Thursday, August 29, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Ellen Hanson-ZeVan




 

Ellen Hanson-ZeVan creates beautiful homey touches for your home with her hand-embroidered towels, table runners, table cloths, and much more!

 

 


 

 

Who are you and what do you do?

 

My name is Ellen Hanson-ZeVan, and I embroider and cross stitch table linens. My handmade items include table toppers and runners, table cloths, aprons, towels and other linen items. All my products are hand sewn and designed for home use and decoration. Each pieces is individually made and while there may be similarities in style and design, there are no two that are identical.

 


 

Is this a full-time business for you?

 

As with many other crafters, I started as a hobby as I worked full-time. I began participating in craft shows approximately 5 years ago at the encouragement of friends who had received my product as gifts. My first shows were very successful and my product received good reviews from those who bought from me. As craft shows continued, I experienced repeat business and satisfied customers referred me to others. At this point, I am not looking for this to become a full-time business - but being retired gives me more time towork on my craft and gives me additional product for shows.

 


 


 


 

Why this particular craft?

 

When I was very little, I had an aunt who was disabled and who did lovely embroidery. She was very special in my life and I loved spending time with her. She taught me to embroider - I think I actually picked up my first needle before I started school. I’m a creative person and as with others, I’ve pursued other arts over the years, but have always returned to embroidery as it fulfills my creative bent and evokes some wonderful memories.

 


 

First memory of making something?

 

My first memory of making something was when I was in grade school. I made the aunt who taught me to embroider a set of pillow cases for her bed. I bought the materials with my allowance, finished them without her knowing and gave them to her for her birthday. She actually cried when she opened the package. They were used by her for many years and she would always show them proudly to those who visited her. Her pride in my work and her encouragement gave me the confidence to make other handmade pieces for family and friends which have been given as gifts over the years.

 


 


 


 

Any special holiday items?

 

Holidays are a time when we invite family and friends into our homes. Our homes become festive and we are looking for pieces that will help us celebrate. And we are looking for those things that will be special gifts. I have concentrated on those holiday items that can provide for both home decoration as well as those things that might provide lovely gifts for family and friends.

 


 


Be sure to stop by Ellen's booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

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Posted by Admin at 8:28 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: My Bit of Wonder




 

Miranda Rosa makes playful, spontaneous quilted products full of whimsy and vibrant colors.  Her company makes bags, coasters, pot holders, and more!


 


 


 

Who are you and what do you do?

 

My name is Miranda Rosa. I make modern quilted home goods and accessories. A lot of what I make is done using an improvisational method, which makes much of my stuff truly one of a kind. And I make a lot of stuff with cats on it, because cats are awesome.

 


 

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?

 

I just finished a bunch of new pouches for my shop. A lot of them are with hand dyed Indonesian cotton batiks. Some with cats.

 


 

Will you be featuring any special holiday items?

 

I’m working on some ideas, but to be honest I get distracted easily and really love just improvisational sewing and seeing where it leads me. I am hoping to have some new ornaments and stockings available.

 


 

How do you usually prepare for the holiday season?

 

I giggled at this one a bit. I make lots and lots of pot holders and mitts and coasters and runners. Then I make lots of pot holders and mitts and coasters and runners. Rinse. Repeat.

 


 

What was your first memory of making something?

 

My mom was an artist. She painted in an impressionist style and did a lot of drawing, pointillism sometimes. I loved to draw with her. I made the tiniest drawings of the most intricate things. The first thing I ever sewed was an ugly yellow outfit for the 4-H fashion show when I was 9. The first quilt I ever made was a batik throw quilt at age 15 when my mom out of the blue decided to open a quilt shop.

 


 

What do your customers love most about your products?

 

Vibrant color. Unique patterns. Something they will not find anywhere else. But also something that is useful. The practical should be pretty. I make stuff for you to use. If you want to hang it, that’s fine. I know at least one person who framed one of my runners. That’s cool. But if you use and abuse it, that’s cool too.

 


 


 


 

Have you always been passionate about art and design?

 

Absolutely. I used to help people pick colors in my mom’s quilt shop when I was a teenager. I used to run drug courts and I was constantly doodling and coming up with ideas during meetings and court sessions. I’ve been to museums across the country and in Paris. I sure hope to go to more soon. Buy my stuff and fund my trips!

 


 

What do you love most about craft show vending?

 

I’m an introvert. That does not mean I’m shy but it does mean I’m drained by human contact. Sewing is very amenable to introverts. However, it is nice to occasionally get out and talk to human beings. I might be even weirder if I didn’t. Plus, you get instant feedback you can use.


 

What’s your favorite item that you sell?

 

Patchwork coasters are my favorite. Each are a little piece of art that you can look at and use every day. Or little patchwork pouches. They’re so cute and useful.

 


 

How did you get started in your business?

 

I was burned out in my day job. I had the opportunity to do it on a part time basis and took advantage of that while I worked on the business. I’ve always sewed but saw expanding what I do into a real business as the chance to take a break. I joked for a while I semi-retired. I work harder than ever, truthfully, and I love it.

 


 

Why did you start working in this particular craft?

 

I’ve sewed for more than 30 years if you count my debut at the 4-H fashion show. I can’t imagine doing anything else creative. My drawing and painting are really terrifying. Sewing brings me a peace I get nowhere else. Plus everyone in my life really had enough quilts by this point, it was time to share with the world.

 


 


 


 

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

 

I’m not afraid of color. I go with the flow. I don’t plan anywhere near as much as people think I do. I overthink plenty in life, but this is one place I really don’t.

 


 

What has been your favorite moment since creating your business?

 

The day I quit my day job! It was terrifying but so freeing.

 


 

How does the city you live in influence your work?

 

Truthfully I’m not sure that it does. I’m in a suburb of the Twin Cities. If nothing else I can get everything I need delivered here and can stay home and keep sewing! Why grocery shop when you can sew?

 


 

What are some inspirations for your work?

 

The work of the Gee’s Bend women is absolutely inspiring for me. No one makes quilts like they do. They are so fearless.

 


 

What motivates you to create?

 

Improving my mood probably the most. If I’m feeling anxious, all I need to do is sit down and sew something. Money helps too!

 


 

Where do you see your business in 3 years?

 

Hah I don’t know. You’re funny. You think I plan this.

 


 


 


 

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?

 

Oh it’s a long and kind of silly story. When my mom opened her shop, I wanted her to name it Seven Day Wonder. It didn’t make any sense as it really is about fleeting interest. But I was a silly teenager with purple hair and didn’t care about making sense. So for my shop I used the word, Wonder, in homage to that, plus I kept the name generic in case I changed the direction of my business. It kept my options open.

 


 

Have you had any major failures?

 

Sure, baby quilts. I clearly don’t know what people like in baby quilts. So, I quit making them!

 


 

If so, what were some important insights gained?

 

I learned I was glad I didn’t call my business I Love Baby Quilts. I eventually sold most of them. Not everything is going to work. You need to throw a bunch of balls up in the air and see what sticks. And mix your metaphors…

 


 

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

 

My parents had a few forays into self-employment, so I’ve seen how much work it takes. I knew how much fun it was to do the books and pay quarterly taxes. I knew that there were some really boring parts of the business you need to deal with.

 


 

What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

 

Why not? It’s not very fun to have someone else be your boss! I can take a day off and take my son to the museum on a Tuesday. That’s kind of fun.

 


 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

 

Do you. Don’t copy anyone else, it won’t be authentic. Keep a side gig until you are more settled.

 


 


 

 

Check out more Embellish by Sandra products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

mybitofwonder.patternbyetsy.com/

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Posted by Admin at 10:59 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Monday, August 19, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Vandalia Glassworks




 

Bryce Borkhuis creates one-of-a-kind blown glass works of art, and has created space for other artists to learn and practice this ancient artform.  

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 Who are you and what do you do?

 

 

My name is Bryce Borkhuis and I am one of the owners of Vandalia Glassworks. My business partner and I operate a public glass  blowing studio located in South Saint Paul, MN. We currently offer bench time to local glass artists in the metro to create and sell their own work. Along with providing space to those local artists we have recently started focusing more on our own product line.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What was your first memory of making something?

 

 

My first memory of making something out of glass was actually at our old location located in the Midway area. I remember watching these artists work with sheer amazement and fluidity and wondering how in the world they weren’t burning themselves. Then it was my turn. Ha. I was tripping over my own two feet trying desperately not to let the glass fall off the end of the blow pipe.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?

 

 

I think my customers love the fact that the piece is 100% made from scratch and no one piece is made to be duplicated. Glass has been around for 1000’s of years and it is often times a forgotten art form lost in history.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

Is this a full-time business for you?

 

 

This is a full time business for me. Vandalia Glassworks started off more of a hobby, but quickly became something much bigger. I think every maker can relate to that. I think we quickly realized the potential that we had and hope to share the knowledge of glassblowing with everyone willing to listen.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What motivates you to create?

 

 

Honestly, I think what motivates me to create is the challenge of working with the medium. Of coarse there are other factors, but the challenge of working with molten glass when temperatures are exceeding 2,000 degrees and using heat and gravity to create specific shapes, is a huge factor. It is also extremely rewarding creating a custom piece for someone’s home and seeing it displayed for the owners or their guests to see.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

 

 

Obviously creating and selling your work is important but I think it is crucial to never over extend yourself. When you first start out your general mindset is to make everything for everyone but that adds even more stress to the already stressful job. It’s okay to say no or to extend your timeframe to get jobs done.

 

 


 


 

Check out more Embellish by Sandra products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

vandaliaglassworks.com/

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Posted by Admin at 2:32 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Friday, August 16, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Embellish by Sandra




 

Embellish by Sandra creates inventive and beautiful items for parties and dinners, utilizing wood-burning and engraving techniques.   

 

  

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?

 

 

 

My name is Sandra Pohle and I own Embellish by Sandra. When I first started my business, just over 2 years ago, I was making wine stoppers. I still make the wine stoppers and now I also wood burn and engrave unique designs on all types of products. I have mostly worked on wooden spoons, wine glass toppers, coasters and cheese boards. I love adding fun and creativity to items we use every day.

   

 

 

 

Will you be featuring any special holiday items?

 

Many of my items make great stocking stuffers. I will also incorporate some holiday themes into a few of my items, in particular the wine glass toppers. I have some ideas of fun holiday sayings that will be perfect for those holiday gatherings.

  

 

  

 

 

What do you love most about craft show vending?

  

I love that I get to be creative and make products that people can utilize. It makes me so happy when my items put a smile on someone’s face. It’s such a great feeling knowing that I make something that people can take home and enjoy.

 

 

What’s your favorite item that you sell?

 

My favorite item would be the wood burned wine glass toppers. They’re unique and they serve many purposes. They are great for keeping the bugs and bees out of your wine while sipping outside. You can also use them as a mini plate on your wine glass for snacks and appetizers. Perfect for those holiday parties so you’re not holding a separate plate and your wine glass.

  

 

 


How does the city you live in influence your work?

 

My husband, Rick, and I have lived in the Twin Cities area for about 4 years. I have been so grateful for the opportunities that are offered for local makers and artisans. There are so many local shops and people who put on events and markets that give businesses like mine the chance to sell our items and gain exposure. It’s pretty amazing!

  

 

 

What motivates you to create?

 

I’m in my happy place when I’m creating. I find it therapeutic, if I’m not under any tight deadlines. I try to come up with new designs or products frequently to keep it exciting.

  

 

 

 


What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

 

My husband and I left the corporate world 3 years ago. We started a business in an industry with my husband’s background and I started Embellish shortly after. While we learned a lot over the years in our corporate jobs and we probably wouldn’t have been able to start our own business without that experience, I’m very grateful to be self-employed. Like the saying goes, ‘Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid a 40 hour work week’.

  

 

 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

 

Believe in yourself. As many of us do, I often struggle with self-doubt. Take compliments to heart and be grateful for the small wins.

  

 

  

 

 

Check out more Embellish by Sandra products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

www.etsy.com/shop/EmbellishBySandra

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Posted by Admin at 7:14 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Jam's and More




Jam's & More works closely with both Amish and Mennonite families to bring their home made Jam's, Salsa's and Pickles to your kitchen!




Who are you and what do you do?

 

One of the most unique things about all of our products is everything we do comes from or is taught to us by the Amish! We work with Amish families throughout the year on a variety of items. From Spring Flowers, Fall Mums, Jams, Salsa, Pickles, Rugs, and other specialty items. We truly value their expertise, hard work, and dedication in everything they do!




What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?


We are so excited to have started our Amish Large Glazed Donuts! I was personally invited into a home and was taught first hand from an amazing family in Iowa. She has 17 children and wow could they cook! Working side by side with them, learning and baking with them was something I will never forget. In today’s world, we have equipment that allows us to work faster and easier. This was not the case with baking in the home, everything was done by hand, which really made you appreciate the final product!




What do your customers love most about your products?


I really believe that individuals like our story. So many times we are asked questions about the Amish. We are asked the 5 W’s, Who are they? What are the Amish like? When did you start working with them? Why/How did you start working with them? We love sharing our story with everyone. And of course no matter what product we sell, spring flowers, house rugs, jams, salsa, pickles, and our glazed donuts, the quality is amazing!




How did you get started in your business?


Back in January 2018 we began our story with spring flowers and finding the BEST and most knowledgeable people we know, the Amish families. We talked, visited and learned about their processes for growing flowers. Not only are the Amish families amazing farmers, but their cooking is absolutely fabulous! We began sampling their jams, salsa, and pickles! Now we have begun sharing these products with you! We are attending local craft fairs/shows and we couldn’t be more excited!




What has been your favorite moment since creating your business?


It all goes back to meeting and learning from the Amish families! It reminds us and teaches us what our ancestors did and how in today’s society we take everyday tasks for granted.

 

 

Check out more Jam's & More products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

facebook.com/jamsandmore

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Posted by Admin at 2:29 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Heavenly Treats




Kathy Leighton Carton of Heavenly Treats handcrafts her toffee thinner, covers both sides in chocolate, and lightly sprinkles walnuts over the top.  Kathy prides herself on the impeccable quality of her toffees, cookies, and caramels.



Who are you and what do you do?

 

I am Kathy Leighton Carton, Founder of Heavenly Treats.  Our company makes excellent tasting products.  We create gourmet toffee (close to 40 years), incredible toffee cookies and creamy caramels.  People are looking for fresh, quality products right here in Central Minnesota and we are able to offer just that. 




What do your customers love most about your products?

 

What our customers love most about our Heavenly Treats Products is the quality.  Our loyal following knows that when they purchase our products they will not be disappointed.  We have refined our toffee to be exceptional.  it's a thin, crips toffee, very easy to bite into and coated with chocolate and nuts on both top and bottom.  We have created many flavors, the two most popular being Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate.  We also don't waste anything, so with our toffee tidbits we create wonderful toffee cookies.  The cookies are becoming as popular as our toffee.  




What do you love most about craft show vending?

 

What I love most about craft shows and events is introducing people to our freshly made products.  I especially like seeing the reactions of people when they first bite into our toffee, an experience of what toffee should taste like.  We have reinvented toffee and want as many people to be able to enjoy it as possible.  




How did you get started in your business?

 

I started making toffee back in 1980, while teaching at a Catholic School.  One of the nuns taught a few of us teachers how to make toffee.  Hence the name, Heavenly Treats.  That small events set me on a path that eventually changed my life.  I became passionate about pefecting our toffee making sure it's as thin as possible, making it one batch at a time using fresh, quality ingredients, and continuing to experiment with additional new toffee flavors.  As the years went on people kept asking for our toffee and it's become more year round than just a seasonal business.




What are some tips or suggestions you'd like to offer to fellow makers?

 

I've been working my small business for quite a few years, becoming an official business in 2008.  I've learned much over the many years and have greatly benefitted from networking with other entrepreneurs.  Being and entrepreneur is really a gift we're given.  It's a way to be able to express yourself through your products or art.  It's really important to surround yourself with likeminded people and to realize that you don't have to do it all.  Seek out people that have strengths that you may not possess and feel free to let go of some things.  Build a solid team around you and your business will grow.  


 

Check out more Heavenly Treats products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

www.myheavenlytreats.com

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Posted by Admin at 11:56 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors