Welcome to this week’s Etsy Shop Feature everyone! Today we’ll be introducing you all to the beautiful jewelry and accessories created by the talented sisters of 2SistersSewCrafty, Ann and Lynn! They were kind enough to answer some questions for us, and provide a beautiful bracelet and matching earrings set for us to giveaway!
Right now through Sept. 30th, you can use the coupon code LNLSPECIAL for 20% off any orders over $15 from 2SistersSewCrafty here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/2SistersSewCrafty
The interview is presented first, followed by the review, and the giveaway details are at the end of the post.
~Interview with Ann & Lynn of 2SistersSewCrafty~
Lissie: Hey there and hellos everyone! Today Lilly and I are chuffed and cheered to introduce you to these fantastic sisters, Ann and Lynn, from 2SistersSewCrafty!
Lilly: They are joining us here in the studio to answer some of our questions today about the beautiful jewelry and accessories they make for American Girl sized dolls like us.
Lissie: Afterwards, we’ll have two special guests: the beautiful Lady Scheherazade who will be modeling and reviewing a jewelry set by 2SistersSewCrafty, and our Girl of All Years Lindsey Grace who will tell us about the giveaway for a matching bracelet and earrings set these talented ladies have provided!
Lilly: But for now, please join me in welcoming Ms. Ann and Ms. Lynn to the L&L studio!
Lilly: Thanking you both for taking the time to come and answer our questions Ms. Ann and Ms. Lynn! I’ll get us going with the first question. How did you and your sister get started with making jewelry?
Ann: I seem to recall that I needed to restring a favorite piece of costume jewelry, so I purchased some supplies and did the repair. I made a few custom pieces for myself then I stashed my materials away.
Lynn: In my case, I needed a necklace for an outfit for a company dinner party. Ann suggested I make it myself and helped me pick out all the supplies. She showed me a few basic skills and then I got started. It turned out great. I even made another variation of the original design as well.
Examples of the different styles of bracelets in 2SistersSewCrafty's shop. The BoHo Silver Bracelet on the left would be perfect for Saige and the Gorgeous Golden Bracelet is a classy touch to any modern outfit.
Lissie: Necessity breeds great jewelry eh? I notice you both started with Big People sized jewelry. When did you guys decide to create jewelry for American Girl dolls?
Ann: I’ve always been a crafter and need some sort of creative outlet to offset my day job in IT. In early 2012 I purchased an incomplete Grecian Princess Costume and after rummaging around in my crafting supplies, I discovered I had some left over coin charms from a previous craft project that were a perfect match for the coins on the shoes. So I started by making an improved version of the necklace, by fixing the coins at intervals and using a different type of clasp to make it easier to fasten. After making the necklace, I decided to make a matching bracelet. I was pleased with the results and since I had enough materials left over to make another necklace/bracelet set, I made one set to sell. I’d already had a sale post running on the American Girl Playthings Message Board so I created a post in the Merriman’s Store section. It sold pretty much right away. At the same time I was collecting Julie’s items for my mini me, so I made some 70’s style jewelry similar to what I had worn. Again after making a set for my own doll, I made extras to sell. Later in 2012 the first leaks about Saige started to occur and I thought it might be fun to try making some southwest style jewelry sets specifically for Saige. I made up some sets and decided to offer them on eBay in January of 2013. They sold out almost immediately. After a few more sales on eBay, I convinced my sister that we should open an Etsy store together.
Lynn: Actually, it took a bit of arm twisting before I fully committed to making doll jewelry. I am glad I did because it is a great outlet for trying new techniques.
Ann: So that’s how 2SistersSewCrafty came to be.
Lissie: Hehehe! She twisted your arm but it was worth it right Ms. Lynn? Lilly won’t let me start a multimillion dollar corporation for dust bunnies no matter how much I twist hers.
Lilly: Really Lissie, you do know how to shoot for the moon right off the bat. That’s actually a really great way for 2SistersSewCrafty to start, by first making jewelry for your own dolls and making an extra to sell. Now that you have both been doing this for a while, what are some of your favorite pieces/styles to make?
Ann: What I enjoy making the most is cosplay, fantasy and steampunk pieces, but those items only appeal to a certain niche of customers. Next, I like making jewelry and accessories that complement the current Girl of the Year. That means I have a short time to focus on that specific doll and then I need to start thinking about the next doll. That keeps the creative process fresh and challenging.
Lynn: For me it is all about the colors. I like working with blues, greens, purples, reds, pinks and whites. I also enjoy making jewelry for the various holidays throughout the year. I do try to stretch myself and work with other colors and bead shapes I find interesting.
For your Girl of the Year doll, you can pick up these Saige Silver Feather Earring Dangles and Grace's Eiffel Tower Charm Earring Dangles.
Lilly: It seems like you both have separate interests, but that works to your advantage since you can both focus on different interests and customers instead of scrambling to cover all the bases separately.
Lissie: What I want to know is, I know you both create lots of types of jewelry pieces, but just focusing on your main 3 jewelry pieces, could you tell us what are some unique differences when it comes to making bracelets vs. necklaces vs. earrings?
Ann: Did you know that the size of an AG doll’s right wrist is slightly larger than the left wrist? I learned the hard way that I need to size bracelets for the right wrist. Also the older dolls tend to have fatter wrists than the newer dolls. So I have a particular doll I use for final fitting of bracelets to make sure they aren’t too small.
Lynn: You also have to be careful that the beads used in the bracelet don’t cause it to fit awkwardly on the wrist.
Ann: Necklaces are bit more forgiving, but if making a choker it’s important to have enough slack to fit over the knot at the back of the doll’s neck. Lately I’ve been making adjustable length necklaces which gives the buyer more options for use.
Lissie: NO!! It cannot be! All this time I never knew my right wrist was larger than my left! And to add insult onto injury I have fatter wrists because I’m older?
Lilly: Shhhhh Lissie, it’ll be alright. It’s more likely due to all that chocolate you keep eating nonstop.
Lissie: Pah! Next you’ll tell me exercise and a balanced diet are keys to health!
Lilly: I really like the idea of adjustable length necklaces! It would definitely give a necklace more versatility in which outfits it can be worn with as well. Ms. Ann and Ms. Lynn, you’ve already share with us some of the sizing difficulties in making AG jewelry, could you describe some of the other challenges when it comes to making doll scale jewelry that people don’t normally think of?
Ann: There are two challenges with making doll jewelry, especially for necklaces and bracelets. First and foremost, it’s important that all the components be the right scale. That means small chains, small clasps and small focal elements.
Lynn: Oh, absolutely. If you are careful, there are occasions when a slightly larger bead can be used to make a great accent in a necklace.
Ann: Many of the items I purchase have to be sourced from overseas so to avoid expensive mistakes, it’s important to know how big is “too big” when purchasing online.
Lynn: Sometimes we even combine our orders like when buying clasps and other standard findings.
Ann: The second challenge is figuring out what fastener to use that will look good and not be impossible to fasten. Personally I find most of the authentic AG bracelets to be difficult to fasten or else they don’t fit very well. Our bracelets and chokers all have magnet clasps. That makes them easy to put on and take off the doll. For longer necklaces we use a number of different clasp types, but always choose the kind that will be the easiest to fasten and unfasten for that particular necklace.
Aside from necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, 2SistersSewCrafty also has a variety of other accessories as well, such as the Crochet Snood Hair Cover, the Plain Laced Wrist Cuffs, and the Halloween Cute Skull Headband.
Lilly: Oh magnetic clasps are a fantastic idea! The clasps that come with the American Girl jewelry can be such a struggle to work sometimes, especially if they are tight like a choker.
Lissie: Size and scale are important after all! It’s so nice that you have both recognized the struggles of being a magnificent 18 inch rebellion general! We’re dolls, not Big People, even though we have Big People appetites.
Lilly: I really think that’s just you Lissie.
Lissie: Pah! The populace always finds fault with me! Now obviously there are two of you, hence the store name 2SistersSewCrafty. How do you and your sister collaborate on pieces or divide the work?
Ann: Normally we work independently. We each have different types of beads we like to work with so that results in very different looking pieces. When new outfits are released I’ll usually purchase a couple that I think will be good to make jewelry for. We’ll take turns having the outfit in our possession so that matched jewelry can be made. When a custom order comes in the buyer is usually asking “can you make item X but in Y colors.” Whoever made the original gets the custom order. About once a month, Lynn will come over and we will do the photography for all the pieces we’ve each completed.
Lynn: It starts with Ann and I going through her collection of doll clothes and selecting pieces to go with the finished jewelry pieces. Then I group and sequence the jewelry to the outfits. While Ann is taking the pictures, I give her a steady flow of jewelry and change the clothes and the dolls as necessary.
Ann: It’s really helpful to have Lynn to help dress/redress the dolls and keep track of which jewelry has been photographed. Each piece needs to have a picture of it on the doll and then a second picture of the piece with a small ruler so that the buyer can see the scale. It’s also really helpful to have a second set of eyes looking at the doll before I take pictures to make sure there isn’t a piece of hair sticking up or a piece of clothing that’s not laying right. And it’s nice to have a second opinion on which wig we are using since most of my Etsy models don’t have their wigs attached.
Lissie: That’s what General Washington like to hear! You two ladies have that independent spirit but work like a well oiled machine when you’re helping each other.
Lilly: I must agree with Lissie! I think it sounds like you and your sister have a perfect balance of working on your individual projects which keeps your stock different and unique, but still able to come together to combine efforts for the photographing work to keep things moving and in order. It really does sound like you both have your system down pat. During this process, do you guys have a favorite part of what do? How about least favorite?
Ann: Doing custom pieces are my absolute favorite thing to do. In addition to jewelry, I also make needle felted animals. I’ve reproduced mini versions of several different guinea pigs and hamsters. I absolutely love it when I get pictures back of the mini version next to the real pet.
Lynn: My favorite part is the design process. I like playing around with various combinations of colors, bead shapes and wire forms until I come up with something I like.
Ann: My least favorite? Misplacing things. More than once, I’ve bought things and because I was in a hurry didn’t put them away where they should have been. Then I have an idea of something I want to make and I can’t find that critical item. I’m still missing a package of 900 Japanese fringe beads that I distinctly remember putting some place so they would be easy to find again. Not!
Lynn: My least favorite part is resorting and putting away all the stuff I dug out once I have my final design.
Necklaces to suite every doll, from the dramatic Metallic Iris Finish Crystal Cascade Necklace, to the matching Grace's Opening Night Necklace, to the Teal and Crystal Necklace, to Holiday Silver Snowflake Necklace, perfect for the upcoming cold weather.
Lilly: I can imagine with working with such small scale beads and materials, misplacing things would really be a hassle, not to mention resorting everything once you have you final design!
Lissie: How did you completely miss that golden nugget of info on needles? Do sharp, pointy, dangerous objects have no place in your heart Lilly?
Lilly: Needle felted animals, Lissie. You’re using the needle to create cute, felted animals, not to wreck mayhem.
Lissie: Ah, but nothing is more chaotic to a stoic façade like a cute felted animal! Now I know you guys have told us already that you each have your own specific interests and focus when it comes to making these jewelry pieces, but do you guys ever get a creative block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Lynn: Yeah, that has happened to me. Sometimes while I am designing a piece of jewelry, I just cannot come up with a combination I really like. At that point, I find it helpful to walk away and come back later. Often a small adjustment in the design is all I need to give me the results I want.
Ann: I can’t say that’s ever happened to me. American Girl releases a new outfit pretty regularly and the requests for custom orders seem to come at a pretty regular frequency. I also create custom American Girl dolls and like to send them off to their new homes with a number of pieces of jewelry made specifically for them and the outfit they are wearing. If I am not in the mood to do jewelry, I also do needle felting, crochet, and when I can find the time, sewing.
Lilly: We’ve heard some parts of your design process but could you give us a brief walkthrough of the process that goes into making a custom piece?
Ann: Usually the buyer will tell us the style of the item they want as well as the major color. If I’m making the custom item, I pull out of my stash a number of different beads and spacers and work up three or four combinations. For bracelets and necklaces, I string them on heavy fishing line. For earrings I put the drops on long headpins and for hoops I have some special made, almost finished hoops I use that will give the buyer a good idea what the final product will look like. Then I take pictures and attach to a convo. Sometimes once the buyer sees the combinations, they change their mind and want something different. So I’ll do some more sample pieces. Once they see something they like, I’ll finish the piece and post it for sale as a reserved listing. Very occasionally I’ll have to source a specific component in order to make a special item. The nicest beads come from Japan and the Czech Republic and can have significant delivery lead times.
Lynn: I have only made a few custom pieces. Ann is the one who gets the information and passes it on to me. I then create a few samples and give them to Ann to show the customer. Once the customer makes their choice, I finish the piece and return it to Ann for processing.
And it's not just necklaces! There are earrings galore, like the Beaded Hoop Earring Dangles, the Green and Blue Butterfly, Star and Heart Earring Dangles, and the Blue Dangle Earrings.
Lilly: Oh wow! It sounds like you can go through quite a few trial pieces when coming up with the perfect custom piece your customer is looking for.
Lissie: You guys are so dedicated when it comes to creating these custom orders but you have a lot of really awesome personal designs that you guys came up with in the shop as well. What or who inspires your creativity when designing and making pieces?
Ann: My inspiration comes from many different places. I subscribe to beading magazines and online blogs that feature new types of beads and components. I attend local bead and mineral shows looking for new and interesting beads. Catalogs for clothing might showcase a jewelry item that I think might be fun to try and reproduce in doll form.
Lynn: I am the same. I get inspiration from the beading and wire jewelry magazines that I receive. I am also inspired by colors and bead shapes that I casually see at a craft store or elsewhere that catches my attention.
Ann: Once when my husband and I were attending a musical, I saw an advertisement for a jewelry store in the program that gave me an idea. At the end of the show, I made sure to take that program home with me. The next day I made a doll sized version of the featured necklace.
Lissie: You hear that Lilly? We need to go to craft shows too! I need my creative juices jump started.
Lilly: How about you start with learning the basics first Lissie? Now before we wrap up the interview, is there anything you both would like to share with the readers? Any advice?
Ann: Collecting American Girl dolls and making jewelry for them has changed my view of the world. Where ever I go I’m constantly looking for things that are doll scale or could be adapted for use with the dolls. Recently when I was taking a walk I saw some seed pods from an alder tree on the sidewalk and I thought “Wow, those would make perfect AG sized pinecones!” So, I picked some up and brought them home to be used for a future holiday display. So my advice is to keep your eyes and your mind open about adapting things for use with our dolls.
Lynn: I think making doll jewelry has allowed us to recapture some of the fun that we had doing crafts when we were growing up. We continue to encourage each other to expand our horizons by trying new projects and crafts.
On top of pendants and dramatic statement necklaces, there are also more simple chokers like the Dark Heishi Choker Necklace, and adjustable length necklaces such as the Faux Ruby Necklace.
Lissie: Wait wait wait! Don’t rush me Lilly! I’ve still got the most important question of all!
Lilly: Oh no…
Lissie: Oh yes! It’s time for the 1 Word Bonus! Ms Ann and Ms. Lynn, Ice Cream or ICEEs?
Ann: I scream for Ice Cream!
Lynn: Me, too!
Lilly: A big thank you to both of you for taking the time out of your busy day to join us here and answer our questions! You can visit their Etsy shop and see for yourself all the beautiful jewelry theses talented sisters have created here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/2SistersSewCrafty
Lissie: Don’t forget that right now though the end of the month on Sept. 30th, you can use the coupon code LNLSPECIAL to save 20% off any order over $15 from 2SistersSewCrafty so take advantage of these special deal and stock up on some beautiful accessories for your dolls!
Lilly: Now we’ll go to our lovely guest reviewer, the beautiful Lady Scheherazade, who will give you a closer look at a jewelry set by 2SistersSewCrafty!
Scheherazade: Thank you Lissie and Sawako Lilly! Hello everyone! I’m so thrilled to be here today and to show you all the stunning workmanship by the ladies of 2SistersSewCrafty!
Scheherazade: The set I am reviewing today was created by Ms. Ann and includes a necklace, bracelet, and 2 alternating sets of earrings. Let’s get started!
Scheherazade: Now before we get into looking at the actual items in the giveaway, I first wanted to give a little walkthrough of what the process of working with Ann to create the custom piece was like. After I explained to her a little of what I had in mind, she sent me multiple images of possible options for beads and connectors.
Scheherazade: After a color theme and general look was selected, she then made a trial piece and sent me photos of the work in process so I could decide if there were any changes before the pieces were finished.
Scheherazade: For example, I asked her to shorten and lengthen the necklaces to see which fit I preferred and would suit the outfit I had in mind best. It was a very easy process to work with her and all of her communication was prompt and helpful, with many photos. I enjoyed being involved in the custom process from the start to the finish, and it is probably one of the reasons I love the finished jewelry set so much.
Scheherazade: Now let's take a look at the finished pieces!
Scheherazade: I decided to go with the longer necklace in the end, because I felt it wouldn't get caught or fall behind the billowy neckline of the dress.
Scheherazade: Ann sent along a matching bracelet to compliment the necklace. Although I am wearing it here on my left hand, it fits my right hand as well.
Scheherazade: One of my favorite elements is that Ann was able to create two different sets of matching earrings to go with the necklace and bracelet. The one on the left gives the outfit a more modern, fresh look, and the one on the right really hearkens back to traditional, ancient Persian jewelry, which was the look I was hoping for.
Scheherazade: I asked Ann to create a jewelry set for me that would be a good fit with both my tanned vinyl and blue eyes, while at the same time in the style of ancient Persia where my story first takes place and I am thrilled that the result is exactly what I was looking for.
Scheherazade: Now let me take off the jewelry so you can get a closer look at the individual pieces.
Scheherazade: Starting with the 2 pairs of earrings, you can see the loops fit the standard AG gold post earrings. This is nice because you can mix and match the various posts American Girl provides to change up the look of the earrings depending on the outfit.
Scheherazade: One of the small design details that I didn't really think of, but that really enhances the final, overall look of the necklace is the size of the beads. The beads are largest at the center and get smaller the further out we go. It really makes the necklace look more authentic and less like a child's toy.
Scheherazade: The clasp for the necklace is a lobster clasp which works wonderfully since this is such a long necklace. There was no difficulty with putting on or taking it off.
Scheherazade: As for the bracelet, you can see that it is made in the same design as the necklace on a smaller scale.
Scheherazade: The clasp for the bracelet is magnetic, which I was really very grateful for because putting it on and taking it off was so simple, but the magnetic closure was strong enough to stay on despite the outfit changes and the tumble I took off the stairs.
Scheherazade: Now that you have seen some of Ann's meticulous, beautiful work up close, I will send you all over to our Girl of All Years, Lindsey Grace, so she can tell you all how you can win your own stunning bracelet/earrings set from 2SistersSewCrafty!
Lindsey: Thank you for that fantastic up close look Scheherazade! Well now that you've all been properly tempted by the talents of these two sisters, we're giving one lucky reader the chance to win their own matching Bracelet & Earrings set from 2SistersSewCrafty!
Lindsey: The bracelet is a shaggy bracelet, which is the most intensive to make because each of the bead components must be individually wire wrapped and then attached to the bracelet. This set would look great with a variety of outfits but it's particularly nice with Grace's Sightseeing outfit and Grace's City Outfit.
Lindsey: To enter, all you have to do is visit 2SistersSewCrafty's Etsy Shop and then comment below with what you favorite item in their shop is! There is no purchase necessary and anyone over the age of 13 is welcome to enter, even readers outside of the USA. If you are under the age of 13, please ask a parent or guardian to enter for you. Please don't forget to leave a name with you comment so we know who is entering.
Lindsey: Don't forget that if you see anything in the shop that just happens to jump into your cart, you can use the code LNLSPECIAL to save 20% off any order over $15. This code is good through the end of the month, Sept. 30th. Thank you and good luck everyone!
The giveaway will run from Sept. 14 - Sept. 24 (midnight Central USA time).
Visit 2SistersSewCrafty's Etsy Store by clicking here. Comment below with your favorite item in the shop. (theme, design, style, time period, etc.).
For bonus entries:
Favorite 2SistersSewCrafty's Etsy store. (include username in comment for verification)
"Like" Lissie & Lilly on Facebook (click here to go to the page) (include username in comment for verification)
Follow/Google+ this blog. (If you are already a follower/google+, just comment with your account. ^_^)
Share about this giveaway on social media (Facebook, Your Blog, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Pintrest, other forums, etc.) - Be sure to include the link(s) to your post(s) in your comment so we can verify where you shared.
*max 7 additional entries*
The winners will be announced in 2 weeks on Friday, September 25th on this post, so check back then! ^_^
*Use coupon code LNLSPECIAL to save 20% off any order over $15 from 2SistersSewCrafty. Code ends Sept. 30th.*