Friday, May 28, 2010

Blogmania Update!

Less than 4 months until our 2nd Blogmania Event!  This time around, the stakes have been upped... September 15th -16th is going to be the biggest blogging event of the year!

This event is a two day event!  You can hop from blog to blog and enter to win tens of thousands of dollars of prizes!  Each blog is required to have a minimum of $100 valued giveaway... and some are crazy!  They are offering prize packages valued at over $1,000!  That's right!

While hundreds of blogs are applying to enter Blogmania, the coordinators are reviewing applications and choosing the best blogs to participate.  They must offer family-friendly content, good readership and be willing to share the Blogmania love to get the word about about the event. (i.e. promote the event consistently all summer long online & offline)

As one of the blogs that has been accepted to be a participant, I'm working on creating a massive prize basket.  My theme for the Blogmania Giveaway is "My Favorite Things!"  I'd like to put together a collection of gifts and be able to offer a HUGE prize or several prize collections. 

My online marketing campaign will massively begin over the next week and run all summer long until the event on September 15th and 16th.  I will be promoting my partners, their prizes, websites and blogs as well as the Blogmania event as a whole.  There will be massive traffic generated and getting your website advertised as part of this campaign will be huge for building your business.

Some of the things that fall under my favorite things are:  jewelry, bath salts, homemade soaps, candles, anything for dogs, snuggly things (scarves, slippers, hats, mittens), coffee, gardening items, fitness anything, or anything related to a day at the beach!  Those are just a few ideas of what my favorite things are.

If you wish to partner with me and work together to build a HUGE prize for blogmania, and receive massive new followers and fans all summer long, let me know.  I will be designing some special jewelry just for the fall Blogmania, even better than what I gave away this spring.  Any sponsored items are welcome, whether it's a pair of earrings or handmade beads, a coffee cup or gift card to Amazon.com.  We'll all put together an amazing giveaway!

Interested?  Send me an e-mail with the Subject:  Blogmania at designsbydawnmd@gmail.com.  In your e-mail, include:  Your Name, Your Website, Blog or Store, What Prize You Would Like to Contribute, AND a Picture, Logo, or Avatar I can use to promote you!  I'll set it up your avatar/button and the links for where it goes, host the button on my server and do a feature post all about you!  Plus when I launch my new website in late June, you will get free advertising on my website!  In the last month alone, I've had just over 1,000 visitors on my blog!  Would you like me to refer them your direction?  (This will be getting bigger each month this summer as my online marketing campaign hasn't even begun yet!)

I look forward to working with you!  Together Everyone Achieves More!  To follow all the news about Blogmania, check out may page Blogmania on this blog!  Or follow me on Twitter @DesignsbyDawnmd.

Have a wonderful, safe Memorial Day Weekend!
{Hugs!}

Dawn

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Something old, something new, something borrowed....

SOMETHING BLUE!!!!  Yes, I'm not sure about wedding traditions in other cultures, but this is a customary tradition here in the US. 

So feast your eyes on this....


Fit for any bride... there's crystal, there's pearls and of course, there's blue!  I designed as an anklet so any bride can wear it with her gown and it's not going to upset her new Mother-in-Law by clashing in the pictures.

It's been 80's and sunny her in WI, so I've been playing in my gardens - loosening up soil, planting seeds, splitting plants and being incredibly grateful for everything around me.  I'm one of those crazy people that LOVES both the heat and humidity... I know, what am I doing in Wisconsin, right? 

Hope your day is sunny, and if it's not... bring sunshine with your smile to someone who needs it!

{Hugs!}
~Dawn

Monday, May 24, 2010

Custom Order - for a Paris Wedding!

One of my BFF's asked me to make her some custom jewelry for a wedding she's going to in Paris!  It's so wonderful when you can design from the heart for someone that's more than just a friend, but really like a sister to me.  She's been there to support me through miles of life changes and so this set of jewelry is supremely special.

Her dress is a guava color - which I say is like a tropical pinky orange with clear A/B crystals in a cracked ice pattern at the bottom of the skirt.  It's a strapless dress, so I wanted to make a huge statement while keeping the necklace light and not klunky.  :)  Thus enter Swarovski crystal into my life... and my infatuation with big bling!

I created a triple strand bracelet, chandelier earrings and coordinating necklace featuring crystal and padparadascha Swarovski crystals.  I love how the light reflects off the bicones and crystal cubes.  I'm developing an even greater love crystals and formal jewelry! 

This week I'll be putting out my May Newsletter.  If you haven't signed up to receive my free monthly newsletter, fill in your information in the box on the right.  As my gift to you, you'll get a copy of my e-book "Twitter Marketing Made Easy" for free! :) I look forward to sharing great updates about summer trends and all things related to jewelry!

Hope your week is absolutely stellar!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Busy Weekends!

Is it just me, or are your weeks like crazy busy from May through the entire month of June?  For me, it's many celebrations, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Sister's birthday, Dad's Birthday (yeah, he pretty much hauls some serious loot in June) This year add to that a bridal shower, a Memorial Day picnic and sometime in between toiling in my soil and planting my pots with beautiful flowers!  Oh yes, and multiple graduation parties to celebrate too!

It amazed me as I looked at my calendar yesterday that we've rounded the corner toward June... I'm honestly not sure who took my May, but I'd like a few weeks of it back, please?!?! 

This afternoon is a bridal shower for my cousin and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the family.  The chandelier earrings I posted about the other day I made as a gift to her.  I'm positive she's not on blogger this morning, so I don't have to worry about ruining my own surprise.  LOL

What are you weekend plans?  Do you have craft shows you're selling at or parties to attend?  When I find the "Lost Weeks of May" I'll let you all know where you can find yours if they are missing too! :) 

{Hugs!}

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crystal Chandelier Earrings

Fit for a queen... or for a princess... or for a bride!  I've been having oodles of fun with beautiful Swarovski crystals.  It started with the prom jewelry I created in April, then I received a custom order for a dear friend who's attending a wedding... in PARIS!  I know, how romantic is that?  So I ordered the special crystals to go with her gown and ordered a few extras to "play" with.  I can't wait to show you that piece.  I'm using the Swarovski that I can't pronounce the name of... but it's perfect!  Padparadascha... or something like that!  LOL

There's something special about the sparkle of Swarovski... I don't know how they do it, but they're amazing!  After seeing the highlights from the Miss USA pagent on Sunday night, one recurring theme jumped out at me.  I don't watch the whole pagent, I just don't care that much... but I do love the evening gown competition.  Why?  Because the gowns are gorgeous and I LOVE jewelry.  So what a better showcase of all the most beautiful bling on the planet!  (And the hottest formal jewelry trends)  The one HUGE trend I saw was the long chandelier style earrings!  I love chandeliers, always have.  But seeing them all "blinged-out" on the runway... I was salivating!  Seriously, I was in my element.

Imagining, dreaming, planning for a cruise - which is still just in dream stage, or my wedding and picturing all that bling - even if I'm just standing on a beach in sandals!  So let's all take a moment, and than Swarovski for creating so much bling in such tiny packages! :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Sharing - Create your own Grab Button

I want to thank Tara over at The Waterwaif for teaching me how to create my own grab button.  While I've been grabbing other people's buttons for years... LOL... I never knew how EASY it was to make one for myself so other wonderful websites and blogs could link back to mine.  We'll I'm here to tell you, it's a piece of cake... an in my case, raspberry coffee cake with coffee 'cuz that's what I"m all about while I write this post! :)  So thank you Tara for being a great teacher and sharing your knowledge!  Please stop over an pay her a visit at her blog.  She also makes beautiful, custom crafted jewelry and really is a great inspiration to work at home moms!

This is a great way to reciprocate traffic among blog friends and be able to share the blogger love!  Any website or blog can grab your button and advertise for you, regardless of if it's a blogger, wordpress or typepad account.  These instructions to create a grab button however are written for people using blogger as their blogging platform, because that's what I did mine in, so that's what I learned! :)  Feel free to grab my button over on the right!  I appreciate sharing the love!  You are also welcome to post links to your blog, website or online store over on my Facebook Fan Page for Designs By Dawn Marie.  I have a discussion tab that has a "Link Love" discussion started and it's for anybody that wants to share their website URL with other Facebookers.  So you're welcome to share there as well!

How to make your own Grab Button.
1. First, make sure you have an ad or a button. The easiest way to do this, as I did, is to take a photo of one of your products and add your name or link to it with photoshop or a similar program. Personally, I use Photoscape as it's a free photo editing software that can be downloaded online.  It works great and it's really easy to use.  It's best to keep the image size under 200 pixels wide so it will fit in most sidebars.


2. Upload your new ad to any hosting site. Many people use http://photobucket.com because it is free, but there are a lot of options out there for web hosting.  I have a hosting account with Bluehost for multiple websites that my fiance and I run.  So I just uploaded my jpg ad to that account.


3. Now, open a new tab or window and go to your blog. This tutorial is designed for Blogger blogs as that is how I learned it.  I'm sure it's similar on other platforms, the names of the tabs and commands may be slightly different. Log into your blog, click "customize", then "Layout", then "Page Elements". Select "Add a gadget" and then choose 'HTML/Javascript'.


4. Copy and paste the following in the text area:
------------------------------------------------------ 
 <img src="http://YOURADURLHERE.jpg" /> <br /> <textarea style="text-align:center" rows="5" cols="20"><a border="0" href="http://YOURBLOGURLHERE.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://YOURADURLHERE.jpg"></a></ textarea>
-------------------------------------------------------
5. Keep that window open and go to Photobucket, or  whichever photo hosting you are using, and copy the direct link URL for  your ad. Then come back to your blog window and paste that URL in both  places where I've written YOURADURLHERE. Make sure you leave the  quotation marks as that's what keeps a link active in HTML.

6. Then, see where I've written YOURBLOGURLHERE? This is the website you want anybody that clicks on your button to go to. So whether it's your  blog's URL, or your Artfire shop or Etsy store, or whichever site you want to link to.  Put that web address in that spot.

7. Make sure you save. Once it's saved, you should be able to bring up your blog and you'll see the image of your button with the code underneath that people can copy and paste on their sites to link back to you.

Hope this helps! For me it as like an "AH HAAAAAAAAAA" moment!  Thanks again Tara for sharing with me and reciprocating links! Hope your Sunday is absolutely superb!

{Hugs!}

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Opinions Wanted - Etsy vs Artfire?

Lately I've been wondering...

I've seen a number of new blogs and met some great bloggers that are so very talented.  I'm amazed daily at how talented my online friends are using whichever medium they prefer.  I've also learned that everybody has their own method of selling their artistic creations.

In seeing so many different styles of creations - from jewelry to glass beads to knitted, crocheted and sewn creations to photographs... each artist seems to have their own desired online store.

The two most popular I've seen are Artfire and Etsy.  I'm just wondering which do you prefer and why?  I know each offers their own goodies, gadgets, widgets & gizmos... but what I'd love to know is which one is working best for you.

If you would share your opinions with me, I'd really appreciate it.  I think we can all learn from each other, and I'm curious what you prefer and why.  Thanks in advance for sharing! 

Have a terrific day!
Dawn

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

September Blogmania Update!

I had so much fun participating in Blogmania on April 30th that I JUMPED on the chance to participate again!  Only this time, it's going to be even BIGGER and Better! 

Our next blogmania event is going to take place over 2 days and have 175 blogs.  The prizes will all be bigger and you'll see a tremendous variety of giveaways.

This time, my giveaway will encompass "My Favorite Things!"  For those that know me, or have followed me for sometime you'll have fun with this giveaway.  I love life and feel so bless to have so many wonderful people and things in my life every day! 

So what can you expect from My Favorite Things giveaway???  Here's a few hints: bling (custom designed by me of course) coffee, artisan crafted soap, snuggly, comfy, fuzzy stuff, bath salts, candles, soul music... and so much more!  I'm putting together a HUGE prize collection (over $100 in prizes) and promise, you'll love what I put together. 

If you're a blogger and want to participate you can do that in two ways.  First you can enter your blog and put together an amazing valuable prize that people will love.  To enter, check out Lynda's website Between the Lines where she'll have you send her an e-mail for more information.

If you aren't a regular blogger, but want to co-op a giveaway, find a blogger you love and get in touch about what prizes you would like to contribute to the giveaway.  They'll be able to post photos & link back to your site so people will know exactly who you are and can check out your other wonderful wares!  Then once the winner is selected, the participating blogmania blog will get you the winners address so you can send them your part of the prize.

If you would like to partner with me in my Favorite Things giveaway, send me an e-mail to: designsbydawnmd AT gmail DOT com.  I'd love to send you some traffic and be able to cross-promote your blog and Blogmania all summer long! :)

I can't wait for September 15th - 16th!  Blogmania's fall event is going to be "The" event of the season!  Great time to start thinking of the holidays.  Oodles of bloggers will be offering prizes that will make GREAT Christmas gifts!  I'm excited to share!

Have a super duper day! {Hugs!}

Sunday, May 9, 2010

All Things Bright & Beautiful

Happy Mother's day to one & all... The moms with two-legged kids, the moms with the 4-legged furry kids, and the Mr. Moms.  All of you are so important in sharing love, teaching responsibility and helping to raise wonderful adults.  I'm so blessed to have a wonderful mom that always taught me the value of honesty, kindness and being genuine.  Our family was so rich in love, we had enough to share with all of my friends, my siblings' friends and their siblings as well. 

One thing as a child, and then as I became a young adult that you could always, ALWAYS count on was something fresh out of the oven & delicious when I came home from school, with mom waiting, asking "What did you do today?"  And then the most precious gift of all... she really listened, creating what are now wonderful memories of years gone by! 

To my mom and all of my friends that are moms, your ears are worth so much more than their proportionate size! :)  Much love, many hugs, laughter to last a lifetime.  Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Gift

Let it be known to the heavens and earth that I have officially completed the most amazing gift for my Mother-in-Law for Mother's Day!  Yes, I've been a slave to my computer and scanner all week after a brainstorm I had last Sunday... in the shower.  Don't judge, it's where I do my best thinking! :)

Chris' mom had given me a HUGE manilla envelope of recipe's from her mother (whom had passed away in 1990) and asked if I could put them in a binder or something for her for safe keeping.  This was sometime around last October/November.  "Sure Mom, no problem."  "Thanks sweetie, no rush."

So here they sat... 

Holiday's are always crazy for everybody, and I've really been focusing on building my jewelry business so low and behold, the manilla envelope was still just sitting... until last Sunday.

Over this week, I have typed and scanned in all those recipes into a cookbook... yes, 88 pages, portrait 8 1/2 x 11" with a beautiful photo of Nana for the cover and had it professionally bound.  It turned out amazing, and since I know she doesn't get on the internet but twice a year, I know this post isn't going to spoil the surprise.  :)

So this is a picture of Chris' Nana, whom I never had the blessing to meet while she was alive.  However, in compiling all her decades of recipes, I know she was here with me.  I felt a chill, and got really, really emotional on one particular day (and it was 80 outside, so I could rule out the weather).  Her spirit definitely let me know she was here and that she loved what I was doing.  It was really a special, special moment I'll cherish for my lifetime!

What are you doing for your mom and mother-in-law for Mother's Day?  Any special traditions?  I'd love to hear how your week went and what you've been up to!  Gee, I've missed you all this week!  Can't wait to give the gift of a lifetime tonight at our get together. :)

Hugs!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Inspired Monday!

I start everyday by making my "To Do" list of what I need to get done today, and bigger things that need to be done this week.  After finishing my list today, two words come to mind.  Holy Cow!

I've got more things to do today than I have hours in the day!  Yikes... and still, I have this burning desire to wish you all a wonderful week.  My two big projects this week are going to be creating special jewelry for two of my nieces for their birthdays.  One turns 15, the other is turning 14.  So they are at that age where they love jewelry.  That's a win for me as the gift giver! :)

I also have something very special I'm putting together for Chris' mom for Mother's Day... but that's absolutely top secret.  So for now, I must abandon my computer and get busy!  Time's ticking!

Here's your bit of jewelry inspiration for the week.  One of the books I have thoroughly enjoyed reading is A Bead in Time by Lisa Crone.  Lisa also runs a great blog and really makes it a point to get to know her readers and her blog followers.  She's become a dear friend and inspires me every day to never be afraid of trying something new!

So here's a spin on one of Lisa's projects in her book, the Golden Gate Bridge Bracelet!  You'll have to get to book to hear how she gained her inspiration for this great bangle.  One thing I can assure you is that you'll absolutely love all of her projects!

Make it a terrific day and have an AWESOME week! :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blogmania Drawing - Winner Chosen

Blogmania 2010 Winner of Blog 118 of 123 Announced!

Good Morning Friends!  I selected the winner of my Blogmania giveaway yesterday afternoon at 5:33 p.m.

I printed the entire list of comments and made sure each of your actions counted.  So if someone accidentially listed that they are a GFC, Twitter Fan & FB Fan all in one comment... it was 3 actions and indeed I made sure all three counted.  I double checked everybody to make sure everybody had a fair chance. 

In total, there were 272 entries.  HOLY COW!  That's awesome! I want to thank you all for stopping by and all the actions you took to promote not just my blog, but Blogmania as a whole.  The success we had as a group is thanks to Lynda Coker at Between the Lines and More, and her two partners in crime fun Amy - The Black Sheep Dances and June - Writing is a Blessing.  Without all your coordinated e-mails and organization, Blogmania would still be just a great idea.  You've made it into a real event... a real BIG event!

I know in the rush of trying to visit all 123 blogs, you may not have gotten a chance to look around.  I invite you to browse my previous posts, check out my unique jewelry designs and ask any questions you have.  I also send out a once monthly newsletter about jewelry trends, new styles of jewelry (like wire crochet) and the hottest seasonal colors so you can be on point all year round.  As a bonus for registering for my newsletter, I will include a copy of my e-book Twitter Marketing Made Easy.  This will help you get started with Twitter and automate many processes to make tweeting with your followers super easy!  Just fill in your name, email and website or blog if you have one, click the button then check your inbox for an e-mail from me. 



And now, back to the Blogmania winner...

To choose the winner, I used random.org to generate a random entry number.  Out of 272 entries total, random.org selected #43 as the winner.  Here's the result (you can click the picture to enlarge):


Entry #43 belongs to:  Angie Tubbs

I've e-mailed Angie for her mailing address and will ship her jewelry out first thing this week. This was the first giveaway I participated in and really, I had so much fun!  I'm looking forward to Blogmania - the fall edition this September.  It will be even bigger and better than this round was!  More winners, bigger prizes.... you get the picture?  Mark your calendars for Wednewsday, September 15th.  Take off work... find a sitter for the kids... get your pups & kitties extra treats to keep them busy because you are going to want to focus!  ;)  Kidding aside, if you enjoyed all these giveaways, you'll definitely want to come back!

Thanks again for stopping by my blog during your treasure hunt.  The wonderful comments you left me are sincerely appreciated.  I love hearing from you and look forward to taking your ideas and creating works of jewelry art with them as inspiration! :)  For those that subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you will receive special subscriber-only sales & discounts for being a loyal follower!

I appreciate your friendship so very much!  Thank you for making my experience with Blogmania and my first giveaway over the moon successful!  Congrats to Angie Tubbs, I hope you love your jewelry!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Blogmania Winner...

... will be chosen this afternoon.  I'll send the lucky winner and e-mail and post it here on my blog tomorrow morning so that everybody can know who won.  The winner will have 72 hours to e-mail me their mailing address so I can ship out their jewelry.  If I don't hear back, another winner will be drawn.  :)

I sincerely appreciate all of my blog followers new and existing, new Twitter followers and new fans of my Facebook page, Designs by Dawn Marie.  The response to Blogmania was tremendous, not just to me, but the entire group of bloggers that participated.  Your wonderful comments and interaction really meant the world to me and I look forward to sharing more of my creative jewelry designs with you in the future.

We're already making plans for the next round of Blogmania which will take place on September 15th, 2010.  So mark your calendars now!  I expect the prizes will be even bigger, and the number of people participating will increase because people are still raving about how much fun this was.  I did hit all 122 other blogs yesterday to check out their blogs, get to know them and see how they were doing Blogmania.  Wow, are there some really, really talented bloggers out there.  I was in awe at how amazing some of the blogs looked and the content they delivered on a regular basis to their followers.

Again, thanks for stopping by yesterday!  I hope you enjoyed your stay (even if it was brief) and will stop back again soon.  I'll always have my virtual door open and a fresh pot of virtual coffee on so we can have a wonderful social time together.

See you real soon!
~Dawn
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