Monday, 23 February 2009

Taking a break

The little red suitcase will be back in March. So dont forget to keep a lookout for upcoming interviews and tutorials!!!


Thursday, 19 February 2009

Some of interest for all of you handmade people!

There is not much time left to get yourself a Product Showcase ad in our April/May issue, featuring the stunning Lily Allen on the cover!

This is our music issue, with juicy interviews, trend reports and fresh fashion so you can start the Spring in style! It would be a crying shame not to let almost half a million BUST readers know about you in print!
The Product Showcase is the least expensive form of print advertising out there. You get to submit an image of YOUR special product, as well as your website, your product name and the price. It’s like catalog shopping edited down to it’s best form! Our BUST readers love to peruse the showcase to find out where to get the most unique ring, or that special pair of earrings, or tote that no other gal has.

So don’t delay, there literally are only a few spaces left, and at only $150 bucks, they’re going fast!

Click here to get more info and sign up for this unique opportunity:

Your product could be featured in the showcase just like the ones below!

Friday, 13 February 2009

The Freckled Nest

My next interview is a fairly fun one. I came across Leigh-Ann's blog via the internet about a year or so ago. At the time I was just getting into the art of preserving memories, whether it be through scrap booking, or journaling, and Leah-Ann and her work were very inspiring to me. She has a wonderful personality, an awesome eye for album design, and she shares her life in wonderful images and great stories including inside jokes that she and her boyfriend exchange. I thought it only perfect to ask her to allow me to interview her for the little red suitcase, with so much going on in her life creatively, its just perfect timing. Be prepared to smile, giggle, and find out some more behind this Canadian chick and her wonderful part of the Internet called The Freckled Nest!

1.First lets get down and dirty, the nitty gritty. Who is Leigh-Ann? Give us a peek into your life!

Hiiii! :]
I'm 27 (and can't remember my age off the bat), people call me LA a lot, my sister is my best friend and my brother sends me hilarious texts through out the week. Keith is my super cute boyfriend and I love him so so much. Freckled Nest is my full time job and my dream come true. I used to live for the weekend... now I can't wait for Monday :]

Here's where I work..................

I collect buttons ,

old library cards and rocks shaped like hearts. I don't wear pants when I'm home alone. I love hoodies, old sour soothers candies, and tickle fights. I'm giggly, quiet in groups, full of energy and ideas, and lately, I looove yellow. Garage Sailing is my all time favorite hobby. Our family has an awesome cabin that we built together. It's an hour out of town and its the perfect getaway :) Lola loves running away to go swimming while we're there...and I'm guessing our new puppy Tom will probably copy her this summer ;)
My favorite shows are Project Runway, silly MTV reality shows and lately, reruns of 90210 :] My fave band ever is Tegan and Sara , second favorite, Metric/Emily Haines and I also I love listening to my dad Whistle. He sounds just like the songs and I can tell he's happy when he's whistling :] My Mom and Dad are awesome parents and the cutest grandparents to Olivia and Kennedy (my 2 year old twin nieces) . Keith's parents are really special too, and they treat me like a daughter :] Oh and last thing...I had my first cup of coffee a few weeks ago...and now I'm soooo hooked on Starbucks ;)

2. I am sure you have explained this next
one plenty of times, but for those who do not know the answer already, what is behind the name Freckled Nest? Why did you decide that this name represents you and what you do perfectly?

haha, ok!---This is how it happened... I was thinking of a name to represent me and not contain/categorize what I make (so I could expand in any direction and use the same name for everything). I took out my little green dictionary and looked up words that started with 'f' (because I like how the letter f looks in my handwriting). I found the word Freckle and knew that was a perfect start (i looooove when people have freckles; they're like human polka dots!). Then I was talking to my friend, and she was helping me expand on the name... and she was asking me what I like. I started listing things off... paper, books, sea glass, swimming, trees, turtles, birds... and then i told her "I like birds so much, I've let them nest in my roof for the last 3 years"...and it clicked together and I yelled out "FRECKLED NEST"! We were both like... "EEEEEEEEEE"... it was perfect! Nests totally feel like the way I create my art; I take found pieces from around my community, work them together and let my stories live there :)

3. When I first started visiting your blog about a year ago, I noticed you had quite the knack for album and mini book making. How did you get started in that whole craft? Did you take a class? Where you self taught? And possibly describe to us the first one you made, maybe even a little story of the making of that particular one!

I saw a picture in a book one time of a women's mini albums lined up in a shelf...and I thought it was the most beautiful thing. And I knew I only wanted to make little albums (rather than traditional scrap booking). I took one class at a local paper storeccordion album. Other than that, I'm self taught and I just like trying different things and having fun thru the journey of each album. This was my first original design .

These are some of my albums....................... And this is my very favorite mini album... ... because so much of my heart went into it. I made it after my Grandpa passed away, and it was how I "healed". I made the cover out of 2 corn cans my grandpa flattened (he was big into recycling & scrap metal). I was in his shop with him one day, and they caught my eye. He always teased me... "You make your can album yet Sweetpea?", he couldn't picture how they would be useful to me :) Wish he coulda saw this album.

4. For those who want to give it a go and make their own mini book, I see that you have some kits in your Etsy. How do you come up with these kits? If someone were to order one, what would they receive and on a scale of 1-10 what sort of experience would you need?

*Note: The Above "One hour kit" is a kit offered in the past from Freckled Nest, it is not the one that will be released next week
Most of my kits are an album I originally just made for myself. If I love my album like crazy, I make it into a Kit for my shop :) I recently decided to make a Mini Album Kit Club (New Kit will be released next week at, everyone welcome).
Hard to say the level of experience needed on a scale of 1-10... I do write very good instructions (literally step by step) and include example photos along the way. So as long as you can follow instructions and know how to use the tools needed for the project (ex. bone folder, paper cutter, glue, needle&thread, etc), you can make one of my kits. The kits include all the fun supplies to make the album plus great instructions. And once you've made the mini-album, you can use your instructions (which include the supply sizes & quantities) to make the same album again and again in your own style :]

5. Aside from your album making, your Etsy store has some other handmade items and supplies. Describe to us some of the ot
her things you like to make and sell. What has been your favorite item? And what has been the most popular seller?

My Etsy Shop holds lots of different things...but lately, I've had a lot of success with Custom Mini Albums, Photobooth Albums (i think I'm the only store that sells an album perfect for Photobooth Strips, so a lot of photobooth addicts get sent my way by their friends) and Custom Blog Banner Designs (see a selection of my designs here). I'm also well known for Custom Stitching, but I'm kinda enjoying a little break from that right now ;) Other things in my shop include Vintage Things, Button Dog Collars (Lola and Tom both have one and they're strong and adorable), a variety of small photo albums, and my favorite, Button Button ;)

6. I like to always try and ask a handmade seller the pros and cons of selling stuff you make. It gives others a little glimpse into the world of running a small cottage industry of sorts. Please do share!

I started selling the stuff I make because I like to play store and I love 'the journey of making'...but I don't need a million blank journals. So I thought by selling things I make, I can use the money to restock my supplies and keep doing it :) Sometimes I feel a bit sad sending off the things I create because I get a bit attached (so I always take pictures so I can enjoy it still).
I think it's important to create things that 1) you love 2) are polished (people wonder if it came from "a store") 3) are different than whats out there. It's hard to sell what other people know how to make... so look for a niche that isn't tapped into, and try that out in your style :)
Running a small business full time (or any amount of time) takes a lot of work, time, drive and personal strength. If that's what you want, set goals, work really hard and don't give up!
I did Freckled Nest 4 years before I was ready to go Full Time. I tried a lot of different products along the way; some succeeded, some failed, and some still remain :) I worked a full time day job thru those 4 years, and did Freckled Nest full time evenings and weekends. (But I am not recommending that schedule...I should not have done so much work...a lot of my relationships suffered because of it). But I persisted thru, motivated myself most of the time, and developed a personal style, business plan, good reputation and strong customer base. I jumped the gun on doing it full time (with no other job), I think I should have waited about 6months more or went down to part time, but it worked out in the end. Now that I am doing it full time, I finally feel like I'm in a good grove. I've built structure into my days, the orders keep coming, I've started putting more attention to advertising, and I'm creating beautiful things that I'm in love with :) Nothing beats that!

7. Freckled Nest has truly evolved, and I'm sure this has been a very unique experience. What is in store for Freckled Nest and also in store for you personally especially when it comes to your creative life.

hmmm. Good question :) I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of great things coming! I am very excited to start the Mini Album Kit Club and see what other women build with Freckled Nest kits. I'm working on designing some clothing and "merch". My Advertizing Girl, Six Gun Annie and I are going to do cross promotions with different bands... thru fun T-Shirts I design (with on the backs). I can't wait to show you my first one, it's super cute and a bit naughty ;) These t-shirts will eventually be available in my store too :)
We're also going to be growing a Freckled Nest Street Team (FNST icon)...there will be special perks for Street Team Members who help advertise Freckled Nest around their world (we will provide advertizing tools) :) Starting in March, I'll be selling Photobooth Albums and Notebooks at Lune Vintage in Osborne Village, Winnipeg...and I'll be teaching some classes there too :) I'm also collaborating with Red Velvet Art and will be selling exclusive Freckled Nest items thru RVA, starting in May. I'm excited to be traveling to Missouri in April/May to help Elsie and Rachel at their store & RVA Convention and meeting some of my blog friends at the convention! :)
In my creative life, lots of things are on fire! I'm so amped and don't want to go to sleep at night! But the thing I most want to create these a baby! Keith and I talk about it a lot...and we want to wait a bit longer.... but I'm ready to be a Mommy soon :) Shhhh ;)

8. I have to ask about Tom. I am in love with your dog, such a cutie. Mind telling us about him and throwing in a cute story:)

Tom and Lola are my LP and BP (Little Partner and Big Partner) and I love spending my days working with them :) They keep me laughing :) I saved this story just for you Patty:) Lately, Tom is jealous of me being on the computer and not paying allll my attention to him, lol. So he keeps laying in front of my face, and popping up in weird places to get my attention. Here he is,... my new web cam, between my legs under the laptop, and just one for extra cute measure :)

9. Tell us about your perfect work space, what you surround yourself with, what music you like to have playing in the background while creating.

already have my perfect workspace...I just like these things: Good light (love natural light), tv or ipod in the background and I love when Keith crafts with me (he builds models). The only thing missing...I really need a maid! lol! But really, I guess if someone wanted to give me a real dream studio, it would be this one in some part of my home :)

I love the idea of multiple tables (so I could have different projects ongoing and left out)...tons of shelving for display and supplies, tall ceilings, great lighting, cement floors, and a long wall of windows. (I took this photo at Brush Fire Studios where I go pottery painting sometimes.)
While I create, I usually have a tv show or Point Break or music on in the background. I like to listen to Tegan and Sara, The Brunettes, She & Him, Jeremy Larson, Metric, Emily Haines, Andrew Bird, Lisa Loeb (old school), soundtracks to movies I love, The Weakerthans, Feist, Coconut Records, City and Color. But then the funny thing is, I also really like this..................

10. 5 things that you Leigh-Ann, could not live without.

My family. My hands. Buttons. Tampons. Cheddar Cheese. Annnd Keith would add, My Laptop. lol.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Little Brown Pen

How would you like to have designer stationary at your fingertips?? Well that's what our next featured artist has to offer over on her very unique Etsy shop,
The Little Brown Pen. One can order whichever designs they like, choose from cards, calenders, even recipe cards and within 24 hours have them delivered to your email box where they will become available for your printing pleasure. You can print as many as you want and as she puts it, whenever you want. So if your in a bind and need some one of a kind cards, then her shop and this interview are for you!

Nichole of Little Brown Pen

1. Tell us a little about your self and the meaning behind the name "Little Brown Pen"

I am a writer, and I always have a petite brown Sharpie (my favorite pen) in my purse. We were in a restaurant, and my then 3yo wanted to send a note to his grandma. My husband used my pen to "design" some stationery and that led to the discussion of how cool it would be to design stationery specifically for my son. The idea for Little Brown Pen was born, and the name was fitting because everyone knows about (and knows not to mess with) my "little brown pen."

2. What made you decide to sell PDF templates on your Etsy instead of selling your designs already printed?

We made some for our son, and thought that others would enjoy them as well. I liked the ease of delivery, and I have no idea what it takes to sell actual stationery, so it seemed like a good idea. I had no idea we'd have the reception we did!

3. Since you create one of a kind stationary in the days of internet and emailing, why do you feel its so important for people to stay connected through the long lost art of writing each other?
I always hand-write thank you notes, send cards to my mom, etc. I love to write (both via the computer and handwriting), and I hope the art doesn't die. That said, I view our cards more as the kind you would use as a part of a gift or as an emergency card. I still buy traditional cards, and have a special place in my heart for letterpress.

4. Do you have a special space in your home in w
hich you brainstorm and design your items? What do you tend to surround yourself with that may inspire you?
I think it's more what I am not surrounded by. I absolutely have to work in a clutter-free, zen space. Dishes must be done, beds made, toys picked up, etc. Usually I light a candle. I hate clutter or loose ends of any kind, and I literally can't function if either are plaguing me.

5. Besides creating very lovely paper goods, are th
ere any other artistic/crafty projects you like to really get involved in? Are there any you would love to learn and possible get involved in further?

I am a huge fan of photography. I search flickr and "we heart it" almost daily, and drool over the many amazing photographs I discover. I recently bought a Nikon D40 SLR camera and hope to carve out more time to take my own photos.

6. Being an Etsy store front owner yourself, what would be the pros and cons of selling your handmade goods?

The pros are that it's easy to set up shop, easy to run and etsy garners a lot of traffic you otherwise wouldn't drive to your own site. The cons are that there is a lot of replication of entire brands and ideas and I fear it may be seen as a quick way to make cash. That will definitely tarnish its reputation. What I like about etsy is the ability to buy completely unique things. I hope that doesn't change.

7. So one of the ways I came across your blog as well as your Etsy was through your holiday video. How did this come about? How was it made?

The video was a way for my husband to try his hand at stop-motion video. He loves the genre, and had a blast putting it together. Once we started talking about tying it to the shop, it became a cool exercise in non-traditional PR (of which I am a huge fan). The video was fairly successful and it was a lot of fun to put together!

. Any future plans for Little Brown pen? New designs? Ideas? products?

Many! There are quite a few shops that sell printable stationery now, so we have a few completely out of the box ideas we're planning to implement in the Spring.

9. On your own personal blog you promote the handmade community throughout your posts. In your own words why do you feel handmade is important and that the peop
le who create their own goods should be recognized?

I am a copywriter and I write for a lot of beauty and fashion brands. It's easy to be noticed when you have marketing budgets and ad campaigns. Not so easy when you are on your own. I promote handmade because I love what I find, and because I hope it helps the business owner reach new customers.

10. Ok, so tell us 5 things you just cannot live without:
Coffee, books, my husband, my kids, and my cat.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The art of Geninne

Whether your a painter yourself or just admire those who partake in art making, this next interview is so inspiring. I love all of the details Geninne puts into her paintings, as well as each and everything she creates. From her bird paintings and collages to her various nature studies and hand carved stamp tutorial. Be prepared to add a new artistic blog to your daily viewing list!

1. The best way to start an interview is with an introduction. And
in the tradition of The Little Red Suitcase, may you give us one?

My name is Geninne D. Zlatkis. I was born in NY, but have stretched my
wings all over Latin America & the US before building a nest atop a
mountain near Mexico City where I live with my talented husband Manolo
and two sons while working in a variety of media, including
watercolor, ink, and pencil. I sew, embroider, and recently learned to needle felt.

2. Was painting and drawing and basically creating, something that came to you? Or did you study it?

I think it was both. My love for arts and craft s began at a very early age, my mom tells me that I started drawing when I was two years old
and tha
t it continued to be my favorite activity through my childhood
and teenage years. By the time I had to decide what to
study in
college I was 100% sure it had t
o be in the visual arts. I studied
architecture for two years before I switched to graphic design.
There's never been a time in my life where I've stopped creating some
kind of art, I think it's just part of m
y DNA.

3. As I looked back on your blog, I have noticed you evolved alot in your paintings. It seems to me, details started to pop, and you
really started to paint more realistic birds and other wild life. What brought about this change?? Was it just you stumbling upon a
style that you found fitted you best? Dont get me wrong, all of your artwork is just great!

Well, they say practice makes perfect. I just think that the more you do art, the better you get at it. I've never tried to have a style, it's just a reflection of me.

4. Not only does your artwork live on canvas and paper, you have taken it to fabric in forms of applique and little sewn birds. When did you first start sewing? How does it feel t o be able to create art in all different mediums??

I inherited my grandma's love for sewing since I was a kid, she worked
professionally in New York em
broidering fancy cocktail dresses. I
started sewing in school when I was about 11 years old. I was in a
British all girls school in Chile at the
time . My classmates and I
were very much into sewing and knitting our own sweaters for the
winter. We had a wonderful teacher that showed us how to m
ake lots of
things for our dolls. I wish I still had all the beautiful things we embroidered at school

5. Some of your paintings are pretty much studies of wildlife, i.e the Mushroom painting. Where do you collect all the objects that you paint? Do you research in books? Take nature walks??

I am an extremely curious person, I am constantly looking at books,
surfing the internet and observing nature. I live in a wonderful
wooded area and I love to go out for walks and collect little
natural treasures.

6. The Tiny Book Of Birds is such a gorgeous piece. Its no wonder it sold out in your Etsy shop. How long did it take you to create the
mini book? And will it be something you will be creating more of?
possibly another subject other then birds?

I loved making that tiny book and I do have plans to make more. I
really like book binding and working on a really small scale was so
much fun! It is very time consuming, you need to have an organized assembly line or else it can take for ever.

7. One of my favorite paintings you did was the "Fishing" collage
piece. Its just wonderful. Where do you get all your vintage
postcards, book pages, collage pieces from?

I buy a lot of vintage ephemera and digital collage sheets from many wonderful Etsy sellers.

8. How has it felt to see people buy your artwork? What are the pros
and cons of selling what you create? Any advice for people thinking
about getting their art out there?

It is very rewarding to see that people really enjoy what I do and
amazing to be able to manage a little business from home. The only con I can think of is that it is a lot of work! I think having a blog is fundamental to getting your work out there. It was key for me to
participate in Illustration Friday
for a couple of years. It exposed my work to a huge community of fellow artists.

9. You must have a very inspiring place that you work in. Tell us all about your studio, whether it be a corner or a huge room!! What sort of things do you like to surround yourself with in this room.

I share my studio with my two beautiful boys, age 11 and 12. In the
morning they do their homeschool work while I supervise them and in
the afternoon I take over to make art. It is a very well lit room, I can see the sun set right from my desk every afternoon. It's
definitely my favorite room in the house. We love to surround

ourselves with pretty and inspiring things we collect.

10. And as we always close our interviews, five things you just couldnt live without!

My watercolors, brushes, my journal, my beloved micron pens and my trusty Xacto knife :)

Well there you have it, be sure to check out her blog, shop and her great Flickr sets!!

Before I go, I just wanted to share with everyone one of our readers Altered "Love Story" Books from our Christina Clouse tutorial.
Ruby Claire did an amazing job!! If you made one, be sure to let us know! We love to see who is creating along with our tutorials!!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

"Love Story" altered book Tutorail by Christina Clouse

Well with Valentines day about a week and half away, now is the time to get started on those special handmade gifts for the loved ones in your life. This altered book project is that special something to make and customize to your liking. Its not only good for Valentines day, but perhaps a special Anniversary or even just a birthday. The very talented Christina Clouse(Be sure to check out her blog, its full of amazing work she creates)has put together this beautiful tutorial using an old recycled hard cover book, so its somewhat Eco friendly as well and inexpensive :) Thank you Christina!

*Click on Images to make larger*

Supplies Needed:

Optional Supplies:

Vintage book

Craft knife

Wet glue (pva or similar)


Foam brush(es)

A brayer

A ruler

A pencil

A photo (or photos) that you love

A sense of adventure

Papers and other pretty ephemera

Rubons (use up that stash!)

Ribbons, lace, fabric...

Chipboard pieces


Spray inks or watercolors

A Nail file or sanding block

A heat gun


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