Monday, March 31, 2008

Featured Artist....

Cassandra Russell Design, out of Canada!

Cassandra approached me about a trade and that's how I found out about her shop. I don't know if we will work out a trade for products, but I just had to share her artwork with you. I think it's so lovely and the embodiment of Spring. If you are in the market for new, original prints, watercolors, acrylics or notecards; please visit her shop.

Taken from her Etsy profile:
Designer Cassandra Russell, founder of the brand that bares her name and exudes her personal style, has based it on the principles of clean, simple fashion and beauty. The company was founded in 2001 with Cassandra’s graphic design work and art shows, which featured her original painting. The Cassandra Russell brand has expanded over the years to include small gifts, hand dyed silk scarves, gift baskets and other home accessories.

You can find out more about Cassandra, her art, and what she's working on next on her blog. Mmmm, you can almost smell the flowers :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chocolate Covered Jalapenos

Just a little plug for Max's shop, Sizzlin' Sweets!

Get your chocolate covered jalapenos for Cinco de Mayo! What a great addition to your celebration! They come coated in your choice of white, milk or dark chocolate. These are REAL jalapenos folks! I finally worked up the nerve to try one yesterday. They were very good, spicy, but good. It was a totally unexpected sensation! First, the bite was sweet, then zippy, then sweet again.

I was a bit of wimp and scooped out the seeds after the initial, but believe me the pepper retained it's sizzle. These are truly SIZZLIN' sweets! Max can take pre-orders for Cinco de Mayo. Your order won't be shipped out until 2 or 3 days prior to your chosen arrival date. (East Coast and MidWest are 2 days; West Coast is 3 days.) Your jalapenos will be chosen fresh and made the day before or the day of shipment. Upon arrival, you can refridgerate them for another 3 days.

So what better to serve with Margaritas at your fiesta than chocolate jalapenos!

Gearing Up for Festivals

It's Craft Show Season again! There's only about 3 months out of the year here on the East Coast when there's not a lot of fairs to attend. But it seems like a long time when you're waiting for them to get to the planning stages. Then there's the excitement - where are they going to be? how much will it cost to get a space? for juried shows (which of course are the ones we crafters WANT to be in) - are they going to accept me?

Two or three weeks ago, I started the application processes. My goal is to be in one craft show per month from April to November - maybe 2 if the location is right. I'm trying to do all juried shows, since I've not had much success with the non-juried PTA Band Booster type of events.

There's so much that goes into this! Do I have enough inventory? Do I have what I need for a good display? Is it outdoors? Now I have to worry about potential weather conditions. Can I get somebody to come and sit with me? (Bathroom breaks, lunch, boredom) Will the market be saturated with my type of items? Are people buying? The economy isn't so great. I've to a few fairs where 85% of the vendors didn't make more than 1 sale. That's terrible!

So the woes and the joys begin for another crafting year. And we start on a woe note - I didn't get into the April show. So, now I'm off to find another!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scavenger Hunt Contest

Etsy Artists of Color Scavenger Hunt

Come play this week to win wonderful handcrafted items in a variety of media. Discover some great new artists and have fun along the way! You must be an Etsy member to win, both buyers and sellers are welcome! No purchase is necessary to win. Members of the Artists of Color Team are not eligible to win.

How to play?
Visit each of the participating EAOC shops below and look through the pictures in their shop listings (recent sold items included). Some shops will contain one picture of a "letter" hiding in one of their shop listings. Search through the participating shops and jot down the "letter" and the name of the shop you have found the letter in.
After you have found all of the letters (15 total), then unscramble them to complete a word. When you think you have solved the puzzle, please convo me with your entry and your name, if you are correct your name will go into a drawing to win the prize basket. (Only one entry per member.)

You can find these rules and list of shops at Etsy Forums.

What's the prize?
Everything has been handcrafted by member artists. From the top going clockwise:

Reversible headband by Callidora
Golden crocheted earrings by Bklyn MOMOs
Kiwi magnolia soap and satin cream by The Ivory Magnolia
Four occasion greeting cards by Handcrafted by LaMar
Earrings and heart pendant by Marcia Palmer
Spring poker chip magnet by Ginger Lime
Coin earrings in a tin by Satin Doll Co.
Mother of pearl coin earrings by Jamilary
Snap clutch by Urbanknit
Small mosaic votive by Mosaics by AH

Contest ends at 12 midnight EST, March 31st. All correct entries will be entered into a drawing and the winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, April 1st. The lucky winner will be contacted by ‘convo’ on Etsy and the results will be posted in the forums and on our team blog.

Good Luck!

List of participating shops:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How To Throw a Successful Direct Sales Home Party

Last year, I went to a Tupperware party at a friend's house. We won't talk about the gobs of Tupperware I bought, won, and the party I was coerced into throwing. Let's leave it at my very organized pantry. The reason for my post is to give you folks out there an idea for successful home parties. A lot of us crafty people sell our handmade crafts through many avenues - one of them being home parties.

Hold a fake auction. First, you should have some inexpensive items you are willing to give away as door prizes - about 6 will do. Then you should comprise a list of questions - they can be anything like: who just had a birthday, anniversary coming up, most kids, no kids, came from furthest away, known hostess the longest, is wearing a watch, etc. You get the idea. You might want to include some questions related to your craft just to see what people know. 40 - 50 questions should be good - these will be your 'money' prompts.

You will need play money. You can get some in a toy aisle or print it off of the internet. This is a lot more fun when the money is in large denominations - 100s, 500s, and 1000s. Oh! And your door prizes should be gift bagged so no one can see what it is.

How this works as an icebreaker
Before the party, when invites are being sent out, let your hostess's guests know that they will be playing an auction style game for fabulous prizes. Give them ways to earn auction bucks before the party even happens - signing up for your newsletter or email list, bringing a list of invitees for their own party, bringing a friend who wasn't invited, arriving on time, arriving with a pre-order, etc.

The night of the party, as guests arrive early, give them their auction bucks they've earned by doing the pre-party stuff, as well as bucks for coming early. Every 5-10 minutes, hand out another $100 to everyone there until the start time comes. When you are ready to start the party, introduce yourself again to the group as a whole, thank them for coming, thank your hostess, point them to the refreshments before starting the game.

While they are munching, tell them a bit about yourself and how you got started in your craft, what your goals are, any charities you donate proceeds to, and anything else you'd like them to know about you - not your products. Every time someone asks you a question, hand them money. Once you are ready to start the game, explain that the players should bid early and often. They won't get to keep the money at the end of the game. The game is for fun and everyone should have a good time.

Take out your 1st bag and describe what color it is and it's function. (If you're selling cosmetics, it's for the eyes and is blue. If you're selling jewelry, it's red and for the hand.) Start the bidding at $100 and let it fly! They may need encouragement at first, but once they get the hang of it there will be shouting and giggling! It really works! Repeat this with all your door prizes. Collect the leftover bucks at the end and thank them for playing.

Next you tell them about your products and invite them to try or touch or whatever is relevant to your items. Take orders or sell items to each person individually. Ask the hostess beforehand if there is a somewhat private corner you can conduct business in when the time comes. Remember to give your hostess a percentage credit on her items. For example, if you collect $300 in total sales (not including the hostess) and you are giving 20%, then your hostess will receive $60 in free products. For every booking received, give her another item at 50% off.

This is a great way to increase visibility for you and create repeat direct sales customers. You can devise theme nights also. Start with asking your friends, family, co-workers, or fellow club members to host a party. Have them invite 15 -20 people, only half will show. Provide the invitations with the pre-party ways to get bucks. Have your hostess get an accurate headcount a couple days before the party; this serves a reminder about the party for the guest. "Hi Sally, I just wanted to remind you about the party on Friday night. Did you get your invitation with all the ways to get auction bucks? Great! Will you be bringing a friend? Fantastic! See ya then!"

So all you Home Party Girls, if you try this and love it, post me a comment and let me know how it goes! Happy Selling!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Remember the true reason for the day. Blessings to you and your family on this holy day!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My New Baby

I'm so excited! After years of wanting one and not being sure if it was the right time or if there was enough money, I FINALLY got a serger! Hurray! She's lovely, all decked out with white and pink threads. I've played and practiced with her. I even gave her a name :) Jen Janome. She will be doing the bulk of the work around here giving Bethany Brother a much deserved rest. Bethany is only 18 months old, but has been through the ringer with all of my constant projects.

Jen's first task will be to tackle the stack of 150 reversible No Hurt Headbands that I am pumping out over the next 6 weeks. I will be giving 100 of them to our City Sampler in June. The other 50 will be either listed in my shop or sold at craft shows I hope to be attending. (I don't want to talk about that yet just in case I don't get in.)

A couple of other projects will be my new embellished laptop/messenger bags and a couple of summer jumpers for Miranda (my real child!) I hope you all have a fantastic Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Search Is Over!

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that I've been in search of chemical free body wash. Well, I'm happy to say that I've found it! Heidi has been working on her shampoo recipe and she gave me 2 bottles as part of our trade. She said she's still working on it and she's not completely happy with it yet. I tried it and thought that it was fine. I've had other shampoos leave me hair feeling a little softer, but this wasn't overdrying at all.

After the second time of shampooing, I thought "This really lathers well and smells so good. There's no chemicals in here - there really shouldn't be any reason not to use it as a body wash." I sent Heidi an email just to be sure. I mean who knows, right? I don't make soap. Anyway, she said to go for it, it's fine for both. And (a little whisper aside) she's in the process of developing and all-n-one shampoo, body wash, bubble bath (so keep an eye out!). Well, my dear friends! It was fantastic! The lather was great, the smell fantastic, a quarter lasted the WHOLE body (and there's lots of body!) and then some - even through shaving! My skin didn't feel dried afterward and I'm just in love.

So, my search is over. I have found my chem free body wash and she makes a ton of different scents. Cheaper than Bath & Body Works for the same amount - so worth it! And earth-friendly and human-friendly :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Heidi's Candles

I've never used soy candles before getting Heidi's. Years ago, when I lived in Arizona, I got hooked on Yankee Candles at first, then Party Lite, and then finally Gold Canyon Candles. Gold Canyon are the best smelling, as far as one candle gets the job done. I didn't like Yankdee because they smoked too much, leaving the jars all black and the walls had soot marks. Party Lite was too expensive for the amount you got. Gold Canyon had the most scent and does pretty good in the smoke department as long as you trim the wicks.

So you can see, I have a candle history. If you ever come to my Cave, there are over 20 candles lit on a Friday night. Mostly candles from local stores - just for looks, not scent because they don't smell know matter what they say. I've heard of soy candles but never bought one before, so I was excited to try one through my trade.

I got White Tea & (you guessed it!) Ginger and Brown Sugar & Fig. They both smell VERY yummy. They come in a plain tin and are white wax - goes with any decor. I believe the tins are 4 oz. and have a single wick. They burn very cleanly - no smoke or soot marks anywhere. I had one burning in a rather large room so the scent dissipated - not as strong as Gold Canyon. I will try it again in my bathroom and see how it does there. I love to smell the scent of the candle while it's burning, so I'm hoping that a smaller room will hold the scent better, because it is heavenly when sniffed in the tin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Story of B by Daniel Quinn

The Story of B by Daniel Quinn is the second book in the Ishmael series. This story is another piece of the "Where did we (society) go wrong puzzle?". While Ishmael focused on our current society being a culmination of the last 10,000 years of history and how that culture differs from the other indigenous cultures; The Story of B looks at the problem from the viewpoint of the spiritual and our disconnect from it. After having read The Story of B, I now realize that I can summarize Ishmael better. I just re-read my review on Ishmael so I wouldn't repeat myself. I am a bit shocked that you, my dear readers, let me get away with such a 'non-review'.

So, Ishmael in a paragraph - Defining Mother Culture. Our current society has arisen from a cradle of civilization roughly 10,000 years ago. It came about as a result of totalitarian agriculture which fixed us to one place and created the need for other skills based on farming and trade. Mother Culture tells us that this is the only way to live and that there is only pre-history before this. Ishmael shows us that there are other cultures that were present before 'civilization' and are still in existence today. Examples would have been Native Americans prior to the European settlers, and currently indigenous peoples such as the Aborigine. What they value is so different from what our Culture values that we think of them as non-people. Ishmael also shows us that their way of doing things is a way that worked for them for hundreds of thousands of years - and our way is collapsing after only 10,000.

The Story of B looks at the spiritual aspect of what Mother Culture has told us over the last 10,000 years versus what the other indigenous cultures already know spiritually. I'm using the word "spiritually" sort of loosely to connote an idea rather than spirituality in the way we think of things as organized religion. B was a student of Ishmael's who has gone out into Europe, in a sort of underground manner trying to recruit people to this way of thinking. At the very least, to make them aware of the problem. Because as we all know, we need to identify the problem before we can find a solution. I liked it and I didn't. First, I'll start with why I didn't like it.

This book is again a collection of non-fiction ideas told in a fictional setting. However, this time, it is not a telling style like Ishmael. It is a combination of journal entries and speech transcripts. I found this difficult to keep up with because the speech would be referred to in a journal entry, but was actually written in an appendix. At first, I skipped the speeches and kept reading the journal entries, but found that I was missing out on some key elements. Then I had to go the appendix and read those speeches I missed and going forward, had to flip back and forth between entries and speeches to know what was going on. Mr. Quinn should have just put the speeches in the body of work as it was referred to.

The other aspect I didn't like was that the learning character was a Roman Catholic priest who was sent by the Church to determine if B was the Antichrist, was having a crisis of faith before this started and it pushed him over. Being a Roman Catholic myself, I did not have a crisis of faith over learning these new concepts. He gave up too easily and didn't follow apologetics in any way to really sort of prove or disprove B's support of animism. Animism says that there is not one God, but rather gods of nature living in communion with each other infused throughout all living things - people, plants, animals, earth. This story emphasizes that salvationist religions are useless and we are on the wrong path with them.

What I did like was how it took Ishmael's concepts are far as culture and expanded them. While Ishmael looked at the role of historic culture, this book looked at the role of modern culture and the lies we continue to tell ourselves in the name of technology, capitalism, expansion, democracy, government, and so forth.

I would recommend this book only because it takes these ideas further and it is a trilogy. You can't read one and three and get the whole idea. The characters from one book aren't dependent on another book and neither is the plot - but the ideas are. So, my suggestion would be to read the speeches as they are referred to, instead of at the end. If you are person with substantial faith, do not be put off by the references to religions. Just recognize that he is putting forth his idea and doesn't, in my opinion, have to sway you away from your spiritual belief system.

Soon, a review on My Ishmael, the third installment.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Featured Artist - HeidisHandmades

I was recently lucky enough to find myself in a position to trade with HeidisHandmades. She liked one of my handbags and she makes chemical free bath and body products. See previous posts for the history on my search for things that won't kill us. I was able to get shampoos, soy candles, and body cream. First, I must say that my trade was a delightful experience. Secondly, I would like you to get to know Heidi! Over the next couple of days, I will include my reviews of her products.

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
I'm a Marine wife and mother of 3 children living in FL. I took a soapmaking class in 2000 and have been playing around with soaps ever since, and even started making lotions and candles too. :)

2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are doing currently?
I spend a lot of time hanging out with our neighbor friends, we live in military housing and the neighborhood is very fun and close. We had a humdinger of a St. Patty's Day party the other day! :)

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
I offer soaps, creams, lotions, soy candles, bath scrubs, massage oils, bath teas, sachets and cat toys too!

4. Where do you create?
In my home

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
The different seasons inspire me to create different kinds of soaps or creams. I like to get creative with colors and scents. I also have customers ask for certain things, and they give me great ideas too.

6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
I took a soapmaking class

7. How do you promote your wares?
My husband and children are my first priority, so I do not want to get too big with my business right now. I mainly promote and sell on etsy for now and once I can juggle a bigger business I will sell at local craft fairs and shows.

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
Everything needs to be perfect, customs will notice the smallest little things. Great customer service is very important to me.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
Enjoy it, and have fun. Keep your head up when sales are down, you will get sales and repeat customers in time.

10.Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here?
Little Beans makes wonderful wooden children's toys.
Fair Lady Faye makes beautiful custom bracelets.

You can visit Heidi's shop at HeidisHandmades. She will also take custom orders and is in the process of developing new products. So check back often as she gets things listed!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Etsymom Spring Charity Auction half of the sale proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House. Please go bid for a good cause! Etsymoms entered their best and favorite for spring, and you have a chance to win it all! The Auction will take place on in HappyHouseQuilts Shop

The basket includes the following items, click the shop name for more detailed information.
Rosie's Cozies has a cute toddler tote, cute bunny on the front
Happy House Quilts presents Threadabilities Craft kit, design and make your own spring flower clip!
Buttercup Corner has another craft kit, felt an egg and a chick to go inside! It's absolutely darling, and a perfect activity for the family.
Andrea Baker provides a fun library tote, with fun spring critters in pastels
Aebaby makes these *adorable* tag toys. This is a minky rabbit with colored ears. Really cute!
GreenBeanBoutique makes little fruit babies in various colors
Caelista sent this adorable fried egg catnip toy. Something for everyone in the family!
Peek-A-Boo Studios made little Suzy Zoo spring hair clips. Custom designed just for Etsymom!
NightOwlStudios contributed these adorable spring hair clips. Made from imported fabric, these are way cute! Love the hedge hog.
WylesStyle made this super cute egg pouch. Perfect for a teen's Easter, you know how hard they can be to buy for!
BeadedSocks makes cute doll diapers and... beaded socks! The doll diapers are a favorite among the toddlers, and they hold up to rough toddler play much better than disposable dipes.
Sassy Stitches made this totally cool clutch! Fun 3D flower on the front. Perfect for mom for Easter!
Mommy3Jesse put together this beautiful diaper cake! How fun would this be at a baby shower? A useful gift that is guaranteed *not* to be returned to the store for sure!
AllGrownUp2 made this sweet spring charm bracelet. Bunnies, eggs, and chicks!
Minefull made this cute pendant featuring a cute little chick! Nice and simple, classy moms would love to wear this this spring.
Thumbelina Creations made an amazing pendant with lampwork beads, buttons, and wrapped wire. Be sure to check this out in more detail (click her name) to see it 'up close'.
Mellberry4 made this beautiful pendant, reflecting Easter.

Please visit the for more information and thank you for looking at our Etsymom Auction!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Yay! Check me out!

Muffin Top Designs

I'm doing the little butter-churn dance :)

Easter Promo

Can you believe it?! Spring and Easter are right around the corner. To help celebrate, I am offering a free matching headband for every custom handbag order! That's right, you can have a custom handbag made to coordinate with your Easter dress and a wide, no-hurt headband to match. Won't you be adorable! Oh think this is cute and would love to get one for your Little Princess? By all means, buy! I can easily create a smaller, dainty bag with matching headband. It just brings to mind all those Easter parades :)

Order now to get it in time for Easter! And as extra appreciation to my blog readers, mention code EASTERBLOG and get an additional 20% off your custom handbag order.

Happy Hopping!

Featured Artist of the Week


This week's Featured Artist is The Peach Tree - a fellow member of the Etsy Trade-a-holics Team.

Out of Brooklyn, New York, this boyfriend/girlfriend artist team select and design classic, elegant jewelry. Their shop on Etsy is fairly new, only a couple of months old and they already have over 100 sales. Obviously, their designs have mass appeal! So if you're looking for something simple and elegant, you can visit their shop at
The Peach Tree or check out their very artsy blog at Peach Tree Blog

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sizzlin' Sweets

Hey All,

Max has recently gotten into candy-making. He can make some incredible peanut butter cups and cream filled chocolates. But today, he came up with Sizzlin' Sweets, his Etsy shop, Home of the Chocolate Covered Jalapeno! That's right! You can buy chocolate covered jalapenos from his online shop and have them shipped anywhere in the US.

They come in Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. You can get them in vanilla flavored colors - green, red, pink, pepper, white, yellow. He is also concocting new recipes involving peanut butter and jelly candy cups, chocolate truffles and other tasties. He has a St. Patty's Day Sale going on for all orders in green.

Check it out!

Sizzlin' Sweets

Featured Artist: Jamilary

This week's Spotlight is on Jamilary (pronounced juh-MEE-luh-ree)! Jamila was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, though currently residing in South Burlington, VT. Jamilary launched on March 17, 2007. Jamila's jewelry designs incorporate freshwater pearls, semiprecious stones, and natural materials acquired through her worldwide travels and the travels of her family.

Jamila herself describes Jamilary as trendy, classy, custom-made, handmade works of artistic jewelry. Through her 25 years, she has been a student of fashion with a keen eye for her personal sense of style and she has not been afraid to set the trend.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Feedback Gripe

Okay, so Etsy has a feedback system like Ebay. You leave a rating (positive, neutral, or negative) for the buyer and the seller, and others read your ratings to decide whether or not they want to do business with you. Well, as you know, I was not impressed with Sandy Creek Soap's Body Wash, so I left the following feedback:
Great communication and fast shipping. I personally was not crazy about the body wash. It didn't lather well and I had to use quite a bit to get through a shower. 4 0z. only lasted 5 showers. Scent was wonderful, though.
and coded it Neutral.

They left me Neutral feedback with no comments only after I had left my comment. Is this a good business practice? As a buyer, I ordered and paid immediately. Does that not warrant a Positive feedback? My end of the bargain was fulfilled perfectly and promptly. They should have given me my feedback on the same day I completed my transaction, rather than waiting to see what I was going to say first.

They have lots of positive feedback and only about 5 neutrals, but honestly, after that - I will never buy from them again. It's just a bit underhanded. So, my dear readers, if you are in the market for chemical-free bath and body products, I cannot in any way confidently recommend Sandy Creek Soap.

You've been warned.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Promo

Alrighty! We're celebrating the wearin' o' the green! Today starts my St. Patrick's Day promo. You might be looking at my picture, thinking
"Oh boy! Everyone thinks they're Irish on St. Patty's Day!"
and you'd be right. BUT, I am married to an Irishman and all my children are half Irish. Black Irish, or BL-Irish as we call them, is a combination or Spanish from the Moors and Irish. Look it up! I'm not kidding. The term "Black" was given because the babies were born with black hair, brown eyes and those lovely Irish freckles :)

So, anyway, between now and March 17th, mention code PATTYBLOG in the Message to Seller in your transaction through my Etsy shop for a 20% discount on any item that has green. That will include custom orders made with green fabric. You won't see this special mentioned anywhere else, it's only for my blog readers.

(In heavy Irish brogue!) Be sure to be wearin' your green, and save some green while you do it!

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Visit Callidora's

Put even the plainest woman into a beautiful dress and unconsciously she will try to live up to it. - Lady Duff-Gordon

Please visit my online shop, Callidora's, for clothing and accessories. I'm adding new items all the time and I'm always happy to do custom work in any price range. You can email me with any requests and we can create your unique, handmade item together.

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