28 December 2008

2008's most helpful blogs for selling online

Every day my inbox is chock full of not very helpful, never gonna visit sales pitchy newsletters that I MIGHT glance at before deleting. Luckily, I glanced at this one from Etsy today, because it was actually pretty nifty. So, here's to you, Etsy bloggers, cause without you, we might actually have some free time...

Give your Etsy Shop a PageRank Boost
I've seen the question so many times on the Etsy forums, "Why isn't my Etsy shop showing up in Google when I search for XYZ?" While that is actually a very . . .
Etsy Seller: timothyadamdesigns
Blog: timothyadamdesigns.blogspot.com

HOW TO: Offer Multiple Shipping Options on Etsy.com
Here is how I am offering multiple shipping options without the whole “convo me” and paypal invoice thing. . .
Etsy Seller: clevergirl
Blog: BeClever.Wordpress.Com

How to get the Etsy Sales you want
Improve your shop and learn to promote it. Every bit of information you need is already out there, and most of it is right there on Etsy. . .
Etsy Seller: houseofmouse
Blog: lifecraftinessandeverythingelse.blogspot.com

Promoting your shop within Etsy: Lessons Learned
When I opened my online shop, I thought that I would just list some jewelry and people would come by and buy. How difficult could it be? After all, look at all the successful. . .
Etsy Seller: contrariwise
Blog: akacontrariwise.blogspot.com

Free Spreadsheet for Pricing Your Work
One of the hardest things for a crafter to do , is to get to grips with pricing their work. I have attempted to create an easy to use spreadsheet, that will give you your . . .
Etsy Seller: chrisparry
Blog: chris-parry.blogspot.com

Secrets of a Camera Novice - TUTORIAL
Well, maybe I'm not a novice, but I'm definitely an amateur. I'm Renovia from Endless Whimsy, I teach music and love photography. . .
Etsy Seller: Sellers Assisting Sellers Team
Blog: etsymentors.blogspot.com

Building Repeat Business
When I opened my online shop, I thought that I would just list some jewelry and people would come by and buy. How difficult could it be? After all, look at all the successful. . .
Etsy Seller: kreatedbykarina
Blog: kbyk.blogspot.com

Etsy Helpful Links - Not Found Via Etsy
Lots of helpful links and hidden gems!
Etsy Seller: loosewirestudio
Blog: loosewirestudio.blogspot.com

The 5 P's of Successful Blogging
I actually get a lot of questions about this, and I'm not sure I'm an expert but I'm certainly willing to share what I've learned. I'm just a fumbling blogger who somehow fell in ...
Etsy Seller: pamperingbeki
Blog: pamperingbeki.blogspot.com

Tips for Blogging Success (100,000 views)
I have had a blog for just over 20 months, and I have reached and passed 100,000 views. . . I want to share with you a few steps I have take to reach this goal. . .
Etsy Seller: timothyadamdesigns
Blog: timothyadamdesigns.blogspot.com

16 December 2008

The Weather Outside is Frightful..

But winning is so delightful! I woke up to a rare sight of snow! yes, snow, all over the ground and shivered at the thought. Since we don't even own a shovel or scrapers or anything else, I had nothing else to do but check my email and get caught up online, and discovered today that I won (by popular vote) the holiday ornament contest hosted by the Bluegrass Etsy Street Team with this ornament:
Thanks to everyone who voted for me and visited my store and my teammates wonderful shops as well! I am honored to be on such a cool team with talented Etsians from all over Kentucky. You can visit their blog here.

Now I can go back to watching the neighbor kids use an old tire and broken skateboard as a sled and sled down the middle of the street, er, I mean hill. Cause that's how we do it in Kentucky!

14 December 2008

the perfect gift...

often is the one thing the person recieving it doesn't know they want until they get it. Which is why I had this sweet jacket made for Josh for Christmas, because after all this talk about wanting to be one of those guys that wears blazers and sips on scotch, I knew what he REALLY needed.

This is definately more his speed, and made by an awesome Etsy artist that also makes stage clothing for musicians, rockfabricscissors. She made what was in my head without me having to even be too crazy specific. That's right, not only is she talented, she is apparently a frickin' mind reader. Amazing, right?

12 December 2008

sometimes you just need to laugh...

As fun as the holidays can be, I am reminded that they can be lonely for those that feel alone, stressful for those already struggling to make ends meet and have children, and sad for those who have lost someone. In the past few years, I have had at least one of each of these Christmases, and know the pain, the heartache, and the grief. This year I have been incredibly thankful for all my blessings, and for my family and friends. My life may not be perfect, but it is quite blessed.

So once in awhile, I get something in my inbox that gives me a much needed laugh. It occurred to me I may not be the only one thankful for a good giggle:
So now it is your turn! Go do something nice for someone, dammit. Even if its just saying "hi" to a stranger. You never know, that may be the person who one minute before felt like noone noticed they were alive.

09 December 2008

Homemade Candy for the Holidays- DIY

Its been awhile since I posted a drink recipe here, but thought in the spirit of the season, it was more appropriate to put sugary sweets recipes on here. I have been itching to bake my traditional cookies, but my oven heating element snapped in half while baking last week- tragic! So while the new part is on the way, I am all about searching for stovetop sweets I can make. Usually I only think of making fudge, but then I found this recipe for caramels from Ready Made Magazine (which is, by the way, one of the coolest mags ever, if anyone wants to renew my subscription, haha).

(makes about 100 1” squares)

Vegetable oil spray
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 cups cream
1 ½ tsps Kosher salt
2 tsps vanilla extract

1. Prepare an 11” x 7” pan with at least 1” sides with a light coating of vegetable oil or spray, and set aside.
2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup; mix until there are no dry spots, and use a pastry brush to push down any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.
3. Cook the mixture over high heat until it starts to turn golden. Immediately whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time. Gradually pour in cream, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition.
4. Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches precisely 248 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Remove from heat and whisk in salt and vanilla.
6. Pour caramel into prepared pan and let sit for several hours or overnight.
7. Turn the sheet of caramel onto a cutting board and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
8. With a knife or rotary cutter, cut the caramel into 1” square pieces, and individually wrap them in parchment or wax paper.

Enjoy! I know I can't wait to try these! Being a firm believer that giving well thought out, handmade holiday gifts is far more heartfelt and meaningful than store bought gifts, I can't wait to give them either. Nothing makes me happier than to think for months about what the people on my list would like (but never think to get for themselves), and if I, or somebody else for that matter, can make it, all the better. When I discovered Etsy, I realized far more could be handmade than even I dreamed! Considering Walmart already gets probably the equivelent of a mortgage payment from us every month, out of necessity and no other choice, I shudder at the thought of them getting even more this time of year. And why, when instead our hard earned money can go to crafty stay at home moms like myself, other artists trying to make a success, and other people who truly appreciate each sale. That makes my gift giving make a difference twice, and isn't that truly amazing?

Happy shopping!

02 December 2008

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

I don't just sell on Etsy, I love to shop there also. This year, I have tried on every gift giving occasion to buy handmade as much as possible. In my search for the perfect gifts, I have found some things I never would have thought of giving. Everyone knows buying handmade gifts for women is easy, especially with all the great jewelry out there. My shop is full of pendants and necklaces in every shape, size, and color. At around $10, they make perfect gifts for any women or teen. But what about those others on your list? Here are some of the most interesting gift ideas that you may have never thought of. All are handmade, and unique, and guaranteed to make your loved ones and friends feel truly special. Recieving handmade gifts make anyone feel like you went to a lot of thought and trouble to find that perfect gift. Isn't that what gift giving is truly about? Making someone feel truly special? The thought? Here are my favorite finds, all from shops on Etsy.

For the man on your list, how about this duct tape wallet? JDuct not only has this one, but tons of other one of a kind wallets in all kinds of designs: Another cool gift for men is a screenprinted by hand, direct from the artist t-shirt, also in many designs, by DBK Apparel: For those little boys (or even girls!), how about a marshmallow shooter? They shoot pom-poms too, for moms who don't have dogs to eat the ammo off the floor. These even come in two packs to avoid arguments, from BoysToys:

For little girly girls, there is everything from mom approved, adorable handmade winter hats, also handmade with love and one of a kind. This one is from MoMos Bows, who also makes tons of adorable hair bows:
Perhaps you have one of those American Girl doll-obsessed little girls. Get some gorgeous, one of a kind clothes for them at much more reasonable prices. I had several custom made to match ideas in my head from RetroReesa, like this Totally 80's one custom made for $15:

For those teen girls, these earrings are really popular, from Daydream Art Studios:

Maybe there's a woman on your list who doesn't wear a lot of jewelry. Try some fabulous, natural, highly fragranced handmade perfume purse misters available in dozens of high end scents, from Flameworks: You can also get goat milk soap, fresh from the farm in Kentucky. This one, Yuzu, smells good enough to eat. Move over Bath and Body Works, for Wilmoth Farms: For a fashionista on your list, how about the latest French fashions, direct from the French designer herself? I love this gorgeous silk top from Malam:

She may also love these very well made (I know, I own one!) and very beautiful designer handbags, straight from the designer in Switzerland, Novita Julien. She has all kinds of bags in all kinds of fabrics:
What about Grandma, though, who already has what she wants. Does she knit? How about indulging her like she does for everyone else? Here is some super soft and high end, hand spun and hand dyed yarn, from LunaBud Knits: Is there a baby, new mom, or soon to be mom on your list? Get them something noone else will, like these onesies that will get giggles everywhere. Bambinamia has giggle worthy onesies for everybody. My favorite: What about that person who has it all? At a loss? How about these super cute mice? The House of Mouse has one available in just about every occupation and even "famous mice" modeled after just about anyone. I like this little chef:
Last but not least, don't forget that even those cards that need to be sent can be handmade! Oh, don't make them yourself, just make them think you did, with great ones like these from Macaroni and Glue: Don't forget, almost every shop on Etsy LOVES custom orders, and is happy to accomodate even "crazy" requests! Often these custom orders do not cost any more than buying the item already made, a fear that often keeps people from asking. Remember, these are handmade items, made by artists just trying to make it. They truly appreciate your business and will go out of their way to show you. Just like your mother always said, it never hurts to ask! Happy Shopping!

01 December 2008

Rad Things to do in Springfield, Illinois

For Thanksgiving this weekend, Sierra and I traveled (by bus, mind you, the longest trip EVER) to Springfield, Illinois to see my dad. While we were there, we had a lot of fun getting our homeschooling on, and visiting some local sites. First, after battling early Black Friday shopping crowds, we went to Lincoln's Tomb:
I told Sierra it was lucky to rub Lincoln's nose, not thinking how hard it would be to lift her up high enough to do it:
We also went inside the tomb to see the actual deal, where no flash photography is allowed. Nothing about cell phones though:
Perhaps one of the most undiscovered museums and wierd but cool sites to see is the Museum of Funeral Customs, where you learn about the difference between coffins and caskets, and the history of embalming and the evolution of funeral traditions. Here's some cast iron caskets. My favorite is the one with the window that is finished to look like wood:
The only thing cooler than the exhibits here is the gift shop, where you can buy the most awesome Christmas ornaments ever (if you appreciate irony, that is), and these sweet shirts:
Or you can go across the street to the unofficial Lincoln gift shop, where you can buy all things Abe Lincoln, or a stuffed and mounted Jackalope, with his lady love:On the last full day of our trip we went to the The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, where no photography is allowed, save these freaky, all too real wax sculptures of the First Family in front of the White House:
Hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving weekend too!!