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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Christmas already?

Even though the summer solstice was only a couple of days ago, I feel like I have moved on from summer. However, the weather lately is sure telling me differently. The reason I feel this way? I started working on Christmas projects already!

I know – way to rush the holidays right? I was in Hobby Lobby the other day and they already have a ton of Christmas stuff out. How could I NOT walk down aisle after aisle of Christmas decorations?? Then I started to panic. Are people already starting working on their projects for the holidays? Am I getting a late start? Ahhhhhhh!

So the other night, I decided to start on some holiday items for the craft fair. On Pinterest, I found a cute idea for a tag. It was in the colors of a Santa suit and cut from the Cricut. I have tags that I have made from the Cricut, but I decided to do something different this time. Hobby Lobby had Paper Studio tags 50% off and I picked up two packages.

On the Pinterest image, the tag was cut from red card stock. I decided to use Tim Holtz’s Barn Door distress ink to color the white tag. After it was colored, I took a strip of black paper and glued it to the tag to use as a belt. I used my large square punch to create the yellow part of the belt buckle and the small square punch to create the center. I then added some glitter glue for buttons. I thought it looked adorable, so I sent a picture to my brother for his opinion. His suggestion – it’s great, but wouldn’t it be even better if the belt opened up so you could write “To” and From” in there?

Never one to back down from a challenge, I took it on. I figured out a way to make the belt attach and open. But, I didn’t like the way it looked because the belt buckle was off-centered. So, I created a dummy piece, folded and refolded it as many times as it took to make it look right. I then cut another piece to the same dimensions and prayed that it would work.

I loved the way it looked! Much better and I think, a cooler idea. I have to give my brother credit. He’s creative and he’s always looking for ways to make things better. I really do have to thank him for this idea because I think it gives a unique twist to the original idea.

Here are some picture of the “work in progress”:

This is the original design, before my brother’s idea:

Original

This was the first attempt, the off-centered buckle! :

Second

Here’s the second attempt, the final one!:

Final

The interior:

Inside

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave comments.

Buying handmade

The other day, my air conditioning broke which I was thrilled about because it was only 2 or 3 years old. So my old neighbor came over to fix it and we were talking about what everyone has been up to lately. I happened to mention to him about selling things on Etsy (hey, you never know where you are going to meet your next customer!!) and his response was, is there really a market for that?

At first I was taken aback. What do you mean is there a market for that? There are hundreds of thousands of sellers on Etsy! And I sure hope so because I just opened up a shop on there! But then I had to think, he probably has never heard of Etsy. Which, of course, made me start thinking about when I learned about this site and how many of my friends had no idea what it was when I first started selling on there.

A friend of mine from hs, Missy, has been a seller on Etsy for a while. (www.etsy.com/shop/zucchiniandco). I think that was the first time I had heard of it. I took a look, but I wasn’t really sure what it was all about. It wasn’t until about a year ago I realized the power of Etsy.

I compare it to Amazon for crafters and anyone looking for handmade things. If you are getting married and haven’t yet checked Etsy out, I’d suggest doing so. For my sister’s wedding, she got the most adorable cake topper. She sent in a picture of her in her dress and her fiancé in his suit and this is what she got back:Cake Topper

This is a picture of the two of them:

The dress really looked like hers and the details were so darling – right down to the groom’s sandals!

This is just one example of what you can find on there. Need invitations for a party? Etsy has it. Need a unique piece of jewelry? Check Etsy. The items that you can buy on their site are endless and most sellers offer customization.

So, to answer his question of is there a market out there for handmade items I’d say yes. Even though the economy isn’t very strong, people are looking for ways to differentiate their event or gifts from others. In many cases, you can find items cheaper on Etsy than at stores. If you want something unique for your next party or to give as a gift, check it out. I bet you will find something you like!

Creative inspiration

I was thinking about where I get some of my ideas for projects for. Some come from the little books that come with the Cricut cartridge and then I design my pages around whatever image I am creating. Others come from the photograph itself or a certain background paper. I also use YouTube for some inspiration – type in a specific category that you are looking for and sometimes 40 or 50 videos will appear!

But recently my source of inspiration has been a little different. Awhile ago I signed up for Pinterest and began to pin a few things – a Scrapbook Wish List board, a Dream House Board, an If I ever learn to cook, I’ll make this board [if you check mine Pinterest site out, you will notice that this board only has one pin. I don’t ever really plan on learning to cook : ) ]. But recently, I started pinning some items that have turned out to be sources of inspiration.

Like I have said in previous posts, it’s very easy to get stuck in a creativity rut. Especially when you have a ton of projects going on like I do right now. Some have deadlines in the next month or so and others are a few months off. When I start to think of all of the things I need to accomplish, I get overwhelmed and the creative part of my brain shuts down.

So, just spending 10 or 15 minutes on Pinterest can give me some new ideas and help me get back on track. But, who am I kidding? Like I only spend 10 or 15 minutes on there? So, maybe more like an hour! I get wrapped up in things – I get creative ADD! HAHA. In all honesty, I have found the site to be very inspirational. I don’t want to copy other’s work, but sometimes I see a new technique or product that I’d like to try.

If you haven’t signed up for Pinterest, I’d say give it a try! We even got my mom to sign up and I taught her how to pin things the other day. It’s great for party planning ideas – especially for weddings. You can easily show bridesmaids a variety of dresses without having to send emails (no attachments to open up!!) or see what flowers would go best with your table linens or centerpieces. The possibilities for Pinterest boards are endless. I love to see what people have pinned!

Thanks for stopping by!

Never enough time

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That’s how I feel lately. I wrote up a To Do List and all of a sudden I had a panic attack. How many projects? I know that I have time to work on all of them I just hate to see that my list is that long. Guess that means that I need to start taking a day a week for vacation to work on some of them! HAHA.

I’ve been having some mixed emotions about this business lately. I love working on things, but I am starting to get frustrated. I haven’t been able to post anything to Etsy lately. I have been getting lots of views and favorites, but this isn’t equating to sales. I am trying to figure out what I can do to get more traffic and more sales. I’ve been reading a lot of the team posts and it seems that card sales are slow on Etsy. I guess I can understand that because when I think of buying a card, I don’t necessarily think about going to a website.

So, I have been considering selling other things in my shop. Right now, the only additional thing that I offer are tags. I want to start offering invitations and decorations as well. I’ve read that the more diverse your shop’s offerings are, the better they usually do regarding sales. I can also offer scrapbooks – however, I haven’t figured out a cost-effective way to ship them. I have to go to the post office and price some other options.

I finished one baby book and am ready to start on another. I know that I want to sell them at the show in September. It takes about 2-3 weeks for me to complete one, depending on how much free time I have at the end of the day. I love working on them, but I lose track of time and all of a sudden it’s after 12!

I think I just need to start not being so tough on myself about my sales. I make things because I like them and I know it’s going to take some time to get my business off the ground. I need to diversify and not rely solely on my cards to bring in business. If there’s anything else that anyone wants to see me make and add to my shop, feel free to leave a comment. I’m always open to suggestions!

 

 

It’s Official!

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I’m officially considered a vendor. My Etsy site is even featured on the right hand side under Etsy Sellers at the Show. Pretty exciting. Now I better get off my computer and in to my office to start creating so that I’ll have something to sell!

http://fallartsfest.blogspot.com/

<img alt=”The Woodbury Fall Arts Fes” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pTFihkCvj94/T4QuMWIP7VI/AAAAAAAAAW8/mN1mdruw2_0/s1600/woodburyfallartsfestgraphic5.jpg” /> 

Special Helper and Sneak Peek!

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Recently I have been spending more time in my office than usual. I have a lot of work to do and things to prepare for and it’s stressing me out. I wrote out a list, which turned out to be a lot longer than I thought of all of the things that I want to get done. I can’t seem to find the time to get it all done along with all of the other things that need attention. But, it’s a good problem to have because that means I am busy and I work better under pressure!

So, while I was diligently working the other night, I had a surprised helper. I was in the middle of a layout for one of my newest projects and felt something at my feet. One of my cats had stealthily entered the office (which, once you see a picture of him is kind of amazing because he’s not a little guy!) and started to come over to me. I was so engrossed in what I was doing I didn’t see him until he was meowing to come up and help.

Fred, my cat, is a big baby. I got him when he was a couple of months old, along with his sister Lucy, and for the first few months we lived with my parents until my house was ready. When we moved out, the cats loved it because they had free reign of the new place (unlike at my parents where they were only allowed in the basement and my room, unless someone – my sister – forgot they were there and opened the basement door and sprung them!!) When we moved in, it was March and unseasonably warm. Since we had to paint, I left the windows open and had the ceiling fans on. I left them on for months because the weather was so nice. Then came the winter and one night I turned the fan off. Fred started meowing like he was hurt so I turned the lights on and the ceiling fan came back on. He stopped meowing. I turned the lights and fan off and he started meowing again. It took me a minute to realize that he was meowing because he wanted the fan on. So now we sleep with the fan on every night, regardless of the weather.

But he is also a little love and really seems to get my moods. When I’m upset, he always jumps up to the couch or the bed and comes to sit with me. He always wants to be involved with what I’m doing. That particular night I was stressed because I couldn’t come up with a design that I liked and then every time I tried something it didn’t come out the way I had it pictured in my head. I guess cats can sense these things (or at least Fred can, Lucy seems to not really care! lol) and it didn’t surprise me that Fred was visiting me to see what was going on!

Of course when Fred “helps” it takes twice as long because he’s always sitting on something I need! I have two workspaces – one with a self-healing cutting mat and the other with a non-stick mat. He chose the self-healing mat to lay on (it’s cushier than the non-stick one) and plopped himself down. And of course that is just where I needed to be working! So I stopped my project and started to take pictures of him. He HATES having his picture taken and despite his size, he moves pretty quick for a big guy. (He’s 15 pounds!) Here are some of them from that night:

Anyway – back to my project. After that little break I was able to clear my mind and come back with some new ideas. Right now I am working on my first ever 8×8 photo album. It’s a real challenge for me because normally I am used to working with 12×12 pages and can include multiple photos on a page. It’s been a challenge to squeeze a couple of pictures, a journaling spot and an embellishment on each page. It’s been a huge learning process for me.

The 8×8 is a girl’s baby book and it’s going to be one of the things I am offering at the craft fair. I’ve been working on it for about two weeks now and I really like the way it’s coming out. I just wanted to give a sneak peek of what one page in particular looks like that I am proud of. I’ve been taking 8 1/2 x 11 and 12×12 papers and cutting them down to 8×8. For a 12×12, that means you have two decent sized papers left so that when you are working on a  two page layout, you can tie the two pages together with the same card stock. I like that because it makes the pages cohesive and I hate wasting paper!

So here is a sneak peak of one of the pages from my new project:

While I was writing this, Fred jumped up on to the bed next to me and sat there until I got up to grab my phone to take a picture of what Lucy was doing while I was writing. I didn’t want her to feel left out that I included pictures of Fred, so here are some of her “contributions” to my working process:

I actually woke her up when I got up to get my phone. She snores like a human being – and that’s what she was doing the whole time I was writing. Lucy’s a lot less interested in my work, unless she can get her paws on something and bat it around.

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave comments.