Monday, November 4, 2013

Yikes! My Etsy Shop is not ready….

Mr Yikes

FACT: There are fewer days to shop for holiday gifts this year.

Wait…fewer days…..How can this be?

Well, it turns out that Thanksgiving is extraordinarily late this year (11/28). Typically holiday shopping begins the following day on Black Friday, so there are only 26 days between then and Christmas. This is the shortest number of days between the two holidays since 2002!
Many Etsy shops have already considered this and are trying to respond accordingly with their holiday marketing and online presence.  It's going to be a very competitive shopping season, and I’m not ready… So now is the time to prepare for increased site traffic and shipping.
Seven steps to help get my Etsy shop on track:

1. Look Back: did you have any top sellers last holiday season or maybe something new that is selling now? Start planning ahead to make/create/prepare these items in particular.

One of my Top Selling items in my Etsy shop.
2. Take Inventory: of your stock, supplies, & time. Make lists of what you've got & what you need and go shopping now.
3. Clean Sweep: While taking inventory & planning which supplies need to be purchased...clean out your work bench and photo area for better efficiency. Store extra supplies and create a more streamlined creative space.  Cleaning the workbench always gets me inspired to work on new projects.
4. Fill Your Shop: Begin increasing your actual inventory now. You’ll have more to sell in the shortened shopping season.
5. Save the Date: Consider having an open house to show off (and sell) your designs to friends, family, neighbors, and whoever else shows up!
6. Post, Tweet, Pin…: Plan on making at least one social marketing broadcast each day. Get started now: write, revise, post, & get noticed.
7. Wrap, Label, and Send: Think now about packaging options for the holidays- in addition to your normal mailers, boxes, ribbon, etc. what do you needed for holiday wrapping?  I always put a pretty Christmas ribbon on my holiday jewelry boxes.
I need to get moving on these steps without delay, this is not the time to keep calm.

 The Madagascar movie tune "I like to Move It, Move It" keeps playing in my head.
I like to move it, move it...You got to move it, move it....

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Witch

If the broom fits...ride it! 

Come Fly with me....

Happy Halloween Y'all!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween / Day of the Dead Blog Hop...

You may already know (based on past blog posts) that Halloween is my favorite holiday and we celebrate the Day of the Dead every year at Bone Garden Cantina. When I saw an invitation to join a Halloween/Day of the Dead blog hop, I immediately dropped everything and went to work on some ‘creepy’ new designs. 

Blog hop host Diana Ptaszynski asked that each design contain at least one Art Bead.  I dug through my lampwork bead collection and came up with several possibilities.  I also purchased a marvelous polymer clay skull pendant from artist Jenny Davies-Reazor

In celebration of the lives of my dearly departed, I’ve crafted this Catrina necklace using an Art Bead made of polymer clay, individually wire wrapped Czech glass flowers and round Howlite gemstone beads.  The Bali sliver links have been in my stash for several years, they seemed perfect for this design. I plan to wear the necklace to the annual Day of the Dead celebration at The Bone Garden Cantina in mid-town Atlanta.

Despite its macabre name, Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a joyful celebration. It's a day set aside to remember, honor, and celebrate the life of loved ones that have passed. The day isn’t spent mourning the loss; it is spent celebrating the lives of the dearly departed.

Sculpture by Michael Benoit - Bone Garden Cantina
Sculpture by Michael Benoit At Bone Garden Cantina, Atlanta, GA

In Mexico on the Day of the Dead, families travel to village graveyards to visit their departed loved ones. Favorite foods and drinks of the departed are shared graveside during family picnics. The graves of relatives are decorated with sunny marigold garlands and candles. Some folks even bring toys for the children that were taken too soon. Families sing, reminisce, laugh, and tell stories. They are conversing with the dead, unafraid and happy. Death's morbid side is buried under music and remembrances; they are celebrating life during the remembrance of death.

El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite days of the year. I love the colors, vibrant orange, yellow and pink. I love Catrinas, the dressed-up skeletons doing all kinds of things, like dancing and cooking and getting married. I love the brightly decorated sugar skulls, and most of all I love the significance of the day.

Mural by Michael Benoit - Bone Garden Cantina
Mural by Michael Benoit - At Bone Garden Cantina, Atlanta, GA.

I had a few glass flower beads left after finishing the necklace, so I made a matching pair of drop earrings to wear to the celebration.

For the Halloween portion of this blog hop, I used a great lampwork bead of Jack from the Tim Burton movie Nightmare before Christmas. The bead was made by fellow lampwork artisit Melanie at Moonraker Beads  and I thought it would be perfect for this challenge.

I added several small lampwork beads, some freshwater pearls and several different sizes of black glass beads to compliment the Jack lampwork bead.  The bracelet is long enough to wrap around the wrist twice. I like the multi strand look.

Thanks for stopping by my blog to take a peek at my designs. If you have a few minutes, stop by some of the other blogs revealing today. Participants are listed below.

Have fun hoping around! Cheers!
Kathleen Breeding
Dianne Miller

Lisa Liddy
Toltec Jewels
Laura Medeiros
Veralynne Malone
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Stephanie LaRosa
Nicole Valentine Rimmer

Sarajo Wentling

Lori Dorrington   « You Are Here
Dawn M. Gallop

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Carving Ideas...

It's time to crave our Pumpkin! Here are some of my favorite designs found on Pinterest:




At Williams-Sonoma I found a great carving set with heavy duty tools made especially for the job.  I have small hands and finding tools that are comfortable to use but not made for kids is a challenge. Should have known that WS would have just what I need.


Well, I'm off to the pumpkin patch.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Working on Creepy Blog Hop Designs…

You may already know (based on past blog posts) that Halloween is my favorite holiday and we celebrate the Day of the Dead every year at Bone Garden Cantina. When I saw an invitation to join a Halloween/Day of the Dead blog hop, I immediately dropped everything and went to work on some ‘creepy’ new designs. 

Blog hop host Diana Ptaszynski asked that each design contain at least one Art Bead.  I dug through my lampwork bead collection and came up with several possibilities and I also purchased a marvelous polymer clay skull pendant from artist Jenny Davies-Reazor.  I’d love to show you what I’m making, but it’s a secret until the big reveal on October 28.  Stop back then to see my finished designs and Links to the other participant’s jewelry.

In the mean time, here is a definition of what an “Art Bead” is and some great Day of the Dead examples I found on Etsy.

Day of the Dead Blog Hop
Earthenwood Studio

“Art Bead” Defined by Art Bead Scene:
“First, art beads are made by individual artisans in independently owned studios. They work either alone or in very small studios, making one of a kind beads by hand or in small batches. Most are self-representing, meaning you can buy their beads directly from them, although some work with stores to get their beads into the hands of the public. Art beads are not made in factories or sweatshops in mass quantities. When you buy art beads, you are supporting the people who make them directly.”

Day of the Dead Blog Hop
Joan Miller
 Art beads can be crafted using many materials: Glass, ceramic, polymer clay, metal, and natural materials.  Art beads are usually made with the intention of becoming a part of a beautiful piece of jewelry. The bead maker is the first step in the journey of an art bead. The handcrafted bead may be sent on to another artist who uses the bead to create their own art in the form of jewelry or other crafts. It is a truly inspirational process and very special relationships can develop between the artists who make the beads, the artists who turn the beads into jewelry, and even the owner of the finished jewelry.

Day of the Dead Blog Hop

Day of the Dead Blog Hop


Remember...stop back on October 28th to see my finished designs using Art Beads and links to the other blogs that are participating the this blog hop.  Cheers!

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Itty Bitty Bat Cupcakes

Bakerella Link

I saw this cute cupcake idea on the Bakerella Blog; I think I'll try this for our weekend at the cabin with our family.  They make me smile! 

Get all the details
on how to make them here:


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Monday, September 30, 2013

How do you unwind?

So I ask you: What do you do to relax? Do you ever take the time to get away from it all? 
After a few stressful months (moving, settling in a new place, career change, etc…) my sweetie and I decided to spend a weekend away at the Pura Vida Spa Resort in Dahlonega, GA . Chuck went for the yoga and meditation classes sponsored by Hope’s Yoga Atlanta; I went for the spa treatments and time to relax on the porch with a good book.
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Our destination for the weekend was only about an hour drive from where we live. As we drove through the rolling hills, I saw a beautiful hawk floating on the updrafts coming up the hill. The hawk glided across the valley making navigational adjustments with only the slightest tilt of its wings taking advantage of the breeze.  It seemed that the he was totally at peace and relaxed. At that moment I felt it was a sure sign that the next few days would be effortlessly serene. 
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
The main reason for our brief getaway was to take some time to unwind, reflect, and relax. And relax we did. In a matter of just over 36 hours I had experienced my first meditation session, met several new people participating in the yoga classes, dined on healthy spa cuisine (a bit bland in my opinion), had a facial, spent several hours reading and enjoying the fabulous view from the front porch, and enjoyed a bonfire in the woods.  Nothing to worry about except making sure we were on time for our next meal. Priceless.
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Where I spent most of my time, relaxing on the porch.
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
The lovely sitting room you enter from the front porch.
The weekend weather was perfect, a bit brisk in the morning and low 70’s during the day.  While my sweetie was taking a yoga class and a meditation walk in the woods to concentrate on the mind-body connection, I went into town and did a little antiquing around the historic town square to concentrate on the mind-pocketbook connection. We each got to relax in our own way. Perfect!

During our stay I couldn't help but think of how valuable these types of mini vacations are to relieve the stresses of everyday life. We needed it, that's for sure! I'd definitely go back. In fact, perhaps we'll make it a bi-annual event.

Please share any suggestions you might have on future spa weekend locations. Just click on word "comments" below and enter your thoughts.


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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Refined Halloween Designs...

I was browsing on Etsy and stumbled upon an artist with an amazing shop filled with wonderful mixed media designs. Several of her creations caught my eye for a refined Halloween party idea that has been lingering in the back of my mind for several years. 

Mirjana Cesar’s designs are a fusion between acrylic painting and fiber collage with emphases on incorporating natural and recycled materials. It's constantly evolving with extensive use of old artisan techniques to achieve original, one of a kind pieces.  She incorporates weaving, beadwork, and embroidery in her mixed media artwork.

I think the fiber art spiderweb heart and the beaded bird from her Etsy Shop would be fabulous on the fireplace mantel for my refined Halloween party...

Mirjana CesarMirjana Cesar

She says that she is greatly influenced by nature, with its inexhaustible beauty.  She is inspired by the plants and flowers of central Florida, as well as vivid memories of her naturally diverse Croatian heritage and seeds of creativity from her artisan grandparents.

“Beauty lies all around us. We forget to look at the simple, small things, like fern buds unfurling, unfolding just like life itself. We should walk the fields of flowers instead of concrete sidewalks.“

The fiber cuff and collar below would work well with my idea of the modern refined witch. No flowing skirt, pointy hat or broom stick, my modern witch would wear a fabulous little black dress and these lovely accessories.

Mirjana CesarMirjana Cesar
Mirjana works with burlap (rather than canvas) because of its organic roughness and its receptivity to her specific techniques. Acrylic paints, fabric cutouts, various yarns, threads and wood beads allow her to achieve a dimensional, primitive but contemporary theme.  Fabulous!

Take a peek at her shop, there are many fun and colorfully works of art available:


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A letter to my friends...

My Friends, 
We all lead very busy lives, our days are jam-packed with work, family, hobbies, study, and many social and service obligations.  The gift of your time and loving support has been a blessing throughout the years. Today I dedicate this blog post my friends past and present. I want you to know how grateful I am to have you in my life and how much you mean to me…

thanking friends
Thank you for not letting time or distance affect our friendship. (You know who you are, my long distance friends)
thanking your friends
Thank you for asking how I’m doing, and actually wanting to hear the answer. Thank you for making time for me, even on your busiest days.

thanking your friends
Thank you for being there for me through some of the most difficult times in my life. (My father’s emergency lifesaving surgery, abusive relationships, difficult career choices…)

thanking your friends
Thank you for being genuinely happy for my success & good fortune, as if it were your own.

no toilet paper
Thank you for forgiving my faults and lapses in judgment, and for tolerating my idiosyncrasies (e.g. my zero toilet paper phobia; don't lie, I know you want one).

thanking your friends
Thank you for always being my friend, not just when it was convenient.

thanking your friends
Thank you for being honest with me when I really needed you to be. (Does this make my butt look fat? giggle)

thanking your friends
Thank you for hugs, smiles, inside jokes, and adventure memories. (Especially while camping)

Thank you for understanding that I could never write a long enough blog post to express how much you all mean to me.

thanking your friends

I firmly believe that friendships are the greatest earthly treasure we have, and unlike material possessions, friendships may follow us into eternity. 

If this message has sparked any memories of friendship, please share by commenting below. :)


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