Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday Motivator: Sales and... well, Sales

If you saw Friday’s super-quick, drive-by post, then you know about my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. Yep, I decided to jump on the ol’ bandwagon and give it a shot.

I was quite excited. Spent some time Wednesday tagging all my items, figuring out how to calculate my sale prices (my math skills leave a little a lot to be desired, so Google had to be consulted), and just generally getting things ready. And then, lo and behold, Thursday evening, our computer managed to catch itself a virus.

Needless to say, I was a bit annoyed. Of all the times… But we caught it quick and managed to get rid of it and get everything back up and running perfectly the very next day.

So my sale started a bit later than intended it to (Friday evening rather than Friday morning), but still, I did get it going. And it’s still going. And I think I might just keep it going the rest of the week. Because I’m curious to see what will happen if I combine the discounted prices with the marketing I usually do during the week…

But I digress. The sale is certainly helping me stay motivated. But ya know what’s helping even more?

I made a sale!

Not on Etsy. This one was in-person. But I sold a pair of earrings and she wants the matching necklace. I just need to get another made.

So that’s what’s really motivating me. There’s nothing better to boost your confidence than someone ooh-ing and ah-ing and buying your stuff.

Now, what about you, readers? What’s motivating you today?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale!

No Follower Feature this Friday, I'm afraid.  Kitty and I spent a good portion of the day getting rid of a virus the computer managed to pick up last night, and I'm just getting caught up on things.  For instance...

The Ash Grove's Black Friday Sale! Now through Monday, everything in the shop is 25% off! Go check it out and pick something unique for Christmas!

Buy Handmade

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Threads: Winter Wonders

Happy Thanksgiving, Folks! Hope you’re all enjoying your holiday. If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance that you’ve eaten entirely too much and that this is only the beginning. Yes, the holiday season is officially upon us and the festive parade of yummy, calorie-packed, guilty-pleasure foods is off to a great start. And, if you’re anything like me, it’s all gonna go straight to your hips. Or somewhere you don’t want it. But I for one, am not going to let that get me down. Nope. I’m going to look at those few extra pounds as a great excuse to do some shopping!

And so, this week’s Thursday Threads features pretty winter styles that will carry you through the holidays and well into the aftermath.

Like this lovely hoodie. Doesn’t it just look cozy? And versatile! The seller calls it a dress, and you could certainly wear it as such with a pair of tights or leggings. But you could easily wear it with jeans too. It’s cute enough for all your casual winter occassions, but I must say, it looks particularly well suited to curling up on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

Moving onward, I love that tights and leggings are so in vogue right now. It means that dresses and skirts aren’t just for warm-weather-wear. Which is great because is I snagged this skirt, I certainly wouldn’t want to wait until the weather warmed up to wear it.

And with a pair of cozy stockings like this, I wouldn’t have to!

This is just the tip of the iceburg, of course. There are oodles of lovely winter-ready garments out there in Etsy land. Why don’t you show me your favorites?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wicked Wednesday: Gothsgiving

We all know Halloween is the official goth holiday. And last week I featured a few pseudo-gothly Christmas items. But what about Thanksgiving? I had to wonder how the creepy crafters of Etsy had put their mark on Turkey Day. So I did some searching.

Alas, I found no goth turkeys or cornucopia of doom or anything that was really specific to Thanksgiving. What I did find was some lovely bits of dinnerware and décor that would be perfect for adding that morbid touch to your Thanksgiving meal.

Take, for instance, these gorgeous napkins. I love that scraggly, leafless tree. It’s dismally beautiful and seasonally appropriate. And just imagine how awesome those ruby-red napkins would look with a black tablecloth or, as the seller mentions, on a dark wood table.

Salt and pepper shakers are another easy way to dress up your table for the season. There’s certainly no shortage of turkey shakers, and this year I saw some pretty fall leaves. But we’re looking for something with a little more style, right? Something like… Oh, I dunno… Sugar skulls? So they may not have anything to do with Thanksgiving, and Dia de los Muertos is at the other end of the month, but it is in the same month. And what good goth wouldn’t just jump at the chance to add a little more Dia to their day?

Maybe you already have fancy, gothtastic goblets to serve your wine in. Maybe you have plain, boring wine glasses because that’s what you could afford. Either way, you can dress them up a bit and offer your guests a fun, easy way to keep track of their glass once you’ve polished off that first bottle and the party’s really getting started. You can find drink charms just about anywhere, but we need something will fit in with the rest of our décor. Something like this. A little Poe, a little Muertos… Oh, yeah. It’s shapin’ up to be an awesome holiday.

But what are we gonna serve all that food on? Well, I didn’t find all the awesome gothly dinnerware I was expecting. But maybe I just didn’t look hard enough. After all, I got kind of distracted by this cool ceramic platter. There’s something about that faded, distressed image that’s just mesmerizing. I love it. And the more I look at it, the more I love it. But I’ll be darned if I can find those wolves. Or the moose.

So. That does it for my picks. But I’d love to see yours! What items would you like to see on your Thankgiving table this year?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Amigurumi + New Item!

Before I get on with today’s regularly schedule blogcast, I’d like to point you all toward my newest listing, just for my fellow Etsy sellers:

In addition to the holiday banner I posted yesterday, I’m now offering fully customized banners as well. I’ll be listing more custom graphics in the near future, but if you don’t want to wait, convo me and tell me what you need!

Now, then. On to today’s tutorial, featuring…


For those not in the know, amigurumi are adorable little crocheted critters and dolls. They’re also my latest crochet obsession. I have yet to attempt to make one, but I intend to take my first stab at it soon, so I’ve been strolling around the web looking for patterns and tutorials and the like.

That was how I came across The Roxycraft Blog, where I was promptly distracted by a whole host of adorable critters. Eventually, I managed to tear myself away from the cute long enough to find a whole series of video tutorials. Score!

Starting seemed a good place to… uh, start, so I watched this one…

And was immediately impressed. This looked so much easier than the magic ring, which always seems a bit fiddly and fumbly to me.

Admittedly, I’ve only watched a few of the videos so far, but they’ve all been wonderfully informative. And if you happen to be a lefty, these would be extra great for you! I’m not, so it’s a little odd watching someone who is, but totally worth it for the great info.

Got your own tutorial you’d like to see featured here? Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Motivator: New Project

Some people start a project, work on it, finish it, and then move on to the next. Not me. I start a project, work on it for a while, start a new project, work on it for a while, go back to the original project and work on it some more, etc, etc. At any given time, I’m likely to have a couple of knitting projects, a crochet project or two, and at least one jewelry project in the works.

One one hand, it works out nicely. I never get bored. If I get tired of working on one project, I can pick up another. On the other hand, however, it takes me longer to finish things. So with my shop getting started and the holidays coming up, I’ve been focusing on projects I can finish quickly.

Most of my jewelry projects take no more than an hour or so. I can crochet a headband or a hat in just a few hours. And just the other day, I stumbled upon another quick project I still can’t believe I hadn’t thought of yet.

Shop banners.

For some reason, it didn’t occur to me until I came across someone else’s listing that I could sell shop banners. I have no words to describe that moment other than *facepalm*.  I hadn’t thought of selling graphics at all! Which might have been more forgiveable were it not for the fact that my degree is in Computer Graphics.

But moving on from how dumb I felt, I’m quite excited too. So that’s my motivation for this week. I’ve already finished a holiday banner:

And I’m working on a few samples in a range of styles, as I intend to offer custom banners as well.

A new project never fails to motivate me. Now, what’s motivating you this Monday?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Follower Feature Friday: ParkersPrints

Happy Friday, Folks! And welcome to the first edition of Follower Feature Friday!

Ready or not, Christmas is coming. The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start thinking about shopping and decorating and… sending cards! Chances are, whether you’re planning to send cards to everyone you know or just to a select few, you’ve got a few people extra special people on your list. Why send them the same old storebought card you’re sending to everyone else when you could send them a beautiful handmade card instead?

Not into making cards yourself? No problem! ParkersPrints can help you out. She’s got a great selection of cute cards (and envelopes!), not just for Christmas, but for all sorts of occasions.

Got a coffee-holic in the family? This card would be perfect! And if you don’t know any coffee-holics, you could always send one to me…

Or you could go for something a bit less specific but still adorable. Serioulsy. ADORABLE.

Looking for a unique, eco-friendly way to send your cards and letters? How about envelopes made from catalogs?

And on the off-chance that you can’t find what you’re looking for in the shop, ParkersPrints also welcomes custom requests.

So. Go take a look. Buy a card. Send a card. Make someone smile.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Threads

When discussions about fashion arise—be it in magazines, on TV, or at the bus stop—one key piece of clothing (for we females, anyway) is almost always overlooked. Hosiery.

I suppose that’s to be expected. After all, pantyhose, knee highs, even stockings are all pretty basic, typically come in a somewhat limited range of colors, and just generally aren’t anything to write home about, right?

That’s what you think. Obviously, you haven’t seen Post’s shop. Their range of “tattoo socks” (which includes full length tights, knee highs, and thigh highs) features a wide range of designs, from pretty snowflakes and butterflies to flirty birds and giant octopi.

Every girl needs a pair of stockings like this. They’d be the perfect finishing touch for that special holiday ensemble and be just as perfect with your more casual attire, as well. They’re versatile, beautiful, and unique. What more do you need?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wicked Wednesday: The Gift That Keeps on Giving *winkwinknudgenudge*

Welcome back, Readers! It’s Wicked Wednesday—time to indulge your dark side. So grab a cup o’ coffee (black, of course), sit back, and let’s chat.

You know, the holidays are coming up. It’s a perfectly wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most stressful. Dinners to plan and gifts to buy and annoying relatives to avoid… Not to mention decorating and gift wrapping.

Those last two are something that we of a darker nature can find especially trying. Christmas décor and gift wrap and the like are made to cute and cheerful and pretty and happy, to invoke the joy of the season. That’s all well and good if you go for that sort of thing. But what about the rest of us?

Well, HotTaTasFaktory has us covered when it comes to gift tags and cards. The XxX Mas section of her site is full of subversive goodies for we naughtier folk to give.

My personal favorites are the “Let’s go to the bedroom and be naughty” card (vintage graphics + suggestions of naughtiness = LOLZ) and the Jack Skellington Holiday Tags. I love Jack (what good little gothling doesn’t?).

So, if your style is more naughty than nice, now you know where to get the goods to give a gift that truly says how you feel. Thanks, HotTaTas!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Knitting - In the Round and Continental

Happy Tuesday, Everyone! And welcome to the first edition of Tutorial Tuesday! Today’s feature is for all my fellow knitters. Especially, my fellow new-ish knitters.

A couple of weeks ago, I started working on this hat. This was my first attempt at knitting in the round, and I quickly discovered that my books were lacking in instruction on the matter. They all told me to make sure my stitches weren’t twisted and join the ends. Ok. Join. But how? The general consensus seemed to be “just keep knitting.” So that’s what I did. It wasn’t long before I realized I’d missed something. I was just knitting a flat piece of circular needles.

So I turned to the internet for help, and found this video:

Piece of cake!  And having found that, I decided to do a bit of poking around and see what else I could find... 

I had recently read in DomiKNITrix about the benefits of knitting continental style (faster and easier on your wrists), and I was quite eager to learn how.  I had tried to figure it out by studying the book's illustrations, and I had gotten the basic idea, but I just couldn't get comfortable.  It felt weird and awkward and I wan't entirely sure I was even doing it right.

So I did another quick search on Youtube and found this little gem:

This made it so simple!  I grabbed my needles while I was watching, and I'd gotten the hang of it before the video was even over.

I love learning new things...  What about you?  Learned anything new lately?  Have a tutorial you'd like to see featured here?  Leave me a comment or drop me a line.  I'd love to hear from you.  And as always, thanks for reading!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Motivator: Moving Up!

To be honest, when I first started this venture (not all that long ago, really), I was afraid it wouldn’t work. Not just that I wouldn’t sell anything, but that no one would even be interested. I could just see my views sitting at 1 or 2 for ever, languoring in unheartedness for eternity.

It was a bleak thought. But I carried on anyway. And rather than worry, I researched. In seeking answers to simple technical questions about setting up my shop, I happened upon the Storque and the incredibly helpful Seller Handbook.

Over the next couple of weeks, I did a lot of reading. I found a lot of great advice on a lot of topics. Writing descriptions, tagging, taking photos, and of course, marketing. For me, that was the big one. I felt confident that I could write good descriptions and take good photos, tagging ought to be easy enough… But marketing? I didn’t even know where to start.

And then I found this. Just what I needed—a plan! I was sure I’d wind up altering it to suit me, but I decided that was where I was going to start. So I spent some time familiarizing myself with the other sites mentioned, getting things set up and such.

Fast forward a few weeks. Now I’m getting somewhere. My shop is growing. I’ve only got a few items, but the view counter keeps going up, and I’ve started collecting hearts. In short, it’s working!

And there’s my motivation. I know that each and every view is one step closer to a sale. So that’s what I’m trying to get. Views. I just want to get people to look.

And I find that’s helping me to stay positive. It would be easy to get discouraged if I were only looking at my number of sales. Why, it’s still sitting at zero! How depressing! But my views are going up. My hearts are going up. I’m moving up.

Now, what about you? What’s motivating you this Monday? Leave a comment and let’s all help motivate each other!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Schedule

So, in the interest of keeping things interesting for my readers (and to keep myself in the habit so I don't slip up and forget to post for days, weeks, etc.), I shall be implementing a nifty daily blog schedule.  Here 'tis:

Monday Motivator: One of the keys to being successful is staying motivating. Every Monday, I'll share what's motivating me at the moment, uplifting stories, silver linings and the like. In short, a healthy dose of positive thinking.

Tutorial Tuesday: I love learning new things. And I love sharing what I've learned. So Tuesdays shall be devoted to doing just that.

Wicked Wednesday: Showcasing Etsy's darker side. I'll feature items/shops of a gothly nature.

Thursday Threads: Etsy is especially great for finding unique clothing. So on Thursdays, I'll be featuring my favorite clothing and accessory finds.

Follower Feature Friday: I'm a big fan of Twitter, so I thought I'd expand on Follow Friday by featuring one of my followers and their shop here on my blog. 

So. There ya have it. If you have suggestions for any of these or you'd like to see your shop featured, please leave a comment or send me a message. I'd love to have your input!