Friday, July 30, 2010

Featured EtsyBlogger: Sykin

Happy Friday, Folks!  July's been a busy month, and I'm running a bit behind, but I'd like to introduce you to this month's featured EtsyBlogger, Sykin.  She's a busy little beaver with two shops, a blog, and a website

Sykin is a multi-talented Etsian, too.  She makes jewelry, like this lovely inspirational bracelet...

takes beautiful photos, like this breathtaking Pacific View...

Makes me wish I lived closer to the beach!

and creates pretty paper goods, like this Twilight-inspired card:

Did I mention that Sykin is a Twilight fan?  Yep.  And she has a whole shop full of Twilight-inspired goodies, including more cards and beautiful jewelry.  So if you're a fan or you need a gift for one, be sure to check it out! 
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blog Carnival: Summer Inspiration

Howdy, Folks!  It's Blog Carnival time again!  This week's carnival is hosted by BW:Silver, who says:
It's Summer time! Tell us about your upcoming or current Summer inspired designs!
Well, my most important summer-inspired design is my current banner and avatar.  I redesigned them back at the very beginning of the season, using my Official Summer Color Scheme™--sky blue and grass green.

Right now, I'm waiting for some extra cash to come in so I can buy the beads I need to complete my Official Summer Necklace™, which will feature lovely blue and green fire polished czech glass beads and, of course, a pretty little tree.  This is to be the first installment in a seasonal series.  Each will be a limited edition design, available only through the given season (though, I may offer the summer design a bit longer as I've gotten off to a late start with it). 

As for current summer-inspired designs, I think my mallorn leaf necklace counts.  I've been reading Tolkien all summer, and that is definitely inspiring!

There are more pieces like this on the way--including a more accurate gold version!  And I've decided that I would really like to make literature and fantasy-inspired items a major focus of my shop.  They are certainly the most enjoyable for me to create, and I think they stand out from the crowd a bit more.

Now if I can just figure out how to translate Star Wars into jewelry...  Wire-wrapped lightsaber necklace?  Tiny Death Star earrings?  Hm.  This one is going to take some thought...

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Techno Tuesday: Zemanta

I'm always on the lookout for things to make my life easier.  Anything that helps me save time on a particular task and thus, cram more stuff into my day is certainly going to catch my attention.  So when I bumped into a little tool called Zemanta, I was immediately intrigued.

Zemanta is a blogging tool that makes it ridiculously easy to add pictures, links, articles, and other related content to your posts.  Rather than having to search the internet for a relevant photo or a site to link to, Zemanta does the searching for you.  Right there in a little box beside your editor.  Like this:

To the right are relevant photos and articles.  You can mouse-over each to get a preview, and if you decide to add it to your post, all you have to do is click.  It couldn't be easier.

What about links?  Easy peasy.  As you type, Zemanta also hunts down links for you and plops them down beneath your editor window.  And again, all you have to do to add them is click.  And if Zemanta finds more than one link, you'll be offered a drop down menu, so you can decide exactly where to link to.  For instance, right now, I could link to Zemanta's website, their blog, even their entry in Wikipedia.  And if you're not sure which site is right, you can click to visit the site before you link there.  Cool, huh?

Zemanta will even suggest tags for your entry, which is great if you're like me and hate sitting there trying to think up tags on your own. 

Oh, but the awesomeness doesn't stop there.  In addition to being a great tool for writing your posts, Zemanta also helps you promote your blog!  How?  Well, once you're all set up, you can add your blog to Zemanta's database, which means that it will then pull relevant content from your blog for you and for other users, making it super simple for people to link to your blog.  And that's definitely a good thing.

But there must be a downside, you say.  It's probably a pain to install, you think.  Wrong!  I can't speak for other platforms and browsers, but it was a piece of cake to install the Zemanta Add-on for Firefox, and it works fantastically with Blogger

So what are you waiting for?  Give Zemanta a try, and make your blogging life easier.  'Cuz the less time you spend writing blog posts, the more time you can spend crafting!  And that's what it's really all about, right?  Right.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Motivator: Costuming

I love making costumes.  Be they generic Halloween costumes or replicas of movie costumes or historical costumes, there are few things I enjoy more.  I've toyed with the idea of taking costume commissions for some time now, but I was always a bit intimidated by the idea of making things for other people.  Recently, however, with a bit of sales experience under my belt, I decided to take the leap.  I posted an advertisement on the popular costuming forum,, and within two days I had my first customer. 

So for the last week or so I've been working on this order (and having a blast) and thinking about how I can tie this in with my Etsy shop.  I'd definitely like to do some more pieces like my Mallorn leaf necklace--items inspired by literature and film--as well as some specific costume pieces.  If there's something you, my dear readers, would like to see, I'd love to hear about it!

In the meantime, I'm off to get some more work done.  I'm on a deadline--have to get it finished this week!  Have a great day, everyone!  And don't forget to drop by my Facebook page and put in your vote for my next giveaway prize!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Item: Hand-Lettered Spice Labels

I actually listed these a couple days ago, but I'm just getting around to posting about because I've been busy, busy, busy. I recently started taking commissions for costume props and accessories, and I'm currently working on some really fun and unique jewelry. I'm having a blast, but I also have a deadline, so I'm working my little tooshie off to meet it!

In other news, if you're following me on Facebook (and if you're not, what are you waiting for?), then you're probably aware that I recently held a drawing for a free custom graphic for one of my first 50 "like"-ers. I'll be holding another giveaway when I reach 100 followers, and this time, I want you to pick the prize. Please, take a moment and vote here!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wizard Wednesday

In light of my most recent listing, I thought I'd share some of my fantasy-inspired favorites from other sellers. Starting with this adorable little wizard from HandworkArtStudio:

Isn't he just the cutest little conjurer you ever did see?

And how about these gorgeous tooled leather bracers from AnotherWorldOutpost:

I do so love tooled leather...

Finally, what would this entry be without a dragon? This little blue dragon from BugsandMonsters isn't just cute, he's helpful too!

He'll hold your dice for you! Or any other small objects, if you're not the sort who carries dice... Either way, he is one clever little dragon!

Now, let's see some of your fantastic favorites! Leave 'em in the comments.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Fabruckets

I believe I've mentioned before how much I enjoy Etsy's How-Tuesday features, yes? Well, I recently came across another gem - one I definitely need to try. Organizational fabruckets.

What the heck is a fabrucket, you ask? Simple. It's a bucket made of fabric. And judging from the article, they look super easy and fun to make.

Check it out!

I especially love the little tree branch applique on the the big bucket. And there are just so many things you could do with these, both in the making and in use, that the possibilities are truly endless.

Personally, I'd like to make a couple of these to hold my crochet and knitting projects. I always have several going at one time, and I have a bad habit of just leaving them wherever I was working on them last, which isn't such a problem with knitting, but when it comes to crochet, those hooks have a genius for escaping. And the couch cushions just seem to gobble them up. I think a fabrucket would be the perfect solution!

I think I might make a sewing bucket too, for things like scissors and marking pens and tape measures and various other little odds and ends...

What would you use your fabrucket for?

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Listing: Customizable Mallorn Leaf Pendant

Well, Folks, I thought it was about time I geeked up my shop a little. I am, after all, an enormous geek (of the fangirling, con-going, D&D playing variety). And having just watched all of the movies again and finally started reading the books, I'm currently all about Lord of the Rings. Hence, my latest listing...

This customizable mallorn leaf necklace features a hand-sculpted polymer clay pendant strung on your choice of chain or one of three colors of suede cord.

Also, the Elvish bookmarks I mentioned previously are still in the works. I ran into a bit of a delay in getting the packaging materials for them, but hopefully they shall be available by the end of the month.

Side note: I'm making costumes too! You can read all about the process on my new costume blog:
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wicked Wednesday: Quothe the Raven

You might have been able to tell from my most recent listing that I am a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe. And apparently, I am not alone. There are plenty of Poe-inspired goodies floating around Etsy. Here are just a few that were already sitting in my favorites...

Poe's Raven by MFAS

by Middleburg

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe Linoleum Print

by TheDiggingestGirl

Edgar Allen Poe Print

by senioritis

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday Threads: Sweetheart Apron

I haven't written many features lately.  I love doing them, but they're time-consuming.  By the time I decide on a theme, look through my favorites and search Etsy, decide on my three feature items and write the actual post, I've usually put a good two hours or more into it.  That may not sound like all that much, but on top of promoting and getting non-Etsy-related things done, I found myself running short on actual crafting time. 

So I decided I needed to cut back on the time I was spending on some things.  I focused my promoting on Twitter because it's quick and easy.  I can tweet something whenever I have a few extra minutes.  And rather than trying to blog every day, I decided to aim for a few times a week.  That's worked out fairly well, except that I found myself skipping features altogether. 

I miss doing features and they've always been well-received, so I've decided that rather than saving them for when I have extra time, I'll just cut them down a bit so they won't take so long to write up.  Rather than three items, I'll now be featuring just one.  You'll be getting a delicious nibble rather a four-course scarf-down. 

And your first nibble is...  this adorable apron from prettylittlepearl:

I love aprons. My housemate and I collect them. Mostly, we go for vintage aprons, but this one would fit right in... and stand out. "Vintage style with a modern twist," the descriptions says, and I couldn't put it better myself.

My favorite part? The sweetheart neckline. I've never seen another apron made like that. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen another apron specifically made to be flattering. Kudos to prettylittlepearl for elevating the apron from utility item to fashion statement. You go, Pearl!