Contest and Special Sales sign up

If you would like to receive notices of when I have or know of a special sales (Handmade artisans only) or when I am having a contest or know of one that any of my friends are having, please use this link to sign up for those notices.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finding craft blogs

The one pet peeve of mine about Googling anything is that I often get results that are not what I am looking for, but then I can do the exact same search another day and come up with different results (on the first few pages I mean).  I especially dislike getting "referring sites".  You know like and other sites that basically take you to another site which sometimes also takes you to another site.  Too many of the sites list web pages erroneously and the sites that they link to doesn't even know anything about the referring site.  I called a Chiropractor once that I thought also did some alternative healing methods.  Turned out that was how he was listed on a referring site, but he knew nothing about that alternative method.  Sorry that I am not telling what the alternative was but now I can't remember because it's been at least 4 years.

For starters here is a site that rates craft blogs and you can submit your blog to be listed there if you would like  This site lists several blogs but most of them say they are into many areas of crafting including cooking, gardening and other domestic activities (which I never thought of as a craft).

Here is a list of blogs that are cover specific crafts:

I will be writing a very short post tomorrow because I will be participating in a Twitter tree.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Crafting all natural skin care products

Actually making great beauty products when you use all natural items is really pretty easy.  The hard part is creating the labels and honestly some will jeer at the all natural approach.  Anyone who studies chemistry will be taught that synthesized products are chemically the same as nature's.  I argued that with my first chemistry teacher and I will tell you why.  Through out history when ever man has made a discovery he had a tendency to believe he discovered everything there was to discover and now knew it all.

Any doctor that is honest with you will tell you that he can not be absolutely sure of the outcome of any treatment because there is "most of the time" and then there are the people who always seem to end up being the exceptions.  When the human genome project was finished we found out that genes are more complex than we thought and they seem to work together and diseases can be a result of more than one gene.

Okay now I digressed from my topic.  The whole point is that I didn't believe everything I was taught was the absolute and complete truth for two reasons.  One is that nature is so complex and the other who knows if we could detect everything in an atom or not.  It turns out that physicist have found out that what was believed to be empty space really was not.  It was just that we couldn't detect what is between the electrons, neutrons and protons.  They call those things really funny names like quarks and leptons and then there is the matter of anti matter.  Yep that's a pun. Oh and than dark matter is also being studied.

Okay so now you have an idea of why I have my point of view.  So now onto how simple it is to moisturize you skin, visibly reduce wrinkles and possibly create a mood with a perfume.

First you need to decide which oils or butters you would like to use.  If you want to make lip balms in stick form you will need a bit of wax as well.  You can find recipes and suggestions everywhere all over the internet.  The amazing part of all of this is the controversy.  I will admit some people do go too far when making promises.  But remember what I said about absolutes and the intricate differences between one human being and another (even when related).

Basically for butters you will most likely need to heat them up gently, then carefully measure any oils you want to combine with the butter, oils are best weighed rather than measured (some oils need to soak for a bit in a warm water bath).  Also some oils are delicate and shouldn't be added to melted butter that is piping hot.  Most sites that sell these types of items will tell you the minimum and maximum percentage that should be used.  If you are using essential oils, please be very careful.  Some are extremely sensitive to heat and the percentage should never be more than 3% for a healthy person (excluding children and the elderly).

If you want to add essential oils into your personally crafted product, then here is what you need to know.  First off essential oils are generally sold in mls, 30 mls is equal to one ounce and 20 drops is equal to 1 ml.  This gives you a basis for calculating how much you should add.

So how I calculate that is if I am making 4 oz of butter and oil mixture, then I can look at it two ways.  I can multiply 4 oz times 30 mls per ounce and multiply that times 0.03 (3 percent) and that will give me the number of mls.  Or I can take the 4 oz and multiply that by 0.03 and then multiply the result by 30.  Either way it should come out the same.  If you end up with an odd amount, then that is where you would use the information that there is 20 drops in one ml.  So a 1/2 ml would be 10 drops.  Oh and those drops are assuming that you are using a reducer that usually comes with essential oils (unless you purchase a really huge quantity).  If you don't get a reduce then purchase some 15 ml bottles with reducers, not sure who all sells them but I know that Wyndmere does.

When you read some books on aromatherapy you can get easily confused because different books say different oils do different things.  The truth is that some essential oils are multi taskers and very complex molecules.  Some of the molecules and their behaviors have now been identified.  Some of so complex that they can not be generalized into a specific functional group's behavior.

The toughest is the mood and mental/emotional oils.  What relaxes one person can actually have an opposite affect on someone else.  I tried a euphoric bath oil blend and it almost put me to sleep.  My daughter drinks coffee and gets really tired because she has ADD or is it ADHD, which ever.  So that gives you a taste of what you can do and how complex it all can be.  Just want to share one other little fact.  My boyfriend has an aunt who swears that the only thing that has ever helped her chapped lips was Vaseline (which is a petroleum product).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Other shopping and selling options

I decided for those hobbyist who would just like to pay for their materials I would start a list of sites where they don't have a pay a monthly fee (flat or per item).

You do need to be careful when you read the word free.  People use that word as if it applies to everything and then you find out that the free is very limited.  Such as freewebstore the free account only allows 15 items and only has free support for a limited time.  Also the price is in the English pound.  I know at one time one English pound equaled $3 US or maybe a bit more.

Make sure you read the rules about what is allowed and what isn't and if there are any limits on these.






This vstore.also says 100% free and lists live demos and all sorts of features.  As well as claiming to have a no fee auction site

This one is called vendi and is really interesting because it talks about selling on multiple channels.

The below listed Bonanza requires that you pay a fee when an item sells.  I have seen lots of expensive designer items on this one.  It doesn't focus mainly on handmade and vintage like many other sites do.

bonanza - pay a percentage fee when an item sells.

This will be a list of free shops that have a limit and the purpose of the free shop is really a way to encourage you to upgrade to a "pro" seller account with all of the tools.

Zibett has a free 50 item limit on their free store.

SupaDupa also has a free site, but it's limited to10 items and they call their stores, boutiques.  This is another UK based ecommerce site.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

About Sampler Village

Whether you are a handmade shopper or artisan or both, you might like to check out Sampler village.  It a chance for buyers to try samples from several artisans.  Lots of people like to send those types of boxes as presents.  The boxes are chock full of great surprises.  Here are a few things that Traci says about Sampler village boxes.


To purchase or join the samplervillage well you know what to do, right?

There you can buy a box, meet the villagers and learn more information about Sampler Village.  There is also a little surprise there regarding giveaways.  There is a twitter, blogger, facebook and pininterest account associated with the group as well.  So lots of ways for you to be promoted and or find out more about the sampler program and some giveaways too.

If you click on the villagers link you can see when the next set of boxes will be available plus you can browse by product.  Go Ahead and take the plunge by taking a peek.

I will post some pictures after I get permission.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A special auction

Ever heard of Tophatter?  They are an online auction site there are real people there but they are all represented by avatars?  Sorry I am a techie ignoramus but I am learning constant, at times it makes my head hurt.  Here is a link to Tophatter and the private auction I am participating in. Private Auction peek.  Please do click the RSVP button even if you don't think you can attend.  The more RSVPs we have the more items we can put into the auction.

sorry but this is a doggie treat

I haven't been in the handmade group for very long, but like most things I do I jumped in with everything I can or is the saying both feet?  Either way, you get the picture, right?

Items do have a description along with shipping info and minimum price plus the retail price.  You pay the artisan through Paypal and they ship the item to you.

Cinnamon walnut brittle or your favorite

You will find items like lip balms, beads, jewelry and some dog and people food treats.  At the top of the page (I guess cause I was one of the first to add my items) you will see three of my favorites, rose essential oil solid perfume, a gorgeous handmade bottle that is filled with a lavender and chamomile bath oil blend and it's reusable too and last but not least my awesome apricot body scrub.  I only use it for my feet since they are pretty tough.  It can be used anywhere but I would not suggest using it on the delicate face.  It really softens and smooth the skin.  One of my crowning achievements well in my oppps humble opinion.

Food and dogs are always at the top of my list, but here are some other things that many truly love and that's jewelry galore.

I hope this sneak peak just whets your appetite to see what other special items might be auctioned off.  Auction is this Sunday at 8 pm ET in he US.  I hope you are able to join us and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Some funnies for the day

Boy I couldn't believe how hard it is to find funnies that I could share without paying for them.  The web is supposed to be about sharing not just making money.  We all need money that is for sure.  But you have to have a conscious about how you make it and whatever happened to "good will"?  In case that term doesn't mean anything to you, basically it's a belief that you have to do things for your customer that are not always in the best interest of your bank account so they will come back again and feel good and like you.  I don't know if accounting still does this, but there was at one time a dollar value assigned to good will.

Here is the first cartoon I want to share, I'll explain why below the cartoon.

The reason I liked that one was not so much for the calm down, but reading it reminded me that people who sort of attack you verbally always say don't get defensive.  Well isn't it natural to be defensive when getting attacked?  Would they rather you got offensive instead? LOL

One more cute and funny item to share.  Can you believe they got this dog into that?  Neither of my dogs could stand even a sweater or a hat.

I'll be on the outlook for funny and unusual things to share on a weekly basis from now on.  After all you do need to break up the monotony now and then.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My internet marketing experience

Back in 2007 I decided that I might like to give affiliate marketing a try. Believe me I had no idea how difficult it can be to come up with something to write on a specific topic day in and day out. I am not really a gabby and long winded person. I have a tendency to come right to the point and be rather brief about it. So after a bit over a year and spending way too much on pay for click I was bankrupt and disgusted. For some reason (maybe lack of competition) I did fairly well with my chocolate truffles web site. My site was either on the second or third page and I did make several commissions from that site. The unfortunate part is that the commissions are very small. The big commissions are on thing like monthly clubs and service type items like ring tones or financial services. Also e books would be more generous than physical products. Now 2 1/2 years later I decided I would love to sell skin care and other fun products in the bath and beauty category. But boy has there been a world of difference between blogging or creating a static web site and selling a physical product when it comes to both web site and marketing skills. Here is an image of one of my products, that some people have said brown Yuck to.

I decided to use Livesite and never having used something that complex and with lots of terminology from coders I had a long learning curve (several months). Well that's long to me, I consider anything over 1 to 2 months as long. My pages would end up disappearing and reappearing and the web host would say that it looked just fine to them and that they could see the missing page. Well it turned out that their operating system is Linux based and I have no idea what web browsers they have either. Both of those things could make a difference when you are visiting a web site. I finally had a problem logging in and I did manage to talk to one employee who was studying technology and he used different browsers and finally got the same log in problem that I did. What it boiled down to is if the employee couldn't replicate the problem then it was your tough luck cause it was on your end. So much for customer services HUH? Oh and the coders said they didn't know anything about the server so they couldn't really help.

My first six months "trying" to sell on the internet has been a real learning experience, I had to learn much more than I thought I would. They are as follows: 

Shipping costs for packaging is especially high because it's bulky
Don't plan a label for a jar or bottle until you get one in your hands (they do give you the measurements but it's all the way up to the top of the neck).
Here is one of the bulky jars I have.

You have to find out where your customers hang out which sounds easy but it's not

Just having a sale doesn't make people buy who otherwise wouldn't

Once you get a strong customer base, give special rewards to your repeat customers

The best venues to sell on for one type of product don't always work for a different type of product or at a different point in time

Product photography is harder than you would think Images are just as important as SEO if not more so.

Here is a image of the easiest image to photography that I tried.  Someone finally said to me that the camera can pick up more saturated colors more easily making them less of a trial and error item.  Honestly that certainly has been my experience.

The amount of mark up that you could/should have will vary even with your products

When you price items, don't forget the shipping costs you paid, plus your hosting fees and payment fees. Those three fees may add up to a higher percentage than you might think (depending of course on the price point of your items)

It pays to pay a staff to help you especially to create hype and come up with catchy phrases for your products and the right prices, if you have deep enough pockets. Some people do get lucky and it may be because of when and where they started and not that what they did was so much different than what you are doing.

Yes there is a market for just about anything but that market may not be big enough to make selling on the internet worth your time.

Once you get loyal repeat customers, focus on keeping them happy and make getting new customers secondary. It is more difficult to get a new customer than to keep a current one so why would you treat your previous customers like that don't matter and only getting new ones is your goal. This is a very silly philosophy of build and build and ignore your existing customers that some people actually do.

If you make friends on venues with other artisans, they are more likely to try something of yours but that doesn't mean slack off on the customer service just because they are sellers also. Good customer service isn't just thanking the customer. Give your customers prompt service and keep in communication if it is going to take several days for them to receive the package.  It is also giving a coupon or free shipping after so many orders or on orders over a certain amount, etc. I gave one of my repeat customers free shipping on his third order.

Don't suggestive sell people to death, people resent pop ups and flashing ads. Yes this may work on some, but honestly you are limiting yourself when you do this, not to mention many will consider you not only really annoying but desperate as well.

Free samples sometimes work, but honestly when I get one because it is not something I am interested it usually goes in the trash. I received one sample of a seaweed scented soap and I thought yuck are you kidding me?

Lastly I found that most people want to be attracted to your item before they buy and that means looking pretty. I had a few people who said brown, YUCK!! Well honestly there are a group of people who do not want a bunch of chemicals in not only their food but also anything product they may purchase.

I decided to get some really nice looking one of a kind bottles as an experiment in will people buy something because it is pretty?  Here is an image of one of the bottles I have.

Now I know a group of people who will make fun of this because they say everything is a chemical and yes that is true and chemical processes happen in nature constantly. However, they don't get the point that man made chemicals have often been found to have long term unwanted "side effects". I remember there was one type of plastic bottle a few years back that was lined with a chemical that ended up causing testicular cancer in some men. Plus really do you truly want to eat wax because wax makes that apple look shiny. Then of course there is the issue of whether the pesticides used were absorbed by the product and will there get absorbed by your system as well (rhetorical question). Why does everything have to be so gosh darn pretty. It makes extra work and costs extra money to make these things pretty and you get to pay for that and it creates no real value. I try to be part of the "don't judge a book by it's cover" crowd but yes even I find myself attracted to the pretty packaging at times. Just remember poisonous things can be very pretty, so pretty isn't always a great idea. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a crafting article to publish.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just some thoughts

I am pursuing learning about paper crafting as in cards, bags and boxes.  However, when I get my Bosskut gazelle there are other things besides making cards that I can do with it.  It will also allow me to emboss and not just on paper if I remember correctly plus make custom magnets and even stamping on thin metals.  My boyfriend has claimed that he will purchase a gazelle for me as an early Christmas present sometime in early September.

Speaking of Christmas, the Christmas in July sale will end in 12 more days.  So visit my Christmas in July posts to see which shops you would like to purchase from.

I have also asked 4 other artisans to write about their craft.  The one I published I think yesterday and I have 3 more that I have made requests to.  One is working on her write up as we speak and the other two will need a little while.  One of them lives in the UK and she is spending a great deal of time with a dear friend who has cancer.  Not sure exactly which topics will be discussed as the other two are into more than 1 craft, but the one who has been working on hers is a high end jeweler.  She sells  precious gems including diamonds.

I have been studying techniques of card making from a book and the number of tools required plus the intricate work involved in making some really awesome cards has really surprised me.  It seems that for some things you would have to have a great deal of motor control in your hands.  For me that would take a great deal of practice.  At least that has been my experience in the past.  As far as blending, measuring and pouring as I do in for my bath and beauty products, well being a chemical technician prepared me well for that.

Of course I will need some time to practice and play around with my gazelle.  I heard it's easy to put too much pressure with the knife and that could ruin the blade, I guess you could also use too little pressure and not get a good cut nor emboss.

If you have never used a electronic cutter than you may be surprised at the things a cutter can do.  I will get over 600 shapes (I think actually 700) that I will be able to cut.  One is a really intricate looking butterfly, I couldn't imagine trying to cut something like that by hand.

It will be interesting to see which business I can create the most variety for since I do know that there are many more varieties and yes several product types I haven't yet touched.

With the gazelle as a cutter/embosser/printer the options seem really wide.  There is all kinds of glue you can use to glue just about anything to a card: a button, a feather, a sticker, beads, felt, foam, glitter,shells, clay, foam and ribbons.  Plus you could cut out a frame from one material and paste it onto the card's front.  Plus of course you can put holes in the cards and use brads or eyelets.  I am sure there are more possibilities to learn about.  Different authors will write different things but there will be some things in common.

I think one of the hot things right now to do with cutters and embossing is pop ups.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meet Wolf Creek Millworks

Hello I am Dave, owner operator of Wolf Creek Millworks. I use wood that might end up in landfills, or rot on the ground to make all my creations. Large or small each piece is made from rough logs found in urban, semi-rural, and industrial areas near my home. Trees are cut by the local road crews as a safety measure. Overly large trees, dead or dying standing timber in back-yards may be cut down by the owner, other tree services, or by myself. All are viable sources of wood for my projects.

Anyone can use found wood but you may have to beat the “firewood vultures” to the source. However, there are more sources than you may think. Simply look about as you drive along the highways, and in back lots or small farm fields…..see the dead/fallen timber there. Yes it has not been kiln dried and cut to avoid having too many flaws. Production lumber is graded for grain and clarity, a lack of knots and other “flaws”. But I think that is boring – the same. Oak from the lumber yard looks like Oak and like the Oak at the store down the road. I feel that the flaws are part of the story of the once living tree that contributes the wood.

The spot where the tree grew may have been un-level ground, or subject to rather continuous wind. This causes the tree to grow crooked, or branches to break off, and injuries that are grown over. Each of these forces causes the grain to twist, change, develop rays (cross-grain marking), bird-eye and other markings that are unique to that tree. My wood often looks like the tree species and contains other marks or color …some have mistaken a well-aged piece of ash for marble….it is this reaction that I find makes “found” wood special. And best of all it is inexpensive and sometimes I get paid to go get it.

The Emerald Ash Borer (an invasive pest) is killing many ash trees here in Michigan. I enjoy taking at least something of beauty from this environmental disaster. Storm damage also provides a chance to score some found wood….and points with the community as you help to remove damaged timber from roads and lawns.

I do use some special tools to make use of “found” wood. A chainsaw is required to cut the logs into lengths, blocks for turning, or removing cracked and broken areas. The chainsaw also serves to drive a milling machine. The mill uses a pair of rails to make the first flat /level cut and each subsequent “slab” follows the line of the previous cut. This is labor intensive and slow, but I do not need large equipment that tears up the ground to harvest slabs form back-yards, or even back into the woods or storm damaged areas. A bow saw removes limbs safely and without the need for more gas for the chainsaw and is useful for squaring up or sectioning the larger blocks into turning blanks. The total mill and other equipment weighs less than 100 lbs. I can carry it to the fallen tree by myself….though it is more efficient when I have a helper on the handle at the end of the mill. Below is this operation taking place on my home-built custom cutting station on my work trailer.

Out in the woods cutting wood

It takes some experience looking at and cutting logs to avoid rotten wood or wood that has cracked (Checked) too much to be of use. Also noticing where it has lain…if it has been down for some time helps in getting the best color. “Found” wood will absorb color from mineral deposits and from the processes that naturally break down wood on the forest floor. Fungus will grow, under the right conditions, that follows the grain and creates dark lines throughout the log. This is know as “Spalt”. Spalted wood is more valuable due to the interesting color, and the fact that there is a fine line between rotten - and really nicely spalted and colored. I lose some material to weather every year because wood reacts to the humidity even when stacked, and kept in my shop. Like the wood at your home center it must be dried and then kept relatively stable or it will move. A typical 8ft x 6 in x 1.5 in board could get as much as ½ inch longer or shorter depending on the humidity. Too much humidity for too long and it will rot… much drying to fast and it will crack. This causes some of my finds to become firewood logs for my son’s business.
Generally the wood must dry in my shop for over 1 year before I can use it. I do not like to use a wood drying kiln because in my area - *Southeast Michigan. It tends to be humid here. The wood coming out of the kiln will regain and loose moisture in the storage environment. The kiln also does not allow developing spalting to continue to develop. In the end I feel that the wood will be more stable, and last longer for the customer, if I air dry it.

Slabs will be rendered into boards for making benches, tables, and boxes using standard wood working equipment. Large bench or table tops that will not fit in my planer are actually planed using hand planes. I must pause and re-sharpen the plane iron (cutting surface) often as I remove 1/8 to ¼ in of surface making the slab flat and smooth. I begin with a large Jack Plane and finish with a medium sized Smoothing plane...If I am careful it will take only a reasonable amount (several hours) of sanding to bring it to a smooth finish. Once sanded with the final grade of sand-paper (200 grit) the surface will be ready to have a finish applied.

What a wood plank looks like

 If you are interested in using “found wood”….. You need not get all of that equipment to make things from “Found” wood. I started using this wood to make candle holders, vases, and bowls. All you need for that is a chainsaw to cut up some turning blocks, and a lathe for them to fit in. I turn items on my own lathe. The pencil holder is one example. Hand held tools shape the turned piece as it spins in the lathe. It takes a little practice to hold the tool so the edge drags just right for efficient cutting. You can hear the correct angle as it drags the edge and cuts rather than chunks out the wood. Often classes in this art form are held at your local community college or center. There are plenty of resources on the web which will help explain how to work with and age the wood properly. Various ways of drying it…..or turning it wet and letting it dry to a very natural odd shape are also covered. One is not always better or worse than another but one method may suit your location and personality better than others.

One of my custom pieces is this gorgeous mantle.

This beautiful bowl was made from the stump-wood in my Father-in-laws maple tree. The tree was huge and old but had developed a lean, and was dying. I felled the tree and made quite a few turning blocks from the most solid bits that remained. It is easy to see the beauty in this less than “perfect” wood that would have been ignored by the production mills. The cracks and insect galleries add visual interest. A year of sitting first outside in a shady damp location, and then in a few months being moved to my garage floor have also colored it with splat, and mineral deposits. This is found wood ….and its beautiful.

You can find this fabulous wood at Wolfcreekmill

Monday, July 16, 2012

This blog's future

I have been asking some very interesting artisans to write about their art and a bit about themselves as well.  The artisan I am working with right now makes beautiful bowls, candle holders and more.  He has actually made two benches, a vase and a cup holder.  He does not use power tools all of his items are truly handcraft with care to make the natural beauty of the wood shine.

The most incredible thing about Wolfcreekmill is that he used nothing but found wood.  Wood that other may end up in a landfill.  His name is Dave and he lives in Southeastern Michigan where an invasive pest known as the Emerald Ash Borer which can destroy up to 15 million trees or more in Michigan alone.  This pest does not eat deeply into the wood leaving it usable for furniture and other home decor items.

Although one might think that found wood couldn't possibly be as good as the wood you get at the stores, well much of that wood is inexpensive, chipped and glued together. Dave's uses the Ash tree a great deal and his items have the real beautiful look and shine of natural wood, not the fake thin veneer that cheap manufacturers make. Finding real wood in the stores is difficult unless you shop at the very pricey furniture stores.

Dave is also an exclusive member of and I hope he can find some time to write more detail about his crafting in a few days. Below is an image of one item he has crafted.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eight more shops participating in the Christmas in July sale

Here is a participating shop that carries not only crocheted items, but also cross stitch and greeting cards CrochetByMelissaJ this shop is giving a  10% off on all summer fun and Christmas holiday items with coupon july2012sales10

hillsidebakery there you will find lots of fudge goodies and some other surprises too.  Look for the section titled Specials cause that's where her sale items are.

The LazyHCreations shop is giving 5% off plus has other specials and if you leave a comment prior to ordering the item you also get another 5% off.  The shop offers many knitted items, key chains, hair accessories, stitch markers, baby items, afghans and more.

This is one of their zipper pulls:

this shop has dolls, jewelry, housewares and holiday items MJOYS  10%OFF STORE WIDE.USE COUPON CODE MJOYSGIFTS

MyMiniatureWorld has all kinds of item for doll houses and everything is 20% during the month of July with coupon code CIJ2012.

shymouseecrafts has all kinds of candles in varying colors and shapes and an amazing variety of scents. Plus you get 15% off on the Christmas and clearance sections with coupon code XmasJuly (for the month of July only of course).

TresChicDesigns is a jeweler selling limited edition and one of a kind jewelry.  For the month of July get free shipping with any order.

Here is something you don't find real often, TundraStuff carries mittens with sports teams oriented appliques (packers, badgers, vikings and some high schools).  for the month of July everything is 10% off plus the usual  free shipping for both Canada and the USA, use coupon code CIJ2012.

Well that's a ton of variety and choices for your early Christmas shopping 68 shops in all.
Today's blog feature is a fellow artisan whose name is Christie Cottage
You can also visit Christie on her blogspot: One of her greatest pleasures is crating from scraps. Her grandmother and great-grandmother were a huge influence in her life when it comes to crafting things by hand. They both grew up in a "waste not, want not" era which has carried over into Christie's work. In her shop you will find many items made from recycled fabrics and scraps that were going to be discarded by others. Christie spends a great deal of her crafting time on making things for her small church. She is a Christian woman and strives to help the church youth have funds for Christian activities. Vacation Bible School required her to make 41 beach bags for their Under the Sea theme. Plaster casts of crosses and Rejoice in the Lord were on the list too. Seeing a child delight in the Lord brings great joy to her. Christie is the Team Leader for the CAPS Team. CAPS stands for Christian Artists Promoting Shops. It is a no pressure team where the shops include other team members in their treasuries and Collections. The CAPS Team on etsy is currently doing a once a month "challenge" to create a treasury using a scripture. There are items in Christie's shop starting at a mere 25 cents! Christie loves to paint and began painting on canvases after her husband's unexpected death at the age of 43. She finds that painting soothes her soul. Christie's hands are rarely idle. There are usually knitting needles, sewing needle or crochet hook in them, when they can find their way off the computer because she promotes many hours each day. Christie's blog hosts the Twitter Tree© . Where most weeks on Tuesdays and Thursday, others who tweet will tweet your items. It is a great way to get exposure and traffic to your site. I met Christie through Artfire when a bunch of us were putting together a Christmas in July sale to help boost the their success on Artfire.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More interesting shops celebrating Christmas in July

Here is a shop with incredible variety and she is taking custom orders with 10% off if you order during the month of July PolkadotOrchid you will find aprons, bags, purses, bookmarks, linens slippers and some clothing as well as children's clothes.  Use coupon code CIJ2012.

Here is a sample of the work this shop does, it's an embroidered sweat shirt.

For some adorable and gorgeous ornaments visit pamspretties she has all items marked down by 10% for the month of July.  Specializing in Christmas ornaments and pins but she also has seashell ornaments and other gift.

For some incredible vintage and art, visit PetitPoulailler this shop also has some creative supplies and sections of  $5 deals and $10 prints.  Gift certificates are available.  everything on sale is already marked down so there is no need for a coupon code.

Here is one of the Allan Brooks lithographs.

Now it's time to look at some magnificent jewelry that is 20% off for the Christmas in July celebration by visiting Seabreezejewels   This shop has all kinds of jewelry from earrings and pendants to hair accessories and jewelry sets.  A few surprises are there as well like hand bags and bookmarks.  Here is a sample image of one of the pieces in that shop.

For some astonishing wood pieces made from found wood visit Wolfcreekmill this shop has wood vases, candle holders, bowls and even a Trestle bench.  5% off with a patron discount (that means you need to sign up with Artfire as a patron).

For jewelry that isn't the usual visit rocknrollmartian for the month of July every purchase will receive a free gift.  This shop has vampire fangs ring and pink leopard animal heart ring, yes unique items for those with a unique taste, check out the free gifts available (they are marked).

The ViaDellaRosa shop has many religious items such as rosaries, chaplets and Madonna as well as art poster prints and religious glass tile pendants  All items are already marked so you don't need a coupon code .

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Candles and more on sale

To fill your house up with wonderful scents visit Mylingy get 15% off for the month of July with coupon code CIJ2012.

For doll clothes galore and a few surprises visit TracysDesigns1 She sews clothes for 18" Dolls that fits the American Girl Dolls, and crochets beanie hats for all sizes

Wedding or baby shower coming up or any other special event?  Just take a look at the TheSpecialOccasionShop this shops features favors, wedding center pieces, angels and even bridal jewelry. Plus everything is 20% for Christmas in July with coupon code CIJ2012

For towels, burp clothes, blankets, purses or totes and many more sewn and crocheted items, visit KallieJosCottonPatch and the store has free shipping with coupon code CIJ2012 through the end of the month of July.

Looking for a custom made apron or quilt and oh yeah even a purse?  Then visit KatrinaRobb on For $5 off on a purchase of $30 or more, used coupon code CIJ2012.  Now you can take a sneak peak at one piece of her work.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10th and only 21 more days of sales

I have a bit of trouble counting the number of line on a list, it's my astigmatism.  But I think there are still 26 shops I haven't introduced that are part of the Christmas in July sale event.

If you love knitted items, this is a great shop LilBritknits - you can find cup cozies, hair accessories, key chains, bags and purses, blankets, bookmarks, knitted items for baby and children plus knitted toys and bath accessories and honestly a few other surprises.  For July get 15% off with coupon code CIJ2012

Believe it or not, this shop specializes in Jewish jewelry lindab142 this shop also has bridal jewelry, key chains, bookmarks and cards.  Get 25% off order of $25 or more for the month of July with coupon code CIJ2012A.

Now we focus on a really lovely vintage shop called madhatsandmore this shop offers vintage hats, jewlery, vintage purses and vintage and designed decor.  For the month of July during the Christmas in July sale get 10% off with coupon code CIJ2012.

Just to prove how much variety of items are on Artfire, here is a glass art shop ResetarGlassArt this shop carries night lights, vases, candle holders, plates and bowls, pendants and necklaces and hair accessories.  Here is a cute little Christmas dish.  Oh and her sale for Christmas in July is 10% off all prices are marked (no coupon code needed).

crescent moon creations is a unique jewelry shop and for Christmas in July the shop is having a 10% off sale with coupon code CIJ2012.  This shop has jewelry with bells and shells, soulstones, the Ares Project jewelry and a section she calls colors of the wind, plus she does some animal photography.

Here is an image of one of her soulstones creations.

The last shop I wish to introduce you to today is kraftylady and her shop sale is 20% off with coupon code CIJ2012.  She has some really adorable crocheted items, including booties, a cute little duck, a layette set, scarves and hats, plus a few hand bags.  She has a few other sections I am sure she will be filling soon as well.

This is one of my favorites.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Some things are really fabulous

Some really fabulous shops on Artfire that have a strong following are:

bohowirewrapped - look at how intricate her work is on this one item.

She not only does pendants, but also formal dress necklaces, wire wrapped rings, bead string necklaces, more simple wire wrapped necklaces, simple gemstone drop earrings, bracelets, fancy dress earrings and she even has a section for housewares and wire work accessories.  She has 453 choices in her studio.

glittercritter is another popular studio and this studio is filled with all kinds of beautiful jewelry supplies for those who would like to design their own jewelry.  You can find sterling silver head pins, sterling silver earring wires, handmade gemstone findings, handmade charms, handmade clasps, plus tools.

interesting aren't they?

craftsofthepast - specializing in ancient artifacts and antique ethnic beads.  Her studio message reads 
"Many signed antique amulets, dated coins, and archeological artifacts are available here. Reserve and pay in installments for items of high value. Inquiries welcome" she also carries vintage and facingeast designs.

Here is her antique Yemen silver and coral beads with mini amulets.

We also have a shop that does custom signage.  The name of the shop is icehousecrafts her shop contains 213 samples of various signs.  They range from Americana, the land of Oz, to wine and family or even inspirational or romantic.  She also has holiday ones and occupational ones plus sitter blocks and a few more I haven't mentioned.  Just visit her shop and take a look around.  Here is an example of one of her signs.

Oh and I forgot to mention her signs are very affordable too.

Another great jeweler with lots of variety is RoxAndThings - Right now she has marked 31% off all of her jewelry creations but the sale ends on July 19th.  Here is a sample of her work that I like, she has many other pieces for varying tastes.  Here is her multi strand make a statement necklace for an example of her work.

KnottyQuilts - has everything in her shop marked down, no coupon code needed.  She has baby doll quilts, children's aprons, crib, full, twin and Queen size quilts, infant care seat covers, pillows, throws and and wooden items.

I will feature another six shops tomorrow and I am also looking for artisans to do a guest post for this blog talking about their craft.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Taking a break and doing Ramblings

I am so personally flabbergasted at the amount of judgmental hatred that is in this country now.  Economic hardship certainly does bring the worse out in many people.  Questions in our minds like how long will my paycheck continue and why do I have to work so hard just to barely stay afloat are on many people's minds.

The news no longer talks about the number of people who have lost everything or the number of long term unemployed.  Once in a while I will hear about the number of people who have been unemployed for 6 months or longer but not with any details.  Also don't hear much about the number of "discouraged workers" either.  How can they afford to stay discouraged is a question that is on my mind.  No one talks about net new jobs either, plus do they include the number of new entrants into the job market like recent graduates or kids reaching the age of 16 so they are allowed to work not to mention the immigrants that enter the country plus the immigrants that are here on a visa.  Yep Anthem (now part of Wellpoint) an insurance company (medical, formerly known as Blue Cross and Blue Shield) has many immigrants over here working for them on a work visa.  Do all of those jobs count?

What's the number of jobs available compared to the numbers of people who wish to work?  How many are low paying and part time?  How does the government decide how much discretionary income people have?  If you drive 40 miles to work and you make $10 an hour and only work 2 or 3 hours before being sent home for a lack of work, how much discretionary income do you have out of that?  Even if you are getting 30 miles to the gallon that's still almost 3 gallons of gas not to mention the wear and tear on your car.  So that's 3 times what? (depends on where you live and what point in time you are looking at, as the price of gas changes all of the time).  I would guess around $10 or so, so you made $30 in three hours and if you pay local tax for the privilege of working in that municipality plus the gas alone you could be left with as little as $29 or for 2 hours left with $19.  Well isn't that worth while?  If that happens too many days can you pay your rent, utilities and repair your car and let's just forget things like food and clothing and really anything medical.

I really would like people who say they have 2 or more part time jobs to tell me where those part time jobs are and how they make them fit together time wise.  All the restaurant and retails jobs advertise that they want you to be flexible with them, that means that you need to be available for work any time or any day that they may decide from week to week.  Plus I have heard stories about how many applicants per job even McDonalds gets.  Even the seasonal jobs at Kings Island are getting like 100 applications for every seasonal job they have open.  That means there will be 99 people not hired for each of those jobs.

I know there are people who are angry about who is getting food stamps and who is declared as disabled by the Social Security administration.  When I question these people it seems that what's behind their thinking is that they think they have it just as bad as anyone else and sometimes it seems like ego because people just love to tell stories of how hard they worked and how they were always able to find a job or start up a business.  But funny thing is my neighbor who is one of these also told me he needed help paying for work he needed done on his teeth.  I don't get it, how do you brag about how much income you make from a business you started and then in the next breath complain about how you can't afford things?

Yep people are a dichotomy and not many question themselves, not many seek enlightenment and too many love to judge.  For Christians I remind them of the verse that says: take the beam out of your own eye before you worry about the speck in your brother's eye.  I also have found that many religions share many of the same principles.

Yes I am a bit of a rebel and don't accept what others say as the truth no matter who they are.  Plus I also question and research things to death as much as I can.

Well that's my rambling soapbox for today.  Well actually this has been my rambling soap box for several years now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A few more HOT HOT sales at

RefinedVintage - 5% off everything, no coupon code needed.  Shop has vintage cuff links, bar ware, books and magazine handmade floral, home decor, jewelry, kitchen and glass ware plus vintage button magnets.

kgkrafts - 20% off everything use coupon code CIJ2012.  Includes angle parts, ceramics, artistic wire, baking supplies, yarns, cookie cutters, crotchet supplies, design templates and so much more.  Don't correct her spelling, she calls herself the typo Queen and says she does it on purpose just to be different.

Fusible shapes

ForYourHome - 20% off everything with coupon code CIJ2012. All kinds of useful and little decorative items for your home.  Such as coasters, unusual bowls and serving dishes and some hand towels.

freespiritjewels - Chakra jewelry, Bohemian necklaces, Toe thongs, Bridal and special occasion earrings, fairy earrings and some vintage jewelry as well.  $5 off of US $30

auntiechrisquiltfabric - Pattern sale, buy 2 get one free.  She has novelty fabric, floral fabric, Batik fabric, juvenile, reproduction and geometric striped plaid fabric.  Her patterns include quilted jacket, vest and tote, winter hats scarves and mittens, apron patterns, laptop bag patterns and all kinds of totes.

AmeliaOriginals - Bookmarks with Attitude, pendants, rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and sets.

catfluff - 20% off US over $30 with coupon code CIJ2012.  Indian beads, wood blocks and spices, appliques and hand made bags.