Saturday, July 31, 2010

Treasury Challenge!!!

Welcome to our very first team treasury challenge! Using the theme "End of Summer" we want you to create an amazing treasury to showcase Lab Rat members. Here are the rules of the game:
  1. Use at least 8 Lab Rat members. You can use our members list in the sidebar
  2. Include "Treasury Challenge" in the title of your treasury
  3. Tag your treasury with "labratsteam"
  4. Tag your treasury with "labratchallenge"
  5. Tag your treasury with "End of Summer"
  6. Link back to this post to encourage others to participate
  7. Leave a comment on this post with a link to your treasury for official entry
  8. Promote! 
This week Karen from AuntKarensCreations and Lori from GrayFlannelDesign will be selecting the top treasuries to face off in a vote. Don't worry - they won't be making treasuries this week so no favoritism there. The last day to enter is Friday, August 6th. Until then you can enter as many times as you like. Non-members can participate, too. The winner will get featured in our Rat Spotlight! Head over to the Treasury to get started or take a few minutes to read up on How to Create a Treasury first. And a treasury etiquette note - don't include yourself or your other shops. Your items are lovely, I'm sure, but let's spread the love. Don't forget to have a little fun!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How-To: Create a Treasury

Treasuries are a great way to show your creativity by putting together collections of items. These collections can feature shops that you especially like, items that follow a particular theme or color, shops from a specific team...pretty much any reason you can think of is a reason to make a Treasury. But exactly HOW do you make one? Let's go through it step by step:
  • Come up with a theme for your treasury: For this example we'll use "Summer with the LabRats", using just fellow LabRats shops in our treasury.
  • Go to Etsy. On the front page, scroll down on the left-hand side until you see “Treasury"
  • Click on “Treasury.” This will bring you to Treasury East, where new Treasuries are being accepted. On the right hand side of the page, you will see a box with a button in it saying “Create a List”. Go ahead and click on this button.

  • Clicking on "Create a List" will take you to the main “creation” page. Here you can name your Treasury, write up a description for it, place the items that you want to include, decide if you want it to be private or public, and you can “tag” your Treasury just as you would an item listing to help it get found!
  • After entering a title and description for our Treasury, it's time for the fun part - selecting items!
There are several ways to select items for a Treasury. You can use the Search function to search for items that are tagged or titled with certain colors (light blue, dark red), seasons, even other descriptive terms like "modern", "elegant", "romantic" or even "fun"!
  • Note: It's often easier to have two or three tabs (or separate windows) open at a time when working on a Treasury: one for your actual treasury page, and the others to look for items.
Since the Treasury for this example is using just Lab Rats shops, the easiest way to find a list is right here on the blog, on the right hand side. I just started clicking on names at random and looking through shops. The first one I landed on was "Jungle Jewelry" by Brittany. She had a necklace called "Tropical Necklace" that I thought would go with our "Summer" theme. So now how to add that item to the treasury?

  • First thing to do is click on the image of the item (in this case a necklace) that you want to include. This will bring you to the listing page.
  • Since you need the listing # to add an item to the treasury, scroll down the page until you find this "Stats" box on the right-hand side. The number underlined in red is the number you need, so highlight it, right-click, and select "Copy"
  • Then go back to the Treasury page and select the first open spot that says "Listing URL". Then right-click in the box, select "Paste" and the number that you copied will be pasted right in the box.
    • After hitting "ok" the picture for the item that you wanted will appear in the box, along with the item name, shop name, and price of the item.
    • The picture above also shows where I typed in the title of the Treasury "Summer With the Lab Rats" and the description. For this example, I then went ahead and repeated the same selection process for the rest of the 16 spots. It's always a good idea to fill all 16 slots. Only Treasuries that are full have a chance of being selected for the Front Page.

    • So now all 16 slots are filled, each with a different item from a different shop. The last step is to "tag" the Treasury. Tagging a Treasury is similar to tagging an item; you want to use words that will help your Treasury be found by others. For this example, I chose to tag the treasury with the tags "labratsteam, summer, fun, bright, colors".
    • Type your tags in the "Tags" box, separated by a comma, and then click "Add". This will add them to your Treasury.
    There's only one final step, and that's to click the "Save" button at the bottom of all your listings. This will save your Treasury and make it available to be viewed by others!

    Here is a link to the completed Treasury, "Summer With the Lab Rats"

    Now that the mystery of how to create Treasuries is gone, go on out there and start creating. Keep your eye out for an upcoming team treasury challenge to put your treasury making skills to the test!

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Introducing..... A Lab Rats Team Welcome To Our Newest Members!

    Our team is growing and we cherish each member! Starting this month we will welcome our newest members by introducing them to the entire team. Here is our opportunity to meet our new teammates, make new friends and help one another in our endeavor to make our shops better.

    Please welcome our new members!

    Introducing .......
    11m2 -

    Her name is Gila-Saskia von Meissner-Fröhlich.  Her friends call her Gila.

    Where is she?
    Usually located at her wooden sewing table, within her tiny studio in her tiny apartment. Which happens to be located 10 minutes away from the Alster, the huge city lake in Hamburg, Germany.

    She's been on Etsy (with a different user name) since July 2007.

    She opened her shop in June 2010... after a forced delay due to a broken ankle.

    When she's not creating for her shop she loves reading, on the weekends she's usually out with friends spending time on party boats or outdoor festivals. "But really, those are small islands in a life spent either sewing or craft-related internetting."

    She would like to ask her new teammates: "What do you like most about Etsy and the Labs in particular?"

    Introducing .......
    BrieLeGrandFromage -

    Her name is Brianne but she goes by Brie online.

    Where is she? In Tallahassee, FL.

    She's been on Etsy since Dec. 2009.

    Her shop opened in May 2010.

    When she's not creating for her shop she loves creating and testing new recipes to feature on her food blog - Le Grand Fromage.

    Her question to her new teammates: " What are you doing to learn more about exposing your shop on Etsy?"


    Her name is Amelia Sherwood.

    She lives in Claremont, CA.

    She joined Etsy in October 2006.

    Her shop opened in October 2006.

    When she's not creating she enjoys playing with her 6 dogs and 1 cat, baking, and just hanging out with the hubby. She's plum crazy about piggies!

    Her question for her teammates is: "How long have you been a lab rat?"

    Introducing .......
    LauriesCustomCreate -

    Her name is Lauren (Laurie) Magoon.

    She lives in Dallas, PA (near the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area).

    She's been on Etsy Since May 2010.

    Her shop opened in May 2010.

    When she's not creating she's playing the piano, studying the Bible, sewing, quilting, playing with her nieces & nephews, spending time with her husband, reading, crocheting, knitting...too many things to list!

    Her question to her teammates is "What is the very best way you've found to encourage sales?"

    MyLittleGirlsCloset -

    Her name is Katherine, but only if you're mad at me. Otherwise I'm Kathy.

    She lives in My living room couch. In Oakland NJ. But I'm a displaced Canadian.

    She's been on Etsy since April 2007.

    She opened her shop in Mid-May. I have another one where I tried to find my etsyidentity. I found it now.

    When she's not crafting she enjoys taking Photos, playing with the kids, watching movies, attending labs in the virtual labs.

    Her question for her teammates is: "What's your favorite flavor of cupcake?"

    hoganfe -

    Her name is Mary.

    She lives in Alaska.

    She joined Etsy in August 2007.

    She opened her shop in 2008.

    When she's not creating she loves to read.

    Her question for her teammates: "What is your favorite type of virtual lab?"


    WaterRose -

    Her name is Rose.

    She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

    She's been on Etsy since October 2006.

    She opened her shop in March 2008.

    When she's not creating she loves to read and aspires to writing a book.  She's also a quilter...and will not tell anyone how many completed quilt tops she has that still need to be quilted!

    Her question for her teammates: "What do you like best about being a Lab Rat?"

    Welcome to the Lab Rats Team!  We look forward to getting to know each of you. Thank you for sharing a bit about yourselves.

    Submitted by: Karen
    Aunt Karen's Creations

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Life of an Item with Undercoverst

    I was inspired to make this journal when I found the newspaper clipping between the pages of an old atlas I have. I could not find a date on the clipping, but the browning definitely made me think it was close to the age of the atlas which was 1939!

    I always make the covers first. I find a piece of cardboard that fits the paper I am displaying and then measure, cut and fold. For this piece I covered it with a paper sack and bright orange paper. This journal started off with an entirely different display piece but when it was done I hated it. This is when I found the newspaper clipping. I knew instantly that the paper sack and the clipping went together better than the first try. I carefully removed the first work from the orange paper and replaced it with the newspaper. I used a brown stamp pad to make the dark marks on the edges. The fast walking young lady came from a Good housekeeping magazine. I felt that she looked like she was on her way to work early in the morning which goes quite well with a morning newspaper.

    I then cut and fold the inner pages. 10 pages per section and start punching holes. Then comes the stitching. And then it's all done! This may be one of my favorite journals as I want to keep it as my own and sit in a coffee shop writing and drinking :) Sometimes mistakes make the best work!

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Mosaic Monday...Christmas In July

    Getting into the spirit to help finish your holiday shopping early...
    These Mosaic Monday picks are celebrating Christmas in July with sales and/or are winter or holiday inspired

    1. Frosty the Snowman by Yarnabees 
    2. Red Hot Fused Glass Pendant by GlowingGlassStudio
    3. Set of 6 Bridesmaid Gifts (BOGO) by hoganfe
    4. Christmas in July Chickadee by RomasMasion
    5. Reindeer and Sled with Tree Ribbon by 4GetMeNotTreasures
    6. Sea Glass Ornaments, set of 4, by 1022SeaShellAve
    7. Santa's Wooden Reindeer by ScrapHappieAz
    8. Big Blue Leaf Mittens by Duckfoot 

    Thursday, July 22, 2010


    As crafters and artists, we all tend to be a little ADD and many of us dabble in a more than one craft or make many different items. In the labs we see this through one big question asked today by GlassAli

    "Would I do better with multiple shops?"

    I've personally never considered two shops and so I reached out to Hollie from blueberryshoes to help answer this question. Hollie until recently had two shops on Etsy - one for fashion and one for art. Since she has experienced the one shop and two shop worlds, she is a great source of advice on the topic.

    When Hollie opened her art shop, imfromthewoods, in addition to her main shop she noticed something happen immediately. "My attention was split and naturally fell onto the more successful shop-my original one. The fashion shop flourished and the art shop fell behind... In time I just didn't care about the art shop at all." It was after much deliberation that she decided to incorporate her art into her main shop not necessarily knowing if it would all flow and thrive together.

    Through our conversation Hollie stressed that time is the biggest factor in deciding if you can manage two shops. "There is much power in giving a shop attention, promoting, signing into etsy with that one username, recognizable avatar, etc. Branding, really." No one is saying two shops can't be successful, but it is a major time commitment. "It takes more time and more energy to care for both... It's about how much are you able to give of yourself. And will you always be giving the same amount of attention to both?"

    GlassAli, when I look at your shop I don't see a reason to open an additional shop. It's obvious to me that you enjoy making the lampwork bead pieces and have invested most your time there. This is your niche! If you work on refining your shop to focus on this style of items I think it will help your success. Now, if you really love the beaded and stamped jewelry just as much you can work on incorporating it with the lampwork pieces like with the great charms above. Or perhaps you could open another shop. Just be sure it is a time commitment you'll be able to make.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Treating Each Other With Respect In The Virtual Labs Part II

    Now that we know how the room works there's fun to be had and information to be learned from others in the lab. It's not just about knowing how to use the room, but about how to be engaged in the community of the labs. Just a few more tips and you can feel confident in the labs! 
    1. Newbies, feel free to ask anyone in the room for help even between lab sessions. We especially enjoy giving "tours" of the room showing all the fun things that can be done in the labs like tossing gifts, doing actions, and the infamous "grey buttons". We want to help everyone's lab experience be positive and fun!

    The grey button with the circular arrow makes your avatar spin.  The LOL button makes your avatar bounce up and down.  The two hands are for applause and make your avatar bounce less but more quickly.  The Smiley face makes your avatar's "aura" pink.  The single hand raises your hand on your avatar.  And the brb fades your avatar because you've set yourself as "away".  Clicking on the circles again will lower your hand and bring you back into the room.

    2 -  Get to know other sellers! You can get great exposure by getting to know other sellers in these labs. Many sales have come through getting to know other sellers in the labs. Many friendships have started in labs, too.  Gifts are always nice!  If you click on the little red heart just below the chat bar you will see all the gifts that you can toss to others in the room. 

    Simply click on the gift you like - then click on your avatar - hold down the mouse key and draw back (kind of like a slingshot) when you release the mouse key the gift flies!  If you only click on your avatar and release the gift moves slowly.

    3 - Always try to be considerate and respectful of the other members in the labs. This makes the whole experience much more fun and sets a great learning atmosphere too. If a photo needs work it's ok to mention it, just don't say "That is UGLY!" or use other harsh criticisms. Critique the way in which YOU would like to be critiqued.

    4. Please refrain from posting self promotional chat or item listing cards during the actual lab session. Your special sale can wait until after the session is done. It's NOT ok to broadcast a sale or free shipping etc during the lab session. Of course there will be times when it's appropriate - especially when the moderator asks for blog links etc. But a constant chatter that has nothing to do with the lab is distracting. You could lose sales due to the behavior.

    After the session is over, there will still be people in the lab who are more than happy to see your items, give you feedback on your shop or just chat.

    5. HAVE FUN!!! (Tomato fights are too fun to stay out of!)

    Submitted by AuntKaren

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Life of an Item with Waterrose

    Ideas run wild in my head. I look at something and my brain makes the leap to the colors and shapes that make up the item. I start thinking in terms of embroidery thread and what colors I will need and what stitches to use. Shiny Brite ornaments have been my current muse. In this case most of the design is easy, but I'm already trying to decide on how to make that center portion come to life in my embroidery design. I try to break the whole down into manageable design elements. I also simplify elements as much as I can so that the embroidery doesn't become too complicated.

    I may begin designing on paper with colored pencils, or I may begin on the computer. If I hand draw the design then I will transfer the image into my drawing program to refine and get to the measurement or size that I want the completed item to be.

    Here's my color palette. Embroidery thread chart and my notes detailing the colors I think that I want to use. As I take needle to fabric the colors and types of stitches I want to use may change. (actually they often do)


    It's time to choose the fabric. If I'm making a cuff I decide between linen, cotton, or felt to place the embroidery on. I also need to choose a backing. I love to find unusual fabrics and prefer designs made in linen for the lining. I look for specialized designs and love to use independent fabric designers. I think how a creation is finished is as important as the design.

    Then the fun begins. I sit down in my favorite chair...surrounded by all of the tools, thread, buttons, fabric that I'll need. My favorite scissors and the best needles around...John James! I create a sample piece if it's a first time design. Sometimes the sample turns out exactly the way I want and I can use it for the final composition. However, in this case the piece didn't turn out the way I wanted so it sits in a box with other samples.

    After some thinking and redesigning the final piece is mounted and finished. It's now ready for it's photo shoot and listing to be sold!

    Thursday, July 15, 2010


    Welcome to our brand new column, Ask-A-Rat, where we'll be answering your questions about the crafty business! You can always ask your question here using our Google Form. Let's get to our first question, or statement rather, from LauraBaillieDesigns.

    "I'm looking for ideas to spice up my shop a bit. All suggestions are welcome!"

    First, I have to say how impressive your shop already is! Your photos really are amazing and your shop is nice and full. Now - for what you can do to spice things up. I would hunt down a model or take photos of yourself wearing your pieces. These don't have to be your first picture, but it's amazing what an actual person can do to help customers realize scale. Next - start evening out your shop sections. It's obvious that you really enjoy making necklaces the most. Try to focus on producing items like rings and brooches to give plenty of variety. That way you also don't have to worry about leading a customer to a section with only 2 items. Other things you can always do to change up your shop is to create a new banner, switch up your avatar, and experiment with photos. Your shop looks fabulous! Keep up the good work!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Meet Your New Committee!

    By now you all should know that we have a fabulous new team of Etsians taking over our team leadership. Here we all are - Sara from BySaraLynn, Karen from AuntKarensCreations, Rose from SevenSails, Erika from UniquelyEJewelry, and Lori from GrayFlannelDesign!
    Now just what do we all do? Well, many of us will be the blogging for the team. Rose is our Blog Coordinator with Lori, Sara, Erika, and Karen contributing. We'll even have guest bloggers on occasion! Karen is our new Membership Coordinator taking care of all the member organization behind the scenes. Rounding it out we have Sara as the Committee Head to organize us all together. We are looking for another Lab Rat that would love to join our committee and lead up a Twitter team to tweet from our team account about upcoming labs, new team members, useful links, and other team happenings. If you're interested, let us know here.

    We're always looking for ideas and participation so feel free to contact any of us with questions or thoughts on how to make this team better! We're glad to be rolling again and so happy you've all been patient with us during this transition. 

    Treating Each Other With Respect In The Virtual Labs Part I

    Etiquette for Virtual Labs - Making your lab experience the best!
    Part I - How The Room Works.

    The Virtual Labs on Etsy are the most fun and effective way to learn about making your shop shine!  After all... isn't that how we all met?  With few exceptions everyone leaves the lab feeling positive about their virtual lab experience because they learn how to make their shops the best that they can be! 

    As Lab Rats Team members we need to present ourselves as models for so many things!  We are teaching assistants for the lab moderators, guides to those who are brand new to Etsy, and friends to our fellow sellers and buyers.  Here are a few things that we can do to help others to enjoy their lab time. 

    When one first arrives in the lab it can seem nearly overwhelming with all that goes on! Here is a guide to help first timers and "newbies" enjoy their lab experience from the first day on.

    1 - When you first enter the lab room it's wise to wait until the entire room comes in clearly, when you see the avatars of other inhabitants in the room then it's safe to click any button you choose. 


    If you click any button too soon the chances are that you will be tossed out and have to re-enter. 
    The hamster tells you that you have been disconnected.

    3 - All labs are done using video so be sure that your speaker volume is turned up so that you can hear what is being said by the lab moderator. If you lose sound you simply refresh your page (you are leaving the room and re-entering). Your sound will return upon re-entry.

    4 - During the lab when the Question Queue has been opened, asking a question requires a specific "command". You type /ask and then ask your question. i.e. /ask Would you please look at the tags on my turquoise tote?   Just remember... the / must be the very first character on the line, no space before or after.
    When you have done that correctly you will see "OK Question is sent".  You won't see your question, however, until the lab moderator posts it for the entire room to see. The lab moderator only sees a few questions at a time, though they know how many questions are waiting in line. Be patient your question will come up!

    5 - There are several ways to send a private message to anyone in the room.  If they have a listing card posted you can click on the card and see the name of the shop for that item. Clicking on "more" opens their shop in another tab.  Most often it is the seller of an item that posts the picture.  Their avatar is in the upper left corner of the item card.  When you have located their avatar in the room you can click the avatar and select /msg.  Now you can send a private message to the seller.
    6 - If you don't know the avatar of another seller simply type /msg (seller name) and then your message. It only appears to the seller you are wanting to talk privately to and to yourself. The rest of the room doesn't see any of that message. And the entire message is in bold. Be careful: if you forget the /msg part what you intended as private shows in the room for all to see!

    7 - Please refrain from posting any listing cards within the area of chat. (Chat Lane) Seeing all the beautiful listings is wonderful but when you block the chat lane you severely inhibit the other function of the classroom....learning! We all learn by asking questions in the chat area and it is impossible to read the chat through those listing cards. There is help and instruction that goes on in the lab rooms even when the labs are not in session. When you leave the room, the ability to move or remove your listing cards goes with you... only YOU can delete or move those cards. (Well sometimes we can but sometimes we can't too!) Please respect the space.

    8 - PLEASE DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPS - THIS IS CONSIDERED YELLING.  Use your "indoor voice" please.

    This is the firs of a two part series.  Part II will be Social Interactions.  Check back on August 4th.  The next installment of this blog post will be the FUN stuff!  Be sure to check back and learn the fun tricks of virtual labs!

    See you in the labs!
    Aunt Karen

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    Life of an Item with Glassali

    Several months ago two fellow lampworkers and I began a group on Facebook called "Play on Words Lampwork Challenge." It's a group for lampworkers or word smiths or anyone who is interested (we're very picky) to suggest a word or term or phrase that is then used as the theme for the group for that week (or, as is the case for the summer months, the month).

    Last month one of the words was "Love." Easy, right? My submission idea came to me as I was getting my teeth cleaned. I was reclined, mouth open, drool dripping down my chin, when I thought, "Hey, what about a rainbow of hearts on a large white bead?" Because who wouldn't be thinking about hearts and love while being tortured in a dental chair?

    Lampwork bead making involves a lot of steps. Glass rods are bought, melted in a flame, and wrapped around a stainless steel mandrel that has been dipped in bead release. Each color you see on a bead is a different rod of glass. Sometimes the glass rod has to be heated and then pulled into a smaller rod called stringer in order to make smaller lines and dots on the surface of the bead. Sometimes colors are mixed to make a totally different color. Once all of the elements have been combined into a bead that you're satisfied with, the bead should go into a kiln to be properly annealed. Lampwork beads have been around for 400 years or so, but properly annealed beads will ensure that your beads are less likely to break. I'll spare you the science, but take my word for it.

    After forming the base bead of white, I made a rainbow bead. However, rather than being Roy G. Biv, I forgot/didn't-have-room-for the green, so this bead actually is Roy Biv. The second try was the bead with the outlined hearts, and the third try led to my favorite, the one with the black curlicue details.

    Once baked in the kiln, usually overnight, I open the kiln and it's like Christmas: who knows what I will find. Or it can be like Halloween and I'm scared. This time I was happy with the results, removed the beads from their mandrels, cleaned the holes, photographed them. Photographed them again, edited the pictures by cropping and adjusting the colors, and then listed my favorite.

    After listing on Etsy, I usually post a link on my Facebook fan page:

    Then I cross my fingers and hope for a sale!