Crafty Saturday Favorites: Beautifully Botanical

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Favorites: Shop for one of a kind items and support small, handmade and vintage businesses


Share your items or shop for more one of a kind items at the link-up:




Saving Time on Social Media

4 ways artists, crafters, bloggers and Etsy sellers can save time promoting their handmade business on social media.

When I started blogging and selling my handmade items online almost five years ago, I envisioned making a modest living by crafting and writing, two of my favorite activities. At the time I was not on any social media, and was quite naive about the art of self-promotion online.

I quickly learned that the idea of "if you build it (or write it, or craft it) they will come" is only true in the movies. I was getting a handful of visitors to my blog and sporadic sales in my shop. It became clear that if I wanted my business to grow, I needed to get the word out to more people than just my immediate family and close circle of friends. So I began my journey onto social media.

Gradually, I started spending more time each day promoting my blog and shops than crafting or writing. YUCK!!! I'll be totally honest with you. I would much rather be crafting.

So how can an artist, crafter or blogger save time on social media so they can get back to what they love?

1. Start Small

You do not have to tackle every social media platform at once. Do a little research and choose the one or two that work best for you. You want a place where you will be able to tell your creative story.

Let your followers see the passion and effort that you put into your work. Celebrate successes. Don't be ashamed of failures, or as I like to call them "learning experiences". Enjoy everyday life. Your social media followers will likely be more engaged if you share your process and progress not just the finished product.

2. Make a Plan

Decide what, how often and when you want to post something on social media. Then, make a simple weekly posting calendar. Again, it's okay to start small by posting two or three times a week on your social media platform of choice.

I love lists and spreadsheets, so I use this type of Social Media Posting Schedule as a template to help me plan my posts each week.


3. Pre-Schedule Your Posts

Once you have a weekly calendar planned, you may be able to write and schedule many of your social media posts in advance.

Facebook has a built in feature so instead of publishing a post immediately to your Facebook page you can schedule it to be published later. There are also services available online where you can write and schedule posts on other social media platforms. (Search for "social media scheduling tools".)

I like the free plan on Hootsuite. It can be used to schedule posts for up to three social media platforms in one place.

4. Get Back to Work

Hurray! After your social media posts are planned, written and scheduled for the week you can relax and get back to doing what you truly love.

Happy crafting!




Crafty Saturday Favorites: Arm Candy

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Favorites: Shop for one of a kind items and support small, handmade and vintage businesses


Share your items or shop for more one of a kind items at the link-up:




Tutorial: Recycled Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

DIY a hummingbird feeder with recycled glass bottles and wire from the hardware store.A couple years ago I shared a tutorial about making wine bottle hummingbird feeders. It's a really simple and fun DIY project for the yard, but if you don't have a lot of hummingbirds in your area, it can take a long time for the hummers to finish off a bottle.

The good news is, you probably have lots of smaller bottles in your pantry right now that would make perfect hummingbird feeders. So here's your excuse to go clean out the fridge and pantry in the name of crafting.

Materials


  • glass bottle
  • 2-4 feet of 6 or 8 gauge copper electrical wire
  • wire cutters
  • pliers
  • electrical tape
  • hummingbird feeder tubes

Directions


Head to the kitchen to find your perfect bottle. Think hot sauce, vinegars, oils, soy sauce, soda or even small liquor bottles. I'm using a Patron Citronge bottle. The only requirement is that the hummingbird feeder tube needs to fit into the opening.

Wash the bottle and remove any labels, caps, safety rings, stoppers, etc.
I'm kind of a wimp, so I need a pliers to bend the ends of the copper wire. The only problem is that the grippy grooves on the pliers can mar the copper. So, I wrap a couple layers of electrical tape over grooves to prevent scratches.
Use the pliers to bend one end of the copper wire into a loop that fits over the neck of the bottle.
Slide the loop over the bottle neck.
Wrap the remaining wire around the bottle until about 6-inches remain. Give yourself some space for this part so you don't poke anything around you with the length of wire while you work.
Use a pliers to bend the end up into a hook so you can hang your feeder.
Finally fill your feeder with the nectar of your choice.

Please note, this type of hummingbird feeder can be prone to leaking if it is not filled properly. Luckily, I have some quick tips on how to fill your feeder as well as a video to show you exactly how it's done.

Once it's filled, you can hang your feeder outside and wait for the hummers to start snacking!

DIY a hummingbird feeder with recycled glass bottles and wire from the hardware store.




SPSTeam Spring Sale


My friends over at the Strategic Promotion for Success Team on Etsy are having their annual spring sale this week. There are 21 amazing sellers participating in the event (many of whom I have purchased items from in the past and highly recommend).

Each shop is offering different discounts which you can receive by using coupon code SPRING16 at checkout. This sale is a nice way to support small businesses and get some great deals on spring gifts for mother's day, grads and more. Here's a little sample from all of the participating shops.

Happy shopping!







Crafty Saturday Favorites: Tweet

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Favorites: Shop for one of a kind items and support small, handmade and vintage businesses


Share your items or shop for more one of a kind items at the link-up:




Featured Artist: Connie from Bungalow 42

Meet Connie from Bungalow42 on Etsy. You'll love her seriously whimsical adornments!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Connie from bungalow42 on Etsy. I feel pretty lucky because I have actually won two of Connie's jewelry creations (and I adore them!!) through giveaways hosted on two different websites. What are the odds?

Connie's shop features what she calls "seriously whimsical adornments" and I can't think of a better way to describe her work.

When did you open your shop and what made you decide to do so?

May 22, 2014. As is probably true for many Etsy shop owners, I started making “adornments” for the women in my family: relatives and what my friend Kathy calls the “family you choose”.
My friend Audrey christened my work as adornments which sounded perfect to my ears. I also owe a debt of gratitude to my friend Hilary in NYC who has her pulse on the nuance of what’s kitsch and what’s “krap.” And an “oh wow” to my cousin Kelleigh who was delighted to report that my shell earrings were a hit at her local LA coffee shop.

This family of women has been my inspiration, guinea pigs, unfaltering fan club and enthusiastic supporters of this endeavor.

Also, like many others, no doubt, I decided to open my Etsy shop because of their encouragement and belief in me. I can only imagine how many Etsy folks first heard the words “…you could sell these!” from a member of their family. I personally found these words to be humbling, inspiring, exciting and frightening.

Tell us about yourself.

One of the most challenging aspects of opening my Etsy shop has been the need to overcome my propensity for privacy.

Also I just don't see myself as that interesting. Not great fodder for an engaging bio question - right?
If I pretend that I am chatting with a new friend who has expressed interest in my life story I would probably talk about my professional career in the music business. Not the glamorous side mind you… predominantly tech related and project management roles. Next I would imaginably describe my creative endeavors which spanned years but intensified significantly after my mother passed unexpectedly. I found some vintage African white heart beads that I subsequently learned were very old while cleaning out her studio. This was surprising as my mother was a potter but she was always squirreling away odd bits and pieces with the firm belief that she would eventually find a way to use them.

It was shortly after my mother passed that I had an opportunity to seriously focus on jewelry design. My first formal design included those vintage white hearts. Heartened by the support of friends and family and the pure joy derived from this creative process, I decided to seek instruction, research tools and techniques all while working to improve my skills.

I am grateful to my aunt Dianne for constantly reminding me that my mother would be proud of her daughter’s endeavor.

Tell us a bit about your products.

My "seriously whimsical adornments" pair sterling silver findings, gemstones, seashells, pearls, vintage and handcrafted beads from around the world with delicate but sturdy plastic chain, silk thread or cord and waxed linen thread.
I have always been drawn to fun, whimsical pieces but the quality of the findings and the workmanship was always important.

Weight and humor is a major focus in my work. I strive to create lightweight pieces that won't weigh you down but will hopefully make you smile.

An instructor who was reviewing my work summed it up stunningly. She said that the pairing of sterling silver findings with vintage beads, shells, freshwater pearls and plastic chain or linen thread conveyed a “take me seriously” element. I was struck by how easily she succinctly described what I was trying, albeit unknowingly, to achieve.

Where do you live and how does where you live influence your creativity?

Austin, Texas. I have to admit this is not something to which I have given much thought... but I think that people are a primary source of inspiration and endless fascination in my work and in my life. Austin, whose motto is “Keep Austin Weird”, is truly a treasure trove of talented, creative, fun and weird (in a good way) people.
Also known as the “Music Capital of the World”, Austin has a seemingly endless well of gifted musicians whose music ranges widely and delivers daily inspiration. When I am lucky enough to carve out some bench time in my day, music is always playing and much of that soundtrack is peppered with Texas flavor.

What are your future goals and dreams for your shop?

My goals for the business are modest. My pieces are mostly made from vintage and/or limited stock. I have no desire to create the same piece over and over again. My work is not going to appeal to a massive audience. Not everybody is going to intuit plastic or bookbinding thread as serious jewelry components. My goal is to find that niche group of people with similar sensibilities.
Not (previously) a social media maven, I am working to cast a bigger net for that niche group with the aid of social media. Improving my grasp on social media tools is a goal for this and future years.

My dream? Getting the shop open and having total strangers purchase and appreciate my work... well that is pretty much a dream come true already.

What makes your business stand out?

My hope is that my business stands out because my pieces are fun, unusual and well made. I strive to describe the pieces as if I were chatting with a friend including nerdy history or factoids.
Customer satisfaction is enormously important... being responsive to customer queries and shipping promptly are just as vital as creating well-crafted pieces from quality materials.

My first five star review was such a rush. I can only hope that every purchase will be similarly prized.

What is your greatest business achievement?

Opening my Etsy shop. While that may seem a bit low on the “GREAT” meter, it was a huge achievement to me. I spent well over a year researching successful Etsy shops, working on my photography skills and copy writing techniques before launching the shop.
Getting the shop open and having total strangers purchase and appreciate my work is my greatest achievement thus far.

Where do you do most of your crafting?

Not a particularly novel start, like many others my initial work space was also our dining room table. Most of my tools and materials were stored a flight down from the dining room and many of my initial photos were taken a flight up on the balcony.
After years of stair climbing we moved to a larger space where I was able to carve out a comfortable work area in our shared office and studio.

Having a dedicated work bench, room for photography equipment and ample (for the moment) storage for tools and materials all in the same room on the same floor feels positively lavish by comparison.

Why do you believe people should buy handmade, such as your products, vs. buying mass-produced products from box stores?

Not everyone can afford nor are they drawn to handmade products.

Affordability is always a consideration in my work. I realize how relative the term "affordable" can be but with that goal in mind I vowed to work within a retail price ceiling of $75. Most of my pieces are well below that price point.

For those who are drawn to and fortunate enough to be able to purchase handmade items, I hope that they are swayed by the unique and well-crafted elements of my work.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Do the homework/research. Read the Etsy Success emails and other related documentation. Join an Etsy Team. The opportunity to meet other similarly inclined folks, the exchange of ideas and generous offers of support and encouragement are awe-inspiring.
If photography is a new skill, give yourself plenty of time to work on your photos before opening your shop. In the first year my skills improved dramatically but of course that meant that I wanted to reshoot my entire inventory - several times. Had I just focused on a few pieces until my skills improved I could have saved myself a lot of time.

Etsy sellers are frequently also Etsy buyers. Look at your favorite shops and think about why you are drawn to those shops. In addition to the products sold, consider the different components of these shop that you find appealing. If you focus on these components when you plan and build your Etsy shop, chances are that you will be pleased with the results.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?

Spending time with my husband who is also my best friend is my favorite way to unwind.

We love sharing movies, good food and wine, books, politics and time with friends. He's also one of the funniest and kindest people on the planet.

I am a very lucky girl.

Meet Connie from Bungalow42 on Etsy. You'll love her seriously whimsical adornments!
Stay Connected with Connie

bungalow42 on Etsy
Twitter



Tutorial: Cut Wine Bottle Vases

DIY Tutorial: Cut recycled glass wine bottles to create an elegant, self-watering vase for orchids and more.I don't have much of a green thumb, but somehow, my grocery store orchid is sprouting a baby orchid, also known as a keiki. I have been watching it grow for about six months and I think it is finally large enough to be removed and planted in it's own container. So, it's time to make a wine bottle vase.

These vases are a clever way to recycle empty wine bottles. I have used them successfully for planting orchids, a variety of succulents and even a spider plant.

Materials

  • safety glasses
  • clean, empty wine bottle
  • ruler
  • dry erase marker
  • G2 Bottle Cutter
  • two 2-qt pitchers
  • hot and cold water
  • 60 grit sandpaper
  • small rock
  • HydroBalls
  • soil (optional)
  • plant

Directions


When you are choosing a wine bottle for this project, you don’t want one with a long tapered neck. It won’t set into the base of the bottle nicely. Look for a bottle with a short, straight neck.

If this is your first time cutting glass, avoid bottles that have a large indentation, or punt, on the bottom of the bottle. Sometimes the punt is there to add structural integrity to the bottle and makes it a little trickier to cut. Also, I have found that clear glass wine bottles are usually a little bit thinner and easier to cut than colored glass.

Over the years I have cut a lot of bottles and have about an 80% success rate. Glass can be difficult to work with. Imperfections in the glass can cause your bottle to break in unpredictable ways even if your technique is flawless, so have a couple extra bottles ready to go.

A little common sense warning - You need to be very careful while completing this project. Not only can glass be very sharp, one of the water baths will have boiling water which is very hot. Also, containers you use for crafting, shouldn’t be used for food.


When working with glass, ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES!
Measure your bottle from the top of the neck to where the sides begin to straighten out. For my bottle, that’s about 6 inches.

The bottom of your bottle will need to be at least that deep so the top can set inside it.
Measure the bottom of the bottle from the top of the punt (again, the flatter your bottle bottom, the better). Use a dry erase marker to mark where you will cut.

I am cutting six inches above the indented punt.
Place the bottle cutter on a flat surface and position it so the scoring blade is aligned with your mark and is at a right angle to the glass.

Press the bottle firmly against the scoring blade and carefully rotate the bottle all the way around. You will hear a faint tearing sound.
After scoring, you should be able to see a thin, but clear mark that goes all the way around the bottle.
Place two plastic containers in a deep sink. Fill one container, about 3/4 full, with boiling hot water and the other with nearly freezing water.

If your water baths are not hot or cold enough, the bottle will not separate.
Hold the neck of your bottle and place in into the hot water so the water level is slightly above the score line. Keep the bottle submerged for about 10 seconds.

Lift the bottle straight up and move it to the cold water for 10 seconds. Again, make sure the water level is slightly above the score line. If you listen closely, you will hear the glass making a cracking sound.
Carefully lift the bottle straight up and move it from the hot to cold water for ten seconds at a time. Be aware that the bottle will most likely separate as you are pulling it up to move it from one water bath to the other.

You can use tongs to remove the bottle bottom from the water if necessary.
STOP! Once the bottle has separated your first instinct may be to touch the cut edge. The edges can still be sharp and need to be sanded before you put your fingers on them.
Rinse the edges of your bottle and wet a piece of sandpaper. Place the sandpaper on a flat, protected surface. Rub the bottle bottom over the sandpaper for several minutes until the cut edge is no longer clear. Rinse off any glass dust particles.

Repeat for the bottle top.
Next, you need to sand the outside and inside edges of the bottle top and bottom. Hold your sandpaper at about a 45 degree angle to the cut edge and rub all the way around the bottle.

Again rinse the bottle pieces to remove any fine glass dust.
Now the fun part, adding a plant. Find a small rock that can be dropped down into the neck of the bottle and wedged snuggly into the opening so that water can go up the neck, but no planting material can fall out.
Place the neck of the bottle upside down into the base. Fill the neck with clay hydro balls. These help distribute the water into the top of the vase without flooding the plant.

You can fill the remaining part of you vase either with soil or with more hydro balls and then your plant.
Remove the top of your vase and fill the bottom with water. Replace the top and enjoy!

DIY Tutorial: Cut recycled glass wine bottles to create an elegant, self-watering vase for orchids and more.

One of the benefits of using this type of vase is that you rarely need to add more water to your plant. However, from time to time you will need to remove the top of the planter, rinse out the bottom, and freshen up the water.

DIY Tutorial: Cut recycled glass wine bottles to create an elegant, self-watering vase for orchids and more.




April Giveaway

This month I have a special giveaway that yarn lovers shouldn't miss!

This month's giveaway is a special treat because the winner will get to choose one in-stock item from the "For Your Hooks and Needles" section of my shop. I have lots of crochet hook cases, knitting needle cases and small project bags in a variety of fabrics to choose from.

Happy knitting and crocheting and good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Crochet Pattern: Flower Bookmark

Free Crochet Pattern: Make a flower bookmark to celebrate spring and happy reading!
I don't get to read as much as I'd like because I'm usually too busy crafting. However right now I'm finishing up the book "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors and once again, has not let me down with this beautiful story.

Of course a good book deserves a beautiful bookmark. Since spring is in the air, it only seemed appropriate to make a flower.

This pattern can easily be completed in an evening and would make a thoughtful birthday or Mother's Day, or even bridal shower favors.

Materials



Abbreviations


ch - chain
sl st - slip stitch
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
tr - treble crochet
st - stitch

Directions


With frosty green, ch 100. Sl st in 3rd ch from hook to form a small loop.

Rnd 1 (WS): 6 sc in loop. Do not turn.

Rnd 2 (WS): [Ch 3, sc in next sc, (ch 3, sc in same sc) twice] 6 times.

Fasten off.

Join orchid pink in any ch 3 space. The petals are worked in continuous rounds with the wrong side (the inside of the flower) always facing.

Rnd 3: Sc in same ch 3 space, ch 3, sc in same ch 3 space, ch 3, [sc in next ch 3 space, ch 3, sc in same ch 3 space, ch 3] 17 times.

Rnd 4: Sc in first ch 3 space of Rnd 1, ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 3 space, ch 1, sc in next ch 3 space, [sc in next ch 3 space, ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 3 space, ch 1, sc in next ch 3 space] 11 times.

Rnd 5: [Sc in next sc, 2 hdc in ch 1 space, 2 dc in next dc, 3 tr in next dc, 2 dc in next dc, 2 hdc in ch 1 space, sc in next sc] 12 times.

Rnd 6: [Sc in next 5 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in each of next 3 sts, sc in next 5 sts] 12 times, sl st in next st, fasten off.

Cut an 18 inch length of orchid pink yarn and use a plastic yarn needle to weave it through the ch 3 spaces of Rnd 3. Pull the yarn tightly and tie in a knot. Trim the extra length of yarn.

I also like to tie a small knot at the end of the stem so the flower doesn't accidentally slip out of my book.

Free Crochet Pattern: Make a flower bookmark to celebrate spring and happy reading!

Need something to put your book mark into? Here's a preview of "Flight Behavior".