Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weekend Purchase

I just got these two stamps from Terbear Collectables:


I've been using recycled packaging for ages, and in the past I've used stickers to brighten things up, but I'm running out of stickers, and this is greener anyway!


And, well, I just needed this one--ah, my brown paper packages will be plain no more!

February Top Droppers

Many thanks to my entrecard top droppers for February! I apologize I have not been a very good dropper this month (my Hubby had my laptop on a business trip, so I was without my entrecard toolbar and that makes it hard to do much dropping!)

  1. Stroll Through Storyland ~ unique jewelry for individuals ~ Story has dropped on me EVERY DAY!! Thank you!
  2. NICO Designs ~ small business, handbags, and going green
  3. Altered Events ~ Unique Costume Fantasy Accessories
  4. Rose Works Jewelry Blog ~ Beautiful Things for Beautiful Women
  5. Spotted Cow Soaps ~ Handcrafted Soaps & Toiletries
  6. Lenox Knits ~ a knitter and a handmade advocate
  7. One ~ We only have One Earth, One Life and One Chance ~ a fellow ecocarder, as you might guess!
  8. You've Got Maille ~ Unique Chainmaille & Wire
  9. Beaded Tail ~ making tails wag one bead at a time! ~ all sales benefit animal charities
  10. Three Fates Design - Beaded Jewelry ~ Handmade Beaded Jewelry and Lampwork Beads
So entrecarders, run drop on my friends today! Who knows, maybe one of them will be on your top dropper list for next month!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cow Island

This week I was hanging out in Etsy Chat and met a gentleman named Steve who is the artist behind Cow Island. I went to take a look at the shop, and as soon as I read the announcement I started laughing. Why? Well, here is CowIsland's shop announcement:

So what's with all these cartoon cows? Well they were living in my head and it was getting crowded. So I gave them their own Island and left them there. Then they pointed out that they kept having adventures and people might want to know about them. So now they write a blog, six days a week, and I draw a picture for them.
Just between ourselves, he adds in his profile, ...this was all their idea.

The item descriptions are as funny as the shop announcement ("...Why? I only draw these things, don't look to me for answers!")
The cows even have their own myspace page (that's where they blog--and they are SO funny!) Honestly I'm greatly tempted to just keep copying and pasting quotes from them ("We are six cartoon cows. We live on an island. It's called Cow Island and it's ours and we don't have a mortgage,") except if I keep doing that then I won't have any space left to show you what's in the shop! And you must see what's in the shop:

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
CowIsland.etsy.com

So go visit Cow Island on Etsy!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alaskan Etsians

This week I've decided to feature some fellow Alaskans. There are many others of course, but these are a few whom I've befriended in etsy chat or whose shops really jumped out at me. ☺
(click the photos to see the listings)

fun and funky dog collars, leashes, and even 2-dog leashes from AlaskaLeash

"Arctic Berry" roving from NorthernLightsFiberCo

cozy blankets from CootiePants

handmade jewelry from CelticRavenz

very original notecards from SmackofJellyfish, who offers a series of blank notecards printed with the collective nouns of 26 animals, one for each letter of the alphabet (and also some fun snarky cards with missives such as "I hope you get hit by a truck")

Shop Alaskan!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Taking Good Photos

I am no expert in this, but I recently found a post on another blog that has LOTS of information about how to take good photos--along with examples of the results of each method.
so here it is: LiciaPots Licia Beads Licia Knits: ooo, nice pictures--how do you do that?

Her tips:

  • know your camera (and what settings it offers)
  • use natural light (or a camera setting that adjusts for indoor lighting)
  • pay attention to the white scale
  • pay attention to focus
  • use a solid, lint-free background
  • avoid extra props (they are distracting)
  • edit as necessary to have a good photo
  • show your item in use (wearing a necklace for example--obviously this doesn't work for all items, but for my diaper listings I often include a picture of my son wearing a diaper of the same style, so they can get an idea of the fit)
My own tips to add:
  • use all 5 of the photo slots
  • Make every shot different--at least one full item, one close-up of some detail, one that is 'interesting' (a unique angle or fun prop)
  • remember that the first photo needs to catch attention, not necessarily show everything. So pay attention to the order of the photos as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Girly Pockets for Shepremiers

I have just finished sewing up some adorable girly pocket diapers for shepremiers. She wanted them with stay-dry inners, but I was low on microfleece so we did a little microfleece, some suedecloth, and one with velour (which is not a true 'wicking' fabric, but the pile/fuzz helps the baby feel dry even when they aren't).

pink PUL, lavender cotton velour, purple snaps
yellow PUL, green suedecloth, white snaps with pin embossing
pink PUL, black suedecloth, black snaps
red PUL, white microfleece, pink snaps with pin embossing

Here is a closeup of the embossing that is on the snaps of two diapers, (I LOVE those embossed snaps!)
And at the right here is a picture demonstrating how pocket diapers work (the absorbent core is removable, so when it's put together the diaper is easy to use, but everything comes apart for thorough washing, and it's also possible to put in double inserts for extra absorbency such as at night).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Special Sellers on Etsy

Recently I have felt moved to post about some very special sellers on Etsy: sellers who are making items for those with special needs.

(click on any picture to see the item listing)

I met Suzanne of Suzannes Special Kids about a year ago when I joined the cloth diaper team. She has two children with special needs: one has aspergers and the other has medical conditions that keep him in a wheelchair, require him to use a g-tube (for feeding directly into the stomach), and have left him needing diapers well past toddlerhood. She decided that her son deserved to wear cloth for as long as he needed them, so she makes cloth diapers all the way up to adult sizes. "We wear cloth undies," she explains, "so why shouldn't our special family members?!" She labels them as "absorbent underwear" and offers many of them in pull-on styles because, as she points out, "disabled people aren't babies. They are simply differently-abled." She's adapted her patterns to be higher in the back so that kids who get around by scooting will still be coverd in back, and she also makes weighted blankets and cloth g-tube pads.

Linda at FashionGreenTBags, a fellow member of Team Eco Etsy recently shared this story and new item with me:
I met an amazing woman at a wedding recently. We chatted the usual "wedding chat" (We'd never met until then.) She has an older teenaged son who needs to wear bibs when he goes out to eat but finding bibs that are not "babyish" has been a challenge for this mom.
So Linda designed the "Digni-bib" which is "a dignified way to keep clothing clean but look like a shirt while doing so."
It blends in by looking like regular clothing, and doesn't call attention to the wearer or their special needs. She upcycles them from shirts, and is working on refining the design to add a liquid barrier on the back side. I have seen other adult sized bibs, but this is the first that doesn't scream "BIB," and I have to agree that that is a wonderful and dignified thing! (Apparently other people think so too, because she's only had time to make one so far, and it has already sold! But don't worry, she told me she's already gone shopping to get a lot more shirts!)

There are other etsians working hard to fill the needs of our differently-abled friends and family members.
TheSensoryShoppe makes custom weighted blankets and lap pads--both of which are helpful for those who have sensory issues (the weight gives them input and helps them calm down and focus).
AKayCreations make custom wheelchair bags, and they sure look roomy and sturdy to me!
Astrid, owner of SafetyThird, has a son who has Down's Syndrome, so she carries a variety of products inspired by him. He models for many of her listings (like this one). In addition to the awareness shirts shown below (Down's Syndrome aka Trisomy 21= a third chromosome on the 21st pair), she also offers onesies up to size 4, since special needs kids often potty train at an older age.
and RockNBauble carries a selection of awareness jewelry, such as this autism awareness necklace. Because one of the most important things we can do to help those with special needs is to learn to understand them. ☺

Friday, February 13, 2009

EtsyBlogger of the Month: DonnaPool

Meet this month's EtsyBlogger of the month: DonnaPool! (She also blogs, of course!)
Her shop has a lot of funky vintage stuff, which is not so much my cup of tea...but she also has some awesome keychains, fridge magnets, buttons, and super-adorable hand-stiched flannel teddy bears (see above), so I thought I'd share a few of those!

First of all, as a cat-lover herself, Donna has items to fulfill the wishes of your favorite cat-lover

Ahh, now that's just what I've been looking for!

And how can you not need one of these. I mean, really?!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I ♥ EtsyBloggers

Today (with more Valentine-y love running around) I'm featuring some of my EtsyBloggers teammates!
(as always, click the picture to see the listing)

AKeepersJackpot presents these lovely (sparkly!) sculpted polymer clay earrings
III Rexes Jewelry makes this awesome sterling silver/22k gold ring

StoryBeader offers this sweet keychain

and StormyDesigns pairs handmade hearts with dragonflies for this bracelet


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I ♥ TeamEcoEtsy

Since it's Valentines this week, I thought I'd celebrate the season of love by featuring some of my EcoEtsy teammates!
(as always, click the picture to see the listing)

A carved stone necklace from SteppingStones

I ♥ Recycling fridge magnet from earthlore, made with recycled cardboard!

Happy Valentines Day cloth pads from LilBees
(yes, I totally featured one of my own items...I do that occasionally!)

"Love is Everywhere" (hearts in nature)
featured on notecards by HeartOfNature

and LakeErieBeachGlass presents these delicate earrings, made with tiny pieces of found sea glass!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CPSIA Updates...

Quoting from the new Storque article, published today:

Q. Do I need to have my goods tested by a third party testing facility?

At this point, manufacturers do not need to have third party testing or lead-free certification for their products, but are liable if their products contain more than the legal limit of lead or phthalates. This remains the case until February 10th, 2010. We are not yet sure what will happen one year from now. (Keep the pressure on!)

Q. Ok, I understand that my products do not need to have third party testing or certification at this point, but I know that I am also still liable. I want to make sure my items are safe for children because this is the right thing to do! How can I assure that my products do not have lead in them?

A.

  • Work in materials that you know are lead free.
  • Avoid zippers and other fasteners that may contain lead. Instead, use wood buttons or other natural materials.
  • Look to less expensive home testing technologies, especially XRF. Pool resources with other sellers in your area and test together to save money.

Q. What materials are recognized as lead-free by the CPSC?

The following materials are known by the CPSC to be inherently lead-free or are exempt, and can be used in their untreated/unpainted state without any risk of sanction or penalties by the Commission.

  • Precious gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire or emeralds
  • Semiprecious stones provided that the mineral or material is not based on lead and is not associated with any mineral based on lead
  • Natural or cultured pearls
  • Wood
  • Other natural materials including coral, amber, feathers, fur, and untreated leather
  • Surgical steel
  • Gold, of at least 10 karats
  • Silver, at least 925/1000 pure
  • Platinum, palladium, rhodium, osmium, iridium, and ruthenium
  • Yarn, dyed or undyed
  • Dyed or undyed textiles (cotton, wool, hemp, nylon, etc.), including children’s fabric products, such as baby blankets, and non‐metallic thread and trim. This does not include products that have rhinestones or other ornaments that may contain lead or that have fasteners with possible lead content (such as buttons, metal snaps, zippers or grommets).
  • Children’s books printed after 1985 that are conventionally printed and intended to be read, as opposed to used for play
  • Certain educational materials, such as chemistry sets

The Commission has also provided limited exclusions for products containing component parts that contain lead in excess of the 600ppm limit, specifically:

  • Components that are not accessible, that is cannot be reached by a small child’s finger or tongue. Paint and other coatings or electroplating are not considered barriers that make a component inaccessible.
  • Components of electronics devices intended for children that cannot be made inaccessible and cannot currently be made with a lead level that meets the limit.

All textiles are inherently lead-free, and I do not use any metal components. While I have not yet been able to verify the safety of my elastic (it's lead-free but may contain phthalates), it is completely contained inside the diapers, and therefore I believe falls under the 'inaccessible' clause.
If you have concerns about any of my products or materials, please feel free to contact me, or to refer to my compliance information post.

Tuesday Tip: Entrecard

I've recently been introduced to the world of entrecard...I'm not sure how I found it or why I tried it...but somebody had it on their blog and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I vaguely remember that they mentioned in their blog post that they got a lot of traffic from it...well, I've had mine for just a couple of weeks now and already I have to say that YES, I get a LOT of traffic from it! More than twitter, more than facebook, more than them both combined actually!

So, what is entrecard? Well, it's something like an electronic business card and an ad rolled into one.
See there on the left sidebar? That's my card spot. If you have entrecard, you can 'drop' on my spot to let me know you were here. You can do that once a day, every day. Every time you drop, you earn entrecard points.
Every time someone drops on you, you can see who it was--and you have the option to bookmark them (within your entrecard account), to drop on their site, etc.
You can't see my actual card on my own site, what you see is someone elses card that I have agreed to display today--they have paid entrecard credits to advertise with me. Depending how many drops I get in a day, the cost to advertise with me varies--higher for more drops. It's more expensive to advertise on a blog that gets a lot of traffic...but then again, it's all entrecard points, which are free.
Actually, you can also buy entrecard points for cash if you want to--I'm not messing with that at this point though. I'm focusing on dropping. ☺
So where is my card? Well, I drop it on other people of course (and they can see who has dropped on them, and hopefully will come back to visit me and drop their card for me), but also I can place ads with other people. I can browse through entrecard and choose who I want to place my ad with. Some sites cost just a few credits, some cost over 400...it just depends on how busy the site is. Once I choose someone, they get a message saying that I've applied to advertise on their site. They then approve or decline my ad--if they decline, then I can take my credits and go elsewhere. If they approve me, then my ad shows on their site for one day (24 hours). Of course the same applies in reverse--if someone wants to advertise with me, I have the choice to accept or decline them. That's nice because it means that I never have to allow content that I don't want on my site.
I also get credits every time someone clicks on my ad (on someone elses site), every time I feature someone elses ad on my site, and every time I make a blog post!

A tip about using entrecard--put your card near the top of your page. That way it will load first--if you have a lot of stuff on your page, other people may not see the card, or may not wait long enough for it to load (especially if they have a slower connection). If you put your card at the top of your page, they will see it, AND it will load so they will be able to drop on it!!!

Also, you might consider joining a ring (I joined the green ring with eco-conscience blogs, but there are a lot of rings--just look next to other people's cards and see what they've got, then click the link!)

Click here to see my tuesday tip about speedy dropping (or, how to earn a lot of credits fast!)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Feature: MagdaleneJewels

I found this fellow EtsyBlogger's shop this week, and she has such fabulous Valentines items that I simply had to feature her! I love that she has love-related names for them, such as Juliet and Venus--I always try to be clever with my listing titles but I pale next to this. I also think it's great that even with a cliche holiday like valentines, she has kept things fresh by using things like black hearts! Her jewelry speaks for itself, so rather than try to talk about it any more I am just posting pictures (I used the bigger photos for her mini so you can really see these pieces--they are so lovely!)
Go ahead, drool a bit, you know you want to!


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
MagdaleneJewels.etsy.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Increase your traffic

This guy at TimothyAdamDesigns has lots of tips for increasing blog/shop traffic, so rather than try to tell you about them, I'll just send you over to his site. ☺

(I should give credit to Suzanne at Bliss Candles who linked him from her post, and that's how I found him in the first place!)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Perfect Bows Every Time

This month for the EtsyBloggers carnival we were asked to share a tutorial about something. In the spirit of Valentines, I thought I'd share a tutorial of how to tie a perfect bow...so they will always look like this

Not like this

(It was easiest to do it with a video, so here goes!)

video

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A CPSIA Victory!

It's not complete, but it's definitely a step in the right direction! Look what etsy published on the storque this week!

"CPSA has voted for a "Stay of Enforcement of Certain Testing and Certification Requirements of CPSIA" — which means that they are proposing a 1 year suspension of the burden of lead testing and certification while they take more time to review the rules and plan enforcement! " [link]

I intend to continue pursuing component testing for my products, but I am relieved to know that I do not need to throw away any of my current stock. Textiles (which includes everything I make/sell) are inherently free from lead, so even though I do not have testing information about all of my materials yet, my customers can feel assured that my products are safe. ☺

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