Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life of an Item with Cowboybunny


My name is Jenny Dubish and I am the creator of the etsy shop “Cowboybunny.” I am quite happy when I am creating something. I enjoy every step of the creative process. This is the journey of one of my items called “Illustrated Dreams.”

My idea is where I begin. Where do I find these ideas? As the mother of three little ones, just a spark from their imaginations can bring a flood of ideas. Once I have developed an idea, it becomes a sketch. I begin by drawing out my ideas and transforming them into a solid picture.


The concept for my piece is then carefully transferred from paper to fabric. Delivering the art to fabric is key . There are several tools I use that are very important to the process. Carbon paper is a tool that I discovered several years ago in embroidery that makes the process quite enjoyable. I carefully tape carbon paper to the fabric and then tape my picture to the layered fabric and carbon paper. The next tool I can’t live without is called a stylus. A stylus helps get nice and neat lines for a clean transfer.

video

After the transfer process, I am now ready to embroider. The tools I use for the next step are an embroidery needle, embroidery floss, an embroidery hoop, and the fabric I transferred to. I love to use a sturdy muslin fabric. I have also found that wooden hoops hold the fabric securely and this is the type I always use for my pieces. Now here comes the fun part.


The next step in finishing “Illustrated Dreams” is the balloons. They don’t just appear magically. I carefully cut the pieces out of red felt and sew them together using a sewing machine. The fine details such as the gathered bottom of the balloons and the patches are all hand sewn and then they are stuffed. Once the balloons are created they are carefully sewn to the embroidered picture.

Finally I do the finishing touches that make the piece ready for the customer. I hand paint each hoop to accent the artwork. Once the paint is dry, I carefully tighten the hoop so that the fabric is stretched for display and then glue the fabric to stay in place.

The possibilities are endless with one’s imagination. I hope I can continue to create and share my imagination for many years to come.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mosaic Monday...Tasty Treats


1.) Hand thrown large bowl by nightowlcraftworks
2.) Organic Apple Butter by BrieLeGrandFromage
3.) Gift containers by ocasiocasa
4.) Rice Noodle or Sushi Bowl with Chopsticks by dkpottery

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feature Friday

Please give a warm LabRats welcome to our Feature Friday artist this week: Kathy Hoos from MyLittleGirlsCloset
Blog:http://mylittlegirlscloset.blogspot.com/
Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MyLittleGirlsCloset


1) Tell us about yourself, your shop and what brought you to the Etsy community.
My name is Kathy, and I'm a stay at home mom. I have two beautiful little girls, the tallest is 22 months and the smallest is 9 months.

When I got pregnant with the tallest I knew that I wanted to make her some special things. I guess I'm sentimental that way. So I picked up an inexpensive sewing machine and started making simple patterns and slowly built up my expertise. Now I'm confident with many skills that I was intimidated by at first!

I got so many compliments on stuff I had made that I decided to share my skills with others by opening an etsy shop. I make and embroider clothing for little girls. I can also make stuff for little boys and adults though I don't keep my shop stocked with those things. I love custom work. It always makes me feel good to create something unique for a unique little person.

2) Walk us through a typical day in your life.

Is any day typical for the parent of a toddler? Hhere's my interpretation of what my days are like. Wake up at around 7:30 because the smallest was playing quietly in her crib, pulled herself up to standing and got stuck, unsure of how to get down from standing.  Bring her out to the living room, pop on "Baby Signing Time" and get a precious 5 minutes to splash water on my face before I need to go get the toddler as well. Redirect a request for cookies for breakfast to something slightly healthier. Help hubby remember where his keys are and send him off to work.

The next 8 hours are hazy. I try to keep the girls alive, fed, clean, napped and entertained (that's in order of priority). If I'm lucky enough to get them to nap at the same time I can work on some sewing. Usually though I take advantage of the separate nap schedules to spend quality time with each of the girls. Some days we do exciting things like go to the farm or the zoo. Lately it's been raining a lot so our adventures are limited to puddle sploshing. I'm happy to say there's very little tantruming involved in my day - I attribute that to the fact that we sign with the girls. At only 22 months the tallest's vocabulary consists of over 100 signs and well over 150 words.
By the time hubby gets home I'm ready to get out of the house so we find something to entertain everyone for an hour before doing a dinner-bath-bed routine. A 15 minute house recovery clean and my time is mine again until bedtime. I get some sewing done, watch tv, crochet, sketch, play Dr Mario, or do whatever else I want. I usually stumble to bed around midnight

3) Name your top 3:

Books
1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
2. Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
3. The Backyard Homesteader by Carleen Madigan

Music

My tastes change dramatically based on my mood. While writing this I've been listening to
1. Fiona Apple's cover of Across the Universe
2. Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
3. A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley
TV

1. Leverage
2. Covert Affairs
3. White Collar

Movies

1. The Princess Bride (can this EVER be watched enough?!)
2. Pleasantville
3. The Harry Potter series

Websites

1. http://www.babiesmakingfaces.com
2. http://www.thinkgeek.com

3. http://www.regretsy.com - I think you really do need to be able to laugh at yourself plus, imagine the traffic this would drive to your shop!

4.) What are your top 3 shops on Etsy?

1. http://www.etsy.com/shop/LolaPinkFabrics
2.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/itsastitch
3.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageConfections

5.) Where do you hope your shop will be in a year?

In a year I'm hoping that the gi
rls will give me enough time to be able to list a new item every two days. (Everyday would be ideal but I suspect that's not going to happen until they're both in preschool). I've been designing fabric in my mind and I'm hoping to be able to realize those fabrics in time for a spring collection.

6.) What projects are you currently working on?

Right now I'm having fun with my serger. It was a Christmas present but I didn't get to actually use it until recently. I was so scared of threading it. I've heard way too many horror stories. But when I took it out of the box I discovered it comes pre-threaded!
I've been playing around with peasant dress patterns. I'm working on creating my own pattern, something with long sleeves.

7.) What suggestions/tips would you offer to someone new to Etsy?

Come to the Virtual Labs. They've been a huge help for me. Even if I don't have any questions and I'm busy sorting laundry, just listening to HeyMichelle or Daniellexo makes me feel more productive and often encourages me to create!



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

Our team is growing and we cherish each member! We are happy to 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.

Lets give a big Lab Rats Team welcome to our newest members!

Introducing.....
Senioritis

1. What is your given name?
Garrick, Beth, & Jillian

2. How long have you been on Etsy (includes the time you were NOT a seller)?

We’ve been on Etsy since May 2009.

3. How long has your shop been open?
Our shop has been open since November 2009.

4. Which item in your shop is your favorite?
Hmm, with so many designs to choose from that’s a rough question; it would probably be our tributes to Mr. Einstein who reminds us that anything is possible with a little imagination.

5. What do you enjoy doing when not creating for your shop?
When not creating we enjoy sports & fitness, cars, food, movies, and a good book.

6. What question would you like to ask your new teammates?
Which person in history inspires you?

Introducing.....

RolyzCreations

1.  What is your given name?
My name really is Roly.

2. How long have you been on Etsy (includes the time you were NOT a seller)?
I've been on Etsy   since May 4th 2009.

3. How long has your shop been open?
I opened my shop on Auguste 13th 2009.

4. Which item in your shop is your favorite?
My favorite item keeps changing, right now it's this item the item you placed in the blog. I created it specially for the upcoming Jewish new year (on Sep 9), and I hope it would sell by that time.

5. What do you enjoy doing when not creating for your shop?
Watch TV.

6. What question would you like to ask your new teammates?
One year from now - what would you like to achieve (shop-wise)?

Introducing......
mrooart

1. What is your given name?
Shannon Dybvig (Mroo is my nickname -
"Mroo" rhymes with "through" - I am not a Mister!)

2. How long have you been on Etsy (includes the time you were NOT a seller)?
I signed up for Etsy in August of 2007, but I didn't start regularly perusing the site until August of 2008 (2007-2008 was a very busy school year, but in 2008-2009 I met a new friend who knits, and it occurred to me to introduce her to Etsy ^_^).

3. How long has your shop been open?
I started posting items in myshop in September of 2009.

4. Which item in your shop is your favorite?
I think that changes with my mood, but right now my favorite drawing print is "Blank Words" and there will always be a special place in my heart for my character Pandabot and my many Mroosaurs.

5. What do you enjoy doing when not creating for your shop?
I enjoy watching Star Trek (and other science fiction shows). I hang out with my boyfriend a fair amount, and my friends less often (most live in different states). I spend some amount of time tinkering with my computer (my degree is in Computer Science and I run Linux exclusively - it's fun to play with!). I find myself baking something around once every week or two (usually something chocolate-related), and I'd garden but I live in an apartment. However, I spend most of my time creating or working on improving my shop!

6. What question would you like to ask your new teammates?
What is your favorite fantasy race? (ie, elves, gnomes, hobbits, humans (yes, they count), faeries, halflings, dwarves, orcs, goblins, knolls, trolls, etc...)

Introducing......
 eccolights
1. What is your given name?
Troy Miller and Rob Logan :)

2. How long have you been on Etsy (includes the time you were NOT a seller)?
We have been lurking around Etsy for about a year now.

3. How long has your shop been open?
We opened our store on March 2, 2010.

4. Which item in your shop is your favorite?
Favorite item in our store... that's a hard one. We make so much each week and only a portion of it gets listed up on Etsy before it sales (we have a market we do every weekend) but if I (Rob) had to pick a personal favorite I would say its our pride tart warmers, the one you are showing here. Now if you asked Troy tho, his would have to be our Twilight family crest set of glasses:

5. What do you enjoy doing when not creating for your shop?
Honestly we love to watch movies while we create. Rob was able to quit his job back in April to do this full time, Troy still holds a job down full time and does Ecco Lights too, but we love what we do. Many people go out to eat or clubs but we enjoy eachothers company and love to make new things... be it our candles which were always experimenting new ideas or our glassware, its a passion for us.


6. What question would you like to ask your new teammates?
A question for our new team mates... What can we do to help? We are both kind hearted guys and generally just want to help others or be there to support our friends, so we ask nothing from anyone, but will always be there to help :)

Introducing...
AngelPearls
What is your given name?
Eva Svartz
2. How long have you been on Etsy (includes the time you were NOT a seller)?
I joined Etsy in January of 2009.

3. How long has your shop been open?
I opened my shop in October of 2009

4. Which item in your shop is your favorite?
The one you have showing here :-)

5. What do you enjoy doing when not creating for your shop?
I love taking photos,and  being in the beautiful Swedish archipelago with my children and man.

6. What question would you like to ask your new teammates?
What's your 'best secret trick' to get many sales at your shop?

Introducing....                                         
                                                       MollysMuses
1. What is your given name? (If you are only comfortable giving your first name that is fine.)
Molly O'Bryon-Welpott
 
2. How long have you been on Etsy (includes the time you were NOT a seller).
October of 2009
 
3. How long has your shop been open?
Technically I opened my shop in October of last year but I didnt really realize what etsy was, I just put a vintage piece on there, In March of 2010 I started hanging out in the labs regularly and trying to learn how to really work a shop on etsy. This summer has been a great learning experience, my kids start school next week and I hope I will be able to make it a lot stronger:)

4. Which item in your shop is your favorite?
My current favorite item is that little cowgirl you've used for me here. Its also my new avatar, I took it on a family trip this summer and it shows the direction I want to move with my work.

5. What do you enjoy doing when not creating for your shop?
I love being with my family, I like to read although I dont read as much as I would like, I spend too much time on facebook and twitter and my husband and I are doing every season and episode of the xfiles right now, we loved it them and love it now.
I also work as a licensed bail bond agent from home in the family business, it takes up a lot of my time on the phone so it is full time in that sense but part time in the amount of hours on the road. I am big at volunteering and I volunteer at the school as the after school enrichment lady. lol And I am the areacooordinator www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org Something I feel truly blessed to be able to do.

6. What question would you like to ask your new teammates?
How do you network with fellow etsians without getting stuck in the rants, I feel like I have been a photographer (as a portrait and wedding business before) to get into discussions that I think could turn other followers off? I am not big on tweeting everytime I list something, so how do you stay in touch with these people without crossing lines of how you feel about your business?
 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Life of an Item with Squier



Hi, my name is Rita. I am one of two people from the Squier Etsy shop. I am here to tell you about the life of one of my items. As soon as I was asked to write this, I thought, well, I create a painting everyday for my Painting A Day Challenge I started on February 1st and why not take step by step pictures as I do this day’s painting. Perfect timing. The light in my studio was fabulous on Thursday morning, August 12th.
I start out with a large sheet of Saunders Waterford 140 lb. watercolor paper, which is 22 x 30 inches. I measure and trim a full sheet into a bunch of 2.5 x 3.5 inch little pieces of paper. This is the required size for ACEOs which stands for Art Cards, Editions & Originals. Also ATCs which stands for Artist Trading Cards. They are basically one in the same. They can be made in any medium, the only requirement is the size which is 2.5 x 3.5 inches and basically flat like any sports trading card. The difference is ACEOs are bought and sold, ATCs are traded. All of my ACEOs are original watercolor paintings. I use archival quality paper and superior artist quality watercolor paints.
I now have my paper trimmed to size and a nice little stack for future paintings as well. The next step is to decide which palette to use. I choose my palette and a brush and I’m ready to go. Normally I do not decide what I am going to paint until I sit down. I do not do any drawing first.

I am now ready to paint. I have chosen to use a number 6 round brush. I decide to paint a landscape. I am inspired by nature and my trips to the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. I dip my brush into clean water. You must always wet your brushes first before beginning to paint with watercolor. I spread clean clear water across the top portion of my paper. I add a little cobalt blue for the sky. At this point, I still do not know what the painting will be, I let the paint and the colors help me decide as I go. I drop in some green for the background trees. Then I mix up some darker green for some evergreen trees. A bit of yellow for interest. Some burnt sienna mixed with ultramarine blue for the ground and the rocks. I use a palette knife to carve in a few rocks, scratch out a few trees. Back to the number 6 round brush, I add in some ground and then decide it needs a bit of water as well. It needs to be, it wants to be a painting on the side of a lake or a stream. Perhaps you call it a brook or a creek where you’re from?
Then I hit it with a hair dryer for a few seconds. I take out my little round brush and create a few fine lined tree branches. Add some leaves to the trees. Hit it with the hair dryer, again. Then add in a few little birds. Sign my name with a waterproof india ink pen.



I have completed the painting. On the back I have signed it, titled, added my website and Etsy addresses, added “Painting A Day” with the current day’s date.
I then photograph the painting in my high tech photography studio. This photography studio consists of a South facing window, a small trash can, a canvas panel board, a book and a hand held digital Canon Rebel SLR camera. I take 5 or 6 shots, download them onto my computer and crop them in Photoshop. The digital photos get uploaded to Etsy, my blog, my Facebook page and my website.
I then put the little painting into a 3 ring binder filled with trading card sleeve pages. There they wait to be sent off and cherished in their new homes around the world.
This little Painting A Day challenge painting can be found right here:
I love to paint landscapes in watercolor! --Rita

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blog Button Contest


Not that kind of button - a blog button! We're bringing the competition back in search of a badge and logo that represents the Lab Rats team. It starts today and you have until the end of the month to get in your entry. Make sure it follows two simple rules:
  • Make sure it not only relates to Lab Rats but says "Lab Rats"
  • The image should be 200 pixels wide and 150 to 200 pixels tall
It's easy to enter, but only team members can play. Upload your design to a photo hosting site like Flickr or imgur. Heck, use Twitpic if it works for you. Comment here with the link and you're all set. Just like the Treasury Challenge our judges, Rose from SevenSails and Laurie from LauriesCustomCreate, will be selecting the top designs. When the cream of the crop are announced the voting will start. So show us what you've got. Have fun and good luck!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ask-A-Rat

There are so many aspects of an Etsy shop where we, as the creators, have to actually talk about ourselves and our product. It's a balance between saying too much and saying too little. So here's our question of the day from PixieDustFineries,

"How can I shorten my descriptions and say everything that needs to be said?"


After peeking into a couple of your listings, I found this fabulous ring to have one of your longest descriptions reaching from the top of my computer monitor all the way to the bottom. The first thing I would suggest for your description is to do some grouping of similar information. Keep all the material information together. Same goes for ring sizing and links/shop info that should all go at the end. Once you organize your description, you should be able to consolidate. Maybe you'll notice in this listing that you link back to your shop twice (and have "width and height of this ring" in twice). You should be able to combine information into simpler, easier to follow sentences. The ring sizing information, for example, is hard to follow although a simple concept to understand. A sentence like this may be much better, "This ring is slightly adjustable, but please include your ring size in the Message to Seller for an accurate fit." Straight forward and easily understood conveying just enough information.

There is also some information that isn't serving a purpose for the buyer. Personally, (and keep in mind all of this is a personal opinion), I would not put feedback in your description. That's what your feedback area is for. Think about how much and what kind of information is needed for a potential customer. As a buyer, I don't know what .864 inches looks like. Looking at the image the ring being worn is where I will get my idea of scale. The size of wire is information another jeweler may understand (or find useful to try to recreate the design) but not necessarily the buyer.

I sincerely hope this will help you to decide what information is useful for a buyer and how to organize that information to be more reader friendly. Maybe it will even shorten up the description some.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's all about colour

Looking for a new colour for your name in the Virtual Labs and Etsy Chat? Sure, you can choose from among the little colour rectangles to use one of the standard shades, but there's no need to stop there - any of the hexadecimal colours can be yours!

My favourite source to see and pick colours shows the hex values, and you can change yours with the command /hex and your hex value, such as /hex 0000CD

When it comes to names of colours for Etsy tags though, Wikipedia has an impressive alphabetical list of names with swatches to help you decide if that Etsy item could be described as Cadmium Yellow or Canary Yellow, Puce or Raspberry Rose. Use with the other tagging options for Style, Size, Texture and Motifs and Patterns from the Tag-O-Rama list of descriptive keywords for accurate and evocative tags every time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life of an Item with Lemonadesun

The process of creating a stamp always starts with a spark of inspiration and my sketchbook. My eyes have learned to recognize great ideas. As I go about my day, I will often see something that makes me say "Man, that would make a great stamp!" Before long I have my sketchbook in hand (or a notebook, scrap piece of paper, or even...yes...a napkin), a cup of tea nearby and I'm doodling away. Not all sketches end up as stamps, of course, and not all my creative sparks translate well into stamps, but that's just part of the process I suppose.

After I have a great sketch, I transfer it onto the vinyl carving medium by placing the sketch upside down and rubbing it with the end of my large exacto knife. It has a rounded end and doesn't tear the paper.


After the image is transferred to the vinyl, I go over the pencil lines with a dark sharpie to make them easier to follow and to eliminate any possible chance of smearing, which pencil is infamous for on vinyl. There's nothing worse than carving away on a design and then smearing it beyond recognition, because realigning the design again is a huge pain in the hiney! Hence the sharpie. :)

Next I use my lino-cutters to carve away everything EXCEPT the sharpie lines. Yes, I know the design is backwards. Think about it...when you stamp it you want it to imprint correctly, right? Well then, you have to carve it in reverse.



After I get all the details carved, I use my small exacto knife to cut away all the excess vinyl along the edges until I'm happy with it. Then I glue the vinyl stamp onto a piece of 1/4" thick foam and trim up the edges to fit the shape of the stamp. And Voila! A new stamp is born.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Congratulations!

Congratulations to our very first treasury challenge winner, LauriesCustomCreate!

Thank you to everyone who participated making treasuries and voting. Watch out for a new treasury challenge at the beginning of each month!

Blue Sensations, Mosaic Monday


Blue Bird and Nest by SevenSails
Hand Knit Tube Scarf by Knitting4Ewe
Aqua and Tan Shell Necklace by lauriescustomcreate

Friday, August 13, 2010

Feature Friday

Please extend a warm welcome to our
Feature Friday artist Angela from Gizecraft


Blog: http://gizecraft.blogspot.com
Etsy : http://gizecraft.etsy.com

1) Tell us about yourself, your shop and what brought you to the Etsy community.

My name is Angela and I live in Portugal between Lisbon, Braga (north of Portugal) and Macau (China). I speak English, Cantonese and Portuguese. I have always loved creating things. My mom was a professional tailor from a traditional sewing business family in Goa (Portuguese colony in India). Then my parents moved to Macau, where I was born. I used to help my mom and she would give me the leftovers pieces of beautiful fabrics to make dresses for my dolls. That was my first contact with fabrics.

Besides fabric, I love working with colourful papers, batik and Japanese papers. I love travelling and I try to collect different types of papers everywhere I go.

But it was only when I moved with my husband to Lisbon 5 years ago that I started to concentrate in my creativity such as natural perfume making, ceramic, sewing and bookbinding. I found myself in need of connecting with people related to arts and crafts. During that time, “Google” became my best friend! hahaha! I discovered Etsy and it opened the door to the world of talented artist of unique handmade products. I started to join the virtual labs and met nice people who would take their time to give me a help with my shop, offer opinions and exchange ideas. Finally, I felt at home, even though I was far away from home.


2) Walk us through a typical day in your life.

I love to start my day quiet and peaceful with the music on. I go out for coffee with my husband. We have some quality time together, reading the newspaper, talking and laughing. I love mornings because I feel fresh and it’s a new day to start something fresh and new.

Then, I start my day working, creating things with ideas that I have already constructed and visualized in my mind. I do my research online, update my blog, facebook and twitter. I am a good observer and love to go to shops and look for ideas and inspiration. I work best in the afternoon when I have all my materials and ideas well organized.

The whole process of bookbinding takes time and it gives me a Zen feeling because it is so beautiful to be able to sew up the books, create a unique style with lovely materials like Portuguese cork oak, silk fabrics or leather. After the completion of the whole process, I take a good look at the book and get this feeling of great satisfaction! And I smile with great joy!

3) Name your top 3:

Books

1. Sophie’s world by Jostein Gaarder

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Immortality by Milan Kundera

3. Perfume by Patrick Suskind



Music

1. Classical Jazz

2. Antonio Pinho Vargas (Portuguese composer and pianist)

3. Ennio Morricone (Italian composer and conductor)



Movies or TV shows

1. Amélie

2. Cinema paradiso

3. Life is Beautiful







Websites

1. http://www.tortagialla.com/

2. http://elsita.typepad.com/allaboutpapercutting/

3. http://www.scoutiegirl.com/


4) Who are your top 3 shops on Etsy?

1. http://woodlandbelle.etsy.com

2. http://astellamelu.etsy.com

3. http://vanittas.etsy.com

5) Where do you hope your shop will be in 1 year?

I have been creating lots of different things. Finally, now I am confident in what I really love to create and it comes from my innermost feeling. I want to focus in my bookbinding books and journals. Therefore, in one year’s time, I hope to be able to create unique designs using the best materials that I can obtain from all parts of the world. I want to create personal books, intimate writings journals. I believe we all have something to write about our lives so that one day we can re-read and treasure memories!

6) What projects are you currently working on?

At the moment, I am working with Portuguese cork oak material which is one of the highest products produced in Portugal. I have become obsessed with this beautiful material and have lots of amazing ideas that I want to share with the world. I have already created my first collection and soon there will be more designs coming up.
7) What suggestions/tips would you offer to someone new to Etsy?

It is not easy in the beginning because you want sales and when it doesn’t come, you become disappointed and want to give up. That is not the right thinking because it means that you need to work harder, take new photos and get more active in virtual labs, read all the information available and get to know the lovely people in Etsy. Everyone is going through the same directions and once you have everything worked out, people will notice you and your items. But the most important is to be kind, respect and enjoy!

Crafting is being able to bring out the talent we have, in the form of art. With lots of love and patience, almost everything can be achieved.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ask-A-Rat

Gadget pouch - Organic linen - Girl stamp from 11m2


We're looking for your questions! You can ask us anything related to your business no matter how big or small. If you really like you can remain anonymous (although that gets tricky with shop specific questions). You can use our Ask A Rat link in the sidebar or click here. So let us know how we can help you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life of an Item with Yarnabees

I have read many of the posts of Life of an Item and to see how organized everyone is makes me sigh, if only I was that organized. The life of my items all begin in my brain and pretty much stays there till I decide which one to let out. Don’t worry, the above picture is not my actual brain, though it might be a tad bigger. The way I go about creating an item is, sometimes if I see something cute, I take a picture of it and later decide if I am going to crochet it. I’ve also read books, seen a movie or something just catches my eye and moves me to crochet it.



I begin by choosing the color of the yarn that I will use, which I have plenty to choose from. Here is my wall of shame aka my stash, but this is not all my yarn. I have around another 20 or 30 skeins of yarn in my to go bags which I keep by the side of my bed, so when I go to bed, I take one with me so I can crochet a little before I go to sleep. I really try not to have too many WIPs (works in progress).



Once I choose my colors, I then sit in one of my two favorite places, my bed or the recliner and begin to crochet, I start with the body. I have been crocheting long enough to know that when I crochet X amount of stitches I will get the shape I need for a body. It is the same for the arms and legs which I then stuff everything with Cluster Fluff and sew the arms and legs onto the body. I like Cluster Fluff because it does not get lumpy like regular Poly Fill and it makes my stuffed creations nice and squishy. I like Squishy!



I then work on the head. That is where it all comes together. I so enjoy when I am finished with the head and sew it on the body just to see that cute face looking up at me, which always makes me say "hello there little fellow". I am in a house with four boys, that is counting my husband, so most of my items turn out to be a male. We do still have a daughter at home who has inspired my new baby dolls. Once I have finished my item I then take pictures, edit, and crop, crop, crop! I put all of my items in a big plastic bag that I got when I purchased a new comforter so they don’t collect dust as they wait to be adopted. At least they have company while they are waiting. So this is the life of my items, come by my shop and look around, you might just find a great new friend! ***Disclaimer: No brains were hurt will shooting this story.***

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Treasury Challenge Finalists

Everyone did such a great job with their choices, but I think we've narrowed it down...

Here they are - the Top 4 Treasury Challenge Finalists

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

to our TOP 4

11M2, lauriescustomcreate, ravenswhimzy, HeatherJaneDesign

Now it's YOUR turn to choose your favorite!

Voting starts after the Lab Rats team meeting on Sunday, August 8.
You'll have until Saturday, August 14 to choose and the winner will be announced on Monday, August 16.

The winning treasury will receive a feature in our Rats Feature Spotlight

Good luck and happy voting!

(click on the name links to view)











Vote for your Favorite Lab Rat Treasury!
11M2
lauriescustomcreate
RavensWhimzy
HeatherJaneDesign

  
pollcode.com free polls

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reminders

Hope all our Lab Rats are having a fabulous weekend! Don't forget that today is your last day to enter the Treasury Challenge. We'll be announcing the finalists and opening voting for the top treasury tomorrow. Also tomorrow is a team meeting at 6pm EST. Join us to get any of your team questions answered and to chit chat. See you there!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ask-A-Rat

Whether you love it or hate it, part of the creating process is all about finding the right materials at a (hopefully) great price. Some sellers work extremely hard to find their suppliers which makes today's question a bit tricky.


"What's a good source for..."


While I personally buy a lot of my supplies retail (insert grumble noises) a good Google search is the place to start online for wholesale goods. The difficulty I find with buying wholesale is that the quantity you need to buy can be extremely high. Especially when you're testing out a new product or are just getting started. Perhaps you only buy your packaging supplies and most used materials like chain, glue, or yarn in bulk in the beginning. Back to the search for a good source - you may have to try several different keywords and peek at several sites before you find something that fits your needs. It's also good to note that there are several great supply sellers on Etsy. Whatever it is you're looking for, keep searching. If you're able, keep your design flexible so you can adapt it and use the supplies you're able to find and afford. There must be someone more supply savvy than I that can offer advice. Care to share your wisdom?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Etsy is jam-packed with helpful information for every seller who wants to learn the skills and strategies to have a better shop. Most of my time in the Virtual Labs is spent tossing out URLs to support what the Admin and others say in the room during the Shop Critiques and Newbie Chats.

In these occasional guest blogger posts I'll add more of the links most often cited, as well as some hidden treasures of information found around Etsy, and beyond.

The Basics. Start here for the big picture:
Etsy Seller Handbook 
Etsy Success for Beginner Sellers
Searchable Help
Getting Views and Sales NEW by Admin and Team member HeyMichelle

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Team Meeting


Finally - a team meeting! Yay! We'll be meeting in the Virtual Labs Sun Room on Sunday, August 8th at 6PM EST. Hope you all can make it for this friendly get together.