Shopping Sherpa

Top 10 Christmas Tree Ornaments

Westervin's Top 10 Christmas Ornaments - fun, handmade, and non-traditional, of course

What’s the best thing to give anyone and everyone on your list this year? (Assuming, of course, that your Christmas list doesn’t include any of those holiday-hating heathen folk who don’t bother putting up a tree.) Answer: ornaments!  They’re small and cute and come in every animal-shape and eye-blinding-color. So, to help you out, Brian and I have rounded up the indisputable top 10 Christmas tree ornaments for holiday gift giving and decorating this year. These are the best of the best, including mostly handmade and truly unique branch baubles with just the right amount of irreverence.

10. Stuffed Shark

Handmade Stuffed Shark Christmas Tree Ornament

Image above: Stuffed Shark Ornament handmade by Broderpress $16.00/ea. 

Ah, the fierce and majestic shark. This plush ornament is not for the faint of heart or the bland of tree.

9. Popsicles

Popsicle Ornaments

Image above: Clay Popsicle Ornaments handmade by Sugar + Frost $8.05/ea.

What’s more wonderful than a popsicle, I ask you? Well, two popsicles. Also, three popsicles, And four. Should I keep going…?

8. Palmistry

Palmistry Wooden Hand Ornament

Image above: Good Fortune Palmistry Hand Wood Ornament made in the USA $10.00/ea. 

Whether you’re gifted with a connection to the spiritual world or are just really into this “hand” trend I’m seeing everywhere, you’ll love this laser-engraved birch wood ornament.

7. Monster Friend

Handmade Clay Monster Friend Ornament

Image above: Ceramic Monster Ornament handmade by DragonStarArt $40.00 (only one available!)

Just look at that sweet squiggly smile! This odd fella would add some real interest to any quirky tree.

6. Mini Weavings

Woven Loom Ornaments

Image above: Woven Loom Ornaments handmade by All Roads Design $14.00/ea.

Anthropologie has ALL THE PRETTY THINGS! Case-in-point, these little loom weavings. They’re so tiny! Gimme.

5. Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs Ornament

Image above: Deviled Eggs Glass Ornament handmade in Poland $13.96/ea.

Did you know that the deviled egg dates as far back as ancient Rome? That means this platter of deviled eggs is probably the classiest ornament you could have.

Don’t question it.

4. Christmas Pickles

Westervin_Blog_Top_Ten_Holiday_Ornaments15

Image above: Jar of Pickles Ornament Set hand-blown in Poland $8.00 for 9

If you don’t partake in the Christmas pickle tradition every year, stop reading this blog post and don’t come back until you’ve bought a pickle ornament and committed yourself to this beautiful custom. I’m making it a requirement of all Westervin readers. Seriously, get out of here.

3. Banana Bunch

Bunch of Bananas Ornament

Image above: Banana Bunch Wood Ornament handmade by Alice Oehr & Rittle $13.00

Brian doesn’t actually enjoy eating bananas, and I just can’t understand that. They’re sweet, have a bright, happy color, and are fun to mush around in your mouth as if you’re a baby monkey learning to eat. And they have an interesting history. Bananas are wonderful, I say, and perfect for any Christmas tree!

2. Fancy Flamingo

Flamingo in a Top Hat Ornament

Image above: Fancy Flamingo Paper Mache Ornament $19.95

This guy is too fabulous for any old tree, and he knows it. Just look at that cheeky side-eye.

1. Cheerful Cactus

Handmade Plaid Wool & Velvet Cactus Ornament

Image above: Plaid & Velvet Cactus Ornament handmade by Dotter Studio $18.00

And finally, topping the list is this one-of-a-kind cactus ornament made with salvaged vintage velvet and plaid wool. Because nothing says, “white Christmas is so last year,” like a desert dwelling succulent.

Shopping Sherpa

Top 10 Christmas Cards

Westervin's Top 10 Christmas Cards

As the countdown to the holidays continues (11 days to go, woo!), Brian and I thought we’d whip up a Christmas countdown of our own. This season, we scoured the internets for the absolutely best, most whimsical, smile-inducing cards that you can give to your loved ones, colleagues, mailmen, and even strangers. And strangers’ kids. From one to ninety-two. Or whatever… Featuring cats, eye patches, beautiful typography, and non-traditional color palettes, this list includes our favorite Christmas cards this year, handmade by independent designers and makers and/or printed in the USA on sustainable materials.

10. Skiing Santa

Skiing Santa Christmas Card

Image above: Skiing Santa Christmas Card handmade by Lucy Letherland £1.75 

I guess Santa’s gotta have something to do in his downtime.

9. Festive Tumbleweed

Festive Tumbleweed Card

Image above: Festive Tumbleweed Christmas Card Set handmade by Small Adventure $18.00 for 8

Did you pull out your holiday decorations this year only to find your strings of lights tangled in an ungodly mess? Screw it! Embrace the chaos by tossing them in the nearest tumbleweed. Christmas saved!

8. Merrily

Merrily Christmas Card

Image above: Merrily Holiday Cards handmade by Maddy Nye of Yours Madly $4.00/ea. or $16.00 for 6

Show your minimalist-leaning friends that you care with this simple yet happy typography based card.

7. Say It With Flowers!

Cactus Tree Christmas Card

Image above: Say It With Flowers! Christmas Cactus Card handmade by Daniela Spoto $12.00 for 3, $15.00 for 5, or $20.00 for 10

Cacti are SO on trend this year.

 6. Nutcracker

 

Nutcracker Christmas Card Set

Image above: Nutcracker Christmas Card Set made in the USA by Rifle Paper Co.  $16.00 for 8

Fun fact: Brian used to collect nutcrackers for Christmas when he was little. Aaaawww! Now our home is filled to ceilings with festive little nutcracker men, big and small, on mantels and bookshelves, peering out at me, following me with their beady wooden eyes wherever I go. Why, Brian, why??????

5. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas Card

Image above: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Card Set handmade by Gemma Correll $12.00 for 3, $15.00 for 5, or $20 for 10

No Westervin Christmas card list is complete without the silliness of illustrator Gemma Correll. She is magic.

4. Mistletoe Magic

Mistletoe Magic Christmas Card

Image above: Mistletoe Magic Holiday Card handmade by Laura Berger $4.50/ea.

Although no proud cat parent needs an excuse to smooch their kitty babies, mistletoe might make it a little less awkward when you have guests. Right?

3. Bah Humcat

Bah Humbug Cat Christmas Card

Image above: Bah Humbug Catsmas Card handmade by Nicola Rowlands £2.20

But maybe your cat doesn’t care for your smooches. Well, bah humbug to you too, cat!

2. Snappy New Year

Snappy New Year Christmas Card

Image above: Snappy New Year Crocodile Christmas Card Set printed in the USA on recycled content paper $18.95 for 6

For the badass with a heart of gold.

1. Santa Claws

Santa Claws Christmas Card

Image above: Santa Claws Christmas Card Set handmade by Wit & Whistle $16.50 for 6

Because puns.

Westervin Wishlist

30 Gift Ideas for the Quirky, Crafty Feminist (or things you can get Sarah for Christmas)

Westervin Wishlist: 30 Gift Ideas for the Quirky Feminist

 

It’s that time of year! Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror, and it’s full steam ahead with the holiday lights and music and drinks and treats and travel and togetherness. Friends and family have begun asking what you want from Santa, and, if you’re like me, you’ve begun planning all the handmade and hard-to-find gifts and silly cards you’ll be doling out this year, complete with a color-coded spreadsheet! No? I’m the only one with a spreadsheet?

Well, if you need a little help finding unforgettable presents and stocking stuffers for your loved ones, let me help! I’ve pulled together a well-rounded set of items, big and small, with emphases on handcrafted, useful, and nontraditional gifts. The result should suit any quirky, crafty, feminist pal on your gift list (aka me, please and thank you). It’s like Oprah’s favorite things. Only weirder.

Image above, clockwise from top left: Temporary Cat Tattoo $5, Lena Dunham Birthday Suit Tee $55, Happy Holidays Log Card $5 CAD, make a Charitable Donation to the Global Fund for Women in my name, Gift Wrap Calendar $49, Organic Herbal Lip Stain $10, Aca-scuse Me Sweatshirt $39, The Boob Tote $152, make a Charitable Donation to Pads4Girls in my name, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Japanese Stoneware Mug $30

Westervin Wishlist: 30 Gift Ideas for the Quirky Crafty Gal

Image above, clockwise from top left: Online Embroidery Class $34.99, Red Grid Washi Tape $1.50, Fabric Postcards Set $12, Beachcomber Framed Embroidery Art $250, Weaving Kit $140, Black Arrows Washi Tape $2.35, Makrs Tote $22, Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon, Vintage Scissor Cuff Bracelet $86, Hand-dyed Yarn $23.50

Westervin Wishlist: 30 Gift Ideas for the Quirky Gal

Image above, clockwise from top left: Sex Trafficking Survivors Tee $28, Pickle Earrings $15, Coffee Lover Lollipop Pack $25, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Sleep Donation by Karen Russell, Luna Moth Wall Decal $3.50, Marled Boot Socks $8 ea., Cactus Handmade Ornament coming soon

The Business of Making

10 Things I Learned From My First Wholesale Order, Part 2

10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order, Part 2  --  for makers, from Westervin

Hey, you! If you haven’t read tips 1 through 5, go to “10 Things I Learned From My First Wholesale Order, Part 1,” then come back. Don’t skip ahead!

6. Prioritize Your Photography

This is a very basic yet crucial point, so I’ll keep it short: Great photos are crucial. If you’re trying to reach retailers online, your pictures will do most of the talking. It may seem obvious, but you can’t avoid investing (whether time, money, or both) in high-quality photographs of your products. If you’ve got an online store where you sell directly to consumers, you probably already know this. The same is true for retailers. For the photos you use in your linesheet, you’ll want crisp, clean, and professional images that show your products in the best possible light. That might be in a styled setting or on a model. Often, white backgrounds make the most versatile product shots. You can also offer to let retailers use your photos on their websites or in their own promotional materials, which provides an additional incentive for buyers (see Tip #4).

7. Be Proactive

Don’t wait for retailers to find you. That’s asking the retailer to do all the work! And you might be waiting a long time. I learned this the hard way.

When I first opened my shop last winter, I received some interest from an Etsy admin who placed an order for a couple of hats and gave me some wonderful feedback. “I expect you will have success with them,” she said. “I’ll bet you’ll even have interest from retailers eventually!”

How nice is that? You can bet I was thrilled. I just had to wait for the retailer inquires to start rolling in!

I waited 10 months. And, judging from my Etsy stats pieced together with what I know of my new stockist, I believe she found my shop by chance while searching for something else. Now that’s some luck, right! But why wait for luck? The best way for a retailer to find your work is for you to show it to them.

And another thing: don’t feel “icky” about reaching out to buyers. When I was sending out my first round of emails to potential buyers, Brian said he couldn’t be in the same room because it made him too nervous. HE was nervous about MY “cold emails.” Why? Because I was putting myself out their, risking rejection and possibly annoying people I didn’t know. But selling your work doesn’t have to be “icky,” and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to annoy anyone. Just remember to write sincere, personalized emails to each buyer. Find out their names, if possible. If you truly believe that your products will fit in a particular shop, there’s no harm in asking the buyer if they might agree. No icks, ands, or buts.

Fort Smith Regional Art Museum #Arkansas

{ The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, where you will soon be able to find Westervin hats and headbands for sale. }

8. Have a “Little Black Book”

A Little Black Business Book, that is. If you’re going to be proactive in sending out your linesheet, you’ll need a list of people to send it to. The first step is research — targeting specific stores with the most potential for interest in your wares. I ended up targeting specific cities and regions I had a connection to, asking locals I knew in each area for recommendations, and hunting for boutiques with a demonstrated appreciation for handmade wares. I spent a few days and several total hours on this step, because having a targeted outreach plan is actually more efficient and productive in the long run.

Keep track of all your contacts in a spreadsheet (or other tool you prefer), including:

  • Store name
  • Physical address
  • Website
  • Name of the owner, buyer, or most relevant contact person
  • Email address or link to their preferred contact form. (Pro tip: If you’re having trouble finding an email address, check the “About” section on the shop’s official Facebook page.)
  • Notes about what the shop typically carries, best times and methods to contact them, and even something personal to share with them (e.g. how you discovered them, something you love that you bought there, or why you really want your work in their store)

9. Create a Communication Plan

Also in your Little Black Book, you’ll want to keep track of how & when you contacted each retailer, if & when they replied, and when to follow-up. For example, I have the following columns for each contact:

  • Postcard
  • Email
  • Email followup
  • Call
  • Visit
  • Incentive offered

My communication plan involves some or all of these methods of communication for each retailer in my book. For many contacts, its not enough to send one email and forget about it. Don’t be afraid to follow up, politely and respectively of course, with additional information and/or incentives. It may take several touchpoints before a buyer shows interest.

Just Keep Swimming  (Westervin)

10. Just Keep Swimming

Full disclosure, I am not an expert on selling wholesale. I haven’t even had that many sales yet! I’m not confident in everything I make, and I don’t know for sure that my business will last.

But I do know that I’m learning something new every day, I’m receiving positive feedback that sustains me through the failures, and I LOVE nearly every bit of every day. This venture allows me to be creative AND strategic. It lets me exercise my design skills AND use my business training. I have found something that I’m passionate about, that I believe I can be good at, and that I think I can make money doing. I don’t know everything, but I know I’m on the right track.

These are the steps I believe will work for me as I build my wholesale offerings and my small business. Before you get started on your wholesale tools, think critically about your specific needs and do a little research of your own. I found Etsy’s Wholesale Guide to be one of the best references (no surprises there). Their “Wholesale Policies and Linesheets” document, for example, included some great sample linesheets.

Bonus! Join our mailing list for even more info.

Sign up to receive the Westervin newsletter and get 4 bonus tips for selling wholesale! I’ll put all this info — tips 1 through 10 plus the 4 bonus tips — together in a handy PDF guide and send it out to my newsletter subscribers for easy reference.

Giveaway

Win a Westervin Headband

Westervin Giveaway: Win the Headband of Your Choice

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll! To show my appreciation and gratitude to Westervin’s readers, customers, and supporters (like our great friend Carolyn above), I’m giving away one crocheted Popcorn Turban Headband! Just leave a comment before Cyber Monday to enter, and the winner will get to choose one of the available headbands from the Westervin shop. Whichever one suits his or her fancy! Check out the new ones I listed yesterday and good luck.

To Enter:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post before Cyber Monday (December 1, 2014)!

2. FOR ONE EXTRA ENTRY, join the Westervin mailing list. If you’re not already signed up, check the box next to “Sign me up for the Westervin newsletter!” at the bottom of the page before submitting your comment. Easy peasy. If you’re already on the mailing list, skip this step and give yourself a pat on the back.

Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

1. No purchase necessary. A purchase does not increase your chance of winning. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.
2. Entrant must be 18 years of age or older at time of sweepstakes start date and a current legal resident of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia as of start date.
3. Giveaway begins Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. Central Time and closes on Cyber Monday, December 1, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. Central Time.
4. One winner will be selected by random drawing on Cyber Monday, December 1, 2014 and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours after notification to claim the prize. If unclaimed, the prize will be re-awarded to another valid entrant by random drawing. Potential winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements.
5. The prize includes one Popcorn Turban Headband (retail value: $35.00 USD) of the winner’s choice from available listings in the Westervin Etsy shop at time of notification plus the cost of shipping the prize within the United States via USPS First Class Mail (up to $5.00 USD). No cash equivalent and no substitution will be made. Sponsor may substitute any listed prize for one of equal or greater value if the designated prize becomes unavailable for any reason. Winner is responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use. Sponsor is not responsible for lost or mutilated prizes, and none will be replaced.
The Business of Making

10 Things I Learned From My First Wholesale Order, Part 1

10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order -- For Makers, From Westervin

Last month, I received my first request for a wholesale order. Thrilled, I immediately replied saying something to the effect of, “WHAAAAT ERMERGOD OK YESPLZ SURE LET’S DO THIS!!!!!” Or something slightly more professional. It wasn’t until after I hit “Send,” that I realized I had some things to figure out. Namely, how to sell wholesale, exactly. I understood that the basic wholesale arrangement involved selling a larger quantity of goods to a retailer at a reduced price, and it seemed like I’d seen somewhere that a 50% discount from the retail price was the standard. But was 50% a hard-and-fast rule, especially for small producers of handmade wares, like myself? If so, would that be profitable for me? And how much was a “larger quantity” exactly? My blinding excitement quickly diluted to a mixture of hope and hesitation. So I set about uncovering the mysteries of wholesale with help from the internet, a calculator, and some very smart people I know. Here’s what I learned.

1. Pricing Is Everything

An initial search of “how to price for wholesale” left me a little overwhelmed. It seemed the industry standard was indeed to offer wholesale items at half the retail price, but I worried that wouldn’t work for me. Then I decided to ask an actual person. Two actual persons, to be exact — two lovely women I knew with experience as a buyer. Jess Mott Wickstrom is the former Gallery Director of Lillstreet Art Center and co-founder of DesignEgg, and Claire Hurwitz Staszak is the current Manager & Buyer at Neighborly. Boy, am I glad I asked these two! I found this piece of advice from Claire particularly empowering:

“You should remember that you have the control.”

Right! My business, my prices. I determine what works for me.

“We don’t make 50% on everything,” she continued, “and sometimes we carry an item just because we really like it. The margin isn’t always a priority, especially if it sells well.” Retailers may understand that small producers can’t always accommodate the traditional 50% markdown.

Jess agreed with Claire. “When dealing with Etsy sellers,” she said, “I was never surprised if they wanted to sell me items at prices a bit higher than the typical 50% wholesale. I think 60/40 is fair. If a retailer wants a bigger discount, ask for a higher minimum order.”

Yes. I think can work with that.

Next, I wanted to be sure a wholesale discount, even one slightly less than the standard 50%, still allowed me enough profit for my time and materials. According to Etsy, it all starts with your costs: “A solid understanding of how much it costs to make each of your products will allow you to adapt your supplies, workflows and minimum order quantities in order to strategically price for wholesale and ensure that you’re still making a profit.” Etsy shares this helpful formula for determining your prices:

  • Break-Even Price = Supplies + Overhead + Labor
  • Wholesale Price = Break-Even Price X 2 or More
  • Retail Price = Wholesale Price X 2 or More

You can read the full Wholesale Pricing Guide from Etsy.

Finally, I was ready to whip out my tiny calculator and crunch some numbers. With my trusty data in hand and my advice from Claire and Jess in mind, I followed up on my first wholesale order request with some solid pricepoints. Through this process, I realized I was undervaluing my work. I decided to adjust the prices on a few of my current designs, and the results have been pretty positive. It was scary, but I feel more confident about my line now. I’ve also started plans for new designs and production techniques that allow for greater profitability.

Westervin Packaging (From 10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order)

2. Pay Yourself

This is an extension of #1 but an equally important and separate point to make. This wisdom comes from Tim West, Associate Professor of Accounting at Northern Illinois University and World’s Greatest Father-in-Law.

“One thing I always tell people,” he mentioned to me over the phone, “it’s easy to give away a good living. I suspect this can be a problem in the craft world, because people are so passionate about what they do.”

So true, Tim, so true. I see this all the time. It’s like an epidemic in the craft world; so many makers aren’t paying themselves enough. Not only do we not know how to price our work so we make enough to live, but we must compete with the impossibly low price-points of mass produced merchandise. Tim suggests starting by calculating how much you need to make in order to pay your bills, eat, and have a place to live.

“For example, if you need $4,000 each month, you will need $48,000 for the year. Remember, that’s after tax so multiply $48,000 x 1.4 to approximate your before tax ‘salary.’ In this example, you need a ‘profit’ on your orders of $67,200. How many hours do you want to work during the year? If this is a full-time gig, you might consider 2,000 hours (50 weeks x 40 hours per week). The result, for every hour you work, you should should charge $24.00 per hour ($48,000/2,000 hours) in addition to your material cost.” So, that’s how you can calculate your labor costs for use in the pricing formula above.

But as Tim cautioned, this is just a starting point. Just because you need to earn X dollars for every scarf you make doesn’t mean someone will pay X dollars for your scarf. “Don’t forget the opportunity cost,” Tim continued. “If you take on too many intro priced jobs, you won’t have the time you need for better projects.”

3. Consider Consignment

If you aren’t getting as much interest from retailers as you’d like, or if there’s a particular store you REALLY want to get your items into, consider offering a consignment arrangement. This reduces the risk for a store.

“We do it occasionally,” Claire explained, “when we aren’t sure how well something will do, or if it’s a high-priced item. It makes it much easier to say ‘yes’ to someone.”

Offering consignment can supplement your wholesale revenue and help to generate more interest in your goods and brand. Just make sure you have a solid system for keeping track of what you send out, when you get paid, and if unsold items are sent back to you. Be clear about shipping costs and who is expected to cover them. Remember, also, that a consignment experience can be a great opportunity for market research. Keep an eye on what does or doesn’t sell and where. You could find that you’re targeting the wrong stores.

4. Incentivize Sales

Give a retailer more reason to order from you. Clare Yuille, founder of Indie Retail Academy, explains that, “there are probably a couple of extra things you can do to tip the scales in the shop-keeper’s favour, without it affecting you too badly.” Some examples include:

  • RISK FREE TRIAL. Let retailers carry your products for a specified period of time (e.g. 45-90 days) at no charge, but keep a valid credit card on file. At the end of the trial, they can decide to keep the products and be charged the wholesale price or return the items in like-new condition.
  • PRODUCT SWAPS. Like a risk-free trial, you can give retailers the option to swap a product that isn’t selling well for something else more promising, after a specified period of time.
  • SAMPLES. Offer to send a free sample of your items to retailers you really want to work with. This will get your figurative foot in their door and show them the quality of your creations. Just make sure it’s financially feasible for you to do so.
  • EXCLUSIVITY. Create an exclusive line for a favorite retailer or agree not to sell similar items to a retailer’s direct competitors.
  • DISCOUNTS. Calculate appropriate discounts (in addition to the 50% wholesale discount) for placing holiday orders early or making a sale at a particular trade show.

Westervin's Sample Linesheet Page -- 10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order

{ sample page from my wholesale linesheet for the Westervin shop }

5. Make a Linesheet

This was completely new to me. A linesheet, I discovered, is basically like a catalogue containing all the products you offer that are available for wholesale. It contains basic information about your business, your available products, and ordering policies that a retailer needs to know and, ideally, allows them to quickly and easily place an order. In general, this information should include:

  • product name, number (if applicable), and description (e.g. sizes, colors, materials, etc.)
  • the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) for each product
  • the wholesale price for each product
  • contact and ordering information
  • payment methods and terms
  • shipping methods and costs
  • order minimums (per item or per order)
  • lead time

“Okay, got it,” you’re probably thinking, “where do I get started?” Well, unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all template for creating a linesheet, and I’ve seen oodles and gobs of variation in all the samples I’ve found. I did not let this stop me. In fact, I found it liberating to design my very own linesheet, something unique to Westervin. I used my basic photoshop skills and some photos I’d already taken for my online shop. In the end (because once I get started, it’s hard for me to stop), I created three different documents:

  • A multi-page CATALOGUE with full-page images, a mini bio about myself and business, and detailed ordering information. This will serve more as a marketing tool than strictly a tool for placing a wholesale order.
  • A one-page CHEAT SHEET, including thumbnails of all available products (shown previously in the catalogue) with the basic ordering information. This offers a quick reference for buyers when they’re ready to place their orders. This idea came from Claire after I sent her a proof of my catalogue. “I personally like looking through well-done multiple page catalogues,” she assured me, “but it can get annoying if you have to flip back and forth a lot to figure out your order.”
  • A branded ORDER FORM. This will be optional, as I understand some retailers may want to use their own forms. Either way, make sure every wholesale order has an order form — for safety and clarity.

For tips 6-10, read “10 Things I Learned From My First Wholesale Order, Part 2!”

Click here to finish reading.

Who Are You Pairing?

2014 Hollywood Film Awards

Janelle Monae at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Olga

 { Janelle Monae at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Olga of 10 ante meridiem }

Reese Witherspoon at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Leon Polk Smith

{ Reese Witherspoon at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Leon Polk Smith }

Keira Knightly at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Noemie

{ Keira Knightly at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Noemie of Digital Art Prints }

Keltie Knight at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Leah Duncan

{ Keltie Knight at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Leah Duncan }

Queen Latifah at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and Anouk Desloges

{ Queen Latifah at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards }  { Anouk Desloges }

Images: Getty Images for DCP / Christopher Polk; Getty Images / Jason Merritt; Getty Images for DCP / Frazer Harrison; Getty Images for DCP / Frazer Harrison; Getty Images / Jason Merritt

Artist I Heart

Liz Toohey-Wiese

"Observing Growth" tapestry wall hanging by Liz Toohey-Wiese

{ Observing Growth tapestry wall hanging }

Now here’s a multitalented artist I can’t get enough of right now. Liz Toohey-Wiese is a Canadian bread, Icelandic traveled artist who creates brightly colored and boldly rendered pieces that my eyes just want to gobble up. Her creativity isn’t restricted to one medium. Nay, her talents meander across painting, drawing, photography, and fiber art, creating a diverse yet seamless collection of eye-catching pieces. Weaving together popular imagery and patterns (eyes, hands, polka dots) with natural landscapes, Toohey-Wiese depicts picture-perfect places I’d like to visit— each creation seems grounded in nature, place, a sense of belonging, and home. And the colors! Her paintings and weavings especially feature fun combinations of rich hues, dark shades, and vibrant tones. I can’t get enough!

"Thirty Foot Pool" painting by Liz Toohey-Wiese

{ Thirty Foot Pool painting }

"Holding Sight" tapestry wall hanging by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Holding Sight tapestry wall hanging }

"Nature Is Beautiful But It Doesn't Love You" by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Nature Is Beautiful But It Doesn’t Love You }

tent piece by Liz Toohey-Wiese

{ tent piece }

"Natural Patterns I" painting by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Natural Patterns I painting }

"Jug Island" by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Jug Island painting }

"Reflect" tapestry wall hanging by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Reflect tapestry wall hanging }

"Galiano Island" painting by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Galiano Island painting }

Westervin Shop

Shop Update: Cubist Hats, Turban Headbands, and More Wristlets

Cubist Crochet Pom-Pom Cap by Westervin

Is the weather in your neck of the woods quickly changing from cool to cooler? Have you found yourself thinking to yourself, “oh dear, my head is feeling a little chilly,” while wandering about outside? Well, I’ve got the solution for you: KITTEN MITTENS! No, JK. But the new hats and headbands I’ve just listed in the Westervin shop might be of interest to you.

Cubist Crochet Pom-Pom Hats by Westervin

This mini collection of items now available features new, one-of-a-kind designs for my signature pom-pom hats, as well as my first line of headbands and a few more triangle wristlets. I’m quite excited about these special new hats, which were inspired by the handwoven floor mats of Hlynur Atlason, which depict “backyards and swimming pools as patterns from above.” Brilliant, right? I wanted to make something similar that could be worn — a statement piece for your head! Why not wear a work of art? Each cubist-like pattern of abstract shapes is unique; no two hats are alike. Using my own popular pom-pom hat pattern as the base, I set out to create a piece of knitwear that would transform as the wearer moved, that looked different from every angle. I’m very happy with how these babies turned out!

Cream & Rainbow Turban Headband by Westervin

Also new to the shop are a line of my all-time favorite accessory — my turban-style headbands. I would wear these year-round if I could. While they’re a little too warm for the summer, they provide the perfect amount of cozy warmth for the fall and mild winters. This headband design was the first crochet pattern I ever created on my own. It was also only the second piece I ever crocheted, about four years ago. The first was a simple gray cowl with a single-crochet stitch, which I still wear to this day. Then, because I am often overly confident and enthusiastic, I decided to create my own turban headband. [Side note: I am apparently a “Get Your Freak On” kind of knitter, according to the goddess Debbie Stoller in Stitch n’ Bitch. I learned this about myself during my first year of college back in good ole ’04 when I co-founded Hendrix College’s first and only (that I know of) Underground Knitting Society with two young women who would become my forever friends. The “Get Your Freak On” types knit and crochet by their own rules. This is still true in my case.] Well, after several frustrating attempts, I finally settled on this headband design with a popcorn stitch stripe and twisty top-not for that oh-so popular turban look. I lurb it. Especially with my new short little hairsy-do!

Black & Tan Turban Headband by Westervin

Triangle Crochet Wristlet by Westervin

And finally, in this new mini collection you’ll find a few more of the triangle crochet wristlets I started offering a couple months ago. The first batch nearly sold old within a week, so I figured I better update my stock. I must give the people want they want.

Triangle Crochet Wristlets by Westervin

Outtakes from the Westervin Shop Update #1

Oh, and just for giggles, I thought I’d share my best outtakes from the recent photoshoot. Forced smiles, blinks, and empty stares! I’m so good at modeling…

More Outtakes from the Westervin Shop Update