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:


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 :


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 and keep up with them on Twitter

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."


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