Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Use code HALLOWEEN to save 31% on all prints in my Artfire studio! This offer expires tonight at midnight so hurry.
Read More »

Dreaming of Etsy

I must be on Etsy way too much! I actually had a dream about Etsy last night. In my dream I used Craftcult to check my views and they jumped by 100+ and it was 2 after the hour so I looked on the FP and there I was! Except it wasn't my handmade item. It was a shirt I own ROFL!

I was being greedy and didn't want to lose my FP exposure so I went into my current listings and tried to find it to edit the price to be insanely high so no one would buy it. But I couldn't find it because of the rearrange your shop so I had no idea what page it would be on. I tried to open Firefox to use Etsy Hacks to use the edit button on the listing but my phone was ringing and the kids were bugging me and my husband walked in and kept talking to me. I couldn't edit it and freaked out that someone would buy it! Then I had the brilliant idea I would rip the lace off of it and add more to the bottom and then it would be altered enough to be listed on Etsy. I kept checking Craftcult and my views kept jumping so I was really scared it would sell.

Then I woke up to the kids bugging me LOL

This would probably make more sense if I sold clothes or anything sewn but I sell papercrafts. *scratches head*

Read More »

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sweet Stack Paper Bag Album Kit

This kit has over 50 pieces! You can use just this kit or add your own embellishments for a very elaborate album. This is great for a brand new scrapper or someone who scraps a lot. Make to give as a gift or keep for yourself.
Read More »

Friday Favorites Cute Halloween on Etsy

Read More »

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Handmade Review The Hobby Room on Artfire

I picked up this adorable beanie from The Hobby Room on Artfire last week. The flower is just adorable and it's detachable so you can use it as a hair bow and mix and match bows on the beanie. How cool is that? This beanie will fit a one year old and it stretches to fit your child for years. At $10 (and up) for this beanie and flower clippie is a great buy, but knowing it can be used for more than one year makes it an amazing value.

Not only is this beanie just adorable, but Andrea is also a total sweetie. We've been talking on Etsy and Artfire for a while now and I've bought from her before.

So head on over to The Hobby Room and check it out. With her "Crafter's ADD" you never know what you'll find.
Read More »

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Read More »

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Success on Etsy - Forums Tuesday Tips

A few weeks ago I did general tips for Etsy and Artfire. It was well received on Twitter and in the comments so I'd like to expand upon those points in the following weeks. I still don't really feel like I've been around long enough to be giving advice, but after a little over a year and almost 750 sales I guess I am on my way to being an Etsy old timer.

My first tip was about the forums at Etsy and Artfire.
Read the forums. Not only are there great people there, but there's a wealth of information there. Use the search bar at the top and you'll discover even more. All those guides for Etsy success? I'd be willing to bet there isn't a single thing in there that can't be found in the forums. You'll learn about tools to help your shop you never knew existed. Not sure about a picture or price? Visit the critique section. It's really not as scary as it sounds, promise!
How do you use the forums to help your business? There's the obvious of reading posts and learning, learning, learning! Learn what people are saying about best times to list, renew, if renewing is worth it, new features of the site, and things of this nature. If it weren't for the forums it would be almost impossible to keep up with all of Artfire's new developments!

Sellers are buyers too so get in there and make yourself known. 99.2% of the community is wonderful and very helpful. The rest are snarky and weren't hugged enough as a child. They feed on the drama and making others feel inferior. Try to participate in a discussion and offer help and congratulations when necessary. I try to be very upbeat, positive and supportive in the forums. Not to help my business, although I certainly don't want to create a negative image, but because it really is a community. If you are nice and offer help, when you need help it will be there for you.

In the Etc sections it can get controversial. I stay away from it. Far, far away! (Note: there are many successful sellers that love it and meet great people. It's just not my thing.) Especially during the elections artist's strong beliefs were known and I can't help but get a negative connotation about their shop based upon comments. I don't mean to, really. When I'm a buyer I don't care if the person is Republican or Democrat or Independent or whatever. But when a seller is very vocal about something I am personally strongly against, I just can't let it go. Please don't think that I think everyone has to agree with me. I'm talking about the ones that were very vocal and very negative about those that disagreed.

Some people say never change your avatar. Others say to change it. Use a product picture. Use a cute animal photo. Use your own picture. I don't think there's a real definite answer, but the popular opinion seems to be artist pics are nice to put a face with the product. If you do show a product and it sells, please replace the photo. I do change mine about once a month. I have people say that they came to my shop just because of my avatar photo.

Search on the Etsy forums seems to be a deep dark secret. Up on the search bar you can drop down to post or title. If you use this you don't run the risk of posting the same thing over and over again, but you'll get your answer immediately.

Don't forget that forum posts are very, very rarely deleted. So before you call someone a cotton headed ninny muggins, do you want your customers to pull that up in a Google search in 3 years? Don't say anything you don't want posted right in your shop announcement.
Read More »

Monday, October 26, 2009

Operation Write Home

My cub scout pack is making cards for the soldiers tonight as a craft. Someone on Twitter mentioned Operation Write Home which is a site that accepts handmade cards to distribute to soldiers.

Unfortunately the deadline for Christmas is November 1st. If I had known I would have posted this much earlier!

However, even a thinking of you or thank you card is welcome any time!

I have a special offer for all of my great readers and customers. If you make a card (or cards) for the soldiers and email me a photo I will take 20% off your next order from my Etsy or Artfire shops.

The only thing I ask is that you try to place your order within a week of emailing me the photo(s) so I don't get confused with who is who :) I will let my awesome customers do this once every 2 months until further notice.
Read More »

Fall Papercrafts Contest Poll

Sorry it's late but here is the voting for the fall papercrafts contest.

  • Only one vote per person
  • You may solicit votes from Twitter, Facebook, your blog, email, or however you'd like
  • Voting ends November 2, 2009 at 11:59 PM
  • Winner will be contacted by email. If I do not receive a response within a week, the second place winner will be contacted for the prize.
  • In the case of a tie, every effort will be made to have 2 prizes but there may be substitutions

Read More »

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Favorites

Read More »

Key Tag svg file

For a tutorial on how to fuse plastic bags, head on over to Etsy and watch the video. It's super easy and who doesn't have hundreds of plastic bags lying around, right?

I ran them through my Cricut to see if it would cut it and it cut great! I can't remember what settings but I almost always start with blade 3, pressure medium to start and adjust from there. If I remember correctly, I kept it at 3/3 but you might need to play.

My hubby needed some key tags to mark keys for the storage box so I grabbed my new fused plastic and cut them out of there. A regular pen will smudge but a Sharpie wrote on them great. The plastic is thin and flexible but very strong.

This file is for personal use only. Please don't share my file, but you may send the link to this site. It can not be used for any commercial reasons without prior consent.

Read More »

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review Blog Graphics

I got a face life for my blog a few weeks ago and I couldn't be happier with the service and new graphics. LifesMomentsCaptured on Artfire created the banner and buttons and so much more! In fact, I still haven't had time to put everything up. She gave me tons and tons of graphics. I never imagined a more perfect blog banner!

I was very please with her communication, professionalism and speed of creation. Most importantly the graphics are amazing!

Keep checking back, I'm getting those graphics up slowly but surely :)
Read More »

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Orchid SVG File

I had a request for an orchid die cut and it was hard to find a good view to get a decent silhouette and bloom. I created this and wanted to share. It would be good for spring or Easter pages. They aren't to scale when you import them into SCAL. Open the whole flower and size. Open the bloom and size over top of the whole flower then delete the whole flower svg. Maybe one of these days I'll learn how to make them to size lol

Feel free to use this image in your personal creations and you may use it for items for sale. You may not post the svg files on your blog or website for free or personal use. You may link to my blog. You may use the die cut in an item for sale but you may not sell the die cut themselves. Thank you for respecting the time it took me to make the file.

(This is for use with the Sure Cuts a Lot software)
Read More »

Tuesday Tips - Organizing Photos

If you haven't been keeping up with organizing your photos it can be a daunting task. It might even be too overwhelming to start, but don't let that discourage you. It needs done and putting it off won't help. Don't feel like you have to do it all at one sitting or even in one month. It might be on going project for several months and that's ok as long as it gets done. Don't even think of it as work, think of it as talking a walk down memory lane. This can even be a project for you and your husband in the evenings or even while watching TV.

First you need some storage boxes.

These are normally $4 at Jo Ann's but you can find them at Target and other places. If you do buy at J's don't forget to use a coupon or watch for a sale. I've gotten mine as low as $2 at J's for plain ones. I used scrapbook paper to decorate them. These boxes are much less intimidating than a photo album and cheaper. If you decide to use albums, I would start with at least a few of these. You can always reuse them later.

Use a sticky note or otherwise label them by year and start sorting. Don't worry about what month of that year it is and if you can't remember what year it is just guess. Don't even worry about scrapping just sort.

If you don't have a lot of photos you might want to use one box for 2-3 years. When you see how many photos you have and the boxes start to fill where you can stand up the photos you can use dividers and get them organized a little better with tabbed dividers.

If this is a project that takes you a while then be sure to start keeping organized from this moment on. Every time you get pictures printed put them in the right box.

But how do I organize for scrapping?

I use the Power Sort Mini Box from Creative Memories because it was in my consultant kit back in the day. It came with dividers and it's the perfect size for me. There are other options out there and you can even use the cardstock envelopes your photos come to you in to organize until you find something you like.

I used to get doubles to scrap but I was filling photo albums soooo fast! Really, who needs to 5 different pictures of the same thing? So now I get 1 copy unless it's a very important event. If I truly love the photo I get a 5x7 for the scrapbook.

When I get my order back I separate what to scrap and what to file in albums. Then I put the photos in their slots in my Power Sort Mini Box. I do one section for each child, 1 for me and hubby/family and 1 for Christmas because I keep a separate Christmas album.

I don't keep them in any particular order in there because I might take pics from different times and places for one page.

If a photo sits in the box for a while and I'm just not getting any inspiration, it goes in the back for a mini album to send to Grandma or my aunt out of town. That way I'm not wasting and they get a fun surprise.

If I'm going through my stash of stickers and other embellies, if I find the perfect quote for a photo I will store that with the photo. I hate finding the perfect quote after I've scrapped the page!

I hope these tips help. If you have more tips, please post them. Remember to have fun with this and don't think of it as a chore. Also remember to get organized from this point forward and work your way back.
Read More »

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scrapbooking Contest - Fall

Entries due Saturday October 24, 2009.

I'm going to start hosting two paper crafts contests a month. You have one week to submit your entries. After the entries are submitted I will open up voting. Right now it will be popular vote by visitors. The winner will receive a related to theme. Or not. Maybe I'll shake things up and offer something totally new!

Some weeks I may even have a special offer on a paper pack or die cut set for my contest participants and challenge you to use them.

The rules:
  1. For this contest you may submit anything to do with paper crafts. A scrapbook page, card, altered tin, altered clipboard, anything altered, basically anything that is at least 75% covered with paper.
  2. It does not have to be something brand new, but please keep it to only creations not entered in a contest previously.
  3. All entries will be emailed to me at kotibeth@gmail.comand I will post them all at once so each entry is a surprise :) You may also send me the Etsy or Artfire link.
  4. You may solicite votes from your own blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or however else you'd like to get votes.
  5. Voting will last for one week.
  6. In the case of a tie, I will make every effort to have two of the same prize, but there may be substitutions.
  7. If you do not want to submit photos of your children, you may blur the faces of anyone in the photo.
Theme: Fall


You can click the photos for more details about the prizes.
Read More »

Friday Favorites

Read More »

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review Chamomile and Green Tea Eye Potion

As a die hard Estee Lauder fan, I was very hesitant to buy this type of product online. Estee Lauder puts years and millions into testing, how can this beat that?

I don't know how, but it does beat Estee. Hands down! This chamomile and green tea eye cream is from lilithsapothecary. I opted for the sample size which at $6 is a steal. I only use this on my eyes and it's lasted nearly 5 months! I use every night. It's light and airy so there's no pull on your skin. It keeps the eye area soft and supple and I haven't noticed any new lines since I started using it. I will definitely be back for the larger size!

Read More »

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DIY Christmas Card Making Kit

This kit contains enough embellies to make 10 cards! Use just the kit and adhesive for 10 basic cards or use some of your own supplies for elaborate cards.
Read More »

Wordless Wednesday

Read More »

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Tips - Succeeding on Etsy

There are shops with many more sales than I have and most have done it in less time. I'm not an expert on Etsy by any means, but I have learned a few things about the site in the last year and a half.

Read the forums. Not only are there great people there, but there's a wealth of information there. Use the search bar at the top and you'll discover even more. All those guides for Etsy success? I'd be willing to bet there isn't a single thing in there that can't be found in the forums. You'll learn about tools to help your shop you never knew existed. Not sure about a picture or price? Visit the critique section. It's really not as scary as it sounds, promise!

Pictures, pictures, pictures. I can't stress this enough. You need great photos to be successful on any online venue. Buyers are not going to buy from you if they can't see the widget properly. If you have great photos you are saying you are a professional business and people should buy from you. You don't need a DSLR or an expensive light box. Search the forums for cheap light box instructions and get to know your camera's macro setting. Sunlight is free and the best light but OTT lights work well (or so I hear in the forums).

Some say renewing works and some say it doesn't. Pay attention to what the seller sells before you jump on the bandwagon. Those 20 cent renewals can add up quickly! Do a search for your items and see how far back they are. I noticed my altered clipboards were about 3 months in and I searched and found myself on pages 3 and 4. I'm not going to renew because a buyer will most likely go back that far. If you are on page 421 then renewing might be an option for you. If you do decide to renew to increase sales, use GA to keep track of views and treat it like a real experiment. Then decide if it helps your business.

Keep your fees low. Again, those 20 cents add up! I'm not saying to do fee avoidance because that's not cool. Etsy has earned your 20 cents and FVFs and it's still a great bargain to be able to sell your widgets. I'm just saying to spend those 20 cents wisely. If I have a buyer that wants a custom order and I know they want X, Y and Z I will make a new listing with everything in one spot. I save 20 cents for each extra widget they order. If I am offering 5 widgets in a single listing and someone convos me and wants 10, I edit the original and link them to that. When I relist it shows back up at the top. Now I just said renewing doesn't always work, but this free so what's to lose?

Lastly, what works for one shop may not work for others. I get sales from Twitter, others don't. Others get gobs of sales from Facebook. I don't (at least that I know of). Experiment, play, and have fun determining what works for you.
Read More »

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Handmade Review Mylittle at Etsy

I purchased this adorable doll for my daughter last year from Mylittle. It was so hard to chose just one doll, they are all so cute and so unique! This one is named Macy and she's absolutely adorable.

The dolls are a little smaller and skinnier than most baby dolls which made it easier for my 1 year old to carry and love on. My daughter is now 2 and her dolls suffer some serious abuse at her and her older brothers' hands! This doll has held up great without so much as a single thread coming loose.

This doll has been through hours of rough play and "fed" in the high chair, carried in a baby carrier for little girls, shoved in a backpack, thrown at her brothers and more and she still looks as good as new.

If you have a little girl on your holiday shopping list, head on over to Mylittle, you won't be disappointed in the selection nor in the quality of the doll.
Read More »

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Tips - Scrapbooking Tools

Or rather unconventional tools. My husband and I are the king and queen of farmer fixin'. He's the guy that build my entire deck and flower beds with nothing more than a chainsaw to cut the wood. I think he did it just for the shock value and bragging rights, but I digress.

My favorite unconventional tool is my plastic putty knife. Cheap, only $1 or so, and it works wonderfully to smooth out any little air bubbles when using mod podge. I also use it to lift things off my Cricut mat or to really press down paper that's being adhered to something else.
Ok so an embossing stylus is for papercrafts, but I never use it to emboss. I use it to help me weed the extra off of my Cricut mat. The round tip won't tear the paper but will scrape the extra away from your die cut. I also use it to poke the itty bitty pieces out of the middle of a die cut. It works great to score paper for a cutting line if you don't have a pencil handy. I can lay a piece of paper against something and run the stylus over it and make the impression to cut when I need to cut around something that sticks out (handle, latch). I sometimes use it to hold a button or lace in place after gluing so I don't get my fingers sticky.

I don't iron. Ever. My mother in law insisted I needed an ironing board and it took up space and gathered dust in my laundry room for years. Then I had a brilliant idea! When I was working I needed a place to put things that were waiting to dry. Just a temporary spot I could set up behind my desk so I could just turn around. Ta da! The ironing board did come in handy after all!

Mine are pretty purple, but I do have two milk crates for storage. I just couldn't bring myself to spend $50+ on paper storage. $50 buys a lot of embellies! I picked up 2 milk crafts for $5 (total) and I use one for paper and the other for extra albums, page protectors, chipboard, and other tall things. I use clear plastic 13x13 envelopes to keep each paper set separate and organized. This helps the paper stand up and...uh...I have so much crammed it there it would stand up regardless.

Do you repurpose tools other items for your crafts? Let me know, I'd love to hear the ideas.
Read More »