Friday, August 31, 2012

Overcoming Digital Overload

It has been said that we live in a day of "digital overload." It is so easy to spend too much of our time in ways that lack productivity and purpose. As we are all aware, the internet, television, video games, and many other electronic devices can all have the ability to be used for good or for evil. However, sometimes even too much time spent using media in wholesome ways can be bad if it takes away time from our family or weakens our ability to serve the Lord.

In a May 2009 CES Fireside Address given at BYU, Elder David A. Bednar gave us two questions to consider when choosing our media.

"For your happiness and protection, I invite you to study more diligently the doctrine of the plan of salvation—and to prayerfully ponder the truths we have reviewed. I offer two questions for consideration in your personal pondering and prayerful studying:

1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?

2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?

You will receive answers, inspiration, and instruction from the Holy Ghost suited to your individual circumstances and needs."
As I watched Elder Bednar give this talk in the Mormon Message found at the top of this post, I was astounded and realized I needed to make some changes. It's not that what I do on the internet is necessarily bad. It's not. But sometimes I spend too much time doing unproductive things when I could be serving or helping those around me.
One thing that has really helped my family cope with digital overload is ending screen time at 7 pm. As soon as the clock changes from 6:59 to 7:00 family time begins. We exercise, play outside, do chores, play board games, and sometimes even go shopping or go out for ice cream.

We don't always follow this perfectly-- sometimes on Friday or Saturday nights we watch a movie after 7. Sometimes other exceptions have to be made. But the majority of the time we abide by this rule, and it has made all the difference. We now spend more time together as a family and less time "sucked in" to our screens. We interact more and are more productive. Limiting our use of electronic devices during the evening even helps us sleep better. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep." By turning off our screens at 7 I have noticed a huge difference in my ability to fall asleep faster. Overall our lives are more balanced and we are much happier.

If you haven't already, I challenge you to do as Elder Bednar says and ponder the questions regarding media use listed above. I know that as we seek to make changes and are willing to sacrifice everything we can for the gospel of Jesus Christ (even our precious screen time) we will be blessed.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Make Marketing Manageable: Twitter

Many of us get overwhelmed when we even think about marketing. So often we think we will pay the extra money to Etsy so that our items will get more views in hopes that will equal more sales. This is not necessarily true because you are tying to appeal to what marketers refer to as your cold market.

The best way I have found to make sales happen is to connect with the different social networks. Today I just want to give you a few pointers about the platform Twitter.

  • I have found that the best way to grab the attention of my followers on Twitter is to assemble a newsletter on the different products I sell and how they can benefit from them. Then I tweet about the value it contains and I allow it to do the work for me. One month I received a $250 order from doing this, just to give you an idea of how well this works.
  • Some points to write about in your newsletters are the trends your items address, or how your items address emotional or physical needs. People buy what makes them feel good, either about themselves, or about you, so allow yourself to share in your newsletter what compelled you to create your product.
  • I have found that the less tweets I do a day, the more attention I get when I tweet because my followers have found that I only talk when I have something interesting to share.
  • Did you know that you can connect with the contacts that you follow on Twitter simply by going to their websites, if they have one, and finding their contact information?  This is something that has been helpful for me when I've wanted to increase my followers. To make the connection a good one, make sure you have something in common that your conversations are ones you can build a relationship on.
These are just a few things to try, if you haven't already. There are a ton more ideas coming as I really find joy in marketing! Just remember to relax and enjoy yourself as you share your items with the public.
Have a blessed day,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Faith in His Timing

Photo from
I've never been good at fishing. My problem is I just can't sit still long enough for that moment of excitement when a fish finally bites after two-and-a-half hours of agony and torture. I have trouble being patient enough.

Sometimes I'm like that in my life, too. I want what I want and I want it now. I want the blessings God has set aside for me given to me on my time table and in my way.

I love this quote from Elder Maxwell.

"Faith in God requires faith in his timing..."

Is that true, or what? In order to have true faith and trust in God, we must trust his wisdom and knowlege and accept that He knows more than us. Our all loving, all powerful Father in Heaven knows our needs. He knows our weakness. He knows our struggles. He has a plan for our lives, and we must trust that He will guide us and direct us back safely to Him. But, first we have to let Him.

Another favorite quote of mine is from President Benson.
" Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace." 
There's a popular phrase that holds a lot of truth to it. "Let go, and let God." Even when it's hard, it is my hope that we will do just that. I know that when we do, we will be blessed beyond measure.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Featured Seller: Cindy from Moon Beans Gifts and Jewelry

This week's featured seller is my friend Cindy from Moon Beans Gifts and Jewelry. Her story:

When I was a little girl, I loved looking through my mom's jewelry box. She had so many pretty things! Most were inexpensive, but they were amazing treasures to a little girl's eyes. When I got older, I still loved the way a new piece of jewelry could lift my mood and enhance my outfit. When I was looking for a new craft I could do at home and one that I would enjoy, I knew that making beautiful and affordable jewelry would be something I could be passionate about.

I loved shopping on Etsy - the amazing range of products and talents that are all showcased on one site! So it was a natural for me to open my own shop here.

I'm not sure that the gospel influences my jewelry designs, but it definitely affects the way I do business. "We believe in being honest," is not just something I want to practice on Sundays. I think offering a well-made product at fair price, treating my customers right, using my own original designs, and building relationships with my fellow crafters are all ways to live honestly and practice the gospel.

Check out Moon Bean Gifts and Jewelry for more lovely items!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Featured Seller: Camille from Not So Modern Millie

This week's featured seller, Camille from Not So Modern Millie, has the most unique and humorous items in her shop. Here's how they came about:

I have always wanted to work with my hands. As a child, I would watch my mother and grandmother sewing for hours. My father was a carpenter and I loved to hear about the process of building. I eventually learned to cross stitch and sew and went on to earn my bachelor's degree in Architecture. I suppose, in my case, being a craftsman is genetic!

I discovered Etsy, as a consumer, five years ago. I was overwhelmed by the unique ideas and talent! Last year I decided to open my own shop. I had been making homemade gifts for family and friends for years - whether they wanted them or not. I needed to expand my audience! My items aren't aimed at the mass market, so it's immensely gratifying to know that my buyers appreciate my work... and sense of humor.

Because of my values, I am careful that the work I produce, although silly and off-beat, is never offensive. I am always disappointed when I discover a wonderful talent on Etsy whose work includes vulgar or distasteful items. I want every person who visits my shop to feel happy and uplifted, even if they don't purchase anything. Although I wish they would... :)

Check out Not So Modern Millie for more fun and colorful creations!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Temple

With so many temples under construction or being renovated, my heart is turned towards the meaning of temples in our lives. I love this quote from President Packer:
May we each dedicate ourselves anew to the service of the Lord. 
Say the word temple. Say it quietly and reverently. Say it over and over again. Temple. Temple. Temple. Add the word holy. Holy Temple. Say it as though it were capitalized, no matter where it appears in the sentence. 
Temple. One other word is equal in importance to a Latter-day Saint. Home. Put the words holy temple and home together, and you have described the house of the Lord! 
May God grant that we may be worthy to enter there and receive the fullness of the blessings of His priesthood. (Boyd K. Packer, "The Temple, the Priesthood," Ensign, May 1993, 20-21)

In the March 2011 New Era, the story "Breaking New Ground" by Breanna Bennett Olaveson really touched me. Breanna describes how she was able to attend the groundbreaking of the Rexburg Idaho Temple. As she stood there reflecting on the ceremony, she "realized they were doing more than moving dirt around. The hardened ground needed to be softened before there could be room for the temple, and [she] knew [she] could learn from that." She decided that her life needed some changes so she could be ready for the temple when it was finished. Breanna started to better herself by finding new friends who made better choices and reading her scriptures more regularly.

In February of 2008, Breanna was able to attend the temple's dedication.

She said, "...I didn’t feel like the same person. As I sat beside my parents in the newly completed Rexburg Idaho Temple, I reflected on how far I’d come in the years since the groundbreaking. I sang the hymn “The Spirit of God” (Hymns, no. 2), and I knew that unimaginable blessings still awaited me in that holy house.

"The temple was ready and dedicated to the Lord. And so was I."
Whether we live near a temple that is being dedicated soon or not, may be strive to align our lives with God's and prepare to be worthy to enter Heavenly Father's Holy House, today.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


In Doctrine and Covenants the Lord tells us that we are to forgive all men and that the Lord will choose whom He forgives. Some posts back I wrote of a sister at church who had hit my daughter. About a month later I was in Nursery with my son and she came in to assist. I went to tell her that she was okay not to sub, but before I could get more than her name out of my mouth, she shut the door firmly in my face. That hurt more than I can put into words. Since then I have cried for strength to really forgive and allow the Spirit to move her into forgiveness as well. Last Sunday she gave my husband a bag of scraps left over from her sewing projects for me. I have since decided a thank you card is in order. That the Lord works miracles in our lives when we sincerely pray for them is my testimony.

Last Sunday a sister shared a poem with us that showed the effects of sin when we judge and do not pray to forgive others.

The Cold Within
Six humans trapped by happenstance, in bleak and bitter cold,
Each one possessed a stick of wood, or so the story’s told.
Their dying fire in need of logs, the first man held his back,
For of the faces ‘round the fire, he noticed one was black.
The next man looking cross the way, saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch.
The third one sat in tattered clothes; he gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use to warm the idle rich?
The rich man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned from lay, shiftless poor.
The black man’s face bespoke revenge as the fire passed from sight,
For all he saw in his stick was a chance to spite the white.
The last man of this forlorn group did naught except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave was how he played the game.

Hope this gives you strength.
Happy creating, everyone!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Featured Seller: Ryan from Ryan Wordsworth

This week's featured seller is Ryan Walker from Ryan Wordsworth. His story:

I have enjoyed graphic arts as long as I can remember. I knew I must be smarter than my 1st grade teacher when I pointed out to her that you can make a lowercase "a" more than one way (as you can several letters). I was always noticing how printed materials, billboards, etc., were laid out.

I started my Etsy shop not too long ago when I saw how easy it was to offer my designs to a wide audience who may enjoy my designs. It's been the best online method for me so far.

I really enjoy using my talent to present the gospel message in an attractive way. One of my callings in my ward is to do the Sunday bulletin. I have a scripture or conference quote on the front each week. From those designs, I share many on my tumblr blog, I also have had a book published of designs that dovetail with the LDS Young Women's values, called Values: Illustrated Scriptures for Latter-day Saint Young Women. I've been working on another book of illustrated scriptures with a Christmas message—no date for release on that one yet.

We look forward to learning more about it! Check out Ryan Wordsworth for more inspiring and customizable prints.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Helpful Etsy Apps

There are many Etsy apps (applications) out there to help make running a shop easier. Here are some of the more popular ones:
  • for making widgets displaying your shop and treasuries on your blog or website
  • for recording shop analytics and editing multiple listings at once
  • for running sales easily (not free, except for 5 credits to run 1 sale; use the referral code 3BC8YJD7U5 for 5 bonus credits)
  • for improving photos
  • for easy treasury making and contacting featured sellers
Find more Etsy apps here or share your favorite ones in the comments. The ones you use will show up in "Apps" under "Your Account."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Treasuries?

I've written two posts on treasuries: how to be featured in a treasury and how to make a treasury. But what's the big deal about treasuries anyway?

Treasuries get you sales!
  1. Attractive treasuries, especially for holidays, get high views and hearts. Even mediocre treasuries will get high views and hearts if they are made by people in lots of circles or promotional teams.
  2. Treasury views get you clicks: people clicking on an item or shop in the treasury.
  3. Clicks get you sales! Even if you don't get an immediate sale, clickers are very likely to heart your shop or item(s), making it more likely for them to return for a future sale and promoting you to other potential buyers.
Several sellers have thanked me for featuring them in treasuries because they resulted in sales. So please don't write off treasuries! Help each other out by making them. And show support when you are featured; it only helps you and you can always un-favorite it later.