Feeling grateful!

>> Friday, August 28

I'm feeling so inspired by all of you doing your Friday reviews on how good your week has been! I decided I should take a little time to concentrate on the good things in my life!

... My family. After being gone last year, it has been so nice to be back in the country and able to call up my mom or go have lunch with my sister. I don't have to worry about time differences or anything like that. And we're all super excited because my brother is getting married to his long-time girlfriend in about 3 weeks! We all love them both and can't wait to see them get hitched!

... I got a call back about a job today! It's here in Nashville, and we've scheduled an interview for Tuesday. It just shows me that God has His plan and things may not work out the way you want them to all the time, but it always ends up for the best! Keeping my fingers crossed for next week...

... Being crafty! It has been my saving grace these last few months. My jewelry gives me the creative outlet I need and gives me a little bit of spending money in the process. Plus I get to meet all of you crafty people!

ps- I'll try to borrow a camera this weekend to take a picture of that cowl I'm knitting. It's coming along nicely!!

Hope y'all have a great weekend!!



>> Wednesday, August 26

So I turned down that position with AmeriCorps in Mississippi. It was just too scary to think all that could go wrong in the next year, and I wouldn't have any spare money for emergencies. I really want to buy a "new" used car in the next year, and I think a new laptop is making its way onto my list too. This position just wouldn't ever allow for either of those things, and in a year's time when the contract ended, I'd be out of a job once again. I just need something a little more permanent, and with a little room to start saving money. So the job search continues! blah....

I caught this commercial on TV last night. Is this for real?

Scary thing is, I think it is real. What a great way to commemorate our president! I love the tagline- "Can you grow one? YES YOU CAN!" It's pretty funny.

Hope you're all having a great week!


TAG! I'm it!

>> Tuesday, August 18

Michele over at By Your Side tagged me! She gave me the Premio Meme Award... what does that mean anyway? LOL Well, whatever it means, thank you so much Michele, I am excited to accept it because now I have to give 10 random facts about myself! I know this little game was going around facebook for a while, and I never got tagged for it but I really wanted someone to tag me!

So here are 10 quasi-interesting facts about myself:
1. I am the youngest of 3... my sister is nine years older, then my brother is six years older than me. My parents still call me their baby, and I guess that's okay with me:)
2. I was Valedictorian of my high school class, and then graduated second in my architecture major. Funny thing is, when all my architecture friends found out I was ranked second, they all went "REEALLY??!" LOL Truth is, I'm not very smart, I just work really hard and I'm a really good studier.
3. I love to travel. I would be in complete bliss if I had a job where I would live in one European city for 6 months, then move to Asia for 6 more... then Africa, or wherever, so on and so on....
4. With that being said, I have a complete and utter fear of commitment. Relationships, jobs, where to live... it controls many aspects of my life and I'm working to get over it!
5. I hardly ever remember my dreams, except the ones where my teeth are falling out. Freaks me out every time...
6. My college nicknames include "The Heidster" (and it apparently MUST have "The" at the beginning)... I helped build a house in college, and the eventual owner called me "Handy" instead of Heidi.... then I did a bunch of construction work for my Thesis, and my guy teammates called me "She-ra" (the female version of He-man).
7. Apparently I'm unusually strong.... thus, She-ra.
8. I have an insatiable sweet tooth! What girl doesn't?? My absolute favorite is Mint Oreos!!
9. Right before last Christmas, I came back from a year-and-a-half living and working in Sydney, Australia. I absolutely loved it and tried to stay longer, but my immigration visa wouldn't let me. It's in my 10-15ish year plan to move back there.
10. I just remembered another nickname- Noodle Arms.

And with accepting the award, now I must pass it along to 10 blogging buddies. Here are the ten blogs I wanted to pass it on to.

1. EtsyExpo
2. Little Card Maker's Paper Creations
3. Pickles on Pizza
4. PolkaDot Moon
6. Audrey's Country Crafts
7. Southern Belle's Blog
8. Tile Me Beautiful
9. Sweet Cuddle Cakes
10. Baroness Bijoutery

So there you have it! I can't wait to hear what the next 10 have to tell us about themselves!


My mind's a-turning!

>> Monday, August 17

I am just completely and utterly confused right now. My brain might explode. I had my phone interview today with the guy from Habitat for Humanity. He said the thought of having an architecture person in this position made him giddy. Which made me feel good, but now gives me this sense of guilt if I DON'T take the job.

You see, the job is sponsored by AmeriCorps- have you heard of it? I hadn't before I learned of this position. I guess the easy way to define it is by saying it's like a domestic Peace Corps, sponsoring people to be part of different organizations, with the main purpose of fighting poverty. Habitat for Humanity is somehow related to it, or funded by it, I don't know... I haven't figured all this out. Lots of colleges encourage students to participate for a year, so that age group (18-24) is the bulk of the VISTA volunteers. But the part that I just don't understand is that to volunteer/work with an AmeriCorps organization, you will earn less than minimum wage. I just never knew that was possible! I mean it's a governmental organization, so how do they pay you less than MINIMUM wage??! He even mentioned that some of the workers take advantage of food stamps. I would be living below the poverty line. I just had no idea what all this position brought with it- I mean I love helping people, but not if it's going to put me in the poor house!

But at the same time... am I crazy?? Because I'm really tempted! I'm finding solutions to the money problem already. I've found that I could rent a nice house with 3 other volunteers for about $300/ month, bills included. Add on about $80/ month for car insurance, and what's really left? Food, gas, a little bit of spending money. And suddenly it becomes very do-able. I mean I've roughed it before, and it was one of the best experiences in my life! Maybe this could be similar... And the actual job part of it sounds great- I would be working to design Habitat houses, and working to make them more energy efficient and greener. How important is that?!

And it's only a year-long contract, have I mentioned that??

Oh, and my favorite- there's a chance that they might want me to start Sept.1. Yup... that's in 2 weeks!

I am just in knots thinking about it. I talked to my mom, she thinks I'm crazy. She wants to talk to my Dad and see what he says about it. Yeah, like he'll LOVE the thought of his 26-year-old daughter working for peanuts!

I am just back and forth, back and forth over it. I've searched for blogs to see if I can find any volunteers in Biloxi, to see if they are completely miserable or loving every minute of it. I could see it going either way.

What do you think? Does it sound crazy? Or should I hold out for something that could pay THREE TIMES the amount? (which still isn't very much!! LOL)


Fingers crossed!!!

>> Saturday, August 15

Okay, so just a quick weekend update. I've been looking for a job, on and off, for about 5 or 6 months. Not much luck so far for me. I was concentrating on Nashville hoping to find something here because I like the city and my sister and her family live here. Well, a friend of mine pointed me to a job opening with Habitat for Humanity. They have an opening on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi for a 'Sustainable Building Specialist'. Doesn't that just sound really important??! LOL. I have a degree in Architecture, and some previous experience from college with building for the poor so it seems like a good fit. Plus, I definitely see myself going in the direction of "green architecture." Although I always kind of imagined myself working for a big deal architecture firm and making lots of money :)

Anyway, I sent the guy my resume and cover letter on Friday and he wrote back within a few hours to set up a phone interview on Monday. So we shall see. The only thing that makes me kind of nervous about it is that the ad mentioned "stipend" instead of "salary". That word scares me a little. I definitely can't live off of savings or my parents anymore, so I'm really hoping that a stipend is a decent amount. Oh, there's also a housing allowance too. I don't live a very extravagant lifestyle or anything, so if it was enough for me to get by, I'd probably seriously consider it!

So keep your fingers crossed for me this weekend! I'll report back to you after our conversation on Monday!


Feeling crafty...

>> Tuesday, August 11

I've been really crafty this past week. Or maybe just really bored... But I've decided to branch out a little with my projects and go back to try some other avenues of craftiness. One of these is knitting. I picked up a free knitting pattern at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago for this cowl and have been itching to try it.When I went to Michael's craft store the other day, I picked up some HEAVENLY yarn by Naturally Caron from the Spa series. It's made with bamboo and feels sooo soft! I absolutely love it. I'm a really slow knitter so it will take me a while. I don't see how the knitters on Etsy make any money, they must be super fast. It'll take me like 200 hours to finish this thing. But I really love the feeling of satisfaction from creating something wearable from a big ball of yarn! We'll see how I go with it, maybe one day I'll expand my Etsy shop to include knitted goods...

I've also been thinking about finishing a painting I started back in college! I wish my camera wasn't broken or I'd post a picture. It was a semester-long project for a watercolor class, and we had to start by carefully drafting a building we liked- I chose an old barn that always caught my eye. So I drafted it, careful not to leave out a single detail, and then started watercoloring it. We had to use painfully diluted paints so it was literally taking forever. No one in the class finished. But now I really really want to buy some new brushes and paints (I lost all my old ones in college). Hopefully I'll finish it one of these days!


Lowe's and sheep shearing

>> Monday, August 3

So we're in. We moved. It was a little crazy. My sister had scheduled movers for Wednesday and everything worked out fine as far as that went, except... we didn't have everything packed. So Thursday and Friday were spent taking car loads of assorted kitchen and closet items to the new house. But in the end everything worked out well and we got it done and we're settling in nicely!

I went to Lowe's the other day to try and get some new hardware for their futon- it was lost in their last move. Kind of a funny job you may think to be handed off to a 20-something year old woman, right? Well truth be told I am kind of handy, my years in architecture school taught me well, and I've used all sorts of tools and fasteners. So I've become a little bit of the handy man LOL... anyway, I get to Lowe's and I'm looking for the right kind of bolts and this older gentleman comes up to "help" me. I pretty much know what I'm looking for but I'm taking my time to try and figure out the right pieces. So then he starts suggesting what he thinks I need, with this kind of amused smile on his face the whole time... a woman in the hardware store, hm, go figure? So I picked out my pieces, said I would try those and he kind of laughed and said "oh you're just a regular Martha Stewart, aren't you?" Yeah, you always see Martha hanging out in the hardware store on her show... men!!

My brother-in-law's parents came down for the weekend from Ohio. Apparently they read my blog occasionally so I have to say lots of nice things about them;) Anyway, they were telling me about some friends of theirs, a couple in their mid-40s who retired from their engineer jobs and recently moved to Maine. They bought some land on the coast, built a super earth-friendly house that is completely off the grid, and have opened a bed-n- breakfast. They raise sheep and chickens, and when the sheep get sheared, the wife spins the wool and knits things to sell. She attaches tags to each of her items, and the tags have a picture of the sheep whose wool was used! The husband makes soap and they sell their things at craft shows. I was just so amazed by their story and way of life- I told them that those people were my idols! Imagine retiring at that age and living such a simple life! I can feel my blood pressure decreasing already...

Okay I feel like I have a lot to do today... not sure what that is, but I should get started!


SEUS and moving!

>> Monday, July 27

I was featured today on Oceanside Creation's blog! It was such a nice surprise- we had done the interview a few months ago and I had forgotten all about it. She also does weekly giveaways on her blog so go check it out!

I am now a proud member of the Southeastern Etsy Team! I've been looking for an active group for a while and somehow have always missed this one. But it looks like a good one, so I'm really excited. Right now they are having a team-wide Treasure Hunt where a bunch of the members have hidden these images in their listings and then shoppers try to find them to get their name entered into a drawing. I think I'm a little too late to participate in this one, but hopefully I can hop in on the next one. Check out their blog for more details!

We're moving this week... my sister and her husband have been building a new house and since I've been living with them, I'm their indentured moving helper (I gave myself that title- they're too nice to say that). So I'll probably be a little distant this week- they close on the house today and we'll start moving the kitchen stuff this afternoon. Then tomorrow the movers come and they'll move all the furniture and boxes. And then we'll be unpacking from then until the end of time....


WARNING- Tears highly probable. Tribute to the fighters of breast cancer

>> Thursday, July 23

I just had to share this one. I mentioned So You Think You can Dance in my last post, and if you missed it, this was the highlight of the evening. Tyce Diorio choreographed a dance as a tribute to his friend with breast cancer. Not a dry eye was in sight...


Thinking happy thoughts...

>> Wednesday, July 22

Three things are making me happy right now. First, I received my inventory list from the shop last night- she sold 8 of my earrings in the past month! WOOHOO! Now if I could only figure out how to sell that many in my Etsy shop, I'd be ecstatic...

Secondly, 'So You Think You Can Dance' is on tonight :) I've refrained from mentioning my favorite show on my blog but those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed that I am slightly obsessed. It just makes me happy, and it's the only show I can think of that occasionally gives me goosebumps. I'm not even a dancer (ask my friends) but some of the things those dancers do just amaze me. AND tonight is an especially special episode with Ellen Degeneres as guest judge and Katie Holmes (that's right, Tom Cruise's wife!) is the guest dancer. Ellen and SYTYCD together?!?! I have hardly been able to contain myself for the last week! Y'all should watch, I'm sure we're in for a treat :)

Third, my good friend sent me this link yesterday, and there's a great story behind it. About 3 years ago, my friend and his then fiancee were on vacation somewhere and they met this guy Dennis in a bar. The 3 of them ended up chatting into the wee hours and then a few months later when Jonathan and Mary Lynn got married, Dennis DROVE down from Canada to Florida for the wedding! He recited this at their wedding, and it is his voice you will hear in the video. So inspirational...


Warm blankets and house shopping :)

>> Monday, July 20

Yesterday I was catching up on some blog reading and ran across something at marysgranddaughter's blog. You can be a knit-a-square hero by knitting or crocheting an 8" square and send it to Soweto Comfort Club. Then they put all the squares together and make blankets for orphans suffering with or affected by AIDS. Such a beautiful idea, and a great way to use those scraps of yarn. So check out their website and keep it in mind after you finish your next knitting project.
So I'm not sure if I mentioned this before- right now I live with my sister, her husband, and their son Aidan. I'm job hunting around Nashville and plan to move out when I find something. Well I had always planned on renting as I usually would, but my sister and I went condo shopping for fun! And I'll tell you what- when they say it's a buyer's market, they're not kidding! We've only gone to 2 different complexes but I saw one I REALLY REALLY like- it's a 2 bed 2 bath.

And then as I was starting to get scared about having a mortgage payment (I have commitment issues) my sister suggested that I could rent out the other bedroom... she's such a genius, that's why I bring her :) It's just so bizarre, I had never thought about buying, but with the low interest rates and the first time home buyers' credit, it's totally possible. YIKES! Now all weekend, I keep thinking of all the little things I would do around the place and how I would decorate it. I would love to lay tile and hardwood floors eventually- I can be pretty handy when I try:)

I gotta get moving on this job thing!!



>> Thursday, July 16

Sorry, I'm a little slow... my mind is still on vacation:) But here are some pictures from our vacation, hope you enjoy them. Especially since the ones of my nephew playing in the ocean were the last ones to be taken before I was slightly splashed and now my camera won't work:( I mean, just a little bit splashed, I wiped it dry, turned it off, and now it won't turn back on. So word to the wise- even just a little bit of salt water can ruin a camera! Okay, on with the pictures!!My nephew Aidan and my parents' puppy Bailey. Bless his little heart!
Boats at the marina... mine's that big one in the back:)
I was amazed at this one- my Dad became a little kid when he was playing with Aidan in the sand. Here he is building a fort to protect himself from the rising tide!Action shot!My sister gazing on... thankful that her son is occupied for a few minutes!


I'm Back!!

>> Tuesday, July 14

God, it feels like I've been gone for YEARS! I guess it has been almost 3 weeks. Don't get excited, only about a week of it was fun vacation, the rest was regular visiting people and stuff. Oh and I fixed a leak in my parent's house that's up for sale in Alabama. Yeah I'm a regular plumber...

But the vacation was awesome! We went to Seabrook Island in South Carolina- it's a very slow paced place where you bike to the grocery store and the beach. A few months ago, I found the house we ended up renting, but it was pretty inexpensive so we were a little nervous and wondering if it would be nice or not. But we rented it anyway, and it was really nice! So I was the hero for a day or 2:) The whole island is a natural preserve- no hunting allowed- so every night we had deer wander through the backyard. The house backed up to a lagoon with lots of birds squawking and flying around, and an alligator that would show his face every now and then! Oh yeah, and there was a hot tub on the back deck. One evening, I was laying in it, but facing the house... when the jets turned off, I turned around and there were six deer in the backyard! Then I was frantically/subtlely trying to get someone's attention inside the house so they could see it. It was pretty amazing. I'll have to go through my pictures later and post them.

Oh and while I was gone I got an email from Cat, the shop owner. She wrote me to tell me that she had just sold 3 of my pieces to one lady!! WOO HOO! Now I'm wondering if she's sold anymore since then... I need a paycheck!

Oh yeah, and what's with this new layout in the Etsy shops? Looks kind of weird and I can't find how many views my items have. Not sure if I like that. What do you guys think?

Okay, I'll be back with some pictures!


Bama, Atlanta, and Beach, OH MY!

>> Tuesday, June 23

Hi everyone! I was just going to write a quick post to let everyone know I won't be around much for about 2 weeks or so. One of the perks of being gainfully unemployed is that I get to take extended vacations:) So I'm doing a mini tour through Alabama then onto Atlanta with my mom. A little shopping, a little visiting the family friends... should be a good time. Then on the 4th, we're heading out to Seabrook Island, South Carolina for our beach trip. My whole family is coming, and all their significant others and dogs! We're really excited about this- we haven't all been on vacation together in over 10 years. We started planning a few months ago and found a great deal on a house to rent, about a mile from the beach. I'll be checking in every now and then and maybe I'll have some fun pictures of my nephew or my parents' puppy to share with y'all!


Lawn Festivals and Giveaways

>> Sunday, June 21

I had my first booth at a festival yesterday... For the first time this year, it broke 100 degrees here in Nashville. All that preparation and it turned out to be way too hot which meant 2 things: lots of people stayed indoors and all us vendors got to sit out in the sun for a few hours. Which was great fun. Me and the lady behind me were the only 2 vendors there who didn't have a tent, so luckily the people who were sponsoring the festival took pity on us and found an extra one for us to use. Thank God! I think my skin might've melted off otherwise! So I had 2 sales... which means I almost broke even for the day. A little disappointing, but at least quite a few people seemed to look and take a card when I said I had an online store they could check out. Oh well...

The good news is that I met with the shop owner the other day and she's going to carry some of my pieces!! I was really excited, the shop is opening this coming week and it's sooo cute. She's going to carry random antique furniture, children's consignment clothes, lots of local artwork and crafts, handmade candles... just about anything you can imagine. She's going to do a 60-40 split, but thinks some of my prices can be priced higher than in my Etsy shop. And she's working on getting her computer system up and running, but the idea is that any artist can login to their online account and see what items of theirs are selling. Such a great idea! So I'm really excited- she seems to have a lot of great ideas for the shop and I'm hoping it'll be a big success!

Also, Barefoot Mommies blog is giving away a pair of my Yellow Jade Spiral Earrings

You can view the giveaway and enter here: http://www.barefootmommies.com/2009/06/pick-me-up-boutique-review-giveaway.html


cute stuff!

>> Wednesday, June 17

I was so excited yesterday to receive my giveaway prize from Scaftypaperlady. I won a set of 20 gift tags that are so cute! They're simple little one-sided tags that have been embellished, and they will be a perfect addition to include in my packages to customers!

I've also been a little crafty myself. As I said in my previous post, I went shopping for some gift bags for craft show customers to carry away their purchases. I couldn't really find any that I liked and I had an idea to make some. Here's how they turned out...

I took plain white lunch bags and cut them down with scallop edged scissors. I then punched some holes in the top and strung hemp string through them, knotting the end to hold them in place. They were looking a bit plain, so I was so happy to see that my package from the Scraftypaperlady included little butterfly confetti! I glued them on, tied on a ribbon, and included my business card. All of the material probably cost $5 or $6, and I imagine that I'll be able to make about a hundred bags. A nice little recyclable bag with a little bit of a handmade touch! They'd be perfect for party favors too!


Crazy week

>> Tuesday, June 16

I'm having a little bit of a crazy week... but good crazy! Thursday is going to be a big day. First, I'm meeting with a shop owner (the one I was supposed to meet with last week but it got postponed). So that should be interesting, I feel like I've had a little bit of time to prepare for it now. I bought this spinning thing at GoodWill a few weeks ago that I have fixed up and put new hooks on it- it will be used to display bracelets. And then I've also got all of my styles of earrings hung on earrings cards so I can show her. I'm not really sure what I'll do to transport/ display the necklaces to keep them from getting all tangled... any ideas?

Also on Thursday, Barefoot Mommies blog is beginning a giveaway for one of my items. I'm really excited about this, it's been in the works for a few months! The giveaway will go for about a week, I'll share the link with you when it starts!

And then Saturday is this lawn festival I am taking part in as a vendor. (Except I hear it's supposed to rain (sad face)). I've been busy getting some display pieces together for it, and I just went to Walmart and bought white lunch bags which I'm going to make into gift bags for those who make purchases. I just couldn't find any cute, semi-cheap bags that I liked, so I thought this would be an economical solution, with a little bit of a handmade touch! I'll share some pictures when I make a few!

Meanwhile, there's a tornado warning here in Nashville and sirens are going off! I should probably shut down the computer...


Real Life vs. Jewelry Life

>> Monday, June 15

I've been pretty vague about my "real life" on here. Do you ever use your Etsy shop to procrastinate on your real life? I have...

Right before Christmas, I came back from Sydney- I had been living and working there for a year and a half. It was awesome and I got to do some work in my field- architecture. An amazing experience, and one that I think is really hard to top. When I came back, I immediately started sending out resumes to all sorts of cities- here in Nashville, New Orleans, Charleston, San Francisco... and hardly heard anything back. It was very frustrating. They say architects are the first ones to feel a recession and one of the last ones to recover from one. I wish I had known that when I started college, I might have picked a different major!

I started looking into making jewelry one day when I was really frustrated and needed a break from the job search. I guess in that way making jewelry has been a little bit of my saving grace- it's really given me something to focus on. And I really do enjoy it. But I feel like I'm using it as an excuse to not be looking for a job. Even though I haven't had many sales, I do spend a lot of time working on designs and promoting them.

Anyway, I guess the point of all this is that I've decided to begin the job search again. My goal right now (I think it changes every week) is to get a job in New York. One of my best friends lives there and she's going to be looking for a new roommate to move in with her in August. So I'm going to start sending out resumes and see how it goes. We'll see. But it sure sounds like fun!

I guess by blogging about this I'll feel a little bit of accountability and start working toward it more eagerly. It's just hard to break out of the mold, you know? And don't worry, I'll still keep my shop and blog going- if I'm living in New York, I'll need the extra money!!


mid-week pick-me-up

>> Wednesday, June 10

This one just makes me happy- it's a little "prank" by the same people who did the infamous "frozen in grand central station" prank a few years ago. But I really like this one- imagine how many people smiled or laughed because of this guy!


meeting with new shop owner, yikes!

>> Tuesday, June 9

I've had a few friends suggest that I should approach some shops around town, or in my old college town in Alabama. It's sort of been in the back of my head, thinking I'll first build my business and products a little more. Well, last week I heard about a new shop opening up in a somewhat ritzy part of Nashville so I googled it. It's called Over the Moon if you'd like to look. Their website doesn't have much to it, but what it does say is that they are looking for local artisans to feature in their shop. I was really excited about it and thought I would just email to see what they require.

Well the shop owner emailed me back and said she was currently out of town but would be back Tuesday (today). She asked if I'd be available to meet with her tentatively on Thursday, and I said yes... But now I'm slightly panicky! I have NOTHING prepared to show this lady- I really expected her to just send me an application or something, not suggest a meeting for this week!

I mean, I have lots of earrings I can bring, hanging on my earring cards. And all my new necklaces and bracelets. But I really wish I had a nice portfolio or a brochure or SOMETHING to give her. I don't even have a very nice way of transporting and showing a couple of pieces... a friend suggested I sew some of the pieces to the inside of a big trenchcoat and show her that way! haha. But I feel really unprepared and I'm really not even sure what I'm supposed to be preparing!

But she seemed very nice from her email, and maybe if she's used to working with artists she won't be expecting a big formal presentation. Hopefully my work will speak for itself and HOPEFULLY she won't expect some ridiculously low wholesale price... I'm just going to look at it as "practice" and see how it goes! Fingers crossed...


etsyhacks review from a layman

>> Monday, June 8

I've been in sort of a bubble the past week, just working to get ready for my craft fair and creating and listing new pieces. So I'm not going to do a feature this week, I'm going to try to be technological tonight. It should be interesting...

I frequently browse the forums on Etsy, searching for tips and advice. I occasionally see things about etsyhacks and how great it is, but I've never really gone through the effort to look into it and download everything. My computer came with Internet Explorer, and etsyhacks works with Firefox.

So last week I finally got fed up with my internet- it had become a daily occurrence for my computer to lock up and I'd have to stop what I was doing and restart the computer. It was getting really frustrating. So I decided that I would try out Firefox, and along with it etsyhacks.

Etsyhacks is an add-on to Firefox, where it loads your computer with extra features and options to your usual Etsy pages to make navigating easier, and lets you move around your shop more efficiently. It was created by an Etsy seller's husband to help her run her shop, and now he has created a website to share these little treasures with other sellers. You download each hack individually, but I decided to just get the whole lot of them- it only took a click or 2. This is a screenprint of my typical item page now (sorry for the blurriness).

There are more options on the right side now- now I am able to unfeature this item, edit the item, delete it, copy, or renew it-- all from the item's page! I have already gotten TONS of use out of these, especially the "copy this item". A lot of my items are similar so all I have to do now is change a few words here and there and add my new pictures.

Another of my favorites is the forum features. Now when I enter the forums, a star is placed next to any threads in which an Etsy admin has posted. Any threads I post in are highlighted green. And then if a shop's avatar catches my eye, there is an option for me to see their Etsy mini- right there under their post, without opening another window. It's really handy.

And another thing I like- since I'm doing free shipping as a promotion for June, I was having trouble before because Etsy tags only allow so many characters and I could only type "free shipping" OR "worldwide shipping" in the alotted space. Now with etsyhacks I can tag "free worldwide shipping" which essentially gives me another tag to use.

There are many other features etsyhacks can give you- extra slidebars to help you navigate more easily, extra links from your main shop page, organizational tools for your sold orders.... the list goes on and on! It was really easy to install Firefox, Greasemonkey (the application that allows etsyhacks) and all of the scripts for etsyhacks. And fyi- my computer hasn't frozen up ONCE on me in the past week!!

Here's the link for etsyhacks if you'd like to look and get more info : http://www.etsyhacks.com/


I'm a winner!

>> Sunday, June 7

I forgot to mention in Friday's post that I won a giveaway! It was on EtsyExpo's blog and it was given away by ScraftyPaperLady. I had forgotten that I had even entered, it was my first entry into a blog giveaway! Just one of those times when I said to myself "Well those are cute notecards, wouldn't it be fun if I won?!" So I was so excited- I got to pick any of the thank you tags from her shop, which I am going to use in my packaging for sales. I just tried to grab a picture from her shop but I think she's removed the listing, so I will take pictures when I get them and post them here. I'm so excited!

I also had a great day on Saturday for kind of a silly reason. I went to the Goodwill Store to see what I could find to help display my jewelry and decorate my table at the craft fair that I signed up for. And as I pulled into the parking lot I saw signs that they were having a 50% off everything sale!! I figured everything would be picked over and falling apart, but I got so many great things I was so excited! I got 5 little plate/ platter things that I'm going to fill with (raw) white rice and black beans and place my earrings on. (btw- I stole most of these ideas from a thread in the Etsy forum!) I got a vase that I'm going to place spray-painted sticks in and hang my necklaces from them. And I got a spinning wooden thing with hooks on it that I'm going to paint and fix up and put my bracelets on. AND I got 3 tablecloths (2 of the same color and 1 accent color), a mirror, a pair of barely worn Bandolino dress shoes, and a little lawn chair for my nephew.. all for about $24!! I was THRILLED!


Baby steps...

>> Friday, June 5

So I wrote the other day about my difficulties in re-threading all my new beads that I bought. Well I searched and searched online and found hardly anything to help me out. So I decided to post my question in the "Techniques and Materials" section on the Etsy forums. My favorite reply was from FeralGlass who said it was "a job for the 3 P's- Patience, Persistence, and Prozac". haha. funny as it was, it wasn't making me feel any better!

I got a few other suggestions, with the consensus being to try using a needle. This seemed even more painful and tedious to me. But I went out and bought a long beading needle and tried it today, and it cut my "re-threading time" down in half!! THANK GOD! So I feel a lot better about those bracelets now and feel like it's okay to create more of them :)

I also took a pretty big step today by signing up for a craft fair. A friend of my sister's suggested it to me- it's a fundraiser for a Christian pre-school. The entry fee is only $40 so I thought I might as well give it a shot. I've never done a craft fair before so I'm a little nervous about it. But since I've been doing a lot of my pieces as "made to order", I have to get busy creating so I can have an inventory for the show!


Mid-Week Pick-Me-Up #5

>> Thursday, June 4

A little later than "mid-week", but super funny nonetheless!


I'm Either Really Patient or just Plain Dumb!

>> Wednesday, June 3

The other day at the Bead Show, I picked up a bunch of teenie tiny little seed beads. Very pretty and sparkly, and all different colors. I thought they would make some very pretty bracelets. Then just as I was checking out, the man told me to make sure that I re-string them onto some beading thread, which I had figured I would need to, but that should be easy right?

Well this presents an interesting problem... how do you get a zillion little beads that are strung on thread and move them onto a different thread? So I called up my crafty mom and she said that you can loop the 2 threads together and then slide the beads off the old thread and onto the new thread. OKay! Sounds easy enough....

First bracelet- I think I lost about 1,000 of those beads. But the good thing is that they're so small I didn't even need to vacuum them up! haha

Today I worked on the second bracelet and lost only a few beads. Yay! But it still took me about 3 hours to make the whole thing! (of which 2 and a half hours was spent just transferring the beads). Now, I'm thinking I wouldn't pay any more then about $20 for a bracelet, so that makes my hourly wage about $6... awesome!

So I'm bummed- I really love the beads and I've already bought them all but the darn bracelets just take way too long! I must be missing something- there HAS to be an easier way to do this! I think I am going to look for a better way tomorrow, maybe there is some kind of tool that makes this easier. But in the meantime, here is the bracelet I made yesterday/ today, isn't it pretty??


Featured Artist- Denise from Green Veranda

>> Monday, June 1

I am SOOOO excited to share this find with everyone! I have felt so inspired looking at this company's products and the values it stands for... Somehow Denise Marques and I found each other on Twitter and I checked out her website. She is a native of Brazil and is the founder and designer for Green Veranda. The tagline for her company is "Yesterday's News... Today's Fashion," and they produce handbags , home decor, and accessories made from recycled newspapers. Green Veranda products are created with a Fair Trade co-op of 32 women living in Brazil.

My absolute favorite is the large handbag, where recycled or mis-printed newspapers are cut into strips, rolled, and then handwoven to create the effect that you see. The paper is then sealed with a natural laminate to protect it from water. Organic fabrics adorn the inside of each purse and separate the compartments. Each purse is completely handmade and can take the artist up to 2 days to create.

Green Veranda works with the American Forests organization, planting a tree for each of their sales. They also donate a portion of their profit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the Children's Hope organization. The artisans who handmake the products receive fair wages and are able to support their families and help build the communities in which they live.

Denise currently lives in Florida and works with co-founder and fiancee' Aaron Goldberg, and maintains hopes of growing the company to reach more parts of the world. Together they will continue to support the artisans they work with and their communities, and give back as much as they can. All while creating super cool eco-chic products.

You can find out more on their website http://www.greenveranda.com/ and keep up with them on Twitter http://twitter.com/GreenVeranda

I will end with this note from Green Veranda's press kit: "It takes a brave person to truly realize that our world needs a change. It also takes a brave person to act and make a difference. And that is Green Veranda's vision... to inspire others to do just that."


Bead Shopping and Free Shipping!!

>> Sunday, May 31

So I just got back from visiting the Intergalactic Bead Show here in Nashville... don't you just love that name?! I guess they call it that because the vendors come from all over the Southeast, I even met one from Maryland! My sister came with me, and I think it's safe to say that I will never go to a bead show without her again! I had been to one before and didn't buy a thing- I was so overwhelmed by all the choices and my head was just spinning with all the options. But this time, she was all "Oo Heidi, come look at this!" or "You could get these and do this and that". It was just so nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and to make sure that what I had in mind was something someone else might wear. If it was up to me, I'd probably buy all bright yellow, orange, and pink beads and my sister was there to remind me that SOME people like purple, green, and blue :) But now I'm really excited to get started, I have a lot of work to do this week and a lot of new items to introduce to my shop!!

I'm also excited because I've decided to introduce free worldwide shipping to my shop for the month of June! Business has been slow and I think I can do this as my "stimulus buster" haha. Plus we have a family vacation in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, starting the 4th of July weekend and I need some spending money!! So hopefully free shipping will help out a little :)


Oh so Lovely!

>> Saturday, May 30

Imagine my surprise the other day when Michelle from Tile Me Beautiful left me a message to say that she was passing on the 'Lovely Blog Award' to me! Oh you are so sweet! If it had been a few days earlier I might have laughed, because I was sooo not proud of my blog. But now that I've given it its makeover I feel like I can accept it without reservations!

Here are the rules to receiving this award... 1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. 2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. 3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So here are the fifteen blogs I have picked. And FYI there were a few of you I considered handing it off to, but when I checked your blogs I noticed you already had it. I tried to spread the love and choose blogs that hadn't received it yet. So here they are, listed in alphabetical order:

1. Ambers Accents Adventures
2. EtsyExpo
3. Etsy Technology Help
4. Ingo Jewelry
5. I'd Rather be Stitching
6. Lilac Pop
7. Little Card Maker's Paper Creations
8. Natalia Designs
9. PolkaDot Moon
10. Sitting Pretty
11. SmuTopia! Behind-the-Scenes of a Funky Handmade Jewelry Business
12. Southern Belle's Blog
13. SuaVoce Jewelry Designs
14. Sweet Cuddle Cakes
15. tiny bird arts

So thank you for the award, I'm glad that you enjoy my blog! And thank you everyone for reading!!


There's something different about you....

>> Thursday, May 28

Notice anything different? Maybe just that I've redone my ENTIRE blog again?! hehe... do you ever just have that nagging feeling that something isn't right but you don't know how to fix it? Well that's what I felt about my old blog layout, and then as luck would have it, I stumbled across this free template from Our Blogger Templates and decided to do it! I downloaded the template and then became inspired to fix up and replace some of my widgets. I think this new template gives me a little breathing room and I am really really happy with it. I think I might have found a keeper!


Mid-Week Pick-Me-Up #4

I'm running a day behind on everything since I took Monday off. But here is the Mid-Week funny to help you finish out the week! Sooo cute!


Featured Artists- Angie and Sarah from SuaVoce Designs

>> Monday, May 25

I ran across this week's featured artists when they mentioned their bridal blog in one of the Etsy forums. Angie and Sarah of SuaVoce Designs are a pair of twin sisters in college living in Chicago. When I checked out their blog and shop I was immediately impressed with the professionalism and thoughtfulness these young girls have established at such a young age.

Their shop is called SuaVoce Designs, named from the Italian phrase meaning "your voice." They design and make jewelry using mainly sterling silver and copper wire, and are constantly experimenting with different and non-conventional materials. Portions of their sales are donated to women's charities such as National Breast Cancer Foundation and Battered Mothers Resource Fund, Inc. "Jewelry making lets us channel our crafty side as well as our love for business. We really want to make a difference in the world too, so by selling our jewelry and giving a portion of the profits to charity we can give back."

Angie and Sarah began making jewelry their junior year of high school after taking a jewelry making class. They began making pieces to give away as gifts, but then decided to take the plunge as they started SuaVoce in September of last year. Their goal is that by the time they graduate, they will have a budding full-time business.

I asked the sisters what their favorite reaction someone has had to their work and they said it was from their younger sister when they made her a necklace and earring set to wear at her prom. Their sister loved the jewelry and was so excited to wear them on her special night.

SuaVoce's plans for the future include making "Pride and Prejudice" inspired journals... simple black journals in which they collage various elements and jewelry techniques together, including some of their favorite quotes from the book.

The sisters have also started an interesting blog you should all check out (http://suavoce.wordpress.com/), in which they periodically feature artists who do bridal work. They are also working to introduce their new line of jewelry they call the "Pink Line," where a quarter of their profits will go toward breast cancer research. Soon they would like to start "Feature Friday" where they will be featuring different artists every week.

Be sure to poke around SuaVoce, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6989347 where some items are on sale with free shipping! And if you're on Facebook, join their group at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=94180108452


Shop Update and New Items

>> Friday, May 22

I've been spending a lot of time in my shop revamping my photos and adding new items. It's taken a lot of work, but I now have 25 different items! I know some people on Etsy have hundreds and I just don't know how they do it! But for the moment, I am proud to have my twenty-five :)

So here are a few new items I have added this past week:

You can click on any of the pictures and it will take you to its description!

Plans for next week: Photoshopping... I'm going to finish editing the rest of my pictures and then I'm going to redo my shop banner. Hopefully I'll even have time to make a blog banner!


Mid-Week Pick-Me-Up #3

>> Wednesday, May 20

This one just made me laugh....


Featured Artist- Monte from MyMixMix

>> Monday, May 18

I am so excited to kick off my blog feature series with this shop! The shop is called MyMixMix and its avatar caught my eye one day in the forums, and when I clicked to see the shop, the colors immediately sucked me in! Just see for yourself: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6819973

The owner of this lovely shop is named Monte and she is originally from Los Angeles, where she had a wholesale and retail business designing and making OOAK hand-woven clothing. She ended up moving to northern New Mexico fifteen years ago, partly because of it rich history of fiber and textile arts. Now she handspins her own yarn with a spinning wheel and uses this yarn for her creations. In her shop, you can find all sorts of beautiful handspun art yarns and knitted accessories, as well as some needle felted jewelry and vintage buttons. She compares spinning to "painting with fiber, especially when you are dyeing the fiber you use to spin with."

I asked Monte if she had a favorite reaction to her work and she says, "I really appreciate all reactions, negative as well as positive. I think that is the best way to grow in your work, because most artists work alone and without much feedback, so it is easy to become stale or uninspired, and sometimes even a negative reaction can really get you moving again and pushing your limits."

Monte says the goal for her shop is to simply make sales. She loves spinning yarn and making her creations from it, and says "sales give the inspiration and push to keep coming up with new and creative ideas...I don’t believe any artist or craftsman can continue to create in a vacuum."

Plenty of things are in store for MyMixMix. Monte recently started listed new items she calls Poquito skeins, which are a sampling of small handspun skeins in various colors for people who don't want a large supply of yarn for their projects. Monte is also working on some small wall hangings made from her handspun yarn and embellishing with different materials which she is hoping to introduce to her shop soon.

MyMixMix now includes free shipping on all products, along with a few items on sale for the summer. Be sure to stop by Monte's shop and have a good look at her yarns and accessories. I'm sure you will become entranced by all the colors like I was:)


Comment Glitch has been Fixed!

Sorry to everyone who has tried to post a comment recently. Apparently when I re-did my blog format, I somehow changed the settings and people were unable to leave comments. After a few convo's I am now happy to report that the problem has been fixed! Now please comment til your little hearts are content!


Which is Mine and Which is Martha's??

>> Sunday, May 17

Last week while I was working on my computer I had Martha Stewart's show on in the background. I was hardly paying attention until I heard her say that tiramisu was Italian for "pick-me-up"! I absolutely ADORE tiramisu, having done a study abroad program in Rome, and "sampling" the tasty dessert at many restaurants. And then again, when I waited tables at an Italian restaurant for a few months, the cooks learned of my obsession and began saving me any "messed up" pieces of tiramisu! How fitting is it then that I somehow decided to name my shop Pick-Me-Up?! It is truly meant to be!!
So I spent my Sunday afternoon making these cupcakes Martha made on her show. And when I say Sunday afternoon, I mean THE WHOLE AFTERNOON! haha. I'm a very slow cook, more like a chemist carefully measuring each ingredient and bringing it to the proper temperature. But it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon and well worth the anticipation! They may not be genuine tiramisu that you might find in Italy, but I guess that just means that I will have to continue the search;)


Mid- Week Pick-Me-Up... Twitter in Real Life

>> Thursday, May 14

Even though I'm on Twitter, I can still appreciate the humor to make fun of it! This video is hilarious!


Custom Order- Wedding Jewelry

>> Friday, May 8

A few weeks ago I was excited when I was contacted by a lady in Ohio. She asked if I could customize a pair of my earrings for her to wear on her wedding day. I was so happy and replied right away, telling her I certainly could. She wanted something that had a pale pink stone, rather than the aquamarine I have listed in my shop. I found these lovely rose quartz rondelles from a buyer on Etsy, http://www.etsy.com/profile.php?user_id=5286538

Well, time went by and I hadn't heard back from her (I had asked her to let me know, and give me the go-ahead to order the materials and begin work).

Then to much of my surprise, I heard back from her a week or so later, not only asking if I could go ahead with the earrings, but wondering if I could make a matching necklace too! I was thrilled to say the least:)

By this time, she needed the jewelry in a little bit of a hurry. So I quickly ordered the materials, made them for her the next day, and shipped the next morning. She received them with plenty of time to spare!

I was thrilled a few days ago when I saw she had left me feedback, saying
"I just got my necklace and earrings, and I couldn't be happier! They are perfect. They look fabulous on, and the craftsmanship is excellent. I can't wait to wear them at my wedding! Thank you again for making them on such short notice and for shipping so quickly!"

She was a lovely customer to work with... I think I had a bit of "beginner's luck" to get to work with such a friendly lady!


Mid- Week Pick-Me-Up, Premiere Edition!!

>> Wednesday, May 6

So as promised, here is the first edition of my new weekly feature I'm calling the "Mid-Week Pick-Me-Up". It's one of my all time favorite videos and it cracks me up every time! Hope you enjoy!


Blog Update & News

>> Tuesday, May 5

You can tell from the dates of my last few blog posts that I have been taking a break. I had started the blog without a lot of direction of what I wanted to do with it or what type of information I wanted to share with my readers. So I took some type to re-work the appearance of my blog (new background and a few new widgets). I am pretty happy with how it turned out and hope you are too!

I have also given a lot of thought about adding some structure to my blog, and deciding what things I want to share on a weekly basis. I have decided on three main themes I would like to talk about:

1) a mid-week "pick-me-up" for my readers. I want to do something that will make you smile, laugh, or inspire you. These will be videos, pictures, cartoons, or quotes. Food for your soul.
2) a weekly feature of an artist. This will not be exclusive to Etsy sellers and I am endeavoring to gather a wide range of artistic talent. Anyone who is interested may comment and I will consider you for a feature.
3) a weekly update for my shop on Etsy... I will share new items, custom creations, or any other sneak previews and special events.

So those will be the 3 main themes I am basing my blog around, with a few wild cards thrown in. Maybe some business building secrets I am learning.., recipes.., tutorials... you just never know with me;)

So watch this space and stay tuned!!


Another New Item!

>> Tuesday, April 28

This one's been a looonnnngg time coming! I showed a practice ring like this in one of my earlier posts, and that practice ring was one of my first attempts at wire wrapping. So this is the final version of it- I just got this shipment in for coral beads. They are 6mm and are actually reconstituted from recycled coral. But I think they give this ring kind of a funky edge! Or if a customer prefers, I can substitute the coral for any of my other stones/ crystals. I think this tangerine color is going to be really big for the spring/ summer seasons, so I think this ring is a great accessory to have!


NEW ITEM! Orbital Ring

>> Thursday, April 23

So if you read my previous post, you know how I have been struggling to add rings to my collection.... Well yesterday all of a sudden I was hit with a strike of inspiration for a new ring which I made and listed shortly after! After all this time and feeling uninspired, it hit me just like that!!
I have decided to call it "Orbital Ring" because it reminds me of little stars and planets "orbiting" around your finger. All the beads still move freely along the wire so it is constantly changing a little which I think is really unique. Click on the picture above if you would like to see the full description.


Tech Support!

>> Tuesday, April 21

For the past few days I have been trying hard to find different ways for the average shopper out there to find my shop. I've been scouring the forums and decided to post some things I have found out about. Hopefully you can use one of these tips to increase your site traffic too!

1. http://craftgawker.com/ This is a new site that you can submit your work to (a picture and your shop link). It is a good site because they moderate the quality of work that is shown, so make sure your pictures are really good before you submit them! I submitted 2 of my designs yesterday and am waiting to hear if they have been accepted.

2. From what I hear, in the past it was a pain in the neck for sellers to upload their items to Google Base, which essentially lets your products turn up in Google searches. Recently Etsy made some changes and apparently it's much easier to use the RSS feed for Google Base. Apparently in the past you would have to upload each of your items individually, and then redo it every month as it expired. But now you can do it one time, where it updates itself automatically. I still don't really understand how all of it works, but I followed these directions and it was really easy. http://www.etsy.com/storque/etsy-news/tech-updates-feed-enhancements-google-base-and-more-3173/

Maybe in the next day or 2 I will see a difference from adding these sources. I will keep you posted on how it goes!


In the Works....

>> Monday, April 20

Whenever I sit down to design, my ideas always come to me as earrings. I've had a couple of people ask me if I am EVER going to list rings and necklaces. So I am trying to get out of my comfort zone and make rings. These are 2 designs I have been working on using aluminum wire for practice.

For my mother's birthday, she requested for me to make her some earrings with large pink Swarovski crystals. I came up with this hammered hoop earring which I think I will list in my shop. I'm not totally in love with how the crystals are hanging and am toying with different ideas of how to attach the crystals or maybe to add some gold accent beads. Or maybe I just need to add some more crystals....



>> Sunday, April 19

So have you become smitten with any of the items I mentioned in my last blog? Well now you can see them all (and more) in my Treasury! It's called "BAMBOOzled" and it features products that are made from bamboo. Here's the link:



>> Saturday, April 18

This is a "sneak peek" of some of the items I have been TRYING to feature on Etsy's Treasuries list. It only opens up a limited number of openings every few days and it is very competitive to get a spot.
I have acquired a love of bamboo over the last few years, mainly in landscapes. Recently I have really begun to admire artists and companies that are pushing to use this resource in their products. Bamboo grows so fast, looks great in the garden, and creates fabulous products like the items above! What's not to love?!?


I'm a Blogger!

>> Friday, April 17

I've been tempted to start a blog for a few weeks but haven't really known where to start. So I think the best thing is for me to do is just jump right in!

To let you know a little about myself, my name is Heidi and I'm 25 years old. Growing up I lived in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Alabama. I decided to go to college at Auburn University (War Eagle!) and graduated with a degree in Architecture in 2006. I absolutely poured myself into my studio and school work and then after completing a year-and-a-half long thesis project that was only supposed to last 9 months (that's another story for another day), I was completely burned out when I entered the "real world". I decided to wait tables for a few months to save up some money and then did something a bit crazy-- I moved to Sydney Australia. I ended up staying for a year and a half and had some of the most unforgettable experiences. I worked in architecture offices and had a blast. I met lots of great people and got to travel to New Zealand and Melbourne. It is an absolutely beautiful region of the world and I encourage any of you to visit if you ever have the chance.

My working rights expired in November and by December it was time for me to come home. I was excited to see my friends and family, but unfortunately I have the worst timing in the world and the construction/ architecture industry has taken a turn for the worse. A lot of my friends and fellow graduates are getting laid off. I worked hard at the job search for a month or 2 and still did not have even a glimmer of hope. I decided to take a break.

And then one day I had a random memory of a friend's sister who handmade jewelry as a hobby. I don't know why it suddenly appealed to me at that moment but I remember thinking "I could do that!" The next day I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some cheap aluminum wire, a basic tool kit, and some beads. I immediately became obsessed- checking out Beading magazines, beading books at the library, and scouring the internet for free tutorials. Then I researched all the types of wire and beads and within about 2 or 3 weeks I had lots of materials ordered and opened my account on Etsy.

It's been about a month since then and so far I have 9 items listed on my online shop which I decided to call "Pick-Me-Up Boutique". I've had one sale so far (from a friend) but have gotten great feedback, and altogether I am really proud of the pieces I have created so far.

So although this blog will mainly be for my shop Pick-Me-Up, I have many other interests that I would like to write about. I would like to feature other artists' work on my blog. Being an artist myself, I have a huge appreciation for handmade objects and the clever people who create them. I love to learn about new techniques and technologies that are evolving, and will share them so maybe you can apply it to your lives. And I will probably write about architecture occasionally (my first love)...

If you have any questions or work you would like to have featured on my blog, please feel free to contact me. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs!


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