Friday, April 27, 2012

Teamboro April Meetup: The Faces Behind the Shops

April Meetup At Hastings

Before we get to the news, let's introduce everyone who could make it to Hastings for the April meetup. We will have another one in May. I (Clare from the shop Mylana) took the picture, so I am not in it. We have from left to right:

Samantha of CharmingKnits:
Hats, Felted Baskets, Fingerless Gloves

Becky of TheMonkeyButtons:
Wine Charms, Chemical Magnets, Vintage Buttons, Amino Acid Pillows (coming soon)

Nichole of BluPoppyStudio:
Sterling Silver and Gemstone Jewelry, Fused Glass

Hise of Tomoandedie:
Brooches, Hair Accessories, Kindle Cases, Other Goods From Vintage Kimono Fabric

Rey of Zadzukki:
Knit Goods, Button Earrings, Bird Toys

Clare of Mylana (is taking the picture)
Soap, Candles, Jewelry, Cards

Now for the news and minutes:

- Blog
Want your shop featured in the blog or a free etsy mini ad? Follow the blog today and convo me to have your shop featured!

For a free ad, go to your account-> promote -> etsy mini -> thumbnails -> 2 x 2 option. Copy and paste the entire javascript code to me.

-Blog =

Like us on facebook:

You can use the team facebook to promote one new listing of yours a week, any treasuries, sales or promotions, articles of local interest, and announcement of craft fairs. Just keep listing and sale promotions to once a week, but feel free to use it.

-Local Craft Fairs
Hear about any? Let us know here and on FB!

-Team Tag
The team tag is TEAMBORO. We did not have a big enough vote to change it. Use this tag for your items or to label your treasuries.

-Team Treasury Challenge
Will remain every 2 weeks, please play!

-Team Meetup
We will have one in May on a Weekend. Please post suggestions for dates. Tomoandedie wants to get a mom's get together scheduled for a M'boro area park.

-Etsy Policy Changes
You must declare in your profile if you have any shop helpers, assistants, or employees. This includes help from family/husband/kids/wife. If you make all of your items yourself, tell a bit about your process in your profile.

-Need a shop critique?
Just ask in the discussion on the team boards!

-Cool local places to visit
The Art Barn and Moxie Art Studios in Murfreesboro for classes, supplies, art exhibits, live music and more!

Remember to shop local!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Etsy Shop Marketing: Treasury Teams and Treasury Games

Sample Etsy Treasury Item
Are you struggling to keep views up in your shop and increase exposure? If you need a little boost in traffic to your shop, consider joining a treasury team or playing the treasury challenge games hosted by certain teams. As I am writing this, the Middle Tennessee Etsy Team is hosting a treasury challenge game, featuring Amy Averitte from fAveritte Creations as the featured shop. Being the winner is a big payoff for this Etsy shop; her pillow will now be in every treasury for this challenge!

fAverrite Creations Pillow

First, what are some of the benefits to making treasuries and participating in the challenges?

Number one, it is good for you and the team. You look like a team player and get exposure within your team for making the treasury. Then, you can get even more exposure for your shop if your treasury gets hot or makes the front page. Everyone will want to see who made such an interesting collection. You also could win the challenge and have your item featured in the next round. Finally, you get to use the team tag. The team tag is a very under-utilized tool to be found in search. Often, team members will tag some items with the team tag (ours is Teamboro in honor of our beginnings in Murfreesboro, TN) and use that team tag as a search term when finding items to include in a treasury or when promoting shop local.

Personally, every time I make a treasury, it increases my shop views by 10-20 a day and I have people add me to their circle. All great for more exposure! Furthermore, it gives you material to post on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, that makes you look like an active shop owner, while also being non-spammy. Sometimes, I will convo people telling them if they have been treasuried, but I find it in bad taste to ask them to follow me on Facebook or share the treasury with friends. I like keeping treasury convos simple and straightforward, praise for the item and a link to the treasury.

So, how to get started playing the games? Easy, just look in your teams for treasury game discussions or search under the teams category for treasury teams. You make have to apply for them. Most teams that host game do it every 1-2 weeks and each one has different rules.

Here is some advice for making treasuries:
-NEVER include your own items. This disqualifies you from making the front page.
-Search for and install Schmetzy tools. It is a pack of 3 apps for treasury making.
-Try to include items from a variety of categories, jewelry, books, clothing, furniture, etc.
-Use your team tag to search for items to put in a treasury.
-Do not comment more than once on any treasury. This lowers the rankings on the "hotness" list.
-Celebrate the unusual and include items and themes that will make your treasury stand out.
-Have fun and don't stress about finding the perfect item to finish off your treasury. You can always make a new one!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, Prime Your Wicks! How To Use Unprimed Wick

LX 12 Wicks Cut For Votives
Wick Soaking In Melted Wax

Candle makers, you have probably noticed the savings in buying unprimed, spooled wick versus purchasing the primed and tabbed variety. Wicks are expensive! In this post, I will show you how to prime your wick for candle making. Primed wick is much easier to work with, because it is coated with a stiff wax to keep the wick upright while pouring your candle.

-umprimed wick
-high melt point wax (140 MP or higher)
-wick tabs
Step 1)
Melt the wax for the outer coating using a melting pot or a double boiler, never on direct heat.

Step 2)
Cut the wick into 2 or 3 foot sections and add it to the melted wax. Stir it up and make sure the wick is fully submerged.

Step 3)
Using a tongs or skewer, remove the wick, one strand at a time from the vat of hot wax. Be careful about drips and burns.

Step 4)
Working quickly, straighten the length of wick and let it dry on a piece of tin foil. You will have about 2 minutes to work before it fully hardens.

Step 5)
Trim wick to desired length and assemble the wick base.

Happy candle making! One note about the procedure is that I have decided it is far more economical to buy wicks that are primed and assembled. The cost savings in buying the unprimed wick is overshadowed by the time it takes to prime and assemble the wicks. Some wicks types are only available unprimed, such as the Crafty Candles brand at Hobby Lobby and other specialty wicks.

Removing The Wick
The Wick Is Dried and Straight

Assembling The Wick Base

Quick Crafts: Felt Cat Toys With Catnip

Hey, Blue Eyes, Whatcha Got?
During one of my recent blog posts, I discussed a fun class I attended about using craft felt. My project was supposed to be a cup cozy, until demon face got a hold of it. At that point, I surrendered. It had now become HIS toy, not mine.

Since he is so cute, I promptly forgave him for biting up my project, but I had some extra craft felt of my own and I found some catnip at Walmart in their new dollar section. This got me thinking about making my own kitty toys. I bought the catnip and headed home on the bus to see what I could do.

(Disclaimer: I despise Walmart and hate shopping there, please look on Etsy for organic catnip or grow your own).
This Is Some Good Exercise!

While at the craft class, I learned to sew with embroidery thread. Although my novice stitches looked comical, they held up and were sturdy. Unfortunately, I didn't have any thread, thus, sewing my project was not an option. I decided to simply put the catnip inside the craft felt and roll it up, like a jelly roll. When I go to the end, I applied some E6000 craft adhesive and tied the ends shut with wide strips of cotton.

After a letting it dry for 2 days, I tested it out. Pepper declares that this is a good toy! He likes the catnip and the toy is really holding up through some rough play. The E6000 is not coming loose, and no catnip has spilled out.

So, if you have some felt, why not create some toys for your furry friends? You could decorate them with bells, fur, or feathers. I think I am going to make kitty a tiny Christmas stocking next holiday season!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Friends, Fun, and Felt: A Night Of Creating at The Art Barn

Chattin' and Craftin'
What can you really get for 15.00 dollars these days? Not much, but at The Art Barn in Rockvale, you can attend an informal arts and crafts class that includes materials. Some classes, like encaustics and silk-screening are more pricey, due to the supplies, but whatever the topic is, it is money well spent for an enjoyable evening of socializing and learning. The classes are for all skill levels. Additionally, there are classes offered for children only.
Buttons And Beads and Thread, Oh My!

So, what did we do at the felt lesson? For me this was great fun, as my mother had shown me how to sew on a button simple stitches, but I quickly forgot. Sorry mom! During the felt lesson, we used acrylic  craft felt to make our choice of project. There were bracelets, ornaments, coffee-cozies and more. I sewed, glued, embellished, drank coffee and asked for glitter; there HAS to be glitter!

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable evening with great conversation. The hostess and owner, Donna, couldn't have been more hospitable. From beginner to advanced, a great time was had by all. See the website here for The Art Barn for the schedule of activities and information. Also, you can request a class in your area of interest.

Folk-Art Flower

Vintage Buttons

Monday, April 9, 2012

Product Review: Zip Dry Paper Adhesive

Crafters are always on the lookout for the right glue to do the job and I recently heard of a new product, Zip Dry Paper Glue. It was voted the number one best new crafting product by a major paper arts magazine last year. In fact, here are some of the claims about the products from the Dreamtime Creations website, where it can also be purchased for 5.95:

• Fast drying for fast results on almost all paper types.
• Never wrinkles paper, ever! Dries crystal clear.
• Mistake-proof; easily removable when wet without leaving any residue.
• Bonds metal stampings, beads, glitter, wire, and other embellishments to paper.
• Acid and lignin-free: archival quality.
• Special precision applicator tip for accuracy.

Needless to say, I had to try this product. So, how did it live up to the hype? How would I describe this glue in one word? Outstanding!

The glue was fast-drying, crystal clear, left no marks or wrinkles on my cards, and bonded fabric, ribbons, buttons, and paper. I highly recommend this glue and will be using no other glue on my paper projects, unless they come out with a version that has a better applicator. The one problem I had with this adhesive, was that it quickly dried out and clogged the applicator tip, requiring frequent cleaning during projects and the necessity to unclog the nozzle tip with a needle or other thin object. Also, it is not recommended to store the glue with the applicator tip on.

Otherwise, this glue was a fantastic buy and I will purchase it again. I found it for sale locally at Hobby Lobby in Murfreesboro, TN. Be aware that it is in the scrapbook section and not with the regular adhesives. It was around 6.00 dollars as well.

Friday, April 6, 2012

What Can I Do With This? Yard Sale Finds From The 'Boro

Painting with Necklace
Who else likes yard sales and thrift stores? I love them because I can always find unusual objects to use in my arts and crafts. Today, I found a sunflower painting on canvas and a vintage amber colored necklace with a huge focal bead. I also got a paisley cotton sheet at Goodwill on Memorial in Murfreesboro, TN. Total cost of these materials = 5.50 dollars!

The sheet was 1.00 dollar and I harvested almost 3 yards of pure cotton fabric. The painting, which needs a little love and care to clean it up was 3.00 at a yard sale. Also found at the same yard sale was the necklace for 1.00 dollar. Now that is a lot of fun materials to work with for a small price. The big question that remains is, what am I going to do with it? I think I am going to clean up the painting and embellish it with metallic ink and rubber stamps, disassemble the necklace and salvage the beads, and turn the fabric into fabric ribbons. In the last picture, you can see some mixed media cards with metallic die cuts and the paisley fabric. I harvested a lot of fabric from the sheet, so I have plenty left to do more with, yay!
Before cutting the sheet with a rotary cutter, I put it through the washer and dryer twice to make it appear a little more worn and shabby. 
Close Up Necklace

Spot On Painting

Mixed Media Using Paisley Cotton Sheets From Goodwill