Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Etsy Wednesday Promote Your Shop Linky Party #31

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Christmas Chicken fabric sample
I wanted to make sure I didn't overlook the Etsians selling supplies, so my pick from last week's party is The Little Shop of Stitches. This adorable shop is run by a quilting enthusiast and it gives her an outlet to sell fabric and patterns as well as connect with other quilters around the world. There were many, many fabrics that I loved in this shop, but I just had to show you the Christmas Chicken fabric sample. It's fabric like this that makes your projects absolutely unforgettable!  Make sure you link up to the party.  You could be the featured shop next week.

Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Etsy Wednesday Linky Party Guidelines
  • Remember to visit other shops on the list.
  • Because this is promoting Etsy shops, I'm not going to require that you add my blog button to your shop (it's not possible anyway).  However, I'm hoping you will see it in your heart to add my button to your blog; stay connected to me on Facebook, Twitter, or my RSS feed; and/or promote this link party in your own way.  
  • Share this blog post however you can.  We want as many people as possible to look at your shops. 
  • Leave a comment telling the favorite shop you found on the list (other than your own, of course). 

Etsy Wednesdays





TIME TO JOIN THE ETSY MADNESS....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Madness - The Tools of the Trade

No matter what hobby or craft you're passionate about, all artisans/hobbyists have something in common - the tools of the trade.  Once you start making things, it's inevitable that you will begin collecting the tools needed for it.

If you sew, I know you have a stash of fabric and thread that would probably rival some smaller craft stores.  Do you do beadwork? I'm sure your supplies include varying sizes and colors of beads as well as several types of thread and/or wire. Unfortunately, if your passion is more on the hobby side, you probably catch some flack from others in your house or apartment for the giant stash of supplies "you never use."

My husband often tells people that my hobby is collecting hobbies...and he's not far off.  I love learning new skills! I'll give it a try and even buy a few tools and materials, but it all gets stashed away if I don't end up catching on or if I don't finish the project.  I am famous (infamous) for my bags and bags of unfinished projects stored in the basement.  It's still a good thing that I've tried to learn some new skills. Learning how to tat is the biggest accomplishment so far.


I thought I'd share with you a few of my tools of the trade for tatting.  This is my little bag of essentials that I take everywhere.  Until I emptied it out for the photo, I had no idea that I was keeping so many shuttles in there. If you're not a tatter, you probably think it's silly to have so many shuttles. I actually have several more that are either attached to ongoing projects or stored because they have sentimental value.  Most of the shuttles pictured still have thread on them.  Except for the Aero bobbin shuttles, there's no easy way to switch thread. You would have to use it up or unwind it and replace it.  I like the bobbin shuttles because you can change out bobbins to change thread, but I like the Lacis and Clover shuttles more for how they feel when I tat. Some items not pictured are the beads that are usually in there (depending on my latest projects) and a small pair of pliers (for working with necklace closures and earring wires).

In addition to the tatting tools shown here, I have a suitcase full of different threads and a tackle box with a variety of stones and beads.  Even though it's a very portable craft, the supplies can still take up space.  If tatting was my only passion, it wouldn't be so bad.  When I add in all the other crafts that I have tried, that's where my hubby's threat of holding a giant yard sale comes in...

What are the tools of your trade?  Tell me about the variety and where you keep it all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Etsy Wednesday Promote Your Shop Linky Party #30

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Lexiphilia, a love of words
My pick from last week's party is Lexiphilia, Greek for "a love of words." Kasi creatively combines her love of words and love of graphic design to make these artful prints. I loved this print about sisters being different flowers from the same garden. So true! Since all four of my brothers and sisters have blonde hair and blue eyes and my hair and eyes are brown, it makes even more sense. I love the variety in Kasi's shop and I'm glad she linked up last week so I could discover her shop.  Make sure you link up to the party.  You could be the featured shop next week.

Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Etsy Wednesday Linky Party Guidelines
  • Remember to visit other shops on the list.
  • Because this is promoting Etsy shops, I'm not going to require that you add my blog button to your shop (it's not possible anyway).  However, I'm hoping you will see it in your heart to add my button to your blog; stay connected to me on Facebook, Twitter, or my RSS feed; and/or promote this link party in your own way.  
  • Share this blog post however you can.  We want as many people as possible to look at your shops. 
  • Leave a comment telling the favorite shop you found on the list (other than your own, of course). 

Etsy Wednesdays





TIME TO JOIN THE ETSY MADNESS....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tatting Tuesday - Mixing Materials

 As usual, I keep playing with my tatting. I love to try new things and see what happens. Hardly anyone sees all the mistakes along the way - thank goodness!

My latest adventure came about when I picked up some leather lacing at a really great price. I thought it would be fun to join the tatting to the leather to give a burst of color to the necklace.

Then I reached into my stash for this beautiful piece of shell that goes from a whitish sea green to black. To bring out more of the green, I added some green frosted glass beads.

The result is a very bold piece. Tatted lace, glass beads, leather, and shell.  The toughest part about making it was the weight of the shell pulling on the thread. I was determined to join the tatting to the shell rather than using a metal ring or bail to attach the shell to the necklace.

I haven't made up my mind yet about where this necklace will go. Yes, I'd love to keep it for myself. I am also considering donating it to the Scholarship Gala that I'm helping to organize.  The funds raised by the auction provide scholarships for our graduates who want to go on to college or trade school. I know several of the students who have received scholarships in the past and I know how much they need our help.

Not sure what my next tatting adventure will be. What fun mixtures of materials have you worked with lately?


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Requesting Special Orders on Etsy

One of the advantages to purchasing directly from the artisan is the possibility of customization. Many Etsy shops already offer listings that are made to order, with color, wording, sizing, or other options. With Christmas approaching, many people like to request custom projects for their most important gifts.

A past custom order for a tatted necklace - the buyer wanted purple thread with a turquoise stone
Etsy's Alchemy feature was popular before it was discontinued earlier this year. You could list a request for a handmade item and sellers would send you bids with information on the price, timing, etc. There were definite problems with how Alchemy worked, but the basic concept was a good one.  

When Etsy took Alchemy off the site, they said it was just temporary. Nothing further has been said about the progress of changing it and when it might come back, if at all.

Some sellers have created their own substitute by organizing teams that take custom requests. I'm not sure how successful this has been for buyers or sellers, but it's one option for custom ordering on Etsy. One advantage so far has been that some of these teams accept requests for vintage items or supplies. That's not really the same as requesting to have an item made. It's more like a matchmaking service.

tatted necklace by Native and Pilgrim
Another option for custom orders is more time consuming, but more likely to result in success.  When you have a item you want somebody to create for you, try doing a search on Etsy to find something similar.  Once you find an artisan who sells items similar to what you're looking for (and in the price range you're looking for), send them a message asking if they do custom orders. Keep in mind that the more details you give, the more likely they are to give you what you want and be accurate about the price. The seller can then put a listing in their shop that is reserved for you so you can pay for the order. While some sellers are willing to accept a deposit or delay payment until the item is completed, a good customer will pay in advance.

Buyers - are you looking to order custom made items?
Sellers - are you taking requests for custom made items? Let me know if you'd like me to add a linky list for shops taking custom orders.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Etsy Wednesday Promote Your Shop Linky Party # 29

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Students ponder their fused glass creations
Glass creations waiting to go into the kiln
Sorry for the late start with today's Etsy Wednesday Linky Party. I had an opportunity this morning I just couldn't pass up.  For Heritage's upcoming Scholarship Gala, we asked some of our students to make fused glass necklaces to be auctioned off.  Rae Fowler of Wishkraft Glass Designs (sunnyrae(at)comcast.net) opened up her workshop and showed the students how to channel their creativity to create glass masterpieces.  Choosing from a variety of glass blanks, the students then added different pieces of dichroic, patterned, and millefiore glass. Rae will now be putting the glass pieces in the kiln. The firing time varies due to the different thicknesses of glass used for each piece. It doesn't take long to "cook" them at 1500 degrees, but it takes eight hours or more for the kiln to cool down so she can removed the finished piece.  Once this process is done, the fused glass pieces will be turned into necklaces and magnets and the students will have the chance to name their creations and choose one to keep for themselves.

Some necklaces from the 2010 Gala
These pieces have been extremely popular at our past Galas due to their beauty and knowing that one of our students created them. The students take pride in what they've created and get so excited when someone buys it.  The money raised provides scholarships for our graduates to attend college or trade school. Having personally known and worked with some of the scholarship recipients, I know how much it means to them to receive support from Heritage, especially since their time in treatment has kept them away from other scholarship opportunities most high schoolers apply for. Take some time to look at Heritage's blog and find out more about this fundraiser and how you can be a part of it.


Make sure you link up to the party.  You could be the featured shop next week.

Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Etsy Wednesday Linky Party Guidelines
  • Remember to visit other shops on the list.
  • Because this is promoting Etsy shops, I'm not going to require that you add my blog button to your shop (it's not possible anyway).  However, I'm hoping you will see it in your heart to add my button to your blog; stay connected to me on Facebook, Twitter, or my RSS feed; and/or promote this link party in your own way.  
  • Share this blog post however you can.  We want as many people as possible to look at your shops. 
  • Leave a comment telling the favorite shop you found on the list (other than your own, of course). 

Etsy Wednesdays





TIME TO JOIN THE ETSY MADNESS....

Monday, September 12, 2011

What I Learned at the Utah Bloggers Summit


This post has been a long time in getting written.  On June 28th, I was able to attend the 2011 Utah Bloggers Summit. It was held at Le Chateau in Provo and the dinner was provided by Utah Celebrations Catering.






 Being a blogger who is mostly focused on online selling definitely sets me apart from most of the other bloggers I meet up with.  I seem to be stuck between a crafts blogger and a business blogger and don't always fit in terribly well.  Because I write for four different blogs (this one, my personal one, one for my employer, and one for the Women's Business Network), I try to absorb what information I can and relate it to each of those blogs.

Male bloggers - yes, they even exist in Utah
The topics for the Bloggers Summit were Social Media, PR & Media Kits, SEO, Being Media Ready, and Working with Brands.  I found all of the topics incredibly helpful to me as a blogger, but I wanted to mention a few things I feel will help my fellow online sellers.  

If you don't have a blog for your online business, you're missing out on some opportunities.  Linking to your shop from your blog can improve how you show up in searches - improve your SEO.

SEO is search engine optimization and it's the big thing people are talking about lately. It used to confuse me, but I've learned that everyone has their own opinion on it.  SEO is your strategy for appearing higher in those crucial Internet searches.  What I've learned at the most basic level is
  • Decide which keywords you want to rank higher for and make sure they're not too vague.  If I go for terms like "tatting" or "Native American jewelry," there will be thousands of other sites to compete with and it's unlikely a searcher will find me.  Instead, I should try things like "modern tatted jewelry" or "modern unique Native American jewelry" that include some more specific terms.
  • Use those important keywords wherever you can. Incorporate those terms into what you name your photos. Don't leave your photos with the image number the camera gave it. Rename your photos with descriptive terms that can be picked up by the search engines. Blogging is another place where using your keywords will pay off.  Including them in the title of a blog post will help even more. Instead of "My latest creation," try "New tatted necklace with beads has a modern twist."  
  • If you don't have a blog, make sure you're including your best keywords in your product descriptions.  Etsy has been working to get Google to recognize individual Etsy shops rather than lumping them together like they used to.  I've seen shops that put a little paragraph at the bottom of each listing that essentially promotes their business.  
In the discussions about public relations and working with the media, I learned a few important "commandments."
  • Know thy self - be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and work with/around them as you connect with others
  • Know thy stuff - be able to succinctly describe your product offerings and what differentiates you from the competition
  • Awesome food by Utah Celebrations Catering
  • Be prepared - have information about you, your products, how people can purchase from you, how to contact you, etc. on hand and make sure you're able to handle the increased business any attention might bring


Round table discussion with the Creative Bloggers
What I enjoy about events like these is the opportunity to socialize and get to know others. The Utah Bloggers Summit is especially helpful since I can meet locals.  Even though the round table discussion didn't help me much with this blog, the basic advice given by more veteran bloggers applies to everyone - Be Yourself.  People really do feel your sincerity and want to connect with the real you.




Enough with the advice - we had tons of fun, too.  Le Chateau is absolutely beautiful and the perfect little spot for special events. It's a treasure I didn't know we had in Provo.
Hairdos by Metropolitan Salon


















Fun photos with help from 'stache IN A BOX
Metropolitan Salon did some fun hairdos and then 'stache IN A BOX provided silly accessories (especially mustaches) so we could have a zany photo session.











Even though we had already eaten plenty of awesome food, the adorable cupcakes by Cupcake Chic were irresistible.  They were almost too cute to eat, but I managed to overcome that pretty fast. Yummy!
Yummy desserts by Cupcake Chic


I was excited to find one of the other bloggers wearing these beautiful beaded moccasins.  They were a family gift and very precious to her. The best part was that she's worn them so much that the seams are coming apart at the sides.  We see that at powwows a lot and duct tape is the repair method of choice most of the time.  Hard to say what was cooler - meeting another blogger with cool moccasins or the fact that she'd wear them with her regular clothes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Etsy Wednesday - Promote Your Shop Linky Party #28

Unique Christmas Flower Ornament by Suzanne Medrano
It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Time to get back on track with the Etsy Wednesday Linky Party. To get things started, I'm featuring Suzanne Medrano and her Christmas ornaments.  She's got the right idea - getting those Christmas items in the shop early. Suzanne is on ArtFire. I like the detail that ArtFire encourages for the items for sale. It's nice to read about the inspiration behind the items.


Make sure you link up to the party.  You could be the featured shop next week.

Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Etsy Wednesday Linky Party Guidelines
  • Remember to visit other shops on the list.
  • Because this is promoting Etsy shops, I'm not going to require that you add my blog button to your shop (it's not possible anyway).  However, I'm hoping you will see it in your heart to add my button to your blog; stay connected to me on Facebook, Twitter, or my RSS feed; and/or promote this link party in your own way.  
  • Share this blog post however you can.  We want as many people as possible to look at your shops. 
  • Leave a comment telling the favorite shop you found on the list (other than your own, of course). 

Etsy Wednesdays





TIME TO JOIN THE ETSY MADNESS....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Did You Miss Me?

Despite the difficulty of trying to juggle my day job, the Etsy business, this blog, and other responsibilities, I felt I was doing a pretty decent job of posting 2-5 days per week.  Deadlines at my day job were looming recently and I struggled to keep up with it all.  Something had to give and I ended up putting the blog on the sidelines.

I hope you all understand and will continue to follow my mad journey on Etsy.  The holiday weekend (Labor Day in the USA) gave me a unique opportunity that has freed me from the anxiety and stress that was building up.  My niece had her kinaalda (Navajo puberty ceremony) and we traveled home to the reservation to be a part of it.  There is something very amazing about Navajo families and how they come together for special events. It takes a ton of work to put together a five-day ceremony like this. I will explain a little more about it in a future post. For now, I just want to let you know how much I appreciate all of you out there who support us and those of you trying to get your own online businesses going.

Grinding corn on a stone, the Navajo way
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