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Friday, June 27, 2014

DIY Upcycled 4th of July Firecracker Tutorial!

http://storybookartifact.blogspot.com/2014/06/how-to-create-photo-prop-rocket.html

My darling niece and nephew are the stars of this star spangled step-by-step how-to tutorial for making your very own DIY upcycled 4th of July firecracker! Showcased on my sister Andrea's blog (owner of Etsy shop Storybook Artifact), she will explain the entire process of how we put this stunning Independence Day celebratory decor piece together! Making an eye-catching photo prop for your July 4th photography shoot or a patriotic decoration to display during this great American honorary holiday, you will go out in style with a BANG this Fourth of July with this adorable hand-painted, decoupage firework rocket!

http://storybookartifact.blogspot.com/2014/06/how-to-create-photo-prop-rocket.html

Also, featured in my niece and nephew's photo shoot are my vintage original 1950s Town & Country red, white, and blue stiletto high heels from our Etsy sister shop LaOohLaLa Boutique. Little Miss America has them propped up on a pillow and pulling them in her nostalgic Americana Radio Flyer wagon! Mama and Auntie came up with the cutest photo prop idea!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/153577288/1950s-rare-town-country-red-white-and?ref=shop_home_active

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Comment to Etsy's Seller Handbook Blog Article "How to Take Your Vintage Shop to the Next Level"

 https://www.etsy.com/listing/182090553/1960s-mod-music-note-mini-shift-sack?ref=shop_home_active_8
Me modeling a vintage original handmade 1960s Music Note Mini Sack Gogo Dress found in Etsy shop "LaOohLaLa Boutique"

My comment posted from sister shop "LaOohLaLa Boutique" which I share with my sister, grandmother, and great aunt on the Etsy Seller Handbook Blog Article "How to Take Your Vintage Shop to the Next Level":

Hooray! We are absolutely thrilled to see an Etsy blog article highlighting the vintage portion of this fabulous online marketplace! Please continue to showcase vintage in the seller handbook section of the blog! We can always use more inspiration and guidance with regards to the vintage side of our boutique!

I think the two most important parts in this article are "building a robust inventory" and "focus on photography"; we strive to set our minds to this everyday. More sales take place when you have more inventory for buyers to browse through; they will also be more likely to stay in your shop, keep looking, and possibly buy multiple items. Keeping a cohesive look with your photography helps too! One commenter asked what is best for displaying vintage clothing, a model or a mannequin? I prefer the real-life living model, but a classy mannequin (a bust only or with a face) can be equally aesthetically pleasing to the eye as long as you create the crisp, light, and airy, or themed environment/setting for your background. Striving to achieve the highest quality of photography and photo editing in your capabilities is essential!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/163653515/tea-length-prairie-pinafore-dress-secret?ref=shop_home_active_7

My sister Andrea modeling a Vintage Tea Length Floral Prairie Pinafore Dress for her Victorian romantic themed Etsy Shop "Storybook Artifact"

Also, "collaborating with competitors" is a great piece of advice as well...and I think also having other vintage Etsy shops is also rewarding. For instance, I collaborate with my sister Andrea of "Storybook Artifact" who has a vintage Victorian/Romantic themed Etsy shop where she houses women's garments and fancy vintage housewares; we hold weekly photo shoots together and thus provide a model and a photographer! "LaOohLaLa Boutique" is a vintage/handmade boutique that my sister and I collaborate with my grandmother and great-aunt where we house mid century themed women's clothing, vintage pin up ephemera, and collectible designer vintage stilettos along with my aunt's handmade retro themed pin up pillows. The third shop "Eco-Friendly Freckles", I run myself and it houses my upcycled original artwork along with a variety of vintage toys, housewares, decor, etc...because preserving vintage items gives what some may consider an old, outdated, and unwanted item a "new life" by recycling it in a way and providing it to someone who cherishes it! "One man's trash is another man's treasure" and "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" certainly holds truth when it comes to vintage! By having these three separate vintage shops, the Victorian romantic themed items are set apart from the mid century mod sixties themed items; by doing this we create a specific venue for our niche markets to come to and enjoy!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/181291432/1950s-paymaster-ribbon-writer?ref=shop_home_active_19

Saturday, June 21, 2014

January in June - A Quirky, Fun Dose of Winter Favorites in the Summertime!


https://www.etsy.com/listing/193760423/sleigh-ride-sisters-pillow-handmade?ref=shop_home_active_1
This morning I was writing up a description for another one of my Aunt Mary Lynn's lovely original pin up pillows; this particular pillow displays a beautiful winter scene featuring three Victorian lady sisters partaking in a joyous sleigh ride together in the snow. As the story behind this stunningly scenic pillow was flowing from my fingertips onto my keyboard, a thought crossed my mind, "How ironic is it that I am writing a story about a winter scene in the month of June?". I've been sunbathing with my sweetheart in the heat of summer all week long and the thought of cold snow and chill in the air sounds absolutely delightful! My husband Joe thinks I am funny sometimes because I like hot coffee in the summertime while he is craving an iced cup of java. When I think about it, there are quite a few wintertime pleasures that I enjoy in the summer; so I am going to share a few of them here with you while I sip on my hot cup of afternoon coffee in the sultry month of June (with indoor air conditioning of course) during the summer solstice...the longest day of the year!


Thinking about "January in June" reminded me of an old photograph of my husband's beautiful grandmother Esther on his mother's side; this photo was taken in the 1930s and as you can see the words "June in January" are written in the corner, because she is being very bold wearing her swimsuit and standing (what looks like barefoot) in the snow! Doesn't she look like a classic war era pin up girl?!...Well she sure was! Here is another picture that is more seasonally appropriate for June, she is absolutely adorable!


Once again, I am reminded of one of my Aunt's darling handmade pin up pillows, here is "Sunkissed Summer":

https://www.etsy.com/listing/92263693/sunkissed-summer-pillow-retro-chic-pin?ref=shop_home_active_2


First I want to share one of my mother-in-law Beverly's pretty hand-crocheted scarves (Esther shown above is her beloved late mother). Here I am modeling the crocheted lovely!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172791120/frosted-sage-crochet-scarf-mint-cream?ref=af_shop_favitem

A crochet scarf is warm, cozy, and usually considered only a chilly season fashion accessory, this particular handmade scarf from Beverly's Etsy shop "Maddie's Trinkets and Bobbles" has been getting lots of favorites, views, and five features in summer Etsy treasury collections in the last 30 days! I think this can be attributed to its refreshing mint sage color...It is also one of my favorites as well! Here is the most recent summery treasury titled "Pastel Summer":

https://www.etsy.com/treasury/MzY2NzAyNzJ8MjcyMzgwODgzOQ/pastel-summer

Now, onto the rest of my quirky, fun winter seasonal favorites to admire in this summery month of June...

https://www.etsy.com/listing/75539948/ex-boyfriends-gingerbread-men-one-dozen?ref=shop_home_active_1

My sister Andrea's homemade ginger cookies! I know gingerbread men are normally a holiday favorite, and ginger spice desserts are typically enjoyed during the fall and winter months...but Joe and I are obsessed with Andrea's ginger cookies any time of year! These "Ex Boyfriend Ginger Bread Cookies" can be found in Andrea's Etsy shop Storybook Artifact, and are great for serving around Halloween!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/180261727/50s-blue-seafoam-tea-cups-porcelain-mugs?ref=shop_home_active_16&ga_search_query=cup

Like I mentioned before, I still love my hot coffee (and tea) during the summertime and these dainty vintage 1950s seafoam green and blue tea cups are the perfect vessels for a hot cup of something satisfying! This set of two can be found in my Eco-Friendly Freckles Etsy shop.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/101758226/sumatran-organic-fair-trade-coffee-1lb?ref=sr_gallery_5&ga_search_query=dark+coffee+roasted+organic&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

Speaking of coffee, my favorite is an organic dark roast...and this one sounds fabulous! "Sumatran Organic Fair Trade Dark French Roast Coffee" by Redbud Roasters.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184536840/blanket-hand-crochet-blanket-wool-afghan?ref=sr_gallery_13&ga_search_query=striped+crochet+afghan&ga_ship_to=US&ga_page=3&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

My sweet Flame Point Himalayan kitty cat girl "Nozomi" loves snuggling up with her favorite hand-crocheted afghan (it was handmade with love my Esther)! My readers may remember the pictures I have shared of my cat with her beloved blanket...no matter what the season is, I love cuddling with my precious kitty and afghan! It is a colorful striped afghan that reminds me of this handmade treasure by Etsy shop "Chocolate Dog Studio".

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184983578/rifat-kratom-hand-candles?ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_query=kratom&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery


A hot nourishing cup of tea and warm comforting candles are two of my wintertime favorites and these hand-forged carbon steel palm torches symbolize these two chilly season favorites (kratom and candles) combined into one piece! These beautiful heated, hammered, and etched "Rifat Kratom Hand Candles" can be found in the Etsy shop "Fire Fractal Works".

https://www.etsy.com/listing/62868831/oatmeal-stout-beer-soap-bar-vegan-palm?ref=sr_gallery_20&ga_search_query=oatmeal+stout&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery


I have always been a fan of the dark, rich, full-bodied brews of the winter season versus the light, refreshing, pale ales so popular in the summer season. My all time favorite is Samuel Smith's Oat Meal Stout Beer; and that is exactly what this handmade soap smells like! That is so awesome! These "Oatmeal Stout Beer Soap Bars" can be found in Etsy shop "Anderson Soap Company".

https://www.etsy.com/listing/174018649/fireball-whisky-bottle-tabletop-lamp?ref=sr_gallery_19&ga_search_query=fireball+whiskey&ga_ship_to=US&ga_ref=auto1&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

Lastly, on the topic of irresistibly delicious alcoholic beverages, cinnamon whiskey is often considered a fall/winter cocktail ingredient...but I like it straight and HOT in the summer! Just polished off a big birthday bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey with my sweetie and I think I need this epic upcycled Fireball Whiskey liquor bottle lamp by Etsy shop Liquor Luminations!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Maps, Wait! They Don't Love You Like I Love You! - Upcycling Old Road Atlas Maps in Your Gift Wrapping

♩♪♫♬Pack up, I'm straight, enough, 
Oh, say say say...Oh, say say say...
Wait! They don't love you like I love you
Wait! They don't love you like I love you
Ma-a-a-a-ps, wait!
They don't love you like i love you...♩♪♫♬


As I'm feeling eco-friendly, cutting up an old atlas, and wrapping my Father's Day gifts with beautifully colorful maps, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song "Maps" plays out in my head and I can't help but smile...I love maps! They're so symbolic to me; they capture the reality of the world around us, natural landmarks, and the endless possibility of travel...potential journeys to an infinite array of destinations! Admire the beauty of maps and save them from falling into the depths of the landfills by giving them one last breath of life and a loved one something to smile about.


The upcycled paper gift bow fashioned from recycled atlas road maps was so incredibly easy to make; I discovered how to make them from this informative step-by-step tutorial HERE! My father-in-law treasured his homemade upcycled maps gift bow so much, after opening his gift he wore the bow as a boutonnière!




Would you rather support an eco-conscious crafter than try your hand at making these upcycled gift bows yourself? Well, look no further than the fabulously handmade shops on Etsy; above is a picture of a set of beautifully hand folded gift bows made from old outdated road maps by Etsy shop Pollinator Handmade! Perhaps one day I too will make up some of these handmade repurposed lovelies and add them to one of my creatively upcycled shop sections in my Eco-Friendly Freckles shop.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why I Think Giving a Free Gift is Important to Include In Your Etsy Order Packages

An example of a free gift sample of a homemade macaroon cookie with attached business card from Storybook Artifact

I think the extra special touches that Etsy sellers put into their packages reminds the buyer that they are not ordering from a company that makes mass-produced and soulless gadgets and gizmos, they are instead ordering from individuals, mom and pop virtual brick and mortar storefronts, and home-based little cottage industries. Etsy is a place where sellers sell handmade one-of-a-kind treasures...not something that was made in a child labor sweatshop! I highly value the works of art found on Etsy; as well as the vintage lovelies that recycle the things that are saved from being forgotten from our past and are given a new life. I know, I am going a bit off topic here, my point is, I think receiving a free gift in an Etsy order is a very special touch (just like the handwritten note, pretty packaging, or handwritten address) that reminds the customer that they are buying from an individual who actually put thought and care into wrapping their package!

I think this is even more expressed if you give a free gift that is relevant or related to the item that they have purchased; I think this is a very good idea for several reasons. The item demonstrates the other like-items in your shop reminding the buyer that you have more to offer and hopefully inspiring them to return and make another purchase. Since it is something similar to what they purchased, they are also more likely to use or appreciate the free gift. For example, we sell a lot of vintage magazine prints, so I will include a smaller half-page magazine advertisement from the same era that advertises a similar item (like a liquor ad, women's lingerie ad, etc.). We do this in our sister shop "Eco-Friendly Freckles" as well and have received wonderful reviews thanking us for the free thoughtful gifts. We have also included vintage decorative shoe inserts in some of our vintage shoe packages...and we included coupon codes with all orders. I also love the idea of including a recipe if you are a vintage seller; for instance, a purchase of barware glasses gets a cocktail recipe, a cookbook gets a recipe card.
An example of a free half-page magazine advertisement gift from "sister shops" LaOohLaLa Boutique and Eco-Friendly Freckles

Also, we do not do this, but I think it is a good idea, if you make art prints, illustrations, or oil paintings, have a print made of your art piece and have it made into bookmarks, buttons, keychains, magnets, postcards, greeting cards, custom pencils, pens, or other "functional" freebie items and in small print have your shop URL printed on it somewhere so the buyer can enjoy the free gift, it advertises your work of art, and they have easy access to your shop link anytime they want to return to your shop! The guests in their home will also see it! Also, getting a professionally made customized rubber stamp or stickers with your shop URL is great to use on the outside of your packaging; as your package travels through the mail, all the people who come into contact with the package will see your shop link and possibly be intrigued to check it out. As the envelope or box sits in the customer's house it may get reused. Your logo is like a little mini billboard for your shop. :-)

I always appreciate a free gift; I have been buying and selling on Etsy for years; I have received beautifully wrapped items that look like a special present has arrived in the mail...you won't get this from other websites like Ebay or Amazon! I order make-up on Etsy, I get showered with free makeup samples which inspire me to try out new things! I love free soap samples too! The ACEOs, handmade gift tags, and artist postcards I have received over the years I absolutely treasure and I either keep them or give them as a gift to a friend.

The one thing that I would not suggest, is to give out freebies that are actually mass-produced, soulless, and irrelevant to your shop items; for instance if you make and sell homemade cookies and candies, I would LOVE to receive one of your free tasty creations, but PLEASE do not toss store-bought Halloween candy into my package! Unless, I suppose it was a luxury candy and you had professional wrappers made to advertise your shop...Also, if you send candy, it needs to be able to withstand the ever-changing temperatures during transit. Best of luck Etsy sellers, keep being thoughtful, creative, personable, and dressing up your packages! ;-)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vintage Inspired Wedding Lovelies From My Beloved "Sister Shops"!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/187488913/floral-white-wedding-dress-1960s-empire?ref=shop_home_active_7&ga_search_query=wedding

It's that time of year again, love is in bloom and it's the wedding season! Nostalgically romantic and sentimental brides-to-be carry on their family traditions while expressing their unique sense of style as well as the individual personalities of the bride and groom throughout their blessed wedding day. Vintage inspired weddings are very popular this wedding season, and here I would love to share my favorite vintage bridal lovelies reminiscent and discovered from yesteryear!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/185593101/il-pleut-umbrella-necklace?ref=related-4

In the vintage wedding dress listing presented above from my sister Andrea's Etsy shop "Storybook Artifact", Andrea is modeling a lovely bronze "il pleut" umbrella blue and turquoise Swarovski crystal jewelry set handmade by our dear friend Stephany. The necklace can be admired here in her new Etsy shop Zou Bisou Bijoux, by clicking the necklace image above. Paired up with the matching bronze "il pleut" umbrella earrings pictured below, this stunning jewelry set is a perfect "wedding shower" (thinking of the umbrella) bridal gift and with the blue and turquoise crystals, it makes a special traditional "something blue" gift for a bride-to-be!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/185580140/le-parapluie-bow-and-umbrella-earrings?ref=shop_home_active_10

 
Many brides carry on the tradition of this old English rhyme...
Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.
Vintage inspired bridal pieces capture the "something old", and if borrowed from a loved one, they are "something borrowed" as well! These four objects a bride adds to her wedding ensemble or carries them with her on her big day...and tradition says they are good luck charms! Here is another stunning vintage wedding dress found in my sister's Storybook Artifact Etsy shop, modeled by me! 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/167945413/royal-romance-wedding-gown-vintage-1940s?ref=shop_home_active_8&ga_search_query=wedding

Shower the beautiful, beloved bride with a handmade one-of-a-kind keepsake gift created by my darling Aunt Mary Lynn found in our Etsy sister shop "LaOohLaLa Boutique". The bride will always hold this thoughtful gift, a "something blue" Victorian lady pillow, dear to her heart; it depicts a gleefully glowing engaged bride-to-be holding her blue and white flower bouquet...and can be viewed by clicking on the image below. This could also possibly be a ring bearer's pillow for carrying down the aisle with it pocket for holding the wedding ring bands on the back of the pillow!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/186554002/something-blue-pillow-victorian-bride?ref=shop_home_active_17&ga_search_query=wedding

...and some more vintage inspired wedding lovelies from our sister shops!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/110920652/vintage-1950s-embroidered-pastel-floral?ref=shop_home_active_10&ga_search_query=wedding

https://www.etsy.com/listing/186357970/1953-gibson-wedding-advertisement?ref=shop_home_active_16&ga_search_query=wedding
1953 Gibson Wedding Card Advertisement from LaOohLaLa Boutique...nostalgic bridal shower wall art!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/106426561/diane-by-wade-dinner-plates-something?ref=shop_home_active_3&ga_search_query=wedding

https://www.etsy.com/listing/128007120/1970s-bridal-ivory-pearl-pumps-vintage?ref=shop_home_active_13&ga_search_query=wedding
 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/187609830/1953-warners-advertisement-vintage?ref=shop_home_active_10&ga_search_query=wedding
1953 Warners Merry Widow Lingerie Ad from LaOohLaLa Boutique...more wedding shower wall art!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/163160580/marilyn-monroe-merry-widow-1950s-warners?ref=shop_home_active_1&ga_search_query=wedding
1950s Warners Bridal Merry Widow (from LaOohLaLa Boutique)...Marilyn Monroe had one just like it!!!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/163009184/buttercup-taffeta-ball-gown-enchanting?ref=shop_home_feat_2

https://www.etsy.com/listing/182589456/1940s-alice-blue-bed-jacket-vintage-lady?ref=shop_home_active_2&ga_search_query=wedding
1940s Alice Blue Nylon Bed Jacket from LaOohLaLa Boutique..."Something Blue" for the Honeymoon!

...AND drum roll please...Coming soon to Storybook Artifact, handmade decoupage sheet music wedding party favor cups! They are made from 100% recycled materials; yogurt cups and beautifully aged vintage sepia colored sheet music from the 1800s!!! They are absolutely lovely, and I can't wait to make up enough for a typical wedding party guest amount for an Etsy listing! :-)


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Post-Surgery Kitty Cat

Nozomi sitting pretty with her favorite hand-crocheted afghan made by my mother-in-law Beverly's (owner of Maddie's Trinkets and Bobbles) darling late mother and a handmade pin up pillow made by my Aunt Mary Lynn...More of her original pin up pillows can be viewed in her Etsy shop LaOohLaLa Boutique.

Our sweet kitty Nozomi had surgery yesterday to remove a large stone from her bladder; she is back home today and appears to be doing well...much better than I expected! We have created a cozy home for her in a nice, big private crate (thanks to my sweet mother-in-law Beverly of Maddie's Trinkets and Bobbles for lending it to us). Nozomi loves boxes so we put one inside so she has a bed along with cushy towels, her litter box, food and water, and a sprinkle of catnip. We are giving her pain medicine as directed by the vet, and she is resting well which I think will hasten her recovery. Surprisingly, she has her usual sweet-as-can-be mood and has been dealing with this unpleasant situation so very well! If you live in the Tulsa area of Oklahoma, I highly recommend Hunters Glen Veterinary Hospital; they have been so very helpful for Nozomi's care!

http://www.huntersglenvetok.com/


I would like to take a moment and share the story behind Nozomi's unique name. One day my twin sister Andrea (owner of Storybook Artifact), Nana Sharee (co-owner of LaOohLaLa Boutique), and I were all at a local garage sale one day and our Nana noticed a sign that showed a picture of this beautiful Flame Point Himalayan cat that said "Free to Good Home". She instantly knew that both Andrea and I would want her. The house had several dogs that were not friendly to the kitty, so she quickly needed a good home. Her owner said her name was "Angel" (last name "Sunday"), which my husband Joe and I still call her "Angel" as a nickname because it doesn't only suit her angelic looks, but more her sweet personality! Anyway, Andrea first had the kitty, and she named her "Marshamella" because she thought that she looked like a toasted marshmallow! Haha! She wasn't able to keep the kitty; so I was thrilled to have her! I immediately knew the name that I wanted to give her. Being similar to an oriental Siamese cat with her markings (but I love that she has a strawberry blonde tint like my hair) and having fuzzy white angora like fur, I named her after my favorite character in a retro Japanese Dreamcast video game called Shenmue! Yes, a very unique name indeed! The young Japanese lady "Nozomi" has a very sweet personality, helps her grandmother run a flower shop, and is always seen wearing a fuzzy white turtleneck sweater.