Sunday, February 24, 2008

large sticker and favor tag photos

I had a hard time finding bakery cookies yesterday, but I did end up getting some really cute treats from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for my large sticker photos, which I was finally able to take this morning:

And as long as I had these party favor treats I took some more pictures of my gift tags, and I just love how they turned out! I can't believe the difference between the screen captures I was initially using for my listings (on the left), and the pictures I posted today! Here are some before and after pictures.

Gift tags without ribbon:
Gift tags with ribbon:
Wow! What a difference taking real pictures like this makes, and especially pictures showing how the product can be used. Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios recently suggested that I use more product photos like these, and it's made such a huge difference in how my shop looks!

Also, I like these favor tags and stickers so much, I decided not to offer the gift tags with my old designs anymore (the ones that coordinate with my original prayer prints). So I've listed three sets of those that I already had printed in my 75% off section.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Personalized Stickers

I printed some 1.67" circle stickers this morning that will go really nicely with my personalized notecards, invitations, and birth announcements. I just love how they turned out! I've been using evite for all of Jack & Emma's parties, but now that I see how cute these are, I'll definitely be sending out printed invitations for the next one!

This was such a good idea from Liz at Vintage Nursery Art!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

75% off sale

I've been doing lots of house cleaning over at my Etsy shop, adding some new products (and lots of new pictures) and deleting others. I'm sure this will be an ongoing process, but the latest development is that I've decided to mostly do personalized or custom stationery products and party favor tags (in addition to my prints). It seems like most people who are shopping at Etsy want to be able to customize everything, which works out fine since I generally only print something when I receive an order for it.

I only have four of my listed products currently "in stock" (already printed and packaged), so I've marked them down 75% (one set of notecards and 3 sets of gift tags).

UPDATE: All four of those items have sold.

Also, I have several 8x8 prints that aren't listed in my shop... please send me an email if you're interested in any of the following, $3/print or $15 framed (maple or walnut) plus shipping ($2 print only, $5.50 framed).

I'm trying to keep the number of my listings down and better organized, so if you'd like one of these, I'll create a reserved listing for you an email you the link.

James 1:17 (Every good gift...)
- soft pink/cream background
- pale green/cream background
- quilt-style border (pink, green, and cream) (2)
- nighttime sky (2 bunnies sitting in grass)

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-8)
- soft pink/cream background
- pale green/cream background

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
- pink scalloped border (2)
- blue scalloped border
- pale green/cream background

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

a little introspection

I just noticed I hadn't posted anything yet today, so I figured I'd share a quick little story...

I was talking on the phone to a friend yesterday, and she asked me how my business was going. I started telling her about the latest developments, and she said, "Wow, you're so passionate when you talk about your business, I wish I could find something that I felt that way about."

This was such an interesting comment to me because it was only a few months ago that I, too, never thought I'd find something like this for myself. I spent my days hanging out with the kids and taking care of the house, and other than going to the gym, I wasn't really doing anything just for myself - nothing creative or intellectually challenging.

I've had so many ideas over the years that I haven't followed through on, and once I became a mom I wasn't planning on ever going back to work. But now here I am, staying at home with my kids and also building a business that I'm really passionate about. So it's been nice to step back a little and be grateful for that.

And as I've mentioned before, I hate to post without a picture, so here's a picture I took this afternoon. We haven't been going out much with all this cold weather, so Jack & Emma have been getting really good at using their imaginations and coming up with all kinds of silly games to play - so much like how we played when we were kids, I love it! (That's a dog costume Emma's wearing under her cape!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

artwork from Sarah Jane and Belle & Boo

When I first learned about Etsy and started to look around at children's artwork I quickly developed two big "artist crushes" on Mandy of Belle and Boo and Sarah from Sarah Jane Studios.

In November I ordered these Belle and Boo prints for my daughter, Emma's, bedroom, and she loves them! Even though Emma has wild, curly blonde hair, she's always pointing at them and asking, "Is that me?"
And on Saturday three prints arrived in the mail from Sarah Jane, even more beautiful in person than I imagined they would be!
I can't even put into words how much I love Mandy and Sarah's artwork! I was planning on putting the first two of Sarah's prints in my daughter's bedroom and the third one in my son's bedroom, but now I'm thinking about keeping them downstairs, at least for a while.

I'm so happy to have artwork from both of these talented artists in my house!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

hello prints

I've been making lots of changes to my Hello Bird print and newly named Hello Spring print, and because I have a color printer now I've been able to print one out, see how it looks framed, make changes, print another one, etc. I'm really happy with how they look now!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

etsy treasury

I just found out that my new print, Hello Bird, is being featured in an Etsy treasury for the next two days... how exciting! That print has been a pretty big hit so far, I think I'm going to need to work on some more designs like that one.

new printer

My new printer arrived on Wednesday, but the printer cable and paper didn't arrive until last night. As excited as I was, I was pretty tired and wanted to spend some time relaxing with my husband, so I didn't do much with it. But this morning I woke up at 5:30, unable to go back to sleep and feeling a little bit like it was Christmas morning.

Here's a picture of the new printer, on the left. That's my old laser printer on the right, which I used to think was really big, until I set up the color printer next to it! Together they just barely fit on the table.Here are some of my first few prints... too gray, too stripey, just right! After fixing a few things, I really love how my prints are turning out. Now I just need to go paper shopping to find the right cardstock for my notecards.

Friday, February 15, 2008

a story about one of my favorite customers

I've mentioned before how amazed I've been by all the support, encouragement, tips, and advice I've received from fellow Etsy sellers and blog readers, but I've also had some great customers who have been such a pleasure to work with and get to know.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, The Lawyer's Wife, ordered some personalized party favor tags on a Wednesday for a huge baby shower she was hosting that Sunday. She was so ridiculously laid back and easy going (especially amazing to me because no one would ever use those words to describe me!), and she didn't mind at all having to pay almost as much for overnight shipping as the gift tags themselves. I took the tags to the post office that night and shipped them via Express Mail (overnight guaranteed) - so imagine how I felt when I found out on Saturday afternoon - three days later - that they weren't there yet.

I made a couple of calls to try to find out where they were, and fortunately they were on their way to her house and were delivered that afternoon. If I were her I would've been completely stressed out, but she was as calm and happy as ever and insisted that I didn't need to refund the shipping charges. (My unsuccessful efforts in trying to get the overnight guaranteed postage refunded will be detailed in a future post - Lessons I've Learned about the Post Office.) And after all that she not only sent me this picture of the lovely party favors with one of the tags attached, but she also offered to send me one in case I wanted to take a better picture!I didn't take her up on her offer, but these cookies are so cute it did give me a great idea to get a few cookies like this from a bakery to stage some photos for how my party favor tags can be used. Also, I'm so glad to have discovered her blog, The Pink Clutch, which has become one of my favorite daily reads.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

new prints

There were a lot of other things I should've been working on this morning, but I've had an idea for a couple of new prints that I really wanted to finish up, so I went ahead and finished them and posted them in my shop... what do you think? Can you think of anything clever to name them? I just called them Girl on Swing and Hello Bird. I have the hardest time with names!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

very cool

Every once in a while I like to take a look at my blog statistics to see where my readers are coming from (well, let's be honest, it's probably more like every day!) Yesterday I noticed a referral from Lorajeans Magazine and clicked on the link to take a look at her blog. Imagine my delight when I saw that I was on her list of "Artsy Blogs I Love"! And not only that, but I really admire the other artists on the list - it's truly an honor, Lorajean - thank you!
As I've shared with some of you through email conversations, I have no education in art or graphic design (my last art class was in 8th grade). It's just something I've always wanted to do but never seriously persued until now. I majored in Business Management and worked in a variety of administrative and project management-type of jobs before having kids. So while being on someone's blog roll may not seem like a big deal to most people, to me it's a huge compliment to be called "artsy"!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

itty bitty cards

I thought it would be nice to print up some little gift enclosure cards, but I was having a hard time finding small, square envelopes for them. I finally found some 2" x 2" envelopes from a coin collecting supply website and was so excited that I ordered 250 of them without really thinking about exactly how tiny that is. They arrived today, and oh my, 2" x 2" is really small!

So I decided to call them Itty Bitty Enclosure Cards and mention in the description that they'd be great not only for gifts but also for leaving little notes in lunchboxes or coat pockets - something that my mom used to do for me that I always loved.

Monday, February 11, 2008

printing update

I posted a while ago about how I was going to wait until my business broke even before I bought a color printer, but I should've known I'd never be able to wait that long. After doing some math on how many trips I've taken to the printer (60!) and the cost (more than the price of a printer!) I finally pulled the trigger today and ordered one.

Now that I've finally made the decision I'm so excited for it to arrive and to be able to do my own printing, especially for personalized orders. I'll probably still outsource large print jobs for wholesale orders, but this is going to make my life so much easier.

I'll also be able to print iron-on transfers, so I'm already starting to think about onesies and children's T-shirts... if you have any ideas, please let me know!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

invitations & birth announcements

I woke up this morning thinking about invitations and wasn't able to go back to sleep. I came downstairs to start designing some, but kept getting distracted by other things. Finally while the kids were having quiet time in the afternoon I began working on them. After a little while I started to think, I should chill out and just keep fine-tuning my current products and forget about invitations.

I took a little break from the computer, and when I came back I had a new Etsy convo (email)... "I'm going to get the favor tags for a shower. Do you do invites also?" Wow - that's the first time I ever got that question! I just love the "contact seller" feature on Etsy - I think it encourages questions and feedback much more than a traditional website, which has been enormously helpful for me.

So I finished up some invitations and posted them in Etsy - both fill-in-the-blank style and personalized. As always, any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Here are a few examples:

UPDATE: I just added some birth announcements as well:


Have you tried the new Pounce feature in Etsy? To get to it you go to the Buy tab and then click on Pounce, or just click here. I came across it a couple of weeks ago, and it's so much fun! You can choose to either view "undiscovered" items from new Etsy sellers who haven't sold anything yet or "just sold" items (I'd highly recommend the latter!)

It's surprisingly fun and a little addictive (just ask my friend Jill!) I was thinking about posting about it today and then I figured I'd check to see if I was in there since I just sold a print this morning... and I was! Very cool!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

a few more Etsy favorites

I feel like I've been too focused on my own designs lately and haven't "shared the love" in a while... so here are a few of my favorite new finds from Etsy:

I just came across Nana Company a couple of days ago and fell in love with these playtime sugar cookies and much tutu cute for everyday party girl apron. The cookies are hand sewn with felt and beads and arrive in a bakery box - what a great idea! I know my daughter, who loves playing tea party, would be wild about these. And how fun is this apron??
I came across these handmade baby slippers from Piddies a couple of months ago and immediately had to write to shop owner, Dana, to tell her how much I love them. What a great idea, and I love the packaging!! I can't wait for my friends to have baby girls so I can buy these as gifts!
I've been coveting this Go Veg pendant from Julep115 for a little while now. I'd really love to adopt a vegan diet, I'm just afraid it's going to take more time and energy than I have right now. For a while I was thinking that maybe this cute little pendant would be a good reminder for me of that goal, but I also rarely ever wear jewelry, so I've been hesitant to buy it. But anyone looking for jewelry that is "hip, wearable, affordable with an added touch of compassion" should definitely check out this shop.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

clever shoppers

One of my favorite things about Etsy lately is how customers contact me with special requests that end up being great ideas for new products! They basically take what I have in my shop as a starting point and then come up with really clever variations.

For example, this morning a customer asked me if I could personalize my "kids at play" gift tags for her daughter's birthday party, and I absolutely love how they turned out! So I added these personalized silhouette tags as a new listing.

Monday, February 4, 2008

cute prizes

Without any natural light these aren't the greatest pictures, but I wanted to share pictures of what the two giveaway winners chose for their prizes.

Jenny requested some 8x10 prints with a transportation theme for her son's bedroom - I can't wait to see a picture of how they look framed!
And Lovelyn had a great idea for some flat notecards for her three daughters:Jenny and Lovelyn were both quick to respond to my emails and very easy to work with - thank you both!

a little something for the moms

All this time I've been creating products for children, but I like the new scalloped border style so much I decided to make some really simple notecards that moms could use as well. I just posted two versions in my Etsy shop:

Flat notecards with an initial or a mongram:
and folded notecards with an initial or monogram:
They may not sell very well because you can buy this type of notecard just about anywhere, and I think I've seen initial cards at Target, but I really like them. (And I hope my friends and family like them as well because I'll probably be giving them as gifts a lot this year!)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

framed print

I've had a couple of orders for my new animal silhouette prints already! I was just about to ship this one to a customer today but decided to first see how it looked in a frame that I bought at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago. I think this might be a perfect frame for these prints!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Thank You & Free Shipping Offer

I've been so amazed and grateful for the response to my last post. I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions - thank you so much!

I've been working on creating an 8x10 print for each letter of the alphabet, and finally finshed this evening. I've posted them in my Etsy shop with scalloped borders, and now I'm going to start working on a set with straight borders and then the numbers 1-10.
I also have lots of other ideas that I'm excited to start working on - a framed, square version of these and some greeting cards in this style.

I really like these! And what's so interesting to me is how this whole product line came about... a friend of mine, Megan, who has a great blog that I didn't even know about until last week, posted about my shop. Several of her readers visited my blog including the woman behind Today's Creative Blog. When I was featured on Today's Creative Blog I got hundreds of new visitors and lots of great comments.

A woman named Jennifer asked if I could do the silhouette designs that I had just started doing on notecards in an 8x10 version with a rectangular scalloped border. I posted them here so she could see them before ordering, and I ended up with lots of great feedback including a suggestion to include letters and numbers from another woman named Jennifer. And a woman named Sara had a great idea for "flashcard style" personalized notecards which got me thinking about other flashcard-style greeting cards like Tt for Thank you and Hh for Happy birthday.

Anyway, the point of this LONG post is just that I've been so amazed by the huge outpouring of support and helpful suggestions from people I didn't even know a few days ago! It's really given me a much needed boost of energy and enthusiasm for creating some great new products... so, again, thank you.

I wish I could send a free item to everyone who's been visiting my blog and posting comments (and reading this far!), but since I can't do that, how about FREE SHIPPING (within the U.S.) on any orders between now and Valentine's Day? Just mention this offer in the "Comments To Seller" section when you check out, and keep those comments coming!

* International orders will receive reduced shipping (you'll only need to pay the difference between US shipping and international shipping).