Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Great Websites!

Good morning and happy Thursday! 

Today is the day I am showing my mom my wedding dress I love, so I am super excited.

It is good to know that with all of the sad things happening right now with my family, that I can still try to have an awesome wedding. If you have not been reading, I have gone from a wedding reception at a local hotel, to a back yard reception (hopefully), but it is going to look SUPER awesome. My parents have a great back yard and I have some awesome ideas that I will be sharing for "the special look." I hope the sales fairy hits me soon with some sales or else I am not sure how I am going to pay for everything...

It is not like I have had a "dream vision" of my day like many women have, but I still want it to be special and be something that both my family and I are proud of as well. I am liking the idea of an outdoor reception because I can add my own artsy side to it. The colors are brown and turquoise if you have not been reading a long. I need to have a super sale or something to hopefully turn things in my favor. I see sellers all the time who have sales trying to pay for things and they are successful, but what makes this any more important than someone else's problem?

I am typing and venting out loud now.... maybe someone else reading has had something similar happen??? I do have a great idea of something I am going to sell so it is usable, affordable, and AWESOME, so I can raise some money for the cost of my reception. I do not want a thousand dollar dress (that is crazy and I am a deal shopper), I do not want the best cake around, I do not have to ride in a limo, or vacation in Europe. I can make this look simple, elegant, and something that everyone can be proud of and enjoy. The Ipod has replaced the DJ, as I am sure I am going to find other replacements for things as I plan. It is going to be great...

I wanted to share with you two sites today. One I found in the forums, and one that found me and wrote an awesome review of my shop and my Rainbow Crayons!

The Handmade Movement

This site is awesome! I never knew that this existed and I found it in the forums. 

What The Handmade Movement is, is a site where people come together and "sneak attack" a shop with sales. One shop, group, or Etsy Team is the sponsor and chooses who to "attack." Last night herbanlifestyle was chosen and gained 28 sales because of the attack.

I think this is such a great idea. It is so nice to see people come together and organize something like this to help out sellers. This must be a huge moral boost for the shop and buyers as well. The site does not announce who is being "attacked" until right before the time. There is a set schedule for those interested in participating.  Now if someone would only attack my shop... 

This is a great blog for those who have kids. This blog reviews shops and products on a weekly basis, then reports their findings to readers. I have been featured in several blogs in the past, but this one has done the best job and was very detailed. 
I sent some Jumbo Star Rainbow Crayons to an etsian who runs Super Fun Mama, who in return, took pictures of my crayons being used by a little one, and wrote a great review of my shop. Not only did they talk about the crayons and show pictures, but they posted all of my shapes I offer, other products from my shop, and a detailed interview that I answered questions to. I am also giving away some Jumbo Star Rainbow Crayons though their site, so visit this great blog to learn more about me or the opportunity to win some Jumbo Crayons!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ceramics Fun with Raku and More!

The other day my friend Kim was looking at my blog and wanted to see some ceramics. I just got some images back (although some are grainy because I had to scan them in), so I decided to post them. 

The mug is a listing I have not posted to Etsy yet. The other two pieces are Raku fired and are the best pieces I have Raku fired so far. These are keepers for me (or at the right price, they could be yours). 

It is show and tell day for ceramics on my blog. Happy Viewing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Updates and What's New!

Happy Tuesday everyone!
Today's entry is going to be in a few parts...

I am on a few Etsy Teams and though TeamSASsy (which helps new sellers), I was contacted by a new shop, Faerie Majikks, to give some advise.  In the forums, you always see similar threads about helping new shops, tips, advise, etc. I would love it if sellers/buyers could comment with a piece of advise for this shop. She would love some feedback on pricing and promoting. I am going to help her one on one, but sometimes it is nice to hear things from several people, and I would like to make that happen for her.
My questions to you are: 
1. What is the best promoting tip or site you could provide?
2. What is your best suggestion on how to price (or how do you think her pricing compares)?

If you comment, I will post them below in an update and link your shop as well for your time.
Thanks everyone!

I woke up this morning to a convo that said that my tie purse had been featured in a blog. Here is a screen shot of Knick Knack's blog!

I finally got to Borders and was able to snap a few pictures on my ad in BUST magazine with my mother's IPHONE.
Can you find me?

There I am. The photo is a little blurry, but it does the job. I was the only one who put a children's item in (my Original Mini Rainbow Crayons), but I thought it was one of my more attractive photos and it pops out more and any other in my opinion.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photos from my Latest Craft/Art Fair

Thanks to those who commented about my post yesterday. It is good to know that I am not the only one as well...

Two Saturday's ago, I participated in my second craft fair every and did pretty well. It was small time, but had a great selection of arts and craftspeople. I would love to hear what you think of my set up. I have a TON of things, so it is a little crowded, which is not the best, but it worked. It looked like a novice, but sold like an expert ;). 

Everyone seemed to love the fact that I had a ton of different items. I explained that I am an art teacher and like my lessons, I can never stick to one thing for too long.

My Rainbow Crayons, American Girl Doll Clothes, and glass pendants (not found in my Etsy shop yet) were the best sellers. I also sold a ton of ceramics

The photos are a little pixilated, so my apologies. Blogger does not like large files...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Things On My Mind...

Hello fellow readers. 

I have been super busy as usual, but now I am on Fall Break for 9 days, so I will be updating every day!

A ton has happened in the past few weeks that has affected my life and the lives of those closest to me. I would really love to blame it on the whole "financial crisis," since that seems to be what is causing all of the chaos lately. 

As an artist and craftswomen, I would love to know how everyone is doing with their sales since the panic hit earlier in the month. Through September, I had consistent sales each day, but on October 9th, things dropped dead for me, as it did with other Etsians. 

Now do not get me wrong, this is in now way meant to complain, but I have been fascinated by how the media can freak so many people out and now be old enough to finally see the impact on the consumers of the world.  Sales did not stop for everyone, but it seemed like every other forum was about "Did You Get any Sales Today" or "Where is the Sales Fairy," etc.

Luckily, sales are starting to pick back up, as I have hoped, since the holiday season is approaching quickly. This is happening just in time since I am now finding every means that I have to pay for my wedding in June. At this point, I have a down payment at a wonderful hotel for the reception. I cannot afford this, so have been brainstorming other ideas and with the help and encouragement of a close friend and Maid of Honor, I am now going into the direction of an outdoor reception at my house. A huge change, but I think it could be really cool. My parents have a great back yard. I will be buying every set  of Christmas lights I can grab after the holidays. There are a ton of great things I can do to save money and make it totally awesome. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them. 

What I am really trying to say in all is that I encourage EVERYONE to try your best to buy handmade this holiday. The impact one purchase can make is HUGE for many people like myself. Trade, purchase, and support our artists and craftspeople. It means the world!

::Nicole gets off of her soap box::

Be looking for several reviews this week, photos of the goody bags that many of you donated to, photos from my craft fairs, and the latest issue of BUST that I am in!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Marbling With Shaving Cream: A Really Cool Art Idea for All Ages!


Today, I went to a professional development meeting where I got to exchange ideas with other Art Teachers around the Indianapolis area. One of the coolest things I learned, I want to share with you.

Marbling With Shaving Cream and Watercolor Paints
What You Need: 
-Paint brush
-Cup of water
-Water Color Paints (the Crayola or Prang kind that kids use or liquid water colors work best)
-Can of shaving cream
-Cardboard, matte-board, or something to smooth and scrape shaving cream

Steps and Process:

1. Squirt a handful of shaving creme on the table (yes, right onto the table as long as it is not a wooden one or something totally nice. This works well if you are in an art room or have a plastic cardboard table-shaving creme actually cleans the table very well afterwards. You can find some plastic or a tray if you are not comfortable doing this right on a table).

2. Take cardboard or matte board square piece  and smooth out/flatten the shaving creme for a work surface (as large as what ever size paper you are working with). 

3. Wet paintbrush, choose a color of paint, drip some water onto the paint cake (in the water color tray) and swirl your brush to get paint on the brush. 

4. Flick the paint in various places on the shaving cream (it works best to tap the brush so paint does not fly everywhere).  You can do this in a variety of colors.

4. Take the end of the paintbrush or a stick/tooth pick to swirl the colors and shaving creme together.

5. Lay a piece of white paper on top. You do not have to press hard. Lift up (it will look like it did not work).

6. Use the matte board/cardboard to scrape off the shaving cream. Voila! You marbled image appears and is automatically dry!

This is fun, easy, fast, and not hard to clean up at all. You can continue to use the same shaving cream pile. Just flatten it back down with the cardboard. You might have a tinted background next time, but that is even cooler.

This is great for bookmaking paper, scrapbooking, ACEO cards, gift tags, or just cool art!

I will try to post pictures when I do this with my elementary art classes for you to see!

Let me know what you think. If you try it, I would love to post pictures of your final product or process!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Favorite Item of the Day!

I was so thrilled to see that one of my favorite Etsy artists, shaylamaddox, is now selling ACEO cards in her shop! I keep reminding myself that I am going to purchase a painting of hers very soon! She even offers payment plans!

Anyways, her shop is SOOOOO cool because her paintings change colors in different types of light and even glows in the dark! Check out the photos to see the different light changes!

Awhile back, I did a feature on her. Check out what myself and others had to say here!

As many of you know, I am an elementary art teacher, who teachers ACEO art to my students. They would be so excited and baffled to see an artwork ACEO like this! I need to ask her to be in my book next time around if she keeps the ACEO art up!

Check  out her shop HERE!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Look What I got In the Mail Today?!

A few weeks back, I started a trading thread for the holidays. There are so many talented artists on Etsy and everyone needs gifts to give and receive. I thought it would be fun to trade with some Etsians. 

My latest trade was with etsian nanouke, who sells wire knitting jewelry! I traded several packs of crayons for these AWESOME Starry Night Earrings. I am will be teaching my 4th graders about Van Gogh's Starry Night and thought this would be great to wear for those lessons!

Take some time to check out this great shop full of amazing jewelry. This shipped to the US from Portugal super quick and had super cute packaging.

Take a look at my photos and let me know what you think!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Favorite Item of the Day

WOW! Many of you were trying to help my break my goal of 264 views in one day...... I checked this morning to see the final count for yesterday.....


 How on earth did I tie that exactly?! I still think yesterday was a success. Thanks to everyone who checked out my blog and commented on my posts. I will be changing my "Etsy Mini Shop Sharing" in a few days to help showcase others who posted a comment.

In meeting and chatting with so many of you, I ran into a shop that I have not taken a close look at before, up until yesterday.

I would like to show you an item I LOVE from TheVintageChain.

This is their "Wedding or Anniversary Keepsake Pendant" for $28.00. Made out of sterling silver, this pendant would have the names of you and your loved one, as well as your wedding/anniversary date on them. For myself, I am a bride to be getting married on 6.20.09 to Eric. So if I were to get one, it would say "Nicole and Eric" and the date "6.20.09."
Now I am sure you could figure that one out on your own, but I wanted to think/type out loud for myself..... I like the sound of that.... I am still getting used to being engaged and loving every minute of it!

Check out this newer, wonderful shop! There is something for every occasion, prices are very reasonable, and the work looks like top notch!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Topic Talk #5: Pimp My Blog Continued....

DISCLAIMER: Ok, so before I share today's tips, I will first mention that in know way is "pimp" in my normal, everyday vocabulary. I am an elementary school teacher for heavens sake. I thought it would be a funny title (a play off of "Pimp My Ride" on MTV... if that show has even survived this long...). This comment referred back to one person who previously made a comment about how they will not use my advice since I put "Pimp" in the title.... come on... seriously?! :)

Alright, now back to those of us who would like helpful tips today :).

So, I must share with you some an awesome blogging site that allows you to have a fun background like you currently see on my blog as you are reading this. There are no sign-ups, no password, no catches.

I was in the Etsy Forums posting my blog links and updates when I clicked on the blog of Etsian poshpretties, (who by the way, has a really fun shop as well). As I was looking at their latest post, I noticed that they had such a nice background (and yet, was still using blogger/blogspot). I saw a small box in the upper, left hand corner, which led me to one of the best sites I have recently found for bloggers.

Now just because the site has a cute name, do not think that it is automatically for females and those who like cutesy things. There are some great links, tips, and best of all, GREAT BACKGROUNDS! They even have banners that match your background!

For those 2-column bloggers, there are a TON of options. I started looking and trying them out, but then noticed.... OH NO! This does not fit the 3-column layout that I have secretly encoded into my HTML (which BTW, I know very little about HTML, which means YOU can do this too! CLICK HERE FOR THE 3-COLUMN LAYOUT). 

I then looked at the right hand side. At the very top, it had a button for 3-column layouts. We are now in business...

All you have to do is choose which one you want, copy/paste the HTML, then click "add a new gadget-HTML" on your blogger layout page. I assume this works for other blogs as well. In under 5 minutes, I was able to harmlessly try about 5 different backgrounds until I found one that fit in with my blog style and look. No mistakes, no accidentally deleting something important from your HTML code- ZIP problems.

So cool.... please try it yourself and see how easy it is!

For those of you just joining in on my blog, I have several blog links that are very useful to both new and experienced bloggers on the left-hand side of my blog. Also check out my previous "Topic Talks" here!

***Like what you see? Check out the new Blogger gadget, "Followers," which lets others become a follower of your blog and catch up on your latest postings. Become a follower of Art2theextreme on the left side of my blog!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Latest Etsy Purchases: SOCK ZOMBIES!

I have been buying a TON of things from my fellow Etsians lately...

I wanted to share a few photos with you of my latest Etsy purchase  (I bought 2) from Underroos!
This seller has been chatting with me since I started here on Etsy. I always told her that I would buy from her because her SOCK ZOMBIES are SOOOOO COOL! We would always laugh in the chat rooms about Zombies and eating brains (which sounds weird, but that is what Sock Zombies do).

Since Halloween is near, I thought I would surprise my fiance with a sock zombie and give another so another special person (which reads this at times, so I will not give away names just yet).  I thought I would have some fun with the Sock Zombie first....

Underroos shop is so much fun! These make great gift and she also can personalize the Sock Zombies to look like pirates, nijas, or soldiers. There is even a bride zombie in her shop (if you know any current bridezillas).  The Sock Zombie puppets look fun as well and would make a great stocking stuffer. Throw it in the sock drawer of your young one on Halloween and surprise them with a ZOMBIE!

You can not go wrong with a purchase from Underroos and she ships super fast (it seemed like it only came in about 1 day) and was exactly what I expected and more!

**Photos of actual Sock Zombies alone are from Underroos shop 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Fall Rainbow Crayons in my Shop!

I just listed some very awesome Halloween and Fall Rainbow Crayons!

I now have leaves, pumpkins, Jack-O-Lanterns, and Ghosts!

These make awesome Trick-Or-Treat gifts, holiday classroom or carnival party prizes, or a Halloween goody.

I do custom orders, wholesale, and offer 10% off on party orders. 

Check out my listings and photos and let me know what you think!

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