Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Love Affair

I  am a huge giant bookwork and consider myself lucky that I was introduced to books at a very young age. My grandparents instilled a great love of all books and one of my earliest memories is of me sitting on my grandmother's lap while she read a Little Golden Book- Snow White. I can still hear her cackling when the old witch did, with such candor. She did such a good imitation that I shivered every time I heard it, but begged and begged her to read it to me over and over again, until she probably hid it from me for a bit! 

My life is better thought of in terms of books, when I was little I was obsessed with The Little House on the Prairie books, as a middle schooler I stayed up late into the night, hiding under my covers because I was scared silly reading any vampire book I could find no matter how gory. Later it was poetry books about romance, monologues that made me laugh, letters from World War 2, and so on. Even now I have a stack full of books by my bed, no specific order to them or reason, just books that I love or books that caught my eye. It has gotten to be so that I can't sleep unless I read before bed, no matter how late it is. (A curse when I am up late painting or Etsying!)
 It was really important to me to teach my children not only to be good readers, but also to love to read. I wanted them to turn to a book for entertainment instead of video games or the TV. I not only read to them all kinds of books, but also let them see me take time out of the day to read my own books. I think that this is truly important because then they can see for themselves how caught up I am in my book, how it touches me, they can ask me questions about it, and just observe me doing something that I love. 

Not only do I model reading for myself, but we visit libraries often (more than once a week!), as a family we have a great collection of books about everything from princesses to zombies and home improvement, and I pay attention to what subjects the girls are into so that I can steer them towards books that will catch their attention!

This is one love affair I do not mind sharing with my girls, and hope that they develop one of their own as well and early! 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paperless Invites Just Got Class

I really enjoy designing invitations and such for people, everything from baby showers to children's birthdays. But in the age of going green I am finding that more and more I turn to sites like Evite for my party invitations. The problem though is that the invites don't look classy to me, they look cartoony and a lot of times I struggle to pick out the right look for the event. In to save the day swoops Paperless Post!   

See the invitation up there? That was created by me on the site and I am in LOVE!  Here is why:  
1. They are soooo customizable but still remain classic looking and very unique. 
2. No licensed cartoon characters anywhere!
3. You get to choose an envelope with the option to have the inside of the envelope have color as well.

4. There are wording suggestions so all you do is fill in the blanks. No more stumbling over formal and informal wording.
5. Although you do have to sign up, if you sign up through Cool Mom Picks here you get 35 stamps instead of the usual 25. 
6. It is way cheaper, way classier, and way easier that printing them out, licking all those envelopes, addressing them, and hauling butt to the post office.

Try it, I know you will be hooked!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Raindrops on Roses....

Here are some of my Etsy Favorite things!!!

These are the items in my newest treasury...
Can you tell I am feeling really ♥ girly♥?
I love the butterfly house, the bookplates, well...
everything here!

And best of all... some of these wonderful artists are going to be in a 
very special event here in a week or two... 
Trust me, you DONT want to miss it! 
Give you a hint... 
you don't have to have the luck of the Irish to be lucky here!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Come Vote!

I just found out that I was nominated for this awesome contest!
But to win I need to be voted for by all you lovely readers.
Come on folks!
I know you are out there! (I have the counter to prove it!) 
If you like reading this blog, enjoy all the crafitness,
just hop over here,
and if I do well there is going to be an AWESOME surprise for everyone!
Pretty please? =)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Etsy 101- Playing Nice

One of the things that I have learned over the last month or so is that it really does pay to come check out the Forums on Etsy. You learn a lot, you meet tons of different people, and your shop gets exposure. However, you can just come in guns blazing, ranting your opinion on everything, and expect people to take it nicely, or to remember your shop in a good light.

There are a couple of threads floating around, all started by people who were themselves rude and "shouting" at everyone, who feel like they were bashed and treated poorly. So then they start these treads telling everyone to be nice, that no one should say things that are mean, etc. But the thing that they don't get is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to judge someone's tone and true meaning from just type. So these are my own rules when I am in the forums.

1. If you are going to be in the Critique Section and want your own stuff to be looked at you HAVE to have a tough skin. You may not like what you are going to hear, but people are honestly trying to help you in their own way. Even if you don't agree say thank you.

2. If you are going to Critique someone else's work you have to say something positive for every negative. And if you say that something is off, tell them how to fix it. Nothing good can come of saying "Your photos are too dark and I don't like your banner".

3. When promoting your shop, make sure you look and comment on other people's items as well. It is just good manners.

4. If someone is "mean" in your opinion, don't call them out or retaliate. Chances are they didn't mean it and if they did then they are just hurting their own shop.

5. Lastly, treat everyone as if they are a potential customer. Even if they don't like your items, they might know someone who does. They won't recommend you if you are in the forums, trashing everyone else's work!

There ya go, I hope this helps people!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sick of Grey So I Made This....

I stayed up way too late last night to snag a Treasury...
but I had to do it!
I adore winter, 
the snow, fresh air outside, and the sun sparkling on the ice.
But here in Cleveland it is sooooo grey...ugh!
I can't take it anymore!
So I turned my attention to Spring and planning my lovely little garden.
Come take a peek here and bask in the green!
(My favorite is the gnome photo and the Fairy Garden!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Color Me Hungry!

Every Sunday should start out as colorful as this!

So easy... simply make your batter
divide it into as many bowls as you want colors
add some food coloring
place on griddle that is on medium (so you don't char them!)
cook and then EAT! 

Wishing everyone a very colorful night and week!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The List 2.19.10

Here is the list... not too much since I have been really busy with the Etsy store... enjoy and leave a comment!!!

I love it when kids doodle and use real life objects incorporated into the art! Check out these awesome marker drawings using pennies from Journey Into Unschooling!

I love having little drawstring bags around to give trinkets to my girls or to hold finished hair goods. Check out the tutorial on how to make your own from Skip to My Lou...super cute! 

Sometimes the simplest gesture means the most... how about spreading some love for the birds on these chilly February days? Be sure to check out the other posts at Imagine Childhood... beautifully peaceful photos....

Now that winter is drawing (hopefully) to a close...well not here in Cleveland, but I hear green is popping up elsewhere in the country... how about some Spring Cleaning? These tips from Nesting Place will improve any room in minutes, no money needed!

Here is another cute fabric garland, this time using burlap.... lovely! Check out Apron Thrift Girl's pretty Valentine's day one!

One of my goals this year is to love my husband even more than last year, when many a time stress got the better of our marriage. Maybe writing a love note to him every day like at Handmade Charlotte.... 
Lucky for me my cute Cake and Present Topper Dolls are becoming really popular! I was thinking of buying some cute candles from Bake It Pretty to send along with each one as a Thank You... what do you think? 

I love hand sewing and have been meaning to try to get Gabby to be interested in learning. This sewing kit from Filth Wizardry is PERFECT for the age after sewing cards but before sharp needles and bandaids on fingers! 

Finally, I can't wait to see some green here... until then maybe this Fairy Garden Terrarium will do the trick!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Saying My Peace

One of the wonderful things about living in this country is enjoying the freedom of religion. The freedom to believe what I want to believe without fear of being stoned to death, burned at the stake for witchcraft, or being put in jail for heresy.  However, sometimes I think that people forget that they are intruding on someone's freedom when they impose their own religious views. Even though that person has the best of intentions, it isn't sharing (or very appealing) when the offending party is made to feel guilty, shame, or that they are just outright wrong when their views are different. I would think that this tactic would be the opposite of what your religion stands for.

When I was reading about Buddhism and their set of values, I was also really curious as to how Buddhists deal with people of other religions, especially Christians, who feel the need to "share" their religion even though the Buddhist is secure on his or her path. This response made so much sense to me, it was like a light went on in my head. Someone once asked me to come to church on Sunday with an open mind, that there was really God and that Jesus wanted me to be there. I replied, "Ok, but could you come to Buddhist Temple with me, with an open mind that there is no God, no Jesus who died for our sins, etc?" Of course not, because we each believed, on faith, that we were on the right path.

Now, that I found my path I feel a great sense of peace. Before I found Buddhism I felt like I was always searching for something, never found answers to my questions, and nothing felt "right". And even better, even though I know that I am on my right path, I feel no need to pressure others because one of the main principles is that everyone has their own path. I just wish every religion realized this. =)

Here are some interesting resources on Buddism in comparison to other religions, if anyone is interested. Namaste!

Age of Sage
Comparative Religion

So Much to Do!

Didn't this cake topper turn out awesome?
I can't wait to send it to the customer, since photos (no matter how good)
do not do the piece justice!

Then we have Pepper the Penguin!

Darcy, who obviously loves dogs a whole bunch!

And finally Mika, who dreams of being a geisha someday!
There are other new dolls as well, but these are my faves I think...
I can't wait to paint more Toppers and Spoolies!!
(All these and so much more are in my shop... come take a peek!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My favorite room...

was a complete and utter disaster!
Craft supplies had taken over the dining room table,
ribbon and papers everywhere,
something had to be done! 

Meanwhile, while I was sorting, tossing, and reorganizing....

welcome to the BEST cat entertainment EVER!!!
$3 from Walmart... sticks to the window for days and days of fun!
Prince can't take his pretty blue eyes off the cardinals that visit us!

As I started reclaiming my space I remembered why this is my favorite room...
the color is such a pretty yellow,
I love how much light is here so my plants can grow,
and it is covered with my craftiness and strawberries!

Finally, after about an hour and a half... clean and organized!
I even tackled my crazy craft armoire, which was overflowing 
with half finished projects,
paint, wooden doll pieces, and lots of rubbish!

Happy Organizing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Voodoo Monkey Time!!

Today was Klint's 28th birthday and he finally decided to get a tattoo! Well since he was going to get inked I decided to hop on the bandwagon and get my tattoo brightened up and maybe added to. I had three strawberries with the ZTA open motto- Seek the Nobelest- under it but thanks to a series of high voltage tanning sessions a few years ago it had faded a bit and was looking dull.

We chose Voodoo Monkey Tattoo in Ohio City (Cleveland) for our tattoos, not only because the name and website is awesome, but also because EVERYONE we know in Lakewood has gone there for their ink. And we LOVED our artist- Doug. He was friendly, highly artistic, and really easy to talk to. These qualities are especially important when you are spending over 2 hours with the guy! (Don't be scared off by the scary photo on the website- he is definitely personable!)

Klint's tattoo is a beautiful sketch of the Bodhi Tree that Buddha achieved enlightenment under. Here is the sketch that Doug drew from and the end result:
Isn't is gorgeous?!  I like that Doug made it less sketchy and still kept the integrity of the design. Love it! 

Here is my new and improved tattoo, Doug added another flower and leaf, some vines, and the purple for the background! (I wish that I had taken a pic of the original, but it is nowhere to be found) There was quite a bit of ointment on it so don't mind the "sparkly look" to it. =) 

So do any of you have tattoos? How did you decide what you wanted? I am already thinking about my next one, lol, possibly a sugar skull like this from Dia de Los Muertos but without the banner under it... =)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Haiku for You


Peaceful when he sleeps,
Awake he is just as nice,
My very best friend. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

and then there is the not so pretty....

This store is another reason why I love Etsy.... there are some interesting people out there who are even MORE interesting when you let them create! I have seen some real pieces of "interesting art" on my other favorite site Regretsy, "a place where DIY meets WTF!", but sometimes you just come across someone whose shop makes you want to donate money to them to see a therapist. Take this listing for instance: 

Isn't that the funniest thing you have ever read for a jewelry shop?! And here are some of his policies... I don't think I have ever laughed so hard!


this is garys shop. i make jewelry. i hope you like it


i only takes the paypal. i dunno how to do anything else. kevin made this for me.whatis this 8088 design thing. i better go talk to kevin. i just asked kevin he said its his business name but this isnt kevins business this is my business.


i use mail. if any of you could tell me how to send jewlery through my comcast box i would be really happy.

Refunds and Exchanges

you break it, you buy it.

Additional Policies and FAQs

these necklaces took a lot of time and i am really proud of them. this site is not a joke stop asking me.
Well after seeing this shop and knowing that Treasury West will be opening up soon I couldn't resist making a Regretsy Inspired Treasury! So click here and prepare to be amazed that someone had the "uniqueness" to make these!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The List 2.11.10

Ok, I know it has been awhile, but there has been a lot going on! Mostly good, of course, but still I have been a painting, shipping, blogging, chatting machine!! I have been selling tons of dolls all over the world, started a new Twitter account (I couldn't resist after hearing about how Twitter has helped so many Etsians!), been crafting for Gabby and Amelia, and had to deal with some sick kids the last couple of days. Whew!! So let's take a peek at some things that have caught my eye!!

Isn't this the cutest owl ever?!! He was made by Grace from Whimsy Loft, who also wrote a tutorial on how to make one of these lovely stuffies using a knee high sock- yay for sock animals!! Here is the tutorial and I can't wait to make some of these little guys for my girls!

If you are like us and enjoy celebrating the Chinese New Year, check out this list of crafts to do with the kids to decorate for the holiday from Crafty Crow!

I love shoes. I love it when I find something beautiful that is still eco-friendly. I realllllly need some shoes from The Generation on Etsy!! (The lime green ballet flats are my favorite!

Some days I feel like throwing a party, just for the heck of it! Wouldn't a little Happy Birthday Dollie party be so much fun?! Check out the lovely photos of a doll party over at The Birthday Girl!

It has been snowing like crazy here in Cleveland, although that is the norm here. I love the idea of taking 30 beautiful photos to remind myself of all the beauty that is out there in the world, even in the dead of winter! The challenge was posted here by Blue Bird Baby! Are you going to join in??

I love the social aspect of being an Etsian.... I get to meet other artists, I hang out in chat with them, and I get introduced to beautiful new blogs like this one from Freshline- a wonderfully friendly Etsian who creates lovely works on art along with pillows and such. I love her style and the clean, quirkiness of it!! Once you check it out be sure to look at her shop too!

My girls love playing in their playhouse outside, but until about April or May they are stuck inside playing under the dining room table... boring! How about one of these absolutely GORGEOUS card table playhouses from MissPrettyPretty?! Want to win one? Head over to MaryJanes and Galoshes for a chance to win your choice!

Ok, well that is about it for now.... I have to go Twitter about this post, get into some Forum posts, and hopefully sell a doll or two! Talk to you all later!!

~ xoxoxox

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good Photos is Key

I have been getting a lot of great feedback in the forums but one of the most common compliments I get is not on the dolls themselves but on my photography. When I started out here I was so ignorant to how important taking really good photos was to being successful. It makes sense though... people can't see your items in person, so you need to show them off in the best light possible and make them really shine. Great photos are the only way to do this. I would look at sellers who were really selling large amounts and see their photos, crisp, clean, bright, and be so jealous because I didn't know how to do that. I asked though and my fellow crafters were quick to help me in the right direction. Number #1 way to get going towards good photos- a light box. 

Do a little research and you can see how easy it is to make your own if you don't want to spend lots of money on a professional set up. (Just be careful to put it away if you have cats!) All you need is a box, a box cutter, tape, and some white tissue paper. Of course there are way more complex ways, but seriously, who has time for that?! 

Once you have your light box it is time to play with the camera. PLEASE use the MACRO setting on your camera. That is really the whole key to non-blurry closeups. Try different angels, if you sell jewelry try different colored paper to compliment the pieces. And then once you have taken a lot of photos it is time to fix them digitally. Yes, even the best photographers digitally alter their photos to view them in the best light possible. See my before and after... off the top of my head I can tell you I cropped, fixed the tone and contrast, brightened it, and then removed a few highlights that I didn't like. But it pays off, I promise!

If you don't have a program like Photoshop on your computer there is a free one called Picnik that I have tried for some people and it is really nice and easy to use. It may not have all the bells and whistles of Photoshop, but at least your customers can see clearly what they are buying. 

Good luck and if you want to see some great Etsy photos here are some of my favorite sellers who caught my eye because of their great item photos! 

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