Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yesterday was my Birthday & Blog Changes

Yes - yesterday was my birthday :) It was a wonderful day. Woke up to 3 sales in my Etsy shop, and by the end of the day I had 36! What happened? Well it seems that some of my friends on Etsy decided to hold a "reverse" b-day party for me. Instead of sending my gifts - they purchased items from my shop. Crazy!! I was speechless.

Hubby did remember at breakfast to say "Happy Birthday". That's not bad - breakfast is at 5:15am! Of course he had been mentioning my birthday every day during the week - I think it was more to remind himself not to forget, like he did last year :)

Had to send the boys each a text with "Happy Birthday to Me" on it. But they are boys. This is what Luke sent me back in an email:


Isn't he just a funny boy! lol

Blog changes:
I'm going to post on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays now. It's just getting to hard to keep up with everything. I'm hoping that this way I can comment on other blogs the days I'm not blogging :) Wouldn't that be a nice change? I'm getting so bad at commenting!

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easy Taco Shepherd's Pie

We really like taco flavoring, but having taco's all the time can get old :) I found this recipe somewhere - never did write it down, but it's so easy you don't really need a "real" recipe.





TACO SHEPHERD'S PIE


Make taco meat like you usually do, using 2 lbs of ground beef. Add one tin of kidney beans and one tin of canned corn. Let simmer for a few minutes, then place in a casserole dish. Top with cheese, then mashed potatoes. Place in 350 Degree oven until it starts to bubble and potatoes are a little brown.

** I made this on Monday and used left over corn and mashed potatoes from Saturdays Turkey dinner.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Feature 4/28 - CNJceramics

I love pottery! So when I found CNJ Ceramics and saw some of their beautiful unique items, I just had to feature their shop :)



Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a New Florixan. I know you are wondering what that means, because I did indeed make it up! I was born and raised in Florida but now reside in New Mexico, which I refer to as my home. The smell of roasting green chiles in August, the mountain in my back yard that is my playground, and the eclectic traditions of the various cultures are all things that make me smile. It is inevitable that a piece of Florida still lives with me, mostly the fear of sea creatures I can’t see when I swim in the ocean and the rocket launches from Cape Canaveral. Which brings me to the next important fact, I am an aerospace engineer during the day time. I am proof that some engineers do have an artistic side, but on the contrary I analyze everything to death!


How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
My shop is rather simple. CNJ is a combination of initials from myself and my husband: with mine being first, his being second, and ours being last. Then of course, ceramics is what I sell. Honestly, my husband (an engineer as well) is my secret helper, he makes a lot of my ideas work, not to mention he loads my kiln. The least I could do was give him a bit of the name, even if it is only 10%.


I started my business from peer pressure really. I made all of the vases for the centerpieces at my wedding reception, along with our cake topper and even the guest favors. My guest asked if they could take these things home for home d├ęcor to which I gladly obliged. I received so many compliments on the pieces I made which included the peer pressure to begin to sell them. Everyone was super supportive in making sure my hobby would become a product (particularly my Dad, who is very successful entrepreneur and the source of all my business advice).


What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?
First and foremost, I am a mother to a marvelous son; honestly, he is the most rewarding part of my life, he gives me a reason to wake up happy every morning! Second, I love to travel and it can be anywhere and by any means; I am not picky. I live for the experience (and luckily I can be a mother simultaneously)! If I could travel non-stop and still have means to an end, I would.


Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
Ask me again in a month and it probably will have changed, but right now I am in love with my Terracotta Night and Day Luna Bowl. It is a little piece of me! The piece is a combination of my work and my travels, not to mention it is functional.


What keeps you motivated?
My forever revolving brain! I have so many ideas in there for new products that I need to let out; now if only I could buy more time.




If you could give a piece of advice to a new shop - what would it be?
You can’t be successful if you never start! By this I mean, don’t wait until “everything” is perfect to get your shop up and running. In the engineering world, your Etsy shop would be known as a spiral process: develope, plan, analysis, evaluate and repeat! Go ahead post your products, right now. Even if you think your pictures are only mediocre or you think your product descriptions are lame, these things are all easily changed, and you will eventually discover that they will evolve. People can’t LOVE your products if you aren’t listing them.


Are there other places on the net we can find you?
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Clay-Space/159523937431433
Twitter: twitter.com/#!/505ClaySpace
Blog: clay-space.com
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/57781338@N07/sets/72157625613135251/

Twitter Tree Tuesday!


My friend Jacki over at Christie Cottage came up with an ingenious idea for promoting items in your shops.
The Twitter Tree will be hosted by a different shop each business day.

Monday: Christie Cottage
Tuesday: Audrey's Country Crafts
Wednesday: Eluna Jewelry
Thursday: I Wish I May, I Wish I Might
Friday: Sweetybird09


Here are the instructions:
You tweet the item(s) for me and all the posts above yours, along with your twitter account so we can follow you, and list 1-3 items (clickable links) from any of your online shops that you would like for all those posting here to tweet for you. ( No "mature" items, please). Be sure the item is twitter ready. (See above) Check back throughout the day and tweet all the new items posted from other online shops. Etsy, ArtFire, Zibbet, Bonanzle, ebay, your own website, etc..

Please add this tag to your tweets. " #BlueBird"
This way we can Retweet later in the day, simply by searching the tag.


Please  add a description of your item, not just the link.
Thanks!

By reaching out thru blogger and blog follower's twitter accounts, we will reach a new audience of viewers and hopefully land some sales. After all, we all have our online shops to make money.


Here are my 3 items for the day:



Beige Flip Flops Coaster
http://www.etsy.com/listing/71868740/ #bluebird

Blue Squares Domino Magnets
http://www.etsy.com/listing/72335209/ #bluebird


Pink Tulip Coaster
http://www.etsy.com/listing/72269146/
#bluebird


Hope everyone has fun promoting and maybe we'll get some sales!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bacon Roses and some favorite Recipe Sites.

Have you ever heard of the site Instructables? Luke apparently looks there quite a bit. He found out how to make Bacon Roses. I kid you not!! How cool are these!




I don't think I'll be making bacon roses anytime soon - but someone has a very good imagination.


Here are some of my favorite places to look for recipes when I just don't know what to make.


Taste of Home
Kraft Canada
Mennonite Girls Can Cook


Do you have favorite sites you go to for recipes? Would love to see them!! One woman can never have too many recipes :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feature - Rosa Maria's Kitchen

I was quite surprised to find food shops on Etsy when I first started selling there. But I've since found some really good ones! Rosa Maria's Kitchen is a wonderful shop! I've tried the taco seasoning and the Dry Jerk Rub. We liked them so much I've re-ordered them :) Now I really want to try the Strawberry Daiquiri Jam. It looks sooooooooo goooooood!!!
Rosa Maria's Kitchen is offering a coupon code for the next week!!
BLOGFEATURE for 20% off

I may just get that jam after all!!




*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
- I'm from a small town in Northeast Ohio. My parents were raised in the same town, graduated a couple of years apart in school and were highschool sweethearts. I grew up about 5 miles from my husband and we graduated high school together. We dated on and off in school but I wouldn't really call us high school sweethearts. We were married last July surrounded by everyone we hold dear to our hearts. I graduated college with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology. I currently work as an Applications Chemist - I test chemicals in their final state - plastics, rubbers, PVC, wood plastics. And I actually love what I do. I have a cat that I love dearly - Bella. She really is my baby - especially since we don't have children. I enjoy cooking but I'm not so found of doing the dishes :)

*How did you decide on your shop name?
- That is probably the easiest question! My grandmother was a very influential person in my life. When both of my parents were working, I would spend the day with her as a little girl. Her name was Rosa Maria. She passed away about 5 years ago and I still miss her dearly. She was always in the kitchen and you could never go to her house without eating something. So when starting an etsy store related to food I knew that I would have had her blessing. This way her name and spirit still lives on. Maybe it is her blessing that has helped my store to succeed.

* Why did you start your business?
- I actually started my business because I had so many extra Hot Pepper Jellies in my fruit cellar from the year before. They stay good canned for several years but I have seen that several other etsy stores selling this product were doing very well. So I thought I would give it a try. Not it is a part time job!

*What are 3 things you want people to think when they see your product?
- I want to try that!
- That sounds interesting!
- That would be great on ...


*What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?
- Well, I have a full time job - Monday thru Friday - job. After that I enjoy dabbling at photography. I have another store that sells that - NoteablyRelaxed.etsy.com. I have a neice & nephew that I enjoy playing with. And in the summer I love to be outside. I also love to travel - just recently returned from our belated honeymoon in Hawaii. It was absolutely beautiful and can't wait to go back.

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
- Pumpkin Apple Butter - it takes about 2 hours to make. And while it is cooking the house smells wonderful. I just had a large order of it for a wedding and the house smelled great for days!

*If you could give a piece of advice to a new shop - what would it be?
- Keep trying! At first it seems like no one is noticing your work. You have to keep listing, network - make friends. Every little thing you do helps. Second, treat your customers great. Throw a little something extra in. If you keep them happy with your product they will be more likely to come back again.

*Are there other places on the net we can find you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twitter Tree Tuesday!


My friend Jacki over at Christie Cottage came up with an ingenious idea for promoting items in your shops.
The Twitter Tree will be hosted by a different shop each business day.

Monday: Christie Cottage
Tuesday: Audrey's Country Crafts
Wednesday: Eluna Jewelry
Thursday: I Wish I May, I Wish I Might
Friday: Sweetybird09


Here are the instructions:
You tweet the item(s) for me and all the posts above yours, along with your twitter account so we can follow you, and list 1-3 items (clickable links) from any of your online shops that you would like for all those posting here to tweet for you. ( No "mature" items, please). Be sure the item is twitter ready. (See above) Check back throughout the day and tweet all the new items posted from other online shops. Etsy, ArtFire, Zibbet, Bonanzle, ebay, your own website, etc..

Please add this tag to your tweets. " #BlueBird"
This way we can Retweet later in the day, simply by searching the tag.


Please  add a description of your item, not just the link.
Thanks!

By reaching out thru blogger and blog follower's twitter accounts, we will reach a new audience of viewers and hopefully land some sales. After all, we all have our online shops to make money.


Here are my 3 items for the day:



Beige Flip Flops Coaster
http://www.etsy.com/listing/71868740/ #bluebird

Blue Squares Domino Magnets
http://www.etsy.com/listing/72335209/ #bluebird


Pink Tulip Coaster
http://www.etsy.com/listing/72269146/
#bluebird


Hope everyone has fun promoting and maybe we'll get some sales!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Where did Spring Go?

When we woke up on Sat morning, and there was almost 3 inches of snow on the ground. It started snowing around 5:30pm on Friday, we didn't think it would amount to much.
Luckily, it's almost all gone now, but that means the yard is all wet and the roads are a mess. Since I live in the country, it's mostly gravel roads around here, with paved highways between towns. I'm glad I didn't wash the bus on Wed. like I'd planned!!







Going to order seeds for the garden tomorrow.  Wonder if I'll ever get to plant?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff

I love my slow cooker :) Saw a blog about a year ago where she used her slow cooker every day for a year. That might be a bit too much, but once a week works for me! A friend of mine does Lasagna in the crock pot - she gave me her recipe. Might have to try that and see how it goes. But here is a recipe that we really like, it calls for stew meat, but I cut up a round steak I had in the freezer - worked wonderfully!



SLOW-COOKER BEEF STROGANOFF

2 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
10oz. fresh mushrooms, halved
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 pkg. (16 oz) egg noodles, uncooked
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Place meat, mushrooms, onions and garlic in slow cooker. Add broth, paprika and salt. Cover with lid. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours (or hon HIGH 5 hours).

Mix sour cream, flour and mustard. Stir into ingredients in slow cooker until blended. Cook, covered, on LOW 15 min. Meanwhile, cook noodles as directed on package.

Drain noodles; place in large serving bowl. Add meat mixture; mix lightly. Sprinkle with parsley.

Yum Yum!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Feature - Aunty Ann Designs & Sock Monkeys

Going to this shop always makes me wish I had grandchildren :) LOVE those sock monkeys! Aunty has them in a wide variety of colors - I'm sure you can find something for your little girl or boy :) She has created a coupon code for anyone interested in making a purchase.
BLOG411 = 11% off!!


*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in California's Bay Area. Married 40+ years with 2 grown adult children and 4 beautiful grandkids. Competed at the State and Local Fair levels, claiming the top award -- Textile Sweepstakes High Point Winner at both twice. Received the Superintendents, Grand Price and most importantly "Peoples Choice" awards.


*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
Aunty Ann has been registered as a business for almost 30 years. The business was started when friends and relatives wanted to buy the clothes that I made for my children. I am currently "retired" from the 9-5 working world, after spending 37 years there.


*What are 5 things you want people to think when they see your product?
It's important to me that each item reflect:
1) Quality and Fair Pricing,

2) Uniqueness,
3) Workmanship,
4) Attention to Detail and
5) Wow factor, "have to have this."

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
I am on a constant quest for beautiful colorful fabric, which has taken a 25% increase the past few months. I love laughing and playing with our grandkids, who are a constant source of entertainment. The sock monkey is my favorite item, love making each face come to "life" and make people smile and laugh.

*What keeps you motivated?
I stay motivated by the love of creating and staying busy, helps when there are great sales too!



Do I have any advice?
Do your homework and find something you love to do. Don't try to make an over-saturated or trendy item, in hopes that crowds will flock to "yours."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Twitter Tree Tuesday!


My friend Jacki over at Christie Cottage came up with an ingenious idea for promoting items in your shops.
The Twitter Tree will be hosted by a different shop each business day.

Monday: Christie Cottage
Tuesday: Audrey's Country Crafts
Wednesday: Eluna Jewelry
Thursday: I Wish I May, I Wish I Might
Friday: Sweetybird09


Here are the instructions:
You tweet the item(s) for me and all the posts above yours, along with your twitter account so we can follow you, and list 1-3 items (clickable links) from any of your online shops that you would like for all those posting here to tweet for you. ( No "mature" items, please). Be sure the item is twitter ready. (See above) Check back throughout the day and tweet all the new items posted from other online shops. Etsy, ArtFire, Zibbet, Bonanzle, ebay, your own website, etc..

Please add this tag to your tweets. " #BlueBird"
This way we can Retweet later in the day, simply by searching the tag.


Please  add a description of your item, not just the link.
Thanks!

By reaching out thru blogger and blog follower's twitter accounts, we will reach a new audience of viewers and hopefully land some sales. After all, we all have our online shops to make money.


Here are my 3 items for the day:



Black Flip Flops Coaster
http://www.etsy.com/listing/71868969/ #bluebird



Frogs Bottlecap magnets
http://www.etsy.com/listing/71818266/ #bluebird



Country Sheep Gift Cards
http://www.etsy.com/listing/71339930/
#bluebird

Hope everyone has fun promoting and maybe we'll get some sales!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Yard is Ugly

I really like spring - the birds chirping, Canada Geese flying north, no snow etc. But why can't the sun shine every day and the grass be green as soon as the snow is gone?


Here are photo's of my yard taken yesterday morning in the drizzle.






The first photo and the last photo show my garden.  No snow - but it sure is muddy. Won't be seeding it until close to the end of May I'm thinkin'.  Oh well.  Everything will turn green eventually right?

Happy Birthday Luke!


Luke is 21 today!! Happy Birthday Son1 :)))


Here are some posts that I've done in the past about Luke:


Now it's time to make Luke's favorite lunch :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Brownies

I really have been slack in the baking department lately. But it's a bit of a problem too. My "men" complain if I bake because they will have to eat it and don't want to eat to many sweets. But if I don't bake - they want to know what's for dessert and disappointed if there isn't any! If only they would just Make Up Their Minds!!


I think I'll bake these today, haven't made them in a while:


BROWNIES
Ingredients:
1 cup margarine, melted
1 cup water
3 rounded tbsp. cocoa
Boil above ingredients and let cool.

Add to cocoa mixture:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
Bake in large cookie sheet at 350F for 20 minutes.

Icing:
1/4 cup cream
1/3 cup margarine/butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp. cocoa
Add 2 cups icing sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla and mix well. Pour over cake while still warm. Enjoy!

Well - I placed the 1 cup of margarine in a 2 cup glass measuring cup and melted it in the microwave, then added really hot water from the tap and mixed in the cocoa till it was smooth. (why heat up an element?) Also - I baked the brownies in a 9 X 13 pan, but then had to bake it almost 10 minutes longer. They are really quite good!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Feature - Kottage Kreations

Do you love jewelry? Then this is the shop for you! Kottage Kreations has so many beautiful earrings and necklaces it was actually quite hard to pick my favorite in her shop. But I finally decided that the A Mother Awaits Handcrafted Birds Nest Pendant is my favorite! How does she wrap all that wire? Really amazing! Please read the feature and check out the lovely pieces in her shop!


*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in San Jose, California. I moved to Turlock in 1999, purchasing my first home. After my son finished school, I opened up my first online shop to sell my jewelry. I wanted to share with other women alike my creations, thus, Kottage Kreations was born.

*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
I live in a cottage and that is my inspiration behind the name of my business. I enjoy creating jewelry, wood crafts, and crochet. My passion is jewelry though. Nature inspires me, whether it be gemstones from our precious earth, birds in the air and trees, or anything else you can imagine nature brings us.

*What are 5 things you want people to think when they see your product?
Nature,
Earth, 
Beauty,
Love,
Womanhood

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
Beads of course! I only use semi-precious gemstones, and gemstones. I also use sterling silver, and swaravski crystal beads. I only use the best, and sales from Etsy are my passion when it comes to shopping for goodies and gemmies. I use all colors of the rainbow, and every color and combination are my favorites. I have no particular style. It is what ever comes to my mind. I often wake up in the middle of the night with my inspirations exploding in my head. I always keep a notebook within reach to jot down my newest idea for my creations.

*What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?
When I'm away from my workshop, I enjoy online communication with my friends and family, my artisan community; sharing ideas and networking, as well as sharing posts with my twitter followers, and facebook followers. I give myself some bragging rights as well. This is how I generate new customers as well as return customers.

When I'm not networking, I enjoy gardening, shopping; what woman doesn't love to shop, and I listen to music while cleaning beautiful messes. I also travel a bit locally in California. There is so much to do here.

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
My favorite creation has to be what I call "A Gardens Paradise": www.etsy.com/listing/63562301/ This amazingly beautiful necklace has a new twist for me, which is wire-wrapping. I am a self taught artist, so this was quite the challenge. Now that this is perfected, I am hooked on this technique. It is time consuming, but I enjoy the challenge!



*What keeps you motivated?
My motivation comes from my customers, my online social networks, and the compliments I get with every heart I get for each piece I share in my shop. Nature motivates me as well. There is so much beauty mother nature shares with us, I can't help but be inspired by Her!

*Are there other places on the net we can find you?
You can find me on Etsy at kottagekreations.etsy.com
Blog: kottagecreations.blogspot.com
Twitter: twitter.com/kottagekreation
Facebook: facebook.com/kottagekreations
Flickr: flickr.com/kottagekreations
and... kottagekreations.jimdo.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Etsy Teams - some shameless Promotion :)

When we found out the forums on Etsy were closing, some of us were feeling pretty lost. Some friends and I had just started something new in the forums after Christmas and we were wondering what we were going to do now! Where do we advertise? How do we get our shops out there? I still really feel for the shops that are just starting out on Etsy - they have to be wondering how they can get noticed.

At first I thought the best idea would be to join lots of teams to get noticed. It didn't take long to figure out that many of them where going no where, plus there was no way I could get to them all in the time I had to spend on the computer each day. So - I ended up dropping most of them. There are really only 2 that I go to on a sorta regular basis, and one that I am captain of - so obviously I'm there a lot :)


Fun and Friends Promotion Team is a great team that is trying to run the same as the forums used too. It's a great place to advertise. Many different "discussions" to check out and post on.


Promotional Frenzy Team does something different every day. I'm slowly getting the hang of this team. They have many active members, and fun things to do.

Monday - PROMO Frenzy
Tuesday - BNR Treasury
Wednesday - Blogging
Thursday - List an Item
Friday - Workshops
Saturday - OFF to relax and recoup
Sunday - OFF to relax and recoup LOL

I have a friend on this team who will remind me once in a while that I need to go and post something :) (thank you Crystal!) It's a great bunch of shops. If you are looking for a place to advertise and get to know other Etsians and make new friendships - this is a really good place to start. If I ever get around to making a list of teams for newbies to join for exposure - this team will be at the top of my list.


BNE - Buy N Enter Team. This is the one that I'm Captain of. Sure didn't realize when I started it how much work it was going to be!! :) It is a lot of fun though.

What we do:
Every two weeks we start a new round for the BNE.
There are 16 new prize shops each round that donate on prize that they mail to a winner.
Each round there are 4 winners, who receive prizes from 4 different shops.

What do the prize shops get in return:
As much exposure as I can give them :) We have 4 BNR treasuries during the 2 week BNE round, and each prize shop is featured in two of them. The last 8 buyers after each BNR get carried over to the next BNR treasury. This has really helped us get buyers to join the treasuries and make purchases.

Every Tues & Thurs we have "Promotion Commotion" on the team. Who ever wants to join just has to list 2 items from their shop and promote the shop above them on the list. We just started this last week.

We just had the Secret Easter Bunny Swap. Now we are all waiting for our gifts and on the 22nd we can open them and post about what we got & who it's from on the team thread. This has been quite a bit of fun so far. Can't wait to hear about everyone's gifts!

It's Free and Easy to join the team - you don't have to make a purchase. If you want to meet a great bunch of shops, get a little help promoting, and get your shop out there - PLEASE come and join us :) If you would like to be a prize shop some time - just leave a comment here:
http://www.etsy.com/teams/7498/bne-buy-n-enter/discuss/6841881/.

Do you have a favorite team on Etsy? Or maybe some pointers for new shops on how to get out there and noticed.
 

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