Thursday, October 27, 2011

Embracing Blogs

I think that one of the coolest things about selling my creations is having my work featured on Social Networking Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and of course the Blog World.  I have been fortunate enough that I have come in contact with some really great people since I started my shop on Etsy Meadow's Brook.   It is a great feeling to have total strangers promote and share my work.  I am forever thankful!!!!  
If you get a chance check out some of these blogs that are full of some great information and creativity!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Custom Orders

Custom Name Banner


Custom Teacher's Banner - Jungle Theme



For other Banner Designs check out my Shop on Etsy - Meadow's Brook

Monday, September 19, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Facebook

I have set a goal to reach 100 Facebook Fans by October 1st.  Please visit our Facebook Page and click the like button - Meadow's Brook Facebook Page :)  Thank you so much to all of my current fans, I truly appreciate all of your support on this new venture!!

Halloween Decorations Coming Right Up!


Halloween Door Hanger / Decoration:



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cupcake Toppers!

Introducing the latest additions to the Cupcake Topper Family!!!


 
So Cute - Blue Owl Toppers
Brontosaurus



 And last but not least, our fall friends...:)



Fall Pumpkin Toppers
 

Turkey Toppers :)

More Toppers coming soon!  Gotta go, time to get to work!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A New Fall Banner

So busy in the "lab"!  Lot's of new creations getting ready to hit the shop.  Here is the latest:





Some super cool Cupcake Toppers will be hitting the shop this week too!  Turkeys, Frogs and Owls OH MY!  Visit my shop on Etsy - Meadow's Brook  for up to date listings.  :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What a Great Feeling!

It is truly a great feeling when customers send you photos of your creations being put to use!  I received these photos today from a customer that bought 50 Whale Cupcake Toppers.  This was my 3rd sale on Etsy and I was a little stressed about having my 1st Custom Order.  The final product was definitely well worth it!!  I wish I could take credit for the cake too, hahaha!  How cool is this:


Friday, September 9, 2011

Behind the Scene’s – A Teacher Banner
First and foremost, congratulations to Krissy!!!  She was the winner of the Queen of the First Grade Jungle Giveaway!  I was so excited to have been given the opportunity to be a part of such a cool thing, I can't wait to start her banner! 
With that said, it sparked an idea, a “Behind the Scene’s Glimpse” of what goes into making a banner.   Some banners can be made fairly quickly and some take a little more time.  I think there are 3 main things that go into making a banner….
1. Planning
2. Patience
3. Some good ole’ fashion TLC. 



It starts with the order.  Once I get the name for the banner I plan out how many squares I will need, solid colors with coordinating patterns, what letters I need and finally what embellishments will be used.   It kind of looks a little something like this

(Well…this is the clean-cut version, my workshop gets a little crazy sometimes!)
 I like the way layered letters look (with an outline) so on most of my banners you will see layering.   Not only is each square layered, but each letter and embellishment as well.  I lay everything out to make sure it all flows and then get to work on getting everything adhered and put together.   Once everything is adhered and while it is “setting”, I place all the letters at the bottom of each square, it is pretty time consuming but it adds a super cute touch to the bottom of the Teacher Banner.  I used to break out the ruler and measure everything out but I finally got smart enough to make a mock banner that I use as a guide for spacing out the letters.  ;)  Once everything has set and is ready to go I use a punch for the holes for the ribbon.  After the ribbon is strung I hang it up and tie additional ribbon between each square.   It does take some time to get everything together and planned out, but well worth the outcome!





Do you agree???  Suggestions welcome!  J

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Banner

Fall Banners are hitting the shop!  More to come later in the week.  :)  Meadow's Brook




Looking forward to that crisp fall air!

Some of my Favorite Adhesives

Being a scrapbooker (is that even a word) I have had my fair share of being an "adhesive tester"!  And I think I have finally found my main go to adhesive!  Zip Dry Paper Glue by Beacon.  It is a little expensive, as I think most scrapbook supplies are, but it is well worth it. 



I love this adhesive for several reasons -

1. It dries FAST!  5-10 minute dry time!!
2. It won't wrinkle your papers. 
3. It is easy to remove any of the glue that may seep out from the sides of your work.
4. It dries clear.
5. It's Acid and Lignin free.

I really only use it for layering paper, especially layering letters, but according to the package it will bond, beads, glitter, wire and metal to paper.  I have another adhesive that I use for those things and when that runs out I am gonna give this adhesive a try and see how it works on those things too.  I'll report back when that time comes.  :)  I do recommend following the instructions on the package and using only a thin line to the edges.  Sometimes if you go over board and you adhere thin paper to a darker paper the darker color can bleed thru your top layer, so just go easy on your application.

My Thermo-Web Adhesive Pick-up goes hand in hand with my Zip Dry.  Even when the Zip Dry has passed the 5-10 minute dry time I can use my Pick-up square to remove anything that may have seeped thru.  I actually prefer to wait until the glue has dried before I use it, then I don't have try and remove wet glue and create an even bigger mess.  I wouldn't recommend waiting any longer than 10 - 15 minutes because the one down fall of the Zip Dry is that if you do wait to long it may leave a stain on your paper that almost looks like a grease spot. 




My Second go to adhesive is my Scotch ATG Gun.  It is great for bigger projects.  Since my biggest thing is banners, this works great for layering banner panels / pennants.  It's easy to use and the adhesive is no joke!  If you try to remove what you bonded, you are definitely going to rip something!  To me, that's one awesome adhesive!



Happy Scrapbooking!!!!



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Trash to Treasure

So I guess that's enough about how Meadow's Brook started.  Lets move on to a crafty storage idea!  Last year my mother-in-law was going to yard sale a cute little wooden cabinet with shelves.  I saw it and had to have it.  At the time I wanted to hang it somewhere in my home.  Well, at least that was the intention.  Instead it ended up stored in my basement with all the other "future" home decor items that I eventually wanted to display.  So here I am with all of this scrapbook stuff and limited space to store it.  Banners are my biggest thing and I use ribbon on a daily basis.  Normally I would keep my ribbon in little containers all separated by color and would have to dig thru to find the perfect ribbon to match the banner I was working on.  So I went on another mission to find a ribbon shelf so that I could have my ribbon right in front of me and know exactly what I had.  What I found was a shelf with 2 dowel rods for holding all the ribbon spools.  Only problem was most of the ones I came across were well over $30.00.  I couldn't see spending $30.00 on a little shelf with dowel rods.  So feeling defeated I made my way back home and sat and tried to think of an easier way to display my ribbon.  Then I remembered that cute little wooden cabinet with the shelves!  There it was all along, the perfect thing to keep all this ribbon in.  All I needed was a dowel rod that was long enough to run in thru the sides of the shelf and I found it at a local hardware store for less than $1.00!!!  I put my wonderful husband to work and after a few minutes of measuring and drilling I now had the perfect display for my ribbon.  I not only saved myself $29.00, but I got a much larger and cuter display!  :)


What do you think???

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Just Got Better

So my 6th sale was one of my most memorable and maybe the most rewarding.  I got a message from a 1st Grade Teacher in KY that wanted a custom banner for her classroom.  She had a jungle theme in her room and wanted her banner to be a part of and reflect that theme.  My first instinct was jungle colors of greens, yellows, browns etc...  Not the case with this request, she was looking for animal prints with teal, purple, black and white.  So I went to my stash and had nothing of the sort.  As a new shop I was more than eager to come up with the perfect banner her.  I didn't want to disappoint her or have to tell her I couldn't do it.  So I set out on a mission to find exactly what she was looking for.  I hit my suppliers and found some really cool animal print paper, coordinating solids and embellishments to match.  I once again had that vision of how I wanted it to look.  I got home laid it all out and for some reason something just seemed off, but I went ahead and assembled everything thinking it just needed to be together and maybe it would POP!  I hung it up and....that's not what happened, not at all.  I kept looking at it and something was just not sitting right with me.  How could I ship this banner to someone when I don't have that "this is it" feeling.  Once again I don't want to disappoint.  This is what I came up with.  I think it was just to "busy" and a little hard to read.





So I had to do what I could imagine is the worst feeling for any Etsy seller and contact her to say: 

"something is just not sitting right with me on this banner. I feel like the letters don't stand out enough. I want to re-do it with black or white letters. I know I told you it would go out by today, but are you ok with it going out on Monday? I really liked working with you and don't want you to be disappointed. What do yo think?"

In my eyes the worst thing I could do as a new seller.  Great, so much for customer service, there goes this order out the window.  Telling someone their order was not going out as planned had me worried.  I really liked working with this lady and what a great impression that was going to make!  So I went to her class blog and sat down and just looked at the pictures she had of her classroom.  Then it was as if the clouds had lifted and I had a clear vision of how I wanted this to look.  So back at it I went again!  I was not going to let her down, that's not my style!  So I get it all laid out and snap a photo and send it to her.



What came next was "LOVE this! Perfect for my room. Thank you so much for sticking with it :-)"  Whewww, now that was a great feeling!  Eureka, I had done it!  This order was finally complete!  But even better was the response that I got next.  Never in a million years would I have guessed what was going to come next, an incredible opportunity to be a part of her blog and even better a giveaway!!!!  Not only does she have an awesome blog full of creativity but she offers information to other teachers that may be helpful to them in their classrooms, it doesn't get much better than that!  An order gone wrong has turned out to be one of the most important sales my shop has had!  What an fantastic opportunity!  Check it out, how cool is this:






 
 

Thank you Queen of the First Grade Jungle!  You have definitely opened new doors for me!

A Great Opportunity

So here I was laying out this banner and I was so excited with my new creation I couldn't wait to - 1.  give it to the teacher it was intended for and 2. make another one to list on Etsy.  I had only made a couple of sales and I thought this was going to be a sinking ship.  I was watching my dream go down the tubes.  I would check out the Etsy Treasurys and think about how cool would it be to be featured in one.  With my listings (and not so great photography on my end) I thought Treasury would be impossible for me.  So I thought why not promote some other sellers shops by creating my own Treasurys, it couldn't hurt and it would earn some views on my shop.  And so it began...my love of Etsy Treasury! 


This was the first Treasury I created: 
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MTI2OTA3MzJ8NTI1OTMyMjAw/black-white-and-red-all-over?index=3

Then came another (my favorite):
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MTI2OTA3MzJ8NTI5MjA2MzA2/mellow-mood?index=0

I kept going from there.  As a matter of fact, I think it's time for another! 

Then it happened, I received a notification that the Teacher's Banner made an Etsy Treasury!!!!!  I was in total shock.  I couldn't believe it, was my shop finally going to make it to make it's mark on Etsy?  Treasury's give you tons of exposure, exposure that would hopefully increase sales.  And increase sales it did!  Next think I knew I was getting tons of shop views, people were starting to add my listings to their favorites and then the orders started coming in.  THIS IS AWESOME was all I could think.  I was so busy that I hardly had time to get new listings done.  I wasn't complaining, I was in Heaven, and the best was yet to come!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turning Those Wheels

So my last day of the 9-5 was on July 15th, I opened my Etsy shop on July 19th, there was no time to waste.  I started out listing cupcake toppers:








You can find others here:  www.meadowsbrook.etsy.com

Then I started listing name banners:




And then....I sat and waited for my first sale....and I sat....and I waited....and I sat.  I still wanted to do more, but at the same time I didn't want to go too crazy with listings and then fall flat on my face after all I still had to put food on the table.  Then it happened!  My first sale!!!  I was over the moon!  That feeling is what pushed me to keep going.  The flip side of that coin was by adding more listings I would get to more people so what was it?  Take the risk or play on the safe side?  So I got a notebook and started writing down all of my thoughts and ideas and what came next was possibly my saving grace.

In the middle of all of this school was getting ready to start and I was trying to think of a personal gift to get for a teacher.  Then it hit me!  Here I am with all of these ideas swirling around in my head and I can't come up with a teacher's gift?!?!  Was I nuts?  Here it was right in front of me, within the pages of my black notebook staring me in the face.  A banner!  I sat down and wrote it out.  Exactly how I wanted it to look, the colors, the embellishments and so on.  I ran to my scrapbook stash and started to piece it all together and what I envisioned in my head is what I laid out.  It was perfect and then the 2nd light bulb went off and all I heard was...Ummmm, hello, McFly, how about banners that can be customizable for any classroom or teacher?  Not just kids name banners, but something for both the teachers and the kids to enjoy.  And so it was...the Teacher's Name Banner:



Check out the listing here:  www.meadowsbrook.etsy.com

Now the best is yet to come....but I'll have to share that tomorrow. :)

The Birth of a Dream

So while I was doing this research, I was still working for a title company.  That is until what I thought was the worst thing in the world, but possibly a blessing in disguise.  I got the call saying that the company I worked for had been another victim of the economy and had decided to close up shop.  What was I going to do?  I have a family to support and bills to pay, how could this happen!?!?  After going thru an array of emotions, the wheels started to turn.


I have an overwhelming supply of scrap booking supplies and Etsy is right in front of me, what was I waiting for?  Fear of the unknown was holding me back.  Then that little voice got a little louder...JUST DO IT, JUST DO IT!!!  WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?  And so it was born, Meadow's Brook.  (A special name to me, maybe we'll get to that later :) 



In the Beginning

I have always been intrigued by blogs, but for some reason have never had the guts to start one myself....until now.  It has a little something to do with my new minuet slice of the web, a new little venture if you will. 
It all started with the first cross-stitch kit, I received as a gift from my Grandmother.  I was probably around 8 years old at the time.  It was a little heart with the word Mother back-stitched in the center.  That little kit took me forever!  But when it was complete I remember the gratification of knowing that I made this little creation and it looked pretty darn good!  From there it went on to larger cross-stitch kits and then designing my own little patterns.    I soon grew out of the cross-stitching so it was on to the next thing…floral design.  I would make wreaths, dry and silk flower arrangements and misc. home d├ęcor.  After I went through that faze it was on to knitting.  I think I must have 50 scarves and 25 wash-cloths, not to mention the countless gifts I have made for people.  I love the feeling of giving someone something hand- made and them knowing that it was a gift made especially for them, it’s a win / win situation.  I used to dream of setting up a little gift shop and selling nothing but hand-made creations from all aspects of the crafting spectrum.  Then I discovered scrapbooking!!!  I have been hooked for the past 10 years! I still go back to knitting, especially in the fall / winter months, but I have always been a sucker for paper crafting and all the cool supplies out there!  Always still dreaming about that magical little shop in my head.
Thinking that it was impossible to make my dream happen, on a whim, I got into the Real Estate Title Industry.  It was a career, right!?!?  As I sat for the next 15 years copying the same ole’ papers and putting together the same ole’ files I would constantly think to myself…there has got to be something better than this!  I knew there was, but didn’t know how to get there.  Then about a year ago I saw and advertisement for Etsy in a crafting magazine.  SERIOUSLY!!!!!  When did this come about?  I had dabbled in EBay before, but it kind of started to get a little ridiculous and I wanted a place dedicated to hand-crafted creations, could Etsy be it?  And so the research began…