Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jumping on the bandwagon

The P90X Workout Bandwagon that is.

I know, I know. I'm not a fan of fads in both exercise or diet, but let me explain.
P90X is a serious workout regimen that is pretty much guaranteed to change your entire body using a rigorous 12 week workout routine. If you follow the diet and workout plan, you're suppose to see amazing results and a whole new body.

That's not why I bought it for Hubby for Christmas. I do not have a Chubby Hubby. He does not need to lose any weight.
Back in June he had knee surgery where part of the meniscus in his knee was removed. Good-bye running. 40 minutes of pounding the pavement and his brain was clear. No more, quite the blow to his stress relief. His knee can handle about a block or two of running and then he's done. Now what to do?

Friends of ours and some of his co-workers have done the P90X workout and suggested he give it a try. They're not "girly" workout dvds, no threat to his ego there (I'm kidding.). Guaranteed to burn off some stress.
I decided to try it along with him.
Neither of us are interested in a body makeover. Both of us would love to be a bit stronger (but not ripped) and somewhat more toned. I'm thrilled to have some new workout dvds. He's thrilled to have a different form of exercise. (I'll admit it, I'm glad he's exercising too.)

We're planning on following the workout schedule as much as our lives allow. We eat pretty healthy already so I don't think we'll make much of a change there except add a protein shake or two. (maybe) We both have two workouts done and will do workout #3 today. I can't wait!

I honestly don't see us being too serious about this whole deal. It'll just be another way to stay active thru these winter months and hopefully emerge in the spring with our marbles still in place. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two giveaways to get in on

1crown3tiaras is giving away a $50 gift certificate for her shop. Enter here.
You can also win a $30 gift certificate to able mabel on Jessica's blog.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gift Ideas from able mabel

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Here are some quick and easy gift ideas from able mabel. A mini key fob makes a great stocking stuffer. Awesome as a zipper pull on backpacks. Works wonderfully for kids who seem to lose track of house keys.
Tired of all those supermarket grocery plastic bags? Hide them in this plastic bag holder and dress up your kitchen at the same time.

How about a darling bib for a darling cherub? (Model is not included. I'm keeping her.) These bibs will fit babies and toddlers from a few months of age up until a few years of age. How slick is that?

A decorative switchplate is an easy way to add pizazz to any room.

Snuggle time gets so much better with a cuddly blanket.

How about an adult size key fob for those of us who can never find their keys? You know who you are! ;)

(My shameless plug is done. Back to my worktable!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Setting Goals

As kids, Hubby and I both had horrible teeth. We're talking overbite, buck teeth, the whole works. We both ended up getting braces as teenagers.

While I can't speak for him, I can say that it changed my life in a big way. It made me more confident (I seriously thought twice before opening my mouth either to talk, smile or laugh), and more comfortable with myself. It sounds shallow, it sounds vain, but it's true. So many times since then I have very thankful for having braces. (Thanks again Mom and Dad!)

I would love to be able to do the same for our kids that need braces in a bad way. So far the oldest three need them, not cosmetically but for their bite. I had our oldest two girls in for their consultations this morning. We'll start our 11 year old with a "bite fixing appliance" while our 9 yr old doesn't need to do anything quite yet. She still has too many baby teeth.

Orthdontic work = a hit on the pocketbook. Yikes!

Even with insurance (a pretty piddly amount but still something) and interest free payment plans, it still comes out to be a decent amount every month.

This is where goal setting comes in. I would love to build on the success able mabel has had this year and make 2011 even better. I would love to be able to pay for my kids braces out of the "able mabel fund".

That means:

  • Getting off my duff and getting my listings updated, key words changed, tags added or subtracted. Things I've been putting off for a long time.
  • Creating, creating, creating new product.
  • Listing my link in various link directories. (free and easy backlink to my shop)
  • Work more on free advertising.
  • Blogging daily Monday thru Friday.
  • The list could go on and on.

I'm hoping with my new craft room (which is almost done), it'll streamline the whole creating process from start to shipping. I'll be able to spend more time working on product rather than setting up, cleaning up, re-organizing, etc.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Treasuries vs Collections

First a little background...

I am completely wishy washy when it comes to ArtFire. (A well known fact) As I've posted before, I started up a PRO account over there (again). I then imported my entire Etsy store and then left the scene. I didn't "work it" and then wondered why I wasn't getting sales. (um, duh.)

It's been interesting to see the views and incoming URLs add up on ArtFire. So (once again), I decided to pay it a little more attention. I've been exploring their tools and handy dandy seller options. It's been fun. I do love some of their options they have that Etsy doesn't have.

Yet, sales continue to come in via Etsy and only one on ArtFire. Pretty typical.

With both sites, it's still up to me to get traffic to my shops. Backlinks to my shop is one way. Making a Treasury or a Collection is an easy way to get a backlink to your shop.

This past week, I made a Treasury on Etsy and two Collections on ArtFire. (basically the same thing, just called by a different name.) Oh boy, did the differences in the sites really show.

Here is my Treasury on Etsy. Houndstooth Love

Here are my Collections on ArtFire. May all your days be Merry and Bright
Grab a cup of hot chocolate

See the difference?!

  • I did the Houndstooth Love Treasury first. It was hard to decide which pictures/products to use because there were so many great items to choose from.
  • I then tried to do Houndstooth on Artfire. I came up with 4 (seriously 4) pictures that were clear and crisp enough to use. Also they had to be sellers with PRO accounts, not ones with Basic accounts. (ArtFire will only use Collections for their front page and in their emails that have all Pro sellers in them.)
  • I then changed my search options to "hot chocolate" and "bright holiday christmas decor" and still had a hard time coming up with enough decent listings to use.

My conclusions

  • The actual process of making Treasuries and Collections is about the same.
  • ArtFire has a handy option of automatically letting sellers know they made it into a Collection.
  • You have to do it "manually" with Etsy, quite time consuming. You also have to make sure that each of your convos is worded a bit differently so it's not considered spam which will shut down your convos.
  • ArtFire gives you the option of submitting your Collection for consideration for the front page and in emails as long as all sellers featured are PRO. (Update: My Hot Chocolate Collection made it to the front page of ArtFire today. How cool is that?)
  • Etsy you have to cross your fingers it'll be seen or else promote the heck out of it.
  • It was much easier to find "decent" listing on Etsy, much harder to find on ArtFire.

Is one better than the other? I'm not sure. All I know is it's a long of fun making them and an easy way to backlink my shop!