Friday, December 31, 2010

Nope, not reindeer tracks...

So, we had a little snow...  Now, compared to all those huge storms that have drifted across the country, this was not that bad.  However, Lova and Cookie only had one thing to say...

...a resounding "NO!" followed by "Make it go away."  They are not demanding dogs at all.  That is how they got the nicknames of 'no' and 'no-no'...  I made them stay outside.

Not one to make my animals suffer what I will not suffer myself, I donned my snow tramping gear and, looking like an inflated snowman, I waddled out the back door to see what was up in the great white world.  No, actually, I waddled out there to feed my larger fourple footed friends.  Nothing else could have enticed me out of the house on a cold day like this!

Whoa!  What do my wondering eyes behold?

Tracks?  Ummm.... those are not guinea tracks.  Not dog tracks... rabbit?  No.  Ummm....  Where are they going?

Now, why do I think this is not a good thing...  Mystery tracks leading up to, er, rather under my little shed.  I think I need to hang out a 'Critter Motel' sign here.  It's got to be getting crowded in there because, as far as I know, the bees are still in there...  Yeah, bees... What once was in a tree, has moved...

Well, let's take a closer look at the tracks.  It could be a cat, you know...  maybe...

Oh.  I really want these to be cat tracks.  I really do.  I could feed a feral cat and be okay about that...  Cat! can't they look like cat tracks???  Sort of... in a way...

Well, I suppose only if I hollered 'kitty - kitty' and expected a little black and white kitty with a big, bushy striped tail.


Going to get the Critter Motel sign for sure.

Maybe if Bailey stops chasing her stick in the snow, she'll help me out here!

Naw.  The words 'Bailey' and 'stop chasing stick' are never on the same continent. 

Ahem.  Guess I will do a little research on how to discourage resident skunks...  And remove dormant bees...  Gosh, life in the country is never boring, is it?!

Well, this is how my old year is ending and how my new year is beginning!  How is your old year ending?  And how is the New Year shaping up for you?

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Etsy Blogger Blogger of the Month! Pruitt Handcrafts!

If you haven't taken a tour through Linda Pruitt's Etsy shops, you have missed some wonderful treats!  Take a stroll over there and check out these delightful items ~

Now is the time to send out those thank you notes!  Why not make them extra special just like the lovely gifts that you received!  These are so creative - what a lovely thank you gift for those favorite people you know!

 Linda is closing her jewelry shop, so right now (until January 15th) she is having a HUGE sale!  Check out her main shop page and get her coupon code to save 50% on gorgeous designs like this one!

Check out her supply shop where she has buttons, charms, lace, and lots of little extras like this darling Made With Love charm!  What a wonderful little trinket to attach to that delightful gift you just made! 

To keep up with what's new in Linda's corner of the world, check out her blog, Pruitt Handcrafts.  Be sure to look for pictures of her new darling little grandbaby!  What a double cutie!  Linda is the grandmother of 24 + little (and not so little) kiddos.  She is also a breast cancer survivor and all around cool person to know.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know Linda a little bit better and seeing some of the delightful creations this very talented lady has in her shops!  


Saturday, December 25, 2010


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Thank you all for visiting my blog, leaving such wonderful comments, and sharing your thoughts and ideas!  I appreciate everyone of you and hope that you have a very blessed Christmas Day, full of the peace and joy of Him who came as a baby in a manger.

God bless and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Countdown ~ time to de-stress!

Let's see... December 22nd...  then the 23rd, then Christmas Eve!  And then, Christmas Day!!!

Are you looking forward to Christmas?  or are you looking forward to Christmas being over?

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year - probably my favorite time.  It's the time when I pause and think about the the birth of Jesus and all that He means to me.  There are also many family traditions that we will enjoy and maybe some other celebrations around town.  I have even known several people who were not Christians and yet they enjoyed and participated in the fun and traditions that surround Christmas.

There is one thing that I refuse to participate in, though - Christmas Stress.  Nope, no Spirit of Christmas Stress is going to visit me!  And, here's how I make that unwelcome visitor vamoose ~
  • I keep a list and I check it twice - well, maybe more than twice.  A list helps me to prioritize the days activities and to be more productive.  Each day I go through my list and I update it.
  • The only items I put on my list are the ones that need to be done.  I don't want a list so long that I can't accomplish everything.  Also, I don't want to spend time doing things that I may want to do when I should be doing what I need to do.
  • I keep gift giving simple.  I am fortunate to be part of a family that agrees that gifts are tokens of our love.  Many of our gifts are handmade treasures or simple purchases with special meaning behind them.  In some cases, items are even re-gifted, including the gifting of family 'heirlooms' complete with the history behind them.  Gifts do not have to be expensive to express love!
  • I keep decorating simple.  I will set up the Nativity that my mother painted when the church choir members painted them and sold them to raise money for choir robes.  I will set up my tree with antique ornaments from Grandmother, handmade ones from family and friends, and special creations by my darling granddaughters.  I have the wreath that my parents used hanging in my window.  That's all I do any more.  Not a lot of lights and glitter, but a lot of treasures and memories.
  • I keep cooking simple.  Keep stress at bay by preparing simple things that you have made before.  Running out of time?  Pick up something from the store that is all ready to serve.
  • I have learned to be flexible.  In that flexibility, I have discovered some wonderful new Christmas traditions were created.  Not being flexible will lead to disappointment and stress, so relax and enjoy some surprises!
  • I listen to Christmas music and I watch fun movies.  Currently playing while I write this ~ "A Christmas Carol" with Reginald Owen ~ a great 1938 movie!  I avoid Scrooge, wherever he may lurk.  I won't listen to snarky DJs on the radio, read sad stories, or hang around with people who enjoy being grumpy.  Bye-bye, Scrooge.
  • I take time to slow down.  When I make that list, I plan time to slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas.  There is nothing quite like just sitting and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate while you admire your Christmas tree.
Hope you are enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas and enjoying your traditions, both new and old.  If you stroll around Arizona, you might just see some Christmas lights on cactus plants and palm trees ~ one of our local traditions!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Now about those reindeer and that sleigh...

I saw a funny thing recently about how the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh had to be all girls – hence, they knew the way ;-) Upon doing a little checking I found out that, yes, both male and female reindeer do have antlers. However, it was misstated in the little ‘tongue in cheek’ humor, because I found out that males do not shed their antlers in November, rather they shed them in late December. Which means, of course, if Santa’s reindeer were all boys, they would not have naked little heads while pulling the sleigh. So, right down to Rudolf, who knows if they were girls or boys!

Of course, we are missing the main point here – reindeer don’t fly.

There are a few other points about Christmas that get missed in the fun, joy and glitter of this last week of holiday preparation, too. This week is a good time to stop and focus on what is really important about Christmas.

• It’s not about the gifts I will receive – it’s about the people who care about me and love me.

• It’s not about all the decorations and lights – but about how thankful I am that I have a comfortable home.

• It’s not about all the cookies and fruitcake that are in the oven – it’s about being thankful that I have not missed a meal because there is no food.

• It’s not about the shopping frenzy to find the perfect gift – but about the time to gather together with those I love.

And about that guy in the red suit at the manger? Nope, didn’t happen. However, St. Nicholas probably would have been there. And we should all make a point to stop by and check out that baby that changed the whole world.

Have a Blessed Christmas week!


PS Many times food banks run out of food at this time of year. How about picking up a couple of extra cans of hearty soup or stew next time you are at the store. Drop it off at your local food bank and help someone out this Christmas!

Do you have other ideas of how to help someone? Share them in the comments and let’s see what we can do to make a difference this Christmas week!

Friday, December 17, 2010

If the weather gives you ice - have fun with it! Funtry Friday Fun!

Don't be a sagging winter Scrooge!  Life isn't all blue skies and sunny days.

Oh, wait - the blue sky and sunny day might be part of this guy's problem...

Well, anyway - there is a lot of country fun to be had in the ice and snow.  Work with me, here, okay!  I know it's cold, but icy cold weather can be... well, um... cool!  And cool things happen, like this...

The horse tank froze and there was about a half inch of ice on top of it.  This chunk has a really neat pattern of bubbles around a piece of hay that is now frozen inside the ice.  It also has a reflection of a crazy woman who takes pictures of ice with hay frozen in it.

This is so cool that it is cold!

A perfect heart!  And where, you might ask, is that perfect heart?  And how did it get there?

Chicken water.  The hose had a slow leak that dripped in one spot.  In the morning, the water was frozen except for where the water had dripped and formed a perfect heart shape!

I told you that ice could be really cool!  So can snow -

- especially with a dose of Mr. Random Dude!  Who is he?  Find out in my Etsy shop - tapestry316!

Hope you enjoyed your little icy Funtry Friday!  Are you staying warm or out sledding in the snow?

Happy Funtry Friday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bright lights and good ideas!

I have never seen the aurora borealis, but that light show sounds like a fantastic one!  The current ACEO Challenge on our challenge blog is for 'northern lights' so I had to go take a look at some photographs to see what they look like.  Oh, my!  After looking at those images, I came up with these two little paintings - and the idea that the 'northern lights' are really God's fireworks!

"God's Fireworks - Northern Lights" - 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches - ACEO - original watercolor, ink and gouache on 140 pound archival watercolor paper

Lights (or a light bulb) are also the symbol of a good idea.  Since there are lots of lights shining on this blog post, I thought I would share a good idea, too.

"Northern Lights" - 2.5 x 3.5 inches - ACEO - original watercolor, gouache and ink on 140 lb archival watercolor paper

These two little ACEO original paintings are going in my Adopt Art Gallery to help Tim and Cynthia with their adoption expenses for Baby E.  Do you see the cool little button on the right side of my blog below my banner?  The one that says 'donate now'?  Did you wonder how I got that there?  Well, here's your good idea of the day!

The button is really simple to install from PayPal.  Check it out, but before you dash off and do that, here are a few of things to keep in mind.
  • does not like people to sell items on their blog.  So installing a shopping cart and selling your creations here is not a good idea.  Check out Wordpress if you want to sell items from your blog.  Check out Blogger 'help' for more details about what they do and do not allow.
  • Raising money by way of donation is okay with Blogger.  Again, check out Blogger 'help' for more details.
  • Make sure you are prepared to keep track of the money you collect and send it to where it needs to go in a timely manner. 
  • Make sure your donation request fits with your blog, your goals, and your ideals.
  • Keep your instructions simple and your explanation clear.
  • Provide a way for people to contact you with any questions they may have.
All ready to find out how easy that little button is to install?  Here goes!
  • Check out this information on PayPal.
  • Choose your button and go through the simple steps that PayPal has on its page.
  • Copy the text (yes, it is html - but don't be scared!) and come over to Blogger.
  • Go into 'design' and edit your blog to add the 'HTML/Java' element to the location you want.
  • Paste the html code that you copied from PayPal in the big box.
  • Give your button a snazzy title in the little title box.
  • Click the save button.
  • Give your changes a little preview and when you are satisfied, remember to save your new design! 
Voila!  You are finished! 

Hope the lights are all shining for you and that you are enjoying your winter.  We are all excited here about our preparations for our Christmas celebration!  Lots of fun things in store - but, that's a story for another day ;-)


Friday, December 10, 2010

Funtry Friday - What's in a word?

Just poking a little fun at the English (American?) language...  In this country it is easy to get our verbage cornfussed!

Didn't you hear what I said?  GET UP!
 We polish the Polish furniture.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

A farm can produce produce.

The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.

The soldier decided to desert in the desert.

The present is a good time to present the present.

At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.

The dove dove into the bushes.

I did not object to the object.

The insurance for the invalid was invalid.

The bandage was wound around the wound.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

The buck does funny things when the does are present.

They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line.

To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.

I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my clothes.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't starve your creativity!

If you don't eat, you will stave to death. Trust me in this one. Proven medical fact here...

Daphne's Breakfast
Fall is always a busy time of year for me - as it is for most people. I have a tendency to race around and make more plans that I can accomplish. In the midst of that I may remember to eat some munchies, but chances are I will forget to feed my creativity.

And, if I don't feed my creative drive it will starve to death. Feed your creativity, and it will grow. Starve it, and it will just limp along.

But I'm busy! So what can I do?

One thing I do is to look for the things that feed my creative spirit. Then I try to do one thing each day that nurtures that creative part of my brain. Daily attention to creativity really helps - after all, we do tend to eat every day, don't we? We also need to feed our creative side daily, too, especially when life gets very busy and/or stressful.

I bet if I asked you to list ten things that you like to do and that really get your creative juices flowing, you would be able to easily complete that list.

Just for fun - here is my list:

1. Play with paint
2. Look at photographs
3. Take a walk
4. Look at artwork
5. Read an art book
6. Paint with a friend
7. Take a class
8. Try a new technique
9. Try a new art material
10. Buy a new paint color

One minute and 15 seconds. I came up with 10 things that give me a creative charge. Do I do them every day? Nope. And probably for the same reason that you don't. These are classed as 'fun' occupations. Laundry, dishes, yard work, employment, chores, etc., and etc., are classed as 'needed' occupations.

We constantly put the things that feed our creativity on the 'back burner', so to speak, because we don't consider them to be things we 'should' be doing - especially while we are getting ready for all of our holiday festivities. Funny how many of us will still carve out time for TV and computer games even though we won't take time to feed our creativity...

So, today - make your list of ten things that you know feed your creative spirit, and then go do at least one of them right now. A little creative relaxation will nudge the Scrooge right out of you even if you are in the middle of your Christmas rush!

Do you have something that really inspires you and it's not on the list? Add it in the comments - then grab a cup of hot chocolate and carve out a little creative time today!

That's what I am going to do!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Art Splash First Thursday!!!

Time to cruise through for some wonderful fine art!  Search 'all items' for 'artsplash' (one word) and enjoy your virtual gallery.  Here's a tiny little sample ~

SusanHimmelArt "Two Irises"

ImagineStudio "Gathering Fallen Rainbows"

paint1chris "Copper Vase"

ShirleyArt "Visit from an Old Friend"
tapestry316 "Summer Rain Drops"
 Have fun cruising through the wonderful artwork!


Monday, November 29, 2010

My favorite recipe is also my favorite Christmas tradition!

Fruitcake!  This ain't your grocery store stuff!  This ain't even your mail order stuff!  This is the real McCoy from 150 years ago!

The real thing!
 Want to see pictures with the recipe?  Right here! (ACEO giveaway was for 2009, not this year!)

Want more details about the recipe?  Including a few hints! (ACEO giveaway was for 2009, not this year!)

Just want the recipe? 
Here you go (along with a few comments from me!)

9 eggs

2 cups of butter (real butter, not margarine or shortening!!!)

2 cups of sugar (regular white sugar – not brown sugar!!!)

4 cups of flour (I like unbleached white flour for this fruitcake – no one has ever used wheat in this recipe)

4 pounds of fruit and nuts – use Candied pineapple, cherries, citron, orange and lemon peel; golden raisins (not dark raisins), pecans, and currants (if you like them – my sis and I don’t use the currants because we don’t like them =p). Just make sure that all of the fruit and nut amounts add up to 4 pounds. Doing the math is the hardest part of making this fruitcake. Take a calculator. Totally!

1 cup of molasses (we use unsulfured dark molasses – yummy!)

1 cup of brandy or fruit juice (I like orange juice in the fruitcake – Mary likes brandy. Just make sure you use the same brandy to soak the fruitcake. We usually use peach or apricot brandy. Oh, and don’t soak the cakes in orange juice even if you did put it in the fruitcake – yuck! Just pick one of those brandies and use that to soak the cakes.)

You will also need one tablespoon of each of these spices (don’t omit any of them!!!) ~ allspice, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves.

Okay – here come the directions. Remember that this recipe came with very few instructions! Nana wrote it out and then I made notes through the years…

Messy job number one: Grease the pans. Line the pans with paper. Grease the paper. Nice. We use shortening to do this (we, Kimosabi? I use shortening to do this... One year Mary did the pans and I did the fruit… Pans are nice – the shortening makes your hands soft *winks*  Fruit is sticky...) So for the 9 egg fruit cake you will need a herd of small loaf pans, or three small loaf pans and a big tube pan. I like the tube pan because I think the cake is really pretty even if it is harder to get the paper in there. Hey – it’s what Nana used *smiles* But, if you use the tube pan be prepared for it to cook a looooong time…

Messy job number two: Wash the raisins and pick out all of the stems. Do the same with the currants if you are using them. Nana used to do this the night before and leave them all to dry overnight. She liked currants so she always used them, too.  Don't skip this job.  Stems are yucky in the cakes =p Now take your candied fruit and prepare to get really sticky. Cut all of the candied cherries and candied pineapple pieces in half. After you have all of the fruit cut and the raisins and currants are dry, mix them all of the fruit and nuts together.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition. Add molasses and mix well. You can use a mixer for this part (newly added to the instructions… hehe – but this is the only time to use the mixer!)

Sift flour and spices together. Combine the sifted flour/spice mixture with the fruit. This is very important because otherwise your fruit will all sink to the bottom. Ugly and not so good. It’s okay if you have a little flour left – or you can just add it all to the fruit. I told you the instructions were a little sparse in the original! I have done it both ways, though, and as long as the fruit is totally coated with the flour mixture it will work okay.

Now you can put your mixer away unless you are not at all attached to it and you don’t care if it’s little motor burns up… (newly added to instructions due to life experience of a recent recipient of this recipe…) Note, again, the need for a huge wooden spoon! The wooden bowl is the one that Nana used all the years that she made fruitcake.

My sister and THE bowl that Nana used.  It's about 100 years old now.

Now is also a good time to pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. And – VERY IMPORTANT!!! – put a big pan of water in the bottom of your oven. I use a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Make sure that this is always full of water or your fruitcake will be really dry.

Pour the creamed mixture into a huge bowl (trust me – big is not big enough) and add the fruit mixture a little at a time, alternating with a little brandy. Blend well after each addition. Continue adding the fruit mixture and the brandy until they are all in the creamed mixture.
Okay – now fill all of those greased little and big pans about two thirds full of batter. You can bake them all at the same time, but make sure that there is a little space between them.
Your fruitcakes will take between one and three hours to bake depending on the size of your pan. Listen to them – they make a happy sound when they are cooking. When they are done, they are silent (mostly). Test with a toothpick, too, but remember that they are moist. Also, look for them to pull away from the edge of the pans just a teeny bit when they are done. Doneness timing is tricky – you may have to experiment until you find the right timing for your oven. Little loaves take about an hour; tube pan takes about two or three hours. Heavy on the “about”…

When they are done, let the little yummies cool completely. Now, grab that brandy – you do have some left, don’t you? Pour a bit of it in a bowl and then dip cheese cloth pieces in the brandy. You can also use the old kind of ‘flour sacking’ cotton dish towels for this if you would like. Squeeze it out a bit and then wrap your fruit cake up. You don’t want too much brandy on the cakes or they will get squishy on the outside and you won’t have any brandy left to sip on New Year’s Eve. After you have them well doused, wrap them tightly in heavy aluminum foil.

*laughs* Here’s the hard part – store the fruitcakes in the fridge for about a week before you eat it – for the best flavor that is. My brother-in-law says he has to sample it the day it is made just to make sure it is okay and fit for human consumption. He is my sister’s official food taster =p

Here’s another variable, too – my sister prefers to store her cakes in the freezer. I prefer to store mine in the refrigerator. They seem to keep well both ways as long as they are tightly sealed. Get careless with that aluminum foil, and your cake will get dry.

Well, I hope you enjoy this tradional favorite recipe of mine!  Any questions?  Just post them in the comments and I will be happy to answer them. 

Mikayla, Cynthia, Naomi and Mary hard at work - while I goof off and take pictures!
 Mmmmmm!  The house smells so good with the fruitcakes baking!

PS This Etsy Bloggers' Carnival is all about your favorite family tradition - or your favorite holiday recipe - Well, as you can see - fruitcake covers both of those AND it covers all the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, too!  Thanks, SpottedCowSoaps for the great blog carnival topic!

Monday, November 22, 2010

If you haven't seen these, you need to!

Thought I would share a few of my favorite places to visit online.  If you haven't found these - stroll on over and have some fun!

Hershey in Winter
 Want to check out my very first blog post?  I mean like ever?  Here you go ~

You have to see this little video ~ even if you have seen it before!  It's called GoD and DoG ~ grab a tissue!

Like to play games?  I mean real games!  If this place doesn't have it, it just doesn't exhist!

Shhhh....  over 50?  Want to know who did what when they were your age?  This is funny ~

What's on the menu tomorrow?  Well, we will be gathering for our annual fruitcake baking.  Want the 150 year old recipe?  Here it is!
Just so you know, the Treasure Hunt is from when I wrote the post ~ Just posting this link for the recipe =)

Do you like to do crafts with kids?  Homeschool art?  Or just like simple and fun things to create?  Check out Deep Space Sparkle!
Just a hint ~ if you work with 'seniors' in an art program, there are some things that could be adpated for them, too.

Want a fast and easy way to search the Bible, have a reading program, or explore some in depth study?  Here it is ~ right at your finger tips!

Want some ACEO fun?  This blog is really cool ~
You can enter the challenge and/or vote for those who have artwork entered!  Lots of cool ACEOs entered for this challenge, "Winter Beauty"!

Want to see poetry in motion with horses?  Jean Francois Pignon is a French master of Natural Horsemanship ~
These are some amazing and well trained horses!

And, last but not least...  One of my more fun blogging momments ~
The comments are really fun in this blog post!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adoption, adopting, adopt... art?

Yes, I know - adoption is really on my mind, lately, isn't it?!  But, Adopt Art? 

Well, yes!  As you know, Cynthia and Timothy are in the midst of adopting - and, as you probably know, adoption is expensive.

But what kind of price can compare to the life of a child? 

Think of the little (and big) common expenses that many people have...  Starbucks?  cable TV?  caller ID?  extra camera? cell phone?  HDTV?  two cars?  three cars?  horses?  new pair of shoes?  dog food?  magazine subscriptions?  a villa in the Bahamas?

Care to add to the list?  There are so many things that we take for granted...  Well, maybe not the villa in the Bahamas - but somebody probably does take that for granted!  Take a look around you...  yeah...  I just did the same thing, too, and gave the same big *sigh* that you did.

How would you like to make a difference and have some fun at the same time?  I knew you would ~ so join me this week and "adopt art"!  Check out the details on my new page, "Adopt Art!"  and watch as fun artwork waits for you to take it home in the "Adopt Art Gallery"!
Another Brilliant Sunset - just one of the lovely paintings waiting to be adopted!

Thank you!

God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,
so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
Galatians 4:5

New Living Translation

Friday, November 19, 2010

Funtry Friday ~ You might have livestock if...

That's My Baby!
Shopping at a feed store is more exciting than shopping for shoes.

You can only wear one style of shoes because both of your feet have been remodeled.

You know what I mean by ‘feet that have been remodeled’.

Wormer, trimming feet, what you found in the goat pen last week that you couldn’t identify are all dinner conversation.

You tell your truck to “giddup”!

All of your pockets have hay in them.

When you want the kids in the vehicle, you tell them to “Load up!”

You have lost count of the number of hoof picks that you own, but it doesn’t matter because they are all over the house, barn, truck…

The word ‘car’ is not in your vocabulary.

“Bull” has a different meaning to you.

You can tell where your friends have been with one sniff.

You can identify five major types of poop and six minor ones.

You know what I mean by ‘major’ and ‘minor’ poop.

Cat does not mean domestic short hair.

You can sleep through the TV in the same room and wake up with a horse whinny two pastures away.

And you wouldn’t part with that one eyed, 32 year old, skinny bag of bones for anything!

Hope you have a great Fun in the Country Weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A few more hints for selling on Etsy!

Etsy has made a lot of changes over the last few years, and, no doubt there will be more changes made in the future. One recent change involved the Profile Page. Here is what mine looks like now...

Here is what Etsy has designed the profile page to look like - I don't have my 'favorite materials', favorites, or treasuries showing on my profile page. The orange text shows you where those things would be if I had them there…

One of the main problems with having your favorites, treasuries, and favorite materials showing on your Profile Page, is that these are all direct links that take potential shoppers away from your shop.
Want to see how many places on your Profile Page lead to somewhere outside of your shop? Take a look…

Everything inside the red leads to somewhere else on Etsy. Either to another shop, a place to search items, Etsy's home page, help pages, information pages, etc. Lots of these links are 'normal' web page links, but about 300 links can be found in your favorite shops and treasuries (because of the number of links associated with each favorite shop item and each treasury item).

The little green links lead to your main Etsy shop page.

Take note of the fact that your avatar is not surrounded by a green line. Neither is your shop name right below your avatar. What happens if you click these? You stay on your Profile Page. Etsy admin, Sean, has stated that eventually all avatar and all shop name links will lead to the Profile Page instead of to your main shop page.

See this forum thread link for more details ~ 
Admin's comments appear on these pages ~
13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 24, 27, 52, 66, 73, 121, 123, 208, 213, 215, 219, 221, 348, 349, 351, 401, 403, 430, (458 by LisaJune about abusive posts & 459 LisaJune did invite us to convo her with questions about profiles.), 488 (These were all the admin comments posted when I visited page 501.)

Check the highlighted areas to see what I did to help remedy this little link traffic migration a bit…

• I added some information in my bio to help people navigate this maze. There is a link to my main shop page, a link to my Policies page and a brief note to 'click read more' so that people will know that they can expand the now truncated biography into a pop-up window.

• I removed my 'favorite materials' list because it was just one more series of links out of my shop.
• I made my favorites private. Some of my favorites are shops of friends, some are surprises for friends and family, some are competitors, and some are crazy items I want to share because they are crazy. I promote my friends in other places, gifts need to be private, and the rest I just don't want to share! *roflol*
• I have never made a treasury (just not my thing), but I think the only way you can remove them is if you delete the treasury. Otherwise, you have a lot of potential links to other shops on your profile page.

If you want to make your favorites and/or your purchases private, go to:
• Your Etsy
• Look under Your Account
• Click on Account
• Click the tab that says Privacy
• Click the space next to Only you (private) under Favorites and/or Purchases

There are some issues with Etsy's internal searches for their promotional items in connection to keeping your favorites private. Those issues are addressed in the forum thread.  If you read all of admin's comments, you will have a good idea of the direction that Etsy wants to take with the Profile Page as well as a few other things they have in mind.

Hope this gives you a little more information and helps increase traffic to your main shop page with your items that are for sale!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some helpful tips for selling on Etsy!

Etsy is a big place - so how do you get noticed? Well, here are some things that you can do to get your shop noticed by buyers who are cruising the corridors of Etsy. 
Daphne's Breakfast

• Make sure your photographs are clear and make sure that they adequately show all angles of your items.

• Use all of your photographs. If you don't require them all to describe your item, then fill up the other images with photographs that show related items, a way to display your item, special sales or discounts, or a little mini-biography about you.

Best Friend with a reminder to check out mt other artwork.

• Use all of your description tags. All 14 of them! Be sure your main category is first and your next most descriptive word is second. Don’t forget to use color, size, medium, season, scent, shape, etc. - anything that you might search for if you were looking for this item. Do not use 'cute' phrases in your tags unless that is a legitimate way to search for your item.

Here are some tags that I might use for Beach Baby~
art, original painting, collage, acrylic painting, tern, bird, beach,
summer, blue, brown, feathers, castteam, tapestry316, roeth 
• In some of your listings, include your real name as a tag. Include your shop name, both without spaces and with spaces (like: tapestry316 as well as tapestry 316). Many times people will search 'all items' for the shop name instead of using the drop down menu to search for the sellers. Some people who know you may not remember what your shop name is, but they will remember your name.

• Spend time connecting with people in the forums. There are LOTS of great threads there for both buyers and sellers and it is a wonderful way to meet some very fun people on Etsy. Chat with them, leave meaningful and helpful comments, and visit their shops. They will probably do the same for you.

• Join a team - or two or three! Don't go team crazy - join only the teams where you can successfully participate.

• Promote your shop outside of Etsy. Many people use Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to share listings, treasuries and team activities. Blogging is another way to share what is going on in your shop. Some people create an email list to send a newsletter for special sales, etc. Experiment and see what works best for you!

Well, that's enough to get you started! Stroll over to your shop and check your listings. How do you photographs look? Are your tags relevant? Been to the forums lately? Once your shop is all spruced up, spend a little time sharing it both on and off Etsy.
While you do that, I will get together some information about some of the recent changes to our Profile page along with a few suggestions on how to keep the traffic flowing to your shop items!
Happy selling!

Monday, November 15, 2010

You might be an Artist if...

You look at the sky and say cerulean blue with a dash of sienna…

You have used a paint brush to hold your pony tail up and you didn't discover it until you were checking out at the grocery store.

"Just one more minute" stretches to three hours at your easel.

Your plein aire supplies are always packed and ready to go.

You have touched up a nick on your kitchen cabinets with your $42 per tube oil paint.

You think nothing of letting the grandkids play with your paint, but they had better not touch your brushes.

You would rather buy art books more than just about anything except, perhaps, art supplies.

Your camera is always with you just in case…

Paint colors make you drool.

Everything you own has paint on it - somewhere!

Déjà vu? Have another one to add? Share it in the comments!

Happy Painting!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

An interesting question - what's your answer?

Patch, one of the Etsy Bloggers team members, asked this question for her blog carnival ~

What is always inspiring you for your shops,
your works, or anything in your life??

Such a great question!  Not just what is inspiring - but what is always inspiring!

The wonder of nature can inspire us, until the moment has passed.  A sunset can be and inspiring, but only for a few minutes.  People can be an inspiration, until they disappoint us.  Beautiful paintings can be satisfying to the eye, but are they continually inspiring?  Success?  Fame?  Fortune?  Are they the pathway to permanent inspiration?  Passion?  Can a passion be always inspiring?  No, only until another passion takes its place...

At the bottom of my blog is one of my favorite Scripture verses:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8

Inspiring?  Yes.  always inspiring?  Perhaps... but more like a street sign pointing the way to real inspiration.  Truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, goodness, virtue, praise worthiness...  What is always inspiring me for my shop, my artwork, or anything in my life?  Only one - Jesus Christ is always inspiring!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oh my! Truly Devine!

The featured Etsy Blogger for November is wonderfully devine ~ Devine Designs Jewelry, that is!  In her Etsy shop, Cindy features beautiful creations that are handcrafted with excellence in mind.  This eye candy is going to cause you to have a major *gasp* attack!  Be sure that you read her wonderful descriptions so that you will know the quality and care that she puts into each item.

Earings to capture the imagination!

Unique creations like this exquisite scarf pin!
Incredibly Devine Designs like this one of a kind lapis bracelet!
 If you can manage to tear yourself away from her lovely shop on Etsy, then stroll over to her blog, Devine Designs Jewelry, where you can keep up with what's new in her life. 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

That you might be free...

...they have made a sacrifice!

Thank you, Veterans!
God bless you!

Dad, 1946
Richard Golter
Blessings to you on this Veteran's Day,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oh, the problems of pricing artistic creations!

Did you ever have someone ask you why something you made cost so much? Did you ever have someone want you to drop your price? Give them a special deal? Include free shipping or a discount?

Did it frustrate you after all of the hours you spent creating, photographing, listing, packaging, traveling to a show, etc., etc., etc… And that doesn't even take into consideration the sleepless nights you had while creative ideas danced through your head at 2 AM in the morning!

Did you ever wonder how you could politely tell someone that you really have placed a fair price on your item? After all, you really do want to sell this and you do want your buyer to know that they have made a wise investment.

Well, here are some things that just might help you to have some high flying sales this Fall, no matter what you are creating and no matter where you are selling it!

• Take the time to write a detailed description of any special materials that you used and keep it with your creation. If you have used especially high quality materials, let people know! This can be a tag on clothing, or a card on the back of framed artwork that goes to the customer with their purchase.

• Give a few details of any special techniques that you used. Things like Iris Folding, felting, and printmaking are not always familiar terms to the general public.

• List any education, classes, workshops, etc., that you took to learn the skills necessary to make your creation. If you are a master soap maker, tell people why! If you teach your craft, tell people where =)

• If your artistic endeavors require a lot of time to create, tell people how many hours, days, etc. your process takes. Sometimes things look very simple, but the process is very complex. People will view wire wrapping much differently, when they know the amount of time it takes to create an intricate piece of jewelry.

• When you are listing items for sale online, make sure that your photographs are clear and excellent. Show as many different views and images as you possibly can so that the buyer, who has never seen this item, will have a good idea of what it really looks like from all angles.

• Include information about the care of your creation. This simple addition lets people know that your creation is a treasure with value and worthy of special treatment.

• Be sure that you adequately describe your creation. Each creation will require special attention here, but some basic things to consider are size, color, weight - basically anything that gives the buyer an idea of its value.

• Think ahead. Do you want to offer a discount if your buyer wants to purchase more than one item? Be prepared to let them know what you will or will not do.

• Write down all of this information even if you will be selling your items in person. You may have to step away from your booth for a moment or you may forget an important point to share in the middle of a conversation. If you have everything written down, it is easier to get the information to your buyer - especially if the information is on your item.

• Above all, think of how you would answer these questions if your dearest friend ask them. You never know, your next buyer might just become one of your best friends so start out by treating them that way no matter what they ask!

How about you? What special tips do you have for helping to let your buyers know more about the price of your creation? Let me know what you say to them in the comments!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Thursday ART SPLASH on Etsy!!!!

Search 'artsplash' (one word) to see more great fine art on Etsy!

Dancing Rain Designs

Dora Art * Design Studio

Lee Pierce


For more lovely *art candy* stroll over to Etsy and search 'artsplash' (one word)!

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