Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Great Cell Phone Case Giveaway!

Well, I've been making cell phone cases like crazy lately. So, just for fun, and to get the word out about these cases (I haven't seen any quite like them anywhere, and I get excellent reviews from people who have purchased them) I am offering a unique, easy-to-enter, and super-fun giveaway.

You get to pick your own prize! You can choose any cell phone case from my shop!

To Enter:

Visit my shop at http://donidodesigns.etsy.com. Find your favorite cell phone case. Come back here and leave a comment on this post, telling me which one is your favorite, with a link to that case in my shop.

Be sure to choose carefully, because the one you pick as your favorite will be the one I will send you if you win!

That's it! Super-easy entry! For extra entries (more chances to win) see below.

Please note that this giveaway only applies to cell phone cases... not the other items in my shop like baby blankets, scarves, or purses.

Extra Entries:

Want more chances to win? Do one or more of the following and drastically increase your chances! If you want, you can do them all for a total of 11 extra entries!

a) Tweet your favorite cell phone case (with a link to the cell phone case in my shop) and be sure to mention @DonidoDesigns in your tweet. Leave a comment here to let me know you did it. (worth 2 extra entries!)

b) Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this blog post. Again, be sure to mention @DonidoDesigns in your tweet and leave a comment here to let me know you did it. (worth 2 extra entries!)

c) Blog about your favorite cell phone case (with a link to the cell phone case in my shop) and leave a comment here with a link to your blog post. (worth 3 extra entries!)

d) Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment here with a link to your blog post. (worth 3 extra entries!)

e) Become a follower of this blog. Leave a comment to let me know that you did. If you are already a follower, also leave a comment letting me know that. (1 extra entry!)

This giveaway will run until 10pm, EST, October 15. At that point, I will randomly select a winner. The winning name will be posted on this blog, and I will also contact the winner directly. Your chosen cell phone case will be shipped to you, free of charge, anywhere in the world (anywhere that has postal service, that is)! Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you!

My Pocket Pally

This adorable little guy arrived in my mailbox the other day! A few weeks ago, as part of my very first blog post, I did a feature on the Zootla Pocket Pallies on Etsy.

Deb, the artist behind the Zootla Pocket Pallies, was so sweet as to send me this little cutie as a gift. This was definitely not the result I I was expecting from my little blog post, but I gratefully accepted, and sent Deb one of the crocheted cell phone cases from my Etsy shop in return.

The above, somewhat blurry, photo shows my new little Pally in his new home. He looks pretty happy, right? He's even cuter in person, and soft and cuddly too! You can check out Deb's shop here to see more of these sweet little Pocket Pallies in pretty much every color of the rainbow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bought these gorgeous handmade earrings for $5!

I rarely buy things on Etsy. Not because I don't want to. Far from it! Mostly because there are just so many things I'd like to buy, I can never narrow it down to actually making a purchase.

So last week, when I was taking a look through the beFreedesigns shop, I had no intention of actually buying anything. Again, not because I didn't want to. I had hearted a number of items in the shop before and was coming back to pick some out for a blog feature. But, lo and behold, one of the sets that I had hearted had been put on sale... on sale for only $5! I couldn't resist!

The earrings arrived yesterday, and I just love them! I actually bought them with my sister-in-law in mind, because she has these beautiful bright blue eyes, and I do not. But when I saw them I just had to try them on, and you can't give away earrings once they've been worn, right? Like, it's some kind of rule, right?

These earrings are actually much prettier in person... for some reason neither my photos or the shop listing photos really do them justice. I especially love the way they swing; and that the inside stone swings completely independently from the outer hoop, which also swings nicely from the hook. So all in all, very swingy! This was an unbelievable deal and one that I am very happy with.

Here are a few more of my very favorite items from the beFreedesign shop. Be sure and check out the actual shop; there are lots more beauties, at excellent prices too!

Essence of Seas Earrings... just $15!

A Night in Bombay Earrings... only $10, and free shipping too!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Being My Own Model

With cold weather and Christmas just around the corner, I finally decided it's time to get serious about photographing and listing all the scarves I've been making all year long (yes, I make scarves year round). Since I don't have a model or a dressmaker's dummy, I've tried photographing them lots of different ways (on tables, on trees, etc), but often they just look like something unidentifiable, or, in many cases, like a colorful roll of toilet-paper. Which is interesting, but not exactly what I was going for. Observe; my tree-model and toilet-paper roll pose:

So I finally decided it was time to bite the bullet and be my own model. My sister happens to be a really good photographer (unlike me) with a kind of fancy camera (also unlike me). So the other day, when the lighting seemed just right, we went out to the yard to take some photos.

I put on what I deemed a nice, but un-distracting top, surprisingly free from the bleach spots, stains, and holes that adorn so many of my tops, and what I thought were my nicest jeans. After seeing said jeans in photos, I think maybe I need some new jeans. Luckily, my top half was really all that was needed for most of the photos.

So then we got down to it, and just "standing" is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. Because you have to stand without looking strange, or awkward, or like you're missing a limb... all these things. And my sister the whole time giving me helpful tips, like "you look really weird when you do that" and "get rid of that hand." Get rid of it?

Amazingly, a lot of the photos turned out pretty decent (after some photoshop magic to remove some "skin imperfections" that my sister's fancy camera picked up in superb and unforgiving detail).

By the way, did you know you can edit your photos for free on Photoshop. com? I just discovered this little miracle. I know there are a lot of free editing programs out there (I usually use Picasa) but none of the ones I've used so far have the touch-up tool that I found so helpful in evening out my skin tone. It was actually really therapeutic. Zap, zap, zap, zap! I wish smooth, clear skin were so easy in real life!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mealy Monsters

Sometimes, while I crochet or work on some other project, I like to watch Flickr slideshows. I do a search for a particular term, depending on my mood (landscape, nature, crochet, crafts, etc) and then turn the results on slideshow. Put on some music, pick up my crochet, and I'm entertained.

That's how I came across these beauties. I had to learn more about them, so I followed the links to the MealyMonster shop on Etsy. These hand-sculpted art dolls are just so unique and funny, and strangely cute as well; I just love their expressions! The artist also writes short, humorous stories about each creature in her descriptions; something I always appreciate.

Here are a few of my favorites, but be sure and check out her shop for more!

Marvin and his Jack 'o Lantern:

Marvin has a pumpkin friend, lately his friend had gotten a little rotten and his attitude, well let's just say, not so good.

Ace and his Dog:

Ace found a dog
he had been looking for a snack
would go good with a side of frog
and maybe a six pack

Poor puppy! I guess even monsters have to eat though... Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Felt Sew Good

When I stumbled across this lovely shop a few weeks ago, I probably spent 20 or 30 minutes Skyping links back and forth with my sister (we do this a lot) saying things like "oh, look at this one" and "ooh, I want this, too" and "and this one" and "Christmas is only 3 months away..." I admit that I tend to be partial to felt (you may notice this in my past and future posts) but even in the world of felted goodness, these beautiful items stand out!

Now that the time has come to write this blog post, I'm finding it difficult to choose which items to include. I love so many of them! So I've chosen just a few of my favorites from this shop, just because I don't want this post to go on forever (I really could go on practically forever, but I won't. I do have a few other things to do today). If you like what you see here then I really encourage you to check out the Felt Sew Good shop and take a little browse around.

Cheryl, the artist behind Felt Sew Good, uses mostly upcylced wool sweaters for her craft, so her products are not only beautiful, but are eco-friendly as well. Wool sweaters are felted, then cut apart and sewn into soft, durable accents for yourself and your home.

I just love the look of quality to her products, the patterns and color combinations that she chooses, and the soft, luxuriously comforting texture.

I can just imagine my little nephew with this stegosaurus! I think they would be instant best friends.

This bunny is actually made from upcycled cashmere sweaters. Cashmere! I can only imagine the soft, bunny-like silkiness.

And here are a few more bags that I just had to include.

You'll also find felt brooches and pillows in Cheryl's shop, along with lots more beautiful bags and toys. All of the above photos link directly to her corresponding shop pages, for quick-click convenience. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cell Phone Cases, Cell Phone Cases, and More Cell Phone Cases!

I've been making a lot of cell phone cases lately. It recently dawned on me that I could save a lot of time by making multiple copies of the same item and simply relisting it when it sold, rather than making single items and having to take individual photos of each item, list each one individually, write a description... it was just taking way too much time, especially considering the amount of time it takes to make the items themselves.

These are also super fun to make! I love making scarves and baby blankets, but these are great because they're so small and quick, and don't use a lot of materials, which means I can get as creative as I want with them without worrying that I'm going to run out of a particular color without finishing the project, or them taking days to complete. So I'm having a lot of fun with this and will probably have a giveaway on these very soon.

Yesterday I had a cell phone case photoshoot and you here are some of the results. You can see more on my Flickr page here. I also listed a bunch of new little cuties in my Etsy shop, here.

Art From the Heart

I came across these gorgeous hand-painted tiles on Etsy the other day, and absolutely love them! So sweet and almost old-fashioned. Just beautiful!

You can find this, and other beauties, at ArtFromTheHeartBySue. Sue not only has an Etsy shop, but is also a very talented muralist, and you can see some of her lovely work here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Increasing Traffic to Your Site with Linkreferral.com

If you haven't heard of linkreferral.com yet, you might want to check it out. I have been using it for a few weeks now, and, according to my Google Ananlytics, it is definitely sending traffic my way. Whether that traffic actually translates to sales, I don't know, but I figure increased exposure is always a good thing. Oh, and did I mention that it's free?

The way it works is this. You set up an account, and list your shop. This alone can help you get a little bit of traffic, because it puts you in their listings. In order to move up the listings (improve your ranking and therefore get more traffic) you have to visit the sites of other members, leave reviews, mark favorites, and participate in forums. The more of this you do, the higher you move up in the rankings. The higher your are in the rankings, the more views you are likely to get from other members. And, of course, the other members are trying to do the same thing, so they visit your site, leave reviews on it, etc.

Now, some will say that these other members are only visiting your site because they have to, in order to improve their ranking and get people to visit their site. Of course this is true. This is exactly what I do. But at the same time, I always take some time and look at the sites I visit, especially if they are Etsy shops. I have found many new favorites this way, and hearted or bookmarked them to visit again and possibly buy from or feature on this blog. There is a search option when looking for sites to visit, and I usually type "Etsy" in mine so that the sites that come up are mostly Etsy shops, with a few Etsy-related blogs thrown in there was well.

Also, in terms of views translating to sales, let me as you this: how many times have you gone to the store and purchased items that you had never intended to, just because they happened to be there, in your eye-line? It's the whole reason that stores put candy bars in the checkout aisle. So that is what linkrefferal.com tries to do; put your site in other people's eye-line. And who knows; they might see something they love and make a purchase. Or show your site to a friend. Or blog about your site. You just never know who's going to come across your site and like what they see, or what that could develop into.

Like I said, I don't know if these views will ever translate to sales. But if I spend 15-20 minutes a day visiting other members' sites and writing reviews, I get anywhere from 20-30 visits in return. To me, it has seemed worthwhile so far, so I just wanted to pass on the information and you can decide whether it is worthwhile to you.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Now, just to be funny, and to see if it works, I'll put some of my favorite items from my shop in your eye-line, and see what happens...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yay! Made a Sale!

Well, after what seemed to me like a pretty long dry spell with no sales, I finally made my 13th and 14th Etsy sales. Two baby blankets to the same person! I'm very happy about that! Just packaging them up now and then off to the post office.

These are the blankies that I sold:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beautiful Scenery

Here is a little beauty I came across the other day. I think this little art print is just perfect!

I just love it! The colors, the pose, the mix of realism and whimsy... just lovely. And who doesn't love deer and sunsets? This little cutie is available as a 5 x7 fine art print from Sisply here for only $15.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lovely Hand-Felted Critters

Well, I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning, so I'm just going to go straight to telling you about my favorite Etsy find for today. It's actually 3 separate hand-felted sculptures by Farmlass. Try as I might, I couldn't pick just one!

These little beauties are not only gorgeous, but are also just oh so sweet and soft looking; you just want to pick them up and pat their soft little noses! They obviously took a great deal of artistry and skill to create. I love how the artist seems to capture the essence of the animals in her creations; in their stances, the way they hold their heads, and their expressions; these are truly needle-felted sculptures, not simple playthings.

First up is Edward:
Edward measures 6" long by 5" tall and comes in a whimsical handmade linen gift bag. Who knew owls could be so beautiful?

Next is Ivan:
I always knew pigs were cute, but this little wild boar is truly adorable, and has such attitude! Ivan measures 4" tall by 6" long.

And last, but not certainly not least, Buttercup:
The very essence of a sweet, gentle dairy cow! Buttercup measures 4 1/2" tall and 6" long. I think she might be my favorite, but then I look at the others, and I'm not so sure! Leave a comment if you like and tell me your favorite. It would be so interesting to take a poll!

You can find these lovelies, along with many more of Farmlass's handmade creations, at http://farmlass.etsy.com. Or you can click an of the above photos.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

If you'd like for me to check out your shop, leave a comment with a link at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

For the Love of Etsy

I spend a lot of time on Etsy. A LOT. Like so many people who have discovered this delightful handmade marketplace, I would definitely be classified as an Etsy addict.

I check my shop (Donido Designs) at least a dozen times a day (and that's being conservative) to see if I've made a sale. And it's not even about the money; I'm just as thrilled to sell a little crocheted cell phone case as I am to sell a big, beautiful baby blanket (well, almost as thrilled). I also check compulsively to see how many new views and hearts I've gotten on my items. From what I hear, this is normal for most Etsy shop owners. As a side note, here's a very funny music video on YouTube about Etsy addiction: Etsy Addicts Anonymous

I also spend a huge amount of time browsing through other shops and hearting anything that catches my fancy. I tell myself I might buy these things someday, once my own sales start picking up and I have some "free" money in my Paypal account. But in reality, I'll probably spend most of that money on new yarns for my own crafting endeavors, despite the fact that I have an excess of yarn overflowing through almost every part of my house already.

So, I've decided to try doing something useful with some of my hearts. Rather than simply hearting these items, I'm going to share some of very, very favorites. So, without further ado, today's favorite Etsy find:

Zootla Pocket Pally
The first time I came across this little cutie I had to immediately Skype my sister with the simple phrase "I think I'm in love" and a link to this adorable yellow Zootla Pocket Pally.

Cheerful, fun, unique, and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, these joyful little guys just bring a smile to my face.

From the top of the head to the tip of it's feet it is 4" tall, plus the wild, crazy hair, which to me is the very best part. These are made with cuddly polar fleece, and come in many colors, and each has it's own unique adornments. All this for a mere $11.50! To me, that's a pretty good deal!

You can find this Zootla Pocket Pally, along with it's many cute and colorful friends and relations, at http://Zootla.Etsy.com. I have to say this yellow one is my favorite, but I like the purple (below) almost as much.
Thanks for reading my feeble attempt at blogging! I'm really new at this, but promise to get better as time goes on, so be sure and check back soon! I'll be blogging about my current projects, marketing ideas, things I've learned, things I'm trying, and a lot of stuff in between. And, of course, my favorite Etsy finds! I can't afford to buy everything I love, but at least I can blog about them!