Sunday, May 29, 2011

My first etsy trade event

So, I am trade exhausted!

On etsy, they have a "team"  that you can join and trade goods with other members of etsy straight across.  Since I'm probably only going to be shopping with the money that I earn from etsy anyway, I figured, Why not?  Well, I attended my first trade event today, which is just a forum that you go on to and all kinds of other traders are on at the same time, and you trade like mad.  Well, about 10 washcloths, 5 hats, a cowl, and some other random items later, I am DONE!

My husband kept asking me all day, "whatchya doing, honey?"  My answer, "trading"  :)  And that's all I have done all day, well besides going swimming with my son and doing some dishes and a short walk to the subway.  It was amazing and thrilling and even though they aren't real sales, I still feel like my shop is growing towards success.  Especially after checking my google analytics and realizing that I tripled my views and unique visitors from yesterday to today.  Yay for trades :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Featured Seller Tuesday!

This weeks featured seller is… (drum roll please!)

allsewnup is a shop created by Melissa Aliengena where she sells vegan, non-toxic dough for play in three types, olive oil, classic and scented.  They all come in amazingly bright color, which you should know by now are my favorites :) Stop by and check 'em out!

1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself? What are your other hobbies, what is day to day life like for you?
I’m a happily married twenty-something mommy of two beautiful children, Max (3) and Izabella (1). I’m a work from home mom, providing home day care to several other families in our small new england town. We have lots of fun learning together. When I’m not chasing eight little tikes around I like to hike and boulder, some of my quieter at home activities are cooking vegetarian foods, baking, sewing and paper crafts. I secretly wish I could master origami, but I’m too fumble fingered.


2.) What inspired you to begin creating and open your shop? 
I first opend my shop in 2007, with a variety of sewn items for kids and the home {that is where the name sprung from}. I closed shop for more than a year after Max was born. I just had no time to sew any more. Then when he was a toddler he loved playdough but it irritated the eczema on (h)is hands. When I was a preschool teacher I use to make giant batches of dough for the kids, so I made a batch. But this recipe bothered his sensitve skin too. I set out to create a blend that not only didn’t hurt his hands but helped them get better. Olive oil was what did the trick for him, and the Olive Oil Dough was born. I wanted to share the product with others who had sensitve skin or dry skin. So, I reopened my etsy shop.

3.) What is your best seller item in your shop? What is your favorite item in your shop?

The best seller is my Rainbow set of 5 colors, in olive oil dough. The whole set is 3 1/3 cups, each color is 2/3 of a cup. It is the one I make most often for ourselves at home too.

4.) What is your biggest struggle as a etsy seller?

I run the daycare alone, and it’s open for 57 1/2 hours each week, that leaves me very little time free time, so my biggest struggle is finding time. Time to photograph and list my items mostly. I’ve streamlined my operation in last few months though, I’m thankful to have found many helpful resources in the blog-o-sphere that have helped me with the photography aspect. I’m thankful for the store allowing my mailman to pick up my packages right off my front porch! Also now that I have my dough product line settled in, I can just relist rather than creating a new listing everytime. 
I’m trying to launch a line of art smocks, and I feel like it has been a long time coming, but I know it will happen, eventually. Just have to find the time

5.) What's your favorite thing about being an artist? 

My favorite is knowing that there is a excited little kid waiting on their package from my shop. I really like that I am able to create for children, and hope to expand my shop, I (have) lots of little testers here to help me perfect my creations before they hit the shop!

6.) Do you have a crafting "routine"? Are there things in your day to day life (job, family, etc.) that make it difficult to stick to that routine?
I don’t really have a routine. The way my shop is set up right now, when an order comes in I fill the order from scratch right away, but there is an ebb and flow of sales, so I just squeeze those creations in as soon as I can, usually nap time. I am pretty spontaneous person trying to over come my draw to procrastination. Actually, I often use my crafting as a procrastination tool to avoid doing the things I really should be doing, like scrubbing the bathroom grout. 

7.) I talk a lot about certain fears of creativity, like the fear of failing and fearing that people won't like your creation, do you experience these fears and if so how do you get past them and keep creating?
Not so much with the things that I post in my shop, but if I am making a handmade gift for someone as a gift, I always feel a mixture of pride (that I made something that I really like) and nervousness (that they may not like it, but they’ll feel obligated to use/wear it any way). Those feelings are usually followed with relief when everyone around starts to gush “you made that yourself?” I know that I personally always love homemade gifts, and it feels great to me when someone has taken the time to produce a gift personally for me. But on the giving end I still feel nervous that it, I don’t know, won’t be good enough, or as great as a purchased gift, or worse they’ll want to exchange it and can’t. I get past it mostly by remembering the past sucessful gifts and just have to hope for the best. 

8.) Tell us a little quirky fact about yourself, personally or professionally. 
Well, I’m an avid Arboriculturist. Yes, I love trees. Scientifically, I like knowing the genious and species as well as tricks to identify as many trees as I can (for exaple; a white pine [Pinus strobus] has 5 needles per cluster where as a pitch pine [Pinus rigida] has only 3).
I went to a vocational school where I studied ups and downs of arboriculture; including chainsaw work. And I love using chainsaws. My favorite is felling trees, my least favorite is hauling brush. It is the manliest thing about me, but it is a fun part of who I am, and my family and friends always know they can call on me to lend a hand when they need some tree wo

****Want to be a featured seller?  Leave me a comment here and I'll add you to the list****.  
There's a new featured seller every Tuesday, so I need lots of shops to fill those spots :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crochet Monday

So for today I'm going to discuss the varying projects that I have finished lately.

I finished two new baby girl hats, inspired by the ones that I had already made, but in different colors.

I made a trade on etsy and am making washcloths for the person I traded with.  I received some pretty awesome coasters in exchange for my washcloths and now have two other trades going right now for washcloths and another trade for baby boy hats.  I tell myself it's okay to be trading and to not actually be selling yet because, well what am I going to do with the money I make anyway (besides save it), I'm going to shop :)

I finished a little boy beanie hat, so cute.  Makes me miss the days that I was crocheting for my son who absolutely refuses to wear any sort of hat or shoes or socks right now.  In fact, sometimes when I go to get him from nap time he has taken off his pants, even got his shirt halfway off once.  My husband and I like to joke that we are raising a nudist. :)

And those are the projects that I am working on, most of which are complete.  I am proud to say that I am making progress on this whole etsy thing.  Now I just have to post all of these wonderful items and have wonderful people buy them from me ;)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feature Seller Tuesday!

This weeks Featured Seller is….. 

For this weeks featured seller, I chose a shop that sells
its own assortment of crocheted baby hats, hand
 painted onesies and crocheted mug cozies. 
Hope you will drop by her shop and give her some love.

1.) Intro, tell us some things about yourself, where do you live, what's your day to day life involve, etc.
I am a semi newlywed and a momma to a beautiful baby girl who is turning two at the end of this summer! I live on long Island, New York. I love spending time with my little one and enjoy playing & making messes with her! I have my degree in Elementary Education but teaching jobs are hard to come by here on Long Island so until my daughter goes to school I am putting the search for a teaching job on the back burner. 

2.) What inspired you to open Tutus and Tea Parties?? How long have you been crocheting?
I taught myself to crochet when I was in college and had some help from a few people I used to work with when I got stuck on something. When I found out I was pregnant I started crocheting some baby things here and there. I was never really good at anything besides making blankets but I practiced and finally was able to get better! Now I'm a crocheting machine! My daughter has hats to match pretty much any sweater she wears!

3.) What's your favorite thing about being an artist?
I love creating custom orders. Sometimes the greatest color combinations or ideas come from special requests. It just makes me so happy when someone tells me how much they love what I have made. 

4.) Do you have a crafting "routine"? Are there things in your day to day life (job, family, etc.) that make it difficult to stick to that routine?
Routine? What's that? Lol. The closest thing to a routine I have is crafting when my daughter goes to sleep at 8pm. That is my free time to do housework and craft. (Lets be real, the crafting comes first and the housework piles up...but eventually gets done.)

5.) I talk a lot about certain fears of creativity, like the fear of failing and fearing that people won't like your creation, do you experience these fears and if so how do you get past them and keep creating?
Yes, I have fears that some people won't like what I have put so much time and love into making. I just keep in mind that you can't please everyone. There are going to be those who love what you make and those who do not. What matters is I am proud of what I make and enjoy it. 

6.) What's your favorite item in your shop and why?
Every time I make something new, the new item is always my favorite. I think the Spring Beanies are my favorite! Although I just sent out some pretty cute hats to be photographed (a bumblebee, football and watermelon) Once those come into my shop I'm sure they will be my fave!

7.) Tell us a little quirky fact about yourself.
I am addicted to chocolate ice cream (Edy's or Breyers only) and it has to have chocolate sprinkles on it! I eat a bowl pretty much every night while I watch my shows. (good thing the little one keeps me active all day to burn it off!)

Make sure to check out her Facebook too!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jesus Time Sunday

  So, had an awesome church service today.  My church is going through a relationship series and today they had a couple up on stage talking about the different things that we expect from our spouse, for them to be loving, support us, etc. things that most people would probably agree would make up a good marriage.  They also talked about certain expectations that we have from our spouses that aren't really that realistic.  Like, expecting our spouse never to mess up, expecting perfection out of our spouse.  The couple then went on to explain what when we do this, we are not only setting our spouse up for failure, because no one is perfect except Christ, but also setting ourselves and our marriage up for failure as well.

  I think often when people get married, they think that getting married is going to solve problems in the relationship.  Like, if one of you has a trust problem, that will be solved because you are committing yourselves to be with each other for the rest of your lives.  Kind of like, "Well, I married you and you're stuck with me, so you have to trust me cuz I'm all you got baby."  That's definitely not true.  When Lincoln and I got married, we were full of expectations, not only about our marriage, but we were also going into several new phases in our lives.  We were moving far away from where we both grew up, we were renting our first apartment, and we were beginning our college careers.  And, even though I ended up getting pregnant and post-poning my college dreams, the biggest let down in expectation versus actual outcome was in fact in our marriage.  I was one of those people that thought getting married would fix all of our problems, not necessarily problems Lincoln had, but my own issues with parts of our relationship, when in fact getting married only magnified the issues that we hadn't worked out, and differences between the two of us that might never get worked out.  I set myself up for failure.

  So, what does a girl do when she realizes that the fairy tale ending that she thought she was going to be living out is in fact a lie?  She accepts the inevitable, that no one is perfect and so no relationship will ever be perfect.  Think about it this way, if you can pick out and add up every single flaw in yourself, (or perhaps in your partner, which seems to be easier sometimes ;)!  ) how can you expect that when you add another person to the equation, and add all of their imperfections, that imperfect plus imperfect is somehow going to equal fairy tale perfection?  It's not.  But, that in itself is a beautiful thing because the reason we are so scared of the fact that our lives and our relationships and our marriages aren't perfect is that we feel that if they aren't then we must be doing something wrong.  We are so scared that we are failing, but to really understand what failure is we have to redefine what it means to be successful in a marriage.  Having a successful marriage does not mean you won't disagree, does not mean you won't get hurt.  All it mean is that you keep trying, that you keep choosing to love that person no matter what.  Success if never throwing in the towel, never saying "I'm done" and getting back up from where ever you have fallen to.

The wedding ring is a symbol of your everlasting love for your spouse.  It is a circle, meaning that your love never ends.  Ever notice how after a certain period of time your wedding ring begins to get a little dull, may even get a little bump on it.  Those bumps and that dulling shine are a symbol of your marriage as well, of the little nicks that it gets along it's journey.  And that's okay, because even though every once in a while you might have to get that ring buffed or shined, it still holds its shape, it is still never ending, and even when you are hurt by or angry at your spouse, that little nick doesn't change that shape of your marriage either.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weekly Featured Seller!

So, this post was actually supposed to be on Tuesday, but my day got super crazy, so here it is now :) And this weeks featured seller is Ruth Bleakley with...

Concertina Press is a newer shop on etsy specializing in ocean themed cards and stationary.  Looking for unique beach themed wedding invitations or greeting cards?  This is the place to find them!  Concertina Press also has a selection of personalized cards.  Whether you're looking for a squid themed "Happy Birthday" card or an elegant invitation to your beach wedding, I'm sure you will be impressed by this unique beachy collection!  Also, check our Ruth's other shop on etsy,  featuring her other paper specialties! 

1.) What inspired you to begin creating your stationery and open Concertina Press? How long have you been creating your stationery? 

I was lucky enough to work at a small local stationery shop as an invitation designer & shopkeeper for a few years. When the store closed I recognized that there was still a niche market on Cape Cod for nautical wedding invitations, and with my experience from the shop I decided to make a go of it on my own. I sell mostly online right now, but am hoping to get my new line of greeting cards into a few shops.

2.) What inspired the ocean theme for your shop?
I live just a stone's throw from the beach (if you had a really strong throwing arm!) on Cape Cod, the peninsula in Massachusetts where the Pilgrims landed. Cape Cod is steeped in ocean and beach culture, being a huge whaling hub in the 1800's. I love the colors and imagery and I found it can be hard to find nautically-themed wedding invites that stand out from the rest (which I think mine do!)

3.) What's your favorite thing about being an artist? 
I really enjoy having all of the tools and supplies at hand to create whatever vision I have in my head for a new product - obviously it doesn't always happen that easily, but I really enjoy that "creative" aspect - that is, the creation of something that you can hold in your hand and say "I made this!" - I also have an etsy shop where I sell my miniature books and handbound journals ( so as you can see, I have a well rounded love of paper!

4.) Do you have a crafting "routine"? Are there things in your day to day life (job, family, etc.) that make it difficult to stick to that routine?
Just recently I've made my artistic/crafting life my main priority. I have a day job where I work part time to cover costs, but on the days I don't go to the day job, I sit down at the computer (most of my artwork for Concertina Press is digital) and dedicate myself to a day of work for Concertina Press from about 10-6 with an hour lunch, and I find that structure helps me to actually get stuff done, instead of say, watching Project Runway all day.

5.) I talk a lot about certain fears of creativity, like the fear of failing and fearing that people won't like your creation, do you experience these fears and if so how do you get past them and keep creating?

I teach bookbinding classes in my community, so I often encounter the attitude "I don't think I could do that!" well I tell EVERYONE - yes you can! It may take some people a little longer than others to learn a new craft - I'm sure crochet is the same way - but everyone "can" do it. In fact, I think one of the greatest roadblocks to creativity is getting stuck in front of the TV! As far as worrying that people won't like your creation, I figure there are so many people in the world, there's bound to be SOMEONE who likes what you make, you just have to reach them by networking, meeting people, not being shy to share your work.

6.) Tell us a little quirky fact about yourself, personally or professionally. 

I've moved nine times in my life, growing up as an Army Brat and spent 11 years of my childhood overseas in Germany, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia! And no, sadly, I can't really speak any other languages except a little high school Spanish!

Hope you all enjoyed this weeks featured seller!  
Make sure to check out Ruth's shop on etsy!  
Have other etsy shops that you would like me to feature or other questions you would like me to be asking the featured seller?
  Just leave me a comment with the shop url.  :) 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday feature postponed

So, for any of you actually reading this this late, it is now 11:30 where I live and we just got back from a trip 3 hours south to see my in-laws and to look at buying a car.  Having said that, I will not be blogging tonight, but will be postponing tuesdays feature for tomorrow!

Wow, this schedule thing is harder than I thought.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Crochet Monday

   So I am pleased to say that I have finished the washcloth that I have been staring at for the last few weeks!  I did not get around to doing the complete baby set that I had talked about, but am learning and perfecting baby booties from a pattern I bought on etsy.  Hopefully they turn out.  I find that I crochet rather loosely and that makes it difficult to get sizes right, even when I check my gauge, which is my least favorite part of crocheting.  I mean, if I've picked my yarn, have the right needle and understand the pattern I can't usually stop myself from starting the actual project.  Horrible mistake, I know and I have many oversized hats and abandoned booties to prove that if I just need to buckle down and not skip this step.

  Also coming off of my hook this week are two new baby hats.  They are worked in a shell stitch pattern I found on and I added a little flower of my own to it.  The blue one was supposed to be for Brooklynne, but as I said I'm horrible at checking my gauge and it ended up being meant more for a 6-12 month baby and so started over with a pink hat for her.  It should fit a little better, but I'm still iffy and a little bummed because I really wanted her to have a different color in her wardrobe other than pink, and it was such a lovely blue.  Anyways, here they are :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Where I've been

  Have you ever drove by a high school or college campus and said, "wow those kids are young!"  Me too.  I know a lot of you who realize my age are thinking, "yeah ok.. you ARE that age."  Not really though.

  Even though I'm only 20 years old, sometimes I think I have the life experience of a much older and wiser person because even though I'm only 20, I've lived on my own since I was 16, I got married at 18, and am working on having my second baby.   Growing up, my parents weren't really parents.  I'd say the biggest "parental" thing they ever did was conceive and give birth to me.  Because of this I basically grew up without a child hood.  I'm my moms youngest child of 6, so even though I was only 5 or 6 years old at the time she moved with all of us out of my dad's house, I think she must have already considered me to be an adult.  She would sort of just randomly leave at night, expecting my brother and sister to take care of ourselves, my brother being 7 or 8 and my sister 9 or 10.  So, I grew up really fast.  Considering that we lived in an extremely flammable single wide trailer, she's lucky we didn't burn it down while she was gone.   She met my step dad (who would leave her years later for his dead boss' millionaire widow) at a bar one night, and from then on we had a very specific routine.  I'd get home from school.  She'd get home an hour later.  Every once in a while they would cook dinner, then either go outside with a 12 or 24 pack of Busch bear or head to the bar.  I don't remember ever playing a game with my mom, going for a walk, watching a movie unless it was r rated, or going anywhere with her at all.

  I remember all of these things, and then I think about where I am now, as a 20 year old that most people would expect to be on a college campus somewhere partying every night.  I realize just how good my life is.  I have a wonderful  husband, two beautiful babies and a God that provides for my every need.  I grew up with dysfunctional immaturity at it's lamest, why would I want that to be my life.  I will not be 50-something drunk and passed out on my couch with some random moocher guy next to me.  Lincoln and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary, we already have a wonderful family,  and that's my inspiration: where I've been and where I am now.  I guess I can thank my mom for wasting her life so much that it made it impossible for me to even consider missing a single second of mine with my family.  My son and I have a daily routine too.  It involves waking up and playing together, eating meals together, watching Bob the Builder on rainy days, going for walks on sunny ones, going to bed with a night time story and kisses.  All of the things my parents never once did with me.
  I guess that's why I was really nervous when I got married young and almost immediately became pregnant because I didn't want to be the type of parent my mom was.  However, when you grow up with dysfunctional parents, you have two choices:  1. accept them as they are and follow in their footsteps or 2.  realize how crazy they are and run from every single decision they are making and have made and actually live your life.  I'm living my life and though I know I still have a lot to learn, I am inspired by that too.  To paraphrase socrates, a wise woman knows she knows nothing.  THAT is such an inspiring way to live life, knowing that you always have something to learn.  With mother's day coming up, I am inspired by my moms example, not in the way that I wish to copy it, but in the way that I want to learn from everything I feel she did wrong, this Sunday and every day.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Knitting Thursday

So, today I spent the entire day give or take a few hours with my husband and son, and got absolutely no knitting done.  I did however find a mannequin on sale at Ross which I bought and am very excited about. Not sure what it is actually intended for since it's made out of wire, but I think it'll serve it's purpose to showcase the million scarves on my etsy site.  I'm excited about it, and I just posted some new pics of one scarf to test out the response of the mannequin photos versus the old ones.  Pray the new ones bring in more views and some sales! :)

For the rest of the night I will be working on my sons baby blanket and maybe finish a hat that I crocheted (yes I know it's not technically knitting) so that I can post it on etsy later :)  So, in summary, no new knitted products today, but definitely got some inspiration from the mannequin :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weekly Featured Sellers!

I want to feature you on my blog! So, tuesdays postings are going to be set up to feature various etsy artists that I find interesting and who have great products.  If you would like to be featured on my blog, just post a comment on my blog. Make sure to leave a link to your shop so that I can contact you there and check out your products!  I will pick one person a week as long, what a great way to advertise your product!  Don't forget to follow my blog, giveaways to follow in the future!

Monday, May 2, 2011

In the world of crochet: Being afraid of the art of yarn

So, I already have killed my schedule, after only two days, but no worries we will try again this week :)

I have often heard from creative people that the hardest part of creating something is the idea that you will fail, an idea so frightening that it makes the creator not even want to try in the first place.  This is especially true for writing because writing is such a creation of self, that when people read one's writing they can in some ways read about the writer herself.  I also think that this is true of all other crafts to some degree, and it's terrifying.

So, in my world of crochet, I am fearful at the moment.  I am afraid to keep creating because of the lack of sales in my etsy shop, and even more fearful to write about the fact that I'm afraid.  So, I guess in a way that is what this blog is about, me conquering my fear of people knowing that I am creative, that I'm both a writer and an artist of yarn.

As far as projects go, I have been crocheting the same washcloth, a project that should take about an hour (or two if I'm really distracted) for the past week.  It is very similar to the blue washcloths in my shop, only lime green.  It is going to be a part of a baby boy basket that I had the idea for.  In the basket should be two baby blue washcloths and one green one, two hats of different sizes and maybe baby booties if I ever master the craft.  I have big ideas, but definitely need to get over this washcloth.  The bottom line though is that I do believe that I have the ability to be successful at running my own craft business, but I just have to get past this fear of failure, because if I already have decided that I'm going to fail, then how can I ever succeed?

I wonder, what do other people do when they get to the point of fear that I'm at, feeling like you're just on the point of breaking through to success, but can't quite figure out how to take the next step?  I guess the first part of taking that step is to just finish a gosh darn wash cloth.  Hopefully, next monday I'll have a picture of a washcloth, or maybe the entire baby boy set I envisioned for you all to see.  Optimism  begets more optimism and ultimate success right?  Maybe optimism, even if it is a little forced, is all I need to get over this fear.

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

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