Sunday, December 23, 2018

Happy Winter & Poetry Inspiration

May Your Season Be Filled
With Warm Inspiration!

The Sky Through Bare Branches 

I love seeing the sky
Through bare branches.
I don't know what it is,
But the white limbs 
Of the paper birch look silvery
Against the azure blue.

I love seeing the sky through bare branches.
As the scattered leaves shiver stiffly
In the cold gust,
It's time to bid fall

©2013 SJHolland 

Poetry Writing Inspiration:

I don't identify and write formal poetry styles very much. I do use the words haiku, senryu and free verse, because their formats are easy to understand and practice.

An easy way to write a 2-stanza free verse poem is to make the last words of each stanza rhyme. You then have more freedom and less constriction in writing the rest of the poem. A stanza is traditionally 4 lines, but can be any number of lines in the poetic paragraph. It's up to you. You decide.

Creative Selling Ideas at TCS

Cover a wall art-sized piece of cardboard with paper. If patterned, paint over with solid paint, covering completely or randomly, as with altered art. Hand-letter or ransom-note journal your poem on it. Embellish and decorate with various elements, creating mixed media artwork featuring your poem. Add string or wire threaded through the top, or to the back, for hanging. A nice gift to self, or another.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Creative Friday!

Creativity Is A Thank Worthy Ability

I am thankful for so many things today,
but I am most grateful for the ability to
create anything that I want at any time!

Living a creative life is a very wonderful thing!
Anyone who desires to can live creatively.

Today I am mainly taking photos to prepare listings. Creatively I will be finishing the paper patch-worked back of one of my mixed media wall art pieces. I always am driven to finish my backs in creative and interesting ways.
Here are some past painted and collaged art backs designs.
Creative painted finish to the back of a painting by Artsy Craftery Studio
City scene with moon at night creative finish to painting back by Artsy Craftery Studio
This mixed media wall art is finished with a collage back by Artsy Craftery Studio
Hot buildings painted in red, orange and yellow, creative back finish to a mixed media painting by Artsy Craftery Studio.
Brown houses painted in watercolor on the back of mixed media artwork by Artsy Craftery Studio.
 What are you creating today?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

BUSINESS: Fabulous Business Naming Inspiration

Fabuless is a great shop name that I ran across at eBlueJay. The seller played on the word fabulous to create this smart moniker. Maybe the thought also was to imply that shoppers can get fabulous products for much less than anywhere else. This savvy name does double-duty, giving a one-two punch to promotion for this resale, handmades and vintage shop.

You can create an effective and attention-getting name by changing one syllable in an everyday name, just like this shop owner did. See the Fabuless shop here.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

NEW SHOP LAUNCH: Michelle's Bijou Bead Boutique Standalone

Michelle Churchman's Bijou Bead Boutique Logo

Michelle Churchman recently opened her artisan jewelry, standalone online shop at Bijou Bead Boutique.

This online shop looks great, with a large amount of white space that helps the homepage look clean and crisp. It also helps the product images to appear bright and sharp. I made two suggestions for improvements to Michelle:

1) She should consider making her top left logo larger so that people can begin to distinguish it around the internet. The current size is showing at 2,160px × 2,160px (scaled to 50px × 50px). At that size it is not large enough to be learned and recognized by visitors. I only know what it looks like because I saw her announcement post at Facebook.

2) For her top-centered shop name, she should capitalize each word: BijouBeadBoutique, to give it more prominence. Without the caps, it looks diminished or not very important.

The design and format of Bijou Bead Boutique makes it a shop that I'd want to enter into and buy! That's the goal of all of us handmades sellers, to design a shop that is attractive and inviting.

Good job, Michelle and good luck with your new shop! 

Connect with Michelle at her Facebook page

Interested In A Shop Or Product Critique
Similar To This One?

Contact me for info on fee and length. Put Creative Critique Request in the subject line using email address sjhollandwriting @ outlook . com (without the spaces). After I review your site or product critiquing needs,
I will create a custom order for your writeup.
Let's get started making the changes that will help your
creative product attract and retain more customers.

Friday, December 14, 2018

HAPPY CREATIVE FRIDAY: What Do I Do With Discontinued Tags Designs?


Going to photo and list at least the 2nd of my 7 tags packs. The first one sold, which was a 50-tag pk. The others have lots of tags, but I only had one 50-pk.
~ SOLD ~ 50 Premium Tags Pack
The history of these tag packs is that I decided to discontinue some of my tags designs. Since I had some small 4-8 piece pks that had not sold, I got an idea. I decided to combine the sets into larger packs, giving my customers more value.
Premium Handmade Tags By Artsy Craftery Studio

I grouped all of the tags into pks coordinated into warm and cool color themes. The one 50-tag pk was so large because there were quite a few tags in the red/pink family, as you can see in these pics. I could have divided it into 2 pks, but I liked it how it was. It went to a happy customer in PA.
Four Feelings & Thank You Tags By Artsy Craftery Studio

Stamped & Die Cut Exquisite Little Tags By Artsy Craftery Studio
So my other packs are exciting combinations of my premium tags made with a variety of media and creative techniques. I feel excited about photographing them and getting them ready to list!

What are you working on today and what is your weather like? It is rainy and gray here in northeast FL. 


NEWS: Google Accelerates G+ Closing To April

You should know by now that Google is shutting down consumer access to G+.  For us social media users this means simply that G+ is closing down. I read today that because of a new data breach, the company moved the closing back to April, rather than August 2019. This new data breach, as well as the previous one, has possibly made private G+ info, and info meant only for certain others to see, available to developers.

"Google will shut down Google+ four months early after second data leak.
The underloved social network will now close in April" ~The Verge

Friday, December 7, 2018

BUSINESS: Etsy Experts Give Bushel & Peck's A Branding Makeover

I learned something from this Etsy on MSNBC segment, where a small team of Etsy experts help Jackie rebrand her business. The main principle that I learned is consistency in branding. Jackie has a b&m and digital brand that needed to be better consolidated. The photography tips are really good too, and confirmed what I am practicing.

If you're looking for a quick, 10 minute lesson on better branding practices, watch this video segment. If it doesn't play above, here is the link:  Small business makeover: Bushel & Peck’s

Some Of Bushel & Peck's Hot Sauces
 Bushel & Peck's Preservation Kitchen Shop At Etsy

Thursday, December 6, 2018

JEALOUS MEALOUS: Say It With Pillows

Say It With Pillows Shop

This Etsy seller has the most sales that I've seen yet! It's pillow cover designer Say It With Pillows out of Chicago, IL. I guess many of the sales came through her HGTV feature, but maybe she was doing well before that.
Contemporary graphic designs pillow covers from Say It With Pillows Shop

The owner has a degree in Interior Design and has been sewing for a long time. She loves coordinating fabrics also. It shows in her Etsy shop listings design.
Say It With Pillows Shop Fish Pillow Design

Yellow, gray, white pillow cover designs from Say It With Pillows Shop
By the way, she has made 37,557 sales since 2012. That's a whopping average of 521+ pillow cover(s) sales per month! How many of you handmades sellers would like to push that volume? I can see myself being overwhelmed, all the way to the bank!
Say It With Pillows Shop white and green deer antlers pillow cover.

Modern print abstract floral pillow cover from Say It With Pillows Shop.
She does not share her name at her Etsy shop, but she has raised her kids and has been doing design work for decades. She chose a great product with which to launch her shop. It is so easy and economical to change the look of a room with pillow covers. The best thing? You can easily change out each season, holiday, event...

Visit Say It With Pillows' Etsy shop here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

HOT BEVERAGE DRINKER: Happy Warm Wednesday!

May Your Wednesday Be Simply Wonderful
A 2nd winter storm is gathering speed as it begins to move across the U.S. Are you drinking a hot drink this morning? This afternoon? This evening?

I am a true hot beverage drinker, because I drink hot drinks throughout the year. Coffee is the main one. It's never too hot for a steamy cup of coffee bean-fragrant java!

I love drinking hot soups too.  One of my favs is Campbell's Soup At Hand New England Clam Chowder, which Fooducate breaks down at the link. It's  not easy to find that soup anymore, or any of the Soup At Hands or Soup On The Goes. The best soups to drink, of course, are homemade recipes. Do you have a fav one that is thin enough to easily drink from a mug?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Happy Creative Friday!!!


What creative or business project are you working on today? I will be working on my blog shops more often now. They will be my selling bases as time goes on. I've seen some concerning changes in selling venues over the 12 years or so that I have been listing online. 

The choices of places to sell handmades online has diminished, and those that are left are more unsatisfactory to makers every day. Just as our economy and manufacturing bases will never return to what they were during the industrial revolution, online selling venues will not return to former form. Even Etsy, while still popular, has had its heyday. It will never be as it was during the first 5-8 years of growth, when handmades sellers were thoroughly happy with how it was run and everyone had an equal chance to be prosperous.

It's becoming more critical to have a way to push my sales from my own base of operations. I still have shops at 4 venues, but that will be whittled. I don't want to be caught empty-handed and selling-site-poor if the handful of viable selling venues should suddenly go under or change so much that to stay would be ludicrous.

To the smart business person too, it should become imperative to get real and make the smart business decision of leaving a selling venue, rather than whining, crying and spitting about unfavorable venue changes, or non-changes. I want to be up and running on my own in preparation for any sudden changes like this. Developing my blog selling process is much easier than launching and operating a full selling website, which I know that as time goes on I wouldn't want to maintain.

Be inspired and prosperous today!

Image Credit: Smorgasbord Internet Radio

Friday, November 23, 2018

MARKETING: Marketing Tips & Insights Resource

Visit the Vistaprint blog for some great ideas and guidelines for businesses. Includes business tips, marketing and advertising, design, branding and even holiday ideas. Vistaprint has grown a lot since 2001.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

JEALOUS MEALOUS: AR Handmade Creations

image 0
Winter Birch Trees Painting by AnnaRita
AnnaRita is a prolific crafter and artist from Largo Fl, who designs everything that she sells. She says about her eclectic creative collection, "Everything is unique. You will own a one-of-a-kind item when you purchase from me." 
image 0
Mosaic Mermaid by AR Handmade Creations
She paints on canvas and wood, and enjoys creating nautical-themed paintings. She also likes to paint many other subjects.
image 0
Ahoy Anchor Wood Pallet Painting by AR Handmade Creations
Do What You Love Wood Slice Sign by AnnaRita

In her shop, you will see sea glass sun-catchers made with wire, sea glass, beads, shells, charms and other elements.
image 0
Glass Prism And Crystal Suncatcher by AR Handmade Creations
AnnaRita likes to make jewelry too. She says, "I look at making jewelry like creating a piece of art to wear." Her natural crystal jewelry and other creations are certainly lovely!
image 0
Chandelier Crystal Earrings by AnnaRita
image 0
Colorful Memory Wire Bracelet by AnnaRita
In addition to earrings and bracelets, she designs wire-wrapped pendants, Chakra jewelry, crystal necklaces and lockets. You will also find handmade dolls, hand-painted Christmas ornaments, clocks made from electrical spool tops and other creative inspirations.

As I said, AnnaRita of AR Handmade Creations is truly a prolific artist and crafter. Though I enjoy painting watercolors primarily, I admire her acrylic paintings very much.

image 0
Hand-painted Tropical Fish Christmas Ball
Shop for AnnaRita's crafty products at her Etsy shop:

Connect with her at Pinterest

Remember to
support handmade sellers
 by shopping handmade on
Small Business Saturday,
November 24!

#shopsmall #smallbizsat #backedbyamex #arhandmadecreations #supporthandmadesellers #buyhandmadefirst #jealousmealous #etsyseller #etsyshop

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

NEWS: Flickr Beefs Up Pro Account

Big changes to Flickr free and Pro accounts.
Flickr making the biggest changes yet to its free and Pro accounts. Money, money, money! They're going for the increased bottom line by pushing those Pro accounts! This is understandable and expected.

Basically, free accounts are limited to 1,000 photos and Pro accounts have unlimited space. The Pro account feature is beefed up with more enticing inclusions, like ad-free browsing and advanced stats.

Eventually, we won't have to sign in with our Yahoo accounts to access the site. They are giving free account holders time to upgrade to a Pro account, or reduce the number of photos/videos to the limit. If you're a member, check your email for their overview of these changes.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans' Day Greetings

Remember Our Veterans

Happy Veterans' Day

God Bless Our Veterans

Image Credit: From Google images. Owner unknown. Please share if you know.

Friday, November 9, 2018

NEWS: Motivation Despite Others' Tragedy

It's still a Happy Friday, because life must go on, but my heart is heavy after reading about the Thousand Oaks, CA shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill, where 13 died, including the shooter. They say he was an ex-marine suffering from PTSD. California bar shooting leaves 13 dead, including sheriff's sergeant and gunman

As we process another senseless taking of human lives, let us move forward with confidence in our creative pursuits, realizing that the victims, in general, would want us to. That is a cliche, but a worthy one to believe. I believe that those victims who care would want us to.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

NEWS: More Sales Opportunities For Makers This Year!

A man carrying a shopping bag walks past holiday decorations along Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
US Christmas sales predicted to surpass $1 trillion for the first time this year
Great news for makers in this recent article predicting increased holiday sales. Apparently, it is believed that because of reduced unemployment, increased incomes and more confidence within consumer psyches, end-of-the year purchasing will expand this year.

US Christmas sales predicted to surpass $1 trillion for the first time this year

Image Credit: Getty Images at

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

SHIPPING: No First Class Stamp Shipping At Paypal

Someone asked in a forum if First Class stamp-type postage labels could be bought at Paypal.  She said she couldn't get it to work for that anymore.

To my knowledge, PP no longer offers First Class stamps-type shipping. I use PP exclusively, and I always have to choose First Class Mail Parcel Service as the cheapest method of shipping, usually from $2.66. Media Mail also can be chosen and others, as you know.

I was not printing PP labels when First Class stamps-type postage was being offered at this payment processing site. 

She also asked if the payment for the postage had to be done at Paypal. I am not sure what she meant by that question, but I have always paid from my PP acct. Don’t know any other way I could buy the labels there, except via my PP Wallet connections.

If you want the link to create labels without accessing an order, here it is:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

NEWS: CreateSpace Moving To KDP

Amazon self-publishing will cease on the CreateSpace platform and move to KDP soon, according to an email I received today. KDP has some features not available at CS and paperbacks can now be published there.

Here's a video to get you started if you want to make the move to the KDP platform now. You can also wait and everyone will be transferred over eventually, as stated in the email. Before you make the move, review the CS tips on what to do before you move. I didn't have to do anything, and I've already made the move.

Both instructions are on the same page, along with much more information.

Before you move your books to KDP
Our tips for preparing for the move.
How to move your books to KDP
You'll be able to move your entire catalog to KDP in a few steps.

Monday, September 24, 2018


So happy Autumn is here!
It's Autumn, that most glorious time of year!
Fall is my favorite season!
Welcoming fall with a showcase of these cheerful Autumn banners from Freepix, a website where you can get free vectors, photos and PSD downloads!
I love fall, most of all!
It seems that you have to give credit or attribution for whatever you use. I find this to be a headache, because there are many instances when it doesn't seem easy to share attribution anywhere that I am using a graphic. I usually try to find a suitable graphic at Pixabay, and sometimes Pexels, where no attribution is required. Pexels has mostly photos, but Pixabay has lots of vectors, illustrations and photos.
No other season like Autumn!

May your handmades fall season start with abundant creativity,
and continue with savvy marketing
and increased sales.

Visit and follow my Pinterest board

Fall! Festive, Fabulous, Fantastic!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Happy Wednesday! Read And Learn!

Wednesday Motivational Greeting
Happy Wednesday, no matter what!

Start reading a good book today.

Finish the one you started.

Ever read an eBook? Start one today!

Watch a Youtube craft or art video to learn a new technique.

Published products make learning unlimited.

Image Credit:

Monday, August 6, 2018

BUSINESS: 5 Strategies To Increase Sales

Improve your marketing skills to sell more handmades.

Don't be discouraged by your lack of sales. Success is the result of a lot of variables. Don't list your handmades, services, vintage and supplies and sit back to wait for the orders to come in. Nowadays, you probably won't ever get any. 

Always be working on all of the things you need to do continuously to make your shops successes. Many new sellers wait for months for their first sale. That is not unusual. It is more of the norm. Many who have swift first sales solicited them from family, friends and customers from their other shops, events, connections, etc. Some of the sales are mercy purchases. The true unique buyer is not automatic or easy to come by. This type of highly-valued buyer generally has to be cultivated and retained.

Take time to learn about:
  • better photography
  • search engine optimization (SEO) in your product titles and descriptions 
  • color theory
  • seasonal selling and marketing
  • developing new products and discontinuing others
Get busy and do something different. Improve your marketing skills. These are just a few of the practices that can help boost your sales.

Friday, August 3, 2018

WRITING: 2 Ways To Write More

Ways to practice writing more.
Reaching your writing goals requires, well, regular writing. If you are not able to set aside consistent writing time, adopt these two practices. They can help you to develop more regular writing exercises of your own. 


You can practice writing with short, self-devised exercises.  One way is to add a little something more to the emails you send to family and friends.  This can be done by being more descriptive or dramatic when you share experiences. 


Pen your own quotes about truths that you've learned in life.  Penning your own quotes is a process that is very helpful for anyone who would like to write poetry, but is afraid to try. It is simply writing a sentence about something that you know. Most quotes ring true with other people, though they may not have thought of it before.

Extend yourself and practice these 2 writing exercises, and you'll soon get ideas for more. Before long, you'll be writing that article, story or book that you've been procrastinating about.

Happy Writing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...