the creative process

It's really great to watch artists actually create their art--do their thing. I think it's inspiring to see other people's creative process. I love this video below. Absolutely amazing to see what unfolds.

What's your creative process? How does it all unfold for you?


Biz Tuesday: Make your life as a vendor easier!

Amanda McKay of Presents for Pirates is our guest blogger today with a great resource for all you vendors out there! Read below to find out more about Square credit card readers! What a way to make your life easier as a vendor! Thanks, Amanda!

It turns out, I unknowingly married a techie. I don't remember hearing anything about this when we met 10 years ago, it just slowly became a trend I noticed about this guy. A lot of time is spent nodding my head, faux acknowledging that I have any idea what the specs he's rattling off mean, or have anything to do with anything that would apply to me, but sometimes, I luck out and an article he emails me actually makes sense! A product that is not only cool, but would be useful to me, in my business no less!

It was actually one year ago that he sent me an article about a super sweet product - yay! That I couldn't use yet - argh. Little did I know, this company was hard at work getting their product ready to be accessible to a lot more of the small biz world. (They were initially useable only by iPhone customers, but now can also be used with Android phones and iPads).

The product I'm talking about is the Square credit card reader. They make accepting credit cards on the fly a piece of cake, and boy, do I love cake! I signed myself up the middle of last year to get mine - and the Monday after last year's super amazing Horseshoe Market, my new best friend the mailman brought me mine! I've since been using mine at craft shows and small business meetings and just when I'm out and about, and I have to tell you, it was worth the wait.

I did a bunch of research on merchant services beforehand to determine what was going to work best for me, and I decided that Square's combo of super low transaction fees + on-the-go accessibility made sense for me all day long. More info on the specs can be found here:

I have sort of unofficially teamed up with Square to help distribute 100 of their readers to people in and around Denver! I don't get anything from it, other than the hope that by me getting more and more people to use their services, that they will be around for a long time and I will get the continued benefit of utilizing their services. Well, I think they may have said they would pay me back in hugs. Not sure what the conversion chart on that looks like, though. I still have a bunch of these super cute little credit card readers left to distribute to anyone that thinks they would like to give it a shot! You can find me on Twitter @piratelifeforme or through my Etsy shop.

Happy crafting!

Inspiration Monday: Horseshoe Sneak Peek!

Hope all of you are enjoying this sunny Monday. We are totally enthralled in reviewing all of our early Horseshoe applications. We know we've said it before, but we are seriously inspired by all of the amazing applications we're getting and have gotten. We wish we had twice the amount of space, because there are that many great artists, crafters, designers and vintage collectors in our lovely state! It's totally awesome and inspiring.

Here's a sneak peek at some possible 2011 Horseshoe vendors! And for those of you who applied as vendors early (Jan 15-Feb 14), we will be notifying you by March 1st! We've said it before, but be looking for an email from

Have a great, inspired day everyone!
1. sweet european dreams 2. butterworth and bee 3. wts creatures 4. sings the sparrow 5. january jones 6. lark and lillie 7. deadwilder art 8. velvet 9. jane hilbert designs

Thanks to our sponsors!

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, once again! We are thrilled that the Green Wish Foundation, Fancy Tiger Crafts, and Tomte will be sponsoring the 2011 Horseshoe Craft and Flea Markets! We have a few sponsorships spots still available, so if you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please email Amy at

We also wanted to spread the word about some upcoming events happening at Fancy Tiger and Tomte!

To start with, Fancy Tiger is having a huge fabric sale this weekend! Saturday, February 19th and Sunday, February 20th, save 50% off all corduroys, flannels, woven wools and select cotton prints. Also save 30% off all cotton velveteens and hundreds of select cotton prints. Can't beat that!

Additionally, on Wednesday, February 23rd from 6-8 pm, join Fancy Tiger for their Community Sewing night to serve The Gathering Place, a day shelter for women and children in central Denver. You'll sew colorful pillowcases to brighten the children's living areas! To participate, you'll need 3/4 yd main fabric and 1/4 yd accent fabric for each pillow. Cotton or flannel in kid-friendly prints is recommended. Find more info here!

Tomte Craft
has recently relocated to the Berkeley neighborhood at 4335 W 41st Avenue right off of Tennyson Street! Mark your calendars for a trunk show and their grand opening on Friday, March 4th! It's going to be a great night!

Biz Tuesday: Choosing Your Niche

photo via

Another lovely business installment from Amy Kalinchuk of Craft e-Revolution! See her first post here on starting your own craft business. Thanks for the tips, Amy!

Choosing Your Niche -- Will People Really Buy This Stuff, Anyway? 

It is exciting to think that others are willing to pay you for the fun you have. Crafting is fun, right? And all of your friends are constantly telling you that you should sell this. People would buy this. You could make this a business!

If you have made the decision to sell your crafts, but don’t know who will buy them, it’s probably a good time to choose your niche. You must realize, from the start, that you are not selling to everybody. Not everybody likes what you make. This is not an insult--it’s a good thing. Knowing this can help you make more money from the beginning.

It’s better to design your products so that they appeal to an audience that is large enough to sustain your business, but small enough that not everybody will want it. Since you are a crafter, that fact has narrowed things down considerably. You already have eliminated those who prefer ultra-well-known-brand-name products. Let’s narrow it some more. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are my products particular to a social group? Parents, women, single men, college students, children, the elderly, people with disabilities?
2. Are my products particular to a lifestyle? Vegans, green living, homesteading, urban dwelling, hipsters?
3. Do my products have a particular aesthetic? Vintage, mod, art deco, rockabilly?
4. Do my customers have a lot of money? Just a little bit of money? Do they save up money to purchase collectible items?

Answer these questions, one by one, and you may come up with a statement that looks something like this:

My products (high-quality, handmade soaps and other skin products) have a rustic quality, and appeal to customers who value practicality over looks and function over style. Vegans, vegetarians, and those who value “green living” and “all natural” items will enjoy knowing they purchased the products locally, and for a reasonable price (just a bit higher than the average price in Whole Foods).

That niche is the target for my soap company. Those are the people who enjoy my products and come back for more. I focus on selling locally at farmer’s markets, as well as online. My packaging is minimalistic, and my soaps are rustic looking, but are large and perform very well.

It is unrealistic to think that my soaps will appeal to everyone. Those who like artificial fragrances like Lilac or Strawberry, are not going to be attracted to my soaps from the start. People who like fancy soaps made in shaped molds are not going to be drawn to the plain rectangles of my soap. That’s okay! There are plenty of other soap makers in the world who can meet that customer’s need. There is enough money to go around. Go through the list, answer the questions, and target your niche. You will be rewarded with a loyal customer base and hopefully, increased sales because of your focus.

Amy Kalinchuk is the publisher at Craft e-Revolution. Her soap website is the #1 result in Google for the search, “handmade soap Denver.” Unsurprisingly, she lives in Denver, Colorado with her family.

Inspiration Monday

Today we're inspired by Valentine's Day, of course! We gathered a bunch of lovelies below, many of whom we found by shopping "local" on Etsy!

Can't really believe it's already Valentine's Day?! It means that March is around the corner, and Spring is around the corner...and the Horseshoe Markets are just around the corner, too!

We hope your day is filled with lots and lots of love!!! Also, today is the last day to apply for the markets and get a discounted booth! Do it!
1. hot butter 2. sunshine in the cellar 3. alpen glow vintage 4. pixie dust 5. studio lila 6. anista designs 7. creative kates 8. smilin' moon 9. objects of affection

Last Call for Discounted Horseshoe Booths!

There's some important and cool stuff going on in the world of handmade and craft and today we want to spread the word about those things! First of all, though, it's last call for discounted Horseshoe booths!!! Monday is the last day you can apply to one, two or three Horseshoe Markets and get a discount! If you apply to any of the Horseshoe Markets and get in, you will receive a discounted booth price ($75 versus $100 for a 10X10 booth). Take advantage of this great deal! DHA members get an even better discount--$60 per booth!

We have been pleasantly overwhelmed with applications and are currently processing applications. If you apply on or before February 14th, you will find out your application status (acceptance/decline) by March 1st, 2011. We are so excited by all of the amazing applications we've been getting and we're going to have three awesome, rockin' markets!!!

Also, if you are not a vendor, make sure you mark your calendars for the markets--Saturdays, May 7th, August 6th and October 1st from 9 am-4 pm at 46th and Tennyson in the parking lot behind Olinger, Moore, Howard Chapel.

Denver Handmade Alliance is offering a great upcoming workshop, "Business Branding 101." This is for folks who've got a craft based business but want to work on their image and get a fabulous introduction to branding. Branding pros, Deborah Williams, owner of the visual branding firm, Design and Image, and Beth Barbee, branding strategist for Darwin, will be sharing their expertise in this intro workshop. Space will be limited to 15 attendees so sign up now!

When: Thursday, February 24 · 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Where: Design and Image--930 Inca St
Registration Fee:
Denver Handmade Alliance Members: $5 (see you’ve already saved $5 with your $10 yearly membership fee!)
Non-Members: $10

To register, email Please use "Workshop Registration" in the subject line, and include your full name and DHA membership number if applicable (if you have not yet received your 2011 membership e-card but have sent in payment, please note that your 2011 membership fee has been paid and the full name associated with the membership and we can check for you in our system). A payment request will follow to finalize your registration.

Some other cool things we've seen around the web--this one via Denver Handmade Alliance. How awesome is this??!!


A new crafty video hub has arrived! is a new multimedia website for all crafty goodness – and it’s starting right here in Denver! It will feature a new artist, bio video, and product giveaway each month, along with how to videos, craft projects, featurettes, and much more. Our goal is to not only build and promote the Denver handmade community, but to create a place for handmade enthusiasts around the nation to log on and find inspiration for their next project.

We are now taking applications to be one of our featured artists!

What does being a featured artist mean? Front page visibility with an interview, 1 – 2 minute bio video, professional photo, write up, and a link to your website. This video will also be linked to the Denver Handmade Alliance, Facebook, and YouTube accounts – now that is a lot of exposure! All for the low price tag of a few product donations!

(Nervous about being on video? Don’t be! Crafty Peep Show has rounded up a team of award winning videographers and editors with an array of concepts from up close and personal to artsy and mysterious.. all you have to do is relax and be your wonderful self!).


1.Click the link:
2. Fill out the form.
3. Hit SUBMIT. Easy

And finally, via DonnaDiddit, we found this spectacular site, Quite Unique. It's almost like a GroupOn for crafty people! They feature one handpicked item per day at a great value. Each item purchased comes from a small producer who utilizes unusual materials or techniques, or who has an interesting back-story to their company.

Because they get their products from small producers, their quantities are limited. Their unique features sell out fast and once the item is gone, it's gone. Sign up as a member to receive daily email alerts when a new feature/product becomes available.

If you make unique goods and are interested in being featured on Quite Unique, go to their vendor page for more information.


If you know of any other great things going on out there, post in our comments! Have a great weekend, everybody! Enjoy the sunshine...

Whatever you look for, you'll find!

The Makerie posted a great Facebook post this week...."What are some of your favorite inspiring TED talks?" This one was recommended and I love it! I love Amy Krouse Rosenthal--so creative and inspiring. Perusing her videos and books is an all day inspiration-a-thon.

Inspiration Monday: Making Stuff

Another handmade portrait from Etsy that I love. My favorite line in the video-"I just want to make stuff." Simply and perfectly said.

Blog Sponsor Spotlight: LSR Jewelry & the bench

Is it really already Friday?! What a week! We're so happy to see the sun shining today. And today we're honored to feature Horseshoe vendor and blog sponsor, LSR Jewelry & the bench. Read below to find out more about Lisa's fabulous work.

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.

Lisa Rundall lives in Edgewater, Colorado with her husband, Rahja, and their two beautiful boys, Oliver and Noah. She was born in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and moved at an early age to the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout her childhood Lisa was encouraged to play in nature and explore her creative side. This was the start of her journey to becoming an artist.

Before moving to Denver, she lived in the beautiful northern California town of Arcata, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art with an emphasis in jewelry making. Her jewelry is organic, textured, and handmade, no two pieces alike. She often adds precious or semi precious stones to add an element of color into the design. She currently works out of her home part time as a graphic designer and the other half as a jewelry artist and teacher.

She is starting a jewelry studio/school in 2011. The inaugural classes start in February. The classes are created for people who are interested in finding out more about metalsmithing and lost wax casting, but don't want to purchase a lot of expensive equipment before they know if it is something they really want to do. Also folks that have experience in these areas can come to use the studio, which will be opening later this year.

Find LSR Jewelry & the bench here and on Facebook.

Repurposing and Reusing

Cristina Covello's Tin Can Storage via TreeHugger

Like many folks in Colorado, we love the idea of repurposing and reusing in our daily lives--and in doing our art and craft. We've been hugely impressed with how many applications we've been getting from folks who are repurposers and recyclers--and who make awesome art!

We've got someone taking old guitar strings and making jewelry (boulder redesign), belt buckles and jewelry made from reclaimed skateboards (mukee), recycled and restyled clothing (pearl clothing--great article recently in the Westword about pearl here)--among many others!

Tell us--how are you creating using recycled/upcycled materials and saving them from the landfill? We'd love to see and hear!

Biz Tuesday: What makes you remarkable?

I've been watching lots of Ted videos these days. The site is filled with so many great things, on as many topics as you could think of. There's a wealth of information on business, leadership and general inspiration.

I really like this one by Seth Godin on standing out. There are some great things to think about when it comes to selling yourself, your business and marketing ideas. Great stuff to chew on for this Tuesday!