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Monthly Archives: April 2013

South Jersey Etsian Mother’s Day Blog Hop

Welcome to the first official South Jersey Etsian blog hop! Thanks for joining us. There are five great projects today, so please be sure to visit everyone’s blog to see what was made. If you don’t know about us, we are a team of local, Southern New Jersey artist who sell on Etsy. We have marketing mixers to help promote each other and our shops, give ideas on new ways to tag and list items and brainstorm on ways to drive traffic to our shops. And the SJE blog hop was born!!

Since we each sell very different items (from jewelry to up cycled coasters to cards), we decided that we would “hop” around certain themes. With Mother’s Day not so far away, what a perfect theme for our first hop. So, here it is!

My project was a Mini Album for the new mother. It seems all of my friends are having babies (while I’m just getting awesome! Check Pinterest for this awesome ecard!!), so I decided to use my new Mini Album Cricut cartridge to create a baby boy book. First, I went through the paper stack I used – Me and My Big Ideas Baby Boy Paper stack – and picked the patterned papers that I liked and thought would go well together. Once I selected those papers, I went though the booklet for the cartridge and selected the cuts that I wanted to include in this album. I didn’t use the smallest cuts (Horizontal 9 and Horizontal 14) because they come out really small and you can’t put much on them.

Once I had all my cuts done with designer paper and some other blue card stock I had in my stash, I started assembling. The directions in the back of the book are easy to follow and once you’ve made one book, it’s easy to see how the other books will come together. (There is also a Vertical and Square Mini Album option). I used a light baby blue ribbon to hold all the pages together.

Then I started decorating. I used two of the baby cartridges I have – New Arrival and Baby Steps – to make some of the embellishments. I also used some of the stamps in my collection to add some quotes. I used a variety of inks including distress, Stazon and Versa Magic.I used coordinating colored card stock as mats for pictures.

Overall, this particular album can hold approximately 21 4 x 6 photos, with some room for additional smaller (3×3) photos. There are plenty of journaling spots – just turn some of the images over! The album is very interactive.

Here are some pictures of the album:

The Cover:

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Inside the first pocket – a bottle that has journaling on the back and baby’s info with a spot for photo on the back:DSC_0829

The back:

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One of the tags:

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The crib, which houses the bear and the onesie:

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Front of the bear and onesie – goes in the crib:

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Back of the bear and oneseie:

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One of the 4 x 6 photo pages. The baby is only partially glued down, so a picture can easily fit under the baby’s head!

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Same for this camera icon. It’s partially glued, so a picture can easily slip into it!

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Baby’s binky holds a journaling spot:

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Cute train page has room for one of the 3×3 photos:

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Another 4 x 6 photo mat:

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The back cover:

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Thanks for hopping along with us. Please visit the following blogs and see what they have made for Mother’s Day!!

Michele – https://scrapsecrets.wordpress.com/ YOU ARE HERE
Erin – http://serendipityblu.wordpress.com/ HERE”S YOUR NEXT STOP!!!
Jaime – http://jewelrybyjaime.wordpress.com/
Lisa – http://rooftopcreations.wordpress.com/
Heidi – http://heavymetalglam.com/

No one was watching me….

And I bought TWO more Cricut cartridges! I am out of control!! I bought Mickey and Friends and Disney Classics from Joann’s two weeks ago because they were $30 each. I looked on Amazon and people wanted $50 or $60 (or more) for them!! So of course I had to buy them – and more. I bought some cute stamp sets, Hero Arts neon inks and distress inks as well. I swore that was the last of my shopping spree because earlier in the week……

I bought stamp sets from Gina K Designs. And not just a couple. She was having a 50% off sale of all her duo sets. If you buy 6 sets of stamps (you have to buy 2 or 3 duos to count as 1 stamp set), then you get a FREE set. Of course I had to buy enough to qualify for the FREE set! So, I did. But then, even earlier in the week……

I bought from Simon Says Stamp. I just NEEDED those Hero Arts shadow inks. I had to have them. So many people who make videos on YouTube have them that I decided I had to get them. And, since at this point I didn’t know I was ordering from two more stores that week, I decided I had to get some new stamps. I got some Lawn Fawn, Technique Tuesday and Paper Smooches stamp sets, along with a Simon Says Stamp exclusive stamp and die set.

Although this seems like a lot of things (and it is, don’t get me wrong), I have been using them. I would say I used about 50% of the products overall so far. And it’s only been a little over a week since I got most of them. I’m having a great time making all kinds of projects and coming up with new ideas for these stamp sets and Cricut cartridges.

Before I forget, I did do some major damage at Michael’s a couple of weeks ago. I got a TON of new papers and I also got the Cricut Mini albums cartridge. Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post for a blog hop that features one of the projects that I have made with this album. (Plus, you will also get the chance to see four of my fellow teammates’ projects – you won’t be disappointed!!)

I think that I am done with shopping now. I need to get back into my craft room and create. I posted a lot of new projects yesterday to my Etsy shop. If you want to see what I bought or made, check out these sites:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/scrapsecrets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8wNBgkbF5Y (Joann’s haul – other haul videos are listed on my channel)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scrapsecrets/268068073266999?ref=hl (my Facebook page, where I have posted pictures of new projects and links to my YouTube videos)

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

Michele

Spring brings new hope and new opportunities

It seems like things are turning around lately and I’m finally getting some good news. After two knee surgeries in 13 months, a visit to the ER to find out I’ve burnt my stomach lining from pain medicine, countless hours of physical therapy – I seem to be getting better. It’s been a long, slow process, but I think I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Maybe it’s the change in the weather that also helps my outlook. But, whatever it is, I like it!! 

And now I think I am doing the same with my business. Friday I met with a friend who I am sharing a booth with at a craft fair. We discussed set ups, supplies, color scheme, etc. Another thing we discussed was a joint venture between our businesses. We talked about debuting the line at the craft fair. I am so excited to have a new challenge to work on and am looking forward to partnering with a very creative jewelry designer.  (Her shop is https://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelrybyJaime if you want to check it out!)

I’ve also been inspired to make some projects other than cards to start debuting in my Etsy shop. I originally thought that I would make things like party favors and scrapbooks (which I LOVE doing), but when it came down to it, I really made just cards. I need to diversify my shop and I am working on it. It’s easier to make cards because they take less time, but just because it’s easier doesn’t mean that I should rely on those products alone for sales. I made a bunch of gift card holders and they are 90% done – all I need to do is add the To/From tag and take pictures. 

Another new idea I am throwing around is to offer a bundled set of personalized cards. I’ve heard from several people, I can never find Mom-Mom/Nana/Nona/Goddaughter, etc cards. I may start offering a bundling package where you can request 12 personalized cards for a discounted price. You would be able to pick from holidays, birthdays, anniversary, graduation cards or tell me what kind of cards you want. They would all be delivered at once, but you would have the cards you need for that special person for the whole year! And you wouldn’t have to do all 12 for the same person. You could do 6 for Pop-Pop and 6 for Mom-Mom for example. It’s just another idea I am toying around with to try and differentiate myself from other shops. 

I am off to my craft room to finish some of these projects and work on some new ideas. There’s so much to do and so little time!! Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment and subscribe!

Michele

Graduation

This week has been so beautiful! The weather finally turned – actually not only did it turn, it did a 180. It went from 40 degrees to 80 in a matter of a day or two. Crazy!! Hey, not that I am complaining. But I can’t believe that I am debating putting my air on in early April. Last time this year, I remember it being jacket weather still. (The only reason I remember is because I was off to Mexico for my sister’s wedding and I remember bragging to everyone that it was going to be in the 80’s where I was going. Glad it’s not this year – I’d miss all the nice weather!)

Anyway, with the nicer weather means we are closer to the end of school. College kids are counting down the weeks until their finals, picking their next semester classes and for those lucky seniors, getting fitted for their caps and gowns. I am sure that high school kids are doing the same – around here, they have a couple more months still! I remember those days……

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see that graduation, cap and gown and tassel are common words in my search results page on Etsy. When people use search words to find your items and then a potential buyer clicks on one of them, Etsy lets you know the terms they used to find your products. It’s a great help when you are trying to tag your items – you can see what common phrases people use. I check these every day, just to see what people are looking for in my shop.

The views that I got today were all for graduation cards. Most colleges graduate in May, so I guess it’s really not that far off. Now I know what to concentrate on making more of. It’s always difficult to determine what to make when you are sitting down designing. Often I pick a product and come up with a design. Unless there’s a major holiday or event, it can be difficult to design things when you don’t know the end buyer. But now that it’s graduation season, I will be making all kinds of cards, in all kinds of colors. 

Congratulations to those graduating!! 

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

Michele

Pinspiration

Lately, I have felt like I can’t come up with new ideas. I’ve been having a tough time concentrating (could be due more to all the pain my body has been going through and the fact I can’t take anything for it!) and when I can’t concentrate I can’t create. I feel like I have ADD more than I ever have. I’ve always joked that I did because I usually can’t sit still for very long (unless I am creating something – then hours can go by without me realizing it). 

So since lately I haven’t been able to come up with completely fresh ideas, I’ve been turning to Pinterest. And yes I know, it’s the biggest time suck there is, but it is also a great source for inspiration. But only if you give yourself a time limit and stick to it. (I do and I hardly ever stick to it – again, that’s why Pinterest is a time suck!!) 

The amount of creativity out there is amazing. Often you will see some of the same things over and over, but once in awhile, you come across something that makes you want to try it. Now, when I say I find inspiration, I don’t repin something and then copy it. Often I will take one design element and use that to help me make a new card. For example, this card. ImageI took the number cut out idea and created this card – 

ImageSame design principle using cut out numbers with color behind them, but completely different look. And that’s what I mean by inspiration, not copying!

Now I know there are plenty of people out there that will see an idea and just say, I can make that! They will copy your design and pass it off as their own. It happens all the time in business. Now with sites like Pinterest and Etsy, it’s even easier for them to do so. It’s unfortunate since it often takes a long time to come up with some designs, picking the right colors and papers and executing your vision. If you’re going to copy me, at least give me credit!! 

Anyway, I know that people are Pinterest-crazy and I love it to. It’s a great source of inspiration that I have been turning to lately. If you want to check out what I’ve been pinning, here’s my info:

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

 

Blog Hops

A couple of months ago, a bunch of us who sell on Etsy and are part of a group called South Jersey Etsians got together to discuss ideas on how to improve sales, new marketing ideas, craft show advice and tax questions. My part of the meeting was to discuss new ways for us to drive traffic to our shops and new ways to promote ourselves. 

I came up with a long list of both individual and team ideas, one which happened to be a blog hop. I have seen other people do them, but I have never participated in one. Apparently I think I am qualified enough to not only be in one, but to run it. I don’t know who gave me that impression, but here I am, a couple of weeks out from hosting my first one. 

This one will be a Mother’s Day theme and so far there are only four people signed up. I am not sure how many people are typically in a blog hop, but I feel like that number is a little low. Maybe I will cut myself some slack, seeing that it is my first ever! (Probably not though – I am generally toughest on myself). Anyway, I am excited to be able to do this and hopefully it will be successful and other team members will want to join in for the next one. 

The thing that makes it most difficult to coordinate this blog hop is that we all make different kinds of handmade pieces. There is such a unique mix of media that it is hard to come up with a theme. In the blog hops I’ve seen, they are all paper crafters and you have to use a certain stamp set or certain paper to participate. I am trying to come up with unique themes and mostly all I have come up with are holiday related (hence, Mother’s Day) or maybe some color related ones (orange or red for fall). I will have to look and see if there are any blogs that have done hops like this. However, I do think that it makes us stand out – there’s something for everyone! 

So, in the next couple of weeks, look for our first ever blog hop. I can’t wait to start it and I hope it goes smoothly! (I probably just jinxed it, didn’t I??) 

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

Michele

Operation Write Home

So, I’ve been really pretty depressed lately. First with all of my health issues and just thinking about all the new tests they have to run and all the restrictions to my diet and life. Then, I got rejected from a craft show I participated in last year. And not just any show – it was my first ever and it was one that I helped out with. So, I felt pretty down.

But then I watched one of Jennifer McGuire’s videos on how she made cards for the troops overseas. It’s an organization called Operation Write Home. For those of you who don’t know, I am a big believe in giving to charities. Recently I donated over 8 large trash bags of clothes to Goodwill, made cards for Hayden’s Heart and am in the process of making cards for March of Dimes fundraiser. Sometimes I’d rather make things to give away just because I like making cards.. (Although I do sell them on Etsy, so if you like them, you can certainly buy them – who am I to turn down money??  : ) ) I try to give back as much as I can.

So, I went over to the website to check out the rules and requirements. I signed up for my free Operation Write Home stamp that has to go on the back of every card and I learned what you can and can’t make for the troops. (In a nutshell – NO glitter, NO handwritten sentiments, standard A2 size card, positive themed, grown up type cards). I have some ideas in mind and am going to start working on some designs today. There is a calendar for when they need to receive cards by for specific holidays, themes and images to stay away from and themes they are looking for.

They also do HeroMail, which is when kids send in pictures or cards to the soldiers. I thought this was such a sweet thing. I am sure that the soldiers appreciate any kind of mail, especially pictures and cards that were so thoughtfully made by kids! If any of my teacher friends are interested in using this as an activity in their class or if any of my crafty friends are interested in participating, the website is : operationwritehome.org.

This certainly came at the right time. I needed something to focus on that was positive and I am glad that I did. I will post pictures of the cards I make in a couple of weeks. (It will take awhile to get the stamp for the back so I can’t send them right away).

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