Friday, August 19, 2011

Should You Sell Your Patterns?

Selling patterns, especially of items that you make and sell, is a risky business, which is why many people stay out of it.

People who don't understand the work involved will say your prices are too high, and some will criticize you for charging at all.

Others will steal your work, either offering the tutorial to others for free or outright charging for it themselves.

Some people will say that, by offering a digital file for sale online, you deserve to have your work stolen and distributed for free.

And of course there is always the possibility that you will give someone the skills to become your competition.

Despite all of this, offering a PDF tutorial for our duct tape rose rings in the Quiet Mischief and Company Etsy shop is one of the best decisions I have made for my business.

For me, there are many pros that outweigh the cons of selling what are basically trade secrets. One of the biggest is something that nearly every crafter can relate to: when you have the skills but lack the details to making something yourself, you are hesitant to purchase a finished item. In other words, many people who like duct tape like to work with duct tape, and would rather purchase a tutorial and make rings themselves than purchase a finished ring.

Another benefit is how easy it is. I spent six hours doing my part to create the PDF, but now all I have to do is answer the occasional question, periodically update the thing, and, whenever it's ordered, attach it to an email and send it on its way. My sister and technical writer have it even easier; they only had to help with the original document and occasionally answer my questions. It's not quite free money, but it sure feels like it!

Our shop has also gained a lot of traffic both directly and indirectly from the tutorial. Directly because many people were starting to hear/think of making duct tape rings, and a google search for instructions almost always led them to us. Indirectly because of things like now having the skills and experience to write a decent free tutorial that went live on a blog months ago but still gets us traffic every day.

If abstracts aren't enough, I'll give you numbers. In a year, we have sold almost 300 copies of our tutorial. It has almost 350 hearts on Etsy. Lissi is getting paid over $100 an hour for the time she put into it, and I'm getting nearly as much for my time. Our tutorial gets more hits than our actual storefront does, and has over 17,000 views total. Every day one third to one half of the people who visit our shop view the tutorial. Many come just for that but then move on to other items.

With that great success, we could not stop there. Many people have noticed the new PDF tutorial in the shop, one that was almost as requested as the rose ring tutorial - heart shaped duct tape rings. It's been up for about two weeks and has been viewed almost 200 times and has 21 hearts, and has a brand-new price! We're offering it in a bundle with the rose ring for a discount, and we also have a coupon code for people who previously purchased the rose ring tutorial.

And we aren't stopping there. We will be keeping some secrets, but in the near future we plan to have tutorials for spiral duct tape rose rings, duct tape rose hair clips, and Halloween duct tape rings, and if we come up with new rings we will likely make tutorials to match.

Have there been difficulties? Yeah. Has it been worth it? Definitely.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Insecurity Time!

I knew I was getting bigger. I've never made a habit of weighing myself, but the few times I did it seemed I was only going up.

This was a welcome change, though. I was used to getting on the scale and being ten to fifteen pounds underweight. Now I was just fine, thank you. Until, of course, I was ten pounds overweight.

It never really hit home for me until today, when put on a shirt my mom gave me, looked in the mirror, and felt my heart sink. I don't know what it is about this shirt - the neckline, perhaps, or the slight bagginess to it - but I actually look big.

Let me point out now that I do realize ten pounds is not that much, numbers-wise. However, it's a lot to me. I am used to thinking of myself as rather slender, and though I always had a bit if a tummy and my chest has been a decent size since puberty, I've never been even a little overweight and have even occasionally been in shape. And, with several skinny siblings and a mom who exercises hard and watches what she eats, I'm not in sympathetic company.

Back to the story. I would blame my weight gain on my boyfriend, but that would be mean and not entirely truthful. It's not his fault that him feeding me one or two good meals a day and working to convince me that food is good would make me gain 25 pounds. The problem lies in the fact that exercise and I are not good friends. If I have no PE class or marching band, I have no reason to get up and move my body.

So now I guess I'd better force myself to get up and move, no matter how much I hate it. I do like all of the benefits - sleeping better, an actual appetite, muscle, and not having jiggly arms, thighs, and tummy - so I should just focus on those to get me through a half hour of sweating.

You know, I came here intending to just complain, and ended up coming up with solutions. When did I become even a bit of a responsible adult?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kittens!

So in my last post I mentioned that my apparently very fertile cat had gotten herself pregnant, with the end result of seven kittens. I even showed you a small picture where you could barely see all seven of them piled on top of my sister Melissa.

That, of course, is not the only kitten picture I have, though I have fewer than I'd like. So here are a few more! If you'd like to see all of them, find and follow my DeviantART and Flickr accounts.

This is probably my favorite from the photo shoot we did. I think my sister is beautiful, Rupert (temporary name) is adorable, and I love that their eyes match.



Lissi and Sam (temporary name) being adorable together.



Lissi insisted I put up this picture. She may have been joking. Oh well.



I love the traumatized look on Sam's face as he stares at Lissi's butt.


Rupert is ashamed.


This kitten's temporary name is in Japanese. It's Tenshi, which means angel. Unfortunately, this kitten is of the devil.


Lissi has been renamed Gym. Jungle Gym.

This was not the easiest photo shoot I have ever done. Apparently the outside is a scary place.

video

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Well Hello There

Hi guys.

I'm back again.

And I have some really good excuses for why I haven't posted in two months.

Reason One

You may remember from my last post that my computer exploded. (Well actually it died in its sleep, but explosions are much more exciting to talk about.) So some of my time in the past two months was spent creating a new coupon code, promoting my shop with the new coupon code, making and shipping the extra orders, and checking and rechecking my finances. After a couple of weeks, some online shopping, and a really long wait for shipping, here we are!



I also spent some times playing computer games. Don't judge me! This is the first time I've owned a PC, and HOLY CRAP THERE ARE COOL GAMES.

Reason Two

Do you remember my cat Bamboo, most recently talked about as having been out all night and coming back with a hangover? Well, that's not all she came back with.



That's seven kittens, you guys. Seven. Did she find a cat orgy or something? Maybe a cat mandatory sex party? Whatever happened, she partied hard, and is now paying the price. She spent two weeks doing almost nothing but feed kittens and eat so she could feed kittens. Her spare moments were spent collapsed in a corner of the room.

Why did this take up my time? With a litter this big, we were afraid that one or more of kittens wouldn't get enough to eat, so we weighed them one or two times a day and carefully kept track, and we had formula on hand if one of them lost weight.

At four weeks old (last Saturday) they were all at a week five weight, so somebody did something right.

Reason Three

It was my birthday at the beginning of June. In lieu of throwing a party, I gave myself a present.



I love this game. Older readers (or those who read the archives of this blog) will remember that I once blogged about my love of the game Encore, and will therefore know how serious it is when I say that my love for this game rivals my love of Encore. My brother and sister and I play every Monday and Friday, and I try to sneak other games in on other days of the week. I had to force myself to write this blog post instead of playing a game with my sister.

I feel like I'm forgetting something. What else could have been taking up my time?



Oh yeah. That.

That picture, though dark and a little small (and kindly provided by my cousin Danica) is of most of the alpha bracelets I shipped last Friday. There were a total of 258 that we shipped, all of them had been made in three weeks, and I made at least a third of them. I knotted for hours every day. They take me an hour and ten minutes to an hour and a half each, and my average a day was around 3-4. Some days I made six or more. This was seriously almost all I did with my time.

But now I am back and ready to take on the world! Here's what you can expect from this blog in the next couple of weeks:

*Duct tape prom dress photos
*Adventure(s) of the Doctors Who
*More adorable kittens
*A State of the Shop address
*The launch of a much-anticipated item in my Etsy shop

You should be excited for at least one of these, if not all of them. I also have several long-term projects in the planning, so if you like kittens, bracelets, duct tape, or hearing from me, you should bookmark this blog. This is where it will all be happening!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Help! I Need Somebody

Well, my friends, it has happened. My laptop appears to have given up the ghost. It won't boot up, giving me only the Mac grey screen of death. Likely culprit is hard drive failure.

This laptop has done more than just provide me with hours of entertainment. I purchased it to use for school, and took notes, studied for tests, took tests, and played solitaire during particularly boring classes. And now that I am taking a break from school (I'm going back soon, I swear) it has become even more important. Turns out that having a computer is a key part of running an internet-based business, which is now not just what I do in my spare time but my full-time job.

My laptop has gone from a very useful time saver (and waster) to the foundation of my livelihood, and at least for now it is gone. I will take it in on Monday and will then learn if it is fixable, and if so, if it is worth fixing. Even if I choose to fix it I will need a new hard drive, a new battery, and work done on the disk drive. And if it's not fixable, I'll need to pay for what data can be saved to be transferred to a new laptop, which I will also have to pay for.

Here's where the help comes in. Even with how well the shop has been doing, purchasing or putting a down payment on a new laptop or even fixing the old one will be a serious strain on my finances. So please, if you can, spend a little. Go to our shop, Quiet Mischief and Company, chose an item or two or however many you want, and use the coupon code NEWLAPTOPFUND to get 15% off your entire order. (Please note that the coupon code does not include shipping, and is not valid for any bulk or wholesale listings. Any purchase made misusing the coupon code will be canceled.) I'll be eternally grateful, you'll get fantastic QM & Co. merchandise; it's a win-win. We're willing to do custom orders, so if nothing there exactly suits your fancy, convo or email to let us know what would.

Thanks for listening, everyone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whoops

There was this one time when I took a driving test. It wasn't the real test, just a school test, and I took it in one of those cars with "Student Driver" stickers and brake labeled "in case of student stupidity" on the passenger side.

My instructor seemed pretty unconcerned about getting in the car with a nervous student who had just finished driver's ed. It was probably because I was 18 years old at them time. I bet the instructors fight over students like me, wanting to get paid for doing something a little more relaxing than being terrified for their lives. I can just see a fistfight break out: "I've nearly been killed three times in the last week! I get the next easy one!" one says as she punches another instructor in the gut. "What about me?" another instructor cries, pulling the first instructor's hair. "Yours were all near misses, we actually crashed yesterday!" Come to think of it, I think my instructor did have the beginnings of a black eye...

The drive was mostly uneventful.

"Don't be afraid, just keep pressing down the gas. This car doesn't take hills so well."

"That was a good turn."

"Don't forget to do a head check before you change lanes."

"Okay, now remember to break a little more slowly."

"Um, please stay in your own lane."

Only once did she even need to use the Student Idiocy brake. (I was distracted by a festival.)

We got back to the school not only in one piece, but with the instructor breathing normally and even smiling a little bit. "You did pretty well," she said. "How much experience have you had driving?"

"Well... this was my first time, actually."

She froze. "This was your first time?"

"Yeah. I've been in the church parking lot before, but that was about it."

And that, my friends, is how you break a driving instructor.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Really Guys, it was Totally an Epic Battle

I have never handled embarrassment well. I blush like crazy at the slightest provocation and have been known to go so far as to, in scientific terms, "freak the hell out" when the situation was dire enough. One of the things I am the most easily embarrassed by is other people reading my story bits written down on napkins, in my notebooks, and in various word documents all over my laptop.

So one day I was over at my dearest Mat's house (well, his parents' house) and writing in my notebook. He noticed and took it away, attempting to read the story I was working on. I let him because, well, he's my boyfriend, and he let me read his writing, and he's always interested in everything I do... but mostly I let him read because my handwriting is terrible. He complained about a headache two sentences in and I turned away, satisfied.

Only he kept reading.

It eventually came to the point where I had to take the notebook away from him. Or rather attempted to take the notebook away from him. You see, he's so much bigger and stronger than I am; he's some big guy who used to wrestle and I'm just a little girl who used marching band as PE credit. An epic battle ensued, if you call "he held the notebook over my head and laughed while I jumped for it" an epic battle. He eventually surrendered the notebook, sad that I wouldn't let even him read the things I had written.

I took one very important lesson from this: I must destroy everything so he doesn't read it.*

But everything I've worked on, no matter how terrible (and believe me, some of these things are terrible), has a little piece of me in it. Even the things on the bottom of my pile of crap were giving me little twinges of guilt as I went to delete them from my computer. And then I recalled the confession turn that my blog had taken recently, and plan began to form. I started a new post on blogger and began copying quotes into it. When I had finished going through the stories (and done the all-important task of emptying the trash can), I began writing the explanation for these quotes, and... oh, I think we've caught up to the post in real life.

So here are some tiny bits from these stories resigned to the trash can. I will not explain any of them further because, as much as I am becoming comfortable with confessing things, I don't want to find out if I can burst into flames from sheer embarrassment.

"He buys a car seat and supplies, and then is on the run with a baby."

"He glanced at the men, then moved a bit closer to her and leaned over as far as he dared. 'Your water,' she said. 'Pour it on me.'"

“Never! I’ve told you, we have no reason to kill you as long as you cooperate!”

"The complete opposite in automobiles flashes past; bright red, fast, young, and obviously working."

"That was what she had hoped he wouldn't ask. She pulled her legs up into the chair and spread her skirt over them, aware that her movements had caused him to look at her."

"However, I soon gave up, for there was no way he was actually going to go back to her. It was temporary. I wouldn’t allow him to go back to her."

"And what could be stronger than hate?" "I wouldn't want to frighten the children."

"'What have you done?' Dead silence followed. Well, not really dead silence; the dead don't listen with such intensity that you can practically feel it."

"He didn’t care if she had been expecting to be invited to his expensive flat that night. He had other plans and other guests."

"Sometimes she felt like the glove on her left hand overpowered the rest of her."




*Okay, okay, so I also loosened up a bit and started letting him read what I was writing. But only because he is adorable when he pouts.

Monday, April 11, 2011

... and I'm a Mormon

Have you seen those ads? They're part of the newest attempt by the Church to get others to see us as normal, or at least as anything but the weirdos and polygamists that everyone thinks we are. They say things like "I'm an honest businessman, and I'm a Mormon!" and "I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids and another on the way, and I'm a Mormon!" and "I'm a world traveler who, at nineteen, gave up school and girls and running water to live for two years in a foreign country knocking on doors, and I'm a Mormon!"

I think a better campaign would be if it was more of a confession thing. 'Cause you know most of what makes Mormons seem so weird is that we actually are kinda weird. There are a lot of things we don't do that others consider normal, and a lot of things we do that others find downright puzzling. ("Oh, my twelve-year-old sister isn't here today; she's in the temple getting baptized for dead people.") So let's confess that we do things that are perhaps a little off the beaten way in mainstream Mormonism, but prove that we're just like everyone else. "I'm a feminist, and I'm a Mormon!" would be a good start, as would "I hate Glenn Beck, and I'm a Mormon!" ("I drink caffeine, and I'm a Mormon!" would be going a little too far; we do have to maintain some standards.)

I'm telling you all this because I found out the other day what my Mormon confession would be. It's serious stuff. Are you ready for this? Hardcore Mormons who want to continue to have respect for me may want to look away.

I no longer consider “hell” and “damn” to be swear words.

I know this is heavy, but let’s all just take a deep breath and realize that I’m probably not going to be damned to hell for this.

Seriously, though, this was quite the revelation. I started saying hell and damn probably around two years ago, but very rarely and mostly for the shock value. (What? I’m only human.) They went in and out of favor with me for a long time; sometimes I returned to my previous Molly Mormon ways, sometimes I decided I didn’t give a damn. Then on Sunday my mother objected to us saying "holy crap" and I suggested "hellish crap," to which she responded that the prophet had told us not to swear, and I thought, "but that isn't a swear wor... oh hell, it's SUPPOSED to be a swear word. Damn. I really am becoming a Bad Girl."

I do still consider them to be strong words, and I won't whip them out any time a child makes a hell of a mess or the damn cat escapes while in heat, but I will be saying them. For those who don't want to hear these words, don't worry; I'll use discretion. For those who find this a sign of my approaching apostasy, go to heck.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

THIS is Why You Have a Curfew

This is Bamboo.



You may remember her from the last time I discussed her, that is the time we all pointed and laughed because she had gotten herself injured and had to go to the vet and wear a cone.

Despite that episode, she still liked to go outside; we discovered another sore near her tail just days after she had healed up and we had removed the cone. Three days later that sore, now infected, exploded all over me, and she spent a miserable couple of hours first in the tub and then on my lap, bleeding all the while. Another trip to the vet (where, when being shaved, another pocket of infection burst), another several days of cone-wearing, and now, NOW it seemed that she had had her fill of the great outdoors.

Then she was in heat for the first time in her young life.

Cats in heat become significantly more annoying than normal cats. They follow around males of any species (my boyfriend, my father, and my brother's dog are lavished with extra attention) and are always either writhing around suggestively or "assuming the position" (an all-purpose phrase in my house) in hopes someone will take pity on them and sex them up good. Bamboo had the extra fun of taking to heat like a Siamese.



Yes, she yowls. Not nearly as constantly as most Siamese do, but pretty frequently. Oh and also her being in heat had rekindled her interest in the outside world. Apparently the possibility of getting beat up was nothing compared to the possibility of finding a tom. And she knew tricks. She finally evaded us last night, hiding in wait in the dark immediately next to the front door. We ran outside to try to catch her, but she was over the fence and away.

We checked for her two or three times before we all went to bed, but she wasn't waiting by the doors (what she usually does after only an hour of being outside) and she didn't answer our call. In the morning we checked again several more times, but she didn't show.

I was down in my room at about eleven a.m. when the door was pushed open and little Bamboo wandered in. I cried out her name in relief, but she didn't even glance at me. This reminded me to get down to scolding mode. "And what time of day do you call this to be returning home?" I asked. She sniffed at the food in her food dish and glanced at the water. "Well?" I said. She continued to ignore me, jumping from my bed to the windowsill to Lissi's bed, where she collapsed in a heap. I muttered dark mutterings as I checked her tail end for new wounds, but there weren't any. "You're lucky," I said. She didn't respond. "I hope your hangover teaches you a lesson." She flicked her tail in annoyance, and I left her alone.

I came back to check on her in the late afternoon, and found that she had sufficiently recovered to be interested in food and water. She wasn't completely better, though; she still had a headache.

She was also not at all amused by me taking pictures of her. She confiscated my camera and glared at me until she fell asleep.

Update: Bamboo attempted another escape despite obviously not being cut out for the night life. Luckily mom managed to catch her. She has been grounded until further notice and is currently sulking up on Lissi's bed.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Caiti Gets Confused

This is Caitlyn.



She is the youngest of my seven younger siblings, and with both her "baby of the family" status and her natural adorableness she is understandably adored wherever she goes. She is showered with trips, treats, and praise for her precocious babblings, and to make her cry is to break one's own heart.

And then sometimes we remember what the word "spoiled" means.

Today was a big day in the house. Little Cami turned seven so PARTY TIMES WERE HAD. By which I mean there were cupcakes after dinner, presents were unwrapped, and my brother battled embarrassment to bring home some pink balloons.

This confused Caiti. First there were the balloons. She gets to go to Roberts sometimes, where they give free balloons to children, so shouldn't at least one of those balloons be for her? Especially because they were pink, a color that is the favorite of both Cami and Caiti. Then there were presents. Cami's birthday is the first in the year, so the last experience Cait had with presents was Christmas, where she got everything due to a cheerful, adorable two-year-old. So why didn't she get any of those presents? Gift after gift was unwrapped by the older sister, while Caiti alternated between trying to claim a gift for herself and getting in the way of mom's photos and dad's filming.

Then the lack of sleep hit, and the screaming began. She was no longer content to try to gain some attention; she demanded attention and gifts, and she demanded it now. She was placated for a moment with the balloons, as Cami was playing with her new presents and didn't care, but as soon as the presents lost their extreme newness Cam came looking for something else to do. And as a child who had once been the baby of the family, she delights in making the new baby upset.

The screaming commenced as the balloons were, in Cait's mind, so rudely ripped away just when they were getting to know each other. Unable to handle the noise, older people instigated negotiations, and Cami was persuaded to give up a couple of balloons.

Cait ended the night happy.



(Or at least she was happy until bedtime was talked of, but that's another story.)

Friday, April 01, 2011

State of the Shop Address

I'm sure everyone is just dying to know how the Quiet Mischief Etsy shop is doing, and even if you're not, I really want to put up a bunch of stats and feel proud of them. Hence this report on the first quarter of this year.

189 items sold this quarter (324 total)
94 PDF tutorials
19 duct tape rose rings
7 duct tape rose hair clips
3 custom orders

42 tiny friendship bracelet sets
6 sets of wish bracelets
5 bracelets costing $20 or more
5 flame patterned bracelets

272 shop hearts this quarter (498 total)

Top five hearted items:
146 hearts on the PDF tutorial
90 hearts on the rainbow set of tiny friendship bracelets
40 on the neon rainbow rose ring
30 on the custom rose ring order form
29 on the black heart duct tape ring

First sale: January 5th
Last sale: March 30th
Most items sold in one day: 10 on March 15th
Most items sold in one month: 104 in March

Compare these numbers to my last state of the shop address, and you'll find that I'm doing better. Much, much better. Most of the numbers here are significantly higher than those of the last post, and the last post was for a full year while this one is just three months. Now you see why I was so excited to write this post. : D

Before I close this post, I want to address the last part of my last post: my goals for the year. Here they are:

Average 20 sales a month
I thought this was a decent goal for the year. I had sold 24 items in December, but that was a holiday month that was universally expected to bring high numbers. However, I am currently averaging more than 20 sales a week, and have almost made enough sales that I could stop now and still have 20 per month for the year. My new goal is to average 30 sales a week by the end of the year (though how things are growing maybe I should shoot for the end of the next quarter?)

Get over 100 hearts on a single item
Another goal that, at the end of the year, seemed challenging but doable. However, we have already gotten almost 150 hearts on the item I thought most likely to get to 100 hearts, and we have another item 10 away from 100. Obviously this goal needs some revamping as well. I'm shooting for two goals here now; one is to get 300 hearts on one item, and to have at least five items with over 100 hearts.

Sell a single bracelet priced at $40 or more ($35 is my current record in an off-Etsy purchase)
This became a goal both because I had started concentrating on wider and more difficult bracelets, and because I had a specific bracelet I was working on that would be priced at $40 if not more. That bracelet has not been finished, nor has any other really wide one, due to the explosion of our shop in early March and the wholesale orders that started before that. Therefore, I still have some time to go before I can really try for this goal.

Get on the front page of Etsy, in Etsy finds, or be featured on the Etsy blog
Sometime in January or February I despaired of achieving this goal. All I can really do is have the best pictures possible and try to stay visible so that the right people will notice me at the right time, and even supposing that happened, I didn't think that my style of pictures and my items would fit in with the usual items that are featured. In other words, I was sure I wasn't indie enough. However, on March 4th, abnormally high activity in my shop led me to find out that I had been featured in the Etsy Finds email. I was absolutely floored, and I am sure that my abnormally high numbers for the rest of the month are due at least in part to that feature.

Have 550 shop hearts
I haven't quite hit 550 shop hearts yet, but with only 52 to go I could probably do so this month. So instead I want to shoot for 1000 shop hearts by the end of the year.

See you next quarter!

Monday, March 28, 2011

*peeks around corner*

Hi.

Some people keep saying (or maybe just one person keeps saying, I'm not sure which) that I should update this blog more often. And even I admit that having a blog is a good idea for a person who
a) has a shop that could benefit from more traffic being directed to it
b) has many stories to tell
c) is a writer for crying out loud.

So I've come up with a few ideas that I want to work with and hope to have some actual content up soon. Meanwhile, here's some news:

I am currently waiting for a surprise in the mail that I will share with all of you when it comes.

I now have official work hours (whenever I'm not needed for something else) and an official work space (my bed, which, when all set up for work, I call my work cave.)

Caiti is now much better after having thrown up two or three times at or around three in the morning.

Yuki (our other cat, not this one) is plotting to kill us all and, in the mean time, expresses her hatred through glares and growls.

I'm going to be doing a stats post in early April, and it will be exciting!

And now excuse me so I may start my ten to twelve hour workday.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For lo, cleanliness is nigh unto godliness

Half of my favorited shops on Etsy are soap shops. I've only ever made one soap purchase, but it's more for lack of money than anything else. With more funds I would gladly buy five times as much soap as I and my good friends could ever use.

As this is so, I had to make a soap treasury. Actually I will probably make several soap treasuries as time goes on, but this is the first. It has little direction. I just wanted to showcase some fantastic soaps I had come across.

Pomtini by TallulahsSoaps

This one was the last one I found, and when I saw it I knew it must go in the treasury. I love the colors. It almost seems to glow.

Root Beer by luxuryfalls

This one smells like root beer, which I find amusing, but that's not why I chose it. I love the marbling effect on this bar, and also that it seems to go all through the bar. It's pretty enough when only the top is swirled, but to swirl the whole bar must take some effort.

Pandora's Promise by Intentions

I have had Intentions in my favorite shops for a loooooong time, mostly because of how fun her soaps look. This one was chosen because it looked the most fun, and I was trying to feature fun soaps as well as beautiful ones.

Speaking of fun soaps...

Sunny Side Up - Goats Milk Soap Bar by soapopotamus

Animal Cracker Soap Set by aBreathofFrenchair

Yep, fried egg soap and animal cracker soap. The fried egg soap comes from another of my longtime favorite shops, and is full of all kinds of food soaps, mostly desserts such as doughnuts and cake. The animal cracker soap was made from molds made from real animal crackers, so are exactly like!

One Angel Wing Soap in Grace by SatinandBirch

I saved the most beautiful soap for last. While this soap cannot boast of a huge bar, and the emphasis is not so much on the scent, this is still the star of the show. And if cleanliness is next to godliness, surely bathing with angel wings will get you extra points.

Click here to see the full treasury, and don't forget to share this blog post and/or the treasury with your soap-loving friends!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yeah, Maybe

I laid out all of my thread by color so I could more easily work on choosing colors for a project.

"No one should own this much thread," said my brother Ben.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Honestly

Remember how I was ranting about whale playing cards being one of my top keywords? It was number three or something. Well, today I signed into my Google Analytics and found this:



Yes, that's right. 'Whale playing cards' is now my number one phrase for people finding my shop. Not only is it number one, but look at this spike (click to make it larger):



What on earth happened last Thursday that made so many people (or one person many times, I can't tell) search for 'whale playing cards' and then go to my shop? What was it??

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Best of the Best

I have finally created my first treasury. It has taken me this long to try it because a) I am lazy and b) I kept getting frustrated and giving up because there were so many things I wanted to feature but wouldn't because the product photos weren't great. I am so determined to fix all of my photos now...

Anyway, the theme I finally decided on was A Life's Work, or in other words, really fantastic pieces created by talented people. You can see the whole treasury here. But here are some highlights:


Skintenna Top by BrightCircle
This was the one that inspired me to do this showcase. I stumbled on this one while trying to create a different treasury, and then searched out 11 other items to go with it. This took 90 hours of work, people. If that's not dedication I don't know what is.


robot pixel mashup fair isle sweater by elf518
Now that I have finished one item and therefore officially taken up knitting as a hobby, I have become a lot more interested in the craft. Something I really want to learn is fair isle knitting. This is a particularly fantastic example of the technique.


Tiger Lily Chinese Brush Painting by CLineCreations
I found CLineCreations through her bobby pins, which are decorated with a knot done in silky cording. (I now own one in pink and white cord.) However, I was also impressed with her brush paintings. Having admired them for months, I had to put one in this treasury.

That's only three examples from the treasury. Click here to see the rest of it, and marvel at the talent as I did.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Odd Ways to Find Us

The Etsy shop is registered with Google Analytics, which provides us with all sorts of wonderful goodies about the people who visit our shop. One of my favorite things is the part that tells us what keywords people have used in search engines that have led them to our shop. Most of these make sense - keywords or phrases having to do with duct tape and friendship bracelets - and some of them are very odd.

It only shows the keywords for the last month or so, so I can't find everything that has been used to find us, but I can provide some.

2 visits "amy butler olive seeds"
2 visits "world war ii pin up costumes"
1 visit "abby sciuto costume"
1 visit "edible massage candle"
1 visit "who designed the breakfast at tiffany's sleep mask"

And the oddest one of all - whale playing cards, 24 hits.

Really? Whale playing cards? 24 HITS? How does that make any sense? Especially because I know this number has been higher and seems to be regularly used - 18 of the last 31 days have hits, including yesterday. ??? My only guess is that it counts when people come to Etsy by searching for whale playing cards and then view my shop before leaving Etsy.

...

Actually, that's probably how I got all of these hits. People look for stuff, find their way to Etsy, and visit my shop before heading off into the internets again. Well that makes some of these less odd.

I STILL THINK 24 HITS FROM WHALE PLAYING CARDS IS ODD

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Year of Etsy

This was my first full year of having an Etsy shop, and I think things went pretty well. Here are some stats for 2010!

119 items sold (total: 141)
26 PDF tutorials
23 duct tape rose rings
15 custom orders

20 sets of wish bracelets
14 alpha bracelets
7 bracelets costing $20 or more
6 charm bracelets
5 flame patterned bracelets

6 bracelets so lame there is no way I would put them up for sale if I still had them

199 shop hearts (total: 230)
We have every letter represented with at least one username aside from U, Y, and Z. Also, 28 of those hearts are secret admirers.

344 item hearts
Top five hearted items:
38 hearts on the PDF tutorial
14 hearts on the custom order form for one rose ring
13 hearts on the dark rainbow plaid bracelet
11 hearts on the zebra duct tape rose ring
10 hearts on both the pink peacock bracelet and the duct tape sunflower pen
This may not be too accurate, because until only recently, when an item sold and was then renewed it was a whole new listing and lost all views and hearts. If not for this, our Charlie ring and white rainbow plaid bracelet would probably be on this list, and the black plaid and custom order form would have had more.

First sale made on January 3, 2010 (a ridges bracelet)
Last sale made on December 31 (the PDF tutorial)
Most items sold in one day: five on December 13th
Most items sold in one month: 25 in December

*beams*

Yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself.

While looking through these stats, I noticed that, in the four months from me starting me shop to the end of 2009, I made over 20 sales, the first within about a week of opening. That's pretty fantastic. Some people on Etsy wait months to have their first sale. I always felt like I'd had to wait forever for a sale and then had really slow sales, but compared with a lot of newbies, my shop was on fire! I suppose then that it is only right that things continue to get better, especially with how well this year ended.

Goals for 2011:
Average 20 sales a month
Get over 100 hearts on a single item
Sell a single bracelet priced at $40 or more ($35 is my current record in an off-Etsy purchase)
Get on the front page of Etsy, in Etsy finds, or be featured on the Etsy blog
Have 550 shop hearts