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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Custom Photo Pendants and Charms

The woman behind Hopes and Dreams studio (on lives in Okalhoma with her husband, two children and one grand child.  She is now specializing in custom photo pendants and charms and love to create some one of a kind pieces.  Her studio includes jewelry for women and children as well as charms and pins.  Right now her studio has some really awesome jewelry for St. Patty's Day.  She is passionate about handmade and has varied interests, including creating jewelry,  costumes,  candles and eco friendly items to name a few.

She also blogs (itsahandmadeworld) and features various artisans and themes on her blogspot.  Her blog includes some really cool things like free printables and her favorite tutorials.  She features different themes pictorially (via blog hops) with items that fit the theme many of which are holidays or occasions.  Plus she also features different artisan. The number of themes covered vary with the month and looking back into her archives most months contain 3 or 4 themes.  A few months have up to 6 themes.  So it's a great blog to visit for themed handmade items that you may wish to purchase as a gift for your family, friends or even yourself.

Just one more beautiful image.

Where you can find her:  Hopesanddreamsstudio
At Pininterest
FB fan page

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This week's heart warming photos

Some of us love different types of kisses

Life is all about balance

Have you ever seen a dog look sadder?

Just too beautiful not to share

Why didn't the tree limb break and how far can you go with photo shop?

Life is tough when you are stuck in the middle.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More sample options and how about a party?

I have now finished my research on doing sample bags for bath and beauty parties.  You can also do an Aromatherapy party if you would like.

This shows some of my products but the packaging and labels have changed on many of them

I haven't taken the time yet to price these party and sampler bags out yet, but then I need to know what people would like in them.  It's very difficult to charge the same for everything as the costs of essential oils varies wildly.  Some flowers like Jasmine, rose and geranium bourbon are very expensive and then others like neroli and ylang ylang are in the middle price range.  

I could very well charge the same price for all butters, all scrubs,  but when it comes to items like perfumes and bath oils that would be more difficult.  

Scrubs, butters or balms would go into the small one

Plus how many samples should go into a party bag?  Every time any one makes a purchase $0.30 or more plus a percentage goes to the payment processor so I want these sample bags to work for both my business and any potential customers.  Any and all IDEAS would be fabulous.  Of course it is difficult could get even a group of 20 people to agree on anything.  I Found that out when I was planning my wedding and asked the guests I invited what their favorite alcohol drink was.  Of course they were very nice and said I will settle for beer and wine.  They all knew neither myself nor my fiance were rich.

The liquids like bath oils would be in these bottles

I would also like to give people options as to how much and how much variety they would like to have.  Maybe a minimum price with a discount for more samples would be a good idea.

Perfumes and aromatherapy oils would go into those

I am not so sure which I should use if anyone wishes to sample items like the lip glosses, supple nails,. my cuticle moisturizer or my facial oils.  I am wondering if people are willing to use a q-tip to try these items in the vials.  Because none of my products is watered down, you really don't need much for a sample size.

lASTLY, what should I do when I ship this?  No bag, nice bag, give you a choice, just a plain box?  Thanks for reading and giving me some good ideas.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Card Making - Snowbearhobbyshop

Today I have another artisan feature, this time a card maker.

Do you know where the idea of cake toppers came from?
I'm not sure where the idea for cupcake toppers came from,,, I had a request for  a set a few years ago,,, I don't often make them very often as they don't sell very well..

Do you have any get well, birthday, retirement, graduation or wedding cards?
Many of my greeting cards are blank inside.  I keep them blank in case someone wants a get well or another sentiment on the card. I can usually add the sentiment to the front or the inside of the card.

One way in which she can add Happy Birthday to a card

Do you buy materials that are embossed (raised) or do you do that with an embossing folder?
I do not buy embossed paper, I have a machine that does the embossing.  I love embossing paper and use it on most of my projects.

Can you or do you have any pop up cards?
I have never done pop up cards, but if requested I would be happy to research and I do take custom requests.
 I have done custom messages, but only printed off the computer,, it costs a little more but it is worth it to have a  special message that is more personal. I do not do print or graphic work, at this time.

What type of ribbon do you use on your spider cards?
The ribbon used on my spider note cards is black sheer ribbon bought at Michaels arts and craft store.   I love love sheer ribbon.

Which card have you created that you feel the most proud of?
The card I'm most proud of is my skunk out house card. It took me almost 2 hours to make and design the card, but the outcome is just so adorable!!! This is the most time consuming card that I have been involved with.

What is it that you are using for the eyes of the deer on your deer gift tags?
The eyes on my deer gift tags are called Googly eyes and can also be purchased at Michael's.

How long have you been selling on the interenet?
I've been making and selling cards online since March of 2008

Was there any particular event that made you interested in making cards?
There is no particular event that got me into making or selling online, after purchasing my cricut machine, I used to post my creations online for others to see and someone suggested a selling site for me to list my creations on, so I joined and have been selling online ever since.

Which items are your best sellers?
My mini note cards sell the best, other shops buy them and use them use them as thank you cards for their packages.

Do you also sell at shows?
I have never tried selling at craft shows since I sell small ticket items, it would take alot of sales to gain back the table fees, which I am not so sure would be worth it.

Have long have you been making cards for?
I started scrapbooking in 2007 and started making cards in 2008 so not long before i started selling them.
Tell us a little about your background and who you are.
My name is Heather,, I've always been a crafty girl ,, I was introduced to cross stitch and stuff animal making in high school and have been hooked on crafting ever since. I did cross stitch for over 10 years getting me through some difficult times. After meeting and marrying my husband I took up crocheting which got me through some loney times with hubby being gone alot. After our wedding, I took up scrapbooking and loved it and got hooked right away. After completing many albums, I ran out of pictures to scrapbooking and then turned my attention to making cards.

There are also some crotchet items in her shop

After running an embroidery machine for many many years, when my husband got out of the military and we returned back home (Nova Scotia) I got a job at Michaels (arts and crafts store) I have been there almost three years now.  I love my job and most of my supplies come from there, it is always nice to see new products and change coming into the store. I work part time, with no kids.  I have a dog (hunter) who is plastered all over my Facebook page, he is a rescue dog with tons of issues but he is ours.  I love movies, playing cards and most of all creating with paper and yarn and hope to do so for many years to come.

Where you can find snowbearhobbyshop:
snowbear on Wanelo

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Laugh, cry and dream from this week's funnnies

A start on funnies for 2/19

Wouldn't it be wonderful if it was that easy for everyone?  LOL    

Certainly does/would put a different spin on your life

Do you ever feel like this?  Stress is every where, does stress management really help everyone?

Some people swear that some of these Chinese restaurants use dog and cat meat

I feel sorry for the baby, uck to being stuck in there even if only for moment

This is too often true, but who feels like hugging a person who seems angry?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Making all natural skin care products

Actually making great beauty products using all natural ingredients is fairly easy.  The hardest part is finding the right containers and creating the labels, there is some research you will have to do as well.  You may find some people jeering at you as those who have studied chemistry are 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 guarantee the outcome of any treatment because there is "what usually happens" 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 thing is who knows if we can 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).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine day love stories


Have a day filled with love

Here are the love stories from the two contest winners.

This is the first one

I met my now husband at a fair that was about an hour away from my town. I went there with a few mutual friends. It was right next to a lake and it had a beautiful pier. We ended up talking all night long. I  was planning on moving to the other side of the country, and he was planning on going to the Navy so we didn't think anything was going to come of it. It ended up we were inseparable after that night. I moved in with him shortly after. He proposed to me a year after we met on that same pier. It was absolutely beautiful at sunset. We have a 3 year old daughter and a little boy on the way, due in 4 short weeks! We are going on 6 years, he is my best friend, and I am so happy I decided to drive an hour away to that fair so many years ago!

This one is really cute and funny.

I met my husband when he was five and I was eighteen.  His mother brought him to the pool to learn how to swim.  He hated the water and swears to this day that I tried to drown him.  Now you know that didn't happen since we have been married thirty six years.  He also tells the story that he married me to get back at me.  Never misses a chance to tell folks he was five when I graduated from high school.  LOVE THIS MAN
My husband has always been there for me no matter what.  During the first year of our marriage he sent me carnations on our anniversary.  It started with one and increased each month.  I must admit that I am one spoiled wife.  He not only does all the yard work, he cleans the house and does the laundry.  He is constantly surprising me with a special poem or love letter.  I have kept all of them over the years and have a huge file.  Once again I will say,  I LOVE THIS MAN!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Smiles for February 12th 2013

I think I managed to find a fairly wide variety of images this week.  I will say though there are way too many funnies that use curse words and to me I don't think are very funny. 

Had to share because that face is too funny

Wonder how old that one is as gas prices have been high for several years now

Bloggers don't matter if they have no readers, so I ask you all to please be my Valentine

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Have you heard of the Lavender Fox?

Today I am going to introduce my readers to a very lovely lady who owns the Lavender Fox on the Craft Cafe, she is also on Etsy.  Below are the questions I asked her along with her answers.

What makes a truffle bath melt a truffle rather than just a bath melt?
A tub truffle and bath melt are essentially the same thing; I just like the way “tub truffle” sounds because it sounds so luxurious! I was looking for new recipes a couple of years ago and ran across a recipe for “tub truffles” that intrigued me. After I tried it, I was hooked. I have tweaked the recipe since then to put my own touch to it and it has become a customer favorite. Once people try them, they always come back for more.

How many different ingredients can be used to create toners?
I have seen lots of different formulation for toners. Toners are very versatile and can be made from a lot of different ingredients depending on what someone’s skin needs may be. Since most people have “normal” or combination skin, the toners I have available can benefit a wide range of clients. Their ingredients include witch hazel, distilled or floral waters, aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils that benefit the skin like lavender, geranium, chamomille, sweet orange, and rosemary to name a few. 

Is your gentle baby wash technically a soap? What makes a cleanser gentle?
Yes, it is a soap, but unlike most commercial products, it does not have any harsh chemicals or anything that should irritate sensitive skin. That’s basically why I call it “gentle”. :) I have had quite a few clients with babies who had eczema who have been able to use this baby soap over others. 

Are your scents all fragrance oils or essential oils or a combination of both?
I use a combination of both, but the fragrance oils I use are all phlalate free. My facial products only have essential oils because of the benefits they provide for your skin.

Do you think a bath melt is better than a bath bomb?
It’s probably a matter of preference, but I like the bath melts better because they are so moisturizing. I also like that you get more “bang for your buck” with bath melts; I sell them in sets of eight which is good for eight baths versus the one bath you will get from a bath bomb.

I asked her to tell a little about herself.
We live in beautiful North Carolina. I love that we can be in the mountains or at the beach with just a short drive. I am married to the love of my life and have two small children (ages 4 and 1). I became a work-from-home Mom when our second child was born which is wonderful. I love that I am able to be at home with my children and work on building my business at the same time. I have the best of both worlds and feel very blessed. 

When and why did you decide to start creating bath and beauty products?
Several years ago, I made a gift basket of handmade goods for a family member. She loved what I made, so I started making them for other family members and friends. They started encouraging me to try selling what I was making. I found that I loved the creative side of making products, not to mention that everything was all natural, so the hobby quickly turned into a business venture for me. 

How long have you been making bath and beauty products?
I have been creating handmade products for approximately 4 years.

Do you also sell at Craft shows, etc or just on the web?
Yes, I do local craft shows occasionally but most of my focus is in my online stores right now. I will probably do more craft shows in the future as my children get older, but they are so young right now that I don’t want to leave on weekends to do the travel necessary for shows that are too far away.

Where do you get your inspiration from to decide what to make and what scents to have available?
It is interesting where you can find inspiration once you get into a hobby like this. Sometimes it’s as close as the kitchen! Most of my bakery type scents can be found in calorie free versions of the real thing like soap cupcakes, mini bundt cakes, or chocolate covered strawberry soaps. I also find myself looking at molds of all kinds to see if I can turn them into a soap, etc. The creative part of this is what is so much fun for me. I love it. 

Facebook: Find me on Facebook
Etsy Store:Etsy Shop
Craft Cafe Shop

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January contest winners

The two winners are Judy Griffith and Megan R (she didn't supply her last name).  I hope my email notice reaches both of them and their stories will be posted the week of Valentine Day.