Saturday, September 8, 2012

Shop of the Week: SparkleSM

Vacation is over and it's time to get back to my weekly features!

This week's featured wedding shop is SparkleSM. Stephanie makes beautiful sashes, bracelets and headbands. She is a great example of a bride working on a budget and using creativity to create the look of her dreams without breaking the bank. Sparkle SM was even featured on Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta! That is pretty awesome, I am inspired by her story below:

1. How did you first discover Etsy?
I've been a fan of Etsy since day one. Well, maybe not that early, but I've certainly a loyal and regular supporter of many artisans on the site for the last 7 or so years! I love the fact that so many different artists can come together and share such amazing handmade products!

2. Why did I decide to start SparkleSM?

 Great question with a complicated answer! :)
So back in 2010 I was knee deep in planning for my own wedding, convinced I would do everything DIY, or as much of it as I could. I designed and printed our save the dates, invitations, eventually designing floral arrangements, bouquets, favors, gift table, card holders, reception decor, you name it I tried my hand at it! Much of this was out of necessity to pull off the wedding of our dreams on a smaller than usual budget, and my mom and I had a blast doing so.

It didn't take me long to settle on a dress, and after visiting a local bridal store, I found the Marisa gown that I fell in love with. Following along in our creative spirit, I decided to have the dress custom made in China, and have it shipped to me 6 weeks later. I figured it was worth the $165 investment (with international shipping no less), and I was far from disappointed!

In this same bridal appointment, a member of the bridal team found the perfect statement bridal sash to put on my dress, only to have me flip around the back when she wasn't looking to see the $1,200 price tag! EEK! After taking a closer look at the design and style, I thought I have to be able to make this. My mom and I have always been super crafty and great sewers, this shouldn't be too hard!

So it was out of that idea that SparkleSM Bridal Sashes was born. I designed a custom one of a kind look for my ceremony and was able to do the same for the reception, incorporating a pop of color and overall look, and for a whole lot less than the cost of a dress change! :)

After we tooled around with several different styles, we decided to try our hand at making bridal sashes full time. And that's how we've grown and changed through today. Just a mother and daughter team with an idea and the drive to make a custom one-of-a-kind handmade item to be a part of your wedding!

3. Do you use special machinery? Explain your design process. 

All of our bridal sashes and custom belts are hand made in our respective dining rooms (best light in the house)! We hand bead and hand sew each specific design onto an organza backing (that's not seen, just used to hold the stones in place) and then each design is hand sewn onto a fabric of the bride's choice and color. From luxurious imported double-sided satins to the ever-popular trendy wide sheer organzas, the customization options are endless. When a bride orders from SparkleSM, she is receiving a sash that has been custom fit and designed with her in mind, offering craftsmanship and care that can be overlooked in the wedding process. We are always honored to be a part of that special day, even in just a small way, and with that in mind, will work to make that vision come true!

4. What does your workstation look like?

 Our workstations vacillate between super sparkly and messy to super clean! Since we use my home in Farmington, CT for bridal appointments and fittings, I often have to keep a cleaner workspace than my mom does, but it often looks like an explosion of color and shine. We joke to brides that we have a super tough job, looking at sparkles all day long! :) And that's one of the most fun aspects of the business, is working directly and personally with brides, to have them try on their dress in your home, look in the cheval mirror and see the look on their face when they've found THE bridal sash that makes their dress. Or even picking out styles for mother of the bride and bridesmaids dresses. It's a fun way to make someone like a maid of honor or a mom feel special on your big day, in a unique way.

Over the last year we've grown in both our process and abilities, had the honor of being shown in a segment of Say Yes To The Dress Atlanta (a show both my mom and I are completely in-love with), and worked with hundreds of amazing brides to design a look custom to their day to make them feel amazing.

I found even after my own moment passed that I could keep the spirit alive through SparkleSM Bridal Sashes, and share in that special moment of each of our brides' wedding days.

So come check us out at:

Websites: (our newly launched .com for those not as familiar with Etsy)



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shop of the Week: The Wedding Parlour

This week’s featured Etsy shop is The Wedding Parlour. Shirley’s vintage fascinators and headpieces are very glamorous, for that bride who wants touches of elegance and sophistication on her wedding day. The shop is based in the UK. Read about her love for creativity and where her inspiration comes from:

by theweddingparlour

How did you first discover Etsy? I discovered Etsy through my daughter Susan, she is a textile print designer and had a shop of her own for a while. She encouraged me to open a shop of my own.

Do you use special machinery? by hand? Explain your design process for 1 particular item.
I learned to sew at a very young age from my mother and over the years I have gone in many directions with my creative wanderlust! I absolutely adore what I am doing now, I love working with the fine silks and lace, vintage when I can. I have no special tools just my trusty sewing machine although each of the headpieces and bouquets are made almost entirely by hand. I hand cut and stitch all my flowers and then usually bead with pearls and crystals. I take my inspiration from vintage styles and I love the old Hollywood glamour feel!

What does your workstation look like? Do you work at home or have a separate space?
I do work from home in what I like to call a clean mess!! I have so much fabric and bits and bobs and not enough room but I know where everything is and so I work happily away!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Shop of the Week: Prima Paperie

When I was planning my destination wedding last year, I discovered I was blown away by all the possibilities! Hand painted champagne flutes to match my wedding colors? Matching vintage jewelry sets for my bridesmaids? Yes please! While my budget didn’t allow me to buy everything I found, I was inspired to create my own reception centerpieces at  a fraction of the cost.

This is why each week I will feature an Etsy shop, to showcase the talent and creativity that inspired me. This week I present Amanda West from Prima Paperie.  Get to know her and her shop a bit more with my Q&A below!

Chateau Gift Tags by PrimaPaperie

How did you first discover Etsy?
I first discovered Etsy through a creative friend of mine that also sells her beautiful handmade items. Once I found out about this amazing site, I immediately fell in love with all the handmade items that are showcased on Etsy.

Why did you decide to start a shop? Were you encouraged by something or someone?
I have always had a love for handmade items and loved creating things since I was a child. Etsy has so much to offer and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this unique handmade community. My husband serves in the US Navy and it is very difficult to find a new job every time we have to change duty stations. He has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and most importantly do what makes me happy. He saw what great joy I got out of creating paper goods and thought I had potential in selling my items. Once I showed him what Etsy was all about, he started encouraging me to open up an Etsy shop. After a few months of building up my inventory, I opened up Prima Paperie. 

How do you print your designs? do you use special machinery? by hand? briefly explain your design process for 1 particular item.
All of my vintage inspired paper goods are stamped and made by hand using different inking and blending techniques to give each item its own unique "antiqued" look. I have always been inspired by vintage items, so I thought it would be great to incorporate my love for vintage items into my unique paper goods. 

What does your workstation look like? Do you work at home or have a separate space?
My work station consists of a large Martha Stewart Craft Space table and an eight drawer flat file cabinet to store my overly abundant supply of paper and crafting items! I have my own little studio set up in my home, which I really enjoy! My sweet Shiba Inu (dog), Mia, loves to hang out with me and keep me company while I work. 

Amanda's work space

Friday, July 13, 2012

Etsy Treasury Feature

As an Etsy shop owner, I get so excited whenever one of my centerpieces is featured in an Etsy Treasury list. Treasury lists are created by Etsy members to highlight an item they like or want to promote. Any member can create a list, whether you are just browsing or have your own shop. Here is the latest treasury with my Orange lily hurricane vase centerpiece, created by Etsy member Kathy Lycka. Check out her shop at kathylyckastudio

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Unique and dramatic, that's the statement I think peacock design makes when I see it in weddings and parties. The purple and blues mix so well and the when not overdone, it looks amazing! Here are few highlights from my fellow Etsian shops, who really make it look fabulous.

by MaryElizabethArts

by shadow090109

by tallulahandbelle

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Etsy Feature: Wedding Invitations

Etsy is an amazing place to find invitations for your wedding. I have a soft spot for tropical themed invitations, and here are a few amazing ones I had to favorite! Ahh makes me want to head back to the Caribbean...

by ShannonFrezzaInvites  

by sproulliedesigns
by shadowboxerink

Sunday, June 3, 2012

For Your Orange Wedding...Or Just Because

Etsy Treasury lists make me happy. Not just because some feature my centerpieces, that is part of it, wink wink, but because these lists bring together such an array of handmade items... a dress, a decorative pillow to brighten your home, a hair flower to add the finishing touch to your wedding look. The possibilities on Etsy are amazing. I love to showcase Etsy talent, check out this Treasury list that Etsy seller TINKER created called "Orange Burst". What is a Treasury list? It's a list that any Etsy shop owner or buyer can create to showcase some of their favorite finds on Etsy.

 Click the link to see the : Orange Burst Treasury List

Orange Dress by Etsy shop xoUda
My Lily centerpiece by RoxyInspirations

Orange Throw Pillow by Etsy shop KainKain

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursdays: Wedding Vendors on Etsy

So each Thursday I will feature an ETSY shop owner that creates items for weddings! How will I choose these vendors? There will be no specific criteria, he or she just has to be a vendor that catches my eye somehow, whether it be their unique vision, beautiful colors..that something that makes me say "Ohhh, I would have bought that for my wedding!" I am inspired all the time with all the talent and creativity on Etsy, I could spend hours just browsing through all the shops.

Today I feature seller ANNACRAFTS

The Etsy shop is at

The seller is based in South Korea, I love the variety and the selection is quite large, almost 200 cake toppers and related items to choose from!

                                                                        Love this one!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Centerpieces

Here is a pic of our how our destination wedding centerpieces turned out, and a pic of the love of my life and I walking down the aisle after our beautiful ocean side ceremony.