30 Days to More Creativity

Creativity is fluid and sometime elusive. How much creativity you start with is part genetics and part environment but how much you end up with is completely up to you. As I understand it, creativity is like a muscle. Not used our creative muscle withers away nurtured and exercised our creativity blooms and expands.

Here are 30 ways (or 30 days) to nurture and grow your own creativity.

Creativity | Jane' sApple

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The Little Piper

Megan of The Little Piper has designed a large and deliciously memorable range of greeting cards and other wonderful paper goodies that are chocked full of style and wit.  The Little Piper is a new sponsor at Jane’s Apple.

Tell us more about you and your online store The Little Piper?

The Little Piper was first dreamt up in 2010. I started out selling screen printed plush toys and vinyl stickers. In 2012 I closed my shop so I could focus on being a first time mum. Now that my son is older and I have a little more free time, I have recently opened up shop again with my focus being on providing greeting cards of a particular nature to the world.

I love to create quirky pieces for the home and special keepsakes for all occasions. I am inspired by the idea of offering a keepsake to someone special in your life, to keep long after the special moment has passed, there still have something to hold as they reminisce and that is a very special gift. While most cards may end up in scrap books, some of my cards are designed to be used as mini prints, so they could be framed to see all year around.

What are you passionate about besides The Little Piper?

When I am not creating for The Little Piper, I enjoy my days building pillow forts and doing creative projects with my son. I love seeing him discover the world, and he takes me on all kind of adventures.
My partner and I are happy snappers; and love taking photos of everything. We love dressing up too for Anime Conventions and just for the hell of it too.
In recent years, I have started to travel more and love it. I love discovering a new part of the world and seeing how different, or in some cased the same, some things are.

When do you feel the most creative?

I feel creative most of the time. My head is always buzzing, and I am constantly seeing new things in everyday life, that give me more ideas. I heard a saying that describes it best “Having a creative mind, is like having a million tabs open in your browser at once”.  But when I am sitting at my desk with the music going, I can get lost in creating something and that is when the magic happens!

You are the reason | The Little Piper

You are the reason | The Little Piper

What approach do you take to your art?  When you start a new project do you have a clear picture in your mind of your finished piece or is your process different?

Most of the time I have the finished art work in my mind. I always start with a sketch and then draw it up on the computer. The original idea can change a little as the art work is developed, but I work with a defined style and that keeps me on track most of the time.

Bonjour Paris Poster | The Little Piper

Bonjour Paris Poster | The Little Piper

The designs in your store The Little Piper definitely have delightful humour and a distinct look. How would you describe your style?

My cards certainly aren’t the traditional kind of greeting card. They are quirky and playful with a little edge.

You are my favourite muggle | The Little Piper

You are my favourite muggle | The Little Piper

What advice do you have to share with other budding creative entrepreneurs?

You can never know too much about promoting on social media and SEO stuff. But above all do what you are passionate about and try and try again. There will be a lot of hurdles and trial and error before you get where you want to be.


Megan’s creative nature is endearing and infectious.  She certainly puts all that creativity to good use!  It’s a pleasure to have The Little Piper on the blog.

The Little Piper

The Little Piper

You can find The Little Piper here:
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/thelilpiper/
Instagram https://instagram.com/the_little_piper/
Twitter https://twitter.com/thelilpiper
Tumblr http://thelittlepiper.tumblr.com/
Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/thelittlepiper
BigCartel http://thelittlepiper.bigcartel.com/
Zibbet https://www.zibbet.com/thelittlepiper

Top 10 Google+ Features for Business

Google+ offers features you’d be crazy not to take advantage of

Google+ allows you to share posts, items and content directly with people in your ‘circles’ and will display your google+ content on search pages when someone searches for relevant keywords.  Google+ also displays your business information to people browsing right on search result pages making getting found by potential customers or blog readers a breeze.
Google+ | Jane's Apple
Here’s my top 10 Google+ Features for Business

  1. Profile creation and display and privacy control not just on Google+ but across all Google platforms.
  2. Content sharing with groups (or circles) of your choosing.  You can even email your newest posts, etc to all circles.
  3. An abundance of Communities to help you connect with like-minded people and share your own content with them.  Jane’s Apple has it’s own community on Google+ for sharing and support each other
  4. Photos are very easy to share and are automatically enhanced to look even better.  Photos are also backed up for safety and accessibility from other devices.
  5. Google+ app for your mobile devices.
  6. Post Google maps to your Google+ profile. Great for posting locations of your next Craft show or Craft market.  You could also use this feature to invite reviews of your ‘real-life’ sales locations.
  7. Hold private or public free video calls on  Google+,
  8. Auto post your YouTube videos to your Google+ profile and email the linked to all your followers.
  9. Notification bar on the top of all of your Google places online allowing you to keep up to date with comments, follows and likes on your Google+ stream.
  10. Hashtags you use in your Google+ post have power. When users search for certain hashtags as part of their search results they’ll see a stream of Google+ posts containing that tag.

Plus try out Google Polls to learn what your followers think about a particular topic and try out Google+ shortcodes to help make your content pop!

At the moment I use Facebook to keep up with my friends and family because although I can see many of them have a Google+ account they aren’t using it yet.  The wonderful people I’ve met through Jane’s Apple are on Google+ and it’s proved a great place to keep up and communicate with them.

Helpful articles: Marketing with Google+ and 111 places to post your content online .  This article is part of my Marketing Challenge Series

Google+ has a ton of potential for businesses, marketers, and consumers and it’s FREE!  I think the sense community on Google+ is just great, and their are features available that are unmatched even by the likes of Facebook.

From a business point of view using Google+ makes sense.  Google is a search engine giant and you amplify your content for display on Google search engine by posting it to your Google+.

google+ja

You can find me on Google+ here and join the Jane’s Apple community on Google+ here.

If you like this article you’ll like 20 Simple and Cheap Ways to Promote Your Business Offline and Marketing with Pinterest

Do you use Google+?  Do you find it helpful?  Any tips to share?

111 Places To Post Your Products Online

Considering the vastness of the internet, success for artists and craft people selling online ultimately comes down to the success of their marketing. Get your product in front of as many people as possible.

60ways

Source: Sian

So here is it! The list of 111 (and counting) places to post your products online:

      1. Amazine – Curate your own magazine
      2. Angie’s List – local business directory
      3. Artfire – a marketplace for handmade goods.
      4. Big Cartel - build a free shopfront
      5. BIzSugar – share your business posts, videos and other content
      6. Blogger.com – create your own blog (it’s easy and relatively quick) post images of your new listings to your blog.
      7. Blogkeen - add your blog
      8. Bloglovin – add your blog
      9. buzzfeed – sign up and share just about anything
      10. Carbonmade - create an online profile
      11. CraftIsArt – create a storefront
      12. Craftori – a photo gallery site for arts, crafts and vintage
      13. Craftster – connect with other crafters and share ideas
      14. Craigslist - buy and sell stuff
      15. Dailydeals – submit your deal or offer
      16. Dawanda - Create a shopfront
      17. Del.icio.us – share your links
      18. DeviantArt – showcase your art
      19. DexKnows
      20. Digg - post your links
      21. Diigo
      22. dmoz.org - web directory
      23. dribbble.com
      24. Ebay – Auction site
      25. eCrafter
      26. Etsy – create a shop front
      27. Ezebee – New
      28. Facebook – high popularity social media site
      29. Fark
      30. Fishindie
      31. Flavors.me
      32. Flickr
      33. Folksy
      34. Foursquare
      35. Free Craft Fair – exchange links to get in directory
      36. friendfeed
      37. Google+ – high popularity social media site
      38. Groupon
      39. Handmade
      40. Handmadeology
      41. Hubpages – Sharing words, pictures and videos
      42. ICraftGifts
      43. Ideas Tap
      44. IFTTT
      45. Indiecraft
      46. Instagram – Social image sharing
      47. Klout
      48. LinkedIn
      49. LiveJournal.com
      50. Love Etsy – a little site to share listings etc.
      51. Made It (Australian sellers only
      52. MadeItMyself
      53. Manta
      54. mentionmap
      55. Meylah
      56. MoJo
      57. Mulu
      58. My Handmade Registry – social network to share your handmade wishlist.
      59. Networked Blogs
      60. NotMassProduced
      61. myspace
      62. OpenSky
      63. Paper.Li,
      64. Pearltrees
      65. Photobucket
      66. Picasa – An Google Integrated site, sharing images on this site come with additional SEO benefits.
      67. Pinterest
      68. Polyvore
      69. Postach.io
      70. Prezi
      71. ProjectEve
      72. Project Wonderful – low-cost, sometimes free, advertising on targeted blogs
      73. Promote My Website – add your site to the list
      74. PRWeb – press release website
      75. Quora
      76. RebelMouse,
      77. Reddit
      78. Scoop.it
      79. Shopify
      80. Shop Handmade
      81. Showcasing Women
      82. Silkfair
      83. SiteWit
      84. SlideShare
      85. Society6
      86. Storenvy
      87. StumbleUpon.com – bookmark a page
      88. Square
      89. Super-markethq
      90. Super Pages - online directory
      91. Taggify – monitize your website
      92. Technorati - provides popularity index and much more
      93. The Fancy – photo sharing
      94. Tophatter – live online auctions
      95. Tumblr
      96. Twitter
      97. Vine – video sharing
      98. Wanelo – a digital mall (their description)
      99. Webshots.com - share your photos
      100. We Heart It – product image sharing
      101. Wickedly Chic – get featured or list your products
      102. WordPress Blogs – blog about your craft
      103. Yahoo Local
      104. Yelp - business directory
      105. Yessy – site to sell your art
      106. Yoast – all about website optimization
      107. Yola – easily build a website
      108. YouTube
      109. Yuuby – share video and other media
      110. Zazzle - print and sell your designs on a wide range of items
      111. Zibbet – open an online shop

My advice

  • Try out as many as you like and then choose a handful of the sites listed above and dedicate time to each site on a weekly basis.
  • Remember that sharing online is about great images. Use any tools at your disposal to produce the highest resolution and best light photographs possible.
  • Every time you write a description of a product you are selling remember you are building the story of your brand. Make is flawless and memorable.
  • Diligence is the name of the game. Reaffirm your commitment to making a success of your business. Apply dedication and a strong work ethic.

Do you have any favourite ‘go-to’ sites for sharing your products? Any suggestions of places to post your products online I could add to the list? Please let me know if any of this links no longer work as expected. Care to comment?

 

Silkway on Jane’s Apple

It’s always wonderful to welcome new artists to Jane’s Apple and today  I’m publishing one of my favourite types of articles – An article featuring our  new sponsor Silkway.  Silkway produces and sells luxurious handwoven Uzbekistan ikat fabrics and pillow covers.

250x250-ad-for-Silkway

The process of producing these gorgeous pillows is extremely skilled and labour intensive.  Here’s a little look at the production process of ikat fabrics:

Multicolored ikat fabric | Silkway

What is ikat?

Ikat is a type of fabric that is dyed before it is woven.  Skilled artisans arrange bundles of silk threads next to each other tightly and then bind these bundles into patterns.Ikat Process | Jane's Apple

Then, these bundles are dyed. The threads are dipped into the dye. The bound parts of the silk do not receive the color whereas the unbound, exposed parts are colored. The tightly bound areas are waxed before dyeing so that the dye does not penetrate when the bundles are soaked in the dye.

Silkway | Jane's AppleFabrics that are more than two colors have to be bound and dyed more than once. This requires immense skill and time.

Lastly, the threads are woven on looms by hand.

SilkWay on EtsyThe entire process is specialized and labor intensive. The most skilled artisan could at most make about 2 yards (1.8 metres) of fabic per day.

Ikat Pillow | SilkWay


Thank you to Silkway for providing some imformation about ikat fabrics.  It’s certainly a pleasure to have Silkway on the blog.  I am facinated and in awe of the skill required to produce these vibrant fabrics.  The fabrics hark back to ancient cultures but still manage to be very current in design and color.

Swing by and browse the wonderful items in  Silkway on Etsy