Monday, December 27, 2010

Planning for the new year!

Well, I'm going to pick four things to focus on, improve or change in the new year. 

1.  Photography skills - .  I plan on taking a basic course so that I know how to use my camera more effectively.  I received a tripod for Christmas so I hope that, along with becoming more familiar with my camera will help me take better pictures.

2.  I want to learn more about the internet tools I have.  This past year much time was spent working on my etsy shop shop and starting my Artfire shop, starting a Facebook fan page, twitterblog and just recently my webpage.  I joined teams and made connections but don't know that I was very effective in using those internet tools and connections once they were made.   I need to reevaluate the teams I have joined and the connections I have made to be able to keep those I think will be more effective with less time.  I want to blog more and leave comments regularly on other blogs.   I want to spend less time on the internet promoting but I want that time to be more effective.  I will try to avoid sitting at the computer for hours.

3. I need to make some local connections -- Develop some opportunities for teaching wreath making and other craft classes. 

4. Last but certainly not least -- I need to get organized both personally and for my business. Those of us who work from our home -- need to be able to organize our workspace around our living space and vice versa.
I envy those for which organizational skills come naturally.  For me,  I struggle in that area.  Right now my storage space is in need of a major redo.  I also need to organize my personal space and create space to store some of my business supplies, like boxes and stock which are now occupying and cluttering various corners of my living space.

Well, I planned on making three goals but ended up with four.  How about you?  What are your plans for the new year?  Now let me go read some blogs and post some comments..........

Monday, December 13, 2010

Unique handmade Christmas decorations and cards

I love to search on Etsy through all the unique handmade Christmas ornaments and decorations.  There are so many to choose from that it makes it difficult to choose but here are a few of my favorites that I found.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Etsy Finds -Shopping for Christmas on Etsy

There are many places to shop on the internet.  One of those places is Etsy.  Etsy is a site where individual crafters post their handmade items for sale. If you like handmade crafts, you can find all sorts of unique gifts that you will find no-where else.  Etsy has everything to make your Christmas giving special and unique.  Here is the link to their main page.
Take a look.  You can see there are many categories of handmade items to search.  Here are some beauties I found while searching the jewelry category. 

 If you are looking for handmade one of a kind jewelry there are plenty of choices on Etsy.
Here's a multiple strand freshwater pearl bracelet
Pearls by SabtisDesigns
Or how about Turquiose Blue?

Or Natural Shell assortment

Or how about copper?

How about a festive red for holiday dressing?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How my angels come to life

I started selling dried florals and angels some 20 years ago.  I put my business aside a number of years ago and took a job in the business world.   One year ago I decided to once again sell my dried floral home decor and Christmas angels on Etsy.  I didn't realize how things had changed.  There were some gift shops in the area which sold my items years ago. Now they were not interested in them as there is no demand for dried florals.  I suppose you might say "dried florals are so 1980's".  Boy doesn't that make me feel old.  One consignment shop said she remembered my work was beautiful but said they won't sell.   I recall, one local business, Betsy Williams had such beautiful wreaths for sale.  Today, there doesn't seem to be any businesses like that in the area.  The other surprise was that I could no longer obtain the paper twist ribbon for the angels.  At one time you could find paper twist anywhere and it seemed like they were making everything out of paper twist ribbon.  I wish I had some pictures of those early angels.  What was I to do?  I found some interesting fabrics and began to experiment.  
I found that fabric was so much more difficult to work with.  All the additional  measuring and cutting was a lot of work.  The fabric was too soft and wouldn't hold it's shape. Fraying edges were also a problem.   I decided to try Stiffy fabric stiffener.  I knew you could shape fabric into beautiful bow shapes and use the Stiffy and it would mold them into beautiful shapes.  So I tried to saturate an angel with the Stiffy and carefully draped the skirt as it dried. The Stiffy worked great creating a long lasting finish and resolved the fraying edges problem.  A quick trim of any frayed edges worked great.  These angels make beautiful Christmas tree tops or table centerpieces. 
I also have some wired ribbon angel bows which make great package decorations or Christmas ornaments. 
My first angels had spanish moss for hair which had a real country look. 
I wanted something which would give them a different look so I ordered some  Baby Alpaca Roving Fiber Yarn from LaTeaDaDesigns on etsy and created a softer hair on some of my angels.  

Kindly visit either my Angelsneverlastings Etsy shop or my new Artfire shop to view other angel creations and dried floral home decor.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Giveaways are an interesting way that some  promote their on-line business and get views and links to their business page or web site.  Most people are suspicious of anyone who offers to give them something for nothing especially on the internet.  I was always one of those people.  I've come upon a number of giveaways since opening my Etsy store a year ago and for the most part I pass them by.   I don't know why exactly, I just don't feel moved to participate.  Maybe the item being offered although valuable, just doesn't interest me.   Maybe it's because I don't remember ever winning anything.   But when I  happened upon a giveaway for a web page design by Mary of SEO Web Design. I went for it.   I do ok for myself but my computer skills are really limited so this giveaway was something that really interested me.  I remember saying wouldn't it be great if I won this web page set-up. Usually, to enter these giveaways, they ask that you post a comment on their blog or web page or promote their business page on facebook.  That's something anyone can do.   I made my obligatory comment post which entered me in the giveaway,  prayed about it and never gave it another thought.   I didn't even remember I had entered until Mary sent me the notification that I was the chosen winner.  
I have yet to offer a give-away.  I know that Facebook restricts you from hosting giveaways through your facebook business page so maybe when my new web page is up and running I'll promote it by offering a giveaway.  But I have a lot to learn.  For instance, I know some use to randomly choose the winner but don't know how that works.

Here is a giveaway that I found thought my facebook friends (ends Oct 10)

The next giveaway is by Sue of MySavior etsy shop  She hosts back to back giveaways for people who want her to do them.  Her current giveaway on her web page is a beautiful piece of jewelry by CK SILVER on Etsy

The following giveaways I found in the Etsy forums searching by giveaways:

I'd love to hear from some of you who have successfully hosted giveaways and how you did them.  If you'd like to post a link to a current giveaway please do so.  

Friday, August 27, 2010

Selling Handmade on the Internet

Twig Heart Wreath with Sea Foam Blue Shells
Wall Topiary
This past year I resurrected my business which I had put aside some 15 years ago.  I create distinctive and unique dried floral home decor, and angels.  Selling handcrafted items was very different years ago when I was selling my items at craft shows, consignment shops, and wholesale to shops in the area.  When I started to talk about selling my dried floral wreaths and wall decor, my daughter suggested Etsy.  For those that are unfamiliar with Etsy, it is an online site where sellers set up their own online store to sell their handmade items.  As opposed to other online sites like e-bay Etsy is strictly handmade, vintage or craft supplies.   If you are shopping for a one of a kind handcrafted gifts or home decor that can't be bought in your local shops than Etsy is the place to shop.  My first thoughts were that this would be an easy way to market my handmade items.  Rather than packing up your items and dragging them to a craft fair, spending all day to mixed results,  or to a store to sell, you can post pictures and sell online.  Sounded simple.   I created my first items,  took some mediocre photos and set up my Angels and Everlastings Etsy Store.  Turns out it is much more complex and time consuming than you could imagine.  You find that you are competing against so many millions of sellers on Etsy and elsewhere on the net.  You soon realize that you need to find a way to get an advantage over the many other people selling the same type of items.  One important thing that will set you apart are your pictures.  Photography skills are fundamental for selling online.   Since the customer cannot touch the item, your photos need to touch them.  They need to be able to view a clear photo that says "buy me".  My photo skills are a work in progress.  They may not be as good as they could be but they are much better than my first postings.   I purchased a photo guide on Etsy from the Elgarbo shop on Etsy called the beginners-guide-to-product photography that helped me immensely.   Visit his shop - he is a gifted photographer and has some terrific photos for sale.   One great thing about Etsy is that many other Etsy sellers are willing to help with advice or support.  If you visit the Etsy forums you can search by photos, pictures, or photography or any other issue and gain a great deal of advice.   But the best way to take better pictures is to practice and get as familiar with your camera as possible.  Just keep taking pictures until they are right.