Friday, September 13, 2013

Giveaway Time! Shadowlune Mega Pokemon Giveaway - Ended

Hark! The nerd giveaway has ended! The winner is Crystal Porter, entry #333 - followed Tiny Tipis on Instagram. SEE MORE GIVEAWAYS HERE!

For this giveaway you will have a chance to win two handmade Pokemon prizes: a stuffed Ditto Plush and a handmade Pokeball necklace from Christina of Shadowlune.

Shadowlune specializes in nerd and gamer themed novelties. All items are handmade with special care. I asked Christina a few questions about her store and here is what she had to say:

What is your favorite item from your store to make and why?
To be honest I love all my items. Every item I make I put a lot of time and effort. Everything I make is special to me. So asking me which item is my favorite is like asking a parents who is your favorite child is.

Handmade Ditto Plush from Shadowlune
Where or what do you draw your inspiration from?
My Inspiration comes from games and anime. If I see something I like I try to make it. It's even better when I think the item is a challenge. So I design the item in my head and put it together with my hands.

Where do you see Shadowlune 5 years from now?
In five years I still see me doing this. I see me still owning a shop on Etsy. I also still see me being an artist at an event called art walk. My shop might be bigger in five years, my items will better, but you'll still have the same girl. The gamer and anime freak that loves to make her stuff.

How do you stay motivated?
Handmade Pokemon Pokeball Necklace from Shadowlune
I stay motivated by the people and my family. Whenever I see someone smile or get excited because they see something they like that I made keeps me motivated. Come on isn't it great when you make someone smile? My family also keeps me motivated. They are proud of me and the stuff I can do. Because not just anyone can do what I do and stick to it. :)

Tell us a little about the item you are giving away.
The prize for the give away from me will be a Ditto Plush and a Pokeball Necklace. The retail value for this prize is $15 dollars. I want to give this away because I was watching the old Pokemon show and it just came to me. I hope who ever wins them will love them. :)

This giveaway is open worldwide until October 14th, 2013 with easy entry for everyone. Please visit daily for more chances to enter to win! Winner will be contacted by email for their shipping address and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Thanks for reading!

Tiny Tipis LLC makes and sells Artisan Quality Canvas Products. Would you like to see your shop featured or sponsor a giveaway on this blog? Contact me here for details.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Product Review: Earrings from The Tiny Bee

Time for something new on this blog! Time for my first product review! If you love jewelery (and especially handmade jewelry) then you are going to L-O-V-E  love this review. Melissa, of The Tiny Bee, kindly sent me a pair of her yellow Chrysanthemum Earrings to review and I must say - these earrings get a big thumbs up from me! Read on for details on why I love these earrings so much.

First let me say that I sometimes have trouble with earrings. I gauged my ears when I was younger and have saggy holes as a result. These saggy holes tend to droop when I wear heavy earrings. Seeing as the earrings from The Tiny Bee are polymer clay I was a bit worried my ears might droop when I wore them but they didn't! I put a larger back on them and they held firmly against my ears all night. The backs that came with the earrings would work wonderfully if you didn't stretch your ears like I used to - that's my own fault.

The second problem I sometimes have with earrings is when my hair gets caught in them. No one likes the pain that comes from brushing your hair and ripping out an earring. These earrings did not catch my hair once and I wore them to a concert with a mosh pit! I'm surprised at this since I have very fine long hair. It gives me confidence to wear these lovely earrings more often for sure.

The final thing I would like to look at with these earrings is design. Are they beautiful? Check. Are they professional quality? Check. Do I love the color and composition? Double Check! Did I get complimented while wearing them? Check! Will I be wearing them again? YES - and soon!

In summary, I love these earrings. At around $8.00 a pair I think I know one of the stores I'll be looking at during the holiday season. The factors that make these earrings so wonderful in my opinion are that they are affordable, beautiful, made with quality craftsmanship, and of course that they are handmade. I would absolutely recommend The Tiny Bee to all my friends and family.

If you would like to win a pair of these earrings from The Tiny Bee you can enter the giveaway here. Easy entry for everyone! Open Worldwide until September 30th, 2013.

Thanks for reading!

Tiny Tipis LLC makes and sells Artisan Quality Canvas Products. Would you like to see your shop featured or sponsor a giveaway on this blog? Contact me here for details.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Real or Fake?

While mindlessly poking around on the internet today I saw an article about the number of resellers crashing Etsy's Economy and killing to mood for handmade sellers. Stories of handmade artists having their designs and product photos stolen by Chinese Factories can sure make you shudder - especially if you create and sell your items through this online marketplace!

Etsy claims to be a site that fosters handmade. They have thrived on the ideal that everything sold on their site comes from an individual, a person that makes each item with love and care. Yet they have had to create teams of people to police their site for "resellers." If you ask me, I'm positive the Etsy police can't patrol the rip-offs as fast as the Chinese factories can make them.

Alibaba is a wholesale site selling items manufactured in Asian countries. Alibaba is well known among Etsy sellers as a site that fosters resellers and rip-offs. Most stories of Etsy products being mass produced without permission from the artist are linked to an Alibaba listing or twenty. (For those of you wondering what you are supposed to do when intellectual property is stolen by Alibaba, I would direct you to their complaint form. I can't personally speak to the effectiveness of using this form but I would love to hear from anyone who has had experience with this.) Occasionally I make a point to surf the massive site for my items being pawned off at a discount rate. A simple "teepee" search reveals... Alibaba sellers still can't make a real tipi. Let's do a quick comparison.

A Real Tipi Tepee Teepee:

  • Has 13 to14 poles total depending on the tribe making it.
  • Has 3 to 4 poles (again depending on the tribe making it) called "lift poles" that form the base upon which the other poles are added.
  • Is cone shaped with a round footprint. 

The pole structure of an 18 foot Sioux-Cheyenne Tipi. Photo thanks to my wonderful friend M.

  • Is held together with small wooden sticks called lacing pins.  

Lacing Pins being put in during a tipi setup. Photo thanks to M.

  • Is sewn together from very long strips of canvas resulting in beautiful seam lines on the inside. (When laid a flat tipi looks like an imperfect half circle.)

See all the lines? Only a real teepee has awe-inspiring lines like that. Photo thanks to my friend M.

  • Has smoke flaps on the upper front to control the airflow inside the Tipi. These are controlled by two additional poles and secured with ropes from the lower corners to the ground.

Many Thanks to Little Joe of Ahki Tipi for use of this photo.

 Now lets look at a wannabe tepee:

For sale here if you happen to need 50 or more at a time.

  •  No smoke flaps. A strange cap instead...
  • Only 1 steel pole in the center, not 13 or 14 poles. The sides are staked down.
  • No lacing pins.
  • Is Technically a TENT, not a Tipi Tepee Teepee.

What does it have in common with a Tepee though? It is cone shaped and round. It is made from canvas. That's about it.

The problem with these wannabe Teepees (or Cheepie Tipis as a friend of mine calls them) is that they don't have all the strengthening features that a real tepee does making them vulnerable in many ways. Authentic Teepees have reinforcement patches, a time tested structure that is erected and bound in a way that resists strong winds and heavy snow, openings at the top to allow a fire inside without smoking out the people inside, and most importantly - tradition. To me, a real tipi is made by someone who has a great love and appreciation for the history of the tipi and it's people.

This brings me to my closing thoughts. I am proud to make real tipis and pleased that the imitation tipis are so inaccurate and (personal opinion) ugly. I am thankful to have been able to learn my craft despite all the challenges I encountered. Most importantly I am grateful for the friends I have made along this path. Many thanks go out to Maria (the Spanish speaking lady who taught me to sew my first tipi front), Linda Holley (who wrote the most amazing book about Tepees and aided me in producing a historically accurate pattern), Little Joe of Ahki Tipis (who constantly inspires me by making tipis the traditional way taught to him by his grandmother), Marian (who lives and dreams in one of the first Tipis I made and is always the source of a good smile), and my husband (who pushes me to keep reaching for the sky.)  Much love to you all, wado.

Headband Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to the winner of the Headband Giveaway sponsored by Talila Design.  Jens Ken Lundstrom, entry #210, won by following this blog! The handmade headband is on it's way. 

Catch more giveaways HERE!


If you would like to be interviewed for this blog, sponsor a giveaway, or have a product review done please feel free to contact me here.

Tiny Tipis LLC makes and sells Artisan Quality Canvas Products in addition to blogging.