Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weekly BEST: Owlsome Gifts

This week I'm featuring an artisan from Nashville, TN with a unique and well-defined niche market.  Rachael of Owlsome Gifts specializes in all things hooty.  She is a recent college graduate in interior design and a Chi Omega sorority sister.  Rachael's love for owls originates with her sorority, as their mascot is an owl.  Her desire to find cute owl items to show pride in her sisterhood led to creating them herself and she now makes and sells everything from jewelry to pillowcases to paintings.  Check out my favorite owls from her shop:

Owl Keychain, Purple with Blue Polka Dots Polymer Clay

Paper Patchwork Owl Art - 8 x 10 Canvas Collage of an Owl Standing on a Tree Stump with Flowers

Owl Pillow - Handmade, Bright Pink Owl on Yellow Pillow with Button Eyes and Striped Feathers, Machine Appliqued

Original Owl Painting, Fun Green, Yellow, and Blue - Acrylic on 11 x 14 Canvas with Sparkly Rhinestones

There are many "must have" items in this shop and I dare say you'll find yourself falling in love with these owls!  Her beautiful items are bright, colorful, and funky - just my taste!  

Check out Rachael around the web:

What do you think of Owlsome Gifts?  Check out this owlsome shop and leave your opinion in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Get Tested

I was included in a queer treasury this week titled "I love you. Get tested."  It was designed to publicize the fact that today, June 27, is National HIV/AIDS testing day.


This day was started by the National Association of People with Aids (NAPWA) back in 1995.  According to their website, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that one quarter of the one million people in the US living with HIV/AIDS are unaware that they even have it.  Locally, the mayor of Durham, NC has issued a joint proclamation with NAPWA urging people to get tested.  Greenville, Charlotte, and Asheville as well as cities outside of North Carolina have done the same.  For more information on National HIV/AIDS testing day, NAPWA, and where to get tested, please visit http://www.napwa.org/.

A copy of the treasury screenshot and a link to the treasury on Etsy can be found below:

The treasury was curated by Etsian Stockannette, a knitter from Indianapolis.  Please check out her shop, Facebook, blog, and Twitter.

The item of mine that was included in this treasury was the pair of Say It Loud glass seed bead dangles:

Say It Loud Glass Seed Bead Dangles - Gay and Queer Pride Earrings

I hope you'll take a look at all the items in the treasury, clicking on each one, and leave a comment at the bottom of the page.  The first item in the treasury has sold (thanks to me - can't wait to get my card!) but I'm sure it will be relisted as soon as possible.

Thanks for your support and be sure to get tested!

Until next time,

Friday, June 25, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Etsy Item of the Day

This week I'm going to be talking about Etsy Item of the Day, a blog that features specific products from Etsy sellers for free.  The editor, Jackie, posts a new item each day, giving returning readers fresh content to come back to every time.

What sets this blog apart from some of the others is that each feature is relatively in-depth, delving into the life and aspirations of the artist.  Etsy Item of the Day accepts submissions from Etsy sellers for consideration and in addition to the standard questions about your shop, Jackie asks what other Etsians you like the most, what advice you have for Etsy newbies, and where you see your shop and your craft going next.  The answers to these questions help her structure the feature.

I submitted my shop a short while back and was selected for the Etsy Item of the Day yesterday!  Here's my feature and an example of what you can expect to see when your shop is selected:

As you can see, she incorporates quotes from your submission to provide a thorough feature article.  I feel that Jackie was incredibly kind and professional in her handling of my shop.  Rest assured that if she decides to feature you, it will be an article you can be proud to share with others.

While I was unable to find information showing what kind of traffic the site gets, Jackie does have almost 4,000 Twitter followers alone and shoots out tweets about the artists she features.  This can result in free exposure, so I highly recommend taking the 20-30 minutes to write up responses to the questions and send in your submission.  

(Here's a tip though - make sure to type your answers in a Word document that you save often.  This will prevent you from having to start all over in the event that your browser crashes or you accidentally navigate away from the page!)

Know of any other great blogs that feature handmade artists?  Put a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekly BEST: Review of Past Features

As you know, I did not post a Weekly BEST post on schedule this week.  The reason is that unfortunately I was given a duplicate feature assignment and was unable to find someone to trade evenly with...so I will not be doing a new BESTeam feature this week.  But don't worry!  There are five great shops I've already featured that you may not have had the opportunity to read about yet:

All of these artists and crafters have a lot to offer the Etsy community so I encourage you to read through each post and check out their shops if you haven't already.  Stay tuned for next week's feature, which will hopefully be posted at the beginning of the week!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Aqua and Stripes

I've been featured in two new treasuries this week!  The first is called All About Aquamarine.  Check out all of the beautiful blue items:

The curator's shop is Past Perfected, a candle and glassware shop.  The item of mine she selected is my new Funky Aqua Beaded Owl Adjustable Ring:

Funky Aqua Beaded Owl Adjustable Ring

I was also included in a colorful, rainbow themed treasury:

This treasury was curated by Uniquely Neato, a plushie (stuffed animal) creator.  The item chosen for this treasury was my pair of Rainbow Striped Post Dangle Earrings:

Rainbow Striped Post Dangle Gay and Queer Pride Earrings

If you have the time, please visit the treasuries via the links below the screenshots and click on each of the items.  Also feel free to leave a comment on the treasury pages.  Comments and clicks help to increase the hotness of a treasury and give them a chance to be closer to the front of the list and on the front page.  I'd appreciate the support!

Do you have a treasury that you've recently created or in which you've been featured?  Leave a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gay Pride and the Queer Etsy Street Team

Our fearless leader, Michelley Queen of Queens, has written a beautiful article on the Queer Etsy Street Team for Gay Pride Month.  Check out the full article here.  Check out this excerpt which includes a quote from me towards the end:

"Encouraged by the fun we’ve had, earlier this year Queer Team launched a collective shop (queeretsystreetteam) that donates 100% of our proceeds to charity. We are currently fundraising for The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. Adolescence isn’t easy for anyone, but for LGBTQ kids it can be extremely challenging. Being accessible to other LGBT Etsians, who might otherwise feel isolated, is something the Team is truly proud of. Artisan ellesbeads asserts, “I turned to artistic creation as one way of coping, and it's given me more joy than I could imagine. It also led me to the Queer Team, which gave me a safe place to be myself and enjoy the company of others like me.”

Take the time to peruse the entire article and the photos provided by our team members.  I can be found again right before the comments in the related photos:

This is my first appearance in a Storque article, both in the actual text and in the related items section!  I'm very proud to be a part of this insightful piece on our team.  The Queer Team is a great resource for any LGBTQ Etsian.  For information on how to join, please contact Michelley.

Any feedback on the article?  Post your opinion in the comments here and/or on the Storque blog!

Until next time,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Etsy Craft Party: June 18

If you read my blog, I'm sure you're familiar with Etsy by now.  It's my primary selling venue - for the time being - and they had their 5th birthday on June 18, 2010.  In order to celebrate, they encouraged groups around the world to get together and host craft parties.  Parties were held in Italy, Romania, Canada, Australia, UK, Chile, Germany, Israel, and other places across the United States and the world.  Click on the map below to be taken to the meetup page to see all the places that have already had or are going to have a party.

The lovely Cynthia who owns Ornamentea (my favorite craft store in Raleigh, located about 4-5 blocks from my job) offered her classrooms to us for our Etsy Craft Party.   The party was free, including delicious snacks, wine, and other drinks and lots of staff joined in on the fun.  I did spend about $25 on beading supplies before I left, but I'm sure I would have done that anyway!

The top 50 largest parties were to receive super special secret boxes from Etsy to help them with the party.  Our box didn't arrive in the mail in time, but we still had a blast with a couple of fun projects.  (To see what the cool kids in Germany got, check out this blog post.)

While at the party, I made both a (very feminine) Samurai hat and a pincushion which I used ribbon to adapt into a necklace.  I'm always misplacing my pincushion and sewing needles when I'm doing a project so this design was intended to alleviate that problem.  There was also a lavender eye mask project that some ladies did, but due to the limited availability of fabric and the fact that I'd already been there for 2 hours, I decided to take my pattern and supplies home.

The sewing projects were provided by Spoonflower, a business that empowers people to print and sell their own fabric designs.  Find out more about them here and be on the lookout as the staff said they would be posting the eye mask pattern online.

Our box from Etsy was supposed to include lots of paints for us to decorate glass but did not arrive.  So, I took home a couple of very neat mason jars sans lids to bring to the next craft party.  That's right - since Etsy didn't get our box to us soon enough, Cynthia decided we would just have 2 craft parties instead of one!  The next one will be scheduled for some time in July.  Here's hoping I'll be able to make that one too!

Here's a picture of me making my pincushion.  For more pictures, go to the Ornamentea facebook page.

All in all, I was very pleased I went (even after a very long week at work).  I met some great people who share my love of all things crafty and got to spend a relaxing Friday night that didn't include travelling, writing, or listing new items in my shop.

Did you get to attend an Etsy Craft Party?  Share your experience in the comments!

Until next time,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Pride!

As an aside, I apologize for not having a Hotlist post up last Friday.  Hopefully, like me, you were out enjoying an Etsy craft party!  More on that later!

My rainbow resin ring is still proving to be a popular piece.  (Now if someone would take it off my hands...)  It was included in this pride-related treasury almost immediately after renewing it earlier in the week:

This beautiful gallery is courtesy of Invite Me! on Etsy, a wedding invitation and paper goods shop.

If you've been in or created a treasury recently, post a link to it in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Weekly Treasures: June Rainbows

I'm doing a renewing experiment to see if it helps me get any sales.  I renewed all of my LGBT pride items yesterday, and lo and behold I was found and put in a treasury!

The Etsy seller who featured me is OhDanger, whose shop you can find here.

The item featured is my popular striped rainbow resin beaded ring:

Striped Rainbow Resin Beaded Silver Ring

This is the fourth treasury list to feature this particular ring since April!  Hopefully the exposure will one day lead this ring to a loving home.

Have you made any treasury lists lately?  Featured in any?  Leave a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Weekly BEST: Swing Station Studio

Swing Station Studio is based in Fort Collins, Colorado and specializes in "purses, clutches, and housewares in fun fabrics and original designs."  Heather, the owner and designer, has formal art training at the college level and shares her home with her husband and a dog.  Her beautiful pieces come from a smoke-free environment.  If you're local to Fort Collins, you can see her work on display at Mama Said Sew.  If you're like me and live too far to go in person, you can see her items in her Etsy shop.  These are a few of my favorites:

Summer Sky Blue Leaves Print Square Mini Box Purse by SwingStationStudio on Etsy

Moda Owl Print Zippered Pouch by SwingStationStudio on Etsy

Tropical Zebra Print Mini Box Purse by SwingStationStudio on Etsy

Studio E Red Floral Print Zippered Pouch by SwingStationStudio on Etsy

These bags and pouches are great for carrying change, business cards, makeup, jewelry, and much more.   Heather welcomes custom orders (including personalization) and will make larger quantities for bridesmaid gifts.  Find her around the web at these locations:

What do you like best from the Swing Station Studio?  Share your opinions on these fantastic bags in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Calming Cobalt and Something Different

Check it out!  I've been featured in this beautiful cobalt blue themed treasury:

This treasury was curated by Clever Crafter who makes button and guitar pick jewelry.

I've also been included in this mostly queer treasury:

This treasury was curated by fellow Queer Team member Heathen's Hearth, who specializes in bath and body care.

Have you been in any treasuries lately?  Created any?  Leave the link in the comments!

Until next time,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Staying Motivated During Slow Times

When I started making jewelry a year ago, I never expected I would want to turn it into a business.  If you've seen some of the blog features about me, you may know that I actually started making jewelry as a hobby to help me deal with depression and loneliness.  It's been a year working on my craft and almost a year (9 months next week) on Etsy.  So far I've had 15 successful online sales, sales at different craft shows, and the loving, supportive sales from my family members.

Running a business isn't as easy as setting up shop and letting the sales roll in.  Even those who seem to hit it big quickly have a reason (having a unique niche product, bringing customer base from other sources, SEO, veyr low price points, etc.).  And then even the most successful among us entrepreneurs experience the ups and downs in traffic, hearts, and sales that all the rest of us have.  This year has been particularly hard for many people, with a combination of the struggling economy, the growth of competition both within and between online venues, and major changes in important sites like Etsy and Google.

It's easy to get discouraged if you're not doing as well as you'd like and I've seen quite a few people make the decision to close up shop this year for various reasons.  However, if you want to stick with it and make your business prosper, you'll need to find a way to encourage yourself and stay motivated during slumps.  Here are some tips that can help:

* KB Shimmer of Etsy suggests working on new projects and improving your craft: "Be it searching through garage sales for new vintage items, finding new images to use for collages, or taking classes to learn a new technique, there is always a way to improve our craft."


* M2bC of Artfire suggests refreshing your work space: "I re-organize my supplies or work area -- that always stimulates ideas for new possibilities."

*Coolstraps of Artfire recommends using the time for growth and renewal: "I think the slump is actually part of the creative process. Sometimes I just look at my materials and can't think of a thing to make that isn't hackneyed and boring. So, I clean my house, do some tasks I've put off, and just hang out with my kids, watch movies, and read. About a week of that and things start flowing into my head to make. I think I kind of welcome the slump in a way. Sometimes I just need to stop for a while."

When I'm in a sales and creative slump myself, I go back to my sources of inspiration.  I go to the Scrap Exchange to find new donated fabric scraps and hope to stumble upon something interesting (which is how my recycled key magnets were born).  I get off the computer, leave the house, and go someplace new just to people watch.  I write or read or go crazy buying new supplies.  Whatever it takes to get your creativity going, go do it.  It may be just the new energy your shop needs to take off again.

My personal #1 tip on how to stay motivated is to remind yourself that the only way to get out of the slump is to keep moving.  You're only guaranteed to fail if you stop trying!

How do you stay motivated during the slow times?  Leave your tips in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Team Edition

The Queer Etsy Street Team has come up with the idea to do a monthly challenge.  For the challenge, each team member creates an item that follows a predetermined theme.  Anyone who participates will have their item featured on the team blog and a related treasury.  For the next few months, we'll be doing color themes in the order in which they appear in the rainbow.  Check out the first treasury here or click on the image below to see a larger version of the screenshot:

We did not have enough entries to fill all 16 spots, but completed the treasury with some pre-made red items from our other talented team members.  Check out the related blog entry here and feel free to stay and browse awhile.  Who knows, this may be the right team for you!


As you know by now if you read the blog, I've recently joined BEST on Etsy which stands for Boosting Etsy Shops Team.  The purpose of the BESTeam is to promote each other through social networking for our mutual benefit.  Each week members feature another member in their blog and in turn get a blog feature written about their shop.  Even those who do not have blogs are now welcome to join and are asked to promote team members through the social media they do use: Twitter, Facebook, etc.

One of our team members, La Toya of Miss Pretty Perfect, took it upon herself to promote the team through a treasury and my bisexual pride ring was included.  Check out the treasury here or click on the image below to see a larger view of the screenshot.

Be sure to click to follow my blog so that you'll see this week's BEST team feature!  If like what you see and decided you're interested in joining, check out the team blog which you can find here.

Have you created or been a part of any team treasuries or other team promotions lately?  Share the information about your team and what you've been up to in the comments!

Until next time,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekly BEST: October 54 Gallery


This week I'm featuring another local artist from the comfortable Moore County village community of Whispering Pines, NC.  Photographer and artist Anne is the owner of October 54 Gallery on Etsy, where she sells greeting cards and fine art photography.  Anne describes art as an essential part of her life and in addition to the photography she sells on Etsy, she also does block printing and writing.  She loves, but does not limit herself to, nature photography and often takes gorgeous stills of flowers, trees, and lakes.  Anne has lived all over the United States and Costa Rica with her husband and two children, giving her a perspective on life and a variety of different subjects she can use in her art.  Check out some of these beautiful photographs for sale from her studio:

The Blue Doors - Fine Art Photography

Lakeside - Fine Art Photography

Dog Park NYC - Photography 8x10

If you wish to connect with Anne, you can find her online at the following places:

Anne is more than willing to do custom orders, including changing the photo size or adding matting or framing.  You should contact her through her Etsy shop to arrange the details.

What do you like best from the October 54 Gallery?  Share your opinions of this fine art photography work in the comments.

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Ladybugs and Green, Green, Green

Check out these fun treasuries I'm in!  The first is a ladybug-themed gallery created by crocheter Nvblondie.  My popular wooden ladybug earrings were included, this time in their red incarnation.  Click the image below for a larger view of the screen shot or click the title underneath to be connected to the treasury.

The second is a beautiful color-themed treasury with shades of green by new Etsian Studio 35 (no sales yet, so be sure to stop by and give their shop some love!).  My new Czech glass grape beaded hoop earrings were included!  Click the image below to see a larger view of the screenshot or click the title below to be sent directly to the treasury page where you can click on the items and leave a comment.

Have you been in or created any fun treasuries (or ByHand spotlights) lately?  Please leave a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Friday, June 4, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist:PayPal

This week's Hotlist post is about PayPal, an eBay company and one of the most popular online payment services around.  If you sell on Etsy or eBay you're almost certain to be using PayPal to accept payments.  It's also integrated with ArtFire and Zibbet.  There are tons of problems with PayPal, including difficulties with Canadian buyers being able to use the service, glitches causing payments not to go through, etc. but it is still almost always necessary to offer if you want to sell products on major online venues.  While I'm not going to walk you through a tutorial on how to set up a PayPal account, I will let you know some of the cool features I found out about recently that you may not be using.

Timothy Adams shares a way to ask buyers via PayPal how they found your shop:

PayPal has a feature in the Custom Payment Pages section for you to add a poll.  This poll can be about anything you want, but an effective way to use it is to ask your customers where they found you.  You have up to five spaces to put answers for them to choose from.  To find this feature, go to your profile, choose custom payment pages, and options.  Then select the check box that says Add a Customer Service Survey.  Underneath, the option to set up your mini questionnaire will become available.

Think of anything else you might use the question field for?  Share it with us in the comments!

Secret Safe Books offers some information on how to add your branding to your PayPal checkout page:

If you go back to your Custom Payment Pages and select the option to add a new page, you'll be given some options to upload an image, as well as change the background and other colors on your payment page.  This way you can customize your page to reinforce your branding with your customers and give them an extra touch when completing their purchase.  Just don't forget to set your new custom page as the default after you've created it!

Click on the image above to get an idea what your custom page might look like with branding.  (Be aware that the blank spaces are just where I've erased my private information.)  It's pretty cool to be able to add your graphic and choice of color to remind the customer that they're purchasing from your business and not from the venue you sell on.

I can't seem to locate the blog post that was mentioned in the last few weeks about offering gift certificates (I'll be thrilled when Etsy allows the ability to search just the threads you've posted in and marked).  However, if you didn't already know, PayPal allows you to set up gift certificates that can be redeemed when someone makes a purchase.  You set this up by going to Merchant Services and Gift Certificate.  You can customize the button, set the amount, and even add HTML coding to the checkout page.  The catch is that you'll need to embed the code on a site in order for the purchase button to work - so you won't be able to use this seller feature to sell gift certificates on Etsy.  However, if you have a blog, Zibbet shop, ArtFire studio, or any other website that allows you to make changes to the code or add widgets, you'll be able to put in this button and sell gift certificates redeemable when someone buys with you.  Oh, and if you're international (i.e. not from my country, the United States), be aware that many more currencies than just USD are available for the gift certificate amounts.

Well those are the most recent fun features I've discovered with PayPal.  Have you seen anything with PayPal you really like?  Dislike?  Feel free to voice your opinions and share your finds in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Weekly Treasures: I've Got the Blues

The lovely Paradise Purls who I featured in this week's Weekly Best post included me in this lovely blue-themed treasury:

I really love the colors she used and wish I had the funds to snatch up that Emma England clutch bag (and some place to carry it).  You can check out the barrette of mine she featured here:

Have you made any treasuries lately?  Been featured in one?  Leave us a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekly BEST: Paradise Purls

If you live in the Triangle like me, Paradise Purls is a local treasure (based in Cary, NC).  Paradise Purls offers hand knits and handcrafted accessories, ranging from jewelry to scarves to baby items to knitting patterns.  This stay-at-home mom loves the creative freedom she has now that she's not stuck in the corporate world.  Elizabeth's mother-in-law and girlfriends gave her the support she needed to explore knitting and fall in love with her yarns.  She's also a beader and offers some of her beaded jewelry designs in her shop.  You'll quickly find that Paradise Purls has a wide range of crafts available making it a perfect one-stop shop for gift giving!  Check out these items I found to be particularly fun: 


There are items in this shop that would make great teacher and graduation gifts, and custom orders are welcomed, so be sure to keep Paradise Purls in mind when buying this season.  Also, be sure to check out Elizabeth's social networks as she offers information about new items and sales through these channels:

Blog - http://www.paradisepurls.blogspot.com/
Facebook Fan Page - http://www.facebook.com/paradisepurlsfb

What do you think about Paradise Purls?  Talk about this multi-talented seller and shop in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.