Sunday, May 31, 2009


Well, my brilliant idea of semi-vacation lasted about 24 hours. Then I got a look at my Google Analytics (web traffic reports) where I saw my visits plummet to just 25 visitors in one day, the lowest number in... well a loooong time!

Etsy is a little bit of a drug to me. It is such a thrill to sell an item, get some feedback or find that someone new has "hearted" me. Even getting a spike in my web traffic reports is exciting (wow, my life must be soooo boring!).

Yes. I'll admit it. My name is Molly Lee. And I'm addicted to Etsy.

I just couldn't bear the thought that people would not be able to find my shop, so over the last day or so, I relisted all my party invitations again.

So, back in business!

Friday, May 29, 2009


I was featured today on the EtsyGreetings blog. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Done, done, done!

150 Italian wedding invitations, in two different languages. Done. Shipped out yesterday via FedEx to Italy.


I canNOT tell you what a huge relief this is! I have been INCREDIBLY stressed out during this process. I seriously couldn't sleep with all of this hanging over me. The customers have been great, however, I had promised that I would complete this order within two weeks of their final approval. When the approval process went on and on as we tweaked one thing, then another, I got more and more distressed. I have plans coming up soon (my mother is visiting me, the boys' ninth birthday is coming up the following week, etc) and having this hit me at that time would really throw all my plans into a tizzy.

Long story short, it all worked out in the end and I got the invitations into FedEx. I hate that the shipping alone is a good percentage of the total cost of the package, but c'est la vie!

In between, I sold two sets of jungle invitations (the second set is going out in the mail tomorrow!) -- I love those invitations, but, oddly, it took months for them to sell and then suddenly I sold several sets at once. 

I also sold a version of my beer-drinking card to a friend, Robin, for her husband's 50th birthday party. It's cute. The front says "Eric's Turning 50!" and as drinking Paul raises his glass, he says "Lock up.... your.... grandmas!" Robin laughed out loud when I showed it to her today. It's fun seeing people's reactions to these kinds of cards.

Okay, now I have another person on the verge of buying a package of circus invitations and I suddenly realized that I cannot handle another big order (at least after this one). 

On the other hand, I can't put my shop on vacation. I'm about to be featured on my etsygreetings team blog on Friday so I'll get a lot of traffic then. I can't waste that!

So I compromised and I put all my invitation packages on hold. No circus invitations. No spinning fish wheels. Not a single mermaid or princess to be found. Right now, the only cards available from my site are greeting cards. I can handle the onesie twosie sales, but nothing more right now.

Yeah, I know: papercraft burnout. Too many sales. Boo hoo, such a tough problem to have, but I think I'll feel more refreshed and eager to tackle things after I've had a little bit of a break. Between the cards and a full-time job, plus mothering two soon-to-be-nine years olds, I have had precious little down time in the last five or six months...

After my mom has been here and I've finished hosting the Lee family reunion bbq for 20+ people... we'll see.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A long, LONG weekend!

Our company had a furlough day (unpaid day off) on Friday (trying to get through a super tough year), so this Memorial Day weekend, I had a FOUR-DAY WEEKEND!

You might think I would spend it on endless picnicking, sunbathing, gardening and frolicking.

But, no. 

I faced 560 sheets of cardstock, which had to be printed, cut (even with a cutter, the cutting's the most tedious, time-consuming part, taking up hours upon hours) and assembled into mechanical wedding invitations. 

I show some of the steps, above. The larger photo shows some of the paper for the Italian version of these invitations at various stages of completion.

Underneath, a few of the steps, folding the back of the card (a bone folder is handy for this step), placing the wheel into position, and finally placing the front into position (after putting adhesive on the tabs).

The last step is the trickiest as you need to drop the front perfectly into place otherwise it won't pass my very strict quality inspection.

I had told my customer that I would need two weeks to complete this large order of 140 invitations, but after a REALLY long weekend (completely devoid of frolicking, mind you) (plus I forced my poor husband into forced paper slavery as well) I am all but completely done.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

This is what I'm working on ALL weekend long!

This is what I'll be working on this holiday weekend: I got approval to work on the Italian wedding invitations I blogged about earlier.

Whoo hoo!

I have to say that there were times that I did NOT think that this would happen. Naturally, the couple wanted everything absolutely perfect, so we've been going back and forth for weeks now, working out little details. 

We'd been on the verge of finalizing everything when I discovered that they also needed english versions of the invitations.

Last week, I finally told them, that given the timing of their wedding, the fact that we would have to allow for additional time to ship the invitations and some family obligations that I have coming up on some upcoming weekends (which I'd let them know about early on), that unless we had an approved design (for both versions) by the end of the week (to allow me to work on these this weekend) and payment completed, that it would simply not happen.

Thank goodness, this really focused our conversations and we had all the items done that I needed in order to get started yesterday.

Sooooo relieved! I was seriously getting very stressed out about this this week! These cards take a LOT of work to do (printing, CUTTING (even with a cutter, it takes a long time), assembling) and having 140 invitations hanging over my head ready to drop at an unspecified time was really affecting me adversely.

But I'm quite pleased with the results.

If you look at the images, above, you'll see that as you turn the wheel, little icons are displayed in the round window while details about the wedding are displayed in the other cutout.

Turning the invitation over, there is contact information for the bride and groom.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Now here's a REAL paper engineer!

Sometimes I please myself with a new mechanical card design. For a brief moment, I am quite overcome by my own cleverness and run around quite full of myself.

Then I run into REAL paper engineering artistry, like this:

Man, that is AMAZING!

The artist is Tim, from Cool4Cats -- check out his website for other videos of his amazing kits (which you can purchase!). 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pop-up wedding invitation feedback

Some feedback from one of my

"Hey Molly... I have to tell you that your invitations are just smashing! We have had nothing but RAVES about them. I have been telling everybody that it was you who did them and that they should look you up on line. Please be sure to send us some of your business cards. We can't begin to thank you enough or sing your praises from the rooftops!!! You are the best!! Thank you, thank you, thank you..."

Yay! Feedback like that can really make my day....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Make a Moss Terrarium

Moss terrariums are a wonderful way to bring a bit of nature indoors. These lush, moist habitats are just fascinating to watch and, best of all, are easy enough to care for that even those of us with black thumbs can manage!

This is a simple activity that you can get your kids to help you with making this a really wonderful idea for a Father's Day gift (and if you're thinking of gifting one of these, don't forget to include a card from the etsygreetings team)

Here's what you'll need for this activity:

A selection of moss. I just walked around my house and found several different varieties. It's fun to mix different shades and textures -- some moss is made up of tiny ferns, some has tiny shoots sprouting off of it, some forms itself into soft roundish "pill0ws."

Rocks. Again, I found mine around the house.

A wide-mouthed clear glass jar. Raid your recycling for an old mayonnaise jar or something similar. I've also purchased some lovely jars from Goodwill for just a few bucks.

Charcoal. Various tutorials I've read mention that you can purchase activated charcoal from the pet supply shop, however my husband claims that the charcoal we use for grilling is the same thing.

Sphagnum Moss (or something similar to keep the soil on top of the stones). I pulled mine off an old hanging planter.

Potting soil.

Here's what to do: Wash your jar and rinse out well. Add stones to the bottom for drainage. On top of the stones, add in a layer of sphagnum moss to keep the dirt separate from the stones.

Mix up some potting soil with some crushed charcoal (my eight-year-old twins loved breaking up the charcoal briquettes with a hammer for this activity). The charcoal filters the water and keeps your terrarium smelling sweet. Moisten the mixture and add in a layer to your jar. It doesn't have to be deep -- just cover the sphagnum moss. For interest, you can mound the dirt in some areas to make little hills.

Now comes the fun part: Add your moss! Press it down firmly so that it is anchored on the dirt. If you like, you can add in some miniature figurines (mushrooms, wildlife) or pretty stones or shells for interest. Mine is now inhabited by a sweet little stick bug ("Sticky"), donated by my boys.

When everything's in place, mist it thoroughly. It should always remain moist inside, with condensation on the inside.

With the lid on, the terrarium should be fairly self-sustaining, perfect for those of us who like nature but aren't particularly handy at keeping plants alive. You should be able to keep it alive with just a gentle misting every 2-3 weeks.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Etsy Update

A while back, I was so stressed out around when I had all those orders from being featured on the Etsy Finds Blog that I raised the prices of my "Three Reasons" line of cards by a dollar to $7.

I immediately felt a lot better, not only because sales slowed down (which they might have done anyway) but because I finally felt that my time was worth something. It takes a bit of time to assemble each of these cards (I am really proud of how smoothly the wheels rotate in them -- the mechanics work really nicely).

In any case, despite the slightly higher price, I'm still selling cards every few days, which is a nice pace for me. I wouldn't mind a bit of Father's Day rush in a few weeks, but for now, the more relaxed pace is super comfortable.

One nice side-effect of the many sales I made around Mother's Day is that I'm still seeing feedback from people -- it's so much fun to read the comments that people write about you! 

I recently had a customer contact me because she never received the Tree-themed Three Reasons card I had sent to her. I remembered sending that one out, so I assumed that the card had gotten lost in the mail and immediately sent her another with my apologies. 

She was kind enough to give me this feedback: "First of all, this card is amazing and I know my mom will love it! Second and most important, Mollylee is extremely helpful and friendly! Gold stars all around!"

Wasn't that kind of her? Feedback like that can really make my day!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Brighten Up Your Desk Space!

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time in a drab, featureless cubicle.

Bland grey walls, blah, boring desk.

But it doesn't have to be that way!

The topic of one of my favorite podcasts, CraftyPod (the podcast that's all about making stuff with tons of great information for the crafty entrepeneur) was "Craft Up Your Cubicle: Projects for your workspace" (CraftyPod #27, 6/1/2006). It was all about how to bring some crafty goodness in to brighten your dreary little desk space.

Among the wonderful ideas was one about how to turn your pens into a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

(this is not a new idea and you can find many tutorials on the topic -- at the same time, I read about it in the Big Ass Book of Crafts)

This is what you need:
  • A handful of pens
  • Some colorful silk flowers (I bought two beautiful mixed bunches at Michaels, which was having a sale, for only $3.50 each -- I used two and made two sets, one for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day)
  • Floral tape
  • A wide-mouthed vase to act as a pen holder
  • Possibly some wirecutters
This project is so simple that even an eight-year old can do it. In fact, one of my eight-year old twins wrapped the bouquet shown above.

Simply clip the stems to the desired length, then wrap the floral tape to secure the pens and flowers snugly together.

It's that easy!

If your flowers are hard to arrange in your vase, a handful of floral accent marbles can help them stand up tall.

One nice side-effect of this lovely arrangement is that it makes it a lot less likely that your coworkers will accidentally walk off with your pens.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Father's Day Cards!


TWO days.... THREE Father's Day cards!

Whoo hoo!

I was so jazzed after posting my cute Bunny in a Boat card that I spent much of today working on two other styles of Father's Day cards. I figured that one, in a traditional style, would be good and the other could be funny (as opposed to adorable, like the bunny card).

So, for traditional, I did a sailboat -- this was actually the suggestion of a customer who wondered if I would have a Father's Day card like the Mother's Day Three Reasons card that she'd just purchased (so, thanks, patpme!) -- I had mentioned to her that I was having a problem finding good artwork to represent dads that wasn't totally cheesy, like antique cars and golf clubs -- my husband always gets these cards that don't really fit him at all).

The Superhero version is a little humorous, but also great for those dads that really are a little something special. This was just posted this morning.

For all three of these cards, I deliberately made them event-neutral; none of them mention Father's Day, so any of these cards can be used for any event (birthdays, anniversaries, "just because" or whatever you want -- do you really need a holiday to tell someone you love why you think they're special?)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pop-Up Wedding Invitations

I just finished these pop-up wedding invitations for some friends of mine and I couldn't be more pleased.

For starters, this is for a very old friend (not to say that HE'S old, but we go quite a ways back. It's my buddy, Don, from my days working at the newspaper.)

In the last year or so, he's found love. Total, mad, giddy love.

How wonderful is that?

He and John and planning on doing the deed officially in Canada and then jetting off to Europe for a dreamy three-month-long honeymoon. When they return: party! A reception at Leach Botanical Gardens.

I don't know how they thought to ask me to do their invitations, but I'm so glad that they did. I am so excited and privileged to be a small part of this really lovely event.

I found a tiny hidden space behind their cut-outs to put in a secret quote: "You don't marry someone you can live with - you marry the person you cannot live without."

Isn't that just beautiful?

Anyway, I'm really happy with these. Someday, I may put a version of these on the etsy store, but this month, I need to focus on those Father's Day cards!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Three Reasons Card

Okay, this is my new card.

I LOVE the artwork on this one! I think it makes it the cutest card I've ever done!

I have tomorrow off. I want to retake the photos before I post them onto etsy -- the colors are so sweet and subtle that I think they need to be redone.

I started this one with the intention of making Father's Day cards, but I intentionally left any "dad" references out of it so that people can use it for any occasion (birthdays, anniversary, just because, etc).

I'm pretty excited about this one!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yay! I won!

My etsygreetings group issued a Mother's Day challenge. You could enter cards for that category and they would post them up. Readers could then vote on their favorites. One random reader who posted a comment would receive the winning card and the card-maker who designed the winning card would get bragging rights.

So, yay! I won!

Judi FitzPatrick was the lucky card winner. I popped the card in the mail for her today.

Fun and exciting!

Monday, May 4, 2009

All Caught Up

A few months ago, I blogged about signing up to become a Crafty Wonderland vendor f0r May.

Apparently a lot of other local crafters had similar ideas because they were deluged with applications. I was waitlisted. 


To be honest, I'm a little relieved, though -- I was starting to get stressed out about getting ready for the event (I really needed to work on my display. Check out what my friend Wendy did for her display: and, honestly, I had so much going on with my huge bubble of sales last week that, honestly, I can use a weekend off.

For the first time in weeks, I'm completely caught up. I've completed and sent out the two birthday party invitation sets I had been working on, I have sent out all etsy orders to date, my card exchange with etsygreetings is all done, I completed 114 pop-up wedding invitations (as well as 114 rsvp cards) for my friends and those are boxed up and ready for pickup.


All done.


Okay, maybe not completely: I did promise to customize my circus invitations to a carnival theme for an upcoming kid's birthday party, so I need to start looking for good artwork for that.

And my Italian wedding invitation is still outstanding -- the first comp I mailed to them apparently went astray and so I've express mailed a second set. So this might be coming in soon. Have to figure out how to figure out shipping on something like this.

And I'm still working on a website for that fellow parent. 

So not entirely footloose and fancy-free, but this is a nice level of activity for me.

Next up: Father's Day cards!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Busy week!


It's been a hectic week, mostly because of being featured in the Etsy Finds Blog, which got me a TON of attention.

In the past week, I've:
  • Received about seventy five orders for cards on etsy (all of those cards had to be printed, cut, assembled, packaged, addressed and stamped, plus checked and double-checked several times)
  • Sold a jungle-themed birthday party package: 40 invitations, 50 thank you notes, 40 rsvp cards, 90 gift card holders. Everything's complete but the gift card holders (note to self: charge more than $.50 each for these, they take a ton of work!)
  • I've started a new website for a fellow parent at the school (purchased a temporary url, got the site set up, transferred the content, currently in the process of selecting the layout she wants)
  • Finalized the pop-up wedding invitations that I designed for some friends of mine. All the pieces have been printed and most of the cutting has been completed (I'm pleased with this design, which is a simplified variant of the Alice in Wonderland popup -- I'll share later)
  • Finished implementing a card exchange that I thought up for my fellow etsygreetings group
  • Finalized and got approval for the comps for a set of circus invitations that I donated as a package to a local school auction. All the pieces have been printed and cut and are awaiting assembly

In between, I've had my full-time job, helped raise the kids, had some social life, convinced the boys that they really wanted to go to summer camp and, at least occasionally, slept.

Being featured on the Etsy Finds blog was incredibly exciting. I sure got a TON of exposure. I'm starting to get feedback about the cards I sold (which were mostly the Mother's Day cards) and it's been extremely gratifying. This is a relatively new style of card for me and people are really saying some very nice things about them -- I have really been LOVING the feedback that people have given me (one lady bought five of them for her little store. She says that all five were sold within the hour!).

It's nice because it's unique. I haven't seen anything quite like it anywhere, even commercially (I'm hoping that people won't rip off the design). 

The best thing about it, for me, is that I actually don't mind making these. There are some cards that I really don't like making (my friend Wendy's comment: "why don't you stop selling them then?"). If that card had been featured on the blog, I would NOT have been able to survive all the sales.

Father's Day cards are next on my agenda! After that, I really want to do more  versions of that same kind of card to be used for other holidays (Anniversary: "Three reasons why I would marry you all over again." Graduation: "Three reasons why I know you'll succeed." -- you get the idea...).