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Monthly Food Challenge

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 3, 2014, 11:05 AM
Monthly Food Challenge
A three month premium membership will be awarded to one of the semi-sweeties members that participate in the challenge.

We have been running these challenges for three years now, we have to keep them challenging! So this time we’re shaking things a little: instead of randomly picking a winner from the participant pool, we’re going to pick the entry that makes the most creative use of the theme. Even if your crafting skills aren’t the best, but you had a great idea and were able to transmit it, you have a chance to win the 3 months subscription!


Theme of the month: Berries

For those of us in the northern hemisphere summer is almost here, the fruits are ripping all around! And if you’re in the southern hemisphere, you probably miss the colorful look of a meadow full of berries, so we hope this challenge will please everyone ;)

This month we’re asking you to craft something made out of berries, what kind of berries is entirely up to you. Are you a fan of strawberries? Blueberries? Blackberries? Raspberries? Cranberries? You only have two limitations: it has to be handmade out of clay and it must contain berries! Any edible fruit (real or fictitious) that includes “berry” is eligible.


Rules
**If any of these rules are ignored, you will be disqualified from winning the prize**
  • Participants have to be members of semi-sweeties
  • Submissions must be entirely made by you (no bought canes or molds).
  • Only new work is accepted, submitted to DA between June 1st and 30th.
  • Items must be primarily made of clay (polymer clay, cold porcelain, air dry clay, etc - but NO silicon or resin).
  • ONE ENTRY PER MEMBER!
  • If a tutorial was used, the source must be credited.
  • You must write somewhere in the artist comment box that this is an entry for #semi-sweeties' monthly challenge + add a link to this journal.
  • Submit entries into the "Monthly Food Challenge" folder.

Deadline
The challenge closes on June 30th and the 3 month sub winner will awarded to one semi-sweeties member that in our opinion, made the most creative use of the team.

Entries




Previous challenges and winners
May
(Healthy Snacks) - margaeanne
February (Chocolates) - fairchildart
October (Pumpkins) - Hybrid-Sheep
September (Veggies) - SteamBerry
July (Ice Cream) - LittlestSweetShop
June (Cake) - LoekazCharms
May (Drinks) - BlackCurtains 
April (Sandwiches) - FatalPotato 
March (Sushi) - gigi9900
January (Food Related Items) - JoannaInMiniLand



:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:

What a week!

Journal Entry: Mon May 26, 2014, 8:30 AM


Last week was full of excitement and turmoil at the same time. We had the Artisan Crafts week at projecteducate and it was amazing, so many interesting articles! I spent a lot of time and thought writing both my articles, thank you so much for all the faves and comments :) they meant a lot to me!

I also participated in the Artisan Crafts chat last Saturday, it was pretty amazing and crazy :D I was happy to talk to many of you, and the Scavenger Hunt was so much fun! Would anyone be interested if I organize a chat for polymer clay? We can share tips ;)

One of my little cats, Diana, was neutered last week. She's a sweet little girl that always wants to be hugged and petted, but she turned out to be a little demon when recovering from surgery. She managed to pull her stitches twice, despite the cone of shame and the mittens that the vet crafted for her. Diana stayed behind at my parent's house (I only took three cats and my doggy when I loved), so both times I had to rush back to my parents, then rush to the vet. Luckily she's fine, and the vet stitched her up really good last time. Oka said he stitched her like an american football :lol:

If you didn't hear from me last weekend, now you know why XD I'll get back to everyone asap.

How was your week, friends? :)


Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, then it's not the end.

How to take crafting commissions

Thu May 22, 2014, 6:00 PM


Taking crafting commissions


Accepting commissions is very different from opening a store in a lot of ways, so I decided to write a separate article for it. However, a lot of what I explained in the article "Introduction to setting up your store" also applies to taking commissions, so make sure to read that article too!

Note: I’m writing this with crafting commissions in mind, since that’s my area of expertise. I imagine that some things could also apply to other kind of commissions, but I make no promises :P

What is a commission?

A commission is when a client pays you to create a specific craft with their idea or instructions.

How is a commission different from sales in my store?

When you sell something in your store, people are buying your work. When you accept a commission, people are hiring you to do some work for them. A lot of personal communication, feedback and compromise is needed. Your commissioner essentially becomes your boss until they receive their commission :)

Commissions are a lot more difficult than plain sales because you’re interacting directly with your commissioner and you’re working with their idea, it’s your duty to fulfill their vision and dream. People will be expecting a lot more from a commission, and often they will ask you to craft things that you’ve never tried before. They are a great opportunity to push your limits!

A lot of times the commission will be something very personal: a memento of a dead friend, a gift for a special someone, that piece of jewelry they want to wear in their wedding but couldn’t find anywhere. People will often tell you beautiful or sad stories behind the commission they want you to do.

I’ve gotten very emotional about some commissions to the point where I couldn’t finish them without crying. That’s the main reason why I love doing custom commissions: I’m honored that they let me be part of something so important for them and I get to know my clients better, but it’s a very stressing situation for other artists I’ve met, so they prefer not to take commissions. Decide wisely before you start accepting custom commissions, they take a lot more from you as an artist and as a person.

Pancake the rat - commission by LisaToms

What do I need to accept commissions?

You’ll need a lot of what I already mentioned in my previous article (a way to accept payments, a good reputation, knowledge in pricing your work, etc). You’ll also need good communication skills to understand what your client wants, some mind reading skills to understand what they can’t put into words, and lots of patience!

Make sure that you’re already pretty good in your craft of choice, commissions are not the best opportunity to practice! A lot of times there’s a deadline, and the expectations are always high. Also, keep in mind that working on a commission is usually more time consuming, so decide if you have enough free time to start accepting custom commissions.

Commission: Earth Structural Layer Cake by cakecrumbs

How do I start accepting commissions?

Advertise! Don’t wait until people ask you if you’re taking commissions, write a journal advertising that you’re accepting commissions with some samples of your work, estimate prices and rules. Put a link in your profile and signature, write it down in your Facebook page, do anything it takes to let people know that you’re accepting commissions. But don’t spam!

Provide a way for people to contact you with their idea, either by note, message or email. Answer them quickly and be very polite, answer any questions they may have, ask all the questions you need until you know what they want. Very specific or complicate designs may require some references, so it’s okay to ask them for some color swatches, sketches, or additional instructions. Send them back some sketches and additional ideas until you’re both satisfied and happy with the commission.

Once you know what they want you to do, decide a price. This is why it’s so important to be a master of your craft, otherwise you won’t know how much work or materials it’ll take you to complete the commission. If you charge too little you’ll end up loosing time and money, if you charge too much your client may walk away. There’s no rules or shortcuts here, you’ll need to learn from experience with your craft and materials, good luck!

If your client accepts your price (don’t let them haggle you down! Respect your work and time) decide a payment method, complete the commission and send it. If you think you can do it all over again, accept more commissions and repeat.

Commission - Bulbasaur Family by altearithe

What do you mean I need rules for my commission?

Yes you do! There’s some things you may not want to craft (ie gore), some things that you can’t craft because they’re above your skill level, or things that you don’t want to craft simply because you don’t like it (ie MLP). Be very clear and concise, so that your clients have a good idea of what they can commission you to do.

As part of your rules write down your preferred payment method, the best way to contact you, your estimated delivery times, your limitations, etc. It’s common for some people to ask other artists to duplicate items or styles created by a different artist, but cheaper. SAY NO TO COPYING SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK!! It hurts all of us, so I beg you to write it down in your rules and reject those kind of commissions. 

Aged Octopus- Vintage Color Scheme by NikidaEve

When do I get paid?

The rule of thumb is that you should get at least part of the money before you begin working on any commission. There’s a lot of factors that decide how much to ask upfront including your reputation, the final price for your item, the cost of buying the materials, etc.

I think that every crafter should ask for at least 50% upfront. When the work is done, send them a photo with the finished piece, get the rest of the money, and send them the finished piece. This is the most basic model in which both the artist and client are protected. If you begin working without payment, there’s a good chance that the client will flee and you’ll end up stuck with a custom piece that you may not be able to sell again. If you ask for part of the payment upfront, even if they flee you’ll have some money to make up for your loses. It should be pretty obvious, but never send an item without receiving the full payment!

If the final price for the commission is cheap, or if you’re a respected and well known artist, you may ask for the full payment upfront. For more expensive commissions I find that it’s a good idea to offer the option of paying in two steps, it’ll be less of a burden and they’ll be more likely to accept your price. Check what other artists in your line of work are doing and what works best for them.

Dog Memorial Portrait - Handcrafted Woodburning by brandojones

A final word about commissions

When you decide to take commissions, keep in mind that you’ll be working with your client’s wishes and ideas, and your main goal is to make them happy. But you need to be happy about your work too, so don’t compromise your style or integrity in the process. You’re an artist! Be proud of your work.

If you’re lucky, your client will only have an idea of what they want and they’ll be happy to work the details with you. Profit! This is my favorite kind of commission because I can let my imagination fly, offer them several options, discuss back and forth, and create something completely unique, and ours. In some other cases they’ll be very specific about what they want and about every detail, know your skills and materials before you accept such a commission or you may not be able to fulfill their concept.

Try to find some balance between your style and what your client wants. Never impose your ideas to them, but let them know if you think something is not going to work. They may even ask you something impossible for your media, or the final piece may be fragile, impractical or not even work like they want. Talk with them and see if they’re willing to compromise, or direct them to a different artist that may be able to do that. The other artist may return the favor!

This concludes my article about accepting commissions. Most of what I said comes from my last three years of experience taking custom commissions and conversations with other artists. Please don’t take every word as a rule, I’m trying my best to provide the best information that I can, but I’m not claiming to know everything. Your experiences may be a lot different! If you have any questions, suggestions or topics that you want me to cover in future articles please let me know!

If you want to check my journal about custom commissions as an example, here it is! Or  you could even ask for one :lol:

Talty's Commission InfoYou can buy a lot of things from my Etsy, Storenvy, or request a custom commission for any of the things not there!


If you don't have a DA account contact me via mail taltysbakery*at*gmail*dot*com

Important: I receive payments through Paypal.  This means I will not know any of your bank account info,  I will not know any personal information except for your shipping info (name and address). I will not keep records of it, distribute it or use it for any other purpose than send your commission. I'm trying to build a reputation and a serious business here, so the least I want is risk it doing anything that makes me loose my buyers trust.
If you're underage please make sure your parents or tutors have no problem that you place a commission with me and send me your address. I repeat, I will not use it for any other thing.

Questions? Ask me





Introduction to setting up your store

Mon May 19, 2014, 6:00 PM


Introduction to setting up your store


I have been there, deciding to sell your work is a scary decision. What do I do? How do I sell? How do I accept money? What do I do so that I don't lose money? What if no one buys my work? I went through every emotion and scary thought before I began. Three years after I opened my store I finally feel comfortable giving advice about it. This is a huge topic and I could write tons of info about it, so I'll begin with this introduction and build up on future articles. I will also write a second article about taking commissions, wait for it later this week!

Last year I wrote some guidelines with some more information about selling your work online, please consider reading it too! This article will focus on setting up your store.

Disclaimer: I'm not the most successful online seller, and I don't intend to be - I'm pretty busy with my studies, and most of my business comes from custom commissions, not my shop. I included a lot of my personal experience, conversations with friends, and things I've noticed from watching other sellers. Still, I hope this will be helpful.

Build a reputation.

In the interwebs, no one can see you. You can't trust what you can't see, and people are going to be careful with their money. A big chunk of the people that ask me why they're not successful fail at this step, people are a lot more likely to buy things from artists they know and like.

I began making polymer clay art for fun, and posted it in DA for feedback (and to showoff :ashamed:). People came and looked at my work, commented, and I replied or gave tips. These same people came back to look at my future work, and after a while they began to ask me if I would sell it. I never planned to sell anything before, but I accepted because I considered them my friends, I posted what I sold on DA. People started to notice I was selling my work and asked for things of their own, and eventually I decided to open a store.

Tips:
  • Have a strong online presence. Fill your gallery with your work, post often, comment on other people's work, answer comments, write journals about your life (tastefully), etc. Make sure people know you're a person.
  • Make sure everything you do is of the best quality possible! You want to build a good reputation for selling quality work, not a bad one.
  • Don't expect people to come throwing money at you, it takes time to build a reputation.

    In A Galaxy Far Far Away by maytel

Know (and love) your work.

Before you even consider selling your work, know what you're doing and know your materials. Test everything for at least 6 months, polish your skills, try new techniques, make sure you are ready to start producing crafts for clients. Make sure that what you're doing will last for a long time, and it won't break, fade or tear after a few uses.

Also, make sure that you know what are the best traits of your work, and love them. Maybe your wire is perfectly wrapped without any dents or marks, or your amigurumi is posable and can stand on its own. It's okay to brag!! There's a lot of competition and you want to stand out, so know your strengths and highlight them. But don't lie or exaggerate, it can ruin your reputation.

I'm using my polymer clay work as an example again: my customers often have questions about how strong the material is, if it'll be heavy on earrings, if I can create certain shapes, if the colors will fade, or if it will get damaged with water or sweat. Anticipate any questions your clients can make, and know the answers.

Tip:
  • Your friends and family are great test groups! When I create something new, or when I use a new material, I give it away to them and ask them to try it for a few weeks. They tell me if it's comfortable to wear, if it breaks, what can I improve, etc.

LeGrandzillagurumi by Brookette


Set prices. And set them right.

Please, never never never never underprice your work. You're putting your time, heart and soul in every creation, so don't sell yourself cheap. I often see new and young artists underpricing their work, and it pains me. The logic is understandable: they believe that by setting cheap prices they'll be more likely to attract customers, but this is not always true. Buyers will often believe that cheap price=cheap product, so anything too cheap is dismissed as a bad product. This reputation will be difficult to shake it off once your business begins getting more serious.

So get your prices right from the beginning! Consider the cost of the materials (include the price for ordering them online, driving or taking a bus to get them), the time you spend working on every item, the tools and wear caused to them, fees from your credit card or Paypal, any resources you need (if you use an electric oven as part of your process, and you're paying the light bill yourself, you have to add it up to your final price), etc. Even if this is just your hobby, don't underprice yourself! If you don't respect yourself and your own work, no one will.

GrandmaThunderpants explains further why you should never undercharge, and gives you tips to set your prices. Check her article here!

Tae's Pendant by Aryiea

Know your options

So you got a reputation and a following interested in your work, you have practiced and you're sure that your product is worth selling, and you have a good idea of how much you need to charge to make a decent profit. Great work so far! Now you need a way to receive payments and some place to host your store.

The most popular options are using PayPal to receive and manage payments, and Etsy to host your store. These two options are trusted and well known by most people, but they're not the only options. I'm going to mention them briefly for know, and I'll work on a more intensive article later.

To receive payments
  • Paypal: Well known and trusted, most people already have an account. Read their rules and documentation to protect yourself as a seller, and set your account as "Business" or "Premier". Make sure that you understand their fees and check them often, as they like to raise them every once in a while. Paypal fee's are usually the highest, and there's many horror stories surrounding them.
  • Other online options: There's a lot of options to Paypal, their fees are usually lower but I have yet to meet anyone asking me to receive payments through them. WePay and Braintree are two of the largest, or you can even use Amazon. Google Checkout was a popular alternative to Paypal, but it was retired last year. If you decide to use Etsy, your clients can use their credit card to checkout securely, as if they were using Paypal.
  • Bank deposits: (May not work in every country) I accept bank deposits from people living in my same country because I don't have to pay any fees :) Check with your bank to find out how to do it! You may be able to accept deposits from other countries, but the fees are usually insane.


To host your store

  • Etsy: Etsy is sometimes a necessary evil. It's popular and it has a lot of traffic, so placing your work there gives you a better chance to be seen. Their fees are among the highest, they constantly make updates that make no sense, they will try to extract every penny from you and they don't offer any customization, but more than once I've seen people run back to Etsy after their sales drop. Just like Paypal, make sure to read their documentation to protect yourself as a seller and avoid scammers. Etsy will let you receive payments via Paypal, check, gift cards, and will let your clients pay directly with their credit card.
  • Storenvy: This is an interesting alternative to Etsy that is gaining popularity. Storenvy charges NO FEES at all and they allow you to fully customize your storefront, so you can easily blend Storenvy with your website. They set no ads, but they charge for additional functions (like advanced coupon codes). Storenvy will only let you receive payments via Paypal. I wish Storenvy was more popular since I really like their model, but so far I've only sold ONE item there :lol:
  • Artfire: Artfire used to be completely free like Storenvy, but later changed to charging $15 per month, no matter how much you sell. If your Etsy fees get unbearable, and for some reason Storenvy is not an option, you can consider Artfire. Personally, I dislike Artfire since I once tried to setup a store to try it, but their system kept crashing every time I tried to pay for my first month. I contacted their customer service and they were very unhelpful, and I have a policy against giving my money to people that won't help me give it to them XD
  • Other options: I know some people use Ebay successfully, it's huge and it has lots of traffic, but there's a lot of competition. Dawanda is popular with European crafters. You can also choose to use Paypal's checkout service and manage your own store in your blog or webpage, but it requires more time to setup.

Marshall Lee and Fionna Charms by GrandmaThunderpants

Never trust your portal service

Find out in advance how much it will cost to ship everything, you don't want to pay for shipping yourself! Most postal services have a webpage with prices, but I advice you to go and ask in person. The information can be outdated, inaccurate, or your lovely craft may be an exception.

Find out how they'll ask you to prepare your package, and decide what's the cheapest and best materials to use. Small and flat items can be shipped in bubble envelopes, but larger items will require boxes. Some postal services will ask you to use special boxes, others will let you use recycled boxes (raid the supermarket). None of them will let you use boxes that used to contain eggs, chicken, perishable items or alcohol. In Mexico, they even require us to wrap the box with a specific color of a specific paper :lol:

They may not let you ship anything that contains glass (I can't). They may require you to insurance jewelry or any expensive items, so consider it when you're setting your prices and shipping costs.  Ask often about changes, postal service offices don't work the same way the rest of the world does.

Tips

  • Practice! Send gifts to some friends in different countries or try a couple of art trades.  That way you'll know how long it takes for your packages to arrive to a different country, how much it was, how to prepare your package, and you'll know if anything broke or got damaged in transit from a friend, not an angry client.
  • Ask your friends and family to save bubble wrap or boxes for you. Everyone was more than happy to help me and I've never had to buy wrapping materials :) and you're recycling too!
  • If you're planning to sell for a long time, get a small scale to weight your products.

Princess Mononoke - Kodama Flask by Ganjamira

Decide your business model

There's several options for you to choose, or you can do a mix of everything. Think ahead of time how long it takes you to create an average item, how much time you have to spare from your other activities, how much interest there's in your work, if it's more efficient to craft on batches, etc.

  • Selling from a stock: You can make a stock, that way you'll be able to ship your sales immediately. It's a good choice if you have periods of time with few things to do followed by busy months. A great option for students with time to spare on vacations.
  • Selling on demand: List things in your store, and craft them once they sell.  This is a good option if you're not sure how well every item is going to sell, if you use expensive materials, or if you don't have the space to store a stock. If some items sell better than others, it may be a good idea to create a stock of them.
  • Selling as you craft: If every craft you create is unique, you can't sell them on demand or from a stock. You'll craft what your inspiration dictates you, take photos, and put it up in your store.
  • Selling on commission: Taking commissions is a whole different thing, and I'll cover that in my next article to be published this week.

Soot Sprite Rings by moofestgirl


Promotion

Even if people expressed interest in your work in the past, don't expect them to start throwing money at you immediately.  Be patient, most stores will take months (or even years) to pick up and get regular sales. Some ge reallyt popular really fast, but they're exceptional cases.

Please don't open your store and think that your work is done, it has just begun. There's a lot of competition online, and people are not going to randomly type your name and find you. You'll need to do a lot of work to promote your store: post updates and more samples of your work often, use social networks wisely, if you have the money you can even buy advertisement.

Post the link to your store in your submissions, profile, Facebook page, make your store easy to find! Some sellers often forget to use the keywords, they'll help potential clients find you. Do whatever you can to promote your store, and don't give up! Be patient.

Spring Fresh Fruit Tart by chat-noir


Conclusion

Opening a store is a very complex process, a lot more complex than I initially believed. If you think it's easy, I ask you to think it over and do more research. It's not as easy as trying a craft for a few months, realize that there's other artists selling it, open an Etsy account and believe that you'll be rich in no time. If you do that, you'll only be loosing money and time. It takes patience, lots of time, and hard work.

This article got really long really quick, and I believe I barely scratched the surface. I tried to cover the very basics without going too in depth. I have a lot more to say about every subject, and I'll try to write more articles in the future. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!




Awesome Craft Materials Giveaway!

Journal Entry: Wed May 14, 2014, 5:39 PM


Advertising time! :love: Sweet Ganjamira put together some amazing crafting materials, and she's doing one of the most generous and amazing giveaways I've ever seen!

A lot of you have asked me about getting polymer clay or have troubles finding it in your countries... she's giving away a fantastic Fimo starter pack! And many expressed interest in feather painting... well, there's feathers too! Check out her journal about it:


I gotta be honest, I'm interested too :ashamed: those crystals and gemstones are breathtaking, I've been trying to find them here without luck. At best I can find small beads, but nothing as beautiful and majestic as the crystals she's offering.

So go ahead and check out her giveaway :love: it's worth it!


Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, then it's not the end.

So Cute, it Rots your Teeth #36

Journal Entry: Mon May 12, 2014, 8:09 PM
Some weeks we will bring you our favourite submissions at #semi-sweeties for that week. Please note that the favourites are just our opinion but not an absolute ranking. 

Please enjoy this week's collection and don't forget to+fav anything you find interesting! If you love clay food don't hesitate to join us at semi-sweeties! This month's challenge is about healthy snacks.

Chinese rice by Selmmma
Time for more tea! by Tezz1
Fruit Tart by SweetIva
Cookies by Metro-Neko
Chicken Baguette by monpuchikissa
Fun Tip Friday #34 by SmallCreationsByMel



:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:

Cats and Cacti Craft Feature

Fri May 9, 2014, 5:15 PM


Your official Artisan Crafts group


  What do cats and cacti have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing,  until last week. Months ago I found a tiny cactus in my garden (tinier than my pinky finger's nail), I planted it in a small pot and took care of it. It was perfectly fine and healthy, until one of my cats, Lili, decided that she hated it and it needed to die. From that moment, no matter where I put the little cactus, she would find it and drop it, depot it and scarce the soil until the roots were naked. I know it's the cactus, because she's never done that with any other plants, pots or objects.

With that random story in mind, and in the memory of my little cactus, here's a feature of crafted cats and cacti. Spot the cactus cake! Also, I really want a cactus pin cushion now :heart: what a great idea!

Cacti


Abstract ACEO Cactus Berries by MandarinMoonCactus earrings by AlchemianShopCactus garden by LunasCrafts
 Paper cactus by cridiana Cactuar Hood Details by Archaical Cactus by Icedrop21
Cactus Cake by stacylambert Flower Moon Buns by MoonYen Beaded Cactus by beads-poet
fuzzy cactus by evil-goma Potted Cactus 2 by typhonragewind
Cactus pin cushion by prismtwine What a lovely cactus by BicefalusBoy

Cats

Siamese Cat by lestat1991 Origami cats by HTQuyet Yin Yang Cats by TrollGirl
Miastowy-kocur by ElaRaczyk Cats of Sailor Moon::::: by Witchiko Cat Cake 1 by Shoshannah84Sand cat by finaformsora Black Cats by radtastical Small cats by Flicker-Dolls
Nibbler Futurama Costume by Beetlecat Group of miniature cats by Oviot
SwirlWing Cat Pendants by TrollGirl

I finally found what they have to do with each other! (besides three letters): CAT CACTUS!
Cat Cactus by PamGabriel Kitty Cactus by Shrewlet
Wee Cactus Cats by crokittycats Cactus Cats by crokittycats Cactus Cat  - 3D Origami - by Delinlea


Undiscovered: Kayanah

Journal Entry: Tue May 6, 2014, 8:00 AM


I adore kayanah's work, I believe that she can do any craft! Most of us have troubles practicing just one or two crafts, but her gallery is full with polymer clay miniature food, wood furniture, beaded bracelets, hand-sewn doll dresses, knitting, dollhouses made from scratch, and more! I love what she does and I believe that she deserves more recognition, so please visit her gallery and enjoy! :)

Japanese Setting 2 by kayanah
Submarines Sandwiches Scale 1:6 by kayanah Collage of 1:6 items for sale by kayanah
Heart Containers Bracelets Take 2 by kayanah Strawberry Basket by kayanah
Medieval Banquet Hall by kayanah Gothic-ish Dollhouse 1:24 WIP 13: Exterior DONE by kayanah
New Doll Case by kayanahThanksgiving Turkey Commission Scale 1:6 by kayanah Super Mario Bros 16 bits Framed Beaded Banner by kayanah


So Cute, it Rots your Teeth #35

Journal Entry: Mon May 5, 2014, 8:47 AM
Some weeks we will bring you our favourite submissions at #semi-sweeties for that week. Please note that the favourites are just our opinion but not an absolute ranking. 

Please enjoy this week's collection and don't forget to+fav anything you find interesting! If you love clay food don't hesitate to join us at semi-sweeties! This month's challenge is about healthy snacks.

Miniature Polymer Clay Hamburger by MeganHess
Chocolate Heart Miniature Dollhouse Cake by prismaticpearls
Vanilla Ice Cream Cone Earrings by Xiiilucky13
Donut earrings by M-Made
Jollibee inspired Burger Meal Miniature by margemagtoto





:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:

Meet the CVs: Brookette

Sun May 4, 2014, 8:54 AM by Talty:icontalty:


I could write songs and poems about dear Brookette, her diligence, work and kindness for the Artisan Crafts community know no boundaries. She's honestly one of the nicest people you'll ever meet in deviantART, and we're lucky that she's one of our current Artisan Crafts Community Volunteers. She's also very talented in crochet, amigurumi, other textile arts, and pretty much everything she does. She was kind enough to sit with me and answer some questions so that you can all meet her better, don't be afraid to reach out to her if  you have any DD suggestions or ideas! 

Wedding Shawls by Brookette

:icontalty:

I'm sure everyone would like to know you better, so please tell us a bit about you.

:iconbrookette:

My name is Brooke and I'm a wife and mom of a cute little 5 year old girl. I stay at home with her and we have tons of fun together! She is my inspiration for a lot of the crafty things I make! Mostly I like to crochet, but I have aspirations to try all sorts of crafts, especially sewing.


:icontalty:

You have been a CV for a few months now, what's the most difficult part of the position? What's the best?

:iconbrookette:

I think the hardest part is choosing DDs! There is so much great stuff out there, I love it all! It's really hard to just choose one thing everyday. The best part is helping people. Helping other artists get noticed, helping someone by answering a question they have, or showing someone a part of the Artisan Crafts Galleries they haven't noticed before.


:icontalty:

Your gallery stands out with lots of colorful, happy "feel good" crochet works, what inspires you to create your art?

:iconbrookette:

Well, besides my daughter, I get inspired by art. I really like folk art and old storybook illustrations and fairytale art. Being at dA everyday and seeing the great artist here also inspire me. The Star Doll I made from one of  j-b0x drawings, is one example. I actually am in the process of making more dolls in the same style- I have lots of ideas for different dresses and hair colors.


Elsa Cape by Brookette Cute Fruits Blanket by Brookette Easter Bunny Purse by Brookette

:icontalty:

What is your process like?

:iconbrookette:

I have to use a sketchbook (or iPad) to draw out my ideas before I start a single stitch. I want to get all the proportions right and make sure the colors work together. Then I pick out my yarn and make sure I have the right colors. If I think it's something I might make again, I also have a notebook where I scribble down pattern notes. I do have a work space, but I take my crochet everywhere with me. If I get a few minutes to work on something, I'll take it. Recently, if I'm at home, I like listening to audiobooks while I work. Right now I'm about half-way through Anna Karenina (so I really want to make an Anna doll!).


:icontalty:

What have you learned from deviantART and the Artisan Crafts community that helped you improve your work?

:iconbrookette:

Taking a good photograph! I don't have a fancy camera, but over time, I think I've gotten better at presenting my projects so that it's the work really stands out and it's not hindered by a bad photo.


:icontalty:

A lot of what you do has a function and is usable, how do your friends and family react to your art?

:iconbrookette:

I get asked to make things for them! Which is great because I like nothing more than giving what I make to someone that's going to use it or love it. I really love making baby gifts. Whenever I find out someone's having a baby I'm like "can I make you something?!" But I like it best when someone asks me. I have a friend who just asked me to make him a Captain America amigurumi, so I'm excited to start that. Or when someone wants to learn to crochet, that's even better. I love teaching what I know to others as well, even I'm just directing them to a tutorial or website, I want to spread the crochet love everywhere!!


baby, you're a star by Brookette sleepy kitty blankie by Brookette

:icontalty:

What changes have you seen in the Artisan Crafts community over the last few years? Where do you see it in the future?

:iconbrookette:

Seeing something from the Artisan Crafts Galleries on the front page (most popular 24hrs) is something I've noticed in the last few years that I didn't noticed when I first started hanging out here. It's great because I think a lot of people that use dA don't realize we have an Artisan Crafts Gallery, or at least they've never checked it out. So I'm always excited to see crafts on the front page.

There's so many things I'd like to say here. I'll just say I think dA works best when artists are engaging with each other. I'd love for Craft artists to really love and learn how to get involved more in the community.


:icontalty:

What kind of craft (that you haven't tried yet) would you like to try next?

:iconbrookette:

Knitting! I keep putting it off for stupid reasons, but I really do want to try and make an actual finished project.


:icontalty:

What kind of craft you never get tired of seeing and what would you like to see more of?

:iconbrookette:

Can I just say "all the things!"? Because I love all of it really. I never get tired of seeing miniature clay food. It's so awesome that someone can make something so tiny look so real! I'd really like to see more textiles or wearable garments around dA. And quilts, I really love looking at those too.


  Star Doll by Brookette Bloom Headband by Brookette
Prairie Sunset Scarf by Brookette Chocolate Chip Cookies by Brookette
Easter Treats by BrooketteRegency Bonnet by Brookette

Thank you so much Brookette for everything you do for this community!

Past interviews: maytel, Talty.


Souffle: New Polymer Clay

Journal Entry: Sat May 3, 2014, 7:17 PM
We all have a favorite brand of polymer clay, but some of us use Polyform's brands almost exclusively (Sculpey, Premo, etc) because they are more readily available where we live. So it's not surprising that there's some excitement about Soufflé, the new product made by Polyform, released just a couple of days ago on April 30th.

I wanted to write an article for us miniature food crafters, to summarize what it means to us. If you have already tried it please share your opinion! Also let me know if you want me to write more articles about other brands.

Characteristics (taken from Polyform's page):
  • It's lighter than regular polymer clay, but not as much as Sculpey Ultralight.
    Great for those of us that create jewelry, specially earrings. Other than that, I don't think it'll make a lot of difference, really small objects could actually benefit from being a little heavier.

  • They claim that it's perfect for caning.
    I would love to try some complicated canes like a strawberry and see how it holds the detail. Caning for us is a lot different, since miniature food canes sometimes have a lot more detail and don't tolerate distortion. If I could find a clay that would let me do canes without distortion, I would never use another brand in my life.

  • It's advertised to hold detail.
    Sounds great for complicated textures (like cakes) and small details without smudging, but it also sounds like it'll hold fingerprints. I have achieved great results with Sculpey and Premo, but Fimo soft is too soft to hold detail without smudging.

  • It's said to be strong.
    I think this is an interesting characteristic, tiny miniatures can easily crack. I often battle with leaves on fruits and lettuce,so I hope it's as strong as promised.
  • Suede finish.
    I honestly have no idea what it means, or what it could mean to us. Maybe time will tell.

  • 22 "fashion forward" colors.
    I'm not amazed by the colors, and they seem really unbalanced. The name says it all: they're designed for jewelry and fashion, not for mini food. A few of them seem usable, but we'll have to do a lot of color blending to get the best colors. Notice that all the greens are very pale and unsaturated, so we'll have to mix the right color to make bright avocados and fresh veggies. 

I also recommend that you read this amazing review from The Blue Bottle Tree, this really nice lady already tried Soufflé and made a very in-depth review of it. What worries me the most about her review is that she says that Soufflé is very opaque, and real food is naturally translucent. Soufflé doesn't include translucent clay either, so all the colors are opaque without the option of being translucent. This is probably the most important point, and why maybe it won't work for miniature food :( if anyone can confirm this, I'm sure we would all really appreciate it. I'm going to try to get my hands on it, I'm excited to try it too :la:

If you try it, please let us know how it works for you!




:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:


7 Awesome Crafts you probably didn't know existed


The world of crafting is fascinating and never ending. We have been crafting since the first human molded some mud into a pot, and a seemingly endless list of crafts has been created since. Some crafts are very well known, and you have probably dabbled a bit into them yourself... but some of them are a lot less known. I put some examples together, please enjoy them and leave a comment below letting us know how many of them you already knew :lol: if you know any unknown crafts, feel free to share them with us!

Extra credits if you already tried some of these!

Note: These are NOT totally obscure crafts that are only practiced in remote places of the world or that require specialized equipment, I chose crafts that should be easy enough to pick up but not a lot of people are doing.

1. Stone carving.

Incredible works of art can be made even from the humble common stone. Precious or semi-precious stones can be used as well.
Celtic Ravens - Carved Jet Gauged Talon Earrings by DreamingDragonDesignocean jasper skull carving by tattoopink
Triskele Altar Stone by Troll-BloodFor the love of Alba by fairyfrog

2. Mini crochet.

Lots of us have tried crochet at least once (some of us with terrible results, ahem) but miniature crochet is a new world of challenges. Just imagine how tiny their hooks must be! No wonder we don't see many people trying it.
Micro-crochet Stag by KimLCrochetsMicro crochet Dragon by Ambrosial-Wolf
5 millimeter Itty Bitty Micro Crochet Whale by altearitheMicro-crochet Polar Bear by KimLCrochets

3. Terrariums.

Nothing like art that is alive and growing! These terrariums are as beautiful as practical, most of them require very little care and are a sustainable ecosystem. I can't stop admiring the care and patience required to grow the plants, put them together beautifully, and even craft tiny accents.
Totoro with umbrella under a tree Terrarium by puffterrariumsTerrarium 02 by lbenologa
Finn and Jake Terrarium by MaForetmini-terrarium with exuviae 2 by Isisnofret

4. Recycling circuits.

Technological waste is increasingly common, some artists have found a way to turn waste into treasure.
Computer Cufflinks by Techcycleblack dragon by thebluekraken
Capacitor Motorcycle by AmpOwlDazzling Crystal and Rainbow Resistor Bracelet by Techcycle

5. Feather painting.

Feathers are small and delicate canvases, it's incredible the amount of detail and realism some of these crafters achieve.
Star Wolf Starfeather Detail by GoldenwolfWNC Prayer feather by THODRAGONFIRE
Sun Feather by DraikairionButterfly Lotus Feather Pen by ChaeyAhne

6. 3D beading.

Sure, anyone can string one bead after the other and create a simple bracelet. But engineering a stable 3D structure with nothing but tiny beads is breathtaking. 
Hi, I am sitting on a rock by RrkraScyther by AgentDoppelnuller
Jade SplitSkirt Bead Dress Short Waist by pinkythepinkMask thing by Rrkra

7. Cosmetics.

Lots of people don't know that they can make their own cosmetics, and it's very easy! There's a lot of tutorials and suppliers online. It has many advantages: you can control the ingredients and make sure they are top quality, skip anything harmful (preservatives, allergens, etc) and make them perfect for you. They make great gifts too, and many people appreciate artisan cosmetics.
kyaaa.biz Soap - Cat Pink by shirickiBacon Perfume by Cloudpow
HH-Candy Autumn Fragrances 2012 by A-Little-KittyFight Club Soap by SkinfullyYours



Monthly Food Challenge WINNER

Journal Entry: Thu May 1, 2014, 8:29 PM
Also, don't forget to enter June's Challenge!

http://th08.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/f/2014/155/8/d/may2014_by_talty-d7l23th.jpg



Monthly Food Challenge

A three month premium membership will be randomly drawn from semi-sweeties members that participate in the challenge.

Theme of the month: Healthy Snacks
We all love to sculpt cakes, hamburgers and pizzas, but where's the love for the healthy? We want to challenge you with something different this time, so forget all the chocolate, salt and fat and embrace the fruits, veggies and nutritious!

If you were hungry and feeling like eating something healthy, what would you snack? Some carrot sticks? An energy bar? Some assorted nuts? Whatever it is, craft it out of clay and submit it to this challenge, we want to know!

Rules
**If any of these rules are ignored, you will be disqualified from winning the prize**
  • Participants have to be members of semi-sweeties
  • Submissions must be entirely made by you (no bought canes or molds).
  • Only new work is accepted, submitted to DA between May 1st and 31st.
  • Items must be primarily made of clay (polymer clay, cold porcelain, air dry clay, etc - but NO silicon or resin).
  • ONE ENTRY PER MEMBER! 
  • You must write somewhere in the artist comment box that this is an entry for #semi-sweeties' monthly challenge + add a link to this journal.
  • Submit entries into the "Monthly Food Challenge" folder.

Deadline
The challenge closes on May 31st 2014 and the 3 month sub winner will be drawn randomly from the semi-sweeties members that have participated in the challenge.



Previous challenges and winners
May
(Healthy Snacks) - margemagtoto
February (Chocolates) - fairchildart
October (Pumpkins) - Hybrid-Sheep
September (Veggies) - SteamBerry
July (Ice Cream) - LittlestSweetShop
June (Cake) - LoekazCharms
May (Drinks) - BlackCurtains 
April (Sandwiches) - FatalPotato 
March (Sushi) - gigi9900
January (Food Related Items) - JoannaInMiniLand




:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:

Hand crafted toys

Journal Entry: Thu May 1, 2014, 8:10 PM


Children's Day was just yesterday here in Mexico (April 30th), but I'm still dreaming about being a kid again and being crazy over toys. I looked around and found some amazing hand crafted toys or toy related crafts, and I felt very inspired by them. I hope this will inspire your inner child too!

Random fact: I actually own a lot more toys now than I did back when I was a kid :lol: except that I now call them collectibles. Fave this article if you also do!

Baby Bunnycones by casscc Children's Toy Birthday Cake by cakecrumbs Monkey Marionettes by FantasticToys Paper Doll House by FantasticToys  Deer doll by freedragonfly Handmade Ball Jointed Doll - Commish: Xeshaire 2 by vonBorowskyToy Story-Pulling Woody away by oelfe Red Riding Hood Crochet by sojalaItty bitty toys by casscc Patchwork Epic Yarn by Patchwork-Shark Bacon Wrapped Narwhal by BeeZee-Art Nerf Rebelle Gender Bending - Hammershot Revenge by GirlyGamerAU


So Cute, it Rots your Teeth #34

Journal Entry: Tue Apr 29, 2014, 7:40 AM
Some weeks we will bring you our favourite submissions at #semi-sweeties for that week. Please note that the favourites are just our opinion but not an absolute ranking. 

Please enjoy this week's collection and don't forget to+fav anything you find interesting! and add this article to your favourites to give more exposure to these awesome artists :) (Smile)

Yong Tau Foo by kuroso
donuts by alys2
Strawberry puff pastry by Teacharms
Sub Sandwich Charm by ChloeeeeLynnee97
Madeleine Cookies Earrings French Style Handmade by LaNostalgie05



:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:

Undiscovered: polyflowers

Journal Entry: Tue Apr 22, 2014, 8:00 AM


I recently stumbed upon the art of polyflowers, she's relatively new to this community and although she already has a DD, her lovely work deserves a lot more attention and recognition. I hope that you'll enjoy this feature, please visit her gallery for more incredible art! Also, I would appreciate any :+fav: to this article so that more people can see her amazing work :pray:

Comb hair with flowers by polyflowers snowdrops. cold porcelain by polyflowers hairpin with Eustoma by polyflowersBrooch with pink Eustoma by polyflowershair clip with orchid from cold porcelain by polyflowers Bracelet and earrings with roses by polyflowers brooch with snowdrops by polyflowers Set with orchids by polyflowers poppies from cold porcelain by polyflowers Set with flowers from polymer clay by polyflowers Poppy by polyflowers Jewelry set with roses and blueberries from polyme by polyflowers set with mandarins from polymer clay by polyflowers poppies and daisies from cold porcelain by polyflowers 


The best of Easter in clay

Journal Entry: Sun Apr 20, 2014, 7:02 PM
Behold some of the most amazing Easter foody submissions we got this year! If you also crafted some clay Easter food, please leave the thumb in the comments :)

Don't forget to :+fav: anything you like!

Easter stand display 1/6 by LittlestSweetShop
Easter Carrot Cake And Jelly Beans Platter - OOAK by Kyle-Lefort
Scented Hot Cross buns by ilikeshiniesfakery
Peep Easter Cupcake Necklaces by Bon-AppetEats
Miniature Easter 2014 by EmisBakery






:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:

Thank you so very much everyone!

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 16, 2014, 10:31 AM


I feel humbled, happy, and a bit guilty. Over the last few months I have been honored with my very own pair of wings, a DD, many features, super nice comments, and more! I read the comments, blushed and smiled like a dork, and cried a little bit because I had to get back to work and couldn't reply to all of you. I finally managed to sneak for a bit to thank everyone for everything, your support has been really encouraging and a source of strength over the last rough couple of months.

I have been so busy over the last months that it's ridiculous. As some of you already know, I got married back in July and moved to our first house on December. The house of our dreams still requires a lot of work before actually becoming the house of our dreams... it was a completely empty house, all it had was a sink, a shower and a toilet. We've had to paint it, build the closets, buy all the furniture, install everything, fix everything that we could (a door fell down one night at 1 am, the windows were leaky and we had a small flood on our first rain, the water pump broke, all the pipes were clogged, the water in the 9 000 liter water tank was stagnant, smelly and full of algae, all the plants in the garden were dead, the doorbell never worked, etc, etc, etc).

All of that on top of our full time job as students, completing my commissions, taking care of our cats, our dog, trying to stay alive and keep some kind of social life. And since we're both hardcore into DIY, we absolutely had to do everything XD from painting to fixing the water pump. It has been an awesome ride and we've had lots of fun, it's very rewarding to see how everything is coming together and we're achieving our dreams... but it's been super tiring and sometimes I couldn't even force myself to turn on the pc to check my email. I'm really sorry I've neglected you so much :(

(This whole week, Easter week, is supposed to be a free week. I've still come to the lab every day, I'm writing this while pretending to work :lol:)

I will make my best to find more time for you, I really miss writing articles, making features, and answering messages. I really want to make more tutorials and specially more videos, I have so many things I want to do and I want you all to know, I haven't forgotten you :heart: I'm sorry everyone! I will upload some of the things I've been working on this weekend.

Lots of love
Talty :heart:


Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, then it's not the end.

Monthly Food Challenge + WINNER

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 1, 2014, 6:46 PM


Monthly Food Challenge

A three month premium membership will be randomly drawn from the members that participate in the challenge.

Theme of the month: Chocolates
It's the month of love! Craft a clay miniature of anything that is majorly made out of chocolate for a chance to win. Cakes, cupcakes, ice-cream, pralines, pie, candy, anything goes as long as it is full of chocolate!

Rules
**If any of these rules are ignored, you will be disqualified from winning the prize**
  • Participants have to be members of semi-sweeties
  • Submissions must be entirely made by you (no bought canes or molds).
  • Only new work is accepted, submitted to DA between February 1st and 28th.
  • Items must be primarily made of clay
  • ONE ENTRY PER MEMBER! 
  • You must write somewhere in the artist comment box that this is an entry for #semi-sweeties' monthly challenge + add a link to this journal.
  • Submit entries into the "Monthly Food Challenge" folder.

Inspiration

Miniature Chocolate Lava Cake by Bon-AppetEats BIG Chocolate Rainbow Cupcake by monsterkookies Tea Time Treats by ChocolateDecadence Chocolate Caramel Miroir Cake by fairchildart valentine chocolate 4 by PetiteCreation Chocolate Half Eaten Charms by Luna-Goodies Chocolate Boxes on My Hand by PetitPlat Chocolate Cream Cake by ChocolateDecadence

Helpful Tutorials
Here is a list of tutorials that might help you to achieve this project.

Deadline
The challenge closes on February 28th 2014 and the 3 month sub winner will be drawn randomly from the members that have participated in the challenge.

Entries
Valentine's day miniature candy/chocolate box by LittlestSweetShop


Previous challenges and winners
February (Chocolates) - fairchildart
October (Pumpkins) - Hybrid-Sheep
September (Veggies) - SteamBerry
July (Ice Cream) - LittlestSweetShop
June (Cake) - LoekazCharms
May (Drinks) - BlackCurtains 
April (Sandwiches) - FatalPotato 
March (Sushi) - gigi9900
January (Food Related Items) - JoannaInMiniLand



:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties:

So Cute, it Rots your Teeth #33

Journal Entry: Mon Dec 9, 2013, 10:01 AM
Every week we will bring you our favourite submissions at #semi-sweeties for that week. Please note that the favourites are just our opinion but not an absolute ranking. 

Please enjoy this week's collection and don't forget to+fav anything you find interesting! and add this article to your favourites to give more exposure to these awesome artists :) (Smile)

Cannolo siciliano by MalikaWhite
1:12 Christmas Sugar Cookies by Bon-AppetEats
French Raspberry Mousse Cakes by LeiaVMiniArt
Miniature Christmas 2013 (2/5) by EmisBakery
1:6 Bakery Display WIP by thinkpastel
Macaron Earrings by JewelleryByABC



#semi-sweeties  is a group dedicated to the art and appreciation of all kinds of clay  food. If you love clay food, make it or if you're looking for help  please join us!



:dalove: the team at semi-sweeties
:iconsemi-sweeties: