Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Middle Tennessee Etsy Team Sale

Handmade Charm from TheMonkeyButtons
Becky, owner of TheMonkeyButtons, from Nashville TN, has been kind enough to organize a group of team members who are offering a 15% discount on handmade goods available online at She makes wineglass charms and kitchen accessories from vintage buttons. Other shops on the list offer other products, such as, candles, jewelry, knit goods, children's hats, and more- all made right here in Middle Tennessee!

So, do your Holiday shopping from home this year, while supporting Middle Tenness artisans. The coupon code is "TEAMBORO". Our team includes members from all over, however, we originated in Murfreesboro, TN. The team mission is to support buying local and share the wonderful treasures of Tennessee. This includes promoting artists, businesses, and farmers.

How does the team coupon work? Simple, you can shop at any of the stores on the list online at and enter the code "TEAMBORO" at the end of the checkout proceedure. Look for a box where you enter a discount code. 15% of your total (before shipping) will then be deducted from your order!

Shopping is easy, too, and you have several options. First, you can identify the stores who are offering the team discount and see if they have an Etsy Mini advertisement on the right sidebar of this blog. Just click and connect to the store you like! You can also go to the Etsy home page and search the handmade category for the keyword "teamboro", if you see an item you like from one of the stores listed in the team coupon, you can proceed to that shop and buy any item from that store and use the discount code.

Happy shopping! Remember, many team members offer custom designed orders and free local pickup. Send a message on Etsy prior to buying to make arrangements. Thank you, Becky, for designing this great printable postcard. She made it in an easy-to-print jpeg format so that participating shops can print out the coupons to include in orders or take to local craft shows. If you are not on the list of participating shops, contact Becky and see her wonderful handmade shop here:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No-Measuring Sugar-Free Fruit Dessert in Microwave

Mylana's Sugar-Free Easy Dessert
Today I am going to share with you my super-simple, go-to recipe for a deliciously easy fruit cobbler dessert that is cooks in minutes, with no measuring, in the microwave! I am a type 1 diabetic and I count carbs, so I use artificial sweetners to make mine; however, you can use regular sugar as well. This recipe is great for college students who want homemade taste with microwave speed.

What you need:
Fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned)

First, I take the fruit and put it in a microwave safe dish and fill it up halfway in an even layer. If the fruit is frozen, like the mixed berries I used for the one in the picture, microwave the fruit for 4-6 minutes until you can spread it with a spatuala. Next, sprinkle a layer of sweetner or sugar on top of the fruit. You can go light on the sweetner and add more after serving.

Next, in a separate bowl, pour out an amount of bisquick that looks like about half of the fruit. Add a small splash of milk and stir. Keep adding milk in tiny amounts until the mixture is clumpy, but still dry. Start with a small splash of oil and stir. You want it to form into one large dough ball with the consistency of pie crust. I don't measure when I add the liquid, but it is about 2 parts milk and 1 part oil.

Now, flatten the dough ball into a 1/2 inch thick slab. Break off dumpling sized chunks and drop them on top of the fruit, arranging them evenly around the dish. Do not stir.

Finally, microwave the dish and the pastry dumplings will cook along with the hot fruit layer. When you dish this out into individual portions, you will have flaky dough with warm sweet fruit. Add more sweetner after serving if desired. Allow dessert to cool before covering and storing in the refridgerator, otherwise, condensation will form from steam and make your dumplings soggy.

Microwave times for the dessert after adding duplings:
Large pan: 10 minutes
Med pan: 8 mins
Small pan: 6 mins

If the dessert is not done to your liking after the recommended time, cook in additional 2 minute increments until it is done.

A tasty variation of this for the holidays is to use cranberry sauce as the fruit with some cinnamon and nutmeg. If you use cranberry sauce, it has plenty of sugar added to it during the canning process, so skip the added sweetners.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Craft Show Checklist

Murfreesboro TN Nov. Craft Show
As I prepare for this upcoming craft show, I am making a list of things not to forget. It has been a long time since I last set up a table at a show to sell my wares, and in all the hustle and bustle to be prepared, there are quite a few things to double check. I am sure that I will forget something on the big day, but here is a quick rundown of some important items to remember.

-Change fund:
Do you have plenty of fives and singles to make change? Is there a bank or business nearby to help in a bind.

Do you have your tax rate figured out and built into the prices, along with any certificates or paperwork you might need to bring along.

Are they marked clearly on your items, or do you have clear signage that is easy to read? Customers are often timid about asking the prices, so having them clearly displayed will help sales.

-Shopping Bags:
Do you have appropriate size bags for the customers to fit the purchases? For bonus marketing, prepare some favor bundles, with your business card, coupons, and a small gift, such as a candy cane or product sample, and place these in the bags before the show. Your shoppers will now be able to find you for future gifts and have a pleasant memory of shopping with you. Many people have allergies, so non-food items, such as a tiny bag of crayons, or a handmade magnet, are good altenatives.

-Lunch and Bathroom Access:
You want to be busy all day selling, but there is bound to be some downtime to take care of your needs. Make sure to pack a lunch and beverages and locate the nearest restroom.

-Emergency Helper:
Have a friend or family member come with you if possible, or someone to call if you need to help or have a problem.

-Medicine, Cell Phone, Warm Jacket, First Aid Kit:
Be prepared for extreme weather situations and minor illnesses/injuries. Wet wipes, kleenex, and lip balm are also good to have on hand.

-Business Cards/Informational Handouts:
You are sure to have plenty of people browsing that are not prepared to buy, but make sure you have something to give out, so they can locate you online or at your next venue.

-Spare Inventory:
Do you have storage bins or room in your vehicle to bring extra items to sell, in case you have more business than expected?

-Reciept Book:
Do you have way to record your transactions so the customer can have a reciept?

-Friendly Smile!
Perhaps your most valuable marketing tool. Make sure to be attentive to the customers without hovering, and available for questions. Do not seem uninterestet or absorbed in texting with your phone or talking to a neighbor.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't Miss the Gift Local Event in Portland, Oct. 22nd

Thanks to MrsJenniferMartin of the TN Etsy team for putting together this informative post about a great upcoming local event!

Made by TrueSelfStudio
Made by MrsJenniferMartin
Name: Gift Local
Tagline: "Helping your hometown, one purchase at s time"
Cost: FREE admission and parking to public
Vendors for profit: 10x10 booth-$50, 10x15-$65, 10x20-$95
Vendors non-profit: 10x10 booth-$30, 10x15-$45, 10x20-$75
Electricity for whole day: $20
Vendor specific info.: rain or shine, outside area, elec. available, NO equipment/tables/chairs/tents provided, call with questions, email for application
Location: J&K Tractors Pavilion
122 Davis Street
Portland, TN 37148
Time: 9 am - 4 pm
When: Oct. 22nd
Why: To bring focus on the local community buying directly from local businesses prior to the holiday season. Also supporting The Senior Center and Relay for Life, two non-profits that will be there.

If we, as a community, can buy at least one gift for the holiday season directly from a local small business, the financial impact from the community would be enough to show a noticeable difference.

Look out for our event information in local area newspapers, The Tennessean online, on the local area banks' digital marquees, social media, and on WQKR as we participate in the ladies' roundtable discussion 4-5 pm on Tuesday afternoon!

We have 8 vendor spots left and are still accepting applications with the exception of the jewelry and monogramming categories. We will have live music and still have time slots available for musicians to play. We have a good mix of local artists and crafters, direct sales, and local brick and mortar represented. We have received an excellent response from our local community and hope to have a great turnout!

We have some team members participating: Joy Wolski (A Little Bit of Joy), Dottie Feinstein (True Self Studio), and Kellie Rendleman (Claire Bear Baby).

Also, we will have Sassy Sisters (a local boutique that does custom monogramming, vinyl, purses, gifts, and also supports select handmade work from the Portland, Tn area). Gastite, a local factory, is sponsoring the Relay for Life booth and will be selling coffee, hot chocolate, muffins, grilled cheese, and so much more! All proceeds from that booth benefit Relay for Life. Portland's own Senior Citizen Center will also have a booth and will sell baked goods and handmade crafts. Proceeds from their booth will go back to The Senior Center to help fund their annual budget.

Tupperware, Partylite, Lia Sophia, Dove Chocolates, and Plexus Slim are all companies that will be represented, as well.

Our event is also on

Contact info:
Jennifer Martin 615-339-6233
Dixie Hill 615-457-4352

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tennessee Photographers Fight Famine in Somalia

Susan Christiansen of Watertown, TN, and owner of Chick's Photography on is spearheading an effort to raise money to fight hunger in Somalia. She has gotten several area artists to contribute photos and had them printed on fine art note cards. What a great effort for a good cause! If you are interested, the cards are available here:

Let's take a look at some of the pictures!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rummage sales and Thrift Stores: A Crafter's Delight!

SewSadieBess Pattern
Everyone loves a good deal and if you also enjoy hunting for treasures, then you probably love yard sales and thrift shops; you never know what you will find! Half the pleasure is in the hunt for the good stuff, but it can be time consuming. Today, I will give you a few pointers of things you can look for at garage sales and secondhand stores that you can use for creating something new.

1) Vintage Sewing Patterns:
If you love to sew, you know how hard it is to find patterns in the cool, retro styles. Sometimes, you can get lucky and find patterns at yard sales. Want a pattern now, without waiting for the round of garage sales? Try Sew Sadie Bess from Middle Tennessee- she's done the seaching for you!

Ribbon from
2) Art Supplies and Crayons:
Paint, pastels, paper, scissors, picture frames, you can find all these and more if you look. Melting down crayons in a double boiler and pouring them in a silicone mold for recycled crayons is huge right now. You can get wood picture frames to paint and decorate for a personalized touch to your art.

3) Fabric and Ribbons:
Find any silk shirts? Do not pass these up! You can make recycled silk ribbons to decorate your gifts and art! You can also look for tablecloths, sheets, pillowcases and more to cut up and make something else or to embroider the pillowcases with your own designs. Look for clothing with interesting patterns to cut up for sachets.

4) Vintage Books and Magazines:
The possibilities are endless! You can make gift tags, wrap small packages, embed imaged in resin for jewelry, and use for collage and altered art. Vintage dictionaries and publication in different languages make for interesting design components. If you are into paper arts, you can incorporate the pages into handmade cards or use Mod Podge to decouphage the pages onto almost any surface.

Hot, hot, hot for jewelry makers. Harvest the keys to resell or use yourself.

Handmade candles
6)Glass Jars:
Great for organizing, candlemaking, and kitchen use. You can also make candle holders, gift jars with food recipes, cakes in a jar for gift giving, home made pickles and jab, and a million other things.

7) Hardaware:
 Everyone needs tools to assemble handmade creations.

Kitchen Aid Bakeware

8) Cooking and Baking Items:
If you like to play in the kitchen or make soap, cookware in good condition is always a must to search for. I found this pan for 3 dollars at a yard sale in Murfreesboro to use for soapmaking. I also look for double boilers for candlemaking.

9) Dolls and Doll Clothes:
You can harvest the parts of broken dolls if you make your own, or use the clothes to dress up a handmade doll. If you are very lucky, you might find a vintage collector's doll in good condition.

10) Vintage Clothing and Jewelry:
Even in poor shape, vintage clothes sometimes have buttons to harvest. The ones in better shape can be resold at a profit, or used in altered couture. Jewelry, can be taken apart to use in your own designs. Vintage pearls and lucite beads are very trendy.

11) Furniture:
Do you like to refinish and paint? Then keep your eye out for unique and well constructed items.

Whatever you find, make sure to have a good time while exploring and don't get frustrate if all you find is junk or high prices; keep smiling, grab a bite to eat at a local place, and have an adventure in Tennessee!

For those of you who live in Murfreesboro, I reccommend the All Things Possible Bargain Center on Northfield.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Etsy BNR and BNS Guide

Item in a BNR from MyMilkMoney of TN
Have you ever seen announcements for BNR or BNS on Etsy and wondered, "What the heck is this and why is everyone talking about it?". Today, I am going to give you a simple overview of the terms and procedures relating to these treasury games. It can be fun and exciting to play, while giving your items exposure; however, you do need to know what is going on, so that you can have fun and make a profit.

1) What is BNR and BNS?
These are Etsy treasuries made up of 16 featured items; the acronym stands for "buy and replace" or "buy and stay". Basically, you purchase an item from  the treasury and one of your items gets chosen to replace it. In the BNR, your item goes in immediately and stays until someone buys it, the buyer then replaces you. In the BNS, you have to wait until the next round for your item to go up, and it stays up for a set amount of sales, even if someone buys from your shop. Usually, you can buy anything from the featured shops, not just the item in the treasury for the sale to count.

Both games typically have a set amount of sales, or a goal, that will be tallied before the game closes. Normally, it is between 10-16 sales, but sometimes it is a set time period, like 4 hours. If it is a BNR, make sure you know what happens if your item does not sell. Will there be a carryover to another round? When does that start? In BNS, your item is up for the entire duration of a single round, whether it sells or not. When the round is over, the people who bought in replace the current featured shops. You can buy in on the next round if you make a sale.

Earrings by Tresures Seven of TN
2) What is the purpose of these games?

Exposure for your items, fun, and interactive shopping are all reasons to participate in the games; however, if you are a buyer only and do NOT have an etsy shop, your purchases will not count towards the sales goals, because you are not selling any items to replace the featured sellers...but, if you like to buy and do not have an etsy shop, these games offer some great discounts and bonuses- if you see a shop you like featured in one of these games, go check out the discussion for some great coupon codes.

Now, for the sellers, you can think of these games as paid advertising, since you usually have to buy something to get a spot. What you buy and the items you sell will play into the overall strategy of when to buy in and if it is a good idea. Most BNR games have a minimum price to buy in, 3 dollars is the norm. Buyers are going to want to purchase the lowest cost item they like in order to get in on the fun, so shops with items in the five dollar range are always popular and will usually make a sale. What about those of you with expensive items, would it be worth it to buy in, even if you don't make a sale? It just might be a great opportunity to get seen and get lots of hearts on your shop and items. These treasuries normally have very high views. You need to balance the money spent to get a spot vs the value of increased exposure and the risk of not making a sale.

3) How do the games work?

Each curator who hosts a game has slightly different rules, they can be found under treasury comments on page one. For example, here are the rules from one that will be happening soon, with members of the Tennessee Etsy team:

Flower Headband Courtesy of ALittleBitofJoy TN
"-Minimum purchase of $3 after coupons and before shipping.
-Call out shop name in CAPS, wait for ok
-Purchase any item from featured shops
-Post transaction link and item you would like listed."

Ok, so, in this game, you will need to spend at least 3 dollars to get in, before shipping and call out the shop name. "Calling Out" means asking permission before buying from a certain spot to make sure that no one else is shopping at the same time. That would lead to a problematic situation where there would not be room in the treasury if different people bought from the same shop at the same time.

When you call out, normally it is in caps and would be worded like this, "May I shop ALITTLEBITOFJOY please?" After asking, wait a few minutes and check for a reply in the treasury comments saying that you are OK to shop, or sorry, someone else called it first and you need to pick another seller. Once you get the all clear to shop, you can then proceed to buy from that seller's store and choose from anything in the shop, not just the featured item.

Every curator has different rules, make sure to read them before making a purchase. Ask questions if you are confused. Most curators welcome newbies and encourage them to participate.

4) What happens after you buy an item?

When your purchase is complete, go to the details of your order and copy and paste the tranaction ID number and the name of the shop in the treasury comments. The transaction ID, proves that you did purchase an item and will get a place in the game. Again, please type the name of the shop in caps, so the hostess can easily see it.

Some curators allow you to chose the item you want featured and some will not. Many curators have a color or seasonal theme that they would like to follow. If you get to chose an item to feature, you could choose one with your best photograph or a lower priced item. Go with your best photograph if you want to show off your best, choose an inexpensive item if your goal is to make a quick sale.

Soy Candles I Made for a BNR (Mylana)
If the treasury is a BNR, your item should be featured after your post the transaction ID of your purchase, but give the hostess some time to do this- some of these games move VERY fast and get hundreds of views.

5) What are some tips and tricks to participating in the games?

-Join a team like BNRAddicts to ask questions and look for the hottest treasuries

-Watch your money, it is easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement; I advise only buying in a spot after you have made a sale yourself and for the same amount or less than you spent to get in, remember, the idea is for you to shop, have fun, and make money. Don't waste too much money buying into multiple games at once or buying multiple things before you make sales for your own shop.

-Be courteous when promoting the BNR treasuries. Most teams have a dedicated promotion thread for these. I would not recommend directly sending convos to people to promote your BNR unless they are featured in it or you are a team leader of a BNR team, this could be considered spam. You can always post the link to the BNR on facebook or twitter too.

-Always ask questions if you are confused!

-Create a coupon code for your shop to promote while you are being featured.

-Be sure to note how long the round lasts and what will happen if your item does not sell. Sometimes you will carry over to the next round, and sometimes not making a sale is a risk you take.

-Add the BNR you are in to your favorite treasuries.