Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday's Features


If you are new to The Gift Closet, you will soon learn one of my passions is promoting other Female & Mom-prenuers! So, every Friday, you can count on me introducing you to a couple of new entrepreneurs that I have met online!

Today I would like for you to meet Gwenn Mitchell. Mom-prenuer and proud owner of Brown Bag 'Em! BrownBag'em provides creative, fun and inspirational "messaging on a bag." All of our messages promote a positive attitude to encourage and nurture your child's self esteem, talents and intellectual growth.
Gwenn's Inspiration:

"BrownBag'em, was created in 2007, after an endless search to find inspirational and educational messages on brown paper lunch bags. As parents, we know that loving words are critical for cultivating a happy and fulfilling life for our children, however, with our busy lives juggling careers, kids, and carpools we often forget to stop and let them know just how important they are to us.

The bags were created by chance. At the time, my daughter was experiencing separation anxiety, so I would write her encouraging notes and put them in her lunch bag. One day however, I could not find a piece of paper, so I quickly scratched a note with a cute picture on her brown lunch/snack bag. When she took the bag out at school, some of the children started asking her if they could have it. She came home that day and asked me if I could make the other students one, and that is when I got the idea for BrownBagem. We love what we do and we hope you like it too! We are always creating new designs, so be sure to visit us at info@brownbagem.com."


Want it?
Special offer from BrownBag'em to Gift Closet readers: Buy two get one free. No code needed, just note which free set you would like at the time of purchase. Sale expires 3/30/2009.Click here to shop.



Meet Faigy from Flying Colors Baby!Faigy offers adorable children's clothing at her online boutique.


About Flying Colors Baby
"Flying Colors Baby is an online retailer of fine children's clothing. Our mission is to provide our customers with expertise and personalized service unmatched in the children's clothing industry.In order to continuously offer exciting new products, we are always searching for new styles and lines from around the world. We aim to offer the best new styles and fashion, season after season.We’re proud to offer you the finest in baby and children’s clothing by the designers you know and love. Every item is packaged as a gift and shipped with care.With personal attention to quality, comfort, and style, each piece is handpicked to provide a splash of color and creativity into any child’s wardrobe!Flying Colors Baby strives for excellent service and complete satisfaction for each customer."

Want it? Click the above picture to shop. Use the promo code of "fcb10%" for an additional 10% discount even on sale items!!

Interested in hosting a giveaway at The Gift Closet? Please email me at
heatherldt at bellsouth dot net! Have a great weekend! ;)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

American Idol - Chris Sligh Fans!


Calling all American Idol & Chris Sligh fans! Would you like to win a copy of his latest album? Read on!

I enjoy watching American Idol and look forward to going to the newly opened American Idol experience at Disney World in a few weeks! I also enjoy seeing what happens to AI contestants after the show. And Chris Sligh is one that has definitely prospered!

As an AI fan, I know you will remember Chris Sligh from season 6. You know..... "Fro Patro!"

Chris Sligh is a genuine original, blessed with a golden voice, a style of songwriting that communicates even as it defies the commercial “rules,” and a world view that encompasses edgy humor, rebelliousness, and rocksolid faith.

All these elements breathe life into every moment of his new album, Running Back to You. From the soaring resonance of “In a Moment” to the sly rhyming of “Love is Raining Down,” Sligh manages to be funny, entertaining, provocative, inspirational, and maybe a little cheeky, all at the same time. His music is rich in character; his character overflows with music. His reverence is no less real for being at times irreverent.

From the beginning, Chris Sligh’s story didn’t conform to the norm. He was born into a musical but conservative family. His father was a gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter who nonetheless banned non-classical music from his household. At night he would play recordings of works by Mozart or Beethoven as bedtime music; Chris, at age four or five, would listen, picking out and singing along with individual parts of the composition – maybe the second violin or lead viola – until finally falling asleep. Growing up in Germany, where his father worked as a chaplain among American troops, Chris was in his own words a “typical jock.” His enthusiasm for sports mirrored that of millions of guys his age back in the States – yet being far from home, he also developed a complex way of looking at life, in which elements of skepticism and worldliness tempered his church-based upbringing.

“When you look back at past leaders, both church and historical, they all had a rebellious streak. Obviously, I wouldn’t put myself in the same ballpark as those leaders, but I have always had that rebellious streak…I want to find truth and that makes me ask a lot of questions. In asking a lot of questions, you sometimes question authority. But I’d rather err on that side than be led blindly down the wrong road.”

Beginning his college study in pre-law at Pensacola Christian College in Florida, Sligh transferred in his sophomore year to Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, an equally fundamentalist institution but one that also offered more advanced opportunities for achieving his goals. “I wanted to major in music,” he says. “This freaked my parents out, because music is the most unmarketable degree there is. But I told them, ‘I don’t need jobs. I’m going to be a singer!’ And of course, that freaked them out royally.”

Despite having had no previous formal instruction, Sligh progressed rapidly in the school’s vocal performance program, to the point of understudying major baritone and tenor roles in student opera productions and being invited to audition both for The Juilliard School and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. At the same time, he pursued a parallel interest in theater, going beyond the Shakespeare roles he had tackled in high school to earn an A in playwriting and explore the Stanislavsky Method of stage performance.

All these efforts came to a sudden end in December of his senior year, when Sligh was expelled for attending a Christian rock concert, apparently as great a transgression at Bob Jones as joining a coven. Looking back, though, he believes now that it was the best thing that could have happened to him: “Probably a year before that, I’d realized that I’d wanted to leave,” Sligh says. “So getting kicked out was a blessing in disguise. And four months later, I recorded my first album.” That debut, Vessel, was a solo acoustic project, self-produced and self-released. Touring at first on his own, building a following through coffeehouse gigs and word of mouth, he stretched his musical and lyrical range.

Over the next few years he put several groups together, leading eventually to Half Past Forever, whose dynamic shows stirred major label interest and elevated Sligh toward a breakthrough into the mainstream pop/rock market.

But then, in 2006, Sligh auditioned for American Idol, more or less on a whim. To his surprise, his performance swept him onto a fast track to the final rounds. His willingness to take chances, his ironic wit, and his startlingly powerful vocals embedded him into the popular imagination. And his distinctive blend of talent, humor, confidence, and unpredictability led to an exchange with Simon Cowell that astonished and delighted the other judges, host Ryan Seacrest, and much of America.

“There had never been a smart aleck on American Idol,” Sligh says, chuckling at the memory of the night he stood up to the notoriously acerbic Idol judge. “They’d never had someone who would come back to Simon in a genuinely funny way. But I had no problem being who I am, no matter what good or bad consequences that would bring.

This moment, like a bravura theater performance, stemmed from both careful preparation and a willingness to seize the moment. “I’d done a ton of research,” Sligh says, chuckling at the memory of the night he stood up to the Idol judge. “They’d really never had someone come back at Simon, so I’m thinking, ‘I can sing as well as just about anybody, so I’m going to make this about being funny. There’s no way I’m going home before the top 24, because I’m going to make them need me.”

Though he didn’t win, Sligh did captivate and stir discussion among the millions of American Idol viewers. He also demonstrated that he knew how to do whatever needed to be done to turn a performance, whether through singing or spoken words, into a home run. “With a song, you have three minutes to cram in as much information as possible,” he observes. Sligh’s willingness to challenge convention and to take creative risks is evident throughout Running Back to You. Produced by Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman, The Afters), with guest coproduction from renowned musicians Will Owsley and Stephen Leiweke the project will evoke other artists of passion and commitment, from Switchfoot to the Killers. In the end, though, the lesson is reaffirmed – namely, that Chris Sligh simultaneously touches the heart and rocks the house.

As a fellow Christian, I am excited to see what he has done & see where his career will take him!

Want it? Click here to visit Chris Sligh's site & shop.

CONTEST CLOSED

Win it!
I have a copy of Chris Sligh's new CD, "Running Back to You" to give to a lucky Gift Closet reader!
CONTEST CLOSED

1. Leave a comment here and be sure to include your email address. Winners will only be notified via email.
2. Want an extra entry? Visit one of the awesome sponsors on my right sidebar. Come back here and tell me the sponsor you visited and what your favorite product they offer is.
3. Contest ends Wednesday 3/4/09 at midnight & is open to US residents only.

Click here to shop with some awesome Mom-prenuers!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Win It Wednesday - Handmade Earrings


Welcome to Win It Wednesday! The winner for last week's giveaway, from Three Pine Design, is #95 - rlgrady . And the winner for the Jumpstart.com giveaway is #14 - Kayla. Congrats!

Today I will be giving away a beautiful pair of hand made earrings from Jac Jewelry!

Something Blue Earrings - White Pearl, Lapis Jade and Sterling Silver Earrings:


These adorable little earrings are made with tiny faceted lapis jade beads and white round pearls attached to sterling silver chain and silver ear wires. They are light and delicate, and great for any time of the year!
The earrings are 1.5" top to bottom (1" without the ear wires).

Janna's handmade jewelry includes Bridal Sets, Earrings, Necklaces, & Bracelets!

Here is what inspired Janna to start creating jewelry:

"I've always liked unique fashion accessories. In 2006, while on vacation visiting family, I went to a bead store with my aunt, and walked out of there with a big bag of beads… I came home and made my first piece from those beads immediately.

I made a few more pieces after that, but did not get absolutely addicted to jewelry-making until two years ago. After designing and making wedding favors, place cards and thank you cards for my own wedding, I thought it would be a great idea to offer customized bridal accessories to match a wedding theme. I created a website and started selling both “regular” jewelry and my wedding creations! Last March, I opened my Etsy shop (jacjewelry.etsy.com), which has become one of the main venues for selling my work.

Now, I’m absolutely addicted to making jewelry and don’t plan on stopping any time soon!"

Want it? Click here to shop at Jac Jewlery.

Win it!
1. Janna has a question for you. Do you purchase handmade jewelry? Why or why not? Simply leave the answer to this question in your comment. Don't forget to include your email address in the comment, that is how the winner will be notified.
2. Want an extra entry? Go to the top of this page and click on the tab that says "Need A Gift?" Then,come back here, and leave an additional comment telling me the name of one of the companies listed on the Need a Gift page.
3. Contest ends Tuesday 3/3/09 at midnight & is open to US residents only.

Come back tomorrow for an American Idol-related giveaway!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tip - Selling on the Internet


The winner of yesterday's Mamalicious Monday contest is #1 Krystyn. Congrats!!! ;)

Welcome to the 7th week of my "Launching A Business" series! Click here to learn more about it.

The things we have discussed so far:
1. Researching your product to see if there is a market for it.
2. How to price your product.
3. Finding time to work from home with small children.
4. The different venues to sell your products: retail, wholesale, consignment, etc.
5. Making & selling your product.
6. Exposing your business to local media.

This week I want to talk about the different ways to sell your product on the Internet. Again, if you have suggestions you want to make in addition to this, please feel free to leave a comment and share!

1. Website
Of course, the most common way would be to have a website. That is probably going to be the easiest way for customers to shop & purchase products from you. There are some great affordable web hosts out there. Ask around, or take a look at some of your favorite sites to see who their host is. I believe I paid around $10 per month for a very basic site and I used a company called Verve Hosting. Unless you know someone willing to cut you a deal on designing your site, or can do it yourself, that is where it is going to cost you the bucks....the designing of the site.

2. Blog
Another way you can sell your products, and not invest a ton of money into designing a whole website, would be to sell through your blog. You can set up paypal for people to order off your blog, or have them email you orders. If you don't have a huge budget to start your business, or want to "test the waters" before you invest more money, this would be a great way to do it. There are lots of great blog designers out there, but I use Tracy from Sweet Cheeky Designs. She is great to work with, can do just about anything, and she is fast!

3. Social Networking
Social Networks online can be another great tool to make contacts, and eventually sales. I know tons of people on Facebook. I wish I had the time for it and maybe I just need to carve some out! I know there are a lot of companies on Facebook, and it can be a great way to promote your product. Others would be My Space, Twitter, & other social networks where you can visit chat rooms, etc. Anything you can join to get your company name & products out there is beneficial.

Got business tips you want to share? Please leave a comment here!

Interested in a link exchange? Please email me at heatherldt at bellsouth dot net

Have a blessed day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mamalicious Monday


Welcome to Mamalicious Monday! This is a fun bloggy game for Moms of all ages & another chance to win some Mom-prizes on The Gift Closet! Here is the low-down:

1. Compose a post on your blog and title it "Mamalicious Monday". This post can be about anything Mom-related. It can be regarding parenting, marriage, funny things kids say, recipes, home-organizing tips, seeking or giving advice, etc. Anything a Mom would want to share or read!

2. In the post somewhere, please link back to The Gift Closet so your readers will know what Mamalicious Monday is.

3. Come back here and enter a link to your post in the Mr Linky box.

4. Here are links to examples of a Mamalicious Monday post:
Leslie
Heather (me!)
Karen
Contest ends Monday 2/23 @ midnight & is open to US shipping addresses only.

5. A random winner will be chosen and today's prize is......

CONTEST CLOSED

Courtney with Mom Giveaways is giving away 2 things:

Item 1: 5 Free Featured Giveaway Listings at Mom Giveaways

A featured giveaway listing is a listing in the "Giveaways You Don't Want To Miss" section and lasts for 1 week.

Item 2:

How To Win Mom

How to Win Mom will help you win more contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes by sharing with you my tips and tricks to entering.

  • Learn how simple it is to enter
  • Learn the tools that will help you win
  • Learn how to keep track of entries
  • Learn blog giveaway etiquette
CONTEST CLOSED

So, leave a link to your Mamalicious Monday post in the box below to play and that will enter you to win the prize pack shown above from Mom Giveaways!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jumpstart.com Review & Giveaway


I had the pleasure of receiving a 1 month membership to a new site called Jumpstart.com recently.

Jumpstart.com was created by a company called Knowledge Adventure.Knowledge Adventure has been a leading developer of educational computer games for children for over fifteen years, with award-winning series like JumpStart and Math Blasters. Now, with JumpStart.com their goal is to provide a safe online environment for kids to learn and grow. They have developed an exciting virtual world where kids can create fun characters (Jumpees) for themselves and explore magical lands, discovering and unlocking games, videos, and storybooks that teach everything from math to reading.

My 6 year old daughter really enjoyed Jumpstart. I had to guide her a little at first, but she quickly caught on. I liked that when she placed the browser arrow over a picture of something, it would speak(with the volume up) what it was to her. Since she's still learning to read, that was a nice feature. She enjoyed creating her own "jumpee" or person to navigate the site with. She was able to choose the shoes, color of hair, clothing, etc. I did have a hard time finding story land, and a few other places on the site, but overall we enjoyed the site. Along with the membership you also receive newsletters via email, which I enjoyed. I did have to install a plug-in to get started, but it was simple, quick, and safe.

Jumpstart has generously offered one lucky Gift Closet reader a free 3 month membership to Jumpstart.com!!!

CONTEST CLOSED

CONTEST CLOSED

How to win:
1.Leave a comment here and be sure you leave a valid email address in your comment, if it is not on your profile.
2.To earn an extra entry, email 3 people about this contest, and cc me on it. After doing so, come back here, and leave a comment letting me know you did so.
3. Contest ends Monday 2/23/09 at midnight.

Did you know you can email this post to friends & family by clicking on the small white envelope at the bottom of the post? Give it a try! ;)

Friday's Features


Designs by Danica is handmade jewelry imbued with charisma, love, fashion, & elegance.
Danica's Inspiration:

"What inspired me to start my business is doing something I love doing and that is designing anything. Jewelry is truly something I love to design and I keep inspiring others to do as well because it a great job to have . I love to learn everyday something new .Also jewelry to me is relaxing and rewarding in so many ways , I love to make a piece of jewelry that my customer will feel confident in stylish and fashionable."
Special offer from Designs by Danica to Gift Closet readers:
20% off all of my products, no code needed. Sale expires 2/28/09. Receive a special free gift with your order and you can win free jewelry just by subscribing to her newsletter! Click here to visit Designs by Danica.



Another site I would like to share with you today is Black Butterfly Stationary. Felicia designs beautiful stationary & glass pendants.
Felicia's inspiration:
"I have been drawing butterflies since I was little. My family took a trip to Colorado and we visited a butterfly garden and I was thrilled. People have always loved my butterflies and I always wanted to do something to share them with lots of people. I decided that I would make stationary out of it to share it but that dream did not come to pass until August 2008 when I just decided to jump and follow through with my dream."

Felicia is also offering a 10% discount with the code "BLACKBUTTERFLY". Just put the code in your email upon placing your order. Click here to shop.

Grab this button:
The Gift Closet

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Win It Wednesday -


Thanks to all 150 who entered last week's contest for the See Kai Run shoes! The lucky winner selected by random.org is #101 Amy . Congrats!!

And this week I am excited to announce another great giveaway! The winner gets to choose any item from Three Pine Design's Online Boutique!!! Woo-hoo!

I love, love, love their party hats!

Three Pine Design Boutique is a site owned by 3 sisters (and friends of mine~wink~) featuring hip accessories for Mom, Baby, & Toddler!

Ashley, Ryan, & Samantha make blankets, bibs, burpees, bow holders, and party hats.

Here is what inspired these 3 Moms to start Three Pine Design:

"Three Pine Design began in January 2008. We are a group of 3 sisters who were inspired by our children and the desire to create cute, affordable accessories for them. We love the process of selecting new fabrics and creating new patterns. Our goal is to create fun, hip and affordable accessories for both babies and moms."

How to Win :
1. Leave a comment here and be sure to include an email address if it is not on your profile. Winners will only be contacted via email.
2. For an extra entry, become a follower (on left sidebar), come back here, and leave a comment letting me know you did so.
3. Contest ends Tuesday 2/24/09 at midnight & is open to US shipping addresses only.

Be sure to click on my "Need A Gift?" button at the top of this page to shop & support Mom-prenuers! ;)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday's Tip - Exposing Your Business to Local Media


The winner of yesterday's Mamalicious Monday contest is #4 Jen E @MomBlogsALot. Winner selected by random. org...congrats!!! ;)

Welcome to the 6th week of my "Launching A Business" series! Click here to learn more about it.

The things we have talked about the last couple of weeks are:
1. Researching your product to see if there is a market for it.
2. How to price your product.
3. Finding time to work from home with small children
4. We talked about the different venues to sell your products: retail, wholesale, consignment, etc.
5. Making & selling your product.

This week I want to offer a few tips on exposing your business, or product, to media. Look for local magazines and newspapers to start with. You may want to look for articles written about local businesses, unique products, etc. What I have done in the past is simply contact the person who wrote the article directly. Introduce yourself, tell them what you make/offer, why it is unique. Ask them if they would be interested in writing a feature on your, your company, or product. The worst thing they can do is say no. A lot of papers/magazines will have the writer's email address or contact info. at the beginning of it, or at the end of the article itself.

I live just South of Atlanta, GA. One time I contacted a writer for the Atlanta-Journal Consitution, (via email) who featured new & interesting products. I asked her if I could send her a sample of my Body Butter, she received it, wrote about it, and the day it came out in the paper, I started receiving orders @ 5:30am that day and for days on end after that. It was great!

I also contacted my local home town newspaper and they came out and took pics of me making my product, and wrote a feature in the paper about my company. Another local magazine actually did a radio interview with me.

So, never take for granted what local media can do for you. You never know how many readers they have.

Another tip, not really media related...is to contact your local Small Business Administration, or look up the local website. They offer lots of great tips and advice for starting a business, including writing a business plan.

Again, if you have questions, or want to offer advice on any of this, please leave a comment here.

Would you like to get your product in front of thousands of readers? I offer multiple ways to do that here @ The Gift Closet. One is, for only $5, you can have your graphic at the bottom of my next Win It Wednesday post! These posts are the most visited on my blog. Email me today for more info. Heatherldt at bellsouth dot net

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mamalicious Monday


Welcome to Mamalicious Monday! This is a fun bloggy game for Moms of all ages & another chance to win some Mom-prizes on The Gift Closet! Here is the low-down:

1. Compose a post on your blog and title it "Mamalicious Monday". This post can be about anything Mom-related. It can be regarding parenting, marriage, funny things kids say, recipes, home-organizing tips, seeking or giving advice, etc. Anything a Mom would want to share or read!

2. In the post somewhere, please link back to The Gift Closet so your readers will know what Mamalicious Monday is.

3. Come back here and enter a link to your post in the Mr Linky box.

4. Here are links to examples of a Mamalicious Monday post:
Leslie
Heather (me!)
Karen
Contest ends Monday 2/16 @ midnight & is open to US shipping addresses only.

5. A random winner will be chosen and today's prize is......

A Re-Usable Vita Tote Bag, in the winner's choice of color, from Wear The Earth! This bag is made from durable & washable Polyester.
Say no to single-use bags, make a positive change, and help save the environment! This re-usable bag is great for travel, groceries, diaper bags, camping and hiking you name it!! Fits in your pocket—Great for your purse! Leave one in the car so you always have a bag. Clips anywhere with the handy clip.Stylish contemporary trim.Machine wash cold & hang or wipe dry.Shoulder length straps.
DIMENSIONS

Stuffed pouch 5” x 3.5”
Un-stuffed shoulder bag 15.5”D x 19”W with an 11” shoulder strap.
Each bag holds up to 40 lbs!

Here is what inspired Tiffany Parks to start Wear The Earth:
"
In January of 2008 I decided to take a chance and do something I have wanted to do for a long time. Work for myself. I have always been a big dreamer and idea person. I have always had the best plans. Wear the Earth is the first one to become a reality.
As a career I have spent far too many years in retail. I have opened stores, closed stores, hired, trained, merchandised, sold and bought. This illustrious career started way back in College and became just that, a career. I always loved retail and people and having my own store someday was a secret dream.


About 4 years ago, something more exciting came into our lives—our daughter—I have been fortunate enough to switch gears and have been at home with her since she was born. In that time I have learned so much and changed so much. One of the biggest changes has been in the way our family lives our lives.


We have made a conscious decision to be more aware of Mother Earth and the things we can do to protect her. Having a child really puts things into perspective for you. So, I began to research ways to help the environment and now that it is almost time for our little one to go off to school, it is time for Mommy to find her passion again. Wear The Earth is more than just a shopping website, we offer ideas and resources to help all of us lighten our ECO footprint. So far this adventure has been educational and very rewarding and I look forward to the future."


Click here to visit Wear The Earth and see more of their fashion forward and earth friendly products!

Enter your Mamalicious Monday post in the Mr Linky box below to enter to win the Vita Tote Bag from Wear the Earth.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winners for Valentine's Day Party!


Happy Valentine's Day!!!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
I am so thankful I have a Heavenly Father that loves me this much!!! ;)


Thanks to all who played along in my "Sharin' The Love" Valentines' Day Blog Party!

The winner for the Prize Pack from Mom Giveaways is #27 Mamamiataytay.

The winner of the Shea Whipped Body Butter from The Gift Closet is #13 Jessica.

The winner of the $25 Gift Certificate for Home and Garden Party is Taylor, who had been married 32 years.
There were a couple of others who had been married longer, but they had no email address on their profile, in their comment, and no blog. If I can't get in touch with you, I draw another winner, or go to the next one.
Congrats to Taylor, 32 years, what an achievement!!

Random winners were chosen via random.org since there were not multiple entries as required in rules. ;)

Congrats & have a great weekend!

Would you like to see your products in front of thousands of readers a month? I offer affordable advertising on my main page and promote companies for free on my Friday's Features! Please email me at heatherldt at bellsouth dot net for more information.

P.S. I am in the process of creating a "Happy Customers" page! If you have purchased, or won, or ever used any of my products, please leave a comment here with your feedback about the product, or email me at heatherldt at bellsouth dot net. I would really appreciate it! Especially on the Soy Linen & Body Spray, Scrabble Magnets, or advertising companies! Thanks ladies!!!! ;)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday's Features


I don't know if you have seen these before, but I just think they are too cute!

I stumbled across Summer's Banners and her company, Sugar Britches, several months ago, and fell in love with her custom banners!

She makes custom name, birthday, themed, seasonal, & Holiday banners. I asked Summer what inspired her to start her business.....

"I have been scrapbooking from the day I got home from my honeymoon. Once we had babies I got more into scrapbooking and wanting to preserve their every move and memory in life. I then started teaching classes and loved sharing my ideas with people. I still teach classes via online through a blog called A Sassy Affair. Everything I teach is about altering items, making them your own! So when I started making banners I thought I could do this for every holiday, and personalize them for children's rooms or for birthdays! I took my passion for scrapbooking and altering items, mixed them together and came up with my banner ideas. I make banners for every holiday, birthdays, scrapbook rooms and children's rooms. I do a lot of custom banners.Be sure to check out my gallery on SugarBritches for more ideas!! My business idea started with me making one banner for Halloween for my mantel and posting it on my blog. Other people saw my blog, asking where I got my banner. So I started selling my banners on Etsy, and then started my website, SugarBrtichesco.com."

Thanks for sharing Summer! Click here to visit Sugar Britches & Co.


I also want to introduce you to Jen from All Things Ribbon. Her site offers a large selection of beautiful handmade hair bows, headbands, girls hair accessories, hair bows for infants, as well as little girls fancy party dresses.

How gorgeous is this dress!
Jen was inspired by.....

"...my daughter. I enjoyed being able to make her hairwear, it was a fun hobby for a new mommy. She is almost 15 now, how time flies. Luckily I have 2 other little sweeties, who love bows as much as I do. As a SAHM I felt like I needed a creative outlet. I love ribbon, so I choose hair bows. I have been making hair bows professionally for over 10 years now. My oldest daughter is my partner. We are lucky to be able to spend a lot of time together, talking and creating!The market is absolutely flooded with amazing ribbon, which of course gets the creativity flowing. Something unique to our site, our special occasion dresses with matching hair bows. We make it easier to find the exact match!"

Jen is offering a Gift Closet readers 15% off your total purchase, including the party dresses! Simply enter the code, "TheCloset" at checkout to receive your discount! Click here to shop at All Things Ribbon.

~~~~~~~~
Today is the last day to participate in my Sharin' The Love Valentine party. Click here to play and win!

Also, please pay a visit to the little poll I have in the top left sidebar. Honest votes are appreciated! ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday - Teachable Moments


My 6 year old baby girl daughter is in Kindergarten. She is enjoying her first year riding the bus home from school and feels like such a big girl.
This is her holding her first tooth she lost about a month ago in her keepsake tooth fairy box:
The bus driver is an older man, so sweet, loves kids, and I feel very good about letting her ride the bus in the afternoons. For the most part, we have had no problems with the older kids on the bus. One time she did have an older girl squeeze her arm, but I told her not to sit w/ her anymore, and it has been all good since then.

However, she came yesterday, and as she was eating her snack, she casually mentioned the older girls behind her on the bus were telling scary stories about a bathroom. She didn't seem too upset, I reassured her they were not true, etc. and we went about our day.

Then, last night as I am snuggling down in my nest bed, ready to drift off to never never land, Gracie comes in my room. Very unlike her, once she is out, she is out for the night. She told me she was scared because she woke up thinking about those scary stories she had heard on the bus the day before. I comforted her once again, reassured her they were not true stories, tucked her back in, and called in Daddy to lay with her till she fell back asleep.

What did I want to do when she told me that?
I wanted to (and I did offer) to start picking her up from school, and never let her ride that big bad bus again! ;) I think, to an extent, we all would like to keep our kids in a protective little bubble and shield them from all the bad things in the world. But as we all know, that is not a realistic option.

So what is the wise thing to do?
Well, here's how I see it. God has given me these precious gifts called children. As a friend of mine @ MOPS said the other day, you really only have 18 summers, 18 Falls, 18 springs, and 18 winters...that these little gifts will be close by under your wing...under your roof. It is our God-given responsibility to train them, to teach them, and to guide them. It is my job to equip her for the world. I can't protect her forever and I won't always be there to comfort her. I need to teach her to be discerning about what she listens to and hears, and as she gets older, to go to the true source of comfort, God.

So, the 2nd time she came back to my room (before I sent Daddy in), I said a little prayer with her. I want her to know when she is afraid, and I am not there,she has a Heavenly Father she can talk to. While she was not instantly at peace, I hope that I was able to make it a "teachable moment", and that I can remember to do that more often.

It's kind scary when you have to send them off to new places for the first time, and when you realize they are no longer by your side and "under your wing" at all times. I have to remind myself to man Mommy up, lovingly equip these babies for the world, and that I won't always be able to shelter them.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

P.S. Click on the "Giveaways" Tab to see all my giveaways going on now!

P.P.S. I am taking a little poll here. I thought it might be fun to start a "Saturday Swap Meet". Once a month, on a Saturday, you would have the opportunity to swap your handmade products, or your company's products, with other bloggers. It would need to be an even exchange dollar-wise.
Benefits:
1. Inexpensive way to shop! If you retail your product for $10, it costs you only $5 to make it, and you are swapping it for a $10 product, you are saving $!
2. Promote your business even more!
3. Support other Entrepreneurs!
4. Have fun!
5. Shop online w/o really spending any money! ;)

To vote, please go to the poll on the top left sidebar.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Win It Wednesday - See Kai Run


Welcome to Win It Wednesday! First, I would like to announce winners for... the pink visor beanie with silk flower clip (retail value $28) from Tots With Style- #41-Kim
and the headband with a flower clip from Princess Tots - #5 JoandDoug Congrats!!!

And please click here to participate in my "Sharin the Love" Valentine Party! 3 winners, contest ends Friday night....ya'll head on over and check it out!!!! If it's confusing, or you have a question, lemme know!

I am excited to announce another giveaway this week on The Gift Closet!! It is for the winner's choice of shoes from See Kai Run's Spring line! ~giddy~

CONTEST CLOSED

See Kai Run was inspired by the need for comfortable shoes with flexible soles to wear outdoors. The owner was inspired to create a line of shoes that was as happening as her son, Kai - bold, hip, fun, with an urban sensibility. Something entirely different than what was offered.

In November 2004 the first shoes hit children’s boutiques and the response has been overwhelming ever since! Modern day parents have echoed what she had suspected - we crave something unique and special to reflect our children's personality as well as our own.


Twice a year, See Kai Run offers a new collection of 15-20 designs. Their designs are sophisticated and classic with modern twists sprinkled throughout. And most importantly, their shoes are healthy for developing feet. The soles are made of extremely flexible rubber which is great for outdoor use while allowing the foot to flex in all the right places. They're also made of butter soft leather with a breathable leather lining and padded collars for comfort. Finally, See Kai Run shoes are easy to get on and off with Velcro closures that ensure a great fit.

If my kids were still small enough to wear these I would have a pair in a heartbeat!


Click here to view the full Spring Collection!

How To Win?

CONTEST CLOSED

1. Leave a comment here and be sure to include your email addy if it is not on your profile.

2. For an EXTRA entry blog about this contest, come back here, leave an additional comment with a link to your post.

3. Contest ends Tuesday 2/17/09 at midnight & is open to US & Canada shipping addresses only.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tip-Selling Your Product


First, to announce the winner from Mamalicious Monday....#10 colleen_mouse...congrats and thanks to all who played!!! :)

Welcome to the 5th week of my "Launching Your Business" series! Click here to learn more about it.

The things we have talked about the last couple of weeks are:
1. Researching your product to see if there is a market for it.

2. How to price your product.

3. Finding time to work from home with small children

4. Last Tuesday we talked about the different venues to sell your products: retail, wholesale, consignment, etc.

So,now that you have researched the market for your product,priced it, and decided what venues you will choose to sell your product.....

The next step is to start making and selling your product! This is the most exciting part to me....introducing your product/business to the world! Of course, the 1st thing to do it order your supplies and make a few samples. Again, be sure you compare prices on your supplies. Don't just order from the 1st supplier you come across. Look for local suppliers as well so you can save on shipping and time.

So you have ordered your supplies, and made a few samples. I like to start by maybe giving a few samples out to family & friends to get feedback and get the word out.

You will need to take some quality pictures of your products(s) as well. What I do is take some good pics of the product and compose an email to send out introducing your product and a picture.

Tips for your introduction email:
1.Don't overload the email with too many pics.
2. Remember, first impressions are everything, so make sure you are saying everything you need to, have a good picture of the product, and do your spell check!
3. Introduce the product itself, write about the benefits of it, list the price, include a picture, and ask for the order.
3.If you have people that have already tried it and have positive comments, you can share those.
4. Keep it brief, because people won't want to (nor do they have time to, think about how many emails you get per day) read a lengthy email.
5. Wrap it up by telling them how to order. For example, "Email me or call me at..... to place your order today!" Or: "Hop on over to my website at www.....com to order yours today!"

You may or may not get orders with that first email. Chances are you will get at least one. Persistence is key and by sending out monthly emails with specials...you are basically reminding them about your product. It may take a while to catch on, but persistence pays off!

I hope this has helped you in Launching Your Business and if you have any subjects you want me to write about, please email me or leave a comment here! Thank you for reading and supporting The Gift Closet!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mamalicious Monday


Welcome to Mamalicious Monday! This is a fun bloggy game for Moms of all ages & another chance to win some Mom-prizes on The Gift Closet! Here is the low-down:

1. Compose a post on your blog and title it "Mamalicious Monday". This post can be about anything Mom-related. It can be regarding parenting, marriage, funny things kids say, recipes, home-organizing tips, seeking or giving advice, etc. Anything a Mom would want to share or read!

2. In the post somewhere, please link back to The Gift Closet so your readers will know what Mamalicious Monday is.

3. Come back here and enter a link to your post in the Mr Linky box.

4. Here are links to examples of a Mamalicious Monday post:
Jennifer/Jaybird (Last week's winner!)
Heather (me!)
Karen
Contest ends Monday 2/9 @ midnight & is open to US shipping addresses only.

5. A random winner will be chosen and today's prize is......
The "Creamy Apple" potholder pictured above from My Two Babes!

Here is the inspiration behind My Two Babes:

"What's in a name?
I have had many questions asked on where I came up with the name of my company. If you do not know already, I am a mother of beautiful twin girls. They were two in January, and I have no idea where the time has gone! I guess I was under the impression that they would be my babies forever! Is this not the case?
I would not have been able to start my business without their birth, and the time I am able to spend here at home watching them grow is precious. I am inspired by their sweet smiles, and by the wonder in their eyes to look at everything around me with renewed vision.
These are my two babes... my LOVES!"

Thanks for sharing Kristin!!

Enter the link to your Mamalicious Monday post in the Mr Linky box below to enter to win the potholder above from My Two Babes. :)


P.S. Check out some other great giveaways going on @ The Gift Closet now by clicking on "Giveaways" at the top of this page.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Valentine Blog Party starts here today!


Welcome to my 1st annual Valentine Blog Party @ The Gift Closet! My theme this year is going to be "Sharin' The Love".

Here is what you can win by partying with The Gift Closet and "sharing the love" this week:

~Courtney with Mom Giveaways is giving away 2 things:
Item 1: 5 Free Featured Giveaway Listings at Mom Giveaways

A featured giveaway listing is a listing in the "Giveaways You Don't Want To Miss" section and lasts for 1 week.

Item 2:

How To Win Mom

How to Win Mom will help you win more contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes by sharing with you my tips and tricks to entering.

  • Learn how simple it is to enter
  • Learn the tools that will help you win
  • Learn how to keep track of entries
  • Learn blog giveaway etiquette




The Gift Closet is giving away:


Shea Whipped Body Butter (Paraben-Free)

You'll love the thick, whipped texture of this body butter and the way it absorbs into your skin, leaving it feeling silky soft. This Body Butter contains Shea and is paraben-free, for those more environmentally conscience. Shea is great for sensitive or dry skin and has been used by many to treat Eczema, acne, rashes, and UV damage. It is a wonderful daily moisturizer. It is available in a variety of fragrances, as well as unscented.

~Leslie with Home & Garden Party is giving away:

a $25 Gift Certificate to use at her site, Home and Garden Party!
Click here to view her current specials on her blog.

And here is HOW to win by "sharing the love":

1. Go to your favorite blog. The blogger that has inspired you the most, encouraged you...you know, the blog you look forward to reading every day.

2. Leave them a comment letting them know how much you appreciate them, how they have helped you, encouraged you, made you laugh, etc. Let them know you are participating in the V-Day Blog Party @ The Gift Closet.

3. Come back here and leave a comment on this post with a link to the blog you left the comment on. If you can link it directly to the blog post you commented on that would be even better. Be sure you include your email addy in the comment if it is not on your profile.

4. For an extra entry post how many years you have been married.

5. Enter as many times as you would like! It is better to give than to receive and I promise it will make you feel good to "share the love"!

Winners will be:
1. The person who has the most entries....in other words...the person that "shares the love" the most will win the Mom Giveaways Prize Pack.
2. The blogger that receives the most comments (aka the most loved blogger!) will win the Shea Body Butter from The Gift Closet.
3. The person who has been married the longest will receive the $25 Gift Certificate to Home and Garden Party.

Contest ends Saturday 2/13/09 at midnight & winners will be announced on Valentines Day. Contest open to US residents only.

Would you like to be featured on The Gift Closet and get your company in front of thousands of readers each month? Please email me at heatherldt at bellsouth dot net for more info.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday's Features


Thanks so much to everyone who shared their comments yesterday about Family Fun Night.I've been going non-stop the last 2 days, and am running out the door to MOPS this AM, but I look forward to really sitting down and reading what you all shared...I saw some really fun ideas!!!

I've met some great people through blogging and I want to introduce you to one of them today.

One of the first bloggers I met was Karen over at A Blog of Goodies. We have done link exchanges, visited each other's blogs, and after getting to know her through emails, I found her to be an all-around wonderful person to work with! With 3 blogs, 2 businesses, being on the MomDot street team, 3 kids......I dunno how she does it all!

If you like giveaways, you'll want to check Karen's giveaway blog at, A Blog of Goodies!


ABOG Designs is her graphic design business....

Her other site is Sillymonkeez, which is a family-run business silkscreening shirts.

And her blog, 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires, is a personal blog where she also offers family and household-type reviews and giveaways.

Here is Karen's story:

"I started my first blog 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires in March of 2008. I was under quite a lot of stress trying to adjust to life with twin toddlers and one preschooler. This personal blog was meant to be therapeutic for me. I would (and still) blog about something generally positive right before I went to bed every night. This way, I was not dwelling on the negative and was ending each day on a positive note. Slowly I started writing some reviews, which led me to the start of my other blog A Blog of Goodies. This second blog was meant to house all my reviews. Over time, both blogs evolved and now 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires is my personal blog where I also offer family and household-type reviews and giveaways. A Blog of Goodies is where I offer reviews and giveaways for boutique-type items and where I try to promote other mom bloggers and small businesses."

I don't know about you, but it makes me tired just reading about all that she does! My hats off to Karen for doing it all, doing it well, and being a real sweet person to work with through it all!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
An adorable site I came across during my spare time (what's that again?!) is Chic Bebe Couture. Jacie offers a variety of products for the trendy baby.


From hair accessories...

to Gift Items.....
this is one hot spot to check out! I asked Jacie to share what inspired her to start Chic Bebe Couture and here is what she said:

"I am a wife, former school teacher and now a stay at home mom to two absolutely precious children. My love of creating special items for my little ones such as hair bows, tutus, hand-painted pails, fabric bow boards and other items led me to open the boutique. After all, every little girl (and boy) deserves trendy, fashionable designs. And that's just what Chic Bebe Couture is--designs for the trendy baby."
Special offer for orders placed on February 6th and 7th only:
FREE BOUTIQUE BOW and FREE SHIPPING with purchases $25 and more!

Interested in hosting a giveaway on The Gift Closet? The Gift Closet received over 10,000 page views per month. Email me at heatherldt at bellsouth dot net if you are interested!
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