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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

StoryBeader, Featured Blogger

November's featured Etsy Blogger is Deb of Story Beader. This Oklahoman makes unique jewelry, often with a southwestern look. But you get more than just jewelry from her. This lover of words writes a haiku for each piece.

Deb's delightful blog is called Stroll through Storyland. Be sure to check out her shop and her blog!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to iWunder

The third November birthday challengette is Jennifer of iWunder and iWunderVintage. She actually celebrated last weekend, so I'm a little late here! Jennifer knits, crochets, and finds amazing vintage deals to pass on to the Etsy community. In her "spare" time, she is a graduate student, studying science-y stuff. She's our resident expert on all things science.

Jennifer joined the Challengettes in July when she was recruited by Celeste of Cricket's Creations. Both members of the etsyfast (fiber arts) street team, when Jennifer commented that she wanted to list things every day, Celeste pointed her in our direction. And we are so happy that she did!

Her grandmother taught her to crochet when she was 7 and she taught herself to knit when she was 21. She says she has "kinda always been doing it, making something, hoarding yarn around the house, so when I found etsy it gave me a source for all the projects I have going with no intended recipient."

And Jennifer's favorite places in the world? It's a toss up between the salt marshes of southern Georgia or the Grand Teton mountains of Jackson, Wyoming.

Jennifer will always try new foods, but that was not always the case. She's "learning to eat dang near anything the older I get. Currently, my favorite food is any really good kind of German sausage on the grill."

And finally, her best tip to fellow etsy sellers... list something every day, and learn to take good pictures without the flash.

It's been so great getting to know Jennifer! Check out her shops for adorable scarves for both men and women, cute crocheted flowers for embellishing, and some surprising vintage finds!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions

"What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?" That's the question posed by the Etsy Bloggers for the current blog carnival. I have so many, and over the years they have evolved, but my all-time favorite tradition has always been the taking of the Christmas card photo!

from 2003

But what about the lessor traditions? Well, looking back on my married life (for the past 25 years), of course there is always the turkey and trimmings. There has to be mashed potatoes, and pies. When Laura and Kyle were elementary school age, we lived in Prague, so the tradition was to find a group of Americans and have dinner with them. Back stateside, one tradition we have now is the remember when... as in, "remember when we were in Prague, and we had a traditional Thanksgiving... goose!" Or, "remember when we were in Prague and we had to take Kyle to the hospital!"

When we were back in the States and living in Maryland, we rarely had family visitors, so we always went out. For several years in a row, it was dinner at the Stone Manor Inn in Middletown, until it was closed due to the death of the owner. I'm happy to see that it is now back in business as the Stone Manor Country Club.

Since we moved to Georgia in 2005, we have had no shortage of guests, from daughter's boyfriends to grandmothers to a mini Behm family reunion this year. And on tap for all our Georgia Thanksgivings so far... going to the University of Georgia/Georgia Tech football game! We're still gathering tickets (also known as buying them on ebay) for this year's game... it may prove to be a nail-biter!

Go Dawgs!!!

Family, friends, food and fun... the best traditions of all! And Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

Just a week and a day until Thanksgiving, and the start of abandoned diet season. How can you possibly stay on track when there are so many goodies around? There's a little bit of help... be thankful:

T hink First
H ave a plan
A cknowledge special foods
N otice how often you eat
K eep portions in check
F ocus more on people
U se smaller plates and utensils
L et yourself enjoy the day

It's not too early to get in the right frame of mind for all the holidays. And remember for Thanksgiving, "It's a holiDAY, not a holiWEEK!"

And while you're at it, why not get this great necklace to remind you of the really imp
ortant things in life (from my friend, Joanne, now on sale in her etsy shop, Jjewelry1).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to go2girl

Lots of birthdays in November for the Challengettes, and next up is Kila of go2girl and copperlocks boutique. Kila is a stay-at-home mom of 2 who loves to make jewelry. In copperlocks she also makes hairclips, and refurbishes vintage pieces into new jewelry. And you can see how copperlocks got its name in the picture below of the water lily barrette.

This southern California girl stumbled upon the Bittersweets Challenge thread, and felt right at home with all the optimistic, warm and friendly girls already there. We have certainly enjoyed getting to know Kila, and are so glad she joined us!

Kila is a mostly self-taught artist, beginning her crafting "career" during her summers spent with her grandmother. This pictured bracelet is one she made when she was about 11, and she still wears it. Recently she has really tried to focus on developing her own style and has steadily worked on her wire wrapping techniques, among others. Still self-taught, she looks to the library and online sources for help.

While Kila would love to have the opportunity for wider travel, her favorite place in the world is the central California coast that includes Big Sur, Monterey, Morro Bay, Cambria and Carmel. She says, "Nothing is as beautiful, fresh, invigorating and full of inspiration in my eyes as a long drive up Highway 1."

This go to girl is quite the adventurous eater, and will try all kinds of things. Though she has tried escargot, it's not included in her list of favs. This list does include "tried and true staples" like "chocolate, coffee, popcorn, wine and veggis." Mmmm, I love that chocolate is first in the list.

Her tip for new Etsians is to have fun because if you love what you do, it will show! "You will want to tell everyone about it. Your shop will beam with the same excitement you feel!," according to Kila.

I've certainly enjoyed getting to know Kila, and I hope you have to. She is also a member of Etsy Bloggers and you can read her blog here.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Happy Birthday to the Gaudy Goddess

In my ongoing series of birthday features of the One a Day Challengers (also known as the Challengettes), I want to introduce you today to Deborah Croskey, the Gaudy Goddess. One of the original Challengettes, she saw it as a way to get more motivated. Deb says, "Joining the challenge made me feel productive at a time when i felt like i was getting nothing accomplished....and when i felt like no one was interested in my stuff, i found a whole team of people cheering me on!"

Deb is definitely a multi-tasker and you will find two shops in one when you visit. (She also has a second shop, Shop Envy, where she de-stashes her supplies.) I can give a firsthand review of the body cream and shower cream that she markets under the label Ophelia's Apothecary. It is wonderful! I am a repeat shopper, as are many of the Challengettes. Once you try it you will be sold. She does offer a sampler set.

She also makes beautiful jewelry, and pictured here are her signature recycled glass pendants, and one of her beautiful necklaces. Deb is completely self-taught, and says that she inherited her crafty spirit from her father, who turned a hobby into a full-time business when medical issues forced him to quit working. Deb has found herself in the same position, as she battles cancer.

When I asked her where her favorite place in the world is, it was no surprise that she says, "My favorite place in the world is anywhere i can find peace....and balance. ... i really try to be happy just where i am....i love a good quiet room...stillness in the backyard....a calm rustle of fall leaves. ... now i've learned that happiness can be found anywhere if you let yourself find it."

For the lighter side of Deb, I learned that she is a very picky, unadventurous eater. She is one of those people whose foods canNOT touch on the plate. She does love to bake, and is telling us all the time about the yummy treats that are coming from her oven. Her all time favorite food is fried chicken, which she tries not to indulge in too often.

The Gaudy Goddess has lots of tips for new (and old) Etsy sellers! They include knowing your vision and sticking to it, find a supportive "pack" that will give you unconditional love and tough-Etsy love at the same time, have super pictures, and to please spend time working on making your shop better instead of wondering why you aren't selling.

Get to know the Gaudy Goddess and you won't be sorry. She is the most positive, upbeat person I think I have ever met. She has started a new team called Create Ability Team Etsy, and is also writing a blog for them. Click on the links to learn more about this team. She has her own blog, as well, which you can find by clicking here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm Working On...

Blog Carnival time again, and I've decided to share what I've been working on. It seems like my sewing machine is always humming, and I've had several custom apron orders through Down the Street. When I'm not making those, I've mostly been working on coasters for Elle Quilts! I've got two styles, one with a no slip, waterproof base, and the other I'm calling Coffee Mug Coasters, which are reversible. They would make great gifts!

The other thing that I've had on the back burner, and is just in the planning stages, is a table runner that I'm making from a Charm Pack of squares from the Winter fabric line from Moda Fabrics. I love these fabrics, Moda in general, but the Winter line in particular. The traditional reds and greens are there, but so is a pretty, light blue. I've just laid them out in the picture, and the order is definitely subject to change, probably several times, before I finally sew them together. I'm hoping to get this finished this weekend.

It's great to actually look at the picture and seem how the colors play against each other. I can already see some squares I'm going to move around before they get sewn together.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

I decided to combine 2 of the things I love in one feature! Etsy, and losing weight. Well, ok, I don't really like the losing weight part because it's really hard work. But, I AM a Weight Watchers leader, and today is the day I have all my meetings. And I do love Etsy, so there will be a fun item to go along with the message.

This week's topic in WW meetings is Vote YES for Yourself! That goes along with the Helpful Habit of taking care of yourself, which is something I, personally, will always need to work on. I found this adorable card at colespic's shop:

colespic has also been a featured etsy seller! You can read more about her here!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Rainy Day Art

In an effort to get to know all the One a Day Challengers, also known as the Challengettes, I'm featuring each one during their birthday month. Except, oops, somehow I missed Melissa's birthday on October 30, so here is her feature. You can find Melissa at Rainy Day Art, where you'll find all sorts of fiber arts, and some other goodies like magnets and mirrors, a scarf pattern, and even a stoneware vase.

Sunshine Cotton Lace Scarf (Pattern available, too)

Melissa was one of the original Challengettes, and she joined because she wanted to list more often and it seemed like a good way to accomplish that goal. She had a busy summer, changing jobs and moving from St. Louis to Chicago, so we don't see her as much any more, but she still keeps in touch.

Aviation Chart Magnet -- Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

She started knitting when she was a child, and is mostly self-taught. When she was in college, her interest in fiber arts deepened, and she read lots of books about knitting and crocheting, and took classes in spinning and felting. She liked spinning so much she bought her own wheel and continues to experiment. You can check out her blog, to learn more about Melissa and her craft.

Stormy Weather Pin Cushion

A couple of fun facts... Melissa does not have a favorite place to vacation, but really likes the Pacific Northwest. And she is not a picky eater. She loves sushi, and Italian foods.

Her best tips for a new Etsy seller... take the best pictures you can. An expensive camera is not as necessary as paying attention to your lighting. Melissa also suggests having different payment options, and really organizing your sections well, so that buyers can find what they're looking for.

There are 4 more Challengette birthdays in November, so stay tuned for more features, plus the Etsy Blogger featured seller, StoryBeader.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Eat the Frog List

Kylie, of Early Bird Creations, has been giving the Challengette group some marketing and business tips recently, and one that has really struck home with me is something she's been calling "Eat the Frog". Maybe you've heard of this, but the best definition is from Nike... Just Do It. You know, if you have something unpleasant to do, or something you've been putting off, it's time to just get on with it and... well, eat that frog! The cute frog in the picture is from Carapace's shop.

And, well, I am a classic procrastinator, especially with things that seem difficult or unpleasant. So I've taken this advice to heart. In running my business, I find marketing to be the hardest part, so generally speaking, I don't do it. This week, however, I renewed my Project Wonderful ads, and even added PW ad boxes to my blog. There they are... over in the right column. I emailed cuteable to try to get my coasters featured. And, I joined twitter, and added the widget over there on the right column, just under the ads. I've been trying to keep my blog updated more often, and comment more on other blogs, as well.

So, I'm feeling pretty pleased with those frogs. I do have a couple of other frogs still hopping around my house that I hope to get eaten by the end of November (don't want to be too ambitious, lol). The first is getting a fabric inventory spreadsheet up and running. The second is not business related, but I'm putting it out there for all to see... my Cooking Light magazine collection needs to be cleaned out with favorite recipes pulled out and put in a binder. That looks pretty bad, and I've deliberately made the photo blurry (ok, it was just a bad photo).

Do you have any frogs that you need to eat?