Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Neighborhood Market Night at Hello! Artisan Shop & Studio

Hello! is opening its studio to some nearby creative friends and Nutmeg Collective members for a Neighborhood Market Night. They will be open for shopping and refreshments, so grab a friend and stop on by and say hello to these special guests:

No stranger to dirt, Nancy Butler is a farmer, mother of three, and a Master Gardener. The owner of Lyric Hill Farm, Nancy creates all-natural, eco-friendly luxuries for bath, body and home designed to pamper and clean. Her goat milk soaps and detergents are made from her own fresh, raw goat milk and organically grown herbs and botanicals, and a carefully curated blend of 100% natural, sustainably-grown, fair trade ingredients. When she is not chasing escaped livestock or doing farm chores, you'll find her knitting linen washcloths to go with her soap. (Granby)

Gracia Hemans-Martin, owner of The Leather Genie, hails from Kingston, Jamaica. Growing up as an extremely artistic and creative child, Gracia was introduced to leather crafting at an early age. When art met leather, The Leather Genie was born. Before long, she became skilled at making handbags, belts, wallets, motorcycle seats, and other items. The Leather Genie particularly loves making one-of-a-kind handbags, and as such, there are some very happy women and men sporting her bags. (Bloomfield/East Hartford)

Tracy Weed of The Tiny Wren takes vintage jewelry that is broken or otherwise unwearable and reworks it into new designs that can be loved again. Everything she makes is not only handmade, but it's a one of a kind piece. She never makes the same thing twice. Tracy's well made jewelry is like wearing a piece of art. (West Hartford)

Trish Nelson, of Melley Nelson Design, is an architect, artist and mother. Drawing house portraits gives her the opportunity to combine all three. The drawings are done of homes that are loved and have, or are about to have, many happy stories of the families that live in them. (West Hartford)

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

Visit Hello! Artisan Shop & Studio on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Can't make it?  Stay updated by signing up for the newsletter.

Monday, September 28, 2015

SEO for Etsy: Part 3 - Implementing Keywords

In the last exercises you created your master list of SEO keywords and identified your front runners. NOW you need to implement them into your listings to make your items visible to your audience.

Here is how this works.

Etsy uses your product titles and your product tags to locate your item in a search. So your most powerful keywords should be in these spots followed by variations i.e. Color. Any open spots is where you will start sprinkling in the remaining items. If you have different listings for similar items then stagger the remaining keywords between the listings. By doing this you are pushing the boundaries of your visibility.

Now even though Etsy does not use your item descriptions in their search algorithm - Google does. So make sure that you are reinforcing your entire internet presence by including your strong keywords in your item descriptions as well.

Remember to periodically refresh your keyword list as trends or times of year change.

Happy Sales!

Written by Alonda Baird-Juhasz, owner of Designer Dwellings, who believes in adding color to life. An avid DIYer, sparkle-loving, all things fabulous addict, her shop features bright and fun home decor accessories and gifts. When not in the shop you can find her interior decorating or visual styling events and photo shoots.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nutmeg Pets: Lyric Hill Farms' Horses, Goats and Feline

Meet some of the animals at Lyric Hill Farm. Above, the white, flea-bitten grey horse is Pegasus, an elderly Arabian gelding. The pony is Bayberry, and the little goat on his back is Nary-A-Care or Nary, the newest addition to the herd, born in early May.

Rosie and Ivy - two of the French Alpine dairy goats, and full sisters.

Sobe, who often helps with mailing by testing out boxes to see if they are secure.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Better Connecticut Feature: Milo and Molly

Watch: Made in Connecticut with Milo and Molly

Our team captain, Kristen Skelton shares the story behind her Avon-based shop, Milo and Molly, on this recent Better Connecticut segment. Stop by the WFSB page to watch the video by clicking the caption above.

And make sure you stock up on Kristen's upcycled cashmere mittens before the cold weather comes to Connecticut. You can contact her about those snuggly hand warmers here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Healthy Flavors of Fall

Photo is © Olga Vasilkova

Summer has not officially ended yet, but we are already in full swing of delicious Fall flavors. Pumpkin Spice this and Apple Pie that. It’s everywhere! Peeking in the family garden, I already see small to medium pumpkins getting ready for the Fall harvest. So instead of indulging in syrups and other artificial flavors, why not make some delectable fall goodies with ACTUAL Pumpkin and Apple! Here are two clean eating, whole food recipes for those who love the flavors of Autumn.

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

3 apples (we like to use a mix of Granny Smith and Macintosh, but any kind will work!)

ground cinnamon

ground raw sugar (OR powdered Stevia, be sure to use less Stevia as it is stronger and sweeter!)

2 baking sheets lined with butcher paper or silicone baking mats

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Cut the apples into thin round slices. Place slices on the baking sheets in a single layer and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 1 hour. Flips all the slices and continue to bake for another hour - hour and a half. If you’d like your chips on the crunchy side, leave the slices in the oven for another hour after you’ve turned it off and are letting the oven cool down. The result is a delectable treat sure to go fast!

If storing, be sure to seal these in an airtight container to preserve crispness.

Natural Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 shot of espresso or 4 oz. of very strong coffee

3/4 cup of milk of choice

3 TB organic pumpkin puree

1 TB of real maple syrup

5 drops of stevia

1/8 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract

Pinch of coconut sugar for topping 

This can be served hot or cold over ice. Blend with ice for a natural frappe.

*originally published by Jillian Lyons in The Life Center of Connecticut blog.

andMorgan is a father-daughter team that screen prints flour sack tea towels, tote bags, wine bags and t-shirts. Jeff has owned a screen printing and embroidery business in Bristol, CT for almost 25 years and taught himself everything he knows about screen printing. Jillian has always enjoyed drawing, cooking and collecting way too many tea towels! We combined our passion for all of these things together in order to create modern and fun products for any kitchen or home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rhymes With Smile 2015 Finalist Martha Stewart American Made

We are so excited for Katherine Lile!
Rhymes With Smile is a 2015 Design Finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made competition. Voting is now open and you can vote up to six times a day through most of October.  Show Katherine your support as often as you can!

And be sure to check out the American Made Market where you'll find Mystic Knotwork's goods. Matt and Jill Beaudoin were featured at the inaugural Martha Stewart American Made Event in October of 2012, and again, in 2013.

It's great to see our talented, local artists celebrated on a grand scale.  Good luck, Rhymes With Smile!

Monday, September 21, 2015

SEO for Etsy: Part 2 - Keyword Strength

You have created your master keyword list - so how do you know your most important keywords? Simple - search them.

Actually type your keywords in and hit search. Look at the listings that come up. Should your item be in this group? Think about the buyer that is clicking through. If you used the word "rustic" as a descriptor does it make sense in this setting or should it be adjusted to "shabby chic"? 

The searches that your item would fit into best should be highlighted. These are your strongest keywords and the ones that should be most present in your listings. This does not mean that these other keywords are useless! It just means that these are the bright blinking arrows that direct the buyer to your amazing listing.

Note: On the bottom of a listing are the tags used for the item. These are clickable and will bring you to a search using that specific tag.

Written by Alonda Baird-Juhasz, owner of Designer Dwellings, who believes in adding color to life. An avid DIYer, sparkle-loving, all things fabulous addict, her shop features bright and fun home decor accessories and gifts. When not in the shop you can find her interior decorating or visual styling events and photo shoots.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Upcoming Craft Shows: NC Out and About

The fall craft fair season is upon us, and The Nutmeg Collective is going to be out and about in full force!  If you are looking for something fun to do on a weekend afternoon, or a weekday evening, please stop by and say hi to our talented members!

September 19 - Bozrah Vintage Harvest Market: Hickster Tees

September 19-  Envisionfest - Bushnell Park: The Burnt Shop

September 19/20 - Arts and Crafts on Bedford - Stamford, CT: Doug Hockman Photography

September 19/20 - Simsbury Woman's Arts & Crafts Festival: Milo and Molly, RiverDog Prints, QueenVanna Creations, Lyric Hill Farm


September 20 - Coventry Regional Farmers Market: Hickster Tees

September 20 - stART on the Street - Worcester, MA: Nutmeg Naturals

September 20 - Stonington Vineyards Fall Festival: The Burnt Shop


September 24 - October 1 - The Big E - Connecticut Building: CottageWicks

September 25 - Andover Farmer's Market: The Burnt Shop

September 26 - Ellington Farmers Market: Hickster Tees

September 26 - Glastonbury Farmer's Market: The Burnt Shop

September 26 - New Britain Museum Pop Up Market: Pure Naked Soap

Septmeber 26 - Love Local Market at Get Baked - Windsor, CT: Milo and Molly, Queenvanna Creations, Evelyn Pelati, The Leather Genie, MSD Design

September 26/27 - Bust Craftacular at World Maker Faire - NYC: Our Secret Treehouse

September 27 - Coventry Regional Farmers Market: Hickster Tees, The Burnt Shop


September 29 - Market Night at Hello! Artisan Shop & Studio - Simsbury, CT: Milo and Molly, Queenvanna Creations, RiverDog Prints, Lyric Hill Farm, Melley Nelson Design, The Leather Genie, The Tiny Wren
October 2 - Bozrah Farmers Market: Pure Naked Soap

October 3 - Old Wethersfield Craft Fair: Doug Hockman Photography, Nutmeg Naturals, Milo and Molly, Queenvanna Creations, The Leather Genie, Persimmon Pearl, Lily Pad Prints, Everything Glitzy, Hickster Tees

October 3/4 - Jonathan Edwards Winery Harvest Festival - North Stonington, CT: Treefort Naturals

October 3/4 - Milford Food Truck Festival: The Burnt Shop

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Local Love: The Blissful Teacher

 Learn about Beth and her family-run business, The Blissful Teacher.

The Blissful Teacher LLC is a family business that my hubby, daughter and I started two years ago.
My father owned a business, and I always looked up to him and his work ethics. I'm a teacher and also wanted to create a line of products geared to those in education.

The most popular in all of our stores is lavender. Customers are encouraged to choose our essential oil mists based on their individual needs. Someone with mood issues should choose wild orange, sinus sufferers should choose peppermint, etc.

Working full time and being a taxi driver for my daughter takes quite a bit of time, and there aren't enough hours in the day! With that said, it took us a full year to get into Whole Foods. Also, we can't restock or follow up with all of the gift shops we are in as regularly as we would like to.

We have met so many great and helpful people at craft fairs, where we started, and shops we are in now. We were a Martha Stewart nominee, and have been featured on What's Trending on Elvis Duran!  Also we have been featured in several educational articles.  We are setting up some CT fairs for the fall.

The Blissful Teacher
Beth Wrobel (860)622-1449

Visit them on Etsy, Facebook or Twitter!


We love local businesses! 

Are you an independently-run Connecticut brick and mortar?
Get a feature by clicking here.

Know a shop that deserves a feature? Contact us at thenutmegcollective@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lemon Basil Mayonnaise.

There is nothing quite like the bright, fragrant smell of basil.  Combine it with the freshness of lemon and you've got yourself an amazing condiment.

Lemon Basil Mayonnaise

2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tsp. dried minced garlic
1/2-1tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and twist that goodness up for about 40 seconds.  Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Dip the following with reckless abandon: Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, blanched broccoli and cauliflower.  Slather on all the grilled things!  Try: asparagus, zucchini, red peppers, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, chicken, swordfish, bluefish, clams, salmon, pork tenderloin.   Smear it on a nice fresh baguette and grill that baby up! Add a dollop to your favorite potato or pasta salad, use as a sandwich spread, or add a glob into homemade marinara.  This stuff is so bright, fresh and rich it makes everything better!


Denise O'Reilly, owner of The BURNT Shop in Glastonbury, Ct. is creating usable art in the form of hand etched glass culinary bottles and woodburned housewares. She believes wholeheartedly that everything we use on a daily basis should be just as beautiful as it is functional. She sources the highest quality glass and wood pieces and adds her unique freehand designs using centuries old techniques. These pieces are transformed into heirloom quality works of art which she hopes will be passed down in families to future generations. She has a passion for all things green, reusing and repurposing 100% of incoming packaging. She encourages customers to bring her their existing pieces for her added touch...thus reducing that urge to purchase more "stuff" but rather making your own treasured items that much more special. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

SEO for Etsy Part 1: Identifying Keywords

You have an amazing item, you set up your listing, you hit publish and then poof your item vanishes into the sea of other listings.

So how you do you get YOUR amazing item found by buyers? SEO!

Search Engine Optimization. You need to leave a bread crumb trail of keywords that will lead buyers towards your amazing item.

Step 1: Creating your keyword master list.
  • Go to Etsy's search bar and start typing in the obvious and basic descriptions of your item. Etsy will now provide other variations of what you are searching. Write those down because these are words/terms that are being used to find similar items.
  • Expand your search into those variations Etsy provided for you and a new set of options should open up. Write those down. Rinse and repeat.
  • Now include descriptors in your search. Is your item "modern", a "houseware", "home and living". Think of the categories Etsy puts their collections in. Write those down.
  • Lastly is your item included in a current trend or time of year? Is it ombre, color blocked or holiday? Add those items to your list.

At the end of this you should have a solid list of SEO keywords that you can now use to strengthen your item's visibility in an Etsy search.

Written by Alonda Baird-Juhasz, owner of Designer Dwellings, who believes in adding color to life. An avid DIYer, sparkle-loving, all things fabulous addict, her shop features bright and fun home decor accessories and gifts. When not in the shop you can find her interior decorating or visual styling events and photo shoots.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Nutmeg Collective Instagram: Start Talking Vintage

We have some great photos in our #nutmegcollective Instagram feed
 On a regular basis, we'll feature some of our favorite photos here!

A photo posted by Start Talking Vintage (@starttalkingvintage) on

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer Vegetable and Bean Salad.

This is one of my favorite summer salads! It's refreshing on a hot day and is especially good using locally grown veggies.

You will need:
2 cups of washed and chopped romaine lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, washed and cut into large chunks
3 pickling cukes, washed and cut into large chunks
4 oz ball of buffalo mozzarella, cut into large chunks
1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Olive oil to taste
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh herbs: recommend thyme, oregano, and rosemary

Combine the lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, cheese and beans in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and herbs, and toss to combine. Makes 2 large salads.


With a love of creating and decades of ultra-sensitive skin, Jennifer Knapp became curious how soap was made after receiving a handmade bar. Several classes and months of research later, Jennifer launched Nutmeg Naturals LLC, with a line of soaps catering to all skin types. Jennifer’s products include cold-process handmade soaps, laundry soaps and wool dryer balls. In 2014, Jennifer launched The Felt Haus, a place for her other felted projects. She is a native Nutmegger and lives in Haddam with her husband and daughter.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Vintage Bead Jewelry


I am a vintage lover at heart, and I drive my sister crazy when we go to antique shows and flea markets together. One glimpse at a vintage jewelry booth and I'm drawn in like a magnet, having to look at absolutely everything. I am the odd girl who always asks vendors for broken jewelry!  Jewelry from the 1950s and 60s was so well-made, it's a shame to let it end up in a landfill just because the pin broke or a rhinestone fell out.  I spend a lot of time scouring markets and eBay for anything that can be made into something else. It doesn’t have to be perfect- a missing rhinestone or a heavily-aged look only add to the charm for me. Much to my delight, I recently discovered a warehouse that deals in vintage, uncirculated beads and other odd items. I only allow myself an annual trip there because I’d probably spend all my grocery money on beads!



I am heavily influenced by the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It was an age where women wore ruffles and lace on a daily basis, and were expected to be feminine.  I am a die-hard romantic, and that shines through in my designs. Trendy and hip are two words you’ll never hear me use to describe my style!  I design classic pieces that are meant to become heirlooms- pieces that appeal to the romantic in all of us. I love that fact that it’s now acceptable to wear pearls or a glittery necklace with a t-shirt and jeans. We are no longer limited to saving our best jewelry for when we are all dressed up!



I love things that sparkle, and I try to include a little bit in most of my pieces. There are so many unique and gorgeous choices in vintage bead designs that simply don’t exist today, and I try to make sure they get center stage when used in a piece. The vintage beads I uses are always of a limited supply, so I will often mix them with new beads to help keep costs down.  Sometimes, I have a little trouble letting go! There have been a few pieces I've completed, then taken one look at the final product and said, ‘No way am I selling this one!’ It doesn’t happen often, thank goodness, but there are times when a piece is just so "me" that I can’t let it go.  Then, of course, there are the times when something looked much better in my mind than in actuality.  Oh, yes, I’ve worked for an hour or two on something and then decided it was just hideous.  But that’s the beauty of handmade;  I can take it apart and make it into something better.  I sometimes have to remind myself that, as an artist, I have the freedom to choose to start over.  It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to not like something you’ve made. More often than not, if you put it down and walk away for awhile, you’ll make something truly fantastic when you try again.

Click on the photos to be taken to Tracy's shop!

Tracy Weed of The Tiny Wren has been crafting all of her life-one of her earliest memories is making mouse Christmas ornaments out of walnut shell halves with her grandmother. Jewelry design is a fairly recent venture for her, but it didn't take long to get hooked! Tracy loves the Victorian era, and is heavily influenced by the romance of the period. She loves to take vintage jewelry that is broken or otherwise unwearable and rework it into new designs that can be loved again. 
Instagram | Facebook

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Craft Show 101: Choosing an Event That Is Right For You

The fall and holiday craft fair season is upon us.  With all of the events out there, how do you know which ones are right for you? Here are some suggestions and considerations to hopefully make the selection process a bit easier.

1. Who is coordinating it and how is it being promoted? 
Check with other vendor friends. There are some promoters to be avoided at all costs and others that are top notch.

2. How long has the show been in existence? 
Not always, but often, first time or very new events lack the visibility and promotional reach of more established events, while established shows have a following of loyal visitors.

3. What are the fees? 
While it is difficult to predict what you will make, fees should be 10 percent or less of what your gross sales are for the show. (Don’t forget to include your travel expenses, all of the coffee purchased along the way, lodging costs, time, etc.)

4. How many days is the event?
If more than one, are the premises secure for you to leave your booth set up? Do you have the required set-up materials?  Will you have enough inventory, packaging, business cards, etc.? It is stressful having to come home after a long day and try to crank out more product, so make sure you have enough stock going in.

5. Location, location, location. 
Where is it? Is the venue visible and accessible? What is the commute like? If it is a two day show, will you have to find lodgings? If so, factor this fee into your show cost. Don’t rule out a great show because you’ll have to stay over; see if you can find another vendor friend who will split hotel costs.

6. Is the show indoors or outdoors? 
Are fees refundable if the weather is poor? Is electricity available? Is there adequate lighting? If you will be vending alone, are booth sitters available? If you are at an indoor event, always be prepared by bringing lighting (unless you have seen the venue). You may not need it, but if you are stuck in a dark corner, lighting will help you shine (sorry! I couldn’t resist) and improve your visibility to customers.

7. Did a promoter stalk you and beg you to do the show because they love your items and “others who have sold products like yours have done well”?
Proceed with caution. Remember that another’s definition of “well” may be different than yours. Ask questions, get numbers. The crafter who occasionally sells products may have a different expectation than a maker who crafts for a living.  Plus, promoters often embellish their events just a little.

8. Visit and observe the show in person and on line. 
There is no substitution for firsthand experience. Are the vendors all handcrafters? Are the items high quality? Are the displays professional? Is there ample parking? Is there a variety of vendors and categories? Are there many customers and are they buying/carrying bags with purchases? Talk with vendors for a realistic perspective. Check out the show’s website and social media links if they are available.

9. Is the show juried?  (Meaning, do they choose from applicants, or is everyone allowed in)
How are artists selected? Are there multiple jury dates? A carefully curated show is worth the time spent gathering pictures and writing an artist statement. Juried shows usually (but not always!) mean better quality items, and customers who are serious about buying handmade. However, this does not mean that shows that are small or not juried are without merit.

10. Are all of the items handcrafted? 
Does the show require that the artisan who made the item be present? Shows where new, direct sales items are permitted (think Tupperware, Lia Sophia, 31 Bags) tend to be less profitable for crafters/artists. Check the show’s definition of handcrafted; must all items be made by the vendor? (For example, if you make glass beads and the show permits others who purchase and string cheaper, imported glass beads, it may be difficult to compete. Don’t rely on the customer to know the difference.)

11. Is your craft a good fit for the show?
What is the price range of the items? Are your items and your price points a match for the show? Your items may not sell if you have the high-ticket item in a lower price point show. Likewise, if you are not a fine artist, you may be bypassed at shows dedicated to fine art.

12. Are there limits in each category?
Ask the promoter how many vendors in each category they will accept. While competition is a good thing, it is to no one’s advantage if there are too many vendors in one (your) particular category.

Hopefully this is a helpful guide to those of you looking into new craft shows.  Stay tuned for Part 2: How to apply to a Craft Show (so you will get in).

No stranger to dirt and getting dirty, Nancy Butler is a farmer, mother of three, and a Master Gardener. The owner of Lyric Hill Farm, Nancy creates all natural, eco-friendly luxuries for bath, body and home which are designed to pamper and clean. Her goat milk soaps and detergents are made from her own fresh, raw goat milk (from her herd of French Alpine dairy goats) and organically grown herbs and botanicals, and a carefully curated blend of 100 % natural, sustainably grown, fair trade ingredients. When she is not chasing escaped livestock or doing farm chores, you'll often find her knitting linen washcloths to go with her soap. Her farm and farm store are open year round to visitors.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram