Monday, September 24, 2012

SEW! busy!

Just a quick note--- I've been so busy keeping up with orders, I haven't had a chance to write for the blog!

Soon I hope to have a tutorial for Duplicate Stitch, a review for the Addi Express Kingsize knitting machine, and more Friday Five posts!

In the meantime, this is what I'm drooling over.......

Sock Knitting Machine from

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weekly Roundup!

Sooooooooooo... What have I been up to besides letting my blog go dead for a couple of weeks?

Sewing.  Embroidering.  Enjoying my first week with the boys in school and a quiet house, and getting whatever I want done during the day.  :)

I've been stitching sweaters:
Custom Harry Potter Sweater!  SewEcological $100
Hermoine Hoodie SewEcological $80

I've been knitting:

Beehive Beanie SewEcological $40

And I've been packing orders and mailing them out!!!!!  :)  Life is good.

See you on Wednesday for a tutorial!  Want to learn duplicate stitch?  I'll show you how!


Friday, September 7, 2012

The Friday Five! This week: Fun Fan Gear!

Okay, for this week's Friday Five, I've decided that I must show off my inner geek....  Oh who am I kidding.. It's not hidden at ALL.  I'm geekerific.  5 Shows.  5 Shops.  COOL stuff.

1.  Show #1.  I'm currently OBSESSED with Dr. Who.  I even found out that there is a name for Who fans: Whovians.  *faints*  TOO cool.  And what better way to show off how much you love the show than to drink your tea out of THIS every day?

River Song Teacup - from GeekDetails
 2.  Show #2.  Before there was the Doctor, there was Spock.  I sat and watched all 80 episodes of the original Star Trek, and devoured the original movies.  I'm in LOVE with Spock.  I hope to meet the Doctor, and ask him to take me back in time in his Tardis to meet Leonard Nimoy when he was young enough to date ME.  I'm a big fan of these name t-shirts.....  This is my favorite Trekkie one....

Original Crew Tee by NameTShirts

3.  Show #3.  Supernatural.  When I first sat down to watch it, it was because of the CAR.  A black and chrome 1967 Impala.  She drew me in.  Jenson Ackles made me stay.  *swoon*  We have the same birthday (the same YEAR, same DAY, everything.)  So I know we are meant to hang out and have a bacon cheeseburger together someday.  I LOVE the Dean character......but I still love the car MORE.

Dean's Quote Necklace by TheGeekStudio

4. Show #4.  True Blood.  I know, I know.  The main character is mostly annoying, the storylines don't follow the novels (I read all of Charlaine Harris's books-- she has GREAT talent for writing addicting guilty pleasure type series.. check out her other ones.)  But knowing full well that the stories are going to be something new each time is kind of fun.  Mind you, I don't want to be a vampire or anything.  But shapeshifting? has it's advantages, I bet.

Merlotte's Patch from LizMiera

5.  Well, I CAN'T let a fan gear post go by without a TINY bit of self promotion.  My Weasley sweaters have been taking OFF on etsy, and I'm so proud of the gorgeous little handstitched things.

Me modeling!  my very own creation.  SewEcological

So there you have it.  My guilty viewing pleasures.  Mind you, I still get plenty of REAL intellectual geeky simulation.  My current reading/researching obsession?  Ancient Greece.  I'm reading this book right now:

And I just finished this one:

And this one:

I think Herodotus's histories is next.  :)

See you next week for the Friday Five!!!!!!!! :)


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Wednesday Tutorial - Your first sewing project!

Okay, so everyone needs a circle scarf!!  How about you *gasp* sew your own?????  If you have a sewing machine lying around, it's time to use it!!!  Really.  You don't have to cut anything.  You're going to sew 2 straight lines, and be DONE.

What you'll end up with?

What you'll need:
1 yard of fabric - for this project, I've used quilting weight cotton in a fun print!
A sewing machine - see instructions for how to thread that thing!

So, here goes.

Step 1:  Iron fabric.  Unless you want it to be wrinkly.  (I don't)
Step 2: Fold fabric in half the long way-- your goal is to have a longer piece.  Fold it both ways, and see which way is longer.  MAKE SURE THE RIGHT SIDE IS FACING EACHOTHER.

Like this:

Step 3:  Sew along the raw edges of the fabric -- keep that sewing foot the same distance from the edge of the fabric at all times, and you'll have a straight long line, and an inside out tube.

Like this:

Step 4:Turn the long tube right side out.  Iron again.
Step 5: Fold in one end of the tube about 1/2", and iron that edge.

Like this:

Step 6: Tuck the other raw edge of the tube INSIDE the folded edge, about 1/2 - 1" of fabric.  For this type of circle scarf, I don't "twist" the fabric, but you are welcome to do so!  Pin the tucked fabric inside the folded end.

Like this:

Step 7:  Sew a straight line across the tucked edge.  You are DONE.

In 10-15 minutes max, you've sewn your very first fashion accessory!!!!!!!

Now, if you're feeling fun, start sewing things onto the fabric before you sew the tube, and you'll have embellished scarves!

Have fun!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Friday Five - Back to School on Etsy

Sorry this is a day late!  I was not feeling too hot yesterday...

So, without further delay!!!!!

Etsy has so many fun "Back to School" items for kids on the site, that I had to share just a few!!

Here are my favorite picks for the Friday Five:

1.  "Glamour Shoes".  What little girl or guy would NOT want these? 
Shoes from

2.  Lunchbox Notes.  I love to tuck these in with the boys' lunches for the first few weeks....

Notes from

3.  Kids need jewelry too!!  I wish I had a little girl to give this to on the first day of school!

Ring from

4.  A Pencil Case.  Who says you need to buy a plastic piece -o- junk at the dollar store?  THIS is something my boys would be proud to take to school on day 1.

Zippered Case from

5.  And you NEED these.  I'm telling you--- they are indispensable.  I bought 6 last year, and still use them all the time! 

Reusable Sandwich Bags from

So, there is MY favorite back to school finds for the kiddos!  Enjoy your week, and have fun getting those little ones ready for school!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Week in Review......

So... this is my first "Week in Review".  I've set my goal of updating the blog three times per week, or else I just "let it go" sometimes for months!!!

So, what I've been up to this week......


1.  Dancing. I've had the best sales week EVER on etsy.  I've almost surpassed my MONTHLY goal for August (which I thought was aiming too high, btw,) and it's only the 11th!!!!!!!  Mark me down as "Surpassing my Teaching Salary" please!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

2.Sticking to my task list.  I strongly believe this is one of the reasons for my success.  I'm making sure to take the time not only to create my goods to sell on etsy, but also to promote, discover marketing ideas, research, and tweak current listings.

3.  Embroidering for SewEcological.  My Harry Potter Sweaters have sold like gangbusters this week.  8 so far, with many messages flying back and forth to customers about what they are thinking about ordering.  I think the fact that I've upgraded to a higher quality sweater (from Land's End or Woolovers) has really pushed the fact that this is the best quality you can buy!

Ready to Ship in my shop!
4.  Sewing for SewEcological.  I had the fun idea of sewing old boy scout patches onto cotton and corduroy this week, after researching on Google Adwords (tutorial here) that Hipsters search for scarves on a regular and high traffic basis.  Aren't they fun?

Cadet Blue Cordurory "Hipster" Scarf

Red Cotton "Hipster" Scarf

5.  Listing and working on SEO for Rotifera.  I made bunches of earrings, hair clips, and hair combs this week, as they seem to be taking off!  I also created links within all my matching listings for easier shopping for the customer!

Button Earrings!
Threaded Hair Combs!

 6.  And finally...... I've been spending loads of time packing orders, making promotional goodies, marketing on facebook (SewEco on FB , Rotifera on FB), and just enjoying the fact that my decision to go to work full time for myself, and quit the world of public school teaching is PAYING OFF!!!!!!!!!!

Right now, I'm the happiest gal on the planet we call Earth.  (I HAVE been watching a lot of Star Trek....)

Live Long and Prosper, Ya'll!


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Friday Five : Etsy Finds!

It's time for the first ever: FRIDAY FIVE!!!!!!!!

Every week, I'll find five things you MUST see online.  This week, I'd like to feature 5 Etsy shops that I adore. 

1.  -- I can't say enough about how much I love this shop.  I'm a proud owner of many of her hair bows, barrettes, and a lovely little zipper wallet.  Isn't her photography top notch?  And all her little items arrive in a handsewn paper bag.  TOO cute!

Felt Hair Barrettes
2. --  BEST. SOAP. EVER.  No matter how many bars I buy (and I buy them all...), I am always SO excited to open it, smell it, wash my hands with it.  There are at least a dozen bars of them in my bathroom, all arranged to look inviting for guests....

Vegan Friendly Soap

3. --  I ♥ her shop with all my heart.  Every time a new design comes out, I pine for it.  And with a dozen or more of her soft, sweet t-shirts, sweatshirts, and scarves in my closet, I always have something fun and unique to wear.

Jane Austen T.
4. -- Can you imagine the time and expertise that goes into her art?  As if the magnificient papercut work isn't enough, she also hand calligraphies everything.  Amazing.  Truly.

Handcut Ketubah

5. -- As a reading JUNKIE, I just can't stop looking through this shop.  I received 1 print as a gift from a friend, and as soon as I finish my office makeover, I plan to buy tons of these to place all over the room....

Walt Whitman Print

So there it is!  The Friday Five for this week!  Enjoy, and go get lost in those amazing shops!!!!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Wednesday Tutorial: SEO and your Etsy Shop.

So, I am constantly struggling with keeping my "SEO", or search engine optimization current.  As trends change, so too must I make sure that my accessories change with the times. 

Am I a snood?  A cowl?  An infinity scarf? Help!  I'm confused!

One example is "snood".  What the heck is a snood????? Well.......that's difficult to explain.  A snood USED to mean a head covering--- think of those giant crochet hairnet-type things.  Now, a cowl is a snood.  A cowl is an infinity scarf.  An infinity scarf is a circle scarf.  Confused yet?  Me too.  But since I carry so many of these types of designs in my shop--- I MUST figure out how to get buyers in there!   And even more importantly--- the "Snood" is being hyped as the "it" accessory for fall.  Do I change with the times?  Heck YA I do!

Enter SEO.  You want to figure out who is searching for what.  You want to know at what rate people are searching.  You want to know exactly how to describe your listings.  SEO <------an acronym for a fancy term that means "get people to see my shop when they search."  Now, I am by NO MEANS an expert.  But I have learned a few handy tricks, and I'd love to share them with you!

First trick:  RESEARCH.  If you're offering a product, you better hope people WANT your product.  The way I keep current is by checking out fashion accessories trends once a week.  Sometimes it's the same for weeks, but more often than not-- new ideas for "what's hot" come out every few minutes.

Second trick: GOOGLE ADWORDS KEYWORD TOOL.  This will help you choose your title for maximum search hits from google.
1.  You'll need a google account for this.  They are free, so if you don't already have one, sign up.
2.  Go to the Google Adwords site.Open the "Keyword Tool" Under the "Tools and Analysis" tab:

You can click on this to expand the photo....

3.  Enter "comparative search terms" in the box.  You can list as many as you like.  I'll try out some terms for this item from Rotifera:

Hair Comb-- WHAT are folks typing in that search bar?
Type in whatever you THINK people might type in to search for your item.  One search term per line.  Click "SEARCH"
4.  Now--- you'll find search terms listed below.  The tool will tell you the relative competativeness between you and other sellers if you choose that term.  It will tell you how many searches are being performed for which terms.  I like to shoot somewhere between 100 and 1500 searches.  Now, this is where the guesswork comes in.  You want to be in a category with alot of searches... but not so many that you'll be outcompeted by 10,000's of other items.  You want to use a term with a lower level of competition, if possible.  The "ideal" is to have a "low" competition, but a 100-1500 searches.  That seems to be the golden  mean for me and receiving hits from google.

Here are my results.......  which would YOU choose?

Well.........  I can't rightly choose "bridal", "flowers", "rhinestone", or "crystal" or "feather".  That leaves me with "plastic" or "decorative".  I see that they ALL have a high level of competition.  But they also have a great number within my golden mean..... so I would choose the one that best fits my item.  I think I'll go with "Decorative Hair Comb". 

5.  You can then click on the term you like, and do a google search using those terms.  You can click on "insight" to see data about the search term.  Play with it. 

6.  Now--- you've entered your product, and found what you believe to be the perfect term.  You change your title.......and wait.  This is the hard part.  You have to check your stats.  You have to determine if you've made the right gamble.  Sometimes you win BIG, and sometimes you lose.  For example, I've found that "hair accessories" is my top search term for anything in the Rotifera shop.  So I usually include that in the title, if not the first three words.  But THOSE FIRST THREE WORDS are the MOST important.

Now--- this is JUST an introduction into the mysterious world of SEO.  Your categories, shop announcement, and descriptions and tags all come into play too.  But I find that one change at a time is the best way to go, and this is the change that I find I get the most "bang for my buck", as far as time is concerned.  Once you've nailed this part, explore more about SEO online.  There are a plentitude of websites to search and learn... Here are just a few!

1.  Etsy Article:
2.  Biz Ladies:
3.  Impossibly Alice:

So!  Best of luck!!!  Now Go!  Go!  Improve your SEO!  *shakes pompoms*

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Etsy Self Employment Weekly Task List

Trying to find balance........

I needed to get a weekly checklist/schedule together.......  Between the housework, yardwork, and keeping relevant on etsy, I found some areas were being ignored..  So I'm setting a semi-rigid task list for each week. Of course I plan on assessing and reassessing as time goes by.....

I've also included the things that I've been putting off because I never "have time".  So I've set aside time for those "big projects" like cleaning out closets, digging a drainage tile around the house, cleaning out the basement, painting.....things like that.

So, here it is... keep in mind that this is just MY task list.  Yours will be much different depending on your workload and possible projects.  But I thought I'd share it as a jumping off point for someone thinking about what needs to get done... and time management for an independent business owner who works online and from home.

Weekly Task List
1. Package all open orders for Monday shipment.
2. Make and list items for SewEco
3. Research trends in accessories fashion
...........a. Anthropologie
............b. Vogue
............c. Marie Claire
............d. Etsy

1. Ship out orders
2. Make and list for Rotifera
3. Edit and retake photos
4. ((Housecleaning))

1. Check Supplies stock
2. Bookkeeping on Metricorn
3. ((Yardwork))

1. Make and list for Rotifera
2. SEO work
3. Blog Post-tutorial
4. ((Declutter/Organize OR Home Improvement Project))

1. Nonteam Treasury
2. Package all orders for Friday shipment
3. Make and list for SewEco
4. Knit for Historical knits

1. All teams- participation/treasuries
2. Ship out orders
3. Make and List for SewEco
4. Blog Post- Weekly Round Up

1. Clean/Organize Supplies and Stock
2. Edit listings
3. Blog Post : What I'm up to
4. ((Yardwork))

Yardwork::: Trim hedges, mow yard, yard cleanup, burnpile, weeding, planting, digging/plotting, landscaping, compost turning

Home Improvement::: Drainage Tile, Gutters, roof, carpet cleaning, painting, floor in bathroom, kitchen floor, cleaning out basement, waterproofing basement, light fixtures, smoke detectors, decopage boy’s dresser

Declutter/Organize::: All closets, all cabinets, laundry room, supplies, office, bookshelves, garage, shed, kitchen, bathroom, boys room, bedroom, knitting supplies

****work out for 1 hour each morning except Sunday. Heavy yardwork may substitute.
****Possibly take Saturday completely OFF twice/month. I may need it. Assess and Reassess.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Make an Etsy Banner using!!

I like to make my own banners for my etsy shops..... and thought I'd post a tutorial on how to do so--- it's VERY easy!!!

So, you can start out with a picture of a listing from your shop, and end up with something like this:

OR, you can start with a blank palette, and end up with something like this:

I'll show you how to begin--- You'll need mousepaint, and access the picmonkey website.  (100% free)

1. Open a photo in mousepaint.  (for the blank option, you won't need to-- just open paint.)
Your photo will be too large.  You'll have to shrink it using the "stretch-skew" option under "image".  I like to start at about 24% of my original listing size.  Your goal is to get it to 100 pixels in height.  You can always click "undo" under edit to start over if your guess isn't right.  

Step 1: Using Stretch/Skew to get the photo down to size for a banner (100)

If your stretch/skew doesn't get it there, you can shorten it using the mouse and clicking on the box around the image and dragging it to the correct height of 100 pixels:

Step 1: Stretching using mouse drag.

2.  Next, you want to use the mouse again--- drag the width to 750 pixels.  Be aware that you are also correcting height when you do this.  Get as close as you can to 750 pixels--- that is the recommended etsy size!  Your banner should look like this:

Step 2: Stretching to the correct width of 750 pixels using mouse drag.

3.  Save this image--- this is the photo you'll upload to

4.  Open Pickmonkey and upload your new blank banner.....You'll choose "Edit a Photo" from the left side of the screen, choose your saved photo of a blank banner, and it will open for editing:

Step 4: Opening saved photo under the "edit" option in picmonkey.

5.  Add text to your banner!  Choose the "P" on the left hand side, and enter the text you'd like.  You can try out different fonts too!  Click "ADD" once you've typed it in.  It won't fit at first--- you'll have to drag the mouse to make the text fit, and choose the color you'd like the text to be.

Step 5: Adding text to the banner in picmonkey.

6.  Once you've added one text box, you can add another, if you like! 

Step 6:  Adding more text.  You can center and move the text around by grabbing the whole box with the mouse!

7.  Optional::: Want a colored background for the banner instead of white?  Choose the "overlay" option (they look like little stickers).  Add a rectangle, and choose the color you'd like the background to be:

Step 7: Add a colored rectangle overlay.

Now--- using the mouse, stretch that box to cover all your text, and right-click on it.  Click "send to back". 

Step 7: Adding the colored rectangle to the background.

You should end up with something like this.  You can always change the color, position, or just click undo to remove that sucker!

Step 7: Your colored box in the background.

8.  Now, you can save here, or explore the site to add stickers, effects, and other fun stuff.  Explore those options, and have fun with it!!!!!!  Don't forget to save as a jpg file!

Here are a few banners I've made this week.....You can make them for special occasions, sales, anything!

Have questions?  Post them here!  I hope I've been helpful in spiffing up your etsy shop!