Monday, February 25, 2013

And the Winner is...

So I do hope everyone had fun with the sneak peeks of the Box o' Crafty Goodness and dreaming of what will be inside. I do have one last peek for you before we announce the winner:

One layer below, one layer still to come!
All right, and the winner (according to via Rafflecopter) is... ANNETTE! All right Annette, kindly drop me an email within the next 48 hours to to claim your prize! Thank you everyone for playing! I'll be back soon with new projects to share. Happy Crafting,

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cupcake Gift Tags

Happy Saturday everyone! I was feeling creative this week and decided to enter Pink by Design's Birthday Challenge. I thought I would share these adorable cupcake gift tags I made up:

Kindly note the yummy glitter 'sprinkles'
I made these up with kraft paper tags I found on clearance at...sheesh...Michaels, Joann's, one of those stores. Some simple stamping with my older-than-dirt cupcake stamp set (seriously; like the packaging disintegrated so I can't even tell who the manufacturer is anymore!) and coloring with my pencils and these babies were looking c-u-t-e! I inked up the edges with my Distress Ink and then added "sprinkles" with my Stickles. I then carefully put them to one side and let them dry for hours. Yes, I may have finally learned my lesson about how long it takes Stickles to dry...maybe...ok, probably not, but at least for now I have.

These little cuties will be listed in my shop soon, and in the meantime be sure to enter our Box o' Crafty Goodness giveaway!

I'm linking up here: PbD Birthday Challenge

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Week!

 So apparently there is an entire week dedicated to Random Acts of Kindness...go figure. I'm sure if I walked into Hallmark they would even have cards on the subject, right next to the belated birthday cards for your goldfish.

Sadly, I do not have cards on the matter, but I'm hoping giving away a box of goodies will ease the pain. I'll take a moment for that to sink, coffee! Ah, I see the squeals of delight have started; yay, giveaway!!!

So, what is there to win? How about a Box o' Crafty Goodness! The contents will be random, awesome, and there will be enough to share with a friend. You could easily open it to find handmade paper rosettes, tags, buttons...

Ok, why are you being coy? What's in there, Jennifer?!?

That's the thing - I really don't know! This is a spur-of-the-moment giveaway brought on by love of my fellow man and the fact that I was up until midnight making valentines for my son's daycare (yeah, apparently 2 year olds exchange I have many handmade supplies & products laying around the craft room that need a good home and have decided that this is a great way to do it.

Here's the nitty-gritty: go ahead and enter below via Rafflecopter. The contest starts right now and ends next Saturday, the 23rd. If you notice, you'll see that some things you can do daily for more entries such as Tweeting about the contest. The winner will then be drawn at random and will have 48 hours to email me their address to receive their Box o' Crafty Goodies. If they miss out, then another winner will be chosen at random, yadda yadda.You must be a US resident aged 18 years or older to be eligible to win. Sorry, my international friends!

Got it? Good. Now go enter! :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Psssttt...might want to keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for peeks of what might be in the box... ;)

Good luck!

Monday, February 11, 2013

From Concept to Listing; the Journey of a Coaster

As I sit here waiting for my photo editing site to load (I swear, the thing is loading so slowly it is actually running in reverse!) it comes to me to share the story of getting a product from an idea in my head to being listed in my Etsy store or landing on a craft show table.

Ok, and I might have already caught up on Facebook and Pinterest and therefore heard my blog sobbing in the corner...

This weekend's project has been to dig out of their plastic totes all of the coasters that I made up at the last minute in December for my last craft show. I needn't have bothered as that show was, hands down, the worst show of the season. Ugh. Anyhoo, the coasters are adorable and I was so time starved that I didn't get to have a proper photo shoot for them so that I could list them later. Instead I blearily assembled them until 2am, then woke back up at 6am to package them up and go. So now, two months later, they're seeing the light of day again for their moment in the spotlight. I was lured outside by the siren call of the sun beating down on my porch, aka the best spot in the house for taking natural light photos. That was Saturday; I almost have feeling back in my fingers!

How it usually goes is this: I find paper that I absolutely, positively MUST HAVE as it is adorable/cool/funky and will make awesome coasters. I bring it and all of it's closest friends home with me and get to work. (Have I mentioned I collect paper the way some people collect purses or Pokemon? Yup, gotta have them all!) The paper is cut into squares and brought back downstairs to either my dining room table in the winter or one of my show tables set up outside on the porch in the spring/summer. I make new coaster designs in batches, as it rarely makes sense to pull everything out for only one set*.

With minimal interruptions, i.e. my boys are otherwise occupied, I can fill a 6' table with stage 1 coasters in about 1.5 hours. After that coat dries, the other three are applied over the course of another 3-4 hours. Once the last coat is cured, their little cork feet can be applied and they're ready for a good home. So at the end of a day's worth of work, I can have about 12 sets of coasters complete.

Coasters drying in the sun last October
 Now we move to step two: photos! Since each piece of paper yields two sets of coasters, there's always at least two of every design. That means plenty for shows and Etsy, depending on the season. But in order for them to be listed, there need to be good photos of them. For the coasters, I always take the same four shots; stacked at an offset, one lone coaster focusing on pattern, all four laid out for pattern variation, and one of them all tied up with ribbon, ready for gifting. (Etsy allows five photos, so the fifth is always of the cork feet. Thankfully, that's a photo you take once and use again and again!)

That said, do the math; 4 photos per set of coasters x 12 sets of coasters = 48 photos to take. Don't forget tying them up with ribbon 2/3rds of the way through so you can get all the photos in one sitting. Basically it's a good 2-3 hours of setting up, taking the shots, tying the ribbon, and finishing up the shots. Phew. But hey, then I'm done, right?

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha, no.

Now begins the journey of editing all of those photos. They're downloaded to my laptop, brought into Adobe Photoshop Elements and edited so that all of the colors and details are as true to life as I can get them on a computer. After that, I upload them to FotoFuze for, well, background bleaching is the best way I can explain it. If I upload my images after only editing them in Photoshop, they wind up with a gray wash over the top of them, making them look dingy.
Photo after being run through only Photoshop; see the dinginess? Yuck!
 So I then run them through FotoFuze to remove that wash. Then, and only then, are they ready to be listed. Time for all of that editing: about another 8 hours. When I'm finally done, I swear I'm never going to do that many pictures at once again and go make things for the next week...which means I suddenly have a pile of goodies to take photos of. Curse you, you evil circle of crafty creation!

Completely edited photo, making these coasters ready to be listed. Oh look, they are...
 So there you have it, the creation cycle of a set of coasters from store to table. Now you understand why I give people death glares when they suggest that they could do this themselves or that I charge too much. If I truly added up my time, I probably don't charge enough. But then, that's a blog post for another day.

*You were wondering what the asterisk was there for, right? I break that rule when someone orders a set of coasters I have listed as made-to-order. And now you know. ;)

Happy Crafting,