Thursday, March 19, 2009

Here Comes the Sun Little Darlin!

Spirals are a common symbol for the sun, as well as for eternity, the cycles of life, or the passage of time. The idea for this treasury actually came to me 3 months ago at Winter Solstice, but I was doing other things and so the spiral treasury got pushed back to Equinox. The timing feels appropriate up here in Alaska though, because we are just now beginning to see the first hints of spring. The long dark of winter has gone, and the long light of summer is coming.

(as always, click a photo to see the listing)

Sunshine and Spirals
(they just make me feel all springy!)

I love these triple-spiral buttons.
Triple spirals, also called triskele, are common in ancient Celtic designs, and are thought to represent a variety of things, including fertility (the months of pregnancy), the three realms (land, sea, sky), and several tri-fold Gods/Goddesses.

If one spiral is good and three is better, how about a dozen?!

Handmade glass beads ~ aren't they gorgeous? She makes several colors and I had a hard time picking which one to show here!

What a neat crochet dishcloth
(the listing is actually for the pattern, but the picture was too pretty to pass up)

Speaking of pretty pictures, these notecards capture some of the awesome spirals provided by nature!

Welcome Spring!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday Tip: What's in a Name?

Of course it's important to have a good product, and good photos can be very helpful in guiding potential customers to your shop, but another thing that grabs buyers' attention is a catchy title.

A year or so ago I made this diaper.
ninja diaper All black, inside, outside, velcro, etc...all black. I could have posted it as a "black diaper" but instead I posted it as a "Ninja Diaper" and what do you know, it got a LOT of views and sold quite quickly.

Recently I've been posting a lot of animal-print fabrics for my "It's a Jungle Out There" collection. I could use titles like "Green Monkey Print Cloth Diaper" or "Leopard Print Diaper" but instead I'm using "Sweet Little Monkey" and "Tarzan Tushie" because they are more catchy. (C'mon, you know you want to see the Tarzan diaper, don't you?!)

A few weeks ago I posted about MagdaleneJewels and her valentines collection. She did a valentines collection with lots of red and hearts, but instead of naming things "Red Heart Necklace" or "Valentines Bracelet" she gave them names like "Juliet Necklace" or "Venus Bracelet." Much catchier, aren't they?

Have you ever seen a title that when you saw it you just had to go look at the listing? What was it? What are some of the best titles you've thought of in your own shop?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Featured EtsyBlogger of the month: DesignByNora

This month's featured EtsyBlogger is Nora of DesignByNora. She blogs here.
I actually found Nora when I was a brand new member of the team. I was browsing through listings with the team tag (just trying to get to know my new teammates) and I stumbled across Nora's little flower stud earrings.

Aren't they precious?! She makes them in a variety of colors, but these are some of my favorites. She makes star studs as well, and this month (while shes the featured seller) she is offering free shipping on all her stud earrings, so right now is the time to get them!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Swirly Twirly Skirts

I love skirts, but not all skirts. I like them long, and I like them full. Here are few I've drooled over lately: enough variety to keep me skirted in every season!

(click photos to see listings)

Recycled fabrics and a swirly design from LovePeaceAndDye

Eco-friendly hemp from JenniferJoyCreations

Satin Circle Skirts (with a very unique yoke) from VigilanteLabs

Earthy Twirly Paneled A-line from GBella

Hand-dyed silk in a full circle from RoundAboutDancewear

Now if only I could afford them all!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing

I mentioned that leopard print inspires me....
So I switched the machine to black thread yesterday and look at what I've just listed!

Velour-lined diaper with a side-snapping design (great for toddlers who have figured out how to undo velcro/snaps on the front!)

Nursing pads (because you know you wanted nursing pads to match your leopard-print bra!)

Pantiliners...because every woman deserves to to walk on the wild side

All of them are part of my "It's a Jungle Out There" promotion for March: Buy any item from the themed section (including all those shown above), and get 25% off another item in the store. See shop announcement for details.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Reusing Item Descriptions for Faster Listings

Aside from actually creating the product, writing item descriptions can be one of the most time-consuming parts of being a seller on Etsy. This is a tip that won't work for everyone, but if you list a lot of similar items then take note!

I sell a lot of things that are similar. For example, I sell lots of cloth diapers--the diapers come in different sizes and fabrics, but every medium diaper has the same measurements as every other medium diaper, the washing instructions for one knitted hat are the same as the next, and the properties of cotton velour are the same whether I use it on a diaper or a menstrual pad. My teams are the same, no matter which item I'm listing (and I always try to list my my teams at the end of the description for the sake of searches).
SO, I write up the description in a word document, and then I just copy and paste the parts I need for each listing. It saves me a lot of time when making listings. Click, click, click, and voila, the description is written and ready to go.
The only thing that is faster is when I use the 'relist' feature to list a new item that is very similar to an old item. I can make little edits to the title or description, but then I only have to change a few tags rather than re-typing all of them, and then just change out the photos. Easy peasy!

I don't pretend to be an expert on anything, but if there is an etsy-related topic that you are curious about or would like a tip on, please let me know in the comments and I will try to address it in a future tuesday tip!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kreativ Time

Well, I've been nominated for this twice now, so I guess I'd best get on the ball about it, eh?

TiLT and Heathen's Hearth both nominated me as a "creative blogger" (yeah, one who just can't stand the misspelling, being a former English teacher and all) ☺

The amusing thing is that each tag came with different rules. One said I should just tag 7 new people, but the other said to list 7 of my favorite things and then tag 7 people...well, as usual, I'm going to do this my own way.

SO, I'm going to list off 7 things the feed my creative inspiration!

  1. My family. So much of what I create is developed because I see a need and then make something to fill it...and then I end up making more to sell.
  2. A love of pretty things. I know it's just a diaper, but it might as well look good, right?
  3. Leopard Print. Need we say more?!
  4. Getting orders in the mail. Whether it's new fabric or something I purchased from another crafter, seeing new stuff always gets me in a crafty mood.
  5. My customers. Every time someone tells me they love what I made, it inspires me to go make more.
  6. The income. Sorry if that's lame, but honestly every time I make a sale I think whoa, that was fun, I want to do that again!
  7. My teams. I love browsing through the blogs or shops of my teammates and seeing the awesome things they have made.
As for the 7 people I'm tagging...
If you like doing this kind of thing, consider yourself tagged, please! I have no idea which of my friends have already been tagged on this, and I'm not going to name folks who aren't going to want to do it, so if you don't want to do it, you are not tagged, but if you DO like memes, then by all means, I tag YOU!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I got featured today!

Ms Moo of SpottedCowSoaps (a fellow EtsyBlogger) is expecting her first grandchild any day now, so she made a baby-themed treasury this morning, and I'm in it! yay!!
You can click here to see it.
(The red diaper in the bottom right corner is mine)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Checking In...

It's EtsyBlogger carnival time again!
Here is the topic for this month:
We are already on March!! What have you accomplished this year in real life or on Etsy?? Have you followed your New Year's resolutions? What are your plans for the rest of 2009?

(My goals are listed there on the left sidebar)

Well, I got the new designs for my shop banners and blog, woohoo! I love them so much! And PolkaDotPixels was SO great to work with. When I was struggling with figuring out how to do the text for all my little sidebar bees, she offered to just do it for me! I gratefully accepted (although I insisted on paying her for it) and I just get all happy inside every time I see my awesome blog!

My goal of making/posting two items every week has been a little sporadic...I've made enough items total to match the weeks in the year, but there was one week that I posted a dozen things and other weeks I haven't done any... I've had several large custom orders though so if I count those in them I'm doing a bit better.

I'm off to a good start on introducing new products, and if my sales thus far are indicative of how the year will go, then I think I'm set for earning more than last year. ☺

Something I had not specifically made a plan of, but which is going well (so far) is that I joined entrecard. It's certainly brought a lot of traffic to my site, and while I don't know yet if any of my sales are a direct product of it, it has been a lot of fun.

As for my ongoing plans, well, we will be moving this summer, so I'll have to take at least a couple of weeks off for that, and I've just learned that I'm expecting a baby in November, so I probably won't be getting in on any holiday selling this year. Between those two things, my main goals are to use up stock/materials that I have on hand (so that I don't have to pack as much stuff when we move), and also to try take full advantage of sales and promotions that my teams are doing early in the year, so that I can make sales now and it will be ok to close for a while when I take my maternity leave!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Speedy Little Monkeys!!

This morning I sewed up a pair of these little newborn diapers to go along with the EtsyClothDiaper team's "It's a Jungle Out There" theme for March.
This afternoon I listed them in my shop.
Tonight they were sold, just like that (along with another diaper duo!)

Wow, I wish more items sold that fast!

I have a few other themed items in stock, and there are a dozen more on my sewing desk just waiting for me to finish them up and get them listed. Buy any item from the theme of the month section in my shop and get another item (equal or lessor value) for 25% off! The themes change monthly, so get them while the getting's hot! (click on the pictures below to see the listings)

Friday Feature: MopeyCantSwim

Last weekend in chat I met the owner of the darling little shop Mopey Can't Swim. Since I live literally within feet of the ocean, I was enchanted by the little plushie toys that fill this shop:

"What is a Mopey, you ask? A Mopey is a type a starfish! They are fuzzy, cute, and affectionate, but unfortunately they cannot swim. (That's where you come in!) Since this little guy can't stay in the ocean, he would love for you to share your home with him!"
MCS has recently discovered some other little monsters, and will soon be introducing Mopeys in other sizes as well. MCS blogs here. ☺

Thursday, March 5, 2009


My husband is a viking at heart, so with him in mind, today it's a viking treasury!
(click photos to see item listings)

for baby vikings

for vikings who no longer put everything in their mouths
Thor's Hammer in cast pewter

for dirty vikings
Black celtic sandalwood soap (earthy, manly, and BLACK!)

for REALLY dirty vikings
Pine Tar Soap (the vikings used it for their ships, why not themselves?!)

for intellectual vikings
Norse Runes chessboard

for naked vikings
(cuz you know you want this t-shirt too!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Knitting a Stretchy Bind-off

I recently finished knitting my first project that required a bind-off. Don't laugh, all my prior projects had been hats which just decrease away to nothing!! But I made a sweater for my toddler, and so I not only needed a bind-off, but I needed something that would be a bit stretchy. I googled around a bit and found this fabulous tutorial for a stretchy bind-off (I love!) I found several sites that explained it, but this was the only one with pictures good enough that I could actually understand what was going on!!
And the sweater may be imperfect (it's my first one) but the bind-off came out great! And it is VERY stretchy! (My son loves the sweater, especially the pocket. He would wear it every day if I let him)

(yes, I swear he IS wearing a diaper in this photo, LOL!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Speedy Dropping for Entrecard

A couple of weeks ago I posted a tuesday tip about using entrecard to promote your blog (and therefore your shop). Today I want to revisit that topic by talking about some add-ons that can help you use entrecard efficiently.
Obviously it can be quite a slow process to open blog after blog and drop entrecards, even if you know which ones have the card! Here are a few tips that can speed things up.

(Thanks to this blog post for a lot of this help! And thanks to Unique Commodities for giving me the link in the first place!)

1) Use firefox. Download the 'no-script' add-on (which will block a lot of sidebar content and allow pages to load faster). You will need to configure noscript to enable entrecard content for this to work--see this page and this page for details on how to do this (it's not hard). This page also has some helpful screenshots.☺

2) When you visit a site that you want to drop on regularly, mark it as a favorite. (Click on the 'E' on their card and it will take you directly to their entrecard profile. On the right side of the profile is a box with options including "mark as favorite.") I mark fellow etsians because that is who I advertise, and usually who I place my ads with.

3) Look in your inbox (in your entrecard account) and see who is dropping on you. Return the favor and drop back on them! If you like the site, add them to your favorites.

4) If you join a ring, they usually have a homepage where you can click one button and it will open up a row of tabs with new sites...this is a nice way to find new favorites if you don't know where to start. Here are a few of those pages I have found/used: Arts/Crafts/Fashion/Hobbies links ~ LivingBotanical ~ The Entrecard Credit Generator (this one isn't choosy about site content like the others are, but it can get you a lot of drops)

5) Download the entrecard toolbar (which also requires firefox). Once it is up on your browser, you can login or switch between cards (if you have more than one) with one click. When you are ready to go dropping, you can select for it to open 10 pages (in tabs) selected from your favorites or from whichever category you choose. With many pages at once plus the no-script to help them load quickly, you can drop drop drop and be on your way!

6) Make sure you have good virus/malware blockers. A lot of them sneak in via scripts, so blocking scripts can help, but especially since you will be hopping around to lots of unfamiliar sites, it's important to have good protection! (That first blog post has some links to good free programs.)

A note about why you want to drop on the same pages over and over: because then you can be a top dropper, get listed on other peoples blogs, and get more traffic!!!
And you get credits for dropping. Lots and lots and lots of credits. Up to 300/day!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where to buy diaper/pad materials

A while ago I posted about the various kinds of diaper/pad making materials, but didn't go much into where to get them. So today I'm going to remedy that!
(I will update this post if/when I find new sources)

There are two main sources for getting materials (unless you are ordering hundreds of yards and can afford to order directly from the manufacturer): online retail shops, and co-ops.

  • Retail shops have things in stock, and will send it to you right away. Selection varies by shop, but I'm usually able to find one shop that has everything I need (although it's not always the same shop as last time). The downside is that they sell at retail prices. However, if you're just getting a few yards of something, I think this is the way to go.
  • Online Co-ops are formed when groups of buyers get together to purchase fabrics in bulk at wholesale price (usually around 60% of retail). It is typical for an order to take 2-6months, depending on the size of the order and the efficiency of the co-op leader. Be aware that when ordering through a co-op, you will usually also pay cut fees (about $1/5 yards, to cover the leader’s time to sort/ship your fabric), as well as paying your portion shipping to the leader, and then shipping to you. I find that co-ops are cheaper if I want over 5 yards of fabric, and don’t mind waiting a while.
Some abbreviations:
DC = Diaper cut (enough fabric to make one diaper). Usually about 20x20 inches. Please note that not all diaper patterns will quite fit on this size of cut!
FOE = fold over elastic
MM = maldon mills (the best microfleece and fleece)
PUL = polyurithane laminate. It's made by fabrite and they require a minimum order of 50 yards per color. (There is an off-brand PUL with fewer and slightly different colors but it seems to be equal quality and is cheaper.)
OBV = organic bamboo velour

Types of elastic:
polybraid = traditional looking white elastic (hereafter referred to as 'elastic')
lastin = clear plastic elastic, commonly seen in swimwear--popular because it's supposed to last a long time
FOE = used to elasticize and bind in one step. There are two types--one is narrow, one is wider and soft ('plush') The wider one costs a little more but is much better. Available in many colors and even prints.

Types of closures:
touchtape = hook/loop ('velcro'), available in many colors, very strong, inexpensive, a little stiff
aplix = another hook/loop option, softer and more expensive than touchtape, available only in white.
resin snaps = these come in two forms, and require a press or special snap pliers to apply. There are two types "KAM" and something else that's not KAM. KAM is more widely available. Both types look about the same, but it's generally agreed that they are not compatible.

Kids in the Garden
monthly sales on selected items
1ml PUL (by the yard, inch, or DC) in prints and solids, microfleece, microfiber, suedecloth, organic hemp, organic bamboo
touchtape, FOE, elastic, size tags, threads, needles, patterns
Very Baby
1ml PUL (yard), flannel, birdseye, terry, jersey, cotton velour, hemp knit, microfiber, wool jersey & interlock, some organics
touchtape, aplix, FOE, elastic, lastin, threads, needles, size tags, snap press & snaps (non-KAM), patterns
offers full rolls at discount
2 ml PUL (yard or DC), hemp, bamboo, cotton, suedecloth, organics, microfiber
touchtape, aplix, elastic, FOE (all by the inch) size tags
Sew Many Diapers
seems to be sold out of many items
Sandwich PUL, cotton velour, flannel, sherpa, birdseye, microfiber, hemp fleece, bamboo fleece & velour
FOE, elastic, lasting, KAM snaps, size labels, some touchtape, thread, patterns
FOE (wide variety of colors/prints, the good soft stuff)
FOE (solid or print), matching thread
Suedecloth, PUL (yard or DC)
very user friendly site
very good prices
Everything I’ve ever heard of, both regular and organics, in lots of colors and prints including camo!
Here again, everything (snaps are KAM brand)
1 and 2ml PUL, flannel, french terry, cotton velour & interlock, bamboo velour & fleece, sherpa, wool, minkee, MM fleece,
Patterns, wool wash, rotary cutters
SewZanne’s Fabrics
1 & 2ml PUL, hemp fleece & jersey, cotton velour, flannel,
Lots of NON-diaper stuff too.
FOE, elastic, lasting, aplix, needles, non-snap-press snaps (may not be good for dipes)
Organics, bamboo, hemp, fleece, sherpa, velour (lots of NON diaper fabric too though) Also DCs
Size tags (this elastic is not appropriate for diapers)

Items offered (varies)
Cloth Thoughts
Sherpa, cotton velour, MM microfleece, lastin, touchtape
Speed is the goal—4-6wk turnaround maximum LOVE IT
1ml and 2ml PUL (5-6 colors at a time, rotating each month)
Fine (some delays if colors don’t fill)
Fantastic Flannels
Cotton velour, microfleece, flannel, PUL, maxilock thread
Velour, hemp, FOE, sherpa, terry, bamboo, PUL, elastics, wools, designer fabrics, etc
I’ve found this one to be very slow and pricy on shipping
Notion Supply
KAM snap presses, KAM snaps, size labels, some other notions
Ships from china, but is GREAT
Variety of fabrics
No personal experience
MM microfleece, aplix, elastic, PUL, organic cotton, gutterman thread, organic velour, scissors/cutters,
no personal experience
Hemp, other diaper making supplies (not specific in announcement)
no personal experience
Killington flannel, OBV, etc
no personal experience

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Guest posting on Eco Etsy Blog today

I wrote a guest post "eco tip" for Team Eco Etsy about cloth diapering, and they posted it this morning.

When I was a kid my mom used cloth diapers. They were huge things that had to be folded, pinned, and covered with plastic pants. After they were used they had to be dunked and swished in the toilet, then put into a pail with water and bleach...the whole process was disgusting, and I swore I would be using disposables when I had children of my own.

But there have been some remarkable advancements in cloth diapers since then...
Click here to read the rest of the post.

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