Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awwwww

Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who left such encouraging comments on yesterday's post! your words left me feeling so much better! That is just another reason why I like you :)

In other news, you can watch my audio interview with My Girl Thursday, and even enter to win a $15 gift certificate to my shop! Super easy entries, too!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

If you don't have anything nice to say

"...don't say it at all."

Or at least that's what my mom always told me.

Recently, I received some "neutral" feedback on some mini cards I sold. The buyer wasn't happy with the color of the cardstock. Technically I guess it was no big deal, but it felt devastating to me! I, like most shop owners I know, pour my heart and soul into my creations. So it's very difficult not to take feedback personally.

I was in a cranky mood for most of the evening; my poor husband was trying to be as supportive as he knows how to be. I was tempted to drown my sorrows in a bucket of ice cream... In the end, I tried to focus on all of glowing feedback I've received! I also decided to offer the buyer a full refund in exchange for better feedback (via the "kiss and makeup" feature on Etsy).

Have you ever received less-than-glowing reviews? What did you do about it?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesdays, 11th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Tickle Me Tuesdays, where we all share what's been tickling our fancy!




If you'd like to participate (and you know you do!!), here are the rules:
  
1. Write a short post with anywhere from one to five items that have been tickling your fancy recently. Please include pictures and links :)

2. Make sure to link back to the party in your blog post (you can grab the button or include a text link)

3. Come back here and link up your blog post!

4. Visit some other links and HAVE FUN!

Here's what's tickling my fancy this week:




Okay, now it's your turn! What's been tickling your fancy this 
week?


 

Mondays with Jack, 33rd edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.


"Don't ever get your speedometer confused with your clock, like I did once, because the faster you go, the later you think you are." -- Jack Handey

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Star Sponsor: Jacqui from Craftee McGee

If you don't already know the fabulous Jacqui from Craftee McGee, you are missing out!


She sells gorgeous handmade accessories in her lovely shop! Do you have the "gimmies" yet?


1. Where do you get your inspiration to create?


Everywhere! Nature, colors and seeing new purpose in old things! Always, always the color green. I'd have a shop full of green if I could! Lots of the colors I"m loving right now are inspired by our snowy northwoods winter {gray, cream, silvery blue} though I'm really hard to be inspired by the thought of spring! I can always count on leaving inspired when I take a trip to the antique/thrift shops in the area. I love finding old things and giving them a new & repurposed life! I am also continually inspired and challenged by the online handmade community.

2. What are some tips you can share for people who might be thinking of opening their own shop?

Don't be afraid to just do it! If you have a product you are passionate about it's okay to just test the waters. The internet {etsy, big cartel, etc} make that so easy. I know that's not the advice you usually hear- have a plan, make a budget, be totally ready to grow- but I think it's important to help get past any fear!

3. What's your favorite thing about owning your own business?

I love creating things that people incorporate into their lives, whether it be an every day pair of earrings or a belt for someone's wedding day, I think that's so special!

4. What's your favorite beverage?

Coffee! Dark roasted & black! I could drink it all day & night!

5. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I think I'd like to fly! That would make a much more exciting commute, plus it would be easier to visit people I love who are all over!
 
***COUPON CODE ALERT***


Jacqui has generously offered a 20% off discount to her sweet store with coupon code YESTEACHER (good for the next seven days)

Happy shopping, everyone!

Star Sponsor: Lori from Chic Geek Designs

Today I'm so happy to introduce the lovely Lori from Chic Geek Designs!

Lori creates beautiful photographic prints, greeting cards, journals, and coasters! Take a peek:


1. Where do you get your inspiration to create?
I get inspired by the things around me - beautiful things. I love looking through magazines for inspiration and I love traveling to beautiful places. Traveling is always a huge inspiration for me. The beach is one place that I can always go and feel inspired. If I could pick up and move anywhere, it would be there and then I would forever be inspired! (Or never get any work done as I'd always be on the beach! ;-))


2. What are some tips you can share for people who might be thinking of opening their own shop?
Don't get discouraged. This is a large market with lots of big fish, so there is a lot of learning and a lot of research that goes into making the business work. So don't get discouraged when things do go like you expected. I have to remind myself of this all the time!

3. What's your favorite thing about owning your own business?
I like being able to send things off to people and know that they will be enjoying them in their house or sending a card to someone else to enjoy. It's the thought that something I created is making someone else happy.


4. What's your favorite beverage?
My favorite beverage, which is off-limits right now thanks to my doctor, is an Iced Peppermint White Mocha from Starbucks. So yummy!


5. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
Right now, my super power would be to have endless energy and to be able to do everything without sleeping. :-) There is so much I want to do but I am constantly tired and down with migraines. So that would be my superpower!

***COUPON CODE ALERT***


Lori has generously offered a 20% off discount to her sweet shop through the end of March with coupon code TEACH20

Happy shopping, everyone!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Star Sponsor and Giveaway: Red Rabbit Studios **CLOSED**

Today, it's my pleasure to introduce to you Cathy from Red Rabbit Studios!


Cathy is a talented artist who sells beautiful handmade jewelry. Take a look at some of the lovely accessories in her shop:



1. Where do you get your inspiration to create?

I get my inspiration to create mostly from nature and taking in all that surrounds me. I am a very artistic and creative person and have always loved playing with several different medias of art. I feel in love with jewelry making while on a trip to Hawaii when I sat at a Farmer's Market and watched a young lady make jewelry. She showed me a few things and it took off from there.


2. What are some tips you can share for people who might be thinking of opening their own shop?

Some tips I might give some folks that might be thinking of opening their own shops would be to just go for it but start small. You don't have to purchase a bunch of materials and supplies to get started. Find something you really enjoy doing and make a couple of items. Wear some around or give away as gifts and see if anyone compliments them. {I have sold items right off of me before ;) } Don't get pressured into having everything perfect before you start, just have fun!


3. What's your favorite thing about owning your own business?

My favorite thing about owning my own business is that I can focus on my babies and create when time allows. My boys are the most important thing in my world and they come first, well after my faith and my hubby but you know what I mean. ;)

4. What's your favorite beverage?
My favorite beverage is coffee! First thing I think about when I wake up, "where is my coffee?!"


5. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Probably to be able to do things super fast! I love that show "No Ordinary Family" the Mom does things super fast and I think it is so cool! I could clean my house in around 5 seconds and laundry in about 2 seconds, more time to play and create! ;)

***GIVEAWAY ALERT***


Cathy is generously giving away a $30 credit to her shop!
 
Here's how to enter:
 
MANDATORY: Visit Red Rabbit Studios and leave a comment with your favorite item.
 
EXTRA ENTRIES (optional):
 
+1 Heart Red Rabbit Studios on Etsy and leave your username.
+1 Follow Cathy's blog.
+1 Follow Cathy on Twitter
+1 Follow Cathy on Facebook
+1 Tweet about this giveaway and leave the link.
 
Sample tweet: Enter to win $30 to Red Rabbit Studios sponsored by @cathysvoice on @yes_teacher 's blog: http://tiny.cc/p8cf0
 
Giveaway ends April 2nd at 11:59 PM and winner will be announced and emailed on Sunday, April 3rd.

If you're interested in promoting your business by becoming a Star Sponsor, see rates here!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Star Sponsor and Giveaway: Elephant's Trunk **CLOSED**

I'm so pumped to showcase the lovely Lauren from Elephant's Trunk!


Lauren sells fabulous wine accessories (I own several of her wine blooms and I LOVE them!) in her cute shop. Take a peek:


1. Where do you get your inspiration to create?

My inspiration comes from everywhere but the best place I get inspired from is ideas from my Mom. She loves to shop so she’ll tell me ideas she has seen in stores, at craft fairs, online in magazines and she and I think of ways we could tweak them into becoming something of my own.

2. What are some tips you can share for people who might be thinking of opening their own shop?
My best advice would be that you have to believe in your shop. If you don’t believe in your shop do not expect anyone else to either. You have to love your product in order to promote it successfully. So find something you love and create around what you love.

3. What's your favorite thing about owning your own business?
I love the freedom it gives me to create when I want and how I want. I can ask for advice whenever I want but in the end I’m the decision maker and it is nice to be in charge every now and then.

4. What's your favorite beverage?
If you couldn’t tell from my “wine” themed store I am a big wine-o but other than that I love Diet Coke. I have a bad obsession to the bubbly glass of heaven.

5. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
My super power would be the ability to burn calories by eating chocolate.

***COUPON CODE ALERT***
Lauren has graciously agreed to give a coupon for 20% off your purchase with code YESTEACHER


***GIVEAWAY ALERT***
Lauren is giving away a $25 gift certificate to her shop!

 Here's how to enter:



MANDATORY: Visit Elephant's Trunk and leave a comment with your favorite item.

EXTRA ENTRIES (optional): 

+1 Heart Elephant's Trunk on Etsy and leave your username
+1 Follow Lauren's blog
+1 Follow Lauren on Twitter
+1 Add Lauren as a friend on Facebook
+1 Tweet about this giveaway and leave the link

Sample tweet: Enter to win a $25 gift certificate to @elephantstrunk4 on @yes_teacher 's blog http://tiny.cc/46ouv

Giveaway ends April 2nd at 11:59 PM and winners will be announced and emailed on Sunday, April 3rd.

If you're interested in promoting your business by becoming a Star Sponsor, see rates here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Star Sponsor: Gina from Hiyaluv



I'm so excited to introduce Gina from Hiya Luv!


If you don't know Gina, you are missing out! Every Monday at 8 PM EST, she hosts #setupshop on Twitter where we chat about all the ins and outs of selling handmade. If you haven't joined one of these chats before, you should! Not only does it foster great relationships, it's a valuable tool to help your handmade business! 

In addition to her lovely blog and Twitter, she sells super sweet creations in her Etsy store!



1. Where do you get your inspiration to create?
I get inspiration from pretty fabrics, the seasons, and feminine details. I love being a girly girl and that shows in my work. 

2. What are some tips you can share for people who might be thinking of opening their own shop?
Be organized and have a well thought out business plan. I am working on my business organization and a clear, thought out business plan but had I done that in the beginning I would feel more successful. 

3. What's your favorite thing about owning your own business?
I love meeting new people and making new friendships with people all over the country and the world for that matter!

4. What's your favorite beverage? 
I love coffee but I also enjoy a nice glass of wine with a warm bubble bath. 

5. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why? 
I would wiggle my nose like Samantha in Bewitched to get myself out of a pickle or to make something happen in a pinch. I love Bewitched and own all the episodes on DVD. 

***COUPON CODE ALERT***
Gina has generously offered a 20% off discount through the end of March with coupon code YESTEACHER20 

Happy shopping, everyone!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A first

I know St. Patrick's Day was last week, but it's still on my mind!! While I was on Spring Break in Michigan last week, I had my first Shamrock Shake. McDonald's sells these yummy mint shakes only in the month of March, and only in certain states (find the shake where you are!)


On the way up to Michigan, I asked my husband what they tasted like anyway.

"Are they pistachio?" I said.

"No, they taste like ground up shamrocks and leprechauns. In fact, you have to pick out all the red beard hairs."

Yes, I married a real funny man.

In any case, when I finally tasted my first Shamrock Shake, I was ADDICTED! Seriously so tasty, people. But they don't sell them here in Texas so I'm going into withdrawal.

Can you get them where you are? And if you can, will you go get one for me?!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesdays, 10th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Tickle Me Tuesdays, where we all share what's been tickling our fancy!


If you'd like to participate (and you know you do!!), here are the rules:
  
1. Write a short post with anywhere from one to five items that have been tickling your fancy recently. Please include pictures and links :)

2. Make sure to link back to the party in your blog post (you can grab the button or include a text link)

3. Come back here and link up your blog post!

4. Visit some other links and HAVE FUN!

Here's what's tickling my fancy this week:




Okay, now it's your turn! What's been tickling your fancy this 
week?

 

Take Your Blogger to Work Day

(**I'm linking up with Gina from Hiyaluv for "Take Your Blogger to Work Day"!)




Other than a few awkward years in third and fourth grade when I wanted to be an actress so I could marry Brad from Home Improvement, I've always known that I would be a teacher.

As the oldest of three children, I've always been: 1) bossy, and 2) really bossy. So telling other children what to do all day just seemed like a natural fit!

I'm kidding. Sort of.

But I am the child of two teachers, in a family of teachers. It's in my blood and I think that from a young age, I knew better than to fight it.

In high school, I was challenged to think about what kind of children I wanted to teach. And because of my fascination with language learning and acquisition, I went into oral deaf education. That means that I teach language to children with hearing loss through listening and speaking. All of my students wear hearing aids or cochlear implants. I don't use sign language! (although I wish I knew more, just for fun!)

I am one of those incredibly blessed people who can say that they are doing their dream job! (Right now I'm teaching first grade and I love this age!) Sure, I have my share of rough days... days when the administration seems like they're TRYING to make me fail, days when I feel discouraged, days when I need to step away from my students to calm down. But there are all those other days.... days when the kids make me smile, when they finally "get it", when I get to channel my creativity into planning engaging lessons and making materials.

Also? June, July, and August. Just sayin'!

Being a special education teacher also gives me some special skills:
  • I can say things like: "You don't have to pull your pants all the way down to pee" with a straight face.
  • I know what the word "diphthong" means.
  • I can tell immediately when a kid hasn't had his meds.
  • I know if there's going to be a full moon without ever looking outside.
  • I have a large bladder.
  • From down the hall and around the corner, I can tell when someone's brought goodies to the teacher's lounge.
  • I can run in my heels after a kid who's decided he'd like to play outside instead of do his work in the classroom.
  • I can make a 27 page legal document understandable to a parent.
And finally....
  • I know how to make almost any activity educational! See pictures below for proof :)

Mondays with Jack, 32nd edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.


"How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove, and it doesn't have that dangerous beak."--Jack Handey

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring


"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."
-- Doug Larson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remembering Montreal

While I'm on Spring Break having a fun time with the in-laws in Michigan, it brought to mind other vacations we've  taken. Below, a few snapshots from a recent trip to Montreal:






Have you ever been to Montreal? If you ever want to feel like you are FAAAAAAAAAR away in a foreign land (without actually having to cross any oceans), it's the place to go! So charming with its' old world flair!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesdays, 9th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Tickle Me Tuesdays, where we all share what's been tickling our fancy!




If you'd like to participate (and you know you do!!), here are the rules:
  

1. Write a short post with anywhere from one to five items that have been tickling your fancy recently. Please include pictures and links :)

2. Make sure to link back to the party in your blog post (you can grab the button or include a text link)

3. Come back here and link up your blog post!

4. Visit some other links and HAVE FUN!

Here's what's tickling my fancy this week:




Okay, now it's your turn! What's been tickling your fancy this 
week?


Mondays with Jack, 31st edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.


"The other day I got out my can opener and was opening a can of worms when I thought, what am I doing?" -- Jack Handey

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Greetings from Michigan!


Barney loves it here. There's a big red barn, lots of interesting critters, and even a pond behind the house! We love it here, too!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Break

Today is the day I've been counting down to since January 3rd. (I promise I love my job, it's just I love not working more!)

It's the last day of school before we get a whole week off!! And my husband's school has the exact same week off! SCORE!

Instead of going to some tropical island, we'll be in the car for 20+ hours (one way!) all the way up to Michigan! And before you start to feel sorry for me, just know that we're so excited to be visiting FAMILY!

I thought I'd give you a preview of what it's like to be in the car with Max (my husband) and Barney (the dog) for 20 straight hours: (these events from our trip to MI last November are true in every way and not an exaggeration)


6:03 AM
Max turns off the radio. We sit in silence for a minute or two. I ask: "So, is this going to be a silent car trip, then?" Max: "SHHHH!"

7:38 AM
Max is driving. He suddenly puts both hands in the air, shouting: "LOOK! No hands!!"

11:45 AM
I say: "Hasn't Barney been great? He's been so content on my lap this whole time, he hasn't even whined." 
Barney: "whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine."

5:54 PM
Max: "I couldn't pee in my pants, even if I wanted to."

8:59 PM
Max: "Is time standing still or is it just me?"

11:14 PM
Max: "If it wasn't for Christianity, I'd probably be a sociopath."



Well, dear friends, wish us luck!! At least there will be fun times with family ahead!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Keeping track of sales

I'll be honest. I did not open up shop because I loved balancing numbers. I've never considered myself business minded. Keeping track of numbers is a bit of a challenge for me! I just like to make pretty things, haha!

But as January rolled around and a new year started, I knew I wanted to keep better track of things. With the help of my super talented husband, I created a spreadsheet to help me do just that! I thought I'd share that here in case any of you were wondering if you've made a profit yet.... (Note: these are all fake numbers I input for this example!)




You might notice a few things:

*All the numbers in red show the money I've spent (fake numbers though, remember?). Excel will do this automatically if you just put a minus sign in front of the number.

*You may or may not want to add a column on the left side for the value of amount of products you've given away for promotional stuff.

*Materials: Save your receipts, or have a little notebook handy to track how much your spending on your materials so you can input that stuff into the spreadsheet later. ALSO!! I don't count materials that I consider as an investment. For me, that would be rubber stamps, because I can reuse those over and over. For you, it might be your rotary cutter. If you want, you could create another column for start up costs.

*The right side of the spreadsheet is for money coming in. I sell advertising on my blog so I have a column for "Blog Sponsors". If you don't do this, don't add it!

*If you have other ways that money is coming in (like craft fairs), add a column for that too.

*Take your total profit (on right) and subtract your total spent (on left). Then try not to weep! Especially if you're in the beginning stages of your business, it will take a while for you to see all of your hard work and investments pay off!

Did I leave anything out? Is there a fool-proof way you track your business related stuff? If so, please enlighten the rest of us!!

Also, if you'd like a copy of this template, just shoot me an email (sarah at yesteachercrafts dot com) and I'll send it to you free of charge. Because I like you!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesdays, 8th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Tickle Me Tuesdays, where we all share what's been tickling our fancy!




If you'd like to participate (and you know you do!!), here are the rules:
  
1. Write a short post with anywhere from one to five items that have been tickling your fancy recently. Please include pictures and links :)

2. Make sure to link back to the party in your blog post (you can grab the button or include a text link)

3. Come back here and link up your blog post!

4. Visit some other links and HAVE FUN!

Here's what's tickling my fancy this week:




Okay, now it's your turn! What's been tickling your fancy this week?




Mondays with Jack, 30th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.




"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes." -- Jack Handey