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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Michelle Chang Jewelry

I'm going for something a little bit more simple today. This is especially for those of you readers that have classic tastes and don't prefer accessories that are big and colorful. I like color. You. May. Not.

I have to accept that I can't convert you all. I can only be a Guru to those that choose to follow the ways of my orders. However I can entice some of you to take a plunge every now and then on the simpler things I have to show you which is why right now is all about Michelle Chang Jewelry.

Now tell me this isn't fly? This silver baby skull necklace with diamond eyes is totally dainty and cool! The skull is approx. 1/4" long and comes on a 16" chain. It's also importantly available in two finishes: brushed or oxidized so you can pick whichever look you prefer.

Every piece is made to order by hand so please allow about 7-14 days for it to be ready to ship and if you need something by a specific date all you need to do is contact the shop owner and work out the details.

J'dore!

Mullish Muse

Prepare yourself for hilarity. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason on what I think is cool. One day it will be an amazing pair of shoes, those are tomorrow, and then the next day it will be something for the bath that left me in heaven after using it.

Today's find I found on the forums over on Etsy yesterday and as soon as I opened their store front I was already giggling. Mullish Muse carries a collection of felt celebrities. Are you a hardcore Christian Siriano fan? Oh, come on Project Runway fans! Just look at this adorable little felt mini me and melt with me! It's totally a 100% complete look alike!

Maybe you're even gaga for the Obama's! There's the cutest pair of felt Barack and Michelle just sitting over at Mullish Muse waiting for someone to claim them!

Now, what are you waiting for? Let's get our finger puppet on!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sarah Seven


I went off on a search today to look for amazing designers that sell formal dresses on Etsy. I mean, it is about time for Prom right? I searched high and low and there is some really talented designers selling their designs on that site. It's so refreshing to me to think that so many people get their start on that website. I mean, you have to start somewhere right?

I instantly was head over heels for Sarah Seven when I stumbled upon a design of hers and I had to see the rest of what she creates so I started browsing her entire store. Man, she's out of this world. I wish I was creative enough to do stuff like this.

Being as that this is a prom post I figured I'd go ahead and post a few pictures of dresses from her shop that I think would make wonderful prom dresses. Don't go to your local mall to pick up something for your special night. Go handmade! Go designer! Stop shopping at mass produced places where the girl in your chem class might walk into prom in the same dress. Go special!

I think this Fuchsia dress would be killer at the event as well as the Powdered Sugar dress. Both would make heads turn and you'd be the envy of the ball.

Not Moira

Hang on all! Get out your masks and hand sanitizer. This swine flu is going to take us out! The entire US is in an up roar but at least many online artists are taking advantage of this epidemic and making something to profit from the craziness!

My friend Amy at Not Moira has things under control with her line of swine flu greeting cards that made me chuckle when she posted a link to them via Twitter last night. As soon as I saw them I knew that if I didn't blog about these today my readers would be missing out.

If this greeting card doesn't say friendship then I don't know what does. Guru says, check it!

If you're looking for a card with a different kind of message, you're in the right place! Expect a fun card on the outside with an unexpected bomb on the inside! You may also find a few standard thinking of yous or thank yous here, but they are few and far between.

Save the pigs!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Qwerty O


I went to the grocery store this morning to pick up stuff for the next few days and I was a bit disappointed with the results. I'm so wasteful! I literally threw away 20 plastic bags and then who knows how many produce bags. Ugh! It's disgusting! It must stop! I need to start moving in a more Eco-Friendly pattern and make a better example of myself for the boys. That is why as soon as my husband is paid on Friday I'm running straight over to Qwerty O on Artfire and purchasing their reuseable produce bags.

Long lasting, transparent, durable and lightweight nylon knit bags perfect for the local farmer's market! Or, great for use at the grocery store in the produce or bulk aisles. Add these to your reusable market bag and come home with NO plastic bags!

These are not made from tulle. They are created from a strong nylon knit. In this listing you get a a set of six bags: 2 Large, 2 Medium and 2 small. Use these bags in the produce aisle, bring home your fruits and veggies and wash them right in the bag. Hang them to dry and use the bags for storage in the fridge! Easy!

Drawstrings tie it all shut. Very see through, very lightweight. Suitable for the bulk aisle. They are completely washable. Wash under tap water if necessary. Rinse and hang to dry over night or, even better, roll in a clean dishtowel and they are instantly dry! Or wash in front loading machine and dry in dryer.

Support Eco-Friendly with me!

Gloria Lynn Glass


Guru says:

Hang on to your checkbooks and debit cards readers, today is going to be noteworthy. I've been a fan of dichroic glass art since my college years and ever since then whenever I see a piece I'm always a huge admirer. I've also picked up a few here and there on Etsy and usually when I wear these pieces people take notice and comment on cool either my earrings or necklace is.

At Gloria Lynn Glass there's a little of everything to pick from at a very reasonable price. You don't have to spend a lot to find something that will be an accessory that you'll come back to day after day. For instance, these earrings are totally hot for summer. I know that I would totally put these to use as they match the colors in my bathing suit and would look fabulous sparkling next to any pool. Most importantly they only cost $20!

If earrings are not your thing you'll find many other items to make you weak in the eyes. Perhaps a pendant for a necklace is more up your alley? Gloria Lynn Glass has those too!

Monday, April 27, 2009

TR Mack Studio


It's not very often that I find a male artist selling his wares on Etsy or Artfire and when I found TR Mack Studio I was very excited to show off his business. I'm very much into original paintings and abstract art and if you are as well then you'll be in over your head when you see some of his work.

Many of his paintings are inspired by the beautiful countryside and cities of Italy. So, many of the titles are in Italian as a tribute. I can think of many places in my home that could use a little bit of color and a tiny bit of Italian love. The colors burst right off the canvas which makes each piece so eye catching. I just want to sit and stare at how beautiful they are. This umbrella tree looking one is my favorite.

None of his paintings need to be framed. The sides are staple-free and painted just ready to hang. I've marked many these paintings to my favorites so that when the economy picks up I'll be able to pick me up a little something to make my home glow. This is exactly what it needs!

Red Leaf


I've had my eye on this business for almost a year now. I mean, how could you not considering that it's packaging is so bright and professional looking that it literally just jumps out of the pages at you. Red Leaf really must know what they are doing too because they have been in business on Etsy for a little less then a year and already have almost 1000 sales.

I'm most intrigued by their Bubble Bath Dough product. It's fascinating and sounds like a ton of fun to use. Just rub a golf ball sized portion in your hands under a running bath faucet, and your tub begins to fill with wonderful scents and lots of bubbles! The more water pressure you have the more bubbles! I must try this product!

The key to lots and lots of bubbles is agitating the water. Once in the tub keep agaitating the water occasionally and the bubbles will just keep coming! The container holds over 9 Oz's of dough and is enough for 10-13 baths.

I'll take mine in Orange Sherbet please!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pilot Design


Guru says:

Stop wasting your time searching for boring wall clocks at Wal-Mart and Target and get with the now. Support handmade by searching right online for places like Pilot Design that carry modern, funky, hip designs in all sorts of different styles and colors.

I know you can't resist this Honeycomb Wall Clock. I can barely but I'm holding out! This piece casts great shadows on the wall throughout the day and it's also a great visual contrast on darker walls, and sophisticated on white walls. People will surely stop and stare when they see a piece like this on your walls.

Welcome a new piece of art into your homes.

April Little Black Boxes On Sale


Guru says:

Head over to our sister site The Little Black Box and pick up your black box today for only $20! We're having a special anniversary sale all month long or actually until the boxes are sold out.

It's officially been 2 years since I purchased the site from Amy Jagminas and made it grow like wild fire so here's my gift to you for being so great to me throughout the years.

I adore and appreciate each and every single person that keeps The Little Black Box and it's idea in business.

Thank you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Digital Soaps


Now this is hilarious and I just know that my boys would get such a kick out of it.

Digital Soaps
carries a large variety of soaps that look like everyday electronics that we use on a daily basis. Need an Ipod soap? Got it. How about a cell phone soap? Sure do! What about a soap that looks just like a Wii controller? Of course!

This is handmade geekery at it's finest! The soap weighs 4oz's and smells like Coconut Lime Verbena.

You know you've made it when your soaps are featured in Forbes and other newsworthy magazines and blogs. It's amazing what you can find on Etsy these days.

Shame Shame Shame I DON'T Know Your Name!

Such a shame! I twittered today twice asking for some of the 700 people following me to plug themselves or someone they adore in the handmade community so that I could take a peek at their shop and blog about them.

Crickets.

Not one person took me up on the chance to have free advertising tossed their way. Really? Every single time I have someone say that they are looking for people to feature I automatically send that person and email or a direct message. I never pass on the chance for publicity no matter how small they are.

Where's the hunger? Do you not want business? Do you not know of a hidden secret that needs to be raved out? Help a Guru out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Black Mountain Candle


I've been burning large jar candles lately as I found myself really going through single wickless melts very quickly. The last jar candle was a layered one scented in pink grapefruit, orange, and lime. It's delicious and the throw is really nice. Now that it's about burned half way I'm on the hunt for another great handmade business. I found Black Mountain Candle and their items look really great.

The labels on their candles are super professional just like you'd find in any large retail store and the colors are bright and junk right out of the photographs. I'd love to give them a try! I even added them to my wish list while I hunt for more promising candle businesses.

It's summertime so the blackberry grapefruit scent really stands out to me. It's currently only listed in the 8oz size so I'd probably send them a convo and see if they can make it in their 22oz size to make things more practical for me. I'd also love to take a whiff of the coconut one. Heaven!

Alexandra Ferguson

Along with purchasing new furniture I also need to start looking for accessories to have around the living room. You can never go wrong with fun throws and colorful pillows on your couches and chairs. No need to head to your local Pottery Barn or Pier 1 for fun pillows when you can go straight to Etsy and find the same thing. In particular Alexandra Ferguson has some of the coolest couch pillows on the net right now.

Like yesterday's blog post, today also features an artist that upcycles their wares. Alexandra Ferguson's pillows are 100 percent post consumer recycled felt pillows. Each pillow is approximately the equivalent of 4 bottles that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill!

The Bud Explosion pillow would go just perfectly in my living room among the colors and feel that I have going. However, I also really love the Orange Poppy pillow. Both measure 16" x 16" and would totally give my living room some TLC from my wonderful handmade movement.

Go guru go!

Wickedly Chic - Chat Room Guest


Just in via my newsletters:

Tonight...in the Wickedly Chic chatroom...we have Deirdre Breakenridge. She's a professor & author of the best selling book, "Putting the Public Back in Public Relations". The topic is Using Social Media Communication to Engage with Customers.

I think she is going to be great and this is a time for businesses to get PR questions answered and tips and advice - for free! The chatroom is at http://www.wickedlychic.com/category/chat-room

7:00 pm EST. Tonight. Don't miss it business owners!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jelene


As some of you may know I'm in the process of moving my blog over to handmadeguru.com. I contacted my right hand girl Jelene to see if she could whip something up for me and she's finished with the actual illustration of the girl I wanted created and just sent it over to me.

I die!

I love it! I love Jelene! You are SO missing out if you don't go look at her work. She's out of control!

Howling Wolf BBQ


Seeing as that it's 98 degrees outside as I type I don't think I'll be using the stove today and I think I'll have that husband of mine outside over the BBQ. Thankfully I predicted the weather early this morning and thought to get something out of the freezer to defrost so that there'd be something to use on the BBQ.

Now's when I wish I had sauces from Howling Wolf Sauces though! Instead I'm stuck with the high sugar store brands. My husband would love it if he could get away with using the extra spicy kind but I'm more of a regular or original type of girl.

You can even purchase a 4 pack which is great for those of you in your life that are into cooking and like to try new things. Gourmet bbq sauce is where it's at especially when you're purchasing from someone who pours their heart and soul into their creations.

When purchasing food from Etsy please be sure to read the fine print and NOT purchase items that are not prepared in a commercial kitchen. Be safe! Howling Wolf Sauces abides by the rules!

Elephant and Chickpea


Etsy is currently featuring this artist and I'd be a fool if I didn't do the same. I'm in love with the creations that Elephant and Chickpea have to offer and I want to spoil you with some eye candy in hopes that you'll support this business as well.

All of these shoes are made with reclaimed materials (from thrift stores, secondhand shops, the closets of friends and relatives, and even her closet too) and natural fabrics like linen, cotton, wool. Every pair has a unique character and each is a limited edition.

I would have never guessed that these shoes were upcycled! Everything used to create each pair is made from left over items making each pair one of a kind! I'm always looking for something to wear around the house and I think many of us have a no shoe policy when it comes to our own homes and we we have the perfect item!

I'm nuts about the Ginger Ale Mary Jane shoes made from left over Amy Butler fabrics. Too cute!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Little Coaster Gnome


My coffee table and end tables in my living room are getting ruined. I'm not great at remembering to put a coaster under my water and iced tea glasses and the condensation drips down the glasses and on to the tables ruining them. There are spots all over all three and before I replace them I'm going to be making a trip to the Little Coaster Gnome and picking up a few sets of coasters.

Right now all sets are 25% off if you mention "Twitter" in the notes at checkout. I'm not sure I can refuse this deal but I'm holding out since I only have 15 dollars in my PayPal account. I'm trying really hard to not use my debit card but maybe you have a little extra dough sitting in your account and you're looking for the perfect splurge.

Keep a few of these around for those last minute, “oh-no!” gifts! They’re also good for friends, family, co-workers, teachers, holidays (holidays need gifts too), hosts/hostesses, new home buyers, old home buyers, crazy old aunts, bus drivers, hair dressers, neighbors, mailmen/women, people who need to be bribed...coasters work for pretty much everyone!!

These butterfly coasters are dope. I want them!

Miss Moustache


Coco must have gotten hooked somewhere and her amazing collar that I purchased from Lucky Fiona on Etsy is now long gone. It's been missing for about 2 weeks and we have searched both the back and front yard high and low. It's no where to be found.

I then had to go on a hunt to find something nearly the same and luckily I found almost an exact replicate at Miss Moustache.

This pink wild cherries collar is by far the most stylish collar I have seen for my little lady and I'm thrilled to pieces that it will be here soon. I especially love the little cherry charm that comes on the collar which is exactly like the old one. It's a perfect match!

While shopping I also picked up a pink name tag since my other one was lost with the original collar and it has cherries on it too! I love this Etsy shop and you will too!

Friday, April 17, 2009

LaPella Pottery


I busted my coffee mug and was looking for a new cool one today when I was out shopping. I need a big mug as I don't like running to the coffee pot every 5 minutes to refill. I couldn't find anything that caught my eye and then this afternoon in a fluke I found La Pella Pottery and instantly was attracted to their personalized mugs.

This medium sized mug looks to hold between 10-12 ounces which is just perfect for me. I particularly like that you can have it glazed in any of the colors that they offer in their shop and we all just know that I'd have mine glazed in teal blue. I'm just sort of predictable like that. Important also is that this is dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and food safe or course. You won't blow anything up or die from using it - thank goodness! I mean you never really know anymore... I'm kidding.

LaPella Pottery is the pottery shop of Lisa and Alex LaPella. Alex specializes in ceramic hand drums that are durable and tunable. Lisa LaPella makes stoneware pendants and jewelry. Both potters focus on handmade, functional, wheel thrown pottery that brings art and beauty into the mundane.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

B Stauff Designs


Every chic woman must have a chic tote bag when heading to the pool or beach during the warm summer months. Stop shopping at your local department stores and start shopping handmade. There's a million designers on sites like Etsy, Artfire, and 1000 Markets that are designing and manufacturing totes that are large enough to carry those towels, sunscreen, hats, books, drinks and sand toys in style.

When you buy handmade you are buying from the future Marc Jacobs, Balenciagas, and Kara Rosses of the world. It's actually very fun to think about it. Start with a small budget and get bigger! We all can't afford 3,000 dollar bags and totes but we can afford high quality handmade bags for $50 dollars!

I love B Stauff Designs because they have the perfect tote for lugging all my pool items around. When you have kids you need a really big bag and I think this blue and green stripe summer bag will do the trick perfectly for us this year.

Think twice!

Penny Glass Girl


It's been cool the past two mornings and I missed out on my morning swim yesterday because the air was so cold but I did happen to catch the news last night and it's going to be in the high 90's and climbing into the 100's here really soon. It's almost pool weather! It's hard to believe that the kids will be out of school in a little bit over a month and I'll have two big 2nd graders on my hands!

Pool weather means bright and vibrant colors. At least for me it does. Lime greens, turquoises, bright pinks and sun scorching yellows. I'm pumped and now I need to start searching for the perfect accessories to wear during this beautiful weather.

My search begins at Penny Glass Girl where I found the coolest cosmic lime green and turquoise fused glass pendant. You're bound to get a large number of compliments when you pair this with a fun summer outfit or your beach attire.

This makes a wonderful addition to my wishlist.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mi Spa


I had the pleasure of having items from Mi Spa arrive yesterday for me to sample. I have the best job in the world. I've been friendly with Mi Spa for many years and haven't had the chance to try anything until now and I've really been missing out on such luxury.

Luxury. Yes, that's exactly how I'd sum up these products. The scents are very organic and simple leaving me feeling sophisticated after using the products.

I was fortunate to try both the beauty-mi moisturizing oil, balancing botanical mist and beauty-mi face soap. Together these three make up the mi3. I felt so pampered after apply both - almost like I was being spoiled at a super high end spa. This morning I also had the pleasure to spritz on their lychee perfume oil and it lasted all day long on my wrists. Every time I put my hands near my face I was able to sneak a whiff of that wonderful scent allowing me to look forward until tomorrow morning when I would reapply it again.

I'm very impressed with the products that I have been allowed to sample and I think those of you needing to be spoiled should spluge a little on the products from Mi Spa. This is professionalism at it's highest quality.

Wilton Artisans


I'm going to be spending the rest of the evening getting the Little Black Box site updated to reflect the April items that have arrived. Can you believe it? April already! Insane!

My April sponsor is a new business to me named Wilton Artisans. I'm thrilled to death to have them as our sponsor. It's nice to get some different flavor on the site and I think many of the box buyers will be exceptionally happy with what they'll see from this artist.

Wilton Artisans is known for it's sea glass and vintage designs. I'm really digging this Beach Bride's Necklace. It's made from fresh water coin pearl necklace, hand wire-wrapped sterling silver, and white Hawaiian sea glass. It's pretty much the perfect addition to any bride having a destination wedding.

I can't wait to see what us lucky ducks will be spoiled with from Wilton Artisans. Woot!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Morgan Street

A guy friend of mine contacted me on Easter day inquiring about purchasing a box for a girl he's gaga about. What a guy! We chatted for a bit and then he told me that the best handmade soap he's ever purchased or tried he found in Bahrain. Bahrain!? He's Navy and clearly doesn't know that the bestest ever soap can be found right here in the USA. Of course I do have to give him credit for purchasing handmade soap but still, boy does he have a lot to learn.

I started thinking about some of the best looking soap I've ever seen on the net and that's when I was reminded of Morgan Street on Etsy and their fabulous items.

Over at Morgan Street you can pick up 8 bars of your choice for the low price of $35 dollars. Sure, you're thinking you probably don't need to purchase all 8 bars at once but think of how much you spend in a whole year on soaps. Or even think about how wonderful of a gift it would make for someone in your life. These are handmade one of a kind items that were made from love! Any bath and body lover in your life will appreciate them to no end.

All Morgan Street soaps are handmade from scratch using the cold process method of soap making. They contain only the best oils, butters and fragrance or essential oils to soothe and moisturize even the driest skin. They add additional oils to every batch of soap (known as super-fatting) ensuring that you will never get that tight as a drum feeling after using them. Morgan Street soaps contain all their naturally occurring glycerin. Glycerin is so important because it is a humectant, it draws moisture from the air and brings it to your skin where it is much needed – can you say "bye-bye dry skin"?

Hip hip hurray!

Kathy Estep


It's a gloomy sort of day. The sky is gloomy. My borrowed computer is FULL of malware and therefore has been taken over by a sea of pop-ups and slowness, and I'm hungry. Gloomy I tell you!

I needed something colorful to lust after. Maybe something colorful will wash away all my gloom and put a little kick into my step forcing me to shower and wander out into the world for groceries and weed killer. Yes, I said weed killer. Go me!

Thank goodness for Kathy Estep and her beautiful designs. Faith has been restored into the world as the sun can now shine because my eyes have seen true beauty. This necklace is crazy cool! I adore it! I want it! Please husband of mine think of Kathy Estep when you are planning my mother's day this year! *Cough cough* A girl could wish!

Within a ring of oxidized sterling silver is a colorful cluster of various semi-precious and glass beads. They include turquoise, lapis, carnelian and chalk turquoise. This hangs on an oxidized sterling silver chain and lobster clasp measuring 19". I tend to like mine a bit longer and would therefore probably request a longer chair but like it says right in the notes, it's possible for a small fee!

Hard Core Black Box Buyers

I usually get about 1 or 2 emails a month from people interested in purchasing subscriptions for the boxes. I tried this before and it wasn't that great. It was overwhelming and when the boxes looked meek I had 30 subscribers to explain to. It's been about a year and a half since I played the subscription game and then out of nowhere in the past 3 weeks I've had like 10 emails about subscriptions again.

I decided that all is fair in love and war and will allow 2 lucky hard core black box fans to purchase a subscription for the boxes. No more then that though! You can either prepay for 3, 6, or 12 months in advance and your box will be mailed to you every single month without a hitch.

I'm offering 15% off a 3 month plan and the total is $58.65. I am offering 20% off a 6 month plan and the total is $112.80 and for a 12 month plan I'm offering 30% and the total is $197.60. The first two subscribers to hit me up for this exclusive offer will be billed via PayPal and then this offer goes away.

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Who would have thought?


On Etsy you too can purchase your own "tobacco" smoking pipes!

Yep, that's right all you tobacco smokers and hippies alike you can support artists all over the world by simply heading to your online handmade venues and browsing "glass pipes" and up will pop 24 pages of items.

I can think of many people I know who could take advantage of this post. Get freaky! Thanks Elizabeth E. from Des Moines, Iowa for emailing me and suggesting I spread the love!

This one in particular is created by a shop called Head Dreams from Northern California. It's 4.6 inches long and changes colors when used.

Lucky Accessories


I've got a fun one for you today.

Who's the sweetest pea in the pod? We won't tell if you don't! But I do know that you will feel sweet as can be wearing or gifting this necklace with hand wrapped pendant shaped into a pea pod. Lucky Accessories is the proud creator of these beautiful works of art and hopefully soon I can become the proud owner of my own!

Three pea green mother of pearl beads lay snuggled together as peas in a pod in this particular piece. The pendant hangs from a delicate sterling silver 18 inch chain. A great necklace for anytime wear. A great gift for best friends or sisters (because you are like three peas in a pod!), a mom, or just a sweet pea person.

You can get different amount of peas depending on the look or idea you have behind the necklace or even earrings. I like the two peas as they would symbolize my twin boys.

2 thumbs up from me!

E-tailer Buzz


Howdy! Things are a bit different around this place and I'm trying to get used to seeing it look like the blog. It took me like 4 hours last night to do this since I had no idea what I was doing but alas you can now read the writing much better and I think it looks very nice. I just need to get a new header created and I'll be ready to rock and roll.

Like I stated yesterday, I purchased Handmade Guru, and you can save that link to your favorites and it automatically forwards to the blog so there's no more long confusing web links to search and follow. I've got big plans for the domain and hopefully it will include giveaways and the such for all of you.

Ok, moving on - I found this really cool website on Twitter. I have been following it for a little while now and it's called E-tailer Buzz. Basically all of you with businesses can head over there and list your site in their directory for FREE! Free is good! Just go do it right now. Stop what you're doing and make your free entry because I've been watching the site get created and the domain name is just perfect. I see big things for this site once it grows.

Then for those of you without a site you can post reviews and also search info posted there before you make purchases based on what others have posted. It's all very cool.

Now be like an Easter Bunny and hop hop hop over to the E-tailer Buzz for some fun!

New Blog Look


Stop!

Don't go anywhere!

You've made it to the right place. I just made the blog look more like the site and in my opinion it's easier to read now too. I'm still sprucing things up and I also purchased a domain that is now forwarding to the blog. Simply add http://www.handmadeguru.com/ to your favorites and you'll make it here every time!

Will do my regularly scheduled blog spots in the morning!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Where o' Where Are My Contributors?

May is right around the corner and I need contributors BADLY! I know the economy is down. I know people are afraid to put money into anything right now. It's scary! However, people are still purchasing from The Little Black Box because they want to stay on top of what's cool and hip in the land of handmade!

One of my favorite blogs recently posted this the following blurb and I can't not agree more! I spend about 200 dollars a month putting banner ads all over the net. Some work - some don't. Advertise advertise advertise!

Here's an ugly truth that people do not want to address often because it hurts feelings. YOU MUST PUT $$$ INTO PROMOTING A BIZ. If you do not plan on spending anything ever on getting yourself out there, you are hurting your business. Like going medieval on its little cute pikachu eyes self.

I certainly know broke. I know broke-ass broke. It's not easy. That's why you KEEP some of that day job money or you reserve some of that craft show money, or you borrow 200 bucks from a friend who gets what you're trying to do until you do not have to do such things - to be visible. Period. Stumbleupon advertising or Adwords type stuff is a good start.

Which is a good ad? An insular 10 cent spot on a craft blog with 6 readers running Project Wonderful ads because you like the chick with the blog ?

Or A 10 cent Project Wonderful spot on a NON-craft blog?

Come on, Suzy. I know you can answer this, please. Etsy noobs have this incredible tenacity about the importance of marketing to other crafters. Doesn't anyone eventually sit up and say "I would pay 30 bucks to get out of this circle-jerk?" "I would pay 30 bucks a month to be able to make some more amigurumi or feed my children or take a walk instead of posting like a deranged squirrel on Ning communities?"


Every time a non-supplier buys an ad on a site where only crafters hang an angel pulls its feathers out.


It is definitely possible to waste money on a paid ad that you think is where the shopper ladies hang - sometimes ads will misfire. I've placed a few bombs. Expensive bombs, but I didn't buy them unless I knew they might.


This is the ugly truth. Many many indie businesses you see with sidebar ads and blog features everywhere on earth making sales out the azz got that way by eating tuna and rice so they could afford their first ads. They understood and were willing if barely able to shoulder the risk. Don't do something you can't do - but DO do the most you can afford. At every step. I know there are exceptions and people very talented with social networking, but frankly, me bringing my A game means being willing to invest. Time - in a smart way. Money - in a smart way.


When I started out, print it yourself business cards were the most I could do - so I do understand. But to grow you need to bust ass. Busting ass is not enhanced, but sidetracked by placing spam on every city's craigslist when you could just put 20 bucks into adwords or renew 5 bucks worth of listings or email 10 blogs with nice pics and "hi, like your blog. Wanna post my shiz? thanks!" (Jena at Modish has great how-tos for how to do this, that was the vastly abbreviated version)

-or get out yo, and scope out the boutiques near you. Or email them if they're not near you.

This said, your paid ad is as good as its 1. placement 2. design. If those are both azz, you will get nothing. Do not buy visual ad placement unless you are secure with the look and the notion that the venue is talking to the peeps who will buy from you.

With that said - take a chance! Do something new! The Little Black Box has just over 8000 people on it's mailing list with people wanting to buy from businesses JUST like yours. Of course some businesses have better luck then others but you'll never know unless you try! I'm not saying that we work for everyone but I know we work for a lot of different types of businesses.

Sign up for one of our next round of sample boxes and come have fun with us!

Thank you Etsy Bitch for saying things that I'm not so great at saying!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

ScentsoryCandles


Those of you that picked up a March Little Black Box were lucky to find a cool votive tucked away in your black bag from ScentsoryCandles.

I got a HUGE box stuffed to the brim with a variety of scents to pick from. My very favorite scent was the Wildberry Mousse. That one was a berry goodness sent from above! The packaging was neat and the scents were very strong. I think anyone who orders would be so very pleased with what arrives on their doorstep.

One of the most important qualities about ScentsoryCandles is that they offer premium, hand-poured soy candles and melts that are made from 100% natural soybeans and cotton based wicks. This is especially important to those trying to maintain a eco-friendly lifestyle.

I'm heading over right now to plot an order and you should too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Body Language Soaps


It's finally in the 90's here. I say that like I'm excited. Yay, can't wait until it's 115 degrees out again - not.

I'm a sugar scrub freak. We all know this but I think maybe I've over done it and now my legs are so dry I look like an alligator. A few nights ago I was standing outside watching my father in law and his mini me chat while barbecuing hamburgers and I looked down at my white as ghosts legs peeking out from my capris and literally wanted to scream. It was like a big flaky gross mess. My shins need lotion and they needed lotion NOW!

I come home and to my amazement all that's in my bathroom closet is rows of sugar scrubs.. say it isn't so! That only means that I now get to spend a little bit on something frivolously because my legs can't go on living like this.

I found Body Language Soap on Etsy and the first thing I saw was their Vanilla Cream Shea Butter lotion. I'm a nut for Vanilla so this must smell wonderful! What caught my eye with the business the most is the adorable packaging. You can tell a lot of thought and effort went into designing their look.

Now I just need to find my debit card so that I can save my legs from utter despair.

Colorado Catnip Toys Giveaway


Here kitty kitty!

My cat is quite the fan of this ever growing business and I'm pretty sure that once you get your hands on a cat toy or kitty blanket from Colorado Catnip Toys you'll have to come back for more.

Each catnip toy is made using organic catnip from a health food store that is is stronger and carries an extra added punch. Kitty will adore both it and YOU! Wait, what's catnip? Catnip is mainly known for the behavioral effects they have on cats, particularly domestic cats. When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, often salivating copiously. It's really the funniest thing to watch!

Jana, the owner of this wonderful shop, has graciously allowed me to giveaway 2 catnip toys to my blog readers. All you gotta do head over to Colorado Catnip Toys and check out their toy department and then link me to one you love - with your kitties help and if you win Jana will take care of the rest!

There will be two winners picked tonight so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gaia Trove


Last week on Mtv's The Real World Baya, one of the cast members, was shown on the season finale with a feather clip in her hair. As soon as I saw it I was reminded of newcomer Gaia Trove in our March Little Black Boxes. Then again last night when I was watching my weekly Hills episode one of the girls had this amazing feather on her hat and again I was reminded of Gaia Trove. It was destiny - today I MUST write about this fab business.

Unfortunately for me they couldn't actually be in the box because of the delicacy of the items they create but they did offer us post cards for the boxes that had a 50% off coupon on it. All you gotta do is send them a message saying you say them in our boxes and you can also get hooked up with the coupon!

I am so digging this black and white feather headband. These can be worn with jeans, a cute summer dress or out at night for a sophisticated look. Some girls wear the black and white ones with cute girly business suits to the office even.

It's all about creating your own look, being stylish and having fun. Go get 'em!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bunny Bubbles Handmade Soaps

Browsing.. Browsing.. Looking through pages and pages of soaps. My mission was to find the most beautiful soaps on Etsy. I have an idea in my mind of the best looking soap artist but I want to see if I can find someone in my mind who tops my number 1.

That's when I find Bunny Bubbles Handmade Soaps. Now THESE are some of the coolest soaps I've seen in a very long time and if you are a sushi lover I think you'll agree.

This item is truly unique. It includes close to a pound of sushi soap in various fragrances, and a reusable porcelain tray. Keep it for yourself, give the whole thing as a gift, or dole out pieces to your favorite friends, and keep the tray for yourself.

This HUGE set of sushi soap would also be great for your next sushi party! Let everyone take home their favorite one or two pieces after you finish eating your real sushi. (Please let me know if you intend to do this, and I will also include some small "doggy bags" for your guests!)

The tray pictured is one example of this set. As yours will be made to order, you can choose any combination of the following types of sushi soap that will add up to 15 ounces of soap:

* Maguro Nigiri (tuna on rice) soap - Tangerine & Lychee Scent
* Sake Nigiri (salmon on rice) soap - Tangerine & Lychee Scent
* Tamago Nigiri (Japanese omelet on rice) soap - Black Tea & Ginger scent
* Ebi Nigiri (shrimp on rice) - Bergamot & Yuzu Fruit Scent
* Tekka Maki (tuna roll) soap - Cucumber & Green Tea scent
* California Roll soap - Cucumber & Green Tea scent
* Cucumber or Avocado Roll soap - Cucumber & Green Tea Scent

All trays will include several pieces of "pickled ginger" soap (Various scents) and 2 lumps of "wasabi paste" soap (Cucumber & Green Tea scent).

Everything except the baran (sushi grass) is made completely of soap. The "tekka maki" and "California roll" soaps are made using actual sushi-rolling techniques. This set will be shrink-wrapped and packaged with a set of chopsticks, as shown.

BSidesMetal


Mother's Day is May 10th this year and with the ultra special holiday right around the corner I wanted to take a little time to start showing off some things I've found that I think are really mom based and very nice. Each of the items I feature for Mother's Day this year is something I would like to get. Since I'm a pretty special mother to twins I know for a fact that your mother, your wife, your sister, or any woman in your life with kids would feel very appreciated getting something that I approve.

My 1st approved item comes from BSidesMetal.

Whether you have one child or many you will find the perfect gift to grace the neck of that special lady. For instance, I have two boys and this necklace would be just perfect for me. These 2 photo charms are a wonderful handmade addition to your choice of a ball chain, cable wire or cable chain necklace. These charms are made from soldered silver and (the archival printed photo/s)are sealed and set in clear resin.

The monogram initials are stamped on the back. The back of each charm can hold a maximum of 3 letters. Charms can also be made without monogram on the back. I love the extra added touch that the monogramming does.

Particularly I would like a chain that is long enough for the charms to rest right above my breasts which is perfect for me to look down at and admire when I'm missing my boys.

I think this whole shop is just fantastic and you are sure to find something that will knock your socks off when you go and browse BSidesMetal.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Kristin Coffin - Fine Metals Studio


Are you looking for unique eco-minded art jewelry? Are you the type of person that likes to wear pieces of wearing that are sure to get compliments? If you answered yesterday to either of these questions then you won't want to miss out on viewing the wares from Kristin Coffin.

All the metals used here are recycled, and all stones are fair-trade and conflict-free. That's such a wonderful idea to stand by. These are the types of shops that we, as a whole, should be supporting. Everyone is going eco-friendly these days and fair-trade is truly the only way we all should be going so it's amazing to see artists following in the foot steps and not leaving their footsteps behind while making their goods. The only footsteps that should be left behind are the ones in our memory after viewing such beautiful items.

What drew me to Kristin Coffin was the Budding Twig bracelet she has for sale. This is such an amazing piece! The bracelet measures 6" around from end to end. Real twigs with buds were cast and used to create a unique cuff. The bracelet is fairly flexible, fitting very small wrists and large wrists alike.

So major!

Jellybean Apparel

Bun in the oven? Good, keep reading!

I found a lovely husband and wife team specializing in maternity themed t-shirts for the entire family. There's something for every belly!

All shirts come wrapped in tissue and with hang-tags, suitable for gift giving if you're not the one expecting that little bundle of joy. Jellybean Apparel even goes so far as to add a customized note added, no problem, we stamp our own mini gift cards - just let us know and we'll include one.

I actually laughed out loud at the dad shirts. These are super hilarious especially the Pregnancy Support Team ones. I mean, that shirt is crazy funny. You just know that people will want to run over and give you a high five when you're seen supporting that in the company of your super pregnant wife.

There's even a custom due date shirt that fits over that ever growing stomach with a stork carrying a bag and the due date month in it. That's so clever! I wish I would have been able to get my hands on something like this when I was pregnant with the twins. Maybe you even want to sport the obvious with the Knocked Up version. Either way you'll be fashionably rockin' the pregnancy chic look with all the amazing designs available at Jellybean Apparel.