Inspiration Monday: Gray Day

We've been way under the weather over here. And fighting it. However, sometimes you just have to sink into it and not fight it. And rest. Today I'm inspired by the calm of gray and muted blues. My favorites. Now for some tea and doing work all day from home in the bathrobe.

Happy Monday!

Lots of these artists/crafters are Colorado folks! Check out their shops!
1. vital vintage linens 2. xvelvetx 3. trat girl 4. ani & rose 5. the domestic icing shop 6. simplysarai 7. knit storm 8. lonley art 9. tilly whistle

Blog Sponsor Spotlight: Siouxsiequeue's

Happy Friday! Today we're featuring one of our fabulous new blog sponsors (and Horseshoe vendors), Siouxsiequeue's! Read below to find out more about Siouxsiequeue's lovely goods!

If you're interested in being a Horseshoe Market Blog Sponsor (includes ad on right sidebar, Sponsor Spotlight blog post, and chance to do "giveaways") email for more information.
It all started with one bracelet...

Siouxsiequeue's was founded in 2006 after our namesake, Suzanne Gutierrez, bought a chainmaille bracelet at a Sci-Fi themed fair. Suzanne began to obsess over and disassemble that bracelet in her mind; finally having driven herself to learn the ancient art of weaving maille. Thanks to the support of her exceptionally wonderful family, and with the blessings and encouragement of the artist of that first bracelet, Suzanne embarked on the fantastic adventure of a home based jewelry business. In 2010 the Siouxsiequeue's range expanded to include handmade totes, pouches, and other handmade accessories. When she’s not in her studio Suzanne loves to watch Sci-Fi movies with her family or can be found at Stash in Castle Rock teaching knitting and sewing classes. Suzanne is fueled by a lifelong passion for creating and is proud to be a DIY kind of girl in a cutting edge technology kind of world.
You can find Siouxsiequeue's all over the Web!

You can also find Siouxsiequeue's all over the Metro area!
Dream Pastries, Castle Rock, CO
Stash, Castle Rock, CO
The Mac Spa, LoDo

Wired Wednesday

I'm clearly obsessed with Etsy's Handmade Portraits. I think it's because I have always loved documentaries and my attention span is quite short so these are perfect. And because they are on what I love--arting, crafting, creating, collecting.

As I've been watching these portraits, I'm struck with two things: all of our lives are completely and utterly rich, whether we realize it or not. And number two, what we touch and create with our own two hands becomes magic.

Check out this Handmade Portrait. What life these dolls have!

Biz Tuesday

We thought we’d use this Biz Tuesday spot to give you an update on our 2011 market application process and sponsorship information for all of you vendors and possible sponsors out there.

We’ve gotten an amazing response from folks applying to all of our markets! To be honest, we are running out of room in all of our markets so you should apply soon if you want to join in the fun! Don’t forget that we have discount booth prices until February 14th!

We are a juried market and we jury on a rolling basis. If you’ve already applied, you will find out if you are accepted around March 1st. We may be sending out emails sooner than that, so if you’ve applied, please look for an email from in the coming weeks. Please check your Spam folders and make sure is on your “safe senders” list!

Here are a few FAQ’s that we’ve been getting. Please let us know your other questions in the comments below!

What does juried mean?
We are looking for high quality, unique, handmade and handpicked goods. If you are an art or craft vendor, your art or craft must be handmade by you. Items are juried in terms of their quality, creativity, craftsmanship, and professionalism. If you haven’t done a market yet, that is okay, too! We can tell a lot by your website, your Etsy shop and your pictures. Make sure that there are photos of all the items you will be selling.

In terms of vintage, we are looking for high quality, unique vintage products. We are looking for furniture dealers, vintage art and craft, accessories, clothing, among other vintage finds. If you are a vintage vendor and you don’t have a website, you will still need to attach pictures to your application. Just take a few pictures of the kind of stuff you collect and attach them to the application. It’s that simple!

If I apply to all three markets, will I get in to all three?

We encourage you to apply to as many markets as you’d like, and we’ll do our best to get you in. However, you may not get into every single one for which you apply, but this is mostly true for jewelry vendors. We get lots and lots of jewelry applications--so many that we have to start a waiting list. We so want to include everyone, but space and type of vendor may inhibit us from doing so. Thank you for understanding!

Can my business be a sponsor for the markets?
Yes! We are currently seeking sponsors for all of our markets. We have one Premier sponsorship available, and three Market sponsorships available (please email for info). We also have a few seasonal sponsors and blog sponsorships. We market heavily, have a really great online (over 12,000 unique page views to our website!) and “live” audience (3000-5000 customers per market!), and your marketing dollars will be well spent. Please contact Amy at for more information!

If you have further questions, leave them in the comments below. Have a great day!

Inspriration Monday: On Collecting...

We absolutely love Etsy's Handmade Portraits. We saw this one over the weekend and were so inspired. It made us want to get up and go to an auction or an estate sale! And this dreary day would be perfect for playing hookie and wandering off to some thrift stores, wouldn't it? Happy Monday!

Handmade Portraits: Domestikate from Etsy on Vimeo.

Blog Sponsor Spotlight: Donna Diddit

Happy Friday, folks. Today we're featuring one of our fabulous new blog sponsors (and Horseshoe vendors), Donna Diddit! Read below to find out more about Donna Diddit's super cool and unique products!

If you're interested in being a Horseshoe Market Blog Sponsor (includes ad on right sidebar and Sponsor Spotlight blog post) email for more information.

I've found a means to work and wander, traveling into the wee cracks of "what if?" and coming back with truly unique and functional designs to offer our fellow word nerds and garden geeks (and a few other custom interests, as well). All of our handcrafted laser engraved offerings come from an exacting "good design" ethic that produces our Table to Farm Garden Markers™ and Push Pin Puzzles™. Materials range from upcycled and repurposed, to the new and durable.

Donna Diddit LLC is a woman-owned business specializing in artistic and well-designed laser engraved small gift items for home, garden and personal use based in Denver, Colorado. The core of everything we craft is good design that functions simply. Our laser engraved gifts blend beautiful artistry with straightforward functionality and artisan craftsmanship. We take pride in what we do and believe in doing things right.

You can share your geek for good design with us online or in person:
LIVE: Denver and Boulder craft show schedule is posted on our home page and Facebook

Check out this short video of the first set of Table to Farm Markers being made!

Q & A Thursday with the Makerie

For the last year and a half, I've had this dream scribbled on my list of "big dreams":

go to an art/creative retreat!

I've seen so many cool ones online through a bunch of bloggers I follow, but never knew how I was going to pull off going to Portland or the east coast with a super busy schedule. It just never seemed the right time.

Then, serendipitously, I stumbled upon the Makerie in Boulder! The Makerie is a brand new creative retreat happening April 7-10, and I'm so very excited to be going! It's a long weekend (Thursday night-Sunday) of a creative extravaganza with amazing teachers (all the best ones! see below), a beautiful location (Chautauqua) and a seemingly wonderful group of folks.

Today for our Q & A, we are so very thrilled to have Ali DeJohn, the sweet, inspiring soul behind the Makerie. And please come join the us for what we know will be a super special retreat!

If you are interested in signing up for the retreat, here are some important dates to keep in mind:
February 6th - Cottage Availability Limited *
March 18th - Registration Deadline
*COTTAGES ARE STARTING TO FILL UP! PLEASE don't delay if you are thinking about staying at Chautauqua. After February 6th, cottages may be available, but we just can't guarantee it.

HS: Can you start by telling us about the Makerie and how it came to be?

Makerie: In June 2009, I attended my first creative retreat and it was hands down, one the best experiences I ever had. I learned:

* how important it is to honor who you are and what you love to do
* the power of being in a like-minded community
* that you can have your own thing and still be a great mom (in fact, I found I was a better mom because of that!)
* how honoring and exploring your creative side brings out the best in everyone
* to listen to your heart

When I came home, I shared this magical experience with all my friends and family, and they loved what it was all about. I researched and researched to find a similar retreat in Colorado (a little closer to home) so I could take all my friends. When I couldn't find anything like it in our majestic Rocky Mountains, I began to think how neat it would be to bring this to our community, and how much I wanted to provide a place for other people to have the opportunity to experience what I did. I wanted to provide a place where people could step out of their fast-paced, everyday lives, leave technology behind for a few days and reconnect with themselves in a space to simply play and feel like a kid again. (It does wonders, let me tell you!) I still carry around the magic I felt from my first retreat, and am eternally grateful to Elizabeth and the courage she had to create Squam Art Workshops. It truly changed my life.

HS: How would I know if the retreat is for “me”? Is there an “ideal” participant?

Makerie: The heart of the Makerie is to lovingly nurture the creative spirt in ALL of us. There is not an ‘ideal participant’ whatsoever, as the retreat is designed for ANYONE (and yes, even those who claim they are not the least bit creative!) who wants to be creative, loves to be creative, and dreams of being more creative. There are no age limits and we truly welcome anyone willing to come with an open heart!

HS: Can you tell us about some of the classes and teachers who will be at the retreat?

Makerie: The weekend will be full of amazing creative/crafting workshops in sewing, knitting, shoe-making, painting, pattern design, block printing, photography and jewelry-making. We are really excited about the incredible line-up of teachers from around the country we have for this inaugural year!

Flora Bowley
~ Our totally inspirational painting instructor that has burst onto the art scene this past year with her incredible painting process. She was a former yoga instructor so she incorporates exercises into her workshops to get you out of your head and into your body before painting. Word has is that the work that comes out of her classes is literally gallery-worthy, even from people who have never picked up a paintbrush!

Lizzy House ~ This adorable teacher, who will be teaching pattern design and block printing, is one talented textile designer who can’t wait to energize your creativity with her intimate knowledge of these topics. I have taken her classes myself so I can vouch for how amazing her workshops are!

Alessandra Cave ~ Creator of the Gypsy Girls Guide, a daily dose of worldly inspiration, she will explore photography and how to make the transition from snapping pictures to taking beautiful photographs. She is a wonderful creative force serious about living life to the fullest and will inspire you to do the same!

Stefanie Japel ~ If you want to spend a day or two knitting, her awesome energy will lead you through fantastic workshops highlighting embellishments, playing with color and knitting to fit. She just finished her third book with Chronicle!

Jessica Hernandez ~ Founder of the darling company Joyfolie, she will lead workshops on shoe-making. Oh those SHOES... they are completely adorable (sell out in literally seconds!) and the Makerie will be the first time she will be sharing her tricks of the trade!

Angie Olsgard and Katherine Sanz ~ And lastly, if jewelry-making has ever caught your curiosity, you can spend a day of boundless adventure in creating wearable metal arts.

HS: What is your greatest hope in creating the Makerie?

Makerie: The greatest power in creating the Makerie is the warm and wonderful community it seems to be bringing together, which feels really magical and powerful. I would love to see the Makerie become an event that inspires people in various ways and encourages them to follow their heart, and that everyone involved in the retreat in any way, shape or form will feel part of the Makerie family.

HS: Do you have any favorite spots to craft/”make” in Denver? In Boulder?

Makerie: Fancy Tiger’s craft nights in Denver are so much fun when I can make it down from Boulder, and Common Threads in Boulder would be my place of choice. We did just start a knitting group here that travels to various local coffee shops, which has been really lovely as well!

HS: Best coffee in Denver? In Boulder?

Makerie: Oooooh fun question! I really love Highlands Cork and Coffee in Denver and in Boulder, it’s so hard to choose because I love so many. But if I had to pick one, I’d say Saxy’s on Pearl Street. They have the coziest of couches!

HS: Any last thoughts?

Makerie: I would just like to thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Makerie and to congratulate YOU on the wonderful Horseshoe Craft & Flea you have recently launched. You have such a wonderful community vibe to your event already and we can’t wait to support all of your efforts!

Thanks, Ali! We can't wait for the Makerie!

Fear of Making Art

photo via projectfocus
Judy Wise is a mixed media artist who also does a ton of art journaling. Art journaling is a really fun way to explore your creativity, to be focused on your process and NOT the outcome. It's a great way to play with creative ideas, intuition, and creating for the pleasure of creating. Sometimes that's the very stuff that keeps us away from art.

I know many of you who read this blog and are either artists yourself, or you may be one of those folks who secretly wants to do art, or do more art, but you've got the fear monster on your back who talks you out of doing art, trying art, or even thinking about art. Or, maybe you are an artist or crafter, but there's still fear lurking. I think it pops up every now and then even if you've fought it off before.

This video from Judy is really inspiring to me. Her simple words about art, fear and "just doing it" are oh so powerful. My favorite quote from the video (when she's talking about being committed to doing art everyday): "You'll step'll do the thing you've been wanting to do all your life that you've put off and it'll feel so good. You'll be so glad you did it."


Biz Tuesday: Starting your Business!

photo via re-nest
We're thrilled to have guest blogger, Amy Kalinchuk, from Craft e-Revolution write on how to start your own craft business! We know many of you are artists, handmakers, or collect vintage/antiques. You probably want to push it to the next level, but have no idea how to start. Amy's no-nonsense tips below are awesome and inspiring...feels like business bootcamp for creatives and crafters! Make this YOUR year to do it!

Starting a craft business: 5 Tips for Success

It’s a new year, and you have resolved to start your craft business. That is fantastic! Starting a business is one of the best things you can do to change your life. The lessons I have learned from being in business for myself are immeasurable.

Some of those lessons were hard-learned. Not everyone is cut out for business, but I am not here to talk you out of it. I am a firm believer in experiential learning. If you aren’t meant to be an entrepreneur, the only way to learn that is to try it, wholeheartedly. I have owned my craft business for over six years and my publishing business for over five, and have learned more than I could have imagined about business and crafting during that time. If you are considering turning your favorite craft into a business, you might find the following list of tips and advice helpful.

1. Don’t wait for “the right time.” The right time is now. Do not wait for the money to come in--find a way to make it work. I don’t recommend going into debt to start a craft business. Start selling your stuff to friends and family, and use that money to purchase equipment or supplies. You will need to re-invest this money for quite a while, until you see a profit. If you want to use credit cards, do so knowing what you can pay off quickly, and stick with a budget. Pay them off as fast as you can, using the profits from sales. Whatever you do, just jump in. If you are the kind of person who waits for the “right time” to do things, then push yourself out of that comfort zone.

2. Use free or low-cost online outlets to your advantage. Had I known about Etsy when I was first starting out, I would have started selling there immediately. It is a low-cost way of starting your online presence--and you must have one. Even if you think you will sell mostly at craft fairs and through networking, you must still have some sort of website. A shop on Etsy is free to own, and very low-cost to start selling there as their fees are based on sales: if you have no sales, the only fee you pay is the listing fee of 20 cents (which is good for 4 months).

Artfire is another low-cost option online. They have a flat-rate, monthly fee for their “Pro” members, which is very reasonable (currently $9.95/month). If you are unsure that you will be able to cover that cost, Artfire does have a free “Basic” option as well, which has limited options. It’s still a great free service, if you have only a few items to list.
some of Amy's soaps!
3. Don’t let the details overwhelm you. There are eight million and three of them, so it’s easy to let this happen. You must register your business with the city, county, state, and your grandmother. You must pay a fee for all this. You must open a bank account, find the best suppliers, go thrift shopping, and clean out your garage.

Listen to me. Write it all down on one list. All of it! Then, choose one thing (one thing!), and do it from start to finish. Then cross it off your list, and the next day/week/weekend/time, choose the next thing on the list. It will all get done, but you must not let the details prevent you from starting.

For an easy online way to keep track of all this, sign up for Teux Deux. It’s free and fabulous.

4. Start your blog now. There is absolutely no reason for you to wait on this. If you are going to have an Artfire or Etsy shop to start with, because you want to save money, then start a free blog through Blogger. Or, you can have a Wordpress blog. If you are scared of this process, start with Blogger and roll with it. It’s very easy, and it’s absolutely necessary. This is part of your branding, and it’s the first way you can start to create a following. Once people are following your blog, they will want to read more and more from you, and are easier to turn into customers.

The same advice is true of Facebook and Twitter. Just do it. All of this is free. Put these to-do items on your Details list from #3 above. Don’t know what to say? Tell people you are starting a craft business, and then respond to their comments. Ask your readers direct questions. Do they prefer floral or woody scents? Which colors are in their living rooms? The key is to respond as often as possible, and start an online conversation.

5. Focus your efforts. Focus on one area of crafting, not a bunch. Make things that “go together.” For example, I make and sell soap. A natural progression for my product line was to make lip balm, since it uses the same oils that I use to make soap, and it’s also a skin product. After that, I started making sugar scrub, bath salts, and bath fizzies--all things that are good for the skin.

My customers would have been confused if I had made soap, then moved to makeup bags, and also offered carved wooden cutting boards and huge, welded garden sculpture. While I do make a beautiful and practical makeup bag, and my garden sculptures would surely be the talk of the garden tour, none of it makes sense together. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be able to grow my business that way--my customers would not come back, because they wouldn’t know what I was making next. What is your chosen craft? What naturally goes with that? Plan to grow in this way--by adding to your product line. Start with your favorite craft, and then branch out sensibly.

It is an exciting time for you right now. Make a promise to yourself that this year will be a year of action. Which of the five items above will you focus on today?

Amy Kalinchuk publishes photographed craft tutorials in ebook format at Craft e-Revolution, which launched in 2010. She is rewriting her three books, and is currently publishing two other authors. She is working on a craft business book, right now, and has a wicked pain between her shoulders from the hunching over.

Call for Vendors and Blog Sponsors!

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you had a fun, restful weekend. The weekend was a blur for us. We were pleasantly inundated with Horseshoe Market applications after our launch on Friday! We are seriously thrilled with the quality and quantity of applications! Amazing. There are so many talented and creative people in Colorado. It's truly awesome!

For all of you who are pondering applying--apply soon! If you apply before February 14th and get into the market (we are juried), your booth price will be $75 per market. A pretty great deal! We take applications on a first come, first served basis and we could very well sell out of spaces like we did last year for our first market. So apply now!!!

Blog Sponsorship

Also, we wanted to use this blog post to tell you a little bit about our blogging plan for the 2011 market season. We will be blogging 3-5 times per week from now through mid October. We will have business blogs, guest bloggers, inspirational blog posts, Q & A's with sponsors and artists, and in general, lots of fun stuff going on here!

Additionally, we have some great news! We're offering space for YOU to be a sponsor on our blog! On our right side bar, you can post your business ad for just over $1 a day per month. No contract is involved--you can sign up for one month or six months! It's a low risk way to get your name out there! Here are the details:

Horseshoe Blog Sponsor

We will be blogging 3-5 times per week from January 2011-October 2011, and all blog posts are advertised on Facebook and Twitter! For just over one dollar per day ($35.00 per month), you will receive the following benefits and highlights:

· Your company ad on right sidebar of blog

· Profile feature on blog!

· No contract involved—you may sponsor one month or as many months as you wish, but sponsorship is on a first come, first served basis

· Ability to potentially sponsor a giveaway

· Potential to reach thousands of customers!

Pretty cool, huh? If you're interested in this great opportunity, please email for more information. Have a great day!

New website and applications are open!

It's an exciting day over here! We are just launching our new and improved website courtesy of the ever-amazing Lisa Rundall Creative, and we've just opened our 2011 vendor applications! We thought we'd give you a run down of the website changes, and also talk about our 2011 vendor applications.

The new website now has a "main" homepage, and then each market has its own page--Spring Market (May 7), Summer Market (August 6) and Fall Market (October 1). However, you can apply for one, two or all three markets on any vendor application.

In terms of vendor applications, we are having early bird discount prices from today until February 14th. If you apply to any market between now and Feb. 14th, and get accepted into the market (we are juried), your booth price will be $75 for one 10X10 booth ($60 for DHA members) per market. If you apply after February 14th, booth prices will be $100 for one 10X10 booth space ($80 for DHA members) per market.

Please note--you can apply to one, two or all three markets! If you apply to all three, we cannot guarantee that you will be accepted into all three. This is due to the high volume of applications we get, and that we want a great variety of products and vendors at each market. In terms of sharing booths, you may--but both parties must apply. No more than two can share a booth!

Additionally, we want to encourage lots of folks to apply! Are you an artist, crafter or estate sale junkie? Do you dream about selling your wares and having your own business? Maybe you have an Etsy shop, and you've always wanted to do a "live" market. Well, why not give it a go? Check out this page for detailed information on what kinds of vendors we are seeking.

We are so excited about this upcoming market season. Our seasonal markets will each be unique, collaborative, and super fun community events! We will feature kids activities, local food and a few local non profits at each of our markets. Additionally, we are seeking sponsors! Please email for information on sponsorship opportunities.

Let the fun begin! Go to our website, check things out, and fill out an application! Also, leave a comment below for any feedback or suggestions you may have about our website. See you all soon!

Happy New Year!

2010 was a fantastic first year for the Horseshoe. We had a rockin' market and tons of awesome support. 2011 is set to be fantastic, too! Customer and vendor surveys indicated that you all wanted seasonal markets--so we've got three set so far! Mark your calendars for May 7th, August 6th and October 1st! We will have over 100 art, craft and vintage vendors at each market--and some awesome local food as well.

For all of you vendors out there--we will open up our applications on January 14th and have early bird pricing from then until February 14th. Don't miss out on the early bird pricing! We'll also have discounts for Denver Handmade Alliance members again. Our market is juried but we encourage both emerging and established artists, designers, crafters and vintage collectors to apply.

Also, look for our new and improved website on January 14th, too! 2011, here we come!