Thursday, January 31, 2008


Brain Dumping Ahead!!

It's late, I want to go to bed but my head is swimming so here goes (don't say you weren't warned!)...

  • JB is once again on a roll. The start of her "rolling" was this, quickly followed by Mr Owl. In the past two days, she has whipped out 4 or 5 more, each one better than the last. As she was putting Mr. Owl together, I was across the table from her, mesmorized, watching her work. Wow, she's good! It's so much fun watching someone "in the zone"! Tomorrow I'll take pictures and get some listed.
  • Up until last week, we've done all of our collages and signs on pieces of wood. JB found some simple glass frameless frames (does that make sense?) and now most of what she's been doing is in those. I'd have to say, I like the glass frames better than the wood.
  • Monday we're going to bring some of our signs and wall hangings into the local Dunn Brothers Coffee shop. They let local artists sell their wares off their walls. The manager told me rewards are two-fold...Supporting local artists and their walls are decorated at no cost to them. Super slick for us. The manager warned us that she has never sold anything yet, but I think it's time to turn that around. Our stuff is way, way different than what they have hanging now.
  • Sister K got our business cards done. They are very professional looking! She e-mailed me a copy today and I can't wait to see them in print! I'll post one on here someday!
  • Mom is on her way to another doll show as we speak. (I really have to feature her some day!) I called there this evening to chat and my little sister A told me she was in Phoenix. I had no clue she was going again. I called her cell phone and gave her the third degree (where are you, who are you with, where are you going, when will you be home)! Role reversals are so much fun!! ( least in that case it was!) She took the leftover cards along with her. Crossing our fingers that she comes home empty handed (or empty boxed). She claims everyone else knew she was going again. JB didn't, so there.
  • We started a Flickr account. You already knew that though. At the time I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. I decided tonight that I really like it because it gives me a place to write a very brief history of an item. I have been getting requests for contact left and right. We're at 67 now and counting. I posted our Flickr link on the Etsy message boards, so that's what I get! (not complaining, just saying...)
  • able mabel is an awsome name! Know why? Because it's usually one of the first names to appear on lists of user names! (on blogs and flickr and such)
  • JB was getting a little discouraged today because nothing much was selling. She was looking at our sold items and commenting that everything that we've sold lately has been created by someone other than herself (myself, sister K, sister M). We had barely finished our conversation and I got not one, but two e-mails from PayPal confirming payment. What had sold? Two of, ahem, JB's things! Have no fear, sister....
  • One of the things that sold was the "Sing it loud" collage. It was so cool looking! I'm not at all suprised it sold. It had been featured in Annie Howe's treasury (see earlier post about that). I'm going to feature Annie Howe tomorrow, so stay tuned!
  • I picked the brain today of a family friend who is also a photographer. I feel like I'm finally getting somewhere with my pictures! My camera is just a point and shoot and I basically know the bare minimum about taking pictures. I was getting frustrated because I wasn't getting very good shots of our stuff. I was taking and retaking, posting and reposting. Much time wasted. Her advice was very helpful and I am thankful she was willing to bear with me. I don't think I'll go back and retake all the pictures again (except the really bad ones), but use the info I learned today going forward.
  • One last thing...on the forum boards today, someone was looking for artists who were interested in sending her a little ad to put in with her customer's orders. I am a little torn on this one because I don't want to turn off potential customers (who might think of that as snail mail spam) yet at the same time it would be cheap advertising. I was thinking about sending this to her, adding our web address, laminating it and adding a magnet to the back. We'll see if we end up doing it.

Okay, now my brain is tired, my fingers are heavy, you're bored and it's late. Good night! See you tomorrow!

Shame on me!

I have not featured an Etsy artist for such a long time. I sent a convo to perpetualplum days ago asking if I could feature her. She's probably wondering what happened to me!
So now I have fed babes, got her down for her morning nap and warmed up my morning cup of coffee (sorry Annie Howes, it took me longer than the 5 minute time frame you gave me ;)!)
Perpetualplum is such a neat and colorful shop. Her tag line is "Unique Re-tiques".
Oh no!! I just discovered she sells "whoopise" items for super, duper cheap! (This able mabel business is really going to be a "non-profit" business if I keep finding things like this!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A first for us!

able mabel was in it's first treasury on Etsy today. Or it's the first time that we know of. I'm not totally sure how a treasury works...if I understand it correctly, anyone on Etsy can open a treasury (they are kind of hard to get since everyone wants one). Whoever opens one picks items that catch their eye. In this case, aqua and brown were the colors she was looking for. It stays open for a certain amount of time. At least one treasury is featured on the Etsy home page. (crossing our fingers this one will make it there) I probably have it all wrong, but we're happy to score a spot!
Here is the listing that made it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Where should I let my mind wonder today? I'm feeling like I've had a fairly productive day so far today. The washer and dryer are humming away, the floor is freshly washed, one bathroom is cleaned. (pause to pat self on back) I love days where it feels like I've accomplished something!

I have had some able mabel related things hanging over my head that I've totally been putting off.

  • Sister K was able to get our banner done! (She's one busy little beaver!) It looks really sharp! We'll probably change it up every once in a while. Check back often ;)!
  • I researched international shipping costs. As I've been nursing babes this morning, I've been adding it to our listing. Whew! What a job! I got the first two pages done, three more to go. I'm curious to see if we'll get some international buyers now.
  • I started a Flickr account for ablemabel. Already have quite a few contacts. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to do all of this. I made a mental note that every few days I'll upload two pictures and try to leave a minimum of three comments on other pictures. It actually doesn't take very long.
  • JB and I were able to get quite a few cards for our store done yesterday. She did the one pictured (it looks kind of dark, grrr...) here. Isn't it stunning?! I still have to take pictures of the other we did and get them listed.

That's all for now! (it's just about lunch time!) I'll probably be back later to do a feature!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday Morning all you faithful readers!

I'm feeling rather giddy after a nice relaxing weekend away! It's absolutely beautiful outside this morning. JB is coming over this morning and we're going to go on a walk. Life can't get much better (well, I guess if those piles of laundry would put themselves away. Pesky little things!)!

As of today, able mabel has no "obligations" (custom orders) to work on. We have two possibilities in the works. Custom orders are nice but it's equally nice to be able to go down to our "studio" (I should post pictures of it so you all can have a good laugh at it!) and work on whatever we want to work on. I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head.

I talked to Mom yesterday from her show in Orlando. Sounds like only a few cards sold, but some gallery owner would like to possibly purchase some of the African American babies. Our conversation was quick so I'll have to get details when she gets back in town. We're going to list them on Etsy. I'm wondering if we need to open a second shop for those. I'm a little worried about our store getting too "cluttered" and overwhelming to shop at. On the other hand, if the cards catch peoples eye then there is always the chance they'll find something else in our store to buy. What do you think? Is it possible to have too much stuff listed in one store?

My mom would also like me to handle the marketing of the cards. Yikes, that's a huge job. I don't have any sort of education in marketing, so I could definitely use some tips there. (Oh Faithful Reader in Maple Plain, HELP!)

Whew! Didn't realize I had so much to say this morning! I could go on and on but I'll spare you (just this one time. The laundry is still sitting there and the "natives" are getting restless!).

I'll be back! In the meantime...Behave!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Snooze, you lose

I had my eye on this tote. I marked it as a favorite on Tuesday. I went back to the shop yesterday to buy it and (gasp!) it was sold! I snoozed and I lost....She has other great totes in her shop and for a very reasonable price (the tight Finn in me loves that!). I have my eye on a couple others, I'm just trying to narrow it down.

MidnightCreations Shop

Thursday, January 24, 2008

this end up!

That is the title of the e-mail I had this morning. I had posted this last night in our Etsy store. JB e-mailed me this morning telling me it was upside down! Oops...can't win them all! It's pretty though isn't it! It's on my list of things to re-photograph. I'm not liking the blue/gray background.

Sister M sold a necklace yesterday! It was listed about a month ago (I think). Jewelry is so popular on Etsy it's hard to get noticed. I started wondering where/how our customers find us, particularly when something "old" sells. This particular customer had just signed up for Etsy yesterday. Hmmm....

On my to-do list today (or maybe I can pawn it off on sister H) is to figure out how to ship internationally. Specifically the cost and fees associated with it. It sounds like a rather dry boring job but a necessary one. I think it will draw more customers to our store.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

and they're off!

We sent the "girls" off to Orlando today. Packaged (as you can see in the picture) and pretty.

They got a motherly send off; "Be good. Smile pretty. Don't fight. No running. Mind your manners. And whatever you do, don't come back home!"

(In other words, we'd like them all to sell!)

Okay, so the last part wasn't so motherly!

I felt like I was just getting on a roll as time was running out. How typical! We have pictures left over and I'm sure we'll do some for our Etsy store.

As we were wrapping up the production last night I asked JB what we would do if Mom came home from the show and said that some gallery in Timbucktoo wanted to place an order for 100 cards. She looked at me like I was nuts (no comments from the peanut gallery) and said she hadn't thought about it because she was sure it wouldn't happen. I think we still need to consider the possibility....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The planes go whizzing by...

As I sit here on my rooftop terrace, sipping my mug of steaming gourmet java, enjoying the solitude and silence, a jetliner swoops in so close I can see it's passengers.

Yeah right!

  • rooftop terrace - my office chair
  • steaming gourmet java - ordinary (okay we're minor coffee snobs who buy Starbucks beans) cup of coffee that has yet to be zapped in the microwave
  • solitude and silence - dream on
  • jetliner - styrofoam airplanes

Hubby is an airplane mechanic. Last night was Family Night. We came home with three styrofoam airplanes. I've been dodging them all morning. Since they're styrofoam and kids are kids, I've spent a lot of time fixing and taping them. (We should have taken out stock in 3M and Proctor and Gamble years ago!) His company was very generous and we all had a good time!

Today is the last day of cards! I'm going down to work on them as soon as I get babes down for her morning nap. She's working on settling down now.

We joined our first Etsy Street Team today. It's called Designing Swanky Moms. I'm not too sure about the swanky part but it should be interesting. I don't have the time today or tomorrow to set everything up. I'm hoping to get to it on Thursday.

Golden silence radiates from the "nursery" so down I go!

Have Fun!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Logo vs Product Avatars

I have this inner debate going on....

When we first opened our store, we used our store logo (which sister K designed) as our avatar (the little picture by your name). As I participated in the forums, I started wondering if we should be using a picture of one of our products.

When I see a cool avatar, I'm more likely to click on that store and check it out. So I changed our avatar to one of our pillows. A few weeks later I changed it to the sign pictured.

I haven't noticed an increase in traffic to our store, in fact, it's been down right slow. Looking at the message board, it seems like this month is exceptionally slow all around. So that might be part of it. It just seems like we have more people looking at our stuff when our logo was our avatar. Part of that might have been, the "regulars" seeing a "new face" and checking us out...

Hmmm..........what to do?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Haven't done a feature in a while...

so my choice for the day is ElegantSnobbery!
Her store name made me chuckle! I couldn't resist checking out the store although I have a bunch of other things I should be doing right now.
You absolutely have to check out her descriptions! They are great! Plus her artwork is awesome!
This one is called Princess Cordelia.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Check out our Etsy Mini! Sister H got that up for us.

Looks awesome, doesn't it!

(I'm ready to huck this blogspot out the window. I type and try to get my spacing and pictures just so and it publishes something different than how I had it. Guess I can't really complain because it's free!)


So, we have this custom card order. ( makes us sound so talented, but I have to admit, the order is for our mother. Mother's are suppose to think their kids are the best at everything, so naturally she's going to ask us to make them for her.)

Our mother is a dollmaker (for those of you new to our blog ;)!). I'll feature her when I get a chance. She has a doll show coming up in Orlando next weekend. She wanted us to make her 100 cards using the pictures of her dolls. That was the only direction she gave us. We have a little over 40 done. JB has, by far done the most. I've probably only done about 12.

I wanted to send e-mail a couple picture to mom to show her our progress and decided to post one on here. Her dolls are incredibly amazing and life like. (understatement of the centry) Crossing my fingers that we passed "the test"!

Please excuse the picture, the cards are just lined up on my dining room floor (wait, is that a Cherrio I see?). I didn't really pay attention to the "rules of picture taking" for this one.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

My bags are packed!

the ones under my eyeballs, I mean.

JB came over last night after we both got our kids to bed. You see, we have this huge 100 card order we need to get done by next Wednesday. We have things going on both Friday and Saturday and we don't work on stuff on Sunday. That leaves us only a few days to get them done. We have about 30 completed so far.

Anyway, she left at about 11:00, so not too late. Well, my seven month old little princess decided to make her presence known last night. Grr... A couple times up during the 1:00 hour, 2:00 hour, 5:00, 6:00 and up for good at 7:00. Man, am I feeling sluggish!

Not much I can do at this point except smooch her pretty little cheeks ten times each, drink another cup of coffee and tackle some more cards!

I'll post a progress report later in the day. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Making the attempt

to get inspired and failing miserably! JB is here and we're starting on the card order we got. Before I dug in, I decided to finish a project that's been in the makings for over a week. I was stamping some lettering on and screwed up the last two words! GRRRR!! It's so frustrating when that happens. I put it aside and I'll see if I can fix it later. It's hard to get inspired when you screw something up!

(I'm loading a new listing onto our Etsy store as I'm updating our blog. Etsy is s u p e r s l o w lately with uploading picture. Multi-tasking at it's finest!)

Now lunch is ready, two kids are napping, got my frustration off my chest and now I'm ready to tackle the cards!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Remember this...

It turned into this...

Pop Quiz!

This picture is...

a.) an inheritance from Great Aunt Bertha.

b.) some of the goods for a custom card order.

c.) Yuck, I can't believe you'd even post a picture like that. You expect us to know what that is?

d.) junk for a garage sale.

e.) all of the above.

Speaking of Unique

Look at this awesome vintage clock pendant! Talk about a conversation starter! Fun stuff!

Monday, January 14, 2008

What's on tap for Monday..

It's about 10:00 am and I'm still trying to figure out what to do today. I have a list of household chores (don't we all!!) to do but I need to get some Able Mabel stuff done. We got our first custom sign order on Saturday! Yeah!!

Our mother is a dollmaker. She has a show coming up in Orlando (more on that later). She had sister K design her some cards with her dolls' pictures on them. She called on Saturday wanting us to embellish the cards for her. They have to be done by the 23rd of this month. That gives us a week and a couple days to get them done. JB and I are trying to figure out a day to go over there to see what our "assignment" is. Looks like we might have to drop everything and head over there this afternoon. I can't wait to see what they look like! Mom's dolls are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm not just saying that because she's my mom!

First things first...JB is on her way and we're going to work on the sign. After that....who knows!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Link List

I was on the forum boards eariler today and there was a blog link exchange going on. I added our blog name to the list and linked all those that had posted on that thread. It's so fun to see everyone's shops! Now I have to update my link list for our featured artists...

I'll be back!

My bad!

I forgot to feature an artist yesterday. Oh well, can't win 'em all!

Do these kisses look real, or what? Absolutely amazing! I found this in harmonyvanlue's shop.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pictures, pictures and more pictures

Sister H is on her way here for the afternoon. I'm curious to see what will inspire her today. As for me, it's back behind the camera. I had a list of household chores I wanted to get done before working on Able Mabel stuff. We'll see how many pictures I get taken since it's so late in the day already. The sunlight is fading fast!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Speaking of Treasures!

Check this out! Everything in Natalya Sots' shop brightens my day! I came across this gem of a cup while I was viewing a treasury.

I can't keep up!

JB is on a roll!! Her creative juices are flowing and I can hardly keep up with getting things photographed and listed!

What will this be?!?!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I love candy!

er...this candy bracelet! Etsy is full of jewelry and everytime I turn around, I find another piece I love. It was again the color that caught my eye.
I found this in ergodesign's shop.

Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

We had someone ask us if we could make them some pillows as long as the fabric we had matched their decor. We were to send out some samples of what we had. Since we were sending her fabric anyway, we decided to check out a couple of the local fabric stores to see if they had any other fabric that would also coordinate.

Of course when you walk into a fabric store, you always find something other than what you're looking for. Here's some of what JB came home with. Fun! Fun! Fun! Next week we're pulling out the sewing machine!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A big Thank You to

McMurray Art! I have been very amazed with Etsy and the kindness of the other artists. McMurray Art took us under her wing one day when she offered to give us some helpful advice. She had noticed that our store was new and had some awesome tips for us. I just wanted to thank her for all her help! There have been others but she was the first!

I have this problem...

I really, seriously, honestly, truly want to be organized and I'm not. A few things get in my way.
  1. I have nothing to organize with (file cabinets, bookcases, etc).
  2. I hate clutter although my house is filled with clutter.
  3. I'm a tight Finn. I like a good deal. I don't like to buy things full price.
  4. My husband is pretty busy and doesn't always have time to make me things.
  5. I have to write things down or else I'll forget about them. Since we moved into our new house, I've had nowhere to put a calender except on the back of a cabinet door. In order to change the month I have to drag a stool over, climb up, re tape, etc. Needless to say our calender is still on June 2007 and I've forgotten a bunch of stuff!
  6. AbleMabel has been so much fun, I don't want to take the time to deal with these minor problems.

So as this new year starts, I've decided to try solve these minor problems that I have.

  1. craigslist here I come!! I found a free red bookshelf that wasn't too far away. It works perfectly for all of our shoes! I continue to look on craigslist for a file cabinet and book self for my office.
  2. I had sister K design a calender for me. One that I can hang each month on my wall in the office so I can see the whole year at one time. I wanted it to multi-purpose so I could take it down if I wanted to and hang it like a traditional calender. She did an awesome job! I didn't do a very good job photographing it though. Add that to my to-do list today.

While she was at it, she shrunk it down into a 7x5 and a 5x3. We laminated them, added magnetic tape on the back and viola! a beautiful year to hang on the fridge or file cabinet.

Alright! Now that I've been a motormouth, er...motorfingers...I better get back downstairs. JB is over and we're having loads of fun making some new stuff!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Better late than never....

On Etsy there is something called a treasury. I have to say I don't really know much about it, but I was browsing a treasury one day and came across this site. Is this not one of the coolest things you've ever seen?
I love Etsy for the fact that you can find so many unique treasures! I have to smile everytime I look at this elephant!


Monday morning = madly multitasking (now that's a lot of M's!)

I have a long list of things I want to get done today.
  • Sister K had created this wonderful calender. We had it listed on Etsy until I realized that anyone could click on each month, print it out and hang it up without paying for not. Not good. I pulled the listing on Friday night (boohoo! we're out 20 cents!!). She gave me my copy yesterday. I can't wait to pull it out, take pictures and relist it!

  • I have this bulls-eye quilt that I need to list. I just have to take measurements.

  • I'm going to continue to re-take pictures that didn't turn out so great. Remember those magnets? Here's the new picture.

  • Check on a local craft sale in March. Haven't broken the news to hubby yet ;).

The list goes on and on....I won't bore you with the details.

I'm off to get the kids breakfast and pick a feature artist for the day!


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Etsy is full of

Bath and Body shops. They seem to do really well! This one caught my eye because of the amazing photographs!

Friday, January 4, 2008

It's late...

but it is so peaceful to work when the kids are sleeping. JB was here this evening. We were able to get quite a bit done without the kids interrupting us.

Here are some magnets she did a few days ago. I just got them listed today. I should probably try to find a different background that would make them stand out a little more. That will be tomorrow's project.

Today I was able to retake bunch of pictures. I am not a very good photographer and I'm learning on the fly.

A burp cloth. We had about four different burp cloths listed. I retook pictures for all four today. Before I was able to change the pictures out, one of them sold! Yeah! It was our one sale for the day.

It was the color

that caught my eye! Yesterday I had posted on the forum board asking who wanted to be featured on our blog. The response was fantastic! This is one that jumped at me right away! I guess you could say that it pays to have a fun avatar!
JaniceJ's Etsy Shop

M's new listing!

When I saw this listing yesterday I thought the concept was so neat! This is a necklace that can be taken apart and worn as two bracelets and one necklace. All for the awesome price of $16! It's a steal of a deal!

Waste of time?

Well, I spend quite a bit of time yesterday working on a project that wasn't coming together like I wanted it to. After a bit I decided to put it aside and work on something else. I was pretty disappointed, mainly because of the time I had invested in to. JB was here (making some pretty cool things that I'll list on Etsy later today) and wisely said "Win some, lose some." Taking that advice I started working on a HOME decoration and it came together pretty fast. This morning I am ready to tackle yesterday's abandoned project! The friend I was suppose to babysit for today just called to say she didn't need me. Today is a bonus work day! Yeah!!


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Today's feature is...

feltsewwhimsical. I love patterns and color! Feltsewwhimsical's shop caught my eye one day on the promotions board. Her purses and totes are very reasonably prices and the fabrics she uses are so fun!

I'll tell you the story...

of Able Mabel.

It all began in the fall of 2007. Sister JB and I were in charge of the LLCER Craft Sales. We threw ourselves into the details of the sales. Planning, buying, creating, assigning, selling, etc. In the midst of mod podge and Amy Butler (fabrics and papers), we agreed that we were having way too much fun to stop any time soon! We also had some stuff leftover and wanted to see if we could sell it elsewhere and see if we could make it an ongoing adventure.

I had found out about Etsy from the Scrapsupply message board. Without much hesitation, we decided to give it a shot. The main issue was coming up with a name. I wanted to get the store up and running before Christmas. I figured people would be in more of a buying mood. (I was right...we had all 11 of our sales around the Christmas season and so far nothing since. Hoping that will change soon!)

It was JB who came up with the name Able Mabel. As kids we had a some jump rope songs that we'd sing. One of them was "Mabel, Mabel set the table just as fast as you are able..." When she called to ask what I thought, I was hesitant. To me, Mabel sounded like an old lady with beefy arms on hips, wearing an apron and weilding a rolling pin. JB went on to explain that she came up with the name because we wanted to do a little bit a everything. To her, Mabel was someone who could accomplish whatever she set out to do. I had to agree with her. I wanted an "all purpose" name, one that didn't limit us to one certain area. So Able Mabel it is!

We decided at that point to ask the rest of our sisters and our sister-in-law if they could like to join us.

JH said she's sew for us if we gave her the ideas, fabric and such (sweet for me since I don't sew but I love fabrics!!).

K is our graphic designer and did these calenders as well as the logo. She's working on a banner for both the blog and the store (right, K?!).

Sister-in-law R is still being conviced that she is creative! Go R!

C is busy studying and we'll see what she comes up with.

H has been helping with the listing of items, dealing with the pesky sister (that would be me!) changing her mind about things, and also helping me promote as much as we can. She created this when she came over one day.

LD wrote up our profile (I think she got the biggest chunk of the "Dad Humor Gene"), made this sign, and has more projects up her sleeve. I know more of her humor will come out as the months go by.

M has done all of the jewelry so far. She's awesome (did I mention that she's only 15!!).

A and H are still pretty young and probably won't contribute much other than babysitting (a very important and much appreciated task).

We also invited our mother to participate in the store. Right now she is busy trying to get ready for her doll show in New York. We'll feature her dolls at a later date!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Let's try this...

This is a blanket we just listed today. It has a darling jungle print and is backed with minky. It is so incredibly soft!

Creating a blog was one of the items on my very lengthy to-do list today. It feels good to get it done. Now I have to learn everything there is to know about blogging....sigh...
I have a million ideas roaming around in my head. Tomorrow is going to be a day devoted to my Able Mabel projects. I have some house tasks I have to finish up around the house this afternoon, so I can "play" guilt-free!
Stay tuned!

So it begins...

the start of Able Mabel's blog. We created this blog as a hope that it will offer more exposure to our Etsy store. We had to have our address as mableisable because ablemabel was already taken. Darn it anyway!

I think we'll (or I) will use this blog to feature various fun Etsy stores that we find, ramble on about our next "works of art" and who know's what else!

Some of the sisters have their own Bebo sites but for me, this is my first venture into the blogging world. I'm not sure what exactly our readers will find on here, but you know it's sure to be good!