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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Get Well and Pet Sympathy Cards

A couple of weeks ago I received a custom order request from a friend that I went to grad school with. She asked me for a pet sympathy card. I didn’t think that there would be a market for those type of cards, but to my surprise, I was wrong! My last sale was in fact the same card I made for her! So I have to say thanks to Kara for the idea!

Here is the original card:

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And here is the card I made for the Etsy sale – I emailed the customer to tell her that I could customize the dog to the colors of her friends’ pet and she chose tan and white:

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The colors are slightly different. I don’t like to make two of the exact same card – I like to make each card unique. I also added a collar and a tag with the letter “Z” for the dog’s name.

The next card I made is for my coworker. She had surgery on Thursday. I know its going to be a long road to recovery for her. She came down last week to get cards that I was donating to Hayden’s Heart fundraiser this past weekend and she liked the Thanks a Latte card that I made. So, I wanted to use that image in the card for her. But how do you turn a coffee card into a get well soon card?

Well, this might be a stretch, but I used the sentiment “How’ve you bean?” on the front and get well soon on the inside. I had to think long and hard about how to make it work and I think I might have succeeded. We’ll see once she gets it!

Here are the images from the card:

IMG_2377 IMG_2378 IMG_2379The coffee cup was cut at 5 1/2 inches and the newspaper was cut at 3 1/2 inches.

Hope you like the cards! Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to leave a comment and subscribe. Also, if you want to see more about the cards, check out my YouTube channel – my username is chelebelle1120.

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Goals Update

So, it’s week 2 of my challenge for myself. I have managed to change my avatar and created a new banner for my Etsy shop. Two things checked off the list! I have written two posts this week (counting this one), so another thing checked off, as well as I listed one new item on Etsy last week. I can give myself a gold star for last week.

This week, however I haven’t listed anything yet. I know that I shouldn’t be using physical therapy as an excuse for not doing much, but it’s really kicking my butt. I am exhausted when I come home and all I want to do is go to bed. This week isn’t up, however. I still have tonight and tomorrow. I am working on an order I got from Etsy, which is slightly different than the card I listed. So, maybe I will take pictures of this card and list it tomorrow. (I often list things that I send out because I know I can recreate them fairly easy. I only do that with cards that I know I have the exact supplies on hand to recreate it!!)

On a positive note, I have looked up craft shows to apply to. I have six right now, not counting the craft show I want to do at my local high school in December. I will print out some applications this weekend to make sure that I have all the proper information (and the necessary money to apply – shows can get expensive!!!)

I have to really take some time to decide what I want my new business cards and banner to look like. I am still looking for some ideas. I like the new banner for my shop, but I want something a little different for my table banner for craft shows. I also want my cards to match. I will have to browse Vistaprint – maybe I will add that to my list of things to do this weekend. 

So, overall, I think that week 2 of my goals was a success. Hopefully I can keep this momentum up and continue to work on my inventory and improving my shop! Has anyone else set goals? If so, how are you doing with them? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment and subscribe!

Michele

Facebook group – Play Along’s Paper Bag Mini Album Challenge

Recently, I signed up for a group on Facebook called Play Along, which offers a bunch of challenges. Some are for prizes, some for fun, some have deadlines and others are open-ended. It all started out because of YouTube!

A couple of weeks ago when I was home, sitting on the couch, I looked to YouTube for inspiration. I came across this YouTube channel called My Sister’s Scrapper. Ginger, the woman running the channel, was making these paper bag mini albums. So, I thought, I could do this once I get better and get back to my craft room. And, that’s as far as I got! Until the other day.

I also subscribe to a blog written by a woman named Janis. Her blog is Pause Dream Enjoy. I found her blog from a YouTube channel that I follow called CardzTV. Anyway, in this blog was a link to the Facebook page and on that page was the challenge to make one of the Paper Bag mini albums. I figured that since I saw the challenge, I should at least attempt to make one. 

So I did. I went through my house and gathered up the necessary items and then started watching all the parts to her videos. Her directions are so clear and precise – I was amazed that even I could follow them!! It does take a while to construct the basic form of the album, but I was really impressed with how mine turned out. I have a few things to keep in mind for the next one, but the simple fact that I said I will make a “next one” shows you how easy it was to follow along with the videos.

Just a couple of tips if you are going to play along. Janis says that the albums take a lot of paper and they do. I used a My Mind’s Eye paper pack called Lost & Found. I also supplemented with some plain colored card stock that I embossed (both dry and powder) or used punches to add decorations to, as well as some coordinating card stock. She also suggests that you go through your paper pack (if you are using one) and pick the cover paper first. That way, you don’t use those pages on something else. The cover is one of the last things you will do.

Here are some pictures of what my paper bag mini album looks like so far. I have a lot more to do – make tags for inside the top of the paper bag part and tags for the pockets inside and work on the embellishment parts of the album. I’m not sure if this is going to go up on Etsy or not. SInce it’s the first one I’ve done, I am not sure if I want to keep it or not. Let me know what you think. 

The cover:

ImageThe front inside cover:

ImageThe back inside cover (with a waterfall feature):

ImageThanks for stopping by and checking out my paper bag mini album. Once I finish this, I will post an update with more pictures. I am hoping to work on it this weekend, so hopefully you will be able to see the finished product soon. Feel free to leave a comment and subscribe!

Fear

Fear is a funny thing. It can be the driving force behind most of your decisions. Sometimes it causes us to stay in relationships longer than we should or it keeps us from getting into a relationship. Other times it keeps us from going after what we really want, especially if there is a fear of failure. The fear of rejection or the fear of what family and friends may think of us for making certain decisions can dissuade us from making the leap into a new venture.

Fear has played a big role in my life. I had been working on papercrafting for a while before I decided to take the leap into selling on Etsy. I was scared that no one would like my creations (which, I still am!), but I was also scared of what other people might think of my idea. I think that a lot of the time I seek other people’s approval, so what those closest to me thought of my business was very important to me. I also only did two craft shows last year because I had a fear of failing. Maybe people we just buying my cards because they knew me. Maybe strangers wouldn’t like the things I took so much pride in creating.

But, I had to overcome my fear because I would never know until I tried. I got a lot of positive comments from customers and people who just stopped by to look at my cards and other creations. I also learned a lot from those two shows and will be able to apply those suggestions in the future. It was a great learning experience and something that I will do again, even if I am still a little afraid to do new shows!

I feel like I am always fearful of the unknown. I think that most people are. Some people push through the fear and what’s on the other side is often a learning experience and not as bad as you think. I often talk myself into (and out of) an idea several times before making that final decision. I need to have more faith in myself and in my abilities.

Fear hasn’t been all bad. The fear of failing has pushed me to become a better sales person at shows. (I’m a sales person by day, but somehow it’s more difficult to sell things that you actually made because you have so much invested in those pieces.) I also tend to work better when I am under pressure and the fear of not having enough for a show puts plenty of pressure on me! The week before a show is when I tend to be the most creative and the most productive.

So, fear isn’t totally a bad thing. Sometimes fear is a great motivator and other times fear can hold you back. What would you do if there was no fear of failure? Maybe it’s time we all took the leap and used fear as a jumping off point instead of the reason we don’t do something. Good luck if you do decide to take the leap!

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment!

Michele

Setting goals

Every business needs to set goals and objectives. Otherwise, how would you know how successful (or hopefully not how unsuccessful) you are or know what direction to take your business? How will you divide your time amongst all your business activities you need to accomplish?

This should have been one of the first things I did when I set up my business. My day job stresses the importance of this and I’m not sure why I didn’t think to transfer my acquired skills into this business. Maybe I was trying to separate my two worlds, maybe I was rebelling against what I do all day every day. Either way, I was being stubborn and I have been hurting myself and my business.

But that changes today. Today is a new day and I am setting goals for myself as well as my business. I need to set some personal and professional goals so that I can start being accountable for things in my life. Too often I say, whatever happens, happens. Most successful people wouldn’t agree with that. You need to be active in what you do, not passive. So, how do you start?

Lets start with business goals. My plan is to update my Etsy shop with at least one new item at least once a week. I know that this goal is going to be tough to accomplish some weeks. I know that one listing a week doesn’t sound like much. After all, it’s just taking a couple of pictures, right? Wrong. There’s the title, tags, description, editing pictures and pricing. A lot goes into listing an item. It’s the most time consuming part of selling on Etsy and one that I don’t like doing. I know that I need to become more consistent with the amount I have listed and the frequency in with which I list things. I know this is one of my weak points. Which is why I am making it my number one goal. I am sure that there will be weeks when I fail at this goal. But, the important part is not to focus on the failures. Focus on moving forward and meeting next weeks goal. Post two that next week so that you didn’t fail, you altered your goal. 

My next goal is to diversify my shop. Right now, it features all cards and one set of gift card holders. I have lots of canvas in my house right now that I can turn into wall art for a nursery or a child’s room. But, for some reason, I am hesitant. I don’t know if its a fear that no one will like them or that I will make the wrong style or use the wrong color. I need to get over my fear. (On a side note, my next blog post may be about fear. I think it’s an important topic and I feel like it affects me a lot. Anyone else??) 

My third goal is to work on my shop’s appearance. I was recently critiqued and there are a lot of things I know I need to work on, especially my avatar and banner. Right now my avatar is a picture of one of the centerpieces that I created for my sister’s w bridal shower. When I originally opened my shop, I thought I would sell cards, party favors and scrapbooks. I thought showing one of my party favor pieces would make a good avatar because it showcases my work. However, almost a year later, I haven’t listed one party favor piece! In that case, my avatar doesn’t make sense. And then, neither does my banner. I wasn’t sure what to have as my banner and my goddaughter, who I adore and is like a mini me with her love of scrapbooking, made a picture of me with an app on her iPod. (She’s 6 btw!) It was cute and I thought I would use that. Apparently a BIG mistake! So, now it’s back to the drawing board to come up with a cohesive image for my avatar, banner and all other promotional paraphernalia.

Which would make my fourth goal getting new business cards and a new banner. Right now my business cards are purple and white and my banner is a zebra background with light and dark purple letters that spell out Scrapsecrets. However, we found at my last show that the banner was not really able to be hung on two 4 ft tables without reading Crapsecrets. LOL. Definitely not the image I want portrayed for my business! 

Another goal for me is to make sure that I am participating on the Etsy discussion boards. I participate the most on the team where I am a leader, but there are so many other groups that I belong to and should participate in as well. And if I don’t participate, then I should leave the group. I will work on paring down my list of teams I belong to because it can be a time suck to belong to too many teams. The discussion boards are a great resource, especially for someone who is still relatively new to the business, but it can also waste a lot of time. 

My sixth goal is for this blog. I am going to challenge myself to update it once a week, whether it is just a quick update with some new pictures of work or a long post (like this one!) sharing knowledge, goals,how I am doing, etc. I think that I need to work on my Internet presence and that includes this blog. So, look for one new post from me a week. And yes, you can keep me honest and if I fail to meet my goal, call me out on it!! 

Finally, my last goal relates to craft shows. I want to apply to several throughout the year. I am planning on doing both weekend shows at Cold Springs in Cape May, the FAF in Woodbury and the Craft show at my local high school. I hope I can find a few more that are accepting new applicants and are worth it. I know once it gets closer to the show times, I will have a lot more goals with respect to making items, pricing, listing, organizing, etc. But for right noe, I think these are some good goals to work towards! 

I hope this helps inspire you to set some new goals for yourself. I have set quite a few and now I am going to come up with a plan on how to divide my time so that I can accomplish these goals. Right now it will be easier for me since I can’t drive, can’t work and the only place I really go is to the doctors, back to my house for a couple hours a day and starting next week, physical therapy. The true test will be when I go back to work. Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment and become a follower!