfect Recipes), a Pub Sweater donated by Kate of WakulaWorks , a lovely necklace donated by Lucy of Belmonili, a $20.00 gift certificate donated by Chrissie of Party Paper Scissors, and an art print donated by Kathryn of Go Carr Go.

Raffle Tickets are $1.00 each or 10 for $5.00. You need not be present to win. The winner will be contacted and can make arrangements to pick up the basket at Bocktown at a later date.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Handmade Profile: Jewelry N'at

Check out the Jewelry N'at on Etsy and the Jewelry N'at Blog

1)Tell us about yourself...
 I’m a 34 year old artist living in Pittsburgh, transplanted from the South via the Midwest. I have an MFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University.

2)When you're not creating, what do you do? 
I juggle a lot of things, including several jobs—I’ve been working at the Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip District for 2 years, and in the Fall I’m beginning a new position as the Gallery Director at Slippery Rock University, as well as teaching jewelry and metalsmithing at CCAC. I also like to run in the evenings, as well as knit and crochet, and I’m learning to home brew beer. 

3)When and what made you decide to become an artist?
 I had my first portfolio at age 12. I’m still good friends with my art teacher from middle school, who first encouraged my work in art. I was lucky to go to a high school for visual and performing art, where I discovered metalsmithing at age 15. From there I got a BFA in Sculpture, taught for a few years at a community college in Charlotte, NC, and then went to get my MFA in 2003. Since then I’ve been in hundreds of exhibitions across the US, Japan, Italy, Spain, and Germany, and my work is published in 8 books.

4)Where do you get your inspiration from and how does it affect your work? 
For the past few years I’ve been inspired by Pittsburgh, especially the rusty metal and urban decay. My line of Jewelry N’at is inspired by Pittsburghese, and the intense pride that Pittsburghers have for their city. I wanted to be able to offer handmade jewelry that expresses that pride at prices most Pittsburghers can afford.

5)What drew you into joining Steel Town Etsy? 
Since my work is so inspired by Pittsburgh, I wanted to be associated with a group of makers who represent Pittsburgh.

6)What is most appealing to you about Handmade? 
I’m a huge advocate of handmade! I love the individuality of items made by hand, the way things function, knowing the people who make things, supporting the local economy, using sustainable and/or recycled materials. I could go on and on! 

7)What are your top 5 favorite (books, websites, blogs, movies) and why should we (read, look at, watch) them?  
Hmmmm, Books: No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July is brilliant. I also highly recommend The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and all of Michael Pollan’s other books. I like everything Chuck Klosterman writes, like Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, of course Perks of Being a Wallflower is a Pittsburgh favorite, and I like books by Bukowski, Tom Robbins, Paul Theroux, Elizabeth Crane, and plenty more. I haven’t had a TV in years, so I read a lot. Websites/blogs: I love Art Jewelry Forum, Klimt02, and Crafthaus for jewelry-related stuff. I read Salon, Huffington Post, and Mother Jones for news. I download music (legally) from emusic, and I’m addicted to twitter and facebook. I don’t really watch many movies because 2 hours is a long time for me to have free time, but I listen to npr as much as possible, and I LOVE Radiolab, This American Life, and All Things Considered.

8)Who are some of your favorite Handmade artists? 
I love my ceramics by Martina Lantin, Steven Cheek, Mel Griffin, and ex-bf Bo Bedilion, as well as all my anonymous mugs and plates. I have favorite jewelry by Robert Lee Morris, Jillian Moore, Amy Weiks, Opulent Project, and Miles Rountree, and I want some pieces by Caitie Sellers, Dan DiCaprio, and Bob Ebendorf. I also love my handmade bag by Jill Harrell, and my scarf by Ping Wu.

9)What question(s) do you have for other artists like yourself? 
How do you find time to balance everything? How do you market yourself? 

10)What are you top 3 favorite stops/places in Pittsburgh and why do you love them so much? 
It’s hard to pick just 3! I love PNC Park—the view is amazing and its within walking distance from my studio. (Let’s go Bucs!) The Aviary is a great place to visit and the penguins are super cute. The Mattress Factory always has thought-provoking exhibits, and their garden is pretty magical. I guess all my favorite places are on the Northside!

11)What do you want to see from Steel Town Etsy in the future? 
Things like this interview are great. I think its important for people to understand that there is a real person behind the handmade object, and that anyone can be a maker, as long as they realize how much hard work it takes.

12) What do you see your self doing in the future? 
I’d like to fix up a house on the Northside and get a dog . I’ll also continue my art career in Pittsburgh, as well as continue to get involved with local arts organizations and projects.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post Office Closings

I saw this article over at NPR, Is Your Post Office Closing.  Thought I would stick a link up here to the PA list of closings.  For those of you that use USPS for shipping should take a look.

PA Closing List

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Perfect Treasury!

One of my favorite things to do on Etsy is to make Treasuries. If you're anything like me, you'll click from page to page searching for those perfect items. Before you know it, an hour and half went by. Your end product is a beautiful curation of handmade and vintage items. But here's the thing... Are you maximizing your and the featured artists exposure with your treasury??? There are several things you can do to make sure you time is worth the effort. Maybe you'll achieve the Holy Grail of Etsy... The Front Page!

  1. Pretty in Pink
    Make your treasury beautiful. Take your time curating it. Consider your theme and/or color scheme. Maybe you only want to pick a few colors for your treasury. Or pick a fun theme like your favorite book or vacation spot. Let your artistry shine through your treasury. When people see a treasury they like, it can provoke them to gander at the curators shop. Remember to choose items with photos that are well done, too.
  2. In the Mix
    Pick a good mix of items. Include handmade,vintage and even supplies. Try not to include more then one item of the same type. I know there are lots of beautiful earrings on Etsy, but resist putting them all in one treasury. It's good to include a variety of items to keep the onlookers interest, but it's considerate to the featured artists as well.
  3. Tag! You're it!
    You've probably seen this suggestion a hundred times but it is so important. Tag your treasuries. Consider tagging with the color scheme you used, items featured, general theme, and of course, any teams you participate in (like Steel Town Etsy!!!) If you still have tags and no ideas on how to use them you can always check the tags the artist put on there featured item.
  4. Word.
    Let everyone know about your amazing treasury. Post links to in on your website, blog, and Facebook. Mention your current treasury in your Shop Announcements or your About Me page on Etsy. Make sure all your Etsy Team members know about it, too. Put it in the discussion thread on the team page.
  5. Danke Schoen
    You spend a lot of time on your treasuries. Right??? You've made it into a beautiful display of handmade and vintage items. It features several talented artists who you know take care in creating their products. And YOU SHOULD BE THANKED!!! If you are featured in a treasury, remember to thank the curator! They worked hard for you. You know that at least the other artist featured will see your item. Those are all potential buyers. If you don't remember to thank, you risk alienating yourself from your community and losing an opportunity to be featured again.
    Curators should also consider sending a little message to featured artist. Nothing long winded just something like, “Loved your item. Featured it in my treasury.”
A great treasury can drive traffic to all those that participate in it. Remember these tips, have fun with it and check out the treasuries below!!!