paper products

recycled paper

The Beautiful Art of Recycling: Cardboard

Found some interesting ideas on recycling old cardboard.

recycled paper cardboard sculpturesThese are cardboard sculptures of artist Chris Gilmour.  Visit his website to see more of his work.

recycled cardboard for kidsEco-friendly furniture, storage and play items for children at Green Lullaby.

recycled paperOld paper from magazines beautify walls via papernstitch.

Wreathe made out of cardboard via elise blaha.

Wall paper decorations made out of used tissue-paper cardboard via yuken teruya studio.


And the winner of the Katie Zick giveaway is Meg!  Congratulations!

Please subscribe to The Shopbug for up-coming giveaways, thanks!


Shop of the Week: Made By Girl

This is not the first time that we’re featuring Made By Girl. A lot of posts on this blog included items from the shop. Yes, she is a fave. Earlier this year, she was our Shop of the Month. This week is different because Jennifer herself answered the questions for our readers.

And I thought it fitting because there have been changes happening in the shop lately. Works from other talented artists are now available at the shop. Jen is also selling selected items from her home and wardrobe. Check out Jennifer’s Closet and get some quality second-hand items at a good price.

Made By Girl online store

Here’s the interview:


What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

I decided on MadeByGirl because it was catchy and I wanted to make it obvious that the products were madeby a girl…. (me).

How old is your shop?

A little over 2 years old.

greeting cards that Jennifer designed herself

What inspired you to start your own home business?

The ability to work from home seemed like an attractive idea to me, so i pursued it. I had a friend who was in the same industry & her success inspired me to really go ahead and take the leap of faith into starting my own. I’ve always loved Graphic Design, drawing and being creative…..designing my products keeps me doing all that and more.

her work station

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?

Marketing. It is very time consuming and can be very draining at times. You feel like your never quite done.

How did you get over it?

I just take breaks & then give myself time to reflect on what I’ve done and what I have to tackle next.

Please Name: the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop:

Travel, reading and spending time with my dogs at the dog park.

stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without:

My iPhone & my Lancome juicy tube lipgloss.

your favorite shops:

I have so many….Forever 21, Zara, West Elm, The Mac Store & many more….

your top 3 favorite picks from your shop:

ABC Love print

I love you, blogs & tea
and any one of the Customized Kids posters

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

Make sure you research the market for the item you want to sell. Get a decent website with some great photos of your products to start off with. Spend time building a blog which you can use to promote the items in your shop….I’ve learned that blogging is a terrific marketing tool!

Any message to your customers and the people who support you?

Thank you for the kind words &; the ongoing support of my blog & business!



And now for my picks:

I’m sure that many of you have visited Made By Girl but if you haven’t yet, I recommend for you to drop by. It’s filled with lots of loveable things. She also has one of the coolest blogs in the blogosphere. Check it out here.

Thank you so much Jennifer for taking part. Continue to inspire other budding artists/entrepreneurs!

Shop of the Week: Papermash

Our Shop of the Week is another new shop from Tea for Joy blogger turned entrepreneur, Lynne Robinson. My favorite segment from her blog is the Wednesday Workspace series where she features different styles of work desks.

This isn’t the first time I’m talking about Papermash, as you can see from this last month’s post. Today, let’s get to meet the lady behind Papermashand find out how it started.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

Unfortunately I do not have one creative idea when it comes to names. I’m always the person in the pub quiz team who does not have one single suggestion for a team name. I asked a writer friend for a suggestion and he said ‘Papermash’ straight away. He actually was joking, but I liked it, and I thought it was easy to remember.

How old is your shop?

I started working on it in January, but it only launched one month ago.

What inspired you to start your own home business?

I have felt really restricted by working full-time for someone else for quite a few years, even though I have loved every job I have ever had. A few years ago I did a course on how to set up a fashion label – another idea I had – but it’s hard to find small-scale manufacturers in the UK, and it would involve a large financial investment. I’ve always loved design, so I thought I could start with paper goods, as my initial investment could be small. I have seen such beautiful paper goods ever since I started reading blogs – so it was easy for me to identify suppliers I wanted to buy from. I’m an accountant, but I love to be creative, so running my own small business is a perfect outlet for me.

the lovely Lynne Robinson

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?

The first web designer I had (who was recommended by a friend) was absolutely useless. I could go on and on about various issues, but he never answered his phone or returned my calls and it drove me crazy, and took a few days to reply to emails. According to him, he has to screen his calls because all of his customers think their project is the most important. Em, yes… But my website was due to launch in two days and I still had only had a (terrible) first draft – and he still did not return one phone call. I had to walk away from him, even though he then offered me a discount – it set me back two months.

How did you get over it?

I was lucky enough to find a great web designer (who I just found online) who understood what I wanted and was able to turn the whole thing round in a few weeks. I decided to use Shopify, which is a back-end solution package, so the web designer just had to do the front end design, which is reasonably straightforward.

Lynne’s work desk

Please Name:

the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop. . .

I’m still working four days a week, so with that, my business and my blog , I don’t have too much free time. I love going to car boot sales and farmers’ markets – and going to the cinema by myself in the afternoon. I’m afraid I often run away from the chaos that is my flat – and sneak off to the cinema instead.

her work desk essentials

stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without. . .

I’m sorry to say that I’m carrying round Valium and water – I hate travelling on the Tube as I’m really claustrophobic when it gets stuck in tunnels. I’ve never had to take it, but I feel a bit more reassured that I have it with me – and my phobia is much better than it used to be. I’ve been really blessed that I haven’t had to commute on the Tube for three years, and I avoid it as much as possible. I’m not the kind of girl who carries round a hairbrush or lipstick – although I should smarten up a bit.

your favorite shops. . .

I love Top Shop and Reiss for clothes – and Jigsaw for bags and shoes, even though I have bought hardly any clothes over the last few years. I have seen this bag on Etsy and I have to have it – so I’m saving up for that, and also for a belt from Rachel’s Etsy shop.

your top 3 favorite picks from your shop. . .

I love all of the tapes – especially this yellow one and this typewriter tape. I have lots more tapes coming in soon.

I also love the wine tags, which have been really popular.

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

At the risk of sounding really boring, everyone should have a really thorough business plan. How many items do you need to sell to make the salary you want? Can you even send out that many orders without employing another member of staff? Have you included things like wastage, press samples, tax, printer toner etc in your business plan? ‘Goal seek’ (an Excel tool) is your friend….does anyone else know what that is…?

Being professional goes a long way. One supplier I have been dealing with has offered me free postage on my first order to test the market, free press samples, and has assured me that they always have 1,000 in stock – although I’m not sure if their product is right for the UK market, I’m going to test their product as I have been impressed by their professionalism. I am much more likely to order from them that someone who takes a week to respond to my query.

Any message to your customers and the people who support you?

Thank you to everyone who has made a helped me so far! And thanks to my friend Gemma who introduced me to Daily Candy about a year ago – I’ve just been featured in their London edition and it’s had a huge effect on sales. I’m offering a small discount to Shopbug readers until the end of this month – 10% if you enter ‘shopbug’ at checkout.

Thanks Rachel for featuring my shop!

~*~*~*~I love beautiful paper so I love most of the items in the shop. These are my favorites:

polaroid cards and thank-you card

wine tags and gift tags

notebooks and journals

Thank you Lynne for being part of the Shop of the Week series. And thank you very much for offering a discount. If you haven’t yet visited Papermash, then please, hop over there now and see what goodies you can get for yourself or as a gift for someone special. Don’t forget to enter the word ‘shopbug’ on your checkout to enjoy the 10% discount (only until the end of this month).

Shop of the Week: Oiseaux and Oiseauxnoir

Shelley Kommers wrote to me and introduced me to her online shop a few weeks ago. If you are a book lover, then you can’t possibly resist what her store offers. Bookplates to preserve our treasured books!

If you happen to like rummaging around second hand bookstores, they do sell lots of hardbound books that have lost their original covers. Shelley’s beautifully illustrated bookplates are the perfect way to bring these books to new life! I think children will absolutely love them! So without further ado, let’s get to know more of Oiseaux!

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?
I love birds, and “oiseaux” happens to be my favorite word, it has always made me smile.
Justify Full
How old is your shop?
I started Oiseaux on the last day of november, 2007. It’s almost two years old.

What inspired you to start your own home business?
I made some bookplates for my friend’s daughter and they were such a hit that I thought: I wonder if anyone would buy these? I’d been lurking around etsy for awhile, looking at how people listed and photographed their items, so I’d already done my homework. One evening I decided to open up shop: I uploaded a banner and listed nine or ten different designs. I woke up the following morning to my first sale.

the artist behind Oiseaux

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?
Thankfully my only challenge has been riding the waves between being insanely busy and little bits of boring drought.

How did you get over it?
During the slow times I enjoy being away from my computer and my printer! I focus on making art.

Please Name:

The things you do when you’re not busy in your shop. . .
I spend time with my brilliant family: my husband and four year old daughter; I make art, do a bit of design, go for long walks, and putter in the garden. I have a second shop, OiseauxNoir, where I sell prints of my artwork, and I’m concentrating on creating new work for some gallery shows.

Shelley calls this as Oiseaux’s Command Center

Stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without. . .
My iphone, snacks and juice for my daughter, keys. Boring mom stuff, I wish I could list more glamorous things… but alas.

Your favorite shops. . .
Anthropologie, eBay (for vintage books), and way too many etsy shops to mention. That’s one of the perils of having a shop on etsy, I’m always wading through gobs of beautiful things before I can get down to business!

Your top 3 favorite picks from your shop. . .

Bluebird bookplates,
this happens to be one of my favorites too!Seaside mixed set of blank bookplates,
personalized Ring Around the Rosie print

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

Don’t be afraid to go for it! Honestly. I had no idea where opening up my shop would take me, but it has literally saved me during this crazy economy. (Surprise, huh?)

Any message to your customers and the people who support you?
I’m lucky to have been featured on some wonderful blogs, and that’s where so much of my business has come from. To all of you who have supported me: thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Shelley Kommers


Now, for my faves, I’ve chosen a few from Oiseaux and some beautiful Mixed Media Collage Art from her other shop, OiseauxNoir.


Owl and Moon

The 100 Year Old Bird

I would like to thank Shelley Kommers for doing this in Q&A. Thank you for sharing your art with us. I’m inviting all my readers to please check out the Etsy shops, Oiseaux and OiseauxNoir. Shelley also has a website and a blog that will surely be worth the visit.

Whimsical Hand Printed Cards from Enjoleuse

These greeting cards are drawn and handpainted by artist and graphic designer Kimberley Pelkey. Whimsical, playful and colorful, they are sure to melt and charm anyone’s heart! Visit Enjoleuse at this weekend and enjoy free worldwide shipping.

Shop of the Week: English Muffin Shop

Our Shop of the Week is called The English Muffin Shop which I’m proud to say is the first Etsy store that I bought from. The shop offers fun and educational prints for both kids and kids at heart. Let’s get to know more about The English Muffin Shop and its lovely owner, Miss Bess Callard.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

I was inspired to start my business because of my experiences teaching English to young students here in Vienna, Austria. I often use flashcards as a vocabulary aid and couldn’t find really cute ones to replace the cards I was using, so I decided to design my own! Unfortunately, they have not yet been produced, but the name English Muffin came out of the original idea of designing English teaching resources – food is my second love after design, so including the word muffin in my company name just made sense!

Read the complete interview at Beautiful Handmade blog.

Shop of the Week: Whimsical Works

It is inspiring to see the beginning of a new shop so when I found out that Wendy of The Sicefamily was opening her shop, I asked her if she wanted to do this Q&A for Shop of the Week, and I’m so glad that she said yes.
This was supposed to be scheduled for last week but I lost my internet connection around that time, so finally we can get to know more about this newborn shop called Whimsical Works.

What is the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

I wrote a children’s book for a uni project back in 1994, and I named the fictional publisher of the book, Whimsical Productions. When making my cards and drawings for my shop I remembered the name, and thought it would go well with my artwork for magical, dreamlike stories.

How old is your shop?

New-born! The official launch was on Saturday, August 1, 2009. After all the planning and making over the last few months, it was exciting to actually see the gallery for my shop at the side of my blog!

Greeting Card Sets

What inspired you?

My husband’s Aunty, cousin and her children saw a production of Alice in Wonderland , and the photos of the play on their blogs were so vibrant that I thought the colours and characters would look effective on a quilt (which Aunty Ann is making at the moment!). Then I had an idea to draw the characters. It surprised me that I could draw because I thought I had lost the skill over the years.

Alice in Wonderland character drawings

Around this time, I was admiring my friend Kirsteen’s handmade cards and this lead me to thinking I could also make handmade cards inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The cards represent the colours, characters and settings from the Alice in Wonderland Disney film, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, The Mad Hatter’s Tea-Party and Alice in the Long Hall.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum, The Mad Hatter’s Tea-Party and Alice in the Long Hall

I always have some sort of project going on in my head (usually for my work as a Kindergarten/Pre-Primary teacher), and I had been in awe of people with blogs having their own etsy shops that can reach a worldwide audience. Once I had made a few cards and drawn all the characters from Alice in Wonderland, I thought, what better place to sell them but etsy, which is a very low-risk business venture.

Where do you create most of the items in your shop?

I have an antique writing desk on which to make my cards and other craft projects, although I made the Wizard of Oz cards on our large dining table to enable me to create en masse! I tend to create my drawings on my lap in front of the TV, or when I’m a passenger in the car!

her antique desk

What was the toughest challenge so far?

The trickiest thing so far was to find a supplier for card blanks, envelopes and resealable plastic bags.

How did you get over it?

Glued myself to the internet , and googled different tags until I found the suppliers I needed, Castle Cards and Desk Top Papers.

tags in a box

The things you do when not in your shop?

1. Blogging
2. Teaching and caring for Kindergarten/Pre-primary children
3. Watching Foxtel
4. Spending quality time with family and friends
5. Reading

Wendy’s husband and son

Stuff inside your bag you won’t leave home without.

My purse, and my miessence lipstick and lipbalm. I have a post on my blog about what is in my bag, but these are the absolute ESSENTIAL items.

a peek in her bag

What are your favourite shops?

I could write a book about this! I’ll stick to internet shops. My favourites are the black apple (must be everyone’s favourite I think!), Georgia Mars (stunning paintings of mushrooms), Sadie Olive (vintage goods, pretty stationery items), Patchwork Harmony (pretty, vintage and shabby chic decor items), Little Byrd Vintage (vintage goods), Teresa K Sheeley (French chic tea towels and pillow cases).

I haven’t bought from most of these shops yet, but I certainly think about it! The place I spend the most money is our miessence shop (you can reach it from our blog, www. I have a real ‘thing’ about using organic skin care products, and these products are beautiful.

What are your top three favourite picks from your shop?
There are only four items in the Whimsical Works shop at the moment, so I love them all equally! Actually, it’s not in the shop yet, but keep an eye out for my drawing of the Queen of Hearts. I am probably most attached to her because she was the first drawing I did to get me started on my Whimsical Works adventure. Plus, she made me obsessed with hearts, and crowns!

Queen of Hearts collection

What tips do you have for home-based business entrepreneurs like you?

I’m not exactly the guru on this, but things I have realised are:

  • Believe in yourself and your products.
  • Only sell an item if it’s difficult for you to part with it!
  • Try to find all your suppliers on the internet, so you don’t have to drive all over the city all the time!

Alice in Wonderland Greeting Card Set


Any messages to those who support you?

Thank you to the shop owners mentioned above for inspiring me to have the confidence to give this a go. Also thank you to my blog readers, and the bloggers on my blog roll, for your comments and well wishes. And, of course, thank you to my hubby and son, for putting up with my blogging and crafting obsessions!


Find my shop at
Follow my blog at We’d love to have you!



And now for my personal picks:
I really LOVE the Mat Hatter’s Tea Party cards collection.

I think these cards are perfect for inviting friends over for tea, don’t you think?

Congratulations Wendy and Best Wishes to Whimsical Works!