Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gettin' Ready for Some Tradin'!

A few months after I started with Etsy, I stumbled across a forum thread that peaked my interest. It was a Trade and Stay event, and boy, was it fast and furious! After lurking for a bit, I decided to check out this whole trading "thing." It opened my eyes to a whole other world on Etsy; a world where you can get fabulous items, just by trading your own goods! The only money spent is shipping! Is this too good to be true? :)

Well, a year, and LOTS of trades, later, I am no longer a novice at this concept! I've been known to cold-call a shop that I like, and just ask for a trade! Sometimes I get turned down; either the shop can't afford to trade, or I don't have anything they're needing. But, just about as frequently, I've completed some awesome trades, and in turn, have introduced them to the trading concept. Last Christmas, I was able to do the vast majority of my gift shopping, not in the crowded malls, but by fabulous trades. Now, do I trade with everybody? Not usually. In fact, I've traded for so much soap and jewelry that I'm more than stocked up! Trading is also a great way to try new items; I had never tried handmade bath and beauty products, and now I love them!

So, what, you may ask, am I getting ready for? Well, it just so happens that one of those big Trade and Stay events is starting tomorrow morning! If you search the forum topics tomorrow morning for "tradeaholic" and you should be able to find the forum thread. Then, you can start shopping! Check out the shops on the most recent list, and send a message to someone you're interested in trading with. Each shop will agree on a trade that is as equal in value (including shipping) as possible. Then you just purchase the items, but don't pay through Paypal (your items will be your payment). Mail out your items in a timely fashion, and soon your mailbox will be filled with all kinds of wonderful goodies!

If you decide to join the fun, please share the great trades you pick up! I'd love to see what you picked up! :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

What is 2Sleepyheads?

Before I continue promoting myself and my shop, I should probably tell you the history of 2Sleepyheads Quilted Creations.

Almost 10 years ago, I was looking for a creative outlet. I was a full-time teacher in Spring, Texas, and also a fairly newlywed. My wonderful hubby had an outlet for his stress: computer gaming. It helped him deal with the hassles of work, in addition to his 2 hour round-trip commute in Houston. I was searching for something creative and constructive to do with my free time. Growing up, my mom sewed quite a bit; a lot of our clothes, Easter dresses, and even a couple of prom dresses. I figured, hey, how hard could sewing be? I'd had no training, other than cutting out many a dress pattern for my mom. I also needed a machine. The search was on!

I decided to get a Bernina, and found a local retailer. Thanks to my good credit, and their financing services, I walked out with what I thought was the fanciest machine I'd ever seen! While I was there, I also signed up for a Bernina basics class, as well as my first sewing class.

That first class was interesting, to say the least! We were to make bathrobes, and it took me HOURS to get it done! I think the teachers were a little worried about me. :) But, I didn't give up, and I soon bought a pattern and fabric for my first real project, a rag quilt. That too, took me quite a while to put together, but, even after all of these years, lots of use, and lots of washings, it's still in great shape! I tried other clothing and quilting patterns, and finally decided that I preferred making quilts and items better than clothing.

Fast-forward a few years: a move to and from California, and the birth of two precious redheaded boys. I found myself a stay-at-home mom, again looking for an outlet for my time and creativity. My second son was still fairly young, so I needed a good, sturdy, and cute, diaper bag. I found a pattern and made one for myself. Everyone who saw it raved about it, which gave me a nice boost of self-confidence! At an outing, a friend asked if I had ever heard of Etsy, and then explained the online marketplace to me. I thought that this would be a great showcase for my items, as well as earn a little money on the side. I had no marketing experience, but I had a product, so I decided to open shop.

A year-and-a-half later, I know run two shops, 2Sleepyheads (named after the fact that when I started, I could only sew when the boys were asleep!) and CleanAsAWhistle, where you can find items to keep your home clean and a bit more organized. It's been a great adventure, and I've definitely learned a lot! I plan to continue bringing new and fresh products to my shop, and I hope you come by, check 'em out, and enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

And the Winner Is...

I've had the typical busy day: Lil Sleepy and my first Mommy and Me Yoga class (he was more interested in climbing on me than doing poses!), a little birthday gift shopping for this weekend, lunch with both Sleepys, and then finally getting them to bed for naps. I was happily working on a birthday gift for Big Sleepy's teacher, when I realized "OMG! I need to get a winner for my giveaway!" So, the winner is:


So, I'm getting ready to make this post, and my internet connection goes down! Of course, the resident computer expert, my hubby, is at work, and can't walk me through fixing it over the phone, so I start to panic! How am I going to announce the winner?? Thankfully, I was able to contact my winner via my phone. I tried to type and post this message on my phone, but of course, there were issues there too! Thankfully, once I got back on the laptop, the internet connection began to work again, so I can give this happy news!

Thank you to everybody who is now following my blog and Facebook page! I'm planning to do more giveaways in the future, so keep checking back! If you're interested in doing a giveaway on my blog, let me know! :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Busy Weekend Ahead!


You know it's a bad sign when you're already planning on being exhausted next Monday, and the weekend isn't even here yet!

We have 2 birthday parties to attend, and they're on different sides of the state! Saturday is my youngest nephew's 5th birthday party, with a medieval theme. The Sleepys will have a great time swimming and spending time with their cousins; I'm just not looking forward to the 4-hour car trip there, and then the return trip that evening! Hopefully with a good night's sleep we'll be ready for party number two; the son of some dear friends of ours is having his magic-themed party Sunday afternoon. My friend says there will be a magician, a bounce house, and of course, more swimming! It promises to be a great time!

I asked my sister what my youngest nephew wanted for his birthday, and she said he'd love a pair of my pirate swords, so he and his big brother can be lil' swashbucklers. She also saw a link about
my giveaway, and wanted a custom-made toy catcher for herself, s
o this is what I made for her and her boys. She said she loves it! Now, if I could
just figure out
what to get my friend's son...

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Shop and a Giveaway!

Well, I'm expanding my horizons, at least a little bit. I've decided to open up a second shop on Zibbet.com. It's a fairly new online marketplace, similar to Etsy. I am liking that I don't feel quite so small on Zibbet, since there's not nearly as many sellers there as on Etsy, but on the flipside, there's not as many buyers either. So, I'll just keep listing, and we'll see what happens. At this point, I have a free account, so there's not any extra fees on my part, but I can only list 25 items at a time (which hasn't been a problem for me just yet!) I've also found several of my Etsy friends who've also opened shop there, so it's nice seeing familiar faces! :)
To celebrate my new shop, I've decided to do a giveaway! If you're like me, your kids are always wanting to bring a toy or book along when you're heading out of the house. I tried different storage boxes, and while they would fit nicely between the boys' seats, it would fly off of the console every time I'd hit the brakes! So, I made this storage basket that hooks onto the armrests of the boys' seats. It holds a ton of toys and books, stays securely in place, and best of all, it's machine washable, a must with kids! This basket is especially handy when we go on long trips; the boys can fill it with all kinds of toys and books, and entertainment
is easily at hand, so I don't have to be the "entert
ainment director" while I'm driving! Do you want one? I'm giving this one away! Here's how you can win it:
--Follow my blog, and leave a comment
--Check out my Zibbet and Etsy shops, and let me know your favorite item
--Like my Facebook fan page

The winner will be announced next Friday, May 21st!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Word of Mouth

While I currently only have 2 diaper bags in my shop, I've made several for friends, especially my Hubby's coworkers. In fact, it's become a little tradition in his office to get a diaper bag from me! That makes me feel good, knowing that my work is not just appreciated, but almost sought-after!

Last week, I was contacted by one of Hubby's coworkers, because she wanted to purchase a bag for her sister. She sent me pictures of her nursery bedding, and I went on the search for fabric to coordinate. I found some lovely fabric from cherrylanetextiles.etsy.com. They came in the mail a day or so ago, and I took them to Hubby's work to show his coworker. She loves them, and can't wait to see the finished bag!

When Lil Sleepy and I showed up at Hubby's office, he was having a little meeting with yet another coworker who sports one of my bags. She told me that, at the day care her kids attend, there were several moms looking to purchase diaper bags. As she put it, the sample bag wasn't nearly as roomy or have as many pockets, so she wanted a bunch of business cards to give them, to send them my way! So, I'm hoping, with her help, to get a few custom orders!

I've also made flyers, advertising my nap mats, using the widget on cr8tivity.com. I'm hoping to hand them to the parents in Big's preschool class, as they are all preparing for Kindergarten, just like we are. I know getting your name "out there" on Etsy can be a daunting task; I'm hoping this local word-of-mouth movement will help swing some business my way!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Boy, It's Been a While!


You know it's been a long time since your last post when you can't remember the address to find your own blog! :) I wish I could say so much has happened, but I'd definitely be stretching the truth!

Don't get me wrong; the boys and Hubby have kept me busy! We've taken little trips to visit family, celebrated a wonderful holiday season, and the boys are growing by leaps and bounds. Maybe it's because of this that there hasn't been much progress in my shop. I've made a few items, had a few sales, and made lots of trades, but in my opinion, my shop has come pretty much to a stand-still. I've lost my mojo, and my drive to create and post new items. There was a period of about a month when I didn't sew anything AT ALL, and was perfectly fine with that. I was at a crossroads; keep selling my wares online, or cut my losses and close shop.

Well, I've decided to keep on keepin' on. I've opened a shop on Zibbet, as well as my Etsy shop. I also sought guidance from the Critiques forum on Etsy, and was advised that my shop currently is going into too many directions, and I need to focus on some sort of theme. After some deep thinking, I've decided to use my shop name, 2Sleepyheads, as my ins
piration. I'm trying to clear out most of my shop, either wi
th trades or discounting items, and planning on replacing them with items geared to helping the family, especially little kids, to get to, and stay, asleep. Some items might be purely decorative, to spruce up your bedroom, or your kid's room, while others will be more practical, like my latest listing, a cotton nap mat with an attac
hed drawstring bag. It's ready for Kindergarten, preschool, or day care! I'm planning on making one of these for Big Sleepy, for his Kindergarten nap times next year!

So, my goal is not only to revamp my shop, but also do a better job of keeping this blog, and my readers, up-to-date on the progress. I hope you enjoy my items as much as I like making them!