#WeBeTEST update, class, SALE & more!

I blogged last year about the benefits of challenges, but I didn’t really have those in mind when I came up with the #WeBeTEST instagram intro challenge. However, as challenges tend to be, I think this one is great for the participants… starting on that first day! The stories that Toronto Etsy Street Team makers have shared, and photos (I particularly loved the workspace, tools, and supplies ones!) and Sunday’s posts about teammates (since it was Valentine’s Day the prompt was: show your love for a teammate – most of us couldn’t just pick one!) have just been so great:

Day 14: TEST (Toronto Etsy Street Team) Favorite. Why have one favorite when I can have four? We all know how much I love my women. #WeBeTEST @fitzydesign because it's been exciting watching her grow! She's really honed in her leatherwork skills, and I'm always excited to witness people's success! @clayshapes has my favorite little dishes, and I love what she does with leaves. It's also thrilling to see her life change from being a world-travelling journalist into a successful artisan. @carolyndraws is one of the cheeriest people I talk to at shows, and even though she's a self-described "hockey mom" and her work is sweet and a bit hokey, she has an unexpected badass streak, and I love that. @shibangdesigns makes the cut not only because she makes beautiful work, but because of our ties to Nova Scotia. I didn't even know she had relocated to Toronto until #WeBeTEST began (the last I heard she was in Vancouver). When she left Halifax, she unloaded a TON of scrap fabric and art supplies on me, and it was exciting for me and generous of her.

A post shared by Gillian Hyde : Pip Robins (@piprobins) on

Today’s prompt was maker video, which I believe most of the members have never done, so it was particularly challenging. Today I saw people cutting, spraying, felting, binding, folding, assembling, glueing, wrapping, sewing, painting, polishing, rolling, pinching, shaping, trimming, knitting, crocheting, printing, packaging, a stop-motion, a day in the life, studios, process… These are just so fun! Here are a couple:

And my absolute favourite is this one, which is now on Lisa Young Design’s About page!

Jenny Lee Shee did a video but couldn’t get it onto Instagram so she skipped that step and put it straight onto her Etsy About page! These last two are extra exciting for me since one of the goals was for people to have some material for their About page video, and for 2 teammates, that goal has been met!

Another great point to make is that I know that a few people have joined the team because of this challenge – how great is that? And a few people have created an instagram account and started posting regularly because of this challenge! Check out @bubynoa and her amazing and super soft handmade stuffies – this post (below) from Day 2 name/brand:

Okay, so #WeBeTEST. Check it out if you are on instagram, but if not, I have made a Pinterest board which has just about everything, with the exception of a few on day 1 (I didn’t think to make an automated board until the end of the day) and the videos, which it appears Pinterest doesn’t do, or IFTTT doesn’t do, so you’ll just have to use the instagram link and check them out there. Sorry about that.

In other news, I have another needle felting 101 class scheduled just before Easter (Thursday, March 24, 7-9pm at The Purple Purl) when we will be making this adorable bunny:

Call The Purple Purl to reserve: 416 463 1162

In other Instagram news, I did the #MondayMashup #MeetTheVendor account takeover yesterday at @ArtsMarket, which was pretty fun! I captured all of those posts on a Pinterest board as well, if you’re interested. The most popular post of the day was one of Fineghan, a commissioned gift for Fineghan’s family:

The 2016 #100nfornaments challenge is over 1/4 finished already! So far, this one is the most popular of the bunch (and the quickest sold item I’ve ever listed on Etsy!):

And, finally, since I’m having a sale at the Arts Market (10% off everything for the month of February) where I have just filled my booth with hats and more, I decided I would extend that online as well! So there is a coupon code for my Etsy shop for 10% off for the rest of February. Use 10FEB2016 for your discount on all items, of which there are quite a few right now, including what you see below:

 

 

Guest post for mayBE 2015

My friend Rozanne Lopez has a blog <rozannelopez.com> and this month she is hosting a creative challenge (if you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll have seen some of these) called mayBE 2015. She asked if I could do a guest post, which is up today! I wanted to re-blog it here, but for some reason I can’t, so I’m posting it below. To find out what MayBE is, check out her blog post. For this post on Rozanne’s blog: mayBE 2015: seven. and here are all the mayBE 2015 posts on the blog. One more thing, take a look at the growing Instagram feed with #may_be2015 hashtag, and think about joining us!


Today I have a guest post from my good friend Lynn who is also a local artisan. After knowing Lynn for a number of years now, I have watched her make and create.  Actually, whenever I am with her, she is always making or thinking about her newest project. She makes handmade wool products and you can see more of her wares on her shop, Lynn’s Lids

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A techie before becoming a full-time homeschooling mom, I spent my 20s and most of my 30s not involved in creative endeavours (other than programming, which is creative, but not B2B programming). Then I picked up knitting in late 2008 and after making a few scarves for my family, I decided I would try a felted hat for myself. I figured if I could keep myself in hats, I’d save a bunch of money.

The very first #felted #wool #hat I ever made, back in 2008. My mom still wears it. #tbt #handmade #handknit #madeinToronto #madeinCanada

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

Friends started asking for hats, and slowly Lynn’s Lids was born. I also got into needle felting, which I love to teach. Now I create with wool wherever I go and have recently started carrying a sketchbook with me for inspired moments.

This is what I do. My happy place. Knitting on a hike. They don't call me The Walking Knitter for nothing. #knitting #knitanywhere #nature

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

I create when I have a few moments to spare; I need to (orders!); an idea comes to me; I just need something to keep my hands busy; or when I need to get out of a bad/sad mood. (See below – it worked!)

Rejection news > I needed cheering so created something fun! #Amsterdam #handmade #CanadianMaker

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My life is mostly centred around my home and family. We eat food prepared from scratch, so there is creativity in the kitchen. This year I have taken my eldest to a local cafe and gallery with our sketchbooks in hand to try to emulate or be inspired by the artist of the month whose work covers the walls while we enjoy a treat together.

Here we are at a the local café, my eldest with his sketchbook and me working on a bespoke jellyfish toque. I love custom orders. It is so much fun working with other people’s ideas and passions and illustrating them (on a hat, iPad sleeve, or tea/coffee cozy).

My eldest and I braved the cold and took our art to our local: @lazydaisyscafe! #needlefelt #wool #Toronto #homeschool

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

When I am in a creatively stuck, I hit the books in the library, I hit the gallery cafés with my son, I hit the internet, I meditate, I do zentangles, I get out to the woods or the beach, I ask friends and family for ideas or about their passions, I take my camera and go for a walk, I search out galleries or films and just try to soak it all in. Sometimes I just pick up a personal knitting project and forget about it. Let someone else lead for a bit. The emotions associated with being in a creative rut? I suppose ennui and perhaps frustration. However all is forgotten once the creative juices get flowing again.

These came from being bored of making the same 2 ornaments. I took a ball and thought, “What could I make from a ball?” As it turns out, you can make a lot of different things with a wool ball.

Playing with #wool balls today. #needlefelt #handmade

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Playing with #wool balls again… #needlefelt #ornaments #handmade

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When I was a child I went to a day camp where we could choose our activities. I remember really enjoying the magic of the darkroom and the pottery wheel. I still enjoy photography and a couple of years ago my brother gave me back my first little pottery wheel project. That warped little bowl is where I keep my wristwatch at night.

I keep my watch in the warped little bowl I made on the pottery wheel as a child at Seneca Day Camp. @clayshapes this one's for you!

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

My creative process for designing new patterns actually involves a lot of math and some guesswork. Failures are a part of the process, but I feel good about the fact that my failures can usually be used in some other capacity (my first attempt at a cadet cap was trimmed down to be our tea cosy for several years, pillbox hat attempts that were too small have become bowls, etc). It’s nice to see less failed attempts as time goes on and the guesswork is brought to a minimum by experience. I think creating a new pattern from something I’ve seen or been inspired by is totally thrilling. From my imagination to my fingers.

Stegasaurus hat in action!

Don’t be hindered by… well, anything. Creativity is beyond constraints. Dream it, feel it, try it.

I love zentangle. In fact I wish I’d known about it when I was going through cancer treatment as it has gotten me through a few tense moments. One of those brought this beautiful piece about. Three families had just gone through some struggles with our kids and we just needed to get past it and enjoy our evening. So I pulled out a piece of paper, a fineliner, and a green marker and started one section of the zentangle and passed it onto the adult next to me and just said, “Fill a section with a pattern.” He did, and passed it on until we adults had filled it. We all felt better.

Sometimes you just need to #zentangle. This was a collaboration of 5 adults that I just couldn't throw away after.

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

Zentangle as a movement takes itself very seriously and there are rules and such, but really, here’s what you should do:

Take a small piece of note paper and divide it into a few sections by letting your pen roam and loop here and there over the paper. Then start to fill each section with a different repetitive pattern. That’s it. Try it!

Learn more about what zentangle is and see a bunch of examples on Instagram, flickr, or Pinterest.