Sunday, August 2, 2009

August, Schmaugust

Some two or so months later, Sunday night, 9:44 p.m.

I thought a new post was in order, to let you all know that I reached my 100th sale on ETSY this past Monday (July 27)! And, I've got a fantastic feedback rating to boot. I was ecstatic to see the following on my shop page:

Feedback: 100, 100% positive

I think this was motivation to kick start me into gear again.

To my good fortune, my son's baseball coach mercifully moved our Saturday game to Monday evening, when we would have practiced anyway. That left Saturday as a completely free day--which made me wonder what I did on Saturdays before baseball. For the uninitiated, baseball for 5 year-olds entails two practices during the week, and two games on the weekend, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday.

Another sign that it was time to get going: the weather was beautiful on Saturday. But you live in Hawaii, you say! Yes, but this summer, it has been raining practically every day, to my son's chagrin--because his summer vacation was somewhat dampened, literally.

So, I set out to take yet another set of photos of my jewelry. I know. It has been excruciating, this process of working with my camera. First, I have zero photography skills and knowledge, which means that I generally leave the settings on automatic and press the button. Second, I don't have one of those fancy Canon SLR cameras that everyone talks about. And third, even if I had the fancy camera, I still wouldn't know how to use it.

In the end, I got some shots that I felt were not bad. Why all the fuss? At the moment, there are 48,421 pages of jewelry listings on ETSY, making it one of the most competitive categories on the site.

Then, I forced my two boys to go outside and play. No Wii! I said. No TV! I told them. And while they were outside entertaining themselves with Star Wars and CARS toys, I sat myself down at my desktop and started listing my first four jewelry pieces.

Here is a photo of one of the earrings I listed for sale:

And, just to see if it would be accepted, I submitted a different photo of the same earrings to a website called CRAFTGAWKER ( This is a spin-off of the uber popular FOODGAWKER site ( The name pretty much says it all...check it out and I promise you that you'll be hungry! This is a moderated site and after holding my breath all submission was accepted, and my photo made it to the Home Page of the site! Here is a preview of the photo that I submitted:

What do you think?

I couldn't figure out how to paste the Craftgawker HOME page for you all to see. Please check it out, the photos of everyone's work is beautifully done.

Remember way back--when I had hoped to get my jewelry posted in time for Mother's Day? Ha! Well, it's August. August, Schmaugust. The start of the fall season, the school year, and a seasonal reminder that yet another year is quickly moving along and will soon be over.

And, for those of us who craft and hope to sell our wares--the holiday season is quickly approaching. This, of course, means there are more pieces to make, and more photos to take!

Get busy, all you fellow artisans!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Monthlong Vacation

Saturday Night, 10:30 p.m.

I've had a long vacation from posting on this blog--my last post was on April 20, 2009. Perhaps you think I was up to my eyeballs doing something important and meaningful. Like making tons of new jewelry pieces. Or honing my photography skills for the web. Or organizing my craft room. And filing away all of my mail.

Truth be told, it wasn't any of that. The reality is....I simply ran out of steam. Lost momentum. During the past month, I chose to do all of the things that I haven't been able to do in a long, long time. Like sleep. Many nights I've turned in by 10:30 p.m. Unheard of! Obviously, I haven't been very productive (because my productive time is usually after everyone goes to bed....usually after 10 p.m.) but I sure do feel great in the morning!

Also, I rarely watch TV. Don't have the time, and besides, Luna doesn't like to relinquish control of the remote control. Well, over the last month, I've developed an addiction to the show "Without a Trace"--a crime drama starring Anthony LaPaglia that centers around the investigation of missing people. It's on practically every night on TNT. I just realized that I am actually watching really old re-runs of the show.

I told my Dad tonight, "I just saw the episode where Jack Malone got shot."

He said, "That's a really old episode".

That's how much I watch TV.

So, now we all know that I've been sleeping the time away and watching TV crime dramas. But, you ask, is there anything at all that I've done over the past month that is remotely productive?

Why, yes! We've started to paint the exterior of the house, and have continued our landscaping on the side of the house. In my last blog post, I posted a photo of our puakenikeni tree. Our tree is doing very well, we've had several flowers bloom already! Below is a photo of the first bloom from our tree:

In this photo, Luna, who has an incredible green thumb and great eye for landscape design, is putting orchid bark around our newly planted trees to define the area (with my son and niece as his audience):

Hopefully by my next post we'll be done with the repainting of the exterior. For now, I'm off to rest and elevate my right hand, which is cramping up from holding the paintbrush while doing the trim work around the house. Oh! Maybe I'll catch an episode of my favorite new (old) show....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Spring, Everyone!

Monday afternoon, 2:40 p.m.

Whether or not this is backed by any actual evidence, it seems as though we have had a very long winter--rain, rain and more rain! So when the sun made an appearance out the last two weekends, work got done around here!

In our front entryway, we laid the extra tile we had from our renovation. We chose a beautiful, warm limestone tile called "Inca Gold" to go throughout the entire house. The local supplier didn't have enough material, so we special ordered the balance from Saudi Arabia, and it pushed our move-in date back a whopping three months!

I should have taken a "before" photo. Anyway, this is how our new and improved entryway looks from the front door:

Don't you just love the kiddie bench?

And, we also started to take out the existing landscaping on the side of the house. We are leaving some of the plants, but removing 90% of what is already there. Our first task was planting our favorite tree, the puakenikeni. This flower is our favorite--it blooms a pale peach color, and turns bright, vibrant orange, and gives off a beautiful scent. We had three of these trees at our first house, and we were able to fill our house with bowls of these blooms. Simply said, these flowers make me happy.

Local wisdom says that you need to plant these trees in the front of your house, because they like to "show off". We will probably end up planting another one in the front, but we haven't worked our way there yet...

Here is a photo of my 16-month old, helping us with our spring gardening:

And a close-up photo of the beloved puakenikeni, now firmly planted in the ground:

I took this photo yesterday (Sunday) and this morning, one of the buds had started to bloom. So exciting! Also, I am thinking of somehow incorporating this image into my banner for my ETSY shop, if I can figure out how to do it....

In addition to the outside gardening that I have been tending to, I have been crafting my jewelry pieces like a mad lady! I still only have a few pieces, because if it is not absolutely right, I go back and take the entire thing apart. At a recent bead show, I purchased a strand of the most amazing rutilated quartz briolettes:

Let's see if the pieces I make can do these justice!

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Friday, 12:19 p.m.

I've had quite a long break from this blog. Since my last post, have you noticed that I've changed the layout of my blog? I've been experiencing some, ahem, technical difficulties with some of the fonts and colors in my older is a work in progress....

Here are some other status updates:

Shop sales- 90!
Bathroom renovation: no progress!
Outdoor fixes to our house: currently in progress but being hindered by inclement weather--photos to be posted later.

Now, moving along....

Two weeks ago, my mom retired from her Federal Government job. At the same time, it was also her birthday! We planned a lovely surprise birthday/retirement party for her. Amazingly, it remained a surprise up until the very end, although she became a bit suspicious that weekend because I insisted on going to brunch when I had a very bad head cold....

It was a small, intimate party with about 40 guests. The weather was perfect and all the guests were ON TIME! A thing of beauty when everything goes as planned. To dress up the tables, I decided on a very simple centerpiece, one that was both easy to put together and economical. Since my mom has a prolific green thumb, and her suburban back yard is lush with greenery, I decided to run with the "gardening" theme.

I bought some mint herb plants from Wal-Mart, placed them in a terra cotta pot, and tied a satin ribbon around the pot. Here is a photo of a row of the centerpieces in my kitchen before the party:

I thought they looked great--and I did receive many compliments at the party, so I guess they turned out okay!

Well, since spring has arrived, and because we are on the "gardening" theme, here are two items on my wish list, found while browsing on ETSY:

LOVE this birdhouse, cottage style, in butter yellow. I can see it somewhere in my backyard (or my Mom's!). This one is made by "baconsquarefarm" but sadly, it has sold. It's no was priced at just $15. They craft very cute birdhouses in other colors and styles, but this one was my favorite.

And, this pot by "PotteryPeddler" for some of my smaller plants. I have some dendrobium orchids that would fit in this and look great:

Hope this post makes everyone want to go outside and enjoy the start of spring. If I don't post before Sunday (what are the chances?), have a Happy Easter!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Delinquent, Again!

Friday Night, 11:12 p.m.

Well, I did it again. Two weeks in a row, neglecting to post my Thursday Night Picks timely. But I'm back, albeit late....

Shop update--71 sales!

And more shop talk: I had an order come in this past week for 11 wet bags and some fabric. Yes, 11 bags from a single order! I'd like to share a photo of the bags packaged up and ready to ship (with my personalized stamp, of course!):

Moving on. Since I'll be starting to list my jewelry soon (hopefully...I need to learn how to navigate the manual settings on my camera) I have been thinking about what kind of image I want to project in my shop. In my baby business, my logo and lettering were in soothing sage green and grey. Appropriate, I think, for the baby biz. For my jewelry, I wanted to do something different.

So--I decided on orange. Orange, you ask? OK, then, let's call it tangerine. Tangerine and espresso. I realize that in the order of things, this is probably not the most pressing issue facing me as I try to brand my shop. one ever called me a business genius.

Off to the craft store I go. I find the perfect color cardstock in 12"x12" sheets and buy 5 sheets. Then, I get a stamp pad in chocolate brown. At home, I cut cards the size of business cards (2" x 3 1/2") to use as calling cards, thank you cards, cards, of course! One sheet yielded me 15 business sized cards! Then, I hand-stamped the cards with my customized stamp.

Which brings me to my (now delinquent) "Thursday Night Pick"--my one scrapbooking tool that I cannot do without, the tool that I probably get the most use out of.....

My Marvy Uchida "Corner Punch"! This little punch costs about $7 but can give your projects, cards, etc. a beautiful finish. I love how the rounded edges look so....polished.

Here is a photo of my beloved Marvy Corner Punch:

And, here is a photo of my cards, complete with rounded edges, ready for business!

No, the stamping is not perfect. And the cards are not exactly uniform and the same size. But, hey, this is all about being handmade, right?

I'm sure hoping I get some orders for my jewelry. My second "pick" for the week are plain Kraft boxes that I found on ETSY. This listing was just what I was looking for, a lot
in a relatively small quantity (25). I couldn't find them locally at all, and other places online, although cheaper by the piece, required a minimum order of 100 pieces. That would be way bullish of me, to order 100, wouldn't it??? I plan on packaging my jewelry orders in these boxes, after I customize them with my shop name.

Here is a photo of the boxes that I ordered from "notablenotions":

Next on my agenda: finding unique (and hopefully economical!) ways to display my jewelry for my ETSY listings. Thanks for visiting and check back in for more updates!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sticker Mania!

Monday night, 9:33 p.m.

Surprisingly, I am finding some quiet time on a Monday night (it's usually so hectic!) to blog. It's been on my mind because I was supposed to post my "Thursday Night Picks" this past Friday, and well, never got around to it.

Just an update about my ETSY store my last post, I had 45 sales. Four days later, I now have 62 sales!!! As promised, I am having a celebratory sale....see my shop for details!

Another update...I received my custom stamp from a fellow Etsian from Hawaii, "foryoo". I'm going to use some leftover 2" round labels as seals for my packaging, stamped with my shop name. The stamp came packaged beautifully, in protective bubble wrap. After anxiously opening my package, here is what awaited me:

And, here is a photo of the stamped labels. I stamped them in lime green and in black. I think I prefer the contrast of the black better....

I've used them on a few orders that came in over the weekend, and I think it adds so much to the look and presentation!

So, continuing on with the paper theme, I've decided that my "Thursday Night Picks" from last week are for paper goods (and paper-related goods) that I'm going to use for my shop.

Confession: I am a Wal-Mart regular. There is always something to buy at Wal-Mart, whether it be necessity or...not so necessary. While browsing around the Internet, I'd seen many shops selling pretty stickers and I thought--(like crafters do), hey, I can do that myself! So, down the scrapbooking aisle at Wal-Mart I go. And, I find the Xyron 1.5" create-a-sticker (TM) doodad for $9.08. What a bargain for the hundreds of stickers I'll be making!

So, the Xyron is one of my picks--I've pictured it with some pretty scrapbooking paper from s.e.i. that I had lying around.

For those of you who don't know, here's how it works:

1. Put any cutout (1.5" maximum size) into the opening at the top of the "X".
2. Pull the tape at the bottom.
3. When you see your cutout, tear the tape.
4. Rub the film around the edges of your cutout. Peel the film off, and you've got your sticker!

It's super easy...literally, a 5-year old can do it--my son did!

And then, of course, you can't make your stickers without pretty paper. I found some beautiful Amy Butler paper from "paperpeddler" on Etsy (of course!). I've used Amy Butler fabrics in my baby line and have kept every single scrap piece of fabric. I cannot bring myself to part with even the teeniest piece of her fabrics....I always think that I can make something beautiful with it (when I have the time, of course!).

Here is a photo of the paper that I purchased on Etsy--also a "Thursday Night pick":

When I receive the paper, I'll be going sticker happy!

Thanks for tuning in. I'll be back in a few days--good night!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

So the Story Goes...

Thursday night, 11:53 p.m.

I'm going to back up a little. By now, you have probably surmised that at one point in time, I had a crafting business in which I made baby apparel and accessories. Before my sewing frenzy began, Luna let me buy a Bernina sewing machine. Not the top of the line embroidery/sewing machine combo, but the top of the line regular machine. It was pricey (compared to other brands you can find for a few hundred) but, oh, how I loved it! Every night after my 3-year old went to bed, there I was, at the sewing machine.....

But after making about 100 burp cloths, 200 wet bags, countless appliqued onesies, baby blankets and changing mats, Bernina and I had a bit of a falling out. Since we moved (in October of 2008), she has been recessed in my sewing machine cabinet and has not made a single appearance out to date!

After making all that inventory, I exhibited my line at the local "Baby Expo". It was great, there were tons of people, but it was expensive and I was pregnant!!! I wanted to share with you a photo of my booth at the local expo:

I had a successful show, but I was absolutely exhausted at the end of those two days and feeling sick (morning sickness). And that was when Bernina officially went into hiatus.

Then, many months later, I wandered into a local bead store and the rest, as they say, is history. I fell in love with beads, wire, chain....

Which brings us up to date. Since I had some leftover inventory from when Bernina and I were still friends, I opened my ETSY shop, where I am liquidating my current inventory:

So far, my sales from my ETSY shop have been great--since last Thursday (when I had 27 sales), I now log in at 45 sales! When I sell my 50th item, I think I'll have a celebratory sale!

Since my inventory is quickly being whittled down, I've devoted some time to think about the style and image I want for my jewelry shop. As you recall, I wanted to "brand" my store (which currently has no real brand or identity). Last week I ordered a custom stamp with my shop name on it. I didn't receive the actual stamp yet, but I'll show you the proof of the image so you can get a little preview....

I'm so happy with the way it looks and can't wait to get it--I have a stamp pad ready and waiting!

Well, I have some ideas for my Thursday night picks, but I'm going to defer my picks until tomorrow. I'm planning to go to the craft store to pick them up. (I know my 6 followers are so disappointed). Check back in!

Good night!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Night Picks, 3rd ed.

Thursday night, 11:13 p.m.

Obviously, I haven't been very good at updating my blog more than once a week. But here I am, on my third Thursday night after starting my's quiet, everyone is asleep, and so here I go!

As you know, I recently opened my ETSY shop online. I have been admiring ETSY from afar for a while, and decided to finally take the plunge to sell in late February of this year. My ultimate goal--to sell my jewelry. However, my store, for the time being, is dedicated to liquidating my current inventory of baby stuff (onesies, burp cloths, supplies, fabric, etc). I'm happy to report that to date I have had 27 sales!!!!!

If you take a look at my shop, it has a pretty basic set-up. No frills, no bells and whistles. When I had my baby biz (under a different name), I had business cards, postcards, a custom-designed website, personalized stickers...

I don't have any of that right now for my ETSY shop. I am waiting to clear out my current inventory before creating my business identity as a jewelry seller. But in the meantime, I would like at least something to give out to my customers with my ETSY shop name....

....Which brings me to the current edition of "Thursday Night Picks". Since I have a bunch of blank 2" round white stickers, I'd like to embellish them with my shop name ("liko18"). I found some very cool custom stamps, and guess what? The seller ("foryoo") is from Honolulu too!

So, for my Thursday Night pick, I found this listing for a custom stamp in the following design:

I am going to place an order (tonight!) to customize the stamp with my shop name and website address. In my next post (hopefully I'll have received the stamp by then) I'll post photos of the stamp image and my 2" round stickers. And keep reading, folks, as I get my shop branded and ready to present my jewelry! I want to have a few listed in time for Mother's Day shopping....

Good night, all!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday Night Picks, 2nd ed.

Thursday night, 11:55 p.m.

OK, so I lied. I said I'd be back over the weekend, and well, life got in the way of blogging, so here I week later.

Earlier this evening I had dinner with some old high school friends. We've heard, from different sources, that our 20th class reunion (gasp!) is fast approaching. In Sin City, no less! Interestingly, I was perusing my high school website (I didn't even know we had one until recently) and was looking over the photos from the last reunion (which I didn't attend)--and didn't recognize a single soul. How can this be?

So, polling the was revealed that none of us actually plan on flying to Las Vegas to attend this reunion. But, just for fun, I've decided to dedicate this edition of "Thursday night picks" to:

"What to wear to your next class reunion"

Of course, all items courtesy of Etsy artisans.

Working backwards... My #3 pick:

Everyone needs a little sparkle, and this beautiful, yet simple bangle bracelet would work with a pair of jeans as well as with a party dress.

#2: Then, of course, you need the perfect clutch. This piece will up the "wow" factor in any outfit.

And...a real show-stopper...if you can pull it off, why not?

A tutu dress in electric blue.... I knew instantly that it had to be my #1 pick for the week.

Well, (smile), I think that is quite enough window shopping for one night. Thanks for checking in for another edition of Thursday night picks! Good night!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Night Picks

Thursday night 10:43 p.m.

Okay, so I am sounding a bit like Luna...."Thursday night picks" sounds suspiciously like football lingo. But fear not! This post has absolutely nothing to do with football....or sports....or ESPN......

Before I forget, here are some photos of our master bathroom, bare bones. Luna says we are at a "stand still". We still need to make a few decisions about the design, so I will post more photos when there is progress.

In my last post, I mentioned that one of my co-workers will soon have a baby boy. So, this post will be dedicated to my "Thursday night picks" for the perfect gifts for a new baby!

A bit of shameless is a photo and listing of my personalized onesie at my ETSY shop...too cute!

And, now for my top three picks:

#3: This is called a NOONIE (tm). Use it to swaddle your newborn's lined in a luxe minky fabric. It's been awfully cold around here (smile). This is such a great graphic print!

#2: Kind of a hip, cool onesie. Perfect for my co-worker.

And my top pick....

#1. Find me anyone on the planet that can possibly resist the cuteness of these. The photo says it all.

Well, I'm going to call it a night. It's exhausting, this window shopping on ETSY. I'll be back this weekend with more of....something! And back next Thursday for another edition of Thursday night picks!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Evening Siren

Monday night, 11:53 p.m.

I've heard from many parents that their children get fussy in the evening. My now 14-month old son is no exception. Luna and I call this the "Siren"; that loud, impossible wailing coming from your little angel, who, for those evening hours, makes you want to pull all your hair out.

So, needless to say it's been tough to get anything done around here. It's difficult to be productive when you are working with fussy AND toddler. You know what I mean. Despite only having a tiny bit of time to do anything at all, I had a semi-productive weekend.

One of my co-workers is having a baby soon! Another co-worker, ("Marie") and I were put in charge of the baby shower favors. Our expectant Dad and his wife are the sophisticated baby blue cutesy here! Marie had a great idea: instead of doing the same, tired shower favors, why not incorporate style and function? We wrapped a washcloth (yes, a washcloth!) in paper strips and ribbon, and finished it with a monogram stamp. Skeptical? Here is what the finished product turned out to look like:

It turned out to be a hit! The favor was easy to make, useful, economical, and most of all, very pretty.

Here is an tutorial on these favors (along with a list of where we purchased the supplies):

1- Purchased a set of 15 washcloths from Costco. Set comes with 5 brown, 5 tan, and 5 white washcloths.
2- Cut cardstock and layer white cardstock (1" W x 8" L)* over tan cardstock (2 1/2" W x 8" L)*. *Measurements we used
3- Roll up washcloth and secure layered tan/white cardstock onto cloth.
4- Stamp desired initial onto Avery 1- 1/4" diameter metal rim tags (purchased at Wal-Mart--it comes in a pack of 50, but keep these handy as they are great to decorate practically, gifts, etc!). Remove the attached string.
5- Tie the tag onto the washcloth with ribbon (Offray Dippy Dots in Turquoise/Aqua dots 3/8" wide grosgrain ribbon).
6- VOILA! Your beautiful favors are done! Thanks to Marie for such a wonderful idea!

I didn't have a chance to browse Etsy for my picks for baby shower gifts for my co-worker-- I will do so in a future post.

Since it's now very, very late, I'll be signing off. Good night!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Your Thursday, My Friday

Thursday night 10:36 p.m.

Kids are asleep, dishes washed, bags packed and ready to go for tomorrow morning. Time to write my first blog entry!

I get a respite every Friday from my cubicle (day job). I have been thinking for a long, long time that I would like to create my own blog, and since today is my Friday, it is the perfect night to start...

Did I mention that we renovated our entire house? The house is 80% complete, and now we are working on the master bathroom. It's completely stripped down, so stay tuned for updates on the master bath makeover. Here are some photos of the bathroom when we bought the house:

Hubby (from now on we'll call him "Luna"--more on this later) has great ideas and vision for the master bath. If he can put it all together, it'll be fantastic. In fact, I can hear him upstairs at this very moment taking measurements with his tape measure dragging against the floor. I'm charging my trusty Fuji Fine Pix Z5 (in pink!) to take photos of the renovation in progress to upload tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are some things I'm seriously lusting over for my house.....

1- For a while, I've been wanting some way to memorialize our first home (two homes ago). Luna and I built this home together in 1998 and sold it in June of 2008. I found a listing for a "Custom Watercolor House Portrait" by Kauaiartist that would be simply beautiful.

2- An updated, modern way to display your past and present. What better way to show off your family tree?

3- I am a serious collector of cushions. Ask my Mom--I give them to her when I'm done with them. I buy them are some beautiful cushions from Robins Egg Pink to brighten up my living room for the spring!

If you haven't already noticed, the featured items are all found on the place to buy all things handmade. Here, you'll find a marketplace full of crafters from all walks of life (including me @ creating lots of unique treasures!

Well, since technically tomorrow is a weekday (and my son needs to get to school on time), I will be signing off from my first post. Good night!