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41  Sweet Holiday Treat Tutorial Challenge in Dessert by MissingWillow on: November 26, 2013 08:24:51 AM

image credit http://www.gelsominas-cucina.co.uk

All of you fabulous bakers, it's time for a cooking challenge!  The subject is Sweet Holiday Treat Tutorials.  You can make dessert, candy, cookies, pie, cake, cupcakes, fruitcake, sticky buns - anything sweet that helps celebrate the Winter Holidays.  You know you will be baking anyways... grab a camera to snap a few photos while you're baking and share your talents with us!  This way, we can all learn how to make your favorite holiday masterpiece.  

Important note: Because Craftster will be hosting a site-wide gingerbread house challenge over the holidays, gingerbread houses will not be eligible for this Sweet Holiday Treat Tutorial challenge.

The Rules:

-This challenge is open to all Craftster members.

- Your tutorial entry must include the recipe, a photo of the finished treat and at least 3 in-process photos.  More photos are fine, but your entry must include at least these four (final plus three in-process).  A photo of your starting ingredients counts as in-process.

-You must be posting something new.  Anything posted previously on Craftster is not eligible.  Entries will be moved to our desserts board after the contest is over.

-Your entry must be sweet, not savory.

-Each participant may enter just once.

-This contest will be open for entries from December 22nd through midnight Sunday, December 29th.  

The winner of this challenge will be able to select a t-shirt from us at Craftster.org -- You will be able to choose any one from our online shop at http://www.shop.craftster.org/
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42  Re: Paper and Ephemera Swap Round 10 Gallery - Send-out Nov. 18 in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by MissingWillow on: November 20, 2013 05:34:16 AM
To say SonjaBoo spoiled me is an understatement!  Her stash is way cooler than mine... but mine is way better now that I received the overstuffed envelope from her.  Here's a sampling of what she sent.  Chipboard, puffy hearts, trim, a house book (!), a gorgeous bee for the beekeeper.

All kinds of awesome cards, including Loteria and bingo cards.  I love the children's book illustration!

Halloween was a big wish for me and boy did she come through!!!  These papers and trims are to die for and are all from books I don't currently own.

More Halloween and gorgeous gypsy, circus, farm and market goodies.

The most amazing collection of game pieces, doo dads, butterfly stickers and classic monster posters that come from a calendar. I am so going to look for calendars on sale in January this year!!!

Even more Halloween, some gorgeous Japanese papers and the sweetest handmade tags she sent me as a very special extra.  Thank you so much, SonjaBoo.  You rock!
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43  Tiny Zombie Diorama Necklace in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by MissingWillow on: November 07, 2013 11:22:04 AM
I received a tiny little plexiglass and brass box for my birthday this year and had a hard time deciding what to put inside it.  Since it looks to me like a phone booth, I decided to put a guy with something scary inside. What's scarier than a zombie?  He's trapped with someone just rising from the grave.  The people are HO scale train people, and they are kind of hard to find.

The tombstone is made of poly clay and the grass is made of felt I received from LimeRiot in an IYP swap.  The entire thing is an inch high.
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44  Crafty Business Advice Interview - noooitaremybirthday in CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE by MissingWillow on: November 04, 2013 01:46:43 PM
Our newest interviewee is the talented Kira Nichols, who goes by the name of noooitaremybirthday here on Craftster.  She is a Tutorial Contributor for Craftster and she was also a Master Craftster for our Elmer's campaign.  At this time, she's had almost 2000 sales in her etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/kiranichols and designs a line of stamps for Stampotique http://www.stampotique.com/stamp/kira-nichols.html

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 27 year-old Seattle native who now lives in Alabama with my husband of 7 years. We love animals and have 4 budgies, 1 sun conure, an old dog named Tink, and 19 friendly chickens.

What is your favorite craft to do?
Each craft is fun in its own way, and I love them all (mostly!), but my favorite standby that I always come back to is papercrafting in all its various forms. Paper, paints, glue, embellishments... Drooling, excuse me.

Oodles of Colorful Inchies & Rinchies

Do you have any formal arts training?
Not really! The last art class I took was in the 8th grade. When I want to learn a new skill or sharpen an old one, I just rely on books, YouTube, and practice.

Where does your crafty inspiration come from?
I've thought about this one a lot, because my husband is always asking how I come up with stuff. I've come to this conclusion; My parents let me watch a lot of Animal Planet and Ren & Stimpy as a kid. Having all the diversity of the animal kingdom ingrained in my noggin probably had a lot to do with how I think now. I'm still totally fascinated by animation. I probably watch way too many cartoons for my age. I think it's the shapes and colors and different styles that keep me into it.

Needle Felted Sun Conure

I know you're on the Alpha Stamps design team, any others?
Just working with Alpha Stamps right now, and it's a blast. Great group of ladies! I'm happy to be a part of the DT. It keeps me busy enough!

How does one get on a design team?  Is it something you try out for?
Usually, companies with design teams hold open calls every 1-2 years. To apply, you answer a questionnaire and submit photos of sample artwork. You send them examples of what you can do, then you cross your fingers and hope they like what they see!

Has any of your work been featured in a magazine or publication?
My witch bookmarks were featured in People Magazine last Christmas, which was crazy and so fun.

Ruby Slippers/Wicked Witch Bookmark

How did you get involved in designing stamps for Stampotique?
A sweet fan of Stampotique who also happened to be one of my blog readers sent me a random e-mail one day. She had seen my illustrations and made the mental connection for me, telling me how cool it would be to have my drawings as rubber stamps for Stampotique. I though, wow, that WOULD be pretty cool. So I e-mailed the owner, Carol, sent her some sample artwork and boom. The rest is history.

Colorful Greeting Cards

When did you open your etsy shop?
I opened it at the very beginning of 2010.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening an etsy shop?
Know what you are going to sell, and have some quality stock for your shop before you start spreading the word. If you're sending folks to your shop, and there's nothing to see or buy, they may not come back. Also, don't be discouraged if you don't make a lot of sales right away. It took me a couple of years before I actually started making money and a big stroke of luck finding out what people want to buy. Keep experimenting. Oh, and it also helps if you blog regularly or have an active Facebook Fanpage the more people who see your work, the more potential customers you'll have.

How often do you blog?  How has it helped your business?
I currently try to blog at least a couple times per month. I actually started my blog well before I opened up a shop. At the beginning, I was blogging a different project almost every single day, so that really helped to build my readership. Once I opened my shop, I already had a good number of people paying attention to my crafting, so I'm sure it helped with sales.

Can you offer any advice on pricing?
This depends on why you're doing what you're doing. If you want to make some profit, the formula I try to stick with for most items is cost of materials, plus at least $10/hr for labor time. That can make things seem expensive, but you've gotta value your time properly. Folks are paying for heart and soul, not robots and machines.

What business advice should every Craftster know?
Keep it fun! Crafting is first and foremost something that brings us happiness and (hopefully) relaxation. I was initially really (REALLY) hesitant to start an Etsy shop, because I was afraid that my love of making stuff would become a chore, and crafting would be ruined forever. That didn't happen, because I just won't let it come to that! Just remember that your crafty business is what you make it. It's yours, and you can change it however you like: Dial back, ramp it up, add some sequins or pinecones, whatever. You're in control.

Finally, what would you like stamped on your tombstone?
That's a really tough question. So many thoughts. Probably, a good one would be: "We didn't know what to do with all the junk this woman left behind, but she was alright."
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45  Rainbow I-Spy Quilt in Quilting: Completed Projects by MissingWillow on: October 18, 2013 11:20:17 AM
I've been collecting 4 by 4 inch I-Spy squares for a long time.  When I finally sat down to lay them out, I realized I had enough in each color to make it rainbow-inspired.  This was a collaboration between me and my Mom.  I finished the top and she was responsible for the quilting. I just received a photo of the finished quilt and thought I would share.

Here's another view of the finished quilt top before I sent it off to her.

A close-up of my favorite section.

The back is a combination of outer space, glow in the dark and 3-D fabrics.

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46  Re: Weekend Trick or Treat Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: October 17, 2013 01:23:01 PM
My package from Inselaeffchen made it's way across the pond to me today.  I love that I got an international partner for this one!

She sent an adorable candy corn hat, Halloween bunting, gel stickers, spider charms (love those)  and something called cornish dairy fudge that I can't wait to try!  She says it's similar to Tootsie Rolls.  Yum...

Handmade ephemera, including quilled bats.  I've never seen quilled bats before and I love them.

I love the papers with the 3D effects, I need to plan a project to use those in.  They will be fun to play with!

Thanks so much for swapping with me, Kat.  I hope my package arrives to you soon!
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47  Re: Craft Your Daily Reflections--based on Leafcutter Designs Sky Scarf concept in Craftalongs by MissingWillow on: October 16, 2013 10:37:13 AM
I finally have an update!  Here's what the sky looks like at my house.  The trees mark the start of each month and I have special fabrics for special days.  Easter, Memorial Day, My anniversary, Star Wars Day (May the 4th)...  Smiley

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48  Vincent Price's Living Room in Completed Projects by MissingWillow on: October 06, 2013 08:15:11 AM
For the One Tiny Halloween Thing swap, we had to list five themes for our partner to consider.  My partner, Ludi, listed some 'normal' Halloween things like bats, cats and skeletons but she also listed Vincent Price.  I couldn't get him out of my mind and considered it a personal challenge.  Cheesy  The item had to fit within a 4 by 4 inch space so I selected an altoid tin to craft with, and came up with Vincent Price's Living Room. 

There's a mid-century metal chair in front of a TV where his Muppet episode is playing.  There are a few of his movie posters on the walls, and a spooky night outside the window.  Popcorn waits on the little cube side table.  We had one of those tables at my house growing up.

He and Kermit are both trying on vampire teeth!  The walls are red suede with wainscoting.  The floor is 'hardwood'.

I knew it needed something else and decided to craft a tingler to put under his chair.  It's either a pet or is lying in wait for him to arrive home...

I got the frame for his portrait and the awesome tiny window from Retro Cafe Art. 
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49  Re: Chunky Houses Halloween Edition Rnd 4 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: October 04, 2013 10:07:48 AM
Glad you like it, L2E!  It's always fun swapping with you.   Smiley

Speaking of... here's the fun chunky house I received from loves2experiment! 

The frog in the flask is looking at a spider, unaware there's something creeping up behind him.  Muahahaha...

The back continues with the jar and spider theme.

The BEST part is the frog and both spiders glow in the dark.  Yay!  Thanks so much L2E!
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50  Re: Chunky Houses Halloween Edition Rnd 4 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: October 02, 2013 04:01:13 PM
I love my post lady, she brought me 3 houses today.   Smiley

First up:  I received one of teag's wonderful spooky tree in the roof window houses, complete with poly clay feet.

Love love love the pumpkin tag she included with the swap info on it.  I wish I knew how to do rivets!  Thank you so much, teag!

Pupper sent me a wonderful vintage Halloween witch's dance house.  I love that image!

Such a cool devil on the back.  Thank you so much, Pupper!

Ludi sent an amazing 3D Egyptian mummy house.  Chunky indeed!  The mummy's eyes glow in the dark (eep!)

The interior walls don't show up in the above photo so here's another view. 

The other side.

I'm going to display it near my papyrus painting.  Thank you so much, Ludi!
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