Monday, March 30, 2009

Damsel In Tech Distress

A lot has been going on the past week. The stinky part being my computer decided to go on vacation while my resident geek (aka my husband) was on a spring break mission trip with his youth group. I tried everything I knew to try. I pushed on plugs, unplugged, replugged, push buttons, swore under my breath...yea, I'm a technomoron! Thankfully my husband knows more and when he got home he tore that bad boy right open and discovered the problem. My hard drive is fine, whew, which should be my lesson #1: backup your stuff!!!

We did have fun last week. We went to visit my parents, the boys got the royal grandparent spoiling, I got some adult conversation and food that wasn't cooked by me. As a cherry on top I made a big 'ole sale at the beehive which means I get to go supply shopping this weekend! And all was right with the world.

NOTE: My shop The Beehive is now Papercut Kitchen! Please visit my shop Papercut Kitchen by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Family Record Of Apologies

Since Boy #2 was just a baby I've been wanting to scrap some less conventional subject matter. I've been milling this about in my little brain for so long but with the latest artistic identity crisis I decided it was time to dig in. I need an artistic outlet, not just a crafty one. They are two separate parts of me that need indulged, it's time for art to make a comeback! I'd been in debate as to whether or not I'd start painting again, and I may some day, but for now it's not piquing my interest. I decided I really do love paper and scrapping I just need it to hold an artistic edge. So that's what I'm embarking on, scrapping with an artistic edge. I'm still going to do my traditional books for family photos, this is just extra, just for me. I don't think I'll put them in a scrapbook, maybe a decorative box? Or framed in shadow boxes? Not sure. But here's my first piece A Family Record of Apologies. You are getting slightly ripped off here. The small tags next to the chipboard numbers will have my apologies to each family member written on them, I'm just not that into sharing, maybe someday.

I really do love the way it turned out and can't wait to do some more. I pulled out the sewing machine to stitch the paper and I was in love with that process. There's some nice layering going on and I enjoy the distressed photos printed on linen textured cardstock. It was hard for me to do that. Books and photos are both something I prize and take great care of. The process of damaging a photograph, even one I'd printed myself, took a bit of a push. Worth it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Etsy Selling Blues

I know that as an aspiring business person I'm supposed to convey nothing but complete confidence and a know-exactly-what-I'm-doing attitude. I know that it's not in any way attractive to complain about how things are going, or not going, and boo-hoo about lack of sales but ya' know what? It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!

I've been trying to maintain my business-like demeanor but right now this whole business thing is feeling pretty sucky! I'm not blaming the economy or Etsy's fairly recent plummet in item views due to the batch loading system getting all gummed up (ok, placing a bit of blame on that second one) but whatever the problem it's bringing me down. It's been nearly 3 months since I've had a sale! I'm making fewer sales even though I'm making and listing more than I did before our big move and my reopening shop. I made more sales in the months right before we relocated and I did nothing to my shop, so I'm finding it difficult not blaming the Etsy issues.

I feel like I'm making all this super sweet stuff for no one. Maybe it's just going to be that way until the boys are both in school and I can devote myself full time to this little venture. I'm trying so hard to see it as a fun hobby, a creative outlet, but I can creatively outlet into my own scrapbooks. I know, woe is me. I'm frustrated. To sell you have to make make make and list list list, even more so with the aforementioned issue. If I'm not selling I don't have the money to make and list. Since I know that a full-on bitch and moan session isn't terribly appealing I'll put on the breaks before I go careening into a dark ravine of self pity (or is it too late?) and share some things I plan on trying to do to drum up some business.
  1. I am trying to get some sales warming up by listing several times a day. This has become quiet the conundrum since I can't always make enough new items and find time to take, edit, and post said items with the distractions of kids, pets, husband...but no excuses, I'm trucking along none the less. At the very least I hope to be creating a large stock pile of goodies to take with me whenever I decide to finally take the plunge and try selling at my first craft show.
  2. Sell at craft shows. This is an incredibly intimidating prospect but one I think I should be planning on tackling next Spring.
  3. Hand out all those stinkin' cute business cards I made! I have a stack of business cards holding a spot in my wallet when they should be going out into the world to inform people of my existence!
  4. Approach local shops about selling my wares in my heavily trafficked downtown. Also a very intimidating prospect.
  5. Give Etsy's Alchemy feature a test drive.
  6. Discover a magic potion that endows me with boundless energy, time, money and creativity to accomplish all this! That could be a successful endeavor. I think Starbucks is already making some serious headway in the area though!
**Diclaimer Please pretty please do not read this as a plea for pity sales! The Beehive reserves the right to refuse service to anyone purchasing out of pity :) **

NOTE: My shop The Beehive is now Papercut Kitchen! Please visit my shop Papercut Kitchen by clicking here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekend Feature: A Scrappy Design Paper Boutique

For this week's handmade scrapbooking supplies of goodness I introduce Heather of A Scrappy Design on etsy. She makes and sells all kinds of fantastic and unique paper embellishments. Be sure to read Heather's interview below. Then go to her shop, or click any item photo to be taken to it's etsy listing, and make some wonderful projects with her goodies!

Some other places you can keep up with A Scrappy Design:

All photos used with the permission of A Scrappy Design

Interview With Heather of A Scrappy Design

What do you do for a living in the daytime?

I work full-time as a Project Coordinator for Operations for a finance company . . . I know, it sounds fancy but trust me, it's not as fancy as it sounds. :D Basically, all I do is software testing, assist with establishing operational procedures, and employee training.

Tell us a little about your etsy self

My Etsy self began selling in January of 2007. I was so inspired by all of the hand-made items and the community of people that I decided to go for it. I began by mainly selling cards but have recently found myself selling more and more scrapbooking embellishments. I still sell the cards but the embellishments tend to sell better.

Oh yeah, I am also member of the following street teams:

Search by any of the above and you will be amazed at all the wonderful hand-made products you will see!

Tell us a little about your non-etsy self

My Non-Etsy self is married to a wonderfully artistic husband (he paints the most amazing pictures) and owner of one beautiful Australian Shepherd named, Bear. When I’m not being crafty, I am spending time with my family or running around town with my hubby. I love to watch TV and listening to music (which means I’m pretty lazy, LOL!)

What do you make and why did you start making it?

My best friend introduced me to scrapbooking a few years ago and I immediately became an addict. This addiction led me to getting a part-time job at my local scrapbook store. Once a month, we would have a Make-N-Take day where some of the employees and teachers would create page kits and we’d sell them. I began creating some kits of my own after a few months and every time they would sell out. From there, everything just evolved to the shop I now have on Etsy.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from many places but I think patterns inspire me the most (which would explain my overabundant inventory of patterned paper). I can just look at a piece of paper or fabric and get several ideas on what to do with it.

What advice do you have for people trying to sell their crafts?

I haven’t quite figured out the secret to success but my advice would to be sure you are having fun. If you stop having fun making and selling your craft, it will show in your sales.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Pleasant Good Morning

Finding I'm in a treasury is always a nice way to start the day! My Apple 'O My Eye appreciation box is in an AREtsy team treasury by Katzetsy, thank you!

NOTE: My shop The Beehive is now Papercut Kitchen! Please visit my shop Papercut Kitchen by clicking here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Do You Like Them Apples?!

My Apple O' My Eye appreciation box is in a fantastic apple themed treasury by Forest Creations! I love this treasury and am honored to be part of it! Be sure to stop by Forest Creations, here, for some beautiful jewelry. And you can make the appreciation box yours by going here.

NOTE: My shop The Beehive is now Papercut Kitchen! Please visit my shop Papercut Kitchen by clicking here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Feature: TessaAnn Handmade Buttons and Embellishments

These weekly features have me drooling and dreaming of brand spankin' new handmade supplies taking over my scrapbook layouts! This week I bring you Tessa Ann, maker of the cutest felt scrapbook embellishments and handmade, handpainted buttons of brightly colored cuteness. Read Tessa Ann's interview below then make sure to visit her etsy shop, her blog and her twitter!

Jaune Noir Buttons by Tessa Ann

All photos used with the permission of Tessa Ann

Interview With Tessa Ann of Tessa Ann on etsy

What do you do for a living in the daytime?

Since being layed off from my job at the beginning of my year I have been working full time at my Etsy shop. Having the time to really focus on my work and be able to be open to many custom orders at once has really helped a lot in growing my business.

Tell us a little about your etsy self

I started Etsy in April of last year selling handmade flowers and buttons. My niche has been the handmade buttons I create. Many customers come to me with an idea for a button set and I get to put their idea to use to create something unique and one of a kind. You will notice I am a big fan of color and always throw in a bit of polka dots and stripes with each set I create.

Tell us a little about your non-etsy self

An opera singer turned button

What do you make and why did you start making it?

I create a combination of embellishments that can be used for both scrapbooking and sewing. For many years I have created my own handmade buttons and embellishments for my projects and thought it would be fun to put them up at Etsy and see what happened. To my surprise, my buttons have been a big hit!

What inspires you?

Betsey Johnson, TV Commercials (Bravo has the best color combinations in their commercials) Bright colors, children's story books, HGTV, Pottery Barn.

What advice do you have for people trying to sell their crafts?

My advice is to never give up. Believe in your craft and work as hard as it takes to get it going. I truly believe my little Etsy shop is like a garden. Each day I have to water and tend to it to make it grow and flourish.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Joys Of Boys Scrapbook Layout

Just a little show and tell! This is another page layout I did for my youngest boys' scrapbook. I'm going for more simple layouts in my personal scrapbooks for economy and so I can get his book finished before he graduates from college! I think it looks nice and love the rhinestones in the corners of the photo mattes, even boys' scrapbook pages and layouts can handle a little bling! I also like the pocket/photo matte on the right that holds an over-sized journaling tag. The blank space surrounded by photo corners is also for journaling but is blank right now because I do all the journaling at once. So, when I'm finally done with his two, heavily stuffed albums covering only the first year of his existence I'll buy a bright and shiny new pen and have a writing party! I'm hoping to get a boat load of scrapping done this weekend, for myself and for my etsy shop so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

AREtsy Team Talent

Katzetsy has done it again, created a fantastic AREtsy team treasury full of happy spring time color, and I'm in it! Thanks! My Happy 12x12 scrapbook layout is third row down, far left and you can see my shop listing here.

NOTE: My shop The Beehive is now Papercut Kitchen! Please visit my shop Papercut Kitchen by clicking here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Smiling All Over

While blog surfing the other day I saw someone had been tagged to post a certain number image from a certain number folder on their computer. Just out of curiosity I wanted to see what picture that would be for me and this is it. It was too perfect to keep to myself and in the spirit of impending spring I thought I'd share. I love this picture, those beautiful curls, the gorgeous smile and the perfect spring flowers. That's my Mr. Golden Curls nearly two years ago!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vicious Cycles Of The Housekeeping Variety

  1. Turn around one day and realize the house looks like a nasty tornado from White Trash Trailer Park USA swept through it, that you can't take a step without being stopped by a pile, and that every surface of the house is covered in stuff.
  2. Spend the week obsessively cleaning it because it's been so long you feel like it needs every nook and cranny scrubbed right now!
  3. Get so exhausted by the end of the week because all you've done is clean clean clean to the complete neglect of anything creative so you take a day off.
  4. Do a pretty good job the next week maintaining the clean and therefore add back all the other responsibilities in life all at once, with a sprinkling of brand new things you've been wanting to add to your life, because you now feel you've got life handled. Feel pretty good for a week or two and swear to never go back.
  5. Get increasingly frustrated as time goes on because you worked so hard to reach perfect house status but that takes too much work to do daily and you realize logically it's an unreasonable expectation to place on yourself anyway.
  6. Enter the next week with hands thrown up in exasperated surrender unable to believe that no one else in your household holds the same unreasonably high standards.
  7. Stop keeping house altogether, it's not worth it if it can't be done to perfection.
  8. Rinse and repeat.
I'm currently I'm at step 1 and am trying very hard to break the cycle since it tends to appear in other areas of my life and I'm tired. Just clean like a normal person is the mantra running through my head, pace yourself, slow and steady wins the race... So far so good!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekend Feature: Fabric Covered Buttons And Brads By Aimoobaroo

The other day I had several epiphanies that came together very nicely. 1) why the heck don't I ever think to look for handmade scrapbooking supplies on Etsy? That way I'm getting unique items and supporting my fellow crafter. 2) Why don't I start up my features again but this time make them scrapbook and paper craft features? Brilliant! I know, but I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes!

On my search I discovered a fantastic little shop called Aimoobaroo that sells the most adorable fabric covered buttons and brads. Even better, she makes them with her own two hands! Think these are lovely but aren't a paper crafter or seamstress? No worries, she'll make them into push pins or post back earrings! So what are you waiting for? Go buy her goodies here and if you see something you like, no procrastinating, they sell like hotcakes! Don't forget to check out Aimee's interview at the bottom of this post!

Click any image to be taken to that item's Etsy listing (where you can make it yours).

All photos used with the permission of Aimoobaroo

Interview With Aimee of Aimoobaroo

What do you do for a living in the daytime?

I'm a Stay-at-Home-Mom to a very active 4 year old boy...I also try to work in some creative time everyday and of course there's the everyday tasks of running my Etsy shop (packing orders, making post office runs, etc.)

Tell us a little about your Etsy self

My username is aimoobaroo...I discovered Etsy in May of 2007. I was just a browser and a buyer until July of 2008 when I decided to take the plunge and sell as well. I'm pretty new to the whole blogging world, but one of my main business goals for 2009 is to start a blog for my Etsy store.

Tell us a little about your non-Etsy self

Sometimes it's hard for me to separate Aimee from Aimoobaroo. I've always been looking for ways to satisfy my creative side...whether it's taking photos of my 4 year old, scrapbooking, or surprising my husband with a lunch done in the Japanese bento style. I should mention that I do love all things Japanese. I collect Japanese fabric, bento boxes and anything else that catches my eye. I'm also an avid reader and love spending time with with my family.

What do you make and why did you start making it?

The main focus of my shop currently is my fabric covered button sets...I've always loved buttons and as a former quilter, I've amassed quite the collection of fabric, so combining the two together for me was like a match made in heaven.

What inspires you?

Japanese culture and crafts
Photo sharing sites like Flickr
the Etsy community

What advice do you have for people trying to sell their crafts?

Have faith in yourself and your work and it's value. Even in today's tough economy, there really is a market for everyone...find your niche (this is very important in my opinion), and perfect that. Most of all, make what you love and you'll find others that love it too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hey, That's Me!

Me "working" in my studio

NOTE: My shop The Beehive is now Papercut Kitchen! Please visit my shop Papercut Kitchen by clicking here.

I am so incredibly honored. My lovely AREtsy: Arkansas Artists on Etsy team has given me a special feature on the team blog. To see the feature and read my stirring interview click here, the AREtsy team blog. If you're an Arkansas crafter on Etsy who would like to join the team, or you'd like to see a full list of all AREtsy team member shops see this link. Special thanks to our fearless leader Erin of IdyllHands and WoolyHands on etsy for running the group so beautifully!

For the interview I had to have a picture taken of me in my studio. Here are some that didn't make the cut! (along with the first shot in this post!) P.S. Check out my cool new craft organizers! They're the white storage to the left of my work table. Thanks to my folks for those!

Mr. Cash helping me select the right embellishment.

Post Pug kiss, blech. I love my Pug but I've never been a fan of letting an animal lick on my face!

Have you hugged your Pug today?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lemonade Anyone?

I got a lovely message today from Kerry, over at tryst on etsy, that she had bestowed upon me the Lemonade Award for blogs that show attitude and/or gratitude. I'm certainly feeling full of gratitude, thanks Kerry! Kerry's shop is gorgeous, full of beautiful vintage inspired jewelry, a definite must see so give her a visit here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Identity Crisis

That was then...

...this is now.

Every once in awhile I go through this little artistic identity crisis. I look at myself and think that I must have split personalities, I wonder where the old me is lurking, I long for it, then I wonder if I even care to resurrect it. Around Christmas time this was all drudged back up when the boys got a ton of art supplies. One thing they got was a giant art tackle box and it reminded me of my supply box in college, only cheerier, and without all the stickered sarcasm.

Then I dug out some jars for the boys to use while painting and as I sat there watching Lil' Spitfire clean his brush in one of the jars I realized just how long that jar had been with me. Since before my beautiful children and my incredible husband. Well, before we were married anyway, not much has been around since before him! It still had my paint sludge in the bottom. It was one of the silly jars I used while making my giant, brooding, moody paintings and my other random mixed media work. Including the thing I did with a bloody abandoned baby discarded in a trashcan lit from the inside with a strobe light. Needless to say having a flashback that included that image and then looking up to see my own baby's tiny hand in the same jar was a little bizarre. Probably not as bizarre as making a bloody baby though, just guessing.

That was then...

...this is now.

Now here I am, a wife, a mamma, a scrapbooker? Seriously, scrapbooking?! But I used to laugh at those people with their silly coordinating sticker obsessions and enough ribbon to hang several convicts! I also swore I'd never be a graphic designer so how's that for never say never? Speaking of graphic design here was another funny past life vs. new life occurrence, Lil' Spitfire got a Fisher-Price digital art studio with a pen tablet for his birthday! Man I fought the Wacom back in the day, I used it like I was holding it with my toes for about a week. Then mmmm, pen tablet love!

I'll have to show off some more of my past life art sometime soon. Hopefully I can dig up some clearer pictures than the first one in this post!