This is the personal blog of Michelle Cali, creator of Wine Coutures and John8eight. Here she plans to get overly personal with you by giving details of her creative process along with rants and raves about her two favorite subjects- alcohol and weddings. She will write often, (not sure if that's a promise or a threat), so please visit as much as you can tolerate. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I've Moved

To all my wonderful friends and dedicated stalkers,

I wish to inform you that Wine Coutures has now moved. Yes, you heard me right. The movers came, packed up everything and moved it across cyberspace to my new home:

So, come on over and check out my new pad. Tell me what you think and if you like what you see, sign up and stay connected.

See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seeing Peacock

As many of you may have noticed, my store is slowly evolving in look and feel. I am moving away from the classic old world wine cellar look and moving toward a more graphic fashion style. My symbol throughout will be birds- mainly peacocks.

The peacock image really goes well with the concept of my line. I’m not just making glass markers but really creating an additional accessory that adds more character to a party. This plays along the idea of a peacock always looking as if completely -if not overly- accessorized and always ready for some party that you weren’t invited to. Flamboyant elegance. That would be the way most people would describe a peacock and it is the way I describe my company.

I’m currently working on my website. Next month it should have a wonderful new, upbeat look. My Etsy store will be getting more improvements as well.

Keep watching as this peacock shakes its tail feathers!

All Smiles

It has been a very nice four weeks despite myself.

I, along with my husband, helped a relative of his clean out her ex husband's house after his passing last month. She herself is elderly and was completely overwhelmed at the task  of clean the house of a man that was a pack rat. So, we offered our services to her. She insisted on paying us, but we refused. So, she told us if there is anything we find that we like, go ahead and take it.

Well, apparently her ex was a crazy crafter like myself. I found a small beading loom and some build your own miniature doll house craft kits. But the biggest find was his jewelry and leather making supplies. I came home with two boxes of jewelry parts, pieces, broken jewelry, leather scraps, carving patterns, magazines, tools and trinkets. I'm in heaven right now trying to go through everything. 

I am always amazed that just when I am running low on things that I need I just send out a little prayer and suddenly out of no where all I needed and more is supplied to me. I strongly believe that when you are doing what God intended, all the universe will bend to your need.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Naughty Secretary Club

Every artist has something to inspire them. It is that one thing you can turn to when your creativity is in a funk and you need that special something to get the juices going again. (And no, I don't mean KY Jelly).

One of the things I turn to when I need a creative pick me up is Jennifer Perkin's blog. She is the magical brain behind the Naughty Secretary Club and one of the coolist bloggers on the web. Her pictures are awesome and her craft projects make you want to put away the fine china and break out the play-do and glue gun.

If you are not already a stalker of her site, you should be. Here is the link for you:


I have been denied by another Etsy team yet again. I was told my pictures were not good enough. My pictures are fine! I have sells. People have done interviews with me and have blogged about my work. Yet my work is not good enough for them. FINE!

Yes, I'm being a little kid about it and stomping my feet in a fit of anger. I believe that is allowed ever now and then. Rejection is never easy to take no matter how many times it has happened to you. (And trust me, I've been rejected a lot.)

I won't give the name of the Etsy Team because I don't want you all sending hate mail to them or anything. I'm just blowing off some steam here. I'm sure they are a lovely group of people and I wish them the very best success.

But that doesn't stop me from throwing some virtual poop at them. . . (ready, aim, fire!). . . ah, now I'm starting to feel better already!

What Am I?

Okay, I've been told by artist that what I do is not art but a craft. I've been told by crafters that what I do is not a craft but an art. So what the hell am I? A crafter or an artist? I don't do cookie-cutter designs. I take my work seriously. My soul purpose is to create beauty through the medium of what is considered trash. My muse is wine. So what does that make me?
In a perfect would their would be no label for what I or any creative person does. But we do not live in a perfect world and frankly, I wouldn't mind having a label if it truly described me and my work. So, what am I?

I found the quote below as i was researching the difference between artist and crafter:

"Our art is the work of a small minority composed of educated persons, fully conscious of their aim of producing beauty, and distinguished from the great body of workmen by that aim."

- William Morris, father of England's Arts & Crafts Movement

I feel myself more aligned with this thought then any other. But does my work fit into the Art & Craft Movement? Does my work fit into any movement at all? This is a question I will continue to try to answer through my work.

My customers and admirers call my work 'beautiful'. If Beauty is a movement, would I then have a place for my work to call home? Maybe. We will see. . .

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Use The Muse IV

Just entered the Use The Muse IV contest sponsored by

I learned about the contect from joining their fan page on Facebook. I've never participated in a contest like this before. It should be a lot of fun.
If you haven't already entered, I suggest you do. You never know, your design might be the winner. Here is the link to order your kit and to learn more about the contest:
The picture above if from their website. It shows this year's kit, minus the secret 'muse'. I can't wait to get my kit! Wish me luck!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Princess Project

It's Prom time again!

Soon our evenings will be filled with limos and hummers packed to the brim with screaming giddy teenagers as they make their way to the party of the year! There is so much to plan and do- find a date, find a dress, accessories, hair, makeup, shoes!

However, there are girls in our country who don't get a chance to enjoy the trills and chills that come with getting ready for prom. They will not be able to afford the designer dresses are the fancy necklace.

That is one of the reasons why we are donating to The Princess Project.

The Princess Project gives free dresses and accessories to girls who otherwise would not be able to afford these items for prom.

My niece will be donating some of her party dresses and I will be creating a few fashion necklaces to donate as well.

Feel free to visit their website to learn more about The Princess Project and how you can help:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Etsy Haters

Okay this post is coming out of a situation that one of my fellow sellers from Team EcoEtsy experienced. She was interviewed by CNN in what at first seemed like a story about being a stay at home mom with an at-home business. It turned out to be yet another attempt by CNN to bash Esty. This time they were focusing one Etsy's Quit Your Day Job Series.

Now, there is no guarantee that when you open a business on Etsy that shortly after you will be able to quit your job and make tons of money off the crafts you make. Etsy never made that promise. . . and really, there is no company in the world that can make that promise. With any job- selling Mary Kay or Avon, auctioning baseball cards on Ebay or selling knitted finger puppets on Etsy- some people really can succeed and make a decent living doing it, while many others will not. That's just a natural fact of life.

I have never seen the Etsy's QYDJ series as any sort of scheme or false advertisement. The series is set up to help inspire and encourage. Each person that is interviewed offers advice that they themselves have applied to their business as well as warnings on the mistakes they made along with tips to avoid the same mistakes.

Why the CNN seems intent on bashing Etsy lately, I do not understand. No online company is perfect. If they looked at Amazon, Ebay, ArtFire and other online outlets for sellers they would find flaws in those sites too. You just can't please all of the people all of the time.

Hopefully the interview that was done will be overshadowed by more pressing and more important stories like the relief efforts in Haiti or our health plan. Let's focus on real issues rather then spending our time trying to use lies to smear the name of a decent company.

My Mentor

(All designs above made by Florie Amster and all rights retained by her)

As you know, I was so disappointed this passed year for not being accepted into the One of a Kind Show. If I forgot to tell you before, one of the reasons I was so excited about wanting to attend was because I would have the chance to see my mentor, Florie Amster.

I had met Florie Amster when I won a free jewelry making lesson through the Beth El silent auction fundraiser they were doing. When I attended the class at her home, I was just overwhelmed at the beauty that filled her house. Her showroom of jewelry creations made me feel like a kid walking into a candy store.
What really impressed me about Mrs. Amster was her warm spirit. She was very open and honest about her business and encouraged questions. She allowed me to help her as she geared up for another season of craft shows. The extra money I earned was great, but that was nothing compared to the amount of skills and business insight I learned from her.

Thank you Florie Amster, where ever you are!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another Great Online Review of Wine Coutures

I just got another great review from a very fabulous blog. *Squeal* The review is from Kattia Gordon of Aleximani Events. Below is the link to the article.

And while you are over there, feel free to look around the rest of her site for wedding help and inspiring ideas.

A big thank you to Kattia Gordan for the review!

Some Eye Candy from My Workbench

I've been busy lately creating some new pieces. Several will hopeful go to an art gallery that is interested in carrying my wine charms. Others are being donated this week to the American Liver Foundation Connecticut Chapter for their silent auction. Still there are some going to the Mountain View High School Grad Night silent auction. And finally a fresh batch is soon to be up for sell at my Etsy store. Here are just a few items hot off the workbench:

Okay Let's Recap...

Now looking back at 2009 I can see where I've made some mistakes and took some good advice. I wish to share my thought with you in hopes that some of what I have to say will help others with their business:

First off, get yourself a system! I wish I had created and kept a better system of keeping track of my spending and income. I am regretting not having such a system in place now that I have to go through this pile of receipts and invoices, trying to get things organized in some readable fashion.

Don't be afraid to change the look of your business. I started my business with a very classy elegant look, but soon realized that I just couldn't put up with that image for long. It just wasn't me. So now I've moved to a more modern look with a bit of a dark side that I hope to show more of in 2010.

Donate. It's good for the soul. I have gotten so much pleasure from donating my items, my time and my money to a worth cause that I love. Pick something you are passionate about and do what you can to show your support. They will be thankful and so will your soul.

You can't please all of the people all of the time, so let people know it. I've learned that if I can't produce an item the way people want it, I just tell them the honest truth. But with that truth I also offer my best possible option and allow them to make the decision on what they want to do next.

Make sure you always have enough supplies. And this rule goes for shipping materials as well. I just hate having to stop my work just to go a buy something that I though I already had on hand. Save yourself the gas and the trouble. Make sure you have everything you need on hand.

Life doesn't live itself. So you need to remember to leave the office and get out there and enjoy the fruits of your labor. The work will still be there when you get back.

Realize that it won't work- and then do it anyway! I am happy that I took the leap in opening my business. Against all better judgement I did what all logic told me would fail. And guess what? I'm still here. Funny thing about following your dreams- dreams doesn't care about logic.