Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interview with EcoEtsy Featured Member: EcoKaren

Twitter: @ecokarenlee

How did you get started in your chosen craft?
I started to craft and make eco-friendly items without knowing that they were considered eco-riendly. Some might call me a pack rat, but I honestly see so many possibilities and potential in things we’d normally throw out. One of my favorite resourceful craft is converting unrecyclable plastic into a functional items, like soap dish (check out this great tut: eco-tutorial-soap disk) or birds nest magnets out of plastic bottle caps. I also started making knitted washcloths with upcycled yarn that lasted forever that I gave them out to friends and family. They loved the idea and I started making them to sell on Etsy

How do you make your craft or etsy store eco friendly?
I upcycle any fabric or yarn to sew or knit. I use up almost all the fabric scraps, like for my fabric flower brooch, I use left over pieces of yarn for hanging tags, I upcycle magazine pages to make envelopes (checkout another awesome eco-tut: eco-tutorial - recycled inner envelopes) to ship items. And When I need to buy new materials, I try to buy low impacting and sustainable materials like organic or bamboo (although bamboo has come under a lot of scrutiny lately as being not as green as we thought, it’s still better than buying NEW cotton that uses hundreds of pounds of chemicals in making.)

Why did you join the EcoEtsy Team?
Because great minds think alike and we are all striving for a common goal – to save this planet. I love the fact that we exchange great earth saving ideas.

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?
The resources I have. Artists usually have something in mind when they create but when I look at the resources I have, I think of things to create. Take the dryer balls, (she's full of them, another great tut: eco-tutorial- dryer balls) for example. I had all these orphaned socks and wanted to make something out of them instead of throwing them out or leaving them in a drawer somewhere. So I decided to make dryer balls with them. I thought other people might have the same problem so I posted here on the team’s blog.

Which piece in your shop is your current favourite?
The utensil pouch. I used to collect all those plastic take out utensils and use them when I needed them. But now, I use these utensil pouches and pack my own silverware. I eat better with real silverware rather than those flimsy plastic utensils but I am contributing to reducing all that plastic going to the landfill.

What are you currently working on?
I recently opened ‘ecokaren’ for my eco-friendly items. ‘ecogeneration’ is now for eco-friendly supplies and stashing supplies that I don’t need anymore. I am trying to stock both stores while trying to tweak my new/old blog. It’s tough working on three things at once but I am trying to stock up as much as I can before the Holiday.

What steps have you taken to lead a green life style?
My family….

· recycle

· changed all the light bulbs to CFL bulbs,

· buy things that have less packaging. (I cringe when I see cute things but are packaged to death. It’s wasteful.) We buy in bulk as much as possible.

· buy locally grown organic foods instead from California and certainly not from a foreign country. My whole family has been going to the Farmers Market on Saturdays. The kids pick out the foods and see where their foods come from. It’s a great learning experience for them as they see the ingredients of the foods they eat. They actually talk to the people who grew and harvested the vegetables, fruits, and even the meats they eat.

· try to buy items that are made from recycled materials.

· use glass instead of plastic to store things in kitchen.

· have been using reusable bags for groceries before they were fashionable.

· there are so much more but one major change we started to do was NOT buy into temptation and buy on an impulse. It creates so much unnecessary waste. We are more careful in what we purchase. I think, in the long run, that is the most eco-friendly act we can do – reduce waste.

Is your art/craft your full time job? If not what do you do to pay the bills?
Currently, it’s a hobby although it feels like a full time job. Because I just opened a second shop AND moved my blog to another platform, it’s been challenging to craft. I am always tweaking my blog, writing articles about the environment, think of eco tips and tutorials, and find ways to make it better. I started a sponsorship campaign this month to make a little money from the blog. I have many craft projects in the fire but I haven’t had the time to finish them. I am lucky enough to be able to stay home with my kids while I develop my business. I am hoping to pay my bills from the shop soon. I can’t pay their college tuition yet but I am working on it. You have to have goals, right?

What do you do when you are not crafting?
I don’t have any other exotic hobby other than crafting but when I’m not crafting, I am being a full time mom to two busy teenagers and a wife to a busy husband – in that order, my DH complains. So I guess that would be my exotic hobby, being everyone’s executive assistant.

What is the most eco-friendly purchase you have made?
All natural rubber mattress. It is the best mattress we ever bought.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SalonDArte featured at DigUnderRocks Blog

Happy Wednesday Everybody! My other shop SalonD'Arte is the featured "5 Questions with Featured Artist..." at Blog...

Thanks Sandy - You totally rock!!! Please take some time to read her's pretty awesome : ) SMb

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Look for Etsy Shop

Here is the finalized fresh new banner for Karen's shop on Etsy. It is simple and sophisticated and simply shows off several of her beautiful creations. We are still working on other elements and I will report on the progress as we go along. The avatar has 5 versions in the running featuring this sassy clutch. Here is my favorite version...
Let's see where it goes from here. I've also been working on my shop banner - FINALLY - and uploaded my avatars. Questions, comments and custom orders are always welcome.

Have a Happy & safe Labor Day Weekend! SMb

Monday, August 24, 2009

Custom Banner Re-design

I have been selected to redesign an etsy shop banner and suite of shop graphics for fellow EcoEtsy team member Karen Meyers. She makes one-of-a-kind upcycled vintage and recycled woolen handmade accessories. These unique, sophisticated and sassy creations each have their own personality. I love them - ALL! This is not the best for me - being a "Bag" lady. All of her creations are must-have's. I am grateful to Karen for this opportunity to start my etsy business and to get my feet wet making the transition from print media, to the web platform.

Where this project begins:
Karen has a wonderful existing logo design with a creative symbol of her initials in lilac and brownish plum colors. Very stylish. She wants to incorporate images of her creations and has some great product photography to utilize.

Here is the existing banner:

After a few e-mail correspondence and a phone conversation, here are my first two options going from what we've discussed. I have learned over the years the importance of communication and in building client relationships - it helps me creatively visualize what the client has envisioned.

Version 1 - graphic pattern featuring a variety of products:

Version 2 - Simple, airy design:

I have sent off these two options, & I am awaiting response to see what her feedback is. As my first official project for SMBdesign - I am really excited for her feedbaclk. I have a real artsy idea I've been pondering as I've been working on an altered book project that I may put to paper for a business card option. Stay tuned for where this design turns next...SMb

Questions, comments and custom orders are always welcome.

A New Design

This is a new design that I have done for the EtsyTwitter Team's upcoming back to school event. I am also working on a shop banner/suite redesign for a fellow EcoEtsy Street Team member. I'll be posting about that project a little later. The etsy storefront is now active while I am working behind the scenes making banner, and setting up listings.

For custom designs, please convo or tweet me @SMBdesign - I am available 24/7.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It’s time for an eco-party!! My friends over at the The Etsy Twitter Team have rounded up their best and brightest eco-friendly handmade items and supplies all for your enjoyment. Step right up and see how you can support handmade and the environment at the same time. Win-win for all involved!! Please take time to check this special week long event out.

Why is buying handmade and environmentally friendly an important thing to do? The two go hand in hand. Buying handmade items supports small local businesses that do not have a huge impact on the environment like major corporations do. The accumulative effects of mass production contribute to global warming and pollution. You have not used up gas to go to the store to buy a gift and that gift is handmade and one-of-a-kind. Buying handmade helps us to reconnect with actual people in ways we don’t when we buy at “big-box” stores. That connection fosters community and community fosters care and concern for the world around us. So help us support our artists and our Earth!

Many of these shops have created items just for this event. Most are offering great sales like 10% off or free shipping. Take a look through the list and check them out!

Along with this event, the EtsyTwitter Team is hosting a scavenger hunt. Hidden in shops on this list is the graphic you see above. It’s hidden in one of their shop listings. Find them and email the URL to If you blog about this event or tweet it on Twitter leave a comment on this post for extra entries into the contest - one per blog post and one per tweet. I will choose 5 winners at random for eco-friendly prizes at the end of the week. Contest ends at midnight July 27th. Watch the blog tomorrow for photos of the prizes! They’re really neat!

Now go on and shop till your green self drops!!

25% off the price of everything in the store (not including shipping). Refunds will be sent to your Paypal account after purchase. This offer may not be combined with other specials such as gift certificates.

Pendants are assembled from repurposed poker chips, silver plated bails and quality papers. They are sealed with a non-toxic sealer and glaze that give the pendant a glass-like shine.

This lovely herbal facial masque is made from skin-nourishing lavender and chamomile. 20% off everything in the shop.

This is a great salve to use if you or your loved ones have been out in the sun a bit too long. 15% off herbal salves when you mention "EtsyTwitter" at check out. The discount will be refunded by PayPal.

Created from an upcycled vintage wood domino and vintage beads. 15% off all orders over $10 (not including shipping). Refund given through PayPal for amount of discount.

This lovely mossy green coffee cup cozy is hand knit with a gorgeous cable stitch. An eco-friendly alternative to disposable paper sleeves. Free shipping when you type "Go Green" in the message to seller. Refunded via PayPal after payment.

A beautiful piece of a flawless icy white beach glass that hangs with a seashell found along the Canadian shores. Now accepting par payments to Canadians. After you buy, she will send a PayPal invoice in Canadian money.

This shop features all plant-based, non-toxic body care items as well as eco-friendly supplies for crafters.

Recycled and embroidered olive oil bottle. 20% off of everything in the shop this week!

Created from Precious Metal Clay which is recycled from silver used in photographic practices. Free shipping for any order over $50 in USA. Insurance will be extra.

This particular specimen consists of a blue singing flower under a vintage glass dome with a handwritten specimen label.

Knitted and crocheted this with a soft and silky all natural pure wool yarn.

This lovely pillow was once a wild vintage sweater made of a thick, soft 100% Shetland wool in a pattern of turquoise, charcoal grey, pinks, yellows, and a darker blue!

Ready to Go Green? Tired of those plastic bags from the grocery store? Well, here's the solution!

This black round shell beaded white necklace is upcycled from a resale shop find. Free shipping on her Go Green and Christmas in July items over $6. Code is "Sh6".

This item is a eco-friendly alternative to disposable paper sleeves. 25% off everything – prices already reduced.

Recycled silk upholstery fabric in two-toned stripe used on the front and back covers. Inside are 28 pages of re-purposed discarded blank office paper. Receive a FREE treasure bag of craft supplies with any order from PrettyCheap (one bag per order please).

Upcycled from a Scrabble Tile! Two for one prints if you mention "Etsy Twitter" on check out. Just buy one print at the regular price & then include the name of the 2nd print you'd like (for free!) in the notes to seller section.

This is an elastic Bracelet made of Baby Huayruro Seeds. 10% off if the buyer types "GGETT" in the message to the seller.

Free standard shipping on any bag with the "Go Green" code. Shipping will be reimbursed after the sale.

The ring is wrapped in sterling silver wire that is recycled from American jewelers and manufacturers! The stone is colored and shaped by nature alone.

Organic cotton market bag

A yarn made from 30% recycled polyester from plastics found in soda and water bottles, this yarn helps lessen the impact on the environment and landfills.

This pre-made, REcycled/UPcycled scrapbook album is just waiting for you to add your photos to or give as a gift!

A bracelet made from an upcycled vintage tin from Japan, with a graphic design of tropical hibiscus on one side, and white polka dots on a pink field on the other. Free shipping in the US, affordable shipping worldwide.

This Cozie SET contains a super cute, crocheted cozie for your personal ice cream container! Plus one cozie for your significant other to use around their favorite flavor! Your choice of any Reusable Coffee or Cola Cozie FREE with any purchase during the Go Green Event! Just note your selection in message to seller.

She recycled a favorite shirt into a preschoolers pillowcase dress. Free Shipping on all Go Green items.

Let everyone know you care for the environment with this stylish market bag. Free shipping in ETT Go Green Event Section.

Cherish your Disney Memories with this adorable mini album! The pages are made out of recycled AOL installer CDs. Receive Free Shipping & free gift on all Think GREEN items in this shop. Please mention GREEN TWEETS in message at checkout to receive credit of shipping costs.

20% off list prices for buyers using the discount code "Go Green"

This is a set of 4 black and white images attached to 100% recycled cards with 100% recycled envelopes. Free shipping for the rest of July (refunded through PayPal).

This fine silver [.999] pendant is made from an actual leaf with precious metal clay. Free shipping on any item in the Etsy Goes Green section.


Come by tomorrow for a look at the 5 fabulous prizes we are awarding at random to the scavenger hunt winners!! Plus all week we will be talking about going green! See you back here tomorrow!

Follow us @EtsyTwitrTeam on Twitter for all the Earth-loving updates! See the whole team's tweets here. Think GREEN! SMb

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Custom Design for EstyTwitter Team

As a newbie to all of this...I thought it might be beneficial to gain some cross exposure for my upcoming shop SMBdesign on Etsy. I volunteered my graphic design talents to create this custom graphic for the EtsyTwitter Team [which my other Etsy Shoppe SalonD'Arte is member of this group].

For anyone interested in custom graphics, banners, avatars, or print collateral, etc. - please tweet me -or- send me a comment here...anytime.

THINK Green! : ) SMb

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I am now a member of Team EcoEtsy - a group of Etsy sellers dedicated to reducing, reusing and recycling. Go Green!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day "Cards for Heroes" Bloghop

A bloghop is a blast of creativity and sharing! Bloggers from all over the US and abroad will be posting a card and sharing why THEY participate in honoring our nation's heroes. And everyone else gets inspired!

If you've landed here in the middle of the hop please click here to begin at the "Top of the Hop".


Cards for Heroes is a wonderful organization that supports armed forces serving overseas by sending them blank greeting cards for them to send home to family, as well as cards of gratitude to encourage them. This is my first event I am participating in, and I am inspired by all of the fabulous cards posted along the hop. There are lots of beautiful cards and projects, too.

On this Memorial Day Weekend - My thoughts and Prayers go out to all Service Men and Women this weekend. I remember my grandfather, who was in the Coast Guard, my father, who served in the Navy and now, my baby sister who is in the Army National Guard. Please enjoy this recipe that we made at a BBQ prior to her shipping off to bootcamp - a family favorite grilled "Firehouse Wings".

Grilled Firehouse Chicken Wings [or legs, thighs & breasts with skin left on]
Adapted from a recipe viewed on Emeril Live many years ago.

In a large bowl, mix together the following ingredients: can be adjusted to taste - we just throw together a little of this and a dash of that - really depends on how much chicken you will be making. This will do about 12-18 chicken wings.
Garlic Powder 1 Tbsp
Parsley Flakes 1-2 Tbsp
Thmye 1-2 Tbsp
and a whole small bottle of Franks Red Hot Sauce
Then add the chicken wings and thoroughly coat, and let them sit for a 1/2 hour or until you are ready to grill. Then grill as usual. They don't come out as spicy as you would expect - TASTY with a little kick! Any questions post in comment with e-mail addy to reply.

This is a photo of my sister "Private Cassidy" playing drill sergeant to our two Nieces - she's teaching them what happens when you don't follow the rules "Drop and give me 20!"

The "Lil Troops" took it all in stride. But my sister is sure sick of doing pushups : )

Please visit the NEXT blog in the bloghop
BethieJ's Scrappy/Crafty Spot. BethieJ shares family photos & events and also posts beautiful layered cards and other paper crafts she's created. Please take a moment to stop by and visit.

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The Fine PRINT...

All Photos & Designs displayed on this blog are copyright ©2009-2012 Susan M. Brown/sbartist or the artist/company credited in the post. Please do not use images/designs without permission...please send ALL requests to sbartist1107 at yahoo {dot} com. Thank You & Think GREEN : ) SMb