More wedding crafts

My wedding is on Friday! We have pretty much everything made.

We are having one of our good friends perform the ceremony, and since I insist that everyone get a fancy hat, I made this one for her:

Officiants hat

These are our cake toppers. I made the bride and my fiance made the groom. He is clearly better at clay work than I am.

Elephant cake toppers

This is the headband I made for my flower girl:

Flower girl headband

These are our thank you cards. I did not make them. We put up an alchemy request on etsy, and had these made by sarahrhacker. I am really happy with how they turned out.

Our thank you cards from sarahrhacker

And finally: My bridal hat! As you all know, I have a fondness for extravagant hats. I knew that my bridal hat had to be phenomenal. It is a silk cocktail hat with handmade silk flowers, blue rhinestones, peacock feathers, goose feathers, ostrich feathers, and a pheasant feather!

[bridal hat-left side

Bridal hat-right side

Bridal hat-top view

Still need to finish: card box, shawl for one of the groom’s attendants.
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My Wedding dress is finished!

My wedding is a week from today, and I finally finished the dress yesterday. These pictures aren’t the greatest, but they will do for now.

The drapey bits are a really awesome shade of turquoise that the lighting here doesn’t quite capture.

The silver buttons down the back of my dress match the buttons on my fiance’s pants and jacket.

The turquoise wraps around one side to form a cap sleeve.

The other strap is adorned with handmade silk flowers.

Here is a (blurry) close-up of the flowers.

I promise to post better pictures when I have them!

Wedding crafty update

My wedding is three weeks from today! I can’t believe how quickly time is passing. There is still a lot to do, but we are making good progress.

Here are the boutonnieres I made for the groom and his attendants:


We have ordered our wedding programs from PlatinumDesigns and just closed an alchemy request for thank you cards. This was my first time doing an etsy alchemy request and it was a lot of fun. We got a ton of really fabulous bids–it was hard to choose! But then sarahrhacker sent us mock-ups we just couldn’t refuse. I will post pictures of the programs and thank you cards when I get them.

I am almost done with my wedding dress! I just need to understitch the neckline so the lining doesn’t roll over the top, and hem the bottom. Then we can add the wrappy bits and other embellishments.

I have completed the main dress and lining of my neice’s flowergirl dress. Hopefully I will finish that today. I’m taking it when I go visit my family for a week so that she can try it on. Pictures to come!

NorGA June Swap–Mythology

Every month, in addition to the theme contest, the members of Team NorGA do a themed swap. The theme for June was “mythology.” I got a great box of goodies from Jolene of Dingogirl’s Den.

First myth: Elephants don’t grow awesome green hair

They do if its this cool guy!

elephant hair

Second myth: Celeste doesn’t have enough crafting supplies.

Celeste has buckets of crafting supplies, but she can always use more! Like this awesome fabric and elephant ribbon from Jolene:

supplies

Third Myth: Storage containers are unnecessary.

Totally false! I always need things to put things in, like these awesome pouches:
cool pouches

Fouth Myth: You have to carry you’re whole bookbag from the office to the cafeteria to get your lunch, even though all you need is your wallet and keys because you don’t have any pockets.

False! You can use this cool elephant wrist pouch:

wrist pouch

Last myth: Jolene has a magic eyeball that can find the perfect gift for people she’s never even met.

I think this pillow confirms the existence of Jolene’s magic eyeball:

Elephant pillow

NorGA Monthy Challenge–Part I

Every month the North Georgia Street Team issues a challenge to its members based on a theme. The theme for June was “fireworks,” and the results of our efforts are now posted on the NorGA Blog. When you vote for your favorite, you are entered into a giveaway to win one of two grab bags of goodies made by our team.

I entered one of my hats and I’d like to tell you to vote for it, but in all honesty I’ve been blown away by the entry from NorGA member Sharon of Seedlings: Jewelry Because. Don’t get me wrong–all the entries are fabulous and I almost feel bad singling one person out for praise. The reason I’m so wowed by Sharon’s entry is not because her item is more amazing than any of the others, but because she went out on a limb and did something very different from her usual work. Sharon specializes in elegant jewelry inspired by nature, and while her entry for the June them is definitely jewelry, it is also clearly different from her usual style. For June, Sharon made the Steampunk Fireworks Machine Pretty Lady Set, topped by this amazing tiara:


You can read about her design process on her blog.

All of these is a long way around to say that Sharon has really inspired me to go beyond my usual crafting style for the July monthly challenge. For July, we are all making things that can be described as “aquatic.” The easy thing for me to do would be to make a blue beret or sunhat or pillbox turban and call it a day. But I am not going to take the easy way out this month!

I’ve been wanting to learn how to make felt hats for a while now, and recently got the basic supplies from yarn2spin. My plan for the challenge is to make a wet-felted blue hat decorated with needlefelted fish, and maybe some seaweed, and possibly top it off with a blue starfish I bought at a craft show. Sharon is great at detailed plans–I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants crafter.

So, this weekend I decided to make a practice felt hat. First, I wrapped the blue wool batt around the hat form and tacked it in place with a felting needle:

It looks like a blue cloud at this point. You can also see the non-pointy end of the felting needle sticking out of the top. A note about felting needles–they are really sharp, and barbed. In the process of tacking this wool down I stuck the needle straight through the tip of my finger at out the other side! Theresa from yarn2spin warned me–she too has stabbed straight through her fingers–but I apparently had to learn for myself. Fortunately, no permanant damage has been done and after yelping like a banshee I went back to stabbing the hat.

Once the wool was tacked in place I proceeded to wet felt it. “Welt felting” is a process in which you soak the wool in hot water, liberally spread dish soap on it, and then proceed to rub it vigorously for an hour or so. I don’t have any pictures of this step because my hands were covered in soap and hot water. I figured going near my camera was a bad idea. Basically picture a muppet hair salon and you’ll get the idea.

Here is the hat that came out of all this:

It is uneven–parts of it are thicker than others, it is not as thoroughly felted as I would like, and there is a small hole in one side.


Clearly not a perfect specimen, but I’m pleased for my first try. I figure I will make a felted flower to cover the hole, and while it is clearly too sub-par for my Etsy shop, it will do for me to wear around town.

Elephunk’s Guide to the Etsy Promotions Forums

Every so often I see a thread in the business section of the Etsy forums asking if anyone has ever had a sale from the promotions section, which inevitably draws a volley of mocking negative replies. The promotions threads, so the story goes, are a horrific waste of time.

And yet almost all of my sales have been directly from people I met in the promotion section. What is my secret, you may ask?

The key is in the sentence above. My sales have been to people I have met in the promotion threads. In order to meet people, you have to talk to them. In my experience there are two attitudes toward promotion threads–one of which is not likely to get you any sales, the other one will. The first I call “promotion as advertising,” the second “promotion as networking.”

  • Promotion as Advertising. This is the famous “post and run” situation. You wander into a thread called “Post your Newest” or “Show me something Chartreuse.” You just happen to have listed a Chartreuse Knitted Gumball Cozy that afternoon, so you post the link in both those threads without looking at any of the previous posts in. Your name and your link are out there! Your job is done. The item is sure to sell any minute, right? Wrong. Advertising is all well and good, and it is important to raise the visibilty of your items and your shop. The problem is that in order to raise visibilty, you have to put your item out where people are going to look at it. And if you didn’t bother to look at the Chartreuse Mold Scented Soap that was posted by the previous shop, chances are no one is going to look at your Gumball Cozy either. It is the equivilent of running into an empty room, shouting your name, and then leaving before anyone else comes in to say hello.

  • Promotion as Networking. If on the other hand, you treat the promotion threads as opportunities for networking you will have much better luck. Each thread is full of actual people who, if they get the chance to get to know you, might turn out to be your best support. But in order for that to work, you have to read what other people have posted, click on their links, and then come back to the thread and comment on their items. Now, when you open a promotion thread with 43,000 posts, you certainly don’t need to read all of them. Go ahead, click on the last page of the thread and ignore the preceding 4000 pages. But when you get to that last page read and comment on those postings. If you want to make a really great impression, comment on someone else’s item before posting yours. People will be much more likely to actually look at your item if you are also looking at theirs.

Now, not all threads are conducive to networking. After all, if everyone else is treating a thread as a post-and-run advertisement then no matter how many items you look at chances are no one will look at yours. It only takes a minute to look over the last one or two pages of a thread to determine which kind you are dealing with. If it is a post-and-run thread–by all means, through down your link and leave. Can’t hurt, right? But if it is networking thread, then get comfortable, stay awhile and chat. You will meet some wonderful people!

Guidelines for networking in a promotion thread:

  1. Do not post and run! And most especially, do not post and run in the same thread more than once. The first time you do it a few people may look since networking threads tend to have a dedicated core of people who stop by and look at whatever has been posted. If, however, people notice you posting and running repeatedly they will stop looking at your shop.
  2. Pay attention to what threads you have posted in before. Again, most networking threads have a dedicated core of people, or at least an OP that makes a point of looking at every shop that has been posted. If you come in and say “Hi, my name is AwesomeGumball please check out my shop!” every couple of days, it looks bad. When you come back to the same thread again, say “Hey everyone! Nice to see you. I’ve just added this Chartreuse Gumball Cozy to my shop.”
  3. Say hello. A link without a greeting will get no views.
  4. Be conversational. Talk to the people in the thread like you talk to your friends, not the way you would write up an add.
  5. Make friends! Come back to the same thread over and over. Talk to the same people over and over. They may not buy your items immediately, but they might buy them eventually.

Promotion threads, even when done right, will not get you a sale a day or any other kind of high ranking sales statistics. If you are looking for breadth of impact, the promotion threads are not the place to look. But if you are looking for depth of connections, they can be great! You will make friends who may buy from you, or recommend you to their friends, or write up blog posts about you, or put you in treasuries, or support you in any number of ways. You can’t get that kind of support if you post and run.

Monthy Goal Review–June

It’s that time again–the beginning of a new month and time to review my Etsy goals! Its like New Year’s Resolutions, only once a month. And like New Year’s Resolutions, when I look back I usually realize that I didn’t do half the things I meant to do, but did also accomplished things I hadn’t planned on.

My goals for June were:
1. Get 2 sales a week in each shop on average for the month. I’m going to keep setting this goal. Someday I will actually reach it! That would bring me to 24 sales in Elephunk’s Trunk and 18 sales in Elephunk’s Eyes.

Yes! Elephunk’s Trunk is at 25 sales and Elephunk’s Eyes is not far behind at 23 sales. More than half of my sales this month were from pseudo-trades with the fabulous people of Etsy Team S.N.E.A.K., so I didn’t actually make much money. But it is still nice to know that people like my stuff and that it is getting out there!

2. Raise enough money to sponsor an elephant orphan. That’s $50–I can do it!

Nope. I still haven’t sold any Elephunk’s Orphans items in Elephunk’s Trunk. I have raised $31 so far in Elephunk’s Eyes, though, which is a great start! And the Elephunk’s Orphans section of my shops was featured in Foxy G’s Den of I-Knit-quity as part of her Art from the Heart series.

3. Continue to Blog, on average, every other day.

Yes! 15 Blog posts in 31 days. Go me!

4. Get 50 items in Elephunk’s Trunk and 75 in Elephunk’s Eyes. That means finding time for crafting!

Will call this one Half-kept. I only have 44 items in Elephunk’s Trunk, but I have 79 in Elephunk’s Eyes.

5. Figure out a way to deal with the whole financial side of this–how much I’m spending, how much I’m making…all that boring stuff!

Nope. Really do need to do that. I did figure out a better way of keeping track of what photographs I need to get more prints off and which ones sell though.

Two and a half out of five isn’t bad! And I accomplished a lot I didn’t set out to do. I went to my first Etsy Team North Georgia meet-up, joined Etsy Team S.N.E.A.K. and started the Team S.N.E.AK. blog.

My goals for July will be modest. With my wedding coming up at the end of month, most of my time and energy will be going toward that.

July Goals
1. Get an average of 1 sale a week in each shop.
2. Blog at on average twice a week.
3. Get up to 50 items in Elephunk’s Trunk and 100 in Elephunk’s Eyes
4. Raise enough money in Elephunk’s Orphans to sponsor a baby elephant.