June 30, 2009

Couture de Jour with Lillyella

I submitted an entry for Lillyella's Couture de Jour Feature, and she chose to post it today. Yay! You can see it here. I guess I do have some fashion sense somewhere...

June 18, 2009

On Hiatus

This is kind of silly, since I just started this blog, but I've realized that I really need to figure out my priorities for this. I'm planning on going through a bit of a redesign, maybe a schedule for post topics, and a plan to keep up with the posts. Blogging is a lot more time-consuming than I initially realized, but I am determined to get this going full-time in the very near future! I want to be able to post about things I love and that inspire me. Stay tuned!

If anybody has any suggestions, they'd be much appreciated!

June 15, 2009

Featured Etsy Seller - Lillyella

I bought a necklace from Nicole of Lillyella, and it has quickly become my favorite necklace!


I'm very thankful that she agreed to be a part of this little feature. I had great fun reading her answers, and I'm sure you will, too.

Tell a little about yourself.
My name is Nicole. I'm 30 years old and live on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio with my fiance and our mini-menagerie of animals. I spent ten years of my life working as a graphic designer and photographer, which has always been and will always be a passion of mine. The most 'glorious' days of that career were spent designing for the Cleveland Indians and shooting for a local business magazine. I 'quit my day job' a little over a year ago to pursue my jewelry business, which has worked out better than I could have imagined. I've also been a dancer most of my life and continue to dance and teach today. I have no free time, but when I used to, I spent it rock climbing, shooting, and mostly working on overwhelming projects around the house. I work about 16 hours a day and usually sleep less than 4, and I don't really know what happens to the rest, but I hope to figure it out someday.

When did you open your Etsy shop?
March 2008.

What inspired the name of your shop?
A love of lilies (of all kinds) and Ella Fitzgerald. Both words alone are beautiful names so I thought together they would be even better. I think it just rolls off the tongue. I tossed around so many different ideas but I always knew deep down that was it. People often think it's my name, and I'll admit, I don't always correct them. :)

Do you have any advice for fledgeling shop owners such as myself?
Be patient and persistent. I can't stress that enough. I know people always say it, but success takes time and hard work. I think too many people look for immediate results or get frustrated when things don't happen quickly, so they slack in their efforts. You can't give up, not even for one day, and it may take months, but if you work hard enough at it, you'll make it happen.

Do you have a blog?

What was the reason for you to start a blog?
Cause all the cool kids were doing it. :)
Really, it seemed like the thing to do, but honestly, when I first started it, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I remember staring at the blank screen thinking, "Ok, what do I do now?!" And, actually, that was just over a year ago.
I looked at it as a free marketing tool that I could use to my advantage. It just took me a little while to figure out the best way to do that, but I'm really happy with the direction I have gone with it. I blog daily and am proud of the following I have built up. It's a great place for me to share new projects, random thoughts, etc, but I get the most satisfaction about using it to promote other artists and shop owners, like myself.

How do you deal with the ups and downs of retail in handmade sales?
Not well. You would think after over a year I'd be used to it, but I've finally accepted I never will. Every time I'm slow, I freak out, then sales pick up again and I tell myself, "Self, don't freak out next time, sales will pick up" -- then next time, I don't listen to myself and I freak out again. I will always say I'll use the slow time to get caught up and work on new designs, but I usually end up toiling it away stressing about slow traffic. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to deal , though it's not looking promising.

What is your favorite color, food, and person?
Color - yellow (pink is a close second)
Food - hmmm, if we go for 'genre', I have to say Mexican. If we go for you-can-only-have-one-thing-to-eat-the-rest-of-your-life, then it's a really tight race between peanut butter and french fries, with macaroni and cheese looking jealous in the corner.
Person - that is hard. A person I know? Or maybe someone I want to know? I'll play it safe and say my fiance. :)

Do you have a favorite item in your shop? What inspired you to create it?
Oh man, that's kind of like asking someone to pick their favorite child, but I have to say the very first piece I created for my current line, my Waterlily Landing necklace.


The waterlily is my favorite flower and one of my favorite things in nature, along with dragonflies, so both of those are a common theme through my designs. But, that necklace in particular is the perfect embodiment.

Are there any random facts about yourself that you'd like to share?
Hmmm, let's see...
I have five tattoos.
I eat at least two spoonfuls of peanut butter a day.
I own more guns than I can count on two hands, but I own about 10 times more shoes.
I have 13 pets.
I love sleeping on couches.
The sound of people breathing makes me absolutely crazy.
And I once had a 40 lb. cyst we named 'the alien baby'.

How long after opening your Etsy shop did you have your first customer?
I actually had my first sale on the same day I officially opened shop (meaning the day I first listed items for sale).

Do you have a job separate from Etsy?
Nope! I quit my 'day job' a couple months after opening my shop.

How do you promote your work?
Just through my blog and twitter.

What are your three favorite Etsy shops?
This changes daily! Hourly, even, so right now it would be:


What is your favorite small pleasure?
Shooting. (And shoe shopping...shhhh)

What are a few of the goals you have for your future and how do you plan on making them a reality?
This will probably sound weird, but my only current goal is to stop setting so many goals for myself. I realized that I always disappoint myself by aiming too high. Not that I'm trying to be a slacker, I still aim really high, I just need to realize that I am not a superhero.
Aside from that, the one thing I constantly hope, dream, and strive for is balance, though after a year of doing this, I'm starting to think it's just not possible.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Is it completely sad that I can't think of one?! I will share my favorite quote instead, "Happiness is a moral obligation". -- Dennis Prager.

Thanks so much, Nicole, for participating and giving such great answers! This was definitely a great way to end my feature series. Sometime soon, when I get more ideas on how I'm going to focus this blog, I may just do another feature series like this. I had a lot of fun with it!

And, as I've done with my other feature posts, I have to show my favorite piece from Nicole's shop right now. I've had my eye on it for quite some time. It's the Silver Garden Branch bracelet.


How pretty is that? And considering I have a tiny frame, this would suit my wrist perfectly! Maybe, I'll have to treat myself sometime....

Thanks, Nicole for a great interview!



June 10, 2009

Etsy Yart Sale

From June 10-14, many members of Etsy are participating in the Yart Sale, myself being one of them.  Many people are offering great shipping deals or percentages off specified items.  I'm offering 20% off all merchandise, except for my reserved listings.  Take a peek here and see if there's something you'd like, at a great discount, no less!




Make sure to check out Etsy during the Yart Sale.  There's all kinds of great deals right now.


June 8, 2009

Featured Etsy Seller - Perideau Designs

Today's featured Etsy seller, Bridgett, from Perideau Designs, makes some really cute cards and prints.  I had the pleasure of buying these Mother's Day cards from her, which were a huge hit with my mom and mother-in-law.



My mom didn't even get past the front of the card before she had tears running down her face! So, they were definitely a great purchase!

Here's a look into the life of Bridgett, of Perideau Designs.  I hope you enjoy!

Tell a little about yourself.
I'm a wife and mother to a 20 month old baby girl.  I split my time between working in the corporate world 40 hours a week, to managing my stationery business basically when I can, and enjoy family time.  I love working out, cooking and baking, and, of course, shopping.

When did you open your Etsy shop?
March 6, 2009

What inspired the name of your shop?
I wanted a business name that not only was significant to me, but fared well audibly and visually.  I loved how the August birthstone, peridot (which is mine), sounded but didn't like how it looked.  So after many adjustments Perideau Designs was born.

Do you have any advice for fledgeling shop owners such as myself?
Don't get discouraged.  At times I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but in those down times, try to work on new designs, ad campaigns, etc.  Treat what you do as a true business while still maintaining the integrity and personality of a small business.  It's all about balancing the two.  And most importantly, truly enjoy what you do and it will show.

Do you have a blog?

What was the reason for you to start a blog?
I love purchasing something from someone and then go and read a little about them personally and how they run their shops.  I feel like I really get to know them.  So that's why I started mine, but it has also led me to form on-line relationships with people which I absolutely love.

How do you deal with the ups and downs of retail in handmade sales?
It was really tough at first waiting for that first sale, then not having another for a few days or weeks.  But it seemed to be the norm on Etsy, so I took the down time to work on designs, network on-line, and just to enjoy the down time while I had it.

What is your favorite color, food, and person?
My all time favorite color is green, but I'm digging the color of the year, marigold.  I love sushi, and person would have to be my dad.  I wish I had an ounce of his patience, wisdom, and love for life.

Do you have a favorite item in your shop?  What inspired you to create it?
Interesting question.  I would have to say one of my newest designs, the Happy Birthday enclosure.  It really just dawned on me one day and was so easy to create.  Almost like why didn't I think of that sooner?


Are there any random facts about yourself that you'd like to share?
Oh, hahaha...this could be dangerous.  But, I'll say when I was younger and eating breakfast, my syrup ran into my eggs.  I became so grossed out I stopped eating syrup for years, but still ate pancakes.  One year in college I decided to give it a try and now I'm back eating syrup, on a separate plate from everything else, of course.

How long after opening your Etsy shop did you have your first customer?
I actually had a customer on the first day and I was so excited.  I have an e-newsletter and someone on my list went to purchase something.  It made me feel so good.

Do you have a job separate from Etsy?
Yup, I work in the corporate 5 days a week.

How do you promote your work?
Right now I twitter a lot, have an e-newsletter, and have purchased ad space on blogs.  I'll probably stick with that for a while.  But, I do have 2 craft fairs coming up so that'll be in-life promotion.

What are your three favorite Etsy shops?

What is your favorite small pleasure?
Hmmm...Right now I'd have to say these brownies from Whimsy and Spice.  They were out of this world.

What are a few of the goals you have for your future and how do you plan on making them a reality?
I want to start organizing my designs and offering "lines" and be able to offer wholesale.  After attending this year's National Stationery Show, it solidified what I want to do and hopefully being an exhibitor next year is in the cards.  How I plan on doing that?  Be more organized and self-disciplined.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Thanks, Bridgett, for the great interview!  And thanks for some of the great links, especially about your best piece of advice.  That's something I will be taking to heart, and definitely showing Mr. M.  

Bridgett definitely has some great work, and her shop is one I hope to visit frequently.  Other than the Mother's Day cards I've purchased from her, my favorite pieces from her shop would be the Personalized Giraffe and Owl prints.  



Oh, how I could envision them in a nursery!  A nursery a few years from now for Mr. M and me! There are several different color options you can choose from, too, so they would match almost any kind of decor.

Only one more featured Etsy seller to go.  Stay tuned for next Monday's feature!




June 6, 2009

My First Mention Online!

I just checked my Etsy conversations (e-mail) this morning, and I had a message from Uppercase Comma telling me they mentioned my Mod Buds on their blog!  Yahoo for me!  That was such a pleasant surprise!




June 1, 2009

Featured Etsy Seller - Knits and Bits

Here I am again for my next featured Etsy seller. This time it's Geri from Knits and Bits. For my first wedding anniversary, I bought a very special business card holder from her.  It was our paper anniversary, so I thought it suited the occasion.  And, it looks like wood on the top!


How appropriate for Mr. M! You know, he is a carpenter and all...

I also have the pleasure of creating a custom cross-stitch piece for Geri, which, once it's completed, I'll have to post here. I want to keep it a surprise until it's finished and in her hands. And, I may just expand upon the design and offer it as a customizable piece in my Etsy shop later on. But, we'll talk more about that later. For now, here's Geri's feature!

Tell a little about yourself.
I'm a wife, mom and grandma. I've been a crafter most of my life. My mom taught me to sew at an early age. At 9, I taught myself to knit. I've tried many crafts and have recently chosen a few that I really enjoy.

When did you open your Etsy shop?
I opened my shop in August 2008. I was very nervous about it.

What inspired the name of your shop?
My shop name came from my love of knitting and all the bits of other things I love to do.

Do you have any advice for fledgeling shop owners such as myself?
I'm way too new at this. No advice, other than just keep at it.

Do you have a blog?
I don't blog. I wish I could. I know so many people who do. I just haven't chosen to do that yet. I do like reading other people's blogs, though.

How do you deal with the ups and downs of retail in handmade sales?
The money I make almost always goes to supplies.  If things get slow, it just means I won't be buying supplies that week.

What is your favorite color, food, and person?
My favorite color is sage green.  My favorite food is chicken.  I also love chocolate.  My favorite person was my mom.

Do you have a favorite item in your shop?  What inspired you to create it?
I guess my favorite item in my shop are the animal pins.  I have a friend who wanted a Westie pin because she has 4 of them at home.  So that inspired me to make other animals.

How long after opening your Etsy shop did you have your first customer?
I opened my shop in August and sold my first item September 4.

Do you have a job separate from Etsy?
I don't work outside the home anymore.  I was an Instructional Assistant for 23 years.  Now, several times a year I head back to the school I used to work at and sell.  I'm fortunate to have many friends who still want to purchase from me.

What are your three favorite Etsy shops?
Mellibags - She has the best bags and purses.  So well made.
Wondrousstrange - Her Raku buttons are lovely.
Poppypatchwork - I love her purses.  They are just beautiful.
nslods - Because of the lovely cross-stitch. (Hey!  That's me!)

What is your favorite small pleasure?
My favorite small pleasure would be taking a walk in the early morning listening to the birds.

What are a few of the goals you have for your future and how do you plan on making them a reality?
I really don't have any business goals.  I feel fortunate to be doing what I'm doing.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Live each day to the fullest.  Enjoy your family and friends.

Thanks a bunch, Geri, for taking time to answer my questions!  I know I had a lot of fun reading your answers.  I hope everybody else does, too.  

And, as I promised in my first feature, here is my most recent favorite item from Geri's Etsy shop.



It's a pill box!  How pretty can a pill box get?  Just ask Geri!  I'm always toting around ibuprofen and such, and this would be so much nicer to pull out of my purse than an ugly ibuprofen bottle.  Mr. M probably wouldn't appreciate it as much as me, though.  But, he's a guy.

Well, that's it for this week's featured Etsy artist.  Next Monday, I'll have another one for you. And while you're waiting, go visit Geri at Knits and Bits!





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