Welcome to my very first I Love Etsy blog carnival. You can join in the fun by posting about an Etsy shop or product you think is great, and then coming back here and linking up! Anyone who links up has an extra chance to win a customized fairy ornament from Melanies Crafts! Read below for details!

I am starting this blog carnival because I really do believe that handmade items are the absolute best, and I so appreciate sites like Etsy for bringing handmade to the world. There are so many wonderful products on Etsy, it almost boggles my mind! I could spend hours “window-shopping” on Etsy! I also appreciate that Etsy allows crafters and sewers to share their products with a much larger range of buyers, and make a little money in the process.

If you don’t have the time, money, inclination, or maybe the know-how, to make handmade items and gifts yourself, Etsy is the next best thing! I can guarantee that any item you find on Etsy has been made with a million times more love and care than any item you could buy in a big box store!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox now! Today, I am featuring an interview with Melanie, from Melanie’s Crafts! Her creations are darling!

 Snowflake Ornaments Set of 5

Andrea: What made you decide to open an Etsy shop

Melanie: I have been making polymer clay ornaments for about 15 years for family and friends as gifts and favors for showers.  Along the way, I have sold some of my creations to friends.  I have always wanted to sell my creations to the public.  One day on the Martha Stewart Show she had the founder of etsy on and he explained the process.  Once I found Etsy, I knew it was the right place for my creations. 

Andrea: Your creations are so whimsical and cute! How do you come up with your ideas? 


Melanie: My creations are inspired by my friends, family and customers.  I was inspired to make my cherry blossoms pendant after creating a cherry blossoms treasury on etsy.  So whimsy and fun.  I started making my fairies when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I love to create new things.


Andrea: What kind of custom orders do you do?  


Melanie: My very first sale was a custom order to Australia and she wanted my fairies customized to her fit her daughters.  I had one customer ask me if I could make my cherry blossoms pendant into an ornament, another asked for different color kitties.  I can change most of my creations to fit your need and have made new creations upon request.  I am a very convo friendly shop. 


Andrea:  I sew, and am a tad crafty, but I have practically no sculpture experience. Could you tell me a little bit about your creation process? How do go from a lump of clay to a finished product? How long does it take? Do you draw your designs first? 


Melanie: I start out with an idea in my head of what I am trying to create.  Some of my creations, like my flowers, I have been making for what seems like forever.  Sometimes I sketch out my designs.  I take a piece of polymer clay and condition it (warm it up) with my hands or sometimes I use my pasta machine.  My figures start out as different size balls of clay pushed into different shapes.  I reinforce all of the seams with liquid polymer clay (acts as a glue).  Sometimes designs work out fantastic and sometimes I find I really dislike what I came up with.  I learn from my mistakes…and designs evolve over time.  Some creations take 10 minutes but others seem to take hours.  My snowflakes for example take a while to make because each piece is individually placed in the correct spot.  It’s time consuming, but well worth the effort.


Andrea: What kind of materials do you use? Are there certain brands you prefer? 


Melanie: I use Sculpey and Fimo brands of polymer clay, I love the variety of colors they come in.  To ‘glue’ joints together I use liquid Studio by Sculpey.  My pasta machine has been one of my favorite tools along with my exacto knife and a variety of kemper tools.

 Sock Monkey Ornament

Andrea: What is your favorite creation you have for sale in your shop?


Melanie: That is a hard one…I love all of my creations for different reasons.  I have to say the one I am most proud of is my Cherry Blossoms.

 Cherry Blossoms Necklace


Andrea:  I know you’re the mother of two kids. How and when do you get your crafting done?


Melanie: I find time during naps and in the evening when my daughter goes to bed.  My daughter is a fantastic sleeper and she goes to bed really early.  Sometimes I can get her to play in her highchair while I work on stuff in the dining room.  My son, age 7, loves to watch me create items and has created a couple of things on his own. 

Children's Bear Bracelet

Thank you, Melanie, for your wonderful products, and all the time, energy, and love you put into making them! Thanks also for giving away a customized fairy!

Do you want to win a customized fairy from Melanie’s Crafts? Melanie will make a fairy just for you! To enter, jog on over to Melanie’s Crafts and take a look at all the great stuff she has to offer. Then, come back here and tell me what color you would choose for the fairy’s hair and clothes, if you won.

And of course, you can gain extra entries by doing one or all of the following:

If you choose to do any or all of the above, please let me know, so I can give you credit for your hard work!! This giveaway ends next Sunday (Sept. 21) at 11:59 p.m, CST. I will announce the winner on next week’s I Love Etsy post. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only.