Monday, June 30, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand sales!

I've noticed that recently my photos are starting to seem quite blah (for lack of a better word). I love the products, but they just aren't coming through. Photos, photos, photos are what make a product sell, so I decided it was time for a photography makeover.

I have Photoshop, so I have no excuse! I have begun with just a select few, but I plan to rework some others (some day). Maybe some day I'll write a little tutorial about how I used Photoshop to "knockout" my photos and add a new background, giving them more visual interest and "pop." For now, I'll just show you my finished photos:

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Okay, so I know I'm supposed to blog about more than just my new creations... but I'm finding that I just can't get enough of the design process lately! Can you blame me? It really is much more fun to make new things than to remake the old things....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Robot design finished!

I had to come up with some creative ways to use my sewing machine, but I finally achieved the look I was going for with this little guy! Hope you love him as much as i do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Robot I Spy Bag!

This prototype belongs to my son, but I'm giving you a sneek peek at my latest and greatest. Watch for this guy to take my shop by storm next week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Real Simple news!

It's official! and I quote: "the I Spy Bags will be featured in the aug/sept
issue of Real Simple's special family issue."

Holy cow.

Etsy's "My Favorites"

On Etsy, where I sell my goods, there is a featured called "my favorites." While you are browsing, you can mark specific items or specific shops as favorites to return to later. This may seem similar to other e-commerce sites, but it is quite a bit more complicated and political than that!

Commonly known as "hearts" by seasoned Etsy-goers and addicts, these are used in several ways on the site. It is such a wide-spread phenomenon on Etsy that it is even commonly used as a verb - to heart someone.

At first glance it may seem that giving someone a heart simply means that you like their work. However, people heart for several different reasons. Some sellers heart others on their team, or Etsians with whom they have become internet friends, and use it as a major social networking tool. Still others use it as an advertising ploy. Look for shops that might be run by your target buyer, heart them, and then wait for them to check you out. I have not done this myself, and I was surprised to learn about it in the forums! For new sellers, anyway, this might work, though! Some people heart shops that they plan to copy from (bad heart). Some items receive hearts simply because they fit into the image of a treasury that a person is creating. And sometimes, people do what they call "heart you back" - if you heart them, then they simply heart you back (it has nothing to do with anything, just seen as a courtesy by some sellers).

I remember when I first joined Etsy and I was thrilled every time I received a heart. I would click click click away, investigating every person who hearted me. If they were trying to get me to look at their shop, they were successful. This week marked my 600th heart. Needless to say, I no longer check out who hearts me.

I personally mark favorites for several different reasons. I don't plan to go back and purchase every single item that I heart, nor do I plan to make a purchase from every shop that I heart. Sometimes I mark favorites to keep in mind for gifts for others, or to show to my mom later, or to put in a treasury, or I like a material that I want to keep in mind. Usually, when I heart an entire shop, I like more than one item, or I like the way the shop is run, or the descriptions are written, or I want to tell my mom about it.

Periodically, I think it is important to go through your hearts and do a bit of house cleaning. It is just ridiculous to have hundreds of shops marked - there is no way you would ever go back to them. I actually love this infrequent ritual of going through it all and clearing out. I get to see what is new, I am reminded of shops that I had forgotten about, and I almost certainly get new ideas to spark my own imagination.

To stay on top of my favorite items, I'm going to try and put a few on my blog every once in awhile. I don't want my favorites to get... stale.

Here are a few things I marked because I simply love them:

Powers of Attraction ReduxRocketship JarSagittarius constellation Pendantoriginal linocut
Those Greathouse Women

Monday, June 9, 2008

Web Browsers - a review, and keeping 3 shops straight on the same computer

When I opened my second shop, GreathouseHardware, I found it quite impossible to keep track of which account I was logged into when I was posting in the forums, sending convos, and the like. I learned from another Etsy seller that the best way to keep track of 2 stores was to use 2 web browsers.

Now, I don't know about you, but I didn't even realize that I had a choice about web browsers. I just clicked on the little "e" (internet explorer) that came with my computer and there was the web. Now I learn that there are different programs that allow you to view websites, and that those programs can actually make the page look different? Whoa.

After a bit of research, I learned that Etsy is apparently best viewed (and developed for use in) a web browser called Firefox. So, I went to the website and downloaded the free program. Can I just say that I love it?!!! For one thing, it bugs me on Etsy that the links aren't "live" meaning when someone puts their website or blog in their profile, I can't just click on it and go there. I have to copy and paste it into my address bar (that little box at the top of the screen where the web address is located). Firefox automatically turns it into a link for you. They call it linkification. Firefox is smart like that (they have hundreds of other add-ons, too - still free). The other thing that I really love is that Firefox automatically spell checks everything that you type - anywhere. So, when I'm typing in the forums, or a message to someone, or even filling out a form, I get a red squiggly line under the word if Firefox thinks it is misspelled. Just think of all the typos I've avoided....

So, I have Firefox as my default browser now, which means it is automatically used when I go to the internet. When I turn on my computer, I open Firefox with tabs for my shop on Etsy and all the related accounts (Flickr, Gmail, Hotmail, blog). Then I open the other web browser, Internet Explorer, for my mom's shop and all the related accounts. This is wonderful because all I have to remember is Firefox=Those Greathouse Women, IE=Greathouse Hardware. Then I never have to log in and out or remember who I am when I'm emailing someone.

Whew! Just when I had all that figured out, I decided to open my newest shop, High Pie Supply. Now, I figure I need a third web browser. I do a quick search on Google for web browsers, and I can't believe how many there are! I finally decide on one called Safari, which I guess is developed for Mac computers (which I love but due to certain circumstances right now I have to use a Dell). You wouldn't believe how much different it makes the web look. I'm still getting used to it and I can't decide if I like it or not. I just really had no idea that web pages could look so different simply depending on which browser you were using!

Here are a couple of screen shots of the same page on Etsy:

As viewed on Firefox:

As viewed on Internet Explorer:

As viewed on Safari:

If you can't tell much of a difference, try clicking on the photos and comparing. You definitely see more of the web page itself by using Safari, but I don't care for the style of the drop down menus and the fonts.

I suppose it has a lot to do with what you are used to, but I found switching to Firefox very user friendly, and I absolutely love it (after spending umpteen years using IE and Netscape). I especially love linkification and spell check!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Need supplies? High Pie Supply is here!

After months of seeking only the finest, cutest, best trinkets to include in my I Spy Bags, (and the need to declutter a bit)... I have stumbled upon the phenomenon that I can sell my supplies all by themselves - and possibly even make some money doing it! Thus, I have opened a new shop on Etsy - High Pie Supply!

A few recent listings:

Where did I come up with such a cute name, you ask? Here's the scoop:

In my studio, I have an entire wall of supplies I use for my I Spy Bags (or as one of my sons calls them, "high pie bags"). My children LOVE to come in here and look around (no touching please!). To them, it is like being in a candy store - each delicious color in its own bin, carefully labeled, seemingly miles tall and wide.

My daughter likes to say, "Can I help you E-range them, mommy?" Of course. Some day.

So, help yourself to my high pie supplies, and feel free to e-range them however you please.

As the shop grows, I may begin to help my mother to clear out her workshop, which has an abundance of vintage miniature treasures and odd trinkets (which she is currently turning into very cool jewelry).

Give me a visit! Mention that you learned about my supply shop on my blog, and I'll even throw in free shipping! Happy shopping!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A product of Alchemy! Matryoshka doll I Spy Bag!

I don't have much time to post right now, but I wanted to show off my newest design! I made it in response to an Alchemy request on Etsy.... I totally plan to make this part of my fall line! What do you think? My daughter loved it so much, she almost cried when I had to ship it off this morning (okay, she *did* cry)...