Friday Gift Guides: For Him

I know this is a few days late, but better late than never. It isn't always easy to find gifts for men on Etsy to be honest. It is easier to look for whatever their specific interest are, such as my husband loves guitars while yours might be into golf. Here are some examples of good man gifts on Etsy:

Art is always appropriate for everyone. It is easier than you think to find art for your man on Etsy. JesseMosher has painting of everyone from Jerry Garcia seen above to Ryan Adams to William Burroughs. He is bound to have something for your guy's man room. I'm highly tempted to grab the Elvis Costello for my own guy's guitar room.

Dmented has lots of very cool gift ideas for men. He has all kinds of money clips, cuff links, and a few belt buckles.

If your man is a cyclist or just likes cool gadgets this clock from 1byliz made from bike parts would be perfect. It is made in manly colors and would look great in an office or study.

Builderstudio is the place to go if your man is a fan of old time science fiction or likes robots and ray guns. He makes pendants and gadgets mostly from wood that will fascinate the geek in your life and probably yourself too.

Awelldressedbullet is the perfect shop if your man is a hunter or likes the looks of bullets. This shop has some very unique items all made from bullets, such as pens, clocks, and belt buckles.

I absolutly adore Jeff Martin's work and bought a tumbler for myself last year. They have a very distinct and manly touch I bet your guy would love.

Maybe it is just me but I am always looking for goofy gifts for my guy to make him laugh. The best one I've ever gotten was from maybeyoushoulddie. I had her custom make a pair of mean bags with our favorite insults to each other. My husband loved them and still uses it to throw at me when I say something to annoy him.

Mixed Species are well known on Etsy for their irreverent sense of humor and cool approach to crafting. They are the only place to go if you are looking for beef jerky underwear but they also have some tee shirts that definitely make a statement. I bought this one for my guy last Christmas.

So maybe I gave you some ideas or maybe I just inspired you to look on your own on Etsy but trust me, it really is possible to find gifts for guys on Etsy.


What's Going On

So I've been moving pretty slow this week. I was supposed to go down to the farm today to hang out with my brother and his girlfriend who are in town for the week from France. I hope to get on the road tomorrow morning bright and early but don't count on it. I had a ton of errands to run today and apparently I was in need of a 3 hour nap this afternoon in which I was consumed by creepy and bizarre dreams I haven't been able to shake all evening.

I happened upon the treasuries while open yesterday and put together a list of St. Louis sellers in Fall colors. I don't see it making the front page but I do like to support the local talent whenever I can.

I also had to go through my entire inventory and relabel everything since when I called the Mad Art Gallery and asked if it was ok if my item number was before the vendor number they said it would destroy the entire system just as my husband predicted. That took over 3 hours to correct. I have got to get a better system for tracking my inventory. I started one spread sheet or another over the past year and nothing has seemed to work for me. I did a google document one before the last show and I brought it to the show. I remembered to check things off the list as they sold for the first few hours and then I got busy and lost track. I have got to remember to just write the item number as I check them out and record the sale. The business side of things is last on my list of skills. I really sometimes wish I had taken a few business classes when I was getting my undergraduate degree. I remember my father and at least one advisor recommending it but I was an idealistic English major so why would I ever need to know anything about business.

My mom told me to bring a tub of items home to set up since much of the Lenox tribe, which means over 70, will be at the house this week. I told her I have another big show coming up so I wouldn't be able to give big family discounts. She then told my uncle this which I'm sure offended him since he has brought me business in the past. I did not mean that I wouldn't give Mom or Uncle Jack discounts but that I didn't want all the cousins to expect to get everything for next to nothing. For all you other crafters out there how do you deal with family or friend's discounts and does it ever get touchy?

I won't probably be blogging for the rest of the week. My mother has the slowest dial up Internet in the world and it is hard enough to get in and check on my shop a few times while I'm home. I hope everyone has an amazing turkey day and doesn't get too sick of their families or sick to their stomachs.


The Monday After

I'm so glad I don't have to work this week. I am truly tired to the bone today. All that setting up and breaking down and smiling and being friendly all weekend wears a person out. I didn't change much about my display. It was a smaller area than I had before so I didn't put out my barrette display and I just scattered a few here and there on the table. And wouldn't you know it I actually sold one of them for the first time at a show. Saturday was a very good day, not an amazing day but a very good day. Sunday was pretty dismal. I had one good sale and several nice young girls admire my things and buy some little items. Saturday I passed out over a hundred business cards mostly to people who really seemed interested in my work. In addition I made right at 4 times my booth fee. I've heard people say that they are happy if they make 3 x's the booth fee so I really have nothing to complain about. I also made a great trade for a necklace I love with Jest Studio. There were a lot of people selling very traditional crafts there which is not a bad thing at all but it was nice to talk to someone else who also sold on Etsy and did some really unique work.

It was not as profitable as Strange Folk but who knows what will come out of the contacts I made. I talked to one woman at length about her dream poncho she would like me to make her and there were others who had ideas for custom scarves they would like. I went ahead and paid for my booth for next year and I will be in my same spot. It was a very good location in the main hall. Most of the people who are in that area have had the same spot for years. I found out that there was actually over a hundred people on a waiting list for this year's show so signing up for it last year on the day of the show was actually a great investment. I was lucky to have Diane next to me this year. It was so nice to have someone to watch my booth for me while a took a little break and talk to about the customers. She won't be doing next year's show which is a bummer but I did get to know the vendors around me who will all be there again next year.

I heard other vendors who have been doing this for years complaining about the effects of the economy. They said they were making around 2/3 of what they made at the same shows last year. I really don't have anything to compare it to since I'm such a newbie. My personal observations were that I didn't see the effect on the Saturday shoppers a bit. They were the die hard shoppers who fell in love with something and bought it. Sunday I felt it. People were much more hesitant. I could see them fall in love with something and then I could see it in their eyes as they talked themselves out of it. I really don't know how to stop the backward spiral of do I really need this.

I've gotten pretty good at helping convince someone how good they look in one of my scarves but I couldn't really do the other. It is usually really easy. I can tell when they put something on that really suits them, their face lights up and they get that sparkle in their eye. It's easy to encourage that impulse and usually once I show them the look in the mirror they have to have it. I am a shopper myself and I have a friend who always says do you want me to talk you into or out of buying it. I know what cues are helpful for taking the plunge. But I also know what it feels like to want something you can't afford and I don't want one of my scarves to be a regretted purchase. So I didn't do any truly hard selling.

I did tell people who were struggling with a decision that I take credit cards which sometimes does help make the decision easier. I must say signing up for Propay was the best investment for my craft show sales I ever made. If you are undecided about it let me tell you I've made at least $400 in sales I know I would not have made with out taking credit. It is definitely worth the $40 sign up fee. Overall it was a good weekend and I'm happy with how it went.


Lindbergh Craft Show

For those of you in the St. Louis area come by and see me this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, at the Lindbergh Craft show. It is hosted by the Rotary Club of Crestwood and it is the largest show in the area. It should be a perfect weekend for it, too cold to be outside but no bad weather to keep people away. I'm in the main auditorium and my booth number is A-164. The address is 4900 S. Lindbergh/ St. Louis, MO 63126 if you want to mapquest it.

I set up tonight and Mike is meeting me there to help. He also got roped into helping our friend's mother who will be right next to me. She has 3 booths and brings a truck and trailer full of stuff. In exchange he doesn't have to come out on Sunday to help me break down and get my stuff home. I'll just put my things in the trailer. I'm feeling the pre-show jitters big time today. I'll probably be better tomorrow since I won't have to rush there to set up.

I stayed up super late the other night finishing a jacket I started 2 years ago. I turned it into a short sleeve vest. I spent a fortune on the yarn, it's Noro Kureyan. I got stuck on the sleeves before and it had been stuffed in the back of my closet in shame. At midnight I was thinking about what I was going to wear this weekend and it came to me like a vision to turn it into a vest. I had to piece it all together and crochet a border to stop it from rolling. I'm not crazy about how the sleeves look but it works. I may go back and do some more work on it later.

Wish me luck for a successful and drama free show!


Friday Gift Guides: The Knitter

With everything going on this week I decided to pick an easy one for this week's gift guide. So if you have a knitter in your life here are some great items from my favorites to put a smile on their face this holiday.

I love hanging prints in my craft room that inspire me and this one by Stephanie Fizer totally fits the bill. I love the pink hair and the look on the girl's face who is wearing the scarf in progress is too precious.

Ok, this is an easy one. If you love a knitter you probably think it is enabling them to buy them yarn but honestly if you want to make us happy it is a sure thing. One of my favorite "suppliers" is Jess from jessspins. Her handspun, shown to the left, is really divine. The colors pop and it is the perfect combination of thick and thin.

And for the yarn gift that keeps on giving there are many spinners that have yarn of the month clubs on Etsy. I participated in ladylazarusplath's yarn of the month, whose gorgeous handspun is pictured on the right, for 3 months earlier this year and every time I got one of my packages it was like Christmas morning. Enough about yarn, just buy us some!

So you know we love yarn and most of us love hot guys so is there anyway to combine the two. The Guys with Yarn calender from Panopticon is the only way I know. I have been following Franklin's blog for years and in that cyber stalker way I feel like I know him. He really is an amazing photographer and knitter. I already have my limited edition and they are selling out fast.

We have to have lots of bags to store our different projects in and fashiongreentbags makes amazingly fun and functional bags entirely out of repurposed clothes. I have several of her bags that double for me as shopping totes and yarn storage. I love the colors in this one and all the useful pockets.

Stitch markers are a great idea for stocking stuffers. Different knitters have different preferences for their markers so you could try looking at their supplies to see what they already have. But these pearl markers from mustkeepknitting would make a lovely choice and for the price you really can't go wrong.

Shunklies also has many useful tools including this classically simple yet lovely ball winder. She also has some spinning kits and tools that would be perfect if your knitter has hinted that she would like to start making her own yarn. My husband says this would take away the thrill of buying yarn but I don't think he gets it.

If your knitter is like me she also loves jewelry. If you want to show her you know all of her passions a knitting needle bracelet from LianKabel would be perfect. She repurposes plastic needles into amazing, colorful creations.

Well, this took longer than I thought since I ended up drooling over all the great yarn and art for knitters on Etsy.


Not so wordless Wednesday

I have no reason for posting that picture except that I like it and it shows off my not so new, but I just started wearing them, glasses.

I am off work until December 1 but unfortunately it is no holiday for me. I got all my inventory tagged today and the spreadsheet for the big ass art show done. Then I realized that I had put the vendor number after the item number when it was supposed to be the other way around. Rookie mistake, I know. I'm going to call the organizer tomorrow and see if I need to go through and change them all. That would royally suck but Mike thinks that whoever is checking out will totally get confused and I will screw up the system.

On my way to paying my year over due property tax, I'm a horrible citizen I know, I discovered a new restaurant today. I didn't know until we sat down what a discovery it was though. St. Charles now has an Indian restaurant!! I can't tell you how exciting this is for me. It's the little things in life. It's called Spice 12 Bistro. It just looked like a place we should try out when I drove by but I had no idea until we were in there that it was Indian. No more driving 20 minutes to get Korma! Mike told me not to get too attached since we were the only ones in the restaurant but it is right across from the college and they sell hooka or whatever you call that tobacco you smoke out of the big pipes, so that will hopefully bring the kids in.

Tomorrow I get my car inspected and clean the house, Hurray! But it's better than work I suppose.


Other Options On-line

When I first discovered Etsy there was definitely a honeymoon period where I could see nothing wrong with my new beloved. When people talked about looking for other selling venues I thought I would never cheat on Etsy like that. I realize now that it just doesn't make sense to put all of my scarves in one basket. I know that Etsy is the biggest handmade market out there but I've decided that I am going to pick another to pursue as well. It will make for more work but I really like the idea of reaching another market. I want my other venue to reach people that I'm not necessarily reaching at Etsy so that is my main criteria for narrowing down my options. It is amazing how many Etsy knockoffs there are out there right now. I've spent the last week doing my own research and reading a few of the threads on Etsy about the competition. These are entirely my own observations and if you are looking into other options I would encourage you to explore on your own. It really comes down to what you feel comfortable with and like the feel of.

Next to Etsy the next biggest venue would have to be DeWanda. This is a European based website so they list the prices in Euros. This is the one big negative that I can see at this point. I'm not good at math and I can't find a conversion tool on the site but I was quickly able to find one on google. I really like the look and feel of DeWanda, which is similar but yet distinct from Etsy. Sign up was easy and searching was relatively intuitive. I like how you can narrow down the search not only by color but also pattern and style with just a click of the mouse. The good thing about DeWanda is that it really will open me up to a whole new market with much more of Europe using it than Etsy at this point. If I can get my brother to translate my listings to French than that will open me up even further since they have the option to list in English, French and German. It is currently free to list and they charge a 5% commission fee. They use Paypal and it is not juried so anyone can sell.

The next one that I really liked was a fairly new one called 1000 Markets. From what I read they are still getting some of the bugs worked out but I really like the concept and look of their site. It is not just handmade but all about the small independent business owner, mostly artisans and they are really working to build a community. I have read that a lot of Etsy sellers are joining 1000 markets and I'm afraid that it would mostly reach the same group of buyers that I'm reaching on Etsy so it doesn't have the same appeal to me as DeWanda. It is juried so you have to go through a process to get approved. They charge 5.5% and a .50 cent listing fee when the item sells and they use Amazon checkout which charges no fees so that is nice. This one is definitely on my list of places to watch and I'm interested to see how it develops. Of the ones I looked at closely it is the one most in line to take over Etsy's dominance in my opinion.

Another very new site jumping on the handmade bandwagon is Shop Handmade. This one is the most reminiscent in just about every way to Etsy. They do have a much better search but than doesn't everyone. They have a very do-gooder vibe and a complicated system for planting trees for every item listed and sold. I honestly didn't get their fee structure and it appears you can actually choose how much of a commission you would like to pay. I really don't see how listing items here would be of any advantage to me and I have a feeling they may be gone before too long.

I signed up for Lov.li a long time ago and still get weekly e-mails from them. I really don't like the look of their site. As I said it is a personal thing but I find their site cluttered and pretty messy looking. I'm not crazy about their search either so it really isn't a site I feel like investing any time into.

A few months ago there was quite a commotion on the Etsy forums about Handmade Fusion. I believe it was actually started by a few disgruntled Etsy sellers. Along with every other seller I rushed over and applied and was very quickly rejected. I tried not to let this affect my opinion of the site but I have to say their really just isn't much listed there yet. I searched for scarves and got less than one full page. It has a very clean look and the people that made it in obviously take good pictures but it is very limited right now. It is definitely not someplace I will be pursuing or shopping with right now.

Handmade Catalog has a very different look and feel and has a much more homey and craft show vibe to it. I could see primitive and other rustic items doing really well there but I don't think it is the market that I'm looking for. They have a more complicated membership process and don't charge on a commission basis that I'm used to.

Lollishop is marketing itself as the frou-frou friendly marketplace and I like the idea of it, but not for myself. They actually haven't opened their doors yet but it should be a nice alternative for the whimsical and playful sellers out there.

Update: I had a chance to check out ArtFire, which a few commentors recommended. I do like the look of it and they appear to be committed to making a go of it. I don't like that it is in Beta and using Acrobat Reader but I'm sure that is all temporary. They have a healthy approach to helping the environment without confusing me with mumbo jumbo. I am intrigued by their fee structure and membership plan but I am not ready to make any commitments. I really like their plans for stats which we all know is Etsy's big downfall. I would put them in the category of one to watch with 1000 markets at this point.

This is certainly not a complete list but these are the ones that I found the time and inclination to research. Right now I'm leaning towards DeWanda but I would love to hear other people's experiences. If you have positive or negative feedback on these or other sites please let me know.


My first award!

I want to thank the amazing Stitch Witch for giving me my first blog award. It absolutely made my day when I saw it yesterday. Sometimes it feels like I'm talking to an empty void but since the Stitch Witch has started commenting here I have been inspired to up my game and try to have something useful to say every once and awhile. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

So it is now my turn to share the award. Here are the "rules" of the game:

Award recipients are asked to “Pay it Forward” to at least 5 bloggers whom they feel are deserving of special recognition.

The Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award recognizes blogs that:

* cause inspiration
* cause smiling and laughter, or at the very least, gigglets!
* provide amazing, incredible, useful inform
* provide a great read
* present amazing design
* deserve recognition for any other reason that makes them
Uber amazing!

Award recipients are asked to do the following:

* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

And now let me present an Uber Amazing award to:

1. The Fabric Addict, I've blogged about The Gray Eyed Scorpio before and the inspiration she has been to me. And he
r blog is always source of information and positive thoughts.

2. I've had the pleasure of getting to know the Hyperlexian from the very beginning of my blog. She is another amazing sewer and I always enjoy reading about her life and creative adventures.

3. Needle Tatting and Other Nonsense is a place I consider to be a great source of useful information. She is a seller on
Etsy who has a very thoughtful approach to selling that I really admire.

4. The elephantine is a what I consider a visual treat. She has a great eye for interesting things and I find her blog to be a great creative source.

5. I just discovered Craft Therapy on Entrecard and I really love her spirit. She has a very similar approach to her craft as myself and I love to read about her creative approach to life.

Here is the award which can be cut and pasted to the recipients blogs!


The Happy Couple

I don't normally blog on the weekends but I'm feeling a bit out of it today and not in the mood for much of anything else so I thought I'd share some pics from last night. If you don't know me you can skip this post since it probably won't be of much interest to you to look at pictures of a stranger's wedding. We went to a reception last night for some friend's and had a great time, hence the not feeling like doing much of anything today.

I had heard that Katie was going to wear black but she did go with traditional white but she definitely added her own touch with her shoes. They had a very goth cake topper and they did get a little crazy with the cake feeding each other as well.

I actully convinced Mike to wear a sport coat but couldn't get him to do a tie. Overall it was a lovely event and it was great catching up with friends. Enough of my life, I'll get back to the important stuff about yarn and selling tomorrow.


Friday Gift Guides: Boys

In addition to all of my little nieces I also have 3 very special nephews. They are of more varied ages and interests so I am going to call this one for boys but I will probably also throw in a teenage dude guide later on. I have to be honest it was harder to find boys items among my favorites but here are some great items for the little guy in your life.

One of my nephews went through a Ninja phase so last year I bought him a Relax I'm a Ninja tee-shirt from Kiwi Cuties. She is a local and she had a booth very close to me at the Strange Folks Festival.

I bought myself a Sometimes I Worry About Zombies tee awhile ago from TinaSeaMonster. If Zombies aren't your thing she also has shirts about sea monsters, panda's pooing, Yetis, and peanuts for your little guy's wardrobe.

Speaking of poop, which isn't that most boys favorite topic, Spider Camp has some fun and goofy stuffed bunnies with various levels of curse words. For your little guy a poop bunny would be perfectly appropriate, while your older boy would probably get a kick out of a more mature shitbrain bunny.

Speaking of goofy GrimCute also has some fun stuffed items your quirky boy might like such as this little one eyed egg plant dude.

If you have an older boy with an edge he would love Mando2's cool leather wristcuffs. I know from the forums that she is a leather artist with a son who uses her scraps to create their amazing wristcuffs. This little cuff is priced just right and sized for a tween or young teen and would make a perfect stocking stuffer.

For the really little guy these cool sport themed crayons from DooDadSmith would be a great gift idea.

Whimbrella also has a cute crayon/coloring book tote in a boy themed truck fabric which would make a great little gift.

Stay tuned for more of my favorites in gift guides every Friday of the shopping season!


Create a Book

I had a topic to write about all planned for the day which I may still get to this evening but my day has been eaten up by Snapfish. I read about a deal for a free 20-page 8" x 11" custom cover photo book on a blog this morning and I became obsessed. This is for "Oprah viewers" which isn't that the entire world really. Click here and it will take you to Snapfish with the coupon code automatically added. I am making a Lenox Knits Creations books, imagine that, but you can make whatever you want with as many pictures as you want. What a great gift idea for grandma or for yourself. I guess Oprah had some guy on her show who recommended that moms should take all of their kids old artwork and make a photo album of them, hence the free book for Oprah viewers.
It is kind of tedious and time consuming and I'm finding Snapfish's software to not be very intuitive but I'm almost done now. I'm not sure what I'll do with it but it will be cool to have I think. I'm making a page of pink, a page of orange, a page of earth colors, a page of Anh, a page of wire, etc. I think I read that shipping is $7 but the book is worth $29.99 usually so you can't beat that.


What's New Wednesday

I haven't taken the time to show off any of my new items lately so please indulge me for a moment while I share some new additions to the shop. It is actually easier for me to promote other etsy sellers than it is for me to toot my own horn. I don't really know why that it, but that is a topic for a whole other session.

Here is my latest listing. I bought a box of lace and buttons at a garage sale a few months back and had fun making some wrist cuffs out of the scraps. I'm calling this one the Bumblebee. I used 2 lace ribbons and knit them using a lace stitch to make lace out of lace.

I got on a kick where I was making what I called Art Scarves by using coordinating yarns in a wild mix of textures. I named this one after Gustaf Klimt since I think the vibrant colors are reminiscent of his work.

I have a number of my knitted necklaces listed now but I have a lot more to get up. I have a lot of fun making them and picking out the beads to use with the yarn. I call this one China Blue and I love the little beads that have a willow ware look to them like the plates I hang in my kitchen.

I have several of my knitted wire bracelets listed now. This is the first one I made with a gold colored wire and I used some lovely looking citrine beads.

I have also been listing a bunch of scarflettes like the Bamboo Blues one above which is a super soft bamboo yarn.


Forum Fundamentals

Before I discovered Etsy I had never really been a part of an on-line community. I may of had a myspace page but I abandoned it after a few days. I never really understood the whole making friends with people you would never really know in the real world. I guess I'm showing my age with this one since all the college kids have grown up with whole communities at their finger tips.

I think you can a lot about an Etsian (the common term for an etsy fanatic whether they are a buyer only or seller), by how they feel about the Forums. When I first joined I quickly got sucked into the entire world of etsy. I read the forums obsessively but didn't really start responding until I started selling. Then for the next 6 months or so I was on the forum whenever I had a free minute at work and for about an hour every night. The luster has definitely faded for me now but I do still find them to be a useful tool and they are an amazing resource to a newbie looking for support and answers to specific questions.

I've noticed a much more negative vibe in the forums of late and a general lack of respect at times which can be annoying. I personally avoid the Etc. section entirely since I don't find it all that useful or interesting. If you are really looking to form some close connections it is probably the best place but I really don't feel the need to mix my personal life with my shop. Things tend to get out of hand and pretty unprofessional down in the Etc. section and if you have thin skin or virgin ears I would definitely stay far away.

The help section is the place to go if you are having trouble with some aspect of Etsy or running your shop. Be aware that it is against the rules to discuss a specific transaction on Etsy so you may have to speak in very general terms if asking a question. I use the forums primarily to network and to promote my shop and I've found that you can get more attention by giving a well thought out answer to a newbie then rambling on in other sections.

The business section is the meat and potatoes of the forums and I spend the bulk of my networking time in this area. If you have a question on how to promote or market or other general questions this is a good place to get a serious answer. I may go into the critique section occasionally and look for people who appear to actually want a critique of their shop but most of the requests there are very thinly disguised promotions.

Which brings me to the much maligned promotions section. I actually have spent a great deal of time here. I don't know of any sales that have directly come from the promotions section but I know that others speak of great success with well placed promotions threads. I have gotten most of my trades through the promotions section and have gotten many views as well. Since just listing or renewing an item does not guarantee 15 or so views like it did when I first joined I have found that I need to "pimp" my items more to see the views going up. I don't know why but it drives me crazy to have the view total of an item too low. I know that it only takes 1 view to sell an item, if it the right person but if I'm not seeing those totals rising I get a little down. You can get several views by listing your item on other people's threads by looking for appropriate places to post them. For example people will start "post your blue" or "newest listing" type threads all the time. It is considered polite to look at several other people's items in the thread and to not just "post and run".

It is tacky to go through and post random things in random threads and you will do more harm than good if you start spamming other sections in the forums. You will get even more views by starting your own thread in promotions, but be prepared to babysit it. You will have to go in and comment on other people's items in order to keep the thread from dying a quick death. The promotions section has been overrun with BNR (Buy and replace) games and other contests as of late. I have never done a BNR except for a treasury once. They can be ok for a newbie who wants to see how the buying process works and to get some feedback going but otherwise I think they are kind of a waste of time. Don't get me wrong I love to buy on Etsy but I don't want to be limited to a specific group of people, and I want to do it on my terms.

Since starting my blog I've spent much more time exploring other people's blogs then I have on the forums. I haven't been getting as many hearts, but honestly I prefer reading blogs at this point than the craziness of the forums right now. I still spend a few minutes here and there to catch up on anything important and to promote new listings but I don't see it as the all important social network that it once was to me. I know that I no longer see most of the people that were constantly there when I started and it is a whole new set of avatars so I'm clearly not alone.


Random Monday (Birthday) Thoughts

You've got to love Monday Birthdays. I should have taken off today but it was too late when I realized. It is finally getting cold around here. Part of me is like damn, but the other part realizes that people will finally be thinking about wearing scarves.

My husband got me a giant new flat screen computer monitor for my b-day. So now my monitor is way better than his. He is totally jealous so I told him to go ahead and buy himself one but he says he will wait. He uses his computer at home much more than I do so I almost want to just tell him to go ahead and take it, his old one is still way better than the one I had.

We went down to the family farm this weekend. Mike was supposed to pick my dad up at the hunting cabin but got lost on the way through the farm roads. That is what I get for marrying a city boy. My dad didn't give him to much trouble about it.

I just did my traditional shopping from the birthday list on Etsy. I bought a Cedarspice Body Balm from nettiescrub. I always like to give myself a little gift and give a fellow birthday etsian a sale.


Friday Gift Guides: Little Girls

I decided that I am going to do my own little gift guides each Friday throughout the holiday shopping season. All of these items will be chosen from my favorites, many of these sellers I've either bought from in the past or traded with. I know the Gift guides on Etsy are controversial, but in theory they are a great idea. My biggest concern with them is that they tend to pick from the same group of sellers when there is such an immense number of amazing sellers out there. One of my scarflettes was in the For Her gift guide earlier this year and it resulted in over a 1000 views and several sales came directly from the exposure. It would be great to have that amazing power spread throughout Etsyland this holiday season.

I have 6 wonderful little nieces that I love shopping for. I am always looking for an excuse to shop for them so I decided to start with Little Girls.

The Monkey purse is from THEMONKEYSHOP. I have bought several of her sock monkeys before and they are so well made and fun. This is a great take on the sock monkey trend.

I have always loved Spiderbite's monster journals. She has a whole line of Nightmare Snatcher® journals that will have keep your little one's bad dreams away.

I love Papersilly's use of color and whimsy in her items. I think this picture journal would be a great gift for any little girl.

I wasn't a huge doll girl but I think if I'd had these colorful choices as a little girl I would have been much happier. The doll to the left is from

RisingExpectations, who I just completed a great

trade with. The doll to the right is from suzannahmullikin. It is a Waldorf inspired doll in vibrant batik fabrics.

Several of my nieces are totally into the American Girl Doll craze. I've never really bought into that mass produced toy thing but I love that dollcloset makes really wild clothes that you would never find at the stores. I'm having a really hard time picking out which outfits I want to get the girls.

I've been shopping for jewelry a lot for the girls as they are getting older. I love these colorful little trinket boxes made from polymer clay, which would be perfect for keeping all of their jewels in. CookiesCreations has them on sale now so hopefully they don't sell out before I make up my mind.

Stay tuned as I do Gift Guides each week for everyone in your life. And if you're looking for something for yours truly that will be coming soon!


Up Close and Personal

So my first big show of the season was a big success. I have 2 more coming up in the next month and so I'm starting to feel the anxiety again. I definitely have more confidence going into the next one but because each show has it's own vibe and target there is still the uncertainty. My next one is the Lindbergh Rotary club show. It is the largest craft show in the St. Louis area and has close to 500 vendors. I went last year and walked around and helped out a friend's mom who has a booth each year. It is overwhelmingly big and sprawls out throughout the high school. I signed up on the day of the show last year and will be right next to Diane who always brings in the crowds.

It will be a very different crowd from the one at the Strange Folk Festival. I'm predicting a more traditional and "soccer mom" group. I've tried to focus on things the past month or so that would appeal to this market more. I've kept to the colorful, fun scarves but stayed away from some of the more goth elements I enjoyed creating for Strange Folk. I've never taken a business or marketing class in my life, but one thing I do know is that you have to know who your audience is. I think I actually learned that in a journalism class but it applies here too.

I also think it's important to check out the water before you dive in. Last year I just did a few little shows for fun and the experience. But I gave a lot of thought to which shows I wanted to do for this year. If possible I think it's helpful to actually go to the show the year before you sign up. I didn't have a chance to do that for Strange Folk but I did check out all the information I could about it on-line to make sure it would be a good fit. I'm hopeful that Lindbergh will be a good market as well, as it was the biggest investment so far with a $90 booth fee. I know this isn't much compared to big art shows but it was to me. The timing on it is good for me, being the weekend before Thanksgiving so the weather should be cool and people will be really starting to think about holiday shopping.

My last show for the year is the weekend after Thanksgiving and it is a real change for me. I'm doing the Big Ass Indie Art & Craft Show. Here is what it says about it on the Mad Art Galleries website:

Mad Art Gallery presents the Big Ass Indie Art and Craft Show, your alternative to the alternative holiday craft shows. Our 2008 show offers three days of shopping (December 5, 6, 7) in St. Louis' most spectacular and well-known venue for art exhibitions and unique events. Our show focuses on presenting original art and hand-made crafts of the highest quality in a shopping environment designed to provide your customers with a pleasurable shopping experience.

I'm not real sure what to expect with this one. It is more of a boutique style in that I don't have to be there the whole time. It is going to require a lot of leg work so I really hope it is worth it. Everything has to be tagged and itemized on a spread sheet. I'm sure I'll be talking more about this process as I work on it. I'm not the most organized person in the world so this will be a challenge for me. I didn't follow my rule of checking the show out ahead of time. I was invited to sign up for it by a convo on Etsy and decided to go for it. It should be a more creative market and I'm hoping since it will be with mostly art, some of my higher end pieces might get some attention. It was only a $30 upfront investment but they will be taking 10% of my earnings. This is comparable to etsy and paypal fees so I think it will balance out. I'm sure I'll be rambling on about these shows as they get closer and my anxiety level increases.


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