Sunday, February 28, 2010

Journal Swap... begins tomorrow!

Tomorrow's the big day, when we start our Journal Swap.

Is everybody ready?

I created my journal using materials from other Etsy stores. I showed the covers earlier in the month, using Patch's Thai lotto cards. I thought Linda would appreciate my patchwork design.

Then I found the cutest pendant in the shop of PendantLicious that I couldn't pass
up. I'm using it for my "beadmarker," something I've started including in all my journals and notebooks. It's a little twist on the bookmarker theme, and makes the journal mo
re personal.


And I glued in the haiku I wrote, on the inside cover, earlier in the week. I think the people who follow my swapmate's blog (Pruitt Handicrafts) may understand what this is all about.






What I'm thinking is to set aside a time in the day, to write in my journal, and then if it's relevant to others, include it in my blog. So during the month, you might see me mention the Journal Swap and some of the daily themes we're writing about.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring must by here, the snowdrops are up!

Etsybloggers Treasury, brought to you by Peacox Creations

And here's one of Patti's creations, that fits right in:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - turn peace around

As I was doing my entrecard dropping about a month ago, I read a post that really caught my attention on The Meandering Musings of a Consummate Shopper . The musing introduced me to Nicole and Connie's Etsy shop, full of items inspired by the website, TurnPeaceAround.org . This mother/daughter team instantly moved me, and I knew I would enjoy their artwork and writing. Tell us what YOU think about their shops and blog.

  • What's the name of your business/shop?


Turn Peace Around - Spreading the message one handcrafted item at a time



[this is mom's creative photography and supplies shop on Etsy]


  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
Because I was inspired by TurnPeaceAround.org, I decided I didn't want to compete with them, so I keep updates about this project and Etsy shop in my other business blog - http://www.breathofthedragon.com as well as Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/breathofthedragon

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I currently have created hand-painted tote bags, hemp jewelry, and cell phone charms with this flipped peace sign on them. Because this is a joint project with my mom, I'm hoping to list some of her works in the shop in the near future (she does photography and other crafts). We hope to come up with as many different (and hopefully useful) items to put this symbol on as we can handle, so ideas are always welcomed

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
As far as a new piece, the newest are the key chains and cell charms that combine my wood burning with this message.

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Because I started out doing wood burning, I am hoping to make some small wooden charms that have the flipped peace sign and the words Turn Peace Around burned on them for use on necklaces, cell phone charms or key chains. My mom wants to take a photograph of a peace sign in nature (whether sticks, rocks, etc) and put it on a variety of things, like coasters, magnets and bookmarks.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
The Turn Peace Around etsy shop is not affiliated with, but rather inspired by, TurnPeaceAround.org, so I couldn't really take their logo. Instead, I found a peace sign I particularly liked and simply turned it around. For now, I am just using this simple flipped peace sign as my 'face' on the web for the shop. If this takes off like I hope it does, I'd love to come up with a better logo to use for a brand on business cards and the Etsy shop.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
For now, I have a website which is actually a free account on Blogger that I combined with a URL I've owned for 7 years. I think my favorite widget on Blogger is the ability to add boxes for text and/or html. Because of these boxes, I've been able to make my blog look less like a blog and more like a website, with an introduction section at the top of each page, and a set of navigation buttons on the side.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
For Turn Peace Around, I have shop set up on Etsy, and I'm working on marketing in a variety of places online, including Link Referral. I'd like to expand, if time and money allow, in the coming year. This idea is important to me, and I want to do the best I can to spread the message. I have only heard about Artfire, Zazzle, and FuzzB, but not yet looked into any of them. If I can get my stand alone site the way I want it and actually launch it this year, it'd be cool to sell my Turn Peace Around items from there as well.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why?
I used to be on MySpace, but didn't see it as a very useful advertising tool, so I left that in the late summer of last year. I have not tried Twitter yet, but I haven't completely ruled it out as a possibility.
I currently use Facebook and love it. Updates about my Turn Peace Around shop are posted to my main Facebook page because the couple that created the .org site already have a fan page, and again, I didn't want to compete. I love Facebook because I don't have to have a separate account that requires me to log in, just to post updates. It's like an opt-in list, but without the emails. People that are honestly interested will see my updates on their Facebook homepage, so I don't feel like I'm spamming them. Plus, it is so easy to connect with other crafters and small businesses on there.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
Networking! That's been my favorite thing lately - connecting with other crafters through Etsy teams as well as adding other Pages as a Favorite to my own Page on Facebook. Join groups on Facebook, Yahoo Groups, etc. filled with people that have similar interests, or who are your key market. And be friendly! Talk to the people, don't just join and lurk, and do it with a smile on your face. Make them feel welcomed and appreciated, without spamming them about your business, and they will want to come back to you.
  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I'm pretty simple in that I only charge cost of supplies plus a set labor rate. The rate changes, however, depending on the object being created and the going market for those items. For instance, I won't charge $10/hr to make a bracelet if I cannot then sell that bracelet for the $12 price.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Most of my hemp jewelry is created wherever I am sitting - the living room, at the computer, wherever I feel like. Painting the bags takes place in the same space where I burn wood for my other shop. [photos attached] Here you can see the adjustable angle drafting table that I work on, as well as the small student desk where I store most of my supplies and completed projects.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
It would be amazing if Turn Peace Around handmade items become hot sellers, and I am terribly busy making more products every day. I'm also hoping that my pyrography business does the same, and I will be making a solid income from both ventures combined that I can leave my "day" job (stocking freight at a grocery store overnight). Getting to that point is the blurry part of the plan... :)

  • OK, it's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
I really like the cotton tote bags. Perfect to bring to the store for a quick shopping spree. The colors are great on this one, with such an interesting message, it will surely catch a lot of attention. Can't think of a better way to get your name out there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

almost wordless wednesday - before and after

We finished moving the boxes and bones out of storage in TWO DAYS!
Thanks for all that helped. (that's only half the room!!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Etsybloggers Carnival - Feb. 28, 2010

Handmade by Sandi set out two questions for the etsybloggers team carnival:
#1 what's the best vacation you ever had OR
#2 of all the places in the world, where would you like to go and why?

There’s lots of places in the world I’d like to visit, so I decided to write about vacations. I usually stay around the house during my vacations - great time to catch up on things I want, and need, to do. My family has always enjoyed vacationing together, and there were two that I can’t decide which were best...so I’ll tell you a little about both.


Last year I went to Ireland. We spent 2 days in Dublin, then drove to the southwestern coast and met my sister and her friend, where we rented a house. Sheep dotted the landscape, beautiful churches in every town, and the Atlantic Ocean was never far away. We drove to a few historic sites and did a lot of hiking. And had superb weather the entire time. Quite a surprise. It was absolutely lovely!

The other vacation was sailing in the British Virgin Islands.


Seven of us charter a yacht, with my brother as skipper. We got together this time in memory of my father’s passing, the year before. I grew up sailing in NJ, and as a kid, we sailed in the islands many times. This time, we flew to Puerto Rico, caught a smaller plane to St. Thomas, then took a ferry to Tortola, where we picked up the boat. We sailed and drop anchor in several locations, about 10 days in all, staying in a cove for a night or two, then onto some other island. Lots of swimming and snorkeling. Very relaxing. We had the great time together and ate the best seafood.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - Piece Mama

I was very interested in seeing Jewel's artwork, as she is one of the few artists I've interviewed who uses sketches as she creates. You can find most of her quilts and such in her Etsy shop, Piece Mama. I'd love to see more of her work, and photographs of where she lives in the mountains, but with four children, I understand it could be hard to get on the computer. Maybe we can encourage her to blog more... In the meantime, we came look in her shop!

  • What's the name of your business/shop?

Piece Mama


  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
Yes! I have an Etsy shop at http://www.piecemama.etsy.com and two blogs (one personal and one business); the business one is located at http://www.piecemama.blogspot.com. I haven’t spent the time I should have on it, though. I’m hoping to add more content in 2010. I’m also hoping to have a website up and going in the new year, too!


  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I make lap quilts and a whole variety of home and personal use sewn products such as clothespin bags, music bags (from guitar pick pouches to recorder bags), business card clam pockets, journal covers, luggage tags, cell phone pouches, diabetic sugar pouches, needle books, weighted pads, wearable pieces, etc.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
I am currently finishing a weighted pad. It’s a pieced top with traditional quilt blocks in juvenile prints. I am passionate about including items in my shop for the special needs community & for promoting healthful living. I have worked with occupational therapists and behaviorists in seeing the validity of weighted pads as a tool for someone with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) for calming and self-regulation behaviors.
[note: for more about SPD, see http://www.spdfoundation.net/aboutspd.html]

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I love sketching out ideas that have come to me either on drives out on a favorite country road, or in my sleep or shower time (lol). I am working on a shrug right now that will be warm for these chilly days, but fashionable, too. I have this mixture in my personality that’s both practical, yet has a funky style… so I love to play with design and color.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I really like Etsy’s mini for a widget for using on the blog.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
Advertising is probably my downfall. It’s something I struggle with in knowing how to approach it respectfully yet with business acumen. I definitely apply the ol’ golden rule & market the way I’m most comfortable with and that’s a low-key “method” (lol). Word-of-mouth and offering solutions to common requests are how my business operates. I try to have a “presence” in different venues (forums, social networking, blogs), but it’s not for a hard sell; it’s more for approachability, which dovetails into why my avatar is a “self-portrait” instead of a product. My business offers a wide variety of products, so I didn’t want to highlight just one in an avatar. I want customers to see the person behind the products, the designer and manufacturer to build a bond with the customer.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
So far, I’m just using Etsy. I especially love the community of artists/artisans there. There are so many talented people and I have learned so much from them in the forum and via the Storque. I also won a free, premium membership with Zibbet that I’m looking forward to using.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
Yes! Hands-down, the BEST is Twitter. I cannot say enough good things about it! The variety of people I’ve met are inspiring, loving, caring, interesting, funny, talented, wise, and on and on. I have a fantasy of inviting my circle of Twitter friends to come on over for one big BBQ get-together. I’m on Facebook, too, but honestly, I am totally confused by the whole process, so I haven’t invested much time. That’s on my “To Do” list.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
I agree! Hmm, so many to share… probably one of the best ones is, do what you love. Creativity and patience and energy flow when you enjoy making your art.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
These are good questions! My “formula” is take the cost of materials divided by quantity and add on a guesstimate of time spent to create it, making sure the final cost is a reasonable amount to spend on said product.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Here is my studio. It’s upstairs and the window overlooks many deciduous and juniper trees and a small brook-like canal. In the spring, you can hear the ducks or frogs, which I love. My cutting table is a farm-style kitchen table where I used to teach the kids, but now I teach them at the kitchen table. I love the light and brightness of this room. There are stainless steel open shelves that hold many clear bins of fabric, which are separated by color and some by pattern. I have upcycled containers to hold notions, sewing hardware, ribbons, and threads. At my sewing table, I have a cool b/w sepia-tone photo that an Etsy friend (equinoxphoto) shot that’s a good reminder to slow down and breathe. I’m working on making a collage for my wall of Etsy sellers’ business cards, because all these artisans are inspirational and a good reminder of a shared sisterhood.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
To be highlighted on Project Runway –lol. I know, I’m dreaming J. As I mentioned, I’m hoping to have a website up and running. I would like to do at least one bazaar in the upcoming year. Yes, plans are in the works, but it’s trying to find the right balance in managing, maintaining and growing a business while being a mama and a wife.

  • It's the storybeader's turn to pick a piece!
I love all the little pouches Jewel has made - great gifts for close friends or family members. I think this little guitar pick pouch is my favorite. Peace, {:-Deb

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blogfire Carnival - Feb 18, 2010

Old workspace, new view:
It's still the same old living room and workroom in our house, but there's a new approach. My beads and fetishes take up only two drawers in the work chest - the three other drawers are for my paper supplies. The computer and table are in the same place...

I use the bottom of my glass table to lay large sheets, that don't fit in the work chest. Would love to have a map case! And I've added a paper cutter to the room. It's a small one, that I store under my round wood entry table - I use the large cutter at my job, when I need to.

There are some tools that I would love to have, like a paper press, and a hole punching cradle. I make do with a phone book! And I don't have a light box yet. But these things will come with time. The way I look at it, the more I produce, the more I can sell. Then I won't feel bad about buying expensive tools.

Visit the Blogfire Guild at http://blogfireguild.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

almost wordless wednesday - felted blue bird

Isn't this the sweetest little bird? Love the nest too. You can find more felted animals at littleloveblue's etsy shop, and a whole bunch of birds and animals on her flickr page!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February Featured Etsyblogger - Tilt Creations

At the beginning of January 2010, I interviewed Theresa from Tilt Creations that you can read HERE

Theresa also has a second shop, TiltToo, full of destash patterns, fabric and supplies, which is great for the sewers among us. I usually shop for supplies on Etsy, but once in a while, I'll buy something for myself, or as a gift. From Tilt Creations, I bought a beautiful knapsack, which I gave up to a special friend this past Christmas. Here are some other things in her shop that I have my eye on:
Theresa is a busy mom, with two boys at home and four blogs. And don't forget her husband. Can you believe it? I can't see where she gets the time... or energy to make it through the day. Here's a quick rundown on her blogs:

Crafts, kids, home & life her original blog (as far as I know!)

Tilt Creations a second blog started Fall, 2009.

Tilt Treasures, full of handmade treasures she's found on Etsy and Artfire.

Tilt's Giveaway Finds I don't think I've been by this blog before, but Theresa showcases various giveaways here, that she's found on other blogs and websites. Isn't that a great idea! There are two giveaways going on right now, that will end midnight February 14th. Check it out!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - Soliloquy

Carol has a great attitude about her artwork, and she tells us in just one word, Soliloquy, the name of her shop! She must have been reading my mind... I've been thinking of asking owners to explain where they get their shop names. Don't know what soliloquy is? I didn't either, but Carol explains it perfectly! Although she doesn't have a blog or website, you can follow her in a number of ways on the internet. And you can learn more about her here, in this featured interview:
  • What's the name of your business/shop?
Soliloquy. It means "an act of speaking one's thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers." I am the type of person who just has to create things, whether by sewing, drawing, painting, designing in the computer, or whatever it is; I can't help it. So I thought this was the perfect name for my store, since whatever I create, whether people like it or not, I create it anyway and at least try to share it with people.

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
I only have an Etsy store, at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShopSoliloquy
  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I sell anything I can make with fabric and felt and can be wearable, like keychains, hair clips, wallets, bags, ipod cases, tops, leg warmers, etc, and mainly for women, although every once in a while I come up with some items for men, or at least I try. And I am in the process of expanding to selling prints of some of my own illustrations as well.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
My latest piece is a pair of crochet leg warmers, called Romantic Blossoms on Ivory, that are not yet for sale on Etsy, but you can have a sneak peak of them on my Facebook Fan Page [they're on etsy now, here ]

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Right now I am working on another pair of crochet leg warmers, so unfortunately I do not have any sketches to show. I am also planning on making different color versions of my Blue Bird Barrette soon.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I have a Twitter page and I have actually been getting a lot more visitors in my store since I got it, which is exciting. I also have a Facebook Fan Page, as previously mentioned, and I advertise my store on my Graphic Design online portfolio on www.virb.com/carollantis (yes, I am also a Graphic Designer). So I try to advertise in all those places, but I do feel a need to open up my networking possibilities even more.

My avatar is my logo, or part of it, which is a caricature of the first wearable creation I made for Soliloquy; the Perennial Spring Owl Keychain. I love birds, especially owls, so it just happened that the first thing I made was an owl that ended up becoming my logo. Usually, on my avatar, I use the logo in white on some bright color background, or to make it easier on me (I don't have to pick what color I like best for my mood at the time), I have a version with some of my favorite colors splashed and running down on a white background behind the logo in black. I think the particular use of colors throughout my avatars, banners, etc, portrays my style of creating well, which tends to be very bold and colorful.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I use a couple of widgets on Facebook that I think are very useful for what I do. On my personal profile I added a tab for an application called My Etsy, which was developed by Etsy and it basically brings your shop into your Facebook profile. That way, friends and family can get to my store easily through my profile, without having to look it up or try to remember the address. Also on Facebook, on my Soliloquy Fan Page, I have another application called My Stuff by Gigya, where you can add the code for your Etsy Mini, making your store available also for all the fans to see easily through Facebook.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
I only use Etsy.com right now. I feel that if I take on one more online "identity", I might not be able to keep up with any of them at all. I do like Etsy because it's a place for connections. You cannot be a successful store owner if you do not connect with the people of the Etsy community. I think that is beautiful, in the way that it forces you to see the talents of those around you instead of isolating yourself in your own world; it gives you "market experience", per say, even if it's a virtual market; by connecting with others you automatically receive increasing exposure; and of course the practical things, because it's very user friendly and it is visually appealing.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I actually have several websites that I use for social networking. Well, I could say some of them are for "professional networking". For personal use I have Facebook and MySpace. On Facebook I also have a Fan Page for Soliloquy, and on MySpace I have another page for exploring my musical side as well (my husband and I compose music together). I use Virb.com for networking with Graphic Designers and other artists and for sharing my Graphic Design and Illustration work. Finally, I use Twitter to try to make sense of it all. My Twitter account is mainly under Soliloquy but it also touches my everyday life and other creative work I do.

I would have to say that Facebook is my favorite. First of all, because most of my friends and family who live far away are all on it, so it's easy to keep in contact with them that way. Secondly, at least the way I see it, it's very easy to navigate and find people and pictures, videos and events; it's a place where you can have the convergence of many useful things at once.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
I am still new when it comes to business in general, but what I have learned about online business so far is that you have to make connections, and lots of them. Spread the word out into the digital world as much as possible, and take a break every once in a while, get away from the computer for a few minutes. That's one advice I have to mainly give myself, not just for sanity, but for health. I've forgotten to eat quite a few times working on my creations and on the computer. It's not a good thing.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
Not really. I just research what is out there and try to judge what should be fair based on similar handmade items. Of course I have to make adjustments once in a while, and hopefully time and experience will teach me more as I go, but really, if I were to try to charge based on the amount of time and work I put into these things, they would be so expensive I would never sell any at all. But I guess that's how it goes for many handmade things. I really do this because I love it, and I can't help it anyway, so the pay just comes as an added bonus.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Well, this is my tiny dining room turned into a studio a few days a week. It's a mess, but it works for now. Hopefully sometime in the near future I will be able to have a better studio (at least one that doesn't have a carpeted floor!)

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
I'd love to see some boutiques sell my work. I hope that in the future I can establish my business well enough that I will even be able to pay others to help me. It's hard to make as many things as I'd like to by myself, and although I love the whole process from conception to production, my passion is really for experimenting and designing my creations. And finally, having a more appropriate studio would also be a great improvement!

  • OK, it's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
Carol's silly people and birds top my list. Her blue bird barrette is quite beautiful. My hair is long, and I've been thinking of cutting it, but with handmade barrettes like Carol's, there's no reason!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today's Haiku: prompt #46

I've been following A Thousand Words for a few months now. What Jenn's blog is all about are photo prompts, for bloggers to write about. I think blogs like these are called memes, since they are usually creative outlets.

Meme, from Wikipedia: "a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena."

I love the concept, and the photographs. And believe some of my online friends would enjoy this writing opportunity too.

Most people who follow my artwork know that I write a haiku for my necklaces and books. So I thought, why not try it with a photo prompt. So this is Prompt Number Forty-Six, photograph from Imapix:

The couple walked on,
Following the streetlights through
The freezing blizzard.
- the storybeader

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Etsybloggers Carnival - Feb 12, 2010

FoxyG Knits is our host for this Etsybloggers Carnival.
Here's one of her wrap, perfect for Valentine's Day

The two topics she chose:
1) February 14th is Valentine's Day. What is your best childhood memory of Valentine's Day or What childhood tradition do you now carry out with your children.
2) February is Heart Health Month. What is your best heart healthy recipe. What do you do to stay heart healthy. How do you promote heart health?

This was a hard choice for me, without children or a very good memory... And I'm not a cook, so I can't give you a favorite recipe. But I AM a researcher! So I went surfing around on the internet. It didn't take long until I came upon the trusty food pyramid on the USDA website, and I realized I think about eating healthy all the time.

What do I do to stay healthy? I try to follow the steps of the pyramid, and of course, my mother's menu planning. Some of the ways DH and I work at getting healthier (and saving money) are to exercise, eat out less, and buy food in bulk. I always try to steam some veges or make a salad to go along with our meals. And I insist on baking instead of frying foods as much as possible, which is a chore when you're living with a fry cook! But that's in the past, thank goodness!

You can print your own mini food pyramid poster, with a page two full of great information, HERE
Follow the pyramid on twitter at MyPyramid

Here's some tips that the USDA recommends, which I find helpful:
• Make half your grains whole
• Vary your veggies
• Focus on fruit
• Get your calcium rich foods
• Go lean with protein
• Find your balance between food and physical activity
• Keep food safe to eat

You can check out all the printed resources available, receive a Tip of the Day, and find lots of mom and kid friendly info at the USDA website. Run with it! {:-D

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Journal Swap - Thai lotto cards

I've been wanting to buy some more washi paper, but my favorite seller is away from her Etsy shop for a few weeks! There was a specific pattern that I was thinking of, to use for my Swapmate's journal! But then I thought, I can make my own pattern, with Patch's lotto cards. That was my plan in the first place. I've only started, and it won't be a surprise for Linda... but I was going to show everyone the finished book anyway! So here are the covers:


I need to press them, and finish the inside covers... hopefully today. Then folding and sewing the writing papers. Can't wait to see the finished product!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award is given to bloggers whose positivity & creativity inspires others in the blog world. How nice, given to me by TWO of my favorite etsybloggers, Pruitt Handicrafts and Dip Your Toes. Thank you!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - Simply Inviting Cards

Jen, owner and operator of Simply Inviting Cards, works with all sorts of papers to create her products. I really like her combination of practicality and beauty! It was loads of fun, looking through her Etsy shop. She has one section devoted to Valentine's Day. Be warned, her shop will be closed Feb 10th - 22nd, so if you see something that strikes your fancy, you have the weekend to go claim it before the big day comes and goes! In addition to Etsy, Jen has both a blog and a web site, which is a good lesson to all of us selling online. Use the links and tell us what you think!

  • What's the name of your business/shop?
SimplyInvitingCards


  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
My web site is at http://www.simplyinvitingcards.com and
my blog is http://www.simplyinvitingcards.com/blog
Like my creations, both are an evolving work in progress!

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
The majority of the items I sell are greeting cards, mini cards, photo albums, journals, handmade paper and tags. I occasionally have decorative items, kits, and mini envelopes.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
A recently finished item that I have actually sold, but you're free to look :)

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Right now, I am working on some custom word shape photo albums for a few different customers. I rarely work from sketches as my creative process is often organic. I find sketches rather constrictive. I'll start with a general idea for a composition and color palette and then just let the creativity happen.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I really don't actively advertise my blog through graphical tools or paid advertising. in fact, I haven't even taken the time to create buttons yet. I believe that if your blog has quality content, is attractive, you promote items of interest to your personal network, then the word of mouth promotion will take on a life of its own. I just be sure to include it with my e-mail signature, business cards, Etsy profile, my Etsy Alchemy page, and my Etsy Message to Buyer. If I post something of interest, I'll promote it to my teams, in the Etsy forums, and on my social networks.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I really like the follower widget from Blogged. Since I use third party software on my self-hosted blog, I had to go out on my own to find a user-friendly way for prospective followers to sign up with my site. I hope to find something that will allow Google users to sign up soon!

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
Etsy is my vendor of choice. I have used one other service provider, but they couldn't compare with what Etsy could offer me.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!

My Facebook Fan Page and Twitter are actually my two favorites. My blog is a very close 3rd. I like Facebook because I can maintain an event calendar and photo galleries devoted to different collections, item types, and my craft shows. Plus, I can share information with my fans that they can access at their leisure. I like Twitter because I feel it is a great way to get to know other people and engage in real-time conversations. I like my blog because of how much I can personalize it on a whim.


  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?

It is just as important to promote outside of Etsy and the internet as it is to promote on Etsy and the internet. Craft shows and selling through local boutiques have been wonderful for getting my work in front of people who aren't in social networks or don't know about Etsy.


  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
Sort of. I definitely factor in: Cost of materials + (time invested/creation, photography, listing x what I pay myself hourly) + packaging. This gives me a "ballpark" figure to start from. I also consider things like uniqueness and my overall opinion of the finished product. I always shoot for selling an item at a price I can feel good about. That way, when I do sell it, I can feel good about the sale.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
LOL. No you don't. Trust me!

Actually, my workspace is in a (very, very ugly and awkward) transitional phase right now . I'm moving my tech and shipping gadgets out of my studio and into it's own space while reorganizing my studio, thus holding out to see what storage goodies I *MIGHT* get for Christmas. :)

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the work?
I'll actually start offering block printing, hand paintings, mixed media, and collage work on my cards next year along with introducing art pendants and ACEOs. I have plans to sell paintings in the future, but that is on the backburner until 2011 for now.

  • It's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
I love Jen's paper... another thing I'd like to leave to do. Here's my favorite shade, of course, blue - sky, sea, and turquoise! The color is natural, "the result of the batch of scraps from which they are produced." And they are aired dry. NEAT!

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