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21  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Yuki the Magic Bunny - Christmas Photo Fun on: December 13, 2013 05:53:26 AM
I've been taking fun photos of my bunny over the past couple years & most recently had some fun photographing her for the holiday season. She is usually very agreeable in doing these little photo shoots & is rewarded with a bit of oatmeal & lots of pats when we're done. She's a very pampered house bunny.  Grin





22  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Monkey-Nog Milkshake Recipe on: December 08, 2013 06:19:47 PM
Monkey-Nog

1 cup milk
2 small bananas or 1 large banana
1/2 cup egg nog
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional - sprinkle in some nutmeg to taste

Blend & enjoy! *giggity*

I was in the mood for a milkshake, but being so close to the holidays & having egg nog on hand, I thought I'd make it festive. I wanted to add more nutrition, so then I put in a couple of bananas & came up with this epic monkey-nog shake! It was so good!

23  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Skylanders Swap Force Jack o' Lantern - Wash Buckler - Pumpkin Carving on: October 28, 2013 10:52:16 AM
We finally picked out our pumpkins this weekend & the kids had definite ideas of what they wanted to carve. My daughter went with a traditional pumpkin face, but my boy who always has to do something different wanted to carve one of the skylanders swap force characters. He did a sketch & I translated it into a doable jack o' lantern pattern.

Here is Wash Buckler!  Smiley


My boy had fun doing the messy job...cleaning out the pumpkin. We're saving the seeds for toasting & some for planting next year.

I drew the pattern on the pumpkin in sharpie marker.

Detail of pattern...

Once the face was carved, I cleaned off the sharpie marker with a paper towel soaked in bleach...it rubs the black marker right off. 

We put a little battery powered lantern light inside to really make it glow since it was such a large pumpkin... 37 lbs!

This is what we used as reference for the skylanders swap force character.

This was my babygirl's more traditional design. Wink


Happy Halloween!
24  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Bacon Soap Recipe Anyone? on: August 09, 2013 09:55:41 AM
Hey there! I thought this would be the appropriate place to ask... does anyone know of a good reliable cp soap recipe that uses bacon fat? My father in law is a bacon addict & I'd love to make him some soap for Christmas using real bacony ingredients.  Wink
25  COOKING / Dessert / Easy Peasy Recipe - Ohio Buckeyes - Peanut Butter Balls Dipped in Chocolate... on: August 05, 2013 11:32:33 AM
Easy Peasy Recipe - Ohio Buckeyes - Peanut Butter Balls Dipped in Chocolate... oh yeah baby!!!

The other day I made buckeyes with my boy. Buckeyes are essentially peanut butter balls dipped in a chocolate coating & they're so fun & easy to make, I thought I'd share this recipe with you. This confection gets its name from its resemblance to the nut from the buckeye tree. If you're that curious...see here: http://www.ohio-nature.com/buckeye-tree.html
 Wink

Peanut Butter Balls:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C. Peanut Butter - smooth
1/2 C. butter
1 lb. confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 Tbsp. Vanilla

Soften the butter & add peanut butter. Mix in vanilla & then add the sugar. If dough does not easily roll into balls, then add a bit more peanut butter. Roll into balls 1 - 1.5" in size.

Chocolate Coating:

Ingredients:
1/2 bar of parafin wax
1 12 oz. package of chocolate chips...either milk chocolate or semi sweet chips...your preference.

Melt together in double boiler.

Use a toothpick to dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate coating & leave the top uncovered to resemble a buckeye.

Enjoy & please share your results if you try them!  Wink



26  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / My Crafty Boy's First Sewing Project - Pac Man Ghost on: July 27, 2013 10:39:06 AM
So my boy had a plan & he asked for my help.

He spent a long time thinking about his project & mapping out his plans in his sketchbook.  Smiley


I helped him make a simple pattern, cut out the pieces & did the main sewing on the machine.


He managed the entire project & made sure the eyes were just the way he wanted them.



He then stuffed the ghost & I taught him how to 'patch up' the hole.


He was pretty happy with it when we were done, however he would like me to help him make 'all the ghosts' now.  Cheesy

27  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Crafting a Gift for Teacher...by the kids! on: May 22, 2013 10:27:31 AM

My daughter wanted to give her teacher something special since its her last day of school today.

Luckily I had one of those photo totes that you can find at hobby lobby or Michaels & printed out a couple of photos of the class & my girl with the teacher.
My daughter made some mini masterpieces to fill up the other photo areas to have her teacher remember her by. This was quick & easy & worked with our budget!  Wink

Enjoy!

28  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Shrink Plastic Charm Necklace Collaboration with My Daughter on: May 02, 2013 07:50:19 AM
My little girl wanted to do an activity, so I drew some animals...at her request on a sheet of frosted rough & ready shrink plastic.
The finished piece...I just punched holes in the plastic before shrinking it & then we added jumprings & strung & knotted them onto a satin rainbow cord.



Coloring work in progress...



She was so tickled to wear it to school today & wants to make one for her friends.
 Cheesy



For an awesome how to video on working with shrink plastic... check out this one here on craftster!  Wink
http://www.craftster.org/video/how-to-make-shrink-plastic-jewelry-and-accessories-249111484#axzz2S92PVTdb
29  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Weather conditions & soap making question on: April 29, 2013 06:04:22 AM
Hello soapers!

I was wondering if you've noticed whether or not the weather affects how your soap turns out? It's so damp & cool here & wondered if I made a batch today if the weather could have any negative effect on the results.
30  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / Helpful Holiday tips for Selling on Etsy on: November 18, 2012 10:14:37 AM


I've been working on getting the shop holiday ready & wanted to share with y'all the notes I took while watching the online lab video from etsy merchandising strategies for the holidays with Emily Bidwell...in case you missed it.
I'm finding it very helpful to have written them out, since I have the attention span of about a minute & a half.  Wink This is how I interpreted the video, so please forgive me if I may have forgotten something.
You may watch the video here for yourself: http://www.etsy.com/community/online-labs under the etsy success video library.

Helpful tip: Review your tags & titles to reflect what is going on with etsy's merchandising report.

Helpful tip: Maybe redo photography to be more holiday friendly... this works well especially if you'll be selling the same items next year, however may be time consuming if you sell many ooak items.

Helpful tip: The press is looking for holiday product 6 months in advance...so they're looking for holiday items in May June & July (doesn't help me now, but the press keeps coming to etsy looking for last minute features too...so it's never too late to be featured in a blog or for things like 'great gifts under $50' )
Shoppers are really getting into looking for holiday decor, gifts, & items for entertaining now.

Q: Is it beneficial to change your tags to Christmas/holiday etc...or does that get lost in the shuffle?
A: I think it gets lost... I'm usually looking for something specific like a vase or a certain style.

Q: What is the secret for getting on the front page of etsy?
A: Think about really great photography...to appeal to treasury makers, people who are shopping, & people who add to their favorites. Think about your product & also curate beautiful & relevant to the season treasuries as well.

Q: White backgrounds best for being featured?
A: White background can be beneficial if it is well photographed...& be featured by etsy & by bloggers, but also think about fashion magazines & how things are featured... editors picks (white background) vs. editorials...Ex. photos of models wearing a dress in a field with wildflowers. Balance is important in etsy finds emails to show shoppers items in different & interesting ways. Think about which way supports your product. If you sell clothing, the editorial way may be the way to go & if you sell a smaller product, a white background may make it pop more. It gives your shop a clean cohesive look as well.

Q: Watermarks good or bad?
A: Watermarks are recommended as a way of protecting your work... but in terms of getting featured in the different curated areas of etsy, it is difficult to use a photo with a watermark across the entire page...because it breaks the image & etsy is looking for really clear photography.
You can maybe have the first thumbnail image not have a watermark, or sometimes if the watermark is smaller & in a corner or around the edge etsy can still use it.

Q: Biggest tips for getting noticed or featured?
A: Good photography...tag correctly in ways that are relevant to the ways a shopper would think.
Get away from the literal aspect of what you make from an artisan/seller point of view... & think about the style. Think like a shopper would.
Get a friend to try to find your items from the home page & see what words they type in... in association with your creations. Think style, shape, & color. Shoppers may not search by specific materials that only the artisan would be familiar with.

Join an etsy team & get team members to help & support. (waves to fellow craftster team members)

Q: What else is etsy looking for besides good photographs to be featured?
A: It's the science of merchandising... we're looking at top search terms, what people are clicking on, observing shopping behavior... so etsy is making an effort to feature things that support those numbers.
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