Monday, January 31, 2011

One Month, Many Goals (& Giveaway Winner)

So January is over, and I must say it was a pretty productive month. I completed quite a few of my 2011 goals already. Here's what I did:


  • Learn to embroider
  • Take a business class (I haven't started yet, but I signed up for 2!)
  • Redesign my blog
  • Teach a knitting class
  • Start a Knitting 101 blog series
  • Join an Etsy team
  • Make soy candles
I'm also right on schedule to launch my new site next week! So that's another goal down. And this month I'm working really hard on paying off my credit cards, improving my photography, and being more interactive with my blogging. What goals have you accomplished so far this year?

***

Now it's time to announce the winner of the Michelleesque Giveaway! Drum roll please....


eclairre, please email me at wattlebirddesigns (at) gmail (dot) com to claim your prizes! Thanks to all who entered.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sponsor Giveaway: Holly Knitlightly

Holly Knitlightly is a super awesome blogger and knitter who makes really cozy cowls and keeps up with all the latest silly holidays (like Bill Cosby sweater day). Let's learn more about Miss Holly.








Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm Holly & I'm addicted to knitting!  Haha.  I'm a 20-something girl living in Ontario and chances are if you see me I'm either reading blogs or knitting, ha.  Right now on my blog I'm celebrating every single "weird" holiday for 2011.  (For example, Dress Up Your Pet Day, Bill Cosby Sweater Day, Bubble Bath Day... haha.)  I've been having a lot of fun with it and it's going to be a blast celebrating every single day for an entire year.


What made you decide to open up a handmade shop?
Ever since I first discovered blogs & etsy, I was so intrigued by it and hoped to have a store of my own one day.  I had been knitting for years before that, and I was always just giving the things that I've made away, or throwing it into my closet never to  be seen again.. ha. I was in love with the idea of Etsy, I had actually been using it for a few years before I even thought of opening up my own shop.  I took a course early last year (Indie Biz with Leigh-Ann, Elsie and Jill) and then worked with Michelle Ward (When I Grow Up Coach) for 12 weeks and she really helped to push me in the right direction.  Before I opened up my etsy shop I was so scared... I felt like I would never be ready, but having the support of so many people really helped.  And once I finally did open it, it was such a great feeling!


What is your favorite part about blogging?
I absolutely LOVE the community.  I have met so many wonderful people who are so supportive and friendly and inspiring, I love it!  You can meet all kinds of people who have so much in common with you.  And I love that there are blogs about EVERYTHING out there, haha.  My google reader is filled with so many different types of blogs.  It's also so nice to be able to just write about ANYTHING that you want, to be able to share photos of things you love with people.  Just knowing that there are people (all over the world!) reading what you write is just such an amazing feeling.


When and how did you get started knitting?
My grandma had tried to teach me how to knit for yeeeeeeeeeeeeears, but I'm left handed so I would try to learn left handed... and always end up extremely confused, ha.  A couple years would go by, and I would ask her to teach me again.  And again, end up so confused & frustrated.  Then one day I decided to search online and see how on earth a left handed person could figure out how to knit, haha!  I read that if you are left handed, it's easier to just learn how to knit as if you were right handed.  You would never know the difference once you get started.  So I went over to my Grandma's house & she taught me!  I've learned how to do a few different things through youtube videos, and everything else I've just kind of taught myself.  Like cables, the way that I cable is SO strange, haha.  But it works for me!



***


And now for the GIVEAWAY!!! Here's the loot: 
Holly has generously offered to give one lucky reader a cowl in the color of their choice. This giveaway is open internationally and will end on Monday, February 7 at 10pm EST.


    




    




Here's how to enter:
  • Visit Holly's shop and come back here to leave a comment with your favorite item.
  • Do any of the following for additional entries. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
    • Follow Holly's blog via GFC
    • Follow this blog via GFC
    • Follow me (@AnnieHP) and Holly (@hllly) on Twitter
    • Tweet about this giveaway. You can use this text if you'd like: Win a cozy cowl from @hllly on @AnnieHP's blog http://tinyurl.com/6fd9m3c
Good luck!!!

And if you haven't already, remember to enter the Michellesque giveaway to win two adorable felt hair bows! (Ends TODAY!!!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

4 Silly Questions with Dana Richards

Dana Richards of Exploring the Unknown is a newlywed, a baker, a crafter, and the newest silly interviewee for my very favorite feature! Dana has a really awesome blog chronicling her adventures with her husband, Keith, as well as things like DIY and home renovations. She also has okaayyy taste in '90's boy bands (she was a BSB fan [booooo! NSYNC for life] BUT she did manage to bring up BBMac during her silly interview [anyone else remember them?!]). So without further ado, let's learn some trivial information about Dana.




Who do you think would win in a fight, Backstreet Boys or NSYNC?
This is seriously taking me back to the 6th grade... I was a BSB fan through and through so that would be a pretty predictable answer from me... BUT if you've been keeping up with your boy-band's you would know that the Backstreet Boys are now simply a 4-piece. This would probably severely hurt their odds of winning against NSYNC especially since Justin Timberlake is lookin pretty buff these days. Unfortunately I will have to settle on NSYNC being the victor, although... this question made me think of the days of celebrity deathmatch on MTV and I found that when NSYNC and BSB fought, BSB was the victor haha (what does it say about me that I spent the last 10 minutes looking that up?) (editors note: it says that you're awesome)

What is your favorite one-hit-wonder?
The first thing that came to my mind when I read this question was... BBMAK! I never owned one of their CDs, but I secretly watched all their videos on TRL haha Are they really one-hit-wonders? They had more than one single, right? I guess if no one still listens to them or remembers their name that they are doomed to the graveyard of early 2000's popstars and fit perfectly onto one-hit-wonder lists. Now I'm going to be singing "Back Here" in my head for the rest of the day :) (editors note: me too, and I actually did own one of their CDs hahah)

What is your favorite foreign accent?
I absolutely love French and Italian accents BUT my favorite foreign accents are any being spoken by little kids. I'm borderline obsessed with little kids speaking with foreign accents or in foreign languages, it pretty much tops all of the cuteness charts in my book. I almost want to speak to my future children in a foreign accent just so they will have adorable accents... too far?

If you had a Delorean and a flux capacitor, which time period would you travel to?
I studied art history in school and I would DEFINITELY travel back in time just to peek in on all my favorite artists. I would love to visit Paul Cezanne in 19th century France, and Gustave Caillebotte as he was painting The Floor Scrapers. I would love to go back in time just to take a class from Thomas Eikins and share a glass of whisky with Mark Rothko and the rest of the Abstract Expressionists. 




Thanks so much to Dana for participating in 4 Silly Questions! If you'd like to be the next silly interviewee, email me at wattlebirddesigns (at) gmail (dot) com or just leave a comment here and I'll get in touch with you soon!


And if you haven't already, remember to enter the Michellesque giveaway to win two adorable felt hair bows!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Get Out of a Creative Slump

To be completely honest, trying to pin down "what inspires me" is tough. It's not that I'm uninspired. In fact, I get inspired rather easily - I'm almost always inspired by something. But every once in awhile, I do get that "blah" feeling where the creativity is just not happening. Of course, it always happens at a really inconvenient time. But I have a few things I usually do when this happens, so I thought I'd share them with you in the hopes it might help you the next time you're feeling uninspired or "blah."

source unknown
If you know where this image is from, let me know.

  • take a walk
  • browse through my fabric, yarn, and other craft supplies
  • read blogs
  • search flickr or tumblr for photography or design projects
  • do some online "window" shopping on etsy, anthropologie, or modcloth
  • head to a craft store and have a look around
  • clean my workspace
  • watch a movie
  • read Real Simple, ReadyMade, or Bust Magazine
  • look through old family photos
  • start writing in stream of consciousness (rambling with no point or direction)
  • go thrifting
What do you do when you're feeling unmotivated and uninspired? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Call for February Sponsors and Other Random Reminders

1. I have several spaces open for advertising during February. This is going to be a big month here, as I have a new shop launching and my 1-year blogiversary. My rates are very, very reasonable. Email me at wattlebirddesigns (at) gmail (dot) com for specific rates.


2. I'm also currently looking for a few more people to host giveaways this month. Again, email me if you are interested.

3. If you're a fan of my 4 Silly Questions blog feature, you can be a part of it! Email me or leave a comment here with your email address if you're interested in being interviewed.

4. If anyone is interested in doing a blog-swap (guest posting on each other's blogs) send me an email so we can chat. I love guest posting and having guest posters here, and I'm looking to do a little more of both this year!

5. And finally, I'm working on re-vamping my monthly newsletter, and if any of you are interested in receiving monthly email updates with coupon codes, happenings, and a recap of blog posts and shop items, I'd love it if you would sign up!



join our mailing list
* indicates required



I think that's it. I'll be expecting lots of emails ;)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Valentine's Day (For Me) Gift Guide

By this time, I'm sure you're sick of the average V-Day gift guides: the hearts, the flowers, the mushy gushy stuff. So instead, I'm doing something a little different. Valentine's Day (For Me) is all about celebrating that one person who might go unrecognized for the rest of the year - yourself. Selfish? Maybe. Fun? Absolutely.


{relaxing}
Love the look of this fern and lemongrass soy wax candle from Firefly Candles
And I'm sure you'd enjoy some calming bath salts from Valley Green Naturals
While you have your afternoon tea, enjoy this polaroid print from OPB Studios
And kick back with a good book and this adorable reading pillow from Gibberish


{pretty}
I'm fairly obsessed with ruffle necklaces from Pretty Things By Meg
I have a little collection of pretty bows from Sandy a la Mode
I've been eyeing these poppy headbands for quite awhile from Much Love Illy
And I'd adore some vintage rosette earrings from Along for the Ride



{cozy}
Friend Love! and a gorgeous cream cowl from Janelle Haskin
Another pretty cowl from SomerKnits
This one's not only cozy, but the name includes "chocolate" and "mocha" from Holly Knitlightly
And even for your coffee/tea/hot cocoa from One in the Hand



{fun}
My heart melted when I saw this adorable sleepy robot from LittleBrownByrd Creations
Vintage? check. Yellow? check. Mustache? check. from Stuff You'll Love
It doesn't get cuter than these whimsical felt creations from The Curious Pug
This polaroid wall art will definitely brighten up your home from Blue Order

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sponsor Giveaway: Michelleesque


Today's giveaway comes from a super-talented fashion student and bow enthusiast, Michelle-esqu. Michelle recently opened a new shop where she sells hair accessories and more! So I'm so thankful that she chose to celebrate by hosting a giveaway here.



But first, let's learn a little about Michelle:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Michelle and I run a fashion blog. I currently in school to get my Bachelors Degree in Fashion Design. I thought I was fit to become a doctor (what a stereotype!), but I ended up going to art school instead. I'm not sure where fashion is going to take me, but it doesn't matter to me considering that I really love doing anything that requires creativity. I am currently an intern for one of Orange County's (southern California) local designers. Maybe one day I'll open my own clothing line, who knows! :)

2. What made you decide to open up a handmade shop?
I've opened so many shops in the past years, that opening a handmade shop wasn't all that new to me. I have designed t-shirts and sold vintage clothes, but this is the first time that I have opened a handmade shop online. I am obsessed with bows! I wanted to share with everyone else my obsession with bows by selling them online. I really hope you guys check out my store. I promise I'll have more bow-related things soon (other than hair accessories, of course).

3. What is your favorite part about blogging?
My favorite part about blogging is getting to know my readers. When people leave me comments, I feel really great inside. People take out the time to read your posts and really get to know you better when you blog about your life. I've met a lot of my real life friends and my current boyfriend of almost two years through blogging as well!

4. What is your personal style motto?
Haha everyone asks me this question and I am not sure how to answer it. My style motto would have to be: Don't wear it to impress others, wear it to express yourself. I want to say this shouldn't have to apply just in fashion but with life as well. Do it for you and not for anyone else.

***

And now for the giveaway!!

Here's the loot: 

  • Cloudy bow
    • material: felt
    • clip: double prong alligator clip
    • measurements: 4 1/4" width,  2" height


  • Overseas bow
    • material: felt
    • clip: double prong alligator clip
    • measurements: 5" width, 3" height
ONE winner will win BOTH bows!!


 How to enter:
  • Visit Michelle's shop and leave a comment on this post with your favorite item
  • Do any of the following for extra entries:
    • Follow this blog via GFC
    • Follow Michelle's blog via GFC
    • Follow me on Twitter (@AnnieHP)
    • Follow Michelle on Twitter (@mahalmichelle)
    • Blog about this giveaway
    • Tweet about this giveaway, make sure to tag @AnnieHP and @mahalmichelle so we can track it. You can use this tweet if you'd like: Win a pair of handmade hair bows from @mahalmichelle on @AnnieHP's blog http://tinyurl.com/4akfbso
  • Please leave separate comments for each additional entry!

This giveaway will close on Monday, January 31 at noon EST. A winner will be chosen randomly. International entries are welcome.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Design Crush: Classic Cars

I spent much of this weekend watching the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction. I'm not what you'd call a "car person" but I seriously love looking at all of the old cars and their unique designs and colors. I was inspired to find some online eye candy to share with you all. Each photo is linked to where I found it.




Thursday, January 20, 2011

Busy Busy

I've been staying really busy working on items for my new shop that will launch next month! My fingers hurt from knitting and sewing non-stop, but it's totally worth it!




I'm really excited that I've been able to expand my inventory to include more than just knit goods. I've got a lot up my sleeves and I can't wait to show you all!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Valentine's Day (for me) Call for Submissions & A Giveaway Winner

I'm not the hugest fan of Valentine's Day. I try not to hate on it too much, but I just don't get that into all of the hype. So in lieu of an anti-Valentine's post or a pink&red heart-fest, I'd like to do a Valentine's Day (for me) one instead. I'm putting together a gift guide of all kinds of gifts you might like to buy for that really special someone - yourself!

I recently bought this necklace from bailybelle creations as a gift for myself.

submissions may include:

  • jewelry
  • bath salts
  • candles
  • hair accessories
  • dresses
  • home decor
  • or anything handmade or vintage that you think my readers (crafty, vintage-lovin' ladies) would like to buy for themselves


So if you have an item or a shop that you think would fit into my Valentines Day (for me) gift guide, send me an email at wattlebirddesigns (at) gmail (dot) com or just leave a comment on this post with your link(s). I look forward to seeing your submissions!

***

And now for the winner of the Pretty Things Giveaway! Drum roll....



Jessica, please email me with your address so I can get your jewelry out in the mail! Thanks everyone who entered! I have a another giveaway coming up in just a few days, so check back!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I've been Stitchin'

A few weeks ago, I ordered an embroidery kit from Sublime Stitching. It was one of my 2011 goals to learn how to embroider, and I have to say: I love it! Since the kit came in the mail, I've been practicing pretty much every day.


My first "practice project" was this craft/yarn tote bag. I used the "craftopolis" patterns from Sublime, and they're completely perfect.



It definitely takes a lot more time and concentration than I'm used to (I've been knitting for 10 years, so it's all muscle memory anymore), but I'm going to keep practicing and I'm going to come up with some of my own patterns and products!


I'll definitely update you when I finish this bag!

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's in the Bag

I'm so excited to be joining Ashley from A Hasty Life in her awesome blog crawl today! Yesterday, Blair from Wild and Precious shared the contents of her purse, and today it's my turn!




A Hasty Life


My purse is from Olive Tree Textiles - "The Charlie Bag" in Sky Blue. I love it so much because it's so unique and colorful. I'm not really a big label or designer kind of girl, so I love handmade bags that have that same high quality workmanship without the huge price tag.






Here's what's inside:




  1. yarn and knitting needles - obviously
  2. a pair of mittens for the cold Michigan winter
  3. vintage wallet
  4. Burt's Bees lip balm - I'm obsessed
  5. Motrin - always be prepared
  6. my iPhone - never go anywhere without it
  7. granola bar or some kind of snack
  8. pens - only one is pictured, but there are usually at least seven in there
  9. asthma inhaler
  10. hand lotion - Irresistible by Givenchi
  11. gum
  12. Cannon Powershot - portrayed by its case, since I was using the actual camera to take this picture
  13. pair of sunglasses - nothing special, I think I just got this pair at F21 for a couple bucks, but they've lasted a few years
  14. some kind of cute accessory - this one is "Jessica" by BailyBelle Creations
  15. hand sanitizer
  16. pink ribbon purse holder - sticks on the end of a table at a restaurant so you don't have to set your purse on the ground (very nifty!)
  17. reading material - sometimes a book, sometimes Real Simple or ReadyMade

Not pictured: (I was checking items off my to-do list at the time)
day planner from Monkeycheeks - I forget EVERYTHING unless I write it in here, so it pretty much contains my whole life. I always have it with me. 

Thanks Ashley, for hosting the Blog Crawl! It was a lot of fun. Tomorrow it's Girly Things by E's turn to show you "what's in the bag," so make sure to visit her blog then!

How to Use Tumblr to Promote Your Handmade Biz

Social media is so important when promoting an online business, and everyone pretty much knows that already. Twitter and Facebook are obvious choices that many shop owners and bloggers already use. But what about Tumblr? I recently joined the Etsy on Tumblr team, which has introduced me to the growing handmade community on Tumblr, but it's still fairly new for many people. So here are some tips for how to get started.


So what is Tumblr anyway?
In short, Tumblr is a place to share cool things with others. You can share photos, videos, quotes, text and more. It's similar to a blogging platform (blogspot, wordpress), but no one really uses it that way.


How is it used, normally?
Most posts just consist of one photo (maybe with a caption, maybe not), a funny youtube video, or a short little list. A lot of the content is recycled, usually with credit to the source.


Why would it be a useful promotional tool?
Similar to Twitter, Tumblr is a place where you can connect with a network as well as share new products from your shop or link to your blog posts. If the handmade community on Tumblr continues to grow, I believe it could possibly end up being an even more useful tool than Twitter, because it allows you to share visuals right on the site, so your followers can see the awesome work you're doing, as opposed to just seeing another link and not thinking twice about clicking it.


How should you use it?
In keeping with the same rules as other social networks, you shouldn't JUST post photos and links promoting your biz. Share some things that others have done that you enjoy, "reblog" photos from members of your network, and you an even share little blurbs about your own life. In addition, Tumblr allows you to "heart" posts so you can save them and view them again later. It's a great way to bookmark photos you love.


Use larger Tumblrs to build your network
There are also a lot of Tumblrs with larger followings that allow you to submit posts. You use a simple form to upload your photo, link, or video, then you can add a caption and link back to your shop or blog so that all of the followers of that Tumblr can see your post.

There are so many ways to use this site, so I might do a follow-up post at some point. Are any of you already on Tumblr? If so, you can find me here. And for those of you who aren't, you should consider joining - I hope this post was helpful!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

4 Silly Questions with Adventures in Love and Happiness

Today's silly interviewee is Nicole from Adventures in Love and Happiness. Nicole recently got married and bought a house from the 1890's that she and her husband are renovating. She also has a really really cute basset hound, and at one point she owned two emus named Jack and Jill. So let's get to know her, shall we?




What object would you throw out your window at the paparazzi if they wouldn't leave you alone?
I've always thought that if I was a celebrity I would just talk to the paparazzi, get them to like me, tell them what they want to know, and convince them to leave. But if this doesn't work I think I'd throw a stinkbomb.

Did you ever collect Beanie Babies? Which one was your favorite?
Collect might be an understatement. My mom was big on buying them for my sister and me and I think I have (yes, have, they're still at my parent's house) over 100. The first one I bought was a horse, the second one I got in a Beanie Baby Christmas exchange with my two best friends and that was Ollie the Otter. I really liked those two but I also liked my white tiger, owl, and octopus. One day my sister and I set up a Beanie Baby School and a Beanie Baby Cafeteria.

Would you rather have a pet unicorn or the ability to fly?
The ability to fly I'm too impatient for most car rides so the ability to fly would be awesome, well, unless my unicorn was a peagsus-unicorn hybrid and was purple and had a fun name like Lulubelle, then I might have to have a Unicorn.

What is your favorite movie from the 1980's?
Pretty in Pink - Andie, Iona, & Duckie are the coolest Brat Pack characters and I've always thought Blane was super dreamy.






Thanks so much for participating, Nicole! Visit her here: 

If anyone else is interested in participating in '4 silly questions' email me at anne (dot) pilon (at) gmail (dot) com.
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