Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Distractions


Hello! I'm still alive, I've just been thoroughly distracted by the warmer weather that we've had here lately! Delightfully wonderful things are happening outside... the first signs of spring flowers have appeared in our yard. I love the excitement of raking back a few leaves and discovering bulbous beings poking their heads through the ground! I especially like finding the ones that have busted straight through the dead leaves that lay in their way!

As for Moon & Sundries, I'm currently in the midst of making a fresh batch of men's wallets. Hopefully, I'll get them listed in the next week or so. There are also new T-Totes being listed and I will be running a FREE SHIPPING sale on the T-Totes during the month of April in honor of Earth Day! Be sure to drop by for a visit!

Happy Lovely Spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Egg Carton Waste Baskets

This weekend I decided to do a little craft project for myself... Sometimes I feel like I use all my crafting energy (and time!) on making things for others. It's nice to do something for me once in a while... Anyways, I finally got around to making Egg Carton Waste Baskets for my house. This is a project that I found in a craft book from the 70's that I have unfortunately lost. If I ever find the book or figure out what it is called, I will be sure to note it here. I originally made these useful and recycled receptacles with a little girl that I was doing a craft class with a few summers back. I immediately fell in love with them. They are easy to make with kids of most ages, simple, and useful. So I have decided to post some step-by-step instructions for them here!


Materials
  • 7 egg cartons (you want them to be relatively clean. Don't use ones that have had eggs break in them!)
  • Pipe cleaners --> 3 or 4 should be enough
  • 9" aluminum pie plate (gently used (and cleaned) pie plates work great)
  • A plastic shopping bag to use as a liner
Tools
  • Scissors (that you don't mind cutting pipe cleaners with)
  • Hole Punch
Assembly
  1. Take your egg cartons and carefully remove the tops to all of them by gently tearing along the seam that connects the top to the bottom. Discard the tops of the cartons.
  2. Take one of the bottoms and punch 3 holes down each side so that the holes are tucked in the little nooks between egg cups and evenly spaced. Continue doing this to all the egg carton bottoms. The photo below depicts the hole placement.
  3. Set egg carton bottoms aside. Now take your pipe cleaners and cut them all up into roughly 3" long pieces. Set aside.
  4. Now take two of your egg carton bottoms and place them side-by-side and right-side-up. Your punched holes should line up. Start at the holes at one end. Take one of your pipe cleaner cuts and push both ends through the two side-by-side holes that are now lined up.
  5. Flip both cartons over. Take the two pipe cleaner ends that are sticking through and twist them together. Bend them and tuck the sharp ends in to create a fuzzy looking nub.


6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the two cartons are tied together. Now take another carton and tie it to the bunch. Keep repeating this until all 7 egg carton bottoms have been tied together side-by-side.
7. Stand the bunch upright with the inside of the egg cartons facing you. Nuzzle the aluminum pie plate in the lowest layer of egg nooks and curl the the egg cartons around it so that the pie plate is acting as the bottom of your waste basket.
8. Now tie the first egg carton bottom to the last.
9. Line your new receptacle with a plastic shopping bag.


Now you have an awesome new waste basket! I like to use mine for paper recycling! If you're feeling really fancy, you can paint the egg cartons before assembly with acrylic paint. Let the egg cartons dry completely before you tie them together though, the carton material gets a little soggy when it's wet with paint.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Fever

The snow just doesn't seem to want to let up around here. Every time we have a warm day and the majority of the snow melts, it snows again two days later. I'm beginning to get antsy. The garden is calling me and I'm itching to start turning soil! I have big plans this year... I want to grow all sorts of things and turn the yard into our own little piece of paradise! But in the meantime, I am trying to take advantage of the colder days inside to get as much crafting done as I can. This weekend I did lots of bead stitching as well as cut paper to make some pressed leaf cards. I used to make lots of these and then stopped a few years ago for some unknown reason... I like their simple elegance and I think they will add some nice variety to my shop.

Here's a picture of a lovely spring flower, popping through a bed of leaves, that I took last spring. Let's hope warmer weather is just around the corner! Have a nice week!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Keeping Busy

This week has been a busy one for Moon & Sundries! I've been crafting, taking pictures, listing items, and attempting to educate myself on a variety of topics relating to my Etsy shop. I've got quite a few new Ladies Wallets and also have a nice batch of Leaf Jewelry in the works. I've been trying to clean out my leaf presses as much as possible to make room for the 2009 batch that will be budding soon! Some leaves have a very small window of time in which they are appropriate for harvesting to press for my jewelry. Oak leaves are perhaps the toughest to catch at just the right size... I've found that in as little as 3 days they are too large.

On Tuesday night I attended a meeting in the Etsy Virtual Labs regarding Google Analytics which is a powerful tool that tracks web traffic. I've been running Analytics for a few weeks now and I am amazed by what I have learned! I think my favorite aspect to this tool is the ability to see what countries my visitors are coming from. I have much more international traffic than I previously thought! Now, thanks to this new info, I will be updating my shipping profile for some countries to make it easier and faster for many people to complete the checkout process. I'm hoping this will lead to my first of many international sales!

I've also been busy brainstorming some ideas for new products that I could sell for slightly less money. I know the economy has certainly taken it's toll on my wallet lately and I'm sure it's affecting other's too. I'm hoping to add some pouches and clutch type pieces in the $10-$15 range. I will also be reintroducing my 1" pin-back buttons just in time for Earth Day! All of my buttons are made from prints of my original drawings and they're all inspired by the natural world around us. I'm looking forward to getting these little gems back in my shop!

On a final note... I got my Etsy app to start working on my facebook page. I've had quite a few old friends visit my shop and drop me a note. It feels good to catch up with people and see new and old photos of so many familiar faces. Maybe there is a small place for facebook in my life afterall...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Social Networking Paradigm

I've caved in... I've finally joined Facebook. It's something that I've been avoiding for a long time now. I just haven't been very interested in online "social networking". I'm still not sure how I feel about it. There are some wonderful people from my past that I'm sure I will be ecstatic about reconnecting with... But there are also some others that I don't really need to get back in touch with. Not because they are bad people or because we had some sort of falling out... but because I just don't need to know what is going on in their life on a day-to-day basis, and I don't think they need to know about mine (funny how I'm writing all of this on a very public blog!). Maybe it's just the language that these online networking tools use that bothers me. Just because we sat next to each other in a lab 5 years ago doesn't make us "friends". When I think about my real friends (the one's who are typically forced to listen to these sorts of rants on the phone or in person) I think about people that I trust, respect, and love. Obviously there is no cut and dry list of friend or foe. Everyone has varying degrees of friendships with different people. I suppose that if you open your heart enough, anyone and everyone could be your friend. Maybe I've just gotten myself all worked up about this because I often feel like I have very few friends... and somehow in just 2 days of facebooking I have 50 "friends" (I certainly didn't get 50 phone calls on my birthday 2 weeks ago). I suppose that it won't hurt me to "friend" the random girl that I lived down the hall from in college.... It just all seems a little bizarre to me. But in the end, all of my "friends" (whether they be real Friends or just acquiantances) will know that I'm putting all I've got into Moon & Sundries... and that's something that I want to tell the whole world about! The funny part about all of this though is that I finally joined facebook when I found out there was an Etsy Mini Shop Application (sort of like my Etsy Mini along the left hand side of my blog) and ever since I've joined there has been some sort of kink in the App and it won't load to my Facebook Wall. I think maybe there's a secret conspiracy to drag me out from under the rock I live beneath to get me to start socializing again. Who knows, maybe I'll even make some new friends.