Show us your Workspace – Alicia’s Findings

Contributor Post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

Today we visit the workspace of Alicia from Alicia’s Findings. Alicia designs gorgeous beaded jewellery…. here’s what she had to say about her workspace:

I like many others do not have a studio. I make my items on the dining room table or in my reclining chair in the living room. I find a lot of inspiration in nature, which I can enjoy looking out at thru the dining room’s sliding glass door.

Most, if not all, of my supplies are in bins which are inside of a big rolling bin.

Workspace 002Workspace 006
Workspace 001

Show Us Your Workspace – Lollys Cubby Hole

Contributor post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

Today we visit Becky from Lollys Cubby Hole in her workspace. Becky makes things that make a house a home, a wedding to remember or your event just a bit more unique, including burlap products, wedding signs, rustic decor, farmhouse decor, soy candles, and hankies.

Here’s what Becky has to say about her work environment:
I do almost everything in my sewing room/studio over the garage.
I do have one closet in a guest bedroom where I store my craft papers, cutters and shipping supplies.

 

Book Lovers Day is August 9th 2015

Contributor post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

Book Lovers Day is August 9th, and is  “A day for those who love to read, Book Lovers Day encourages you to kick back and relax with a great book. From shaded spots under arching trees to being tucked up warm in bed, there’s no better way to celebrate Book Lovers Day than to while the hours away lost in a book.”

I LOVE reading and always have a pile of books on my bedside table – I wish I had more time to read!

I asked Christmas in July team members if they had any items in their store that captured the spirit of Book Lovers Day – here’s what they had to say:

I have several book marks or book thongs in my shop. I love to read and have made several different types of book marks over the years. Today so many people read on their portable computer devices, but there is nothing like having a good book to read and this bookmark will hold your place and is decorative too!

I just started making bookmarks and they’re becoming one of my favorite things to do.
I love reading, and have a personal goal to have a bookmark to go with every book I own. Book, reading and writing are a massive part of my life, so it’s great for me that I’ve found a way to bring my crafting into it as well.

These days reading physical books seem to be somewhat phased out for some, with the norm of e-books, kindle and the likes.
But truth be told, reading physical books has no comparison with technology. I created these heart-shaped bookmarks to prove this point exactly. Reading a book is a form of relaxation. You have a book in one hand, a cuppa in the other, away from any form of technology, be in the present. This is much more indulging than reading from a screen.
Sometimes going back to basic is just what we need.
I love my books!

My Brother used to love having the different stories about Lowly Worm, by Richard Scarry, read to him at bedtime. A classic author for Children’s Story books, Richard Scarry, is well-loved to this day with his charming and colorful graphics and fun tales of animals doing human things!

I have a friend who is an absolute lover of Alice in Wonderland! I saw the rabbit charms and thought man these are so her! I made her a pair and also have these in my shop thinking she cannot be the only one who is gaga over this story.

I love to read – real books. I’m certainly not the Kindle person – I like the feel and smell of a book, the excitement of opening a new book, getting lost in a good story. Reading is an important part of my day, I always take time for it, at least before I go to sleep, but preferably more often. I always have a book (or something to knit) with me. And of course you can never have too many bookmarks!

I love reading and the way it transports me to another world. And what do I also love while curled up on the couch reading? A nice hot cup of tea, and it always tastes better in a handmade cup or mug!

I absolutely love to read! I have enjoyed creating various bookmarks for those book lovers out there! I love to collect bookmarks whenever I go on holidays (and ask my family to bring back bookmarks for me when they go away) and I have a growing collection.

Angsanaseeds from Angsanaseedsphoto says

I love to read and I love photography. Reading brings me to a quiet place that is just me, and the book, of course. This photograph of the two books remind me of the treasures and pleasures that I find while reading.

What a great list – I hope this inspires you curl up on the couch on book day – and also to visit all these great team shops!

 

 

 

The Etsy Christmas In July Team Is Now On Instagram

Contributor Post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

The Etsy Christmas in July Team in now on Instagram…. IG

Are you?

Not sure what Instagram is?

You’re on it, but don’t really understand it?

You love it, but want to know more?

Read on….

Instagram is a visual tool with great potential for creating brand awareness and generating sales. It is also a convenient way to form networks, and, of course, is lots of fun. The Christmas in July team has joined to IG to support all our fantastic members by sharing your posts, sharing team treasuries and the CIJ blog posts.

Like other social media using IG as a tool for generating interest in your product is influenced by how you interact with your followers. For example, always respond to comments left on your photos. It is also a good idea not to list prices in your captions, but rather direct followers back to your shop your website. And, of course, don’t be whingy! I also post the occasional photo about what I am currently doing in the studio, or if I am at a restaurant, or of my little dog – this creates a broader  picture of who you are to your followers making it a more intimate experience.

While you can view Instagram, follow people and like posts on a PC, you can’t upload content. This is because Instagram is an App (Application), so you need a smart phone or tablet to download the app from the app store on your phone and create an account.

Once you have set up your account its time to follow some people. You may already know some people on IG, so you can search for them using their usernames. IG will also suggest people for you to follow, or you can search topics that you are interested in by using hashtags #

How do hashtags work? If you are a twitter user you may already be familiar with hashtags, although they are now used on all social media. Hashtags are a searchable way of finding topics you are interested in and getting your photo seen by hashtagging to relevant words. For example, I make ceramic tableware. So I will add hashtags such as #pottery #ceramics #handmade to my photo description. This allows other people who follow those hashtags to see my photo.

The Instagram Menu: There are 5 menu options making using the app relatively easy. Across the bottom of the screen from left to right there is a house, a star or magnifying glass, a blue square, a love heart and a person.

  1. The house – this will take you to your newsfeed where all the photos from people you follow will be displayed. You scroll down through the feed to see the photos. From here you can like photos and leave comments.Under each photo is a love heart, when you tap this it turns red which means you have successfully liked a photo. You can leave a comment on the photo by tapping on the word balloon.
  2. The star or magnifying glass – this takes you to a feed of images that are popular on IG or that IG suggest based on people you already follow. Tapping on a photo will take you to the account of the person who posted the photo and you can follow them, or like their pics. At the top of this feed is a search box where you can search for people or hashtags you would like to follow.
  3. The blue camera – this is where you can take a photo from within IG. Tap the camera icon and it opens your camera. Take the photo by tapping the blue circle in the centre. You will then be directed to a screen where you can edit your photo. Across the top are basic editing tools. Clicking on the spanner will take you to suite of tools for cropping, straightening, contrast and various other options. Or you can simply use an IG filter which are displayed across the bottom when tapping the magic wand. After selecting your filter you can make it brighter or add more contrast by tapping the  sun icon. When happy with your photo tap the blue arrow in the top right hand corner. Here you can add a comment about your photo and add any relevant hashtags. A location can also be added to your photo, if you are in a restaurant for example. Other IG users you may be with can also be tagged. You can also share your IG post on other social media.  If you have a Facebook account, for example, tap the FB box and a window will pop up asking you to log in to your FB account. The FB box will then be highlighted in blue and when you post your IG photo it will also be shared on FB. Use the same procedure to share to other social media.
    **** if you already have a pic on your camera that you would like to post follow the procedure above except after tapping the square instead of taking a pic with the blue circle tap on the circle of squares to the left of the blue circle, this  will direct you to your photo gallery on your phone. Select a photo and continue to use the same procedure as above.
    ****The only ‘live’ links on IG are the website addresses people add to their profile, for this reason you may notice a lot of people type ‘link in profile’ to their photo descriptions.
Tab

Tab

  • The love heart – this is where you can see how people have loved your photos and left comments, and see who has followed you. To reply to comments tap the photo on the right side. To go to people’s accounts, for example to check out someone who has followed you, click on their user name which is in blue.
  • The person – Tapping on this will bring you to your profile. From here you can see your posts, how many people you are following, how many are following you and you can edit your profile.
Screenshot_2015-08-04-18-16-47

Smartphone view

Editing your profile: Tap the edit profile box. Here you can change your password, add a description for your account, add a profile picture. At the very bottom of this page there is also an option to make your posts private, so that people have to request to follow you and you have the option to approve their request.

Editing Options and Settings: On your profile page in the top right hand corner are 3 vertical dots . Tapping on this takes you to a page where you can adjust your settings. You can also access IG help here, and find friends to follow from your other social media accounts, amongst other miscellaneous tasks.

Direct Messaging: It is possible to direct message if, for example, they make an enquiry about your shop. This is a good way to personalise their experience and extend your customer service in the same way you do with Etsy convos. To send a direct message you need to send a photo. So choose a photo in the same way that you do in the above sharing a photo description and when you arrive at the page where you add your photo caption you will see at the top ‘followers’ or ‘direct (see above tablet/notebook view image). Tap on Direct, type your message, search for the follower you wish send to and tap the green tick in the top right hand corner to send.

Sharing Other Peoples Photos: There is no ‘share’ button on IG like there is on other social media, however that has prompted the development of a range of sharing apps specifically for IG. Most of them are free but contain watermarks and limited functions, and payment will eliminate the watermark and give you access to all functions. Finding apps is simple by googling ‘reposting on instagram’ or ‘sharing apps for instagram’. These apps are very basic and simple to use.

SO, that’s about it – in a nutshell. Below are some other links that you may find useful for further information, and if anyone has any questions feel free to ask them in the comments below and I will try to answer them as best I can.

https://instagram.com/etsychristmasinjuly

https://help.instagram.com/

http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Instagram

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-posts-that-drive-sales/

http://www.livandco.com/blog/11-hashtags-etsy-sellers-should-be-using-on-instagram

International Day of Friendship – July 30th

Contributor post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

International Day of Friendship is July 30th, and I asked the Etsy Christmas in July team if they had any items in their shops that would make a great gift for this special day…. these are the responses I received from team members:

Joshua Farrally from FarrallyManMade says friendship is something that can last a lifetime. Friends are people you lean on during the good and bad times. They have your back but can also call you out when you need to be called out on something.

I have several friendship bracelets in various styles in my shop. Friendship bracelets are a sign or symbol of friendship. Traditionally friendship bracelets are bracelets given to you by a friend. Traditionally, a friend would tie a bracelet onto your wrist while making a wish and it was to be worn until it fell off, which means the wish was to come true at that moment.

Patricia from TheOldBarnDoor says I love this quote about friendship:
“Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you know they’re always there”
Christy EvansFriends come in all shapes and sizes. These two ladies go everywhere together; you never see one without the other.

Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says this is what friendship is all about: getting out there and having fun!

It’s a universal, international way to make and keep friends!

Ina from InaSudjana says friendship to me means standing by my side; whether I’m happy or sad, whatever my situation is. A true friend is someone I’m fully comfortable with, even when there isn’t anything to talk about. I don’t think we have to talk all the time; we just enjoy each other’s company even in silence!My heart shaped bookmark reflects this perfectly.
Kelly from ColourscapeStudios says friendship to me is knowing that you can live worlds apart and as soon as you’re back together you can pick up no matter how long it’s been. These are the people you get to choose to be part of your family.
Sandra crochet from Ankleknits says for me FRIENDSHIP especially International friendship means a lot! Friends are like two socks or a paire of glove: together and never appart or close in my heart but to far in a life.
My childhood friend who is the best friend ever, very kind and supportive lives in my birth country Latvia. Her name is Dace. Now when we cannot meet as often as used to, we chitchat or talk on phone and internet. But when we go to Latvia we always meet together and have fun. Even our children are friends now and they have fun together.

Carola Bartz from CarolaBartz says let me start with a different take about international friendship. I grew up in Germany (lived there for 40 years) and during my teen years pen friendships were encouraged in school. I signed up and got my first pen pal at 13 – she was from Cardiff in Wales, UK. She was the first of many penpals from all over the world I had over the years. Some of them I met in person, and with some of them I still keep in touch. Two of them I actually met last year again when I was in Europe. Today we’re mainly keeping in touch via Facebook which I think is a great platform for (international) friendship. I often write about friendship on my blog – and I also have people in the blogosphere that I consider friends even though I haven’t met them in person (yet).

The words of a song on this Girl Scout Brownie mini journal say it all:
“Make new friends,
but keep the old,
one is silver
and the other is gold.”

Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns says friendship is about sharing good times with family and friends and what better way to do this than with food and wine!!

When celebrating with friends, or just getting together for the fun of it, I love to present food to share in individual eclectic handmade bowls and plates …. this adds a touch of intimacy and caring to the gathering and makes it special.

When I was younger I had a pen friend who lived on the other side of the world. We would often write to each other about what we had been up to. One day she travelled to Australia and I was able to meet her for the first time which was very exciting! This set of envelopes would be lovely to send a friend or pen pal a letter!

So, celebrate International Friendship Day with a great gift from a member of the Christmas in July Team!

 

 

#CIJParty 2015 – Photographer Amanda

Guest blog post by Amanda of AlphabetArtPrints

When I first started making alphabet art, I was simply looking for a way to keep up with my photography while business was slow. It was winter, and my body tends to hate being in weather under 40 degrees, so I stood in my kitchen and pondered on what I could photograph that would be interesting. Now, if you know my kitchen, you know that it holds at max, one adult person. You throw in anything else, including a dslr and speedlite, and things get a little tight. But I grabbed a few things and away I went snapping photos. Within a few hours, I created my first draft of an alphabet, and I was in love.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

Since my first go-round with an alphabet art, I’ve created almost a dozen alphabets in several themes. I continue to create new themes as they’re suggested to me…or as my little brain lights up with a new idea. Once that light bulb turns on, the only way to turn it off is to get those 26 shot and edited. Sometimes, I get a little frantic trying to pull together materials in a short period of time to get it all done. But my family bears with me, and my 3-year-old even tags along with her little camera, rearranging materials going, “Mommy, look! I made an O with this!”

I’d like to take you “backstage” on how one of these little creations come together. Let me show you my newest alphabet: HolyJollyABCS.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

I wanted to create something colorful, something festive, something that OOZES of red and green jollies. So I grabbed my 3 month old and we braved the shelves in our 2 story shed to find our boxes of Christmas stuff. And because I think you need a visual, this is me and my 3 month old, Eleanor, strapped to me. This is pretty much the only way I can get anything done around here (peacefully). So yes, I photograph many things while baby-wearing. My back hates me for it, but she sure loves it.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

Anyway, it’s important to have all your materials together in a photo shoot. For this project, my loot consisted of 2 large bins of Christmas stuff. One filled with ornaments and one filled with Christmas decor. And yes, that includes that lazy elf that ends up sitting in the same spot for 31 days in December. Yes, she does make an appearance in the HollyJollyABCs. I challenge you to take a look at the full alphabet later to see if you can spot her.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

I also have about a dozen red and green squares cut from card stock. These serve as backgrounds for a festive alphabet. It also happens to be my favorite way of getting an all-color alphabet. To make things easy, I put all my card stock down in our big bay window. Want to know a great photography tip? Natural sunlight is best when it’s filtered a little bit, so this bay window is a perfect spot in the morning before the sun is beaming down through it. There’s just enough shade to keep it from being too harsh. Another tip: It doesn’t hurt to have a little extra light to keep shadows from forming. In my case, I bounced my speedlite off of the ceiling. I didn’t do it for ALL the photos, but it really helped in the ones that I felt needed it.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

Now, the fun part is always going through supplies and taking a good look at them. Sometimes, I can pick up an item I’ve seen a million times before and find a way to look at it through a new perspective. For example, there’s this rocking horse ornament I’ve had for years. My grandmother gave it to me when I was a kid. It’s been on my Christmas tree for years. For this project, I needed to see it not as a rocking horse, but as shapes that could form a letter. That’s sort of the question I ask myself whenever I sit down with an alphabet project: What shapes does this object have? And will these shapes look like a letter in a photograph? I picked up this ornament and found that the underside of the horse has two long parallel lines and one in the middle connecting them. Ta-da…an H!

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

And here’s something fun: a miniature Christmas tree. I bought this little guy last year for my daughter to use as her tree. Using my “ABC eyes,” I found that the branches can bend into all kinds of shapes. Leave one up, Bend most down, and a couple catty cornered: There’s a K. Circle the topmost branch around: And a G.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

While I like to let objects sit as natural as possible, sometimes they need a little coaxing to actually read as a letter. In the middle of my Christmas stash, I found a craft project my 3-year-old never finished last Christmas. Truth be told, I couldn’t figure it out. Inside the zip lock bag, there was Christmas ribbon and a few bells. This kind of Hodge Podge is the perfect way to create letters when I’m just brain-dead looking at everything else. For example, I found a beautiful Angel ornament that had glass lines I tried to create an E with. After placement and editing, it still looked…weird…and I had to scrap it. There’s no point in using something if no one is able to read a letter. So instead, I cut up some of the ribbon and “drew” myself an E. Innovative? Not really. But it is resourceful and gets the job done. The bells and the strings attached to them got me a B and an N when “drawn” into the right shapes.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

And then there’s this beauty. Growing up, we always had an Angel on the top of our tree in lieu of a star. Somehow, I ended up with two angels in my box ‘o Christmas, and this is one of them. At first glance, you see her as a whole: a beautiful angel tree topper. But an alphabet project like this calls to look at the details as separate pieces that can be manipulated. Take a look. -Really- look at what she has to offer: She has two different strands of beads (Take a look at my “U” and “Y”) and she has a long golden wired ribbon. (Hello “M”!) This angel provided 3 individual letters just by what she’s holding! I really wanted to do something with those wings…all fury and such… but I think that’ll have to be for a different project. They weren’t working out for me this time.

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

So there you have it: A little peek into how my alphabet arts are created with everyday items. It takes a little space, some good lighting, and some imagination in “reading” items, but it’s always a fun adventure in these little projects. The best part about it? The end result is so fun to share, and I can use it to personalize ANY print for ANY person. I can’t wait to hear from YOU to create a one of a kind print you would love to decorate your home with this holiday season!

AlphabetArtPrints

AlphabetArtPrints

My social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaJaegerRichmondPhotography?pnref=lhc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJaegerPhotos

For the next #CIJParty post please see main party post.

#CIJParty 2015 – Creator And Designer Becky

Guest blog post by Becky of LollysCubbyHole

I was born in Huntington, West Virgina in 1951.  I think that officially makes me old, but I am fighting against that for now!

LollysCubbyHole

LollysCubbyHole

I loved Christmas always. I grew up in my grandparents home, and Christmas meant lots of good smells from the kitchen, prickly pine trees that we picked out at the Christmas Tree Stand next to the local Dairy Queen and a good holiday argument always!

LollysCubbyHole

LollysCubbyHole

Mostly the arguments seemed to come from standing the tree in just the right corner of our tiny living room and putting the lights on. I think of that now, as we easily put up a lighted tree, right out of the box!  The slinky silver “icicles” blew around every time the door opened and landed on the sofa and I would get the job of collecting them and placing them ever so gingerly back on the tree!

LollysCubbyHole

LollysCubbyHole

I come from a family of crafters, sewers and artistic people so I have dabbling in paints, glue and fabric forever it seems. We always had some sort of project and the holidays were no exception.

One of my delicious memories was getting to snip the sugared gumdrops with an old black-handled pair of scissors for the “Pork Cake” otherwise known to most people as “Fruitcake”. I don’t remember it being the dreaded Fruitcake of the Chevy Chase standards, it was moist, with gooey fruit inside and nice crunch on the top. The secret was a piece of pork fat that was used in place of lard, butter or Crisco. My Grandmother made it every year for as long as she was able to cook.  I would love to have a piece of it today!

LollysCubbyHole

LollysCubbyHole

Another tradition was the Turkey with Oyster Stuffing INSIDE the turkey…YIKES!  Some folks really frown at that process today, but oh, was it delicious! The extra stuffing that would not fit into the the 24 lb. ( or more ) Turkey were shaped into patties and placed around the Turkey in the pan…they were crispy and soaked in the juice of the baked Turkey…my choice of the entire meal.

And who could forget making Snow Ice Cream during the winter…even if it was late at night, when the snow would fall, ever so silently for hours, we were allowed to run outside, sometimes in our pajamas, to scoop up a metal bowl full of clean snow. ( no yellow snow, please!)  Add to that some sugar, vanilla and a little milk and it was the most delightful treat ever!

LollysCubbyHole

LollysCubbyHole

For your own Christmas, maybe you would like to try the Oyster Stuffing!

GRANNY’S OYSTER STUFFING ( as written by me in 1971 over the telephone w/Granny)

Approx. 2 loaves of white bread, cubed & toasted
1/2 stick of butter ( melted )
1/3 C chopped celery
1/4 C chopped onion
1 tsp of salt
dash black pepper
1 can of oysters
1 C of milk
“Crumble” 1 tsp of dried sage

Wash inside & out of Turkey
Turn upside to drain
salt & pepper the inside of Turkey

Cube & Toast your bread under the oven broiler and set aside to cool
Place in a large bowl
Pour the milk over the bread cubes, add your melted butter, celery, onion, salt, pepper and oysters.  Mix well with your hands.

Stuff the cavities with your stuffing mix.

Place the turkey legs back in place and secure with baker’s twine. ( today they have clips)
If you have extra stuffing, make patties and place around the Turkey in the baking pan.

Wrap the whole Turkey & pan with aluminum foil uncovering to brown for the last 20 minutes.

BAKE 20 min. per lb. in a 325 oven or until turkey leg juice runs clear when pierced with a fork.

Allow to stand for 15-20 minutes before carving!

If I breathe in deeply I am certain I can smell that Turkey baking now!

No need to wait for December, Happy CHRISTMAS IN JULY 2015!

Blessings,

Becky

My social media sites:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beckybsb

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lollyscubbyhole

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LollysCubby

Instagram: https://instagram.com/lollyscubbyhole

For the next #CIJParty post please see main party post.