Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is a flash giveaway?

I took part in a very interesting type of giveaway on Facebook tonight.  It's called a Flash Giveaway.  It was hosted by several different blogs with Facebook fan pages.  To participate, you needed to "Like" the host's fan page.  For each giveaway, the host page will post the name of the person/company giving away the prize and a link to their Facebook fan page.  You will be instructed to go to that fan page and "like" them and then come back and leave a comment on the host's post (say that 10 times fast!) saying that you did it.  One of the hosts also required that you leave some love (comment) on the prize donor's fan page.  The post usually lists a time limit of 4-5 minutes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our Latest Work

I finally caught up with most of our new creations and got them listed in our Etsy shop.  Thanks to Handmadeology, I found out about Whale Shark Websites and their tool to take a treasury created on Etsy and turn it into HTML code so you can embed it into your website or blog.  This is sooooo much easier than trying to add all those pictures individually and arrange them (pretty much impossible with Blogger).  After visiting the Gem Faire over the weekend, we have some great new supplies and are working on new offerings.  The hubby is working on a project that will really blow your mind, so stay tuned...

'Our Latest Shop Listings' by Native&Pilgrim

Tatted Star in a Ho...

Native American Etc...

Harvest Tatted Rose...

Black and Silver Ne...

Native American Dre...

Tatted Roses Beaded...

Upcycled Flower Cli...

Bracelet and Earrin...

Snow Bunny White Cr...

Custom Native Ameri...

Tatted Beaded Star ...

Green and Black Nec...

Red Teardrop Earrin...

Yellow Tatted Rose ...

Etched Native Ameri...

Upcycled Plastic Be...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Friends, Sunburn, and a Sale

 Here is my table setup at the farmer's market.  I could tell the difference with people as they walked by.  More people stopped to look and even more slowed down.  When the items were all just laying on the table last week, people hardly glanced at it.  Sometimes I wonder if other people think the way I do.  It's hard not to wonder, "How do you know you don't want to buy any of my stuff if you won't even take a decent look at it?"

The unexpected star of the show turned out to be the toddler sized BYU football jersey that was on a wooden doll form.  Since it was game day, I thought it would be fun.  The display for the necklaces was good, but I definitely need to get at least one more thing to display them on so they aren't all crowded together.  The displays for the earrings were great and caught the attention of a lot of people.  My one sale for the day was a pair of earrings.

Once again, I went unprepared for the blazing sun and came home with an intense sunburn.  My hubby has the lovely dark skin but I am horribly white and attract sunburns even when outside for just a few minutes.

Tatted Stars and Preparing for Live Sales

I went crazy for awhile with the roses. Now I'm going crazy for these star earrings out of Lyn Morton's book.  They are loads of fun and easy enough for me to do without always having to look at the pattern.
I've done them in a few colors now and wore a pair of gray star earrings to work.  Some people wondered if having tatted jewelry meant having to wash it regularly to keep it looking good.  Has anyone else had this question before?

We're going to try selling in person again today.  This is probably the last weekend for the free farmer's market opportunity, so we might as well take advantage of it.  I've already signed up to sell at the boutique at work in November and this gives me great practice.  The hubby and I found a necklace display rack on clearance and I bought some earring cards and necklace cards so all our jewelry would have a more professional look.  I'll try to snap a picture of how we look with our setup since I'm excited at how much better it will be.  Last Saturday, everything was just laying on the table.  This time, I have necklaces hanging up and other various ways of displaying the earrings and etched glass items.  My Cricut man did some original artwork and cut some beautiful vinyl decals.  We still haven't figured out how to best display those.  Let me know if you have any advice in that area.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Favorite Necklace Yet

I got brave and tried working with seed beads in my tatting.  I used gray upholstery thread and tatted up the same Lyn Morton necklace pattern I did previously.  With the smaller thread, it took much longer than before.  Adding the beads to the picots on the chains wasn't too bad.
I wanted to give it a very different look, so I made some roses like I had tatted before.  In trying to add beads to the picots between the rings, I managed to break the tip of my Lacis .40 mm crochet hook (sound of me sobbing here).  Despite the setback, I was able to find some other creative ways to get the thread through the beads and finish the project.  Because I deliberately made the necklace to fit a normal person's neck rather than my chubby one, I won't be keeping it.  I love how it turned out, though, and now I'm going to have to make one for myself.  It was pretty fun to combine elements from two different patterns and have it turn out like this.  When I try being adventurous with my cooking, it never turns out well :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking to Increase Your Blog Following?

When your blog is new, it seems like you're never going to build any sort of following.  You start with a few friends and family members and hope that more people will find you and decide to follow along.  As time goes by, you find yourself wondering if anyone is out there reading what you write.  Fortunately, there are other blogs out there who try to help other blogs out.  They hold "Linky Parties" where you can add a little thumbnail picture and link to your blog or blog post.  You may have seen these on blogs where they ask you to submit your tutorials or items you made recently.  One of my favorite blogs is Tools Are For Women Too!  where one of the regular features is a linky party for sellers to promote their items and another linky party for craft projects and blogs.  Those linky parties have increased the number of people viewing items in my Etsy shop as well as the number of people looking at and commenting on my craft project posts on this blog.

It's a Utah Thing

Living it Utah is an interesting experience if you're a crafter.  Because this area has a big emphasis on family, many moms stay home to raise their children.  I've noticed that it is common to share their creative talents by making things for their families and even items to sell.  With all this amazing creativity, there are a lot of craft shows, fairs, and boutiques in our area, all throughout the year.  We also have places like The Quilted Bear that are like a handicraft shopping mall.

While opportunities to sell your handmade items are plentiful in Utah, getting people to buy them is a bit of a challenge.  I first noticed this shortly after I moved here from Oregon, got married, and started having children.  The friend who taught me how to tat used to sell some of her tatting and crocheting.  Local people always seemed unwilling to pay much for it, so she and a few other friends sent their creations to Elko, Nevada, where they had reserved space in a craft mall.  They were much more successful selling things out of state.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Selling In Person

This weekend, the hubby and I decided to try selling at a local farmer's market.  This particular one is hosted in the parking lot of a store and there is no cost to participate.  We set up and had fun talking to people, but we didn't end up selling anything.

This experience reminded me of why I had decided to sell online in the first place.
  • My Etsy shop is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without me having to be there to watch it.
  • I can list one item for sale or 100 items.  No need to have a huge inventory....just list what I have made so far or take custom orders.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taking Care of Myself

The Firm Boot Camp 101 KitIn case you've been wondering why I've been quiet the last few days, don't worry.  I'm keeping busy with some different things.  First, many deadlines came together at the same time at work, so I've been very focused there.  Second, I won a one month membership to a fitness boot camp and I decided it was just the kick start I needed.  Too many years at a desk job have led to some serious weight gain and I've been scared about the more serious health consequences of being overweight and out of shape.  So far, getting up and exercising early has helped me to stay mentally clear and make it to the end of the work day.  I'll be back to regular blog posts soon enough...I just needed to get my schedule figured out.  I'm also looking for any Etsy shop owners who would like to share their experiences on this blog.  It's so much better when we can learn from others! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Giveaway Winner and Weekend Happenings

Before I launch into announcing the winner of my Giving is Living giveaway, I wanted to show off the jewelry I made over the weekend.  I also had fun attending a Women's Expo where I mingled with some other businesses and even got some fun freebies to play with.  My son's girlfriend really liked my upcycled flowers, so I gave her one to wear around the college campus.

Back to the giveaway...

This giveaway was so much fun that I'm already putting together some fun things so I can do another one soon.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Sometimes you stumble across a great resource and you just have to share it with anyone who will listen....
"Handmadeology  exists for the purpose of teaching artists how to successfully sell their handmade goods online." For those selling on Etsy (or other online sites), this blog is a gold mine!  In addition to a forum where you can discuss your online business, they have an "Ask the Etsy Expert" feature.
Some of the really helpful features I have found there are:
 Handmadeology also has crafty ideas, shares and comments on Etsy news, and shares Etsy treasuries.  I've learned a lot from their site and I hope their news and advice can help you, too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Productive Weekend

Our efforts this weekend resulted in adding several new listings to our shop...hooray!  The torso display figure we purchased after our adventure at Craft Lake City is working out great.  It's nice to give the photos a more professional look.  In addition to the new listings, I took some new photos for a few of the listings already in the shop. 

I've been getting more and more comments and compliments on the upcycled necklace and flower, so I made some more over the weekend to put in the shop. The photos turned out better than I expected and showed the glassy look of the flowers that people seem to like.

A few weeks ago, a friend gave me some gorgeous white yarn and I played with some patterns to create a muffler/neck scarf out of it.  I loved it so much that I made two more for the shop as well.  Keeping an item for myself is not only rewarding, but leads to personal advertising for our business.   I was reading an Etsy blog article about a jewelry maker and one of her marketing tactics is to always wear at least one piece of her jewelry when going out.  This seems to be a win-win to me!

It's nice to see the giveaway doing well.  What I learned from the previous giveaway was to give people at least one entry option that didn't require them to commit to following or subscribing to my blog or "Like"ing my Facebook fan page and to give people more time to enter.  I've enjoyed the comments people are leaving so far and this makes me feel like doing this again some time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cricut Man

My hubby had me teach him how to upload designs to the Cricut and then get them cut out.  He comes up with wonderful designs and it's those designs that helped us decide to get Sure Cuts a Lot so we could do our own thing.  He's been using it a lot this weekend and has made some wonderful new things for our shop and for me.  I'm more into doing the vinyl decals to put on things, so he made me this cute one that I put on my memo board at work.  He also made a Native American themed name sign that can go on a desk or on the wall.  I'm excited he made one for me that will serve as the sample for our shop listing.

His preference is using the vinyl to create masks for etching glass and he went all out.  This glass block he etched looks amazing!  I wish the photos portrayed it better.  The cool thing is you can see the design from the front or the back.  When the light hits the etching, it's truly inspiring.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Giving is Living - Giveaway (Closed)

They say it is better to give than to receive and I believe it.  At my day job, I am preparing for a Gala in October that will raise funds for scholarships for our graduates.  Our students often miss out on opportunities to qualify and apply for traditional scholarships while they are receiving treatment and we're excited to be able to do something for them even after they leave our program.  Putting an event like this together takes a lot of work and we need all the support we can get.  We have been gathering donations for the silent auction and live auction and it's amazing to see how some people are so generous with their contributions.  I have the privilege of updating the list of donors on our blog and it moves me to see how much people are willing to do, especially during these rough economic times.  Some of our alumni are sending their contributions and I can't wait to see them.

The reason I'm telling you all of this is that all this giving has inspired me. Sunday is a great day for reflection and thinking about who you want to be in your life. My mom was always known for her generosity during her life and I can't think of anything better than aspiring to be like her.In my collection of crafting supplies, I've pulled out a few things that will be sent to one lucky winner.  Get a head start on making your Christmas ornaments...Have some fun doing an ornament making project with the kids...Get wild and crazy with your creativity...
The winner will receive:
1 package of 12 ornament shaped Foamies from Darice
1 Snowman counted cross stitch Christmas ornament kit from the New Berlin Co.
1 "Best Teacher" counted cross stitch ornament kit from the New Berlin Co.
1 "Courage to be Free" counted cross stitch ornament kit from NeedleMagic
1 Birds Flourish clear mini stamp from Inkadinkado

I've learned some things since my last giveaway, so here are the rules...

Mandatory entry:  Leave a comment about your most memorable gift giving or receiving experience.

Additional Entries - 1 Entry for each
**Contest ends Sunday, September 12. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, September 13.  Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry.  Only open to those in the U.S. due to shipping costs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What to do with a long weekend...

This weekend has a holiday attached to it (in the United States) - Labor Day, so I will get an extra day off.  Things have been so busy at work, that I haven't had much time to relax.  I had to wake up extra early to set up for a Chamber of Commerce event that my employer was sponsoring, so I enjoyed sleeping in today. Instead of immediately getting on the computer or jumping into crafting, my hubby and I checked out some local yard sales and then picked up a few supplies we needed.    Not exactly romantic, but we enjoy spending this time together.  It gives us a chance to discuss how our little business is doing and make plans for future projects.  We spent last night at Hobby Lobby.  They are building one of their stores in the city next to ours (opens October 18), but there is already one about 45 minutes away (by car).  I'd never been to Hobby Lobby, but I've heard so much about it that I couldn't resist checking it out.  It was like entering crafter's heaven!!  My hubby cracks up watching me get excited over crafting supplies.  He loves them, too, but he's less vocal and child-like about it.  Now that we have some new supplies to work with, we'll probably spend part of the rest of our long weekend making things for our Etsy shop and preparing for a boutique my employer hosts in November. It's nice to have some extra time away from my day job, but I'm making sure I take a decent break and don't spend all my time crafting.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Want Free Stuff?

I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of getting things for free.  Even if it's something you wouldn't have normally purchased, getting a free gift in the mail just brightens your day.  Many shops and businesses use giveaways as a promotion tool.  They offer up an item as a prize for the giveaway and, ideally, more people look at their blog, website, or shop as one of the conditions of the contest. 

Each giveaway has certain conditions for entering.  The main/mandatory entry usually involves visiting the shop, blog, or website of the person/business giving the free item.  Some sites allow extra contest entries for following their blog or Facebook page; blogging, Facebooking, or Tweeting about the giveaway; making a purchase; etc.  How much you do is up to you.  My participation usually depends on the site and the giveaway item.  Sometimes I find some great new blogs or places to shop from.

Some of the sites host their own giveaways, while others list giveaways being hosted on other sites.  Here are some of the giveaway sites I've found:

Etsy Giveaways
Giveaways on the Web
Giveaway Connection
By Hand Giveaways
Daily updates on contests and giveawaysGreat Blog GiveawaysTGAa little etsy love

Blog Giveaways

I've won a few giveaways already and it's so much fun! 
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