Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Interview Series: Week 17 – The Poly Shop

I'm a little late getting today's post up due to some internet outages – but these outages come with GOOD news: The fiber-optic cables that we've been promised are going in on our street at last!  This, hopefully, will improve the internet's reliability (which hasn't been very good as of late), and also improve the quality of the internet we get here.

That aside, I'm extremely excited to bring you all today's interview.  Some time ago, I had an interview from KIDeveryday (who shared a Double Feature with her mother) who was all of fourteen years old. Today, I bring you an even younger entrepreneur, at thirteen!  I could go on at length about how this warms my heart, but I'll instead let her story warm yours!

Today I bring you Abby from ThePolyShop of Zibbet.

Name: Abby Colegrove
Craft: Miniature Food and Food Jewelry
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!): Polymer clay. It's so quick to work with! It only takes about 10 minutes to harden the clay in the oven, and there are so many things you can do with clay!
Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows): So far, I don't have a Most Popular Seller, since I've only sold literally one pendant, but I'm hoping that soon, I'll be able to list an item as my most popular seller!
The item with the most views, hearts, etc., though, would be this one:

Polymer Clay Miniature Red Velvet Cake and Slice
This is absolutely adorable!  Then again, I also have a weakness for Red Velvet cake, and this looks tasty enough to eat! Incredible detail, even with crumbs!!

Mine-ICON What got you into your craft?

ThePolyShop Probably my best friend. She got some polymer clay, and said it was great, so I got some and tried it. Bingo! I love it now! I probably should thank her more often than I do for introducing me to clay. :)


Mine-ICON How did you learn your craft?

ThePolyShop From other clay artists. I also played around with it a bunch. I admit, tutorials helped a bunch. In fact, my items wouldn't be as detailed as they are right now without them.


Polymer Clay Dollhouse Miniature Set of Bakery Bread
Complete with flour-powder marks, and the nooks and crannies that indicate torn bread! Love it!

Mine-ICON What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?

ThePolyShop I'm 13 years old, and home-schooled. I'm a HUGE Whovian, Potterhead, and Tribute. ;) Mostly Whovian though. My room is chock full of Doctor Who stuff, including a life size cardboard TARDIS my friends made me for my birthday. <3
My hair is dyed red (like, not orange-red, like RED red), and I have blue eyes, so this might have inspired my shop's color scheme (aqua blue and red/pink). :)


Polymer Clay Sushi Pendant
Though I prefer Tuna, this Salmon looks awfully tasty… The detail on the rice might be a bit hard to see, but it's phenomenal, since each grain was made individually.


Mine-ICON What is a typical "working" day for you? How does it usually start and end? How many hours do you spend crafting? How many hours do you spend on other things? What about distractions? I know we all have them! Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?

ThePolyShop Well, I don't have a working day. I make what I want, when I want. Lately I haven't really been in the mood for crafting stuff, but I am working on getting new items listed, and I'm also currently working on a new site for my shop.
Sometimes, when I'm on a creative roll, I can work for hours. Sometimes, when I only have a few ideas, I work for an hour or so. Because I don't consider this my job (I'm only 13, LOL), I don't keep myself working. I work when I want to. I enjoy it, and I just sell it as a hobby, not as a job.
Distractions. Well, when I'm in my "zone", as I call it (with my bedroom door shut and my bright lamp aimed at my desk) it's difficult to be distracted by something. Although, I am distracted by my family coming in my room and asking me to do something. I can't work all day, I have chores and stuff to do at some point, but for the most part, my family doesn't bother me often.
I think the thing that distracts me most, though, are other things I want to do. Maybe I wanna watch Doctor Who. Maybe I wanna chat my friend. Maybe I wanna browse Facebook. Maybe I wanna write a blog post. Sometimes I just have to give in and take a break, but that usually ends up in my desk being empty and lonely the rest of the day. I don't mind, though. I don't want to work so much that I begin to hate it. Everyone needs breaks.
I usually don't accomplish all I wanted to, for the reasons listed above. But, I do eventually accomplish it, so I don't stress over that.

Mine-ICON What happens when you Oops? Everyone gets one sometime or another! Do you get frustrated and destroy/start over, or do you go with the flow and see what comes out in the end?

ThePolyShop When I Oops, if the item is REALLY bad, I usually just wad the clay up and toss it in the Mud bin (all my scrap clay mixed up into one color). If it's semi-bad, I go ahead and bake it and keep it, just to look at and see what I can change to make it better.
I usually don't try again right away. I move onto something else. Making two things, one right after the other, bores me to death, so I just make something else.

Pumpkin Pie Dangle Earrings Polymer Clay
Perfect for that snack on-the-go, when you just need a slice of pie!

Mine-ICON What is your design process like? How many tries does it take to be happy with the final product?

ThePolyShop Hmm...well, since clay is mushy, I can just play around with textures and things and figure out what texture would be great for what food. Most of the time, it only takes one try to be happy with the final product, because food is food. If I made it good, I like it, if it sucks, I trash it and move on to something else. I don't like lingering on one thing for a long time.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Grapes Polymer Clay Dollhouse Miniature Food
Once again, this looks more than tasty enough to eat!  The detail is simply amazing!

Mine-ICON What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? Broken needle? Jump ring jumping out of your pliers? Thread knots? Cats? Dogs? The family hedgehog rolled about in your yarn basket?

ThePolyShopInteresting that you mentioned the jump ring thing. That does happen, but I wouldn't call it a roadblock. I think the biggest thing is getting photos taken for my items. I take the photos, and then don't the items listed for weeks at a time because I can't upload the photos myself, I need someone else to do it. I've just learned to be extremely patient.


Mine-ICON All important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?

ThePolyShop I don't have a formula. I think it varies for each item. I think I price the item by how difficult it was to make it. If it was easy, a low price, if it was hard and took hours to make, then a higher price! I price to what I feel is right. I go with my gut feelings.

Triple-Layered Chocolate Cake Polymer Clay Charm/Pendant
This makes me want to go make a cake… since I want to eat it!

Mine-ICON And of course, is there anything else you'd like to say to our "viewers at home"?

ThePolyShop I want to say, that if you think you can't do something, just try it. Maybe you won't like it, but you might just discover something else you like along the way!!
If you want to try selling stuff, you can use Zibbet. It's free, so it's worth a try!
I encourage all crafters, artists, and hobbyists to go with their heart! Make what you love! Don't listen to anyone else, and craft to your heart's content!

I love all my fans, every one of them, for taking the time to look at my things! I wouldn't be here without you!
So, Like my page on Facebook if you're interested in seeing Behind the Scenes looks at my shop, entering giveaways (which I have quite often), and getting exclusive deals for Facebook fans! I also have a site that I'm working on, which you can view right now (even though it isn't completely finished yet). My site is You can check out my older site as well, with all the blog posts.


Thank you, Abby, for taking the time to tell us your story.  Your work is phenomenal and incredibly detailed.  Any doll in any dollhouse would surely love these, and I certainly think the wearable items are just as awesome, considering holidays almost always center around food and family!  Who wouldn't want to wear a bit of their favorite?

Make sure to visit Abby at her Zibbet Shop, The Poly Shop!

Until next week everyone! Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Interview Series: Week 16 – Dancing Rainbows

I was so thrilled to see a response in my mailbox with only a few days to spare before today!  It meant I could continue with my interview series without too long an interruption, as I'm sure many of you saw that I did not post last week.  I probably should have posted at least something, even if it was a "Happy Independence Day!" for all of my USA readers.  I might just go back and do that… I'm not sure.

I hope everyone's 4th was fantastic.  I had a great one; got to see some family I have not seen in a long time, as well as meet some new additions to the family!  I had a chance to brag about my work, show off my website, and I have an anklet to make, which has inspired me to work more on anklets again – I've only ever done a few, and that section sits lonely and empty right now.

Thankfully my In-Box was not empty!  It took a little bit, since my email and my interviewee's email did not seem to want to communicate AT ALL.  Though I did later find out that my virus protection program ate all of the files and said "OMG VIRUS" when there's not a single threat to be had in either attachment that she tried to send me.  After I updated my software, it spat both attachments back out…
AFTER I'd already gotten the information I needed and had this post more than half finished. –_–;;  An hour of swearing at it didn't help either, so there was no use in that.

Instead, I concentrated on gathering the pictures for today's interview… and more than most, I had lots of trouble with them.  Swarovski Crystal is one of my own mediums, and I absolutely love the way it throws sparkle and rainbow-y goodness everywhere.  I've made a few sun-catchers in my time, though nothing nearly as elaborate as what you'll see here.  Then again, I guess that's why Adrienne named her shop Dancing Rainbows.

Adrienne sent me her interview, much like a few others, without the questions, and without the questionnaire format, so I'll let her tell her story – her way.


DancingRainbows I am the owner/operator and creator of Dancing Rainbows. 

I create “sparkling” sun-catchers using primarily Swarovski crystals.  Dancing rainbows also offers jewelry, purse jewelry, zipper  pulls and cell phone jewelry. 

I was raised in the military.  I was born in Birmingham, Alabama.  For the first 17 years of my life, “home” was my dad’s next assignment.   Our family, which includes an older sister, moved almost every three years.  By the time my dad retired from the air force, I had enrolled in nine different schools including three high schools, graduating in Tucson, Arizona.

Sun Catcher - "Pure Crystal" - Crystal Cluster
This is what says "Sun-Catcher" to me.. pure, clear, sparkling… I could stare at this for hours…

DancingRainbows I loved moving and was able to experience many different cultures.  I have considered myself very fortunate to have been stationed in England and Taiwan along with South Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia and finally Arizona.

My husband is retired from the Beverly hills fire department.  We’ve been married for 35 years.  I have two wonderful stepsons, two beautiful daughter’s-in-law and a granddaughter.

I have always been captivated by light refraction.  When I was little, I remember loving to play with puddles in the road; it was even better if there was a little bit of oil in the puddle.  The puddle would have the prettiest rainbows created by the oil. 

Sun Catcher - "Sun Flower"
I couldn't help it.. A SUN catcher… >.> *runs away*  This one is just dazzling, though, in all seriousness!

DancingRainbows My husband’s mother had the most exquisite almond shaped crystal hanging in their window.   Seeing the rainbows dancing around the room when the sun hit the crystal was mesmerizing.  Years later, that same crystal now hangs in our window and fondly smile every time I see it. 

My craft actually started because I saw a necklace I really liked.  I knew it was all Swarovski so I started doing a little homework, finding what I wanted to use.  I  wanted it to look just like the one I had seen.   I have always been fortunate enough to be able to figure out how to create or re-create what I see or want to do…you know, “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing”.  

Earrings "Crazy for Copper"
These jumped out at me, mostly for their simplicity.  I may not wear copper, but these are an example of what might change my mind…

DancingRainbows Once I re-created the necklace I had seen…adding my own touches, I “got the Swarovski bug”.  There were “so many colors, so little time” and many, many wonderfully shaped crystals.  Remembering the beautiful “family” crystal, I created a sun-catcher and hung it in the window.  I then thought, wow!! This looks great; I wonder if anyone would want these.  After searching the craft sites on the internet, I saw a reference to and joined in 2009. 

My typical day begins outdoors… either walking, feeding the wildlife, gardening or playing golf.    My crafting is usually in the evening hours and the next day, once the sun is right, I will spend time taking pictures.

Sun Catcher - September Birthstone Angel
As soon as I saw the birthstones, I had to put one up. September of course, seeing as that's when I was born ;)

DancingRainbows Photography is another passion of mine.  I have an additional shop on called “treasures from nature”.  Most of my photos are scenery and one of my most favorite subjects is lake Powell, AZ/Utah.  “treasures from nature” will be combining with “dancing rainbows” later this year.

Living in Arizona, we have sun, sun and more sun.   My photos depend on sun so my biggest stumbling block is when we get those “rare” cloudy days.

I don’t really have a formula for pricing except that I want to cover my costs and fees and maybe a little for my time.  I price everything very tightly because I would like to keep my creations affordable and not fall into the “luxury” category.   I absolutely love working with Swarovski because of the crystal varieties and because it is such a quality product.  

Sun Catcher "Salsa"
This is way too pretty to eat! …. Where did those chips go…?

DancingRainbows Whether it’s a song, a flower, or maybe even a colorful food item such as “salsa”, (i do have a sun catcher called Salsa) I see every day life as a potential creation.   It’s a great challenge to try and re-create it.  I love custom orders and get the biggest kick out of receiving photos of whole rooms, wall paper and furniture.  Since I also create jewelry, purse and cell phone jewelry and zipper pulls, I have received many photos of purses, clothes and material for matching.

I once had a customer who wanted something for a relative who loved to camp.  I suggested a pine tree…this is what I designed.  The more a customer can share, the better.  After all, it has to be “just right”.  Nothing less will do.

DancingRainbowsSpecialOrderforMinnerviewPine Tree
I couldn't think of anything else when I saw this photo.  It brings to mind the old Pine Barrens in New Jersey, or Stokes State Forest… Or now, my front yard! 

DancingRainbows I’m trying to “decorate the world, one suncatcher at a time”.

Shop Links:

Facebook Links:

Mine-ICON Thank you Adrienne, for sharing your story, and your sparkling work with us all!  Your sun-catchers are a true treasure, and obviously crafted with a pure love for what you do!  Be sure to visit Adrienne at Dancing Rainbows on Zibbet, or at the other links she's provided!