CURIOsity

As promised, I’m going to talk about the Silhouette Curio today! This is my latest addition to my fleet of Silhouette machines. I started with the CAMEO in December of 2015, added the Mint late last year, and just in the past couple of months, the Curio has taken up residence on my desk. Truth be told, the desk was bought because of the Curio. I had run out of space on my little makeshift desk.

My original thought when buying the Curio was that it could etch, stipple, and emboss and that might open up a whole new world to me. And I’m sure it will. When I get around to that. Right now I’m using it for the same old thing I used the CAMEO for. Cutting card stock and vinyl. What I find funny is that my favorite things so far about the Curio are a lot of people’s least favorite things about it. The tray, and that it only cuts up to 8 inch width materials. The CAMEO cuts up to 12 inch materials and I admit that’s nice for a lot of things, and I still use it a lot, but…

I make a lot of onesies, and other assorted baby and toddler clothes. Those have become my main focus lately. I have one friend with a 7 month old, one who has a 4 year old and is about to have another, I have a 6 year old grandson (not a toddler, but his clothes are still not that big), and I make onesies and bibs for the Value Life Ministry at church. Because the Curio cuts smaller things,  handling the tray is a bit easier than the CAMEO cutting mat. Most of the time I still can cut designs for several things at a time anyway. Also, the tray is firm and when I load it in the machine, I can often leave it in between cuttings. I just pull it out some, take off what I’ve cut, put on the new vinyl or card stock, push it in a little and hit the button. Ready to go. The CAMEO mat is floppy and 12X12 so I get things stuck to the wrong place on the mat all the time. All. The. Time. Plus, you have to line it up right. There’s no way to line up the Curio tray wrong.

In summary, if you’re thinking of getting a cutting machine, go with a Silhouette over a Cricut and the CAMEO does have a larger cutting ability. But, if you think you’ll just be doing small things for small apparel or maybe scrapbooks, I think I’d start with a Curio.

Here are a couple of shirts I made for my friend’s daughter on the Curio-just so you can see some of it’s handiwork! (yes, I know they need ironing)

Thanks for stopping by again today! Have a great week!

~Nancy

To the Family Go the Prototypes

Hi guys! This afternoon I started working on some Christmas ornaments. I have them all designed in my head so it was time to build ‘prototypes’. I’m not going to sell anything on my shop that I am not comfortable making. I want everyone to get a good product. As close to perfect as possible.

So, to that end, it was time to break out the Christmas ornaments and get started! Ornaments, check. Glue, check. Glitter, check. Paint, check. Headache…on order.

First of all, let me tell you that glitter and I have a love hate relationship. I love the look of it. Especially at Christmas! It’s perfect! The more glittery the better. I have green, red, white, silver, gold. I’m ready. I could look at it all day. It’s beautiful! I love it as much as my grandson does! G loves a good glitter project! But then…

There’s the hate part. Glitter is insideous. That may be strong language but it’s kinda true. It starts out pretty and innocent. It sticks right where you want it to (glue needed). How beautiful! But then….(again)…

You move. There’s glitter. You move again. How’d it get THERE? Look down at the cat. How did he get glitter on his nose? He wasn’t even in the room! Oh my gosh, there’s glitter on Spiderman! It must have jumped off the table-or did it get caught in his web? Anyway, suffice it to say we may have some sparkly dinners coming up. Maybe I should call them ‘glamourous’. Yeah, that works.

Then the glue. I used spray craft glue and sprayed it inside the ornament. First off, that stuff has FUMES. I had forgotten that. Anyway, it seemed to be a great idea until it puddled in the bottom of the ornament. It got all over inside but there was that puddle. I swirled it around for a few minutes and thought I had it spred well, so I poured in the glitter. Guess what. There’s a clump of green glitter in the bottom. The puddle came back.

Next up, pink paint for a ‘baby’s first Christmas ornament’. This didn’t go too badly. I squirted paint in and swirled and swirled and shook and shook. It covered halfway decent. Then I tried a brush. That worked great for the bottom of the ornament but I still had some pretty big spots to cover. I squirted in more paint and swirled some more. I still ended up with a couple empty spots. See the pictures.

What I learned from this is…with the glue, swirl a little more and let it dry a little more before using glitter. I may also try liquid glue. With the paint…I think a little bit of water will thin it enough to spread easier.

The title of this blog? Well, what do I do with these prototypes? Use vinyl or embellishments to cover this clump or that empty spot and give them to family and close friends! They love me no matter what! Buyers might not!

Don’t forget to visit and favorite my shop so you can see all the new items over the next several weeks and months! Follow me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest and sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch!

 

~Nancy

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Time flies when you’re having the time of your life!

Warning…sappy post ahead…

As I said in my last post, I’m on vacation from my ‘day job’ this week. It’s only Tuesday and I have my whole house cleaned and 4 new products to list on the shop! Tomorrow is my day with my grandson so I doubt I’ll get a lot else done. He’s 5. He takes all of my attention.

He’s growing too fast

My boy starts kindergarten next week and I swear it seems like he was just born. I know, that was nearly 6 years ago, grandma. It’s like I blinked and he’s off to school. I have to say, I’m the luckiest grandma on earth. Seriously. His parents have always made a point to include us grandparents in every aspect of his life. I’ve seen him at least once a week, if not more, ever since he was born, unless they were on vacation. But they always made it up to me with a sleepover or an extra day if I miss a day with him.

G and I are very close. I hope and pray we always are. I’ve always had so much fun with him! In the past 5 years I’ve been a Power Ranger, a Superhero, a Paw Patrol pup, Super Why, a princess, a villian, an innocent victim in Joker’s evil schemes, a construction worker with Bob the Builder, etc. You get the idea! I’ve watched TV shows that I watched when his dad and uncle Alex were little. Great memories to share with him!

He loves to do crafts with me. We’re going to a craft store tomorrow and I told his mommy to remind me to get glitter. She warned he’d want to help. I advised her we’d do the glitter clear out in the back of my back yard. I’m not sure that’ll work tomorrow though. The yard is pretty wet right now. Oh well, a little glitter in the living room. I’m ok with that. More memories for grandma.

Cherishing every second

I know he’s not going off to college. He’s just starting kindergarten for heaven’s sake. But this is the first part of going off on his own. Know what I mean? I’m tearing up typing this. It just seems to go quickly.

I’ve always cherished every second I have with him. I really have. I’m grandma so I know how fast kids grow up. I know what an incredible gift it is to get to be a grandma who lives nearby and is a part of his life.

While I told you guys some of the fun games we play, role playing and such, he also is really into video games. No surprise. Most kids his age are! My boys both were from the time they were little. He likes to play a fairly new game I got for him, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of course he likes me to play with him. It’s fun to have him telling me what to do next. I think I laugh more than anything!

Of all those things we love to do, do you want to know what might be my favorite? He plays on the iPad and I mess around on the computer or my phone while we lay on my bed and talk. Yep. Just hanging out with him. Just talking. Being together.

I know the games and role playing will fade as he ages. The crafts will, too. But I sure hope he knows he can always come to Mucka’s house and just hang out and talk. I’m always here!

Thanks for walking with me today!

Nancy

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Blogging, planning…oh, and crafting

Sunday was such a fun day! I was busy all day long. I worked on the blog, I spent hours on Pinterest, I signed up for Mail Chimp (I’m sure you saw that…please subscribe! There are benefits!) and planned out the week. I did a lot to help my business grow. It was a day well spent.

Monday I worked at my full time job then added a coupon code to my Etsy shop. From there I set up an email campaign with Mail Chimp. Subscribers now get the coupon code. I did some research and some reading. I read about ways to grow my blog, get traffic to my shop, get more followers on Pinterest, how to make money on Twitter. I even scheduled pins with Tailwind. I was putting in some time to be sure my new little business was going to succeed! I was tired when I went to bed last night. Then it hit me.

I was doing all of these things. All good things. All necessary to grow the business. But I hadn’t created anything in days! I had lost sight of why I was doing all of this! Yes, I want to blog. I love blogging. I love doing all the business stuff. But, a couple of months ago my 5 year old grandson asked me what my dream was. What I really wanted to do. “Sell my crafts on Etsy. That’s what I’d like to do” is how I answered him. He said “Then do it, Mucka! You can do it! All you need is confidence!” Out of the mouths of babes, right?

Today after work I went to the grocery and came home and sat at my computer designing some stencils. I took those stencils and etched some vases. You’ll see those on my Etsy shop in the next couple days!

I feel so much better. I learned that I need to stay focused on my main goal. All the other things were created to support the first. If I don’t do the thing I love, “make pretty things” then there will be nothing to sell on Etsy, will there??

So, added to my calendar each week will be big blocks of crafting time. It’s all about focus and balance. Make sure when you’re working on your blog, or shop, or whatever it may be, that you take time to do what got you into that in the first place! Keep a firm grasp on the roots. You have to have those to grow your business, too!

Happily crafty,

Nancy

Focus

Reasons to set up shop on Etsy

Etsy shop screen grab

 

As promised, we’re going to talk about Etsy today. I love Etsy. I have since the moment I heard of it. I’m pretty sure my daughter-in-law is the one who told me about it. She’s very crafty! She has an ongoing list of ‘favorite items’ so I always have somewhere to find gifts for her. I love that! What a cool idea! Well, I got on there and started looking around. Wow! You can find just about anything you want on there! It’s awesome! That’s just from a buyer’s perspective. But, from a SELLER’S perspective…it’s possibly even better!

How could it be better? Well, in 2014 Etsy had a revenue of $195.6 million. That means it’s a HUGE draw. That’s just what Etsy made. They charge us as sellers 20 cents per listing and 3.5% of the sales price. To  me, that’s a small price to pay to sit at home and sell my crafts (or vintage items or supplies…all three are ok on Etsy) to people from all around the world. I don’t have to lug them to craft shows if I don’t want to. Etsy handles the transaction. I just make the items and ship them. But if Etsy made that much, stop and think (and do the math if you like) about how much sellers made! Wowzers! The sky truly is the limit. You’ll need to do the marketing, of course, but just being on there gives you a better chance than going it alone. At least until you get established.

I’m just going to tick off a few facts about selling on Etsy:

  • It’s a very large, successful marketplace, as I mentioned above.
  • Etsy provides a lot of support to their sellers in the way of a seller’s handbook, ‘steps to success’, email updates and tips, forums to connect with other sellers.
  • They encourage sellers to support one another, it’s a community (one of my favorite things)
  • A very easy to use mobile app “Sell on Etsy” which they now have for the iPad as well.
  • Intuitive, user friendly seller interface that walks you all the way through shipping.
  • Oh, did I mention shipping? Discounted shipping!

Those are just a few things to help you make up your mind if you’re on the fence. If you do start a shop, or have one now, please let me know! I’d love to ‘favorite’ your shop!

Note: This blog may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. I will always only have links to products/companies I use and would recommend to you!

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to visit my shop and my Facebook page as well as hang out with me on Pinterest!

Nancy

Fishing for ideas for your blog or shop

If you’re going to write a blog and/or start an Etsy or some other creative shop,  you’re going to need ideas galore! There are lots of places to find them, of course, not the least of which is your own creative mind! But, if you need a little help from time to time, and you will, I have some thoughts on the subject!

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The best places to come up with ideas are with your ‘competitors’. Not that you should think of them that way really. In the blogosphere, people tend to be much more collaborative than competitive. Anyway, that’s a story for another post!

Follow bloggers who blog about the same things you do. Not to steal from them, of course, but to prompt ideas and to learn. If you’re just starting out you have a lot to learn about blogging and blogs are the best source of information.

Also, read books on your subject of interest. Become an expert on your subject. If you’re a DIYer or crafter, walk people through your process of making something.

Need ideas for what you want to sell? Peruse Etsy and other handmade websites. Again, not to steal ideas, but to prompt your own. I’ve seen so many things that have given me ideas. I haven’t had time to make them all! (You’ll eventually see some on my Etsy shop. Hopefully soon!)

The last idea I have for you is shopping. Yep, shopping. I see things all the time that I know I can make. I even have my sister doing it! The best thing is to go home and make them! They look even better when you make them yourself!

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back in a day or so! In the meantime, visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as well!