#happyhandmade week one hundred and three

Welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective showcasing makers & their shops across various platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates between 2,500 - 3,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. 

Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! 

Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Also, each week there are SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers, crafters & indie business owners are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 

This week's Staff Picks:



Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


"I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have" printable calendar page

Today's awesome free printable is brought to you courtesy of Magda from Twisted Thread & Hook.

Time for a new month and fresh inspiration! 

Thomas Jefferson once said "I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have". So, let's get get to work and fill this calendar with goals and to-do's!

I added a little section at the bottom of this month's calendar page for comments.  Maybe you can use it to write your main goal for the month?  Or maybe a word that will inspire you in March?

Download your free printable calendar page here. This month, a featured handmade artist is Nedra from Origami Delights.  She does amazing things with paper!

Let me know how you are using your calendar!  Snap a picture of filled-in calendar and share it on social media with a tag #inspiremonthly and I may include it in a future calendar post!


connect with Magda

Spice up your marketing campaign with this fun photo challenge for makers!

Creative Daily, the first photo challenge made just for makers, was created to make it easier to generate original content for Instagram & other social media platforms while staying true to our roots as makers & creatives, because let's face it - coming up with awesome visual content for Instagram isn't always easy. How many coffee mug shots & selfies can we post before our followers click "unfollow", anyway? Let's remind people why they followed us awesome makers in the first place - by using these unique prompts to look at our lives, business, processes & products in a new way. 

These prompts are carefully thought out to inspire makers, creatives & anyone else who wants to join in to share their lives, behind the scenes peeks & products in a more organic, unfiltered way. Prompts range from a simple color prompt, where you could post an object, outfit, product, food, or material to share with your audience to more interesting prompts like the prompt for the 17th - lucky. Lucky to run your own business, lucky to have a certain someone in your life, your favorite lucky tee shirt perhaps? Whatever these prompts mean to you, this challenge enables you to share them with your audience in a fun, organic way!

How to join in: Just post a photo with your interpretation of the dated prompt & add the #creativedaily hashtag so other makers participating in the challenge can connect with you! And if you want to, tell your friends & share the graphic to get more people participating - the more people joining in the more new creatives are discovering & networking with one another, and hey, I'm all about growing a cooperative crafty community!! 

 
This image is sized for Instagram so feel free to download it & share via IG, Facebook, your blog, wherever you want! 

Oh, and you don't have to post every day - this challenge is just for fun. Join in when you can! I look forward to seeing what everyone posts! You can find me on Instagram at @lu_and_ed.

#happyhandmade week one hundred & two

Welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective showcasing makers & their shops across various platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates between 2,500 - 3,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. 

Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! 

Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Also, each week there are SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers, crafters & indie business owners are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 

This week's Staff Picks:




Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 

When you feel like quitting, remember why you started (free printable!)

Today's guest post is brought to you by Celeste of Be You, Not Them.

So many things happen on this wildly crazy, beautiful journey from hobbyist to small business owner. LOTS of things –they may be great, scary, sad, funny, joyous things. That’s life, it’s made up of all of these little and big moments that shape who you become and where you are heading. Let those things, both the good & bad, happy & sad, mold you into a great person, a loving and giving person who proves can’t be beat by circumstance. Life can be rough & sometimes things don’t go as you may have planned. Perhaps you or someone you care about falls ill, or you have some extra responsibilities thrown your way that you think you can’t handle. Maybe you’re angry or frustrated with something or someone, maybe you want to stop trying sometimes and just say forget it. Don’t.



Things on the business side tend to move slowly for me. Sure, sometimes I have a flurry of sales, butsometimes there just aren't many at all. There have been several times when I have thought about quitting my little handmade business, but you know what? I just don’t have it in me to quit.  I always come back to this quote: “When you feel like quitting, remember why you started”. 

I have been through a lot in my 36 years, some sad, some scary, but SOOO many good things have happened along the way. I have the best hubby in the world, three awesome kids and a great extended family. My little creative business has finally enabled me to stay at home with my kids. I choose to let the good outweigh the bad and strive to live a life that I and my family will be proud of. I make time to do what I love, help who I can, teach what I know to anyone who will listen.

I started because I have a passion to create things, I need to create them or I just don’t feel whole…so I’m not quitting. I’ll keep on creating – because that’s what I love to do and that is what I’m trying to teach my kids. 

Download your free printable here. And hey, never quit your daydreams. Treasure each moment of this wild journey, love yourself, love your life, love those around you – fiercely. You just never know what’s around that next corner.

connect with Celeste

#happyhandmade week one hundred & one

Welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective showcasing makers & their shops across various platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates between 2,500 - 3,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. 

Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! 

Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Also, each week there are SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers, crafters & indie business owners are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 

This week's Staff Picks are magical! 

 Ice Cream Cone Earrings by Mizziexoxo Boutique 
Eco-friendly Stuffed Monster by Lu & Ed (thanks guys!)
Mermaid Peg Doll by Landon's Toy Box

Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


The Top Product Photography Posts of 2014

Melanie from Violet's Buds has a Bachelors of Science in Photography and provides product photography advice and services to entrepreneurs, and is kicking off 2015 by sharing the top photography posts of 2014!


How lighting effects product photography

This is one of the biggest mistakes in product photography. The camera-mounted flash will make your product look washed-out and contrasted.
flash vs natural light

Reflectors & natural light

Natural light is the best way to take excellent product photos. Make the most of the natural light by using reflectors, or making your own light box

Light box with natural light

Backgrounds & props

Consider experimenting with different backgrounds until you find what flatters your product. Use only backgrounds that fit with your product's theme or your brand. Start with a plain background then, try different combinations of colors, patterns, and textures, including staged shots. Don't forget to experiment with props, too! 



Placement & cropping
Read about the Rule of Thirds and Negative Space to make your photos more dynamic, and grab your customer's attention. 
 
watch negative space and cropping
 
Practice, research & experiment! 

Review these previous posts on product photography tips, and always keep experimenting & trying new things to take your product photos to the next level!

#happyhandmade week one hundred

Welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective showcasing makers & their shops across various platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates between 2,500 - 3,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. 

Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! 

Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Also, each week there are SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers, crafters & indie business owners are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 


Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


The number one way to show a maker you love them

Since February is love month I wanted to share the number one way to show a maker that you admire that you love their stuff!


Buy it. 

If you can afford it, treat yourself to a little something-something from a maker you admire this month! There is no better way to show your support for the maker movement than by actually supporting a makers dreams! For me, there is no greater joy than knowing that someone loved something I used my two hands & my heart to make enough to invest their hard earned dollars on it. So I try to make at least one handmade purchase a month, no matter how small, to bless other creatives with that same beautiful feeling!

My latest handmade purchase was from Moose Country Crafts - little MO & NC blocks with hearts over my home town in NC & our current home in MO.

Last month's purchase was this sweet art print by Aimee Ferre. Image from her Etsy shop, since I still have to paint the frame & hang my print!


I feel like the art of slow purchases - finding something you love, saving up for it, buying it & truly enjoying it - has been swallowed up by an instant gratification society & the convenience of super stores like Target that have kitchsy, artsy looking products on the cheap - but cheap, quick purchases do nothing for your soul.

So this month, the month of love, I challenge you to buy a gift from the heart - and hands - for yourself or a loved one. Try to support a maker you love to show them that you enjoy their work enough to invest in it, because no matter how small your purchase, I promise you it will make their heart sing.

There is still plenty of time to place an order from most makers & have it arrive in time for Valentine's day, so head to your favorite market place & scoop up a goodie for your guy or gal!

How frequently do you buy handmade? What was the last handmade thing you purchased? 

#happyhandmade week ninety-nine

Welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective showcasing makers & their shops across various platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates between 2,500 - 3,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. 

Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! 

Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Also, each week there are SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers, crafters & indie business owners are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 


Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy!