Amazon Prints is Really Worth the Try! $1000 of Amazon Gift Cards to be Won!

DISCLOSURE ~ THANKS TO AMAZON FOR SPONSORING THIS POST AND PROVIDING PRIZES FOR THE GIVEAWAY!
TRADEMARK AMAZON, FIRE AND THE AMAZON FIRE TV LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF AMAZON.COM, INC. OR ITS AFFILIATES.
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Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Everyone enjoys being home but with plain or boring walls it’s hard to be focused on work when you are constantly thinking about what you have to do with your house; such as picture or decorations, well with Amazon Prints, they have launched a photo printing service that allows all customers to print their memories. Amazon Prime customers get free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos.  If you’re not a Prime customer, you can still get 5GB of free storage for Low Pricing!

Prime members can upload images to their Prime Photos account, print the product of their choice, and receive them with free delivery. If you’re not a Prime member and want to use the Prime Photos don’t worry, you’ll receive 5 GB of storage free on Prime Photos and be able to print your favorite photos to decorate your house with. The Photo Printings start as low as $0.09.  What can you use all these photos that you can print off? Well here are a few ideas! One of my favorite ideas is photo books, capture all the adorable moments of your little ones, family members, etc. Another one is that even I am going to do is printing my photography photos to put on my walls for wall decoration. There is also custom gift cards, photo calendars,  photo canvases, or even large printings. 

But why am I rambling on about Printing pictures, photo storage, etc. you ask? Well Amazon is having a great new campaign for the Amazon Prints! They are offering, for you who are reading this post, a chance to win 1st prize of a $500 Amazon gift card, or one of five $100 Amazon gift card for 2nd prize!

But how do you enter?

Just enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Best Summer Crafts and Activities For Kids

Summer is right around the corner! For a work at home mom, that can mean a lot less time to get actual work done because the school-aged kids are home all day. Not to mention all of the sports, lessons, trips, camps, etc that you have to schedule your work around. It’s not easy to do, and work can slow down during the long, lazy days of summer, but it doesn’t have to stop! I’ve compiled a round-up of the best summer crafts and activities for kids to do when they’re home, so you can be productive.

Best Summer Activities and Crafts for Kids

Lydia of Cluttered Genius already shared her favorite YouTube channels for toddlers and preschoolers, and she also has a list of the best apps for them. Because sometimes, a little screen time is the best way to get things done.

A Busy Box is a brilliant idea for the little ones, especially if you save it for only when you’re working. Tuck one away when you need 30 minutes or an hour to get work done, and because it’s not an every day thing, it will be way more exciting for the kids. See Vanessa Craft has a list of Busy Bag Ideas for toddlers, and the same idea can be used for older kids…find crafts or art projects that are reserved for “busy time” and need little supervision…a special LEGO set (you can purchase several small ones and hand them out one at a time), a loom bracelet kit, water colors, kinetic sand (a big favorite around here), playfoam (fun for preschool and early elementary-aged kids, and so much less messy than play dough, plus it’s gluten free), special coloring books and crayons or markers. Fill a large tote or basket with these items, and allow your child (children) to choose one thing to work on at any given day. 

Best summer activities and crafts for kids

Along the same lines of the busy box, special toys can be saved for “mama’s work time.” A box of dolls and doll clothes, a race track with extra cool race cars, a train track and trains, a box of puzzles, magnetic dress-up dolls, a toy kitchen, a set of dress up clothes. Keep these in a closet, your office, or the garage, out of sight, and it’ll be like Christmas any time you bring one out.

Set up an outdoor work station, if possible. You can make phone calls, hand write in a notebook (or type on a laptop or tablet) blog posts, organize boxes of inventory, or do other tasks while you keep an eye on your children in a sandbox, on a trampoline, or even in a backyard pool (with older kids), all from a porch or deck or spot in the yard.

Pinterest has a ton of crafts and summer activities for kids as well. Again, the key is to find things that the kids can do with supervision but little actual help from you, so you can work!

When all else fails, fill your living room with blown-up balloons or huge cardboard boxes, and let the kids at them!

What are your favorite summer crafts and activities for kids?

Product links are Amazon affiliate links, which means that you can work your business in the summertime, and I can, too!

Etsy Seller Spotlight: Simple 66 Stuff

The third installment of the Etsy Seller Spotlight is Kimberly, half of the Simple 66 Stuff shop on Etsy. Here are the answers to my questions all about her shop and process.

Etsy Seller Spotlight: Simple 66 Stuff

Etsy Seller Spotlight: Simple 66 Stuff

What do you sell? Do you make everything or find it somewhere else?
Simple 66 Stuff is just two good friends sharing their passion for making simply handmade stuff . (It even says so on our business cards. *giggle*) We specialize in hand crafted & stamped jewelry, hand knit goods, and repurposed items. The story of Simple 66 Stuff began in late-2011, when I began knitting custom orders for friends. I was struggling to keep up with demand by the end of 2012, so I asked my former-classmate and long-time friend, Joyce, to join me as co-owner and designer. Joyce eagerly agreed, and we announced our new partnership in January 2013. Everything we sell is handcrafted, excluding items listed in the “Vintage Finds” section of our Etsy shop. (See www.etsy.com/shop/simple66stuff .)

What made you decide to open an etsy shop vs. selling in a brick and mortar shop?
My partner, Joyce, and I live 54 miles apart now (after MHH accepted a job an hour away from “home”), so a brick & mortar shop is not an option. We also both liked the idea of a “limitless” reach via an online store. That, and we were both already big fans of Etsy, so it was a natural choice for us. I’ve dreamt of opening a local knitting shop (that would feature all our Simple 66 Stuff designs, of course!), but potential relocation for MHH’s work prevents me from taking that leap. One day, perhaps. *sighhhh*

Do you do custom items, and do you prefer ready-to-sell or custom (sell then make) orders?
All of our designs are a combination of custom orders and ready-to-sell. We love being able to tailor-make a piece to perfectly fit with a customer’s vision, life experience, or need. Anyone can buy retail; we want to do something different with Simple 66 Stuff! And we must be doing it well, because we receive many messages telling us how special it is to have something designed that perfectly fits what they had in mind. There is no greater feeling than knowing something we so lovingly created is appreciated. We love custom orders!!

What advice would you give someone thinking about opening an Etsy shop?
My primary advice is to have patience! Whether we’re talking shop views, getting browsers/customers to “heart” your listings and/or shop, converting “Oh, I can’t decide what I want” custom order fence-sitters to actual sales, or getting customers to leave feedback after a sale. It all requires patience. Additionally, listing a new item is a fairly lengthy process (but there is a nice “copy” function for listing similar items), and of course, there are Etsy fees and PayPal fees involved.

Where there any surprises, things you didn’t expect when you opened your shop?
I can’t say there were really any surprises. I – we – knew there would be a learning curve. The waiting for things to get off the ground is the most frustrating part. Of course, we probably aren’t “doing” Etsy to the best of our ability, but we’re both stretched pretty thin, so we haven’t given it our full attention, or committed as much time to researching how to improve our shop as perhaps we should. There’s always more you can learn and do better, isn’t there?

How did you decide on pricing?
We generally use a x3 pricing formula (multiply material costs x3). We may have to adjust based on how time-intensive creating the piece was (knitting a cowl with a complicated pattern versus a simple shawl), and of course size and weight affects shipping costs (which we’ve learned to incorporate a portion of into the pricing, so shipping costs don’t appear so high (because the USPS just isn’t real cost-effective nowadays, ya’ know). You can spend a lot of time researching comparables on eBay, in other Etsy shops, retail, etc….but in the end, you have to evaluate what you think a fair profit is on each piece and be confident in that.

All in all, Etsy has been a great experience for us. We have broadened our customer base, and think it is a valuable selling tool to be associated with a site known for showcasing quality handcrafted products. We would definitely recommend Etsy as a proven sales tool for any handcrafter. Like anything, it just takes patience and a little creativity to find your niche and make a name for yourself. If you choose to pursue Etsy as an alternative to a brick and mortar operation, I think your efforts will be rewarded! Good luck to you!
Etsy Seller Spotlight: Simple 66 Stuff
Follow Kimberly (Simple 66 Gal) on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

 

Etsy Seller Spotlight: Juncture9

I’m sharing another Etsy Seller Spotlight today, this one on Teresa at Juncture9, a jewelry designer.

Etsy seller spotlight: juncture9

How Etsy Helped My Jewelry Business Grow

When I was asked to write this guest post about my Etsy business I was quite excited!  I am just getting my feet wet in the world of blogging and I appreciate this opportunity. Thank you Today’s Work at Home Mom!  You will definitely be asked to return the favor.

Hello, I am Teresa Walsh, interior designer by day and jewelry designer by night and weekends.  Let me tell you a little about myself.  I am from St. Louis, MO, where I currently reside.  I have also lived in Chicago, IL – twice!  I have been an interior designer for the past 25 years.  All of my work in commercial design – office, healthcare, government and facilities work.  About 20 years ago the jewelry bug hit me.  I would see pieces at art fairs and say to myself – “I could do that”.  After some time I pushed myself and took some jewelry making classes and never looked back.  Over the years I made jewelry for family and friends and also made a number of sales.  But in 2010  I was at a juncture in my life and I realized I really wanted to focus more on my jewelry – fill a creative void that needed to be filled.  One day a friend at work suggested I open a shop on Etsy.  Etsy was new to me, but once I checked it out – I was hooked.  I knew that this was something that I wanted to do.  So, in January of 2010 I opened my Etsy shop –  Juncture9.

Most of the pieces in my shop are beaded using Czech glass beads  (I have a bit of an obsession with them).  I also use lampwork beads, paper beads and Swarovski crystal.  I have also incorporated my love of photography into my jewelry.  I take photos and create pendants, bracelets and key chains.  It is a nice way of capturing a memory!  Custom work has also been a big percentage of my business.  Some of the custom work that I have done – bridal party jewelry, necklace/bracelet/earring sets, rosaries, photo pendants – have been the most enjoyable to do.  There is something about meeting with someone (or via messages with Etsy) collaborating and then delivering his or her vision.  I guess I approach custom work like I approach an interior design project!

Etsy Seller Spotlight: Juncture9

From the start I realized that Etsy was a perfect fit for me.  A lot of people dream of having a brick and mortar shop to sell their goods  – I know that I did.   What I found with Etsy, it allows you to sell your items to a broader spectrum of people – worldwide.  I have sold my jewelry to people in my own metropolitan area all the way to Australia.  Their format is easy to use and is being updated all of the time to grow with requests or functional changes that make it easier for the sellers as well as the buyers.  Etsy also has a great community and great resources.  If you have a question on listing your items,  photographing your items, pricing your items, etc.  They have an article or forum about it!  I have also taken classes on starting a jewelry business, photographing your items and pricing your items from local resources as well.  The Internet, of course, is also a great resource as well.  There will always be new things to learn.  Etsy is always looking for these new things to help you and your business move forward.

I do have to say, Juncture9 would not be where it is today without the love and support of family and friends.  I feel   it isn’t a bad thing to ask for help.  It is a busy world we live in and sometimes a little support  can really make a difference.

I eased into the world of jewelry making and I feel Etsy really helped my business grow.  There is always room to grow though and I plan on making jewelry for many years to come.   I am looking forward to see the evolution of Etsy and Juncture9  throughout the years to come!

juncture9 2

Find Teresa at her Etsy shop, Facebook,  Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Etsy Seller Spotlight: Alma Boheme

For the next few weeks, I’m going to be featuring Etsy sellers. They’ll be answering some questions about how and why they do what they do with their shops on Etsy. First up on the Etsy Seller Spotlight: Alma Boheme.

Etsy seller spotlight: Alma Boheme

What do you sell? Do you make everything or find it somewhere else?

My shop is a joint collaboration of both my husband and I, our shop is full of handmade wool and wood accessories. In our shop Alma Boheme you will find unique handmade knitted accessories from bags to scarfs I mostly designed. I select only the highest quality yarns, mainly from Peru, Uruguay and South Africa.

The wood items my husband designs and crafts are rustic seasonal pieces for the home or garden. He carefully selects  his wood from reclaimed pallets, mostly Oak, Pine, Fir and Poplar.

Etsy seller spotlight: Alma Boheme

What made you decide to open an etsy shop vs. selling in a brick and mortar shop?

My husband and I both have created wood and wool items at home for our own pleasure for many years. I was taught to knit at a young age by my mother, but I only started to take it seriously after my children were born. Then I started to make gifts for friends and family. At the time I was a working full time at a corporate office. Anyone could find me knitting while I was on the phone or, any moment my hands were free, but it was never enough for me.  Unhappy with the 9 to 5  corporate life (in reality 7 to 7 when you factor in transportation time), I decided to make a change and bring the once distant dream of working for myself to reality. Opening an Etsy shop seemed like a simple and easy way to start, and it was. I quickly became evident that the hard part would be the marketing and making connections online.

Even when I decided to open an Etsy shop, those initial weeks it was mostly for my friends. At that time I moved to a new city and having an online shop meant that not only could I take my shop with me – but I could easily take my customers too!

Do you do custom items, and do you prefer ready-to-sell or custom (sell then make) orders?

We both enjoy making custom items, we take it as an artistic challenge, as well as the biggest compliment for people to trust in our creativity. I encourage customers to choose their own color and a design variation of the item; make it their own. My husband makes  many items with a personalized touch with customers choosing special wording, sizes,  and colors. Many special requests have sparked completely new ideas for us, and forced us to think and create “outside the box”.

My shop has not reached the point where all my items are ready to sell since most of my knitted items are one of a kind and take time to make. However, whenever I am not completing orders I design and create new items and remake items so that they are ready to sell. I believe there are  many people who like when items are readymade because they don’t need to wait a long time for shipping. We make sure that we have identified the items in our shop that are ready to ship, and have production times listed for the other items. When we do get custom orders we make it a priority to keep in contact with our customer to advise them of the progress and shipping of the item.

What advice would you give someone thinking about opening an Etsy shop?

My shop has been open for a little bit over year, but I can say I have learned a lot.

Before opening the shop ask yourself if you truly have fun doing it, and have a clear understanding of why you want to do it. For us our passion stems from the fun of creating not necessarily making a profit from it. We never want this to become a burden, but a way for us to share our creations.  Ask what makes you “YOU” , what sets you apart and share your story. Customers like a personal touch and want to know more about who they are buying from. You are your ‘brand’, so your bio, your items, and your pictures need to be cohesive and styled to represent you correctly.

One of the most important selling tools on Etsy is to take a great picture, because it is the only way for customers to experience your product. The picture will not only show the customer what your product looks like but it can also convey your shop’s specific style. Look at catalogs from large retailers and see how the way the take their photos creates a consistent recognizable style.

Where there any surprises, things you didn’t expect when you opened your shop?

I was not expecting the shop to grow like it did in a year. I feel humbled by the friends and connections I have made through the shop. A nice review in our shop always makes our day, its a great motivator to keep going at it.

I was also surprise how big social media plays a part in getting your shop out there. It is a challenge to find  ways to promote yourself online. The key, I think,  is to get creative with it and ask your friends to help market it.

How did you decide on pricing?

Pricing is one of the most difficult parts of having your own shop. We continually struggle with putting a price on our items because they are completely handmade, there is no formula we use. To come up with a price we take into consideration the cost of materials, and the design and labor hours. We have tried to use the formulas suggested by Etsy and other sites for handmade items and the price is always comes up much higher than what we actually price it.

The true value of a handmade item is priceless, so coming up with a selling price is tricky, but we try to find an affordable price in the end.

Check out Alma’s shop, her Facebook page, and her Twitter

 

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Craft Show

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Craft Show

EZCraftShowBLFR

Looking for something to do other than heading out at midnight to get in line, and wait forever to get that awesome deal, only to get to the counter and the person right before you go the last one of whatever you thought you needed to wait in line for 5 hours to get?
Well, don’t leave home, shop online.   Support the small businesses by shopping EZCraftShow’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday event.  All vendors sell hand made crafts, one of a kind items, product made with love.  Nobody needs to support corporate America… we need to support people just like us, working from home.

Join us, for great deals, amazing crafts, and wonderful people.

EZCraftShow.com

A Magnificent Free Photo Editing Site! Fotor!

 

fotor1

I love taking pictures and I also am keen on to edit my photos. I think it is a good way to record every dot of my life. As a blogger, I need to edit almost all my photos and put them on my posts. There is a great free photo editing site to share with all of you. Fotor.com is a free and creative site. It is a fabulous way for you to create effects for your photos, adjust the lighting curve, rotate them, adjust brightness, saturation, and sharpness, change the tone and colors you name it. Meanwhile, we can also use it to make photo frame of the pictures, add text to our pics. During the holiday season,we can make photo cards for our family and friends .

fotor2

 

The Fotor is my favorite photo editing program. It is so easy to use without sign in or passwords needed to remember. Just go to the Fotor Site and get started button. I am also fond of that they have a straightening option. While taking pictures, I take a not so straight picture and this one definitely works.

fotor3

 

It has some awesome templates and collage options which are pretty good to collate multiple photos together in a number of cool ways. There are a great number of collage designs you can choose and upload the photos from your IPhone, Facebook, or Flickr as you like.

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Fotor brings free service with so many options for any platform we are using.

Right now, it has rolled Halloween features. Make invitations to your Halloween Party at Fotor.com! It has all the spooky tools you need. I think you can’t miss it. It can’t wait to start editing your photos!

DIY Christmas ~ Pintrest Fun

DIY Christmas ~ Pintrest Fun

More DIY and Pintrest Fun for Christmas time.

Every year my Mother and I make a beautiful center piece for our table at Christmas time.  It is a tradition that my Mother started when I was very young which I plan to continue with my own children.  This year I found a bunch of different DIY center piece’s and gift ideas on Pintrest that I just had to share with you.

If you click on an image below it will take you to the Pintrest board.  Don’t forget to share with us any images from your DIY Christmas!

Craft This Thursday ~ Pinterest Fun

I love Pinterest, and Ilove crafts.  However, I have no time to be crafty so I just live vicariously thru Pinterest!  LOL

Thought doing a fun post one day a week on crafting ideas would spark something in me.. and maybe you.   Check out these cute, neat, awesome crafting ideas I found.  With Fall in full swing I just had to share these pics for the week 🙂

If you click on the pictures you will be taken to the Pinterest board I found them on.

 

Mod Podge Pumpkins

Popcorn Pillar

Acorn Frame

Simple Vase Display

Pumpkin Welcome

These are just a few of the thousands on Pinterest.  But, it is a fun start to get some creative juices flowing on these cool fall mornings.