Blog Archives - Forget Me Not Memories
This weeks random winner of a blog feature and banner display is lulu lang whose medium is paper....

My name is Tracy, and I live in the small town of Caledon, Ontario, Canada with my fiancée and our two kitties. My “real job” is working at a restaurant (not creative or crafty at all!), but when I’m not working, I am spending most of my time working at the job I love: my Etsy shop, Lulu Lang.

My story begins nearly 10 years ago, during my last year of high school. Like many people of that age, I was struggling to find myself and figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I took a trip to my guidance counsellor’s office to discuss my career possibilities with her. I had always thought I would become an entrepreneur and have always been creative and crafty. I told the counsellor that I would like to have a job that involved putting words and images together. Her only suggestion to me was to become an author/illustrator, otherwise no such job existed. I was not interested in pursuing that career, so I left her office and for years afterwards I tried to find a job of that description that did exist.

Fast-forward a few years - I had the idea that to make one of my friends a birthday card. She was so impressed with her card that I became inspired to create more, so I did! I kept making cards, and really enjoyed every minute of it. Eventually I built up a small inventory of cards and made my first sale to a local woman who wanted to buy all the cards I had. I had never met this customer before, and I was thrilled and motivated. I had realized the job of my dreams did exist and I would be able to make this happen for myself.

While doing online research about starting my own business selling handmade cards, I came across a website that would change the world of handmade as I knew it: Etsy. I knew I wanted to continue creating handmade cards and build up a business, and Etsy provided me with the platform to make this happen. I love seeing the look on someone’s face when they open one of my cards. I know they appreciate my unique and personal cards more than something bought in a store. I put a lot of myself into everything I make, and find it very relaxing and rewarding.

While my business was beginning to develop, I was still working to find the perfect name for my new business. It took me many years to find a name that reflected strength and creativity while also being memorable. Lulu Lang was born from two pieces of my own family history: I had been doing a lot of research on my great grandfather, Hilliard Lang, who was a Canadian champion boxer at the turn of the century and Lulu comes from one of my earliest childhood nicknames.

Lulu Lang is not yet my full-time job but it is where my heart is most content. My goal is to, one day, be operating Lulu Lang as a full-time business, but for now I will continue doing what I love and enjoy selling my handmade items to customers worldwide. Although I am still new to Etsy, I am excited to see where this path will take me, and I look forward making more people smile by doing what I love to do.

I've been so busy getting my Daily Discoveries page up that I've neglected my blogging duties!  I'm so excited about this promotion tool, I love helping other shops get exposure.  The more exposure for 1 = more for all.   Best of all it's really caught fire and we're getting new shops daily!

The talent among this group of etsians is boundless, painting, sewing, crocheting, paper wizards, vintage, jewelry of every shape size and color.  AMAZING talented artists, yes, artists.  No matter what craft we choose as our niche we all aspire to be great at it and it shows in the quality of work and in the professionalism of the shop owners.  It is a labor of love that we all enjoy, I spend 8 hours a day at my 'real' job and 8 hours at home with my 'heart' job.  Would I work 16 hour days if I didn't love at least part of it?

I'd like some feedback today on the following if you care to share :)

*  Do you have a day job (full or part time)
*  How many hours per day you spend on your etsy shop
*  How many years you've spent honing your crafty skills

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all you shop owners out there that take the time to make your product special, I discover new wonderful shops everyday and I know that there are so many out there left for me to find!
One of the things I love is hearing a shop owners personal story, what inspires them, what made them open a shop, how they chose their artistic medium.  Here Maria tells us her own fantastic story!

My name is Maria.

My first 20 years I spent in Kazakhstan, and then leaving all the well-known there, I immigrated to Israel. Despite the fact that I was all by myself in a new country, in a new culture, surrounded by new people, who were speaking in a new language, I felt happiness and joy among everything new.

Here I've experienced something that revealed me to the whole new being, full of diversity of its manifestations. It revealed me to life and death, simplicity and grandeur, day and night, black and white and to the shades between those both sides. I wanted to share this revelation with the whole world, but I did not have enough words to do it. So I began my journey of searching for my individual form to express what I feel.

It is a long journey.

Life has passed as usual; I've studied and picked a profession, working with autistic children. Then, my first son was born. During all this period I, subconsciously, continued my search. At this point I found the Kabbalah. I've met people who experienced similar experiences. I felt that I was not alone anymore and this understanding gave me strength to continue my search. Soon, I met my beloved one and got married, my second son was born, and after wards my daughter.

After the birth of my daughter, I found out the world of beads. The creation process of beauty with tiny beads fascinated me and I couldn't stop.
My first sales were, if I may say, very random. People I did not know were interested in my creations and bought them. It was great - the feeling of opportunity to share what I felt, it was life in all its multifaceted beauty. It was what I was looking for. Therefore I decided to open a shop.

The name of my shop not incidentally is Voice of the Earth - a voice from the depths – which is telling the secrets of life and helping me to remember the completeness of the world. Not always, the black color is for grief and sadness, it can be refined and elegant, not all that is gray - dull, and not always the red color red is to express aggression.

Often my creations are inspired by nature. From time to time the inspiration comes from the stories of other people, reveals all the diversity and beauty of inner world.

My creative process - is in scrutinizing, listening, living and searching for color, style and shape. Sometimes this process helps me to understand myself. I can express the storm of feelings inside of me in my creation and while looking at it, I understand the meaning of the happening (the example of such creation is this red bracelet).

I still keep looking, learning and I want to find more and more people to share with them the Beauty of the word

Check out all of Maria's fantastic and intricate beadwork in her shop

If you'd like to know more about the daily discoveries click here
So the big topic of conversation on etsy over the past few days is the forums transferring to teams... Not everyone is liking the idea.  Part of my day is spent on the forums, making connections, critiquing and being critiqued and just having fun making new friends.  I have started the daily discoveries and so far it is a hit, why not roll out a new forum as well!  So come be a part of MY community!  Everyone is welcome, there are no rules on what you can and can't post (regarding photos, try to stick to thumbnail size).  Lets take what we love about etsy and keep it alive, what we will really miss is the community input and atmosphere, we can have that here.

Check out the new forum here: Community Forum it is easy to use and figure out, if you have trouble use the contact form at the bottom of the page and I'll help you :)  I look forward to seeing many new faces!
I've had some success with featuring other etsy items by posting in the promotions forum.  I allow each shop to give me a link for one item in their shop per day that I then post in a daily gallery.  (See Promotions Page)  With the popularity of this item I wanted to lay down some ground rules for people to refer to.  So here we are...

1.) I will post a new topic in the promotions forum every morning (Monday - Friday) The name of this thread with be Foget-Me-Nots  Daily Etsy Discoveries (date) for searchability

2.) You are allowed to post a link for one item per shop per day.  Try to mix your items if you list often so we have diversity! (you are welcome to add more links in your thread post but I will post only 1 item in the gallery).

3.) All I ask in return is that you spend a little time clicking through the other items and leaving some love behind you.  Feel free to invite your friends to the site and to leave a link to it wherever you want.  Feel free to flip through my website as well, I post in the blog daily and I love comments and input from others.

4.)  Each Saturday I will choose one shop at random that was in that weeks galleries and feature them in a blog post on Sunday.  That shop will also get a banner and shop link in the 'my favorite etsy shops'  page as well as your banner and link on my front page for the following week. 

I believe in helping other shop owners, I love the etsy community an I love finding all these great items from great artists.  I am trying to build my own community here on this site and hope that you will want to be a part of it.  Come back often to check out what's new and comment on the blogs as often as you'd like.  I love that people are communicating with each other through the thread as well, don't be afraid to tell others what items you love, we all love a little pat on the back once in awhile!

Thank you so much, I look forward to featuring your items!

Since starting this etsy experience I've discovered that it is not a 'part time' hobby.  I make an effort every day to find new ways to promote my shop, my head is full of project designs and business ideas.  I work a full time 8-4 job and sometimes I find it hard to balance all the to-do's that come along.  Craft projects start to pile up around me, I go from one project to another without finishing the first.  I swear it feels like this sometimes...
Sometimes you just have to hit the reset button and go back to the basics.  Here are a few ways I unclutter my space and my mind.

* Reset work area, throw away scraps that are too small to use, put away tools and accessories, organize all unfinished projects into file folders.
* Take a night off from 'the grind' everyone needs a break now and then, don't be afraid to take it
* Get a journal and write down all new ideas that you have when you have them, sketch, describe, remember.  Getting the idea out of your head and on to paper will clear the clutter from your mind and help you later when looking for insperation.

How do you hit your reset button?
Some days I wake up in the morning feeling overwhelmed and down.  Nothing seems to go right, I drop everything, wake up late, can't find anything to wear.... Then I read the news and realize how very lucky I really am.   My bad hair day seems small in comparison to natural disasters, terrorist threats, school shootings, domestic violence and a multitude of other horrific acts and events that happen every single day.  So today I say MY LIFE IS GOOD and I am lucky to have the life that I do.   I'd like to share some things that I am thankful for...

    * I am thankful that I have a family, boyfriend and dog that loves me unconditionally.
    * I am thankful that I have a job, a roof over my head and a hobbie that I adore.
    * I am thankful that I spent a lot of quality time with my father before he passed through this world far too soon.
    * I am thankful that I have not been personally touched by the cruel events that happen in the world around me.

I'd like to hear from others today about some of the things they are thankful for, lets all celebrate life rather than read about its dilemas.
I had a very productive weekend, had a craft get together at my moms and made bunches of great Valentines Day Cards.  My mom and her friend made beautiful Fashion Pin Gift Sets out of poly clay.  What a perfect one stop shopping deal! 
In all I listed 10 items yesterday and still have more to photograph.  I love having enough inventory and choices for people to look at when they visit our shop. 

Did anyone else have a productive or inspirational craft making adventure this weekend?
I find inspiration in all the normal places, books, pictures, the internet, but I also find it in the not so normal...  The mall, a city street, an outsiders view of a couple or group of people, dreams...  What I'd like to know today is:


I will then conglomerate all entries and issue a challenge to all my fellow artists with a prize giveaway from my shop.  I think other people are the fountain to our own ideas, imagine the possiblilities when creative minds are all working towards the same goal and  taking different roads to get there.  So please if you have a few moments let me and everyone else know what inspires you.

So the east coast is being buried in snow... again.  I'm used to it here south of Buffalo but it's still a pain.  Here is a small distraction and a picture to warm you as you think of the sunny days of summer!