Sunday, July 22, 2012

Packaging and Shipping for Etsy Shop

Everything is always in the details.
Wrapping and packaging your Etsy parcels is no different.  Being the proud owner of an Etsy buisness means you wear many hats. This post is about wrapping and shipping.
I love to wrap packages and make them pretty.  This is no different from wanting to open beautifully wrapped packages. Time and budget have to be considered.  Wrappings are expensive and hard on the evironment.  I recycle every possible thing I can to wrap parcels.  Boxes I get from work.  When shipping US Priority Mail the USPS provides the boxes.  I save and reuse bubble wrap and styrofoam.  I also collect these from work and recycle them. 
Making labels and hang tags will use up bits of card stock, paper, greeting cards, ribbons, stamps, stamp pads, tape, lace....limitless really.  I have seen lovely hang tags made from slivers of wood and from sea shells. 
Tea stained hang tags with stamp designs and ribbon. Directions here:

Wrapping paper is another area where recycling plays a key role for me.  I save wrapping papers, and tissue papers of all types.  I save bits of ribbon and lace. I buy new tissue paper from the Dollar Store when I have to.  I also buy used sewing patterns at garage sales and thrift shops.  The vintage patterns that haven't been cut I can sell!  The ones that have been cut or are not vintage I use for wrapping.  Sewing patterns make lovely wrapping paper and the little cut out bits are great for stuffing boxes along with bubble wrap.  News papers can be used for stuffing also but they are a bit heavier and you have to consider the weight against the cost of buying bubble wrap or paying more for postage.

Wrapping a box within a box! Weigh everything!  In this huge box is a large Shabby Chic shelving unit.  It was wrapped in Pattern paper and given a hang tag and lovely satin ribbon.  Then the corners were all wrapped with cardboard for further protection. I stuffed crumpled newspapers around the whole lot and used miles of tape.  I get wide celephane tape at the Dollar Store.  Stapping tape is used in the corner spots and outside seams of the box.  It is more expensive and used judiciously. 

Buying a good scale was the smartest thing I did for my buisness.  It was surprisingly not very expensive.  I got mine on Ebay.  It is easy to use and I can weigh up to 50 pounds with it. 
Postage can be purchased on line as well.  I use the USPS or Paypal.  I also print my customs forms online.  It was all a bit tricky at first.  Having a scale has taken lots of running back and forth to the post off ice out of my day (and my husband's) and makes quoting prices so much more accurate.
So here we have wrapping and shipping. It is a lot of work.  Make it enjoyable and be kind to the environment and your bottom line by recycling.  My husband helped me wrap that big box up there.  He made a suggestion later on in the day.  He has a way of doing this.  He starts out with, "if I may make a suggestion..." His was to make and ship smaller projects!  I agree, but if another wonderful wooden shelf or table makes it's way to me I would find it very hard to pass it up.
I also ment to tell you my mother taught me to save wrapping paper.  She also taught me to iron it and the ribbons when you use it the second time round!

~Weelambie / Anne~

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Meet Tootsie

I got my little vintage shop a present.  She arrived today in a very beat up box delivered by a very smiley UPS man.

Meet my mannequin Trixie.  She was a dream on the job today and very kind to offer her talents in modeling. 
As anyone with an Etsy shop knows it is all about good pictures.  We hear that over and over.  The concensus now is you need good pictures with white backgrounds.  Nothing cluttered or too staged.  This is a bit hard to take when staging is so much fun.  Good pictures really do help sales. I have to agree with that.  I am attempting all the time to make mine better.  It isn't easy to do.  I use my ...dare I even admit it... I use my smart phone.  l have the devil of a time with shadows, reflections and lighting.  I keep gathering more lights and dearly wish I had my Dad's big photography lights on stands.  I did get his projector screen and that makes a good back drop for many things.
Today was all about Trixie and her adorable little alabaster plastic body.
Here she is in my favorite black tie.

I went shopping for tops for Trixie at Salvation Army.   Looking for tiny tank tops was fun.  A helpful employee at Salvation Army pointed out to me that if I looked at the tags I'd find the sizes.  I explained I wasn't looking for my size (xxl) but for clothes for my mannequin!  She beat tracks with a very confused look on her face.
Here is Trixie in pearls!
Trixie you are adorable and I look forward to figuring out just how to make the most of your assets!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tea Staining Hang Tags DIY

I was very lucky to come home from an estate sale yesterday with a box full of mailing supplies. Included in this $1.00 score were dozens of brand new hang tags.
I decided to find out how to antique the tags with tea stain.  There are lots of ways to do this I discovered on google.  I like to simplify things.
Here is what I came up with.
Tea Staining 101
  • boil 1 cup water. Steep 3 black tea bags about ten mins. More or less steeping and water depending on the color you want.
  • Pour the tea into a glass baking dish. Dunk all the labels into the tea. Let them soak in there while you slosh them about a bit.  This lasted about five minutes for me to get the color I wanted.
  • Take the labels out and lay them on a table in the sun to dry.

Voila labels drying in the sun on my lanai work table.
To make them more appealing as they dry and time permits I will dab more stain on them directly with the wrung out tea bags.  Dabbing along the edges and here and there to make them a bit more shabby. 
The tags should be dry and ready for decorating by the time we get our late afternoon rain showers. 
They can be decorated with ribbons, stamps, anything your creative mind and supply cache allows.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vintage Memory Haze

I recently opened another box of my mother's things.  Simple everyday items.  They are vintage now as years have passed and the common things we took for granted have achieved a new level of importance to those who love vintage, collect vintage.

My mother was storing away her sewing supplies.  She saved everything and neatly put things away for future use.  That is her writing up there on those paper labels.  Labels made from recycled scraps of envelopes, the back unused sides of writing papers...she used everything.  It is plain to see she has thread in a plastic bag, buttons in a paper sack, rug & embroidery hooks (she misspelled embroidey...a clue) each bag carefully tagged. 
My Mother was leaving visual reminders to herself in the most practical of ways.  One with Alzheimer's can look at a spool of thread in a plastic bag.  Plainly seeing it's color, shape, and might even take it out and hold it in wonder.  Searching for meaning in this relic of the moments just gone by.  Clenching the fingers aged with knobs of arthritis around its smooth surface and with mind racing in a windstorm of noise be unable to remember it's everyday name. It is hard to imagine being in that spot.  We all forget momentarily why we walked into the kitchen or where we set our keys last...this is so much more.  This is the loss of controll of everyday actions and thoughts. This is scary stuff.  My mother fixed this problem for years without mentioning her vast unknown fears to us her family.  She labeled every plain everyday thing.  Took notes and then copied them over again and again. 

Mom also copied down what was important to her.  Left little pieces of paper with quotes that were important enough to be transcribed and left behind.  The things she wanted to remember to say to us, or hear again herself. 
"The sky is full of blue
and full of the mind
of God"
from book "Dakota"
Christian love is the
continuing expression
of intelligent good will
to all
without being
or manipulative
(Walker Evans
Vintage collectibles.  So much more meaning when you think of how easily things can be forgotten.  We treasure everyday objects because they are what our daily lives are made of.  What we build our futures with.  The thoughts, readings, buttons, threads that bring us to our eventual end.  If you loose the 'thread' of it you have lost yourself.  Alzheimer's is just as devastating to minds and lives as the land fills that so greedily cover up and rot our possessions. 
If you look at the CT scan of a brain with Alzheimer's you plainly see vast dark areas of nothing amidst the remains of functioning matter.  In this way it is like collecting vintage. You cherish the broken bits of pottery as you hope you find all the missing pieces to the set of Grandmother's silver. What bits you can no longer find or retrieve you will regret, tell their story and remember.   If you are so unlucky as to have lost the memory then you can only hope to find your notes. 
Thanks for leaving the notes Mom.  I am remembering you.  Your brilliant creative mind and I cherish your notes.  They whisper to me the things you didn't remember or have time to say to me. I find you in them and in that I am fortunate. 
from Mom

Mom in her high button shoes.

Love, Lambie