Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Soap Samples

Soap samples are now available for only $1 (+ $1 shipping). You can also get 3 samples for just $2.50 (+ $2 shipping). These are 1/2 ounce ball soaps. This way you can try it out before getting a full bar to make sure you like the scent and feel of the soap.

Ordering is easy - at the bottom of the page enter the kind(s) of soap you'd like and then click the "Buy Now" button. Note there are different buttons for 1 or 3 samples.

This is open to anyone - an international offer! I figure that's only fair since I ship internationally in my shop. If the button below does not show up or work for you just contact me at ajanes1@comcast.net

The types of soap available will vary over time, so I'll keep updating this list.

Types of Soap Available

Just click on the pictures to see the detailed information for each type of soap.

Layered Mint Soap/Shampoo

Green Tea with Lemon Soap

Rose Ribbon Soap/Shampoo

Unscented Oatmeal Honey Soap

What type of soap would you like?

Want 3 soap samples for $2.50 + $2 (shipping)? Simply fill in the types you'd like in the box below and hit "Buy Now".

Choose 3 Soap Samples

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My 1st Garden: Baby Steps

I'm going to swallow my pride and share my gardening experiences with you this year. This will be the first garden I've had since I was a kid living on a small farm. I've wanted to start one for many years now, but there was always one thing or other in the way.

One of the biggest factors holding me back was my own fear and sense of intimidation. There is so much involved in gardening that I don't know. But as with most things in my life I'm just going to plunge in. I'll find resources and get help from friends along the way. :) So this may be a learning-from-my-mistakes year, but that is still forward progress so I'll try to stay positive.

So I'm now in a house with ample yard space to start a veggie garden. The space I'm going to use has been neglected for a couple years. So this first picture is after a day of work trying to find the ground under all the leaves.

The second thing I've done is to start a few plants inside. I'm trying to do this garden on the cheap, so I loved this idea of using toilet paper rolls for starting seeds. Check out Nature Moms Blog for that and more great tips.

I've got two containers like this going. I started cherry tomatoes and green peppers and catnip. I'm crossing my fingers hoping they'll work out.

So that's it for this update. I have a feeling the next update might involve some cursing over my sore back after digging out the garden plot...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Florida Trip with Pictures

I just wanted to share some pictures from my short trip to Florida (West Palm Beach). It was my first time there and my goals were to see some alligators and lizards. Of course I also wanted to get some sunning and barefooting in. The weather was gorgeous, and I got a couple barefoot walks in with no one giving me even a second glance. :)

I also want to do a shout out to the Old Key Lime House. Fun restaurant with great food and an awesome view! We even got to see a pod of dolphins ... too bad I didn't have my camera with me then.

Onto the pictures I did get ...

Anole lizard


Alligator (little one)

Mystery bird
(I'd love some help with this one)

Fig Tree

Hope you like these. I had fun taking them! I think the lizard picture is my favorite. But then I have a thing for lizards and that one was very patient posing there for me. :) I have definitely discovered a new respect for wildlife photographers!

And I would love to find out what that Mystery Bird is. I don't know a lot about birds so I don't feel bad asking for help.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Winners chosen!

I just contacted the 2 winners of the free tea lights contest. So check your Etsy convos - you might be one of them! :)

Thank you to everyone who entered. This is valuable feedback and will definitely be influencing what I choose to make and list on a regular basis.

And for those of you who mentioned new scents - I'm keeping those in mind too. I'm always looking to expand my selection and there were some great suggestions made.

So again thank you everyone very much for voting and commenting!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Tea Lights Giveaway!

I would love to get feedback from you about your favorite candle scents. In return, I'll send a free set of 6 tea lights to 2 people!

Just choose your favorite scents in the new poll over to the right. You can choose as many or as few as you like. You can also choose "other" if you are thinking of a favorite that's not on the list. If you choose "other" I'd love if you could let me know the details in a comment to this post.

Want to know about the rest of my scents? I only included 20 of my scents in the poll. You can see the rest in my Etsy profile if you're interested. You are welcome to choose a scent from my profile as your choice for the giveaway if your favorite isn't in the poll.

Note: These are all fragrance oils. If you're interested in candles with essential oils take a look here.

Giveaway Prize:
  • You get a free set of 6 tea lights in your choice of scent. These are beeswax and paraffin blend candles with all cotton wicks.
How to Enter:
  1. This is open to anyone in any country! I ship internationally so my contests are international too!
  2. Choose your favorite candle scent(s) in the poll.
  3. Write me a comment including your email address or Etsy User ID so I can reach you.
  4. Also tell me which scent you'd like to receive if you win.
  5. Blog about this giveaway to get an extra chance to win! Include the link to your blog in the comment.
  6. Enter now! The poll closes Monday, March 23rd at 11:59 PM (EST).
How to Win:
  1. On Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 I will randomly choose 2 people out of those who posted comments.
  2. I will contact the winner the same day by email or Etsy convo.
  3. If I don't get a response from a winner by the end of Thursday then I will choose new winner(s) on Friday.
What's the Catch?

There's no catch. This giveaway is entirely free with no purchase required, and I pay the shipping. Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crafting Tip: Better than Perfect!

One thing I struggle with in my crafting is trying to make everything *perfect*. Yes, I have high expectations about the quality of my recipes, but it even goes beyond that. I fret if I've cut a bar of soap just a little off square. I stress about the color if it comes out not exactly as I've planned. And don't get me started on what I do if the finish on a candle isn't flawless!

I'm sure I'm not alone in this kind of thinking. "My work has to be perfect for it to be professional." Heaven forbid someone out there thinks I'm an amateur!

We as artists and crafters need to break out of this pattern of thought. We create amazing and beautiful items. Each is unique and wonderful. If buyers want machine-accuracy and assembly-line perfect then they'll go shop elsewhere. Our buyers see the value of handmade. As a buyer of handmade, I value more the personal thought, effort, creativity (blood, sweat, and tears) that went into the item.

And so today I want to celebrate the imperfections that make our work better than perfect! Here's a spotlight of Etsy items that have been marked down because of small flaws. These are great, unique items! I made this spotlight on byhand.me and you can see it online here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Business Tips: Managing Multiple Social Media Profiles

I have been feeling swamped by the number of profiles I have out there. I don't even share most of them with people anymore because I'm embarrassed that I don't update them as much as I should. Each one individually is fun and worthy of my time - but when I back up and look I just see a big messy pile that will waste my whole day.

I recently added Twitter to my list of social media. I put this off for so long because I thought it might be just one more thing on my social media plate. It has turned into an incredible resource! I will not add this one to the pile to gather dust. (BTW I'm @craftydragon for anyone who wants to follow me.)

This brings me to the topic of this post. This is one of the great resources that I found through Twitter. It's an article with really great tips on how to manage multiple profiles. Go check it out - it'll change your life! Ok ... well it'll allow you to really use all those profiles and free up some time.

HOW TO: Manage Multiple Social Media Profiles

Friday, March 6, 2009

Green News: A few fave picks

These are just a few recent green living tidbits I've come across recently. I just wanted to share them with my readers. Quotes are from the sites. Just click the links for more info. My work here is done. :)

Real Geeks Ride

Check out (and support) this bike ride to promote greener living.

"This ride across the USA, and the months leading up to it, is about their transition from ‘geeks’ into ‘geeks with bikes’. They will be showing, through realgeeksride.com and various forms of social media, the challenges, myths, and culture of cycling, the way a geek would understand them.

"Through their example, they hope to inspire (or potentially force) other geeks to change their commuting habits. If these two geeks can make it across the USA, it is foolish to think other geeks can not at least bike to work."

Green Teens: A Youth Movement to Spread Environmental Awareness


"Green Teens is a youth group who spreads environmental awareness through education and simple, positive lifestyle changes. The group has been around for about a year and can be found working throughout their community in Northeastern Connecticut. Some of Green Teens accomplishments include holding cloth bag booths, running light bulb swaps, and attending community events to spread their message!"

Planet Positive

"An environmental mark. A better way of living."

"Our mission is simple, but bold: to reduce carbon emissions and promote a more equitable distribution of resources.

"We will do this by actively promoting the Planet Positive mark as a straight forward way for everyone around the world to reduce their carbon footprint.

"Through Planet Positive we will create a network for organisations and individuals to work together towards a common goal: to ensure actions have a long-term positive effect on the environment, making good the damage done by past centuries of consumption and harmful emissions."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cool Site: The Optimist

If you're an optimist (like I am) here's a site to let you know you're not alone. So much around us is doom and gloom ... but there is a place where the world looks a little brighter.

This site is The Optimist at http://www.optimistworld.com/. It's a place to go to see the positive side of news, media, sports, personal stories, and more. And it's interactive! Comments, voting, and personal stories from readers are encouraged.

Here's part of the description from the site:

"If you are an optimist – or aspire to be one - welcome to our world. Here at Optimist World you'll find daily good news headlines, inspiring stories about charities, positive corporate social responsibility, activities, sustainable travel, optimistic stories from the world of sports, and so much more."

So take a few minutes out of your day and browse around to see what good is happening in the world around you. It may just put a little spring in your step.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Featured items: Spring Fever Sale!

Here are some amazing items from just a few of the shops participating in the EtsyNJ Spring Fever Sale. Go to http://etsynj.com/springfever/ to see all the deals offered.

Click on the pictures below to take you to the items. And go to Spring Fever Sale to see this list on byhand.me. There you can leave comments to boost popularity and get these items more views!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cool site: byhand.me

I just discovered this site. I'm sure it's been around for a long time but I'm a little slow. :)

Just one of the site's features is that it allows members to make these great "spotlights" (similar to Etsy treasuries). Here's the first one I've made. It features all my items. I'm already planning my next one to include fellow Etsy friends. Too much fun!!