Friday, October 31, 2008

Pay It Forward: Care Packages for The Troops

Have you wanted to give back somehow but you weren't sure how or where to start?
Especially in the current economic conditions now more than ever giving back is difficult.
But during this time of year when we are celebrating and enjoying Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas I think it is more important than ever to remember the troops. Many will be overseas during the holidays and many others will be injured and in hospitals recovering.

I am working with an organization called, "Operation Care Packages" and they are collecting items to send overseas. I think about an organization such as Etsy that connects millions of people and see so much potential to make a difference. If everyone gave one or two items we would easily meet and of course exceed our goals.

I want everyone to see the different ways we can make a difference. I personally can not financially give a lot so let's get creative. I have gone to locals schools and have the kids coloring pictures and messages to send overseas. Cost: ZERO and it is a fun project for the kids and the troops will LOVE it. I have several churches involved now too. We can all help spread the word to our neighbors and our work centers too.

If you really want to give something and not just spread the word then think about things around your house that you are about to throw out or things that have been around for awhile and you aren't using such as magazines. We read them and then get rid of them, or have them sitting in offices for customers to read. Our troops generally don't have access to news, or magazines while deployed so this is a great gift that really won't cost a thing. My sister and mom LOVE to read and have shelves of books they don't know what to do with, so these can be donated. Do you have old movies, or games laying around? Donate those... Hopefully you can see the many ways to contribute without costing you financially.

If you would like to send something else there is a LONG list (I apologize in advance for the length) of items they could use, or would like. Many of these items are specific requests. All items will get to the troops because we have a list of names to send these too. If anyone is interested in signing up a loved one please go to the following site:

Here is a list of possible items to send:
Operation Christmas Stocking:
We need 10,000 Stockings that we can stuff and add to the Christmas Care Packages. (Approx 10-16 inches tall x 5-6 inches wide) Stockings can be made of fabric or felt.

"Wish List"
The following is a list of items that are especially needed to add Holiday cheer to packages.
Cards & letters of support to 'any hero'
Hot Chocolate & Hot Cider Packets Cookies (small individual packs)
Chocolate bars & kisses
Batteries AA & AAA
Hand held games, dvds and cds
Sweat pants and blanket throws
Socks - Mens - white /black - work /crew
Summer sausage, beef sticks or pepperoni sticks (6oz to 12oz size)
Granola Bars, Trail Mix, Nuts (individual sizes)
Small Christmas trees - 8 to 18 inches tall
Zip lock bags (quart and gallon size)
Popcorn balls / Carmel corn
Phone cards 120 min AT&T
Little Stockings (Approx 10-16 inches tall x 5-6 inches wide)
Hand made ornaments (no glass please)
Protien Bars * Batteries * Jerky
Pre-sweetened powdered Kool-aid, Gatorade
Kool aid singles or similar
Jerky, Slim Jims, Summer Sausage, Beef Sticks
Canned Fruit, Dried Fruit, Fruit Snacks
Canned Hearty Soup, Ravioli, Stew
Cup A Soup, Top Ramon, Dinty Moore
Trail Mix, Nuts, Sunflower Seeds
Pre-Packaged Cookies
Instant Oatmeal, Boxed Cereal
Easy Mac & Cheese, Microwave Popcorn
Canned Tuna, Chicken
Peanut Butter / Jelly (No Glass Please)
Small boxes of crackers
Muti-Vitamins, Tylenol

Special Wants
Small Personal or Desk Fans, Hand & Foot warmers, Hot Plates, Small Coffee Grinder, Twin Sheet Sets, Pillow cases, Travel Size Pillows, Cool Scarves, Jogging Pants, Cool Max T-Shirts, Wash Cloths and Bath Towels, Flashlights, Headlamps, Leatherman, New or Good Condition Books, No Romance Please, Mystery, Western, Thriller, Sports, Inspirational

SuperBowl Sunday Help us give them a day every American Loves
Footballs, Nerf Balls, Sports Related Items, New Football or Sports Magazines, Salsa - in plastic please, Totilla Chips, Summer Sausage, Small boxes of crackers, Cheese - Non refrigerated, Plastic Football Bowls for chips, Football Napkins, Football Sports Flags or Banners, Men's Deodorant, Shave Cream, Foot Powder, odor eaters, Small size shampoos, conditioner, mouthwash, Floss, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrushes, nail clippers, Sunblock, Mosquito repellant, Fly tape, Wet Wipes, Anti-bacterial liquid soap

New/Used DVDs / CDs
Puzzle Books, Pads of paper, Long Envelopes
Qt. / Gal Zip Lock Bags
Hand Held Games, Hand held Mini fans, Misters
Batteries AA/ AAA
Cards games...UNO, Skip Bo,
Yahtzee, Board Games, Sports equipment, Hacky Sacks, X-Box & PS2 Games
Mens White/Black Crew/ Work socks
Under Armour Wear T-Shirts Sm., Med., Lg., Xlg.
Thongs, Shave towels, wash cloths, Cool scarves
Sun glasses, Safety glasses, Gloves, 72" boot laces

Holiday Needs

Summer sausage, Crackers, Canned Ham (Sm.)
Lots Pre-packaged Cookies, Hot Chocolate, Coffee
Chocolate Candy, Hard Candy,
Handmade or mini ornaments
Small 18-22 inch Christmas Trees (Artificial)
New or Handmade Blanket Throws
Cards & letters of support
Hand made kids pictures/ letters
Small un-wrapped gifts
Homemade / bought stockings / Mini or regular size

Here is a great website with very affordable odds and ends, such as deck of cards, stockings that are only 50 cents each, games and ornaments.. .
Mailing Address
Operation Care Package
611 Wilcox St.
Joliet, IL. 60435

Feel free to use the link at the top of this blog to look me up on Etsy and convo me if you have any questions.

Thanks to all of you that have serve, are serving, or those who are supporting the troops!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What Colors Mean

Did you know every color we look at has a hidden meaning? Your website, blog, or Etsy shop could be sending the wrong message if you aren't aware of what a color can evoke from customers.

Here is a list of colors and what they can mean:

Red is viewed as an exciting, dramatic color. Red also has passionate feel. The darkest reds, such as burgundy and maroon, have a rich stately feeling.

Orange gives off an aura that is cheerful, bold, and exciting. Orange has a friendly, informal feeling that makes it a great choice for a family room or relaxed living room. Rust, a dark muted orange, is a quiet color that conjures up misty autumn days, while the paler peach makes a cheerful, warm but understated, impact.

Yellow is the most visible color—that’s why so many road signs and school buses are yellow. Gold and ochre tones of yellow create a formal, antique atmosphere. Soft yellows have been a popular exterior paint choice since Colonial days, and these warm, inviting shades can do justice to virtually any room in the house.

Green is nature’s favorite color. Perhaps because of this strong associate with nature, green is a very soothing color to most people. Because green is easy on the eyes, it has long been a popular color in the work place. Green is a versatile color that can look good anywhere inside or out.

Blue is America’s “favorite color.” The universal appeal of blue skies and blue water create a feeling of serenity and openness. Aqua blue is a more frivolous and sunny color. As an exterior color, blue works beautifully as either a trim or a whole-house color.

Purple brings to mind of wealth and pageantry. Purple and violet are indeed luxurious shades. Lavender, a tint of violet, is gaining popularity and conveys a feeling of low-key refinement. The skillful and unexpected use of violet as an interior color makes an instantly eclectic impression.

Like green, brown is known as a nature color. This relaxed neutral is a great color to live and work around. Red-browns look very informal. Dark browns look more refined. Brown works well with green as an exterior color scheme for a home that’s surrounded by trees: the house will seem to disappear into the landscape. Beiges and tans are familiar neutrals you can use anywhere.

White symbolizes freshness, purity, and cleanliness. You can’t go wrong with white: it offsets any color you use it with. As an exterior color, white is tremendously versatile and will beautify almost any surface.

Black is an authoritative classic color that conveys sophistication. Black provides a neutral yet dramatic counterpoint to any color you choose. Black is a great color for exterior detailing such as shutters, trim, doors, and wrought iron.

Gray is an elegant neutral that has enjoyed a lot of attention. Gray has a definite business-like, urban feel to it. Because gray is so neutral, you can accent it with any color you please. Gray with white trim is a classy exterior color scheme that works on a wide variety of homes.

I hope this gives insight to all of you and that it helps you with designs.
Here is the website that I retrieved this information from, it is GREAT! They have a personality quiz on the site where you can see which colors represent you :)


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Etsy Shop Trinkets N Whatnots Features

Well I have had a problem with my internet router and have limited connection so I apologize in the delay of a new post.

I thought I would discuss my shop on Etsy and some of the features I am offering. I hope this can give some insight into option available for your own shop or website.

I have set up different sections to make it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for. One thing I have found when shopping on Etsy is that I don't want to have to search through 5 or 6 pages to find one or two specific things I was interested in. Making the shopping experience as convienent as possible is important.

I have also included a section called "new". There are quite a few Etsy shops that I follow. One thing I have difficulty with is figuring out if there are new products in that shop or not. When following so many I can't possibly remember the inventory of each of those shops. I hope that by providing a new section I can have customers return to find new items of interest. The items in the New category stay in the new category for at least 2 weeks.

I am still expanding and experimenting to see what works best and what customers are attracted to but another feature I have started is a layaway plan. During these tough economic times many of us do not have a lot of disposable income, yet birthdays and holidays come no matter what. This option I hope will give everyone the opportunity to give special, one of a kind gifts this year no matter what is going on with the economy.

When I shop online one thing that can deter me from making an impulse purchase is the shipping and handling charges. Have you ever gone to the trouble of placing items in the cart and shopping for several items only to get to the checkout and find out the shipping is more than the cost of the products? I have my shipping costs stated in several spots in my shop. Most obvious is the main page, announcements. I have found when shopping on an impulse we don't always take our time to look around at policies (at least I don't) so I try to make this important information as visible as possible. My standard shipping cost is 4.80 for USPS Priority Mail. For this price my customers get their items in 2-3 business days, with delivery confirmation. This way if something is lost or taking too long we can track it :) And personally when I want something I want it NOW, so I like the idea of a purchase arriving quickly. This 4.80 is a flat rate for as many items as you want to purchase, and I do offer other forms of shipping if someone asks. I can provide insurance, 1st class shipping and more.

Another nice feature for my shop is I try to give a very personal touch to every transaction. As soon as I receive the notification of a sale I contact the buyer to verify all information and thank them for their purchase. It is extremely important to make sure the address that was given is correct so shipping errors do not occur. I also like to verify the specific details of a transaction. For instance, if a ring is bought I want to make sure I am clear on the size the customer needs. All of this communication ensures no mistakes happen and that my customers are 100% satisfied. No one should be left wondering if their order has been received. I also send a notification via USPS to the buyers e-mail address with a tracking number so that he or she can see where their purchase is and when it will arrive.

I think all of these features will help shops standout from many others. I hope that some of this information will be helpful in the setup of your shops and/or websites. At the very least I hope that you will find my shop a pleasant experience.

I will be back to post more in a couple of days (once I have more internet access) but please feel free to comment and ask questions.

I even have a survey that you can fill out if you would like to give input.

For a quick survey:

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beaded Ornament Hooks

Well my latest creation is a way to decorate the christmas tree more. I thought to myself why do we hang such gorgeous, expensive, unique, treasured ornaments on our trees with a cheap piece of ugly wire? Wire that comes in one color, and we frequently lose in the branches of our trees?
No one has to hang their stunning ornaments on ordinary wire anymore! I have created wire hooks that are made from a plethora of colored wire and then added beads. The beads range from your standard holiday colors such as green, red, white, gold, silver, and then not as standard such as blue, pink, yellow, orange and purple.
These great holiday ornament hooks can be found in my etsy shop:
I hope you enjoy these. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

My FIRST Blog Post!

Hello Everyone,

This is my first blog ever and thought I would use this as an opportunity to connect with more people.

I will start this blog by telling you a little about me. I am 31 years old and served 6 years in the Navy on active duty. I was a hospital corpsman (medic) and loved every minute of it. I am a person who loves to help others, and being a corpsman was a very good way of doing that. I decided in 2005 that I wanted to leave the Navy because I wanted to settle down. I didn't want to have to move every couple of years anymore. I wanted to buy a home, and have pets, and a more stable life style.

Since getting out of the Navy though I have come to realize that I can not find a reasonably paying job in the medical field for my military experience. The laws in the Military are a lot different then those on the civilian side which prevents me from doing any significant duties. So I went back to college and recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. YEAH :) I am now seeking a Master's program for Physician Assistant.

In the meantime I was seeking a new hobby and I LOVE jewelry. I did a little research on the internet and decided to give it a try. When I decide to do something I go all out, so I went to the local craft store and spent hundreds of dollars on wire kits, books, and basic tool kits. I personally like things that are unique and different so wire work seemed appropriate. I didn't see many things wrapped in wire in the local boutiques or malls. I started with wire, but did some basic beading, then came across some gorgeous bead weaving and dabbled in that even. I also dove into some clay work. I LOVE clay but I have too many ideas and projects to do them all so I did some clay work but I have been distracted by my most recent project.... Button rings.

I have seen button rings before but I didn't want to just buy plain buttons that you get with an outfit at the store and layer them. I wanted them to be unique so I started with unique buttons that I could layer and then wrap the wire on top. They turned out pretty good and were huge sellers for me. One day I came across Czech glass buttons, most of which were rare to find and decided that was IT! So I also have many button rings that are made of rare czech glass buttons.
You can see these rings at the following link:

I am currently experimenting with different ways of making cuff bracelets that will display these unique buttons.

I have a nice array of holiday themed items I have been working on recently also.

So I hope this first blog gives you an idea of me as a person and artist. I plan on using this blog to discuss promotional techniques, share my latest creations and ideas, and discuss techniques for my jewelry. I hope to cover a wide range of topics such as craft fairs and what you should know if you want to do them, or talk about throwing jewelry parties etc.

Please feel free to ask questions, comment and suggest topics you would like to know about.
Thanks for reading.