Monday, March 31, 2008

The Curse of the Photographer's Daughter

Taking beautiful and dreamy photos of my crafts should come naturally to me: my Grandfather was a portrait photographer, my father is a commerical photographer and my brother is a sports photographer!

So why am I doomed to keep making the same mistakes and stumbling my way around a set? This is just not funny. I can only shake my angry fist at the little screens and bang my head upon the nearest light source.

Sure, my first digital camera was a joke and I never expected glorious images from a knock-off piece of 'equipment'. But my Kodak is quality-all-the-way and in the right hands it should be able to "show me the sexy". Maybe my hands are the problem? hahahaha

My investment into a great photo set doesn't begin and end with the camera---no, that would be too easy.

Two popup tents for filtering light, two table top lights, two tall lights on telescoping stands, and a professional tripod for starters. Then, there's the backdrop, the carrying case, the SD cards, and the editing software.

Wouldn't I love to be able to master photography and chat with 'The Fam' about how great it is to capture a magnificent image?

Friday, March 28, 2008

State Your Business

Signwork makes up most of my custom woodburning orders; small/medium art signs that state their business.

Using salvaged signboards that once said "Welcome Friends" or "Home Sweet Home" makes it possible for a wide variety of shapes. Each signboard has to be stripped and sanded to prepare for woodburning.

Repurposing the boards and giving them a new life is part of my creedo: to take forgotten and abandonded woodcrafts and give them an Old World style.

My customers make selections along the way for the message, the lettering, the artwork, embellishments, hardware and finish---so the sign will suit their purposes exactly! We work through the layout with drafts, to get the right proportions and space.

Whether it's a fanciful flourish, Calligraphy or Gothic, the lettering is one of my best burning skills. Decorative, illuminated and stylish----it delivers the message with a distinctive quality.

So, hang a shingle and set up shop!

Edge of the Wildwood is in the sign making business for YOU!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

view from my front door

I found where some other bloggers from around the world were posting a photo from their front door, and thought it was a fantastic idea.

This yellow bush has taken 2 direct hits in the past year from cars sliding off the road, but it bounces right back:) It reminds me of the Burning Bush from the Bible.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

what is Pokerwork?

Shall we break out the playing cards and chips?

No, it's not a card game---it's the term I use to describe my craft!

Back in Victorian Days when woodburning was wildly popular, it was commonly called Pokerwork. Although most people today refer to it as 'woodburning' or 'pyrography' I rather like the old term, and named an enter section of my shop the Pokerwork Collection.

I choose designs that are stylized and precise, and seldom do they call for soft shading. My carving and scorching technique is not at all delicate---it feels more like poking-wood-with-a-hot-iron!

It matter less to me what it's called---more important what I can do with it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Featuring Prairie Primitives

Meet Tana...a gifted folk artist from California! Tana's wonderful handmade folk art dolls look like they were made by pioneers 100 years ago. Find homespun goodness in her shop
Prairie Primitives

Tana, please tell us about your crafts:

After wholesaling my primitive handstitched samplers in the 1990s, I got a HUGE wholesale order and after I was done with that, I realized that I was just burnt out on samplers. I had made cloth dolls when I was younger, so I got back into making them and they have become more and more primitive over the years!

How about your wonderful materials, Tana:

Vintage textiles, ranging from nubby flannel sheets to scraps of antique quilt and handwoven coverlet, often find their way into my work. I also like to add bits of antique handmade lace and vintage mother-of-pearl buttons to my creations.

You must bring folks alot of joy:)

It makes me happy when my work puts a smile on someone's face. Sometimes this is because a scrap of antique quilt brings back memories of their Mother or Grandmother being a quilter. Other times, the smile may be because they have found just the thing they have been looking for!

Prairie Primitives is part of Old World Shoppes on Etsy; a special group of old-fashioned crafters and artisans that honor the past.

Tana's website is like a 'little shop on the prairie' and you should visit for the garlands and swags!

For further insight, her blog is a pleasure to read.

Readers of this blog may mention code BLOG10 for a 10% discount on all items from Prairie Primitives Etsy shop or website Prairie Primitives Folkart through March 31, 2008. Please wait for a revised invoice for your 10% discount.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Banner Day

Are you scrambling around to prepare for open market vending? I feel ya. Here's a quick HOW TO for creating your own cloth banner.

Get out to your local paint supply store and find some large white canvas drop cloth. The seams will be crooked and the material will be wrinkled, but all is well because you're only using a long section and the seams won't matter. While you're there, pick up a set of large grommets and a mallot.

Measure the canvas to your liking and cut enough to allow for new seams to be stitched. Square it up. Use some spray starch liberally and set out to iron the material until you're satisfied...and sew seams around the edge to keep it contained.

Make a scaled down version of your banner design, and create grid lines to help you with spacing. You can use a small projector to trace onto your banner, or you can just freehand it following your grid. Lay it all out with some of that fancy fabric chalk, or just use No. 2 pencil like I did.

Work in sections and paint the elements using artists brushes and paint. Acrylic crafters paint will be durable enough and keeps your supply costs down. Paint a bit, and let it dry before moving the banner to proceed. You may have to paint 2 coats so be prepared for alot of repositioning and waiting.

When you've done all you can on the artwork, hammer those grommets in for hanging. Takes several good hammer swings----you can do it!

Final step, cut some V shaped openings to allow the wind to pass through (otherwise, you just made a large sail!) and spray the material down with a fire retardant after-market product.

Fly that banner high!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Woodburned rolling pins have attracted collectors and gift givers alike to Edge of the Wildwood. Developing this special line of products found me deep in research for food labels and flour mills. So I sent my scavengers out on the hunt for large barrel pins in second-hand stores.

It's such a challenge to decorate a rounded surface and I developed a few skills when it came to the burning of the rolling pins. The color is painted on, then roughed up a bit with sandpaper for an antique appearance.

A light coating with clear finish to seal the paint, and the rolling pins are ready for display!

Would you want to use the rolling pin on food? Well, I tried it and found that flour mixtures just stick to the surface too much and press down into the grooves---so, the cleanup was quite a chore. They're safe, just not recommended.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tag Time

What to tag my merchandise with? With what to tag? I developed these small woodburned merchandise tags with my shop name on one side, and my Etsy shop URL on the other!

This kind of packaging and product presentation are very important for vending events and for shipping orders. The buyer has a sweet reminder of their purchase, and I have a chance to reach another customer.

But the specialized packaging doesn't end there----I also created these paper shopping bags for open market vending, and special canvas totes for my rock crafts. These bags and totes will further my exposure and service my buyers.

The merchandise tags were such a success that I developed personalized keychains to compliment my items.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Whimsical Wildwood

A direct spin-off from my Renaissance tapestry designs comes a collection of bantam woodburnings with a playful medieval style: The Whimsicals!

Beginning with "Midnight Whimsical" which takes full advantage of the soft gentle curves and textured background---shutes and blooms that fan out and curl without regard.

My second 6" round is called "Two Birds" and it displays the capricious nature of the small creatures of the woods. Under the cover of stems and blooms, the birds pose for a delightful scene.

Another plaque in the series "Fickle Flowering" is burned on a square pine board, about 6.5" Featuring wide leaves and long pods that seem to grow in unison, carefully laid out for show. bas relief that brings character to the surface qualities---and does justice to the design.

All of The Whimsicals are for sale now in my Etsy store, and priced right for gift giving or for your decorating. Get whimsy with me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Going Postal

You know, it really shouldn't be so complicated to ship something---but alas, our friends from USPS seem to exsist for complex regulations and rules.

I don't *like* rules.

But since the postal service brings me such lovely, exciting packages from Etsy and beyond---I'll go along with them.

It's a love/hate relationship that can only be a great source of drama. I've learned to have plenty of cartons and packing materials on hand, to avoid the questionable 'modified' carton (like when you cut down a large box and the flaps end up crooked) and to print out some legible address labels.

Getting the package ready to hand over to my 'enemy' can be somewhat stressful. My cats get all interested and 'helpful'---that is, until I pull out the tape gun! heehee My electronic postal scale has never been accurate ( but I still use it anyway) and most of the time my estimates for the cost are 'off'.

And I must say the kiosk at my postal center is a thief, and someday I'll get revenge on that little demon:)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blog About My Blog

For some strange reason, I never run out of ideas for a blog topic. Others may stare blanky at the screen suffering from writer's block, and hoping for a light bulb to appear hovering over their heads---but not ol'e wildwood!

Sometimes as many as 20 drafts are ready to post, and most of those follow a pattern of one post a week for my favorite subjects: tools, marketing, stories, features, and technique.

I blog in the hopes that my love for woodburning and crafting will come through. Coming here is like visiting my workshop, and I give my guests a nice seat and a warm welcome.

There's no real formula for how or when they're posted, but usually by 9:00 AM...

I'm updated and ready for visitors. Most of my articles don't have comments, but occasionally I'll open it up and get some feedback.

hmmm, that gives me an idea for a blog topic....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Featuring Grizzly Mtn Arts

A wonderful couple from the lush mountains of Oregon, Dave and Jo have captured the pioneer spirit in their various creations. Known on Etsy as Grizzly Mountain Arts, they offer fiber art tools, carved jewelry and pine needle baskets!

Grizzly Mountain Arts creates their Ponderosa Pine Needle Baskets from start to finish...

A graceful hummingbird sips nectar from a flower in this carving done on a deer antler burr. The carving accents this delicate little basket which measures 3 1/2" high by 4" wide.

Grizzly Mountain Arts is also a respected member of Old World Shoppes on Etsy; a group of talented craftsmen with traditional goods.

Their primitive supply shop is called Grizzly Mountain Cache for some unusual findings.

Also, be sure to visit their blog with some hypnotic background music!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Signmaker, Signmaker

Make me a sign! And I want it fabulous and unique....

Well, I'm here to ablige! When Rebecca with Ravenshold asked me to make a small art sign for her shop, I took the assignment and ran with it. Rebecca had a vision and I had the gumption to make it happen for her.

Re-purposing a 8" square sign board, we utilized the pre-installed rope loop and decorative edges. Made from some mystery tropical wood from the Phillipines, this sign board offered some amazing wood grains and tone.

Ravenshold is another great traditional artisan in our Old World Shoppes group. Rebecca is very pleased with her sign, and it was a joy to create.

"Absolutely perfect! Great communication and fantastic work, I may have to come back for a larger sign sometime too"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


When I send out a package, be it for trade or for order, I include as many promo items as possible.

Cards, samples, trinkets, giveaways, coupons, swag, postcards, gifties, flyers, and a fun goodie bag from Etsy!

Magnets, bookmarks, buttons, pins, and various novelities.

I keep a wide assortment of promotional items on hand; most of them from The Old World Shoppes. Each seller has prepared and sent something that represents their shop and invites buyers to stop by and visit.

We want y'all to come on back, real soon:)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Biggest and Baddest Maracas in The World

In April of 2006, Etsy held a Co-Production Contest and asked for team entries for handcrafted items. Our 4 man ChaCha Team was quickly formed and we worked for months to create a pair of Giant Maracas for our entry!

Alas, we didn't win the prize---but we worked together and made a fanatastic instrument:

When our creation didn't sell at the reasonable $125 price we wanted, they were donated to a children's museum in Washington state. I learned alot about instruments, percussion, salsa music, assemblage projects, bead construction, various materials and conducting a team. It was a very fulfilling endeavour!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Caveman Contest Winner!

Congratulations to charissa for giving us the brilliant winning entry on our Caveman Caption Contest!

"I switched to Geico and all I got was this lousy caveman costume!"

Your FREE music CD "The Color of Rain" and a huge pile of 30 strands of sparkly Mardi Gras beads will be delivered soon----we hope you enjoy the Caveman Prize Package, and thank you to everyone that entered!

charissa, please email your shipping address to within 10 days to claim your prize!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Featuring The Sacred Oak

There's still time to enter our CAVEMAN CAPTION CONTEST>>>

Today, I'm introducing you to Willow (cool name!) ... a fabulous seamstress on Etsy called SacredOak:

Tell us how you got started making costumes... I have always been into costuming and period clothing as far back as I can remember. I studied paintings and tapestries for a long time. Then one day a friend asked me to join the drama club in high school. Ever since then I have been sewing and studying clothing from history. I was never into history only the art until i got the theater bug. I designed several high school plays. When I went to college I had real instructions and learned more about detail, then one day walking to class I saw a group circling around some people. I wedged myself in and found that they were people in Medieval and fantasy clothing. At first I thought they were nuts but as I listened I was hooked into LARPS (Live Action Role Playing). My first jobs were making things for the local chapter, I still do on occasion. Since then I have learned how to draft and design my own patterns and here I am today. Trying to start my business and hoping for a few big breaks.

Are you finding a good market for historical clothing?... Its an iffy field, it comes and goes as Renaissance fair seasons come and go. Some states have only one fair so one time a year I am busy. But here in Texas I have a lot of Local clients But I am wanting to Expand to a global range. I love making things for people, and I love seeing my stuff on them!

What's your biggest challenge... I would say its finding the right happy medium between my kids and my business. Its hard to start up when you have a family and home to look after. But I think as day by day goes I am learning how to manage both. Its all about moderation. My biggest goal that I would like seen scratched off is doing the Fair circuit. Being able to set up shop and be in persona while talking to new customers.

Be sure to visit The Sacred Oak and get in on Willow's sale before March 17th!

The Sacred Oak blog

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

WOODnesday on Etsy

"Some will walk through a forest and find no firewood"

Every week on Wednesday I start a thread in Promotions called "WOODnesday" and I invite any seller to post with items made of wood, looks like wood, smells like wood, or remind us of wood!

If you can cut it, carve it, sand it, shape it, stain it, paint it, or burn it then we want to see it.

If it has bark, grains, splinters, rings or knots then we want to see it.

Sometimes we'll get greeting cards with a nice forest landscape; Sometimes we'll get pillows made to look like logs; Sometimes we'll get handmade knives and tools for woodcarving.

Wood is good!

Share the wood on Etsy in the weekly promotion

this weeks post

Just because Woodworking is the last category, doesn't make us bottom of the heap:)


Monday, March 03, 2008

Etsyland has got me hooked


I'm becoming a Grande Collector of Crochet! It's an honor that I bestow upon 'Me' after viewing recent Etsy purchases :) These amazing crocheters have created some functional and fun items:

Next, I plan to find a knitted or crocheted scarf, a chloe hat, and another cuddly buddy. It's nothin' but fun to shop these crafters----and it's a joy to do business with them, too.

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