Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye-bye 2008


The holidays have been total blur of family & fun. I can't believe 2008 has gone by so quickly! Here's some good laughs to usher in the New Year with.

Taken from "How to Decide Who to Marry: By Kids" from DivineCaroline:

Kids contemplate marriage.

How would you make your marriage work?

Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.Ricky, age 10

How can a stranger tell if two people are married?

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.Derrick, age 8

What do you think your mom and dad have in common?

Both don’t want any more kids.Lori, age 8

What do most people do on a date?

Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.Lynnette, age 8 (isn’t she a treasure?)

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.Martin, age 10

What would you do on a first date that was turning sour?

I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.Craig, age 9

When is it okay to kiss someone?

When they’re rich.Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.Howard, age 8

What is the right age to get married?

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.Camille, age 10

No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)

Is it better to be single or married?

I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.Theodore, age 8

It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.Anita, age 9 (bless you child)

How do you decide whom to marry?

You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.Kristen, age 10

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Etsy Greeting Team December Challenge & Giveaway


Head on over to the Etsy Greetings Team latest team challenge page here, and vote for your favorite card for a chance to win it! Lots of beautiful paper art.

Remember to vote for your favorite card on the right so the votes can be tallied, and you must also leave a comment to win.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An Introduction to Twitter

You don't have to spend very much time in the forums on Etsy to see several questions and posts about social networking site Twitter. What is Twitter, and how can you use it? I'm by no means a social networking expert, and I don't use MySpace or Facebook. I enjoy using Twitter because of its simplicity, and hopefully this article will give you the information necessary to start using Twitter as a valuable method in promoting your business.

What is Twitter?

From the Twitter main page, "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

Communication on Twitter is done in short, 140 character-limit posts called updates, or "tweets". Tweets are meant to be simple blurbs to your friends and "followers" about what you're doing. When you "follow" another Twitter user, you'll see all of his or her updates on the Twitter home page when you are logged on in order of most recent posting time.


But to be honest, Twitter would get old really fast if all anyone ever posted was simply what I'm doing....."I'm eating a turkey sandwich with potato chips in 10 minutes", or, "I leaving work now. Glad it's Friday!" While these types of tweets are nice and sometimes very entertaining to read, that 140-character limit can be used more effectively as a tool to bring traffic to your Etsy shop or blog, network quickly with people whose interests match yours, and as a free form of advertising.

How can you use Twitter?

If you look at the top-right corner of the screen shot, you'll see I'm currently following 186 people, and 169 people are following me. I've made 213 updates, or tweets, talking about everything from weather to blogging to Etsy. That means that 169 people currently see my updates. Not that 169 is a giganitc number considering some people have thousands, but the number grows everyday.

How did I get those followers? Like everyone else, I started with zero. I followed several people after seeing their responses in the Etsy forums concerning Twitter. I also looked at who they were following, and followed some of THOSE people as well after looking at their profiles. Then, most of the people I followed subsequently followed me back. I made sure I followed people that were interesting to me, that I liked their Etsy shop, blog, or website, and that also had a few followers.

I then stumbled upon the powerful search.twitter.com (not the same as "search" from the menu when you log in) to look for certain topics that interest me. This search looks for terms in anyone's Twitter updates. I searched for people using the keywords: Texas, runners, running, etsy, craft, cards, marketing, and blog, because these are the topics I'm interested in AND these are the people that are potentially in my target market for what I sell on Etsy and blog topics. I followed these people, and most of them followed me back.

Now that I have people following me, I make sure to tweet when I list a new item on Etsy or add a new blog post here to self-promote. I also spread the love by tweeting about sellers that I have good experiences with, neat things I find on Etsy, and other blogs that I think people will appreciate and enjoy.

Twitter is a fun, quick, and best of all easy way for me to get myself out there in front of people faster.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Treasury

Just snagged my second treasury. Hope to see some white fluffy snow in Dallas someday, instead of ice & sleet, or humid balminess.

Your Greeting Card Usage


I'm doing some market research, so take a look at the poll on the right side bar & please vote. Alsofeel free to leave a comment here on why you do or do not use greeting cards & handwritten notes, and why or why not you buy handmade/store-bought cards.
Geesh by the length of my blog posts can you tell how much time I spend on Twitter? 140 words or less is addicting!

Monday, December 1, 2008

My First Blog Feature!!

Thank you to Donna of DZ Fantasy for giving me my first ever feature in a blog. You can read all about the interview here. She kindly features several Etsy artists a week, so give her blog a read to discover new sellers.

You can see Donna's whimiscal creations at her Etsy shop dzfantasy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Friday Sales on Etsy


This will be my last post before Thanksgiving & Black Friday, so I thought I'd bring you some shop-oholic fixes. The nice ladies at barefootmommies have a set up a directory of Black Friday sales going on at Etsy. Please take a look and support handmade this Christmas Season.


Also please note that a lot of Etsians are participating in various other sales, including Artisans for the Holidays Etsy Fest. I'm listed first under Paper Goods. Heatherknitz has done a great job of organizing everyone for your shopping pleasure!

The sales I'm having in my shop are going to be crazy crazy :D

The following are valid ONLY on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving). Remember you won't see these show up in my shop until Thanksgiving Day!

1) BOGO: Buy one set of Christmas cards, get a set of monogram cards for 50% off!

2) For all you crazy busy multitaskers out there, pay just $15 additional per set of Christmas Cards to get them all pre-stamped First Class with return address labels AND mail-to address labels with YOUR mailing list printed! That means no work for you except signing the cards inside, putting them in the envelope, and walking to the mailbox!

And these run from Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) to Cyber Monday (December 1). Remember you won't see these show up in my shop until Black Friday!

3) All ornaments sets will be 40% off! That means they'll range in price from $18 to $22 instead of $30 to $36

4) Any purchase over $35 to within the US will receive free First Class shipping.

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Warms Your Heart - 3rd Edition Clean Out Your Closet

Yeah I know it's not Wednesday, but I just got an email today from Daily Candy Dallas edition about a really nice program & didn't want to wait to share it. Since I'm a Navy brat, this is near and dear to my heart.

The Fort Hood Area Enlisted Spouses Club is gathering gently used party dresses and accessories (no shoes, please) to create a library of formal wear. The wives of enlisted men, officers, foreign force members assigned to the base, and activated National Guardsmen will check out and wear the dresses to military balls held before and after their husbands are deployed.

The service will be free for the ladies, who simply have to pay the cost of dry cleaning before they return their gowns.

So dig in your closet for those special occasion dresses that don't fit, won't fit, and even if they did they don't fit your age anymore & help someone else look like a million bucks. To make a donation, contact Rachel Dean at 254-539-9875 or send and email momof3terrors (at) aol (dot) com.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Giveaway - Winner!

So Friday midnight is past, and it's time to see who won my giveaway which was in part hosted by the Etsy Greetings Team.

By random selection, the winner of the monogram notecard set giveaway is Kathleen. She'll get a lovely set of Teal medallion notecards with her monogram "K".

Thank you so much to everyone that entered. Hope to see you again here soon!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Warms Your Heart - 3rd Edition (ok 2nd Edition updates)

Well this is a few days late, but I did get my donation cards mailed out on Wednesday for 2 charities.

The first batch was 8 Thank You cards for the NICU parents to flyingnunns to help make the holidays a little easier. The Thank Yous are a chocolate brown with a taupe and brown snow-flakish medallion in the back. I also added a golden brown rhinestone for a little sprakle, and individually wrapped the card with the envelope using a dark chocolate heavy cardstock. Can you tell how much I love the word "chocolate"??

















I also sent 2 sets of lovely Happy Holidays cards to Azaiez for the Princeton Public Service Auction. They'll be included in some nice baskets for donors to bid on, of which all proceeds will be donated to the Greater Donnelly Neighborhood Initiative, which supports after-school programs for tutoring and gang-resistance activities for the youth of North Trenton county New Jersey.

I sent one set of ice blue cards design with my medallion design with falling snowflakes and one set of chocolate design cards with the same medallion from the Thank Yous. On the blue cards I added a crystal clear rhinstone on both "H's" and for the brown cards a brown and gold rhinestone. Both sets were wrapped using coordinating heavy cardstock.







Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Gift for Guys - New Monogram Cards

I'm really excited! I just loaded up my first new grunge design for monogram cards. I stayed up till midnight on Monday getting these done. I think they'd be great for a guy OR a girl, particularly with the right color choices.

It seems that there's a shortage of items on Etsy that are fit for men besides scarves and handmade soap, so I decided to design a new line of grunge themed stationery as a departure from my cutesy side. Cards and calendars are coming to my shop soon.

I'm loving the free brushes I found with swirls, spatters, dots, as well as the cool fonts and such that I've pillaged from the web. You can Google "free fonts" and "free brushes eps" to get a lot of goodies that are nice for digital art, cards, scrapbooking, websites, and more!

I thought I'd try some neutral palletes first. Do you prefer neutral, or more brightly colored pallettes for your greeting cards? Tell me what you think.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holiday Giveaway - Updated

I wanted to spread some early holiday warm-fuzzies, so this week giving away a set of my newest greeting card designs!

You have your color choice of Pink, Teal, or Lavender Medallion Monogram cards. Monogram notes make an elegant statement to send to others and a nice gift too! Click on each picture for a larger, more detailed view.

This feminine and intricate design was inspired by a custom order request for engagement invitations for an Indian couple, along with my favorite classy color combinations of pink, teal, and lavender contrasting with rich chocolate brown. These are custom designed and printed by me on high-quality rigid card stock and tent-folded for 5.5 inch x 4.25 inch cards.

I know I'll be buying hand-made this Christmas as much as I can to help out my fellow small-biz owners. To enter my card set giveaway, post a comment here about your favorite item from my shop, and your monogram card choice and mongram initial by midnight (CST) Friday, November 21 to get in on the fun!

(Please note: I had a different favorite item for people to choose before, so don't be confused by the first 9 or 10 comments you see. Everyone is still entered that made a comment.)

This is part of a blog carnival by Etsy Greetings Team and is also featured on Esculon's Giveaways. Go back to the main Etsy Greetings Blog Carnival page to enter other giveaways for great handmade cards.

For more great products and gifts you can enter to win, please make a visit to Esculonsays.com Holiday Gift Fest giveaways. I love it & it's a great way to start your shopping season off right!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Warms Your Heart - 2nd Edition - Flyingnunns and NICU

This second edition of Warms Your Heart is all about Lady Nunn of flyingnunns.blogspot.com and her efforts to make the holidays a little brighter for parents of 30 premature babies in Sherman Hospital, Chicago.

She's a card maker and has already assembled a really nice sum of little knit hats, booties and gloves, onsies, and other items to put into 30 gift bags. You can read her blog post on Premie Presents to see what items she's trying to get for the gift bags.

Since I make cards too, I'll be sending her some Thank You notes to put along with the packages for the parents to give to nurses or friends and family. If you'd like to help, put a post on your blog, Twitter about it, or send her some items.

I'll be posting here again once Lady Nunn has an update.

Time for Christmas!


Ok I can't take it anymore. Time to post about Christmas selling! I'm selling ornaments and cards. I've had 2 card orders, so those are doing better than my zero orders for ornaments. Hopefully things will pick up soon, closer to Thanksgiving.
Right now all of my ornaments are beaded and shaped like bracelets, so I might try makeing a few different shapes to see if that catches on.

What are you selling for Christmas? If you sell ornaments, what types? Have your sales increased yet?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Artisans for the Holidays Sale: November 27 - December 1


Join us for a Black Friday to Cyber Monday extravaganza! Skip the long lines this year and try Christmas shopping the easy way....online....and get some great one of a kind items that are all handmade.

Visit Etsy.com and search using tag "thanksgiving sale" between Thursday November 27 and Monday December 1 to shop with special discounts only available during those 5 days.

Each Etsy store will have their own sale terms, clearly marked in the "Shop Announcement" (in the gray box above the items they are selling). All stores accept Paypal as payment, and many stores accept other payment methods, so it's hassle free!

Thanks to heather knitz designs for organizing it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bloggers Unite - Refugees - November edition

This month's Bloggers Unite topic is the atrocities done world-wide and the resulting refugees. Politics aside, the Iraq war has generated thousands of displaced people looking to escape the war zone. Particularly hit hard are women and children that have little means of making income or any wealth of their own to fall back on. Many of them flee to neighboring Jordan.

The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children is spearheading the effort to gain government and world-wide charity support to help. From their site:

"The war in Iraq has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. Several million people have left their homes in search of safety. Many refugees have fled to Jordan, a country with already limited resources.

There are also an estimated 2.8 million internally displaced people in Iraq, according to the International Organization for Migration. Women and children are particularly vulnerable and have been left alone because the men in the family have often been killed.

Refugees have limited access to basic health services, including reproductive health care, and they have little or no source of sustainable income. Iraqis report that women and girls have resorted to selling their bodies to support themselves and their families, and that domestic violence is a growing problem as a result of the stressful and desperate situation families find themselves in. "

Since next month I think I'll continue my charity of the month to be the North Texas Food Bank, 10% of all the sales I generate in January and Feburary will be donated to the Women's Commission.

If you'd like to help, you can see the donatation options here.

Please get the message to our elected officials that the US is a country of people that do not tolerate violence against women and children. Please support the International Violence Against Women Act You by submitting an email already filled out for you here to show them that you care about these issues.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bloggerific: Squeezing Your Advertising Dollars

Tim regularly gives helpful posts in the Etsy forums on marketing and blogging. These tips really apply to anyone though that sells anything online. Check them out here:

timothy adam designs: Squeezing Your Advertising Dollars

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Warms Your Heart - 1st Edition

In order to get some interesting topics up here besides Fireworks and my own Etsy shop, I'm going to feature a blog or article every Wednesday about people that are trying to help others in the world.

Today's feature is from Helene http://helenesdreams.blogspot.com/, and a is a great post about two little girls with great big hearts doing something for an orphan in China. Read the full post here:

HelenesDreams.etsy.com: 8 and 9 Year Old's Fundraising on Etsy!

If you scroll further down the page she has more information about other charities along with the most gorgeous set of earring I've seen in a while for sale in her shop.

Coupons for My Shop - My Own Economic Stimulus Package

I'm feeling generous until November 22.

Anyone who see this post and types in the coupon code "tbaeconstim10" upon checkout will get 10% off their order from my shop.

Use the code "tbaeconstim20" and get 20% your order of $30 or more.

Use the code "tbaecon5free" and get 5 FREE Christmas cards with your purchase of a 15 card set!

The discount will be applied via a revised Paypal invoice or the appropriate amount of Paypal refund if you pay right away.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Latest Category - Name Frames

I'm really excited to have listing my newest category of item on Etsy - the Name Frame. I created this one for my friend's baby shower. Her little girl, Natalia, has the cutest pink and brown with polka dots theme for her bedroom.

The pink and cream pops against the deep chocolate brown painted wood. I embelished the frame using two different patterns of premium scrapbook papers along with a delicate scroll velum for layering.

I added shiny pink buttons in a matching pink, copper glass beads, hand-drawn tiny flowers on the wood, and a hand-painted (by me) cute wooden daisy with a matching button. Her name shown in brown is accented with a perfect, tiny brown daisy button. The photo backer board is also covered with matching acid-free paper.

This item will be fully customized for a buyer...whatever colors, font, occasions they choose. I think it would be great for a wedding or graduation gift.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My First Customer!

I'm so proud to say I officially have my first customer! It's a custom design via Alchemy bid for Christmas cards. They wanted something unique with cool tones and a dragonfly. I gave them 2 options to choose from, the second is the final design they chose.





By the way, all of my cards have free shipping to anywhere in the U.S.A. until November 15 at my shop.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lighten that Dark Photo using Fireworks MX 101

A common problem in taking product photos is that the item may appear too dark or that there's not enough light in the room to really see all of the details. I'll show you herea few simple basics you can use to make the picture look great using Fireworks MX.

The original photo was taken in what I thought was bright enough light. I had also cropped the picture to be a square 480x480 pixels using plain jane Microsoft Paint.
1. Open the .jpg of your photo using Fireworks MX. Select the bitmap. You should see the handles around the bitmap turn blue. In the Properties box, click on the "+" next to the Effects. (Circled in purple).

2. Click on "Adjust Color", and move your mouse to the right to get the pull-out menu to show up. Since the picture has a problem of being too dark & I'd like to make it look brighter, I choose "Brightness/Contrast".

3. The Brightness/Contrast dialog pops up. Make sure you have preview checked, as this will allow you to see what effect moving the brightness and contrast slides will have. These are fun to play with to see what you can get.

As you can see from the two pictures below, Brightness set to 100 looks washed out. Contrast set to 100 is definitely not what we're looking for!. Somewhere in the middle is a happy medium that will make the photo look much improved.




4. I played with the sliders until I got what I felt looked pretty decent, with Brightness increased to 44 from 0 and Contrast increased to 33 from 0. These numbers will of course vary greatly depending on your own photos.



The final photo shows the finished product, all nice and bright. Makes me look like I know what I'm doing with a camera after all! As this is my first shot at tutorials, your comments are appreciated for improving the next ones!

Funky Christmas Card Designs




I strayed from the cutesy stuff into something a little more abstract for the latest card designs. These are modern, striking, and best of all unique! I have more you can see on Flickr in my Christmas Cards set.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

HP Photo Cube Option from Flickr

I just found the greates thing for free using Flick photos. It's from HP's printing options that you can use to make posters and books from your photos.

You can make your own photo cube from 5 pictures and print it yourself from the PDF that's generated. I love it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Big Box Mentality

I was walking in my local Big Box store the other day and couldn't believe that the Halloween items were sitting next to Christmas decorations. I'd like to at least digest the Halloween candy before I have to think about pumpkin pie!

Is Big Box on the right track? Are you shopping for Christmas yet?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Here's this weeks coupon for Hobbly Lobby. I know I'll be there this Saturday buying some 50% off beads and scrapbook papers!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October/November Charity of the Month

As noted on my shop on Etsy , each month I'll be donating 10% of all profits to a local charity. Since I just started the shop a few days ago, this month's donation will stretch for all of October and November.

The month's charity is the North Texas Food Bank. From their website:

"Your generous contribution of food product, funds and volunteer service supports the many programs of the North Texas Food Bank. These programs benefit over 917 feeding and education programs in 13 North Texas counties, including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, after-school programs, senior citizen centers and other social service centers. These agencies receive food from the Food Bank and distribute it to North Texans in need through their pantry and on-site meal programs.

North Texans who seek assistance from our member agencies come from a variety of backgrounds. These individuals and families may be your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends or even your family. Many of them are the working poor. Each month they must pay for transportation, housing and utilities in that order - and then hope that their already-limited resources will cover a month's supply of food for their family. "

In their radio adds, NTFB says that $1 can feed 5 people. My goal is to help feed 500 people by Thanksgiving. You can help by buying something from my shop or donating directly to North Texas Food Bank at http://www.northtexasfoodbank.org/

Welcome!

Welcome to the blog for Tiny Bird Arts. I'll post about the handmade items I create, techniques, and just about anything else here. My creations are sold at http://tinybirdarts.etsy.com