Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shopping Bag Giveaway with Skinny Gene Healthy Mommas

Once again, I am partnering for a giveaway of my shopping bags. This time, Skinny Gene Healthy Mommas has contacted me. Follow this link to enter Skinny Gene Project, follow all the rules, get your entry in by September 16, 2012, 11:59 p.m.

While your at it, check out the Skinny Gene Project, get information about diabetes, and find out how this project can help you. Here is a quote from their site:

The Skinny Gene Project (a division of the J.Moss Foundation), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preventing diabetes. We help to educate those who are at-risk; empower them with the resources, tools, and support needed to make healthy lifestyle changes; and teach them how to make the long-term social, environment, and behavioral changes needed to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Google Your Shop

     Having recently read articles from Handmadeology on improving SEO for my shop, on a whim I decided to Google my shop name CalliesCraftCottage, thinking I would see when it was last cached. What I found was so much more! In fact, I totally forgot about when it was last cached. I found 45 pages of information about my shop, yes, 45! Who would have known? Who would have guessed that there was this much information out there? When we talk about Search Engine Optimization, we are usually talking about listings, but Google cares about EVERYTHING. Below, we'll take a look at each of the unique types of information I found, and the order the results came up:

Page 1
1. This is the link for my Etsy shop, no surprises there, it should be first on the list of results.

2. This link takes me directly to my profile page in my Etsy shop.

3. This link is to my blog about my shop. I feel that is a good placement in the results.

4. This link is my shop's Facebook Page, it should come up early in the results.

5. This link is to a Social Media Monitoring Tool with information about my shop's Facebook Page. You can set up an account for more detailed information. I don't know if it would provide more information that I already get from Facebook weekly. I was just surprised it was there!

6. This link is to Tools4Etsy, specifically feedback for my shop. It shows a picture of the item sold, and the related feedback from the buyer, and from me as the seller, all in a cute format. Who knew?

7. This link is to another app for Etsy sellers. It shows any items that I have currently listed as being "on sale". I don't have anything currently, but I have used it in the past.

8. This is link to a treasury I curated. It also shows the most relevant comment right after the listing. Not sure why this treasury is listed so much higher than the others, but possibly because it had the most interesting comments.

9. This link is to a blog where I was a "Featured Seller" about a year ago.

Page 2
10. This link is to HandMade Spark, another selling venue which gives you a mini shop for free, showing the most recent three listings in your Etsy shop. Additional features are available for a fee. I did recently sign up for this one.

11. This link is to PageInsider.Com which shows information about any website (content, traffic info, reviews, coupons, server, web results). It didn't really show much information for my shop. You can however, sign up for an account there. This is also a "Who knew?".

12. This link goes to the, a global address book, specifically showing results for "Callie-craft". I'm not the only one in the results, I think every Callie in the world is a crafter. 

13. This link goes directly to my profile on Blogger.

Page 5  This link is to a blog which hosted a giveaway of my shopping bags. The giveaway is over, so page 5 of the results makes sense.

Page 11 This link is also a blog which hosted a contest and my shopping bags were among the prize items. Again, the giveaway is over, so the listing would be old.

     The rest of the results are for other treasuries I have curated, other's blog posts and Facebook posts I have commented on under my shop name, listings in my shop, Etsy team posts I have commented on, and Etsy searches which found my items. Etsy Stats will show you what tags were used to find your items, but I found this interesting because it also shows other items besides yours that show up in the results. The one piece of information I found to be missing is my LinkedIn profile. My profile does say that I am the owner of CalliesCraftCottage, so I would have expected a finding there, maybe it was buried in one of the later pages, I didn't look much past page 11 as it seemed to be only listings and treasuries, and searches.

     The "take-away" from this little exercise is that there is so much more out there for the public to see if they want to. I need to be sure all the pieces are consistent, and what I would want the public (potential buyers) to see. I suggest that any other Etsy sellers also Google their shops. You'll be surprised at what you see!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's in the Bag?

(Or How to Make a Shopping Bag)

After the success of the Grocery Coupon Network giveaway of my shopping bags, I thought you might like to know how I make my bags. 

     1.      Cut fabric. I use outdoor fabric like you can find at  JoAnn Fabrics. Don’t worry, I didn’t pay full price. If I did, I would have to charge four times what I do, but that is the quality of the fabric. You will need:  2 pieces  14 1/2” x 18” for the front and back
          2 pieces 6” x 18” for the sides
          2 pieces 6” x 14 1/2” for the bottom (I double layer for strength)
          2 pieces 2 1/2” x 18” for the handles

     2. For the handles, fold in 1/4” toward the center lengthwise on each side, press. Fold in 1/4” toward the center again, stitch.
      3.      Sew the short edge of a side to the short edges of and two bottom layers. In this example, the tan piece is what will show on the outside of the bag, the brown piece will show on the inside of the bag. I sew a straight stitch 1/4” from the edge, and an overlocking stitch to prevent fraying.

      4.      Next, align the long side of the front piece with the long side of the side piece, stitch from the top, stopping 1/4” from the bottom edge as shown. Again, do the straight stitch and the overlocking stitch.

      5.      After you have sewn both sides to the front piece, align the bottom edges together of the front and bottom pieces. Stitch with the straight and overlocking stitches.

      6.      This is what the bag looks like from the inside at this point.  Now, repeat steps 4 and 5 for the back of the bag.

      7.      Next, for the top of the bag, press under 1/4”, then turn again 1/2” hem. Sew two lines of top stitching as shown. The first, 1/8”  from the edge, the second 3/8” from the edge.

      8.      Attach the handles 3 1/2” from each side, forming a U shape. Underlap the handle edge 1 1/2” from the edge of the bag. Pin.  Stitch the handles to the bag along the top stitching lines. Then, also stitch along the edges of the handle below the top stitching lines, forming a square, with an X through the middle of the square. Repeat for each handle end.

      9.      Turn the bag right side out. Stitch a top stitch row along the sides and bottom, front and back. This adds strength and form to the bag, as well as making the bag look more professional.

      10.  And here is the finished bag. I don’t line the bags because they are intended for groceries, but if you wanted to line your bag, cut pieces for the front, back, sides, and bottom out of lightweight cotton. Sew as directed, but leave inside out. Place inside the outer bag. Then when hemming the top of the bag sew the two parts together.