Friday, July 22, 2011

Goodbye Virtual Labs

And hello, Livestream. It's a sad day, but the Etsy Virtual Labs are offically retired. 

You can read the announcement here

Friday, July 8, 2011

Feature Friday, ImpossiblyAlice

Please welcome fellow Lab Rat, Sheryl, from ImpossiblyAlice, who is our Feature Friday Artist of the month

Where can we find you?

My Etsy shop is You can also find me on twitter @impossiblyalice or on my facebook page:

Please tell us about yourself, your shop and what brought you to the Etsy community.

I discovered Etsy last spring while I was on maternity leave and I became OBSESSED with it. I needed to be a part of it. I also needed a creative outlet because my little girl had waaaayyyy too many clothes!

What does a typical day in your life look like?

My maternity leave ended in January of this year and I had to return to work. My workdays now start with my alarm going off at the horrible hour of 5:30 am (I am NOT a morning person). I allow myself to snooze my alarm once so I can wake up slowly. I quickly get eat breakfast and get ready in a rush and go to work. My work day is usually done around 3:00 pm and then I get to pick up my daughter from daycare. We play, have a snack, whatever until my husband comes home. Then we do something together or I make supper. My little girl goes to bed around 7:00 and I have 2.5-3 hours of awake time (if I am lucky!) after that to take care of things. Knit, cross stitch, clean, run errands, watch TV, etc.

We try not to schedule our weekends too much because our weekdays are so hectic. This summer we are planning to spend every weekend that we can at my family cottage.

Name your top 3:


My top 3 books is a hard, hard question because reading is something I have always loved to do. I love the novel Portrait in Sepia by Isabelle Allende. I really like most of her books. On the flip side I also love the author Marian Keyes, I am hard pressed to pick a favourite though. A book I always turn back to is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. (And I may also have a *slight* obsession with Sweet Valley High.)


Music is another hard one, it varies so much depending on my mood. Jack Johnson, Robbie Williams, and Michael Buble can pretty much satisfy me any time though!


Hands down the best TV show ever is Lost. Ever. I also love So You Think You Can Dance (both the Canadian one and the American one even though I find the judges too nice on the Canadian one) and Modern Family.


I don't know if I have any 3 websites that I am super loyal to. Obviously I love Etsy. For knitting camaraderie I like Ravelry. Other than that, I am a freakishly obsessive Googler. I probably Google way too many different and random things in a day.

Etsy shops

* - when we are ready to have our second child this will be the first place that I buy maternity clothes from.
* - she is local to me, she is an amazing sewer, and she's super nice!
* - she has a great idea and uses recycled materials. What could be better?

What are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on a personal project in the rare free time I have (work is a bit hectic right now). I am cross stitching my daughter's Christmas stocking.

Where do you hope your shop to be in the next year?

I hope to have an active shop within the next year. Sadly, I haven't been able to focus as much attention on my shop as I would like to since I returned to work. I need to find a good work/family/Etsy/social life balance.

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

I don't know if I am the best to give advice to new people since I haven't managed to find that magic formula for success on Etsy but I would advise new people to list as much as they can, connect with as many people as they can on a genuine level (don't just drop your link on other Etsy seller's face book walls and hope that they follow you back or spam people on twitter!), and learn as much as you can about how successful Etsy sellers became successful and what works for them.

Thank you for taking the time to share with us and welcome to the team!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life of an Item with Jackthemanabouttown

Well I am so happy to be contributing to the "Life of an item".

One night while picking up my order from The Red Dragon, I noticed a ceramic Fortune Cat at the register. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm - now that would make a unique hat.

Between munches on my egg roll I began to sketch the idea out. What does the paw symbolize? Google it! The most common belief is that the left paw raised brings in customers, while a right paw brings good luck and wealth.

After the hat is sketched and the idea brews in my cranium it is off to the yarn store for just the right fiber. A sweet brass button looks like the charm on a cat collar.

I have sold these in infant sizes to adult sizes. Fortune cat has been featured in 6 treasuries as well. Fortune cat makes me smile!

Friday, June 17, 2011

July's Etsy Merchandising Desk

July is on the way, sure to bring a busy season. Our goal is to create a healthy balance between promotions for traditional holidays, seasonal changes, cultural events, and lifestyle trends. It's also a great way to change up the way you approach managing your Etsy business.

We are continually looking to highlight the stories of the people behind the products. Including your name, in addition to your shop name, will not only help personalize your work, but also help Etsy admin looking for shops to highlight. To update your name, go to Your Account > Profile and edit the name section.

Holiday Tip: Think it's too early to begin listing your 2011 holiday line? Think again! Now is the time media and press publications are finalizing their print plans for the holidays. Take advantage of this knowledge by listing your holiday line now with clear seasonal tags. To keep things looking in line with the current season, use Etsy's Rearrange Your Shop tool to move these holiday items to the final pages of your shop.

Summer: Summer travel, outdoor activities, community events & fairs, open air soirees, summer fashion, and lighter, brighter colors. Emphasis on outdoor entertaining, hostess gifts, bath and beauty, and clever ways to stay cool all summer long.

Fashion: Emphasis on swimwear with NY Fashion Week 2012 taking place. Broader options for summer focus on showing some skin, open toed shoes, lightweight materials, and sun protection: sunglasses, sunscreen, makeup, balms, hats and coverups. Summer dresses, shoes, accessories, and options for hair are key. Design labels are already launching previews for for fall lines and lookbooks.

Weddings: At the height of wedding season, think about how your line can offer or evoke outdoor options for both the ceremony and after-party. Additional highlights on warm weather honeymooning and early preparations for fall and winter celebrations.

Outdoor Travel: Think in terms of the beach, countryside, forest and mountains. Outdoor activities on the rise include camping, biking, hiking, fun at the beach, fishing, and water sports.

Christmas in July Community Sale 2011: Get involved in this year's community driven sale by tagging your sale items with the terms "christmasinjuly" and/or "CIJ" between the dates of 7/14/2011 through 7/24/2011. All shops are eligible to participate and sale items do not have to be holiday themed. Be sure to add promotional details to the item description of each item you tag. For additional questions about how to get involved, contact the Christmas in July community sale leader, DesignedByLucinda.

Collecting: Summer months bring an opportune time to take advantage of antiquing, collecting, flea markets, outdoor bazaars, and vintage renewal.

Ruby is July's birthstone; July's astrological signs are Cancer and Leo (June 22 - July 22: Cancer, July 23 - August 23: Leo).

Trending Topics:
Vampires: They're back on the radar with shows like HBO's True Blood and the recent movie trailer release of Twilight's Breaking Dawn.

Sports: Tour de France trends including biking, the French countryside, and France.

The Typewriter: With the recent closing of one of the last typewriter manufacturing companies, these nostalgic forms of technology are becoming hot commodities.

Colors: Summer color trends include honeysuckle pink, neon, coral, and orange. Pantone's color trend report for fall 2o11 includes quarry, cedar, and teal greens, nougat and coffee browns, orchid and phlox purples, bamboo mustard yellow, honeysuckle pink, and ember-glow coral.

The Local Artisanal Shop and the Speakeasy: The butcher, baker, ice cream shop, patisserie. Barware, mixology, nightlife, live music, and secret passwords.

The Garden: Indoor, outdoor, community, and rooftop gardens. Glass domes, terrariums, air plants, window herbs, succulent plants, garden markers, planters, tools, buckets, baskets, gloves, organic seeds, and boxes.

Fashion: Slim clutches, espadrilles, wooden platforms, maxi dresses, stripes, tribal references, tailored classics, full short skirts, retro swim, summer scarves, circle lensed sunglasses, and sweetheart necklines.

Vintage Designer: Authentic fashion, collectibles, bikes, and auto accessories.

Writable surfaces: Chalkboard and whiteboard.

Letters, Numbers, and Symbols: Large vintage signage letters, letterpress blocks, monogram housewares, and typewriter keys.

Personalization: Monograms, initials, text, numbers, zodiac, constellations, portraits, custom labels, stamps, fingerprints and family trees.

Natural History: Woodland forest themes and animals, namely birds, owls, squirrels, hedgehogs, chipmunks, bunnies, butterflies, feathers, nests, eggs, acorns, leaves, trees, branches, woodgrain, and natural colors.

Lockets, secret hiding places, skeleton keys, arrows, diamonds, paper cuts, silhouettes, fortune cookies, wishbones, constellations, fortune telling.
Large scale vintage and handmade paper maps, botanical and anatomy charts.
Upcycled lights and lamps, specifically with exposed bulbs.
Feather hair extensions, earrings, and accessories.
Gadget cases, docking stations and accessories.
Scandinavian patterns and motifs.
Facial hair, beards, mustaches.
All things steampunk.
Wall decals.

If you'd like to stay engaged and involved with the approaching merchandising themes, use them in your own artistic voice as you add to your shop. They can be translated in your listings, photos, shop announcements, descriptions, tags, titles, sales promotions, and more.

If you make items that would fit well with the themes outlined, try stocking up and listing them in advance to take advantage of potential shipping deadlines and site features. Do you already have items in your shop that meld well? That's great! Now it's time to revisit those items to make sure your tags, titles and descriptions reflect keywords that shoppers might be looking for during this time of year. This is also a great opportunity to revamp your item photography with a new look. Check out some great how-to's for item photography to get started.

Edited by Jacqueline Gikow at ChelseaRainbow. Thank you to everyone whose images I used.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May's Treasury Challenge

This must have been a tough month! With all the trouble with Blogger this month being down mid-challenge and comments disappearing, we ended up with entries from Giggles and NewHopeBeading. Both of these fabulous treasuries are below, but seeing as how NewHopeBeading was our winner last month, I'm going to spread the love and hand this one to Giggles. Thanks you two for these amazing treasuries!

Vintage Feel May by Giggles
Blue Skies Yellow Sun by NewHopeBeading

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feature Friday - Chelsea Rainbow

Hello Lab Rats - It's Feature Friday time again!

I'd like to introduce you to Jacqueline Gikow/ChelseaRainbow and thank her for a fabulous interview! ~ Lori

Where can we find you?

Facebook Fan Page:

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

My name is Jacqueline and I’m the owner of ChelseaRainbow. I live in New York City, one of the most vibrant urban cities of the world and also the capital of fashion. You may not be able to afford a designer dress, but you can always find my fashion forward jewelry to update your own looks and my elegant home decor accessories to enhance your home. 

In the past I have had careers in pottery, graphic design and industrial design with a sidetrack into computer programming early on in my work history. Ever since I can remember, art in some shape or form has been my passion. I am a graduate of The College of Ceramics at SUNY with a BFA in sculpture and art history, an MFA in Arizona State University in environmental design, and an MID in industrial design from Pratt Institute. A perpetual student, I am self-taught in handmade fashion forward jewelry with a tasteful backing as a professional designer. I have also written and had published two hip, smart books: Graphic Illustration in Black and White and Polymer Clay; Creating Functional and Decorative Objects.

What brought me to Etsy was having a job in a crafts gallery that also sold jewelry. I had been making jewelry for about five years, but not selling it. A cousin of mine bought a painting on Etsy so I decided to check it out. I liked the atmosphere on Etsy so I opened a jewelry shop last June. By December I had diversified to include home décor accessories and I decided to change shops to Chelsea Rainbow; Exploring Creative Embellishments. I’ve now been open as ChelseaRainbow for about three months and took a large step backwards in my visibility so I’m working hard to get to where I was.

2) Please walk us through a typical day in your life.

In a typical day, I get up early and check my email and do some neatening of my shop. Then I have breakfast and I do two hours of work at my virtual day job, where I work from home.

After that stint of work I spend some time making jewelry or photographing my work and also editing it in my digital software. 

Then I have lunch and do some errands. I then will promote my work in the various teams and social media.

After that I work two more hours on my virtual day job. And then I check out a few promotional websites. I subscribe to HARO ( and have been published a number of time from the site.

Then I might do some more promoting and I take the evening off. It’s handy having a virtual job because I can spend a lot of time working on Etsy, either in my shop or on my jewelry and home décor accessories.

3) Name your top 3:

Purple Cow, by Scott Godin
Poke the Box, by Scott Godin
How to Make Money Using Etsy, by Tim Adam

Blue Grass

Law & Order

Web sites

Currently I’m working on some semi-precious pendants and necklaces as well as making some large (size 13) knitting stitch markers.

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

I’m hoping to be more visible on Etsy and selling a bit faster. Since I sell jewelry, I have a lot of competition, but my work is unique and fashion forward, so I expect people to find me with the efforts I’m making to keep my shop up to date and well-stocked as well as approaching my target market.

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

Be prepared to work hard at filling your shop with products. Aim for at least two pages of items so that the buyer will be able to have a choice of products. Also be patient, especially if you’re a jeweler. It takes time to get known on Etsy both by the buyers and by the community. Join a team and make some treasuries so you can get seen. And finally get familiar with SEO so that you will also be visible on Google as well as on Etsy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mosaic Monday - like Sunshine!

From top left clockwise:

The Mosaic Monday Treasury is HERE!
...and guess what? other Lab Rats may be in the treasury with the Mosaic Monday featured shops...go peek!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May Treasury Challenge

Vintage Tupperware Salad Fork Set from RomasMasion

A late start to the May challenge, but it is here! When I was looking at the merchandise notes for this month it caught my eye that May is known as National Barbecue, Bike, and Photo Month. A good Google search led to a few other topics May is "the month" for. It's National Hamburger Month, Motorcycle Safety Month, and National Family Month. You can take any of these ideas and run with them or choose your own topic to make a treasury that screams "May" for our challenge. Link them here by the 15th and we'll get a votin'.

Here are the rules:
  1. Use at least 8 Lab Rat members. You can use the list on our sidebar.
  2. Include "Treasury Challenge" in the title of your treasury
  3. Tag your treasury with "labratsteam"
  4. Tag your treasury with "team treasury"
  5. Tag your treasury with "may trends"
  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 & have fun!
Some more tips - include a variety of items with a range of prices, don't include yourself, and tag your treasuries with a few more relevant keywords. Head to the Treasury to get started or read up on how to make a treasury first. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mosaic Monday - Flowers!

From top left, clockwise:




In an effort to give our team and shops a bit more exposure, I'll be featuring the shops chosen for the Mosaic Monday feature in an Etsy treasury too.

treasury link here
So be sure to keep listing new products in your shops and tag with: labratsteam so I/we can all find you!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Its that time again to introduce our new members. 

I am sure we have already met them in the labs but I would like to take this time to officially introduce them to the rest of the rats and I hope you all welcome them with open arms and lots of virtual hugs.

Drum roll please...................... here's our April members

newhopebeadingWhat is your given name?
Personalized Silver Initial Necklace PMC Handstamped Fine Silver One Artisan MonogramCaroline Magda

What made you want to start an Etsy shop?
Well, actually  I tell the story in my Etsy profile so if folks would like, pop over there to read it :) 

Which item in your shop is your favorite? 
Oh no so hard to decide... so I will give you 3 :
1) my family tree because it seems to make so many people happy
3) and this necklace ... well because I just like swirls! 

Where does your shop name originate from? 
See question #2 LOL

Spring and Summer Scarf Handknit from Handspun  Fair Trade Eco Friendly Renewable Resource Vegan Banana Fibre Fiber in Teal by ImpossiblyAlice
What is your given name?
My name is Sheryl 

What made you want to start an Etsy shop?
Simply discovering etsy made me want to start my shop. After I found it, I needed to be a part of it!

Which item in your shop is your favorite?
Since we're so close to summer, I really love my summer scarves. One reason is because it was a challenge to create a scarf that is beautiful and also lightweight to wear with summer clothes. The other reason is because they are made with banana fibre which is a completely renewable resource and it was handspun in a fair trade women's co-op. It is both eco and globally conscious!

Where does your shop name originate from?
I started the idea for this shop last spring when my toddler was still a baby and I wanted it to be tribute to her. Her name is Alice so that part is obvious. Alice in wonderland also came out last year and I've always loved the quote about believing 6 impossible things before breakfast and I want her to grow up believing that she can do or be anything so the name came from that. 

Welcome to the team and we hope to see you in the lab soon.

Squeak Squeak!



Sorry about the lateness of this post but I have had some major computer problems this week and have only just got back online.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Life of an Item with CassieArt

My initial inspiration to begin sculpting buckles from clay came out of necessity. I love to wear a belt to add a bit of surprise and fun to my look, but I couldn't seem to find what I had in mind. On a whim, I decided to create my own. The process has been so fun, I've not stopped yet.

This squirrel buckle was created with a little backyard friend in mind. I remember it like it was yesterday...spring had just sprung and I decided to put some flowers in the ground. That weekend, we went out of town and upon our return, my entire flower bed was empty! My poor blossoms had been plucked off and just the shriveled stem remained. Then, right before my eyes, the furry culprit returned to the bed to scrounge for more flowers. Finding none, he's since taken to driving my poor cat Asha crazy by devouring the bird food we leave on our deck.

Even though he ruined my flower bed, he's so stinking cute, I had to dedicate a buckle to him. When I come up with a buckle idea, I begin by sketching out my design. Once I'm happy with my sketch, I transfer my drawing to a heavy card stock paper that allows me to trace the image into clay multiple times.

From there, I begin rolling out the clay. My favorite thing to do is roll the clay through my stash of vintage lace. I've also found burlap, stamps and even place mats offer a great variety of textures for the clay. Once rolled over a texture, I then trace my image into the clay.

After that, the buckle is finished for now. The clay must dry out completely before firing, so they usually take about 3-5 days to air dry. Once dry, the buckles are what's called greenware and ready to be fired in the kiln. That first firing leaves them with a bright white look called bisqueware. Think of the pottery you see at those glaze-your-own pottery shops, that's the same thing. My glazing process can take 2-3 additional firings, depending on the desired glazed effect. My crackle and metallic glazes often require more firings.

Once out of the kiln, I can begin pairing the buckles with my stash of mostly-vintage fabrics for the creation of the belt. Often times, I cannot find just one fabric to accompany the buckle, so I'll create a reversible belt. Some of my buckles are reversible also, so the belt can be worn four different ways.

So, that's the process for making my belts. I currently have a new backyard fri-enemy: a mole. Because of his lack of cute, I don't anticipate any mole-themed buckles soon...but you never know!