Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I discovered chez-sucre-chez a few months ago when I spent several hours on Etsy looking at cross-stitching supplies , ideas and sellers to feed my new cross stitching hobby and to inspire me. I was taken by the simple and elegant cross stitch work of Kimberly Jean Scola, of Berks County, PA. Her work has created a new idea for me of what cross-stitch can be and has truly inspired me to take my own cross-stitch hobby in new directions. Thank you Kimberly!

Describe what you sell?
This has always been a difficult task. My interests change so often, and what I sell at any given moment is directly related to whatever craft or technique I am into at that time. For a while it was ceramics, and then paper-crafts, and then knitting, and then sewing on my machine, and then cross-stitch, and then embroidery. I've adopted the term "handcrafted miscellany" to describe what I do. Currently, I am mostly focused on textiles and needlework.

What is your "real" life like?
Well, in January, I had an opportunity to buy a huge old fixer-upper house in the Pennsylvania country-side with a friend of mine. At the time, I was feeling rather over the hustle-and-bustle
of city life, which I had been doing for the past eleven years, and I was feeling very ready to own a house and have a garden and start living more the way that I want to live. I moved out here in March and that is the way things have been ever since. I spent the first three months working almost non-stop on the house (and you can track that project on www.threadandbutter.blogspot.com). Once the house was in "livable" condition, I switched my energy over to chez-sucre-chez; getting my studio in order, creating new products, working on my etsy store, doing some marketing, and doing all I could do with chez-sucre-chez to keep me from needing to get a full-time normal job. It is constant work, but I'm happy that I am giving myself this time and putting this effort into what I want to be doing. Now I spend my days working in my studio with my cat, Emil, by my side. I wake up early, go for a walk around town, and get to work. When I need a break, I make myself coffee or tend to the garden or mow the lawn or work on some other house project. It's pretty great. I'm fortunate, though, to still have a lot of friends and connections in NYC. I definitely feel the need, at least once a month, to get back to the city to see my friends, go out to eat at good restaurants, drink fancy cocktails, do a little dancin', and keep up with what is happening in the city as far as fashion and culture. It's a nice balance I have here.

What is your process?
With the current work that I am doing, it is mostly just needle and thread and embroidery hoops. I am fortunate to have two great shops near me where I can buy all of my supplies (neither of which has a website, though). The Crewel World is an embroidery and needlecraft store in my town that is owned and run by a very sweet woman named Shirley whom I look forward to seeing everytime I need supplies. Also in town is a mennonite-run shop called
Wooden Bridge Dry Goods. They have great fabric and lots of the notions that I need for my work. It really makes me happy to be able to ride my bicycle to these shops and to have a rapport with the shop-keepers. I also have a number of wonderful thrift/antique/flea markets around me where I can find unique trimmings and supplies.

What are your goals and vision for your business?
For the short-term, I've filled my calendar with lots of craft fairs between now and December. I
also plan to continue marketing my etsy shop. After that, I just don't know.

How and where do you market your business?
Currently, I am doing all of my sales through etsy: www.chezsucrechez.etsy.com. Someday in the not-too-distant future, though, I would like to move that business to a regular website. I
gotta learn how to do that first, though. My goods are also being sold at Sprout Home, in their Brooklyn and Chicago stores, and I'm in communication with a few more spots, trying to get into more shops and galleries.

Do you subscribe to any business related blogs, zines or magazines?
This is definitely something I need to learn about! The Etsy Storque site is a great resource that I check in on often. I've also just signed myself up to the Modish Marketing newsletter
where Jena of Modish compiles and send out tips on how to be a crafty marketer.

What inspires you?
People inspire me a lot. This whole notion of attempting to make a living off of what I love doing was really inspired by my friends Simon and Estelle in Paris. I went there to visit them and found that their whole circle of friends, all creative types, live primarily off of their craft; for some that is fine art, others photography or music or fashion. I came back thinking, "heck, that's what I want to do!" Otherwise, in terms of coming up with new ideas and such -- I find inspiration everywhere.

Who is your favorite musical artist?
This changes almost daily! Some days, all I want to listen to is the Amelie soundtrack. Other days it's Bob Dylan, or T-Rex, or Beyonce, or Muddy Waters or Joy Division or Ride or the Sonics or the Zombies or the Association or Nina Simone or Herman Dune or the same New Order song over and over and over. Yeah, I like to change it up. Currently, I am really loving the music of Willie Breeding

What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
my piggy goes to market tote: i take mine with me everywhere.
my silver-lined cloud cross-stitch pieces: i just really, really love them.

I'm a fan of...

Find me...

WhiMSy love

Today I am pleased to introduce Nikki Mans of Richland WA. She is the creative force behind WhiMSy love. She sells an assortment of handmade goodies. Anything from vintage button rings,watercolors, book art, wee t-shirts & onesies, paperitems, even some vintage collectibles. She says, "I love to try everything--I can’t help it. Sometimes I think it’d be best to pick just one thing & put all my energies into it, but I wouldn’t know where to start." He shop is eclectic and whimsical, just as the name implies. My favorite item is the fork easel- show below.

What is your real life like?
I’m a stay-at home-mom. That’s my #1 duty. After feeding kids
& reading stories & playing games, I make stuff. And in-between putting off loads of laundry, I make stuff. After the days errands are complete, dishes are done & littles ones are sleeping, I make stuff. I LOVE making stuff! I also love thrifting, taking pictures, spontaneity, the color pink, laughing, eating peanut butter, cuddling with my hunky hubby & anything cupcake-y.

What is your process?
Because I make a random
assortment of goodies, I have a random assortment of supplies. But mostly I like taking vintage items like buttons, lace, trims, fabric, books, eating utensils…& making them into something super duper! I use anything from a sewing machine, to pliers, to hole punches to drills.

What are your goals and vision for your business?
Short term I’d like to make it
through the holidays in a successful crafty whirlwind. I’m doing my first show this December! Long-term, I’d like to help bring home the bacon.

How and where do you market your business?

I’ve found that how much or how little I put into my business equals how much or how little I’ll get out of it. And being a mom of two kidlets, that’s a little tricky. I do simple things like handing out my biz card wherever I can, updating my blog on a regular basis, networking with other artists online & selling/consigning my items to other online shops. And I just joined Twitter. Eventually I also plan on approaching local boutiques about selling WhiMSy love goodies.

What inspires you?
My 2 girls inspire me A LOT! Kids see things in a very
different & very cool way, & so a lot of times I steal their ideas. HAHA! They sometimes say the most silly things…that make complete sense. I wonder what I’ll do when they grow up & move out? I guess I’ll have to borrow someone else’s kids. I also find that an occasional break is very inspirational---anything from a nice relaxing candlelit bath, to a spur-of-the-moment daytrip, to a kooky outing with a friend. A refreshing break brings renewed energy. (That sounds like it should be in a fortune cookie.)

Who is your favorite musical artist?
I love music. I listen to all styles of music. I’m on a
Damien Rice fix right now. But I could listen to this version of ‘Rain King’ by the Counting Crows over & over & over.

What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
I love the vintage button rings!
I wear a different one almost every day.
(pictured above)
And I also really like my book
art, “Writing on the Wall”. I have them hanging in my own home & they‘re just funky pieces of artwork! (pictured below)

I am a fan of…
Besides checking my email & blog a bazillion times a day, I’ve also been known to visit these sites:
http://projectplaylist.com I love having music on while I’m crafting or blogging.
http://oneprettything.com Rachel lists tons of DIY craftiness & tutorialsalmost every day that she gathers from around the www. I love this site!
I just recently joined Twitter & it’s so much fun! http://twitter.com/whimsylove

Find Me…
Come visit my Etsy shop
See the goofy girl (that’s me!) behind it all on my blog.
Oh, & this is totally random, but I was super psyched that one of my tutorials was recently featured on the CRAFTzine.com blog
AND mentioned on the ThreadBanger blog


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