Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Meet Janet of Magartsypartycrafts:

Who are you?
I am a very Christ-centered spiritual person who went to the University of Florida for Art and married my high school sweetie. We raised three competitive swimmers and for 18 years I became a die-hard YMCA volunteer who decided to integrate my artwork into my life and to never be a "starving artist". I did everything from designing meet t-shirts, staging large fundraisers and parties, cooking food by myself for large swim meets or 500 triathletes for our Triathlons as well as trucking up to Ohio and Penn State for Big 10's always bringing "artwork" to work on wherever I was. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune blood disorder and suffered through rounds of chemo, IVIG and steroid therapies for 15 years until I had blood allergy testing that showed I was allergic to soy. Once I discovered how many items and medications I was ingesting that had soy in it, from gum to chocolate to bread, and I eliminated it from my diet.It was almost miraculous how I recovered! Now I bake my own bread and tortillas, dehydrate my fruits, make my own beef jerky and cook from scratch. So Life is Grand!

What do you create?
I work in a variety of mediums and have been blessed with the ability to create in most of them. On Etsy, I create one of a kind custom Wedding and Beach Wedding Seashell Bouquets, Boutonnieres and Decor to Table Numbers, Tags and Programs as well Stained Glass and Mosaic pieces. I had no idea when I started selling on Etsy last year that I would be specializing in Wedding and Beach Wedding items. I just learned over the years to never say no to a request even if I have not made it before. So I say yes to all requests and then figure out how to create them. Replying to Alchemy Requests really helped me to make unique artwork for customers looking for specific items and then I started to build up a portfolio of pieces that I could list on Etsy and then things really took off.

How did you come about your store name?
I honestly had no idea what I was going to sell on Etsy when I joined, so just came up with a name that combined what I do Art - Party - Crafts. Now that I have found my niche, I would love to rename my store, but alas...that is against Etsy policy.

What is your favorite tool?
Other than my computer, my Dremel drill press. You should have seen me drilling shells with my battery powered Riobi. A fly on the wall would have had many laughs. For a $40 investment I turned my Dremel tool into a drill press and my life became nirvana. Now I can drill anything and everything.

What is your favorite material to work with?
I love to work with glass and tile, especially when I tumble them in my rock tumbler and then incorporate them in my large pieces. I have done some large stained glass crosses for some local churches combining watercolored paper under the glass and then finished the perimeter with irregular tumbled glass. This combination of unlikely materials into a completed piece lets me create at a very organic and uncontrived level which allows me to freelance with my materials.

What is your life like outside of Etsy?
I have 3 grown children, 2 grand babes and one due any day. My life circles around them, but I work at my art 14 hours a day and love the intertwining of working from home allows me. My grand babes are 9 months and 2 1/2 and they think nothing of sitting on the floor in my Etsy room playing with shells and sea urchins, raffia and ribbon or a container of tumbled glass. They would pick sitting on my lap while I list on Etsy over playing with toys. I brought my own kids up that way since I have always worked from home with them at my feet, or while sitting at their swim meets.
What is your favorite feature on Etsy?
My favorite feature on Etsy is the ability to rearrange the items in your shop. It allows you to arrange your items and show them in their best light instead of in the order they were listed.

What do you enjoy "window shopping" on Etsy on your free time?
I love to see the creativity and ingenuity of other artists, so I tend to click on unique items and it always teaches me something new that I can use in my own work. It is really a quick education and really broadens your artistic mind.

Is there on online "tool" that you like to use?
I find that the best selling feature is timely and immediate response to all questions and my camera is the perfect tool to keep customers up to date on the creation of their order, for color selection, and to send them a photo of the finished product before shipping. This really builds a good personal relationship that usually leads to more orders, as well.

What other interests do you have?
My husband and I are avid bikers, but not the kind that wears matching sports attire or does wheelies on a Harley. We are proud beach cruiser bikers with me sporting a big fat seat and a basket. We take 10-12 mile rides on the weekends along our Legacy bike trails or along the beaches and we love it.

Where in Florida do you live?
I have lived in Sarasota since age 10, that's all I am going to tell you. Long enough. I always wanted to move back to Massachusetts where I lived as a young child, but now I am so thankful I live here in this beautiful state. I have grown to love the casual lifestyle and the warm temperatures as well as the best beaches in Florida.

Could you recommend a fun activity near your Fl home that other members might enjoy?
We have awesome boating and fishing, so we go often and catch
dinner when we can. It is not that unusual for us to go out in my father in law's boat and come back with a mackerel or grouper and cook it up for dinner. When we can we head to the Keys for lobster season and catch our share of mahi-mahi.

Funny story, this summer we were fishing a reef and I got a bite and started to reel it in. All of a sudden I had a tug and could not get the yellow tail I hooked up to the surface. Everyone in the boat teased me that I had snagged the bottom and I started to believe it, especially when my line came up with no hook. About an hour later, my husband struggled with a huge grouper. We got him in the boat and into the ice chest. When he checked on him a few minutes later, my husband was, like , you are not going to believe this...he just spit up your yellow tail! There it was with my line and hook still in it's mouth. What are the chances of that in open water in the Atlantic!

What are some other sites to find out more about you and your art?
I have had an Ebay store for a few years and have 4,563 sales and 100% positive feedback. I am very proud of that.

Where would you go if you had a time machine and why?
 I would go to Heaven and sit down with God and ask him the 100 questions I have stored up in my heart...

What is the craziest thing you have ever done? 
More dangerous than crazy. When I was 16 I was riding my bike on a busy road in a bikini with Dr. Sholl's shoes in one hand and a Slurpee in the other. A driver waved me across the road and a drunk driver pulled around her and hit me. My head hit the windshield, my foot went through the drivers window and then I skidded down the road after hitting my head on the pavement. If you don't think that would make you a spiritual person, nothing will.


  1. What a lovely interview. I just love your creations-so natural and elegant at the same time.
    That accident is just terrible. How very scary it must have been for you. The Lord was with you that day for sure!

  2. Great interview Janet and so nice to meet you. I love your creations! Just beautiful!!!

  3. I luv the pics of your sea shells .. You are very talented. I live in Lake City and other than crocheting with plastic, collecting sea shells is my next favorite thing to do. My collection grows everytime I visit Ponte Vedre, Jacksonville and St Augustine beaches.

  4. Janet is a great person and a very dear friend. This interview shows her in all her craziness and is a true reflection of her and her life. Awesome job and wonderful interview!

  5. Nice interview Janet, I love your items!

  6. Beautiful work! WOW. I love the natural look and gorgeous presentation. What talent! I posted the link to your article on my facebook fan page. GO TEAM FEST!!