Black Friday + More on Etsy

I don't usually offer deals and specials in my Etsy shop, because I don't think handmade shoppers are bargain hunting, and that's not what buying handmade is about.

On the other hand, I like and appreciate my customers so it feels good to be generous during the holidays. Since I started adding new items beyond paper goods to my shop you all have been so supportive of my work, and I want to return the favor.

I will be offering 4 days of deals starting this Friday, Black Friday. There will be a new special for each day, continuing into Small Business Saturday, "Secret Santa" Sunday, and Cyber Monday. Think: promo codes, free gifts, free shipping, and more.

Each day's special will be announced the night before, right here on this post and on my Facebook page..

Or, you can sign up to my newsletter to find out all of the deals in advance: the quarterly newsletter goes out tomorrow (Wednesday)!

I hope to see you in the shop this weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving,

DIY Hand-Stamped Holiday Cards + A Stampin' Up Giveaway!

There is just over a month until Christmas! It's absolutely hard to believe. This year, like most years, I am making my own holiday cards, and this year I had the chance to try out some stamps from Stampin' Up. The best part? One lucky reader will win this bundle of holiday-themed stamps and an embossing folder as well!

Full disclosure: I am a stationery designer, and I have cards for sale on Etsy. Those cards use my own hand-painted watercolor patterns, and my own calligraphy and paper cuttings; HOWEVER, I am a crafter at heart and I have a weakness for stamps. I really enjoy the process of stamping by hand, and I was very excited when Stampin' Up asked me to try out some of their products for free. In return, I am writing a post for you, my readers, on how you can DIY your own holiday cards. This includes my honest opinion of Stampin' Up products.

Here is what you'll need to make stamped holiday cards:
  • Sturdy white card stock. I recommend heavy-weight card stock in place of the stand white card stock. A weight that is more than 65 lbs is best. You can cut one sheet of card stock in half to get two 5.5" wide by 8.5" tall sheets. Fold them in half. This size will fit most A2 size envelopes, but if not, chop the bottom .25" off the bottom of your card with a paper cutter. Alternatively, buy your cards pre-cut with envelopes.
  • Stamps: if you want the same stamp set I am using in this post, enter the giveaway below to win it for free! Alternatively, you can buy the Berry Merry Photopolymer Bundle from Stampin' Up here.
  • A clear acrylic stamping block, large enough for your largest stamp.
  • A variety of inks. I used Stampin' Up inks in shades of red, green, black and grey
  • Optional: pre-cut blank gift tags, or more sturdy white card stock to punch out your own gift tags; a small hole punch; string or twine + scissors.
Before we begin, here is a tip: test each of your stamps on a piece of paper before stamping on your card. New stamps can be sticky, and new ink can be extra juicy. I found this out the hard way!

The Basic Holiday Card

The "Season's Greeting" and "Joy" stamps were so large, it was like block printing! I used to carve my own block prints, so I liked this quite a bit. The clear stamping block makes it so easy to place your image absolutely perfectly.

The "Season's Greeting" and "Joy" stamps have some embellishments as part of their design, so you could really make a card with just one of these stamps, and maybe add variations with black ink, red ink, green ink, etc.

The Basic Holiday Card, upgraded

The stamp set comes with many little coordinating stamps. I chose this set for its botanical designs, and added a few leaves and berries. Using just 2 colors and only a few stamps keeps the design simple. I first did a layer with the green stamps, then a layer of the red stamps.

Patterned Holiday Cards

Now this is the reason I chose this stamping kit. I LOVE the evergreen stamps. There are 4 evergreen sprigs in this kit, and I laid them out on my clear block to start my pattern after first stamping "Joy" in the middle of the card.

I started by stamping the same layout of 4 sprigs in each corner in a light olive shade of green. I then re-arranged the sprigs to stamp another, inner layer in each corner in a darker green. I repeated again until the whole surface of the card was covered in evergreen sprigs, alternating colors of green and keeping the sprigs a uniform distance apart.

Alternatively, you can use just one ink color to get a more uniform pattern.

Embossed Greeting Cards and Tags

My stamping kit came with an embossing folder with the same botanical elements. The embossed pattern really makes for a stand-out holiday card, adding texture in addition to the beautiful colors and shapes the stamps offer.

I do not have an embossing machine (Big Shot), and I must say, I really recommend you use one for best results; however, I wanted to give this embossing a folder a try and used a rolling pin instead. My card came out quite nicely, but I loved the look of embossed envelope flaps even more.

To make a cohesive gift-giving set, I embossed white gift tags as well.

To make the gift tags, you can use pre-cut tags, or a gift tag punch like me. I used a very small hole punch, about 1/8" in size, rather than the standard 1/4" - 3/8" hole punches. I used natural twine to string the tags.

You can use the botanical stamps on top of the embossed shapes for even more visual interest.

I was really impressed with all of the tools I used. I had zero problems with the quality of the stamps: no accidental markings from the edge of the stamps. The inks were consistent and even. The stamps clung very well to the clear block, and were easy to re-position. I liked that the lids of the inks are attached via hinge. I don't know why, but I always seem to lose ink lids, or mix them up.

The only con? One of the inks was a little on the juicy side. No matter how many times I inked a stamp, there would be wet bubbles which led to a juicier print. I only had this problem with 1 out of the 6 inks they provided me with.


Are you ready to win a Berry Merry Photopolymer Bundle?

Here's what is included:
  • Berry Merry Photopolymer Stamp Set, which includes 17 photopolymer stamps and storage case ($17 value)
  • 1 Boughs and Berries Textured Impressions Embossing Folder ($7.50 value)
Clear stamping blocks and inks sold separately.

To enter: leave a blog comment below with your first name and best contact email.

Win additional entries - pick your favorite or do them all!

  1. Tweet about this giveaway, and tag @AshleyPahl in your Tweet (can be done daily)
  2. Pin the top image of this post on Pinterest, and tag @AshleyPahl in the pin caption
  3. Blog about this giveaway, and leave a link to the post in the comments below

This giveaway is live now and runs through November 25 at 12:00 PM EST. Must be 18 years old to enter. One winner will be chosen at random.

Enter now!

Snowed In Magazine 2015

For the past three years, I have been publishing a handmade holiday magazine from scratch. It was a true labor of love that I wrote, designed, and edited my self, with the help of other artists and bloggers who contributed projects, recipes, printables, and more.

I wanted so much to be able to provide this free resource to you this year, but I had to give my online store some much-needed attention. It has certainly paid off - it's only mid-November and I am almost sold out of many of the ornaments I designed for the 2015 season. I certainly hope to be back in 2016 with the fourth issue of Snowed In Magazine.

If you haven't seen Snowed In yet, or if you wish to re-visit past issues, please use the links below. Each issue is 90-100 pages, and FULL of creative holiday DIY projects; seasonal recipes; tips for surviving the holidays; handmade gift guides; fashion and beauty guides; and so much more!

Snowed In Magazine, issue 3, 2014

Snowed In Magazine, issue 2, 2013

Snowed In Magazine, issue 1, 2012

One more thing! If you've read any or all of the issues, I am curious: what was your favorite section? What was your favorite DIY, recipe, printable, or article? This will help me shape future issues. Thanks!


15 Best Pinterest Gift Guides to Follow

There is no doubt that Pinterest is one of the greatest resources for finding specific gifts for specific people. I've already had a ton of success finding frugal Christmas gifts for my children this year.

But what if you're not sure what your looking for? Particularly when it comes to men, I tend to be lacking in ideas. That's the beauty of gift guides: other people have done the dirty work of scouring the internet for you.

These 15 Pinterest gift guides feature artisan and handmade picks; edible gifts for neighbors and co-workers; DIY and budget ideas; printable, last-minute gifts; and unique retail finds. Follow, pin, and bookmark; and if you have a great Pinterest gift guide to share, leave a link in the comments below!






I hope you find something you like (or know others will like). You can follow me on Pinterest for more ideas!

Shop Updates: a new way to shop on Etsy

When I first heard about Shop Updates on Etsy, I cringed. Another social media tool that I would have to learn and keep up with. I LOVE Instagram, and Facebook has been good to me, but so many others just go over my head. Good news though! It turns out that Shop Updates are actually fun. They are incredibly easy for sellers; they're very useful and interesting for shoppers; and they effortlessly integrate into the social media you're already using.

The point of Shop Updates is not to spam people with your products; rather, it is a way to share your creative process and behind-the-scenes photos. Shoppers will learn more about how their favorite artisans make their wares, and as a handmade buyer myself, I feel I will really appreciate this.

Here is how it works:

I've been studying plants and posting my botanical flatlays to Instagram. I do this not just because it's pretty, but I use the photos for references in my paintings. The end result is a new watercolor botanical line of stationery in my shop.

I wanted to share a little behind the scenes look at what I've been making: I have some pine needles as my inspiration; a work in progress; and a finished card all photographed together. When I post this photo to Shop Updates, people who have Favorited my shop in the past see the photo, as well as people who have purchased from me in the past. It's only visible in a module on the Recommended tab of the Etsy shopping app, and maybe the homepage as well.

Desktop users can view a shop's updates via a link in each shop (as pictured above).

Updates are not emailed or messaged in a spammy way. The card that is for sale is tagged in that photo, so if people like what they see it is easy to find and buy that card.

After posting to Shop Updates, I can then share the image on my social media channels. Since Instagram was such a huge part of my creative process recently, I shared it there. I may also share the photo on Facebook as well.

I'm excited to continue using this feature, and very interested to see what other handmade sellers will do with this opportunity. Visit my Etsy shop to see the updates in action, and favorite my shop if you want to get behind-the-scenes peeks at what I do!

Learn more about shop updates here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...