Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Newbie Tuesday

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Perfectly Gorgeous Fall

Here are some wonderful "Fall" looking items that have just been listed on Etsy.com.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Feature No. 27 -- Featuring Red Ruby Rose

Well, it's Friday again, and I'm posting late. I've got both of my boys sick now, and the teen even stayed home from school, even though he didn't want to. I am really hoping hubby and I don't get this cold! I really don't want it!

Have you seen what we're giving away? It's in the post just below this one...so be sure to scroll down. I'm sure you'll really like it! It's my way of saying "Thanks" to all of my great readers, sponsors, and the people I've featured who have been so wonderfully generous with their giveaways.

Speaking of features and giveaways, today we are featuring Rowena of "Red Ruby Rose", all the way from Bristol, UK! I featured Rowena's clutch purses several weeks back, in our Etsy Mini featured favorites. She was so thrilled that she wanted to be included in a Friday Feature, and wanted to do a giveaway.

Let's get to know a little more about Rowena...

TDB: At what age did you start sewing, and who taught you?
Rowena: My grandma and mum taught me how to sew but I was never any good at it. It must have lurked in the genes and blossomed in my 30's!

TDB: What's the story behind your Etsy shop name, Red Ruby Rose?
Rowena: An instant decision on signing up to Etsy - I wanted Ruby Rose but it had been taken so I added the red!

TDB: According to your shop profile, you have some other hidden talents...what are they?Rowena: Well.... I'm an illustrator and I front a rather fine indie-pop band called Santa Dog. (http://www.santa-dog.co.uk/)

TDB: What new projects are you currently working on?
Rowena: I've just launched my new range of clutches with my own fabric designs - I studied printed textiles for my degree at Edinburgh School of Art so it's lovely to come back to it.

TDB: What are your business goals for the coming year?
Rowena: Business goals? I'm afraid I don't think like that. I muddle along from week to week and never make long term plans.

TDB: Does your businesses make a living for you?
Rowena: Absolutely. I've always been of the mindset that my creative work is a lifestyle that has to sustain me - I could never work a 9-5, I'd be a square peg in a round hole.... completely unemployable.

TDB: Please share 3 random things about you, and don't be afraid to let us know any deep, dark secrets. :-)
Rowena: 3 random things,,, errrr...... I'm not a true blonde..... I'm a chocoholic...... and I adore tequila :)

Thanks for sharing your very interesting life with us Rowena. Now, for the giveaway. Rowena is giving away a $75 gift certificate for her shop!!! PLUS free worldwide shipping.

To enter: Please visit "Red Ruby Rose" and then come back here and comment about your favorite item in Rowena's shop. Your comment must have a valid email address attached to it somewhere...either in your blogger account or in the comment.

For one extra entry, you can blog about this giveaway, and leave a separate comment with the link to your blog.

Deadline to enter is Thursday, October 2nd at Midnight PST. Giveaway is open worldwide.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Win a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card!!!

Can you believe it? We've had almost 20,000 hits here on The Downtown Boutique since its inception in January! Not only that, but we've had some WONDERFUL giveaways, and some FANTASTIC sponsors too! I'm just so thrilled that we've been able to feature SO many different artists and crafters from all over the world. I am so grateful for my wonderful readers, who keep coming back again and again!
So, to show my appreciation, I'm going to give away a $50 gift certificate for Amazon.com!!!

I hope that you will visit the shops of those who have made this gift certificate possible. It is sponsored by the 5 paid ad spots we got during the month of September:

I hope that you will visit each of our sponsor's shops or websites and show them a little love.

To Enter:

Leave a comment, letting me know what you are thankful for, or a short story of a time when someone went out of their way to help you with something.

For one extra entry, you can blog about this giveaway. Please leave a SEPERATE comment with a link to your blog post about the giveaway.

For FIVE extra entries, purchase something from any of our sponsors, located on the right hand side, starting from "Cookie Dough" and going all the way down through "Ambrosia Delights", and leave a seperate comment with the link to what you purchased. I WILL be checking with the shop owners!

Deadline to enter is Thursday, October 2nd at Midnight PST.

Giveaway is open worldwide.

NOTE: You MUST, MUST, MUST leave a valid email address, or have one attached to your Blogger profile, or you will not be entered to win, and your comment will be deleted. I'm sorry, but I don't have the time to track people down.

Have fun!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring Little Peanut Shop

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Newbie Tuesday

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Feature No. 26 -- Featuring Sweet Pickles Pottery

Whew! I'm getting in under the wire! In my time zone, it's still Friday, so here we go. It's been a SUPER busy week, so I apologize for the delay. My baby is turning 15 on Monday, and we are having his party tomorrow, so we've been getting ready for that.

Today, we are featuring a fun little shop called "Sweet Pickle's Pottery". I first heard of this little shop last year, when I had some Christmas banners listed, and Melanie bought one from me. She has some of the cutest pieces...harvest platters, soap dishes, Christmas ornaments, personalized birthday plates and more!

By the way, Melanie is offering 20% off on anything in her shop, if you let her know that you found her on The Downtown Boutique!!!

Let's find out a little more about Melanie.

TDB: What is the story behind your business name?
Melanie: Oh gosh! Its just silly.. My sister and I were throwing names out there.. And we both love pickles.. Dill ones.. And Dill pickles didnt sound quite as cute as sweet pickles!

TDB: When did you start creating pottery, and what got you interested in it?
Melanie: When i was younger I think I was probably around 13. My aunt got me started in ceramics.. and I've always loved it since then.

TDB: Are you currently working on any new or different projects?
Melanie: I am currently working on a Christmas line.. As well as some Thanksgiving and Halloween pieces. Also I am on playing with clay forming my own pieces. We shall see how that goes! It's kinda a work in progress! I'm not very patient, I like to have something right now to paint on!

TDB: Besides pottery, what other hidden talents to you possess?
Melanie: I love to draw and sketch I have painted murals on my childrens wall as well as for friends and family. Also I LOVE to cook. I am constantly making up new recipes.. Bless my husband's heart for being such a good sport when I do that! I would love to write a book someday as well.

TDB: What does a typical day in your life look like?

Melanie: Kids up, breakfast, off to school. Workout (when I am in the mood) then home to clean...work on projects on, as well as off etsy...dinner, then its time to start all over again the next day! Oh and usually I make a trip to my son's school once a day.. (I'm in charge of Birthday Buckets for PTA this year so there is always a delivery it seems!)

TDB: If you just found out you had one month to live, what would you do with your time?
Melanie: Probably spend it with family on a very long cruise!!

TDB: What are three random things about you? And yes, you can divulge any little secrets that you don't normally share.
Melanie: I lived in Montreal as a child and spoke fluent French. Can't speak a lick of it now! Although, my daughter is enrolled in it this year so maybe she will teach me!, My husband and I have moved 3 times in the last 6 years. And I would love to have my own Bed and Breakfast someday!

Thanks Melanie, for sharing this little bit of your life with our readers here on The Downtown Boutique. I'm am always so amazed at all the moms I run into on Etsy, who have these fabulous businesses going, and they manage to juggle husband and children as well! Yes, I'm one of those jugglers too!


Melanie is giving away one of her darling "Cookies for Santa" plates. You may choose to have it personalized if you wish.

To enter: Please go visit Melanie's shop, Sweet Pickles Pottery, and then come back here and let us know what your favorite piece is.

Please make sure your email address is either in your Blogger profile, or included in your comment. We will never "spam" you, so you don't need to worry about that. If there is not an easy way to get ahold of you, you will not be put in the running for the giveaway. You may choose to include it in this format so that it doesn't get those computer generated spams:

downtownboutique at sbcglobal dot net

Earn an extra entry by creatively writing about this giveaway on your blog. Please leave a seperate comment if you blog about the giveaway.

Deadline to enter is extended: Friday, September 26th at Midnight PST.

Giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY, due to shipping costs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Merry Christmas With a Peppermint Twist!

I know, it's not even October, and here I am talking about Christmas. But you know that Santa's elves are busy already, especially over at Ebay, in the custom boutique department.

Check out this sweet little "Peppermint Twist" outfit from Gumdrop Shop!

This 3 piece set consists of:
A ruched and ruffled corset top. The top is made using Michael Millers "Oh Deer" out of print fabric and dots. It has a shirred back for comfort and a perfect fit. Ruching down the front gives this shirt wonderful details with great lines. A bright and super fun pair of wide leg, strip work gauchos. The pants feature Three fabrics by Michael Miller, grinchy dots, and more dots.

An a fun grinchy dot belt.

You can bid on this set and get it custom made in size 1-6.


Quite often, I like to take a peek into the shops of the people on Etsy who have "hearted" my shops. Boticelli is one of those shops. And boy do they have some beautiful pieces of dichroic glass jewelry. One of the pieces that popped out at me, is this heart pendant called "Awakening". I love how pretty it is. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Down's Syndrome and Other Disabilities

Having a son with disabilities, I am always interested to learn of others who are dealing with these issues as well. Unbeknownst to me, I "hearted" an Etsy shop, whose owner has a son with Down's Syndrome. Well, kind of funny, but this seller convoed me and asked me if I would be willing to do a trade, because she loves my banners and feels that they are really "HER".

I didn't have to think twice on this one...I immediately wrote Tami and said "YES!". So, she is giving me these two WONDERFUL signs that she has made, in exchange for some custom work.

Tami is working hard at getting a shop opened in her town, where people with disabilities can come and work. She has written letters to the governor of Indiana, and she has spoken with many people about this project, including the mayor of her town. I hope that you will take the time to read her profile in her Etsy shop and see what I'm talking about.

I would LOVE for my readers to rally around her, and show her some support, by either convoing her with a note of encouragement, or by purchasing something from her shop, Rosehill Cottage.

Who, What, Where, When, Why, How ETSY???

Thanks to Mrs. Kwitty for sharing this video. This should explain a LOT about why I created The Downtown Boutique. I hope that you will add this to your blog, and help spread the word about Etsy. Who knows, you might have an awesome Christmas season!

Wordless Wednesday Featuring Lil Cubby

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Newbie Tuesday

Here are some "newbies" on Etsy. If you buy, please make sure you tell them where you found them!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sundays in the Sewing Room -- Featuring Small Something Couture Costumes

Welcome to our second "Sundays in the Sewing Room" segment. Last week, we featured Debbie from "Bridget and Co.", and we have a winner, but we will not reveal the winner until we hear back from them.

Meanwhile, I have this "thing" about the "custom boutique" listings on Ebay. I dabbled in some custom boutique sewing for awhile, and sold quite a few outfits. But it took up way too much of my time, and the fabric obsession was something that I needed to cut WAY back on. I have sewn quite a few darling little girl outfits that still hang in my closet, but alas, we do not have a little girl. So I indulge by taking a peek at what is selling. It always amazes me, how creative some of the outfits are!

Here is one that I find absolutely STUNNING, not to mention amazingly creative. It comes from Natalee with Small Something Couture Costumes (Ebay id: "smallsomething"), and it is a perfectly darling little costume for a pageant or Halloween party. If you click on each photo, you should be able to see it up close.

Thanks for looking, and have a wonderful week!


A Couple of Giveaways

Everything Up Close is a blog that is currently featuring some GREAT giveaways!

The first one is from Home Studio: This beautiful red songbird pendant and chain. Click HERE to find out how you can enter to win it.

The second one is a medium diaper or tote bag of the winner's choice from Designs by Keri. Click HERE to find out how to enter to win a bag from Keri.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Halloween Handbag Giveaway from Sew Gracious

Pam at Sew Gracious has been featured over at "Simply Sentimental, The Blog", and is giving away this fun Halloween Handbag. Visit Sydnei's blog to find out how you can win it!

By the way, did you know that Sew Gracious is one of our sponsors? And Sydnei, from Simply Sentimental is too! Sydnei is also a co-author here on The Downtown Boutique, and is the one who posts the "Wordless Wednesday" feature every Wednesday.

Buy Two Pillows, Get One Free

"Olive" is a shop on Etsy, and they have a great sale right now. Buy two pillows, get one free! Be sure to read the details about how to get your free pillow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Feature No. 25 -- Featuring The Sweet Unfolding

Welcome to Friday! I hope that everyone is doing well. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are dealing with the hurricanes right now, especially Hurricane Ike.

Congratulations to Huguette, who was our winner of the necklace from Lula Boutique. Congratulations to the three winners of the FREE month long ad spots: Laura C, who generously gave it to her friend who owns Naptime Cards; Aimee W., who generously gave her spot to her mother-in-law who owns My Bright Pouchette; and Kelly, who owns Pia Tilly's Boutique. Thank you for ALL of your comments!

Today, we are featuring Sarah, from The Sweet Unfolding. Sarah has an Etsy shop, but also has her own website, www.thesweetunfolding.com.

Sarah has a shop full of wonderful goodies that any lady would love to have, from Luxe Vanilla Bath Caviar, to Pistachio Damask Letterpress Notecards, to paper banners for every special occasion.

Let's hear a little more about Sarah and The Sweet Unfolding.

TDB: How did The Sweet Unfolding get its start?
Sarah: I’ve always wanted to work for myself, and I had been mulling over different ideas for several years. When I was planning my wedding a couple of years ago I kept seeing the same products over and over on different wedding web stores. I wanted something unique, so I decided to make almost everything for our wedding—from invitations to favors to the guest book and even the flower arrangements. It was so much fun that I put together a small collection of handmade favors, cards, gifts, and other items to sell on Etsy. In June of this year I officially launched www.thesweetunfolding.com to showcase my designs as well as the work of other designers and offer some unique choices for weddings, parties, and gifts.

TDB: Where else do you sell your products besides Etsy?
Sarah: I also sell my products at www.thesweetunfolding.com. I’m still kind of new to creating my own items for sale, so I’m investigating where else to sell them. I’ve been getting wholesale requests recently, which is exciting, so I’m looking forward to my products being carried in others’ stores as well.

TDB: What is your favorite thing about your business?
Sarah: I love the creative process, especially developing a collection of items. I had so much fun developing the fragrances and products and packaging for The Sweet Unfolding’s signature line of bath salts and other bath products. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve been working on a couple of new lines that I plan to introduce soon.
TDB: What is the best piece of advice you've been given (business or personal)?
Sarah: A good friend and business owner told me that to be successful I need to be true to myself and let what’s important to me shine through in my business. That’s been the basis for a lot of the business decisions I’ve made, especially concerning the socially conscious aspect of our products and our business practices. I want to make sure that The Sweet Unfolding is doing everything as fairly and as positively as possible to make things better for everyone involved.

TDB: What does a typical day look like for you?
Sarah: I usually get going around 8 a.m., although it depends on how late I stayed up working the night before. I have a terrible habit of staying up too late because I’m enjoying my work so much I don’t want to stop. When I worked for other companies it was always easy to stop at the end of the day, but working for myself is so much fun that I have to remind myself often to step away. It always surprises me how much I work each day, and how much I love it. Since I don’t have children yet I still have the luxury of having most of my time to myself, and I do make sure to stop and spend time with my husband each evening so that my work doesn’t become a higher priority than my family.

First thing in the morning I respond to any emails or inquiries that I received the night before. Afterward I typically pack and ship any orders that have been placed. The rest of the workday I divide my time between making products and the administrative side of the business. I try to spend an hour on marketing and an hour on bookkeeping each day, although I’m still developing the discipline for that. In the evenings I spend time with my husband, Mike, usually hanging out at home or grabbing dinner in our neighborhood. We live in Chicago’s Greektown neighborhood, so we take advantage of all the great food. I usually wind up the day by working on projects while we watch TV together.

TDB: Please share 3 random facts about you (yes, you can divulge little secrets if you like!)
- I am a huge fan of the band Indigo Girls, and if I could give up my responsibilities and be a groupie for a year I totally would.
- I adore sugary kids’ cereals. If I would allow myself, I would eat nothing but Cocoa Krispies all day, everyday.
- I love the television show Law and Order so much that I named my car after Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy.

TDB: What are your goals for your business for the next year?
Sarah: I am planning to expand my designs with another line of bath products. I’d also like to work on invitation design, focusing on eco-friendly products. At www.thesweetunfolding.com we are hoping to add more consignment opportunities for independent designers to showcase great designs perfect for unique weddings and events.

Thank you Sarah, for sharing a little glimpse of your life with us.

Our giveaway today is for this wonderful set of bath and body products from The Sweet Unfolding. You will be able to choose from either the "Petal" fragrance, or the "Flutter" fragrance.

To enter, please check out Sarah's shop or website and then come back here and comment about your favorite item, or a fragrance that you would like to see. One comment per person please.

You MAY earn extra an extra entry by blogging about this giveaway, or by adding us to your blogroll. We also have a button on the right hand side of the blog, that you can pick up and put on your blog. Please leave a separate comment for your extra entry.

PLEASE make sure you have a valid email in your comment or on your blog profile. You do not have to have a Blogger account, as long as you leave an email. If you don't, your comment will be deleted, and you will not be eligible to win.

Deadline to enter is Thursday, September 18th at Midnight PST.
This giveaway is open worldwide.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to enter to win the custom made "Bridget" dress from "Bridget & Co.". Scroll down to find out how.


Sale on Web and Etsy Banners

A little shameless promotion here. I'm having a sale on all premade banners in my Rio Oso Designs Etsy shop. Through the end of September, you can get any premade banner for $1 off. These can be used for blogs or websites as well. Here are some examples of what is available.

A Hilarious Giveaway from another blog...

Ok, so I posted in the Etsy forums, letting people know that I would blog about their giveaways or sales going on in their shops.

I got a response from one shop: Nothing Like It

Here's their hilarious giveaway for "Hillbilly Homebrew":

PS...You have to go to their blog to enter. You can't enter here. Just click on the pink link above that says "Hillbilly Homebrew".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scrapblog and a Summer Challenge

Scrapblog is one of my new favorite places to "be" online. It's SO cool, because for now, it's free! You can create all sorts of digital scrapbooks with TONS of backgrounds, stickers, fonts, etc. to choose from. And it's SUPER easy to use. The only drawback for me, is that there is only one size and layout that you can create. But that's ok...it's still loads of fun.

This summer, Scrapblog issued a challenge to create a scrapblog of your summer activities, with great incentive: A Nikon D60 digital camera. No, I didn't win, but it was still a lot of fun to create a scrapblog of our Family Camping Trip. I'd love to hear what you think!

Have You Met Our Latest Sponsor?

We have some really WONDERFUL sponsors, here on The Downtown Boutique. I hope that you check out their shops on a regular basis! There are some very cool products in their shops.

Our newest sponsor is Michele, of Sweet Irie Originals. Her shop is chock full (we're talking EIGHT pages of products!) of these fabulous wristlet keychains. There's one in there that I think I'm going to have to get for hubby. Can you guess which one?

If you're interested in being a sponsor, please email me, and I'll be glad to let you know how you can be one of our sponsors too.

Wordless Wednesday Featuring Go Monkey Design

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Newbie Tuesday

This segment features shops who have not yet made a sale. Please give them a visit and check out what they have!

Don't forget about our giveaways that we currently have going. You'll have to scroll down to see what I'm talking about.

Monday, September 8, 2008

G is for Giraffe

Lately, I have really taken a liking to giraffes. I think it's because we got our new little guy a plush giraffe when we first met him. I then got a giraffe from "Cookie Dough" on Etsy, that is a little wooden push/pull toy. Since then, there's just been a fascination there.

Here are some great giraffes I found on Etsy:

"Giraffe in the Sunshine" from Bean Pickle Sprout

"Three Giraffes" from Art For Kids

"The Undercover Giraffe Handbag" from Simple Stitches 101

"Giraffe Friends" Ladies Tee from Cocoa and Milkweed

Hey! Don't forget to enter our three giveaways that are currently going! Scroll down to the next post down, and you'll find out more!