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!