Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Focus on... SimplyInvitingCards

• Tell us who you are… what makes your crafty passion tick…
My name is Jen, I'm 33 (almost 34) years old, married to my very awesome husband, Rusty, and dog-mom to our Bluetick Coonhound, Blaster, and our newest addition, a Basset Hound/Brittany mix named Ally. We call Manhattan, Kansas our home, but we like to hit the road pretty often. After all, it is Kansas! Not much happenin' here.

Paper crafting aside, I'm into music, movies, concerts, aquariums, foreign languages, travel, shopping, painting, mixed media and collage. I also enjoy watching college sports and pro football with Rusty. My convoluted creative journey goes pretty far back in life, beginning with a French Horn at age 9 and ending up with a paper penchant in my 30's. My creative spirit has taken on different forms at different points in my life, but I've always had to be creating something.

What makes my crafty passion tick? Hmm. I guess my craft does double-duty. I make things I enjoy and they are often given to people who will appreciate them. I also have something of a need to create things that make you go "ahhhhh". At the end of the day, if I have inky fingers and a messy table, then it's a good day.
• Who, or what inspires your creations?
Lots of random things, really. I most often let inspiration come to me, but there are things that I most often find inspiring. Imperfection inspires me. Any surfaces or objects that are somehow distressed, worn, tarnished, antiqued, torn, rough and tattered. Conversely, I find clean lines and streamlined silhouettes inspiring as well. I am also inspired by color combinations inspired by natural elements and undertones - dramatic skies, sprawling landscapes, animal markings - as well as trendy and progressive color combinations.

• What item do you like to work on the most and why?
My word-shape albums. They've always found a perfect home!

• What do you do besides working on your passion and shop?
I freelance for a small, niche arts and entertainment newspaper based out of Pasadena, CA called Irish News & Entertainment. I basically handle the pagination and design of many of the advertisements.
• What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Draw. It is an essential skill that all artists can continually improve and benefit from. Keeping my studio organized is pretty essential to me. All that, and I could stand to drink more water, too.

• Do you have favorite Etsy peeps?
I do, but there are too many to name, and their creative styles pretty much run the entire spectrum! My favorite Etsy peeps - too many to name, in fact - are those who put joy, heart and soul into their creations.

• What’s your fav thing about Etsy?
Just one fave thing? That's tough. But to sum it up I'd have to say: "All the wonderfully nice, knowledgeable, and talented people that have helped transcend my Etsy experience beyond just selling".

• One tip you could give, about life, about Etsy, about the weather…
Life is too short to not do something you enjoy. After all, what would you want to look back and remember?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Look what I found today, import Virtual Labs to your google calendar...

I can't believe I haven't seen this before.  Maybe it's because until now, the calendar on the Community Page of Etsy annoyed me.  This is really going to help me to plan my week and not miss the important labs.  I am not in the Eastern Standard time zone, and when you add the labs calendar to your Google calendar it automatically changes to your time zone!  

Sweet niblets, where have I been?  Apparently living under a ROCK!  As usual... lol.

If you have been living under a rock too, first I promise I won't tell.  Next, go to the Community tab on Etsy, on the calendar there is a cute little button that says "+Google Calendar".  Click on that and it will give you prompts.  You can add Virtual Labs, Etsy Team Events, or both!  I opted for just the labs.  
And viola!  Now you're cool too!  :D

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mini Gallery; Rustic Spring Wedding by guest HeatherJaneDesign

A big "thank you" to Heather Jane from HeatherJaneDesign for putting together this Mini Gallery!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Focus on... beadsandbotanicals

Sally: Tell us who you are… what makes your crafty passion tick…
CarlaI like rocks. A lot. I get fired up about the legends of stones, the possibilities with stones, the colors, textures and variety of stones. They seem alive to me, and that is very exciting.

SallyWho, or what inspires your shop?
CarlaI’m constantly in awe of entrepreneurs. Doesn’t matter if they sell handcrafted alpaca-fiber ponchos or car parts. There is something magical about those who are passionate about what they do, and committed to taking good care of their customers.
SallyWhat item/ product do you like to work with the most and why?
CarlaThe gemstone beads are my faves, of course. I also really enjoy working with packaging and promotional items that go in with each shipment. The colorful tissue, ribbon, thank you stickers and other items that go in each box are fun to work with.

SallyWhat do you do besides working on your passion and shop?
Carla: I’m a free-lance writer as well as a “bead lady.” I write about non-profit and public organizations that help people. As often as possible, I spend time on the hiking trails and beaches of the Lake Michigan shore.

SallyWhat is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
CarlaDance. Look good in a bathing suit. Wind surf. Speak HTML.

SallyDo you have favorite Etsy peeps, or an item that you keep coming back to?
CarlaI’m addicted to the hair bands and fabulous personality of Marisa at
Janelle at is amazing, and I’m not sure I could ever thank her enough for the time she gave to me, a stranger, to help me get settled in as an Etsy seller. She also carries awesome grosgrain ribbon.

SallyWhat’s your fav thing about Etsy?
CarlaEtsy is a wonderful place to find people I didn’t even know I was looking for. By maintaining a shop, keeping it stocked and updated, I find new customers, new mentors, and new inspiration.

SallyOne tip you could give, about life, about Etsy, about the weather…
CarlaI wish I could say, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” But I do sweat the small stuff. A lot. I think it is the little things that allow us to add quality and value to our customers’ lives. Whether it be pretty packaging, super-prompt shipping, a convo to notify the customer when the item will ship, or helping someone find a source for something I don’t carry, the small stuff helps me let customer know they are very much appreciated. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Enjoying the weather...

I haven't been on my blog for a few days because we have some gorgeous weather!  I know I have to enjoy it while it's here...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mini Gallery; The Dreaming, by guest BlueberryShoes

Thank you to Hollie from BlueberryShoes for putting together this Mini Gallery! <3 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mike made his first front page!

I'm so proud of you hun!  You can all visit my husband's shop at LampLightPottery!

Spreading my wings, any ideas for new product...

I love spring, it's a time of inspiration and new wonders.  I want to branch out and do some journals and sketchbooks with my own designs and artwork.  I don't want to abandon my wonderful pretty covers all together, but I would like to streamline the types I do.  To make my shop look a bit more cohesive.  
I am looking to you, my wonderful readers to throw your suggestions out there.  Anything goes.  What would you like to see on a cover?  What do you like and want to see more of?  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Focus on... MilkandHoneyHandbags

Sally: Tell us who you are… what makes your crafty passion tick…
Amanda: Hey there! My name is Amanda and I am the creator of Milk and Honey Handbags. Sewing makes me feel good and I love it. It truly is my passion and I love everything about the process: selecting fabrics, cutting, pressing, and stitching. Sewing just feels right.
Sally: Who, or what inspires your creations
Amanda: I love looking at color combinations found in nature and bringing them to my designs. I am also really inspired by fabric and color, and ribbon obviously :)  I will find a really great print lining fabric or beautiful color ribbon that will inspire a whole design.

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why?
Amanda: My favorite item to work on would definitely be my Ribbony pouches. I love picking out the exterior fabric, ribbon, zipper, and lining. There are so many different combinations, the possibilities are endless.

Sally: What do you do besides working on your passion and shop?
Amanda: When I am not at the sewing machine you can find me reading, snowboarding, hiking, and watching movies.  I also love spending time with friends, family, and the love of my life, Pat.

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better?
Amanda: I would really like to be able to sew faster without sacrificing the quality of my work. I put a lot of care and time into each piece but I am working on producing things a little bit quicker. That way I can get more done and get started on the hundreds of design ideas I have in my sketchbook!

Sally: Do you have favorite Etsy peeps, or an item that you keep coming back to?
Amanda: My brother Zak has a shop on Etsy, doodlekaz, where you can find amazing unique digital art and more. I love my Summersville journal; the patterned covers are so lovely it was hard to choose just one. I love Zipit where I go for all my zipper needs, so friendly and my zippers always arrive so quickly! RememberWynn is where I get my beehive and honey dipper buttons.  I am always amazed by the detail in her pieces.

Sally: What’s your fav thing about Etsy?
Amanda: Wow. I love a lot of things about Etsy: the treasuries, the forums, the featured seller articles. I guess what it really boils down to is Etsy is a wonderful venue where you can find amazing things from a lot of talented people.  I love shopping on Etsy because every purchase I have made has been fabulous. You almost get spoiled shopping on the site. I am often disappointed with customer service when shopping on the internet. On Etsy I know I will receive great communication from a lovely person, fast shipping, and impeccable packaging. It really is the way shopping online should be!

Sally: One tip you could give, about life, about Etsy, about the weather…
Amanda: Do what you love, love what you do. Also, dance like no one is watching :)

I am really excited to be adding a new design to my shop this week-The Hobo. I have been working really hard to make this bag and am so happy that it is finished and it is perfect! 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Show & Tell: PangeaStore

This week's inspiration comes from Angie from PangeaStore.  She had a special request.  She wanted the "handmade" journal with graph paper signatures.  This was such a fun custom order to work on, and Angie takes such wonderful pictures I couldn't wait to share with you!

Angie not only takes some pretty great photos, but she also has a wonderful Etsy shop...

I happen to be lucky enough to own one of her great necklaces, and it is one of my favorite pieces!
Thanks Angie!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mini Gallery; Origami is so cool!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

GOAL! Oh... I mean GOALS!

Goals, goals.  Every success needs goals right?  I am a goal setting superstar... I am NOT a goal completing superstar.  We're going to try to resolve this right here and now!!!  I'm going to make some goals, and I'm giving my readers permission to bug me about where I am in my goals.  I am going to format my goals in a neat little list, because it's fun to cross stuff off of lists.  My list is in no particular order...
  • Get through ScoutieGirl's "52 weeks of blogging your passion" e-book.  Yes, I bought it, and yes... I LOVE IT!  I'm in week 4, "Lofty Goals".  
  • Finish my daughter's quilt, and consider selling the pdf for the pattern in my shop, I'm giving myself 6 weeks from today to finish the quilt... the pdf might be a bit longer, I will post pics when it's done and you guys can tell me what you think!
  • Learn how to take my drawings and convert them to a drawing program and editing them for use screen printing covers... I'd like to do this within a month of this post.  I played with this a little last night for practice.  What do you think?
  • Become an expert canner by the end of this summer... I'd love for my family to eat from our garden for as long as I can stretch it.  I made jams last year.  I'm hoping to do more jams and maybe some spaghetti sauce, and pickled beets.
  • Starting this week, I'd like to take one night a week to leave the house and get some "me" time... yes for me this is a goal :)  I wanted to last night, but it wasn't in the cards.  My husband is working on the syrup shed so we can get some maple syrup done this year.  Our neighbor is helping us with this... they've done it for years.
  • I'd like to be selling 15 journals a month by June.  I know part of this goal is making the journals to sell, so this one is a two-fer.  If I could list a journal every other day, that would be lovely!  I have a stack of covers I'll be working on some more today.  Hopefully I'll get some listings up today or tomorrow.
What are your goals?  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Focus on... ANOriginalJewelry

Sally: Tell us who you are… what makes your crafty passion tick…
I’m Ashley! (*waves*) I’m a 25 yr old NY based Indie Jewelry Designer with a deep love for laughing, music and animals, and a soft spot for frosting of all sorts.

Sally: Who, or what inspires your creations? : 

Ashley: I’m inspired by pretty much anything. That’s not to say I look around and have a constant stream of creative tunnel vision triggered by every sight, sound and touch but I do not discriminate my inspirational avenues. I never really know what will stir up some inspiration in me, it always happens suddenly and without warning. Funny enough a lot of my “inspiration” comes from joking around about things that I think are fun or quirky, or childhood memories. To be fair, a good amount of my ideas come to me thanks to songs with great lyrical themes :)

Sally: What item do you like to work on the most and why? 

Ashley: Well, I have developed a fun obsession with quirky tiny stud earrings. I think it’s fun to challenge myself to see how detailed I can get in a tiny scale. It doesn’t always work out in the end but I’ve really come to appreciate the comedic struggle between my brain, my hand and my jewelers saw :) More recently however I’ve taken a keen liking to working on higher end one of a kind items, so stay tuned :)

Sally: What do you do besides working on your passion and shop?
Ashley: Hmmm, good question! Not much! Hehehe :) I try to have a life outside of my work but sometimes when it comes right down to it, my drive to grow my business and my brand just outweighs my drive to go see the newest Brad Pitt movie. I love to spend time with my family, in the Summer you can find me basking in the beauty of Lake George and I love to hang with my dogs :) More recently I’ve been a bit better at juggling my personal and professional lives as my very best friend has just gotten engaged and I have had the coveted “Maid of Honor” title bestowed upon me, so I have wedding things to attend to :) We just call them “MOH Things” are here...

Sally: What is something that you don’t do well that you’d like to do better? 

Ashley: EASY! Bookkeeping! I am THE WORST. Everyone says ‘Yes, yes, be diligent about your books!”. Well, I just can’t seem to subscribe to that school of thought, so instead, I leave all my bookkeeping duties for the very last minute, about 2 weeks before the April tax deadline :) Don’t try this at home kids, I can testify that it is most unpleasant, but alas, I’ll just never learn...

Sally: Do you have favorite Etsy peeps, or an item that you keep coming back to?

Ashley: I have a Miniature Dachshund and that has fueled a weird obsession with all things “Wiener Dog” so I’m constantly doing searches on Etsy for cool little “Doxie” trinkets, art prints and whatever else I can manage to find!

Sally: What’s your fav thing about Etsy? 

Ashley: My favorite thing about Etsy... I love that you get back what you put in! Etsy is a tool for success! If your willing to really buckle down and try to make a real go at a legit indie business, chances are you will be able to build one here. Etsy is fabulous, it gives you all these great tools and tips and tricks, etc. BUT, that’s not to say just because your on Etsy you will be an overnight success. You really have to work hard, day and night, night and day...not only at your craft but at your branding, your packaging, your advertising, your’s all interwoven in an Etsy success story. I tell people all the time, you CAN make a living on Etsy BUT you have to commit yourself to it just as you would having your own B&M Shop. There really aren’t any shortcuts, it’s blood, sweat and tears all the way.

Sally: One tip you could give, about life, about Etsy, about the weather…

Ashley: Well I guess I kinda answered this question in the previous question but here’s another tip... ALWAYS REMEMBER that your interactions on Etsy (and in life) don’t only represent you as a living breathing human but also your brand, your work, and your livelihood. Just look at what Jon and Kate Gosselin shenanigans did to the TLC/Jon & Kate Plus 8 Brand! They essentially set fire to their future brand security and watched it burn to the ground because they forgot that their “brand” and their “selves” are interwoven no matter where they are whether they like it or not. You really never know who might be behind that user name on Etsy, so always be respectful, be kind and most of all be professional. Etsy is a pretty casual place but you can’t treat it like a “Yard Sale” and expect it to be successful. And of course, that goes for everywhere you go in life, always remember that if your a business owner you are representing something bigger than yourself. In my case, I’m not only representing myself as “Ashley” but also my brand, Etsy, young women entrepreneurs and the entire handmade movement as a whole. I know that’s a whole lot to represent, and maybe I’m only representing bits and pieces of those things, but that doesn’t make it any less important. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Show & Tell: BySaraLynn

It's always so nice to see what people are doing with their journals, and to gain inspiration, to journey forth and keep creating these hand bound beauties.  I thought I would start to share with my readers how other people are using their journals and sketchbooks to record their adventures and lives for future generations.

One of my very good... excellent customers, BySaraLynn was kind enough to post pics of her journal in use on the flickr pool I created.  Check out that song list... there's a wedding to be at!!!
Sara is a great Etsy community member.  She is not only one of my best customers, but she is part of the LabRatsTeam, and has a beautiful shop of her own! 

Sara, thanks for letting me share with my readers!


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