Saturday, April 25, 2009


Holy cow! 

I just reread my last post and my note that I was going to up the quantity of my card that was due to be featured on the Etsy Finds blog up to five, "just to see how that would go" makes me laugh out loud...

I got around 60 new orders in the following 24 hours or so (and some are still trickling in) -- this is more orders than in all my entire year on etsy combined!

I can now see the power of being listed in a popular blog like that from my Google Analytics. I've included a screenshot. A normal day for me will get about 30-50 visitors to my etsy shop. The day that that blog feature went out, it shot up to nearly 2,000 visitors!


I've had a busy couple of days (I've even enlisted my kids in running the craft robo and sorting the parts to my cards for me -- my husband, who REALLY won points, sat down this morning and gamely put together card after card after card as I ran around filling envelopes and trying to keep track of everything). 

One thing that I've discovered: I am NOT set up to handle this kind of business! It only took 60 orders can throw me into a panic (usually, I get an order, make the card up fresh and send it out before a new order can come in and muddy up the waters). I had to learn how to download my etsy sales into a csv file, download Open Office (what a great free tool!) and use the spreadsheet to track all the orders. I contacted a fellow etsyian who was hit with massive sales due to being featured on the NY Times blog for his ribcage Valentine, (I think he sold something like 400 in the space of about a month) who kindly told me about the process that he got set up.

I made several trips to Arveys, a local office supplies/paper store. I bought a CASE of padded envelopes. Then I had to go back a second time for chipboard to stiffen them (normally, I rely on recycling bits and pieces around the house that look good, but all the orders depleted that pretty quickly.

Here I am with my first (and biggest) load of envelopes to go to the post office, about 50 envelopes. If you've wondered what I look like, there I am!

One nice thing about the attention is that people didn't just buy the one tree-themed card that was featured on the blog. A lot of people did buy Mother's Day cards, but some people bought entirely unrelated items. I finally sold one of my pop-up birthday cake cards which I had pretty much given up all hope of ever selling, for instance.

I got a TON of convos (etsy-mail) from people for all kinds of reasons: special requests, comments, questions. One gal wrote to me because she wants to sell cards and was looking to me for advice!

Another secondary measure: I increased my number of "hearts" (which is when someone on etsy marks you as a "favorite" by something like 120 -- I had just over 100 before that day. Yes, I'm feeling the love...

Sooooo.... CRAZY couple of days! I am done with all but the last two orders (which just came in today), so I am very tired and very glad to be seeing the tail end of all of the madness. I wouldn't trade it in for anything, but I keep thinking of that adage "be careful what you wish for" 'cause I know how I've wished for this kind of exposure in the past!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mother's Day Card included in an Etsy Finds Newsletter!

So, one of the cool things about etsy is how supportive they are of their crafting community.

Every week or so, we get a handy newsletter from them with all kinds of handy tips, from how to best photograph your products to how to figure out how much traffic your etsy site is getting.

Of course, I read every one!

I got this message on etsy today:

I *think* this card will be included in tomorrow's Etsy Finds newsletter and on Etsy's blog (going out to nearly 200,000 people!) Of course, I can't be 100% sure it, sometimes changes are made at the last minute. But I really would suggest adjusting the Quantity if you have more of these in stock. Even if its just a couple!

Whoo hoo!!!

I am too cheap to pay an additional $.20 listing fee for a ton of additional cards, so I only upped it by five additional items, so we'll see how that goes...

Flying Pig Card

Here's a new card that I've had in the hopper for a week now and finally got it posted

The front reads: "I never thought I'd see the day..." When the recipient opens the card, a sweet, simple winged pig pops up.

I thought it would be a good card to get for those milestone events: a wedding for your friends that have been together FOREVER, a long-time co-worker decides to retire, the happy birth of a long-awaited baby...

I'm using digital paper that I'm printing on two sides of card stock to create a duplex pattern -- I really love how the pattern looks, as opposed to using simple colored cardstock, which is what I'd started out with.

Only hours after posting it, I got some interest from a woman who is running a half-marathon with eleven friends and who was interested in getting a set for her entire group!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Digital Paper and New Thank You Notecards

For an earlier post, I wrote about a Crafternoon I hosted where we used some pretty patterned card stock I'd purchased from Joann's to make blank notecards.

I really love those cards -- they're so simple and elegant and really highlight the gorgeous papers.

The one downside? The cheapskate in me really hates spending money on the pretty paper. A matstack costs only about $10, but I am so frugal it hurts me every time have to open my wallet.

Last week, I discovered digital scrapbooking paper.

With these files, I can print as much patterned paper as I want. Yes, even considering the high price of inkjet printing, I'm only shelling out about $.11 for each sheet of color, patterned cardstock -- this includes the ink as well as the cardstock.

Whoo hoo!

I can even print different patterns on the two sides of the cardstock, creating my own duplex paper, which ordinarily costs a fortune at the paper store.

Granted, you don't get the texture from, say, a linen-finish, but you know what? They're so pretty! If this paper fanatic likes them, I would be willing to bet that a lot of others would as well.

Here's the site that turned me onto digital paper patterns: Their prices seem quite reasonable ($6 to $8 for most packages, which includes a lot of additional little digital embellishments, which I normally don't use, but still enjoy poring over).

Then, my friend Val turned me onto: which is a compilation of free digital scrapbooking kits. The sites can be a bit confusing to navigate, but, heck! They're FREE (you can also find quite a lot simply by googling free digital scrapbooking).

(one note: if you're making cards commercially, as I am, be sure to read the licensing agreements. Many of the packages (especially the free ones) limit commercial use or ask that you pay extra for that privilege)

The photo, above, shows some of the pretty card stock I've been printing up as well as some of my new Summer Breezes Thank You Note Card package that I just posted for sale on etsy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Italian Wedding, Part 2

I had one absolutely horrific shipping experience once shipping a set of Alice in Wonderland popup cards (to be used as birthday party invitations) to South Africa just before spring break. At that time, I just about swore off any international orders, but I'm glad that I didn't.

I'm enjoying this set of wedding invitations that I'm doing for this Italian couple so far. She's been great to work with -- has given me lots of great feedback and guidance as we try to design a card for her.

Above is just one of three recent comps that I sent her last night. With the time difference, I usually hear a response from her by the time I get home from work. 

Isn't that artwork just beautiful? I really like it...

Well, wish me luck on the shipping on this one! Hopefully I've learned some lessons from the South Africa order...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mother's Day Promotion!

Remember when I was all excited about joining the etsygreetings team? This is a group of card-makers who sell on etsy. The group bands together, has an active blog that links back to our shops and blogs and keeps members all on track with discussion boards (discussions range from good vendors for clear plastic sleeves to posts about wholesale and how to deal with the pricing differences).

It's been SOOOO much fun being part of a group!

I really love all that I'm doing, but joining a team like this gives me a place to go for questions, advice and inspiration.

That recent post about a card-making Crafternoon? That was a complete panic as I'd signed up to write an article for the blog and discovered the night before it was to be posted that I was up (you can see the same post on the etsygreetings blog).

Anyway, I'm determined to be a very active member of the group.

A new activity this month is a special Mother's Day promotion. Free shipping! You can find shops participating in the promotion by searching on etsy for "EGMOM" -- this brings up all of our Mother's Day cards (hundreds to choose from), like the one I have pictured above.

Details about this offer should be available in the shop's description (some of the offers differ). This is what mine says:

"Mother's Day is May 10! Check out the EtsyGreetings Mom's Day promotion starting April 13. FREE SHIPPING when you purchase 2 or more cards from my shop (they don't have to all be Mother's Day cards). I'll refund shipping thru Paypal."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Italian Wedding Invitations?

How do these people find me?

I had a woman contact me all the way from Italy wanting a version of the Three Reasons card to be used as wedding invitations. 

Information about the wedding would appear in the main window as you turn the wheel.

This could be cute!

She and her fiance have a beautiful baby girl, named Amelie, and she sent me some photos of the three of them to get an idea of their style.

When people ask me to design something new, I generally go to and find an assortment of images that I think might work and send them along. She might love one or two pieces or might suggest that she likes one style but the colors on another. Hopefully something will spark some interest which will help to give me guidance on the rest of the imagery and design.

I found more than a dozen potential images and sent them her way for review... we'll see what happens!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Indeed

Okay, for starters, I got the day off -- joy!

The boys had school. While I adore my children, I was thrilled at the thought of having some time to myself to work on a few things.

This morning, I set to work, determined to have a full, productive day and to not waste a moment.

I had to run down to PaperZone to pick up a new x-acto knife. I discovered that they were running an Easter promotion. The staff had hidden plastic eggs around the store. Inside were discounts to be applied to your purchase.

Long story short: I found the golden egg, the papercrafter's equivalent of Willie Wonka's Golden Ticket!
I was allowed to take 40% off my total purchase. Joy! They even let me shop around a bit more and add some extra things to my pile.

It doesn't seem like a ton, but included with my treasure trove, above, are three packages of beautiful card stock, as well as some hundreds of brads, a whole array of envelopes (yeah, like I need MORE envelopes) and that x-acto knife.

Whoo hoo!

Today, I also completed an order of 60 Fish Invitations (my customer received my mermaid invitations in February and liked them so much, she checked out my store) and got that ready to ship off. 

I now also have THREE mother's day cards posted, variants of my Three Reasons card. This is already proving to be a popular card -- I've sold three already (not counting the ones I sold to my friend Wendy). I need to do some more variations...

I've also started some super cute wee bird notecards that I think are adorable. I'll post about those as they come along....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Take THAT! card

Remember this card? With the... expressive gesture that I had  inadvertently animated?

I figured out how to use it in a way that I think would be inoffensive to just about everybody.

My friends, Sue and Sarah were separately diagnosed and treated for breast cancer this past year. They're doing well, but it was hard to see them go through this and not be able to express my thoughts to them with a typical get well card -- nothing seemed right.

This card, with its strong, gutsy "you can't keep me down" attitude says what I haven't been able to say.

I think this would work for other kinds of diseases, as well, where you are trying to encourage a loved one to fight their hardest.

Once I got the idea, the rest of the card came together quite quickly and I was able to post it for sale this afternoon on etsy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Looking to host a fun gathering? Consider a Crafternoon!

The crafternoon is a party where you get to make things. It might be completely unstructured (people bring whatever they happen to be currently working on to share with the group) or it can involve the entire group making the same project.

It's a wonderful way to build community and friendships and make some cool stuff at the same time.

In past years, I've hosted crafty parties in which we made rolled beeswax candles with lovely labels for holiday gifts, knit adorable felted flowers and made mini bound books.

I recently had a gathering in which we made very simple and lovely notecards.

I purchased some pre-cut cardstock that, when folded in half, fit nicely into the small envelopes I'd purchased. I also provided color-coordinated labels that I'd precut and pop-dots.

Completing the project was simple. Guests simply picked out pretty patterned card stock, folded them in half, found a label that worked well with the colors and attached them with pop dots.

A more elaborate project might have included other materials (ribbons, cut-outs, etc) to make more creative cards, but the simplicity of these cards was soothing and just perfect for a group of women looking to escape the ordinary bustle of their everyday lives.

Interested in this activity? Here's everything you need

Ask your guests to bring some snacks and perhaps some wine, put on some crafty music and you've got yourself one top-notch Crafternoon!