Wednesday, July 27, 2011

And the winner is!

And the winner of MsBittyKnacks miniature art is..

SAMANTHA! 



Samantha is now a follow of MsBittyKnacks blog, a follower on twitter, and the entry that won her the prize, her favorite item from MsBittyKnacks' etsy store is Material Girl Original Mixed Media Collag


Contact information has been sent to the sponsor and the winner will have 48 hours to contact her back to receive their prize! 

Stay tuned for more awesome giveaways to come! :)
Hope you all are having a fabulous Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Featured Seller Tuesday!

This week's Featured Seller is…

ACupOfSparkle sells sterling silver, gold, Swarovski crystal,
 freshwater pearls and Vintage 
bead Handcrafted Jewelry.
Make sure to click her shop name above and 
check out her work :)


1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself? What are your other hobbies, what is day to day life like for you?
My name is Melike, and I am the creator of ACupOfSparkle jewelry and accessories.  I am originally from Turkey and am currently living in Seattle.
I have a full time job as a laboratory manager at a small biotechnology company in downtown, Seattle. I usually come home in lunch time to take care of my puppy; Aslan. After work, if I am not doing anything with friends, I usually come home, play with my puppy, cook, take care of the house and make jewelry. I also have a blog that I enjoy writing (acupofsparkle.blogspot.com). My other hobbies are kayaking and riding bikes with my husband.
2.) What inspired you to begin creating and open your shop?
Jewelry design and crafting has been always a hobby for me since I was very young. I am a big fan of gemstones, gold and silver. I launched my jewelry line 'A Cup of Sparkle' in December, 2010. I have a treasury of beads and jewelry supplies that I have been collecting for a long time. I like wearing jewelry and have two sisters, so I was mostly making for myself, my friends, and family. I love the business side of things and I thought I should give it a shot and share my jewelry with others out there.  I had a lot of encouragement from my loving husband.

3.) What is your best selling item in your shop? What is your favorite item in your shop?
My personalized wire bird nest keychains has been quite popular, especially among moms. I customize the nests with the number of kids people have using pearls and different gemstones.  I also add variety of charms like birds, bees, leafs on them that are all inspired from nature.

 

My favorite item in my shop is this bird nest branch necklace which I find very cute and unique. I make it with gold, silver and brass with different color of leaves and pearls.  I own one with Robins blue eggs that I wear a lot. I have made this necklace as a bridesmaid set for a customer, which I truly enjoyed.
 
4.) What is your biggest struggle as a etsy seller?
Lack of time. Balancing a home, a full time job and an Etsy shop is quite hard. Etsy is very
competitive and advertising my shop has been challenging.

5.) What's your favorite thing about being an artist?
Creating has always been a great outlet for me from the day to day things I do. My favorite thing is the thought of someone else wearing or using something I designed and made. That is an awesome feeling!

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 have a routine at all. Whenever I feel like, I go to my studio and start making things. I am doing this as a hobby. That is probably why I feel more relaxed about creating things at a random pace.

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?
 I am sure everyone wants to be successful when they start a business. Same goes for me. I believe that setting the right goals is the key especially in the planning stage of any start-up. I had times that I felt discouraged when my sales were slow in the beginning; but, I always reminded myself that I am doing this because I like it. Positivity is really important as well. I actually never feared about people not liking my creations. I am sure some people don’t but; there is something for everyone and that is what makes the arts and the crafts world as versatile and rich as it is.

8.) Tell us a little quirky fact about yourself.
I find polishing my nails as the best way to relive stress and relax. I own almost every color of nail polish


Check out her blog here
&
Follow her on Facebook here

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giveaway Reminders :)

Just wanted to remind everyone to enter the giveaways currently on my blog :)

MsBittyKnacks

From MelissaGHollis

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Featured Tuesday AND Giveaway!

Today's Featured Seller is…



Not only is MsBittyKnacks our featured seller, but she has also generously
 donated one of her  pieces for an awesome 
GIVEAWAY

1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself? What are your other hobbies, what is day to day life like for you?
I'm 32 years-old. Based in Miami, FL. Work as a Physician's Assistant by day and on my arts at night. However, I have a BA on Sociology/Anthropology/Women Studies; certified as a EMT (emergency medical tech) and BA (behaviour analyst), so as you can see my career road has deviated quite alot. Besides my work and crafts, most of my time is devoted to my 3 boys (boyfriend and 2 schnauzers). My day begins at 645am- go to work up until 6-7pm when I get home. Then is rush-rush (walk the dogs, feed everyone, then pending on the day I either do on-line (socializing, blog, post items) or crafts. The weekends is when I do most of my projects and photographs.

2.) What inspired you to begin creating and open your shop? 

Since I was a kid my mother always encourage me to do and learn crafts. From canvas, ceramics, sewing, jewerly...and the list continues. I personally always liked doing holiday projects and little home decor as gifts for friends. So, after many "you should sell your stuff" or "you are so creative"; I actually began considering it. One day browsing the internet I found Etsy and was hooked. I made a must have at least 5 items and that's when I opened MsBittyKnacks Shop last year.

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

The best sellers are my Day of the Dead Catrinas and the mini holiday clay characters. I belive the Catrinas are just too fun and they can be used through out the year not only Halloween; they are my favorites, but that's because I have a fascination with Day of the Dead festivities. The little clay characters are way cute, they are my original whimsy characters and are a forever part of the orgins and future of my shop.

4.) What is your biggest struggle as a etsy seller?
My biggest is the marketing. I for once do not like to constantly be writing "hey check this out", it's not in my nature. Also, the amount of time it consumes, my time is already very limited. I guess, since I started blogging it feels less like that, but still my biggest challenge. Another, is being up to date on all the social media, I must confess I am a bit of a dinosaur, I began with tweeter at the end of last year, my blog 3-4 mths ago and I still don't have a facebook; so imagine. But little by little, I am still in the learning process.

5.) What's your favorite thing about being an artist? 
To be able to create what I want to express in a fun mode, either by a character or a back story to a piece and mostly to being able to share it with people outside my circle. It's so fulfilling for me to look at a picture of a sold art piece and know hey that's at this state or this country an is part of some wonderful new circle, just too cool. 

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?
The only routine is to get some work done during the weekend. My week is extremely hectic and sometimes that's the only thing I ask of myself. 

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?
I think every begining artist has the fear of some sort of rejection at one point or another. My biggest one is to ship an item and not have it arrive the way it was meant, aka. broken. I know I'm at the begining of a fun and long journey and that I have to get people to know me better. Also, the more I create the better I'm getting so those two are my main motivators to keep me going.

8.) Tell us a little quirky fact about yourself.
I always have a notebook with me to make quick sketches whenever something creative pops in. I am an avid reader or fantasy/ sci-fi novels. 



ITEM FOR GIVEAWAY
To win this item, fill out the form at the bottom of this page. 





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THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another Church Update

Well, I can officially say that I have attended a full church service since my son was born! :)  We started out in the nursery again, but he only lasted about five minutes after we left before he realized that we weren't there.  We found him with one of the nursery workers trying to cuddle him in a rocking chair, he was terrified.  :( 
So, then we went back to the main service and lasted there through all of worship an a little of the actual sermon, which was really the only part of the sermon that I really heard.  I do know that the pastor was talking about a current missions team that is headed to Africa, and something about making yourself uncomfortable in order to be closer to God.  Other than that, I have no idea what the rest of the sermon was about because after we headed to our third room, The Family Room, Milo ran around and played lie crazy and we were just trying to keep up with him :) He did good though compared to the last times he's been there.  He only stole one little girls toy, a helpless little one, not even crawling yet.  I soon exchanged the stolen toy for daddy's keys and gave it back, and other than a little crayon drawing on the table, he was a perfectly happy little guy. 
Now, he is on his way three hours south to his grandparents until Wednesday or Thursday, or until I can't survive with him any longer.  Since he left, I have been yarn shopping, been making a to-do list and am currently at coffee with the hubby while he is on his lunch break from Fred Meyer.  So basically I have been doing anything to avoid going home :) After this, I'm sure I will go home, though and try to keep as busy as I can.  I have to admit that it will be nice to just go home and have no schedule, to be able to work out and shower and clean and knit and crochet without worrying about if Milo will wake up, but I am really sad none the less. 
Will update you all soon on my adventures without my little love bug. :)  Hope you all are having a wonderful Sunday :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Featured Seller Tuesday!

Today's Featured Seller is…


Bwsilver sells handmade and stamped creations her shop.  
Her work ranges from simple beaded bracelets to custom stamped necklaces.  
Whether your style is simple or abstract, bwsilver seems to have something for everyone :) Read her interview and check out her work!





1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself? What are your other hobbies, what is day to day life like for you?





-My name is Brittany and I love jewelry! Born into a family of an accessory wearing, jewel sporting, silver loving mother and grandmother, the rest is history on how I became interested in making my own jewelry. Aside from metalsmithing my handmade pieces, I love to sew, paint and be crafty. I was an Apparel Design and Manufacturing major at Texas Tech University, and picked up my love for patternmaking and clothing production. As a part of my minor I took Metalsmithing classes and immediately fell in love with the process. It's become a great hobby turned business over the past few years, and I would love to see it go further someday.

2.) What inspired you to begin creating and open your shop?

-I'm a Marine wife, so naturally when the husband is deployed, you are lonely, bored and sometimes depressed. Upon my husband’s first deployment after we got married he wanted to be sure I wasn't sad or bored while he was gone. He encouraged me to buy some supplies and start making my own jewelry since I loved it so much in college. I did just that, and thus, BW*SiLvEr was born in Camp Lejeune, NC in 2007. 


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

-As far a bestselling I'd have to say I make a lot of customized Military Service Medallions. More than I can count! Each one is personalized with the last name, and service branch of your loved one. It's a perfect thing to wear around your neck to remind you of the one who is fighting for you. I love to make them!
I also sell a lot of wine stoppers tha tI've made from vintage and antique knobs and findings. They have recently become a hot item for me and have been featured all over treasuries as well as the frot page of Etsy!


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



-I'd have to say exposure. There are millions of items (especially jewelry) for sale on Etsy, it makes you sort of a needle in a haystack when it comes to people finding one of your items. Unless they are looking for something unique that you make, it's difficult to really show everyone out there in Etsy Land what you have to offer. I try to stay current, take good pictures and update listings and tags as much as I can to avoid being a "lost shop". But as the years have gone on, I've gained more customers and more followers so it's becoming a steady business. But as you all know, luxury items are a tough sell these days with the economic downturn. So all you can do is sell what you can to who you can, hopefully someday soon people will be back on the buying market! 

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

- Probably the fact that I can create what is in my mind and share it with the world. It's very satisfying to make something you work very hard on, and then sell it to someone who will appreciate your artistry. I also enjoy making custom pieces for people, it feels like a test of my skills and I love to share teh bearings of my talents with others through something they want to express themselves but can't. 

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 try to keep up a routine if I can; I'm a busy gal these days so it's important to have one. Lately it's been tough to work outside in my garage (where my studio is) since I'm 6 months pregnant and the heat can be unbearable. I try to work inside mostly or in the mornings when it's not too hot, or in the evenings. I try to take shifts during the day when I'm really busy with orders, that way it's not too bad, and I can get things done in spurts. We will see how things go after the baby comes in early October. Hopefully I can do it all!


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?




-It's true, I have fears about whether or not the items I make will sell or if someone will be willing to pay the price for something I worked hard on. It's just hard to know what that target buyer will want and who it will be. I have a lot of items that I've had for years that haven't sold yet. I try to sell them other places besides online, and it helps, but there’s always that possibility that what you make might not sell, and then what? I guess that's why there are always Christmas gifts!

8.) Tell us a little quirky fact about yourself.



- I have a silver toe ring on each foot that I've had on since I was a sophomore in High School! (12 years) They have literally conformed to my foot to the point that when I take them off (which I never hardly do) my toes have an indention! So, I keep them on all the time, I don’t even feel them anymore and I feel naked without them. 


Follow her  
&

Get 15% OFF any item in bwsilver's shop 
with code "15OFF" at checkout! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Crochet Monday

So, maybe a few of you remember the schedule that I posted a while ago about all of the different topics that I would be writing on specific days of the week.  Well, not sure that I have ever even done one full week of blogging according to my schedule, but I can only try to get better, so I am writing what may very well be my first Crochet Monday post :)


So lately I've been working on a few projects.  I crocheted a couple of lariat scarves that I'm excited about adding to my line.  They are pretty basic, but I hope to but my own style into a few more and see where that takes me. 


Also, been thinking about doing market bags.  They would be out of 100% cotton yarn to prevent stretching.  I'm thinking I'll start with some smaller ones and then see where that takes me.  Possible onto beach bags. :)  There are just always so many things that I want to create, I hate that I don't have the time to possibly fulfill even half of them :( 


I'm sure someday, when my kids are grown, I will have more time for these sorts of things.  And then, I'm sure I'll just be so upset at my empty house that I won't care to.  Funny how life is like that all the time.  


I would love some feed back on some of these things.  So far, I haven't seen a sale come from anyone on my blog, not that my whole intention of setting up my blog was to sell things to my readers, because I also very much have a passion for writing, but I'm wondering if you guys would like to see anything else in my shop.  


Hope you all are having a wonderful Monday :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Inspirational Saturday :) Where my trust is.

"The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses
 and in all to which you set your hand, and 
He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you."


This quote came from a book I bought when I first became a Christian called "God's Promise For Your Every Need".  This particular quote comes from the section titled, "What to do when you are in Financial Trouble".  I sought out this quote to write about today because it seems that every time we seem to be in a place of financial security, something happens that makes me wonder how we will make it.  Here's a little more background.

I am a saver.  I always have been, probably always will be.  When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant right after we had gotten married, we panicked because as college students, we didn't have anything saved up for a baby.  I remember our first year of marriage we hardly ever did anything outside of home just so we could be saving every little penny for if something went wrong and Milo needed something.  We didn't have internet, or cable and we cooked all meals at home.  We spent most of our nights on the floor of our tine 400 square foot apartment playing monopoly. :)  About a month before we had Milo, my husband ended up losing his job.  We were devastated, and also relieved that we were such great savers!  It took Lincoln a little over a month and a half, part of which was spent in the hospital with Milo, to find a job.  By the time that he had lost his job, we had saved enough money to live on just our savings for about 3 months, but by the time he had actually gotten a job, that savings was very much dwindling.  Through all of this, I kept wondering and asking God why if we were being such good stewards with our money, was this all happening?  Why would he put us through financial hardship when we were already learning to be newly married, AND also learning to be new parents all in the same year?  I got my answer when I met my mentor from high school for coffee one day.  I remember her talking about where I was putting my trust.  She asked me if I was putting my trust in God, or was I putting my trust in the money that I had saved in our bank account?  I knew the answer right when she said it!  I wasn't trusting God to provide for me, though I said that I was.  I was actually praying to God to help us out of our situation, all the while knowing that if he didn't come through, I had a back up plan lying in wait at the credit union.

How often do we do this with our lives, in all sorts of situations?  We say that God can do all things, that he provides for our every need, but do we always believe it.  How many areas of our lives do we have "back-up" plans in case he doesn't come through?

Last night while driving to go get take out chinese, our check engine light came on in out car.  My husband and I had just been talking about how the Xterra we are still paying off was taking a little longer to start.  My husband wasted no time and took it to a mechanic today, to find out the the bill for the repairs will be at least $650.00.  To some people, this might not seem all the devastating, but to a college family of four, this could be the difference between us paying out rent or not.  So, I guess I needed this reminder today.  I needed to write to all of you to tell myself that it will be okay, because God CAN do all things, He can make a few fish and loaves of bread feed five thousand.  So, I have to trust that he can also get us through, that I can trust in him and not my bank account.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My first giveaway!

In appreciation of all of my new facebook followers, I have decided to host a giveaway!  The winner will win a 4 pack of my face scrubbies, colors of their choice :)  When we reach 150 fans on my facebook, I'll pick a winner. :) That simple! :)

Head on over to the "Giveaway" tab at the top of this page and fill it out to win!




Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Featured Seller Tuesday!

Today's Featured Seller is…

Read her interview below and make sure to check out 
her shop by clicking her shop name above :)  
Hope you all enjoy this weeks seller!


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 professional graphic designer, and I love my day job, even though it can be pretty hectic during certain times of the year. I'm a junior designer at my local school district print shop, where I do everything from business cards for staff members to diplomas for outgoing graduates. I also work freelance for a real estate company where I get to make thing like flyers, websites and brochures.

I also, unfortunately, work part-time at a big box retailer just to help pay the bills. Obviously, with so many "real" jobs i don't have as much time for my beading and art as I would like, so i will take it with me in a little craft bag and make things on my lunch breaks. besides creating jewelry, I also love to draw and paint, read and write, and watch Spongebob Squarepants with my wonderful husband, Nick. (Can you tell I'm a newlywed? Haha)

2.) What inspired you to begin creating and open your shop?

I'm been beading since forever. My grandfather was really into the Native American beadwork, so my older sister and I picked up on it quickly at a young age. It wasn't much longer before I started selling in the local craft shows and art galleries. My sister opened up a shop on Etsy (which i had never heard of) and asked me to make her graphics for the shop banner and avatar. I was like, "What >>>IS<<< this magical place?" It was love at first sight. I was a customer for awhile, and then I eventually opened up my own shop and started listing terribly photographed jewelry items, of which I am gradually improving on. ;-)


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

Most of the items in my shop are one-of-a-kind, but I do have a few items I remake when they sell. My best seller so far is my evil eye ring. My favorite is probably my Marie Antoinette choker which IS an OOAK item, so whoever buys it first will be the only one to ever have it.

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



Etsy is a great place to sell, and it's also a great community to be a part of. But I have to remember that before my sister asked me to do her graphics, I had never even heard of it. A big struggle is to get people who don't know about the site over to it, and hopefully to my shop. Because Etsy requires new customers to sign up for an account before they can buy anything, it can be kind of a struggle for some new buyers to make that leap.

5.) What's your favorite thing about being an artist?
I love feeling inspired and making something new. I make all of my own designs, and I never feel like I am going to run out any time soon. Usually, there simply isn't enough time to fulfill any of them at any given time. I also love the sense of accomplishment at finishing a new piece. A lot of my beaded pieces take a long time to finish, so reaching completion can feel very satisfactory.

I also love the the idea of having someone else wearing and loving my pieces. I love it when my customers send me messages about just how much they love their new treasures!

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?



Because of all of my days jobs, the only time I get to squeeze in for crafting in whenever I can. On my breaks at work, and the bit of time I have at home before I have to go to bed. I am fortunate to have a husband that, while he works multiple jobs as well, it helpful with the housework and the cooking and all that. It allows me to dedicate what free time I have to my creations. I am hopeful that someday this business will lift off enough for me to be able (to limit) the number of jobs we hold between the two of us to one each.

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?

There is a fear, especially when i first started trying to sell my works, that people wouldn't think they are worth as much as I was asking for them. When I first started selling on Etsy I prices my items really low. I still think they are low, but in a reasonable way, and I am starting to feel more comfortable asking what I do for them.

8.) Tell us a little quirky fact about yourself.



I don't like milk. I'm not allergic or anything (thank goodness, I can still have ice cream!) I just don't like to drink it straight. So I sprinkle a little bit of water on my morning cereal. Most people think that's pretty gross, but I guess it's just something I'm used to.



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And check out her blog here

Use coupon code BLOGLOVE for 15% off in my shop!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Church update

So, we went to church today and decided that we would try out the nursery after seeing Milo play with all of the kids at the mall and noticing that he was actually okay without mommy right there.  I would love to tell you that it went wonderfully and that I actually got to sit through a whole church service (something I haven't really done for the past 13 months).  However, I would be lying, and even though I haven't been able to listen to any sort of sermon lately, one of the very few things that I DO remember from church is that lying is a strict no-no.  ;)

We went to CTK and lined up at the first time check in for all of the little ones who get dropped off.  Milo was put in the Butterflies room, for ages 12-18 months :) Cute huh?  We were told that it would be alright if we were to go in to the room with him for a while to make sure he was okay, but at the insistence of the woman who brought him into the room, we left. "They do much better when the parent just leaves," she tells us.  Okay, I think, tears in my own eyes as my baby is yanked from my husband and I for the first time by a stranger.  So, we leave.

We go to the room where service is held and attempt to find a seat.  Our church recently switched from having 3 services on Sundays to having just 2 in order to save a little money and due to the fact that less people usually attend when there is bright sunshine out rather than pouring down rain as is the usual for Bellingham, WA.  There are absolutely NO seats.  We search and search and find a seat in the middle of one of the rows, squeezing by four people to get to them, not an easy thing to do when you're 7 months pregnant!  We pray along with the pastor for the opening of the service and shake hands with just a few people around us and sit.  2 minutes later, I see our number flash up on the screen used to alert parents that their little ones need them.  We squeeze back out past those very unfortunate 4 attendees, I'm sure I stepped on one of their feet and had either my large belly or my equally growing tush in each of their faces.

When we get to the room, we find that Milo has not stopped crying since we left :(  He was sobbing, snot EVERYWHERE and trying to escape the woman holding him the moment we got there.  Poor little man :(  We are definitely going to try again next week, but forget the woman at the door who knows so much about how well my child is supposed to do when I leave, we are doing it my way :)

That last sentence might seem a little strong to some people, and let me assure you I am not usually so outright rude to or about people, but when it comes to my babies, I can not help but be a momma bear.   For instance, you should have seen the look of terror on the lady's face at the bakery when they messed up the spelling on my son's 1 year birthday cake and very inconveniently forgot to make his little personal cake. :)  Not that I was mean in any way, but for sure she knew I meant business :)

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers