Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black and White, French, and Animals

We've had a few napkin sales on Etsy this week.  I'm still trying to work on getting serious shoppers into the Etsy store.  And still trying to figure out Google Analytics.  Today at 2:00 central time is an Etsy Lab on Google Analytics that I do not want to miss.  I think GA (Google Analytics) is a very powerful tool but knowing what to do with that information is something else.  I am looking forward to the lab today.

One article that I read said that the color combination of black and white is still very popular, as well as anything french, and animals.  So, I created a set of napkins that I call "Birdsong".  They are white napkins with blackwork.  The design is a couple of birds on a tree branch singing.  Underneath is written "chanson d'oiseau" (translated: birdsong).  The napkins incorporate all of the en vogue items: black, white, french, animals.  I must say that without pushing to get visitors, there have been several visitors looking at those napkins.  Guess these people really know what they are talking about.  Of course, I haven't sold the napkins yet.

Our patriotic collection has not only been viewed but the white napkins starred in a treasury.  Not one single buyer.  Hmmm.  I'll get there.  I'm learning more everyday.

This week we included a set of red napkins with the Marine emblem.  Those are really pretty and we can make them with any of the service emblems:  marines, navy, army, air force, coast guard, and national guard.  I have an order for a tote bag with the Marine emblem and wanted to try it out.  I'm still waiting on the customer to look at the napkins and tell me what she thinks about the emblem.

As a lark, we made a set of black napkins with a silver metallic hand.  This is to keep up with the unusual, which Etsy encourages.  These are beautiful but definitely unusual.

We sold the set of gold napkins with the white footprints.  The purchaser requested an additional set.  I worried over this a bit because we do not have any more gold napkins.  When I purchase napkins there is a minimum order of 5 dozen and we had recently received a new shipment but no gold.  I finally contacted the purchaser and explained that we have no more gold in stock but would be glad to put the little feet design on 8 different colored napkins, if they would like.  The customer agreed and we used white napkins with little gold footprints.  I just hate to say that I don't have something.  However, we did make and mail the 8 white napkins with gold footprints and relisted the 4 gold napkins on Etsy.

George has been busy applying for a job as a wildlife observer with the BP people.  Not sure if it's government or BP at this point.  He went yesterday and said that there were hundreds of people and they ran out of applications.  But this morning he received a call from them and they want him in again today.  We'll see what happens.  It's not so much the money, as much as he wants to help the animals.

I would be terribly remiss if I didn't include Mr. Tigger protecting the pizza.  I think he just wanted the box but he was so cute I had to take pictures.

C'est toute, mes amis

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mexico Breach -- Need I Say More?

No.  Mexico Beach is not in Mexico.  It's in Florida, east of Panama City, on the Gulf of Mexico.  It is a piece of old Florida.  No big highrises.  Just a quiet, Florida beach town about 3 hours from Pensacola and it sits on the line between eastern time and central time.  The water was beautiful.  The oil has not reached Mexico Beach yet.  Everyone is very friendly and helpful.  On Saturday, some of the girls went to the beach and another group went shopping.  I joined the shopping group.  We visited some cute little beachside stores exhibiting various local artistsans' creations.  Very inspiring. 

Our hostess entertained 10 guests this weekend, all women and all dear friends of mine.  It was funny to me to see all of the embroidered items appear.  There were tote bags, visors, pillowcases, etc.  All items that Cajun Stitchery created for these friends.  Her home was gorgeous.  She had taken a typical Florida, concrete block house and turned it into a beachside cottage.  Her sense of color and design was without flaw.  When you walked into her home the openness and bright colors exuded happiness.

We ate non-stop until I finally left yesterday.  Fresh fruit with Kahlua sauce was a favorite.  There were some spinach balls that I'm convinced are actually addictive.  Spaghetti pie.  Baked brie.  Jezabel sauce with cream cheese.  The food never stopped appearing on the counter.  I can't remember all of the different food that was prepared and served.  What I do know is that I'm now on a serious diet.  I do want that spinach ball recipe, though.  The weekend was a taste bud festival.

The most fun and most important part of the weekend was the conversations.  This is a wonderful group of intelligent and creative women.  All are very opinionated and compassionate.  We laughed until we were doubled up on several occasions.  We played a silly game of Left, Right and Center. 

I'm ready to create and have new ideas and some new orders, too.  Can't wait to get started.

Have a wonderful week.

C'est toute, mes amis

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, StumbleUpon

Our Wednesday night girls met on Tuesday night this week.  We had a lovely time, as usual, and I came away rejuvenated.  Cajun Stitchery will be closed this Friday because I'm going to Mexico Beach with the girls for the weekend.  We'll reopen on Monday morning.  We have a friend who lives at Mexico Beach and has opened her home to all of us.  I think we all need this break.

Etsy remain my retail learning center.  I've been reading the forums and doing my best to follow instructions.  It seems the number 1 thing to selling on Etsy is good photography, and number 2 is constantly listing and relisting.  At least one new item a day should be listed but some of the more successful stores are listing 5 to 15 or so new items each day.  Wow!  That's a lot.  Especially when you have to make these things by hand.

That bring us to where is the line drawn between handmade and non-handmade.  I posed this question on a forum awhile back and it seems that if you purchase something "store bought" and do nothing to it, that is not handmade.  However, if you purchase something "store bought" and embellish it, in any way, that is handmade.  That's where the line is drawn.

Most of my items on Etsy are handmade from cutting out the fabric, sewing the item, and embellishing/embroidery.  However, using the guideline above, I was able to embroider the patriotic napkins and list them on Etsy.  Even though the napkins are "store bought" the embroidery makes them "handmade." 

I was pleasantly surprised, again, to be notified that the white patriotic napkins were chosen for an Etsy Treasury earlier this week.  It really was a beautiful treasury of red, white and blue and I was honored to be chosen as the first item in the treasury.  That brought some traffic to our store and some hearts but no sales.

The other thing is that when I first began working our Etsy store, there is a "share" button.  Clicked on the "share" button lists Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon.  I was already very familiar with Facebook and I could click on the Facebook icon and send a link to that item to my Facebook friends.  I joined Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumble and StumbleUpon to do the same thing.  Early on I realized that sending to Facebook maybe brought a visitor or two but not many.  But everytime I clicked on Twitter, the visitor numbers would increase by 15 or 20.  So, I Twittered often.  As time has gone by, I've figured somethings out.  You want to get traffic to your store.  You can have the best stuff in the world but if people don't see it, they don't buy it.  There are several ways to get traffic to your store.  Etsy has loads of traffic, but it also has loads of stores.  To get noticed on Etsy you need to list and re-list to keep your items popping up for all to see.  You can also join in the forum and other store owner will visit your shop and if they "favorite" your shop or item, then there is an icon on their shop favorites for you.  Also, by letting the users of Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon know your item is listed at your store and you send them a link, then potentially you can get more traffic.  Then there are the search engines.  Basically, you need to have a good presence on the internet.

So, I Facebooked and tweeted, kaboodled, tumbled and stumbled upon all day long for awhile, until finally it wasn't making any sense and I wasn't getting sales.  Then I was introduced to analytics.  These are programs that show how many visitors have visited your store, when, and how; where they came from and where they went.  Statistics.  It showed me that almost no traffic came directly from Etsy.  Our traffic came mostly from direct, Kaboodle or this blog.  I started looking into each of these sites and what they do, what is their purpose.  Kaboodle is simply a shopping site.  There is no need for me to constantly click on Kaboodle because I have an area on Kaboodle where my wears are located, once, and they stay there until I change or remove them.  Putting more of the same thing is too redundant.  So, I stopped clicking on Kaboodle all of the time and now just put my item on there once.  When it sells, I take it off of Kaboodle.  Turns out that the reason the visitor  numbers soar when I tweet but yet my analytics show Twitter visitors as virtually non-existent is because when I tweet the search engine bots visit.  I read someplace that if you tweet too many advertisements, Twitter will block you.  I think I have unwittingly done this.  Tumble is just another blog and StumbleUpon is similar to Kaboodle.

When I read enough articles and forums, I realized that no one wants to be bombarded with advertisements.  If I want to get visitors from these arenas, then I don't need to push my wares; I need to become friends and use the sites as intended.  They know I have an Etsy store by now.  I'll tweet or facebook my new items that I list but not often and I try to make sure that in between the advertisements, I put many personal comments.  I don't like hard core sales and assume no one else does, either.  So, I'm shifting gears and learning better techniques.  I'm a very gregarious person.  As one forum stated, you should sell yourself, become friends, and be kind, and let your items sell themselves.  There's a lot of wisdom in that.

C'est toute, mes amis.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Computer, The Internet, And A Digitial Camera

It's been hot, hot, hot lately.  Of course, it has.  Today is the official first day of summer.

We went to the beach yesterday.  The water was beautiful and clear.  As we drove along Ft. Pickens Road we saw two schools of dolphins playing in the water at two different sites.  There is something therapeutic about going to the beach.  We had a lovely lunch at Peg Leg's Pete and then drove down to Ft. Pickens.  We walked through the fort, not very thoroughly though.  It was just too hot to be outside. 

When we returned home, we worked sporatically in the garden.  George saw a video about gardening propagation that said that when you take clippings to dip the end of the clipping in honey.  You use the honey like any rooting agent.  He was outside with his honey.  We'll see if the clippings grow.  Today we have a huge, beautiful hybiscus flower blooming.  Our solar waterfall has been going dry.  We were worried that it might have a crack in it but it turns out that all of the neighborhood animals are stopping by for a drink.  The birds, squirrels, stray cats and who knows what else are draining the little pot of water.  We are going to have to refill two or three times a day.  But it's worth it. 

Finally, George and I got on the computer and George is learning the digitizing program.  He's doing real well with it.  So, we played around with designs for awhile. 

I had placed some red napkins with a 4th of July embroidered design on Etsy and last night decided that I wanted the same napkin in blue and white.  They all turned out beautiful and are for sale on Etsy now.  Sure hope someone buys them.

I made another kloth koozie the other day that I need to put on Etsy.  I had some scrap, deep purple velvet and sewed an embroidered Muwaa red lips on it.  It looks pretty cute.

I'm in the process of making a little purse with the embroidered slot machine design, back and front on black spandex.  I wasn't going to make any more totes or purses but this has just kind of evolved.  I just need to put a strap and closure on it and it will be done. 

It feels so good to be able to help someone.  A friend of mine, who lives locally, is presently in Tennessee working for the government helping flood victims.  She was obligated to send a wedding gift to some friends but wasn't able to go shopping.  She ordered some napkins from Cajun Stitchery.  Via emails and messaging we created the design and the napkins really turned out beautiful.  She was able to purchase the napkins, which were reserved for her, on Etsy.  We wrapped the gift and put a card inside and will be mailing it this morning directly to the bride and groom.  She was even able to choose the cards she wanted from what we had available and then tell me what to write on the card.  It was such a load off of her shoulders and we were more than happy to help out.  A computer, the internet, and a digital camera.  That's all it took.

C'est toute, mes amis.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cajun Corner Vol. 2, No. 24

Cajun Corner – Vol. 2, No. 24 – June 18, 2010

Bon Jour! Welcome to Cajun Stitchery’s weekly email and welcome to our family.


Don’t forget to visit often.

Father’s Day is Sunday. Make sure you treat your father special, at least for that one day. If you are near the Gulf Coast, take him out to dinner on the beach. Those businesses really need patrons since the tourist count is down. I think I’m going to take George to the beach this weekend to celebrate.

Speaking of the beach, last weekend we went to the beach and ate at Peg Leg Pete’s and then went down to Ft. Pickens. I wrote the story in the Monday blog but the lady at the gate asked George is he was 62. He got a life time pass to all federal parks for $10. There are a few perks with getting old. Ha-ha.

This week has been consumed with Etsy. I’m trying to put something new on Etsy everyday. There is so much competition on the internet. Suffice it to say that I joined Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, Google Analytic and StumbleUpon in addition to Linkedin, Facebook, Blogger, Picassa, Feedjit, Etsy and some others that I already belong to. I post on the Blogger site every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, routinely. Tumblr is also a blog and I’ve gotten to like that one a bit because I can blog snippets during the day and post pictures of things I’m doing. I’m not sure I can handle all of these but I need to get customers. I need to continually evaluate what are my pros and what are my cons. I can read, write, sew, and embroider. And I have been reading everything I can get my hands on to market the Etsy shop. I’ve implemented most everything that I can. Then I found one forum on Etsy where the shop owner said they did all of the tweets, links, hits and found in the end, the thing that worked was just to do what they love doing – crafting and posting the items for sale.

Since I have been participating on the Etsy forums I was included in a “Treasury” this week. I was so excited. A treasury is where other shop owners at Etsy pick a theme and then chose 12 of their favorite items from other Etsiers’ stores to feature in the “Treasury.” That was real nice because it kind of meant to me that it was acceptance by my peers on Etsy.

Between Google Analytics and Feedjit (both are analytics showing the statistics of visitors and other technical stuff) my visitors to Etsy come either directly to our shop or via Kaboodle. A lot come from this blog and blogs that have listed us in their favorites. If you have a blog, please include Cajun Stitchery and we will be glad to reciprocate.

The patriotic visors with the stripes on the bill, blue headband and stars on the headband are now SOLD OUT. Yay!!! We still have the visors with the flag on the bill, red headband and the flag on the Velcro closure in the back. $5 for the visor plus $5 for most embroidered names or initials.

We also have a dozen burgundy ponytail caps and a dozen khaki with green bill ponytail caps. Passing on that sale is the same deal $5 per cap and $5 for most names or initials embroidered.

My friend, DJ, stopped by this week to visit and pick up her mermaid droid phone holders. We had such a lovely time. I only wish she could have stayed longer.

It’s getting hotter and hotter outside and the garden kind of weeps in the middle of the day but that garden just gets prettier and prettier. We have been harvesting tomatoes and bell peppers.

I’m still working on Etsy. I’ve rearranged our store on Etsy several times. I’m trying to get a new item on their everyday, although some days I don’t. Now I’m reading the forums and participating in that way. Etsy says that by participating in the forums you get your name out to other Etsiers and that’s a good thing.

One of my friends has ordered a set of 4 black napkins with red embroidery for a wedding gift. The engaged couple have registered for red and black plates. These napkins are going to be beautiful. Since my friend is working out of town right now, I’ve proposed that we do these napkins through Etsy and I can wrap the gift, include the card, and send onto the newlyweds, who are also out of town. Ha! Customers don’t even need to come to the house anymore, if they don’t want to. We can handle it all. Service with a smile:>)

I also have another set of pillowcases to design and embroider for someone special in my life.

I better get back to work. Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Always remember that we are just a call or email away at or 850-261-2462 and place your order.


Years ago, when Boudreaux was a college freshman, being fresh off the farm, and a rather healthy young man, he figured he'd try out for the football team. "Can you tackle?" asked the coach. "Watch dis," Boudreaux told him, and proceeded to run smack into a telephone pole, shattering it to splinters. "Wow," said the coach. "I'm impressed. Can you run?" "Mais, sure I can run," said Boudreaux. He was off like a shot, and, in just over nine seconds, he had run a hundred yard dash. "Great!" exclaimed the excited coach. "But can you pass a football?" Boudreaux rolled his eyes, hesitated for a few seconds. "Mais, Coach," he said, "if I can swallow it, I can probably pass it."


French phrase of the week: puits d'huile oil well



When you live in a hot part of the country during the summer, you know how important your air conditioner is to your comfort. It is also important that it doesn’t drive up your energy costs and there are some simple things that you can do that can keep this from happening.

• Thermal Curtains- These are a great solution to keep heat sources, like sunlight, from entering your house. For those on a budget you can just put these in the rooms that get the most sunlight. If you don’t want to go and buy new curtains and have heavy curtains you put up in the winter, they will work just as well.

• Blinds- If you have blinds up closing them will help to keep most of the sunlight out of your house and keep the house cooler during the day.

• AC Itself- Turn it off when you are not in the house to enjoy it. This seems like a simple tip but letting it run while you are not in the house uses energy that you don’t enjoy. Also if you are home alone and have window units, only keep the one on in the room that you are in. This will save energy cost and keep you comfortable.

• Blankets- It doesn’t seem possible that I would be talking about blankets and heat but it does happen. Instead of turning the air conditioning down so much at night, use a lighter blanket and you can turn the temperature up and save on energy.

• Maintenance- Clean your air conditioner if you have central air. Upgrade to an Energy Star unit if you have window units. This will keep your wallet and the Earth happy.

• Shade- When considering where to put your air conditioning unit, make sure that they are in the shade. This will keep the air conditioner from having to work so hard and will not use as much energy.

Please let me know if there is something that you would like to see in the weekly email. You may always call me at (850) 261-2462 or email me at

If you are not a subscriber and would like to receive Cajun Corner weekly, please email and let me know to put you on our email list.

C’est tout, mes amis

Peggy Henshall

Cajun Stitchery

(850) 261-2462

P.S. You are always welcome to stop by and look at all of the catalogs and pass some time with me, cher.

SALE OF THE WEEK (Good through Thursday, June 24, 2010)


We have one dozen of each of the burgundy and green bill with khaki crown ponytail cap styles in the photographs. This sale is for these 2 dozen visors. First come, first serve.

The ponytail caps have a brass slide closure.

Sale: one ponytail cap without embroidery is $5.00 plus tax/shipping. We will be glad to embroider on the cap, upon request. Most embroidered names or initials are only $5.00.
(Note: We still have a few of the patriotic visors for $5 each, first come, first serve, until they are gone.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

President Obama Visits Pensacola

A few weeks ago George and I both emailed President Obama stating that it seemed to us that whoever is in charge of this oil spill clean up is making all of the wrong choices.  That we had heard of so many different ways to clean up using environmentally safe methods.  We asked for an explanation of why those methods are not being used.  A day or two after our emails, we heard the President cancelled his trip to Australia and was coming to Pensacola.  Wow!  We felt good about ourselves.  Obviously, it was not our emails that did the trick but an onslaught of similar emails from people on the Gulf Coast wondering the same thing.

President Obama arrived in Alabama on Monday, spent the night in Pensacola, then Tuesday went to Pensacola Beach and then NAS.  The traffic issues were a nightmare while he was here.  Nearly closed down all of Pensacola, Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach.  But what do you expect when the leader of the free world comes to town?  There will always be the complainers.  I was just so happy that he came and saw.  Now I hope he does something.  It was funny because it seemed as though as soon as he said he was coming to the Gulf Coast, BP started looking into Kevin Costner's contraption, as well as other ideas. 

Everything is back to normal now.  We'll see what happens.

Since we couldn't leave our house most of yesterday morning, I allowed myself to sleep late.  Sweet!  Then my usual stuff on the computer.  I've signed up for Google Analytics to see who visits our Etsy site, how they get to the shop, what pages they look at, how long they are on the site, and if they are repeat visitors.  I'm just learning how to decipher all of the information and try to put some logic to it.  I read on an Etsy Forum that there is a website that shows you how many visitors you've had on your Etsy site, whether they are unique, how many times pages are opened, who hearts your shop or your item, and several things.  I joined.  The site connects to your Google Analytic (with your permission, of course).  The site is  It appears that the people who visit Cajun Stitchery's Store on Etsy come via other venues, such as this blog, Facebook, Kaboodle, Twitter, Tumblr, search engines, etc.  The best I can figure is that no one finds me in searches on Etsy.  I'm trying to figure that one out.  There is another site that I learned about via the Etsy forums called PickClick.  The PickClick site randomly shows items for sale on Etsy.

Insofar as those other sites, Facebook, Kaboodle, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., yes, I joined all of them.  We need name recognition and we need people to visit and purchase from the Etsy site or custom stuff from emailing us.  The Tumblr site is interesting because it's another blog.  I use that one almost like Twitter, a little blurb here and there throughout the day.  It's very easy to maneuver through.  Very user friendly.

Of course, that's not all that we've been doing.  We haven't had many napkin sales lately and we have a surplus of napkins.  When I purchase napkins there is a 5 dozen minimum.  We have a napkin order for black napkins.  We don't have any black napkins in stock, so I ordered a dozen black napkins and 4 dozen other colors.  I think I'm going to embroider on some of the napkins that we do have and put them on Etsy.  Since they will not be custom embroidered, I think I'll charge $5 per napkins, a set of 4 for $20.  There are some cute beachy designs that I've wanted to stitch out for awhile.  Perhaps we'll do that.

The patriotic visor with the blue band and stars on the band have been selling lately.  In fact, we only have two of those left.  We still have plenty of the patriotic visors with the red band, flag on the bill with a yellow stripe down it to show your support for our troops and a US flag on the velcro.  They are still $5 each, without embroidery.  Embroidered names/initials are usually $5. 

Of course, we have dozens of ponytail caps as well and can get just about any kind of cap you like.  Get a cap for the summer and keep the sun from frying the top of your head, not to mention they keep the sun out of your eyes and help reduce the strain to your eyes.

I had an odd thing occur with one of our items on Etsy.  I made a really beautiful Kloth Koozie out of a deep purple spandex fabric and put an embroidered birdhouse on it.  I almost kept that one for myself:.  Anyway, I went to take pictures of the koozie and the photographs kept showing it as a dark blue, rather than purple.  The really odd thing was the birdhouse had all of the correct colors.  A friend of mine who is a photographer suggested changing background and some other stuff.  That didn't work.  After reading the manual, I finally ended up putting the photographs in an editing program and changing the blue to purple that way.  Even looking through the view finder, the koozie looked blue.  It's the darndest thing.  I think it probably has to do with the fabric being so shiny, but I've taken pictures of shiny things before without this problem.  Perplexing.

Tomorrow is my son's 42nd birthday.  It's hard to believe that I have a son who is 42 years old.  He said that his birthday is going to begin this weekend when his wife throws him a birthday party on Friday.  It makes me happy to know that they have been married, I guess, about 13 years now and still going strong.  I'm so proud of both of them.  Happy Birthday Hank!

This coming Sunday is Father's Day.  I need to do something for George.  I think I'll take him to the beach and spend a tranquil day watching the water.  He loves doing that.

C'est tout, mes amis.