Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shopping Season Started?

The talented beadsintheround just bought 4 of my keychains for Xmas! I will post pic of all four of them here later. Is holiday shopping season already started? I am so excited. These days I am spending most of my free time in my basement 'studio', aka. the messy tables. Last weekend, I managed to finish 11 nursing covers. I was exhausted and forgot dinner. :( That happens to me sometimes. I tend to skip meals when I am busy. Not a good habit, I know. I need to work on that. It's just the clock is ticking, my first show is getting closer and closer, I have to make enough inventory. Really don't know how many I can sell that day, but I am confident that my stuffs are so unique and useful, I should do well. Having my fingers crossed now.

BTW, Park Trees and Shrubs are having a big sale this week, $20 off $40+ perennial purchase! It's where I got my lovely Chinese dogwood and peony. They packaged everything so nice, and the quality was great, and the shipping was really fast. I highly recommend this company. Anyway, I am looking forward to get some perennials from them again. If anyone's interested, the code is EASY20.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Sale!

This keychain is everyone's favorite. So far I have sold 5 of them, if count the dark green one, I sold 7 already. Wish I have more of those cute copper bells. I am going to make more of these for my show. I probably only have 2 or 3 bells left, but I can use the porcelain beads, like this one.

And this is the necklace I am going to post today. It's the same design as the one from yesterday, but different colors. I consider it's gender friendly.

This one is black and silver, definitely great for guys. Actually, a young guy in my office bought a similar one. But with the silver color charm and the adjustable tails, it's good for girls as well. The second picture shows how it looks like, on my wrist. Sorry about the picture quality though. Remember I messed up my camera setting a couple of weeks ago, still struggling with it. But I think I finally figured it out this morning. So I am going to retake pics for this baby and then post it.

And another good news is the orchids AK bought for us arrived this morning. And they are so healthy and well wrapped, there was no damage at all. And they repotted them before packing, so we don't even need to get new barks for them. That's one of the reason why AK love Oak Hill Gardens so much. AK also told me that buying plants from the nursery about the same latitude as your home will reduce the shock to the plants. And base on his experience with OHG, they are now his top choice to get beautiful specious orchids. And since we bought more, we got the wholesale price, which is like dirt cheap.
This one is Phalaenopsis Schilleriana v. Purpurea. AK said it's absolutely stunning when in bloom, it has the most flowers you have ever seen. And its leaves are variegated, so it's gorgeous even without the flowers. Oh, here is the greatest Phal culture article. So, if you love phals, and is a beginner, read it first.

And this one is Aerangis biloba. Cute miniature plant, with gorgeous white flowers. But the leaves are little bit weird, slightly reticulated with a bilobed tip, and it has those black dots look like pimples. Oh, the flowers have night fragrance. Cute, huh?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Banner for My Shop

I was playing with GIMP and decide to make a banner. It is just my first attempt, not as good as I thought, but I think it's better than nothing. What do you think? I am not really a pink girl, but I love that necklace a lot. I actually prefer blue or green, which normally give me the tranquil feelings. Oh, here is that pink necklace I am talking about. It's in the shop now. Simple, but super cute, I think. :o)

Here are some pictures I took several weeks ago in my garden. Enjoy. I did.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Listings in Store

I finally upload this cutie to my shop. I really love the pink and brown color combination, and the design of the knot. But it's so hard to make! I made one in red for my friend before, but that one was a lucky charm for his car. I will probably try different color combination with it, but not right now. I am so busy preparing for the show, trying to make as many inventory as I possibly can, because I know the traffic will be great, and my stuffs are so unique and lovely, they will definitely fly off the shelf. Originally I planned to make 20 items for each catagory, but now I am thinking about 50. There are actually a couple of really big shows I could join, but they are just too close to this show, there is no way I can make that many stuffs in time. So, I gave up the opportunities. I probably won't even have time to take care of my shop, but I will try my best to upload something every week, if not everyday. I have two more necklaces with me today, maybe I will write the description now and upload them later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Blooming Orchids

The weather is getting cold, but our orchids are doing great. Some of AK and EG's orchids are blooming so well, I just had to take some pics and share with you guys. I will post their names once I talk to AK and EG again. So, enjoy.

And I finally brought in the 4 sets of necklace and bracelet AD ordered. He wanted 4 sets of matching ones for himself, his little grandson and two daughters. They are very much alike, I just put the beads at different locations, and used different closures for the bracelets. I discussed the design with AD first, and then show him the sample, so I know they will love them.
And here is the first necklace I made for AD. The name of this knot is "phenix's tail", very pretty name.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Close Call!

Sure, they look cute and fluffy in this picture, it's because they are still babies! Everyone smelled them before will definitely keep their distance from them. I experienced my moment yesterday, just 2 yards away from a huge one. I received my chinese dogwood and peony on Sat, check the previous posting for the pictures. BTW, I love parkseed, they have very nice plants and shipped really fast, and the plants were not damaged at all. DH helped me planted the dogwood yesterday, and I planted the barerooted peony later. I gave up another raised bed to my precious peony, it's right outside the kitchen window, so I can enjoy the flowers and the wonderful aroma while preparing meals. Anyway, as I was watering the peony, I noticed a big hole right behind the other raised bed, it was under the deck and blocked by my veggies, so I didn't noticed it before. I did noticed some animal dug its way underneath my chick wire fence, but I thought it was the bunny. I didn't want to craw under the deck to check the big hole, and I had the garden hose in my hand, so I just spray it, wondering how long it will take me to fill it up. I didn't think the animal was still in there. So, when I saw a black head stick out, I was shocked. And then came the biggest shock, it was a HUGE skunk! Have you ever seen a dead skunk on the side of highway? This one was about twice the size! I guess I was in shock, so instead of running back inside the house and close all the windows, I kept on spraying it with water. It must be my lucky day, because that big fat skunk didn't even look at me, it turned and went throught the tunnel and got out of the chicken wire fence. Then I suddenly realized my basement bulkhead was open, and if it went in there, we will be in big big trouble. Luckily, it went directly towards my neighbor's yard, and went to the other street. I was strangely brave the whole time, holding my garden hose and kept on spraying it. If it sprayed me, I probably will have to tell DH to ask for the special recipe my neighbor used to clean skunk spray off their dog, which they said worked better than tomato sauce. And I would have to email my boss and ask for a day off for the "skunk emergency"! That won't be fun at all.

And my luck didn't just stop there. I am featured again today. Fellow Etsy owner, Tags&Buttons is organizing this blog give away kind of event, and I was lucky enough to be selected and my button knot earrings will be second prize awards. Cannot wait to see who will actually win my earrings. So exciting.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just Made Another Sale

Yeah! This one actually was one of my favorite. I made two, one for myself and one for sale. But my best friend loved it so much, she took mine. I will make more of it for the coming show. And the customer forgot to contact me before purchasing, as I recommended. I am running a "End of Summer Sale", 10% off everything, and free shipping for $40 and more. So, I refunded her the 10%. I am an honest person, and always try my best to keep my promise.

Oh, yesterday, I got so many responses from my fellow Etsy sellers after I offered the free promo opportunity on Etsy forum. I probably will start receiving lots of packages soon. And some of them even tried to return the favor by offering same deal to me. Yeah, this is why I love Etsy. It's not just a marketplace, it's a community. I learned a lot from other people, and received lots of help as well. It's a wonderful place for beginners like myself.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My First Crafts Fair

I just got the news yesterday that I am accepted as a vendor at the annual holiday crafts fair at my hospital. This year they raised the registration fee to $175, and all these money will go to the "Center For Families" and help out the kids and families in need in our hospital. And they changed the application process, they are trying to have more varieties of crafts at the show. The previous years, about 90% vendors were selling beaded jewelry, it was getting boring to look at the similar stuffs table after table. So this year, they asked for samples or pictures of our works, so they can filter out the similar ones, or the more high end ones. Oh, all the items supposed to be affordable to the patient families. I applied for it immediately after receiving the form. I have never been to a show before, I mean as a vendor, so I'd like my first time to be at a familiar and friendly environment, and maybe some friends and co-workers can stop by and keep me company once a while. Oh, if I ever need to leave my table, say go to the bathroom, I can call my girl friend to sit there for me for a while. And she can deliver food and water to me any time I want. Oh, it will be fun! The only part I am not so crazy about is we have to check in at 6AM! The show starts at 7AM and ends at 6Pm. I guess it's because some of the nurses and doctors get off their shifts at that time. But still, I will have to pack my car the night before, and leave my home before 5:30AM! I never get up that early. But for this, I will try! :o)

So, I started making more items last night. I will have 2 months to come up with all the inventory. I bought lots of cute fabric from FabricPlace recently just for this show. They are all washed and ironed flat, and ready for action. I actually made two nursing covers and matching travel diapper bags last night. I could have made more, but I am still working on the big slipcover and some pillow covers for my living room, as soon as I am done with that, I will put all my spare time into my business. I had so many ideas, and came up with lots of great designs for the holidays too, I only wish I have more time. But a good thing is that fall is here, I don't need to spend as much time in the garden as summer. And if I really need more time to create, I probably can take some time off work. We'll see. And I am going to post on Etsy forum and offer free advertisement to other shop owners. We normally send each other some small promo items and business cards, or coupons, so we can put them in the goodie bags and hand them out to the crowd at the shows. I think it's a wonderful idea, and I sent lots of my promo earrings to other people over the summer. Now it's my turn. I can see the happiness on people's face when they get these free goodie bags. Oh, I am going to be so busy from now on. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

Did you know that yesterday was the Moon Festival/Mid-Autumn Festival? We almost forgot. You know, living in US, far away from home and families, some of the traditional stuffs started to fade away. But once we remembered it, we rushed to Chinatown to get the one thing that is the most important for the festival, the moon cakes. Because we were too late, there were only several boxes of them left, and we cannot choose the brand or flavor. But we enjoyed it anyway. I wanted to explain more about the moon festival and its history, but found a much better and complete version on the Wikipedia. Go ahead and read the whole thing, I found it very interesting.

There is not many people in my generation know how to make chinese lanterns any more. My sister lives in HongKong, so she took her family to a famous park to view the beautiful lanterns. I can only watch some pictures online. But I think the spirit of the festival is to be with your family and loved ones. Even though we cannot fly home and be with our parents physically, we always remember to call them. These traditional holidays always make me homesick. But at least we can buy the mooncakes locally, so our family don't have to send it oversea. Oh, if you have never tasted mooncake before, try look for them at your local Chinese grocery stores or bakery. They are very unique and tasty, some can be very sweet too. That's probably why we drink some nice tea with it. My personal favorite and the very popular one is the double salty egg yolks with white lotus seed paste. But there are lots of other varieties, and mooncakes from northern China, mid-east China and GuangDong are totally different. The ones you get from Chinatown are GuangDong style, which is much richer than the other two. Cannot wait to go home and finish the rest of it. Mmmm, YUMMY!

Friday, September 12, 2008

So Excited About These Babies

I just bought something wonderful from ParkSeed, and I am so excited, have to share it with you guys.
This is Peony 'Gardenia'. It's "The Most Fragrant Peony in the World"! And it's so elegant and out of this world beautiful. And the other good thing is it's relatively compact, about 3ft tall and 2.5ft wide, and it's deer/pest/disease resistant and heat/drought tolerant. It's hardy for Zone3-8, perfect for me (zone 5). You might knew this already, that tree peony is the chinese people's favorite flowers. We don't have an official national flower yet, but if we had one, it will have to be peony. Peony has always been in our poems and paintings through our 5000 years history, we even have a 10-day Peony festival and trade show in Luoyang, Henan Province’s city and the capital of several Chinese dynasties in central China. We even have a peony goddess. Varieties of peonies from overseas will be displayed besides the some 600 varieties of peonies developed in Luoyang itself. During that 10-day period, entire city will be covered with magnificent peony flowers, and thousands of tourists from all over the world will attend the festival. That shows how much we love peony.

I also bought this baby, Chinese Dogwood 'Wolf Eyes'. I love dogwood, and have been thinking about getting one for years. So, when I saw this one in my newsletter, I knew it's mine! It has the regular white four-petaled dogwood flowers, with a prominent light green cone -- the "wolf eye"! I think the best part is the leaves. They are variegated! I have never seen a dogwood with variegated leaves before, and I LOVE variegated plants. I have variegated jasmines, scented geraniums, and jade plants, why not get a variegated dogwood too. And the edge of the leaves are white, and looks like curly ribbons! They will have pink highlights in spring, and hold their dark green and white variegation through the summer, and the pink returns in fall. And like all other dogwood, there will be small red fruits after the flowers faded, and birds love them. I love butterflies and birds, already planted lots of plants for them, so this one will be an extra. And it grows really fast, in 5-7 years it will reach mature size, 10ft tall and 20ft in diameter. I will put a couple of chairs underneath it, so we can enjoy the summer days in the comfortable shade. Oh, now I am dreaming! I better wait till it grows bigger before I order some nice chairs.

This is so exciting. I will replace the wooden borders of the raised bed (cutting flower bed) with those nice stone blocks. I built the raised beds for vegetable garden originally, so didn't want to use pressure treated wood (didn't want the chemicals to release to the soil overtime). Now after 3 years, those wood boards started rotting, it's time to upgrade. Don't know whether I can finish the projects before the weather gets too cold, but I will definitely try my best. Oh, cannot wait to receive these two babies in the mail and plant them in the ground. Hope they come fast, the New England winter comes really early.

Oh, I have to share these with you as well. Lots of us who enjoy crafting have some ribbons, and sooner or later we will run into the problem of how to organize them. It needs to be space efficient, and easily accessible. I found this great post a while ago, and since I am a DIY girl, these look great to me, and I probably can design something similar that meet my needs better. I have lots of those satin cord for Chinese knotting, and boxes of ribbons too. Some of my chinese knotting cord are huge bundles, like a couple of lbs. So, regular tiny organizer will never work. I will use these as my inspiration, and see what I can come up with.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Having a horrible headache, and my Tylenol hasn't kick in yet. So, don't feel like talking too much now. Found these on flickr yesterday. Enjoy!

"Pierced" from Jenny Downing
"Syrphe" from ToUsMic Place
"Waterlily" from carolinavonwintersteyn
"Bow Wash" from Jenny Downing again

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Great Packaging Ideas

Today I want to talk about packaging. I have been searching for a great way to package my items for a while, and here are some of the inspiration I found on flickr.

This first group belongs to Brandi From Catie's Blue. You can check out more images at her flickr account above. And Brandi just reminded me that she wrote a tutorial on her blog about the first picture, and see her comment on this post for more tips. I love the color combinations, and the best part is I can use up all my cute Xmas wrapping paper and my scrapbooking paper. And the little tags and ribbons just like icing on the cake.

And this one from The Dotted Line is very simple, yet elegant. I love the organic feeling of it, and that wonderful blossom paper just adds a hint of oriental flavor and a little bit excitement to the whole thing. And the tags are simple as well, but fits the whole sytle perfectly.

I also like how malisonian ties this package. Again, simple and elegant at the same time.

This cute paper bag packaging is from Craftapalooza. She got the template from Martha and overprinted it. Smart and very cute. To find out more about it, please read this blog.

This one is also very nice. It's from Daisy Mae Designs. I like the little tag thing, with the shop name and website. Very clean and straight forward.

Last but not least, this is from the fabulous Rachel Sudlow, the owner of my favorite Etsy shop Sudlow. She uses regular jewelry boxes, and seals them with her customized return label she got from Vistaprint. Great idea! And very professional.

That's it for today. I will go ahead order more boxes and start preparing for my first show later this year.