Saturday, July 31, 2010

a thought

Shalom- a sense of peace, wholeness, and completion

Friday, July 30, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Miss Independent: Four Women Who Make Us Proud to be Female

It's somethin' about her
'Cause she walk like a boss talk like a boss

Ooh there's somethin' about
Kinda woman that can do for herself
-Miss Independent, Ne-Yo

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817)

Charlotte Brontë (21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855)

Artemisia Gentileschi (8 July 1593–ca. 1656)

Amelia Mary Earhart (born July 24, 1897; missing July 2, 1937)

Monday, July 26, 2010

ExQuisite InVitation: Community-Minded Etsy Artist

ExQuisite InVitation
By Chonte Simmons-Boynton

We are happy to introduce ExQuisite InVitation as our third "Community-Minded Etsy Artist" Feature! Not only is Chonte's work beautiful, well made (and obviously made with love too!), but she is generously involved in bettering her community through her shop and her art. ExQuisite InVitation donates leftover paper scraps to schools for young children to play with. The shop is also a part of a wonderful new cause called, "Wish Upon a Wedding." Uncovered Artistry also wishes the best for this artist's grandmother, who is the inspiration behind her community involvement.

What do you make?

Wedding Stationery and other related items. At ExQuisite InVitation, our goal is to give you the customized handmade wedding invitations and paper items you've always dreamed of with a fabuluxe look!. Invitations that reflects your unique personality and style. None of our invitations are mass produced so be rest assured every corner rounded, ribbon tied, or embellishment added has been done by our hands with love. At ExQuisite InVitation we offer invitations in all styles: single, bi-fold, pocketfolds and pouchettes.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

My inspiration stems from all that the earth has to offer. From grass, the ocean, or a wall color...this is where I get it from. When I'm designing an invitation I think of it from a prospective of getting dressed in the morning. The paper is my body and all the layered paper and printing is my clothing. As a woman I can never leave home without my jewelry so this is where the ribbon, crystals and charms as well as feathers come into place...I mean really! Who ever wants to go out looking plain?

How did you become involved in your work?

I studied fashion design in undergrad at the Fashion Institute of Technology and like so many students changed my major to finance....why? After 8yrs of number crunching boredom and many birthday's and weddings in which I was asked to design invitations I thought hey, "I miss designing" and I love paper...the rest is history!

What are you doing to help your community through your work?

I have a 2 yr. old in daycare and as we all know they come home with the best art projects from school so for the past year I have been donating my scraps to the school to be reused and recycled by children ages 1-5.

ExquisiteInvitation is also a "Wish Grantor" of Wish Upon a Wedding: . Wish upon a Wedding was established just this year and is the world's first nonprofit wish granting organization providing weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and life-altering circumstances...Vendors donate items and/or their services to give these couples the wedding of their dreams!

Why did you decide to make a difference through your Etsy shop?

I've always been a giver but after my grandmother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last year... philanthropy is in my heart!

What is your favorite item that you make?

Currently there are two: my Love Favor Magnets & my Scallop Donation Cards

*These our mine and Angie's favorite items in ExQuisite's shop too! Be sure to check out her site on Etsy here: ExQuisite InVitation

Other ways to connect with ExQuisite InVitation:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Uncovered Artistry's Grand Opening!

Visit the Grand Opening at!

We at Uncovered Artistry strive to help domestic abuse survivors discover their "inner entrepreneur," empowering them both emotionally and financially. We also hope to encourage the use of art as a form of healing. From this, we hope to promote peace in the lives of the artisans and our customers. We also support local domestic abuse safe havens through monetary donations.

Our grand opening features...

New Artists

New Products

New Layout

And Even Free Stuff

Lighboxes, Etc: Improving Your Photos

Before Sarah and I began Uncovered Artistry Boutique (, we spent a little over a year running our Etsy shop ( We struggled with photographs. They would always come out too dark, too blurry, to dull, too washed-out or a combination of these! And everybody knows that good photos are they key to success for an online shop.

So when we began Uncovered Artistry this summer, we decided to eliminate our photography woes by finally (We really procrastinated on this one) creating a lightbox.

our lightbox, created using cardboard box, tape, paper, sheer fabric, and a sheet

And it was a miracle! Our photos turned out beautiful (with very little editing to be done afterward).
We used this article to help guide us.

TIP1: Use a a sheet for over the top of your lightbox. We started off with a pillowcase, but that was too thick and yielded dark photos.

TIP2: If you have Windows Live Photo Gallery (it comes free on PCs) the "Auto Adjust Tool" is often amazingly helpful. But don't always take what it gives you automatically because sometimes it can make things a little weird.

TIP3: MAKE A LIGHTBOX! You'll be very happy you did.


Stuff We Like: Jeggings

Just like your favorite skinny jeans...only softer (and about 1,000 times more comfortable).

Available at Hollister Co. and American Eagle Outfitters.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We Want to Feature Artists Who Do Good for Their Community!

We've begun a series of features of talented Etsy-sellers and handmade entrepreneurs who impact their community in some positive way, and we are looking for more artists to feature on this blog! Helping your community can mean donating a portion of profits to charity or creating work that inspires others. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!

We are a non-profit retail boutique that sells the work of domestic violence survivors online at

Please comment this post or email us at if you are helping your community through your Etsy shop or handmade business!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Top 10 Most Useful Articles for Your Etsy Shop and Website

As an Etsy shop owner and founder of a new non-profit online boutique I’ve done hours upon hours of online research on just about every aspect of my businesses. Now I want to pass on this valuable information to you! Below is a list of my top ten most useful articles to help grow and develop your Etsy business. Above all though, the #1 best way to success is experience and A LOT of hard work!

Be sure to check out my blog for more useful articles and tips:

Good luck!


La SuaVoce Designs

Uncovered Artistry Boutique

1. How to Make an Inexpensive Light Tent- Absolutely the best advice I can give anyone struggling with photos! I used to wait for the right light, the right day, and the right location to take my pictures. Now I just flip on the desk lamp over my light box and get going! And the pictures hardly need any editing. Did I mention I have a tiny, inexpensive digital camera too? See it to believe it! Look below for photographs I took with the new light box.

2. Selling Your Work Wholesale: Tips, Resources, and Links- This is a forum post I wrote a few months back that features a compilation of useful tips and articles for the crafter who is ready to go wholesale.

3. Why Your Story is Everything- In the handmade sector, your story really is everything. You aren’t just selling your products, you are selling yourself! This podcast is a good reminder of this and gives its listeners some sound advice on creating and communicating your own unique story. To see an example of Uncovered Artistry’s story follow this link:

4. 100 Blog Followers in One Month: Tips for Getting new Blog Followers- Written by a fellow Etsy seller, this forum post has great advice for getting followers to your blog. Plus you gotta love this author! Her blog is one of the most interesting I’ve ran across.

5. Maintain Confidence in a Competitive Market- An inspiring article that helped me get out of a rut.

6. How to Take Better Photographs- A couple articles with some sound advice on improving your shop’s photographs.

7. 8 Ways to Jump Start Your Business-I came across this helpful and inspiring article while browsing the web. "8 Ways to Jump Start Your Business" provides helpful tips for business owners, big and small. My favorite tip, which I feel we could have used when we started SuaVoce more than a year ago, reads "define your niche."

8. Get Inspired! Four Useful Tips for Etsy Business Owners- Writing this post was actually a great way to motivate myself. I hope it proves useful to others too!

9. Resources (that really work!) for Writing a Press Release- You might not know it, but sending a press release to your local newspaper, who will publish it for free, is an excellent way to market your business. My sister compiled these articles when she wrote the press release for our non-profit. For at least two weeks, friends, family, and strangers couldn’t stop talking about it!

10. Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design- An inspiring read for all us crafters and Etsy-sellers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Good Morning Poetry

Ode To Enchanted Light

Under the trees light
has dropped from the top of the sky,
like a green
latticework of branches,
on every leaf,
drifting down like clean
white sand.

A cicada sends
its sawing song
high into the empty air.

The world is
a glass overflowing
with water.

--by Pablo Neruda

Oda a la luz encantada

La luz bajo los árboles,
la luz del alto cielo.
La luz
que fulgura
en la hoja
y cae como fresca
arena blanca.

Una cigarra eleva
su son de aserradero
sobre la transparencia.

Es una copa llena
de agua
el mundo.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Community-Minded Etsy Seller Feature: Hartley Soap

Robin Thompson's Hartley Soap

"I don't use my Etsy Shop in anyway to solicit donations, or use it to persuade others to shop with me based on my involvement with helping others. This is a personal thing that is near to my heart and seeing a smile or reaching out and paying it forward is something that cant be explained..."
Robin Thompson of Hartley Soap

My first reaction to Hartley Soap's products was, "delicious!" These soaps, lip balms, and lotions look good enough to eat (though I wouldn't recommend it!). Robin is a talented artist who creates one-of-a-kind artisan soap. The soaps are made using fine natural ingredients such as olive, coconut and palm oils and are blended with essential and fragrance oils. Hartley Soap's products are beautifully photographed and sold at affordable prices. And (just when you thought it couldn't get better) Hartley Soaps donates overages, ends and slightly dented soaps to Robin's local Salvation Army and Women's shelters.

What do you do?
I make Artisan Handmade Cold Process Soap. My soaps are made using the tried and true Cold Process method which is similar to the way it been done for hundreds of years.

Why Choose This Soap?
Hartley Soaps believes that simple is better. Our process is simple, our business structure is simple, and our packaging is simple. Even the way we cut and cure our soaps is simple. Because these soaps are made in very small batches and hand cut, you will notice variations from batch to batch. They are cured for a minimum of 4 weeks before they are sold. This allows all of the ingredients to be completely saponified (absorbed) into the oils, producing a gentle, richly lathering soap.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
The outdoors, long road trips, the visual stimulation that nature bestows upon me each and every day!

How did you become involved in your work?
I have been an artist all my life, and making soap just happened to be one of the things on the bucket list, little did I know at the time when I started whipping up that first batch that it would grab a hold of me and never let go!My passion for creating beautiful, luxuries and quality products that others can enjoy is what drives Hartley Soap each and everyday.

What are you doing to help your community through your work?
I donate my overages, ends and slightly dented soaps to our local Salvation Army and Women's shelters I also donate to a local group that does mission work in other counties.

Why did you decide to make a difference through your Etsy shop?
I am not sure that my Etsy Shop makes any difference to anyone but me, I don't use my Etsy Shop in anyway to solicit donations, or use it to persuade others to shop with me based on my involvement with helping others. This is a personal thing that is near to my heart and seeing a smile or reaching out and paying it forward is something that cant be explained.

What is your favorite item that you make?
What else! Colorful Happy aromatic SOAP.

Other ways to connect with Hartley Soap:


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Collars with Color: Making a Difference Through Colorful Dog Collars and Leashes

Jimena & Kevin Rehmer's Collars With Color

Uncovered Artistry is happy to introduce our first featured Etsy shop, Collars with Color. My sister and I started selling our handmade jewelry on over a year ago. It was our experience owning that shop, called La SuaVoce Designs, that inspired us
to start Uncovered Artistry Boutique, an online boutique that sells the artisan work of domestic abuse survivors. We are still active on Etsy (La SuaVoce now sells hair pieces and Jane Austen greeting cards) and we've noticed lots of Etsy sellers who, like Uncovered Artistry, are helping their communities through their art and businesses. Each Etsy shop we feature is helping their community in a unique way. Read on to learn more about our first inspiring shop!

It wasn't just the cute, colorful dog collars and leashes, which are sold at affordable prices and made from environmentally-friendly material, that drew me to Collars with Color. The Etsy shop is new (just started in May!) and already has a wide array of collars and leashes for sale. Despite being so new, the shop is already taking a great concern in the environment and the community.

They are even offering a special deal for readers of Uncovered Artistry's blog. Collars with Color will donate 10% of proceeds
of any item you purchase from their Etsy shop to a domestic abuse charity . Mention "Prevent Abuse" when placing your order with Collars with Color and they will donate to their local charity, The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, IL. If you mention "Safe Place" they will donate to our local New Hampshire safe haven, A Safe Place NH. Take advantage of this great opportunity!

What do you do?

Collars With Color makes dog collars, leashes and harnesses using hemp – an incredibly strong and sustainably-grown product which is therefore environmentally friendly. Our hardware is made with 20% recycled plastic. Jimena also works as a freelance Spanish translator/interpreter, and Kevin works in the IT field.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
Collars With Color really combines many of our passions: dogs, the environment and helping others. Our dog Alfy is our baby, and he has led us to become involved with volunteering at the shelter where we adopted him. A recent trip to Buenos Aires to visit family led to rescuing a street dog - also a huge inspiration. We realized that not everyone understands that there are resources for helping animals in their community – and that not everyone understands the importance of spaying or neutering their pets.
We are personally committed to living low impact lives environmentally, so it is natural that Collars With Color would be run no differently. We’re focusing on greening the supply chain, reusing packaging and cutting down on waste.

How did you become involved in your work?
After just a few months of use, we became very unhappy with the quality and durability of the harness, leash, and collar that we had gotten for Alfy. We looked around online and in shops and were unimpressed with the style of the boring nylon collars available in the big box stores. Knowing she could make something better, Jimena got to work. Collars With Color is still very new – we started in May 2010 - but we’re quickly growing and we are very excited with the possibilities.

What are you doing to help your community through your work?
We are partnering with several local animal rescue and adoption groups by promising a percentage of our sales to those groups. Customers just need to designate their desired organization.
We are looking to expand to other organizations as well – not just animal rescue groups. We’ve learned that many high-profile charitable organizations hesitate to partner with for-profit companies, so we are working on a different model to give our customers more choice in which organization they support.

Camouflage Hemp Dog Collar

Why did you decide to make a difference through your Etsy shop?

It’s a win-win for us. Partnering with charitable organizations is essentially free advertising for us. But more importantly, we both feel very strongly about giving back to our community and helping others. These charities and organizations are the experts, so by directing funds to them we can increase our impact rather than trying to start our own program of educating the community about the importance of spaying and neutering.

A few weeks ago we were at a “Woofstock” event and a uniformed active duty soldier came up to our booth and I saw his eyes light up when he saw our Camouflage collar. That moment was a huge inspiration for us as well, and is forcing us to think beyond animal organizations.

What is your favorite item that you make?
Our dog Alfy wears the Batter Up collar, leash and harness that we offer in our shop. That will always be my favorite.

Be sure to check out the Collars with Color Etsy page at as well as their website, Facebook, and Twitter.



Twitter: collarswcolor

Keep a look out for our next feature!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why We Changed from “Violence” to “Abuse”

Recently, Uncovered Artistry has modified its motto from “empowering domestic violence survivors” to “empowering domestic abuse survivors.” Why did we change “violence” to “abuse?” When most people hear the word “violence” they associate it with physical beating. However, abuse can come in many forms. To clarify, here is a definition of domestic abuse as defined by A Safe Place NH (
Domestic abuse is a pattern of coercive and/or violent behaviors used by a partner to gain power and control over the other person, and it goes far beyond physical injury.

Types of abuse include:
• Verbal abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Financial abuse
• Sexual abuse
• Physical abuse

For a more detailed description of these types of abuse, go to