ArtFire Wednesday, December 3, 2008


With the country’s financial system in turmoil, everyone is looking for ways to save a few bucks this holiday season. While some Christmas shopping might be inevitable (Just make sure you shop handmade when you do shop!), there’s no need to spend more than you can afford. Listed below is a number of easy gift projects which can be completed at home with minimal costs.

Craft Your Presents in the Kitchen
If you your passion lays in cooking, you might try baking a festive treat for friends and family. Christmas sweets and candies tend to be a big hit in any crowd, whether they come in the form of yummy stocking stuffers or a delicious snack to munch on. Try giving peppermint bark or frosted cookies to family members, friends, or co-workers as x-mas gifts this year. Or if cooking isn’t your area of expertise, you could try packaging ingredients in fun jars as a kind of “future cooking project” and distributing them as presents!
A Picture is worth a Thousand Words
For the visually minded artisan, try making a special family photo album or recipe book. These gifts are full of shared experiences and memories and can make for a treasured possession. You can also try crafting up a fun scrapbook, showing a recent event or trip you took with family or friends.
Get Your Festive Craft Spirit on
Tree decorations make for a delightful holiday gifts, plus you can have a fun time just making them! Handmade ornaments can be crafted out of old art supplies or goodies you might have laying around the house like beads, buttons, fabric, salt dough, even old light bulbs! Get creative and experiment, the more expressive your ornaments are, the better. Make special decorations for everyone, maybe even matching them to fit that person’s character. Or if you’re feeling especially inventive, craft mini versions of your family members or friends as gifts!
Try a Traditional Homemade Gift
If you like working with your hands when you craft, you could try making fun seasonal candles as special holiday gifts. If you lack experience making candles, just buy a low-price kit from a nearby craft store. These kits usually produce a handful of candles, so you only need a few kits to craft enough gifts for everyone on your list! Add embellishments to your presents to make them festive and unique. Mix crushed flowers into your wax before letting it cool, Mold your candle into an unusual shape, or paint on festive patterns!
Thanks for reading, and remember to buy handmade this holiday season!
-Sara

ArtFire Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For most customers, shopping on Black Friday based more in tradition than practicality. The day after Thanksgiving requires one to wake up at dawn, drive to the mall, and shop and shop and shop! However, for some shoppers, Black Friday is more of an annoyance than anything else, a rushed unpleasant time for taking care of holiday shopping—but having to first face masses of angry and demanding customers.

But there is a solution for these shoppers this Black Friday. There’s no need to rush to the shopping mall and fight off fellow customers—you can stay at home. This year, make the decision to do your holiday shopping in your PJs and bathrobe by shopping online.
When you shop online, you get access to a greater variety of products than you would find at even the grandest shopping center. But you also get the opportunity buy handmade gifts for your loved ones from hardworking crafters.
With the global financial situation getting more and more bleak all the time, most shoppers are just not interested in supporting artists as much as they are in saving a few bucks. But in this bad economy, it is more important than ever before to shop handmade.
When you shop handmade, you get the chance to help real individuals who are struggling to get by in this financial crisis just like you. It’s your decision, do you want to help a skilled artist pay his/her mortgage, or do you want to fill the pockets of a rich corporate executive?
Shopping handmade is especially important for fellow craft artisans. Their businesses are supported by people shopping based on a style and quality rather than price alone. It is important that you help support fellow artists’ shops this holiday season.
So avoid the chaos of Black Friday and buy handmade online this year!
-Sara

ArtFire Friday, November 21, 2008

Tip #1
This year, why not buy a free range turkey for your table? These birds are allowed to run in fields, rather than being restricted to a cage. Do your food shopping at your local farmers market, rather than a chain store. These grown holiday fixings are generally better for you, and you support local farmers with your purchase. Also consider getting a free-range turkey this holiday, as these birds haven’t been raised in cages.
Tip #2
Most families celebrate Thanksgiving by feasting on a wide variety of side dishes and holiday fixings. But no matter how hard we try, it’s near impossible not to end up with a huge pile of holiday leftovers. While some fixings are still tasty weeks after the holiday has passed, many foods end up collecting mold. This year, try not to make so much food. Make enough for everyone to be satisfied, but there’s really no need for the 3 serving per guest standard.
Tip #3
Instead of shopping for new fall decorations, spend some time at home with friends and family crafty new decorations. With countless easy to follow art tutorials on the world wide web, why waste time and money purchasing new fall accessories?
Tip #4
Try to downsize the trash generated by your household this Thanksgiving. This can be as effortless as substituting washable plates for paper ones, tuber-ware for plastic wrap, or cloth napkins for paper napkins. Pick up food materials that contain the least amount of wrapping you can find (and remember to carry your own grocery bags with you!). When the party is over, don’t just throw your scraps and leftover bits into the trash, use them as the foundation for a compost pile in your backyard.
Tip #5
These tips aren’t just great for the holiday season—they work all year around! Going green is a snap with the right mindset and enthusiasm, so why not give it a try?
Keep on creating artisans, and always buy handmade to support fellow artists!
-Sara

ArtFire Monday, November 17, 2008


Supplies:

-Crafting glue
-Petroleum jelly
-Damp rag
-Decorative paper
-Acrylic paints
-Wire or necklace string
-Glaze
-Floral Foam
-Toothpicks

Start by arranging your decorative paper into two inch wide triangular strips no more than 11 inches long. Each piece will become an individual bead, so only cut as many strips you want beads. Cut out just the pointy tip of each strip.
This is when the fun begins and things start to get messy! Coat your fingers in craft glue, and then smother each strip of paper in glue. Quickly clean your hands off with your damp rag before moving on.
There’s the tricky part. Dip one end of a toothpick in your petroleum jelly to keep the glue form sticking to the wood. Beginning at the thick end of your strip of paper, very tightly curl the paper around the toothpick. The glue should hold it in place, but if it starts to unwind, coat the outer layer with more glue! When you’re done, Bring out the floral foam and stick in the unused tip of the toothpick so it can dry. Repeat for all remaining triangular strips of paper.
Let your beads dry before adding the finishing touches. Using the acrylic paints, add some fun and unique designs to your beads. Give them a minute to dry before covering them with glaze.
Once everything has had time to dry, make your handmade beads into a fun necklace, bracelet, or anklet for a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry!
Remember to buy handmade this holiday season!
-Sara

ArtFire Thursday, November 6, 2008

Most people have some misinterpretations about energy usage when it comes to their personal computers. There are many misconceptions floating around about efficient computer use, but after some thorough investigating on the web, I’ve constructed a short list of methods to aid users in making use of environmentally friendly personal computer skills.
Tip 1: Avoid printing from websites.
Generally when you print from an internet site, you end up with pages of pictures and advertisements from the site that you didn’t really need. Next time when you print form the web, try copying just the text or information you need into a Word document. Most anything on a web page can be displayed in a word document, and from there you can easily to delete the pictures and ads that you don’t want to print. This saves paper and ink.
Tip 2: Forget the screensaver.
Let’s clear up a common myth about screensavers: they do nothing. They’re pretty, sometimes even entertaining, but that’s all. They don’t save power or allow resting time for your computer, so if you’re not lovin’ your screensaver, go into the control panel and disenable it. And while you’re there, change your appearance settings to switch off your monitor after extended periods of not usage. Unlike screensavers, this will in fact save power.
Tip 3: Power it down.
Too many computer owners believe that leaving the PC on constantly is more energy efficient than powering it down when they’re done using it. While powering off and on the computer every 10 minutes is rather wasteful energy wise, research finds that leaving the PC on for stretches of inactivity (like while you’re out of the house or overnight) wastes much more energy. So if you’re not going to use your computer a while, power it down. And I don’t mean a simple power down. Hit the power switch, turn off the monitor, speakers, and even the printer. These waste power and there’s really no point to leaving them on while your personal computer is off.
Thanks for reading, and remember to always buy handmade!
Sara

ArtFire Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all want to make a difference, but have no clue how to start. I mean it is not like we’re all billionaires, with immense amounts of money and time to spare changing the world. Most of us are just trying to get by, and when it comes to helping others, yeah, maybe we’ll get to that after the house is clean and the bills are paid and the kids are put to sleep. And really, one person can’t make that much of an impact right?

WRONG. The most vital aspect to remember about making a difference is that lots of individuals making small efforts independently really can change the world. And you don’t need much time or money to make an impact. All it takes is a small gesture of consideration.

And now, Artfire is going to help you make that impact. With our new Top 10 Ways to Change the World Right Now at Your Computer article posted in Art Daily, you’ll find a list of ways to make an impact. And the bets par is that everything on this list can be done without ever leaving your computer chair. So go take the first step to changing the world and making a difference!

Thanks for reading, and always buy handmade to support local artisans!

-Sara

ArtFire Friday, October 31, 2008


Orchid by Sfbeads $35
Check out this darling handmade decoration, prefect for fall home decorating. Orchid stands about 8 inches high, and is sure to put a smile on the face of everyone this Halloween!

Click here to view the item for sale on Artfire.com.

Fall Pumpkin Pincushion by Verybigjen $20
This handmade pincushion is custom made when you order it to be completely one-of-a-kind! Great for Halloween, fall, or just anytime you’re doing needlecrafts.

Click here to view the item for sale on Artfire.com.

Halloween Lampwork Glass Beads – Pumpkins 4 Candy Corn by beadsnsuch $20
This bracelet looks good enough to eat! It’s 100% handmade of Moretti, Lausha and Czech glass. A great treat for any child or adult!

Click here the view the item for sale on Artfire.com.

Autumn Handmade Fall greeting Card by Kards $2.5
This blank greeting card was specially made to encompass the feeling of fall. Send it to someone to wish them a Happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Click here to view the item for sale on Artfire.com.



Looking for more festive goodies? Check out our seasonal crafts section.


Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Halloween everyone!

-Sara
www.artfire.com

ArtFire Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Turning your home business into an environmentally friendly one is helpful for the earth as well as your piggy bank. Below are 3 quick changes you can make in your working day that will help turn your craft business into a more eco-friendly one.

Turn it Off!
Always remember to power down your electrical equipment at the end of a business day. Too many people leave their printers, copiers, fax machines, and personal computers turned on constantly. Shutting off your electrics when they’re e not in use will cut your energy costs by 50%.
Recycle!
Always recycle what you can, including copy paper. Too many companies toss out old printer paper by the tons daily—don’t follow in their path! While some papers are considered sensitive and need to be disposed of completely, most of the trash generated is just normal copy paper. Recycle these old papers rather than throw them away.
Buy Green!
Why not buy greener products, such as recycled copy paper? Despite minor differences in color and texture, recycled paper works just as well as normal copy paper. And if you’re printing documents simply for the purposes of filing, who cares if it’s not fancy?
I hope you found these tips helpful, thanks for reading! Be sure check out some of our member’s earth friendly crafts on Artfire.com.
Happy Crafting, and remember to buy handmade this holiday season!
-Sara

ArtFire Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So you’ve added the finishing touches on your children’s handmade Halloween outfits, you’ve put out the healthy Halloween treats for visitors, so what else do you need to do to make sure your family has a happy Halloween this year? Most parents know better than to let their children treat-or-trick alone or eat unusual candy, but in the rush of the holiday, people usually overlook a few significant safety precautions. Listed below is some helpful advice for a fun and safe Halloween with your family this year.


1. You and the kids should eat a complete dinner before going out trick-or-treating. This way you and your children will be less likely to pig out on candy. You’ll also need your stamina for showing off your cute artistic costumes to the neighborhood, and a full meal can provide you with the energy you need.

2. Make sure you and your kids wear particular shoes. Trick-or-treating generally allows for a lot of as you parade from home to home. And while sneakers might not go with your specially made costume, you’ll thank yourself for choosing comfortable footwear as the night progresses. Save the six inch witches’ boots for the costume party, wear something reasonable on your feet.

3. If your pet is going out with you (perhaps even wearing his or her own handmade Halloween outfit), make sure that they are on their lease at all times. While your pet may be used to running freely about, on Halloween night there’s probably going to be lots of other animals and people out trick-or-treating that your pet is doesn’t know. This can result in your pet getting frightened and responding in uncontrollable ways (running away, getting aggressive with another pet). So please keep in mind that even if your animal is the nicest, kindest soul to ever grace the earth, for your pet’s own well-being and the well-being of others, use a lease!

4. Always walk with your kids from house to house—don’t let them run. Children can get overly excited on this sugar-filled holiday, causing them to run around carelessly. This can result in them bumping into objects, falling down, or getting involved in other accidents (especially when it’s dark out). Make sure they remain near you and always on the sidewalk. Don’t cut across lawns or driveways, which are often poorly lit at night.

I hope you found these tips to be useful! Thanks for reading, and remember to buy handmade this season to support local artists!


-Sara

ArtFire Friday, October 24, 2008

As Halloween draws closer and closer, major chain stores have begun displaying their Halloween costumes and decorations. But most shoppers understand that Halloween outfits from mainstream stores lack originality and quality. The majority of them are designed to be worn only that one night, and therefore they are made with second-rate materials. For a high-quality specialized Halloween costume, shoppers must turn to the craft marketplace.

Artisans in the marketplace should take advantage of this growing demand. Offer people a handmade alternative to low-quality factory produced merchandise. Give them the chance to select style and uniqueness over the mass-produced bland alternative. When shoppers decide to buy handmade this Halloween, they know that they will be the only person at the Halloween party with that costume. That’s because handmade outfits are completely one-of-a-kind and original.

While times are hard for most people, artisans need to keep making handmade. If crafters note trends in the marketplace, they’re more likely to be successful this with their arts and craft business. Right now, demand for Halloween crafts is quickly increasing, and artisans should act on that.

So everyone, remember to buy handmade this Halloween!

-Sara

ArtFire Thursday, October 23, 2008

One easy way to go green is to not use hazardous cleaning materials to make your art studio spick and span. But if you can’t use normal cleaning supplies, what can you do to maintain a neat and tidy craft room? Well, listed below we have some handy eco-friendly tips to help you break your dependency on dangerous cleaning materials.


1. Although you shouldn’t hang on to your old chemical cleaners you can’t just toss them out with the trash. If a cleaning material is harmful to keep in your home, it is still harmful in a dump yard. Rather than simply throwing them away, take your old cleaners to your local recycling plant so that they may be disposed of in the most eco-friendly method possible.
2. Combining baking soda and vinegar has far more advantages than just school science projects! When you mix these products with a splash of water, you end up with a useful eco-friendly cleaner, great for kitchens, bathrooms, and tile floors.
3. Usually, the air inside a house is more dangerous than the air outside. Homeowners should try to keep windows open whenever they can to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the house. Decorating with green leafy plants can also help to keep indoor air fresher and toxin free.
4. In place of using a chemical air freshener to cover up unpleasant animal aromas, use baking soda. Sprinkling the powder on your carpets before vacuuming quickly removes any odors, and is 100% environmentally friendly.
Keep creating crafters, and remember to buy handmade to support local artisans like yourself!

-Sara

ArtFire Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tony, like most people, doesn’t always listen to his mom. Moms normally mean well, but we can’t follow all the advice they offer us. Not many of us live the well-mannered and healthy life our mothers planned for us. We don’t bother to eat an apple a day and have chicken soap when we’re feeling under the weather. But with scientific and medical findings proving the positive impact of these bits of advice, one begins to wonder, what else was mom right about?

For Tony, his mother gave some very valuable advice which he has used throughout his profession.
“I spent 40 grand on business school, when I should have just listened to my mom,” explained Tony.
Tony now works as the EVP of Marketing for the interactive trading community, ArtFire.com. In the past, he has managed Six Sigma projects, worked as a sales coach, and helped run a $60 million company.
“Everything I needed to know about business, I learned from my mom,” he said. “She knew the significance of personal communication better than anyone else in the business world.”
Tony’s mother graduated with a bachelor’s in Journalism, and has taught kindergarten and music for years. So how does this make her experienced enough to give business advice? Well it doesn’t. But she never gave him tips about business explicitly, but about life in general, and by using her wisdom in his business dealings Tony was able to create a successful career.
“If more people listened to their moms, we wouldn’t be in the crisis we are now,” Tony explained.
To help others share in his success, Tony has put together a list of helpful tips he has gained from his mother’s insight. This top 13 or “baker’s dozen” of business advice has been posted on ArtFire, to help business-minded artisans flourish in the craft marketplace. This advice is 100% free to members and non-members, and open to everyone on the World Wide Web. We encourage all who read and learn from this advice to share it with their friends and family members. Post it on Reddit, Digg it, or Stumble it and spread the word to business owners everywhere!
-Sara



Keep crafting, and remember to buy handmade!

ArtFire Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Pumpkin painting can be easier and safer than carving, and it often results in a more creative craft product. A painted pumpkin will last longer than a carved one, especially if you live somewhere with humid or chilly weather.

Finding the Right Pumpkin
If you’re not a painter by nature, you’ll want to start with a big pumpkin, as those are easier to work with. But if you’re skilled with a paint brush, you could choose to try painting a complicated design on a small baby pumpkin. No matter what the size of your pumpkin, buy one with a nice bright shell, no soft spots or bruises, and a thick strong (preferably greenish) stem. Make sure you buy your pumpkin from local farmers rather than the grocery store, as you should always support small business owners, even on the holidays.
Choosing the Right Tools
If you don’t already have some on hand, go out and get some acrylic paints and a light all purpose glaze. Keep some Q-tips nearby for touch-ups during the artistic process.
Plan it Out First!
If you just start painting without a clear idea of what you’re doing, you’re probably going to end up with a crummy looking pumpkin. To avoid such a mistake, try lightly drawing a design on your pumpkin with a pencil before you begin painting. Pencil lines tend to show up rather lightly on a pumpkin’s surface, which makes for a great blueprint as you paint.
Dive In!
One of the most important principles of painting is to begin with the background first and work forward. In the case of your pumpkin, this would translate to painting your pumpkin’s tongue before the teeth, painting the whites of your pumpkin’s eyes before adding lashes and pupils, that kind of thing. You should also to wait for the paint to dry before adding new features. This will help prevent swearing and unnecessary mistakes. Acrylic paints tend to dry in 5-10 minutes, so you wouldn’t need to wait long.
Adding Final Touches
Once your paint has completely dried, lightly coat the pumpkin with your all-purpose glaze. Glaze will help prevent chipping and peeling of your painted surface. It is vital that your pumpkin is totally dry before you add the top coat of glaze, otherwise you could smudge your painting and destroy all your hard work. Also remember to transfer your pumpkin inside during bad weather to better preserve your finished artwork.
Other Fun Pumpkin Craft Ideas
Why stop at just painting a pumpkin? You can also create mixed media pumpkins creations! Add some fake hair, fake ears, or fake arms and legs to make your handmade pumpkin creation look truly one-of-a-kind this holiday season!
-Sara

ArtFire Friday, October 17, 2008


Have you ever had small but nevertheless precious pieces of material? Often times, little bits and parts of fine fabric are left over after a sewing project is completed. You can’t seem to throw away the cloth, but you also can’t think of anything useful to do with them.
My mom is quite skilled with needlecraft, and she used to find herself in this situation all the time. As a solution, she used the tiny pieces of fabric to make cute little pillows for my dollhouse. With a pinch of cotton, some leftover fabric, and a spot of lace, she made me some truly lovely handmade doll pillows. And with the quick and easy guide below, you too make precious handmade pillows that any child (or adult) will adore!
1. From your scrap sewing materials bin (Everyone seems to have one somewhere) pull out any leftover fabric you enjoy. I prefer velvet, since I like to decorate my dollhouse in Victorian style, but you can use whatever you want. Make sure you have enough material to form two 2 inch squares.
2. Start by sewing your two squares together with matching thread. Make sure you leave one side of your pillow open.
3. Using your finger or a pencil, carefully flip the pillow inside out. Be sure to get all the corners. Using just a little bit of cotton, stuff the pillow until it is packed full. Once finished, sew the open side of the pillow closed, taking means to hide your thread to the best of your ability.
4. Add decoration in the form of lace, buttons, or ribbons to your pillow. You now have a beautiful handmade pillow for yourself or your child!
-Sara
Be a part of the Buy Handmade Revolution and support local artists!

ArtFire Thursday, October 16, 2008

When you launch your own internet artisan business, you get all the advantages of being your own boss while earning revenue from your talent. But this isn’t as simple as it sounds. Many crafters work hard to be profitable in their home businesses, and listed below is some pointers to help you in setting up a rewarding internet store.

Selling Your Handmade Crafts, Where to Begin
There are a few ways you can go about selling your artwork online. Your first option is to buy a URL and publish your own webpage. However, there are a few drawbacks to this choice. If you don’t know much about graphic design or webpage layout, setting up your own webpage can be challenging. Furthermore, when you open your own URL, you have a Google page rank of 0, making it rather hard for craft buyers to find your webpage. Lastly, your new craft store is completely unknown to the public, so shoppers have no reason to trust your items or services. Internet scams are everywhere, and customers have become wary of unfamiliar businesses.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of crafting your own website, you can always sign up on an internet trading webpage, like as eBay or Esty. These sites have a high page rank and are generally trusted by buyers. Sadly, both of these sites charge a listing fee and take a part of your profits, so there’s risk in using them. Most artists who are just getting started in internet sales have a hard time selling right at first, and you still have to pay site fees at both of these webpages regardless of if your business is successful.
However, there are free listing sites which allow artists to sell their handmade crafts completely cost free. At ArtFire.com, basic members pay no fees to list or sell their handmade items, and receive 100% of sales revenue. This is probably the most risk-free choice to sell your handmade items online, and serious artisan business owners should look into this site. Although it is still in Beta form, it is already gaining tremendous popularity on the web, and promising to become the next big thing in internet transactions.
How Much Should You Charge for Your Handmade Goods?
Since you’re selling your own artwork, the pricing of your products is completely up to you. Realistically, low priced goods sell faster, but don’t price your goods too low—they’re your handmade crafts, after all. When pricing, think about the time you invested on that item, the cost of the materials used, and how the product would appear to an everyday internet costumer. If you’re having trouble picking the right price, try browsing similar goods listed online. If you’re having problems selling your crafts, you can always lower the price or put your products on sale.
Last But Not Least: Promotion
One of the most crucial elements to online sales is getting internet users to take notice of your handmade products. There’s quite a bit of competition on the internet, and you want your artwork to stand apart from all the rest. This is why you must work diligently to get your items out there and let shoppers know what you’re selling. Try posting your website address on any blogs you management, or try linking to your store in your email signature to bring in more traffic. The Handmade Revolution is quickly growing, and this is your opportunity to be a part of it!
Good luck artisans, and happy crafting!
-Sara

ArtFire Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Photo: Andrew Moore, Wired Magazine

Does your hobby area look anything like this? Perhaps it should! The image above is from Jay Walker’s home library, designed to enhance creativity and imagination. The internet entrepreneur’s personal library contains 3,600 square feet and 3 levels of the strange and unusual, according to Wired Magazine.

Rather than simply setting aside a space in his home for the library, Walker designed the house around his library. This is his inspirational center, his artistic haven, his intellectual port. Here, one is surrounded by informational and rare objects which changed the ways people think about the world as they know it.

On one wall, you’ll find a cloth napkin from 1943, on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt sketched out his plan to victory in World War II. On the table is a 300 million-year-old dinosaur eggs, posed next to a surgeon’s tool kit from the Civil War. Across the room sits a tree-bark Indonesian book about cannibalism, with a Middle Eastern goddess figure from 5000 BC sitting on top. And let’s not forget Sputnik, which hangs gracefully overhead.

But Walker doesn’t collect unusual and valuable items just for the sake of doing so. Many of the books in his collection are reprints, and many of the rare artifacts in his library are too unusual to be worth much to other collectors. Walker prefers to collect objects that altered how people think about the world. His mindset is if so many changes can be made in human thought within our time on this planet, then the future holds endless possibilities.

Walker made his riches by founding Walker Digital, a company which comes up with ideas and patents, best known for developing Priceline.com. And while a three story craft studio might be a bit out of most artisans’ budget, everyone can learn a thing or two from Walker’s library. Many crafters place their art space in an itsy bitsy corner, pushed away from the rest of the home. What does this communicate about their hobby? That it is just a hobby, rather than an important part of their lives. While people often balance art projects in with family, work, and a social life, generally it is crafts that take the smallest priority. So take a few tips from Walker, don’t shove your interests off to the side. Give them the attention they deserve, and take your art seriously!
-Sara


ArtFire Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Douglas Prasher, standing outside the Toyota dealership where he works in Huntsville, Alabama. Image from the Cape Cod Times.

Significant contributions to the world cannot be designed by one individual. Rather, they are a group project, crafted and developed by a handful of talented workers, rather than just the two or three who get the credit. This is true in the crafting world just as it is true in the scientific world. And no one knows this better than Douglas Prasher.

In 1988, Prasher was at the top of scientific research world. His work on jellyfish proteins helped gain Roger Tsien and Martin Chalfie the 2008 Nobel Prize, according to the Cape Cod Times. And while these men will be collecting a $ 1.4 million check, Prasher will be making his living driving a courtesy shuttle at a car dealership.

But Prasher regrets nothing. After his grant ran out in 1992, Prasher willing gave his data and samples to fellow scientists and friends Chalfie and Tsien. They continued his research, and were granted the Nobel Prize last week with Osamu Shimomura after formulating a new way to help treat cancer cells using glowing jellyfish proteins. That many sound strange, but it has enormous potential in preventing the spread of cancer in the human body.

Although he has helped secure his fellow scientists money and praise, Prasher was happy to help. He thinks about the larger impact his work will have on cancer treatment, and is proud to have contributed.

This kind of selflessness is something that everyone can aspire to. Whether you’re an artisan or a scientist, a craftsman or a chemist, you can appreciate the importance of the sharing of ideas for the common good.

While people often try to protect their original ideas, at Artfire.com, we encourage artist cooperation and teamwork. So don’t be greedy with your craft ideas. Get out there was a community and make an impact!

Click here to read the full article on Douglas Prasher by the Cape Cod Times.

Click here to read my Behind ArtFire Beta Blog.

-Sara

ArtFire Friday, October 10, 2008


This picture shows a woman in the great depression displaying one of her handmade quilts at a local fair. Many people do not think of the 1930s as being in color, since most pictures are in black and white. Those times were bleak, work was scarce, and life was difficult. All these things are expressed in this women’s hard expression. And now, nearly 80 years after this photo was taken, America is facing the possibility of yet another depression.

Let’s face it: the stock market is the toilet. Reporters this morning were throwing around the term “Black Friday” as the Dow Jones dipped below 9,000 points. Markets around the world are starting to go down, and many financial advisers say that this is only the beginning of a global recession, possibly even a global depression.

The truth is, as much as these experts and reporters claim, no one knows for sure what will happen. People begin to panic, and wonder what can be done to survive the recession.

To help our failing economy, Americans should invest in handmade goods from local sellers. When you make the choice to buy handmade, you’re helping another struggling average American citizen, rather than a wealthy CEO of an overseas manufacturing company. Your money is going to another person, who is facing the same kind of financial problems that you are.

And when you buy from local sellers, your money is going back into our economy, which aids in its recovery. Let’s be honest, our economy needs all the help it can get right now. Don’t send your money overseas to buy poorly made overpriced items. One of the reasons our economy is suffering stems from Americans are buying goods from China and India, instead of helping sellers here at home. Choose now to invest you money here, where it’s needed.

If you decide to buy handmade products over mass produced ones, you’re not just helping average citizens, you’re getting a finely made product at a lower price. Handmade items are proven to last longer and be more efficient than factory made items. When you buy handmade goods, you receive a unique specialized item for an affordable price.

And with free artisan listing sites like Artfire.com, you know that 100% of your money goes to support the artist. That’s because ArtFire allows members to list their items for completely free, no royalty fees, no final evacuation fees, no processing fees, no fees at all. The money you spend goes directly to help the artist.

Americas survived the great depression of the 1930s by investing in handmade goods. They knew the importance of aiding other Americans. They helped each other, and they helped local sellers. They supported other Americans, and with the financial boost from WWII, our country was able to come out of a bleak period in our economy. So learn from their example, buy handmade products and support local artists.

ArtFire Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Photo from InventorSpot

Specialized costumes for your pet can be an amusing addition to any Halloween, but owners know that store bought animal outfits tend to be expensive and cheaply thrown together. Luckily, pet outfits can be made by hand, either from scratch (for those who are skilled with needlecrafts) or adapted from other Halloween outfits.

Getting Started

If you’re not an expert with a needle and thread, don’t worry. Just because you’re making your animal’s outfit by hand doesn’t mean you need to start with nothing. Depending on how big your pet is, you can start with a child or baby’s Halloween costume, easily found at your local thrift store. These outfits can be reworked it to fit your animal with just a little time and some crafting knowhow. If you’d rather not adapt your outfit from another’s, you can also try finding a pet Halloween outfit pattern online.

Measure and Test

A child’s body is shaped very differently from an animal’s. No matter how big or small your pet is, you’ll need to take measurements on your animal and do small changes to the outfit. The best way to do this is to try your costume out on your pet as you make adjustments.

Remember Safety

Consider your pet’s overall happiness as you work. The costume shouldn’t be too tight, and should allow for easy breathing through your pet’s mouth and the nose. Make sure your pet has easy control of his/her legs, head, and tail. The outfit should be easy to put on as well as take off. Remember, if you dress your pet in a poorly fitted costume, he/she will try to wiggle out of it. Also, remember your pet’s physical needs. If your pet needs to use the bathroom while dressed up, will he/she be able to?

Fun Costume Ideas

Dogs tend to be easiest to dress, but with some support cats can also wear costumes. If your animal is not used to being dressed up, you’ll want to go with something simple. Maybe a bright red vampire cape, or a pink tie, or maybe little devil horns.

If you plan on taking your pet trick or treating, you could try making matching or themed outfits for both of you. This year, try going as a couple witches, or maybe you could dress as the pet and he/she could be the master. Since you’re making the costume yourself, you can let your imagination run wild!

Click here to check out some of the fun clothing the crafters at ArtFire.com are making!

Click here to check out my Behind ArtFire Beta Blog!

-Sara

ArtFire Monday, October 6, 2008













Photo: The world’s large
st solar power plant in Germany, picture by Waltraud Grubitzsch/EPA/Corbis, the Guardian.


To battle growing energy concerns, researchers from the European Union are making preparations to make use of renewable energy sources more than 1,000 miles away.


Presently scientists are devising a plan for a High Voltage Direct Current line grid to bring in solar energy from the Saharan desert in northern Africa. Preparations are underway to create a series of solar farms across the desert, according to the Common Dreams News Center. Researchers speculate that just 0.3% of the sunlight hitting the Sahara everyday would be enough to sufficiently provide electricity to all of Europe.


The task is still in planning and very likely reach €450 billion in cost. It would assist Europe in fulfilling its goal of generating 20% of its total energy from green sources by 2020. The EU hopes that the gridline from the Sahara could produce 100 GW of solar power by 2050, which is more than all the current renewable energy sources could generate combined.


Click here to read more about Europe’s Green Energy plans.

Check out my Behind ArtFire Beta Blog!

-Sara

ArtFire Friday, October 3, 2008

The photo above is by Stuart Haygarth, a special chandelier made completely out of recycled eyeglasses.

Photo by Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times.

Life can be about the little things that make up our existence. Sadly, most people don’t notice or acknowledge the importance of these little things. This is why one art exhibit is working to put focus back on the little things and show visitors the extraordinary in the ordinary.


The exhibit, “Second Lives Remixing the Ordinary” at the New York Museum of Arts and Design doesn’t contain many normal pieces of art. The show represents more than 50 different artists or teams, all attempting to change the way people think about the small things which make up their days. Most of the pieces are made up of normal items, including old containers, combs, utensils, and other little things which surround daily life.


According to the New York Times, “Second Lives” demonstrates just how much the line has blurred between art, crafts, and design. Many of the gallery pieces are made from recycled materials, including a jacket made of army dog tags, a more than 3 foot tall mass of old records formed into the shape of a black wave, and a copy of a missing artifact made from middle eastern fast food containers.


Many of the materials would have likely been thrown away and forgotten. Instead, these artists have transformed them into pieces of art. They have, in a sense, offered them a second life.


Click here to see photos of Second Life artwork.

-Sara

Check out what the artisans at Artfire.com are crafting!


ArtFire Thursday, October 2, 2008

Is your arts and crafts room looking a touch disorderly? I understand how messy things can get when creating handmade goods. Listed below are a few helpful tips to keep that work area tidy—without limiting your creativity.

1. Separate your work area. If you do not already have special room for your handicrafts, you might want to try partitioning off an area. This will separate your artwork from your daily activates. Tell your roommates/spouse/children that this space is off-limits at all times.

2. Work table. Invest in an old table that you wouldn’t feel bad about covering with glue or paint. After all, you can’t be expected to do your finest work when you are worrying about getting your table dirty!

3. Consider storage. Try to have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. If you can’t find your supplies, making artwork can be much more difficult! Don’t be afraid to organize with shoe boxes or other containers. And remember to put your supplies back in place when you’re done with them.

4. Remember good lighting. Art is much easier when you can see what you’re doing! Don’t forget the importance of natural light, as things can look different depending on what kind of lighting you use.

I hope these tips helped. And remember, keep crafting!

-Sara

Check out my Behind the Beta Blog for more tips and updates!

ArtFire Wednesday, October 1, 2008















The image above, “Blossoming Flowers,” is from 2006 contest winner, Sharon B., age 19.


Artisans co
me from all walks of life, some with more inspirational backgrounds than others.

Epilepsy affects more than 2.5 million Americans of all ages. It can cause intensely painful seizures at any time, and often develops during early childhood. The Expressions of Courage National Art Contest is designed to help people with epilepsy get in touch with their artistic talents. For the past six years, the Epilepsy Foundation in partnership with Ortho-McNeil Neurologics has sponsored the art contest, allowing only individuals diagnosed with epilepsy to submit work. The contest helps people with epilepsy to show the world their talent and perspectives.

It always makes me feel inspired when people overcome obstacles and still manage to create works of beauty. By submitting their artwork, people with epilepsy give courage and strength to others diagnosed with the condition. Their artwork can be therapeutic for themselves while offering understanding to friends and family members who don’t have epilepsy.

Submissions are accepted from March 29 through August 29. Work will be reviewed by a panel of epilepsy advocates and art representatives before announcing a winner in late fall. All winning artwork is be displayed on the Expressions of Courage Website. Click here to support Expressions of Courage and view pass contest submissions.

-Sara

Click here to see what our Artisans are painting!

Or Click here to read my Behind the Beta Blog for daily Art Fire Updates.

ArtFire Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to when inspired. After watching a television program detailing the horrendous living conditions of children in Ghana, Africa, eight 14-year-old girls decided to take action. They formed a charity dedicated to feeding impoverished peoples with the profits from their handmade crafts business. With that, One is Greater than None was born.

Now I don’t know about you, but at age 14, I generally didn’t think much about impacting the world. I was more concerned with school and maintaining social life than I was about starting a charity organization. But these girls must be more mature than I was. For more than year, the girls of One is Greater than None have been making and selling jewelry to feed children across the world. They work closely with the International Organization for Migration, which offers supplies and food to individuals in inhumane conditions. The girls even send their handmade brackets packaged with educational materials to villages in Ghana. Each bracket holds eight beads, meant to represent each of the girls.

With help from the IOM, the girls were able to support 8 Ghana children in January of 2008. Their hard work when to ensuring these children had plenty of food and a warm place to sleep for an entire year. While this may seem like a an exceptional, One is Greater than None have shown no inclination to stop now. Instead, they are working to give that opportunity to 25 children by January of 2009.

Click here to learn more or donate to One is Greater than None.

-Sara

Check out my Art Fire Behind the Beta Blog!


ArtFire Monday, September 29, 2008

Last week we discussed the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s new green expansion. The eco-friendly addition to the century old museum made it the greenest in New York City. Well today, we’re going to talk about what is known as the greenest museum in the world.


The recently rebuilt California Academy of Sciences opened last weekend in San Francisco, reports to National Public Radio. Located in the hills of Golden Gate Park, the museum is made up primarily of recycled or organic materials. From the roof garden to the recycled blue jean insulation, the academy is said to be the greenest museum in ever built.


According to Italian architect Renzo Piano, the new museum is meant to serve three purposes: display, education and research. When the original Academy of Sciences building was damaged by the 1989 earthquake, the institution had the opportunity to get rid of the old fashioned exhibitions and displays. Piano designed the museum to be completely different from the museums of old, with no dark corridors and dusty dioramas.


Instead, the walls are made almost completely of glass, so it is possible to see into all areas of the museum at one time. The roof garden, consisting of entirely native plants, helps moderate the overall temperature of the museum. Skylights and solar panels offer lighting to the academy while letting in and out in warm or cool air.


The Academy of Sciences’ overall goal is meant to encourage visitors to take better care of the natural world by showing them its beauty. To that end, the museum is teeming with life.
So if you’re in the San Francisco area, check out the greenest museum in the world!



-Sara