Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Weekly Treasures: My Etsy Treasury

I made an Etsy treasury today for the first time.  I spent some time this morning refreshing through the "Pounce" on Etsy which is a feature that selects recently listed items from shops who have never made a sale or who have just made a sale (depending upon the option you select).  As someone who is still struggling to get the sales going online I wanted to showcase some sellers who, at least as of this morning, had not yet made any sales on Etsy.  Check out these fabulously funky finds:

I really tried to limit myself to unique, colorful, or otherwise incredibly fun pieces.  I also tried to get a variety of items from art to accessories to attire.  I hope you enjoy checking out these Etsians and their brand new shops as much as I did!

Did you make a treasury today when the magic number fell below 333?  Be sure to post a link to it in the comments!

Until next time,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Branding Your Blog on a Budget: Free Blogger Layout Sites

If you've ever read up on how to be successful with online marketing, you've undoubtedly come across the subject of branding.  The basic idea is that your marketing will be more effective if you establish a cohesive, unified brand: i.e. your logo, banner, color scheme, and more should all portray your intended message.  A really clear explanation of what branding means can be found at this page:

I definitely don't claim to be an expert on great branding.  I'm still looking for someone who can create a custom banner and avatar for both my Etsy and Artfire studios as well as help me figure out what on earth is going on at my homepage.  What I do know is that an artisan's blog is a part of their branding.  The appearance and content of your blog give important information about you as an artisan including your creative style and business style.  Making sure that your blog accurately reflects the sense of style and personality you want for your brand is very important for drawing in potential customers.

I've noticed that quite a few artisans choose to maintain their blogs on Blogger.  I don't know if everyone is reading the same business success guides or if people just happen to like this site, but regardless of the reasons it has become very popular. If you're like me, you may not have a ton of capital to invest in a unique blog layout nor the graphics know-how to design an impressive look yourself.  There are a few sites that I think are among the best when it comes to free layouts, backgrounds, and features for Blogger:

As you may have noticed, I obtained my own background and some of my sidebar buttons from this website.  They have an array of images from the vintage-inspired to the super-girly.  Even more features can be found on the Shabby Blogs' Blog:  This site is the first one I visit when I need something to spruce up my blog.

This website also has a wide array of colorful and seasonal backgrounds for both two and three column Blogger layouts.  The only drawback I've seen with them is the relative inability to contact the "2 Moms" that run the site.  Their blog hasn't been updated in almost a month and when I tried to contact them on Twitter, I was unable to get a response.  That essentially means everything is offered As-Is!  They do add new layouts on schedule though, so they are absolutely worth a look.

Of course, what sites you choose to use for graphics will entirely depend on the look you're trying to achieve.  I recommend checking out this post for more suggestions: Do you know of a great free site for Blogger templates, backgrounds, or other web elements?  Be sure to share it in the comments!

Until next time,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekly Treasures: A Collection of Etsy Treasuries

As a new feature for the EB blog, I'll be posting Etsy treasuries I find.  The items displayed will be from different artisans all across the US and the globe.  Click on the image of the treasury to be connected with the treasury page on which will allow you to view and purchase the items as well as see other products from the featured sellers.  I hope you'll enjoy!

For this collection of treasuries I decided to use a popular treasury color, and my personal favorite: purple.

Like these treasuries or want yours featured on my blog?  Leave a message in the comments!

Until next time,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mini Magnet Christmas Gifts

As some of you may be experiencing, my economic situation has forced me to give more hugs and fewer gifts this holiday season.  Even so, to show my support for artisan goods as an alternative to mass produced goods, I decided to only give handmade gifts this year.  My mother and my grandmother have been there for me above and beyond this year financially as well as emotionally.  I decided that since my resources are limited right now, I would only give presents to the two of them as a small token of my thanks.  If you've read my previous post, you know that I bought my grandmother some pink sterling earrings in the shape of cancer ribbons.  I'll try to remember to snag a photo of these after she opens them so I can show what they look like.  I don't want to undo my wrapping:

(Handmade gift tag purchased from Connie at

For my mom, I debated over whether I wanted to make Christmas ornaments or magnets.  I didn't have access to the pictures I wanted for the ornaments, so I made her some festive magnets instead:


(Handmade gift tag purchased from Connie at

Think she'll like them?  I named the penguins Penny and Peter.  She's a speech-language pathologist working with children in the school system, requiring her to constantly use her imagination and make up kid-friendly stories, so I think that'll amuse her.

Did you make anything fun for a friend or loved one this Christmas?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

The Artist Affair Craft Show

As you know I've been blogging about doing my first craft show this month.  The show was on December 12-13 in Raleigh, NC at a shop called Carolyn's Bead Addiction.  The show was a moderate success for me.  Saturday was the only day we had customers but I ended up making four sales, two of which were multiple pairs of earrings!  One sale I made without even being present.  Another artisan (the one who did the metal work you'll see below) was kind enough to sell a pair of my winter charm earrings while I went to pick up some lunch.  I met a ton of great people out there and we all bonded as we shivered together in the cold for hours and hours.  The weather was, in short, miserable but it really was great fun due to the personalities present.

The second day was very uneventful sales-wise.  The weather was not only cold but rainy, so we stayed indoors for the entire time.  It started out as a really, really depressing day but as we got to talking, crafting, and sharing techniques it became a great networking event.  I learned a bit about wire wrapping and how to make ornaments.  I also got some tips on great places to shop for some of the tools and supplies I need to improve my craft and practice things I'm interested in (such as making and hammering my own earwires).

I didn't take any pictures on the second day, but I did on the first while we were all outside.  This was my booth:

In retrospect I think it may have looked too "busy" but I did receive complements and a couple of sales so I must have gotten something right.  Many thanks to those who emailed and "Facebooked" me with advice.

Now, I took pictures of the other booths both for my information on how to improve my table for next time and to provide some publicity for the awesome artisans I met. Take a look at the pictures and contact information in case you're interested in purchasing something or featuring them yourself.

GLORIAous Designs
Handmade jewelry and accessories
Tanya Bass

Little River Jewelers
Wear a little piece of beautiful

Metal work: necklaces, earrings, and bracelets
I purchased an adorable pair of pink sterling earrings in the shape of breast cancer ribbons from this artisan for my grandmother as a Christmas present.  The short version of the story behind them is that he originally made these earrings as a fundraiser in honor of his friend who had cancer.  She passed away recently and he still sells them in her memory.  The earrings range in price from $8 to $10.

Kathy Morgan

Semi-precious earrings and necklaces
In addition to making jewelry, this seller can bake some of the best bread I've ever had.  She sold loaves of pumpkin bread and cranberry nut bread for $10 a pop.  I purchased a loaf of the cranberry nut bread to bring home for Christmas dinner.  I'm thinking it will be a bit hit!  She does take orders so stay tuned for her contact information if you're into baked goods.

Quality earrings, bracelets, and necklaces

 Large necklaces and earrings
This seller is the only one who didn't have a stack of business cards out for me to take one, so I took a digital picture of her information.  The website on the card appears to be inaccurate so I won't post it, but her email address is if you're interested in finding out more about her work.

Glassstone Studio: pendants, jewelry, ornaments, scarves
Pam and David Smith

This couple make some fabulous items as you'll see in the pictures below:

 These guys were very welcoming and eager to share what they knew.  Their depth of knowledge about jewelry, glasswork, and other crafts is definitely impressive.  Check out their Facebook page here to see their work and order something if you find a piece you love.  If you're an artist, they are more than open to answering questions and giving advice.

Jewelry Craft
Andy Velletri

Metal work, unique earrings and necklaces
 My pictures of Andy's jewelry really don't do it justice:

This guy makes some really beautiful, fancy designs with earrings starting around $15 and necklaces starting around $20.  Had I made a few more sales, I would have purchased something from his booth as well.  If you live in North Carolina, you can take a class from Andy at Carolyn's Bead Addiction.  He's currently teaching wire work and something called "Wig Jig" (don't ask me, I have no idea!).  For more information, check out

Because I made so many items in preparation for the craft show, I have been able to add new listings to my Artfire shop of the jewelry, magnets, and charms that didn't sell.  Be sure to check out my shop at to see the new listings.  I will be running an after Christmas sale, so be sure to hotlist or bookmark the items you like now!

Until next time,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Technical Difficulties

My computer is currently in the shop. Im sorry for the long delay in posting. I hope to be up and running again next week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reminder: Craft Show and Vacation and EB Hotlist

Hi everyone!  I have a huge amount of work to do to get ready for the Craft Show tomorrow at Carolyn's Bead Addiction in Raleigh.  I still have to price all of my items, finish my display, and finish up a few remaining projects.  Unfortunately, that means both of my shops are on vacation and I'll be unable to post this week's EB Friday Hotlist.  The good news?  I'll be posting new listings as well as 2 website reviews next week.  Be sure to subscribe and bookmark my blog so you won't miss a post!

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Craft Fair Display Booth Advice

I finally got my camcorder memory and YouTube to get my video uploaded correctly.  The top part of my face that's cut off at the end of the video...well that's neither of their faults

I saw a photo of a contact's booth for the recent Art Walk downtown.  I immediately started thinking about what I was going to do to make my setup appealing.  If you have any suggestions on cheap or free ways to spruce up my booth, please let me know in the comments!

See my Google Calendar in the right sidebar for more information about this event.  Also, please be aware that if it's raining badly the show will be rescheduled and I will be one disappointed chick.

Technical Difficulties

I recorded my latest blog entry last night, but unfortunately I seem to be unable to upload it.  I hope to have it uploaded some time this afternoon.  Thanks for your patience!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Update on Fabric Flowers and Shopping and My First Craft Show!

So after my sad, droopy flower (which I've made into a refrigerator magnet) I decided to make another one Thursday night.  I think it's much better:

I turned this one into a pin and wore it to work on Friday:

I've found that it's much easier to use a button with a raised back than it is to cover and use a button with holes.  The flowers still take me about 2 hours to make and by the time I'm done I don't want to ever see fabric again...but they really are fun and easy.  I made another one which I've turned into a barrette:

These flowers really are creative!  Please visit Sew Ritzy~Titzy's blog for the tutorial.

So I've been shopping at A.C. Moore, Michaels, Panopolie, and Carolyn's Bead Addiction so much, I'm not sure I have enough gas to go anywhere else this week (oops!).  Check out some of the awesome things I picked up!

Now I'm going to get the chance to incorporate filigrees (is that a valid word?) and vintage buttons into my work for the first time.  These pictures don't provide an all-inclusive list of everything I purchased, but you get the idea.

So why, besides the fact that I love my craft, did I feel the need to go crazy in almost every craft store and boutique I could find?  I received an email from the Raleigh Jewelry Meetup Group that a craft show was going on Dec. 12-13 and there were still plenty of spaces for artisans to sign up.  I jumped on the opportunity and now I'm going to be selling at my first official craft show next weekend!  I have been trying to get advice on what to do and so far what I've noticed is that artisans mention over and over the importance of having a variety of different styles of items and large quantities of stock.  Since my first shopping excursion, I've dedicated myself to do as much crafting each day as possible.  I probably spent 12 hours yesterday making new items.  Want to see some of the newer items I plan to bring to the craft fair that aren't on Artfire or Etsy yet?  Check out the photos below or visit my Flickr Photostream.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
If you're in the Raleigh/Durham or Central NC areas, make sure you attend the craft show, Carolyn and Friends Artist Affair.  It's located at Carolyn's Bead Addiction (formerly Bead Delite) on Old Wake Forest Road near Capital Blvd and Triangle Town Center Mall.  Be sure to visit my Google Calendar in the side bar and click on the event for more information and the complete address.  I will be there both Saturday and Sunday Dec. 12-13.  I hope to see some of you there!  If you're an artisan, contact Carolyn ASAP via email at as she has a ton of space outside of her boutique and may have some left for you to sell as well.  If you come either as a customer or as a fellow seller, make sure you introduce yourself both in the comments and at the show!

Until next time,

Friday, December 4, 2009

EB Friday Hotlist

This week's website is Handmadeology University.  The site is run by a man named Timothy Adam, a successful Etsy seller and blogger.  I was pointed to this website by a tweet by someone I follow and decided I might as well check it out.  After all I didn't make my first Etsy sale until today so at the time my shop had no customers.  Timothy offers a 5-day free marketing course through HMU with information that his website claims will get sellers more traffic and sales.  I decided to take the course and this is what I found out:

Despite the style of the website (which reminds me of some exploitative websites where you have to pay after a trial period), the course is absolutely free.  You're only required to enter your email address and then wait for the daily emails from Timothy.

Each lesson is about using social media and marketing strategies to your advantage.  Timothy covers Facebook, blogging, and Twitter over the course of the week.  After each lesson you can leave a comment at the bottom of the page and he says he reads each one of them.  I found the information about blogging very helpful, but the vast majority of the rest of the material were things I'd already figured out on my own by doing my own research.  If you're already savvy about social media, this course will be very basic for you.  If you are new to social media or want information about how to maximize your use of these services, this course gives you the basics you need to set up your blog, use Twitter (though I disagree with his mass follower strategy, it does work), and get a Facebook page for your business.  I was not impressed personally by the course because I was already doing just about everything he suggested, but according to the comments from others the information has really been helpful to some and may be a good starting point for you in getting more traffic to your shop.

(The only things redacted are my full name and the link to the course information for Day 3.) 

Timothy also offers books and courses besides the free 5-day marketing seminar.  As you can see from the email above, he does use this course as a way to introduce potential customers to the type of information he offers.  I should emphasize here that you cannot just pay for a particular resource you're interested in.  You have to sign up for a membership which bills monthly (unless you cancel within the 30-day trial period). I have not tried any of these "pay" resources for several reasons.  The first is that the membership fee is $47/month which is a large enough chunk of change that I would feel bad if I didn't get a lot out of it.  That leads into my next point which is that the 5-day program really didn't teach me much that I didn't already know.  I am not confident that the books will teach much more (though I fully admit I could be wrong!).  The final reason is principle.  I don't like websites that suggest I can increase my income drastically if I'll just pay them a little money.  I don't feel that Timothy is a scammer, but the way his site is set up makes me very uncomfortable:

My verdict?  Definitely check out this site if you are not familiar with blogging, Twitter, or Facebook and if you need advice on how to get more traffic to your sites.  If you already have mastered these points, plan on using this course as a refresher and check out the link in the sidebar to the most recent Webinar for additional information from Timothy. (Be aware, I tried this but the sound quality was too poor for me to hear it without using headphones.) Proceed with caution if you decide to pay for the advanced services, and please let me know in the comments below whether the information you obtained through them was helpful to you.

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cute Fabric Flowers and How You Can Make Your Own

The sewing I did this afternoon did not quite go as planned, but I think I'll get better once I've done more of them.  I found this fantastic tutorial for making fabric flowers here: and decided to give it a whirl.  Don't laugh at my flower:

My tiny worktable, so I can watch TV while I sew

My grandmother's antique sewing machine she gave me to work on

My crafty tiara...don't ask because I don't know.
And ignore the clean laundry to my left.

Work in progress

Finished product

My scary looking sewing on the back of the flower

If you sew at all, make sure you check out the tutorial.  Even though it took me 2 1/2 hours to make this droopy flower, it was tons of fun and I can't wait to try another one tomorrow.  If you try this tutorial at any time, please let me know in the comments and take a picture of the flower if you can!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Selling at the Handmade Market

In an effort to increase my visibility online as much as possible, I've also rented a spot at the Handmade Market run by Yaami.  This site is the only virtual craft show I've come across so far that actually looks like a 3D craft store.  If you have a slow connection, you may have to wait a minute or two for the site to load but this is what the fair essentially looks like:

You can use your mouse to move around the market and browse different shops.  If you click on a product you like, you're given the option to tweet the item or to be connected to the listing of that item in the artist's online shop (Etsy, Artfire, etc.):


This is one of the items I've featured this week at my Handmade Market booth.  These earrings are really gorgeous!  This is what the Etsy page for them looked like:


I'd already sold these to a family member by the time the Week 49 market went live, but there are plenty more items to check out, so be sure to swing by my booth at

I'll be reviewing and together during one of my Friday Hotlist entries. Be sure to subscribe so you won't miss out on the follow-up information on what else can be done with these websites.

Know of another 3D or 2D virtual market like this?  Be sure to leave me the URL and your experience with them in the comments!

Vote for me! Cafe Handmade: Virtual Craft Show

I'm sure you've noticed the small image I've added to the top right hand corner of my blog.  It links to my page on Cafe Handmade:

This site allows artisans to participate in a virtual craft show where select photos, information about themselves and their creative process, and links to their store, blog, twitter, etc. are displayed on different "aisles."  I'm asking those of you who read this blog to please vote for me by clicking this link:  Below the "Around the Web" section and before the comments, there is a small heart to click on to submit a vote for me. 

Unlike many sites, you do not have to register to vote for my store and you can vote for more than one artisan if you browse the others in the show.  The person who receives the most votes at the end of the week will receive the honor of being Best in Show which includes free advertising and publicity on the site for the following week.  Voting just takes a few seconds, so I hope that you will all participate!

Until next time,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Video Post including Cyber Monday Details

So yesterday I decided to finish my "Black Friday" shopping by going to both Big Lots and Michaels for their Saturday sales.  Big Lots was insane.  I waited outside for 35-45 minutes and then when the doors opened, a ton of people rushed past my point in the crowd and bought up all of the $25 video cameras.  I couldn't have been more annoyed.  I was one of the three people who were sold a $35 video camera after another 15 minutes, so I will be able to do videos on the blog from now on.  This is the cheap camera I got:

And here's my first video blog for you:

Yes I'm perfectly aware I look like a huge dork in the video.  However, I that's just how and what I am.  I hope you will enjoy the video blog entries in the future!  Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a single one!

As I mentioned earlier I also went to Michaels.  Check out the pasta machine I bought at 50% off and what I played around with today:


The camera is clearly not as good with still pictures as with video.  What a shame since it has more megapixels than my digital camera.  There's always a good chance the problem is user error though.  Just like with the polymer clay, I'll keep working at it!

11/30/09 is Cyber Monday.  If you use the code EBFREEBIE during checkout, you will receive a free gift from me.  I'm giving away jewelry, mousepads, hats, totes, and all kinds of cool things.  Everything in the shop is also still 25% off.  It was going to go back to 20% off but I've since changed my mind.  Happy Shopping!

Until next time,

Friday, November 27, 2009

EB Friday Hotlist

I've decided to make a Hotlist of the websites I use to meet people.  No, I'm not talking about online dating sites, though feel free to recommend a good one in the comments. ;-)  I'm talking about websites where I can network, advertise, shop, sell, etc.  Each Friday I'll give information about a different website.  Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you'll be updated whenever I feature a new website that may benefit your business or help you find other artisans you'd love to purchase from.

Today I joined a web community called IndiePublic.  Actually, I joined several days ago but it took them a while to approve my account.  It's basically a place for those who buy and sell handmade, vintage, and other indie goods to connect, network, and get exposure for their products.

The site doesn't look very exciting with its design and its interface could be more user-friendly, but it still seems to pack a lot in substance.   I haven't been around long enough to tell whether or not the community is helpful and welcoming, but I did find 15 separate groups (voluntary collections of members who are interested in a particular topic, specific craft, etc.) which I found relevant to me.  That's well over 7,000 people with whom I can exchange ideas, share my craft, and (hopefully) make sales.

Other features include the ability to upload photos to the site which are then put in the general pool of photos available and can drive traffic to your profile page (which should include your shop info).  There is also a blog section, but unfortunately you can't sync your blog RSS feed to input information to the blog on the site.  However, a bit of copying and pasting and use of the link, photo, and file attachment features allows you to put your blog posts into the Indie Public Blog.  Sellers promote their sales, veteran Etsians and other artisans post tutorials, and services that would help aspiring sellers (i.e. advertisers, virtual craft show owners, etc.) post information about what they offer.  There is an online "Library" with tips on how to be successful as an artisan, an online market (supposedly - my computer couldn't load it), a forum, and a place to upload video content.

Overall the site may turn out to be a powerful networking tool as well as avenue to make sales, since it is targeted both to indie artisans as well as lovers and buyers of handmade goods.

Have you checked out before?  If so, please leave a comment and let me know what you think of it.  If you're interesting in joining, you can register on their site or I can send you an invitation link via email.

Until next time,