Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jammin' 101

Every once in a while I want to post about something that has nothing to do with business.  And since June is just about here, that means strawberries in my neck of the woods.  And every year, strawberry jam is the first in my jammin' adventures.

It's fun, it's rewarding and soooo delicious.  No matter how much I make, it is usually all gone by the time the next season gets here.

Many of you may already jam, if my  suspicions are right.  But if you have never jammed before...there's always a first time.  Here ya go...

Start with fresh strawberries. Usually get them the same day you plan to jam or the day before at most. Six quarts made three batches of eight 8-oz jars, for a total of 24.

Instead of cutting the green top off, use a straw that you push up through the bottom of the berry and it pops the top right off. Easy!

Gather your tools. I have a steamer instead of the usual water bath method. I like it better and think it's easier. This is a Weck steamer/processor.

Food processor to chop the berries. But you only pulse intermittently so you don't totally puree them. You want pieces and even a couple whole berries.



Mix 7 cups of sugar (yes, 7!) with 4 cups of chopped up strawberries, 1/2 tsp of butter to minimize foam and heat to a rolling boil. Then add 1 packet of liquid Certo pectin, return to a rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off the foam.

Pour the cooked strawberries into your jars that have been washed in soapy hot water. Put your lids on the jars and process for about 10-12 minutes.

Et voila!! Perfect confitures de fraises. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday's Teamie

Today's Tuesday Teamie is not one, not two.....................but a whole group of team members (you know I can never choose just one!).... our "Soap and Such" sellers. They are featured here as they will appear in our Handmade Directory (more on that later).  Enjoy!

Soap and Such

Amy Acosta is from Ida Grove, Iowa, USA. In her shop, Amanda Rose Soaps, Amy offers soaps, face wash, shampoo and conditioner, and face and body lotions. Amy also has some very nice bath gift sets. Amanda Rose Soaps opened in November 2011 and has 100% positive feedback.  "Awesome" is how one customer describes Amy's products!

Dennis Anderson is from Portland, Oregon, USA and his shop is Anderson Soap Company. Dennis offers a wide variety of products including vegan soaps, lip balms, oil perfumes, bath scrubs, whipped soaps, room spritzers, and his very popular beer soaps. Anderson Soap Company has been in business since 2007 and is one of Etsy's top sellers with over 34,000 in sales. The shop has 100% positive feedback, and customer comments include:  "one of my favorite soaps ever" and "always perfect service from Dennis!" 

Olympia, Washington, USA is the home of Carol of  The Bathtub Bakery. Carol's shop is full of natural soaps, lotions and lip balms. She carries bakery-style soaps:  donuts, cupcakes, pies, cakes and cookies. As Carol says "satisfy your sweet tooth with zero calories."  The Bathtub Bakery opened March 2010 and has 100% positive feedback. About her products, Carol's customers say "ahhhhhh!"

Botanical Babe is the shop of Andi of Oxford, Michigan, USA. Andi offers natural skin care products designed for those with sensitive skin. Her shop carries body butters, foot scrubs, herbal insect repellents, face and body creams, lip balms and more. Botanical Babe opened in April 2011 and has 100% positive feedback. Andi's customers declare her products "heavenly" and her body butters are very popular with her customers!

Ms. Higgs is from Maryland, USA and her shop is    Braquel's Bathroom. She offers cold process soaps, whipped soaps, shampoos and conditioners, lip balm and more. Ms. Higgs' shop opened in December 2011 and has 100% positive feedback. Her customers declare her products "wonderful!"



Beth is from Skaneateles, New York, USA and her shop is Bubbles Up By Bethie B.  Beth's sells fruit and citrus soaps, cookie and cake soaps and scrubs, old fashioned lilac soap, honey soap, and other hot process soap goodies. Beth's shop has been open since May 2008 and has 100% positive feedback. Her customers say: "best soaps ever" and "so in love with your soaps!"

Amanda is from St. Augustine, Florida, USA. Her shop is Country Fresh where she sells lip balms, organic lotions, shower bombs, and soy candles. Amanda also has a line of natural, non-toxic cleaning supplies. Country Fresh opened in January, 2012 and has 100% positive feedback. Amanda's customers say her products are "wonderful" and they especially love her shower bombs!

The shop owner of Enchanted Beehive is from Hygiene, Colorado, USA. Enchanted Beehive carries pure vegetable glycerin soaps made with organic raw Manuka honey. The shop offers beehive and fairy soaps and a variety of herbal aromatherapy bath salts. Enchanted Beehive opened April 2009 and has 100% positive feedback. Customers say:  "absolutely exquisite" and "the details in the soap are amazing!"

Jacque from New Haven, Connecticut, USA provides the hands behind the shop Face Body Feet. She  offers a collection of whipped body butters and hair butters, exfoliating scrubs, dead sea soaking salts, shea butter soaps, lip balms and more. Open since April 2011, Face Body Feet has 100% positive feedback. Of her products, her customers comment: "smells good enough to eat" and "smells so amazing!"

Amanda Michel from Houston, Texas offers soaps, whipped soaps, sugar soaps, facial scrubs, men's shave kits, body butter, lip balm and much more in her shop, FairyBubbles. Her shop has been open since February 2008, and Amanda has over 1900 in sales with 100% positive feedback. Amanda's customers love her yummy products, and her products have been seen on HGTV!





Mike and Dianne Mudd are from Adkins, Texas, and their shop is Mike & Diane Soap where they offer a nice assortment of cold process olive oil soaps. Their soap selection includes pomegranate, almond honey, raspberry chocolate, pineapple gardenia and more. Mike & Diane Soap opened July 2011 and have 100% positive feedback. "Nice lather" and "amazing stuff" are what customers say about Mike & Diane Soaps.

Houston, Texas, USA is the home of Doctor F. Doctor F's shop is Patchwork Laboratory offering cold process soaps including Doctor F's famous zombie soaps. Also in her shop are lemon, lime, peppermint, and lavender soaps, but Doctor F is always cooking up something new, so don't be surprised if her soap menu changes. Patchwork Laboratory opened in March, 2011 and has 100% positive feedback. Doctor F's customers declare her zombie soap "fantastic."

Birgitte Sciarretta is from Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA and her shop is Sciarretta Farms. Birgitte sells cold process soap and skin care products including lavender soap with kaolin clay, a moisturizing lilac soap, organic lavender body butter, cedar pine man soap, green apple cobbler soap, and more. Sicarretta Farms opened shop November 2011 and has 100% positive feedback. About her products, Birgitte's customers say:  "wonderful," "smells incredible!"

Kathleen is from Eidson, Tennessee and hers are the hands behind Sweet Creek Herbal Care. Kathleen's shop offers soaps, shampoo bars, aroma sprays, lip balms, herbal salves and more. Her shop has been open since September 2008 and has 100% positive feedback. Kathleen's customers say her soap is "divine" and they love the smell of her products!

Carla King from Hastings, Florida is the shop owner of Taryn's Treasures. Her shop features an all natural vegan soap, orange spice and naturally sweet sugar scrubs, oatmeal breakfast bar vegan soap, and a chocolate brownie vegan soap. Taryn's Treasures opened in December 2011, and has 100% positive feedback. One customer says "Love this soap! Leaves your skin clean and super soft...!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Team Challenge

Good Monday morning! Hope you all are enjoying the holiday weekend! 

This week's team challenge is the Profile Challenge.

I am always so disappointed to find a new shop with beautiful, creative handmades, nicely represented, only to realize there is little to nothing in the shop's profile about the hands behind it all! Not only is it disappointing, but in today's Etsy environment, it is a bit suspect. As a buyer, I want to know something about the artist I am buying from - how long they have been practicing their craft, how they got started, what motivates them to create. And the cherry on top is when the artist shares a little about the process involved in their art.

Our team challenge this week is to self-critique your shop profile. Here is a good article about the subject, and of course, other team members are always happy to help!  If you rework your profile and would like to be featured here next week in the "before and afters", convo your old and new profiles to me. 

Okay Team - Let's do it!

Before and After
 The Banner Challenge

Your team captain is a bit unorganized, and as such, there are no "befores" from our banner challenge. But I would like to show you some "afters."

Greg's shop, Wood Bone & Stone had no banner. He discussed this in a team forum thread and Aimee of AimeePawluk graciously stepped forward and made a banner for Greg's shop. Greg now has a "front door" to his shop and it looks awesome with his handcrafted leatherwork!

Sandy of Grandma Sandeze Boutique was not happy with her banner, and Sylvie of Albina Rose made a new one for Sandy's shop. The banner represents Sandy's shop well:

Sylvie also helped out Chitra of Chitra's Jewel Art with a new banner which represents Chitra's work beautifully:

Besides examples of  "afters" in the banner challenge, these are great examples of  "teamwork"and reflect the gracious and giving spirit of our team! Thank you to all who participated in the challenge and team members who helped out others. You all are awesome:)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Finds

Today's Friday Finds is  Friday Finds Times Two! We have so many beautiful treasuries it is hard to pick just one! we have two!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend as we kick of the Summer Season 


remember our Fallen Soldiers on Memorial Day.

 'Summer BBQ' by rbetzhold

A few inspirations for an awesome memorial day bbq! Kick off summer right, with good friends, good food, and a little patriotic spirit.

Red extra long skinny infinity rope necklace scarf by PL wear - PLwear
Reusable Beer/Soda Carton (6-pack) - WalnutStudiolo
Woven Red and White Check  Cottage Chic Decorative Accent Lumbar Pillow 17X13 - CreativeTouchDecor
GLASS pendant necklace keychain charm Americana red white blue pinwheels summer 7/8" 23mm - petalsofgrace
Button Snap Hair Clips in Red, White & Blue - DixiesNightOwl
S'mores Pot Holders - Insulated - Unique - Silly - Novelty -Smores - CoolTricks
Crochet Flowers Bracelet, Snow White Shimming Indigo Blue - CrochetPocket
Personalized Pie Plate Americana USA Deep Dish - ThePigPen
Patriotic Forth of July Headband - Red White & Blue Loopy Bow - IdleFingers
Summer hat childs red and white gingham 4 hats in 1 - AccessoriesByKelli
Handmade Polymer Clay Beads Blue White Hearts 22mm 5ct BE125 - KaelMijoy
Uncle Sam Dog Collar and Bow Tie Set - BigpawCollars
PRINTABLE BBQ Picnic Party Placecards - Jennifer Carroll Designs - JenCarrollVA
coasters, red and white pindots, spotty set of 4. - PoppyandPoochie
Childs sun hat fireworks and stars on blue July 4th - AccessoriesByKelli
Two Cloth Placemats, Red Kitchen Mats, Picnic Placemats, Red & White Checks, Fabric Placemats Set of Two, Handmade Placemats, BeesHotPads - BeesHotPads

'Picnic Perfect' by moosasa

Everything you need for the perfect picnic!

OOAK, Vintage Picnic Hamper,Picnic Basket,Vintage Hand Painted Picnic Basket, Vintage Bird Painting, Yellow Rose Painting, Treasury Item - AKAdecorativeart
Patriotic Cloth Napkins - fireflyblankets
WATERPROOF Picnic Blanket Non-Toxic / Eco Friendly Retro Summer Beach Blanket in Red Gingham (Ready to Ship) - SewnNatural
Patriotic Banner/ Red, White and Blue Bunting/ 4th of July Banner/ Photo Prop in Bright Colors - aLittleFrayed
Retro Apron "Patriotic Picnic" Adjustable Full apron with Ruffle - ElsiesFlat
Mason Jar Party Drink Lids Great for Picnics - Thetulipgrove
Checker Game Set - Angelika9
Oilcloth Custom made Picnic Table Stay Put Table Cover with Rick Rack - maryoglesby
Reusable Sandwich Bag for Lunch - Picnic Time - CottageOnTheCoast
fused glass slice of  watermelon with seeds pendant necklace - papernclay
Reusable Bowl Covers Picnic Patriotic American Flag Americana USA Red, White, Blue Fabric (Set of 4) - TailaCustomDesigns
BBQ Branding Iron - 180ForgeWorks
Casserole/Cupcake/9x13/Pyrex Insulated Carrier - Multi-Colored Condiments with Red Handles - 4th of July Picnic Party Beach - thequiltedtulip
BBQ Picnic Cookout Custom Printable Party Invitation - SBVintageAndDesign
Corn on the Cob Zkewers Repurposed Silverware - SpoonerZ
Springtime Picnic Granny Square Blanket Afghan - Thesunroomuk