Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Blog Hop

As part of the EtsyGreetings Team, a number of shops decided to participate in a Valentine's Day Blog Hop promoting one of our cards along with another item from

Love You Sign Photo Greeting Card

Leather Bike Frame Bag

I figure my card isn't a typical card that one would probably think of for Valentine's Day or use to say "I love you". A lot of men don't dig the whole Valentine's Day thing, so I figured my card would be ideal for a guy because it's not coated with pink, hearts, flowers and other things we associate with Valentine's Day. In other words, it's totally dude appropriate.

Since I live in San Francisco, there's tons of cyclists. Lots of folks commute to and from work or use bikes as their primary form of transportation. Like anyone, they got stuff to carry. Paper work for the office, iPads, iBooks, regular books, reports, packages ... they carry all sorts of stuff. Why not get him to replace that gross backpack from high school and pick him up a cool, personalized bike leather bag? Just because they bike around, doesn't mean they can't do it in style, right? He'll be the envy all his cycle buddies.

To check out some other blogs from the team participating, click on either arrow below!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cool tools to run a shop

My sleeping pattern's been all funky (read: not going to bed when I should) so after doing some yoga inversions this evening, I'm feeling a bit more sane and level-headed. Now I can update properly!

I signed up for a webinar on how to save money and save time when it comes to running a small business/start-up. It was super informative because it centered around online tools to keep your business up to date and organized. Basically, all the ugly administrative, financial aspect that us creative folks like to ignore and put off. We like to create stuff, not number crunch.

A number of Etsy sellers and other self employed folks use Quickbooks, Excel Spreadsheets, post-it notes to track inventory, money coming in and out, possible project ideas, etc. Granted people go crazy (can you say tax time?) when suddenly you need to really get down and dirty with those notes, messy excel spreadsheets when you got to make a nice little payment to Uncle Sam. The webinar focused on tools to help, Evernote, Outright, Shoeboxed and Stitch Labs. What do these tools do?

Evernote - Keep track of those funny random notes, ideas, everything and anything you may want to remember
Outright - Keep track of your finances by linking to bank and credit card accounts, generate reports, etc.
Shoeboxed - Send them your receipts and business cards to extract the data so you can easily look up anything
Stitch Labs - Tracks your sales, inventory, reports and track product orders

Most of these you can link together which is nice. They all serve a function and it's all done online so you can access the information from anywhere as long as you have internet access. After seeing how these products work, I'm convinced these would be great for me, so I'm going to try them out and see for myself over the next month or so.

In addition to the webinar, I also attended an Etsy workshop over at the TechShop. Not put on by Etsy, but a seller who offered her advice and suggestions on how to run a shop. It was super informative and she offered some really great tips, suggestions and other tools on how to run a successful shop. One thing I revisited was my cost to make my cards. Yikes, it was eye opening!

So after doing some research and going through lots of receipts and I mean A LOT of receipts, I'm feeling a bit better about my paper clutter. Seriously, going through my receipts and paper clutter (my desk too) has been stuff I've been avoiding like the plague. I still have a stack of papers to sort through, but it's small compared to what I've done. January's been a pretty productive, eye opening month so far. Once you get started and tackle the hardest task, everything else seems like nothing in comparison.

Have you been avoiding your finances or other paper work like me? Do share!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Interview time!

I just wanted to do a quick little post here that Heidi over at Row House 14 who is also a fabulous member of EtsyGreetings did an interview with me last week! She just posted it today so go check it out and read up more about how I started Sunset Shutterbug! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shop makeover

I've been trying to get my life organized this month. Keyword here is trying. Granted I can now use my desk at home because it was piled (embarrassingly) high that if I moved anything off it, I feared everything would come tumbling down. Like any clutter, it's stressful just looking at it. I finally cleaned it off and filed lots of papers away over this weekend. Yay! I can now type, as I am now, while sitting at my desk without fear of bumping everything off to the floor.

In addition to getting my desk cleared and my card supplies being nicely organized in boxes, it's time to get my online shop organized. Meaning it's in dire need of a total overhaul. You know, photos, descriptions, tags (oh those tags!) and marketing. You can make a great product but no one's gonna know about it unless you "sell" it and market it.

With that said, I signed up for an Etsy shop workshop this weekend for tips and tricks to make my shop work. I also have a couple backlogged webinars I need to view which I'm going to aim to get around to this weekend. There's also an upcoming marketing workshop next weekend and debating on that. Maybe I'm getting a little too ahead of myself? Quite possible.

I made 6 new cards last night which I need to photograph. I'd love to get those up in the next week or so. Of course in the midst of all this I'm of course trying to keep sane. It'll make you go crazy!! What's that saying, keep it simple? Oh right, yes keep it simple. It's good to have goals of course, but I guess I shouldn't try to reach them all at once.

January is almost over which is mind-boggling. Seems like we just finished New Year's. How is your first month of the year going, any goals you're looking forward to reach this year?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Organization tips

I spent part of Sunday and Monday organizing my supplies. I stopped at IKEA and picked up some inexpensive boxes to put my cardstock, supplies, photos and other do dads in so at least I wasn't looking through bags (gasp!) to make my cards. Plus it's way easier to grab a box and know exactly what's inside.

I love love organization. Who doesn't? It makes it easier to find things, it looks clean, it's less stressful and it's a time saver. I probably need to purge my bedroom and probably my hall closet, but like most people when they see a mess, you want to avoid it because it's overwhelming.

Though it doesn't stop me from drooling over boxes or other containers at stores like the Container Store. I love reading tips about organization. I was looking at an article about de-cluttering and found some awesome creative organizational tips that I thought I'd share. Here are some of my favorite.

Use tin cans to store office supplies

Wine rack for yarn storage

Hang boxes on the wall

Pillbox for embellishments

Organize your freezer with baskets

Shower caddy to organize supplies

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello 2012!

Happy New Year everyone! It's 2012, how crazy is that? Seems like 2011 went by really fast. It was a tough year, especially the last half so I'm glad to be starting a new year.

I didn't really do much on New Year's Eve except watch a Lost marathon. Went out to dinner with some friends and then came home to watch a few episodes just before turning on Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve show. That was my New Year's. Actually, that day my boyfriend I were returning from Palo Alto because we stayed down there overnight for our anniversary.

We stayed at the Garden Court Hotel and got the Hometown Tourist on Ice package they're offering right now. The package included gift certificates to the restaurant downstairs, ice skating reservations at the local ice skating rink, a s'mores kit and a bottle of wine! We had a lot of fun! The s'mores kit was pretty awesome and actually worked. I was worried we'd just get some pre-packaged gift bag with the stuff and no way to actually heat up the marshmallows, but no they had a little machine!

Ice skating was interesting. My boyfriend to my surprise actually knows how to ice skate and I've never been on the ice ever. We went and the place was packed. He was showing me how to try to move along the ice which was pretty darn funny. I felt down twice, but not too bad considering I'd never done it before. I took him down the second time. Ha! I spent most of the time hanging on to the railing and trying to get around the 7 year olds learning too while holding on to dear life so I didn't fall again. We had a lot of fun doing something different. It gave my arches on my feet a workout because I was struggling to balance. I was sore the next day!

New Year's Day I lugged my butt out of bed to the studio where I workout. The studio traditionally does a 2 hour workout on New Year's Day, day after Christmas and the day after Thanksgiving. Myself and 9 other people got our first workout in. The first time I did it I hit the wall twice where I wanted to give up and stop. It hasn't been as bad the last couple years I've done it, but guess that's what it feels like for people who do marathons. No marathon for me, thank you very much! After I got home for my workout, I took a shower and to my surprise, fell asleep for a bit.

I'm off for another day and then I go back to work. It feels like a very long weekend (5 days) which is nice. Usually long weekends fly by, but this one is feeling longer so I can't complain. Did you have a nice New Year's?