TAG Treasury Team

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Featured Shop of the Week: Mintook

I'd like to introduce you to Mina, who is the owner of Mintook on Etsy and has been a longtime member of the TAGT Team.

Mina is 61 years young and lives in small city near the Mediterranean Sea. She has been happily married for 40 years and mentions that her husband is a big help to her with her Etsy shop. In fact, he and one of her daughters set up her shop since English is not her first language and is a struggle to understand.

Mina is also the proud mother of 3 beautiful daughters and 3 amazing granddaughters to which she adds, "Thank God!*

One of Mina's daughters owns the Etsy shop Bindu Glass which you may recognize as one of the most lovely bead shops on Etsy. Another of her daughters is a Lawyer and the youngest works in the Geology field. With the addition of the 3 granddaughters, Mina says her husband is surrounded by nothing but women!

Mina grew up in a little town near Tel-Aviv, Israel. At the age of 18, she entered the army and while there learned to be a teacher of art and handcrafts. She served as a teacher for six years in a junior school then decided to open a private studio in her home. Her love of nature inspired her to create a lovely space where women can come and learn embroidery and lace making for their pleasure. She teaches them to make curtains, pillows, lampshades, bags and embroidery. She has been working on her handcrafts since she was 25 years old.

Here is a look at some of the gorgeous lace Mina creates covering a stone.

A lover of antiques, Mina surrounds herself with art, books, movies, clothing and jewelry from times long past. She loves the retro and shabby chic styles as well. She collects all kinds of things, especially antique items and admits that her home is full of them. Her art is also greatly inspired by designs from other eras and her love of trees, flowers and all of nature. Just take a peek into her shop and you will see much lace and a definite presence of a bygone era.

This lovely lampshade is one of several variations of shades Mina has in her shop.

Not only does Mina craft household items to beautify your home, but she creates beautiful pieces of wearable art. Combined here are vintage ribbon lace, gems and stones fashioned into this beautiful bracelet.

One of Mina's hobbies is raising rare and unique orchids. She has 2 greenhouses which mimic the natural environment of the orchids so they are able to thrive. As you might imagine, she also has a big beautiful garden.

I was also able to get a few words from Mordi, Mina's husband. He says this about his beloved wife, "Mina is a very unique person. She likes to create a beautiful world around her so she created for us a beautiful house and garden where we live, and a beautiful family.

She has unique orchids collection in a greenhouse and she creates all the day special hand works of all kinds.

Mina has students that come to her every week to learn to do hand works, a few of them have been in Mina's class more then 20 years.

I do not know from where she discovers new ideas but probably this is a talent, a gift from God to artists persons like Mina.

Of course, the greatest product she did is our family , 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters plus one more in a week [we hold fingers], and she does all she can to keep then as a close warm family that are always in touch and take care of each other.

That is Mina, doing things all day long till midnight."

Article written by Leanna of Seams Victorian, Bits and Purses, and Teez Loueez.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Featured Shop of the Week: Jarmfarm

Robin, owner of the Etsy shop, Jarmfarm, grew up in a small town of about 800 people in downstate Illinois, where “everyone kept an eye on each other’s kids and everybody knew all the local gossip,” she says. “Although my community has grown, it is still a small town in all respects. It’s hard to NOT be involved in your community when it is such a small universe.

“We have a volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. When someone in the community has a battle with cancer or needs financial help, the community will hold fundraising events to aid with support. Our community has local scholarships and has built homes for the needy. We take care of each other.”

She lists her “Life” as her day job. “As a young woman, I had a career in the Insurance industry and studied as an Insurance Risk Underwriter. I figured out it wasn't for me and quit when my husband and I decided to buy my family’s farm.

“I will be married 30 years this coming July, 2012. It doesn’t seem like that long. I guess I picked the right guy! I suppose I'm old fashioned in that my husband is the main provider, but I do a multitude of things to add to the our income - from farming to my Etsy shop.

“Most of my family has moved away, but I remain on the farm my grandparents owned when I was a child. It is a sesquicentennial farm [150 years strong] that my ancestors settled back in the 1840's. When my ancestors came here, they only managed to stay one winter, ‘the horrid winter of 1847,’ and quickly returned east to Ohio. Later, however, they came back and tried again, this time managing to tame the land and put down roots.”

Robin says, “I hate to admit this, but I spend a lot of my time on Etsy. A friend on Facebook suggested it to me, since her daughter was selling hair fascinators on there. I instantly fell in love with the site. I knew this was where I wanted to be.

“I love hunting for items to use in my re-purposed and up-cycled art, plus scouting for vintage items to put in my shop. Etsy has become almost a full-time obsession for me. I go to estate sales, auctions, garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. I love being a "picker" - and I use that term lovingly and affectionately. Before I joined Etsy, I sold vintage wares on eBay for years.

“I always wanted to own an antique store but could never afford the overhead of having a building and did not have the time required to devote running a traditional brick and mortar business. Having an online store has given me an outlet for that. I enjoy taking care of my flower and vegetable gardens during the spring and summer, and I also tend an organic orchard.

Her favorite item in her shop, she says, is “these vintage red panties because it’s so funny when you think about how ‘racy’ they were to my mother's generation. I know that my mom wouldn't wear red or black panties because it would not have been proper – it would have been completely inappropriate for the time. My sister says I should rename them the Spankin' Red Hot Grannie Panties. I wonder if anyone would put that in as a search?” She giggles at the thought.

"I also up-cycle ceramics into garden art . I hope to do more of the dinner plate garden art this year and expand on this theme a little bit."
Robin has a black and white tuxedo cat which she named Baby. “I got her as a wee kitten when I was suffering from empty nest syndrome.” She and her husband have one child, a boy, who is now a grown man of twenty-nine years with a wife of his own. Robin also took on the admirable task of caring for her elderly father for twelve years after her mother passed away. Just recently, her sisters in Arizona took over that responsibility. “The last two years have been very liberating because my son married and my dad moved away. Now I'm free to be me again!”

Believing that a Higher Power directs her, Robin says with conviction, “I have asked God to give me guidance and he has directed me to this point in my life. I’ve spent my life trying to make ends meet by finding treasure in places where others don't see it and turning that into something beautiful and functional. I've always been re-purposing and up-cycling. It’s just now it has become trendy. This has always been who I am.”

Passionate about hard work, ethics, and faith, Robin explains, “I'm a Capricorn. I'm just like that goat who, no matter what, continuously plods his way up the side of that steep mountain.” Her greatest talent, aside from tenacity, she considers to be her keen sensibility and eye for detail. “I believe I have heightened senses,” she says, “whether it be visual, emotional, audible, sensual or even a sixth sense, so to speak. I am a highly sensitive person which is fine if you are an artist, but not a good thing if you have a customer service problem. Running an online business has taught me to develop a thicker skin.”

Robin holds dear her belief that everything happens for a reason. “It might not be clear while it is happening, but if you wait long enough, it will become apparent why you were given that life lesson. My outlook is best described by an old cliché: ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’”

Robin is obviously very good at making lemonade.

You can find Robin on Twitter under the name, jarmgirl.

Interview and article by Linda Loca of Fire Grog Studio

Monday, January 23, 2012

Featured Shop of the Week: Stitches and Hearts

This little ball of energy, Bekah, is the owner of Stitches and Hearts. Originally from the coast of Virginia, she received her BA in Communication from Christopher Newport University, then set her sights on a Masters in Speech Communication, which she acquired upon graduating from the University of Georgia, located in Athens, Georgia. Bekah currently makes her living as a Human Resources Associate for a nonprofit near Washington, D.C. which she says, "is great because I am a HUGE people person. I am a very, very communal person. I jump at the opportunity to be with people any day of the week!"

In her free time, Bekah leads a Christian youth group of 6th grade girls. Her focus in particular lies in fostering self esteem in these young women. "It is a HUGE drive for me in why I do what I do. They are SUCH a big part of my life, and they definitely teach me way more than I teach them." I could almost hear her beaming in the email!

I asked Bekah to tell me what or who inspires her in her craft. Her exact words tell the story so beautifully. "My mom is the entire reason why I am crafty. I have always been musical, but there is a BIG difference in art types. My mother is a wonderful painter, and I grew up with her always trying to teach me hands on art. I have always been mathematical, and so when she and my father started raising alpacas and spinning the wool into yarn, I found my perfect niche,in knitting! Knitting helps me connect to my mother on an artistic level, even though it's all about counting and repetition! I also think that it's a GREAT stress reliever - and it helps me be patient enough to sit still sometimes and just rest."

When I asked what she is passionate about, this was Bekah's response, "As odd as this sounds, I am very passionate about emotions in general. I studied emotion in graduate school, and what I believe of art is that it draws us in by the emotions they make us feel. Emotions cause us to linger, to crave, to get up and be something. Even in our worst sadness, we are driven to move.

Bekah's mom had an Etsy shop and at that time, people could bid on jobs in the Alchemy feature Etsy offered. Her dad encouraged her to bid on a job. Bekah says, "Oddly, my very first sale was sewing decorations on a pair of Chuck Taylors. I made an account, won, and fixed the shoes. Soon after I decided to start up an actual shop, and started putting up my knit creations. After that, my shop just seemed to expand itself.

One of Bekah's favorite creations is this pair of gloves, which is consequently the very first pair she ever made. An avid collector of buttons, Bekah says, "I LOVE collecting up buttons! I search for them everywhere, and sometimes even purchase thrift store shirts just to cut them off and keep them until I find a cool project to use them on. I wish I could find these same buttons again."

Another personal favorite for Bekah are her one of a kind, yarn scrap gloves. They are a compilation of all of her gloves and they are darling! Here is a look at them in a current listing on Etsy:

"Finally, I just ADORE making these long gloves, because I never get bored with all the color changes. I also just really like the picture because my blue hair looks so good. They are also one of my best selling gloves!"

Bekah also wanted to add that she has an amazing husband that serves as not only "cheerleader" for her Etsy business, but he has been known to photograph her creations and participate as a model as seen here. "It's because of him that I even have a mens' line of products at all!! He loves it when I take time out to knit, because it means that he can get in some quality video game time with his Xbox 360."

You can also find Bekah elsewhere on the web:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/StitchesnHearts
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/stitchesnhearts/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stitches-and-Hearts/173163612789008?sk=wall

Finally, I asked Bekah to share her favorite piece of advice. "Oh wow, how can I pick? One thing that's really affected me is something that I was told in a Christian Organization in college. One of my leaders looked at me one day and said "Sometimes you have to be that which you want to change." Meaning, staying away in a bubble is NEVER going to affect change anywhere. You have to meet people exactly where they are to reach out and lift them up. I am very, very blessed to somehow be able to make people feel comfortable and open up. Maybe it's because I'm so short," she says with a giggle.

Interview and article written by Leanna of Seams Victorian, Bits and Purses, and Teez Loueez.