Sunday, September 29, 2013

Etsy Friends Sunday Spotlight

This week featured shop is DrowsyAurora

1. How long have you been in business?
Not long--I opened my Etsy shop in the beginning of this year.

2. How did you get started in this business?
My husband joined the military a couple of years ago and I knew I wanted a job that would be portable. I’ve always enjoyed making things, so I decided to make my own business selling things that I would make.

#.Can you provide me with a description of your business?
I completely hand-make adorable plushies. I started my business making what I now call “officially unofficial plushies”—they’re my own plush versions and style of characters from books, movies, video games, and so on. I currently carry 6” versions and 2.5” versions of some characters; I call the smaller size “hobbit-sized.” I’m currently working on a dwarf-sized line in time for the next Hobbit movie coming out this year.
My more recent line of plushies are called “chichaimon,” which roughly means “little monsters.” They’re small round plushies made to look like different animals—fox, narwhals, cats, and so on. I also decided to make my chichaimon with an added touch of my officially unofficial line—I now have a couple of chichaimon that are inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (yes, I’m one of those people in their 20s that like that show).

4. How did you come up with the name of your business?
My business’ name is “Drowsy Aurora.” It’s a bit of a pun, actually. First of all, I like to sleep. Secondly, the fairy-tale princess I’m most like is Sleeping Beauty, aka Aurora.
My sister and I decided when we were children that she was dark and I was light. “Aurora” means “dawn” or is used to refer to the Northern Lights. Basically, it all refers to me.

5. Is this your only job?
Indeed, it is. Between Drowsy Aurora and housework, I manage to keep pretty busy.

6. Favorite part of owning your own business?
I enjoy having flexible hours. I’m a night-owl, so it’s nice to be able to stay up late to finish a project without having to worry about missing work in the morning.

7. Least Favorite part?
The legal aspect. It’s so difficult, and admittedly boring, to figure what I need to file and what I don’t need to file…I’d much rather be creating something.

8.What has proven to be the best ways to market your business?
One thing that I think has been extremely beneficial to my business is I have a Facebook page dedicated to my business. I’m able to, in essence, advertise multiple times a week without feeling guilty about it. I don’t spam my followers by any means, but I do post a few scheduled things each week: a “creative spotlight” post on Mondays—I feature different artists that I find online; new products on Thursdays; and post little previews of my current project(s), what I call “spoilers,” during the week.
One other thing that I’ll share is that I advertise a lot within the Etsy teams. Many of the teams include games people have made up in order for all participants to get more publicity. I’ve been busy recently with some custom orders and personal things lately, but I still try to take part in the teams’ games at least one or two times a week.

9.Your advice to someone just starting out?
Take decent product photos. It’s one of the first things people will notice about your product, so you need to make sure that they are eye-catching and, well, amazing. Once you take the photos, make sure to touch up the photos before you upload them. Sure, this can sound intimidating, but you can use a simple tool like to edit your photos. They even have an “automatically adjust” button for some of the settings. How easy is that? Another tool for photo-editing that I recommend is Gimp; it’s basically a freeware (free and not pirated) version of Photoshop. Did I mention that both of these are free?
Another thing I recommend is to make sure to add a personal touch to your listings. Look at the listings of those who make Etsy’s front page and you’ll see what I mean. Don’t copy them, of course, but do be inspired. I’ve redone the wording of my listings a few times now, and I doubt it’ll be my last. Don’t be afraid to make it your own brand.

10. Anything else you'd like to share about yourself or your business?
I’ll be attending my first two craft shows soon—one is in November near Omaha, NE; the other is in Chattanooga, TN on Saturdays and Sundays in December. I’m pretty excited to spread the word about my shop to people who likely wouldn’t know I existed otherwise. Since I’ll be travelling and working remotely near Christmas, be sure to plan ahead and order early if you want to get Christmas presents!

If you're in one of these areas, be sure to stop by my booth!

OESC Holiday Bazaar, Bellevue University
Saturday, November 16, 9am-3:30pm

Chattanooga Holiday Market, Convention Center
Saturdays and Sundays in December before Christmas
Saturdays, 10am-5pm; Sundays, 11am-5pm

Shop online:
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Katniss Everdeen

Tardar Sauce (aka Grumpy Cat)

Stop by and visit Abby at DrowsyAurora and check out her unique creations. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Family Friday - A Day Late

Just like lots of things, I'm running late. Last Family Friday was "The Boys", so this week I'll do "The Girls". At the current moment all barn animals are girls. The Hens were first. I remember loving my Great Grandpa's chickens and wanted the kids to have the same experience. I have had the hens about a yr now. I started out with 3 Columbian Wyandotte's I found on Craig's List. A month or so later I found 9 more hens on there. They are Black Star/Cochin Mix, Buff Orpingtons and mixes of both. A month or so later a customer came in to the Post Office and asked me if I wanted a few of his Rhode Islands Reds. I said yes and when I went to get them he gave me 8 of them. I love having my own farm fresh eggs to eat. One of Bradley's favorite things to do here is collect the eggs. They coop in built inside my pole barn for added warmth in the winter. They have a run built off it inside and one on the outside, so depending on their mood and the temperature they can decide if they want to be inside or outside. Here's the girls in their outside run when I went down tonight.

The other barn girls are kittens. Last year when we first got the pigs and chickens I started noticing lots of mice in the barn. I was thinking about getting a cat from Larry and one day one just showed up, so I started feeding her. I named her Flash, because when she first came here she would run so fast if you got near her. Here she is last year with the pumpkins I bought for the pigs and chickens. 

Shortly after Flash showed up another cat showed up too. She was very round in the belly area and I was sure she was going to have kittens, so I named her Mama T (not sure why I picked T) Time would tell me she was just a well rounded girl, she never did have kittens. She was a love bug and wanted to be on you, particularly your shoulders. Here she is curled up on my shoulder.  

Spring came and so did a boy cat :( I started calling him Friend of Flash after I caught them in the act. He didn't stay around, mostly just for feeding time. It wasn't long and Flash was a new Mommy to 2 little kittens. Unfortunately one didn't make it. The little girl left was named Dolly. Flash was very protective of her with Mama T and Fof (we shortened Friend of Flash) and they both disappeared before too long. Here's Dolly today hanging out with me while I hung laundry up.

About a month later I went down to the barn in the am to do chores before work and found 5 little kittens locked in the chicken's inside run. I had no idea how they got there and just shooed them out since I was in a hurry to get to work. Later when I got home I could only find 4 of them. It was a few days later and I found out they were the neighbors kittens, she came and got them which they were none too pleased with. The very next morning 2 of them were back. I decided if they didn't really like it there they could stay here, also reasoning Dolly needed other kittens to play with. Flash was reluctant at first, but it wasn't long and she took them in as her own. Once the kittens were all old enough to be completely on their own Flash started disappearing days at a time. Now she may just show up once a month. Here is Milo and Zippy playing under foot today. Bradley asks Alyssa all the time why they have boy names, and she just says they could be girl names too.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I think I'm a throwback, because I love everything vintage and I think I should have been born way before I was. Maybe it was just the time I grew up in. My Grandma & Grandpa Kelley and my Great Grandma & Grandpa walker grew up in a much simpler time and most the the modern conveniences most houses had even in the 70's they didn't have. I can remember begging Grandma Kelley to let us do laundry in the old wringer washer, because it was so much cooler then the electric one we had at home you just threw the clothes in. They also had a tilt out floor bin that held a 50# bag of flour, I loved opening and closing that.  And there kitchen stove, what a treat for a little kid. Mom and Dad just turned a knob to turn ours on at home, but there you got to put wood in the top, how cool is that? We felt like we won the lottery if we were the one chosen to put the wood in.

My Great Grandparent's was much the same, except they had a lot of animals. Milk and eggs came from the barn, not the grocery store. And they weren't just plain old white eggs, you could pick your own color to eat from brown to blue. In the summer/fall you went out to the garden to get fixings for dinner. Grandpa cooked his dogs dinner on the stove every night and took it out to them. The joy of being a 5 yr old and rolling around in the yard playing with a half dozen baby raccoon and getting to bottle feed them. Having to feed the cows, chickens, turkey's, pheasants, quail, owls, geese, ducks, horses, raccoon, dogs and for a short time even a baby deer, all before you could sit down for dinner. When you woke up in the morning you fed them before you sat down to eat. I guess you could say my love of animals came from my Great Grandpa. I love having my own chickens to get eggs from now. Though butcher day was a little hard on me, I love knowing the pork and chickens in my freezer were raised with love.

Laundry time, while I don't have the wringer washer my Grandma's did, I do hang my clothes on the line to dry just like they did. I have an Aunt that hangs her clothes out on the line year round in Western New York. I don't go to that extreme, I hate the cold, but I do have a 4 line clothesline strung between my dining and living rooms for when it's too cold to hang them out.

I would love to go back in time for clothes too. It seems once the 70's were over fashion went down hill. Give me something made from the 40's- 70's and I would be happy. I see no reason to run to the store for a new pair of jeans just because I ended up with a hole, that's what patches are for. I don't need to wear anyone famous' name on my clothes or the newest rage in name brand shoes, just give me a solid pair of work shoes.

Check out the Vintage Books in my shop MichellesVarietyShop and remember what it's like to have an actual book in your hands. The smell of old books shows they have history. You can sit and wonder and make up your own story about the person or persons who read it before you, maybe even some just by the light of the candle.

I'm trying to get my self thrown back to the simpler times and hope each year I can get a little closer. Are you trying to go back to simpler times as well? Comment below and let me know what you are doing to throw yourself back.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In Memory of my Dad

My Dad was born on December 31, 1938 and passed away 20 yrs ago today. I have the best memories of him from when I was little right up until he passed away. He was the funniest and kindest man I have ever known. My Sister and I meant everything to him. I was a true Daddy's girl and no matter how bad I was when I was a teenager he always loved me!!! I was devastated when he died and didn't know if I could go on. A friend of his sent me a sympathy card and wrote that I should think how lucky I was to have a great Dad for 23 yrs instead of a rotten Dad my entire life. She was right and I have always looked at it that way ever since, not saying I wouldn't love just one more day!!!! Here's some pics of cards between my Dad and I.

When I was 8 my Dad was pulled into a printing press at work and was in the hospital for a while. This is the card I made and sent to him. 

My sister and I had bunk beds, I must have thought everyone did :)

 The picture is me on my first birthday. (I still have the chair) My Dad gave the picture to me on my 20th birthday with the note on the back.

He had a great sense of humor. 
My sister graduated high school the week of my 21rst birthday. My Dad made her a sign and put it on the fridge. Well the natural jealous Daddy's girl I was wanted to know how come I didn't get a sign. The next day this was on the fridge.

My last and most precious note. When my Dad was in the hospital at the end he couldn't talk because of the tubes. After I told him I loved him, he made the motion he wanted to write something and this is what he wrote.

For those of you missing your Daddy like me, here's a hug and know your not alone. For those of you that still have your Daddy, go hug him and tell him you love him and give him a hug for me, Daddy hugs are the best.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Treasury

Hope you enjoy the Treasuries I put together today. Just click on the title and it will take you right to the Treasury on Etsy.

Happy Treasure Hunting on Etsy!!! You can find me at: MichellesVarietyShop

Monday, September 23, 2013

Boxes, Boxes and More Boxes

I have a lot of boxes!!! I like to recycle every box I can. Back in the day I would have been called a box hoarder, but now with all the recycling, reusing and re-purposing, I can save all my boxes and not be called names.  I see no sense at all in paying for a new box to ship something when there are already so many boxes available. Not only do I save all the boxes I get things shipped to me in, but have others save all theirs too. It doesn't stop there, I save all my food boxes too. Cereal boxes, granola bar boxes, frozen dinner boxes. They work great for shipping small items, particularly books. Saving the boxes isn't the problem, it's how. I use Alyssa & Bradley's room for that, they are only here every so often for a weekend and they don't want to sleep in there anyways. They much prefer to sleep in the living room, so they can sleep with The Boys. So I just walk by and toss the boxes in there when I get them, still really not a problem. The problem comes in when I need a box and have to find just the right one. Well yesterday I said heck with it and tackled those boxes. I wanted shelves for the smaller ones, but didn't want to spend the money to buy them. I found a few old ones we had around here from an old closet before we tore it out. I looked and looked, but could only find one of the mounting brackets. I took pictures of it, so the next time I went to Menard's I could get more. I didn't really want to wait, then I might lose my motivation, I didn't want to drive there just for that and waste gas. I put my thinking cap on and shuffled through my junk drawers. Light Bulb over head moment, use really long zip ties for hanging brackets and nails to secure it to the wall :)

Zip Tie as support bracket

Nails securing it too the wall. And a cool glow in the dark sticker.

3 Shelves ready to fill with boxes
While I was filling the shelves up with boxes I also sorted out my packing peanuts, tissue paper, packing paper and air pillows. I came up with 2 boxes of air pillows!!!
So much nicer.
Still plenty of boxes to stack in the other corner.
I still have to go through the closest and sort out the boxes I have in there, but I think I made a big step in the right direction yesterday. Stop by and visit my store and maybe help me reuse a box for shipping MichellesVarietyShop

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Etsy Friends Sunday Spotlight

This week's featured shop is FriendlyFireCandles.

1. How long have you been in business?
We have been selling our candles for nearly a whole year already!

2. How did you get started in this business?
Initially, we intended for our candles to be gifts. It was our first Christmas as a married couple and after a summer wedding, we were flat broke. We opted for a handmade Christmas, and wanted something we could make together. After tons of help from a fellow Etsy friend and some digging of our own, we found the supplies that suited us best.

Before long, visitors to our home were asking what fragrance we were burning and where they could get it. When they discovered we had been making them, the texts and requests started coming in!

3. Can you provide me with a description of your business?
We are mad candle scientists disguised as husband and wife. We specialize in home fragrance as well as wedding and other special occasion favors. We love having the opportunity to work together to make other people happy and fill their homes with nostalgia via wax and wick.

4. How did you come up with the name of your business?
Ha. Well. Candles on their own are considered to be friendly fires, so our name is applicable, but there wasn’t much thought involved. Military terminology aside, I thought I’d be quite a cheeky name for a candle company. We aren’t afraid to be edgy.

5. Is this your only job?
Not at all. Adam is a musician and he spends 80+ hours a week directing choirs and musicals, arranging music, and teaching guitar and piano privately. He’s a jack of all musical trades I suppose! As for me, I’m a freelance writer, a stay at home mother, and I also have my own manuscript (or rather, a million) in the works.

6. Favorite part of owning your own business?
Being our own boss! I think everyone has a little control freak inside of them, and being able to embrace the little imp is incredibly freeing. Aside from that, having strangers gush over something you’ve worked hard to create is not only incredibly flattering, but inspiring. We are constantly inspired to be more, be better, and to keep working at the empire we intend to build.

7. Least Favorite part?
We’re responsible for our own income. We can work our tails off until 3am for six days in a row and have absolutely nothing to show for it for weeks. No one is cutting a paycheck for us, there are no benefits, and we take breaks at our own risk.

8. What has proven to be the best ways to market your business?
Word of mouth and home parties. Most of our business is done offline. Friends and family continually support us whether they are buying for themselves, for gifts, or in the case of my mother, putting together baskets for church events, our product tends to make its way into many many hands.

Home parties are great because it gives people the chance to handle the product. Fragrance is very specific to an individual and can be difficult to decipher no matter how great it is described or photographed. We are fortunate to have a product that is also a very popular item to want, so people come to our parties and seem to find tons of reasons to buy x,y and z for this, that, and the other occasion.

9. Your advice to someone just starting out?
Work hard. If you want it, make it happen.
Do things that scare you and cut down your excuses one by one.
Blaming things/platforms/people is a waste of your time. Detect the problem and discover the solution. Blame creates negativity, which only breeds more negativity. Who ever became successful because they felt that they “can’t”?
Be kind to everyone, even if you aren’t in business mode. You never know when an unexpected client will pop up or want to pass on your name.

And my personal favorite:

A single raindrop raises the sea: Every new item for sale is something someone can buy. Every penny earned is more than you had. Each sale made is one more of your product going into the hands of someone else. Baby steps are still steps. :)

10. Anything else you'd like to share about yourself or your business?
We hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into the world of Friendly Fire Candles! Feel free to visit our facebook page

as well as my own blog where I showcase my personal Etsy finds!

 Thank you and stay inspired!

Frenchie & Adam

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Start of Winterizing

Tonight when I made my weekly trip to Walmart I grabbed a few things to start winterizing the house. In previous years I have just put plastic up on most of the windows and called it good enough, this year I plan to do a little more then that, because I hate freezing!!! I keep the thermostat in the birds room set at 70 in the winter, in the main house I only keep it at 50 though. In the evenings if we are sitting around watching TV I will turn it up to 55. Everybody loves it when my Mom comes to visit at Thanksgiving because I then I splurge and turn it up to 70 for the few days she is here, makes it feel like summer :) This was tonight's project since I figured I could get it done before birdie bedtime.

I only paid $2.88 plus tax at Walmart for these, a pretty cheap investment. If you go to Duck's Facebook page they have a couple coupons if you like their page. The Duck Brand   I don't know if they are always the same, but the two that showed for me were $.50 off a roll of deco laminate (not really for winterizing) and $2.00 any roll on window kit.

I started putting these covers on in my office and while I was there I thought I would get the Spackle bucket out and fix a few holes where some Monster Saint Bernard thought he should chew through the walls. I couldn't find the putty knife so I just grabbed a plastic spoon. It worked okay to fill the holes, kinda, but I decided it would be much more efficient to use my hands. Wouldn't you know it as soon as my hands are covered in it, Butt starts barking for me to come help him get up. I hurried in to get my hands washed and help him into the house. Once he was settled in I went back to it. Once I had the sealers on I thought there was still a little gap air could sneak in, so I put a bead of clear silicone I had here around each outlet after I had it back together. I finished putting the sealers in my office and the down stairs bird room and headed up stairs.

I got the first couple done incident free. On the third one I got to close to Chaos (Scarlet Macaw) and she grabbed my hair with her beak and pinned me to her cage. Oh the fun of having Macaws and long hair :) My left hand is empty so I reach up and try tickling her belly to convince her to let go. With my right hand, the one with the open tube of silicon, I try pulling my hair away from her. Can you guess where this is going? Yep, all the while I was pulling I was also squeezing the tube of silicone all over my hair :) Finally got free from her and finished upstairs. The rest of the house was uneventful.

The package came with 18 outlet sealers and 6 switch plate covers and I had 6 outlet covers that had come with a window kit. I used all of them and I'm still short 8 of them and I only put them on the outlets on the outside walls. The person who built this house must have been obsessed with electrical outlets :) I haven't decided if I will go buy another pack to finish off the remaining ones or just call it close enough, since I still have quite a few other winterizing projects planned. One I'm really excited to try and will share pictures as I work on it.

Stop by and check out my Etsy Shop MichellesVarietyShop Like the names says there is a Variety, right now I have quite a few Vintage Books & Dishes, Goat's Milk Soaps and Bird Toys. Christmas Soaps will be coming soon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Family Friday - The Boys

I figured I should start Family Friday with introducing The Boys, because I refer to "The Boys" or "My Boys" a lot and some might think they are skin kids, but they are actually fur kids.

Butt is my oldest Saint Bernard, he's 11. I always say the day he came here when the door opened he walked into my heart. He came to live here when he was 3 yrs old. From the moment he walked in he followed me everywhere and when ever I would stop he would run into my butt, that's how he got his name. He has slowed way down in his old age and needs his Mom's help a lot, but I'm glad to give it. I know our time is nearing and end and I cherish every minute with him.
Butt out for a walk on a sunny day

Tub is the middle Saint, he is 6 he will be 7 in Oct. Tub was Butt's Christmas present when he was 4. He came here as a 10 week old ball of fluff and has turned into a long legged gangly teenager, his legs don't stop. Tub simply loves people and if you came to the house he believes you only came to see him and despite his size if you sit down you will find him on your lap.
Tub napping with his duck pillow

Goober the youngest Saint, he just turned 3 last week. He was Tub's Christmas present when he turned 4. That boy is a monster and has been since he came home at 12 weeks old. He has chewed up everything he can, even a few walls. I believe Goober's favorite thing in life is when Alyssa comes over to have a sleep over, they are BFF's. 
Goober and Alyssa relaxing on the couch

Last but not least is Pogo. He is a Great Dane Coon Hound mix. He will be 11 next week, but not showing any signs of slowing down at all. Pogo came here about 6 yrs ago from not the greatest home. His passion in life is Milk Bones. The Boys get one every morning when I get up and if I lay in bed too long Pogo will come stare at me to try and encourage me to get up.

Pogo laying in bed watching out the window

Now it's time for Me and The Boys to call it a night,  if Tub and Goober left me any room in bed :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vacumm Tip

I was just upstairs sweeping the birds floor and thought about back at the old house when they had carpet on the floor in their rooms. Which put me in mind of a safety tip I thought I should share with others. If you are looking to buy a new vacuum look for one that shuts the beater bar off when you are using the attachments. You might not realize it, but that is an important safety feature. You see one day while I was vacuuming using the wand and brush to get under the cages I got too close to the vacuum and it sucked my hair right up and wrapped it around the beater bar :)  Luckily I wasn't home alone and had someone that could unplug the vacuum and help me unroll my hair. I can and do laugh at it now, but wasn't amused when my head was stuck to the vacuum :) My Dyson Animal does have that feature, though I would probably still love it even if it didn't. Wishing everyone Safe Vacuuming!!! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Samantha Jo

Sept 18th, 1993 my niece Samantha Jo was born. Unfortunately she was born without a brain. She was only with us for 5 days and went to Heaven on Sept 23, 1993. Today would have been your 20th birthday, so I wanted to let you know that we love you and haven't forgotten you. I know that last 20 yrs you have been in your Grandpa's care and you couldn't be in better hands. Happy Birthday Samantha Jo, give Grandpa a hug for me. Love, Aunt Michelle

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Treasury Tuseday

I love creating Treasury's on Etsy. I belong to a few teams that I create them on, but most of the time something I see inspires me or sometimes just a memory.  Here's a couple I made today:

Brighten Up Your Day - Created for Etsy Like Hikers 

 A Trip Back to the Farm - Remembering visits to my Grandparent's house when I was little.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cooking Ughhh

This morning at work Sharon brought in a bag of potatoes to see if anyone wanted them because they are getting ready to go on vacation and she didn't think they would be good by the time they got home. Sandy said she would take them if no one else wanted them. Sharon said "she (me) won't want them she only cooks things from a box." Which for the most part is right. Then I told her about this recipe I saw on line for them potatoes that looked good and easy, my favorite. Hasselback Potatoes I even thought I would try them with the potatoes my Mom and Jim brought me from their garden.

Fast forward to being home from work, sitting at the computer thinking "I'm hungry" So I decided I would try to make the potatoes, they take 40 minutes to cook, but I'm hungry now!!! When I was at my Aunt Kathy's this weekend picking tomatoes for the chickens she asked me if I had tried to make the green beans she posted on FB for me to try, you cook them just like zucchini, dipped in egg and then flour. I still have a few bags of fresh green beans from Lila and they won't take long to cook. I text Kathy to make sure I remembered right first. Set about snipping the green beans, had my butter and lard melting in the pan, whipped up a couple eggs from my chickens and found the very seldom used flour. All was going good, until my coating started coming off the green beans as they cooked. It all came off!!! I started scooping all the eggy flour out of the pan in hopes of saving the green beans.

No coating left!!!

Fried flour anyone?

The timer goes off for the potatoes now, so I make a little sampler plate of the potatoes and green beans for John to try. He said "the potatoes aren't done and they are tasteless, the green beans are okay" Asked if he wants anymore "NO".

Not as pretty as the picture on the website.

Back to the kitchen to clean up my mess. John calls out "I know what I want to eat." I go in to see and he says "Let's go to Bob Evan's and get one of those pumpkin cheesecake pies we saw the other day." I said " I have a cheesecake mix here and some pumpkin, I could probably make it." He made a funny face and said "Ah NO". Now I'm wondering if I should even cook the roast I was planning on for dinner or just pop some frozen Pot Pies in the oven? One thing is for sure, my boy(dogs) will be eating well tonight and they won't complain about my cooking.

Have a great day, I'm headed to the kitchen to get a candy bar to satisfy my hunger, which I should have done in the first place.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Etsy Friends Sunday Spotlight

 Our very first Sunday Spotlight to feature a fellow Etsian. This week's featured shop is: Pet-ible Creations

1. How long have you been in business? I have been in business for 9 months. (started Dec, 1, 2012)

2. How did you get started in this business? I had an idea "why don't they have edible arrangements for animals?" I took it and ran with it. Basically came up with a prototype and did a little focus group of friends and family and then opened it up to the public. People seemed to like the idea.

3. Can you provide me with a description of your business? I make custom treat baskets for animals. The treats I use are all natural and/or organic. I make baskets for any and all occasions. My best sellers seem to be birthday baskets and get well baskets. I expect Christmas to be big this year. I personalize the baskets with pets name and will do custom colors (ie I did one in pink for an owner w/ breast cancer)

4. How did you come up with the name of your business? The name was a little hard to come up with. I played with "edible arrangements" and came up w/ "Pet-ible Creations"

5. Is this your only job? I wish this was my only job. I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician in NY and also a Certified Personal Trainer

6. Favorite part of owning your own business? Fave part of owning my own business is working at my own pace, on my own time (even if I'm on a deadline...its my choice to work at 2am lol) So far I don't have a least favorite part.

7. What has proven to be the best ways to market your business? The best ways to market my business seem to be word of mouth and doing local craft shows or street fairs or pet related fairs. Also I do a lot of promotions on Etsy by joining teams and posting products on their boards.

8. Your advice to someone just starting out? My advice to anyone starting out is be prepared to spend money to make money.

9.  Anything else you'd like to share about yourself or your business? I am so happy I started this business. Even though I get swamped at times its a creative and fun outlet and I enjoy seeing people and pets enjoying the end product!

Stop by and visit Serena at Pet-ible Creations to see more of her cool Pet Treat Baskets.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Glasses = Fun

I have a pair of Vintage Glasses laying on the table to eventually get listed on line. Well tonight Alyssa, Bradley and I decided to take turns wearing them and taking each others pictures.

Your Manner's Aren't Showing

I have a book in my Etsy shop called  Your Manners Are Showing ever since the first time I found this book I think about how untrue that is these days. I honestly believe that teaching manners has become a thing of the past. How many times have you been at a store and the clerk doesn't even acknowledge you? I know many times as the transaction has ended I will walk away saying "Thank you, have a a nice day, oh thanks you too" And it's not just because I'm a little crazy and talk to myself :) In reality does it really take that much out of you to smile at someone and thank them? There is a young man that works at the Rite Aid in town and every time you go in there he makes you feel like he is happy to see you and treats you like a long time friend. I have even wrote to Rite Aid commenting on how wonderful a young man he is.

In my house I'm known as the manners police. I was raised to say thank you, please, your welcome, etc. I can say with 100% honesty that I don't think having manners has ever hurt me and I still think they are very important. I always told the boys when they were growing up having manners can make the difference in so many things from relationships to jobs, growing up they thought I was crazy, but now they will tell me I'm right (one of my favorite things to hear) and having manners can make a difference. They at times have commented on someones lack of manners and how rude it really is. The years haven't softened me either, I still try to instill manners in the little ones that come around. They will ask "can I have a snack?" I say "what" and this will continue until they remember to say "please" They also know if I say "And" that means they are suppose to say "your welcome".

Recently I was going into a local store about the same time as an elderly gentleman. I reached the door first and held it open for him. He thanked me and said "that's hard to get used to" I asked him "what?". He said " I was raised to have manners and hold the door for a lady and those times are changing". I told him " I was raised to have manners with everyone". He replied " I never thought of that, but these days not many are raised with any manners".

It doesn't cost us anything to smile and use our manners, so let's all go out and spread them around!!! You never know when that smile combined with a thank you, have a nice day, please, etc could make someones day a little bit better.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my ramblings, have a wonderful day!!! Comment and let me know your thoughts on manners.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How to use VitaCritter Bird Toy Dye

Over the years I have tried many different set ups for dying my bird toys with VitaCritter. So far this is the best way I have come up with.

Cover table(s) with newspaper

Cover newspaper with garbage bag(s). After you use both sides of the bag drying your toy parts you can turn it inside out and use it for garbage, no waste that way.

 Get your alcohol and choice of color ready. 15 parts alcohol to one part VitaCritter.

 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol works best.

 All my utensils ready: tongs and slotted spoons for lifting the wood out of the dye. Tablespoon to measure the dye(personally I just eye ball it) Containers for mixing it in. Funnel if you want to transfer the dye when you are done.

 Here is the alcohol and VitaCritter mixed and ready to use.

 You can use your hands just to gently drop your pieces in. If not gently you can end up with pretty colored spots all over your face :)

 For bigger pieces you can use the tongs. 

 They only need just a quick dip in the dye and they are ready to lay out to dry.

 All my pieces waiting to dry, which only generally takes a few hours.

 You can see how little I used to dye all that out of the 16 oz bottle. You can pour your color back into the empty alcohol bottle to store or in the container you used if it has a lid. I mix up enough at one time that I keep my in 5 gallon buckets. 

Oh and if you don't use rubber gloves you get the benefit of pretty hands. Most of it does wash off pretty easy, but some colors do take a little longer to wear off.

Happy Toy Making!!!