Thursday, May 31, 2012

DIY Coffee Scrub

This is a super simple at home recipe.  Everyone has their own way of doing it.  I prefer to use used grinds for a couple of reasons.  One it is a great way to reuse your grinds instead of throwing them out and two it softens the grinds.  They will still be abrasive but much more gentle so that you are not scratching your skin.



I like to make only one use when I am doing DIY recipes because I like them to be fresh.

4 cups finely ground freshly used coffee grinds-I use Cafe Altura organic.  Remember this is your body so I like to use natural products.
A half teaspoon of cinnamon.  It smells lovely but cinnamon also helps with circulation.
Oil-you can use just about any type jojoba, avocado, apricot, almond.  It's really personal preference.  I use Alba Botanical Kukui nut oil.  I love the oil and the fragrance so there is no need to add a scent.  I don't measure as I've found different types of coffee absorb differently.  You essentially want to use just enough so that it holds the coffee together like a paste.  You don't want to turn it into a liquid.
If you prefer, a couple drops of an essential oil.

I actually mix this in the container I am using so none of it is wasted as it will tend to cling to the container due to the oil.  Simply mix together and voila.  I will warn you this is terribly messy and you will spend quite some time cleaning the shower but your skin will be nice and soft. 


Don't want the mess?  My most favorite to use is brown rice.  Same recipe but instead use about a half cup of brown rice.  Put in a burr grinder until it's finely ground and follow the same way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How to Market Yourself In Print

There are many ways out there to market yourself to get in print.  I think I have pretty much exhausted my efforts elsewhere.  I have done contests, giveaways, donated to various causes to have my items auctioned, craft sales, business cards to everyone, website, blog, facebook, twitter, wanelo, pininterest and even a few other similar sites. I've even paid for online ad's.  I've been featured on various blogs and articles online.  Number of hours virtually uncountable, number of sales slim to none.  No one prepares you for the sickening amount of time you will spend marketing yourself or the fact that it won't even be close to the amount that you actually spend at your art.  Time creating 30%, everything else 70%.  So if you think you're just going to whittle away at your craft and the sales will pour in, oh baby you're gonna have a shocker.

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So finally there is the print and media campaign.  For me obviously I  tried everything else first.  It costs you nothing but your time.  Create an email that tells your prospective audience about your product.  Introduce yourself.  Keep it short and sweet and add links to your blog or website or wherever they can find more about your product and you.  If they want more info it's there for the finding and if not you haven't lost them with a long spammy email.  Find the time to make it specific to the person you are writing to.  Find out their name (usually available on their site) and cater it to them rather then sending a blanket email.  If you have an item that is specific to who you are writing to make sure to highlight that item.  For instance my birds nest to Birds and Bloom.  


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If you've previously been featured somewhere this is a perfect chance to send out a press release letting the media outlets know about your good news.  I hear some of you muttering already, but I'm not good enough, my product isn't good enough.  If YOU don't think your product is good enough for whatever reason I would say get back to the drawing board and keep at it until you do.  If you can't stand behind your product you certainly cannot expect others to want to buy it.  Now don't confuse this with the fact that many artists get very nervous about people liking or being satisfied with their items.  Every time I send out an item I am on pins and needles waiting for a response from the buyer saying they are happy.  You have to know that what you are putting out there IS good.  You have to believe that.  This is one of the reasons I drive myself nutty with perfectionism.  There should be a balance but some of us (cough me) can take it too far and drive ourselves batty.

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Now who to write to. ANYONE who could possibly be interested. Do a search online for local papers and magazines. Do you have a specific client base?  Like eco or wedding or gardening?  Look for opportunities in areas that cater to those specific interests.   Try to find info to contact people on tv.  Local news spots that feature hot items and such.  The worst thing that happens is they don't respond. The best thing is they say we love this product and thank you for contacting us. Newspapers and local magazines are a great opportunity. Do you belong to any clubs, or organizations that have newsletters? Many newspapers have lifestyle sections that love to feature local artists. Remember you are not a corporation. You are creating art and many of us are one person shows. Literally doing all the work of a company with our own little hands. From creating the craft, to marketing, packaging and everything in between. Give yourself a pat on the back. Many of us downplay how much work we put into out art when we should be thinking like Ron Burgundy " I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a big deal." Now go get em!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Butterflies at the Desert Botanical Garden

The spring butterfly exhibit is now closed at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, but it was glorious.  Hundreds of butterflies flutter through the pavilion.  It was very crowded the day I went and I plan on visiting again.  I recycled my pamphlet when I left not thinking it would be a great tool for my blog.  Remember to click to see the images larger!






















Friday, May 25, 2012

Craftcount Virus

Just a heads up for readers who use that site.  I just visited this morning and before even clicking anything instantly had multiple trojan horse viruses.  My antivirus caught and quarantined a bunch but not all of them and it is wreaking it's havoc.  So lappie is off.  Not able to use system restore and not able to enter safe mode either.  Insert multiple expletives.  I have to restore again but it has disabled many of my restore options.  I have to wait for the techie to come home and he will likely be annoyed with me again.  :/




Monday, May 21, 2012

An Update On Henry

Some of you wanted an update on Henry and his shiny new coat.  So I present to you Henry in his new home.  These photos are horrifically bad due to the fact it's very dark in this room and even with all the lights on it's no better than twilight.  

Henry lives on the penthouse level.  Here is it serene and peaceful.  His roommates are angel, mouse, lizard, Snoopy , frog and snail.



Also on this level are some rocks and crystals as well as a desert hare family.  All good neighbors.




Here are some mussel shells from our favorite restaurant, a butterfly I found in the yard,  coral and glass I found on the beach when I was home last, bees wax I found on a walk one day, and angels tears I was given as a gift.  The glass being most important as I found it when I was with my mom at the beach for  the last time.  Love you mom.





Now downstairs is a rowdy bunch.  Lots of light saber fighting, laser guns and such.  Henry had a hard enough time at sea and prefers a serene environment.







These guys also on the lower level always causing a commotion.  Destroying, stomping and generally carrying on.  Notice they are well far away from the butterfly.  We don't need any mothra reenactments going on thank you.  Below you will see Spiderman trying to keep them in line by kicking them through the glass.  



So as you can see Henry is shiny and happy in his new home. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gratitude

Gratitude is something that as a society many of us forget about.  Sometimes we are so focused on the negatives we forget to be grateful for the positives.  And there is ALWAYS a positive.  Let me use when I lost my job as an example.  Due to down sizing as well as my illness I lost my job.  A job I busted my butt at.  And this was the fifth job in a row I lost due to a lay off.  It was also a very stressful job because of some of the people I worked with and the fact that I had a minimum two hour commute each day.  I took time to feel downright sorry for myself as well as to go into a full on panic at how in the heck I was going to get by at making 1/18th of my former salary.  I got through it.  I got a roommate and I was on unemployment for a nauseatingly long time.  

I ask you to sit down in a moment that you would normally be griping about something and complain silently in your head.  Notice the change in your body.  Perhaps your jaw clenches, your stomach knots, your shoulders start to tighten, perhaps your throat as well.  You may even bring on a headache or in severe cases a panic attack.

Now take that same situation and try to find positives.  It's not that you ignore the negatives but CHOOSE to focus on the positive.  Again notice the changes in your body.  Perhaps it begins to relax and to soften, your body becomes less rigid, you start to feel more "safe" less like you are defending yourself against some outside force out to destroy you.


via pininterest

My unemployment was a perfect example.  I allowed myself times to feel sorry, to cry and sometimes things got away from me and I became terribly depressed.  But I would luckily find a way to reel myself back in.  I focused on the fact that I could wake up when I wanted (still the crack of dawn but that's me), I could leisurely eat breakfast, I had no work stress, I no longer had to deal with the commute or the people who drove me nuts.  I was receiving unemployment though very little money it was something and it allowed me to exist.  I had to fill in the gaps with savings but I couldn't have made it without it.  I no longer had that negative environment around me.  I could focus on my dream.  I could try a different road.  And I could allow my body greatly needed healing time.

There was a time in my life when things were downright about as bad as they could be.  I found myself almost unable to be thankful because there was nothing to be thankful for.  I couldn't' even say I was thankful for my health because I didn't even have that.  In those times I found myself saying simple thank yous.  Thank you for my breath, the food I had to eat, thank you for helping me get through the day.  I found as I was more thankful more good things came into my life.  They say your thoughts attract so the more you focus on negative the more of that you get and mutually with positives. 

In regards to sales it's pretty simple for me.  It just never gets old.  Every time I get a sale I feel like I've been given a gift.  Sometimes I sit in front of the computer and try to wish them into existence.  Constantly hitting the refresh button as if I'm playing the slots.  And when I hit I'm overjoyed.  I love giving gifts.  I'm one of those people that gets so excited I don't want to wait till the occasion.  It's like someone is paying me to give them a gift.  And when a customer relays how much they love something and how much it means to them, well I've cried more than once.  I never had anyone be truly grateful for anything I did in the corporate world no matter how magnificent.  It was just expected.  And it was empty and unsatisfying.  Creating and bringing someone happiness through that feeds my soul.  

via pininterest


So try to take time to feel truly grateful.  To actually sit with it and feel it in your body.  Not just a simple acknowledgement that is almost a brush off but to actually feel it within.  Pay attention to the amount of attention you give to negative situations versus positive ones.  You may be surprised.  And for those who are born optimists, consider yourself lucky (I'm sure you do).  For the rest of us it's work to be aware of that internal voice, but work well worth it.

 Edited to add that while I wrote this I made a sale in my shop. Smiley face earrings. How's that for divine confirmation?


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