Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

From January to November, I am all about using kraft paper for all of my gift wrapping needs. Add in a  cute ribbon, and I have a simple yet adorable package to give out for birthdays, weddings – you name it! But come December, and I can’t help but fall in love with the festive holiday options.

But since life after college has been all about being resourceful, I decided to not invest in the beautiful and very tempting sheets of holiday wrapping (I’m looking at you Paper Source), and instead, use the materials I already have: brown paper, paint and plenty of ribbons!

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Step 1: Wrap your gift. (Easy enough)

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Step 2: Paint your design. (My flowers are a mixture of white paint with touches grey and red and black centers.)

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Step 3: Tie it all up with a bow.

(Sadly, it appears that I got so into gift giving that I forgot to take pictures of this step and onward.) But just imagine it in mind – the beauty of a simple, wrapped gift.

My Love Letter to Paper Source

Birmingham has seen so much growth since I moved here in 2009 – new music venues, restaurants and a baseball stadium. But if I were to list my top five favorite businesses that have moved to the Magic City in the past 4 years, Paper Source is definitely one them.

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Why do I love this place? Not only do they have a wonderful selection of cards and stationary, but they also sell sheets of wrapping paper that I use as posters. For less than $5 a sheet, they make for easy decor (seen here in my bedroom).

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Now Paper Source is not paying for me to write this post, but if anyone from the company is reading this, I would happily endorse you more in return for gift cards and stationary!

An Apartment Christmas

I debated for a week whether I wanted to get a real Christmas tree. Pro – A Christmas tree is magical. Con – It’s a big set up for someone who’s going out of town for the holidays. Plus I would have to clean it up afterwards. In my mind, the cons outweighed the pros, so I did not get a Christmas tree this year. But that didn’t stop me from decorating elsewhere.

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My parents brought me my great grandmother’s chest of drawers to use as my TV stand (and craft supply storage), but for Christmas, I decided to let it display my felt ornaments I made last year.

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Who needs a tree! I think these ornaments look better here because they are easily displayed (and not stuck behind any branches). Maybe one Christmas I’ll invest in a real Christmas tree, but for now, I’ll be festive in other ways.

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Holiday Yarn Pom Pom Garland

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As you know, I love a good pom pom made (See: Pom Pom Flowers), so when it came time to decorate for Christmas, I thought I would whip up an easy pom pom garland. And though I have already posted a tutorial, I figured it would a refresher wouldn’t hurt. And this time, instead of telling you, I thought I would show you!

Need it now? You can buy the garland on Etsy today for $15.50.

What’s in a Name: Creating my Etsy shop

As this blog approaches its third birthday (celebration soon to come), I figured it was about to time to expand – enter Etsy from stage left.

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This Etsy shop has been a long time coming. People kept asking me why I didn’t sell the items I made. And the fact is, I’m not very good at production. Crafting is no longer fun for me when I feel like I have to do it. Once I make something, I want to move on to the next, new and exciting thing!

So I created a shop that works for me. I want my shop to be an extension of this blog – hence the shared name. I’ll keep posting projects and tutorials here, hopefully providing you the inspiration to create wonderful things. But for those who love the idea but don’t have the time to make it themselves, they can now skip the steps and buy the final product by clicking the link at the end of the post.

The shop has been open for about a month now, and I know I still have so much to learn about Etsy. It’s a big marketplace, and I’ll admit, I haven’t found my niche. But this is what I have learned so far and am still trying to figure out.

(1) Amazon has taught us to expect free shipping. 

Now Etsy doesn’t tell you this, but I realized it after spending quite a bit of time shopping on Etsy myself. For my mom’s birthday, I found this amazing pie plate for a reasonable price, but I didn’t buy it because shipping was going to cost an additional $20. It takes away the confidence of an impulse buy. So I’m offering free shipping on all my products. And so far, my items are small/light enough to not cost that much to ship. But we’ll see how it goes with future purchases.

(2) Price point is a hard thing to figure out.

Of course, before I opened the shop, I did a little bit of research, and I found that items similar to the ones I will be selling go for several different prices. One pillow with a felt appliqué was on sale for $75, another on sale for $20. And there wasn’t much of a difference between them. So I decided to pick a price on the low end – $25. Then a friend suggested a start with an even lower price to encourage the first few sales, so I bumped the price down to $20. That same friend said she builds the Etsy fees into her prices. I like the idea but didn’t like the uneven number, so I just added 50 cents.

So to review, a felt appliqué pillow at For the Love of Felt costs $20.50. (For now, at least. You should get it while the prices are low.)

(3) Making those first few purchases are hard.

I’ll admit, when I opened my Etsy shop and posted a link on my Facebook page, I thought I would sell a good amount of items to friends and family. But instead, I sat there and watched the stats increase as 50.. 60… 90 people “viewed” my shop, but didn’t buy anything. I guess you are never a prophet in your own hometown. Though after two weeks, my sweet mother proved she is the best, and purchased a pillow! My first purchase – I was stoked. I have only made one more purchase since, and I’ll still trying to figure out how to turn my shop’s viewers into buyers. (If you read this before midnight, the entire shop is 25% off for Cyber Monday.)

I still have lots to figure out and learn about running a shop on Etsy, but I’m taking the first steps. By all means, check the shop out for yourself, and if you feel compelled, share it with others. And hopefully one day I can call this endeavor a success.