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Friday, November 30, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight + Giveaway: Catching Fireflies

"Catching Fireflies is a whimsical world filled with clever & delightful gifts for all occasions. Whether you need to brighten a friend's day with a funny magnet, celebrate a new furry family member with a dog lover's gift or just splurge on a some cute kitchen accessories for yourself ~ we got ya covered.

The name catching fireflies was inspired by one of our favorite artists, but it is also a lot more. It's that nostalgic feeling you get inside when you think back to those carefree days as a child. It's finding delight in the simple pleasures that you encounter everyday. It reminds you to slow down and appreciate the blessings that surround you. It inspires you to create joy in your life and in others. At catching fireflies, we love bringing you bright smiles that will warm your heart and home."

Shop // Facebook // Pinterest

Catching Fireflies is offering one lucky reader a $43 credit to their shop (they "like odd numbers because they're fun and quirky!") Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Can't wait? Get 20% off your order with the coupon code JULIEANN. But hurry! It's only valid until Jan. 1, 2013!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner will be announced here in one week and notified by e-mail. Good luck! xo JA

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wire Wrapped Rose Ring Tutorial by Misluo

You might remember Yanxia, the girl behind the beautiful jewelry shop, Misluo. Today she is here to show us how to make a gorgeous wire wrapped rose ring! This would make such a sweet Christmas gift!"Hi! I am Yanxia from Misluo and I am so excited to be here today to show you how to make the Wire Wrapped Rose Ring with some basic tools. These rose rings are favored from all ages, so I believe it will be a great idea to make a rose ring for your family or friends as a Christmas gift.
Materials & tools needed:
  • 18-gauge dead soft wire (copper, silver or gold-filled); 20 inches is good for making a ring from size 6-size 8. You will need 1-2 inches more for larger sizes.
  • Ring mandrel (I use a sharpie in this tutorial, which is easy to work with)
  • Cutter
  • Chain nose pliers
  • A fine file (nail file will do)
Decide the size:
First of all, you need decide which size you want to make. You may use this instruction to find out your ring size. Choose something as mandrel one size larger than the intended size because the shank will shrunk smaller while wrapping.
Let's start: Hold the center of the wire against the sharpie and wrap each wire end one time around the sharpie. It should look like this (above). Twist the two wire ends together. I twist it by hands as the dead soft wire is easy to bend. You can use the pliers if you feel hard by hands. And... keep going to twist the wires around the center point. You need cross the two wires sometime while twisting to create a tree-dimensional  rose. Leave about half inch wire at each end. You can cut the wire short if it's longer than you need. Now take the ring out from the sharpie and use the file to remove any sharp edges on the wire ends. Run your finger gently around the end to see if it's smooth enough. Use the pliers wrap the wire ends on the side around the shank tightly. Try to hide the wire ends under the rose possible. This pliers in the photo may mark your ring. Here I have two options for you. You can use some taps wrap the tip of the pliers to minimize the marks. Or, you can use a jewelry file and fine sanding papers to remove the marks. I would take the first one because it's easy and the second one need a lot work to do and you run a risk to get a lot new marks if you don't have the right tools. Actually, most of us don't mind some tiny marks around this beautiful rose. One of my customer told me it will "make the rose look more real and unique", she brought the ring  at the summer market in Rimini Italy. By now you should have a pretty rose ring, right? If you have any questions, just ask! :)"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Patchwork Show

I had such a great time this weekend at the Santa Ana Patchwork show! This was my 2nd Patchwork show in this location and my 3rd Patchwork show overall, and something about it was just special. I am still relatively new to the whole local craft show scene, but I really started feeling the love from the community.
(I iron the table cloth the night before and it's still a wrinkly mess!)

I got to stop by and say hi to some of my favorite local Etsy sellers (Sass & Peril and Sweet Perversion). My booth got visits from the lovely Natalie, of Take the Cannoli, Dave from Fresh Rags, and Nikki from Delovely Details! It was really special to see familiar faces. Or hearing "I've seen you on Etsy!" "I bought this card for my boyfriend and he loved it" "I love your new stuff!"

It was just really humbling. But it was also a little sad because it's very likely it's my last show in California. Next year, I'll be moving somewhere and I will have to start all over in a new community. It's sort of a scary thought, to feel like you are building up your business's presence in an area and then leaving it hanging to venture somewhere new.

Ah well, I guess that's why it's called an adventure right?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Lisa Barbero

Hi friends! Today I'm catching up on orders from this weekend's holiday sale (today is the last day so get to it!) and recovering from a great day at my last craft show of the season. But more on that later! Right now, I wanted to introduce you to one of my lovely sponsors, Lisa.
Lisa Barbero has had a lifelong, passionate love affair with creating. And Captain Crunch. With a leaning towards raw line and the unexpected, her work is infused with modern color, original typography, and old fashioned hand drawn imagery. The end result is art with hints of romance, whimsy, inspiration, and lots of soul.

"It's important to me to do something different; to be inspired by my life, my environment, and the work of others, then make something completely unique that can inspire others in turn. I like being a part of that endless creative cycle."

Lisa's shop is full of inspiring prints and she even has some fun iPhone cases! Show her some love! :]

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday to Cyber Monday Sale

Coffee Date

Happy Thanksgiving! I didn't make the trip to Michigan for the holiday, just too much craziness going on with the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Between having a big sale in the shop, and doing my last craft show of the year on Sunday, I chose to stay home. Of course, right now it kind of sucks since I'm so far away from my family. At least we have Skype.

I saw this post from Casey, where she wrote as though she were sitting down for coffee with her readers. I thought that would be a perfect way to post today.

If you were to come over, Penny girl would greet you at the door. I'd tell her to stop jumping on you but she would be too excited to shower you with kisses and get all up in your business.

The Christmas tree would be lit, and Christmas scent candles would be making the little house smell like heaven.

As you'd get comfy on the couch, Penny would continue to walk all over your lap, licking your face off. I'd bring you coffee from the kitchen and tell Penny to "go to her place" so she'll give you some space.

I would sit down, probably on the floor, and set my mug on the coffee table. I'd tell you that I'm a little sad being alone this Thanksgiving. That I'm thankful to be so busy with work, but when I really focus on it, it's hard to be alone right now. I'd tell you Skyping with my family makes me more sad than happy because it reminds me how much I miss them.

Right around this time, Penny would give up staying in her "place" and bring you her toy, tail wagging, urging you to throw it. You politely oblige and she darts after it, jumping over my lap in the process. She brings it back, sets it next to your lap, and gives you those puppy dog eyes, until you throw it again.

I'd tell you that I struggle with being personal on my blog. And since I'd be feeling comfortable, I'd probably find myself telling you a few other things I have been struggling with lately. I would feel a little better though, by being able to confide in you.

And when it's time for you to leave, Penny would follow you to the door and I would say...we should do this again some time. :]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Simple Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe From Catching Fireflies

April, from Catching Fireflies, is here to share a simple recipe for pumpkin cupcakes. By now you probably know I like easy recipes, with few ingredients, so this recipe is right up my alley!

For the cake:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon of cider
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Beat cake mix & pumpkin puree for 2 minutes & place mixture in 12 cupcake tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes. Mix the powdered sugar, cider & pumpkin spice to create glaze & drizzle on top of cupcakes. (It may seem too thick to drizzle, but it will spread out once placed on the cupcake & run over the side a bit.)
That's it! Let cool, and enjoy! For more goodies, be sure to check out April's blog!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I'm Thankful For - Link Up Party

There are so many things I feel thankful for. I am so blessed to live in a house that I love in a beautiful location, surrounded by people that I know I can trust and depend on. Sometimes, when I'm just relaxing in the yard on a lazy Sunday, the sun on my face, a rum and coke in my hand, I feel so fortunate to live a life that I love. I never want to take it for granted.

There is something very specific that has changed my life for the better in the past year and that is you. (Ok, time to tone down the cheese, Jules.) It's so true though! The fact that I was able to quit my job, pursue self-employment....it still boggles my mind and is so weird to think about. And I truly believe that this blog, therefore you, have made that possible.  Even at my weakest moments, when I've faced tough times, I have been humbled by your unwavering support. It is something I never expected when I started this blog, but it it what made this experience the most rewarding. I am so grateful. Thank you!!

Now it's your turn! Link up your thankful post below! Please remember that you must just link to the thankful post, not link to your blog home page. Your post will show up on my blog, along with rouge & whimsy's, and Yellow Heart Art's. Be sure to check out what everyone else is thankful for too as well! :]

Tips for Having a Black Friday + Cyber Monday Sale

It's that time of year when most business owners are busy bustling in preparation for the big shopping weekend that starts with Black Friday and ends with Cyber Monday. We are most likely bulking up our inventory and researching means of promoting our sale. I wanted to share a few tips to help make your sale this weekend a success!

Choosing your deal.

The first step is deciding what kind of deal you want to offer. Try to figure out a deal that will not only give buyers an incentive, but will also benefit you. Instead of offering a percentage off each order, you could require buyers to spend a specific amount in order to obtain a discount. This ensures that, while you're still offering buyers a good deal, you will also be earning a comfortable amount per order.

For example, let's say you sell soap. Rather than offering 30% off everything (aka: a $3.00 bar of soap), you could offer $10 off all orders over $30. The buyer still gets a big 30% off, you are just ensuring that you're still getting $20 per order. Or maybe you have extra stock of a certain item. You could offer that as a free gift on orders over a certain amount. 

Advertising your promotion.

Once you've settled on the deal you want to offer, it's time to focus on promoting it. This is really the majority of the battle since competition will be fierce this weekend and buyers will most likely face good deals at every turn. You want to spread your deal across as many outlets as you can.

Etsy Tags - Be sure to add "Black Friday Etsy" and "Cyber Monday Etsy" to the tags in ALL of your item listings that are eligible for your sale. This will make it easier for buyers to find you.

Gift Guides - Many bloggers post gift guides this time of year to help other business promote their deals. Some are free, some are not. This year, I will be participating in several. Again, you want to reach as many potential buyers as you can (and pull them in with your amazing deal!). If you will be paying to participate in these gift guides, keep in mind the blog's following. Not just the size, but the demographic, and where their gift shopping interests will be.

Blogs - If you have a blog of your own, make sure to post about your deal! However, to get more traffic to the post you may want to include something else along with the information on your sale. Perhaps a free holiday printable, or your favorite Thanksgiving recipe ideas. You can also make an advertising button specifically for the sale and host it on your blog all four days of the shopping weekend. 

Social Media - Obviously social media is a huge means of promotion these days. It is your friend but don't overuse it and get all spammy spam on your followers. If you share your deal on Twitter include hash tags such as #blackfridaysale or #cybermondaysale. You can even give your followers an exclusive promo, like an extra 10% off for Twitter followers only with the coupon code "twitter."

Are you having a sale this weekend? I am! And I plan to follow my own advice to make it a successful weekend! Do you have any more tips for me? I'd love to hear them! xo JA

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight + Giveaway: Paisley Boulevard

Remember the tasty lip scrub recipe Colleen from Paisley Boulevard shared last week? Well she is back again with more goodies for you!
I'm Colleen and I have a lifestyle blog called Paisley Boulevard! I generally blog about my life and share fun projects and recipes! I'm a momma, a wife, and I also design blogs. I love vintage so I keep a small shop on Etsy. I am also sort of beauty product obsessed, and I LOVE creating diy beauty treatments. So yeah, all kinds of good stuff! I'd love for you to visit. :)

Today Colleen is offering one lucky reader a $25 gift certificate to Target! (Who doesn't love Target??)  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

The winner will be announced here in one week and notified by e-mail. Good luck! xo JA

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Glitter Christmas Tree DIY

I made some sparkly trees over the weekend. I love them, they are so fun! This project was pretty experimental as far as supplies and process go but I'm going to try to explain what I did as best as I can.
I picked up my supplies at Michaels. I grabbed a few cardboard cones for the tree's basic shape, and then went on the search for shiny, sparkly materials to give my trees some more festiveness. I walked out with a few different kinds of gift wrapping ribbon. Well, I thought they were ribbon at the time, but it turns out, it was glittery tape. Which ended up being even better.
Rather than having to get out the glue, I just cut 2-3 inch pieces of the tape and started sticking it over the cone. I had no technique, just continued to overlap the pieces so that the cone was completely covered.
Once the entire cone was covered I used a paint brush to coat it in Mod Podge to hold the tape in place. That reminds me, on the striped cone my first step was to Mod Podge silver mylar pieces to cover the cone. I got a silver mylar balloon from the Dollar Store and cut it into pieces, but I don't really recommend this because it was a pain. And you'd probably be able to get the same shiny effect using foil anyways.
There are also a lot of possibilities as far as materials to use, but in general, it was a relatively easy project and I really like how it turned out. These decorations are simple, but really fun at the same time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm Thankful For - A Link Up Party

If you've been following my blog for a year now, well, you're awesome, thank you, but alsooo you might remember the I Am Thankful For Link Up I hosted last year in order to remind us all of what we are thankful for. Well, it's back again and this time I asked my interweb friends Leonora and Erika to help me host!

The rules are simple! Write a post on what you're thankful for. (If you need a sample, you can read mine from last year here.) On Tuesday, November 20th, the link-up will go live on all three of our blogs and you can link-up your Thankful For post. (Your post will show up on all three of our blogs, regardless of who's you link yours to.) You must link directly to your Thankful For post, not your entire blog. You must link back to one of the blog host's blogs in your Thankful For post. You can do that easily by grabbing this button to add to your post:

I hope you'll join us! Looking forward to reading what everyone is thankful for. Let's reflect on what makes our hearts full this season. :] xo JA

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Mumble Jumbles

Hi guys! I had a DIY project planned for today's post but I needed to run to the store for one more supply in order to finish it. And well, Monday happened. Does anyone else feel like Mondays are always a jumble? I always feel overloaded, playing catch up from the weekend. I bounce from project to e-mail to orders to e-mails (to blog post) and find it hard to complete one before starting another. I decided early today that a trip to the supply store was not in the cards because I had too much to get done here at the house. So that DIY post will have to come later in the week.

While I am here, scrambling, in my cold house (wearing gloves while typing this) I wanted to share a few things with you that I've had the pleasure of working on lately. First off, I launched a new product in my shop today! Holiday gift tags and envelope seals are now available! They are very limited edition and include free shipping when you purchase them with any other item.
Also, we shot a wedding yesterday in Palm Springs and it reminded me that I haven't shared the latest two films from Etch yet. How about a little romance this Monday morning, eh?

I hope you enjoyed these! It's such an extraordinary honor to take part in these couple's special days.

How's your Monday coming along? Are you playing catch up with me? (Please tell me I'm not the only one struggling today!) xo JA

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight + Giveaway: Misluo

Today I want to introduce you to Yanxia, from Misluo. I'm so happy to have met her through sponsoring because she makes such unique jewelry! Unlike any I have ever seen before!
Hi there, I'm Yanxia, China-born Australian, married to a lovely man in Italy last year. I'm a self-taught jewelry maker and the creative spirit behind Misluo, which features beautifully modern handcrafted jewelry in sterling silver and copper. I always love to discover new technique and find the inspiration of my work from nature, travels and places I lived. Also, I'm a beginner of blogging, enjoy in sharing my passion, inspiration and wonderful things of my creative journey on my blog and love to meet new friends.

Today Yanxia is offering one lucky reader $30 shop credit to her amazing shop! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Can't wait? Right now you can get 15% off anything from Yanxia's shop with the coupon code JAA15.

The winner will be announced here in one week and notified by e-mail. Good luck! xo JA

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DIY Grapefruit Sugar Lip Scrub

Colleen from Paisley Boulevard is here today with an amazing lip scrub recipe! I have actually never used a lip scrub but the idea sounds amazing. I love me some exfoliation and if it's going to make my lips extra soft that's an added bonus! Here's Colleen.

Hi guys! This sweet concoction was inspired by 2 things. My new favorite breakfast food (who knew grapefruit was so dang yummy? I feel like I found a long lost friend!) and my poor peeling lips. They have not been loving the fluctuation in temperatures around here, that's for certain, so I have had lots of peelsies to deal with. Makes for a yucky lipstick base if ya know what I'm sayin'.
This mixture amps up the moisture for your lips with vitamin E and the grapefruit not only adds sweet flavor, but an extra element of exfoliation as well. If your mix gets a little too juicy, scoop the scrub into a paper towel and kinda wring it out a bit. Add the vitamin e last, use a sharp knife or pin to get the goods out of the cap. Make sure your grapefruit juice is from an actual grapefruit and not out of a carton of pink grapefruit juice cocktail or some other whatnot.

This scrub keeps nicely for a week in the fridge. Use it every day for a baby soft and icky peely-skin free pucker! Let me know if you give it a go! xoxo, Colleen

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This recipe comes from my mom's kitchen and I looove it. If you remember from this post, I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin but that does not stop me from devouring this bread. I recently bought a loaf pan and then asked my mom for this specific recipe because I knew it was the first loaf of bread I wanted to make.
What you'll need:

1 3/4 cup flour
1 teas baking soda
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas salt
1/2 teas nutmeg
1/4 teas ginger
1/4 teas cloves
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour with soda, salt and spices. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar. Cream well. Beat in eggs. While beating at low speed add dry ingredients, alternating with pumpkin. Stir in morsels and 1/2 cup nuts.
Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Bake 350 for 60 to 70 minutes. (This is what my mom said. I baked mine for 60 minutes and it was perfect.) Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy! (I love dipping it in my coffee in the morning!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

DIY Christmas Ornament

I'm not sure when I became one of those people that wanted to decorate for Christmas right after Halloween. But yesterday I found myself at Michaels, where their holiday scented candles were on sale. And I have a bit of a weakness for holiday scented candles (especially when they are on sale), so I bought Holiday Berry and Christmas Tree. I came home, lit Holiday Berry, and that's what did it. All of a sudden I was making ornaments and putting up one of our Christmas trees. (I fought the urge to turn on a Christmas Pandora station, telling myself that was going too far for November 5th. Not to mention it was like 90 degrees outside and definitely not feeling "Christmas-y.")
So today I have a DIY Christmas ornament tutorial for you! I know some of you might be mad at me. You're all like girrlll I'm still recovering from my Halloween sugar coma. It's cool. Just Pin this tutorial for next month when you're ready for Christmas and we can be friends again. ;]
What you'll need:

Metallic spray paint
Clear Christmas bulbs for crafting
(They're on sale at Michael's this week)
Bendable Branches
(I found this wreath at the Dollar Store)

If your branches are long, you will need to trim them down. I used clippers and cut mine to a little longer than the height of the bulbs. Once cut, spray paint them thuroughly. I used silver spray paint but if I did it again I would use gold to make the branches more visible.
Once the branches have dried, begin placing them into the opening of the bulb. Using a pair of tweezers made it easier for me to adjust the placement of the branches. Once you have them in an arrangement you like put the top make on the bulb and it's ready to be hung!
What do you think? Too soon to be thinking about Christmas? Or did I maybe, just maybe, get you a little amped up that the holiday is coming? ;] xo JA

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Finds

Friday, already? Did this week fly by for anyone else? I have been up to my nose in card folding but that has not stopped me from scoping out my favorite blogs and shops around the interweb! Here's some finds I'm currently loving:
My favorite Fall accessory is the slouchy beanie. Love this one from this brand new Etsy shop!
Love this WonderForest Gift Box from Fawn & Flora! Just in time for the holidays!
Lots of fun Halloween-inspired nail ideas over here (mine included)!

Love this galaxy print. So dreamy.

More goodies:

New to blogging? Check out these blogging tips from a fellow blogger!

What are your thoughts on swearing in blog posts? I love how this blogger tells it like it is!

Do you use passionfruit ads? This tutorial teaches you how to change the color of the passionfruit widget to match your blog.

Hope you guys have a great weekend! I have my 2nd Fall show on Sunday so wish me luck! :]

Linking up with Rouge&Whimsy's Friday Finds.

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