Thursday, 31 July 2008

Team Happenings 8/1/2008

I am finally back and ready to post about all the great things this team has been doing in July! What a fabulous team this is! I am personally very honored to be a part of such creative and supportive artists.

Our very own Aly was featured on PoshMama last week in Capitolagirl's Friday Findings. Check it out at:

More of Aly's beautiful crocheted necklaces can be found at her shop on etsy,

Nora, of, was the featured artist at etsyfest. It is always fun to read a bit about our members! Check the interview out at:

Morgan was featured on coolcraftymom! Read this great write up about Morgan's jewelry designs at :

She has other beautiful jewelry creations at Go take a look!

Ooooohhhh yes! Wear those beautiful earrings with the fab dress from Nora ... and dance the night away to "Purple Rain"!

I was featured as the Designer of the Day on HandbagDesigner101. Here's the link:

I currently am lacking in bags for sale but you can check out my other accessories at

Becca was featured on the Front Page at Etsy! TWICE!!!!! Quite an honor! Her hip, knitted creations can be found at

And, finally, Margarida was featured in a Storque article! Read what this featured buyer has to say about Margarida's great handmade creations:

All of her very cool creations can be found at

We would also like to welcome our three new team members: octopedalarts, fishyfacestudios and gracenapoleon. We are so excited to have these fabulous artists join the Fashion, Design and Lifestyle team! Check out their stores on Etsy for some wonderfully creative items!

Wow!!! this team really has so much going on! Congratulations to all of you wonderfully talented featured artists!
Good, happy team thoughts go out to Barbara and hew new baby boy!!!!!!!!!!!
Check our blog soon for news about our exciting August team challenge!
That's all she wrote, folks ...

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Putting Your Best Face Forward by Happiknits

Many years ago, long before knitting was my passion, and pharmacy was my profession, I went to cosmetology school. I had high hopes of doing stage makeup(that never happened). I did, however, land a job at the cosmetic counter in a department store. I sold cosmetics and did some freelance makeover work for large cosmetic companies. I also did makeup application for all of my friends (and their friends) proms, weddings, special events. I even did my own wedding makeup~bindhis included! So now, my job really involves more recommendations on the medicinal side, but I am still in love with the world of cosmetics.

When the fashion design and Lifestyle team put out a call for blog writers I volunteered a monthly post reviewing cosmetic/skin care products, and giving some basic application advice. Us fashionistas need to put our best face forward. This month I am going to start with foundation, because it is the base of all makeup application, the "blank canvas" so to say. I feel it is most important to start with a clean, dry face. Apply moisturizer (I will review skin care in the future) my favorite is Hope in a jar by Benefit. Let the moisturizer sit a couple minutes~

There are two choices for makeup application, the daytime or the nighttime face. I will start with the Daytime face:

1. for the daytime or the summer I love Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. It is a lovely, light way to "erase" any slight skin imperfections and give a move even toned, dewy, youthful look. It also has an SPF. I usually apply this with a makeup sponge and go, or you can use a little translucent powder over it to achieve a more matte look.

2. For the nighttime face the sky is the limit here. This is your chance to be playful! Enjoy your femininity. Here I use Mercier foundation primer first~ this helps to keep your foundation on longer.

-apply any spot concealer to blemishes or scars. I'm a big fan of MAC Select Coverup . This little tube lasts quite awhile and it's virtually invisible once applied.

-next I mix the Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with Mercier Oil Free Foundation in a 1 to 1 ratio. Dab on the foundation and blend, then blend again with a cosmetic sponge. The secret to a flawless, natural looking face is to blend!!!

- Here depending on the amount of "matte" look you wish to achieve you can apply translucent powder (again here I am a big fan of the Mercier line) or if you're really looking to get a matte finish MAC Studio Fix is a great product.

A word here about MAC Studio Fix. This is a great foundation that can be used alone (it is a powder foundation). It is an awesome product if you want a "fast" applying makeup. I use it on work mornings when I'm rushing to get out the door. It is not the best choice when you are having photos taken~ it makes you appear "washed out" and if you have drier skin it can be drying, especially in the winter.

-Remember to blend with a sponge. Don't forget important areas like the neckline, hairline and nostrils. You don't want to see a foundation line anywhere!

One last word here, remember the Golden Rule of being a girl~ No matter how late the evening, or how many cosmopolitans you've had, remove your makeup before going to bed, this is the easiest way to put your best face forward!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Trunk Shows: An Example of What Works

A little info about what works

A trunk show is an essential way to market your craft and yourself. I have had a bunch of jewelry trunk shows that have done really well and I wanted to take some time to share some of my tips with all of you.

First, I find a location. There are a few options here, you can use your own house, a friends house, an office, a gallery, etc. To maximize your profit, use a venue that does not require overhead. This location should be easy to get to and have ample parking.

Second, I pick a date I would like to have my trunk show. I have had successful events on weekends and week nights after a typical work day. On the weekends, my hours are usually from 11am to 5 pm. During the week, 6 to 9pm. These times give people enough time to get to your show as well as take their time looking at your pieces.

Thirdly, I have had successful shows using both free advertising and purchased advertising. I tend lean towards as much free advertising as I can because I am on a budget.
I start working with 'word of mouth.' I am on a few social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. I create an event that is open to all of my friends and all of my networks. Using this type of advertising is completely FREE and often these sites send reminders to make sure the persons attending don't forget.
I also go to our local newspapers and add events to the local calendar. If even a few people see it, it's is better than nothing.
I email everyone I know to tell them about the show and encourage them to bring friends. I also blog about my plans and put up a few pictures.

I have also done mailings. You can create a post card fairly easily and take it to Staples or print them out yourself on your computer if you have a decent printer. It is faster and the picture looks better when I have had them done at Staples. This should have the date and times of your show, as well as directions and a contact number. These are great because people can put them on their fridge or take them to work and put it on a bulletin board, etc.

Fliers! These WORK! You can give them to a few friends, post them in public places, ask store owners to put them up, as well as putting it up at the gym, doctors office, schools, Starbucks, Target, and etc. This can at least grab people's attention, even if they do not attend. It will start a buzz about yourself. You can use any color paper you want, but I chose a blue and green for mine.

Next, THE ACTUAL EVENT!! Yay! The show date has arrived and you might be thinking what you need to do to get ready. You should always provide a beverage of some sort - be it juice, water, soda, or wine. It is your choice. I usually offer water, juice, and wine. Snack-wise, I have offered cookies, cheese and crackers, veggies with dip, and candy. Who knows what people are in the mood for, so a variety is a good idea.
Music is completely up to you, something that is your style but not overwhelming. I really like Nora Jones, Jack Johnson, and Ben Harper - most of their songs can be played at a normal to low level but still have people humming a long.
Make sure that people have the option to sit down - whether to get a closer look at your pieces, to chit chat, or just to sit after a busy day. When I set up my jewelry I use a dining room table and place a few chairs around so people can sit down and try on my jewelry. This way they get a realistic look at themselves and the jewelry. Comfort is KEY!
Make sure everything that can have a tag, has a tag. This gives people time to either make an impulse buy or to mull it over and perhaps eventually purchase.
Gift bags are a great idea to not only complete the purchase, but to show the customer you care from beginning to end how your craft/art is represented. People judge everything!
Accepting credit cards will improve your profit margin drastically. I have used Paypal and Propay. These are reliable processing companies. I know there are others out there, but these are what have worked for me and can work well for you as well.

SIGNS! People will be looking for a way to get there even if they know how to get there. I have a large sign that I hang from the porch of where I have local shows (I also use it at festivals and shows). I also put out a sign that can be seen from both sides and has a LARGE arrow pointing people in the right direction. You never know when a sale will literally walk in the door. People get curious. A good sign will peak curiosity.

Lastly, be yourself and be proud of your work. You have worked hard to have a show in addition to creating your work. Don't be afraid to tell people about yourself, how you got into creating, what inspires you, and that you love seeing people love your craft. Confidence is key and will help you sell more!

If yall have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me through email or through

Have a wonderful week! And GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SHOWS!!!!

- Morgan

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Successful Bloggers - A Fanciful Twist

"The Siren follows her heart" a fanciful twist

Here is the last in my series of blogging posts and I'm sure you will all love this interview by A Fanciful Twist. If the loveliness gets too much you can head over to her shop and purchase a little bit of it for yourself!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creativity:
Me and my creativity? Okay! I am Vanessa Valencia, and I frolick amongst paints and brushes & characters(sometimes we toss the brushes and simply finger paint). Almost every garment I own has a fleck or more of paint on it. Even though, I do try to stay away from the paints on certain clothing, they find their way to me!!!
I have a shop and blog called "A Fanciful Twist." Where I have found a home to share my creations. Although, I find that, I have not shared much of all the work I have created over the years.... So perhaps that will come next... I have hardly visited my old work myself... Which is probably true for most artists...
I have been creating & delving into my imagination for as long as I can remember. I used to talk to myself for hours (I am told by my mother), always having visits from wee characters, who later came to life on paper...
Finally at about age 13, my parents let me have a go at my bedroom walls and all of my furniture. I took paint to them, and never ever looked back. That is when I started doing large scale art pieces on canvas for my family, and soon, my parent's friends were buyers. But, I never solicited them... They asked for pieces on their own. Which was a great thing for a kid, to be able to flourish by people taking interest... I think it is very important that we do that for children. Nurture is one of my favorite, most beloved words...
I went on to attend and graduate from the University of Arizona. I did not study fine arts, my degree is in International Retailing. However, I did minor in photography... But, better than that, at age 18, I found myself at a wee gallery downtown, and they had me teaching how to paint on Saturdays, and then soon, I was painting on the premises all the time... So, that was a bit of education and exposure I got outside of the University... I was part of the little art scene there, and was able to make life long friendships with artists who lived and painted in downtown area...
I have been doing art shows and trunk shows with my jewelry creations for over 14 years...
Today I spend a great deal of time in my studio, where little creatures, ballet dancers, and a bevy of my version of mad tea party characters come visit me. And sometimes, they even jump onto a canvas or two... Thank goodness they do that, so that I can capture them and share them with you!!

"Tea Time Girl 2" a fanciful twist
2. When did you start your blog and why?
I started my blog at the end of 2006. I think, what was happening was that since about 1994, so many people were urging me to share everything I was up to, on a larger level.. But, I just didn't know how to, nor did I think I wanted to... Back in the nineties, sharing yourself was not as easy as blogging. It meant, I would have to travel around with my work... And I just wanted to create, be alone and create...
So, when blogging came around, my eyes widened like a kid in a candy store!! It thought, "This is perfect." I get to meet kindred spirits, share a bit of myself... And never have to leave my studio... Blogging is unreal. Truly marvelous. The way you can share yourself with people clear on the other side of the world... It is a very, very special thing...
So, I started blogging having no real idea what I was doing... I looked at some of my favorite blogs. Learning, and taking tips from what I could see others doing... But really, I had no idea what I was doing. Being silly for certain, but other than that, who knows...
I didn't start sharing my art right away... it took me a few months... However, I had this little website that I was not sharing at all and really didn't think anyone knew about. Then one day, about a month into blogging, people started shopping from it.. And that really inspired me to feel like it was time to share my artwork through my blog more...

"Party Creature" a fanciful twist
3. How has blogging affected your business?
I suppose you can say that, without blogging I wouldn't have an internet business. You can have a website, and share your work. But the question is, if you don't have a following already, then how are people going to find you? Or even know you exist??
Blogging has changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic. But it has... It is inevitable. It becomes your front door, to invite people in... You get to meet precious souls, make new friends, and share your work globally. And, if you can imagine, that most certainly changes your life and your business.
Also, because of my blog, I have been found by a few magazines. Which in itself, was for me, that crucial jolt of validity, that ignites a flame in a person, to continue creating...

4. You have a great readership, what advice would you give beginners for drawing readers in and back again?
I don't really know. And, I say this in all honesty. I don't know what I did, except be myself. But, I also wanted to have fun. Life is tough as it is... I just wanted a fun happy outlet...
I do know, that when I began blogging, I forged some great friendships with other bloggers. And, I am still friends with most of them. I think, like anything, you have to find your little niche... Make a few friends. You'll visit them, they'll visit you... I don't think you can simply start a blog and then wait to see who will read. I think, blogging is very interactive...
Again, you are opening your front door, and letting people in... Of course you are going to chat and get to people if you were meeting them face to face. So, a bit of that has to happen in blogging as well. The other thing is, I love to blog and to read blogs...
Sometimes, when I am trying to be creative, I have to lock myself up in the studio, and I tell ya, I miss visiting other people. I think blogging is a wonderful sharing of energy and ideas. Give and take...
What I do know, is what draws me in to read other people's blogs... A list of some factors would be, good pictures, giggles, sincerity, creativity, lovely sentiments. I will say though, sometimes, things can't always be happy go lucky, but that too is special. That people can sincerely share all facets of life... That is important to me as a reader...

"Magical Cypress Tree Grove and 3 little visitors" a fanciful twist
5. Do you have tips or advice to share that you have learned along the way?
Umm, let's see. Silly things could be, don't write a blog post when angry. Hahaa! I did that once, when my neighbor put up a ten foot fence ;) But, he doesn't know me, and surely wouldn't be visiting blogs... That leads me to, be aware that what you are sharing will be seen by many people. Make sure it is something you would want many people to see and know. Don't be surprised if someone comes up to you in a restaurant, knowing lots of things about you ;) (from your blog)
The fact is, you are not going to show every single detail of your life. That would be impossible. But, choose things that you feel represent who you are well. Have fun! I love reading about recipes and ideas, gardening tips & creative adventures...
Also, anyone can contact me if they have a burning question that I might be able to answer???
I think in anything, you are constantly learning and growing and changing... That is true in blogging as well... It is after-all, a little piece of you...