Have a few ghouls that are vegetarians or vegans that will be attending your Halloween party this year? Or maybe you're the host with the most who just so happens to be a vegetarian or vegan! Well "Vegetarians in Paradise" has figured out all the party planning for you! Have a look at what they've figured out and then put your own spin on it! Who said vegans can't have howling good goodies at their Halloween party? Take a look at the menu:

Vegan Halloween Party Menu

Witch's Caldron - Fizzy Fruit Punch with dry ice

Vampire's Blood - Hot Spiced Cranberry Punch

Dracula's Teeth - Roasted Salted Pumpkin Seeds

The Goblin's Paté - A nut and vegetable paté shaped like a pumpkin with plastic spiders crawling on it

Devilish Dip - Here's an especially appealing presentation for your Halloween party. Form a container that lends a devilish appearance from a large green cabbage. Make bulging eyes from whole black olives, horns from red Fresno chiles with pointed ends upward. Use toothpicks to fasten the ears made from green bell pepper halves, and carve out a large mouth to hold the zesty dip. Serve with crudités of your choice.

Warlock's Special - Sloppy Joe's with a Mexican flavor on whole-wheat burger buns with shredded vegan cheese sprinkled on top before heating under the broiler

Ghoulie Greens - Tossed salad with Kalamata Walnut and Caper Dressing

Howling Banshee Treats - Cinnamon Softies, cookies with a hint of cinnamon and ginger

Rollo the Pet Tarantula - Fruit and Nut Confection formed into a huge spider

The Devil's Brew - Steaming Hot Chocolate

Head on over to Vegetarians in Paradise for all the recipes and lots more party planning info!

When it comes to small business advertising, especially in the handmade realm, very few have a person solely dedicated to advertising and public relations. This means that you’re likely the only one handling advertising and public relations for your business. Advertising and public relations is one of the things that will make or break a business but don’t think you need to hire a person to handle all your advertising and public relations. You can handle this side of your business if you’re just starting out! It just takes a little “know how”, a lot of dedication and a “go get them” attitude.

... keep reading .....
That's right everyone! You're now looking at the Editor for the Marketing Department of Handmade News! I'm so excited about this promotion I can't even begin to explain it! I've jumped in with both feet so far and I'm totally loving it! Watch the department for lots of fun, useful and creative articles coming soon from the talented group of columnists the department is blessed to have! I hope everyone has an equally awesome week :)

P.S. The Marketing Department of Handmade News has a Facebook Fan Page and is on Twitter. Check out the fan page and twitter feed for all the latest goodies!

Do you use the same ornaments for Halloween and Christmas? I sure do! I had to make a Christmas card that was a bit more spooky than the usual type of Christmas card design. This card is an original gocco print and I printed this design on red and dark navy cardstock. I don't know if I'll be printing this design again so snag it before it's gone :)

The card says "Wishing You a Haunting Holiday" and was inspired by Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. It measures 5.5 x 4 inches and is blank inside for you to add your own personal message.

There was no garden update today for two reasons...

1. It's been raining like crazy here so I wasn't about to take any pictures.

2. I gave the blog an updated look! It's much more "me" now. Feel free to leave a comment on this post about what you think of the new look.

I hope everyone's week is off to a good start :)

I just had to share my lunch with you! Isn't this the coolest alpha-getti you've ever seen? It's actually the "spider man" alpha-getti. I feel pretty darn cool having spider web pasta for lunch :)

The silent auction is almost over for 48 for Larry! Don't miss your change to help out with a great cause and score some sweet craft supplies! Go here to see the auction page where my die cut packs are. There's 18 whole pages of goodies for your bidding pleasure :)

My artisan showcase went up on Blockhead Radio at the end of June. I've been getting some great exposure and can't tell you how thankful I am to Blockhead Radio for giving handmade artists an opportunity like this! If you don't have an artisan showcase or have no idea what Blockhead Radio is, surf on over to their site to check them out and listen to some great tunes!

This week I wanted to share this adorably creepy vampire plush stuffed bunny from Bunnies Inc at ArtFire. I couldn't keep this find to myself because I'm sure there are a lot of you out there that would love to add this bunny to your creepy collection!

"Freaky Friday Feature" is a weekly feature on my blog for all the "Hallo-weenies" out there that share my love for creep-tastic finds! If you have any ghoulish goodies that you'd like to see featured on a "Freaky Friday Feature" post, don't be shy and leave a comment on any of the "Freaky Friday Feature" blog posts. You never know, I might just use your suggestion ;)

Noel might have been able to give "Gin" a run for her kibble in her younger days! .. ha ha.. ok, maybe not.. but she does know all the names of her toys and can fetch them on command! ... not as impressive as Gin, but it's still more than my other two freeloaders ha ha!

By day Jennifer is a graphic designer, by night – an occasionally DJ, animal lover, sci-fi junky and handmade artist! Jennifer runs successful shops on Etsy and ArtFire. In this interview (on Handmade News) she shares her marketing strategies with us.

... we will be returning to our regularly schedule Garden Adentures blog spot on Tuesdays next week.

It rained too much for me to take pictures of how my garden is doing so I thought I'd share something else fun with you instead.

The creepy guy below can be yours because he's a DIY project! Just click the picture to go to the page with all the instructions :)

Today I'm the featured artist on the main page of ArtFire! I couldn't be more excited! Please go check it out! If you missed it on the main page my feature is copied below.

Featured Artisan: Jamie Sabot, shesbattydesigns
Posted by sara on 2009-07-20 7:49:19

Art has always been a huge part of my life. It’s where I find my motivation as a driving focus but also where I find a resting spot to refuel. Art takes many different roles in my life depending on external circumstances but has always been there like a constant, loyal companion.

If there is a new craft you could learn, what would it be and why?
I dabble in a lot of different crafts. Paper crafting, printmaking, and photography are my passions. I have dabbled in sculpture, painting, and candle making. I would love to develop my skills in these areas. I’m also really inspired by soap makers! I haven’t tried out that craft at all and would love to really get into it!

What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
I would love to see my ArtFire studio flourish. A goal of mine for this year is to get my ArtFire studio established and add a variety of products (not just paper products). Over the next 2 years I hope that my ArtFire studio is bringing in enough business to be a steady supplementary income. My overall goal is to ensure that I always love the crafts that I’m doing and never lose site of the joy they bring me.

Where do you receive your inspiration, in general?
Inspiration for me comes from within. I just seem to have a focus inside me that drives me to create and be creative. When I need some fresh inspiration (and ideas of what to do with the creative driving focus in me) I do a lot of web surfing, get out and take lots of pictures in some of my favorite places, look more closely at every day “ordinary” things and search for something that’s been overlooked, or just take a long walk with my man and our 3 dogs.

What is the most treasured thing in your craft stash?
I have two! I couldn’t pick just one and you’ll know why after I mention them. They are my gocco printer and my big shot die cutter. They are both huge in my creative process - for their own reasons – and I would hate to be without them.

If you won a thousand dollar craft shopping spree, what would you spend it on?
I would buy all the supplies to try out all the craft mediums that I haven’t been able to try or develop my skills in. If I still had money after that I would stock up with lots of pretty papers and adhesive!

Visit Shesbattydesigns’ ArtFire Studio

Many of us enjoy using social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, but did you ever stop to think about how important social media can be for your business?

If you’re running an online shop, social media is extremely important. Your costumers are online so what better what better way to interact with them than via social media? If you’re already using social media sites for fun then you’re a head of the game and can make an easy transition into using these sites as an organic way to market your online shop. If you’re not using social media sites yet, don’t worry. They are easy to get the hang of. Start by setting up a profile at Facebook and work from there. Facebook is one of the bigger sites and will help you connect with local people that may want to buy “offline” from you.

Continue reading my article on Handmade News where it was originally posted.

I absolutely LOVE this skirt by Sisters of the Moon Designs! I HAD to feature it because I know there's someone out there too that's dying to get themselves into a beautifully goth goodie like this! Since I can't justify buying it right now I thought someone else might be able to ;)

"Freaky Friday Feature" is a weekly feature on my blog for all the "Hallo-weenies" out there that share my love for creep-tastic finds! If you have any ghoulish goodies that you'd like to see featured on a "Freaky Friday Feature" post, don't be shy and leave a comment on any of the "Freaky Friday Feature" blog posts. You never know, I might just use your suggestion ;)
We often think of being “different” as being weird or awkward. When it comes to marketing, being different, weird or awkward will work to your advantage. Although we have all gone through a phase of trying to fit in or be like everyone else–-think high school. Those days are long gone (thank goodness!). Now is the time to be the different, weird, and awkward person you were born to be.

My photography assistants sure are cute! I can't say they are very helpful thought. They seem to get in the way and distract me more than anything! :)
Not much to report today. Things are pretty much the same as last week. I'll get a picture up of the pumpkin patch soon.

Since I don't have much to share from my garden I thought I'd share The Pumpkin Nook with you instead! It's an awesome resource for all things pumpkin!! There's even a wedding ceremony going on right now ;)

"I was not only honored to interview Patricia from Evil Needles, but it was a bit of a dream come true to chat with such a celebrity! I’ve been a fan of Patricia’s work for a long time now and the creations that I’ve bought from her are the crowning jewels of my wardrobe! Her work is always in high demand and completely original. Patricia took some the time away from her sewing machine to share some of her marketing strategies with us.

What online marketing strategies are you currently using?

My online marketing strategies are always changing. What’s useful today will virtually drop out of style tomorrow so I’m always jumping around. Right now my listings on etsyare serving as my biggest advertising outlet. Since I’ve been posting on etsy more heavily I’ve picked up quite a few boutiques as clients. This is sort of an indirect advertising campaign in that, of course, my main objective is to gain sales, however, one of the benefits of keeping a full etsy shop is that people find out about you.

In addition to etsy I also try to post a lot on Twitter. By “a lot” I mean two or three times a day, not 50 posts with nothing to say. This has been helpful because many casual browsers have found me through tertiary interests. For instance, I organized a photo shoot in front of Jack Kerouac’s house and did a Twitter post about it. Within a few hours I picked up a couple of followers on Twitter who are Kerouac fans. This post wasn’t a direct advertisement, but it got some new peoples’ attention who now know the name Evilneedles, and that, in essence, is what advertising is all about.

Before Twitter I relied heavily on Myspace bulletins. I’m still using these, but with less success. Myspace seems to be on the way out. We’ll have to see what happens.

My blog, Evilneedles.blogspot.com seems to be working a little. I always start these random blog projects, but they quickly fade away because I’m so busy. I’ve been forcing myself to post on this one and have gotten a few hits, but with all the crazy stuff online it’s really hard to hold peoples’ interest with posts about sewing." ........

**Keep reading this interview at Handmade News in the Marketing Department where it was first published.

The House of Mouse on ArtFire has this adorable "Jack Skellingmouse" as a tribute to the great Tim Burton Character Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King! This handmade mouse is definitely worth of the Freaky Friday Feature!!

"Freaky Friday Feature" is a weekly feature on my blog for all the "Hallo-weenies" out there that share my love for creep-tastic finds! If you have any ghoulish goodies that you'd like to see featured on a "Freaky Friday Feature" post, don't be shy and leave a comment on any of the "Freaky Friday Feature" blog posts. You never know, I might just use your suggestion ;)

Today Creepy Queen Magazine featured 2 of my cards (see below) on this blog post! Thanks so much to Rouxbee and Creepy Queen Magazine. I really appreciate your support!

Word of mouth marketing is by far the greatest way to spread the word about your business. Word of mouth is often overlooked as a way to market because it’s hard to think that you can actually have an impact when it comes to people talking about your business. Although you can’t make people tell their friends and family good things about your business (or talk about your business at all), there are a few things you can do to encourage this type of chatter.

Now the doggies are all cleaned up! .. Too bad it smells like wet dog in here! Yuck!

We've moved the tomato plant and the pepper plant inside. We had a few cool days last week and they weren't getting enough sunlight in the backyard. My studio is the room that gets the most sunlight in our house so that's where these plants will stay for the time being. Hopefully we'll see lots of growth from them with all the extra sunlight they will get now. The pumpkin vines are kicking. Their growth as definitely slowed down since moving them outside. They are mostly in the shade unfortunately. No change with the onions and the peas don't look so hot. Hopefully with the warmer weather this week things will start to perk up again.

"After implementing a new marketing strategy, you don’t want sit back and hope it’s working – especially if you’re paying for it! In this article I’ll cover a few ways to know if you’re marketing efforts are paying off.

First and foremost, start a marketing calendar. It is unlikely that you will be able to remember what you did three weeks or months ago that resulted in an increase in traffic. If you track your activities on a marketing calendar, you can quickly refer back to specific dates and figure out what could have contributed to the increase in traffic or sales.

Second, track the traffic coming into your shop. Set up Google Analytics if you haven’t already for your shop and blog. Google Analytics is very user friendly and contains valuable statistics such as where your traffic is coming from, how long pople stay on your site, and what time of they day they visited your site. It makes it almost a no brainer to follow the trends in your traffic....."

Keep reading my article, which includes 7 points in total, at Handmade News where it was first published. 

"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us." Flora Edwards

Larry Hamm over at Chelsea Lynn Designs on Artfire is a friend of many in the world of handmade, he is also the voice of The Crazy Train on Blockhead Radio. Larry has a fantastic wife Janet, and an 8 year old son Jacob who live with him in Lansing, NC deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Larry is a friend to everyone and just an all around swell guy. He is most definitely the "shirt off your back" kind of friend. Right now, all of Larry´s friends and Blockhead Radio are teaming up to help him out in a tough time.

Larry is a disabled diabetic who currently has lost his health insurance. His medication alone monthly is over $2,000. Larry is not receiving disability, he has not been approved yet. His wife is the only source of income and she doesn´t make enough to cover his medications. Larry´s doctors have given him an outlook of only 18 months to live if he doesn´t receive a $17,000 gastric bypass surgery as soon as possible. Larry and his family need all the help from their family and friends they can get! Jacob and Janet need Larry to hang around here with them as long as he possibly can! All of his friends surely want Larry to stick around too!

All of us at Blockhead Radio are gearing up for the biggest Radiothon you´ll ever be a part of! July 24th at 6pm until July 26th at 6pm, Blockhead Rod will be live on the radio for 48 hours straight raising money for our friend Larry. A silent auction of donated handmade goods will also be going up on the home page of Blockhead Radio with 100% of the proceeds going to Larry.

If you would like to be a part of this wonderful event, please email DeDe Sorensen at: 48forlarry@blockheadradio.com Please donate any handmade items you can for the silent auction have your emails in with your donations by July 22nd. If you would like to donate cash for Larry’s prescriptions and surgery please visit Blockhead Radio July 24th through July 26th. There will be plenty of ways to get your donations in.

Keep listening to Blockhead Radio for fantastic indie music, and how you can help Larry Hamm of Chelsea Lynn Designs.

Here are the links for the Artfire Chatterbox thread and Etsy thread. Please comment on them if you can.

If you would like to donate and item to the silent auction please email DeDe at 48forlarry@blockheadradio.com. We ask that you hold onto the item and mail it out. Please provide the following information:

Title of Item
Link to your shop/site
retail value
and if you will ship intl or U.S. only

Bidding on the items will begin at 6pm eastern time on July 24, 2009 and the highest bid recieved by 6 pm eastern time on July 26, 2009 will be declared the winner. All the donations will be going straight to Larry's Paypal account and he will notify you of the winners name and address.

Go here to see all the cards currently on clearance and don't forget to grab some freebies while you're there!
This week's Freaky Friday Feature is a few of my spooky mugs! I never intended to collect spooky halloween-ish mugs but it seems I have a collection nonetheless! Here are a few of my favorites....

"Freaky Friday Feature" is a weekly feature on my blog for all the "Hallo-weenies" out there that share my love for creep-tastic finds! If you have any ghoulish goodies that you'd like to see featured on a "Freaky Friday Feature" post, don't be shy and leave a comment on any of the "Freaky Friday Feature" blog posts. You never know, I might just use your suggestion ;)

"Marketing is sometimes looked at as a dull and painful process. There are facts to learn, strategies to put in place, and activities to track. While marketing may never shake its snooze factor for some, you can take a much different approach. You can actually thoroughly enjoy this “must do” process for your handmade business!

The key to making marketing more manageable is often the perspective you take. Handmade artisans have the upper hand on this one! All they need to do is harness their creative energy in a “marketing minded” direction.

To be successful at marketing two key components are needed, knowledge and creativity. Since knowledge about the latest marketing trends and strategies are readily available, the knowledge component can be obtained with a little bit of research. On the other hand, the creative component is much harder to obtain. Creativity is often a skill or characteristic that one is born with. Handmade artisans figured out somewhere along their journey that they process this valuable tool. The great thing about creativity is the variety it comes in. It can take any shape and be manipulated to work to the artisan's advantage, especially with marketing. After actively working on the knowledge component of marketing and getting a good handle on what goals the artist wants to achieve, they can start to use their creativity to make those goals a reality! The more creativity used the better because that’s what will stand out from the crowd.........."

Keep reading my article at Handmade News where it was first posted.

"If you missed Part 1 of “Twitter Follow to Followers Ratio Explained and Why You Need to Know”, take a minute to review the ratio explanation to address the “Follow” side of your ratio. If you feel you have the “Follow” side under control, it’s time to discuss the “Follower” side to the equation. More often than not, you’ll be following more people than are following you.

If your ratio is rarely close to 1, you probably don’t need to do anything at this point. Just be sure to check in every now and again to see where your ratio is at. For the times when you clearly need to get things under control, here are a few simple solutions you can use to get your ratio back to a reasonable number.

First, figure out how many people you’re actually following. By this I mean how many people do you follow that actually contribute content you’re interested in. Some of the people you’re following may not even be updating their Twitter accounts or have closed them all together! Twitoria is a good resource to find out if the people you're following have been active on Twitter in the last week, 2 weeks, month, and so on......"

Continue reading my article at the Marketing Department of Handmadenews.org where it was first published. 


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