Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Secret Santas, White Elephants, oh me, oh my!

As I mentioned a few different times on this blog, I organized a Secret Santa exchange on the Etsy forums that turned out to what I think was a success. We had about 40 participants from several countries. Most the U.S. and Canada, with a smithering of U.K., Denmark, Australia, China, and a few more :D BareMoose was kind enough to feature my shop and show what she got from the Secret Santa exchange here on her blog.

Because of a couple late comers, a few of us had 2 secret santas, so here are the 2 gifts that I received from them:

From hemingwayfun >>This cute vase (has butterflies on it) and the cute "prescription".

Next from jenmaestre >>This adorable artist palette pencil pin.

As a thank you for organizing the event, aLittleUnraveled sent me a chocolate chip cookie dough soap with handmade washcloths and the softest scarf I now own!

As for my last secret santa, this one is a big mystery to me...this beautiful beaded bracelet was mailed to me and the seller informed me that the buyer would like to remain anonymous....hmmm....I'll have to think about who would have my address :P Very sweet and very pretty! It feels great on my wrist! You can find this design and so many other unique beaded designs at the shop of SandFibers.

And of course, as promised, here are some photos of items I made for a white elephant gift exchange with some friends. I figured, why not have a trio of white elephants? I hand carved the soap and handmade the clay ornament (yes, they don't look that great, but they're white elephant right? I wasn't gonna try that hard :P) and my ultimate favorite was the plush white elephant. My mom actually made him. We used an old shirt of mine and she made up the pattern, she's great at sewing! I wanted to keep this little guy to myself! Anyway, it was fun.

I decided to try to figure out why White Elephant exchanges were so named and I found this information, very interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_elephant

For those that don't know what a white elephant gift is, you can find out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_elephant_gift_exchange

And lastly, I wanted to remind you all of my Crafting4Causes shop. This month I'm donating all proceeds to Toys for Tots.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Festive Fun :D

So here's a fun little bunch of holiday fun I've been up to lately. I made a bunch of hair clips/magnets/pins but then I wondered what to do with all the misc leaves and wire. I decided to make this cute little wreath. It's too small for me, but it works just great on Mr. Teddy :D Now I just need to think of a useful application for the other half dozen sets of stems/wire. If you have any ideas, let me know :D

And then I got my bake on. Chocolate dipped pretzels are super easy and tasty. Then I experimented with these Rudolph cake pops.

I had more cake balls than I did sucker sticks so I rolled some in extra green candy melts and called them grinch hairballs :D Just as yummy :D

And last but not least, this wonderful gingerbread house that I made with some friends :D It was a blast! Stay tuned for great White Elephant Gifts-I'd post them now but the recipients might see ahead of time!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Feature~*~JuneBug18!

Ok, I've been slacking on the Friday features, so much to do, so little time. Well, I suppose the truth is really-so much to do, but I'd rather work on fun projects and get distracted :P This week I'd like to feature JuneBug18. JuneBug18 is one of the contributors to my Crafting4Causes charity shop. His donations are currently found in the mystery grab bag section of my shop.

JuneBug18 loves working with duct tape to make new creations that are stunningly unique. His love for the craft started in high school and he has taken it to a new level. He says "My over all goal is to change the view that people have on duct tape. I want to show that it's more than an item to fix things with, I want to show that it can by stylish, fashionable, and useful in many ways. I put much thought and effort into my items, trying my best to make them catch people's eyes."

Here are a few of my favorite creations currently listen in his shop:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Christmas Rush :D

I was depressed earlier in the month and last month that I wasn't experiencing a "Christmas Rush" but I've been getting a lot more last minute sales. A sale a day so far this week in my etsy store and enough independent sales through people I know outside to match. My most popular item currently (last 5 sales!) are my Swedish Fish Earrings (See them here) I keep having to buy more of the beads from my supplier! I'm glad to see that they're liked :D

Speaking of earrings, from now until the end of the month I am offering a deal that if you buy 1 pair of earrings, you get 1 surprise pair free. I have lots in stock at home that I haven't had the energy to list yet! Please remind me in notes to seller of the free pair ;)

And lastly, another cute item from the woman who actually got me started on Etsy :D I am good friends with her kids and family (I sometimes call myself an honorary family member :P ) I was randomly browsing through her shop and spotted this ADORABLE stocking, too cute! It can be found here. (A picture of it is posted above as well)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crafting4Causes Donation for Nov and New Cause for Dec

We got just short of $11.00 (and I rounded it up to $11.00) from the Crafting4Causes shop during the month of November. The donation has been made to the SNAP Energy assistance program. Click on the picture below of the screenshot for proof of donation :D

And I've decided to have December's proceeds go to Toys for Tots. I won't donate it until the end of the month so it will be late for this year, but a great start to next year! So far we have $1.84 going to Toys for Tots :D

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hello Crafting World :D

Wow have I been a busy bee between Thanksgiving and now! Last week I held my first jewelry show at my house. I only had 5 people show up, but each of them kindly bought something and overall it was a good first experience. My sister in law kindly posted as her facebook status that she was impressed by my selection (she's not a huge jewelry gal, so all of her compliments are great to hear :) One of her friends from that status has now contacted me and I'm working on a custom piece for her. Here are some pictures of the set up at my house :D Oh, and by the way-one of the refreshments I made-chocolate covered pomagranite seeds-AMAZING!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishing you a Very Happy Thanksgiving :D

Just popping in before heading out of town in the morning for Thanksgiving festivities. I really do have so much to be thankful for. My life, God, my family and friends, and so much more. I hope that you will have the chance to ponder on what you are blessed with (whether you be American or not), and I wish you the best!

Tough Etsy Decisions

I was hoping that sales would pick up more around the holidays. I'm glad to say that I've pretty much put my spending on supplies at a halt because I'm investing myself into the ground :( I'm going to need to cut back on production. I hope to sell off a lot of items at a jewelry party I'm throwing in a week and a half but so far the guest list is looking slim. I'm trying to stay optimistic though! I decided today to not list some cards I spent hours making and instead using them for family and friends. I spent lots of time during a road trip early in October to hand wire-wrap some Christmas tree ornaments and then affixed them to Christmas cards I made. I just don't think they would sell for how much I value my time and creativity at, so I will let my loved ones enjoy them instead :D I've been going through a lot of refining lately-which I'm sure is natural as you mature in business. I started my etsy shop just over 4 months ago and will admit that I'm glad some listings expired because they just didn't look good. I am deconstructing, saving beads and other materials, and using them in a much better way now :D

Well anyway, I really need to get to bed because I have an early morning. Just some soul searching going on here. Here are some pictures of some of the cards with ornaments that I would have listed....

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Wonderful World of PLARN :D

So as usual, I see something new and bam-here I am making plarn :D I myself don't have the patience or skill to crochet or knit, but I know how to make plarn-which is yarn made out of plastic. It's a great way to be earth friendly, or just have fun turning trash into treasure. I've just listed my first supply or plarn in my Crafting4Causes shop. This particular ball of white, red, and green plarn is made from bags we've collected from shopping at our closest grocery store. I've got some other color mixes in the works. If you would like to try your hand at making something with this neat 2-ply plarn, I am offering 50% off the sales price off this item for blog followers. You must include a message about this blog in your notes when purchasing to get the refund.

And as for some cool ideas for plarn, here are some awesome examples of what you can make. There's a lot more variety of items you can find on Etsy by searching "plarn" but these are some of my favorites :D

Found Here by: recycyledbyme

Found Here by: Crochooley

Found Here by: blueskybags

Found Here by: blueskybags

Found Here by: Saribellum

Found Here by: blueskybags

Found Here by: blueskybags

Found Here by: debs1967

Found Here by: summersgabby

Found Here by: Crochooley

Found Here by: brij21

Friday, November 20, 2009

PoshWashSoap-This Week's Friday Feature

My apologies for not posting a Friday Feature last week-I was under the weather but now I'm up and ready to feature PoshWashSoap! PoshWashSoap has contributed items to my charity Crafting4Causes shop, these items are hidden in each of the mystery grab bags such as this one.

While browsing through her shop, my taste buds loved what I saw! Such great scents added to the products, and such great colors as well! I guess you can see by my picks that I like citrus, but she has lots of other items out there, and not just soaps-all sorts of beauty products to select from.

You can read in detail about her journey to learning to make bath and body products in her bio. She first started making them in an attempt to help both her son and herself with their sensitive skin and she's seen that the natural products she produces and sells make all the difference. In addition to being great for your body, she even has a number of vegan-friendly items.

She states: "My eyeshadow, bronzer, blush & veil are all formulated from pure minerals, and are free of bismuth, talc, cornstarch, fragrance and oils.

It's perfect for those with sensitive skin, acne, allergies or rosacea."

With such reasonable prices, I would definitely say it's worth a try, especially during these winter months that can be so harsh on skin!

So once again, please come check out PoshWashSoap by clicking on the name and add her to your list of favorites!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Let's Get Down To Business-A Lesson in Goal Setting

"I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life". M. Russell Ballard

I've learned for myself that goal setting is vital to business (and life!) If you are driving on the the road without a destination, you will never make it anywhere meaningful! I realized that I really needed to apply this principle to my etsy shop.

I keep finding myself unhappy with how few sales I get (If you look at my shop you will see 61 sales since July, but really not even a third of those are true sales-most were trades) How can I really be happy or disappointed though if I don't have anything to compare it to?

Here are some vital points to goal setting:
#1 Focus on the most important (and sometimes weakest) areas for your particular business

#2 Be specific and realistic, but set goals that will make you stretch.

#3set daily, weekly, monthly, and perhaps even yearly goals.

#4 Make plans to accomplish your goals.

#5 Measure your progress and make adjustments as needed.

#1 Take a minute to evaluate where you can improve. (for myself) what is the most important or weakest part to my shop? I think advertising is the most needful, as well as consistent listings-I have a hard time getting myself to take pictures and list when I'd rather spend time creating and they'd magically sell themselves!

#2 & 3 Be specific and realistic eh? What kinds of goals should you set? Good ideas are: time spent marketing, time creating products, time/amount of listings made daily/weekly, and sales goals. If you don't set a goal you will never know how well you are doing! Making 2 sales this month might make you feel good, but next month you may get impatient and wonder what's wrong with you. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A GOAL IN MIND THEN YOU CAN'T TRULY VALIDATE FEELINGS OF SUCCESS OR FAILURE! Set numerical goals and then make plans to achieve them. Stretch yourself but don't make them so hard that you get down on yourself. Try to be better tomorrow than you were today :D

#4 I plan to save up money to fly back to Poland where I spent a year and a half-to visit some friends and take in some sights. I am currently penniless, but heck, I have a goal right? Having a goal set means it will somehow happen right? I think we all know the answer to that! If I don't set up an account to save money and plan on a dollar amount to put into that fund each month, I will never make it there! Just like with Etsy-having 1,000 sales a month is a superb goal, but if you don't back it up with an advertising plan, then you're going nowhere fast!

#5 Constantly re-evaluate. Don't get in a rut. Maybe what worked for you a few months ago doesn't work as well now.

I hope this has helped some of you put things in perspective-I know it has helped me loads!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Disbelief-A High Compliment

I wore a new pendant that I made this week to work and I got SOOOO many compliments over it-I love it! It's one of my Tree of Life Pendants with green leaves. I even stopped by my local bead shop (where I originally purchased the green beads) and both employees I talked to loved it. After stating that I made it (and actually with their beads) one of the employees looked closer and said "Really? You actually made that?" I'm still smiling :D Yes ma'am, I made it :D

I love this new technique so much that I've gone wild, used up all my green beads and even bought some to make my mom a "Family Tree" with our gemstone colors. Here's a couple of what I have made so far >>>

Also, while I was learning how to make the Tree of Life pendants, I learned how to make birds nest wire-wrapped charms that can be attached to a ring or earrings. I've done both :D And as it is I was out of golden hooks so, as it's been said before: Necessity is the mother of creation. I taught myself to make ear hooks, which turns out it isn't too hard once you have the technique down and the proper tools. I'm also including a cute button ring I made-I'm ordering some buttons and plan to make oodles of them :D

And lastly-I've reached an important etsy mark-I've been on long enough to have items expire! That means 4 whole months! I decided when I started my shops that items that don't sell by expiration will either have 3 things done to them: 1. Re-list (if I like them enough) 2.Keep for myself or 3.List discounted in my charity shop. Maybe I'll do a giveaway sometime too? Anyway-I have a whole bunch of items that I want to clear out of my shop, most expiring Saturday so I've discounted them all in a special discount section in my shop. Most items are only $5.00! And a great deal is>>>>>>>>>>>> buy 2, get 1 free AND free shipping (when purchasing 2 items from the sales section). Please go check them out :D And stay tuned tomorrow for our weekly Friday Feature!