Tuesday, September 29, 2009

EtsyPaper Team Membership Roll Call - More Info

We are getting ready to send out an email via Ning messaging system and/or convo so that we may update our membership records & roster. I have created an event through Ning as notice to everyone to be on the lookout for your email this week. The event will also serve as a reminder to all. There is no need to take any action on the event message. You will, however, need to respond to the next email you receive as to whether or not you would like to remain a member. There are also a few items you will need to fill out/answer so that we can update our teams page on etsy.

We are looking to have most of our "aspiring" members join us as "official" members by the end of the year, but the roster cleanup needs to be completed before we are able to add anyone new. ASPIRING MEMBERS: you are included in the email request so please be sure to fill out your information. This will save the hassle of getting it from you at a later time. We currently have 328 members on Ning (aspiring & official), not to mention shops/members that are listed on the etsy teams page who aren't on Ning. I can honestly say there is only a small percentage of which I regularly "see" or recognize their names and shops. We want to fix that and also hope to get a better idea of where we should focus our attention to benefit our members and team. We are also asking that if you no longer wish to be a member to please respond with that.

We are giving one full month to answer the request in case there are people on vacations,etc. You will have until October 30th to respond. After that date, we will begin removing (first) members who have conveyed that they no longer wish to be on the team, and (second) those who have not responded to the email. This is also going to help cleanup our Ning site as well. We're asking that you respond quickly (as possible) so that Chrystal and I can get things rolling and we can all go into the new year with better focus and with members who are happy and active. We have a forum on Ning for you to post questions (you may have questions that others are curious about so ask away), or you may contact either Chrystal or myself at the links below and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks to everyone in advance:)



* Sarah

* Chrystal

Monday, September 28, 2009

EtsyPaper Team Featured Member - Amy Vander Vorste

It's time for our next EtsyPaper Team featured member post! I am pleased to to feature Amy Vander Vorste of Avlor's Imprints. She is a valued member and also maintains our team Twitter account. Read her feature and visit her shop and blog (links can be found below). Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself:

(Waving to everybody) Hi! I'm Amy Vander Vorste and I'm a stay at home mom. My darling hubby and I have 2 wonderful kidlets under the age of 10, a runt fuzzball cat named Tuna and the rollie pollie Hammy the Hamster. Besides playing with paper, I enjoy fiber arts (knitting, spinning, card weaving, naalbinding, etc), learning about Japan, studying the Viking age, and tinkering on the computer. My shops take up most of my "hobby" time (and then some), but I try to do something non shop related every week.

Tell us about your shop:

* When did you open it?

Avlor's Imprints opened December of 2007, after nudging by a couple of my friends. It's been a fun journey so far turning it from just a little hobby to a business.

* What items/type of items do you sell?

At first I was all over the map with the items I put in my shop. But I've focused in on stationery (printed and print-your-own), labels and tags, and promotional items. Designing, adding a touch of whimsy and seeing the finished printed products is always a thrill.

Print-your-own stationery is what I started with because I like the convenience of just printing some when I need it. So my slogan for printable stationery was born - "Save money by having cards and stationery on hand! Save trees by only printing what you need! Include a personal note in your orders for an excellent presentation! Great for promos!"

I don't just print my own designs. Helping other sellers by making promo cards or graphics with their product photos is fun too!

My hubby even designed one of the sets - Spaceman M.E.L. (I keep trying to convince him to do more sets, but he's trying to get back to writing on his book.)

Getting to know you - 5 Questions

1. Is there something that you've never tried with paper that you'd like to try?

Making my own paper. Someday soon I will slate the time to just try it with the kiddos. It sounds wonderfully fun and messy! Experimentation and exploration are incredibly important to being artistic. I like to encourage people to try new things and to not worry about being good at it right away. Try something new when ever you can. I've tried metal smithing, roasting my own coffee, spinning my own yarn, historical re-enactment, learning Japanese, designing my own stationery, photography, and many other things. Some things I am good at, some I'm terrible at (like smithing) - but I love trying them all.

2. What is your first crafting memory?

My grandparents lived with us when I was a kid. My grandmother taught me to crochet ... several times, because I kept forgetting it. But her patient persistence gave me a love of making things and a pride in accomplishments that has stayed with me to this day. She also gave me some of her good old German tenacity in the process. I hope to pass these on to my own children too. My son is asking to learn to crochet so he can make a stuffed tiger. I'm slowly teaching him, and it's cool to see the other side of learning the first craft I learned.

3. When did you join the EtsyPaper Team and what are your favorite things about being a team member?

This last spring is when I joined the team. It's the first team I applied to join and I chose it because there's a good community here. People here are very friendly and make you feel welcome right away. If you need help, advice or encouragement - you can count on the EtsyPaper team. I also like how we're professional but laid back at the same time. We promote each other - like we do with the business card exchange. I feel its important to be active and of help in any group we join. This limits the number of teams we can join, but it's more rewarding. I've joined only one other team (EtsyTwitter) and that's enough for me.

4. How has being part of the Etsy community changed your craft?

Being in the Etsy community has challenged me to:

* be more professional -> I "brand" now because if Etsy. I'm proud of the products I make and I want people to know it.

* plan ahead and schedule more efficiently -> So I can do more. Not everything, just more.

* try new things and ways of doing things -> I've tried several methods of cutting my stationery by hand and I know what works best now.

* add special touches -> Each product has a little something that makes it special. I also enjoy sending my products as a gift to my buyers.

5. Do you have more than one etsy shop?

Yes, I do. This summer I started a second shop because I wanted to narrow the focus of the items I sold in Avlor's Imprints. Having the variety of two shops is great. But two is my limit!

* Name of shop(s) & link:
Ojami - http://ojami.etsy.com/

* Types of items you sell there.
Otedama (Japanese juggling and jacks) game sets and Bento accessories (lunch Bags and Bento lunch box bands).
I started making Otedama sets after making sets for my son's class at Christmas one year. I was hooked on the little game. (True confessions - I'm not coordinated enough to be good at the game. But I keep trying because it's fun!)

Then the Bento related items came from a need in my own family. The school lunches here leave much to be desired. After reading Japanese lunch blogs and forums at justbento.com and lunchinabox.net, I got in gear to make healthy reasonably sized lunches for my kiddos and myself. (I posted about this on my blog, so I won't go into detail here. http://avlorsimprints.blogspot.com/2009/08/back-to-school-packing-healthy-lunches.html) I couldn't locally find resusable lunch bags that would accommodate the Japanese style bento boxes we use or the bands that hold them closed, so I made my own. I hope it will help others wanting to be health and eco conscious.

Find her here:

SHOP: Avlor's Imprints

BLOG: Avlor's Imprints

NING: Amy Vander Vorste

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ning Maintenance

Just a quick note for those you looking to get on Ning today - Ning will be down most of the day but should be back up late this evening. We will also have our next featured team member post up tomorrow so be sure to check back.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

EtsyPaper Team Featured Member - Michelle Neuendorf

It's a new month, a new season, and EtsyPaper Team featured members are back! I am thrilled to feature Michelle Neuendorf of MichellenStamps. I absolutely LOVE her creative and beautiful cards. Read her feature and visit her shop and blog (links can be found below). Enjoy!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the featured members posts, our members have submitted questions they would like answered and our featured members choose five (so far we have over 50 questions!). Here we go...

Tell us a little about yourself :

My name is Michelle N. I am 39 years old, and a Wisconsin native. I've been happily married almost 18 years (wow, that sounds like a long time!), and have 3 kids: 15, 13 and 10(two girls and a boy). I am a Stay at Home Mom, and have been ever since my kids were born. I really love being at home, and am thankful that I can be.

Tell us about your shop:

* When did you open it?

I opened my shop in March of this year. I had heard of Etsy a while back, but had never really looked into it. When I make cards, I love having someone to share them with. I had been a demonstrator for a rubber stamp company for 6 years, so I had a venue for the cards I made. Once I quit that though, I still wanted to share what I made, so thought I would give Etsy a try. It sure has been a lot of fun too!

*What items/type of items do you sell?

Greeting cards are my favorite thing to make, so that is the majority of my shop. I have cards for many different occasions, but I leave most of them blank, so the sender can use them for whatever occasion they need.

I do have a small gift section as well, with some great notebooks with matching pens, acrylic post it note holders and ceramic tile coasters. I've just started adding some card sets and some Holiday gift tags and cards.

Getting to know you - 5 Questions

1. Name top (3-5) items (for crafting purposes) that you cannot live without.

If I had to choose just one thing, it would be my great cutting scissors. I love to cut certain elements of my cards out, and sometimes what I am cutting is very small. So a sharp pair of scissors is essential.

Which leads to item 2. I almost always raise the cut item up with foam dots. I love the extra dimension that gives to a card.

If you look through my shop, you will see that I also love ribbon. I think about 90% of the cards I make have ribbon on them. There are so many fun colors and patterns to choose from today!

One other thing that I must have, is loads and loads of patterned paper. I don't think I will ever run out of it, but I still keep buying more. It's so much fun!

2. When do you find/make time for your crafting?

I find it pretty had to craft when the kids are home. My ideal is to have more than an hour, and preferably 3-4 hours, where I can sit down and create. It always take me a little while to get started on that first card, but once I have that made, I can roll. When I demonstrated, I pretty much shut down for the summer. This year, I did back way off on my shop during the summer, but still tried to make a few cards a month. Now that the kids are back in school though, I will soon be in full swing. There are times when I spend the whole day at my stamp desk.

3. Do you have a special space for your crafting, or does the kitchen table do double duty?

When I first started rubber stamping, it was the kitchen table. But I always felt like I had to clean it up every time I used my stuff (we did need a place to eat after all). It wasn't too long though before I had my husband make me a spot in the basement. It was pretty basic at first, and still isn't overly fancy now, but I have a very nice sturdy desk, and lots of storage space. I love my stamp area! The best part is, I can walk away from the chaos without having to clean it up each time.

4. Do you remember the first item you made, and if so, do you still have it (or a picture of it)?

Oh yes, that is the beginning of my story :). I was pregnant with my second daughter, and went to a rubber stamp party (so that would be 14 years ago). I never considered myself artistic, but when I saw rubber stamping, I knew that was a craft I could do. After all who can't color in the lines. So I bought what I needed to make her birth announcements. That was right around when rubber stamping was becoming popular, and the line was, "Just think of all the money you will save by not buying cards!" Ha Ha Ha! I've invested so much money in my craft I could own a Hallmark store :) But, I love making cards just as much as I did in the beginning. Here is a picture of the announcement:
5. Are you a clean or messy crafter?

Like I said earlier, I have a nice stamp desk. It's at least 5 feet long and pretty wide. But it never fails that I end up with about 6 inches of cleared space while I am crafting. I get so busy creating, that I don't take time to put away what I am done with. So, the answer would be, I am a very messy crafter. Eventually, I can't stand it any longer, and I can no longer find what I need, so I have to stop and pick it all up before I start my next project.

Find her here:

NING - Michelle