Friday, January 30, 2015

Photography classes for TEST Members!

T.E.S.T.'s own Chloé Norman of Augustly is photographer/instructor with GTA Photography Classes. She has worked with Etsy shop owners who are looking to improve their product shots. Now, GTA Photography is offering a TEST-member only photography workshop that would teach shop owners how to take great shots on their own:  
At GTA Photography Classes we offer a Photo 101 class that covers the basics of how to improve your shots using manual mode, and how to consider subject placement and background to get the best photos possible (More info at The information we cover would really benefit shop owners (and likely boost their sales!)
The Photo 101 session starting on Feb 11th is devoted to T.E.S.T. members only. Participants would receive 40% off the regular cost of the 4 week class if they register as a part of T.E.S.T. using promo code: TEST 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

T.E.S.T. Interview: KLEMYAbyKlink

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 71st in our series and is with Kalinka Essome of KLEMYAbyKlink.  

What brought you to open KlemyabyKlink on Etsy? Do you have design and arts in your background?

A friend of mine told me about Etsy, I checked out the website and I immediately wanted to be part of the Etsy community. It is amazing to have all these talented artists and designers selling their handmade products on the same platform. I have a master degree in Finance/Econometrics and work in Information Technology. I don't have a background in Art and Design.  

Born in Paris, raised in Cameroon and now in Toronto -- I can see that your lovely shop items reflect your Cameroon experience and expertise. Do you source the fabric in Cameroon? And do you design the fabric patterns yourself for a specific item, or does the fabric you select inspire the item?

Yes you're right. My designs are inspired by my African heritage. I want to promote African art, especially African textile. I source the fabric (mud cloth) in Mali, West African. The fabric that I choose mostly inspired my designs. I will partner up with a friend of mine, a designer, to design fabric patterns in the coming months. I am so excited about that collaboration.  

What is your design process and how do you select which item to create? Do they grow out of your own home needs or those of your friends and colleagues, or have you determined a particular market niche to focus on?

I always have a sketchbook on me everywhere I go. Every time that I have a idea, I draw it. Then I make different samples with different fabrics to try out different colors and texture associations till I get to the result that I am looking for. I design a lot of products for my friends and family and also for a particular market niche .  

Do you do your own sewing or are you working with others?

I do my own sewing but I am planning on working with seamstresses when my business will grow.

Do you have other outlets for your wares or are you focusing on on-line retail?

For now I am focusing on selling my products on line. I am currently working on opening an e-shop.

Check out the other items available from Kalinka in her KLEMYAbyKlink Etsy Shop!

You can also follow her on:
Instagram:  @klemyabyklink

Kalinka was interviewed by M.McLean of FlockofTeaCosy on January 28, 2015, in Toronto.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Play #etsymatch - Valentine's Day social media contest!

Valentine's Day is on its way. Maybe you're cozying up with your sweetie, to stay warm while you make your plans for a romantic night. Maybe a Galentine's Day celebration is more your style. But a $500 Etsy gift card is everyone's style! All you need to do to get in on the fun, is to check the #etsymatch page for the latest question, answer on Twitter with the hashtag #etsymatch. Then, sign up for your chance to win a $500 Etsy gift card!

We here at TEST, of course, have all your gift needs covered! We have everything from cards, to jewellery, to fashion and lingerie. Check out the TEST Love for Valentine's page.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Making Workshop!

A hands on workshop where you'll learn the Longstitch/Linkstitch binding!

Saturday February 7, 2015.  
10am - 1pm
Graven Feather, 906 Queen St. W. Toronto
$65, materials included.

Join TEST member Carolyn Eady of Sprouts Press and learn how to design and craft your own hand bound journal. This workshop will introduce you to the basic process of hand decorating paper for use as book covers, and then how to incorporate it into a hand bound book using the Longstitch Linkstitch technique. You will leave with your own hand crafted, one of a kind journal!

No previous art experience is required.
For more information and to register please visit:  

The Lennie Project Sewcial

Some final details and information for you:

WHAT: A Sewcial - a gathering co-hosted by TEST & 416Hustlers, open to all, to help make hats and cowls for Toronto's homeless, for The Lennie Project

WHEN: Saturday, January 24th, 12 - 5:30 pm. Drop in any time.

WHERE: the Hurndale room (in the basement) of Eastminster Church, 310 Danforth Ave, near Chester subway station

  • We can use donations of cozy knits or polar fleece in dark neutral colours. (Technical fabric questions should be posted on the event page). 
  • Sewing machines, scissors, power bars, extension cords are all useful
  • We will have some snacks, but snacks for sewers are also welcome! We plan some tea and cookies, so healthy stuff like fruit and water.
Yes! Not only can you help by collecting any donations you may have to offer, but we also need volunteers for cutting, sewing, welcoming volunteers, snack detail, and taking photos. Patterns are simple enough for beginners too. Anyone can help!

Other questions we've received:
Can I bring my baby and work with her in a baby carrier? Of course! (Though for insurance reasons, we cannot accommodate children. So young enough to carry or old enough to help is best.)
What's the minimum size for useful fabric scraps? Please direct fabric questions to the event page. In general, think about hats and cowls when judging sizes.
I was thinking of bringing fruit, crackers, hummus? Yes please!

Experienced sewers are particularly welcome so that we can make and donate as many hats and cowls as possible.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

UPDATE: The Lennie Project Sewing Bee Details, January 24

Thanks for all the great feedback! We've finalized our plans for the joint TEST/416Hustlers Sewing Bee for The Lennie Project. You're all invited to join us:

Saturday, January 24th, 12:30 - 5:30 pm at Eastminster Church basement, 310 Danforth Ave, Toronto

The Eastminster Church is at Danforth and Jackman Ave, one block west of Chester subway station. Please feel welcome to participate for any amount of time and any way you can. Fabric donations are welcome (cozy knits and polar fleece in dark neutral colours). We're thrilled that some members with serious sewing skills and machines can take part, but all skill levels are welcome. You can also help us tidy up at the end, if you prefer.

Specific questions about sewing machines and fabric donations should be directed to Nathalie-Roze.  See you soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Lennie Project & a TEST/416Hustler Sewing Bee!

This January has seen some bitter cold weather here in Toronto, with tragic consequences for two homeless men. One of our local Etsy sellers and Toronto Etsy Street Team members, Nathalie-Roze has been putting her sewing and upcycling skills to work to address the issue. She writes that,

"it's just so sad (& avoidable). Homelessness is a complex issue we have to address as a city, but there's a lot that we can do as individuals. For my part, I'm ramping up production re: our Make & Donate initiative (aka The Lennie Project). It's a small thing, but small acts matter & help people, and that's a positive thing. If you're in Toronto, I hope you might want to get involved - either by contributing sweaters, spreading the word online (or human-to-human!) or even hands-on helping with production (basic cutting & sewing). In the East-End Lady Marmalade in Leslieville & Pippins Tea Shop in the Beach, The Purple Purl and Lazy Daisy Cafe are serving as drop-off points for sweaters. In the West-End in the Annex CSI/Centre for Social Innovation, Beadle on Dundas W and Common Sort in Parkdale are serving as drop-off points for sweaters. We'll also be collecting your cozy cast-offs at the Winter UberSWAP OR   you can message me [through Nathalie-Roze  on Etsy], on Twitter (@NRandCo) or FB, etc. There are never too many sweaters or volunteers, so don't be shy!" 

She's also been involved in a number of sewing parties to make more hats and neck-warmers for the homeless and under-served residents of Toronto.

The Toronto Etsy Street Team is joining forces with 416Hustler to hold a sewing bee for The Lennie Project. We would like to invite you to join us on Saturday January 24, 2015. We are waiting to confirm a venue until we have an estimate of the number of expected participants, but we expect to be at a TTC-accessible site in the east end. The patterns are all designed to be simple enough for a beginner sewer. All skill levels and donations are welcome. The Lennie Project uses donated knits dark, neutral colours are best and polar fleece (which is particularly needed). Dark, neutral colours are best. Please bring any fabric and sweater donations you have to offer, sewing scissors and if possible, your reasonably small sewing machine.


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