Introducing Greenbelts…

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I enjoy introducing artists now and again, who really spark my interest, and I’ve found someone who not only makes astonishingly original pieces, but she does it using recycled materials that we all wear out and throw away – belts.

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Her name is Shannon Ritscher.  She is from Seattle, WA.  Shannon is a part-time graphic designer and part-time crafter (Greenbelts), but she is also a full-time, stay at home mom to her 4 year old son – Henry.  (Round of applause for balancing all three and rockin’ it out on Etsy at the same time!)  She’s awesome, is an inspiration, has a ton to choose from on Etsy and I seriously have so many favorites, it makes my head spin!

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I don’t know about you, but I think the growth process of artists, when they work from the ground up, is a beautiful thing.  Shannon started listing on Etsy in June of 2007.  When I asked her about her early beginnings, she recalled, making collars and cuffs for friends and family for Christmas presents just 6 months before she opened shop.  She said they liked them so well that she thought she’d try her hand at selling them.  As Shannon thought back, she said, “I worked out of my neighbors basement for one full year before my husband finally built me a little work space (shed) on our back porch just a few months ago. Yea!”  If you’re a crafter, you can likely relate.  I know I started working at the kitchen table, which was followed by a relocation to our home office, with yet another bulge into our guest bedroom.  I don’t think the growth and development ever ends. 

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I asked Shannon what her favorite material or materials are to use.  I’ve already said belts were one, but you’ll see from her work, she also enjoys working with buttons, found objects, and bottle caps and humorously, a favorite of most but not often thought of, Shannon’s other favorite thing to work with is “time.”  🙂 

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Shannon’s personal favorite of the items in her shop is a toss-up, but here was her response…  “The first one is a cuff made from a very cool weathered leather belt, a giant metal washer, and an amazing vintage dark abalone carved button. The contrast between the materials makes my heart flutter. I also have a soft spot for the red, white and black large cut flower cuff and collar setthat I have listed right now. I just about go cross-eyed every night, sitting and cutting out flowers (TONS of flowers!). I think they look adorable though – especially on. I love things that are girly but without all the frill.”  I’m sure there are lots of people out there that share Shannon’s taste!

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When I asked her what she loves about handmade items, Shannon said she loves the unexpected aspect of handmade items.  Wonderfully said, Shannon’s additional comments were, “when you see something fantastic that is made from something else (recycled) and/or something that is uniquely beautiful – Well, there’s nothing better.”  She also added, “I do tend to gravitate toward recycled pieces because I love things that have a story behind them.”  I too love stories and because I’m a talker, love things that generate fun conversation!  Shannon’s items are and do, exactly that, which may be why I love them so much!  Plus, I’m an animal lover with three dogs – what fashionable, dog owner girl wouldn’t love having a matching dog collar and owner cuff set?  They’re sweet!

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For all of our Etsy readers out there, I always think it’s good to know how other Etsians are promoting.  I’m a firm believer in working smarter, and not harder, so I’m regularly looking to borrow ideas from other successful people.  Shannon’s success has come primarily from promoting her items through her website, a blog, her Etsy shop, Myspace, and similar web based opportunities.  

Even though we are pretty much saturated by technology these days, I know some people still don’t realize the power and marketing potential of the Internet.  With 386 Etsy items sold and having 100% positive feedback, Shannon is one to prove that it works! 

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Shannon says that most of her promotional efforts have been put on hold until her son starts school next year and she has a little more time to give it a good effort.  Currently, she has products in 8 stores, from Seattle to the UK.  She has a portfolio on TrunkT, her Greenbelts are featured on www.seekingdesigners.com and various blogs like www.pupstyle.com, itsthedogslife.com, www.treehugger.com, www.ourgreatgreenglobe.com, etc.  She is also gearing up to attend some local art/craft shows this summer.  Jeesh!  For having her promotions on “hold,” I’d say she’s pretty active and thriving!

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Shannon had some kind words for me for featuring her in my blog, but after learning about her, her talents, and drive, I have this to say to her: Shannon –>YOU rock! 

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High Five!

And lastly – one more thing about Shannon — she’s great because her birthday is the same day as Anthony and I’s wedding Anniversary…December 17th.  🙂

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New Etsy Shops and Finds

Not too long ago, I was featured on the Cache Valley Boutique blog.  In helping to drive traffic to the blog, I offered to feature some artists in my blog.  After enjoyably browsing their shops and wares, I have created a list to share with you.  Many of the shops have offered discounts and incentives for my blog readers so, when you buy, mention NICOLE LEE ARTISTRY’S BLOG in the “message to seller.”  I’ve noted all incentives in RED.  It is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of awesome handmade items.  Let’s begin.

MY BOYS – Custom Cards, Prints and Designs for ANY Occasion…even Web Banners!    Announcements, Thank You Cards, Save the Date Cards, Business or Pleasure –  you’re sure to find something!  Lots to choose from and custom designs are welcome.  Here’s a personal message from Holly, the mind and crafter behind the MyBoys store…”I will soon be adding a personalized stationary line! This line will feature monogrammed stationary with both simple and funky designs. As with all my products, I love to do custom orders, so if you have something specific in mind, just let me know!  Thanks, Holly”  BONUS FOR NLA BLOG READERS: Free shipping on orders over $50  Here’s a selection of what you’ll find at MyBoys Shop,

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DaisyWares  – Hand Made Vegan Jewelry & Vegan Beauty Products.  DaisyWares uses NO animal by-products and donates 10% of all sales to the Animal Place in Vacaville, CA. They are a wonderful organization that rescues abused farm animals. How nice!  DaisyWares is also a proud member of Vegan Etsy.  BONUS FOR NLA BLOG READERS: 10% off anything in the DaisyWares store and Buy one get one free on the children’s jewelry section! (Children’s section only)  Check out these great items in DaisyWare’s Etsy shop:

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Montagyoo:  Colorful and original photos and collages.  The beautiful colors and images she has will catch your eye, tug at your heart strings and definitely elicit some emotions.  Many of the images in Sara’s store make me reminisce of places I’ve been before and bring back some good memories.  Perhaps it will do the same for you! BONUS FOR NLA BLOG READERS:  Sara will send you a FREE 4×6 photo print (randomly of her choosing) with all orders that are accompanied with mention of NICOLE LEE ARTISTRY’S BLOG in the “message to seller.” 🙂

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kishcrafts – Totally unique and amazing polymer clay creations in the shapes of many, many items, but mostly foods and sweets!  Whether you’re looking for unique gifts for others or something special for yourself, trust me when I say, this is a fun shop to look at!  You’ll be amazed at the teeny, tiny creations and the incredible details in the art!  The food creations look mouth-wateringly real and will make your taste buds definitely perk!  Almost anything listed can be made into earrings, pins/brooches, cell phone charms, rings and necklaces and custom designs are welcome, so let your imagination run free!  Here’s a personal note from kishcrafts…”I am so proud to be one of your spotlight artists. Thanks again for taking the time to feature me and my little sweet treat creations!! I would like to welcome all of nicoleeartistry’s blog readers to pop on over to my etsy shop and take a look around. If you see something that catches your eye, I would be more than happy to offer you a 10% discount on any 1 item in my shop.”

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julscrafts: A very sweet, stay-at-home MOM who enjoys making a variety of crafts.  You never know what you might find in her store, but she has a lot of beautiful dried floral arrangements that would warm any home.  She also has a collection of unique destash.
BONUS FOR NLA BLOG READERS:   20% off your total order when you mention NICOLE LEE ARTISTRY in the “message to seller.”  The more you buy, the more you will save on shipping costs also!

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Wings of Healing:  Offers some awesome images in the form of post cards, greeting cards, or amazing framed art for your wall.  Most images have a lovely description or story to accompany it, so you get to learn about the images as you shop.  BONUS FOR NLA BLOG READERS: Greeting cards – Buy One Get One Free AND FREE SHIPPING on Matted photography in the United States!  Here’s a personal note from Nicole at Wings of Healing:  “I hope that you enjoy the scenes you are about to partake of.  Scenes that I hope will bless your spirit and soul.  Take the time to rest and don’t overdo it. Surround yourself with a plethora of peace, whether it be your own backyard or even scenes and music in your office or car. Thank you.  Sincerely, Nicole (Nikki)”  Wings of Healing – an enjoyable read and quite enjoyable to the eye:

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You can also visit her website at: http://www.wings-of-healing.com

And lastly, BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST…

The White Lye Soap Co. – offers handmade soap, bath and lip luxuries using the cold process method of soap-making.  All White Lye Soap Co. bath and body delights contain fresh botanicals, luscious fruits and veggies, and many other delightful additives.  They have a wonderful selection of goods for many occasions and I think you’ll see…
you’ll also find some truly delightful gift ideas as well!

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