Saturday, January 28, 2012

So Southern Saturdays

Hi y'all and welcome to the first So Southern Saturdays!

Saturday will be a day to share the beautiful places, the savory foods, the amazing creativity, and the uniquely fun way of life from down here. I also have some amazing GIVEAWAYS planned! Starting, today!

I am the founder of the Southern Artisan Society on Etsy and it has grown by leaps and bounds. 
The spirit of the South lives in each remarkable craft they make by hand. I will be sharing with you the stories of some awesome southern artisans.

Which leads me to my first artisan, Kristi Baker, owner of The Nib and Quill. She makes, by hand, some of the most amazing journals and notebooks. They are truly beautiful handmade works of art that anyone would be blessed to give or receive. Actually, they are so well made and lovely, that they were selected to be featured in celebrity swag bags for events like the Academy Awards! Celebrities like Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love, He's Just Not That Into You) are jotting down their thoughts in her journals, now.

Guess what! I am happy to say, she is giving one away to my lucky readers! It is the Dominoes journal (1st image below), one of the styles featured in the celebrity swag bags.  You can "roll" like a celebrity if you win!  

The dominoes journal

Here are more designs you can find in her Etsy shop:
Romantic Rose Coptic Bound Journal

Coptic Bound Journal WIth Peacock Inspired Papers
Tall Blue and Yellow and Green Glittered Coptic Bound Journal

I had the opportunity to ask Kristi a few questions about her business and craft. I think you will enjoy reading about her adventures in crafting and owning a business.

How did your business adventure begin?
I have always been a bit high strung and I find that writing down my ideas, thoughts, and “issues” helpful to sleep at night. I tend to go through a ton of journals and frankly, I was getting tired of buying the same boring journals at the local bookstores. I decided to try my hand at my own books. Through trial and error, I taught myself how to Coptic bind. I marched down to the best local shop in town, The Purple Fern in Winchester, VA. The owner, Sarah Garman, encouraged me to open an Etsy shop.

Where do you make your handmade goods? 
I intended to have my art room in our basement with all my supplies safely out of the way of curious toddlers and tweens, but that just doesn’t make sense for me now. I have three children with the youngest being two. We are always in the kitchen and living room, so I brought everything upstairs. I have an antique armoire that secures everything I need, looks great, and keeps vintage on my mind. I do most of my work on our kitchen island. Working in the heart of the kitchen allows me to solicit the help of my kids, who like to run through the paper scraps on the floor and even do a little sanding from time to time.

A lot of makers love to listen to music while they work. Do you? And who is your favorite band? 
We are a family that truly loves music. Pandora is on the majority of the day with our stations. It is hard to pick a favorite, but you will hear Adele, Amy Winehouse, Avett Brothers, and Jack Johnson is always a morning favorite here. 

Sometimes, us makers get in a creative slump. How to you pull yourself out of those?
I keep things interesting with variety- it is the spice of life as they say, by moving from one craft project to another. I tend to have unfinished projects lying through out the house. I get bored easily, but I can always find inspiration for my journals by searching for old skeleton keys- I like to think about their history, who used them, what would they say if they could talk. I am really into vintage right now and I hope that it shows in my work.

Life as an artist is an adventure. If you could go on a trip, today, where would that be?
You are going to laugh! I want to go to on a Great White Shark Expedition. The crazy part is I am so terrified of sharks, but I have to see how truly large they are with my own eyes. I am not sure that I would be able to climb into the cage, but I will not be missing the boat!

Do you have any advice to share about running your own craft business online?
 Promote, Promote, Promote! I started promoting myself last year and have doubled my sales since then. Do not underestimate to power of twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc. There are a ton of sites out there. Find what works for you and start running! Artists are a collaborative group and you will find a community of people interested in supporting your artistic endeavors.

What is your best advice about pricing your items? 
I have a hard time with this. I thought about what I have paid for my journals in the past, and what I would pay for my handmade journals and went from there. I asked everyone that I knew what they would pay for it, researched prices on etsy and just found my price point from there. If you find that you are selling so fast you can’t keep up, then you should consider raising your prices a hair. It will be easier to raise your prices later, than have to reduce them. 

What inspires you to choose the colors and materials for a particular piece that you make? 
If I am going to use a skeleton key, I will take it with me when I am shopping for papers. I am drawn to the rustic, earthy colors, but the keys all have different color tones that time has created. I try to complement them. 

If you could pick one word to best describe your shop...what would that be?

To Enter To Win The Journal, let Me Know In The Comments That You have Completed At least 1 Of These Opportunies To Win:

1. Join my blog 

2. Join Kristi's blog

3. Visit Kristi's shop and let me know which journal is your favorite in the comments.

4. Follow Kristi on twitter @thenibandquill.

5. Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog.

5. LIKE The Nib and Quill page on FB

6. Follow me on Twitter @pammakesthings

7. LIKE my page on FB


A random winner will be drawn and announced next Saturday.

Good Luck!
Happy Making!


  1. I love Kristi's work! She made a owl journal for my daughter, and it is so gorgeous, she's afraid to write in it! Her talent is incredible. There is nothing to compare it to.

    1. I agree! It is exquisite work. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. I love those journals! SO GORGEOUS :) I am your newest follower!!

  3. Following Kristi's Blog via e-mail!

  4. My favorite journal is the Coptic Bound Journal with Peacock Inspired Papers. Just beautiful!

  5. I follow thenibandquill on Twitter via @ReleaseMeCreate!

  6. Tweeted!!/ReleaseMeCreate/status/163431973291958272

  7. Following you on Twitter via @ReleaseMeCreate!

  8. Following Nib and Quill on FB via @ReleaseMeCreate :)

  9. Replies
    1. Maureen, thanks for visiting and joining in the giveaway!

  10. I enjoyed reading this so much. Found it via FB! Hope you enjoyed your Southern Saturday :)

  11. This is so exciting. Thanks again Pam, for including my in your So Southern Saturdays! I can't wait to see who will be taking home one of my little journals~


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