Free gift wrapping is now available at www.zulidesigns.etsy.com.

Christmas is around the corner, as I’m sure you already know.  Here are a few quick and fun gift wrapping ideas to make your holiday jolly and bright:

Roll a gift inside a reusable grocery bag.

Do as the Japanese and wrap your gifts in pretty cloths.  Furoshiki is an eco-friendly way to make your gifts pretty.

Add some pom poms!  I remember I used to make these cute little puffy pom poms when I was younger.  You can try making fork pom poms.

Gift wrap with pom poms.

Short on time?  Find a retailer that offers gift wrapping.  I now offer FREE gift wrapping by request!  I can also deliver directly to the gift recipient and send the wrapped gift with a gift tag.

Let me know if you have any gift wrapping ideas that you love.  Now, get shopping so you have some gifts to wrap!

Peace & Love,

Billie

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Craft Show Display Smackdown

It’s that time of year again when I start preparing for the Atomic Holiday Bazaar, a yearly craft extravaganza in Sarasota, FL.  Touted as “not your Grandma’s craft show”, Atomic draws the coolest people around town.

One of my very first craft shows was at a church where I sold my handmade glycerin soap in cute little shapes like rubber duckies and snowflakes.  I remember I crammed that table full with as many products as I could!  My display was pretty boring.  I used a white sheet to cover the table and some cardboard boxes to put under the cloth to lift some items up.  That’s it.  No signage, lights, cute containers, nada!

Later I had my first jewelry show at a spa during one of their events.  I didn’t bring a table.  Oops.  I ended up setting up my display on top of a long table and a microwave!  I made some colorful handmade boxes that I placed my beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings on top of.  It was pretty sad!

Since then I’ve smartened up and studied the art of creating appealing and successful craft show displays.  I’d like to share some tricks I learned to make your next craft table stand out.

First, make sure you know whether to bring a table and chairs! ;)

You must have some sort of cloth or fabric to cover the table.  If you know the dimensions you can purchase a fitted table cover.  Otherwise, you can use sheets or table cloths.  Matching cloths look the best.  Mismatched prints along your table can be a bit distracting.

Cookoorikoo uses a light teal table cloth that’s eye-catching, yet doesn’t distract from her displays or products.

A sign with your store name is a good idea.  I ordered my banner from Vista Prints and have used it over and over.  I attach it to the table cover using 1 inch squares of Velcro.  I place some on the back of the banner in all four corners and along the top and bottom of the sign.  I then line the banner up on my cloth and add Velcro to match up with the banner’s Velcro.

Fantastic Toys had this banner made at Spoonflower. It’s printed on upholstery weight fabric. A fabric hem was added using a sewing machine. It’s hung from a wooden pole.

To give your booth some excitement you must raise your items up on boxes, shelves, suitcases, etc., otherwise, your display will look flat.  Adding colorful baskets, plates, and containers to stash your lovely crafts will give your booth a pop of color and texture.

Crinoline organizes and lifts items up off the table in creative ways. Love those trees!

Lighting is a good idea (check to see if the craft show facility offers electricity).  You’ll want the lighting to shine onto your crafts like a spot light.

Emily’s Escape uses lighting to showcase her jewelry.

If it’s a Christmas show, something festive is a good idea.  I like to have a little Christmas tree on my table & tree lights are a must!  Maybe add some garland, tinsel, or whatever you can think of.  I once used pillow stuffing as “snow” on my table.  I recommend thinking outside the box and trying new things!

The Christmas tree makes Kitsch Cafe’s table festively cute!

Make sure your stuff is priced.  Having small signs with the prices is a nice touch.  At the very least make sure you have them individually priced if you don’t want signs.  I don’t know about you, but if I can’t find a price I probably won’t ask how much.  You don’t want to miss out on sales!

Amy is the Party does a brilliant job pricing her products with easy to read signage.

I hope these tips help you out and inspire you.  If you have any ideas that you recommend I’d love to hear them!  Leave a comment!

P.S. I’ll be at Atomic December 8th this year.  Stop by and sale hi!

Peace & Love,

Billie

Behind the Scenes: Glass Pendants

This week I’d like to show you a behind the scenes look at how I create my glass pendants.  I recently teamed up with Jenipher Lynn of Nightly Doodles.  Jenipher creates adorable affirmation drawings that she turns into prints, cards, and onesies.  I fell in love with her cheerful and colorful artwork and asked her to collaborate with me to create little pieces of wearable art!

Jenipher hand draws her pictures then digitally colors them.  She sends the images to me and I print them up and start craftin’!

First, I print the images on premium matte paper using an Epson Artisan Printer.

I cut each image out and glue a piece of clear glass on top each one.  I let them dry for at least 24 hours.

Once they’re dry I cut each piece of glass out individually.

Then I file the edges of the paper to make a smooth edge.

I protect the paper with two coats of non-toxic sealer, letting it dry 15 minutes between applications.

After allowing the second coat to dry for about an hour or so, I adhere the glass pieces inside the pendant trays and let them dry for 2 days.  Once dry they’re ready to string on a chain and wear!

Jenipher has been selling these at the Chelsea Market in Mahatten.  They were flying out the doors until Super Storm Sandy halted things temporarily.   Once everything returns back to normal she’ll be at the market until November 17th.  But don’t fret!  If you can’t make it to New York you can purchase them in Jenipher’s shop.  I’ll be posting them in my shop soon too.

If you’d like to check out more Nightly Doodles artwork you can check out Jen’s blog.  If you see any drawings that you’d like to wear let me know!  Jenipher also does custom artwork so if you want to order something special let her know!

Peace & Love,

Billie

Gaining Clarity, Biz Cards, & Gift Sets

Have you ever thought something was going to go a certain way, but once you jumped into it it had a completely different outcome than you imagined?

“Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Take action now, you’ll find your truth”. -Marie Forleo, RHHB-School

Let’s think about that statement a bit, shall we?  Clarity comes from engagement-that means you have to take some sort of action to see if you’re going in the right direction.  So sitting there thinking about doing something will not give you an answer.  You must get up and get going, then you’ll figure it out.  There’s no way to honestly figure it out without doing the work.

So what has all this clarity taught me?  Well, I recently gave my handmade business a makeover by changing the logo, products, and packaging.  I even branched out away from Etsy and created my own website with these new designs.  That’s when I realized that I don’t really want to leave Etsy.  I want to stay, so I gave my Etsy shop a makeover too!

FYI, if you’re an Etsy fan you can now purchase Etsy Gift Cards to give as gifts.  The recipient can spend their card in any Etsy shop they please (as long as the shop accepts them).

Speaking of cards, my new biz cards arrived last week (clouds part in the sky, the sun shines through, angels sing).  They’re called MiniCards (I like to call them Mini Moos) and they’re awesome!  They’re half the size of normal sized business cards and have a silky smooth matte finish.  I bought them from Moo (<—–follow that link & get 10% off your first order!).  The quality of the cards are exceptional and I’m pleased with Moo’s quick turn around.  I’m excited to pass these babies around!

As promised, I listed some of my magnet gift sets.  If you have any design ideas, I’d love to hear them!  Leave a comment or contact me!

Well, I’m off to make some glass pendants for my pal Jenipher Lynn from Nightly Doodles.  I’ll let you know more about that next week!

Peace & Love,

Billie

Change is a Bitch

When you think of changing something about your life, like starting a new diet, getting a college degree, or making some other big change, do you ever think…

It’s too difficult.

I feel like I’m the only one pushing myself.

It takes too much time, energy, and effort.

It’s stressful and painful.

Think back to all of the times you wanted to accomplish something, but you gave up.  Why did you give up?  Did any of the above statements cross your mind?  Did all of them cross your mind at once?  Guess what….it’s normal!  Believe me, I’ve been there many times!

Change is a Bitch.  It can really suck.

Here’s the deal-if you want to accomplish anything that’s important to you, you have to tough it out.  I like to call it “growing pains”.  In order to go up to the next level, you have to bust through a layer.  It may make you cry, doubt yourself, maybe even throw a tantrum.  You will feel uncomfortable.

Any sort of goal will have its challenges.  It takes motivation to start eating healthy and learning new recipes.  It takes time and energy to begin a workout program.  Taking classes to improve yourself or to learn something new takes you away from your family.

If we don’t try, we will remain the same.  That statement feels uncomfortable too, doesn’t it?

We have to start feeling comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable. 

Change is a Bitch, but achieving your goal is bliss!  Remember to always be kind to yourself, try to tackle your goal little by little, find support through family, friends, or online, and keep going!

I’d love to know what sort of challenges you’re having with your goals right now.  When is the perfect time to give yourself a pep talk, to remind yourself you are breaking through and reaching a new level (and it’s going to feel uncomfortable, but you can do it)?

In the comments let me know your challenges and how you will push through them.

Know someone who needs a little push?  Share this bitch slap with them!  It’s all in love!

Peace & Love,

Billie

One Easy Trick to Transform Your Life

Feeling stressed?  Can’t seem to stay on track with your diet?  Having a difficult time dealing with someone or something?

Sounds like you might benefit from mantras.

One of my favorite ways to set the tone for my day is to say a mantra.  A mantra can be a word, phrase, syllable, or sound that you say out loud, sing, or say mentally to yourself.  Today I’m talking about phrases, similar to affirmations, that steer you in the right direction.  They assist you in taking control of your life and making your dreams a reality.

Mantras can help you during tough times, keep you focused on a goal, help you deal with anxiety, motivate you, or boost your weight loss.  They’ll help you accomplish pretty much anything you want (intriguing and exciting, isn’t it?  Ooh the possibilities!).  Your subconscious mind will magically help you achieve your goals & keep your life moving in the path you choose.

I personally like to sit comfortably with my legs crossed and my hands on my knees, palms facing up (like the picture above).  I close my eyes and focus within.  It only takes a minute to set the tone for the day.

Some example phrases:

“Today I will be energized and stress free”

“I will have a fun, creative day”

“I look fantastic in my size 8 jeans” (focusing on what you want in the future, yet stating it like it’s true today).

“Everything happens in its own time”

“I’m a warrior-I can handle anything that comes my way”

Some tips for success:

Positive words only!  We’re trying to break those annoying self sabotaging thoughts that go round and round in our heads every day!

Repeat the mantra about 3 times.  Use your full attention, really focus on your words.

Don’t stress about picking your mantra.  Close your eyes, open your heart, and listen to what you need that day.

A quiet place is the best to practice.  The trick is to not be distracted by what’s going on around you.

If you forget to do your mantra in the morning, just stop and catch a peaceful minute during the day when you get the chance.  Sometimes mid-day is the best time to figure out what type of mantra you need.  You don’t have to sit in any particular way or place.  You can say your mantra where ever you are-your car, desk, waiting in line at the grocery store.

Need some inspiration?  Google it!  “Mantras for dieting”, “Mantras for Anxiety” and so on.

Remember-your thoughts are very powerful.  Why not have some fun and try to create the best you possible!

Now, go transform your life!

Hey-if you have a favorite mantra let me know in the comments!  Know someone who could benefit from this article?  Please share it!

See you next week!

Peace & Love,

Billie

New Aerial Silk Designs

I’m honored to help sponsor some really great dance events coming up soon.  These events inspired me to design some new images which I’m in the process of adding to my shop.

October 13th is The Florida Pole & Aerial Arts Showcase in Orlando, FL.  This vaudeville themed show helps promote the skills, strength, and creativity it takes to do Pole Fitness, Aerial Arts, & Dance.

Aerial Arts include the Aerial Hoop and Aerial Silks.  Aerial Hoop, also known as lyra, is a large hoop dangling in the air which the aerialist does amazing tricks and spins on.  Silks uses strips of fabric strung from the ceiling in which the performer twists and turns into jaw dropping stunts.  It’s Cirque de Soleil type of performances!

This showcase will be full of talent and beauty in all forms, including pole dance, burlesque, hula hoop, contortion, and more.  It’s organized by Allison Sipes, one of the top Professional Pole Athletes in the country & founder of www.OnlinePoleLessons.com (excellent site if you want to learn Pole spins and tricks).

November 12th is the Aerial Performance Tournament 2012 in Hong Kong.  This tournament, created by Symone Dolai, is the only aerial tournament in the world that combines all 3 aerial disciplines: Pole Dance, Aerial Hoop and Aerial Silks.  Symone owns and teaches at Pole Paradise Studio in Hong Kong.  She’s performed all over the world and has won several awards.  This is the third year her studio has hosted this event.

Aerial Performance Tournament 2012

In the next few weeks I’ll finish adding all of the new Aerial Silk designs in my store & start focusing on getting some gift sets together.

Have a fun week!

Peace & Love,

Billie