Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wake Me When It's Over

Wedding anniversary
Husband’s Birthday
Son’s Birthday
Clean up aftermath of anniversary, Husband’s birthday, Son’s birthday
Write Thank You notes

Obligatory vacation “Home”
Clean up aftermath of Obligatory vacation “Home”
Halloween costumes
Clean up mess from making Halloween costumes

Start extended “holiday hours” at retail job
Freshen up spare room for house guests
Thanksgiving dinner
Black Friday
Decorate for holidays

Make 50# of English Toffee
Package and ship 50# of English Toffee
Daughter’s Birthday
Write Thank You notes
Father’s Birthday
Finish Christmas Shopping
Package and ship Christmas gifts
15th annual Holiday Brunch

I'll be napping on the sofa. Somebody wake me when it’s over.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts -- UPDATED

I started this blog as a means of relaying information about the natural products I make for my Teddy Started It Etsy shop, and to encourage others to seek wellness and remedies from Mother Nature’s pharmacy rather than from the local drug store. I stray from that goal periodically. But hey! It’s my blog and I can do with it what I will. Well, today’s one of those days that I’m in the mood to stray. So I’m taking a busman’s holiday.

Today I’m wearing my FlutterbyGirly hat. FlutterbyGirly is my other Etsy shop. It’s my creative outlet. The shop is primarily populated with my Penny Pendants. I love making them and I love wearing a different one almost every day. I’m working on some new inventory, sprucing up the photography of my existing inventory, and promoting the shop. The holidays are coming and I think these little pretties make great gifts. Each one comes ready to give in a tiny gift-tin. I need to sell some so I can justify making some more!

I’ve set a lofty goal of selling 100 pendants before the end of the year. (YIKES!! OK, it’s real now…I’ve gone and made my goal public. Breath girl, breath.) I’m hoping you all will help me with that goal. Hence, the give away.

Here are the specifics:

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment here with your favorite pendant.

Now for the extra credit:

* 1 extra entry - mention this give away in your blog (leave a comment w/a link please)

* 1 extra entry - tweet about this contest or an item in the shop -- with links, of course (include @teddystartedit so I can find your tweets)

* 5 extra entries - purchase something from the shop - leave me a comment telling me what you purchased. This includes custom orders as well. I'll set up a reserved listing for you and then we'll work out the details of the project privately.

Keep checking the shop. I’ve got dozens of pendants that I’ll be listing in the next few days, so the inventory will be growing and growing.

This contest is open to everyone regardless of location. I will pick the winner using a random number generator. It closes at midnight EST on September 30th.

Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bear Hugs: WireDreamsDesigns

A while back I was talking about starting a Customer Appreciation Feature…well, here’s my first installment. Meet WireDreamsDesign. She bought a bottle of my Bzzz Off! insect repellent back in July and she was the first to respond to my solicitation for participants in this feature. So, she gets to go first.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm originally from Texas but now live in Florida with my husband of 10 years and my son who is 2 1/2. I more than make up for the fact that my husband has no real hobbies because I frequently take over half our dining room table to work and have two shelves of nothing but yarn. I’m slowly working on taking over the garage with my kiln and a workspace set up to do lampwork glass beads.

I read in your profile that you’ve always been a rock/mineral collector. What was your 1st exposure to wire wrapping and did you instantly connect this art form to your hobby?

I was first exposed to wire work while looking for something Celtic for a friend. While searching, I came across a site that did wire wrapped jewelry. I bought two ear cuffs and a beautiful moonstone pendant. I was intrigued after that and started looking for references and supplies on how to do it.

I like how your love of one thing led to the love of something new. Do you make pieces out of favorite rocks/minerals from your personal collection? And if so, does your heart break a little each time you sell one?

My personal collection is comprised mainly of specimen-type pieces that are too large to make jewelry out of. Even if I could make jewelry out of them they are stones I picked because I was drawn to them, I couldn't sell them. I do tend to lean toward my favorite type of stones when picking out pieces for jewelry, like labradorite. It is my absolute favorite to work with. I will admit I have had a few pendants that I was a bit sad to see go because I really loved how they turned out.

I like many of the items in your shop, but right now I’d say “Down by the Sea” is my favorite – probably because it's the end of summer and I’m an East Coast girl living in land-locked Dallas. What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment and why?

Currently [the] larimar pendant [pictured at the beginning of this post] is my favorite. Larimar is another favorite stone of mine just because of the different shades of blue it can have. The bright blue color in this stone is absolutely amazing. {Sorry folks, this one sold before I got this post up, but check this one out. It’s beautiful and available…at the moment.}

You have a pretty successful Etsy shop. What secrets of your success would you like to share?

I have no secrets. Maybe it's just luck or people looking for something different when searching on Etsy. I do no real outside advertising other than a main showcase on Etsy here and there of which I have had sales from or people that have seen something then and came back later to buy.

What’s been your best moment since you started selling your wares?

A best moment is hard there are so many. I guess for me it's when you get a repeat customer. To know someone likes your work so much they want to add another piece to their collection. I haven't had anything really catastrophic happen since I've started.

Share something about yourself that most people (at least in your public life) don’t know or some other interesting tidbit/funny story/etc.

I was totally a geek in high school. Every Friday night was spent playing Dungeon & Dragons or a card game called Magic the Gathering. I also collected comic books (and still do) and I would love to go to Comic Con in San Diego one day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Big Goodby Project (part 2): Photo Albums the Hard Way -or- "I Can Do That!"

OK, the kids and I made those fabulous Goodbye Bags for our friends that were moving back to Germany (The Big Goodbye Project). Now we just had to fill them full of great stuff. Dallas to Frankfurt is a long flight for anyone, but it’s especially long when your 3 years old…or 5 years old…or the mother of a 3 year old & a 5 year old. So I wanted to fill the kids’ bags with fun stuff to do on the plane. Here’s what went inside each bag:

Bandana: What could be more Texan than a bandana? OK, cowboy hats and boots – the kids already had them; an armadillo – taking live animals out of the country can be such a hassle; a gun – NOT on the TSA approved list of carry on items (party poopers).

Postcard kit: note cards, pre-addressed envelopes, colored paper, TSA-approved kid scissors (yes, you can take scissors on a plane now as long as they’re the right kind), and glue sticks. The idea was to cut the colored paper and pages out of magazines, glue them onto the note cards and mail them to us when they got to their destination. My kids will play with scissors forever. Sure, it makes a bit of a papery mess, but it’s easy to clean up. And let’s face it, if it keeps a kid occupied on a plane, who cares if there are a few paper scraps on the floor, right?!

Paintboxes: WHAT?!? Yes, paint. Before our last trip, I picked up these great Crayola Watercolors. No fuss, no muss! No spilling, no dripping, easy clean up. Everything snaps into place so there aren't a bunch of little parts to keep track of and nothing's rolling off the tray table. My kids love them and so do I. You can get some really cool effects with them. Crayola's got a video demonstration on their website. I think I got them for $4 at Target.

Photo Albums: My intention was to find a small photo book for each of the kids and then fill it with pictures of them having fun with us. However, with the advent of scrapbooking, it seems the simple little photo album has gone the way of the typewriter. I couldn’t find anything cute and small. No problem! “I can do that!!” I’ll just whip one up…

or two… or three (mom needed one in her bag too.) What a ridiculous idea that was!!

Let’s get one thing straight, I’m no scrapbooker. I’ve tried, but I just don’t have it in me. I think the whole idea is just too overwhelming for me. I’m not a multi-day project kinda girl. If I know I can’t finish something in a day, I don’t even want to start. But oh Lawdy! Those scrapbooking aisles at the craft stores are like crack! I gotta have it, I gotta have it, I gotta have it!!

Of course, I couldn’t find a pre-made book that I liked that was small enough to fit into the kid’s bags. So, I decided to make the book covers too. (“I can do that!”) Not only did I spend hours and hours creating something way to fancy-schmancy for a kid, but I picked up a new hobby…bookbinding. Like I need another hobby!!!! I thought the husband was going to kill me – especially as I was sewing the bindings in the car on the way to our goodbye dinner. (Yes, I am that kind of ridiculous!) In the end, I think the books turned out very nicely. I’m sure they’re all torn up now, but they had the personal touch I was going for. It was definitely NOT the easiest way to put together a photo album. Gee...I think I'll make one for everybody for Christmas.