Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday Tips Getting The Most Out Of Your Cricut

The Circut isn't just for scrapbooking anymore!  This machine can cut chipboard, magnets, plastic, vinyl and more. 

You know those wall quotes that are insanely popular now?  You can cut your own with a Cricut.  All you need is vinyl and transfer tape.  You can even use contact paper in place of the vinyl (but it won't be repositionable!).  Vinyl can be purchase on Etsy or eBay.  Search for Cricut + Vinyl.

With the deep blade housing you can cut acrylic block into custom stamps or cut magnet materials.  You could design your own magnets for your Etsy shop or for your kids, scouts, or anything!  You can't make very intricate stamps, but basic shapes will cut.

The Cricut will cut chipboard for word albums or even home decorations.  Cut the chipboard and paper in the same shape and attach the paper to the chipboard for a decoration for a tree, wreath, or whatever. 

The Cricut will also cut thin plastic to make stencils.  Use the stencil for painting or for your kids' crafts.

You can also make a stencil out of contact paper or vinyl to use to etch or paint on glass.  Same technique as cutting vinyl and using transfer paper, but weed out the positive image rather than the negative.

Using paper you can create custom banners and signs for home parties, scouts, church or school. 

The Cricut isn't just for scrapbooking.  It's a big investment, but it can pay for itself time and again by using it for more than just scrapbooking and paper crafts. 
Read More »

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Tips Using Your Scrapbook Stash

I think almost all papercrafters and scrapbookers are hoarders and have to keep buying the latest and greatests products.  Here are some tips to get rid of your stash.

  1. Who says you have to use all one alpha for a title?  Mix em up! Gives it a great look and lets you use up some alpha you can't use by themselves.
  2. Missing a letter you need?  Think outside the box.  Turn an f into a t.  Turn an R into a P.  Make an e out of a c and what you cut off the R (or use a marker to make the line).  
  3. Organize your scraps.  I sort by color, but whatever works.  When I get way too many I make a patchwork background on cardstock.  
  4. Have a  piece of patterned paper you don't like?  I get those when I buy kits.  Flip it over and use it for white paper.
  5. Need a patterned paper you don't have?  Make it!  Use bleach and stamps, ink and stamps, chalk, whatever you have!  I cut a $ in plastic with my Cricut and used it as a stencil to ink and chalk it all over a sheet of cardstock.  Maybe it doesn't save much money, but it uses up something you have!
  6. Stay organized.  Do what works for you, but I use a file organizer from the dollar zone at Target to keep my stickers organized.  Baby, Boy, Girl, Spring/Summer, Fall, School, etc.  
  7. All of my Christmas papers and embellies are kept together.  I only use them once a year so they are out of the way and don't clutter up my other embellies and paper.
  8. Rather than buy it, learn to make it!  Use clear embossing powder to color brads.  Print your own quotes and sayings.  Consider a die cut machine.  It's expensive, but all I need is cardstock and my machine and I can make anything.
  9. When you come across the perfect quote or sticker in your stack for a page, store them with the photos so you don't forget when it's time to scrap that page.
  10. Go through your stash every so often.  I find that just dumping out all of one item and going through them will help refresh my memory and then I can use a small embellie when I would have forgotten about it the week before.
Read More »

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Favorites Penguins on Etsy

For my son who is penguin obsessed! Enjoy :)

(I have no idea why the Link Within is showing before my post, scroll down, sorry!)

Read More »

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Angel SVG Free

Here is a cute little angel SVG file I made.  This is for use with the Sure Cuts a Lot software for the Cricut.  It is free for personal use and limited commercial use.  You may not sell this file or die cuts made with it, but you may use this file to make die cuts to put on cards, layouts, etc for sale.  Please do not share this file but feel free to share the link to my blog.  Please give credit where credit is due.  As always, I love photos of anything you make with my file.  You can post there here or upload them to Flickr

Angel SVG file
Read More »

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Tips Eyelets and Brads

Raise your hand if you have too many eyelets and brads!

Yep, me too! 

I have to admit eyelets scared me a little at first.  I still prefer brads, but sometimes eyelets have the right look or I find decorative ones.  I found a great blog post with pics to help you set eyelets.  It's over at The Thrifty Scrapbook which is new to me but I can't wait to check it out.

When you find that you have entirely too many brads and eyelets, it's time to get extra creative to use them up.  Here are just a few quick ideas:
  1. Use brads or eyelets and ribbon to create a shoe with laces for tying your shoes or just to add some texture to a layout.
  2. Outline a shape on a page with eyelets or brads.  
  3. Attach vellum with brads or eyelets so the adhesive doesn't show through.
  4. If your LO seems a little boring, add 3 brads or eyelets to the side of photo or embellie.  I put them close together (total of 1/2"-1" length of brads).  
  5. Use to hang tags or sticker tags.
  6. Dot an i with a brad or eyelet.
  7. Make a cool center of a flower
  8. Use as a "hanger" to hang an embellie with ribbon (think a picture hanging on the wall with ribbon)
  9. Spell a word
  10. Accent the corner of a photo mat or journaling box
  11. Bullet points in a list
  12. Ornaments on a Christmas tree
  13. Create a border along a page
I'm sure there are more and I'd love to hear them.  I have entirely too many again.  I just can't stop buying them!  All kinds of shapes, colors, sizes, I must have them!

Read More »

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Evolving and Changing

This year I made a lot of changes to my shop to increase sales. There's a big difference between selling out and adapting. When you sell out, no matter how much sales increase you won't have fun. You're only going to have fun if you put your heart in it. If you adapt, your heart is still in it.

Product lines. I started my shop doing cards and premade albums. I <3 scrapbooking for my family. I could scrap all day long if my kids would let me! Premade albums seemed a natural choice to sell however, they didn't sell well. I also noticed that I don't enjoy making premade albums as much I enjoy scrapping for myself. So they got cut. What's left is on sale and I donated some to the school for holiday shop. I realized cards just weren't worth it by the time I photograph and list. If you love making cards and don't mind the listing process more power to you! I've seen some amazing handmade cards on Etsy. Truth be told, mine weren't as good as others and that's OK! The fun got sucked right out of it so that was the end.

Social Networking. I started Twitter and a Facebook fan page this year. I'm also working on my blog a lot more. I really enjoy Twitter, FB and blogging. This doesn't seem like "work" to me. If you hate it then don't do it. You can do other advertising. Yes I do get sales from Twitter but I really do enjoy getting to know my fellow artisans better.

Two shops down to one. I closed my Etsy photography shop this year. I was sad but it just wasn't working. Photography is a hard sell on Etsy as it is and with my main shop it was just too much. I don't like to think of it as giving up. I enjoy my paper crafts more than selling my photography. I just love photography for the sake of it and if I never sell another print I'll continue to do it. Maybe if I didn't have 2 toddlers at home all day I could do both, but right now I just can't devote the time to both.

Photos. I've been constantly working on photos since opening shop. I'm pretty happy with them right now. I can see how they've improved over year by going back to my old listings. I'm amazed I sold anything before LOL

New work space. I got a new workspace compliments of my wonderful hubby. It's not the prettiest, but it's very functional and I have everything where I need it. Well I did until the Christmas rush hit, but we won't go there.

Trends. Yep I hopped on the current trends! I found some adorable owl paper and made checkbook covers. Sold within 2 hours. Relisted and sold within 12 hours. Used the paper to make a recipe box. Sold within 12 hours. The next one lasted about as long. Did I make something I hated? Nope. I still enjoyed making it and maybe it wasn't my first choice, I knew it would be well recieved. I've made some things I thought were adorable and they sat and sat. It's still my style and my personal taste in the product so it's still me and still fun.

How has your business changed? How will it change next year?

I need to think of my goals for the coming year. Not necessarily numbers, but products, networking, advertising, etc.
Read More »

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Preparing for the Holiday Rush

The holiday rush has been called a myth on Etsy. This was my first year experiencing it because we moved last November and I did nothing to promote or advertise. I came in to this holiday season with no expectations but wanted to be prepared just in case.

During the slow summer I worked at increasing inventory. This can be a little depressing when sales just aren't coming in, but I managed to add about 100 items to my shop over the summer and early fall. It helped a lot. I didn't have to spend time during November and December creating much.

I printed extra address labels, do not bend labels and really small address labels. My die cuts go first class go first class so I need to take them to the post office. First class international get labels too. I printed 2 sheets and it was plenty. The do not bend stickers saved a lot of time too. The small labels were for customs slips. I asked at my PO if I could use a label and they said they keep that slip for 30 days so a label was fine. I pre labeled about 20 customs slips.

In August or September I placed an order for boxes and customs labels from the post office. Sometimes they take a few weeks so it's best to order these early. You'll use them eventually.

Promote, promote, promote all year long. All those hearts and all those past customers will come back to shop! I had a lot of Twitter sales and repeat sales for Christmas.

I hate to say it, but I trolled alchemy. I didn't bid on every single gift request, but I did bid on quite a few that I thought I could win. I won some and they led to larger orders. Yay!

I took out a Craftcult ad in November. These fill up fast and I got the carousel and not the sidebar I wanted but it still got me a lot of sales! Plan your ads early- August and September- to make sure you get the dates you want.

Stay organized! Before the rush I completely organized my inventory. I used clear plastic bags (my curtains came in them, but ziploc would work too) to separate like items. It has saved me a lot of time trying to find things.

I printed about 100 business cards and stamped about half and wrote in my coupon code and the thank you. When I need one I just grab it and it saves so much time while packing.

I never renew during the year but for the holidays I did renew if something had less than 2 weeks left anyway. I'm sure other categories have to renew to stay seen, I don't feel I have to.

Stock up on supplies. I do a mix of premade and make as they sell. I stocked up on checkbook covers, paper, and other things to make what I need to as it sells. I did run out of a few things and they will have to wait to be renewed.
Read More »

Friday, December 4, 2009

Handmade Holiday Gifts Under $10

Read More »

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Purple Buds Mousepad

Purple Buds mousepad
Purple Buds by kotibeth
Design mousepad online at zazzle.com
Read More »

My tin is featured

I will be so sad when this tin sells. It's in the Etsy gift guide which has gotten me some great traffic and it's got something like 28 hearts. Here it is featured again on Nikki Makes Scents gift guide for $10 and under. Great blog and great finds, check it out!
Read More »

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Handmade Holiday Baby Gift Guide

Here are a collection of unique baby gifts for the holiday season. Thanks to all my Facebook fans and Twitter followers to help me pick items.

Read More »

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Teacher Gifts

Teachers are overworked and underpaid. Show your appreciation for a great teacher with these unique and affordable gifts.

Amy Butler jumbo paperclip. Use to hold notes, photos, pictures and more. Customizable with a name or school colors. $5.
Altered clipboards make great gifts for teachers. My son's teachers use a different clipboard to keep sets of papers organized. With an altered clipboard they can see at a glance which clipboard is which. Custom orders welcome. $15.

Altered clips are a cute way to keep papers organized. I offer sets of 6 without magnets and 4 with magnets. $3.

Align Center

Altered clips can be used to keep papers organized or use as a photo or note holder. $4

Teachers use a lot of sticky notes. Give your child's teacher a cute way to display them with this altered post it note holder and binder clip. $3.50.
Read More »