Saturday, March 24, 2012

Home is Where Your Story Begins - Mine Began in Croatia

This is one of those days when I'm feeling homesick. Again! The weather has finally improved, and my heart aches for the birds that used to sing by my window every morning. I want to take a walk around my little town, and say hi to all those familiar faces peeking through their windows. I want to pick roses from my mom's garden, and listen to the creek coming to life in this beautiful (almost) spring time.

I want to sit on a bench "Pod Ladonjah", and watch the endless squares of land my grandmother used to work on 24/7. No one works there anymore. I miss my grandma, and I wish I could hug her one more time. It seems like we all left home after she died, like the entire family just fell apart. But that is life, only the change is permanent.

For those of you that may be interested in what Croatia looks like, here are some pictures. I come from the part of Croatia called Istria. That's why my Etsy shop is called Istria Design. Istria is a beautiful peninsula, whose economy is mostly based on tourism these days. We have some gorgeous myths and legends, but I will get to that some other time.

I hope you enjoyed the view. Have a wonderful day everyone!



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time To Give Something Away - Jane Austen Journal

Ever since I opened my shop on Etsy, I felt truly blessed, not just because of the sales I got, but also because of all the wonderful people I met on there through teams, custom orders, treasury games.

So, when Jesse Anne from Jesse Anne Designs messaged me and offered me to do a giveaway on her awesome blog, I realized this is my chance to spread the love, and share my work (for free this time).
Jesse Anne is wonderful to work with, she was patient (God knows a newbie like myself needs that lol), kind, and very helpful.

After taking into consideration the overall spirit of her blog, we decided that my Jane Austen Art Journal would be the best fit for the giveaway.

On top of that, the winner will get one of my handmade cards by their choice, as well. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is visit Jesse Anne's post about it, and follow the instructions. It is really simple :). While you're there, feel free to follow her blog, it is totally worth it.

Have a wonderful day everyone, and good luck!



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How My Etsy Shop Saved Us From Starving

January has been rough. One of the roughest months I remember, actually. After paying for a pricey trip to go visit my family in Croatia, we returned home completely broke. On top of that we had to pay some very high hospital bills for my husband, because the VA (he is a disabled veteran) decided that his scary PTSD episode was not really a case for the ER, and refused to pay the bill. And so we had to welcome a serious financial crisis into our life at the beginning of January.

My Family :)

I had just opened my shop on Etsy in December, and since I didn't have much money to invest into my beloved supplies, I wasn't expecting to get much from it anytime soon. But still, I sat down and worked my butt off, as much as that was possible with my 16 month-old son running around and getting into everything. I sold a couple of journals right after I opened, but since I undercharged myself, as well as offered free shipping, I basically lost money on my first orders. It was discouraging. 

However, with the support from the awesome people in the Etsy Success Team, I got over it, and once again went back to work. With the Valentine's Day being close, I decided to focus on Valentine's cards. I was listing and promoting daily, but not with much luck. At that time, we only had a couple of dollars left on our account, and I started panicking because we were running out of diapers, and my husband needed gas money to go to school. We asked family, but no one was able to help.

My son Micheal and I

It is very humiliating when you can't afford to buy diapers for your baby. I felt alone, and like no one cares... but someone did care. The next morning an order from Etsy waited for me. And the morning after that as well, and the morning after that as well. I even got four orders one day. In the last two weeks the only money we had was the money I made on Etsy. And luckily for us, I've been getting orders every day during that period. It was not a lot, like five or six dollars a day, but it was enough to put food on the table for the day. I never thought I'd get 28 sales that quick, but apparently someone way bigger than me knew how desperately my family needed it. I am so thankful for making it through January, and I'm even more thankful that tomorrow is pay day lol.

What about you guys? What are you thankful for? And what positive experiences did you have with your Etsy shops? I would love to hear from you.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentine Journal and Shakespeare - Perfect Match

While growing up, I suffered from an obsession called journals. I loved those little kids journals with perfumed pink pages, and lockets on them (made me feel like my secrets are safe in there). I wanted to own every beautiful notebook, or diary I saw. There was something magical and romantic about a beautiful piece of paper, but my parents didn't have enough money to support my "not that cheap" hobby. That made me sad, until I figured out I could alter my boring notebooks with my own creations, and breathe life into them. That's how it all started.
Valentine Shakespeare Journal
However, as a huge fan of everything handmade, I just can't see altered journals as the real deal. I made quite a few myself over the time, and even though they do look beautiful, I wanted to take a step further, and design a journal that will be unique and handmade from scratch.

Considering how much I love Shakespeare, a Valentine journal inspired by his "Romeo and Juliet" was my next logical move. You can see the results in picture.

It has 10 thick pages design by myself, and it comes with a library card pocket stuffed with matching tags that can be personalized and placed inside of the journal.

Let me know what you think. What are your latest crafty creations? I would love to hear from you.