Gallery

Bad Blogger Chronicles: Late Again….Here’s Why

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Bad, bad Blogger Bobbi! Seems I have time for work/play with pups/cooking fabulous Valentine’s Day dinner for hubby (recipe below) /buying bridal shower gift two days before actual shower and making some new jewelry. And that, dear readers, is why … Continue reading

Bad Blogger Chronicles: Would It Hurt To Try Something New?

 

 

Naaahhhh. New is good. New is different. New can be fun and exciting (and you can always go back to old if you really want to.) So my challenge the week is to focus on doing, trying, attempting something new. Let’s face it – we all live very happily in our comfort zones…all wrapped up in “same ol’, same ol.”  But trust me – taking just a few steps away from what you routinely do/eat/experience can be a very empowering thing.

Case In Point #1 – what’s for dinner?

I started hanging around Pinterest – an impossibly engrossing site where people “pin” or post photos of things in a certain group. Dogs, jewelry, interior decorating, pocketbooks, whatever. I’ve discovered some amazing “lite” type weight watchers recipes that I’ve started to print out and try. My husband is loving it – while he generally will eat anything I put in front of him, it’s nice to see his reaction when I try out new (and hopefully yummy things).

Tried this week:  Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice (excellent!) & Sweet n Sour Turkey Meatloaf (good but needs more seasoning)   Shrimp Fried Rice recipe is from a site called SkinnyTaste.com   Recipe is at end of post.

Case in Point #2 – what else can you do?

As you probably already know, I make jewelry. It is my hobby. It is my stress-relief. It makes me happy. But sometimes, it makes me frustrated. Because I get bored doing the same things over and over again…or I see something someone made that I think I can change in a way to make it even better. So instead of just sitting here and doing NOTHING (something I’ve become quite adept at over the years), I decided to try my hand at doing something I haven’t done before. In this case, I wanted to make a pair of sterling silver earrings – one-piece – no earwire necessary…and add some colorful beads to them too. Here’s what I came up with…

 

 

So how about you? Anything new you’d like to try?

 

Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Size: 1-1/2 cups • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 8 pts
Calories: 307.3 • Fat: 7.0 g • Protein: 22.7 g • Carb: 37.4 g • Fiber: 3.5 g

  • 3 cups brown rice cooked
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (peeled weight is .75 lb)
  • 2 egg whites, scrambled
  • 1 whole egg, scrambled
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 5 scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated
  • oil spray
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil with cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 4 tsp soy sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp Asian fish sauce
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • (I added sugar snap peas to this, too)

In a bowl, season shrimp with cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Scramble eggs with a drop of water and season with salt and pepper. In a hot wok, spray a little oil and cook the eggs. When cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

Let the wok get really hot. Add sesame oil and saute onions, scallion whites, garlic and hot pepper flakes for about 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and saute until no longer translucent. Add rice and cooked egg along with soy sauce and fish sauce, mixing well for about 2 minutes. Add greens of the scallions and serve

 

Bad Blogger Chronicles: A Little Late, But Hey! It’s Here…

So much for my resolution to blog more. Just not happening. Instead, I resolve to blog BETTER. (meaning: write something worth reading. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?) So here goes. Let’s start with what I learned this week.

There’s a little something for everyone here.

For those trying to lose weight:

(1) Eating breakfast for lunch or dinner is a great weight loss tool. (I’m not talking syrupy waffles here, people. But omelets or cereal and fruit)  FYI – here’s a great oatmeal recipe you make in a slow cooker overnight.

(makes 9 servings)

Cranberry Maple Slow Cook Oatmeal

2 – 2 1/2 cups steel cut oats (you cannot use regular oats for this)

3 cups water, about 1 cup lo fat milk

3/4 cup of dried cranberries (can chop them if you want)

ground cinnamon or cinnamon and sugar (about 1 1/2 tbl or to taste)

1/2 cup maple syrup (I used the lite kind)

Throw everything into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. You can garnish it when it’s done with slivered almonds. This is actually a recipe from Weight Watchers. Each serving has a points plus value of 6 if that means anything to you.

For those who make things/sell things:

(2) Facebook is having a giveway for facebook ads. Details here:

https://www.facebook.com/smallbusinessboost

If you have a shop on etsy or artfire (and a facebook page) you could get either $50 or $150 worth of free advertising. And they’re going to give away 10 prizes of $10,000 in free advertising too. (Chances of winning that one…ummmm…probably not so good.)

For those with pets:

(3) No matter how many dog toys you buy for a puppy,

maggie mae

My pup, Maggie Mae

they would still either eat your couch, chew on your tupperware or shred your toilet paper.

For those who play words-with-friends:
(4) Chances are, you can’t win if you don’t get the “J”, “Q”, “X” or “Z” – at least one or two of them. And if you have all vowels, don’t be a martyr. Swap some letters.
For those who make jewelry:
(5) Try to develop a signature style. If your stuff looks like everyone else’s – why should anyone buy anything from you?

Heart of Gold Lampwork Wire Wrapped Necklace by fatdogbeads

Shooting Stars Sterling Silver Wire Wrap Bracelet by Fatdogbeads

For those who sell on etsy:
(6) If you don’t have sales, try to get new visitors to your shop. If you don’t have new visitors, you need to put yourself out there. Go to the main page. Click on Treasury. In the search bar at the top, type in BNS or BNR. These are fun places to meet other etsy sellers, introduce them to your shop, learn something about theirs, and quite possibly make a sale or two. Plus, almost everyone participating in these BNS/BNRs posts a discount coupon, so you can pick stuff up for less.
Anyway, that’s it for now. More later. (at some point….)

Recipe For Success: Selling Handmade Online & Off

BEGIN WITH SOMETHING YOU REALLY LOVE MAKING….

Someone commented to me the other day, “wow! you sure are doing well selling your jewelry.” And I had to agree with them. While I’ve been selling pretty regularly to family, friends and neighbors, I’ve been slowly cultivating an online group of customers as well. And while getting paid for what you like doing is terrific – the fact that many  customers are repeat buyers means every bit as much to me. (Cue the Sally Field Oscar tape, “You like me. You really, really like me”)

ADD IN SOME RESEARCH TO SEE WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING…

I checked out tons of online jewelry shops in Etsy and Artfire and the like. And created a niche for myself. It wasn’t that my technique was so outstanding…I learned from others, and others will learn from me. But I always felt I had a somewhat quirky way of combining colors, patterns and shapes that helped to make my bracelets, pendants and earrings stand out.

BLEND IN A HEFTY HELPING OF PATIENCE

Amalfi Coast Sea Glass Pendant

I began making jewelry last July. Opened an Etsy shop. And waited… and waited…and (well, you get the picture.) My first online sale came in September – to someone in Australia. I don’t know what got me more excited – the sale, or the fact that I sold something to someone in Australia. I started reading blogs, forum posts, Etsy seller tips and more to see what more I should be doing to encourage online sales. It was pretty slow going there until I hit October and November, when sales online and offline really started picking up.

THROW IN A HANDFUL OF MONEY

I decided to spend some money on advertising and marketing. I joined Artfire, and later, Zibbet. I took the Pro package at Artfire – giving it a test through the holiday season. I went with the freebie package on Zibbet. I tried FB ads, blog advertising, a few freebie websites, and I took some ads on StumbleUpon and Craftcult. I bought showcases on Etsy, and renewed my items on a fairly regular basis. I started a blog (free) and a FB page just for fat dog beads.

STIR CONSTANTLY...

Honeysuckle Rose Pink One Of A Kind Lampwork Bead Bracelet

Honeysuckle Rose Pink Bracelet by fat dog beads

I realized that even though making and selling jewelry was my hobby, I would need to devote more time to it to get it up and running smoothly. I checked my analytics everyday, as well as other stats. I realized that some things worked WAY better than other things. One thing that really helped (and still does) is having a presence in the Etsy/Artfire community forums and BNR’s. (See one of my earlier posts for explanation of the BNR’s). I began making connections with other Etsy and Artfire sellers – terrific, friendly, helpful people. We are often each other’s customers – a nice turn-of-events.

AND VOILA!

I’ve had over 70 sales on Etsy; 2 on Artfire; and countless numbers offline. But a majority of my offline sales use my Etsy shop to browse for their purchases. They also connect with me via my FB page. I make sure to update that very regularly.

What didn’t work for me: Zibbet, FB ads, Stumble Upon, and blog advertising. Not convinced Artfire is for me. I believe you have to put a lot of effort into sites like Etsy and Artfire – and I don’t have time for both. (need time for the job-that-pays-the-bills). i

What worked for me: Etsy showcases (they got me exposure when I needed it. Though I’ve stopped them because of the price.), Craftcult ads – yes, they can be pricey, but whenever I was on Craftcult, my numbers shot WAY up. It was no coincidence. Being in the Etsy forums/treasuries/BNRs on a daily basis.

And now….a recipe you can really sink your teeth into:

From my daughter Erin. This appetizer recipe is a crowd-pleaser. And couldn’t be simpler. Enjoy!

1 lb hot italian sausage (preferrably patties without casing – otherwise, you have to take the casing off before cooking.)
1 bar of cream cheese (not fat free)
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies

Brown the sausage, then add the cream cheese and rotel. Stir well. reheat in the microwave or oven. Serve with Fritos scoop chips.

Things I learned from the guy who punches your receipt at BJs and why all craftspeople should take note

(If you don’t have a BJ’s warehouse, substitute Cosco or Sam’s Club. I’m sure the same receipt-punch procedures are followed at all of them.)

I was exiting the store a few months ago, and the receipt-punch guy (who  normally doesn’t  make much more conversation than “have a good one!!”) noted that I had a bag of sweet potato fries in my cart. “You know what goes great with them?” he asked. Too stunned that real words actually came out of his mouth, I just shook my head in the negative. “A little garlic salt and a lot of fresh dill.”

Aegean Blue Seaglass Lampwork Bead Pendant with WOW Charm

Wow. Imagine that. Getting gourmet cooking tips from the receipt-punch guy. I was stunned. And after I thanked him, hurried home to try out what he suggested.

Double wow. Those fries were AWESOME! (I am now a fresh dill-a-holic. Adding it wherever I can.)

Now, no doubt those fries would have been just fine without the fresh dill. (I usually added garlic salt, so that was no biggie.) But with the dill? Took them to a whole ‘nother level.

Which got me to thinking…could I apply that same idea to my jewelry-making? And, it turns out, the answer is yes. All it takes to go from “good” to “great” is one small thing you add, or change. Now the “thing” is probably different for everyone and everything you work on. But the IDEA is the same. When you think you’re done, take a step back and think about what you can add, or change, to make YOUR item different and better than everyone else’s. Make it stand out from the crowd. And often, it’s just something little that’s enough to make it “sing!”

Too often, I think we get into a rut, making the same thing over and over again. We need to break out of the “sameness” by adding a little fresh dill to the mix.

The other thing I got from the receipt-puncher? Open yourself up to advice from unexpected sources. Imagine how much you can learn!

SWEET POTATO FRIES, BJ-STYLE

• Frozen sweet potato fries

• Olive oil spray

• Garlic Salt

• Fresh dill, chopped

Place potatoes on single layer on baking sheet. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Top with plenty of fresh dill. Cook as directed.  Enjoy!