Friday, February 4, 2011

Mr.Gnome's Etsy Shop ~ Interview and Giveaway!

This Giveaway is Now Closed.

      I came across this super cute Etsy shop, Mr. Gnome's owned by Kim Franklin, and found some super cute bracelets, as I looked on I came to find that these bracelets were so unique because they were made from up-cycled book pages! I then had to contact the store owner to find out more about her and her shop. I love that fact that she bases her Crafting Art by renewing old things, especially the ones bound for the landfills. I asked Kim if she’d be willing to do an interview, so that all of you would have a chance to get to know her and more about her crafting and she agreed.

atlas necklace

1. Please tell us a little about yourself, what you do in life. Why do you do what you do?

I graduated from college last spring with two BA’s in Media Arts Honors (video & photography) as well as Communications, but I have always been passionate about crafting and the environment, so I blended them and now work on Up-cycled crafting. I did not want to go into a 9-5 job, so I am working on building my up-cycled craft work as well as doing video jobs on the side for small eco-friendly business that need web-videos.

2. What inspires you? When do you get most excited?

I am honestly inspired by everything! I have the blessing and curse of having ideas flow out of my brain at the speed of light all day long, I have problems keeping up. I get very inspired when I am hiking or camping as well as walking through thrift and antique stores, I really love items that have a history.


3. How did you decide to start a handmade business? What made you decide to sell on Etsy?

I had always had a passion for crafts since I was a child. My sister and I would go to my grandma’s house before and after school because my parents both worked full time. And at her house after homework was done it was craft time, my favorite time of the day. In high school and college, I had to give up my crafting because of studying or band practice. I think that time period of giving it up really made me discover how much it needed to be in my life. I heard about Etsy on someone’s craft blog one night and had a profile set up by the next morning. I want to do what I am passionate about and show others that you can do what you love, it does take long hours and hard work, but I will take that any day over work I hate.

4. How did you come up with the name to your shop?

Well, my boyfriend of 3 years (Dave) and I LOVE to hike, camp, backpack, and roadtrip. He was actually my very first date and my very first boyfriend and we liked to have art/craft nights together. He had this gnome that he had long before I met him that he painted with a girl he went on a date with. It was horrible looking all green with a dark brown face, so we repainted him and goodness he is dapper now. I just had to name my store after him, because he comes on every single road trip with us! Ode to Mr. Gnome.

Kim, and her boyfriend Dave, their dog, and Mr. Gnome.
5. What kinds of items do you currently sell?

When I first started off on Etsy I noticed that most people sold items that were made with new materials, and most of them just made mass produced and duplicated handmade items. My rule of thumb that I am very strict with it ONLY use second hand items, or items found in dumpsters that are bound for the landfill. So every single item is one of a kind, every single book bead is different. I really like the fact that my customers are getting unique handmade ONE OF A KIND items that no one else will have, I think that makes them so much more special and each item has a history, that's beautiful to me. I currently sell paper roses, book bead jewelry, memo holders, cork boards, picture frames, cards etc.

6. Out of your own work, is there a favorite or a series that is a favorite? What makes it/them your favorite?

My favorites by far are the Book Beads. Every person says “oh my goodness that is so much work”... yes it is very time consuming to gather the books from local thrift store dumpsters each week, go through and tear out the pages, then hand cut roll and coat each bead. But I LOVE BOOK BEADING! I love how every single bead is different, and the beads literally tell a story, it’s such a rewarding process when I am done to know that the book will live on and not be in a landfill, that puts a smile on my face.


7. What was the strangest find you used to create your unique up-cycled art?

Strangest was probably a jewelry holder for a craft show... I am so hardcore with myself on using only second hand items, even for my displays at craft shows and fairs. So I went to the thrift store trying to find something to hang my jewelry. I ended up using an old metal CD tower; it sits in a wood bottom and had wood dowels for the necklaces. The bracelets hang on the rack itself. Everyone is always like omg is that’s a CD rack, and I smile and say yep!

8. Do you consider yourself an artist, or a crafter?

What came first, the chicken or the egg.... I really have gone back and forth ever this question since I started video and photography work in college. Here is what I boil it down to. I think in my mind that art is something you hang on a wall or set on a shelf, craft is something you use, such as a scarf, purse, or stuffed animal. But the lines can get fuzzy and indeed something can be both. I am a both for sure.

9. Where do you do your best thinking?

I pretty much think non-stop about business and craft ideas all day long. But I seem to get really awesome ideas when I am in thrift or antique stores... I guess shapes colors and textures get my motor going.

10. How would you describe your design style? Are there any textures or colors that you are drawn to work with?

I used to be anti color, but my sister is the rainbow queen, she kind of got me hooked. I honestly love neon colors and bright colorful patterns. But I do know that not everyone loves it, so I do a very good variety so everyone gets a little something they love.
baby paper bead bracelet

11. How has social networking helped your business? What have you found works best for your store?

I am still learning, in social networking the best thing is to get yourself out there. I am currently on Facebook, twitter, and I have a blog. I am quickly learning that you have to sow your seeds in order to get rewards, so I like to say I am sowing my seeds right now. I am building amazing content on my blog of free craft tutorials, upcycled artist interviews, and giveaways. What I am noticing thus far is that consistency is key, get down a system and maintain. For sure get a blog, my blog has given me lots of connections to folks in the craft environment. Comment comment comment on blogs that have similar interests, you will learn for both the bad and good blogs for sure!

12. What has been your best seller so far?

Um, nothing has really taken off as of yet, a little of each thing has sold, so I am thinking that it will just take a while for my store to become more recognized in the craft and upcycled craft community. Rome was not built in a day, anything worthwhile takes time, and I am currently in the building stage.

baby paper bead bracelet
13. Are there items you would eventually like to add to your shop?

OMG I would love love love, did I say love to decoupage large furniture in the future when I have a studio and more storage space. I would love to work on chairs, rocking chairs, tables, large shelving etc.

14. Do you have any long-term goals for your shop?

Etsy shop or not, I would like to be a full time crafter/artist until I die. This takes time to build up, I am not sure if I will be on Etsy forever, but I would like to write books, teach classes, sell my work, show art galleries. I am also working on creating an Upcycled craft community called Trashy Crafter; I have so much in the works. Right now things are slow, but I can see the momentum building as I look forward, the future looks awesome!

15. Do you have a funny or interesting story you’d like to share?

I just want to say to everyone out there, FOLLOW YOUR PASSION, I don’t care how crazy it is, and I don’t care how many people say you’re nuts to do that, if you love it do it. You can figure out ways to make money from it, you do not have to go to work somewhere you hate until you die. I am making it happen, and mark my words. 5 years from now I will be looking back at my hard work and countless hours of doing what I love and you will see nothing short of a smile on my face. Do start listening to Dan Miller; he is such an inspirational person to listen to. He has a podcast called “48 Days To The Work That You Love”, yes it may sound cheesy, but I swear if you try it, the excitement and hope you get from his podcast is priceless!


       I really love the story behind Kim’s Book Bead Bracelets. Not only did she do the interview, but Kim also sent me two Book Bead Bracelets to try out for myself! (Thanks, Kim that was so sweet of you.) They came just in time for my birthday (what am awesome bonus). I have to say that I love them both, one is black and white and the other is full of specs of color which were made from pages of some books headed to the landfill, and I even wore them the whole day that my family went shopping for my birthday gift. I thought for sure that the bracelet would fall off because the clasp is just made of a bead and the string that the beads are placed on, but neither of them did. The clasp was made so well they just held perfectly. Even my boys liked them, and Royce and Giovonnie both complemented me on how pretty they were. Gannon also liked them so much when I took them off he grabbed them, and wanted me to put them on him. Then he tried to eat the colored one, saying it was candy. I saved it from his mouth, and after it dried out you couldn’t even tell that he tried to eat it. I wouldn’t suggest letting a toddler or a baby play it, and to keep it out of water as much as possible because they are made from paper.

       Now for the best part...any of my followers who make a purchase at Mr. Gnome’s Etsy Shop will receive 10% off during the 1st week of this blog post; just type in the code mrgnomeblog when you checkout (this code will be active until Feb 14). Plus, Kim has been so gracious to offer one of my readers a chance to win one of her beautiful Book Bead Bracelets.

Rules for Entry :

Please do not enter under more then one blog, and/or name. (Thank you). This giveaway will end Feb. 12, 2011 at 11:55pm (central time). The winner will be chosen by a widget.

Mandatory: comment once; with your comment leave your name that you follow under, and email or another way to contact you if you win.

1. Become a public follower of my blog LittleBirdSeeds via GFC (google friends connect).
2.  Visit Mr. Gnome's Etsy Shop and tell me what other Up-cycled item you like from Kim's shop.

Extra Entries: leave one comment for each extra entry; with your comment leave your name that you follow under, and email or another way to contact you if you win.

1. Like me on my LittleBirdSeeds Face Book page. (+ 1 entry)
come back and comment, leave the name you liked her under

2. Like Mr. Gnome's on FaceBook. (+ 1 entry)
come back and comment, leave the name you liked her under

3. Visit Mr. Gnome's Blog, and become a follower.
comment on her page that you found her by the way of LittleBirdSeeds, come back and leave a comment here that you did

4. Post about the Mr.Gnome's Esty Shop giveaway on your Face Book page. (+ 1 entry)
come back and comment, leave a link to your post (if you don't leave the link, it will not count and I will delete the entry).

5. Post about my giveaway on your blog. (+1 entry)
come back and comment, leave the link to your post (if you don't leave the link, it will not count and I will delete the entry).


  1. Beautiful bracelet!!
    kkfoster35 at msn dot com

    ~Mommy's Moments~

  2. sorry I did not do it all in one entry ~
    I love this bracelet! I am a new GFC follower and I love the Romantic Upcycled Sheet Music Candle holder with red candle from her etsy shop

    kkfoster35 at msn dot com

  3. I like LittleBirdSeeds Face Book page.
    Karen Hargis Foster
    kkfoster35 at msn dot com

  4. I follow you on GFC

  5. I like the Walk In The Woods

  6. I Like LittleBirdSeeds Face Book page.

    Elizabeth Kusak Duncan

  7. I Like Mr. Gnome's on FaceBook.

    Elizabeth Kusak Duncan

  8. New GFC follower under AEK and I like the Charlie Brown upcycled message board.

    angiedkelly at gmail dot com

  9. New follower of Gnome's blog via GFC and left comment.

    angiedkelly at gmail dot com

  10. I follow on GFC
    email RonaleeDuncan{at}aol{dot}com



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