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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

San Francisco

We got back late last night from San Francisco. I'm exhausted. It was quite the adventure, especially for me since I had no idea what to expect. I was surprised to find out that San Francisco reminded me of a mini New York. Who knew that I could satisfy my city craving here in California?

Of course, we hit up Haight and Ashbury. Everyone told me that this was a MUST. Tons of fun shops there! I got the cutest red and white striped dress from X Generation.

Two full days were spent exploring by bike. We cruised through the city, we conquered Golden Gate Park (bigger than we thought...), we crossed the Golden Gate bridge and traveled into Sausalito. So this turned into the amount of bike riding that I would normally do in...an entire year?...in two days. I'm surprised I can move today. It was nerveracking, the bridge was HECTIC, but it was so much fun!

(oh hey wind hair.)

I had a really good time and I'm so glad I finally made it there! Now I know what people are talking about when they say how great San Francisco is!

Tomorrow is June! Summer time is here!

Exciting News

I have two exciting announcements to share today! The first one is the lucky giveaway winner of TheDreamyGiraffe's print giveaway... Congratulations to entry #59 DisneyFan! You get to choose your favorite print from TheDreamyGiraffe shop! Look out for an e-mail from Kathy!

I also just officially found out that my cards will now be sold at Black Bear: Vintage and Handmade in Brooklyn, New York! I'm so excited that my cards will now be sold on both coasts! I lived in Brooklyn for a summer and it will always have a place in my heart, so that makes this extra special!

It is really exciting for me to start selling my work through other vendors. I have been making cards for almost three years now, but just recently started scouting brick and mortar stores to consign with. I guess I wanted to wait till I had a consistent product that I was proud of and wanted to share. While we were in San Francisco we were searching for more cute shops that sell handmade items. My boyfriend was even passing my business card out when I wasn't looking! At least one of us is not shy. ;] Speaking of San Fran, I'll be back later with a post about our trip!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

San Francisco Bound

We are leaving for San Francisco tomorrow! I have never been there before but every time I tell some one I'm going there for Memorial Day Weekend they get all "OMG you are?!?! I'm so jealous! You're so lucky!" Everyone that has been there seems to LOVE it so I'm really excited to get clued in on this San Fran amazingness!


I can't wait to explore, bike ride over the bridge, take a ton of photos, and most likely...ride a trolley just because! I downloaded the Blogger app on my phone. Has anyone used it? I plan to test it out so I can possibly post photos on the go while I'm there. But the best way to get your photo updates from me this weekend will be Twitter, so feel free to follow! :]

If you have any San Francisco recommendations, please share! I would really like to find some amazing handmade, thrifty and vintage shops!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cupcake Love

One of my housewarming party hostess tasks was to make cupcakes! For Christmas last year my friend got me a mini cupcake maker (think waffle maker but with tiny cupcake wells). I put it to good use this weekend, making confetti cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting and a strawberry slice! (I was proud of them.) So here comes a cupcake themed Etsy Love post!

In case you missed it, you can find my DIY Dessert Stand tutorial here.

Yummy cupcake soap!

LOVE this cupcake tank!

How cute is this print?

The sweetest party banner.

Such a fun bow!

I even have some cupcake goodies in my shop!

Hope you get inspired to make some yummy cupcakes! Have you entered this week's giveaway yet? It's dreamy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Artist Feature + Giveaway: The Dreamy Giraffe

The winner of last week's adorable Owl Clutch giveaway from Cuore is......#237 out of a whopping 241! Congratulations Shanti! Look out for an e-mail from Mika!

This week's feature + giveaway is really special. The Dreamy Giraffe is a shop that I noticed a long time ago when I first started my Etsy shop. I remember "hearting" the shop because I fell in love with the prints of sweet, big-eyed girls that were just....dreamy. Kathy, the artist behind The Dreamy Giraffe, gave an informative interview with some great advice for artists who dream of being as successful as her.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kathy Jeffords and I go by both Kathy and KJ (a nickname from an old job that stuck). I'm 34 years old (though no one believes me when I tell them that, yay!) and have lived in South Carolina my whole life. I grew up wanting to be a writer and sort of became an artist by accident.

You have had an Etsy shop since 2006! What have you done to have continued success?
To tell you the truth...I've pretty much done everything wrong! Don't misunderstand -- I'm overjoyed with what I've been able to accomplish so far, but I've also been very, very fortunate that I've been able to make the sales I've made running my business the way I was.

For the longest time, my business plan was "do whatever I can do today to get a sale" -- and there are lots of ways you can do that -- but they're quick fixes...and ultimately, that method will leave you constantly hustling and struggling to make that next sale. You need a business plan and it can't be about today. You can't be concerned with what money you've got coming in right now...you have to set things up so you'll have CONTINUED and CONSISTENT sales in the future.

Many artists struggle to find a style of their own, but yours if very recognizable. How did you develop a style that worked for you?
To be honest? It just came very naturally and organically. This sounds a bit hokey, but: Just do what you love, what's in your heart, and your style will just come. I just sat down and painted what I felt like painting (which was always big eyed people) and it just evolved over time. I'm branching out a bit now but I think as long as you're true to yourself the "you"ness will shine through in whatever you do.

How did you make the leap from painting as a hobby to painting as a full-time-job?
I even started out backwards, actually. I had a "real job" where I was totally miserable. One day I just couldn't take it anymore and I was chatting with my boss and he said, "Do you have anything else you'd like to add?" And I said, "I quit". It was a bizarre move for me because I am someone who likes to think things out to the point of overthinking! I like to talk things over with my loved ones. NO ONE -- not my mom, not my best friend -- had any inkling that I was going to quit that day. Not even me! I just got to my breaking point.

It was a timing thing. My sister, who lived two and a half hours away, was very pregnant with my first niece. After I worked my two weeks notice, I decided that I wouldn't start looking for another job until after the baby was born, so I could travel to be there whenever that happened. I was very blessed in that I had been saving up, squirreling away every spare penny for a down payment on a house, so I had a pretty nice nest egg saved up and had the luxury of being able to take that break. I still felt weird not having ANY money coming in (as I was single -- and still am, so if you know any cute and sweet eligible dudes...hee hee) so I started putting up some original ACEOs on eBay. ACEOs were HOT back then. And to my surprise, they sold! I'd said I'd start looking for a job in a month, but I was making money, so I put it off another month, then another month and here we are in 2011, and my niece is now five and a half years old and my resume is still sitting dusty on a disk somewhere, never having been sent out.

Kathy is offering one lucky reader any 8.5 x 11 print of their choice from her shop! Be sure to check her out on Twitter and Facebook too! I'm a fan and follower myself.

To enter to win:
1. Leave a comment below with your e-mail address.

Extra credit: (leave an additional comment for each for a better chance to win!)
1. Follow this blog.
2. Comment with your favorite item from Kathy's shop.
3. Share this giveaway on Twitter/Facebook using the share buttons below.
4. Follow Kathy's blog.
5. Grab one of my buttons in the left column and share it on your blog.

I will announce the winner here on May 30th (or 31st, as I will be on a plane home from San Francisco on the 30th!). Good luck! xo, Julie

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thank Yous

For the past couple days my shop has been consumed with orders from my Heartsy feature. Filling order after order is such an amazing feeling! I'm so thankful that people like the work I create. More importantly, the fact that they want to give my work to people they care about....so special. I love when customers send me a message to tell me who they are giving one of my cards to and why.

On top of this, do you remember the Moustache Soup Mug giveaway I had a couple weeks ago? Well, the seller behind the giveaway, Lorrie, did not just send the giveaway winner the prize, but she also sent one to ME! She sent it as a thank you for the feature I posted on her, but I feel like I'm the one who owes her the thanks! Thank you SO much Lorrie! Be sure to check out her shop, her pottery is awesome!

We are getting ready for our housewarming party tomorrow! My jobs today: homemade pita chips, homemade hummus, homemade guacamole....oh and lots of cleaning. Fun! Talk soon!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Love Bloggin + Bloglovin

Since my Heartsy feature is taking up most of my time, I have been away from blogging for two days. And I realized...I miss it (yes, already)! I know sometimes it's a struggle to think of what to write about, and it's time consuming to research and take photos, but it's FUN! The revelation that I really do love blogging made me think of the site Bloglovin. I'm sure you have seen the Bloglovin button on a lot of your favorite blogs. I wanted to shine some light on it for those who haven't tried it.

Bloglovin is like Google Reader, in the aspect that it puts all the blogs you follow in one spot. But it is SO much easier and quicker. As you can see in the picture above, the layout is 10 times better than Google Readers because it gives you the first paragraph of the post. That way, you know what the post is about but if you don't want to read it you don't have to scroll through the entire thing! Plus, when you click on the actual post you want to read, it takes you to the actual blog in a new window.

I promise, this site will save you so much time! It has even helped me find amazing blogs that I would not have found otherwise. You even have the option to "like" posts, just like on Facebook, to make it easier to go back to them in the future. I used to use Google Reader and I'm SO glad I don't have to anymore! If you love bloggin, give Bloglovin a try!

Follow Julie Ann Art

On top of Heartsy orders and our housewarming party, this weekend is going to be busy busy! But check back soon for this giveaway winner announcement. (Have you entered yet?) Plus, my next giveaway is from a very well-known Etsy seller, I'm so happy I'm getting the chance to feature her! xo JA

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Heartsy Feature Prep

I hope you guys don't mind that I'll most likely be absent for the next few days. I have been lucky enough to be accepted to be featured on Heartsy on Thursday! (For those of you who have not heard of Heartsy, it is basically a Groupon for handmade items. You get daily discounts on awesome Etsy shops!)

The feature gives you a ton of exposure you most likely wouldn't have gotten otherwise. I am SO excited but also really nervous about how it all is going to work out. I have been printing, researching, and brainstorming. I have been managing a big To-Do list for the past week. I thought it would be a good idea to share this prep list with those who face a Heartsy feature in the future:

1. Stock up on inventory
2. Stock up on packaging (don't forget the tape!)
3. Stamp envelopes
4. Put return address labels on envelopes
5. Put business cards in envelopes
6. Make a spreadsheet to keep track of orders
7. Change item quantity in shop
8. Put custom message in shop announcement for Heartsy buyers
9. Allow "other" as a payment option in Etsy shop
10. Let fans and followers know about your feature date

I'm trying to be as thorough as possible so I'm fully prepared for Thursday and don't get overwhelmed. But I'm learning that no matter the amount of preparation, I'm still nervous! Be sure to check out Heartsy tomorrow to take advantage of my deal!

I will be back as soon as possible, and in the meantime, don't forget to enter this giveaway! The Owl Clutch prize is getting a lot of love!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Artist Feature + Giveaway: Cuore

The winner of last week's giveaway is....#68 verdiana. Congrats lady! Lorrie will e-mail you and your Moustache Soup Mug set will be on its way!

Today I have the cutest giveaway for you guys from sweet Etsy seller, Mika, of Cuore. I fell in love with her owl pillows and I'm so happy to feature her today!

Stewart the Owl Cotton Canvas Carry All Case.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
Hi everyone - my name is Mika Yamamura, and I'm a freelance designer and crafter. I run a shop on etsy called Cuore where I design everything from cards, pillows, accessories, and felt plushies.

After receiving my degree in design from the Fashion Institute in Los Angeles, I honed my creative skills at Paul Frank Industries for 6 1/2 years as the women's accessories designer where I learned everything I know today. I started "Cuore" (heart in Italian) in 2006, and have been so happy to be crafting what I love.

You have had an Etsy shop since 2007! What have you done to have continued success?
I try to update my items as much as I can with new characters, fabrics, and ideas; also attention to detail, and great customer service is very important to me.

Mimi the Pug Wooden Engraved Keychain.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I love to spend quality time with those I love, watch tons of movies and basketball, eat at fun restaurants, and play the piano. Oh, and a little shopping is fun too.

Any words of wisdoms for aspiring designers?
Be original and be prepared to work really really hard! Also, try to build a thick skin about your work and not take things too personally.

Mika is offering one lucky reader an Owl Canvas Case AND a Pug Wooden Key Chain (both pictured above)!

To enter to win:
1. Leave a comment below with your e-mail address.

Extra credit: (leave an additional comment for each for a better chance to win!)
1. Follow this blog.
2. Comment with your favorite item from Mika's shop.
3. Share this giveaway on Twitter/Facebook using the share buttons below.
4. Follow Mika's blog.
5. Grab one of my buttons in the left column and share it on your blog.

I will announce the winner here on May 23rd. Good luck! xo, Julie

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dessert Stand Tutorial

Today I have a tutorial that is SO quick and easy! As I mentioned in this House Love post, we have a housewarming party coming up. I'm hoping to find the time to make cupcakes with little house cupcake toppers. That being said, I didn't have a cupcake stand and I felt one would be necessary to create some levels in my food table.

What you'll need:
Strong adhesive (I used a hot glue gun.)

I found a plate and a candlestick at the thrift store. Make sure the candlestick has a flat top so the plate will sit well on it. Center the candlestick on the bottom of the plate and glue it. That's it! Three bucks, SO simple, and now I have a cute little stand for my cupcakes at the party!

Happy weekend! We are going to the Heart Ball for the American Heart Association tonight. Great cause to get dressed all fancy for!

Giveaway winner announcement tomorrow and another giveaway for you Monday (it's the cutest)!

Friday, May 13, 2011

House Love

We are having a housewarming party soon, hence the house theme for my Love post this week! I'm loving all these house illustrations, they're inspiring me to make some illustrations of my own to incorporate in our party decor. I've been looking up pretty table displays and DIY decoration ideas for the past week, but I'm still unsure of what I'm going to do. Time is running out! Anyone have any suggestions?


So sweet.

I love Michele Maule's work.

Love this, so pretty.

Awesome garland!

Hope you liked these pretty houses! And housewarming party decor suggestions are welcome. :] Don't forget to enter this Moustache Soup Mug giveaway!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Homemade Dog Treats

Well, I had planned on posting a homemade dog treat recipe, BUT they didn't go over so well with the pup! :] So basically I wouldn't recommend the recipe to anyone, but I still had to share the funny video below of our dog's reaction to the new treat (aka: what the heck is this crap?)!

Lets see what Penny thinks!

If anyone has a homemade dog treat recipe that their dog loves, please share. And don't forget to enter the Moustache Soup Mug giveaway below! xo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Artist Feature + Giveaway: Lennymud

I'm so happy to share this seller feature and giveaway with you guys! Lorrie, of LennyMud, is a quarky pottery genius in New York City. Her interview question answers are hilarious and she's giving away TWO of her fantastic Moustache Soup Mugs to one lucky winner!

How did you get into pottery?
My mom was a potter and I grew up with a ceramic studio in my basement and had to endure girl scout troupes from far and wide coming to my house to earn their crafts badges. I threw my first pot on my mother's lap at age 3. I grew up and tried to be all rebelious by rejecting my artistic background and running around with men who wore suits and ties and worked for investment firms, turning my back on the craft--but after watching the scene with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost returned to my roots and took pottery up again.

Here's what a lot of folks on Etsy don't know about me though. I am the designer for a really large giftware company called OUR NAME IS MUD. That is my original ceramic company that i started at a card table on the streets of NYC and grew to be a ginormous business. I sold that company four years ago but i still work as a designer for that brand and my designs are sold all across the world, are in over 8,000 stores and often are used as set decorations on shows like Law and Order and in many movies. Nobody knows that about me on Etsy--so it has been super exciting and re-energizing to start all over again and build a new business. I can try things in that venue and step out of my comfort zone and do all the things that make being an artist so great.

Do you ever get designers block?
If I say "no" I will probably jinx myself, right? But honestly I have creative ADHD and I often have too many ideas and not enough time! Lately, i am really loving www.pinterest.com as away to organize my ideas and inspirations.

What has been your most successful means of promotion?
I have had the biggest growth in my online business as a direct result of fantastic blogs like yours. And I am not just saying that to kiss your ass. Probably not.

For real: the most successful way of growing and promoting my business has been to step away from the computer and GO MAKE STUFF. Seems simple enough, but in this day and age of virtual time sucks we forget that our #1 priority should be to put good stuff out in the world.

I recently was a guest speaker at the etsy success symposium. Please skip the first 1/2 hour if you decide to watch the archived video on etsy--but after that I give away a ton of tips. It is my belief that everyone can be really successful!

What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
I have two amazing kids and a great husband I enjoy spending time with--my children made their first pots when they were each 1 day old (footprints on coffee cups we still drink out of). But to tell you the truth-- I like working on something creative--clay,paper,canvas- more than doing anything else and I find nothing so miserable as being stuck on a beach somewhere with no art supplies! TORTURE!

To Enter to win:
1. Leave a comment below with your e-mail address.

Extra credit: (leave an additional comment for each for a better chance to win!)
1. Follow this blog.
2. Comment with your favorite item from Lorrie's shop.
3. Share this giveaway on Twitter/Facebook using the share buttons below.
4. Follow Lorrie's blog.
5. Grab my new button in the left column and share it on your blog.

Winner must be in U.S only. I will announce the winner here on May 16th. Good luck!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Winner + Weekend

The lovely winner of my Robot Giveaway is...#9: msveronicas! Congrats Veronica! A Robot Love print and greeting card are all yours!


In other exciting news, I found out I'm going to be featured on Heartsy.me! I'm really excited for this special opportunity. I'll be sure to let you guys know when my feature is live so you can get a great deal on everything in my shop!

How was your weekend? I spent some time with friends and finally got to see Water For Elephants. But I have to admit my mind has been on my shop and my blog, a LOT lately. I'm still working on finding that balance where I can let loose without thinking, 'Oh I need to make business cards!' or 'Oh I need to take a portrait for my blog!' The good news is that this weekend I got to have some free time, but I also found the time to shoot a new DIY tutorial to post later this week. And I also have a really fun seller feature tomorrow, and another giveaway from her quirky pottery shop! Talk soon!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Terrarium Tutorial

I am one of those not-so-good-at-watering-plants kind of girls, but I love plants at the same time. Makes no sense, right? Thankfully, terrariums allow you to add the airy, natural feel of plants to any room without the fuss of caring for them. Today my guest blogger, Rebecca D. Dillon of Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen, is going to show how easy it is to make a terrarium of your own!


You'll need:
A glass container with a lid
Damp potting soil
Activated charcoal
Small stones or pebbles
Moss and other small plants such as ferns
Tiny decorative items you wish to include

To create your terrarium start with a clean, dry glass container. Layer your stones along the bottom of the jar so they are about 1 inch thick. Follow with a thin layer of charcoal, then add a layer of potting soil over the charcoal. The soil should take reach about 1/4 the height of the jar. Plant the moss and other plants in the soil. You may need to use chop sticks to help you arrange the plants. Finally, add any decorations you'd like to the terrarium to personalize it and then close the lid. Occasionally spritz your terrarium with water to keep the soil moist to the touch. Take care not to over water. Enjoy your new creation!

Thanks Rebecca! For other DIY tutorials, giveaways and pretty soap goodies, check out Rebecca's blog! She will soon be having a giveaway for a $25 credit to my shop.

Wait till you guys see next week's giveaway I have in store for you! I'm kind of jealous, I wish I could enter it myself! ;] And time is running out to enter this one! I'll announce the winner on Sunday!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Owl Love

It is my Mom's birthday this week, so I made a new card! I can't wait to get a phone call from her after she receives it. This little owl inspired the following owl cuteness for this owl love post.

Now available in my online shop!

How sweet is this pillow?

Cute little buttons.

Love this alphabet owl print!

Such a fun necklace!

I'll be back with a guest post from Rebecca D. Dillon, of Soap Deli News! Her blog is full of yummy goodies and my DIY Foot Scrub Post is featured today.

And don't forget to enter the giveaway post below! xo, JA
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