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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Featured artist Anne-Laure from oneopia

Today I'd like you to meet Anne-Laure and her charming shop oenopia full of cake toppers, flowers, jewelery and accessories.  Please enjoy this interview in her own words.

I'm Anne-Laure from the shop oenopia and I live in France between Paris and The Provence. I'm graduate from History of Art and French Literature.

I sell Wedding cake toppers/ Jewelry/ Decoration:

I started creating products for Weddings I love to contribute towards making the Bride & Grooms wedding day very special. I'm very romantic at heart ;-).

   It's my full time job. I sell my wedding cake toppers for the pastry chefs and for the wedding caterings.

Wedding Cake topper with squirrerls
ways to find you:

Friday, June 28, 2013

June's Ballons Week 4

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.  
~Lao Tzu

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

List of 5 tips for good customer service

These past weeks I've had bad experiences with customer services from different companies.  Remember my oven?  Well at the time we bought it we also ordered a range hood (it was also taken away by the previous owners  among the top cabinets in the kitchen...there I said it!) But I don't worry I have plans, future plans I have this idea that I want stainless steel shelves instead of cabinets I've pinned some ideas.  Back to the range hood, it has not been installed yet. Sears and the installers just give us the round around when we try to get an update on the installing date.  You know the usual 'I will call you"  that means you won't hear from them until you call again. Yes, I understand they have procedures and steps but they are taking too long.   This Friday my husband had it and finally called Sears headquarters ah I was listening and was like yes!  let then have it!!  So we were promised that the next Saturday the range hood will finally be installed.

*update on range hood situation after talking to the Sears manager and the installers we've cancelled the whole thing and decided we will take our money somewhere else. 

Another bad experience, ebay...I bought something and did not work properly I immediately contacted the seller and the next day he promised to send a replacement.  Well I waited more than a week and emailed him to let him know I still  didn't have my working item..  Two more days and didn't hear from him and emailed again.  He finally answered and said let me look into that and I will get back to you...I've heard that before! Sure enough I got my replacement two days later.  A working one!  but my disappointment was that he mailed the item only after the second email I sent...what happened there? did I have to remind him to mail the item?

Finally, I ordered some items form China.  I got my order in a timely manner, happy with some and unhappy with others as one order was incomplete.  Ok so I am on a row here or what complaining to sellers?  I contact the seller, he says he's sorry ( at least he apologizes)  he wants to know if I will order again so that he can send the rest of the items.  No I don't want to order again!    I haven't heard from him again, so not sure if he will mail the items or not :/  arrrgh!

These bad experiences make me think both as a customer and as a seller.  As a customer I want to be happy with my order and sure enough I decide where I take my money and as a seller I want my customer to be happy.  Beside having agood product to sell customer service is one of the keys to any successful  business.  I made a list of things that have worked for me as a seller.

1.  Prompt communication, whenever a customer contacts me I answer promptly.  I thank them for their interest in my shop or my items and answer their questions or requests.  Regarding custom items I never make promises I cannot keep, or promise delivery dates that cannot be met, never.  I let them know straight out I cannot help them.  People are weird sometimes and ask for things that humanly cannot be possible.  I had a customer contacted me on a Tuesday needing 350 items by Thursday for her wedding the following Saturday.

1.  Acknowledge purchase,  I thank the customer for their purchase and let them know when I will ship. 

2.  Package sale, I like this step very much!  I package the item with utmost care.  Wrap it in whatever I have handy at the moment.  Be it, wrapping paper, tissue paper, vintage pattern paper, music sheet, Kraft paper, washi tape, yarn, fabric.  Most of the time every package is different.  I get complimented a lot and that  makes me feel good!

3.  Ship item,  Luckily I have two Post Offices in town and two more in my neighbor towns that way I get to plan my daily routine and a visit to the Post Office.  I come back home and send a shipping notification and a tracking number to my customer.

4.  Solve any problems, unfortunately international shipments cannot be tracked.  In the event a package is lost I try to solve the problem fast.  I once had to call the Canadian Post to track a custom order.  We found it and my customer was happy.  Another time another package was lost due to language and telephone barriers I couldn't call the post office which was Sweden.  Another little package was returned to me from Turkey.  I ended up making a refund on both of these sales.  That was ok with me and my customers knew that I did everything I could to solve the problems.

This is how I do it and what has worked for me so far.  I am sure it has saved me a lot of headaches.  I can resume this whole post in one sentence.

The Golden Rule:   
One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. 

 And because I believe that every post needs to have a picture here is Xavi at the tire store.  This takes me back when Xavi didn't go to school and it was just me and him during the morning hours going for a tire rotation or an oil change.

Monday, June 24, 2013

On the weekend

We had a quick trip  to our favorite and closest lake this Saturday.  We had been, meaning to go for some weeks now and finally did it.  
Who wants to go the lake today? my husband asked 
MEEEE a choir answered.  
Our routine is quick, grab the canopy, some chairs and the cooler, make some sandwiches and grab the snacks...don't forget the floatie and the camera

The view is great and the kids had fun, the rest of us just relaxed.  A few hours for the kids in the water is enough, no water for me you know that I just got my feet wet.  We came back home washed up and still had the whole Saturday afternoon to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is fun too.  I hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Featured artist Jill from No Sweat Coasters

For this Sunday I introduce to you Jill, she has two etsy shops No Sweat Coasters and South Culture Gifts very well stocked with coasters, magnets and trivets of all kinds.  Great handmade items that would make lovely gifts for your loved ones.  Honestly I had such a hard time deciding which four items to feature here.  Read, enjoy the interview and go check her shops so you know what I am talking about :)

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
Hi! My name is Jill. I live in Louisville, KY (my favorite place on earth) with my daughter Cara, boyfriend Sam and our two dogs Woody an English Bulldog and Dixie a Miniature Pinscher Pitt Bull mix.

Alfred Hitchcock movie coasters
 2. What do you sell?
I make and sell coasters, magnets, trivets and anything else that inspires me at the moment.

3. Why handmade?
 I wouldn’t trade handmade for anything. I think it gives items a sense of personality that you just can’t find anywhere else.

4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
There’s beauty everywhere so I can’t say that it comes from any one place. My daughter, music, the river, flea markets; you name it.

Nautical Anchor Octopus and Compass coaster set
5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
I do have a full time job, for now. But I’m working toward making my passion my career. More and more I find myself saying “I just don’t have time to go to work.”

6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
Ha, I’ve never thought of myself as an artist; there are just so many amazing, talented artists out there. I have always been creative, friends used to tease me that I wouldn’t throw anything away. You just never know what you will need for your latest project.

Wine bottles and wine glass coasters
 7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
Sam has really pushed me into making a career of my craft work. I think he thought I needed something to do other than remodel the house.

8. Where would you like to be in five years? In my (imaginary for now) craft cottage making coasters and turning trash into treasure full time. That would be a dream.

9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done?
crafts, sports, life in general?
Oh my gosh, that is one long list! I get to mark things off now and then and I promised my daughter we would skydive together for her 18th Birthday.

10. Besides online where else do you sell?
In the fall I like to do local art fairs and craft shows, seems like there’s one every weekend in Louisville. And we have an awesome open air flea market called The Flea off Market monthly that I always try to make.

Butterfly coaster set

Ways to contact you:
::No Sweat Coasters::
email 502jill@gmail.com

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June's Ballons Week 3

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Lately I've been watching lots of TV, doing lots of crafts and  listing new items in my shop.  I really really am trying to finish past projects before starting new ones. 

Like these dolly pins, I painted them, they are dried by now and I promise before the weekend comes I will have finished the final product which is Reindeer Christmas ornaments  Do you spy the finished one in there?

I also,  am half way finished with this denim pouf that I am making for Xavi.  I am working on the embroidery and happy to inform you that I am half way done.  Then I will sew the bottom and stuff it.  Xavi can't wait for me to finish it.  So I think today I will tackle that ;)  I promise photos of the finished project soon.

I have been hand dying doilies, my right hand and fingernails were red for three days from all the dye.

This one is a finished project a denim bin, I love it! now I have a place to store my projects in the making instead of a plastic bag.  And it looks cute too.  This is the large size there are two smaller sizes that I might make later.

And finally if you are reading this you probably noticed by now my new blog design.  I really like going to paint and doodle little things.  I am not good at all I know it looks like first graders doodles but I love it.  Well yesterday afternoon I decided it was time for a change and started playing around.  Everything was fine until I DELETED the horizontal navigation bar...why Claudia why????

Mistakes like that happen :(  I am just glad I didn't do anything more stupid.  It took me a while to find the correct tutorial to put it back but finally did it.  I wasn't even aware that blogger had a new HTML Editor.  Anyways, I also got very very frustrated because I cannot change the older, home and newer icons at the footer.  In the old editor I did it but now I cannot find where to change the code :/

I will just let it sit for now take a couple of days and try again soon.

I also take this opportunity to let you know that I opened a third shop a couple of months ago.  A third shop?? yes I did.  This time is vintage clothing I figured I spend a fair amount of time at thrift shops so I am reading about vintage selling and how to identify the pieces and let me tell you it's very interesting.  I've been tempted to keep some of the items for me!  Anyways I've made only one sale, very rewarding by the way. 
We'll see how it goes meanwhile come and visit my polyester closet

my polyester closet

I hope all is well with you and thanks for your readership!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Notes to self...remember next time!!!

You'd think that after all the times that this has happened to me I'd learn the lesson by now.  But no!  I still haven't learned it.  Long story short two clicks and batteries died again.  I had to use my cell for capturing moments.  This post serves two purposes notes to self and sharing our trip to Idylwild.  Breathtaking drive, charming little town with lots of walking trails, great menus and outdoor pleasures.

Great place to enjoy family time!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Featured artist from Dandelyne

Today's featured shop is Dandelyne a shop full of colorful and original embroidered mini hops and fabrics of all kindsI am sure you will be delighted reading the interview and browsing this shop.  Thanks for stopping by :)

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
I am addicted to embroidery. But … that addiction is easily broken by my 5 delicious boys … 1 big (hubby), 3 small (munchkins) and 1 furry (pooch).

2. What do you sell?
I love what I do! I design and make colourful, whimsical and sweeeeet miniature embroidery hoop jewellery and custom family portraits in larger hoops.

Knitting, wool, yarn miniature embroidery hoop
3. Why handmade?
I have always made things for as long as I can remember. It lights my internal fire and makes me 100% happy. I honestly cannot imagine NOT using my hands for my career now, and going forward. Handmade means so much to me. I know from my own work, that when I invest in a handmade piece I am not only receiving something that is made with love but, I am investing in a design that has come from a trial and error process, passion, lack of sleep, some tears, anger, disappointment, giggles, elation and so much more.

Custom family portrait of 4 necklace
4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
My inspiration blossoms from simple day to day experiences, family, colour and moments in my life that make me smile all over.

5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
I have two full time jobs … mum and owner and creator of Dandelyne. So, in-between these roles I try to crochet and sew when I can but, I do find, I tend to head back to the hoop. As a high-energy person I also love to run, and bounce on the trampoline with my boys. These two activities definitely help me get outside and take a break.

6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
I have been told that my work is like miniature pieces of art and it is the hugest compliment. But, I actually like the term "craftist". Embroidery is an amazing craft that I am continually learning. So, combining my style and the amazing craft that is embroidery, a craftist works for me ^_^.

Crochet Granny square embroidered necklace
7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
There are so many amazing people out there that I admire and who inspire me every day. Instagram is a continual source of inspiration, motivation and support. I adore my Instagram buddies.
Pip Lincolne of Meet Me at Mikes is someone whom I admire and respect. I feel that she has pioneered a comeback of craft for the 21st century, here in Australia, via her blog and her work. I am also a huge fan of Sublime Stitching and Needle 'n Thread.

8. Where would you like to be in five years?
Ooooooh such a great question! In 5 years time I am hoping our family would have taken a 6 month trip around Australia. That time would be spent, firstly, enjoying the delights of this awesome country with my family and then also gathering a wealth of inspiration for new designs and business expansion. I would love to have a successful blog, how-to embroider videos and classes, maybe a published book, an exhibition, or two, of larger and more detailed designs that I am continually dreaming about and a HUGE range of Dandelyne designs across the world. I hope to employ a gorgeous and supportive team continually taking Dandelyne to new levels.

Bunting embroidered necklace
9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done? crafts, sports, life in general?
I would love love love to be part of a flash mob.

10. Besides online where else do you sell?
I sell through a number of brick and mortar stores across Australia, all are listed on my website. I also did my first market this year at Finders Keepers, here in Melbourne, and I absolutely loved it. So I really hope to hit the market scene over the next few years.

Ways to contact you:
Blog: coming soon ^_^
Email: sonia@dandelyne.com

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Week in San Diego

I spent almost a week in San Diego at my mom's, admiring the view to Mexico, the view to the Pacific Ocean, and my mom's garden.  I enjoyed my mom's food and the company of some of my favorite people and favorite pets.   I enjoyed watching the cousins play and fight and I also was asked for more crochet lessons.  
Here are some pictures.

It's crazy to think that almost fourteen years ago when I got married none of these little people (even though they may have a big body and think they are big) were around.  Time really flies, it does.  I like taking pictures of them.  We have taken pictures of them under this Guava tree for several years now and this tree has grown with them.  My mom has several Guava trees and the kids love to eat them.

Hope you are having an excellent weekend!
@moncy3.com 2009-2016