Monday, March 31, 2008

I've been tagged!

I guess it was inevitable. Sometimes I see blogs where people are "tagged", and think "Why doesn't anyone tag me?" Then I think, "Well, maybe it's for the best, right?". So now it's official...I've been tagged.

7 Random and not so Random, and maybe even possibly odd things about me:

1. I met my husband (and now best friend) on
(Thanks Dr. Dobson for featuring eHarmony on your program!)
2. I am the mother of a teenage boy who has 1/2 a heart and had 5 strokes before age 3.
3. I am a sugar-holic, but working on a change!
4. I sing on the worship team at our church.
5. I got bitten by a baby rattlesnake when my son was a baby.
6. My husband and I are licensed foster parents, hoping to get an adoption placement soon.
7. I sang the National Anthem at a New Mexico Scorpions hockey game.
I guess now is the time when I'm supposed to tag 7 other people, but I would rather tag my readers...YOU! But you can't do the same thing I've done. I want you to tell me your 7 favorite shops on Etsy. And you can either post on your blog, or post in the comments. If you don't know about Etsy, I encourage you to visit! You will find some truly amazing handmade products there! I would have to say that 99.9% of the artists and crafters I feature come from Etsy.
Have a great day!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Features No. 7 -- Featuring Karen Marie Designs

I know, I know, I'm a little late in getting this out, but at least it will be out before Friday is over. I've been a little busy this week.

Congratulations to Belinda, who won the notecards and magnets from Dirty Pretty Things (RavenXX)! Congratulations to TerBearCo. and Bella Symphony who won the two free advertising spots in celebration of our reaching 5000 visits. Can you believe we're already at 6000! We've had over 1000 hits in ONE WEEK! Thank you all!

Today's Friday Feature is all about Karen Marie Designs. Karen is a happily married Auntie and momma to a tuxedo kitty. She and her husband and kitty live in Virginia. Here's a little more about Karen:

TDB: When did you first start crafting?
Karen: I first started crafting when I was a kid. On the top of each Christmas list was always an arts and craft gift, from candle making to woodburning! I did even try, unsuccessfully, the "easy bake" oven. This could account for why I don't cook today! In any case, I recently began scrapbooking, and started to use beads in my work. One thing led to another, and over the past year, I started making jewelry, which I love.

TDB: I see you've been on Etsy for just over a year. How long did it take to get your first sale?
Karen: It was probably about a month before I made my first sale. Every sale there after has been just as exciting. It was especially fun when I sold a pair of earrings to someone is Australia! To think my jewelry has traveled farther than I have!

TDB: You have good, clear photographs, with some great "up close" shots. What's your secret?
Karen: After much struggling, I have begun to take what I feel are better shots. Of course, there is always room for improvement. The key for me was when I bought a "light box." What a difference this made! In addition, I use the macro setting, with no flash, on my camera. To finish it all off, I have been able to use what I have learned in a Corel Paint Shop Pro class to "finalize" the pictures.

TDB: There are SO many jewelry makers on Etsy. What do you think makes your jewelry stand out from the crowd?
Karen: I give my absolute all to making my jewelry. I love to work with Swarovski crystals, and unique beads. Hopefully others agree that my jewelry stands out due to the quality of my workmanship. I pay close attention to detail. For example, on my bracelets I will take the extra time to use wire guards to prevent the wire from wearing out against the toggle. I'll also use crimp bead covers for that finished look. I want my jewelry to be durable and to last!

TDB: When you're not crafting, what do you enjoy doing for fun?
Karen: If I'm not actually creating my jewelry, I am looking through bead books or on-line for various beads and bead findings. I also love to read books about jewelry making. I always want to improve my trade. My husband and I are big fans of College Basketball, so we attend games with a group of friends. We also love to spend time with our cat, Pargo, whom we spoil...just a little! In fact, you will see Pargo on my website modeling some of my jewelry! He is just mesmarized by the beads, and mostly, the string!

TDB: What's your favorite thing about Etsy?
Karen: I can't say enough about Etsy. I have just learned so much since joining. I love the fact that you can have contact with people all around the world! It has literally opened up a whole new world!! I am hooked!


Karen's giveaway is a $20 Gift Certificate from her shop.

To enter: Please visit Karen's shop and find what you would buy if you won the $20 gift certificate. Then come back here and comment on it. ONE comment per person please. Please leave a valid email or make sure we have a good, quick way to get ahold of you. Deadline to enter is Thursday, April 3rd at Midnight PST.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tots on Tuesdays No. 6 -- Featuring Ramsden Designs

Happy Tuesday! It's time again for "Tots on Tuesdays". This week, our featured artist is actually someone who wrote me and asked if I would like to feature her. I took one look at her work, and said "Absolutely!".

Jacqui lives in Perth, Australia, and is the creative mind and force behind Ramsden Designs. Originally created for the little girl market Jacquie was surprised to discover her designs were admired by girls aged 3 to 37. The bright pinks, greens and blues used in her illustrations really grabbed their attention. Jacquie designs and sews all her creations starting with an illustration she prints on to quality cotton fabric and then mixes and matches coordinating fabric to create unique and one of a kind designs.

You can read more about Jacqui in her Etsy profile, on her blog, or at her website.

Jacqui has generously offered to give away this adorable zippered coin purse.

To Enter: Please go to Jacqui's Etsy Shop or Website, look around, then come back here and comment on which of her products you love.

Please leave only one comment per person. You must have a valid email address, or other easy way to find you. If we can't get ahold of you easily, we will draw for another winner. This giveaway is open worldwide! Deadline to enter is Monday, March 31 at Midnight PST.

Have a great day! Don't forget to scroll down to enter to win the notecards and magnets from Dirty Pretty Things. Then scroll down one more time to the 3rd post down, to enter to win FREE advertising for a month, here on The Downtown Boutique!!!

Also, don't forget to check out our sponsor's shops on the left and right of this blog. Have you seen the Etsy Mini's on the right hand sidebar? They change every day, and who knows, you might see something you'd love to buy!

See ya!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday Features No. 6 -- Featuring RavenX

Good Morning and Happy Friday! Today is the day we give away the "Best Friends" scarf from Fringe. And our winner is: ladavies. Congratulations! I will be contacting you soon!

Our Friday Feature today, features someone many of you might know....RavenX, whose shop name is Dirty Pretty Things. Raven is a "mixed media artist" based in Los Angeles, with a lot of different passions when it comes to creating. She has a very fun profile in her Etsy shop. Raven also has a "wunderfully creative" husband, mikiep.

Raven's creativity includes such wonderful items as Cherry Vanilla Mineral Bath Soak, Greeting Cards printed on the finest Italian cardstock, Delicious Long-Lasting Soy Candles, Clay Sculptures, and Acrylic Paintings. So let's get to know Raven a little better:

TDB: How and when did you get started crafting?
RavenX: Growing up, I remember helping my mum decorate cakes or sew clothes {both for Barbie and for us kids}. She always wanted to be a fashion designer, but like so many other women of that time, she gave up her dream to become a housewife and mother. She was thrilled that I later decided to follow her dream. I moved to New York City 2 weeks after high school with only $300, a dream, and a lot of perserverance…. I literally became a fashion designer with no formal school training. I stayed with that dream for 13 or so years of my life {and eventually got my degree in fashion design too!} …and then moved on to a different artistic side of myself, which is what I do now: acrylic paintings, sculpture, customizable greeting cards, yummy soy candles, bath salts, etc….

TDB: What is your favorite thing to make?
RavenX: Lately, I’ve really been into clay sculpture and pretty painted silhouettes. With clay you can have an idea in your head or sketched out on paper and never really know what you’ll come out with once your hands start to shape it. I’ve been working on new pieces for our Fall 2008 show here in Los Angeles. In the meanwhile, I’m hard at work on some sweet little cutie and some painted silhouette shapes that will be filling my shop soon!
TDB: To what do you attribute your success on Etsy?
RavenX: I am so happy to be where I am on Etsy, especially for only having been a member about eight months now. I have lots of great customers, some who have even now become friends. Many of them tell their friends about my work and are repeat clients, which is always the ultimate reward.
I think my success could be attributed to my doing what I want…mixing it up and offering all the things that I personally love to create. I don’t limit myself into just selling art or candles like many shops do. On one hand, offering only a single type of item is a plus on Etsy since there is no real way to move your store around and you are usually judged by what’s currently on your first page; but I feel that my store is more of a lifestyle…through my eyes. I love the store Anthropologie, so I wanted to create that sort of feeling, selling things that you might wish to have in all aspects or moods of your life. It's a work in progress. Of course I have yet to start doing clothing again…but in time, I’m sure I’ll be back to sewing again and will be offering off-beat wearable goodies too.

TDB: What advice would you give to an Etsy newcomer?
RavenX: Etsy success is all about promoting yourself and great customer service, like any other sales business. You’ll notice that when you’re not out “pimping” yourself, sales will go down. Etsy is so infiltrated with sellers now, that it’s hard to get noticed otherwise. Great photos and descriptions are also a must…think something you might find in a magazine. A sweet little blog with a following doesn’t hurt either…and it’s fun too! I have people find my blog and shop just by their “Googling” certain words. Ultimately, just keep doing what YOU love to do and the sales will follow.

TDB: What do you love to do when you're not crafting or selling on Etsy?
RavenX: Well, since the hubs is also an artist, there isn’t much time that were not being arty or working on our historic house that was last renovated in the Seventies! I also enjoy reading books on spirituality {currently reading the Oprah pick “A New Earth”}, going to low-brow art shows here in LA or eating Sushi. Now, that we have a house with a large yard, I also work in the garden a lot. I’m discovering a new found love of the flowers my mum used to teach me about when I was a child.

TDB: If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
RavenX: Oh, there are so many, but a main one would be to work in oil paints since I currently only paint with acrylics. Currently, I'm learning how to use a Wacom Tablet to draw and it takes a lot of time and practice!
…and this may sound slightly strange, but I want to learn to weld. I’ve always wanted to work in metal, but have not ever had the chance. ;)

TDB: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
RavenX: I am thankful to have been able to travel as much as I have so far…but two places that are still on my list are Iceland and Japan. I have always felt connected to the Japanese culture and think I was a Geisha in a past life. I remember studying the Japanese lifestyle when I was in school and I was always totally enchanted. I love their genuine curiosity, forward thinking and ability to see things totally opposite than we do here in the West.
Raven has generously offered to give away some of her fantastic creativity. Up for grabs are:

  • Black Dahlia Card - Photographic image on fine Italian cardstock with envelope
  • Black Cosmos Card - Photographic image on fine Italian cardstock with envelope

  • Pink Floral Trio -3 Large Glass Gem Magnets

To Enter: Please visit Raven's Shop, then come back and leave ONE comment with your favorite item from her shop. If you neglect to follow directions, you will not be entered in the drawing. We do this because we really want to promote our featured artists, and that means getting people to go look in their shops! Thanks for helping out. Please make sure that we have a VALID email for you. I have more than once, had to re-pick a winner because someone left an anonymous comment and didn't leave their email!

Giveaway is open worldwide. Deadline for this giveaway is Thursday March 27th at Midnight PST.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!


PS...Don't forget to scroll down to the next post to try and win a month of FREE advertising here on The Downtown Boutique!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We've Hit 5000!!!!!

Woo Hoo!!!!! We've gotten 5000 hits in just under 9 weeks! We started The Downtown Boutique on January 21st of this year, and we've already reached 5000 visitors (not inlcluding me!). Our visitors have come from these countries:

United States, Netherlands, Greece,
Canada, France, Brazil,
Nigeria, Israel, New Zealand,
Peru, Finland, Sweden,
Germany, Russian Federation, Singapore,
Japan, Kenya, Turkey,
India, Morocco, Philippines,
Australia, Argentina, Indonesia,
Ireland, Croatia, Belgium ,
United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa,
Mexico, Grenada, Switzerland,
Portugal, Denmark, Italy,
Spain, Norway, Estonia,
Hungary, Malyasia, New South Wales,
Iran, Senegal
That's 43 different countries!!!! I'm so excited!!!!

To thank you for visiting our blog and helping us to reach 5000 visitors, I will be giving away ONE FREE MONTH OF ADVERTISING!!!!! That's free month of advertising! I will give away one 125x125 spot, and one Link Listing (shown under "Go Shopping").

This giveaway is closed now. Thank you all for entering. Congratulations to TerBearCo. and Bella Symphony who won the free advertising!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Old Red Barn Co. is Giving Away a Quilt!

And I really want to win! So I left a comment, which gets me one entry. And now I'm posting about it on my blog, which will give me five more entries. Then, if you go and leave a comment and tell them that you were sent over there by The Downtown Boutique blog, I will get another entry! SO the more people who go over there, and mention that I sent ya, the more entries I will get!

I've been giving away so many things on my blog (well, other people are giving the items away, but I'm doing all the hard work of posting about it---I know, you're shedding a tear for me right now, right?), that it's time for me to win now!

So head on over to the Old Red Barn Co. blog and leave your comment. And if you win, it's ok if you give the quilt to me as a gift. I really don't mind! :-)
Thanks a million!
Have a wonderful day!
UPDATE: Drats! I didn't win! But can you imagine having to count how many people left comments and then add entries for all those who posted (or sidebarred) about it??? She had a total of something like 3132 entries total! Crazy! The most entries I've had for something I'm giving away is for the gorgeous scarf from Fringe, which you can win below! (Today is the last day to enter to win the scarf.)

No "Tots on Tuesdays" Today!

I'm sorry....I just couldn't get things together in time for a "Tots on Tuesdays" feature. My hubby took me to Monterey, CA for our anniversary and to celebrate his birthday (one day apart!), so we were gone for three wonderful days!

I have randomly chosen a winner for the mini notecards from Piggy-Tails Stationary:
Michele from
Bonghi Vestiti! Congratulations Michele!

We also have randomly chosen our winners for the Ultimate Blog Party Giveaways, and they have all been contacted. Here they are:

1. Ambrosia Delights $20 Gift Certificate goes to: Shannon of "The Buchmann Update"
2. Handmade Soaps from Barrs by the Bay goes to: Crystal Adkins
3. Swarovski Embellilshed Silk Flower Pin from First Love goes to: Phyllis of Scrappy and Happy in Ohio
4. Coffee Cuddler and Ice Cream Cuddler from Gracie Designs goes to: Terra (partymix25)
5. Lildid Creations $20 Gift Certificate goes to Naomi of Superdumb Supervillain
6. Makeup Bag from Modern Charm goes to Cricket (Lisa E. from Mesa, AZ)
7. Tissue Holder and Wallet from Sew Gracious goes to Kathryn of KV Creative Designs
8. Greeting Card Set from Simply Sentimental goes to Sandy of Sandy's Space blog
9. $25 Gift Certificate from Trilei Jewelry goes to Mary (happy mama)

Thank you so much for visiting our blog, and hanging around to comment. We hope that you will visit often. We've really enjoyed having you!

Now I leave you with some of my favorite things for tots on Etsy:

Have a great day and a Happy Easter!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Features No. 5 -- Featuring Fringe!

Today's Friday Features artist/crafter has a product that was featured on the Martha Stewart Show when the Etsy founder, Rob Kalin was on. If you saw the show, you will remember a gorgeous scarlet/wine colored cowl. That was made by none other than Dennice of "Fringe". Dennice has a great profile in her Etsy shop, that is a "must read". She knits, crochets, sews, and embroiders to create some amazing scarves, capelets, cowls, and more!

I have been a fan of "Fringe" for almost a year now. My favorite item that she makes is this "Sweetheart" scarf:

So let's hear a little more about Dennice. By the way, just to let you know, Dennice was pretty under the weather this week, and STILL agreed to be interviewed, and answer my little list of questions! We hope you feel better soon, Dennice!

TDB: How and when did you get started crafting?
Dennice from Fringe: I have been crafting for as long as I can remember. I love to do all kinds of crafts and art. I learned to knit and crochet at the ripe old age of 4.

TDB: What is your favorite thing to make?
Dennice from Fringe: It's always exciting when I am working on a new design. I love that whole process of designing the item, and then the thrill of actually creating it.

TDB: To what do you attribute your success on Etsy?
Dennice from Fringe: I don't know that I can attribute any one thing to my success on Etsy. Mostly I would attribute it to hard work. I work seven days a week for this shop. It's not something I take lightly. I'm very serious about it.

TDB: What advice would you give to an Etsy newcomer?
Dennice from Fringe: I would stress the fact that to have a successful shop one needs to work very hard on a consistant basis. You also need a great deal of patience. Don't give up easily if this is something you really want.

TDB: What do you love to do when you're not crafting or selling on Etsy?
Dennice from Fringe: Any spare time I have I spend with my husband and kids.

TDB: If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Dennice from Fringe: If I had the time, commitment and determination needed, I would want to become a black belt in karate. My husband and son have been in karate for years. I'd like to catch up to them and give them a run for their money! Also, I'd love to be able to create huge metal sculptures. There are so many skills I would love to acquire but so little time.

TDB: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
Dennice from Fringe: I love to travel. Road trips or airplane trips. I would be thrilled to travel to just about any place in the world. Why? Because I always want to learn about different cultures and different environments. It opens my mind up to all the differences and all the beauty. I also think it would be grand to be able to take 5 months to drive around the United States and see what an incredible country we live in.

We saved the best for last! Dennice has GENEROUSLY offered to give away one of her fringe scarves: The "Best Friend" Scarf!!!! I only wish that I could enter to win, because, let me tell you, I would enter in a heartbeat!! This gorgeous scarf is 70 inches (177.8 cm) long, so it's perfect to wrap around you in the cold, cold weather. The width of the scarf, including fringe is 9 inches(22.9cm)! The Best Friend Scarf is made with a wool-blend yarn, is one of Dennice's original designs, and is one of her most popular sellers!

All you have to do to win this scarf, is to check out Dennice's shop, find your favorite item of hers, and come back here and comment about it. If you do not follow this step, you will not be entered to win. Please only comment one time, and please make sure we have a valid email address for you, or an EASY way to find you. If we aren't able to contact you, we will draw another winner. The deadline for this giveaway is Thursday, March 20th at midnight PST. This giveaway is open worldwide!
Thanks for reading! Don't forget to scroll down to the next two posts to enter to win other gifts too!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tots on Tuesdays No. 5 -- Featuring Piggy-Tails Stationary

Good morning and Happy Tuesday! Today is the day to feature another artist on "Tots on Tuesdays". But first things first...we need to announce our winner of the Cupcake Taggie Blanket from aeBaby! The winner is.........The Haffner Home, who are eagerly expecting a new baby this Spring! Congratulations Haffners! Thank you to all who entered...we're so glad you visited us, and hope you'll stick around!

Today we are featuring Sara, from Piggy-Tails Stationary. Sara hails from Ottawa, the capital of Canada, and is a SAHM to three girls. She is an online graphic design student, and an avid scrapbooker. She has combined both of these loves to create the fun and creative stationary in her Etsy shop.

One of Sara's products that I adore is the Birthday Party Package, complete with Invitations, Thank You cards, and gift tags.

Today Sara is giving away a sweet little set of 12 mini 4"x3" notecards (4 owls, 4 tweety birds, and 4 penguins), perfect for your little tikes to send to their friends, grandparents, etc. They are also great for you to write a little note and tuck in to your child's lunchbox. Note: envelopes are not included with these notecards.

Enter to Win: You must go to Sara's Etsy Shop, find your favorite item, come back and tell us which one is your favorite. Please leave only ONE comment, and please make sure we have a VALID email address for you. If you are our chosen winner, and we can't find you, we will draw another winner. This giveaway is open worldwide. Your personal information is safe with us, and will not be shared in any way.

Deadline: Monday, March 17 at Midnight PST.

Now, don't forget to scroll down one post and enter to win one of NINE fabulous gifts during our Ultimate Blog Party! Deadline for entries is Thursday, March 13th at Midnight PST.

Have a great day!


Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Features No. 4 -- Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Happy Friday! It's time for the Ultimate Blog Party! What's that you ask? It's a HUGE blogging party created for women/girl/gal bloggers (sorry guys!) to have a way to network, socialize, get to know one another, and get LOADS of exposure for their blogs. It's also a fantastic way to win some very cool prizes, which we'll get to in a minute. To find out more about me, the "magnificent brain" (yeah right!) behind The Downtown Boutique, check out my other blog.

First things first, we must draw our winner for the Hide N Seek print and greeting card! And the winner is Annie Howes of! WOO HOO!!!! Congratulations Annie!!!!! Give us a ringy-dingy (well, at least an email or convo!), with your address, and Eloise will send out your prize.

Now for the REALLY fun stuff! We have NINE giveaways this week! I'm so excited! Here they are in alphabetical order:

1. $20 Gift Certificate from Ambrosia Delights.

2. Pomegranate White Tea Soap, Maple Sugar Soap, and Green Clover & Aloe with Barley Grass Soap from Barrs by the Bay Soaps. That's 15 ounces of soap in 3 bars!
3. Crystal-Embellished Silk Flower Pin from First Love.
4. Matching Coffee Cuddler and Ice Cream Cuddler from Gracie Designs.

5. $20 Gift Certificate from lil did creations.

6. Makeup Bag from Modern Charm.
7. Matching Wallet and Tissue Holder from Sew Gracious.

8. Greeting Card Pack of 5 from Simply Sentimental.

9. $25 Gift Certificate from Trilei Jewelry.

This giveaway is now closed. We are still accepting comments, but not for entries for the giveaways. We will draw for winners on Tuesday, March 18, because hubby and I get a WELL-deserved and much needed weekend away that weekend!

Well, that about does it! Be sure to check out the other awesome blogs participating in the Ultimate Blog Party, and see what other great giveaways you can win.

Have a wonderful weekend!

PS...Don't forget to scroll down and enter to win the darling cupcake taggie blanket from! Deadline is Monday, March 10th at Midnight PST.

Ok, now it's MY turn to try and win some prizes! I have looked at the prize list on the 5Minutes4Mom site, and here are my top three picks of what I'd LOVE to win!:

1. The Logitech QuickCam Pro9000 Webcam from Liz, over at This Full House.
2. The Cherish Bound Story Package from Cherish Bound.
3. The "Good for the Kids" $40 Gift Certificate from Good For the Kids.

And here are the rest of the things I would love to win in a non-preferential order:
#1, 7, 12, 15, 17, 30, 36, 39, 49, 59, 60, 99, 138, 140.

Check out the list for yourself!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Have You Been to

Cuteable is a website that features their favorite "cute picks" from all over the place. I submitted something awhile back, for their consideration, and I got the email today letting me know they featured me!

Here is what they featured (flannel burp cloths from my Ambrosia Delights Etsy shop):


Don't forget to scroll down and enter to win the Cupcake Taggie Toy from aeBaby, and the Art Print and Greeting Card from HideNSeek!