Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - a day for memories!

This is my first Halloween with both of my children all grown up.  I found myself thinking back on all those years when I was scrambling to put together costumes and the changes from when I was a little girl to how Halloween is done now.

The first picture is the only Halloween one I have from my childhood.  I used to tease my sister about the fact that I got to be an angel and she was a clown.  Back then, we waited until it got dark and then collected candy door to door until we just couldn't walk anymore.  Homemade treats were very common until I was a teenager and the razor blade in the apples stories scared everyone.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have You Noticed the Changes at Etsy?

Etsy has been doing some fine tuning lately.  Fortunately, they don't make big changes as often as Facebook and Etsy does seem to try harder to listen to its members.  Some changes are minor while others help with shop appearances.

Free Stickers for Your Packages

I love it when people share with their fellow Etsians!  Over on the blog Apples of My Eyes, they are celebrating their 150th blog post by sharing a free download of hand drawn labels that are perfect for putting on your packages for customers.  They are accented with Etsy's signature orange color. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reasons to Be Happy

Pay It ForwardFor those of you who read my last post (Pay It Forward), I'm happy to report that all that positive energy sent towards Ellen (Jemyl), made a huge difference.  I noticed that a lot of her jewelry sold and she had this to say on her blog today: 

Well, I am so grateful for the jewelry sales and all the good words and donations that wonderful people have given, ordered and posted. Y'all have no idea how much your expressions of support mean to me and how y'all have touched my heart. Tonight I was able to catch up my Lions club dues. Yesterday I initiated a transfer from my PayPal account to my bank enough money to be able to catch up my mortgage, i.e. bring it current, and get a good start on the home insurance. I still can't fix the garage roof or afford a homeowners' type policy. That is way, way above my means this year. It also looks like I might just be able to buy a bed control so that I can move the position of my bed at long last.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pay It Forward

One of my favorite movies is "Pay It Forward." The concept of doing something nice for someone and then they do something nice and so on is like being able to watch miracles happen. There's a television commercial that shows this concept. Each person that sees a good deed happen is inspired to do a good deed of their own and it keeps the good karma going. With the economy being the way it is right now and all the other problems happening in my life, it's very humbling to know that it could always be worse and that there are people out there who are struggling even more.

I subscribe to a blog called Kind Over Matter that I find inspirational.  Today they had a post about someone in desperate need of support.  They were participating in "dropping a LOVE BOMB" on this person by leaving supportive comments on her blog.  I noticed that she has a website to sell jewelry to help pay her bills.  Her medical condition is preventing her from working outside the home and she may be about to lose her home, so I want to help her by at least having everyone take a look at her site.  If you're inclined to buy, please do so.  Her prices seem very reasonable.  Let the Good Karma roll!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Need Someone to Talk to?

Etsy Exposed: 50 Ways to Start Making More Etsy Sales Than You Can Handle: Tips and Tricks for Selling on Etsy.comGetting started on Etsy is challenging and somewhat lonely.  If you're sitting there, staring at your computer screen and wondering what to do next, this post is definitely for you.  People tell me that I'm unusual because I just kind of jump right in and try stuff.  Part of why I can do that is that I love research.  I am a total information junkie and will search until I find the answers I need.

Where do you turn for help if you aren't such an information junkie?  I think the best resource is to talk to other Etsians (Etsy sellers).  Etsy has a community section with forums for bulletin board type posts, but I find myself lost there in a sea of people with nothing better to do and people who only want to promote their shops.  A new online community has been created for Etsy sellers called Etsypreneur.  They bill themselves as "an uplifting and helpful community of Etsy sellers."   After spending some time there, I have to agree.  Groups have been created for different kinds of handicrafts as well as different types of needs.  One that I really like is the "Website and Blog Techy Stuff" group.  You can post any technical question and not feel stupid at all.  People jump in to answer your questions or at least point you toward helpful resources.  I like having people actually answer and you can even create new groups if you feel there's a need.  Don't suffer in silence.  Join the Etsypreneur community and have someone to talk to.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winner of My Birthday Giveaway

I had fun with this giveaway.  It gave me a chance to meet some new people and I've received some wonderful comments on the blog and from visitors to my Etsy shop. Thank you to all of you for stopping by and supporting me.  There was more response to this giveaway than to my first one.  I'm not sure what you thought about my use of a Google form for the entries instead of the "leave a comment" system, but I liked it.  Please let me know if you prefer this way of entering or if you missed being able to see all the other contest entries.  All feedback is welcome.

And the winner is...
I have emailed Jessica and she has 72 hours to respond.  She chose the scrapbooking package.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

One Great Way to Add Drama to Your Product Photos

BEFORE
The struggle with product photography continues, but I stumbled across a great photo editing tip that I love.  (Unfortunately, I can't find the original article I read about it to give them credit.

The best way to tell you about it is to show you.  First, take a look at the picture of a necklace from my shop.  Amazingly enough, it sold quickly (yippee!), but I've listed another one in the shop using photos edited my new favorite way.  Color pictures are absolutely the best way to go when listing your products.  You want to give the customer an idea of the vibrancy and color of your products.  Depending on your background, your item could get lost in the photo.  It's kind of like those ads you see on TV where you can't figure out what they're selling.  You think they're selling clothes, but it turns out to be perfume...

AFTER
The trick I learned was to turn the background of the photo to black and white so only the product is in color.  The background remains interesting, but your product really pops!  Even if you're shooting against objects that are black or white, it makes a significant difference.  In the back of each of these photos is a white sheet.  The color photo gives a warm color to the white sheet.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What is Your Workspace Like?

I follow a blog called Paper n Stitch that has a feature called "Workspace Wednesday" where she shows off pictures of different work spaces she finds.  Most of the time, I'm jealous of those pictures.  I live in a 1200 sq. ft. house that's over 100 years old, has no storage, and is not roomy at all.  My workspace for blogging and all computer related stuff is a cluttered desk in the corner of our little living room.  When I want to work on my tatting or other creations, I walk about 4 feet from the computer desk to the couch and use a TV tray to hold my supplies.  To use the Cricut, I use the kitchen table.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exciting Day and Learning From Others

This has been an exciting day for me.  I love the guest post that Angie did for me and Anna of Classy Career Girl invited me to do a guest post for her blog.  Classy Career Girl has a lot of great career information and advice for women like "Does your resume stand out?" "Companies and tuition reimbursement" "Finding time to work out" and "Salary negotiation tips."  I shared my experiences with going back to college for my business degree while continuing to work full time and trying to keep up with my teenage kids.  If you want to know more about me or see me in my cap and gown, go over to Classy Career Girl to check it out.  I've learned a lot from meeting these other bloggers and I hope you will, too.

My most exciting moment for today was a really personal one.  My "little" brother (he towers over me) returned today from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Six months of constantly worrying about him (and being frustrated with the skewed way the media reports about the war over there) was finally over.  Until you have someone close to you go off to serve in a war zone, you just can't comprehend these feelings.  Watching his kids (ages 5 and 7) run at full speed to hug him and his wife tearfully embracing him was one of the best moments in my life.  His kids would not let go of him for even a second for the longest time.  I've had some personal frustrations lately and I really needed a wonderful day like this!

Guest Blogger: Developing an Online Marketing Strategy

I have been participating in The SITS Girls "How to Successfully Network With Your Tribe" activities.  We started by being placed into Tribes that fit our blogging niche and then launched into daily activities designed to help build a network of other bloggers we could go to for help, advice, support, and more.  Earlier this week, we coordinated with the other girls in our tribe to do a guest blog post.  I'm honored to have the most organized and helpful business blogger of the group doing a guest post for me today:

Angie Nelson is a Virtual Assistant and Freelance Writer. You are invited to visit her blog, The Work at Home Wife, for more Internet Marketing Tactics.

DEVELOPING AN 
ONLINE MARKETING STRATEGY

The last few years, you may have noticed a shift in how we market our businesses. Even offline businesses have joined us in the online world. These changes have taken us from the previous paid advertising spots, to these free opportunities we call online networking or social marketing. As bloggers or business owner’s we can all reap the rewards. However, you may find yourself confused as to the best online marketing strategy.

How am I Supposed to Keep Up?

For those of you who think I manage to juggle everything, I guess I have you fooled a bit.  Working full time and then finding time to keep up with my Etsy shop and this blog without neglecting my family....so hard!  The number of blogs I am subscribed to just keeps multiplying and I have to do some major speed reading to get through all the posts.  My projects to make things for the shop have to be postponed to weekends.

One thing that has come out of being this busy is that the hubby is taking more of an interest in how all the marketing and social networking stuff works.  It's kind of fun sharing what I've learned with him and showing him all the great ideas I stumble across.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Want an Easy Way to Change Etsy Prices?

 If you have an Etsy shop, you've probably been frustrated about the difficulty of changing prices on your items.  You have to go into your list of items on sale, click to "edit" the item, then navigate to the part where you set the price. Once you do that, you make your way to the last page of the editing section and click on "finish." To raise or lower prices on all of your similar items, you would have to edit them individually. Too tedious!

One of my favorite sites for monitoring my Etsy shop is Craftopolis.  I previously blogged about how they tell you if you're listed in an Etsy treasury.  Craftopolis has now added a section that allows you to quickly change prices by dollar amount or percentage (with the choice of rounding or not).  You can choose individual items, several items, or entire shop sections.  The drop down menu also allows you to change item quantities as well as item titles. Quick, easy, and much needed!!  No software to add or download to your computer.  This is done entirely online.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flash Giveaway Followers

On September 30, I was part of a flash giveaway on Facebook.  I gained over 100 new Facebook fans/followers that night so they could be entered to win a pair of tatted earrings.  I had serious doubts about those followers sticking with me and watched to see how many would "unlike" my page once the contest was over.  Within 20 minutes, a couple of people hit the "unlike" button.  After 24 hours, a total of 8 people had fallen away.  Much to my surprise, things stabilized after that.  A few more people are now following my Facebook page as part of my latest giveaway and my participation in a SITS networking activity.  Unless something changes dramatically over the next month, I'm going to consider this activity a success.  I don't mind this kind of surprise!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Have You Tried Putting Artwork on a Stone?


My amazing husband came up with something really creative and I've been dying to share it with everyone.

I had to wait until I could take pictures, but now it's time to show it off.  When attending the Gem Faire, the hubby spotted some stones that he wanted to use to make pendants.

He used some of the artwork he has been creating and used the Cricut to cut the designs in vinyl.  They look so wonderful on the pendants!! 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Giveaway for My Birthday - Closed

Image Source
In honor of my birthday,  I've decided to have a giveaway.  My husband is Navajo and it's very common in his culture to have giveaways for special occasions. I'm originally from the Northwest and we have potlatches out there. The interesting thing is that potlatches were once outlawed as being contrary to proper civilized society (that one baffles me).  Their giveaways are on a much grander scale, but I'm scaling back to the level appropriate for a blog.  I always liked the idea of celebrating a special day by giving to those you care about.  This blog and my Etsy shop have become very important to me and I care about all of you who are taking the time to read the blog and check out our shop.

Make a Jewelry Display from What You Have in Your Kitchen

from Vively Online
Yes, you read that right.  I'm going to show you how to make a display for your jewelry using things you find in your kitchen.  In trying to sell in person, I found that my only necklace display was just too crowded and I needed to be able to showcase my jewelry creations better.  Rather than spend a bunch more money on professional jewelry displays, I took a different approach.  Dollar Store Crafts had a recent post from Vively Online about making a whisk jewelry tree.  Hers turned out pretty cool (see picture), so I thought I'd give it a try.  I didn't take pictures during my first attempt and I wish I had since I think the results were very impressive.

Just so you can see the process, here is what I did to make another set of jewelry hangers from whisks.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

I'm serious about this question.  Should I join Twitter or not?  The first time I heard of Twitter, I couldn't imagine ever using it.  Facebook was a better fit for my social networking needs.  It pains me to admit that I don't entirely understand Twitter and definitely don't know how to use it.  Although I could see wanting to get regular text message updates on a serious breaking news story, I can't imagine why anyone would want to get text message updates from individual people or websites.  Is it because of my age?  With email, Facebook, and RSS feeds, i get more than enough information coming my way.

Why am I suddenly curious about Twitter?  The deeper I delve into the world of blogging, the more I am encountering the tweeting phenomenon.  There are contests and giveaways that require you tweet specific information in order to enter.  I have seen Twitter Hops (similar to Blog Hops?) on different blogs.

What I want to know is if it is worth signing up for.  I'd have to learn the lingo and how to navigate the system.  Would anyone really want a tweet from me?  Would I get information from tweets that I'm not already getting from Facebook, emails, and RSS feeds?  This is not a rhetorical question - I need answers.  Please give me your thoughts on the subject.

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