Category Archives: {Attn Fellow Crafters}

Here’s some nifty stuff for you to take a peek at! ;-)

How to Feature a Treasury in Your Blog Using Photoshop

A common question among Etsy sellers is, “How can I insert a snap shot of a treasury into my blog??”

{First of all, a treasury is an “ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery.”}

First Step: Open up your treasury in an internet browser window.

Second Step: Adjust the screen so that the browser shows the size of the treasury you’d like to be featured in your blog  (e.g. only 2 rows of the treasury or all 4?).

  • Mozilla: Click “View” and “zoom in” or “zoom out” to view
  • Google Chrome: Click wrench shape on upper right side of browser (I zoom at 69%)

Third Step: Once you have the treasury appearing on the screen as you’d like it to appear in your blog, push the “Print Screen/SysRq” key.

Fourth Step: Open Photoshop and click “File” and select “New” and adjust the size for your image canvas (I use 10 inches wide and 10 inches high)

Fifth Step: Click on your canvas. Push keys “Ctrl” and “V” at the same time. The screen’s image from when you pushed the “Print Screen/SysRq” key will appear on your canvas.

Sixth Step: Using the cropping tool on the left sidebar, crop the image.  When you are done cropping, go to the top horizontal bar, click “Layer” and select “Merge Visible”.

Seventh Step: Click “File” and select “Save as”. Save the new image as a JPG onto your computer.

Now you are ready to open your blog and start a fresh blog post in which you discuss and display your brand new treasury! 🙂

BumbleBeeee...byPiecefulJoy

BumbleBeeee...byPiecefulJoy

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Packaging for Etsy

Fellow Etsy sellers, this may be something you’ve pondered: “how can I creatively and inexpensively package an item for shipment once it’s been purchased?”

{To those who are not Etsy sellers, welcome to the inside scoop on being an Etsy seller! We strive to do our very creative best  for wonderful people just like you! }

As an Etsy seller, Etsy encourages us to package things creatively – that’s one of the big things about Etsy: creativity.

As an Etsy buyer, I would rather not pay extra for spiffy packaging {and I have heard oh so many Etsy buyers say the same thing}. I mean, I think cute packaging is adorable and all and definitely gives an “Ooolala” moment when unwrapping, but I’m on a tight budget {aren’t we all these days?} and as a buyer I would rather put that extra $2 toward something else. {Like my piggy bank for Starbucks.}

So there we have it, encouragement from Etsy to be creative when packaging our darling items  and then the desire to please the lovely customer who would rather not pay extra moola for extra cutesy packaging. What is the solution? Creativity and resourcefulness, my dear Watson!

To share a bit of my own experience with wrapping, I’ve attached some photos here:

Packaging with tissue paper:

Packaging with tissue paper, spiffy string and freebie

Packaging with tissue paper, spiffy string and freebie

{Please pardon the not so good lighting. This photo was not taken in a photo tent. Learn more about taking good pictures here.}

This card was wrapped in white tissue paper and tied with colorful string that coordinates with the card. As I tied the string, I tucked in some cutie patootie tags I had been working on. When I sent this package, Valentine’s Day was around the corner and I wanted to surprise my lovely buyer with a Valentiney item that was sweet and interesting like the blue and red “I love you” tags.  Tissue paper is light! Colorful fun string is light and pretty! This packaged item fit nicely into a cozy plastic bubble mailer envelope.

Packaging with a twist:

"enjoy" flash card

"enjoy" flash card

This is a vintage first grade flash card {50-60 years old}. The thick card stock has been scored for easy bending.

flash card packaging

flash card packaging

Using a decorative corner paper punch, this flash card now has a bit more personality. Etsy sellers: always include a thank you note and one or two business cards.

close up of flash card packaging

close up of flash card packaging

Carrying the nature feel of the card and the monochromatic browns of the packaging, I chose a simple twine string to fasten the flash card around the lovely sunflower card. A small metal eyelet adds a finishing touch of sophistication and professionalism to this packaging. This packaged set of sunflower cards fit nicely into a plastic bubble mailer envelope.

For more ideas and how-to’s on Etsy packaging, check out these spiffy links:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/etsypackaging/

http://etsylabslibrary.blogspot.com/2007/08/lovely-packaging.html

http://handmademarketing.org/etsy-shop-branding-handmade-promotion-packaging/

http://duhbe.com/blog/tag/etsy-packaging/

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Texture

Fellow crafters, do you ever find yourself in a crafting rut? “I’m running out of ideas…what should I create now that’s new and different?…I want to think out of the box, but which way do I turn?”

I too get stuck in ruts at times. Turn to the Elements of Art, fellow wonderer.  I’ll be touching on texture in this particular post.

Adding texture to handmade paper goods is always a nice touch. Texture adds interest and a touch of the unexpected.

Cardboard Banner

Cardboard Banner

Polyester Thread & Textured Papers

Polyester Thread & Textured Papers

Green Thread

Green Thread

Many Tiny Dots Glued Onto Card

Many Tiny Dots Glued Onto Card

Fabric & Thread

Fabric & Thread

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Photographing Items for Etsy

Dear lovely fellow Etsy sellers and Etsy lovers,

Some of you may or may not be aware that a lot of effort goes into creating an item and then selling it on Etsy:

Pricing (don’t forget the cost of supplies, time spent to create the item, paypal fees, Etsy fees), title, description, tags, photography, and marketing. When an item is sold, creatively package the item, address the package, drive to the post office and send off the special item. Don’t forget to balance the checkbook!

Whew! Long process as you can see, but it’s great being part of a crafty community such as Etsy and sharing my work with others.

This particular blog post is to tackle a certain woe of selling items on Etsy – great photos. Taking fabbity-fab fabulous photos for an Etsy shop is extremely important.  {I touched on this topic a bit here.} What is an important factor to having amazing photos? Proper lighting.

I’ve tried to take photos of my items  next to a desk lamp. Ehh, light too yellow. Or next to an open window full of natural light – much much better, except cloudy days were definitely not welcoming if it was a photography day. I needed something more controlled than natural light, more pure and diffused than a desk lamp. Taking photos and then trying to edit away the darkness and blurriness was getting a bit old. No joke, it would take me an hour + to set up, photograph, edit, re-photograph, edit, maybe take additional pictures, then edit them some more until I was decently content with 5 good photos (each Etsy listing has room for 5 photos). I needed a photo tent to save my sanity, time and to ward off any impending grey hairs.

You can make your own light box/photo tent, you know, for less than a few pretty pennies depending on what you have laying around your house or garage.  Take a peek at this link here. I put a photo tent on my Christmas list and was thrilled to receive one very similar to this one.  This contraption gives a crisp white background, purifies the light’s color, diffuses the light. Perfect size. Folds into a circle that fits into a bag. Perfect for an apartment and easy to transport and store (much easier to move  and less fragile than a home made photo tent – especially important for me since my hubby and I will be moving this summer). Since I now have a fabulous photo tent to take pictures of my little masterpieces, it now takes less than ten minutes to photograph and edit photos for Etsy.

Fellow Etsy sellers, that is my advice for you today: if you’re frustrated with taking pictures for your Etsy shop, look into making or purchasing a photo tent/light box. {Ahh another extra tidbit…..check out picnik.com for editing your photos. It’s fast, easy and free!}

Take a look at the following pictures and the difference between them:

Photo taken without photo tent:

 

Without Photo Tent

Without Photo Tent


With photo tent:

 

With Photo Tent

With Photo Tent


See the difference? Do you have any photography tips or hints? Please share in the comment section! 🙂

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Some People Have Wondered…

…”Why is it that many hand-crafted items cost more than the cards in the card aisle at the store?”

Making cards by hand is a process: percolating ideas, deciding on a theme, driving to and from the store to purchase the items (paper, embellishments, adhesives, blank notecards, etc), “drafting” the card (putting it together before adhering the pieces), then piecing together the card’s elements (sometimes the theme/idea changes in this stage), measuring, cutting, gluing, final touches (brads, glitter, etc) then signing the back of the masterpiece. And then if the artist is going to sell the masterpieces on Etsy, there’s setting up to take photos, taking the photos, editing the photos, posting the photos on Etsy, writing the description, posting the item, publicizing, then selling the item, packaging it and shipping it…then balancing the checkbook. Whew!

Here is a series of photos taken when I was working on some “Thanks” cards for this wonderful Thanksgiving season. Some of the work was already done before I took these pictures (i.e. the measuring, cutting and adhering of the background papers) but take a look at this process for 6 cards:

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Tips to Look @ Before Saying “Say Cheese!”

Wanting to capture the little masterpieces I’ve created this week before they sell at the craft bazaar, I did some research on taking photos of items as well as how to take photos just for Etsy.

One article I read discussed what types of cameras work best for these special photos. Jen Kiaba {check out: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Jenkiabaphotography} wrote this article: http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/etsy-success-the-right-camera-7355/. A point in her article discusses the quality of pictures between an $800 camera, $250 camera and $15 camera. Take a look at the article and each camera’s photo of the same necklace. Jen’s conclusion: “Check out the image comparison and see for yourself. Which camera would you choose? The Fujifilm FinePix F30 is still my favorite, but I was pretty blown away by the Nikon CoolPix L4 as well. And for $15, you really can’t go wrong!”

I found her article and other articles from Etsy very informative. Many of the points they discuss I’ve been already implementing thanks to a digital photography class in college and looking at my sister’s fantabulous photographs.

If you are striving to take better pictures of your craft pieces {or anything, really} like myself, take a look at these spiffy articles! I’m sure you’ll glean some informative suggestions:

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/shop-makeover-series-feature-friendly-photos-3222/ 

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/before-and-after-with-etsys-old-timers-full-timers-8400/

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/etsys-guide-to-photography-10979/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Etsy%27s+Guide+to+Photos&utm_content=etsy_success_102110&utm_campaign=etsy_success_102110

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Calling All Crafters!

Calling all fellow crafters! I’m reading this fantabulous book! I’ve only gotten to page 21, but I just couldn’t wait to share its niftiness with you.

My husband (being the supportive man he is) discovered this “Crafty Superstar” book at the library and put it on hold for me: “Sarah, I found this really neat book for you. It talks about crafts, Etsy, and craft shows. I think you’d really enjoy it.” Ever since I opened this entertaining yet informative book, I’ve had a hard time putting it down. The author’s verbiage is unique, modern and I can’t help from giggling as I read her quips.

Grace Dobush’s “Craft Superstar” is about making crafts on the side, earn extra cash and basically have it all (as you can read on the cover below).  “Whether you’re just starting to explore Etsy or are trying to take your biz to the next level, Crafty Superstar will help you get where you want to go” (p. 9). The chapters encompass the following and beyond: how a crafty crafter will succeed, business basics, tax and legal suggestions, customer service, publicity, craft shows, finding balance in life with your business, resources for supplies, etc.

Some of her suggestions I already have in practice thanks to my background in communication and public relations, but I can’t wait to read this book cover to cover. Oh my, I may hafta put this book on my Christmas list and keep it forever!! {Pssst…did you hear that mom and dad? Mother-in-law? Father-in-law? :-)} I encourage y’all to take a peek at this intriguing book! In the meantime…I’m going to read the chapter on craft shows – because I have one in less than a week!

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