Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Featured Artist: Heidi of Little Tadpole Designs

Say hello to the very sweet Heidi, owner of Little Tadpole Designs and fellow team member on both SAHM of Etsy, EtsyKids and Christian Artists Street Team (CAST) teams. She is offering you, my wonderful readers, 10% off any purchase from her shop when you use the coupon code BLOGLUV10.  This offer expires next Monday night, so you only have one week to get in on it. 

Custom Binky Leash
What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop?  My creations revolve mainly around babies and preschoolers right now… because that’s what my children are!  I have a 28 month old and an 8 month old and they are most definitely the inspiration behind all that I do.  Soon after my son was born, I made my first Cuddle Blankie and binky clip for him… and things just “took off” from there, pulling me along with it!  It is very exciting to me to look at a need my children have, and come up with a unique design for satisfying it that is adorable, functional, offers something “different” than the conventional, and is of high quality.  In addition to the blankies and soother clips, I make mitten clips, Snap Belts for preschoolers, fun infant-sized and pretty flower hair clippies, and one-of-a-kind crocheted dolls & toys.  I’ve already got a few NEW things “in the works” that I will be adding to my shop in the very near future.  I love variety… of materials, designs, ideas.  It’s what makes it fun!

Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today.  It seems that I’ve never really been “cut out” for the daily 9 to 5… but I never imagined that I’d be able to use my creative talents in the way the I am now able to thanks to Etsy.  It was always my husband and my plan that I would be a stay-at-home mom and I don’t miss “going to work” in the least!  I love making “stuff” though and I guess I do need some outlet for my creative energies that doesn’t involve the kiddos.  I still feel that my shop is really my hobby even though I spend a lot more time at it than I originally imagined.  Perhaps that is the difference when it comes to doing something you really love to do… it doesn’t seem like “work”!  That’s the way it is with being a mom, and with my little business (most of the time at least!). 
       Before we had children, we had our dog and cats and my first small business venture was pet-related and it was a very good endeavor that I was proud to pour my time and energy into until we moved to a new home.  That experience was what got my feet wet and really showed me that having the freedom to create my own job was the way I wanted to go.

Cuddle Blankie "Circles"
What is your vision for the future of your business?  I have pretty modest goals.  I’d like to be able to balance things so that when I’m inspired with a new design I will have the funds to buy what I need and continue the creative process without having to dip into our family budget.  Because I don’t have any other income, it really feels good being able to have my shop support itself.  Pretty much every sale goes directly back into getting what I need to make more items and I’m happy with that.  Of course, I wouldn’t mind having just a teensy bit of extra for myself… after all, I also love to SHOP on Etsy!!

Tell us about your typical day.  My day usually starts with getting my son breakfast and then seeing what is happening online while he eats.  Often I even have the freedom of both hands as my daughter is getting more and more able to entertain herself too!  Later in the day, during little miss’s naptime, I follow up on anything that I started in the morning.  My husband is always wonderful about being a helping hand with the little ones in the evenings so I can run to the post office or put an order together for mailing.  Then, after the youngsters are in bed, I can do some creating!  It’s really just a matter of fitting it in here and there where I can.  Some days I get lots done… some days not so much.  It’s a juggling act really!

Are you trained as an artist?  If yes, what degree(s) or certificates do you hold and where did you earn it/them? If no, how did you learn to make the items you offer in your shop?  I have to give most credit to my mom.  She taught me the basics of sewing and crochet when I was a little girl.  Most of it I used sparingly until after I got married and even then I kept it pretty basic.  I actually just picked up a crochet hook for the first time in years only a few months ago!  I’m no good at all at reading and following patterns… so I just try things that I think should work and usually they do!  Most of my family is pretty creative and isn’t afraid to try working with new materials or different styles of activities… and that helps to push me to experiment.  

Crocheted Shanice Doll
In what other areas of your life (or interests that you have) do you see your creativity shining through? (gardening, music, performing arts, writing, creative ‘foreign’ language expression etc.)  I love to paint.  I haven’t picked up a brush and palette for many years but I really want to get back to it.  Something else I really enjoy is building things.  I’m slowly building up the variety of tools I own and very much want to try making wood art (also known as Intarsia) like my Grandfather does.  I’d also like to try my hand at some simple furniture making.  I don’t really have any time to develop new skills right now because the kids are so young and my focus is on them… but as they grow up I hope we can learn some of these things together.

What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business?  There are so many things!   J  I really feel that there are so many thing that I don’t even know that I don’t know, ya know?  Really though, I’d like to continue working on my photography and internet skills.  I’ve gotten a lot of help from fellow Etsians but I know there is a LOT more that I can learn and play around with to have my shop be represented the very best that it can be. 

What steps are you taking to ensure your products follow applicable child safety laws?  Because I’m in Canada, we have similar but not exactly the same requirements that crafters of children’s items are faced with in the States with regards to labeling and testing finished products.  However, I believe strongly in the intent of the child safety laws on both sides of the border and because the items I make are first and foremost made for my own children, this is something I consider in every design.  I have checked with the companies that I buy from to ensure that the materials I am using either have been tested according to current Canadian & US standards and have the documentation to back that up, or are already exempt according to the legislation.  This satisfies the intent of the laws and I always make sure that if an item has small parts or may present a safety concern it comes with a caution to that effect.   I’m sure everyone will agree that children are too precious to take risks with and their safety should always be considered first.

Be sure to check her out in the following places on the web:

Keep it inspirational,

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