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61   / CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Advice Interview - noooitaremybirthday 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."
62  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Rainbow I-Spy Quilt 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.

63  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Vincent Price's Living Room 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. 
64  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Introduce Yourself / Newbie Craftalong on: September 30, 2013 03:38:19 PM
Are you new to Craftster and want to share some of your projects with other new (and old) members?  Check out our Newbie Craftalong board at:

65  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Third Quarter 2013 Featured Cooking Projects on: September 22, 2013 01:55:41 PM
3Q2013 Featured Cooking Projects

cake batter decoration: game of thrones & wolverine
by maxxev    

Hobbit Hole birthday cake as my boy requested!
by FoxyBlue 

Rainbow Cupcakes by patty_o_furniture     

Fruit Rainbow by Sweets4Ever

Old Fashioned Dry Sugar Pickles
by beeker     

66  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Haunted Raven House on: September 21, 2013 10:19:27 AM
I made this haunted house for Pottermouth in the Vintage Halloween swap.  She identifies as a Ravenclaw member and I had the most gorgeous raven paper to use as the front facade.  The fences are sprayed with a glow in the dark paint. 

Bats in the belfry?  You bet!  I had the hardest time finding images to put in all of the little windows until I came across a Halloween themed toile paper in my stash.  It worked perfectly.

I love the starry night paper in the cubby.  It's a favorite.

Thanks so much to Pottermouth for allowing me to use her photos! 
67  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Fig Preserves and Goat Cheese on: September 05, 2013 10:47:26 AM
Goat cheese and figs are a classic pairing.  I was gifted some beautiful fresh figs a few days ago and decided to preserve them so we can enjoy them with our homemade chevre and crackers over the next few months. 
This recipe was adapted from the Ball Book of Home Preserving. You'll need:
8 cups of figs
4 cups water
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 lemon sliced thinly and deseeded.

Here's what we were gifted, aren't they gorgeous?

The first step is to pour boiling water over them to cover and let them sit for 15 minutes.  After that, drain and rinse them.

Bring the water, sugar and lemon slices to a boil.  Hold at a boil for 10 minutes then discard the lemon slices.

Working in batches, boil the figs in the syrup in a single layer for 15 minutes. 

See how they shrivel up after boiling?  When the entire batch is done, pour the syrup on the figs, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature over night.

The next day bring the fig mixture to a boil again.

Process them in sterilized jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes per standard canning instructions.  They will also be terrific on biscuits, and to fancy up cocktails.  Fig Manhattan anyone?   Grin

68  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Sideshow - Two Headed Pig on: August 01, 2013 02:58:48 PM
My partner for the Sideshow Swap, coocoosnest noted that she likes conjoined, creepy and disturbing things.  My kinda gal!  After much research and consideration, I figured she would enjoy a two headed fetal pig in a jar.  I mean, who wouldn't?   Cheesy 

The banner is printed on cloth, and strung between poles made from candlesticks and chopsticks.  The base is the top of a cigar box. 

The pig is made from polymer clay, suspended in a pimento jar (I do love to make pimento cheese).  I was able to find lots of reference photos for the specimen online. 

The only thing I didn't have in my stash was the light, which I picked up at Michaels in the floral department.

69  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Ornithologist's Curiosity Cabinet on: July 28, 2013 04:49:54 AM
For the recent bird swap, I was inspired to make a curiosity cabinet for my partner goatgoddess.  I blame my inspiration on the oddity research I've been doing for the side show swap!   Cheesy

My favorite part is in the tiny bottle in the lower right of the cabinet.  It's a hummingbird feather that we found in our greenhouse.  The little acorn nest is holding beauty berry seeds from our garden.The bird skull is made from poly clay.

This was truly a fun project to make.   Smiley

70  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Second Quarter 2013 Featured Cooking Projects on: July 04, 2013 11:49:23 AM
2Q2013 Featured Cooking Projects

I Don't Care That It's Your Birthday by pottermouth    

Decorated Rolled Cake by patty_o_furniture    

40th Birthday Fairytale cake by P_E_S_T    

Lasagna that your wallet AND your friends will love (even the carnivores) by batgirl    

APPLE CHIPS! *with tute!* by pollyprissypants    

Crockpot Guinness Stew by kjlutz    

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