Saturday, April 30, 2011

Giveaway Reminder

Just wanted to post a quick reminder that if you haven't entered the giveaway to win a $20 gift certificate to my Joyfully Sewn Designs (my Artfire shop), there's still a little time left!

The giveaway will end on May 2, 2011.

I have new summer skirts, dresses, and sundresses coming soon, so keep checking my shop. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

15% Coupon for You Can Make This

You Can Make This (YCMT) has just released another coupon code! Use the coupon PRINCESS to receive 15% off of your order. This coupon is good through May 4, 2011.

YCMT has some really great patterns! I love that they come in a pdf file so that you can print off what you need. Then if your pattern wears out from much use, you can just print another copy (for yourself, NOT for someone else). I've even been able to easily get smaller sizes of a couple patterns by not printing the pattern pieces full scale.

Whether you're a seamstress like me, or love to knit, crochet, make jewelry, scrapbook, or enjoy a variety of other crafts, you're sure to find some wonderful patterns on the You Can Make This website!

You Can Make This!

$5 Taste of Home Cookbooks

Taste of Home is currently running a sale on many of their cookbooks. All the cookbooks are only $5! This is a great price for wonderful cookbooks that would make great gifts! These are perfect for Mother's Day, Bridal Showers, Weddings, gifts for friends, or you may just want to purchase some for yourself.

There is no limit to the number of books you can purchase, and if you use the code 2046P at checkout, you can get $1 shipping!! Or if you're planning to order at least $20 worth, you can use the code 401 to get free shipping.

Also, if you purchase the books through Shop at Home, you'll receive 7% cash back on your purchase plus $5 for signing up if you don't already have an account.

I have probably 8-10 of these cookbooks and use them quite frequently. They're nice quality books with lots of yummy recipes! :)

School Plays

This certainly must be the time of year for School Plays! I've sold three items this month, and all of the orders have been from Moms looking for the outfits their daughters needed for school plays. :)

The first one needed a dark peasant skirt and bought this:

The next one needed a simple jumper for her second grader who had the part of Maria Von Trapp. We didn't have much time for this custom order, so this is what we came up with:

And the third one needed a skirt for an Annie Oakley outfit, and purchased this:

It's been such fun being able to supply these, and I'm sure grateful for the orders. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Creationz Feature

I am excited to bring you another feature post about another talented Artfire (and Etsy) artist! I was first attracted to New Creationz when I saw her beautiful photography note cards. I really like photo cards made with nature photos, and loved these. I've never been out of the US, and find it especially intriguing to see nature photos from other countries!

Photo cards aren't the only things in this beautiful shop though, so without more words from me, let me introduce you to New Creationz.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jocelyn and I live in New Zealand, that beautiful island also known as Aotearoa or  'Land of the long white cloud'. I am married and have three children, the eldest of which recently left our 'nest' and is studying in the South Island of NZ. My day job is a teacher working with special needs kids and when I am not busy with that you will find me in my studio creating to my hearts content or spending time with my family. I also enjoy the amazing beaches and walking tracks New Zealand has to offer.

How and when did you become interested in your craft?
I have always enjoyed crafting but became more serious about my painting and photography when I moved to New Zealand 15 years ago. ( I am origianlly from South Africa)

What inspired you to open your shop?
I really needed an outlet for my art. My walls were getting too crowded! Whilst I did sell bits and pieces locally and had my paintings featured in shows, I really liked the idea of having my own little 'shop' online. It has opened up a whole new world to me, literally!

What inspires you to create your work?
Living in New Zealand is an inspiration in itself. The blue ocean and green hills are often reflected in my paintings and my photography. A big part of my inspiration  comes from the Creator of it all. I am continually amazed at the beauty God has set before me.

Have you taken any courses or classes?
I am pretty much self taught. I learn along the the way and do lots of reading. My painting style is great for experimentation - I love to try out new ways of doing things. My head is always full of new ideas.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from the rest?
I don't actually make an effort to be different, though I guess I should. I think my style has just delevoped on its own. It's just me, I don't think I could be anyone else if I tried! I try to use my photography and art in as many practical ways as possible and have developed a range of packaging boxes, stationery, coasters, bookmarks, jewelry... the list goes on!

What are 5 things that you could never do without in your craft?
Camera, paint, canvas, paper, computer

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in regards to what you do?
Don't ignore my shop for long! Keep at it, persevere - even in those slow times!

Do you take custom orders? If so, how do they work?
Yes! Most of my items are customizable, especially the packaging boxes or digital stationery packs where I can add your shop name or any message. I can include wording on any of my prints or cards. And there is no extra charge!

Why do you do what you do?
Because I would not be doing what I was born to do. I am compelled to create. This is my gifting and it would not be right to not do it. Besides I would be grumpy if anyone stopped me!

How do you make time to craft?
A very good question! between my day job and my family and other commitments, time is very limited. I create in fits and starts, grabbing a moment here and a moment there, which means I never get anything finished in one sitting.. I know this would probably drive most people batty but this is the only way I can get things accomplished.
What advice would you give someone new to online selling?
Be prepeared to give it your all if you want to make a go of it. It takes lots of time to establish your shop and your online presence. Don't give up too soon, but persevere. Sales can take a while to start trickling through, but when they do come, it is so worth it!

Isn't her work beautiful?! I've only given you a small sampling of Jocelyn's work here though. Go take a look at her shop and take advantage of the coupon code she is offering to my blog readers! The coupon FEATURE20 can be used at checkout to receive 20% off your purchase until May 9th.

You can also find Jocelyn on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, and at her blog.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Etsy Kids Spotlight - Cooper Designs

I'm falling behind in my Etsy Kids Central Team spotlight posts! I'm trying to post one every two weeks, but I missed the last round. With being out of town for 10 days, helping my brother run his booth at two homeschool conferences, and several last minute sewing orders with deadlines, I just haven't had as much time to work on this. :)

I DO have a little time now, so I would like to introduce you to Cooper Designs.

This Etsy shop is run by a talented lady in Michigan who had 25 years of experience in sewing bridal and formal wear before she began designing and sewing a whimsical line of clothing for children. Her handmade designs are always unique and one of a kind, never duplicated.

Cooper Designs offers toddler clothing, aprons, diaper bag / totes, headbands, flower barrettes, and lunchbox / purses.

"Daisy Blooms’, is my line of toddler clothing. It is fun, whimsical and very colorful. The styling is true ‘little girl’ with a modern and artful twist. Each piece is truly unique and one of a kind, not mass produced."

My niece and nephews love to help in the kitchen and would love these little aprons!

Wear the flower barrettes with or without a headband for two cute looks.

And here's a really cute diaper bag!

Not only does Cooper Designs offer ready-made items, they also welcome custom orders: "If you see something you like, but it's not the size that you need...please contact me and I will be happy to design something in the right size and color family for you."

And the Winner Is...

Another giveaway has come to a close and the winner of the 10 Handmade Paisley Daisy Flowers, from the My Ever After Wedding Etsy shop, is comment #21 (out of 47): Lucky's Luna. Congratulations!

The winner has been contacted and has 48 hours to send me her address, or a new winner will be chosen. Thanks so much for all of you who entered the giveaway. Don't forget that you can still go to The Modest Mom Blog and enter to win another $20 Gift Certificate to my shop! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Joyfully Sewn Designs Giveaway!

Caroline over at the Modest Mom blog is hosting a feature, review, and giveaway for my Artfire shop! I wanted to make sure all of you knew about it. Just head on over and enter to win a $20 gift certificate to Joyfully Sewn Designs!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Flowers

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." 
Psalm 118:24

The weather is so beautiful here today! The sun is shining, the flowers blooming. Spring is in the air! I just had to go out this morning and get a few pictures of some of the spring blooms.

You Can Make This Coupon Code

I received an e-mail this morning for another new You Can Make This (YCMT) coupon code! Just use the code Facebook15 to receive 15% off your order. This code is good through April 15th (Friday).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A New Giveaway! Paisley Daisy Flowers (Set of Ten)

Are you ready for another giveaway? :) I have a beautiful set of handmade flowers to give to one of my blog readers!

Aren't they beautiful?! This set of 10 Paisley Daisy Flowers were handmade by Liz at My Ever After Wedding.

She says, "Add a little whimsy to your DIY brides bouquet!
With warm brown tones, and touches of blue and white, each paisley petal is hand-cut, and the center “birds nest” is hand-stitched with tiny, natural pearls. Each lovely flower measures 3” (7.62 cm) with an 8” (20.32 cm) stem.

Whether your building your own wedding bouquet for yourself or your bridesmaids (or both!), or if you getting flowers for your Valentines Day sweetheart, you can’t help but fall in love with these stunning flowers!"

You certainly don't have to be a bride to appreciate these flowers! They would be so beautiful to decorate your home with or to give as a gift to someone special.

Would you like to win this set of handmade flowers ($40 value)? There are many ways to gain entries into this giveaway. Just make sure you complete the mandatory entry first or none of your entries will count.

Mandatory Entry:
Visit My Ever After Wedding, browse around, then come back here and tell me your favorite item in her shop AND leave me your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win.

Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one and don't forget to leave me your e-mail address!):
*Follow me with Google Friend Connect (1 entry)
*Add My Ever After Wedding to your favorites on Etsy (1 entry)
*Blog about this giveaway (2 entries)
*Tweet this giveaway (can be done once a day - 1 entry each)
*Share this giveaway on Facebook (1 entry)
*Share this giveaway with friends through e-mail and let me know you did (1 entry)
*Comment on any non giveaway blog posts and tell me which one (1 entry)

This giveaway is open to residents of the US only. The giveaway will close on April 19th, and the winner will be chosen by and notified by e-mail. The winner has 48 hours to get back to me with their address or a new winner will be chosen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sneak Previews

Although I haven't gotten any new items listed in my shop for a while, I haven't been idle! I've been sewing up another pile of little skirts, dresses, and jumpers to send to my photographers. Here's one of the new skirts that is just waiting for me to be modeled. :)

New Summer Fabrics!

I also just got a huge stash of 9" zippers given to me. Anyone in need of some zippers?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Custom Photo Umbrellas from Artscow

This morning I logged in to my Artscow account to see if there were any new deals or coupons I wanted to take advantage of or any that I could pass on to my blog readers. They have several deals going on right now, but my eye caught the special they're running on their folding umbrellas.

I've never ordered any of these umbrellas or even looked much at them until today. This morning though, I thought I'd look at some of the free design templates that another Artscow member has created. I found a really fun mosaic template and decided to try it out with some of my flower photos that I already had uploaded to Artscow. It took me about 5 minutes or less to find the photos I wanted and place them in the the template. I then clicked the preview button and here's what I saw:

Isn't that pretty! I love the mosaic design! Although I haven't personally ordered any of these umbrellas before, I've heard good reports about them, and I'm definitely going to keep them in mind. They'd make such fun gifts, wouldn't they? There are SO many pre-designed templates you can use, or you can design your own umbrella from scratch. :)

Normally these folding umbrellas are $19.99 plus shipping, but now through April 20th, you can get them for $14.99 with free shipping. Just use the code SPR11UMB at checkout.

So, if you're looking for a unique gift,  want a personalized umbrella, or just want the fun of designing your own umbrella, head over to Artscow and have fun with their wonderful designer program!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blogelina - Online Course and iPad2 Giveaway

I have just discovered a resource today that sounds like it will be very helpful for beginning bloggers (or seasoned bloggers who would like to learn more) like me who would like to learn how to make my blog profitable.

The Online Class: Profitable Blogging for Beginners

Blogelina offers a wonderful 4 week course (valued at over $100) for just $5!!

What You’ll Get From This Online Class
  • The Class Manual – packed with 60 pages of information that will help take the overwhelming out of starting your own blog
  • 4 weekly online class sessions where you can ask your questions and get personalized feedback
  • A FREE Year of Web hosting! I’m also pleased to announce that Blogelina is partnering with to provide each person who registers for Blogelina’s Online Class complimentary year of web hosting ($84 value)!  That’s right – no strings attached, no hidden requirements…  Just register for the class through the button below and start building your profitable blog today – on us!  (Wondering why paid web hosting is so important for your blog? Oh, and did I mention that the pros recommend it?)
  • Save yourself a lot of time, trouble, and money – learn from my own experiences what to do and not to do!
I haven't taken this class yet, but I'm signed up for it now! Would you like to join me? I'm so new at this blogging thing that I can use all the help I can get. I'm excited to learn how to earn even a small income from my blog.

Blogelina also has an affiliate program. It's free to sign up, and the benefits are great! Not only will you earn a 75% commission for every new class member you refer, you'll also be able to attend the class, yourself for free, AND be entered to win an Apple iPad2! Every month that their online class has 300+ , Blogelina gives away an iPad to one of their affiliates, and this month every affiliate will be entered to win an iPad2!

Sign up today and get your name in for the iPad2! Open to US & Canada. You don’t have to have a blog to be entered- you can share your affiliate link via Facebook, Email, Twitter, etc.

(Note: These links are my affiliate links. I earn a commission from them. Thanks so much for your support!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Elizabeth Creations Feature (with coupon)

Today I have another special shop to share with you. Elizabeth Creations is run by a sweet grandmother who I'm sure could teach all of us many things. Come read her story, check out her shop, and be inspired!

How and when did you become interested in your craft? 
I've been in crafts most all my life.  When I was a kid, I learned to sew, crochet, and knit from my grandmother.   Later, while raising 5 children, the crafts were limited to "have to's".  After they were grown, I started making quilts to keep my life active and productive.  The first quilt I made and then quilted on my sewing machine, was a large one. and as I sat at my sewing machine, quilt rolled and laying over my shoulder, hanging back over the chair... I thought "I'm in way over my head".  I was determined to finish it.. and did.  If I had that to do again, I'd begin with a smaller one!

One thing led to another and handbags became another of my creations.  I made my first one  because I never could find a purse to suit me, often looking for hours for a purse that fit my needs .  I dreaded when I had to Purse Shop.  One day about 15 years ago, I was walking through the mall and saw this navy blue quilted handbag for sale, it had compartments, zipper closure... it fit what I was looking for.   I bought it and when it was time to replace it, I could not find another like it... so I thought "I can make that myself", and I did. Using no pattern, I just tried to make it like the navy blue handbag I had carried.  Along the way, I found ways to improve my bags...I learned how to easily add those elusive zippers for closing, what to add to the bottom for support, how much interfacing to use and what kind worked the best, quilt or not to quilt, comfortable straps, those many pockets for organizing (most who bought my bags, liked the pockets), and just all 'round style.

 I've since added many craft items to my daily ideas and accomplishments.  All of which I enjoy, as it affords me to be able to switch from one craft to another, and keeps it from ever being monotonous.

What inspired you to open your shop?
Family and friends were buying my bags, so I figured there must be a market for them.  I didn't realize the many many talented ladies who were also making bags to sell, until I opened my shop.   It's a challenge to do one's best and see others interested in my creations.

Where did your shop name come from?
My middle name and the fact I make so many different things.. I never know what else I'll find to craft/create.  I see something and first thought is "I can do that".. until I sometimes find out it's harder than I thought.  I wanted to keep the name open to whatever craft I was into at the time, or added later.

What inspires you to create your work?
A picture, an idea, seasons, sunshine, family.... all inspire me to create.  Not being creative is a dull day.   It's just something I do.

Have you taken any courses or classes?
No courses, no classes.. I am self taught.  I was raised by my grandmother and she was a great example for my creative juices.  I do not like to read instructions, nor follow patterns... I'd rather work it out myself.  I use patterns for ideas and examples, but that's about it.  When I make my bags, I start with a square..  and design as I go, decide which is best or not as I go.  I have a creative son who can "see" what he is making before it's finished.. I do not have that talent, so I put it together and then see if I like it... if not, I change it before it's finished.  I have a container filled with unfinished designs, fabric, that did not turn out.  Always thinking that I will find a use for it later. 

Describe your creative process.  What inspires you?
A picture, seeing something that someone is carrying or using, an idea from out of nowhere... and then I rummage through  my fabric or craft stuff.. to see if I can work it out.  I like to go the library and look in their craft section.  I look at books available in craft stores... run through the pattern books... computer searches ...  as I said earlier, I am always thinking "I can do that" until it's proved that I can't.

What are 5 things that you could never do without in your craft?
If you could see my craft room.. actually 2 rooms.. you'd wonder what all this stuff is for.    I have "stuff" for more than one craft... more than one idea... I am always thinking, planning, looking for anything that is new or perfect for this or that.  I go through Lowe's and look at things that I can use for other than it was made for... I see items and think " what can I change that into"... I can shop for hours in a craft store or any store.. looking for things that I can use for something else.

What I could not do without:   Those little sissors, the seam ripper, an 18 or 24 inch ruler, walking foot, computer

What is your favorite item in your shop?

Probably my handbags... I do them well and they are all made with experience and care.  My wallets are super nice also..   I make them from one I have carried and liked a lot.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in regards to what you do?
My brother has a successful Ebay store.. he says "volume" is the answer.. I think he may be right.  Of course, volume takes capital.  The best advise from me to me... is to not give up.. keep at it if you can and something will click.

Do you take custom orders? If so, how do they work?
I do custom orders, however I would rather design and choose the "ingredients" myself.  There are pros and cons to custom orders .... Doing custom orders would eliminate the extras one collects when making items to sell.  Time and supplies are tied up in items that do not sell right away .. and I do not have room for storage of large items.  I think having the fabric in photos available for those interested, and then making the handbag with their choice, would be a plus... but I have so much fabric to choose from that it's not possible to take photos and do it that way.  I'm still open on custom orders and the success of such.  I feel more pressure on custom orders.

Besides crafting, what else do you do?  What are your other interests?
I mow my own yard, do my own outside work.  Last summer I painted all the walls of our home (including the tall ceilings).  Two years ago, I renovated a house and sold it... would like to do that again, but real estate went bust.  I do help a son renovating a house he is doing.. painting,  drywall repair, etc..   I dearly love to do genealogy searches for others.  I've done my own and like to help others do it also... I'm very good at breaking into those brick walls ... it's just enjoyable.  I like my house to stay in order... and that's an every day job.  I have a few TV programs I like to watch... just a few.  I also, paint, crochet, needlepoint, dab in jewelry, and always looking for something new.   I am interested in politics and keep up with the day to day activities of our country.   I am looking into doing a blog .. for I have a lot I'd like to say (my son told me " get a blog... you need to have an avenue"), :).  I think we who are older, have a lot of experience and can pass on what we've learned, to the younger generation.  A lot has changed since I was a young lady starting out in the world.  You can't imagine what it was like before the computer, before rock music, before the cell phone at everyone's ear, before the instant news, before the world became so confusing ... what it was like when things were calm, comfortable.. when deals were made with a shake of hands, when you could trust your neighbor, when going to church was a good thing, when honesty was in the forefront, when the news media hid their bias, when kindness was a virtue, when courtesy was demanded at school, when respect meant something, when a man's word meant something, when the church took care of those in need in the area, when we could drive around on 50cents worth (2 gallons) of gas.   When we bought our own "hospitalization insurance" for emergencies and paid for all the rest ourselves.. the doctor's visit cost $8, and the medicine cost about the same.    Our first new Chevy Impala cost $3,200... our first house cost $10,000 ... the week's groceries ran about $25...  Those times are gone... they were good times... wonderful for raising a family.  I am impressed with the young and new families of today...  I wish them all the best!
Why do you do what you do?
I am retired and I do need something to do every day that is both profitable and stimulating... I just have to keep my hands busy.  I spent many years raising children and had no time to do these extra things... but had it all in my head for later.

How do you make time to craft?
I begin in the morning and sew/craft late into the night.  In between I do my shopping, cooking, cleaning.

What advice would you give someone just learning your craft?
Don't give up when it doesn't work fast enough... testing and trying leads to success... if it doesn't work out, chalk it up to experience and try it again.  Eventually you'll hit on something.  Nothing worthwhile comes easy.

What advice would you give someone new to online selling?
I wish I had the answer to that question..  but... make good photos (it's the first thing customers see), prompt service, honesty, follow through, treat a customer like you would want to be treated, believe in yourself.

Nina, at Elizabeth Creations, is offering you a 10% discount for her Artfire store! Just use the coupon code:  6D3B493048-ADB51E3BDF Come and take a look around. You can also find her on Etsy or on her blog.