Friday, February 26, 2010

March Bulletin Board


This is the main bulletin board when you walk in my son's school so there's some pressure!  To give you some idea of how huDge it is, the shamrocks are 5" wide and the cloud is 2 feet wide!  I used my Cricut and SCAL to cut the shamrocks and each has the birthday kids' names and birthdate.  The pot of gold I made by printing part of a coloring page cropped to just the pot.  I printed it poster size across 9 sheets of paper.  I taped it together and cut it out and used that to cut out sheets of black paper taped together.  The gold I made out of 5" wide ovals. 
I really wanted a rainbow to connect the cloud and pot of gold, but I had no idea how to make one curve right that long.  I was going to use the ellison die cutter at the school to cut shamrocks out of different colors to make the rainbow.  Unfortunately their shamrock die was MIA and after my 8 year old stapled all the shamrocks on we didn't have room.

The center is an Irish saying I found for a birthday blessing.  Other than Happy Birthday I couldn't think of a cute title and I was TIRED by then LOL 

The flowers are from the George cart.  They were an afterthought but I needed something to fill in the space.  With a foot plus of snow on the ground we needed some remembrance of spring!

After last year I swore I wouldn't do it again and I'm saying it now but I'm sure I'll be back in about a year showing off pics of the new one! 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Passport Cover Turned Notebook Holder

Turn this passport cover into a mini notebook holder!


The notebook is nothing more than a mini composition notebook!  They can be found at Target for about $1 and Walgreens carries them.  I'm not offering them because they are so readily available- and cheap!- but you can buy your passport cover from me and insert your own notebook.  It overlaps the edges a little to protect the corners and pages.  I might offer a closure at some point to protect it even more.  Too many other projects in the works :)  Even a rubber band would work great though!  
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Handmade Review Chrissy Chrissy on Artfire

First of all, how cute are these labels on tarts from Chrissy Chrissy?  The colors of the tarts are so yummy too!  She sells melts, voties, and tea lights.

I burn tarts while I'm working so I can light it for an hour and if I have to quit I can blow out the flame whereas a candle wouldn't burn right.  I also like changing my scent depending on my  mood and the season.  I picked these up from Chrissy Chrissy on Artfire and they are awesome.  I can get one full tealight out of 1 tart then I add another piece of tart for the 2nd  and 3rd tealights.  Sometimes I go to my cave and forget to light it because it already smells great just from the cold throw. 

Her melts are long lasting and strong but not so strong they knock your socks off.  She has a great variety of scents.  Her packaging is so cute they are ready for gift giving. 

At $3 per 6 pack of tarts, they are a great value for as long as they last. 
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Look a little familiar?

I'm surfing the net for the new CHA releases and Maya Road has some new designs.  Check out their blog and scroll down about 1/2 way for the bird cage and bird. That's not the best photo, here's one I snagged from a retailer.

Aren't the birdies and separate wings just the cutest things?  Why didn't I think of that?
Oh that's right.  Because I did!  In April 2009.  Here's proof. (Click to enlarge)

Now if you look at this scan I have of them on Etsy You can see just how someone could print screen, crop, and use a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to trace the image and lift it.  Just sayin. 
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why your customer should choose you

Consumers have many choices and in this economy (gah I hate saying that!) they are choosing where to spend their dollars more wisely.  You need to show your customer why they need to choose you and not your competition.  Or maybe you need to show why they need your widget at all.  You need to set yourself apart from the competition in some way and show that you deserve their sale because you're the best.

Quick customer service and quick shipping helps because we live in a world where we want it and we want it now.  No you don't have to be at your computer every minute of every day, but try to answer questions as quickly as possible.  If your customer has emailed you and your competition about your widgets a quick reply just might get that sale.  Quick shipping just might turn that one time buyer into a repeat buyer or give you good word of mouth advertising.

Be easy to do business with.  This means great descriptions and even better photos if you sell online.  This helps your buyer know exactly what they are getting and doesn't leave them with questions.  Unfortunately, on Etsy I've had to resort to "convo me for more" because selling $2-3 die cuts doesn't allow much wiggle room for unecessary 20 cent insertion fees for multiples.  I've probably lost sales but my fees are high and I just can't afford to spend $2 for a quantity of 10 when only 1 might sell in those 4 months.  On Artfire I am able to list higher quantities with no extra fees.

Not only do we want it now, but we also want it exactly how we want it.  Offer customization.  I offer custom colors of my die cuts and can change the size.  I can also make unique items with initials, monograms, custom die cuts, or whatever.  My customers have the best ideas sometimes!  This is one of my bigger selling points and why my customers should choose me over my competition.

Cheaper prices doesn't give you an automatic edge over your competition.  Though we are spending our dollars wisely, people are still spending and are still willing to pay for quality.  We've become tired of spending hard earned money for junk that won't last.  We want quality and a widget that will get years of use before needing replaced.  Tell your customers and show them with photos that this is high quality, well made, and will last.

Sometimes you don't need to tell your customers why to chose you over the competition, sometimes you need to tell them why to buy it at all.  Will it make them prettier?  Will it make their skin glow?  Will it balance their checkbook, fold the laundry, and give them great abs at the same time?  Then tell them!  What function does this do and why does your buyer need this item in their life?

Be a real person.  People shop on Etsy and Artfire because they like supporting handmade and real people.  Show you are real.  Fill out your profile with as much as you are comfortable sharing.  If you Tweet, share little things about your day.  Be someone they want to like.  Maybe the buyer will make a connection because you both have kids that like to sleep in laundry hampers.

Ok shameless cute kid pic mixed in.  Hey, I'm a mom, I'm real! ;)

I'm not a marketing guru.  I'm just sharing things I'm reading up on to help myself and hopefully help others at the same time.  I <3 comments and if you have anything else to add please do.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Favorites

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Glass Etching Tutorial Using Circut or Cameo

Etched glass is a great way to decorate your home or make a unique gift for a friend.  Etching looks difficult, but it is very easy if you have a die cutter like the Silhouette Cameo or the Cricut.  This glass etching tutorial gives you all of the steps and supplies that you need to etch any glass!

  • Glass to be etched
  • Stencil or vinyl
  • Armor Etch
  • Popsicle Stick or paintbrush
  • Newspaper or other table covering
  • Timer
  • Drywall scraper (or credit card)
I used Inkscape to create my monogram.  You can use a stencil or any die cutter, but I just wanted to be sure it was welded and sized right so I used Inkscape.  I use SCAL2 to cut the image with my Cricut.  For easier weeding, put a square around the image so you have a smaller area to work with.  I used shelf liner contact paper because it's what I had on hand and it's cheap.  You can use vinyl if that's what you have.

Remove the positive of the image and leave the negative image (leave a hole for the image).  Cut your transfer paper a little bigger than your vinyl with the image.  I like it better so it's easier to place in the right spot.  Use a scraper or credit card and smooth out any bubbles and make sure you have a good adhesion to the contact paper.  Place your vinyl on the glass.  Use the scraper to make sure there are no air bubbles because bubbles around the edge can mean a sloppy image!
You can see the transfer paper is a little over the white contact paper so I could line it up easier.  Using your scraper start to peel off your transfer paper.  I like to hold the scraper against the vinyl and slowly peel back using the scraper as a guide to keep it straight.


Now it's time to Etch!  I used Armor Etch cream.  Spread the cream with a popsicle stick or paint brush.   
Put it on pretty thick as you can scrape off the excess and put it back in the bottle to use later.  Be really careful there are no air bubbles because the cream will seep into the bubbles.

Now wait. 

Armor Etch takes 5 minutes, but other creams may take longer.  When it's done, scrape the excess cream back into the bottle, rinse the glass with water and peel off your vinyl and dispose.

Now enjoy your etched glass!

I made these as a gift and unfortunately my camera battery died right as I was taking a pic of the final but they turned out awesome!  I did a set of 4 beer mugs for my dad for Christmas. 

I have been picking up glass at garage sales and thrift stores.  I have a big one for my dining room table and a few for above my kitchen cabinets waiting to be done.  I'm also going to etch my tea and coffee containers that are clear.

Another great idea is to etch the bottom of a glass pan (be sure to reverse the image!) with your last name so you know which one is yours at a pot luck.  Great bridal shower gift!
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Monday, February 1, 2010

I was featured!

My business card holder is featured on Owlsome Blog. Check it out for some really cute owl gifts.

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