Thursday, January 31, 2008

Old romance novels get a second chance

Just a couple of old romance novels, revived into a pair of steamy wallets:

Not much else going on here.... School is progressing as usual. Cabin fever is running rampant among the ranks of the Monkeys. I climbed Mt. Laundry, and returned alive. (Seriously, all the laundry is done. That happens maybe twice a year. If I'm lucky.)

That's about it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A sweet blog mention, and a new pincushion

I had a nasty flu-ish bug last week... since about Thursday, I think. (It has been a miserable blur.) But this is such a pick-me-up --

One of my sweet customers recently purchased my last vintage quilt piece needlebook... and she loved it enough to mention it in her blog here. That makes me so happy! Thanks, Carolyn!


I won't be making any more of these needlebooks, though. The quilt pieces were all hand-pieced years ago, and very irregular (read: difficult to work with.) I will just have to find some other use for them.

I just added a new pincushion to my shop today:

It's another Dia de los Muertos pincushion -- this time worked in a Valentine color theme. The base is a recycled bottlecap, and I used the rescued (but new) embroidery thread for the designs. The felt, polyfil and beads are all new, though.

I made three more water lily pincushions yesterday. Here's one:


I plan to work on some more pouches tonight, although I can't decide if I want to make some of the zippered pouches or the ipod pouches.

Or maybe these...

Last year, I had participated in a Trash to Treasure swap on Craftster, where we made our partner some items from recycled materials. I made my lovely partner, Ali J (talk about talented!) this large tote bag:

The denim and pockets are obviously taken from recycled jeans.... no shortage of those around here. The lining once had a life as curtains, that I picked up at a church garage sale. The bird fabric is new. (And I am so in love with that fabric!) I made the pattern and design myself. I was sick of seeing the blue jean butt bags, and wanted to make something different. I've been thinking about making some of these for my shop. I even have all the necessary fabric washed and ready to be cut. I don't know what my hesitation is, though.....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Just how strong are those wallets? And then a hummingbird.

That's what someone asked me the other day -- and it's a really good question. Honestly, just prior to being asked that question, I had been wondering what people think about my wallets, both before and after they purchase them.

I do use one of my wallets, every single day. And I was marveling at how well it has held up.... so I thought I'd share my wallet with you.

I have carried this wallet, made from a copy of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, since August 2007. I carry it in my purse or pocket every day. Here's a photo of my wallet, stuffed, but closed.




The above photo is a shot of the current contents of my wallet. I counted six plastic cards, five paper business cards, some stamps, and a coupon. Here's a side-view:

The seams haven't busted, the paper hasn't torn. The snaps are still holding on tight. One little "disclaimer:" as stated in the wallet descriptions in my shop, I don't really recommend "abusing" the wallet this way, but at least we now know that they can handle this type of usage. Pretty nifty.


And now for the hummingbird....

I love hummingbirds. I always feel like I've been given a little present when I spot one enjoying some of my flowers in the spring and summer. They're just so tiny and, well, amazing. (I'm so eloquent.) I was inspired by the fabric I found (in the form of a skirt at the thrift store) to create a garden for a tiny felt hummingbird:

The floral fabric has been thoroughly washed, and is lined with new pink and white striped fabric. The zipper and felt are also new. The embroidery thread is more "rescued" thread. You can see more views of this cute little pouch here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How exciting!

I was greeted with a little convo from an Etsy admin today... saying I'd been featured in a Storque article! Talk about exciting! Here's my lucky photo:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just a few new items

I've been trying to create (and list) a new item or two every day. I have made a few Valentine-inspired ipod cozies:




The three above cozies are all made from recycled wool sweaters, that I cleaned and fulled. I think these are cute enough to use year-round!

I also made another lily pad pincushion, this time, with a darker blue "pond:"

Today, I made this little cottage pouch:


This pouch is made from a cute shirt I found at the thrift store (thoroughly washed and cleaned!), and some embroidery thread and zipper I also rescued from the thrift store. The little felt door is new, as is the kiwi and white polka dot Michael Miller fabric lining. Unfortunately, I don't have enough fabric to make another pouch, so this is a one-of-a-kind.

My next plan is to make some totes, and more of my needlebooks. I'd better get started!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pretty in Pink, and the Etsy Gift Guides

I finished up another little pincushion today....

It's a Pretty in Pink katamari pincushion. These are just too much fun to make!

One of my goals this year was to have an item from my shop listed in the Etsy Gift Guides. As of yesterday, I can now check that goal off my list! TWO of my items were chosen for the guides! I can't believe it.... but I'm very excited about it. You can see which ones were chosen here and here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Time for a Treasure Hunt!

January's ETC Street Team Treasure Hunt

On the 2nd Monday of each month, ETC (Etsy Texas Crafters) will host a Texas-Sized Treasure Hunt!

Our theme this month is WINTER WONDERLAND -- we want to warm you up Texas-Style! Willy the Perky Penguin has escaped from tiddlyinks shop and is running amok through Texas Etsy shops, picking out all his favorite items to warm your heart, warm your spirits or just plain keep YOU warm.

To participate in the Treasure Hunt:

  • Our Treasure Hunt will begin at 12:01am on Jan 14Th and end at 12:00 midnight on that same day (Central time -- that would be 1:01am Monday to 1:00am Tuesday, Etsy time).

  • To play, search participating ETC member shops to find a minimum of 10 items with the designated image in the items' photos.

  • When you've found 10 or more items, convo your list of the URL addresses (links) for those items to http://artspot.etsy.com/.

  • If there is more than 1 correct entry, by the midnight deadline, all correct entries will be placed in a stocking and one winner will be drawn. If there are no complete and correct entries, the person with the most correct entries will be designated that month's winner.

  • Winner will be notified/announced no later than midnight on Tuesday Dec 11th.

  • HOT TIP: The more items you find and submit, the better your prize selection will be. The winner will get to *choose* 1 item from their submitted list as their prize!

  • Disclaimer: In the event that the winners 1st choice of prizes sells during the contest, winner would have to choose another prize from their submitted list. ETC Members are not eligible to participate.

Have fun hunting! Thanks for playing!

Participating shops:

http://bybethstudio.etsy.com/

http://refabulous.etsy.com/

http://kathydkeith.etsy.com/

http://jenrosesegrest.etsy.com/

http://tiddlyinks.etsy.com/

http://originalyouth.etsy.com/

http://vanillalotus.etsy.com/

http://lavenderlizard.etsy.com/

http://thistlecraft.etsy.com/

http://moltengecko.etsy.com/

http://cinnascents.etsy.com/

http://preciouslinks.etsy.com/

http://beadonawire.etsy.com/

http://handmadewhimzy.etsy.com/

http://rhradcliffedesigns.etsy.com/

http://fabfrills.etsy.com/

http://eyecandytreasure.etsy.com/

http://etsytexascrafters.etsy.com/

http://artspot.etsy.com.etsy.com/

http://sillygeesedesigns.etsy.com/

http://angiehallhaviland.etsy.com/

http://spadazzle.etsy.com/

http://windtwirler.etsy.com/

http://organidog.etsy.com/

http://vintageinspiration.etsy.com/

Friday, January 11, 2008

Love, Katamari-Style, and a water lily

Just a quick post -- my new Katamari pincushion, in honor of Valentine's Day.And I also made this little water lily pincushion...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shop Makeover -- with new photos! Part 4

FINALLY! I have finished my new banner and avatar, and am ready to unveil my shop's new look. But first, a before photo:
  • My old banner featured items that I have made, and materials (specifically, the bottlecaps) that I use. There were originally some paperback books in the background, but those got cropped out.
  • My old avatar was a cherry pincushion I made from a recycled bottlecap.
  • My item descriptions were long paragraphs.
  • I used only 8 - 10 tags on most of my items.

And now, for my shop's new look:


  • My new banner is comprised of the recycle emblem (0bviously), made from recycled materials I commonly use in my items.
  • My new avatar is a recycle symbol, made from recycled fabric.
  • My item descriptions are mostly bullet-points, for easy reading.
  • I updated my tags (more relevant, more thorough!)
  • I am working on taking brighter, better photos.
  • I updated my profile to include more detailed information about custom orders and shipping.

I would appreciate any comments/feedback on my shop's renovation.

I am currently working on new biz cards and packing materials for my shop that would better match my shop.

(Note: You can see bigger screen shots of my before & after HERE.)

New pincushions

I love making pincushions. They are simple to construct, and offer that instant gratification that I seem to need. I haven't made many recently, so I decided to plump up the pincushion section in my Etsy shop. I only have two new ones added, but more are in the works.

This cupcake pincushion design sells fairly well in my shop. I decided to make another one yesterday....
I LOVE this next pincushion. It's been in my brain for a few weeks, but I wasn't really sure how the construction of it would turn out. It actually turned out better than I had imagined! This fun pincushion is based on the game We ♥ Katamari! The graphics, the music, and the game itself are so darn addicting... the Monkeys and I would play it for hours. We've pretty much completed the game (except for the 1,000 paper cranes and million roses levels.) Anyway, here's my take on the Katamari:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Shop Makeover, part 3

I am soooo excited to finally have my new avatar and new banner.... conceived in my imagination, and sketched out on scrap paper. Hey, that's a step! It's just a matter of me making them now, and then photographing them, and... well, you know.

But I do have a neat link to report today....

Again, as seen in the Storque, there's a cool new tool you can download (for free!) to help you organize the business side of your Etsy shop. It's an Excel-based program to help track listings, payments, shipments, and even your profits! Don't have Excel? Don't worry! I don't have it, either, and there's a free program, called Open Office that utilizes the Etsy Seller spreadsheet, just like Excel would. I have never used Excel before, and I didn't have any trouble using this spreadsheet. You might want to try it... did I mention it's all FREE?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

It's First Monday Sale time!


It's that time again! Our street team, Etsy Texas Crafters, will be hosting our monthly First Monday Sale beginning at midnight tonight (1:00 am Etsy time.) I will be offering 20% off total orders... that even includes shipping! There are so many other great bargains that my fellow street team members offer....
Here are some of the participating members:
  • ETC Team Shop: http://etsytexascrafters.etsy.com/ Collections Section = 20% off all items in section
  • ETC Members Only Section = Buy One, Get One 50% off (sale valid for ETC members only)
  • All Other Sections = 15% off %-Off Sales: Discount does NOT apply to shipping unless specified

Percentage Off Sales:

  • http://2muchstuff2day.etsy.com/ - Handknit cloths and baby items along with natural stone and sterling silver jewelry... 25% off all items in shop
  • http://artbyjc.etsy.com/ - Original art, mostly painted on leaves, but also on paper, wood, etc... 15% off all items priced $10 or more,10% off all items priced under $10, plus Free Gift with every purchase (one per customer)
  • http://artspot.etsy.com/ -Treat yourself to *Enchanted* bath and body luxuries... 50% off all items in Clearance section, 25% off all other items in shop (Excluding wholesale orders)
  • http://barbsgarden.etsy.com/ - Fine art at reasonable prices... 50% off all items in Studio Sale Items section
  • http://bijoujuju.etsy.com/ - Handmade jewelry (from retro/mod to earthy) & photography... 10% off all items in shop
  • http://bybethstudio.etsy.com/ - One of a kind quilted items such and mini-quilts, fabric postcards and wall hangings... 20% off all items in shop
  • http://christinasmagic.etsy.com/ - ACEOs, handmade jewelry, handpainted clothing, decorative ceiling fan and light pulls... 10% off all items in shop
  • http://cinnascents.etsy.com/ - Retro style aprons... 30% off all aprons in shop
  • http://dlsdesigns.etsy.com/ - Unique crafts, jewelry, and supplies.... All Supplies are Buy 1 listing, Get 25% off - Buy 2 listings, Get 40% off - Buy 3 or more listings, Get 50% off (Discount taken off total purchase price, shipping not included); also, all items in "BOGO SALE" section are Buy One, Get One Free. (Free item must be of equal or lesser value, and shipping is not included for free.)
  • http://ducttapeanddenim.etsy.com/ - Vintage papers/fabrics and collages... 25% off all items in shop
  • http://emilydeweesjewelry.etsy.com/ - Vintage Buttons, Glass drops, Portrait photo pendants... 20% off all regularly priced items in shop
  • http://eyecandytreasure.etsy.com/ - New, vintage, and recycled jewelry... 20% off all items in shop, plus Free Gift with purchase (one per customer)
  • http://fabfrills.etsy.com/ - Handbags created from recycled and new materials, and art dolls with attitude... 20% off all items in shop
  • http://humblebeads.etsy.com/ - Handcrafted art beads & jewelry, featuring new valentine's gift ideas... 50% all items in Winter Wonderland Section, plus Free Gift with purchase (one per customer)
  • http://jmday.etsy.com/ - Felt toys, blankets & accessories... 25% off all items in shop, plus Buy One, Get One Free on all felted sweater scraps
  • http://killerbeedesigns.etsy.com/ - Purses, Wine Bottle Carriers, Business Card Holders, Hair clips, Skull themed items, and more... 20% off all items in shop OR Buy One, Get One Free on all hair clip sets
  • http://lucybluestudio.etsy.com/ - Eclectic jewelry and art... 15% off all items in shop, and as always, Free Shipping on all purchases
  • http://marysmadness.etsy.com/Charm bracelets, photo mosaics, & supplies... 20% off all items in shop, and as always, a Free Gift with purchase
  • http://outoftheblue.etsy.com/ - Vintage inspired and re-vamped jewelry, soldered pendants, beach chic jewelry... 25% off all items in shop
  • http://refabulous.etsy.com/ - Recycled items are blended with new materials to create one-of-a-kind, hand-made articles... 20% off all items in shop, including shipping
  • http://rhradcliffedesigns.etsy.com/ - Watercolors, photographs, jewelry, and prints... 20% off all items in shop, plus Free Shipping on purchases of $50 or more (after discount)
  • http://seeminglyoldestuff.etsy.com/ - Giving New Life to Vintage and Found Objects... 25% off all items in shop
  • http://serenitysoapworkstx.etsy.com/ - Fine quality, handcrafted soaps, Soy wax candles, & bath products... 20% off all items in shop
  • http://sparklystrandz.etsy.com/ - Beaded jewelry, baby jewelry and crochet baby onesies and gifts... 15% off all items in shop, plus Free Shipping through Christmas
  • http://thistlecraft.etsy.com/ - Handpainted glass & window clings, CD collage cards, & other fun stuff... 35% off all items in shop, except CD Collage Cards
  • http://tpdesign.etsy.com/ - Handmade home decor & paper goods... 10% off all items in shop (except accordion books), plus Free Gift Wrapping if requested

BOGO Sales – Discounts apply to item of equal or lesser value & discount does not include shipping unless specified

  • http://8bats.etsy.com/Fine art photography prints, greeting cards, & ACEOs... Buy One, Get One Free on all prints (print of equal or lesser value will be free - coupons cannot be used with this offer)
  • http://beckymae.etsy.com/ - Purses and jewelry made from vintage finds... Buy One, Get One 50% off on all jewelry, plus Free Shipping on all items in shop
  • http://bellalunacoffin.etsy.com/ - Unique handmade jewelry... Buy One, Get One 50% off, plus Free Gift with purchase (one per customer)
  • http://lavenderlizard.etsy.com/ - Crocheted apparel and accessories & more... Buy One, Get One 50% off
  • http://scribbles.etsy.com/ - Beaded pens and pencils... Buy One, Get One 50% off (excludes custom orders)
  • http://sillygeesedesigns.etsy.com/ - Hand crocheted items for kids... Buy One, Get One 50% off
  • http://spadazzle.etsy.com/ - Acrylic collage, artwork, prints, cards, & more... Buy One, Get One Free on all single cards. Please do not purchase your free cards -- indicate your choices for your free cards in Notes to Seller at time of checkout. Plus Free gift with purchase of $20 or more
  • http://tiddlyinks.etsy.com/ - Original, one of kind illustrations created in watercolor and ink, as well as cards and custom nameplates... Buy one item under $30, Get One 50% off (excludes items over $30 and items already on sale) Free Shipping
  • http://noeasybeads.etsy.com/ - Bead art for personal adornment... Free Shipping on all items in shop, plus a special sale section
  • http://thealteredblacksheep.etsy.com/Miscellaneous supplies... Buy 4 "Just Enough" packets, and receive Free Shipping, and as always, a Free Gift with purchase
  • http://wendygilbert.etsy.com/Art that's a little bit different - original artistic creations in clay, on paper and occasionally in metal... Free Shipping on all items in shopOther Sales/Special Offers
  • http://craftiness.etsy.com/ - Small woodturned items: pens, vases, knitting supplies... $5 off any item in shop
  • http://preciouslinks.etsy.com/ - Jewelry, dolls, doggie clothes...
    Sale section in shop -- items are already marked down, no need to wait for revised invoice

Friday, January 4, 2008

Today's new pouch, and Shop Makeover, part 2

I finished another little zippered pouch today....

This pouch is made from a cute little skirt I found at the thrift store. I took it home, washed it (thoroughly!) and then proceeded to cut it up to make this birdy pouch. As soon as I saw the skirt, I saw the bird and the pouch... funny how things work out like that.

And now for Shop Makeover, part 2...

I don't really have anything to report, other than a brand-new link on the Storque about more renovations for our Etsy shops. It's a great article! Some of the recommendations made in the article are already used my shop, such as:

  • keeping the shop announcement short (and to the point) so that your featured items will be seen immediately
  • to use your Profile as a space for all of your shop's policies (custom orders, shipping, returns, etc.)
  • I did work on my descriptions, which I mentioned in yesterday's post.

The hardest thing for me now is remaking my avatar, and probably my banner, too. I tried to work on it today. For two hours. My mind is blank. (So I fooled around making new Etsy Texas Crafter avatars for my First Monday Sales instead. Those stank, too.) I'm having graphic-maker's block. I'm trying to imagine what would best represent my shop. The one constant in my shop is my use of recycled materials. Maybe an idea can grow from that. Tomorrow.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A couple of new pouches! And Shop Makeover, part 1

Made from recycled and/or reclaimed fabrics...

The cherry cell phone/ipod pouch is made from a recycled wool sweater (fulled by me.) The tropical pouch is made from a hawaiian skirt I bought at the thrift store (and thoroughly washed and cleaned!) I made one of these pouches for myself last summer, and it was perfect for all my makeup on our little beach vacation to Destin. Of course, these pouches can be found here.

As for the Shop Makeover, Part 1....

I have been following the recommendations in this Storque article, trying to tidy up my shop. It only took two hours (!!) to tweak all those tags. I also decided to bullet-point my descriptions (a suggestion I heard in a Virtual Lab shop critique once.) Hmmm... hope it was worth it!

Next, I need to work on my shop's avatar. In a recent forum discussion, it was said that my avatar gave the impression of being a shop for kids' accessories (such as hair clips or rings) or felt items. No recycling, no repurposing, no wallets, etc. I'm not sure what I'm going to change it to....