Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Setting up Shop: The Basics

Last week, I mentioned that I'd be doing an in-depth post all about how to start an Etsy shop. Well, I've decided to break it up into little segments I'll be posting all week. My first installment is all about getting started. Here are a few key points to consider before you open an Etsy shop:
  • Choose a username: Keep in mind that you cannot change your username once you register. You can call your shop whatever you want, but your username becomes part of your URL; so it will likely be on your business cards, etc. So take a second and think it through before you commit to your old high school nickname or something irrelevant.
  • Decide what you're going to sell: Pretty obvious, huh? But if you're like me with a zillion different hobbies you'll need to narrow it down so everything in your shop looks related. I find myself quickly exiting shops that are all over the place--jewelry, chocolates, knitted scarves, post cards, and refinished furniture all in one place. It sends the message that you're only kind of good at a lot of things, instead of being really good at one thing.
    • After your first shop is up and running smoothly, definitely consider opening another shop for your other things. I prefer to keep my first shop dedicated solely to paper goods; I'm considering a second shop for my jewelry...I'll let you know how it goes. :)
  • What will your shop be called? I don't know much about different locations; but some places require you to register a DBA (doing business as) if you're doing business under any name other than your legal name. Just something to consider if you're planning on your business becoming wildly successful. Also, if you're choosing a name other than your legal name, maybe run a search on it...I've heard horror stories of some sellers being contacted with cease and desist letters by larger businesses that share the same (or similar) names. Just something to be aware of. 
    • Also consider what people are going to get when they do a google search for your shop.
  • Do some research: Check out some shops you like and see how they're doing it. Read their policies and their item descriptions...see what's working for them. Take notes on things you like and things you don't like, as well as things you'd like to implement into the running of your shop. Definitely don't copy other sellers; but you can learn a lot from observing successful shops. Also, think back to any interactions you've had with Etsy sellers. Is there anything that has left an impression on you?
  • Set up your profile: Fill in some information about yourself. Keep it brief, as most people don't spend hours (or even minutes) reading about the minute details of your life. But do make it personal. The beauty of the Etsy community is that people can buy handmade items from real people. You can update and change your profile as you go, but fill it out just to get started. Also, consider adding your location, or at least a general location. Some customers prefer to buy local, so they'll do a geographical search for sellers in their communities. 
  • Fake it till you feel confident. That's probably the biggest piece of advice I can give...nobody knows what they're doing right at the beginning. But nobody has to know that. That's the beauty of being able to "hide" behind your virtual storefront. Nobody has to know that you're nervous or unsure of yourself. And you won't always be. Starting a shop can be overwhelming at first...but take it one step at a time and enjoy the adventure.
Also, there are some really, really great articles on Etsy for beginners. Definitely read through A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Shop on Etsy. And keep in mind that my list of "advice" is just stuff I've learned along the way. Etsy has so many great resources for advice. I'm sure nothing I say here is going to be groundbreaking or new, but it's just a compilation of what I've learned in the last 4.5 years.

Up next: Banners, Avatars, Shop Policies and Shipping.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm over at good tots today with this fun, easy painted butterfly project. Check it out. 

Here are some of the more mundane details I left out so I wouldn't bore the lovely good tots readers to tears. But you folks are a different story. You're used to me going a little overboard with the details. So here you go:

 Download my butterfly template so you don't have to draw your own.

Fold a paper in half, and line the straight edge of the butterfly up along the fold. Trace around the template and cut out along the line. Unfold and you've got yourself a whole butterfly:

Add some paints and some kids and you've got yourself an art project. Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Loving: Layla Grace

I always turn to Layla Grace for gorgeous, perfect gifts. I admit, though, it's been a while since I've popped over to see what's new. And of course, it's right on the mark--it all feels so fresh and summery. Here are a few of my favorite, girly treasures...and how darn cute is that bullseye pillow?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rules to Live By

There are two things I must be wearing before I leave the house: 1. Sunglasses, 2. Mascara
Charlotte has embraced my first rule whole-heartedly. And she'd gladly follow rule #2 if I'd let her.
My question: What falls into the can't-leave-home-without-it category for you?

On another note:

The question I hear most often these days goes something like this, "I (knit, sew, make jewelry, etc.) and I'd really like to start an Etsy shop. But I'm nervous. Where do I start?"
OK, the question I'm actually asked most often involves Charlotte's crazy hair; but the Etsy question is second most common. So I'm working on a series for next week...everything you should know before starting an Etsy shop. If you have any burning questions on the topic, send 'em my way and I'll be sure to include them in my series.
Or if you're a seasoned Etsy seller and have any first-hand experience to share, drop me a line, please.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Out of the Fire

I'm so excited to show you my first two projects from my pottery class. The little cherry bowl is the very first thing I made. There's kind of a thin spot on one side, but for the most part I'm so thrilled with the way it turned out. I used a simple clear glaze, so you can see all the sand in the clay. I think I'm a huge fan of the clear glaze.

Next I made this little vase. It may eventually become a pencil cup; but for now it's holding some fresh freesia that smells so good. I have one more piece waiting to be fired this week and three more close behind. I had an accident with another of the pieces last night as I dipped it in the glaze...my tongs punctured a hole right through the side. Oops. Now I have to figure out what to do with a tiny bowl with a hole in the side. Any ideas?

Anyhow, if you've got a pottery class near you and a wonderful, willing babysitter I highly recommend it. Hope you have a fantastic weekend. I'm so glad the sun decided to join us again for a few days!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Little Treasures

Life has been complicated lately. I hate to complain, but I can't just act like my life is perfect, either. So I'll just tell you that while the last several months have been hard, the last couple weeks have been the rockiest yet. Hopefully I'll make it out of this bumpy stretch soon (and in one piece). Today I needed a quick pick-me-up, so I turned to my Etsy Favorites. Here's what's making me smile right now:

Bright colors and a pencil case? Just what I need today. I should lock up my Sharpies in this beauty so Miss Charlotte can't color on the walls or herself like she did this morning. Also check out all the gorgeous goodies at Pilli Pilli

Rude Little Black Book
I especially need one of these right now. Besides the snarky humor of it all, my "bad list" has never been so long. Maybe taking detailed notes would be just the right therapy. Get it at 27th Street Press.

I've got lists everywhere. Maybe if I wrote my lists on my bookmark I wouldn't loose them so easily. Not to mention that these are so cute it hurts a little bit. And they're printable, so I can take control of one part of my life right this second. Not only does she have fun paper goods, but definitely check out the hair accessories in Mayi Carles shop

I love, love, love all the personalized plates at Aedriel Originals. We recently had a disaster with Mr. H's favorite plate, and I'm in the search of a worthy replacement. This might be the answer I'm looking for.

My life feels like it's always a mess. There's laundry everywhere I look, nothing is as organized as I'd like it to be, and I'm always running late. Maybe if I had this gorgeous bag from Cha Cha, I could disguise my inner lunatic with a chic accessory.

Stella Doll
This little doll from Tiddlywinks is like a little cuddly piece of happiness. I think she'd be the perfect addition to my room, (er, I mean Charlotte's room). 

And totally unrelated, but do any of you watch Extreme Couponing?
I'm having so much fun comparing notes with my deal-hunting friends. 
I'm not nearly Extreme Couponing material, but I can totally see how they get so into it.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I was going through some pictures last night and I noticed a trend:

Perfectly depicts how I feel today.
I'll be back after I've fixed the surprise plumbing crisis that spouted up over the weekend.
Hope your week is off to a better start than mine is. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Painting with Squirt Guns

I scored some squirt guns in the dollar spot at Target last week, and I decided we'd use them for painting. 
My post over at good tots today gives you all the details.

Happy Painting!

Love & Banana Bread

I'm scrambling to meet a few deadlines today...so for your entertainment, I leave you with two recent scenes from my life. 

On Mother's Day, Hudson surprised me with a little 'love' on the wall. He fashioned it out of washi tape and pipe cleaners while B and I were eating. (And for those of you who wonder why H wasn't eating dinner with us...he absolutely, positively, most certainly could not wait while we finished preparing our real dinner...so he had the early bird special).

I was feeling pretty proud of myself the other day as I whipped up some banana bread while the kids were eating breakfast at the table. (Maybe because my normal morning routine includes tossing them a bowl of cereal and then passing out on the couch while they eat and watch cartoons...but I shouldn't admit that, right?) I'm astoundingly productive when I get more than four hours of sleep at night. Anyway, I went up to shower and left the bread to cool. This is what I discovered when I came back. When I questioned Hudson about it, he said, "I waited until it was cool. AND I shared with Charlotte." He exercised sensibility on both counts, so I really couldn't be mad.

Hope your day is filled with lots of good things...like love and banana bread.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Have you found One Sweet Find?

Do you have a friend who always nabs the best vintage finds? You know that girl--she's the one who emerges from the flea market with an exquisite, unique piece for mere pennies. I have a couple friends like that, and I'm always baffled at how they do it. When I visit the flea market, all I come away with are tired feet and a couple churros. Lucky for me one of my fab vintage-hunting friends is willing to share.

Meet Jackie of One Sweet Find. You probably know her as Jackie of Sweetie Pie Style. However you know her, Jackie is the one behind the beautifully curated and thoughtfully edited Etsy shop One Sweet Find. She recently updated her shop, check out some of her most recent finds:

Matte White Boy Bust

Basket Weave Cups

Abstract Landscape

Pedestal Bowl

Brass Whale

I'm really dying over that sweet little brass whale.
I especially love how any of Jackie's pieces could be incorporated into your decor, and look like a prized family heirloom. I may just have to tag along on one of her shopping trips to figure out exactly how she does it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Top 10 Craft Supplies

One of the questions I get asked a lot is about my favorite craft supplies. I've gathered up my top ten for you today. These are the ten items I must have in my studio at all times. Links are below and after that I've included a little glossary-style description of each item so you know why I love it:

1. Scor-It-All
2. Paper Shapers Craft Punches
3. Zip Dry Paper Glue
4. 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive
5. Chain Nose Pliers
6. Embossing Heat Tool
7. Glue Dots
8. Martha Stewart Glitter
9. Tiny Scissors
10. Gocco Grrl Screen Cleaner (not pictured)

Why, you ask? I'll tell you why:

Scor-It-All:  Makes perfect, easy creases in any thickness of paper. Whether you're folding a few pieces or a hundred at a time, this will make it infinitely easier.

Paper Shapers Punches: The only paper punches I've found that glide smoothly time and again. No jamming or tearing to deal with. And the best part? Their new slim collection folds compactly so storage is a breeze.

Zip Dry Glue: The only paper glue I've found that doesn't warp the paper. It dries clear, and it's incredibly strong.

Super 77 Spray Glue: The only solution for gluing tiny particles; or if you need a more professionally-finished look to your glued pieces. This goes on evenly, and you have  a few seconds to reposition before it dries.

Chain Nose Pliers: Of course, they're important for making jewelry. But they're also great for picking up tiny bits (rhinestones, brads, etc.) And they're the best for taking shanks off of covered buttons. Or pinching your husband if he's getting on your nerves.

Embossing Heat Tool: You use this for embossing--duh. But embossing is fun, and practically impossible without this little gem. I also like it for making glue and ink dry quicker.

Glue Dots: Perfect for quick projects or when tiny parts need to be adhered. I don't use them for everything; in fact, I kind of think of glue dots as the lazy-crafter's glue. So use them sparingly, and definitley don't use them if you're trying to glue down a whole piece of paper, ok?

Martha Stewart Glitter: Who doesn't like glitter? Janitors, maybe. But glitter makes me happy. And Martha Stewart's version is so easy to work with, and comes in so many pretty colors. And glitter is the perfect mistake-hider. 

Tiny Scissors I find myself reaching for these almost daily. And not just because they're cute and tiny. But they're perfect for cutting loose threads, ribbon, and the pieces that your cricut missed. I've also found they're quite helpful when I'm having a bad hair day. 

Gocco Grrl Screen Cleaner: Does anybody use gocco anymore? I do. I know it's a dying thing; and that makes me sad. But finding affordable substitutions makes me happy. This screen cleaner is gentle, effective, and so much more affordable than Gocco's version. 

That's it. Did I miss anything? What can you absolutely NOT live without?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Friday

Because nothing makes me happier than a baby in a bathing suit.
Throw in some jelly sandals, a floppy sun hat and a big brother in an unintentionally coordinating swim suit and you've got a recipe for a fantastic weekend. Hope you have a great one!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What I Wore: Where did spring go?

I meant to post this a while back, but I was kind of sick of seeing myself on here. LFoO, this is for you ;) Yesterday was a blazing 90 degrees so a leather jacket looks pretty ridiculous to me. Good thing I actually wore this outfit when it was a little more weather appropriate. Now I'm scrambling to find heat-wave friendly clothes...seriously. I made a mad dash to Old Navy yesterday to buy the kids some shorts. Didn't see 90 degrees coming. Maybe I should try watching the news?

Oh, and obviously I'd worn these jeans one (or two) too many days without washing because my belt is cinched a bit too tight making them look a little ridiculous. (Geez...who does the laundry around here?!?) Please tell me I'm not the only one wearing my jeans for way too many days between washes.

And when you look a little pale and washed out, never fear! B&W is here. Ta-Da! With the sunshine making its return, the freckles will be arriving any day now.

My Outfit:
Jacket Nordstrom (similar)
Ruffled tank, Halogen (similar)
Jeans, Citizens of Humanity
Shoes, Paolo (similar)
Bracelet, Cara (similar)
Necklace, (I made it)

Photos, Ashley (Thank You!!!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In the Studio: April

A few orders that I finished up toward the end of April:

These tags were designed to slip over the rim of a champagne glass.

The bride sent me a sample of their invitation and wanted to match the fonts. It took a lot of searching, but I finally found it. I kind of love/dread matching fonts. It's so hard wading through all the options out there, but when I finally find the match it feels like I won the lottery.

Here are some simple little tags I created for a bride. I used an assortment of colored and patterned ribbons, so the end result will be so cheerful and colorful. She's including them with their invitations and each guest will write them a message and slip it over the branch of a "wishing tree" as they arrive at the reception.

Anyhow, that's what I've been up to lately. I'm currently working on several more weddings and a personalized stationery set for Father's Day. It's kind of refreshing designing something for a man...a little challenging, but a fun change of pace.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Week, and a Winner

The weekend is gone, and it was a good one. Good thing I squeezed a nap in on Sunday because I spent the entire night in a semi-upright position with a cantankerous toddler. And immunizations are on the list today for Baby C. Then out to run a few errands, make a delivery, and then it's off for my last volunteer day at preschool. I have mixed emotions: so glad I won't have to break up any more playground fights, but a little sad that our preschool days are almost over. Anyway, I think I'll wear my favorite shoes. They're always a hit with the preschool crowd, and maybe the sparkle will lighten up my under eye circles. 

And now for the winner of last week's giveaway
Congratulations, Sara
(Random.org chose comment #1).
Early bird gets the worm, eh?

Thank you to everyone who participated, and thanks for all your help in promoting my new stuff.
I'm currently working on a couple other new things. Can't wait to share them with you.

P.S. Top photo by my girl Ashley