I'm Having a Huge Sale!!!!

>> Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm cleaning shop... and have put tons of stuff on sale! All for the low price of $2 flat rate shipping, take ALL you want!

check out my section here:


1st TradeAHolics Challenge - 'OLD STUFF DAY'!!!!

The TradeAHolics team is hosting a quick and dirty crafting challenge event!!! It is going to be sooooo unbelievably cool.

Here's the summary:

'Old Stuff Day' is not a day to do the same old stuff. Rather, it's a time to recognize the boring nature of your daily routine, and make some exciting changes.... a day to find new and different activities, projects, and hobbies... attend an event. Do something, anything, different.

In honour of 'Old Stuff Day' - March 2nd - we're all going to move outside our respective creative boxes and create something totally different than what we usually do! Then people will vote on their favorite one and the winner will have a huge feature on the TradeAHolics' blog! Voters also have a chance to win a prize just by voting and posting a comment on the blog!


How cool is that? I already know what I'm going to make...


FEATURED ARTISTS!!!! candypegram, sarawestermark & IMOTIME!

>> Friday, February 22, 2008

I couldn't choose just one from the wonderful etsy sellers who posted on my thread!!!! So, today, we have THREE!

This amazingly quirky painting is by candypegram!(http://candypegram.etsy.com/) She works with canvas and wood, and also has really great t-shirts (at killer prices!) with her original characters on them! Hmmmm... maybe we'll see them on TV one day... they have such lovely personalities! Her works on wood are fabulously textured and her sense of colour is wonderful.

sarawestermark (http://sarawestermark.etsy.com/) has really original and fascinating jewelry creations that combine organic forms and metal perfectly! I love the way she uses her materials and how her semi-precious stones really shine.

Last, but definitely not least, we have IMOTIME's amazing bedpan clock! Based out of San Diego, he creates wonderful time pieces out of ordinary objects that speak to the viewer on so many levels... toilet humour sometimes being one of them! (http://imotime.etsy.com/)

Thanks to everyone who posted on my thread and who took the time to read my blog! I'm going to continue to feature other etsy sellers here... so keep me updated on what you're up to!

xooxo muffin


Adventures in Advertising (and Marketing!) - Part One

Somehow, brooklynthings (http://brooklynthings.etsy.com/) and maryvsmith (http://maryvsmith.etsy.com/) and I ended up chatting separately about different advertising/marketing strategies... so I decided to blog a little about what has worked for me, and what has totally blown up in my face. For someone who really only sells on etsy, my experience is quite limited, but I feel that it's only fair to pay forward what I have learned... when I started here, a couple of etsy gurus took me under their wing and I wouldn't be here without them.
So, here we go. Let's start with your corporate identity and your etsy shop.

1. Choose a shop name, and design - or get someone to design for you - a fabulous logo. The first thing that people do is identify you by your shop name and your avatar in the etsy forums. I find that when people have a shop name that reflects what they sell, it is so effective! When people use their own name, I think it says "classy and artsy"! I like it when sellers use their products as their avatar because it gives me a little window into their shop. I tell you, I actually think that some people look like their avatar in real life, that's how linked your identity becomes to it. Think about the image that you would like to portray, what your target demographic is, what you want to have in your shop. For instance, if you sell high end jewelry, you don't want to pick a cartoon or something that you would find in a kindergarten classroom - you want your logo and avatar to say "elegance, flair, timelessness... you're worth it!" I feel that my little "muffin" avatar has a combination of funky, sweet and creative, which is exactly what I want to convey. When you sell jewelry AND sock monkeys, you have to choose something that spans both sections, LOL!

When I designed my little "muffin", I drew several drafts on paper and test drove them on the husband, and a few friends. They voted, and the rest is Muffin Top history! I even went and got a rubber stamp of my design at Staples (it cost me about $40 CDN and took three days), and I use it to stamp on EVERYTHING!
I do have to admit though, that even though I LOVE the name muffintopdesigns, I feel that it's a little misleading about what I sell. People actually thought I sold muffins. So not true. I should have thought about it a little more, but oh well. I've worked hard to promote myself, so I would hope that muffintop now reflects me, my jewelry and my sock monkeys. And plus, I really love the new nickname, "muffin" that I have in the forums - and in real life!
2. Invest in some primo promotional materials. See the business card above and to the left? That's mine! There are some really great people on etsy who have the skills to help you with this, if you can't do it yourself. My cards and mailing labels were created by etsy's own KJPatino, who not only does promo stuff, but also has fantastic crocheted items! (http://kjpatino.etsy.com/) My cards are printed on high quality, glossy photo paper and I include one in every package I send.

To the right are my mailing labels. They are obviously designed to match my business cards, which helps reinforce my "corporate" identity (okay, I had to laugh uproariously here, I am sooooo not a corporation!!!!!!!) I used to just write the addresses on the envelopes and boxes I sent out, but I find that these not only save a crapload of time, but they also give a really nice finishing touch.

Now, this is probably not a required promo item to have, but PurpleHug (http://purplehug.etsy.com/) makes these kick-ass receipt pads. She did a wicked job working with my logo to create these and prints them out on her laser printer. They also come with carbon paper so that you can have a copy of every order that goes out! I don't regret for one second investing in these and have had people comment on how professional their packages have been when they open them!
magymai711 is a jewel hidden under collage sheets and supplies... she also makes amazing paper goods! (http://magymai711.etsy.com/) She made me some tags with really nice beige cord with my muffin logo on them to tie onto the sock monkeys. I also think that this was a nice touch! You can see the tag here (sort of) on Woodrow the sock monkey. They're lovely and rustic and she made them for me in two sizes!
(the baby here isn't mine - she belongs to another fantastic etsy artist, Tiffany - who can be found at http://tiffanyteske.etsy.com/! and i don't think she's for sale, LOL!)
so, how's that for a first installment? next time I'll talk about setting up shop and PAID advertising, and how I'm not sure it's worked for me, :)
xoxoox muffin


JunieJo's Monkey - Muffin!

>> Thursday, February 21, 2008

I just had to share this picture! I can't stop laughing when I see it.

JunieJo from juniejocards at etsy ordered a custom sock monkey from me earlier this year. When I was packing him up, he just looked so cute in the box that I just had to take a picture! So this is how Muffin the Monkey made his way to Junie's house!!!!

Junie also has this awesome card that is sock monkey inspired and a collaboration between her shop and cdosehn- so perfect for this blog entry! So thanks for making this, Junie! xoxoxooxox

Visit junie at http://juniejocards.etsy.com/ and CD at http://cdosehn.etsy.com - they are so absolutely sweet they'll make your teeth hurt.


New Jewelry!

>> Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My shoulder has loosened up a little, and this is the day before I start holidays with the husband, so I'm up really early and have been making things!!! I sort have vowed to try to use up all of the supplies that I've accumulated over the last year before I do any huge shopping again, so here are my latest creations! And I'm quite pleased!

I am so proud of this ring! I can't believe that I finally was able to make one! I think that this counts as #5 on my New Year's Resolution list - my little "Nest Egg" ring! Those Swarovski pearls totally are so sweet.

I also seem to have been collecting semi-precious gemstones - they seem to speak to me, LOL, in the most unpsychotic way! And why they deem them "semi" precious, I don't know - they sure are wholly precious to me! Here is my new "Starry Bliss" bracelet - it glows with all the different shades of pink! Girly, yet powerful... can you get better than that?

The trading team is also looking to add links to members' blogs on the team blog! So head on over there and post yours!!!!


Adding Insult to Injury...

>> Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've pulled my shoulder. And I didn't even DO anything strenous!!!! I had a good run the day before, and the day before that I had a great back workout... all I did was light a candle, turn to hear the husband talk and BANG!!!! Pop goes the weasel. It hurts to sleep, it hurts to sit, it hurts to do anything - much less crafting!!!!!! Oh well. It forces me to relax, I suppose - the husband thinks that it was because I spent so much time on the computer over the last few days that it happened... and I suppose it could be true.

I was able to make a couple of things to put up in the shop though, which made me feel marginally better:

Now if I could only sell something, that would make me feel a LOT better!!!!!!!! I'm thinking that perhaps I have too much in my shop, that maybe thinning things out might help - and maybe separating things into a high end line and a lower priced line may generate sales... but maybe I should wait until the pain goes away to do anything drastic!!!!!!!!!


I heart my Treasury...

>> Monday, February 18, 2008

... and it's going to expire soon. So I'm preserving it here.


FEATURED ARTIST!!! Trisha Lamoreaux

I firmly believe in promoting other etsy artists, because, truly, there is so much fabulous talent out there that needs to be discovered! So, as promised, here is my etsy featured artist!

Trisha Lamoreax creates awesome paintings using only a palette knife with impasto (wet on wet) techniques to create depth and texture. I have a soft spot for this painting - my husband and I honeymooned in NYC and this brought back great memories!

Trisha's work has been included in both corporate and private collections and I am sure that she will be someone to watch in the future!!! I'm hoping that she'll be including prints and cards of her work soon!

You can visit her etsy shop at http://tlamoreaux.etsy.com/ and her blog at http://tlamoreaux.blogspot.com/

Thanks to everyone who showed their support with my little blog contest and especially to Trisha for making such fabulous artwork!!!!

xoxoxo muffin


Trading Team Poll

>> Sunday, February 17, 2008

A shameless little plug for the Trade-A-Holics team here - we are planning our next team event and need your help to decide what it will be! Go to the Trade-A-Holics blog here:
and vote for your choice! You don't have to be a member to vote or to play... but you can always join if the impulse strikes!!! *hint hint*
We had a really great time at our last event, check out the blog to see! And it couldn't have happened without my co-leader, AkHotDoggies - who is the organizational genius behind it all!!!! (Visit her at http://akhotdoggies.etsy.com/ )
Trade on, everyone, trade on.


First Foray into Paid Advertising

Okay, I'm talking a lot today. But I made my first foray into paid advertising - not including my two (un)successful showcase spots! Everyone knows etsytools, right? well, they have a pretty great and non-threatening advertising program where you pay for the number of times your ad appears on their pages, NOT for just a block of time! Pretty great, huh? AND you get to design your own itty bitty ad!
Don't know yet if it will pay off - I would assume that most of the traffic is from fellow etsy sellers - but at least they know to hit the Paypal button to complete the transaction!!! LOL!!!!!! Plus I spend enough time addicted to the heart-o-matic, which is up and running over there, so I figure I owe them anyhow!
http://www.etsytools.com/ - check it out - or at the very least, check out my ad!


New Year's Resolution

Someone said that New Year's Resolutions should be made 2 or 3 months into the year... that way, you don't have the pressure put on you that everyone else does!!!! I don't know if that's true, but I know that I have made the resolution to learn 10 - yes, TEN! - new crafting techniques this year! Not all of the experiments will make it to my etsy shop, LOL - some won't even see the light of day!!! But so far, I don't think I've done too badly!!!!

Here are the ones I've tackled so far:

1. Earring Spirals - the tutorial is in KaeLynn's shop - http://kaelynndesign.etsy.com/

2. Bookbinding - I bought a kit from MyHandboundBooks - the kit is WONDERFUL!!! Too bad I need a little more practice, LOL!!! - http://myhandboundbooks.etsy.com/

3. Wire Wrapping - see the photo above! I took at class and I tell you, I AM IN LOVE!!! I can't get enough of this - and combined with semi-precious stones, what a DREAM! They are selling quite well and I'm really happy with the way they turn out. I now have a section in my shop dedicated to these rings - and I've only been making them for two weeks! YAY ME!

4. Precious Metal Clay - this one I've been working up to - and it kind of straddles last year too. I had taken a PMC class in early 2007, bought a kit and some clay... and then it sat in the basement for almost a year. I know, I know, very sad - but I finally got the courage to break out the clay and I am so glad that I did!

So I have 6 more to go... I am saving up all of my etsy money to take a metalsmithing class, so we'll see how it goes!

You're never too old to learn new things. And I'm really excited!

P.S. thanks to everyone who has been participating in my little etsy contest - keep posting your comments and I'll choose someone to feature this week!!!!


Here We Go... AGAIN!

Okay, this is my SECOND attempt at keeping a blog... if it weren't for the Trading Team, I would never have gotten the hang of this blogger thing!!!! LOL!!!!

This is me in a nutshell - I'm a crafty lady hiding behind a youngish, married urban professional in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I've always been an artistic person - in my first go at school, I got my degree in Fine Arts but figured it wasn't financially lucrative... so I went into Social Services, a more financially lucrative field, but as it turns out, not by MUCH! The best thing I got out of that career decision has been my wonderful, loving supportive husband, D!!!!
About a year ago, I was going through a difficult time, and my friend Becks introduced me to beading. We had a girls' day, headed to Michaels, bought me some beads and pliers, got McDonalds for lunch, and she showed me the basics. From that moment, I couldn't stop.

At first, my beading stuff filled one small drawer in our kitchen... then a space on the kitchen counter and the drawer... then the kitchen table, the counter, AND the drawer... then I started making more sock monkeys too and it was all on the floor under the kitchen table... I think you get my drift. My cousin J introduced me to ETSY and I signed up and from then on, I was totally addicted.

My little shop has been doing quite well, I think, in the 6 months or so that I've been at ETSY. I am quite happy with the things that I've learned since I started doing this again, and I'm so excited to share this journey!!!! Hopefully I will be able to keep up with this a little bit more than I have been... now I wish I had stuck with it and documented my progress!!! Oh well, better late than never!!!

Some highlights so far:
* I was briefly on the Front Page at ETSY - whoo hoo!!!

* I totally blew through my 2008 goal of 250 sales - had to revamp to 300!!! (fingers crossed)
* AkHotDoggies and beadelicious have been conspiring with me to create the new ETSY Trade-a-Holics Team and we had our first team event last weekend - how FUN!!!!
* I've also made a New Year's Resolution to learn 10 new crafting techniques this year... I'll blog about that later!
I'm hoping to show off not only my creations but those of others' too so that the world can finally realize the power of all things crafty!!!! Let's GO!!!!

xoxoox muffin


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