DIY Kits and Tutorials

Contributor blog post by Jennifer  from CaffeinatedPapercuts

Good morning everyone – Jennifer here from CaffeinatedPapercuts to talk all about DIY Kits and tutorials. I know I love browsing Etsy shops for new crafts to try or for a quick and easy way to create what I need. DIY kits are wonderful for beginners or for someone who just wants a quality product without having to buy all the supplies themselves. I even enjoy giving them as gifts!

I reached out to our CIJ team for their thoughts on kits and tutorials, both why they use/offer them and why they don’t. Definitely food for thought when you’re shopping or considering offering them in your shop!

I had to chuckle; both Christine from cwagenblass9 and I offer DIY card kits, and her gingerbread house card is adorable!

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I created a gingerbread card that kids could decorate – the kit comes complete with icing, gingerbread man and wife, and wreath and candy. I had several requests from people for gingerbread templates and thought this might be a fun project.

Me, I love scrapbooking, but don’t always have the time or supplies I want. Enter scrapbook page kits; paper and embellishments to make two 12″x12″ layouts, but you can easily redesign it any way you wish.

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Savannah from RareRusticCrafts formulated her own clay masks for DIY facials to follow the trend of pampering yourself at home. After all, just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself!

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I do sell 2 clay masks that are used for DIY facials. Both masks are a great way to give yourself the spa facial treatment in the comfort of your own home. The masks range from $12 – $14; the last facial I got was upwards of $80. It was also about 2 hours of my evening; I can use my clay mask at home while I’m doing the laundry. My target market thinks along the same lines, and the clay mask has been a great option to carry in my store.

Who doesn’t love quick, easy, and quality results while you wander around the house chasing stray socks? LOL Savannah also had some insights on DIY kits:

The last DIY kit I bought was a latch hook rug about 10-12 years ago. I like to buy supplies for DIY projects, but I guess I don’t really like to buy kits. If I take a second to think about that, I guess it’s because I like to really personalize my projects. It’s fun to get instructions on how to do something, but then do it with your own flare. The last bunch of supplies I bought for a DIY project was a ton of polymer clays, a clay roller, tools for shaping it, and paper for mokume gane polymer projects. So, it was a DIY project that I had watched a ton of videos on, but I didn’t spring for the DIY starter kits; I went for the specific colors and tools that I wanted.

I’d hate to say that the DIY kits I reject are “bad”. But I suppose when you’re putting together a DIY kit, you should consider that you may have those people who need a simple starter kit to learn the craft, but that you may also have seasoned crafters who need a kit with options or more than one use.

Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to DIY kits; having something for beginners and something to keep seasoned crafters interested is key. In this day and age of video tutorials, don’t be afraid to browse for good how-to videos, and shop owners, don’t be afraid to jump in and create them!

Kosmosa from GiftyTreasures enjoys tutorials and, like many artists, sometimes uses them to get over a creative block:

I love DIY tutorials, although I do not buy DIY kits. I know my art supplies and what to expect from them, but DIY kits usually don’t seem to offer enough information on what’s included. So tutorials are a great alternative and you can improvise if you don’t have all the materials, it makes you more creative.

This is also a good way to overcome creative block perhaps. Too much artistic freedom can make you indecisive, you want to paint too many things at once and just end up not doing anything. Tutorials provide some direction, it’s kind of like homework, but in a good way. I like the ones where you don’t have to copy everything exactly, so you still end up with something original.

Some days though, when looking for inspiration, I end up watching YouTube videos all day on how other artists paint. Well it may be just my thing, I like watching the paint dry. ;P

We’ve featured some great tutorials here on the Etsy CIJ blog – just check out our Tutorials category and find something new to try!

How about you; do you love to DIY? What are some great places for tutorials?

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CIJ Etsy Craft Party Winners!

Contributor blog post by Jennifer from CaffeinatedPapercuts

Hey everyone – still recovering from all the partying we’ve been doing here on the blog? I know I am! So much creativity and information – I love it!

I’m here today to announce the winners of all the wonderful goodies from our Craft Party 2015. They’ve all been contacted and have probably even received their prizes by now.

#EtsyCIJ #CIJCraftParty

#EtsyCIJ #CIJCraftParty

Small Leather Rose Pendant from MiracoliSpB – Heather Morgan

$25 Mystery Box Prize Pack from Rhodyart – Jessica Luiz-Brazil

Coffee Printable from bytheartbug – Carter Hamilton

Set of (2) Cinnamon Treats Wool Felted Hot Pads from timetalentjewels – Magdalena

Set of (4) Fox Note Cards from StinsonPaperCrafts – Diana M.

Ferris Wheel Photography Print from SummerStarsMasonJars – Dawn Whitehead

New York City Map Print from CartoCreative – Jennifer Loftfield

Crooked Houses Blank Art Card from LeeArt – Kristi Alflen

Altered 1920s Style Straw Hat from SSFDesigns – Connie Lee

Quilted Christmas Stocking from Quilterbell – Dawn Whitehead

Tan and Brown Nassa Shell Earrings from Bungalow42 – Ana Quilterbell

Thank you to all who came, read, created, donated, organized and participated in the #craftparty2015. We cannot wait for next year!

CIJ #Craftparty Prize Sponsors

Good morning everyone – Jennifer here from Caffeinated Papercuts to share with you all of the wonderful prizes donated by members of the Etsy CIJ team for our #CraftParty! You can enter to win them via our main Craft Party post. In no particular order:

The Nassa shells in these earrings are so sweet. The seashells and coconut beads are hand tied to waxed linen in a butterscotch color. Each shell is spaced expressly to mirror the opposite earring. Given the unique nature of shells no two earrings are identical which is part of their charm. The shells swing gracefully and make a lovely sound that is ever so soft. These lightweight earrings are 2 1/4

Nassa Shell Earrings from Bungalow42

The Nassa shells in these earrings are so sweet. The seashells and coconut beads are hand tied to waxed linen in a butterscotch color. Each shell is spaced expressly to mirror the opposite earring. Given the unique nature of shells no two earrings are identical which is part of their charm. The shells swing gracefully and make a lovely sound that is ever so soft. These lightweight earrings are 2 1/4″ long. All findings are sterling silver.

Leather Rose Pendent by MiracoliSpB

Leather Rose Pendent by MiracoliSpB

Small rose of leather pink. Rosette in metallic form. Small rose of leather three shades of pink that have been all handmade and designed by me. The picture you see is the picture of the exact item that you will receive.

Mystery Box by Rhodyart

Mystery Box by Rhodyart

A selection of items from Rhodyart, home of fun and quirky collage art cards and gifts, to be chosen by shop owner (but trust me, it’ll be good stuff lol)

8x10 Coffee Printable from bytheartbug

8×10 Coffee Printable from bytheartbug

Kitchen Art 8X10 “Start Your Day with Coffee” Printable (There will be NO watermark on the printable that you will receive).

Set of  (2) hot pads from timetalentjewels

Set of (2) hot pads from timetalentjewels

Cinnamon Treats Wool Felted Hot Pads

Set of (4) fox cards from StinsonPaperCrafts

Set of (4) fox cards from StinsonPaperCrafts

Set of 4 blank note cards featuring a fox which has been reproduced from an 18th century illustration. Includes white envelopes. The inside has a blank white writing area defined by two line separators. Cards are topped off with shiny black satin ribbon. Each A2 card is made of orange card stock and measures 5-1/2″ by 4-1/8″ folded. Envelopes measure 5-3/4″ x 4-3/8″.

Ferris Wheel Print from SummerStarsMasonJars

Ferris Wheel Print from SummerStarsMasonJars

Ferris Wheel at Sunset || DETAILS || • Printed at a professional photo lab in a high quality format. • Archival-quality photo paper and inks. • Auto-optimize contrast, color & brightness • Superior quality, matte-finish paper, fade resistant. • Matte finish creates rich color and a finger-print free surface. • Unmatted, unframed photo. • Packaged in a cellophane sleeve and shipped in a sturdy photo mailer through USPS.

Crooked Houses Blank Art Card - leeart

Crooked Houses Blank Art Card – leeart

One (1) card printed on card stock with Epson pigment ink. This ink will last 99 years. This card is from my original painting. Measures 4.5 X 6 inches approx. White card and envelope included in cello bag. Blank inside.

1920s Style Altered Hat - SSFDesigns

1920s Style Altered Hat – SSFDesigns

Altered straw hat 1920s style.

Personalized Christmas Stocking from Quilterbell

Personalized Christmas Stocking from Quilterbell

It is hand sewn and machine quilted to make sure you can use if for many years to come. It is also lined. It measures,16″ X 6.5 ” ( 40 cm X 18 cm) Please note that shipping costs are not included in the prize. Shipping from Dublin, Ireland. Shipping cost approximately $10 depends on location. {Editor’s note: If your name is selected and you do not wish to pay for shipping, another name will be drawn.}

New York City print by CartoCreative

New York City print by CartoCreative

8″x10″ New York City map art print in a light moss green color. Shipping included.

Remember, you have until midnight CDT TONIGHT to enter! Thank you to all of our prize sponsors – everything is so beautiful. All right, now back to the party!

Making your Pins work for you on Pinterest

Hello there everyone – Jennifer here from Caffeinated Papercuts to share some tips & tricks for making your pins work for you on Pinterest.

In the world of social media, Pinterest is the the idea-gatherer. Virtual bulletin boards that are filled with recipes, DIY ideas, and pretty things to buy. Obviously we all want our products to be in that third category, but how to do it? I reached out to my CIJ teammates and they had some great ideas. Reading them over, there seems to be two categories – Promotion and Branding.

Promotion
Pinterest is all about pinning your products and having followers who pay attention to your boards. But having nothing but a board full of your creations is, well, boring. Much like Facebook, Instagram, and even your blog you need to build an audience and keep them interested. For example; you sell jewelry. Setting up a board of your creations, one for techniques, one for craft show booths, one for supplies and one for designs/patterns will draw in many different viewers. To really blow your minds, I checked out my Pinterest totals: I currently have 107 boards, 4,330 pins, 418 followers and am following 206 boards. Checking my Etsy stats, Pinterest is my 5th largest traffic source so it pays to keep active.

The team had some great ideas as well:

B.K. Scriblz from ScriblzDesignStudio says

 What consistently works for me is to remember to post to Pinterest each and every time I list a new product; send it on to Pinterest. My stats tell me that Pinterest regularly brings in viewers/customers.

Yeah, it’s that “remembering to pin” part that can get me…but since Etsy has an integrated Pin it! button on our listing pages, once we publish it’s a quick & easy click to further promote our latest listings.

Amy Spock from BeadsandThreadsbyAmy says
Like B.K., I consistently have views from Pinterest. I completely enjoy curating my boards. Currently, I have boards on everything from Kitchen Decor to Pet Supplies to Hunting and Fishing. My Hunting and Fishing Board (which includes cabin decor) is one of my most popular boards. I fill my boards primarily with Etsy items from my shop and from the shops of Etsy Teams I belong to. I send a message to everyone with the link to their pin, and other sellers seem to like that.

I think what keeps my following on Pinterest is the varied posts I make. As I mentioned, I have several boards. Each board has items, vintage and handmade, that work with a variety of tastes, decor, and styles. I make sure I don’t post only my items, and I also make sure that proper links back to the origin of the pictures are maintained.

I receive traffic from Pinterest, and have had one customer who purchased an item mention she found the item on one of her friend’s Pinterest board. That item had been re-pinned from one of my boards, not directly from Etsy.

I work on Pinterest about once a week, finding my own items and items from other shops that belong on my boards. Each week, I have around 50 repins and likes on Pinterest, and steadily maintain about 50 views each week into my shop from Pinterest.

The new business tools Pinterest has integrated really helps keep track of what pins are really getting the love (now if only it was one from my shop…LOL). And don’t forget about hashtags! Oh yes, much like Instagram and Twitter those funny little tags get some Pinterest love, too. #forreal Be sure to include #cijetsy on your pins so we can find you!

Wendy Joy from wjoydesigns says
When I post my handmade goodies on Pinterest, I usually include a description of the piece and also note that the item is made by WJoyDesigns. If I am posting a treasury that includes one of my items, I include under the treasury, a thank you to the person or shop that made the treasury and a note also of the name or title of the item of mine that they included and that the item is made by WJoyDesigns!

Don’t forget about seasons and holidays! I know with Valentine’s Day right around the corner my feed has exploded with DIY ideas, so I made sure my pins had #valentine and my Love & Romance board was looking spiffy. Theme boards are also a great way to cross-promote your fellow teammates and sellers:

Robert Clough from SilverFoxAntiques says
Having several boards which are related helps for me. Like if you are promoting Christmas in July…I am going to have a Elf Food Entertaining board…full of ideas for the holidays…others as well all designed around the Christmas theme and will be promoting Etsy, I add items outside of Etsy so it looks balanced to pinners and not “advertising”, but the general idea is that it be appealing. I get a lot of sales from pinners, and it does drive business to my shop as well as others.

So now that we’ve got some visually appealing boards to work with, let’s talk about the next step – branding.

Branding
Having our listings pinned is one thing, but how will people know that it’s ours? I admit I hadn’t thought about this at all, but thankfully others have!

Patricia and Rebecca from northandsouthshabby says
We have tried to promote our brand on Pinterest in several ways.

We keep a separate account for our personal pins.

As we update our listings we have been adding our name to the first picture -however I do like the idea of adding our logo as well.

We try to pin only pins that have the shabby/nautical theme that we have in our shop.

We also have our “brand” on a majority of our boards by keeping the word “shabby” on them. Our boards, to name a few, are named Sea Shabby, Heart Shabby,Tweet n Shabby, Beach Wedding Shabby, etc -you get the idea! I think their names generate a bit of interest. Our stats show that we always get hits from Pinterest even when we haven’t recently pinned any of our own items, so our pins “by association” do lead other pinners to our shop.

Betty Travell from LadySnooks says
I have my logo next to the main picture.

I also have my Etsy shop address at the end of my profile. It isn’t a link, but it does give the address. Also, a hashtag can be used on your items with your shop name so that if someone pins your picture (and they will) they can click on that and see all your other items.

I hope we have your head swimming with new ideas on how to promote your items on Pinterest. Any questions or comments, be sure to post them here!

#CIJRoadTrip – Perm, Russia

Contributor blog post by Jennifer from CaffeinatedPapercuts

Today we’re traveling to Perm, Russia with Katya from KittyAprilHandmade. I snagged hers to write about as I have ancestors from Russia and was in awe of her photos; WOW!

1. What city do you live in? What makes it special?
I live in Perm. I think its location makes its special, the city is situated in the middle of Russia. So there is great nature around it. It`s very cold (can be -30 C) in the winter and warm (+20) in the summer.

Perm - my home town. On the photo is one of the churches at night.

Perm – my home town. On the photo is one of the churches at night.

The main bridge over the Kama river looks beautiful at night.

The main bridge over the Kama river looks beautiful at night.

The former Meshkov Mansion now the Local History Museum in Perm.

The former Meshkov Mansion now the Local History Museum in Perm.

There`s a wide river flowing through the city - the Kama river. This is the view on the Art Gallery from the riverside.

There`s a wide river flowing through the city – the Kama river. This is the view on the Art Gallery from the riverside.

This is how trees look in Perm in the winter if it is about -30 C. (Yes, it happens here!)

This is how trees look in Perm in the winter if it is about -30 C. (Yes, it happens here!)

2. What are several places everyone visiting your country should see?
Russia is the biggest country in the world so it seems a difficult question. I myself have been to only a small number of Russian cities as my country is enormous. I think everyone should see Moscow, St Petersburg, visit Altai region, Lake Baikal… Taking a train trip across Russia would be a great and also quite a challenging idea.

St. Basil Cathedral - my favorite building in Moscow.

St. Basil Cathedral – my favorite building in Moscow.

St. Basil and the Kremlin on Red Square in Moscow.

St. Basil and the Kremlin on Red Square in Moscow.

Canals in St. Petersburg

Canals in St. Petersburg

Ekaterina`s Palace

Ekaterina`s Palace

The views in Altai, I haven`t been there yet but want to.

The views in Altai, I haven`t been there yet but want to.

Altai (3)

Altai (2)

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal

3. How have the customs, traditions, geography, nature etc. inspired the items you create?
I haven`t really thought about it before but there can be some connections… Perm`s territory has originally had lots of nature treasures, there are wild animals such as bears and foxes in the forests. And on the flag of Perm there is actually a bear! So maybe it is a coincidence or maybe not that I love nature and create teddy bears, hedgehogs, squirrels and other animals with my hands.

Hedgehog Forest Friend

4. What are you doing this fall to drive your business in your community? Are you doing a festival or show? How do you reach out to your community?
This fall I am participating in Hugglets Teddies fair in London. I am really excited about it. Now I am creating my new collection of teddies and their friends for the fair.

5. What are your social media sites?

cherepkova.com
pinterest.com/kittyapril
twitter.com/Kitty_April
www.facebook.com/pages/K-i-t-t-y-A-p-r-i-l-Handmade/133154576711733
kittyapril.etsy.com

#CIJRoadTrip – Bryne, Norway

Contributor post by Jennifer of CaffeinatedPapercuts

I have to say, I chose Norway for a reason; my husband’s family is from Norway and still have cousins living over there. I loved learning more about the country from Kristin!

Let’s travel to  – Bryne, Norway with Kristin Frøyland Jørgensen from Vamperstein

1. What city do you live in? What makes it special?

I live in the slightly rural town of Bryne, Norway, about 30 minutes south of Stavanger. Bryne is a small town, with about 11,000 inhabitants and you can easily walk from one corner of the city center to the other in about 15 minutes and since it’s situated in an agricultural area, you don’t get surprised if you suddenly see a tractor on the main street. Even though Bryne doesn’t have a lot to offer, at least it’s close to some decent natural scenery, like beaches and woods, and just 30 minutes from Stavanger.

The sea, just outside Hå Old Vicarage

The sea, just outside Hå Old Vicarage

2. What are several places everyone visiting your country should see?

Some of the places people could check out are among other things Ryvarden Lighthouse (near Sveio), Utstein Monastery (at Mosterøy) and Hå Old Vicarage (near Nærbø). These three are situated near the sea and have some hiking opportunities as well. If you visit Stavanger, you’ve got places like The Archeological Museum (and it’s Iron Age Farm), Øvre Holmegate (nicknamed “The Colorful Street”) and The Norwegian Canning Museum that is worth checking out.

Breiavannet, Stavanger

Breiavannet, Stavanger

3. How have the customs, traditions, geography, nature etc. inspired the items you create?

In my photography, I get inspired a lot by nature and landscapes and some of the photo prints I’ve got for sale is shot at local places, like near the old church at Varhaug, which is situated next to the sea.

Pathway at the campus to University of Stavanger, where I do my studies for a BA degree in English Language and Literature

Pathway at the campus to University of Stavanger, where I do my studies for a BA degree in English Language and Literature

Knitting is something that has been done “for ages” in Norway and thanks to my grandmother, I learned to knit (even though I’m far from my grandmother’s level). At the moment I play around with the idea of doing some Selbu mittens and similar, but I haven’t arrived to the place where I’ve actually started doing that quite yet. I think the idea needs to mature a bit, but hopefully I’ll manage to do something sooner or later.

4. What are you doing this fall to drive your business in your community? Are you doing a festival or show? How do you reach out to your community?

I’ll maybe do a craft show or two this fall, but I haven’t quite decided yet. I do on the other hand wear some of the knitted items I make for myself, just to self promote a bit while being at university campus. I occasionally bring along a knitting project to work on during breaks and some of the students and lecturers have started asking questions about it. That is the fun part of knitting, you can take it with you “everywhere” and there is a fair chance someone will be interested.

5. What are your social media sites?

Facebook; www.facebook.com/pages/Vampersteins-Shop/106327117163?ref_type=bookmark
Twitter; twitter.com/gothvamperstein
Pinterest; www.pinterest.com/ecogoth88/

#CIJRoadTrip – United Kingdom: Letchworth Garden City

Contributor post by Jennifer of CaffeinatedPapercuts

Today we’re off to the United Kingdom to visit Tola Lasiende from DetolaAndGeek!

1. What city do you live in? What makes it special? I live in Letchworth Garden City. What makes it stand out is – It’s the first Garden City in the world.

Broadway Gardens & Fountain, Letchworth Garden City - United Kingdom

Broadway Gardens & Fountain, Letchworth Garden City – United Kingdom

Sunset in Letchworth Garden City - United Kingdom

Sunset in Letchworth Garden City – United Kingdom

2. What are several places everyone visiting your country should see? Well London is always the first choice for most tourists as you have tons of exciting landmarks & tourist attractions like: London Eye London Aquarium The Southbank stretch (along river Thames) Selfridges Hop on the train to other interesting towns & cities like Letchworth Garden City (and it’s a town, people often think it’s a city). We do have a ‘Tourist Office’ bang in the town Centre (a min or two walk from the train station). There you can pick up loads of information, town & local maps and the staff are ever so friendly and will help you with any questions you may have. Trust me you won’t be disappointed. In Letchworth, we have: The 1st UK roundabout Beautiful tree-lined streets Art Deco Cinema (The Broadway Cinema) Art Deco Library (Letchworth Library) The Letchworth Heritage Museum Letchworth Outdoor Swimming Pool Letwirth Common (Nature Reserve)

Nortonbury - A Tiny Picturesque Village Just On The Edge Of My Town - United Kingdom

Nortonbury – A Tiny Picturesque Village Just On The Edge Of My Town – United Kingdom

Broadway Cinema -  Letchworth Garden City - United Kingdom

Broadway Cinema – Letchworth Garden City – United Kingdom

Exhibition Cottage - Letchworth Garden City - United Kingdom

Exhibition Cottage – Letchworth Garden City – United Kingdom

3. How have the customs, traditions, geography, nature etc. inspired the items you create? I have two nationalities – was born in the UK (Leeds to be precise) and my parents are from Nigeria. So I am what is coined as ‘British-Nigerian’. I’ve grown up in both countries and my handmade products are a fusion of my African background as well as my British roots. Ever since I was little, even growing up in Yorkshire, I have loved the colourful African print fabrics my Mum used to wear. I was so fascinated by them and I still am.

Standalone Farm -  Letchworth Garden City - United Kingdom

Standalone Farm – Letchworth Garden City –
United Kingdom

A Snowy Winters Day In Letchworth Garden City - United Kingdom

A Snowy Winters Day In Letchworth Garden City – United Kingdom

4. What are you doing this fall to drive your business in your community? Are you doing a festival or show? How do you reach out to your community? I usually attend Handmade fairs that are local to me.  Not done any festivals or big shows per se (due to Health reasons I can’t be outdoors all day, standing in the same spot). But will aim at maybe ones aren’t a whole day outdoor affair!  But I will be exhibiting at the Letchworth Arts Centre’s Christmas fair this year, should be exciting. It lasts for a few weeks so a good way to display my products to the community and generate more awareness of what I do (and ultimately to make sales!).

Coloured Leaf African Cushion by DetolaAndGeek

Coloured Leaf African Cushion by DetolaAndGeek

5. What are your social media sites?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DetolaAndGeek
Twitter: twitter.com/DetolaAndGeek
Pinterest: pinterest.com/DetolaAndGeek
Blog: detolaandgeek.blogspot.co.uk
Tumblr: detolaandgeek.tumblr.com