Sunday, June 28, 2009

Congratulations to Ruby! Our Giveaway Winner!

Ruby is our winner of the Paws In Your Heart Sterling Silver Toggle Bracelet! Congrats!

Special thanks to Creations With Heart for donating this lovely bracelet! Check out her shop for more wonderful must-have items!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Congrats to our winner: Eddy's Pressies

Congrats to our winner of our Father's Day contest-- Eddy's Pressies

She won the opportunity to have her rapid cart on our blog.

ACT is about to change how we hold our weekly contests. We are going to be switching from weekly contests to monthly contests. We will also be lengthening our time for voting to a one week voting period. The winner will still be given the opportunity to have their Artfire Rapid Cart on our blog for the duration of the month.

Thank you to all members who participate in the contests and to those who take the time to vote.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mom Behind the Shop: Creations With Heart

This week's Mom Behind the Shop is Creations With Heart, aka Julie. Julie is sponsoring a giveaway of a very pretty Paws In Your Heart Sterling Silver Toggle Bracelet. We decided to interview her to find out more about this giving mom in our Artfire Cafemom Team. So here is a bit about this talented mom!

Who are you: I'm Julie, a "dog mom" of two furry girls! Creations With Heart is my shop that I enjoy running and playing with. I love to make jewelry, take pictures of nature (and my dogs!) and really enjoy every minute of the day!

What kinds of items do you sell: I sell classic and western jewelry using gemstones, Swarovski Crystals, Czech glass and so much more. Many of my designs will have matching pieces. I love coordinating jewelry! I also enjoy designing petite jewelry. It's mostly smaller in size and lighter in weight. The paw print jewelry has a special place in my heart. My dogs are a major part of my life and they inspire me to use those cute little paw prints! I have such a love for all animals, I can't keep them out of my creations. You're bound to find something that suits your style. I like to make it all!

What made you get into your craft/what inspires you:
Remember those great friendship bracelets? That's where it all started! I made tons of those which lead me to start using other materials. I'd see a bracelet I liked, but it would be too big, so I'd go home and make one myself that fit! I made necklaces on and off for awhile and ended up too busy with school work. It wasn't until 2006 (many, many years later) that I started again and found it so relaxing. I would read magazines and look on the internet for different techniques to try and teach myself. Then it was suggested that I sell my jewelry on my own website, which lead me to Etsy and this year to ArtFire. Now I can't stop! I love it!!

My family, dogs, nature and God inspire me. I only wish I could work fast enough to catch up with my thoughts! Every day is a new day and I look forward to what it will bring!

Tips for online businesses: Do a lot of research! Don't be in a rush - enjoy the journey. Talk to people and learn from their experiences. Make a list of everything you want to learn and be patient - it will happen. Never feel like you're below anyone. Be confident in yourself - it will show through in your work. Never stop learning new things. Always remember who you are and be yourself!

Tips for moms : I'm a "dog mom", so here are my tips for you. Know and understand your pet inside and out. They are part of the family. Be patient, calm and kind. Your pet depends on you for their well-being every single day. Forever and always - love them! ❤

What is your favorite place to visit:
Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island. There's so much history and fun to enjoy! Ok, I'll live there!

Your comfort food: Brownies!! They're good anytime of the day! So moist and chocolaty!

If you were able to do anything in the world, what would it be and why: I would rescue all the homeless animals and have them live with me because I would take care and love each and every one!

I would want to help, take care and keep safe, all the elderly that live alone or don't have any family because they are such an important part of our lives and we have so much to learn from them!

Be blessed financially with enough to share with my family and those in need and be able to sell my jewelry and give all the proceeds to multiple charities.


Thank you Julie for sharing all of this great information with us!

Make sure you go and enter her giveaway!

Happy Father's Day Weekly Contest

In order to honor all our fathers, our grandfathers, and our children's fathers, this week's theme for the ACT Weekly Contest was Father's Day. Unfortunately, at press time, there were only two entries, but two very nice entries indeed--Both worthy of the men we intend to honor this Sunday.

Title of this piece is:
Masculine Musings Journal

As modelled by me (couldn't find any brave men)
A hat for all dads who love to go fishing

Once again, the winner is up to you. Please vote below.

Thank you for voting. We hope you'll stay tuned for the announcement about some changes to our weekly contest. We have received requests, suggestions, and answers to our questions, and change is in the air...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Giveaway #6: Creations with Heart

Welcome to our SIXTH blog giveaway!

The shop behind this giveaway is

"Hi! I'm Julie, a "dog mom" of two furry girls. I love to make jewelry, take pictures of nature ( and my dogs!) and really enjoy every minute of the day.

Creations With Heart is my shop. I create and sell classic and western jewelry using outstanding gemstones, Swarovski Crystals, Czech glass and so much more! You'll discover coordinating jewelry, petite jewelry and because my dogs are such an important part of my life - animal themes! I like to have something that suits everyone's style! My jewelry is made by hand...created with heart~"

About the Item:
Show your love for animals by wearing this sterling silver linked charm bracelet. The focal point is the adorable sterling silver heart charm with little paw prints inside. Dangling next to it is a petite amethyst Swarovski Crystal. Wear this everyday and everywhere!

How you enter:

1 Entry- Go to Creations With Heart's shop and find the item that catches your eye! Copy and paste the URL here in the comment section along with a valid email address in case you are chosen as our winner.
1 Entry- Blog about it! Be sure to include photo of the bracelet and a link to the ACT blog in your blog entry. When you have blogged about the giveaway, all you need to do is post a link to the blog in the comment section. Please do this as a NEW comment and make sure to add your email as well.
1 Entry-Become a follower of our blog-if you are already a follower then you can have credit for this.
1 Entry-Become a follower of Creations With Heart's blog.
5 Entries-Make a purchase from Creations With Heart. (this will be verified if you win)

The giveaway will run from Friday 6/19 to Thursday 6/25. One winner will be chosen by random. We will contact the winner to get a valid shipping address. Please reply within 48 hours or a different winner will be chosen. Item will be shipped via USPS First Class or Priority Mail within one business day.

***Please leave your email address since this is the easiest and most efficient way of contacting the winner!***

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Great Reads at HMN

Many of you may have already heard of HandmadeNews.Org.. Its running really feverish now, for some really good reasons. Everything else aside, the focus of the site is still on contributed articles by fellow artisans, like you and me!

Selling online requires great photos. And, at HMN some writers has came down to share their knowledge and experience precisely on that! Photography! Here are some great articles that aims to help you improve your photography skill. Check them out and remember to share your comments, views or experience so that others may learn and understand more...

Here's the links
How To Save A Bundle Photographing Your Bundle @

Shutter Speed and Its Effect On Photos @

Making Lemonade Volume 5 @

Understanding Your Camera Settings @

Visit to read thousands of craft, business, inspiring and helpful articles, written by fellow craft artisans around the world!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Show Me Your Rainbows!

"Show me your rainbows!" was this week's contest challenge from our guild leader, JazzyJems.
Each week, a new theme is announced to the members of the Artfire Cafemom Team, who then submit one of their creations. The entries are then posted on Saturday and voting takes place throughout the weekend. Come Monday morning, the winner of our public poll gets their Rapid Cart displayed on our blog for a week.
It's a lot of fun for the participating artists and we hope it's a lot of fun for those voting as well. So please take a moment to browse this week's colorful entries and place your vote. These artists will be glad you did. (Click on the shop name to see what else is in the artist's studio or click on the photo or item name to learn more about their entry.)

Arlene of Spirit Essence Art says, "Rainbow colors are kind of my specialty! Here is my entry:"


Tamra of WithOurHands said, "Here's my rainbow item:"


Yarn of a Tail said, "Here is a skein af yarn that has some of the soft colors from the rainbow, the way you often see it in the sky."


Katie of The Blue Beadle said, "I call this one my "Rainbow Beads Set." It is made from the glass czech beads. It includes 2 pairs of earrings and a bracelet.


Eddy of Eddy's Pressies said, "I'm going to put in my owl cushion-pals as they are the colours of the rainbow (even though 2 have been sold-orange and green-hurrah.)"

Owl Cushion-Pal


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Goals for the year 2009...

Its JUNE!!!

How time passes... Its been 6 months since I made my goals... I have some pretty far-fetched dreams and I turned them into goals at the start of the year..

For this year, My goals were pretty simple. 3 of them.
1. I want to lose weight. 14kgs.
2. I want 1000 number of sales this year.
3. I want to have my own backup funds of $15000.

This is my first time revealing my goals... Its so frightful just announcing it here. I am someone who really minds what other people say about me, my work and so on.. Perhaps I need to work on improving that by ignoring others' comments.

Anyway, I am not even 1% there for each of the goals.. And yet, I only have 6 more months to go..

What about you? What are your goals? Have you reached them?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Creative Inspiration

crayons_creativity Have you ever thought that you just didn’t have enough time or energy or motivation to create more of your handmade art or craft, like you know you would like to? I have been aware that I needed to be creating more art to list on my Artfire site, so that my store didn’t become stale and boring.

Every time I thought about listing more of the items I already have in my stock (i.e. the oil paintings and fused glass art and jewelry), a lethargy took over me. I got bored and listless, and self-doubt tried to move in. Or, when I thought about creating new artwork, I would just shift stuff around in my art space, without really accomplishing much. It just wasn’t gelling. Has that ever happened to you?

I have been struggling with myself to figure out how to create some new and exciting stuff that would be fresh and enticing to prospective buyers. Not to mention, that it would be exciting to me, too, so I would feel inspired to create more every day. Nothing seemed to work until now.

paintbrush_and_paintToday when I thought about a topic for my post, I was happily down in my studio in the middle of creating a painting for a challenge I am participating in. When I signed up for it, I wondered why I was committing to it, when it seemed that I already had too many commitments for my time.

This one is different, however. It has the potential (and it is certainly delivering what I expected and MORE!!) to stir up my creative juices. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I haven’t felt this inspired for a long, long time. Just what I need, I thought, even if it means that my other projects might have to wait a little while longer, or the house perhaps isn’t as clean as I would like it to be, or dinner gets a little late some nights.

I couldn’t help myself. I joined the 100 in 100 Challenge, which is a commitment only to me, though I am publicly declaring that I am participating. It is something I am doing to get out of my stale mold, to inspire myself to see and try new things, to go beyond where I ever thought possible.

If you ever have felt stalled in your art, or needed new inspiration or ideas, to be able to move beyond your usual stuff that holds you back creatively, I encourage you to take a look. Even though it started a little over a week ago, it’s not too late to join in. You can catch up or extend your hundred days from whenever you start. It doesn’t matter. I started a few days late, too, and I am still able to get a lot out of this. Also, it is totally free to participate. No cost whatsoever!

Here it the first post where it is described. It is being run by Warrior Girl (Rowena) who creates unique “Flying Girl” paintings. What do you think? You can tailor it to whatever you want to create more of in your creative life. What if this is the one thing you can do to get out of your creative rut?

Come join me and others and have some fun!


Monday, June 8, 2009

News from Artfire

Artfire sure is moving and shaking the handmade community up. There are several pieces of Artfire that I hope to share with ACTs followers.

First is the side news outlet that Artfire has created. is a venue devoted to handmade articles from creating art, selling your pieces to inspiration articles and enviromental friendly pieces. The latest department is all about crafting with your kids. Not only does ACT 100% back this awesome publication, but several of our guild members are proud columnists for

Secondly, in case you missed it, there is a new site that allows you to promote your handmade items. Vote Handmade allows members to submit links, vote pieces popular and comment on your favorite Handmade items! What a cool way to promote and makes it easier for shoppers to see all the best items in one spot.

Third-- and this is the best one, Artfire is hosting a contest. The contest is on Facebook and winners get a $100 shopping spree on Artfire. All you have to do is declare how awesome Artfire is. For more information-- please follow this link:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vote in Artfire Cafemom's Weekly Contest

This week's contest theme is Graduation and here are the three entries. Let us know which one is your favorite.

Mindy's Embroidery entered her "Naughty Pooping Graduation Owl" . She said, "Here is my Graduation contest entry. Its a Candy holder."

ByCoco submitted her "Bethany Angel" saying, "How about an angel to "guard and guide" as the newly graduated venture into the next phase of their life?"

Haffina Creations entered this "Pearl and Crystal Necklace". She asks, "How about a beautiful pearl and crystal necklace for a female graduate?"

If you'd like to learn more about the piece, click on its title or picture. To see everything the artist has for sale in their shop click on their name.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Time-Saving Housekeeping Tricks

These days it seems we all have such busy lives, especially us moms! Those of us who are moms AND are trying to be creative and/or run a business at home are especially challenged. House cleaning is not my favorite task to do, though I like being in a clean, tidy space. I just don’t want to spend huge chunks of time to do what it takes to keep it clean. It is a dilemma I am sure a lot of you experience.

Goddess_of_Cleaning_by_bchan I want to share some ideas I have found and things that I do to keep the cleaning time to a minimum while still accomplishing what I want.

For me, the key is multi-tasking! An example: If I am cooking a meal, while it is cooking I will put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher or the drying rack, or I will take the broom and quickly sweep the floor or wipe down the microwave or oven or refrigerator door.

In my bathroom, I keep a sponge and some cleaners under the sink, so right after I am out of the shower, if the toilet or the sink needs a clean, I do it before I leave the bathroom. I do the same thing in the shower stall / tub: Sponge it down while I am still in it anyway, so it doesn’t get to be a big job later on.

Since my laundry room is next door to my art studio room, I usually put in a load of washing while I am creating rather than make a separate trip downstairs to do it.

Also, I am a procrastinator about folding the clean laundry – it tends to sit in the laundry basket for days, getting more and more wrinkled. An idea I have is that I spend even 5 minutes folding as I am getting dressed – even if I don’t finish. At least I am one step closer to having everything folded and put away.

These are some of the things I do, and when I looked up the topic in a Google search, I found this article and was surprised to find that some of what I already do is listed here in some form. There are other good ideas here too: Remember Heloise’s tips for cleaning, etc.? I used to see her column in the newspaper when I had time to read it. I found her online hints and there are some great ideas there too.

I know that if I can do a few extra things each day towards keeping our living space tidy and comfortable without making it a big production, I am satisfied. Hope you find some helpful tips here. Happy housecleaning all!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where's My Motivation?

I have been lacking motivation lately in a serious a way. It's hit all aspects of my life but one area that has been hit the hardest is my desire to craft or work on my studio, which of course is not a good thing since my shop is starting to get stale. I figured that this was something that everyone suffers from time to time, whether it pertain to work, exercise, cleaning, etc. and thought a post about how to get your motivation back might be helpful. I scoured the net for hints and tips and decided to post a few of my faves (in no particular order).

1. Set one goal - Often when you are in a slump it could be that you just have too much going on. Trying to do too much can leave you unable to focus and you start lose motivation and energy. Set one goal to focus on at a time so you are not spreading yourself to thin and can dedicate your time and energy to one thing.
2. Find inspiration - Find others who have achieved what you want to do. Read blogs, books, magazines, google for sites that pertain to your goal. On a related note - carry a notebook with you at all times. Sometimes inspiration hits us at the most inopportune times and we don't want to miss an opportunity to jot that thought or sketch our latest idea. The notebook will also give you something to fall back on for those time when your motivation wanes, just flip through it and hopefully you will get some inspiration and motivation.
3. Get excited - Sounds kind of odd, it did to me when I first read it but it makes sense. When you are excited about what you are doing than you have lots of energy and motivation. So what are some ways to get excited about what you are doing? Start with the inspiration that you get from others and build on it. Share your ideas and foals with your partner, family, and friends. Visualize yourself being successful. Once you get excited continue doing things to keep that excitement going.

4. Get Support - Ask for help, join an online forum, talk to partner, call someone, doesn't matter who just tell them what's going on and just talking about it will help. Asking them for advice and for help in overcoming your slump is sure to give you the boost you need to find some motivation. Sometimes we all just need a good swift kick you know where to get ourselves in gear.
5. Do something! - As Nike would say "Just do it". Staring or constantly thinking about all the things you need to just adds stress and anxiety that keeps you in an unmotivated state. Start with something small, work through it and the sense of accomplishment should be enough to keep you going. Getting started can be the toughest part. Keep taking those small steps and down the road after a week or a month all those small steps will have added up to lots of progress and success.
6. Do nothing - Goes against the previous advice but sometimes we just need to clear our heads. Spend 15 minutes doing nothing but closing your eyes, relaxing, and concentrating on your breathing. I know that's tough to do and inevitably thoughts of all the stuff that you need to do will crowd your head and when they do recognize them and then let them go. This can work wonders for decreasing anxiety which will lead you to be able to tackle the progects ahead of you.
7. Get moving - Take a moving break. Take a walk, go to the gym, do some stretches. Your physical energy will hep get the mental energy flowing.
8. Create a deadline - Best motivators can be deadlines.I know this firsthand. If you don't have any deadlines looming create a self-imposed one. Or set a timer and challenge yourself to get something done in 15 or 30 minutes, after that time is up you should be motivated to keep going. If not at least you still got something done.

9. Take a vacation - Take a good long hard look at what you've been doing and where you are. Look closely at how much and how long you have been working and when the last time you took a break was. Everyone needs some downtime and what can be seen as lack of motivation is actually burn out. If you feel like that's where you are, take a vacation even if it's only for a few days. This break can help give you a fresh perspective and outlook.
10. Try something different - Maybe it's not lack of motivation that's the problem but boredom. Doing the same thing over and over again can get monotonous. We all need something to get our brain stimulated and challenged at times so try something different, a new technique or craft, anything except the same ol' same ol'.

Most importantly remember that lack of motivation happens to the best of us, no one is immune to it. Keep in mind that it's normal, will pass, and not to ever give up!