Thursday, March 31, 2011

The sun is shining down on me!

Wow, what a wonderful sun-filled day we had today! I was inspired by the hint of spring time to search for some floral inspirations.

Tutorial HERE.

Tutorial HERE.

Tutorial HERE.

Tutorial HERE.

And, just in case the rainy season still has some punches left, here is a tutorial for replacing the fabric on an old beat up umbrella.

Happy Creating!
upcycled unlimited

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Have A Groovy Wednesday!

After suffering from skin allergies for 20-something years, I've grown fond of shopping for soap. And as a nerd for color theory, asliceofdelight on Etsy takes care of both my interest in soap and colors. Based in Berkeley, Hilary's handmade soaps feature awesome color combinations and delightful designs.

Handmade soaps are big on my radar since I suffer from eczema, and generic soaps or brands you typically find at your local drugstore or grocery contain chemicals that really are just unnecessary — my skin usually doesn't agree with these "extra" ingredients. This is where handmade soaps come in: asliceofdelight offers ways to be happy in the shower or bath with natural ingredients and fantastic colors. Feeling groovy? Then Hilary's "Have A Groovy Day Soap" will definitely tickle your senses with its fragrance blend of orange, apple, grapefruit, peach, strawberry and loganberry. Sounds delicious, right? Yes.

The soap has ruffles on it, which makes me imagine this would be pretty amazing in the shower or tub, giving it an edge for a "massaging" effect while the ruffles last. I am all for that. You'd be caressing your skin with the following ingredients: coconut oil, palm oil, safflower oil, glycerin, purified water, sodium hydroxide, sorbitol, sorbitan oleate, soy bean protein, titanium dioxide, fragrance oil, colorant, and a little bit of cosmetic glitter. For those of you who also suffer from eczema or just dry skin in general, coconut oil is a fantastic ingredient to help moisturize (and soothe the dry or rough patches affected by eczema on your body).

Having purchased masses of natural soap and skincare products before, I can say that asliceofdelight is reasonable and very affordable. Hilary has other tasty sounding treats whipped up, like Orange Mocha Soap and Mintylicious soap, but if you want to have a groovy time in the shower, give her "Have A Groovy Day Soap" a try!

Spring is here and Easter is coming up — a piece of soap from asliceofdelight would be a perfect thing to have in the bathroom for the joyous season or give as spring-colored gift!

Check out asliceofdelight's listing on Etsy now: Have A Groovy Day Soap

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tips for a Tuesday - The Wonders of the Interweb

Well hello! This is my inaugural post for the EBAC, and I thought I'd share with you a super helpful tool that I've stumbled upon.

All of us Etsy sellers understand the importance of strong photographs for selling your items. Many of us have gone on to purchase such powerful programs like Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. But these programs can be complex and frustrating to learn. Enter the Pioneer Woman's helpful action sets to improve your image quality. She has been kind enough to make several of her actions available for free, here and here.

Here's a little example of what using her actions can do for a photo.


After about a minute of tinkering with the Boost action:

She also has some tips on how to make sure your photos don't lose their oomph once posted to the web. As most of what I sell are paintings and prints, making sure the web representation accurately reflects the original piece is paramount. Understanding how the web deals with color has been an interesting experience for me, to say the least.

Thank you, Pioneer Woman!


Next week: About a year and a half ago, I quit my day job to explore making a living as an artist. I'll share with you some of the lessons I learned of my transition!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday's: Young at Heart

Hey crafting lovers! We know you can't get enough tutorials, event updates and other fun crafting info, but you guys aren't the only ones. When it comes to creativity, kids are old pros at this game.

Some of my own favorite memories growing up are of arts classes, with their endless supplies of crayons, glue, paper mache, glitter, pens, paint, beads and so much more. I genuinely enjoyed the few hours I had each week in school where I was given a the chance to work on something that had no wrong answers, only options. I was given freedom in the form of a paintbrush and a sewing machine.

It's a sad truth that kids get fewer and fewer of these kinds of opportunities. As budgeting for education continues to suffer, many of the creative outlets that we remember having as children are being cut. In a time when we are witnessing so much ambitious creative growth all around us, it seems a shame to not include our younger counterparts.

Why are the arts so important people of all ages? Crafting provides a hands on opportunity to challenge oneself and to lean about how things work. We develop better motor skills, the ability for abstract thought and we gain confidence. But most importantly, crafting, or making any kind of art, is FUN! It allows us the chance to let ourselves enjoy the moment, let go and be a kid.

With that said, Monday's weekly addition to EBAC with be dedicated to anyone who is young or young at heart, featuring:
  • local young artists
  • kid friendly craft tutorials (fun at any age!)
  • updates on youth related art events

How to make your own secret message in a puzzle.
If you have any suggestions or comments please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Events for the Weekend of March 26 & 27

Here are some events for lovers of arts and crafts in the East Bay!


The Oakland Museum is showing works from the Missions of "New Spain." The Missions of California are at the foundation of our local history. Local artists can draw inspiration from the juxtaposition of the dark religious imagery and oppression of the first peoples of our land with the dogma of salvation, redemption, and peace.

The show is called Splendors of Faith/Scars of Conquest: Arts of the Missions of Northern New Spain, 1600-1821.

At the same time, the museum is displaying contemporary works on the topic of the Spanish Conquest.

This weekend is the last weekend the show will be up at the Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St, Oakland). Show closes on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.
Museum hours:
Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Monday & Tuesday.

For more info, check

More Inspiration:

Daniel McCormick creates installations using natural materials. Usually his work is photographed on location. He has created installations in the David Brower Center in Berkeley. The show is called Methods and Materials: Ecological Art in Practice. It runs through May 11 at David Brower Center (2150 Allston Way, Berkeley). 510-486-0286 or

Crafting Opportunities:

LOUD hosts a Tuesday night arts/crafts/music/writing night for GLBT Youth from 4pm to 6pm. At the Pacific Center, 2712 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, CA.

Support for Artists:

California Lawyers for the Arts is always hosting events with important information for artists. This one is important enough to give you all early notice of.
According to their website, "This workshop will review the full range of legal concerns facing creative artists, including public art issues and agreements; artist-gallery issues, etc. There will be ample time for questions following the presentation."

April 20, 2011, 6:00-8:30 pm

Rock, Paper, Scissors Collective

2278 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612

This is session #8 of the "Artists Thrive Professional Development Series." Please follow the link for all the details.

That's all for this week.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What do you get when you combine a button, thumbtack, and an ear plug?

A new EARRING, of course!

I have had a life long battle with not being organized. I go through stages and am in awe of how put away all of my art supplies are. That never lasts long and inevitably I end up with a random pile of stuff on my table. This week, that random pile gave me a bit of inspiration. And, a new pair of earring was born.

If you happen to have 2 thumbtacks, an ear plug (or something else squishy that you can cut apart), and 2 buttons, you too can make yourself a new pair of earrings.

Here's how:

Warm up that old glue gun. Put a dab of hot glue on top of the thumbtack and carefully press your button into the glue and onto the thumbtack.

Wait a few minutes for the glue to dry. Cut your ear plug into small pieces and use as the back stop to your new earring!

Yay for a new pair of adorable button earrings.

Happy Creating!
upcycled unlimited

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Patter, the little blue robot

Robots this and robots that: they're things that conjure up an image quite mechanical, right? Maggie Hurley from Berkeley (also known as hushmouse on Etsy) begs to differ, with her beautiful original robot prints.

Sometimes I think robots are "cute", but when I was browsing in Maggie's shop, I actually saw robots as creatures, not just "things", and purely beautiful. Maggie's prints are from digitally colored original pencil sketches on a scanned wood panel background; they are printed on heavy matte paper for a outstanding finish and mounted on wood, ready to hang in your house! To give the robots a little extra protection, a coat of gloss is added.

As a designer, I browse art and prints with a fairly critical disposition. Of course, I have my own biases and preferences. Questions that generally come to mind are, "Will this fit in with the rest of my room or house?" and "Do I have to shop for a frame to go with this as well?" and lastly,"Can I afford this?" Fortunately, for Patter the robot, the calming shades of light golden yellow dandelions makes the round blue robot pop out in a most reassuring manner, saying, "You'll definitely enjoy my company in your house," and with Maggie's presentation, once the print arrives at your doorstep, you can open up your package and hang it up right away.

Fine art sometimes sell for hundreds of dollars, but these whimsical prints are very affordable and can serve as extraordinary gifts for robot lovers, art aficionados, and color enthusiasts alike. Maggie's robots are a unique set; Patter has other robot friends that would go well around your house with each other. "Patter is off watering" is a limited edition print of 50 — get yours now!

Check out hushmouse's listing on Etsy now: Patter is off watering - on Wood

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hello and welcome to Thursday.

Hi Everyone! I'm Lauren from Upcycled Unlimited and I will be the regular blogger for Thursdays. I plan to post awesome craft tutorials I find while gallivanting around the Internet or design and make myself, inspiration I find from you, my amazing team mates, and creative reuse ideas to keep us all healthy, happy and eco-conscious!

I would be happy to accept submissions for craft tutorials, creative reuse ideas, and any inspiration you would like to share. If you have any send them to upcycledunlimited [at!] gmail [dot!] com and I will post them with much thanks!

For today, I will share a video of Ken Robinson that I have watched several times and share with anyone and everyone that is willing to listen and watch. It helps me when I need a boost. His passion is amazing and his way with words is remarkable.

I'm excited for this new endeavor and really happy to a part of this team.

Until next week, Happy Creating!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tiny fingerprints: a touching gift

Parents always want keepsakes of their bundles of joy from tiny hand-prints molded into plaster to little stompers painted on paper. For those who want something more durable and easier to keep close, how about fingerprints in fine silver?

LilyBuds on Etsy offers 99.9% pure silver handcrafted personalized jewelry, fun to give as gifts or keep for yourself to show off. For parents of two, LilyBuds has a cute little fine silver heart that fits two little fingerprints and names. Great for mothers (think twins!), grandmothers or busy godmothers with more than one little kid to keep in mind!

As a recent college grad bearing zero kids and having no nieces or nephews (yet), I still think the fingerprints-on-silver is a great idea! And I'm a sucker for cute stuff. LilyBuds puts an extraordinary amount of effort into these little things; shipping out from Clayton, she'll send you a little kit with simple instructions on how to get your children's fingerprints done, which you'll send back so she can handcraft your jewelry with the impressions you take. Depending on where you're located, this might take some time, so if you're thinking of having one done as a gift or by a certain date, keep in mind the time restraints associated with a process like this.

If I were a mom, I'd definitely get this; there's something special about personalized jewelry, but having tiny fingerprints of your own toddlers close to your heart is even more touching. It's also an amazing thing to have for those who adore their younger relatives — I know many students who go away for college and talk about how they "can't wait to get home to play with their little brother/sister/niece/nephew". I can't imagine this being a quick and easy gift for a friend since you'd have to borrow a couple kids for a bit, but if you're a husband, think about it! You could give your wife a fancy store-bought necklace encrusted with jewels or you could give her a more personalized touch of love with the help of your kids.

Oh, and Mother's Day is coming up in a couple of months — how convenient!

Check out LilyBud's listing on Etsy now: Two Child Fingerprints in Fine Silver Heart - Medium

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Help Out Japan with Mayene

The devistation in Japan after the earthquake and Tsunami is heart wrenching. Our very own EBAC member Mayene has decided to help out by donating 50% of her shop sales to organizations that are currently  helping after the tragedy.

"Proceeds from my shop will go towards Japan donations - spread the word and help out!

Buy any "kawaii" item from MADE's shop and 50% (yes, half) will go towards Japan! "Kawaii" items include everything listed EXCEPT the fabric ABC book, elemental cards, and the coffee art print.


Check out Mayene's blog for more info:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Team Treasury! Little Acorn Mighty Oak - Nature Inspired

Check out the full treasury HERE and make sure to leave a message and let us know what you think.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fee Calculator - How to figure out how much you should be charging for your handmade items.

At our last meeting, we spoke a little bit about pricing. Many people expressed frustration with knowing how much to charge and how to determine it. This is, of course, going to be somewhat different for each store depending on what it is you make, how much your materials cost, the size/weight of your item, etc. Luckily there are many savvy business owners out there who have put their time in to creating tools to help others, for FREE no less.

Here is an Etsy Fee Calculator created by Rolbe

With this calculator you will be able to see how much profit you are really making at your current prices as well as figure out how much you should be pricing your items at in order to make the amount you need to make.