Monday, December 20, 2010

New Location for The Ash Tree!

The Ash Tree's unique products can now be found at our new store location, 6 In The Shipyard. The new shop, now located in the recently opened Hingham Shipyard Launch at 18 Shipyard Drive in Hingham, has been a smashing success so far in the holiday season.

Though we wished we could have moved in earlier to capture more of the holiday rush, the traffic and business has been excellent. 6 In The Shipyard represents six different vendors that each bring something unique to the table, and I am proud to be doing business with them.

I have been able to contribute my online marketing knowledge in the design of a new website and blog, as well as setting up a 6 In The Shipyard Facebook Page and Twitter account. At the shop, I have all of my merchandise, and will use the venue as an experiment when designing new jewelry or pieces of art. Currently, I have my jewelry (and famous handmade earrings!), handmade books, recycled sail wallets and sail bags, embroidered necklaces, Purple Heart merchandise, seaglass rings, seaglass necklaces, and much more!

Also included in the "Six" are Dock This Way Embroidery and Design, Camilley's Closet, The Pink Poppy, Soul One One, and Sea Glass Photography. For more info, be sure to swing by the 6 In The Shipyard website to view products from each of the vendors, visit their websites, and check out the guest blogging and *wonderful web design work* provided by yours truly!

Contact me for more information!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Golden Ivory Handmade Blank Journal

Golden Ivory Handmade Journal, $12
Purchase a handmade journal for yourself or as a gift: this medium sized notebook is made with metallic golden paper squares contrasted against a soft floral ivory spine.

Actual book size measures 4 1/2" wide by 5 3/4" tall. Inside, it has 65 unlined pages, which are made from 100% recycled cream lightweight paper - perfect size for notes or sketching on the go. I made this book after seeing the gold square paper while on an art-supply adventure. I know. Art supply self-control issues.

Seriously though, I'm really happy with the end result. I decided not to play it safe on the inside, and instead line it with a beautiful textured hunter green handmade paper. Creating handmade books has been a passion of mine since taking Book Arts in my last semester at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. I fell in love with the meditative process, the process of hand sewing the signatures. My favorite part is covering the binder's board with my selection of handmade paper to make the book's cover. 

There's something about making hardcover books that is so satisfying. I guess it's the substantial quality and durability that I'm attracted to. I don't know. Maybe I'm crazy - maybe, but I'm damn good at making books.

Browse my Handmade Books available at The Ash Tree, if you don't believe me. And if you have a personalized project that you'd like to work with for a gift, holiday, or any other special occasion, contact me for a free quote and to get started!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Embossed Place Cards with Wedding Calligraphy

Embossing & Calligraphy for Table Cards, $2.50 each
A recent wedding calligraphy job I completed was for a holiday wedding that took place this month, after I had completed calligraphy for her wedding envelopes. Thanks to the bride, I have some great images to show you!

This bride wanted just a touch of holiday for her December wedding that took place this past weekend. She purchased three different small rubber stamps: a funky line Christmas tree, a more traditional Christmas tree, and a small snowflake. There was also a large snowflake, but I decided to use that one exclusively for the table cards, as it was bigger and would have overtaken the smaller place cards...not to mention be slightly out of place compared to the sizing of the other stamps.

Embossed Place Cards, $1.50 each

She needed her place cards embossed for the wedding reception, and handed over red and ink stamping pads, an embossing tool, stamp cleaner, and embossing powder. So, I got to work!

The embossing process is so much fun! I wanted to create an even amount of stamps and stamp colors, so I decided to emboss all the cards she gave me before writing out her guests' names in calligraphy. Using the three stamps, I decided to do an even amount of six different cards for guest names (each single stamp in red and green). Then to emboss, I stamped the lower right corner, sprinkled with embossing powder and used the heated embossing tool to melt the powder and create the raised, shiny look of an embossed design.

The results were gorgeous! The place card itself was a metallic silver color, so the red and green really popped against the shimmer. I wrote out each couple's name, and then wrote the table number in the left corner to balance the composition of the whole place card out.

There were also 17 tables at the wedding reception that needed calligraphy for table cards. I used the larger snowflake stamp to emboss even amounts of red and green table cards, then used the largest calligraphy nib I have (a C-1, for those keeping track at home!) and used a quill to write out each table number, 1-17. Each table card was placed on an adorable red and green tabletop "present" for each table. Lastly, I wrote out "Sweetheart Table" for the happy couple!

Thanks again to the bride for the images, so happy I was able to be a part of her special day :)

If you are contemplating embossed place cards and calligraphy for your wedding reception, or simply want a super reliable person to handle it for you (as you have enough to worry about!) please contact me for a consultation on what exactly your vision is: I'll be happy to work with you to help make your dream wedding come true!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Logo For The Ash Tree

I need help deciding my new logo for Ash Tree!

Now that the Ash Tree is moving into the Hingham Shipyard to participate in the new 6 In the Shipyard store location, I was approached to give up a high-resolution logo for my business. However, my Etsy shop Ash Tree Creations logo was created by a graphic designer as a favor - and the original file is was on my old computer. Plus, my shop banner isn't necessarily what I would call a "logo".

So another graphic designer that was a friend of a friend just shot these two designs my way, and being the typical Libra that I am, I cannot make a decision:

 I opened the above one first  and got happy. The scroll of awesome really seems to tie in with my Wedding Calligraphy business. And then I opened this one and liked that there was more of a Tree incorporation:

But I'm afraid this logo is a bit too reminiscent of a horror movie. But in a fabulous pink color. 

I was also debating whether or not to change the name from Ash Tree Creations to Ash Tree Designs. Creations is a bit to cutesy for me - I think designs is a bit more dynamic. 

So, help! Which one do you like better?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Calligraphy for Wedding Invitations

Thanks to a recent client, I have another great image of my recent work! The wedding invitation calligraphy for these envelopes was written out for a December 2010 wedding, and the bride wanted the bigger, the better calligraphy!

The style, which was written out with a calligraphy pen and black ink cartridge, actually worked very well within the composition of the larger sized envelope. She also opted for the spread-out zip code on the last line, which is a calligraphy signature which has always been my personal favorite. 

Calligraphy for Wedding Invitations Outer Envelopes, $2 per envelope

As you can see, I specialize in creating invitations to suit individual wedding calligraphy needs, and my inexpensive wedding calligraphy is also a great way to relieve some stress of wedding planning while staying within your budget. Contact me for wedding calligraphy pricing, and to get started on your wedding project today!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Handmade Fluorite Semi-Precious Stone Bangle

Fluorite Semi-Precious Stone Bead Bangle, $23
One of the latest in unique designs from The Ash Tree, this bangle is hand-wrapped with silver plate wire and strung with semi precious fluorite stone beads. It was a difficult concept to execute, but I finally nailed it with the finished result in the latest installment of my handmade jewelry collection.

The shape of this bangle is what makes it a bangle rather than an actual bracelet. The wire that supports each fluorite semi-precious stone actually gives the bangle it's defined shape. As a result this bracelet fits the smaller wrist, measuring in about 7" in length. The bangle is fastened with a handmade silver plate wire hook, assuring that this piece won't go anywhere!

Interested in one of my one-of-a-kind pieces? Contact me to get yours today, or to discuss the possibility of hosting a jewelry party...did I mention hostess gets to keep a piece of her choice? :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Professionally Written Invitations

Professionally Written Invitations, $8 each
Have invitations for your next function, party, or special event professionally written by a calligrapher. My professional calligraphy services are not only affordable, but are also beautiful and deliver high-quality results. 

Pictured here was a recent full invitation - calligraphy job that I completed for a client who needed invitations written out for an event her club was hosting. 

The club's logo was a bee, so she purchased cardstock from the Paper Source (Crane & Co., one of my favorite vendors of high-quality paper products) with an embossed golden bee logo. She also needed envelopes addressed for the recipients, which I completed on the accompanying envelopes lined with deep purple and gold honeycomb paper for 30 invitations.

So, thinking about adding that extra something to your next function's invites? My calligrapher pricing is extremely reasonable: this job was completed for $8 per envelope, and $1.50 per envelope address. Read more at the full Calligraphy services listing at my Etsy shop. 

Contact me today for your free quote and consultation!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Recycled Sail Women's Wallet

Women's recycled sail wallet, $39
Women's recycled sail wallet, now available for purchase online! I bought this wallet a few years ago, and was fascinated by its structure. I studied it, broke it down into a pattern, and created this expansion of the recycled sail product line: the Women's Sail Wallet.

Though my Tri-Fold Recycled Sail Wallet isn't necessarily exclusive to men (it's actually in fact more unisex), I was envisioning this one as being a bit more glamorous, and ideally a great complement with one of my recycled sail Bowline Bags.The Tri-Fold Wallet is also very popular, and I'd love to see something a little bit different with a touch more fashion, like this style, take off!

As always, I embroidered a few numbers on the front: for the next wallet, I'll probably do only 2 numbers and have them be a bit larger. I chose navy because I feel like it looks the best on the stark white of the sail, but have also embroidered the numbers in both Hunter Green and Red.

Like this item? Buy the sail wallet at my Etsy shop! Don't forget to browse through the other Recycled Sail Products I have available for sale.

The holidays will also be here before you know it, and my orders are starting to come in! Contact me to create a custom wallet - makes a great gift for the sailor or nautical person in your life :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Before I Forget Series: Handmade Books

Medium Handmade Journal, $12
New handmade journal and notebook series now available online at Ash Tree. The concept started while I was studying abroad in Italy: I am really into writing into Journals to keep memories, and I remember how important it was for me to write everything down while abroad.

Once I got home, I found that there was a lot that I missed, and didn't want to forget. Most notably was speaking Italian, which I was speaking every day and now don't anymore - so I made a smaller book with content in my Book Arts class titled, "Before I Forget", and used a typewriter to type up the phrases that I used most often before I forgot.

Handmade Daily Agenda from "Before I Forget" Series, $15

Then I saw this paper while shopping for art supplies, and was inspired to create a journal line out of it, and title it the "Before I Forget" series. The decorative paper is meant to capture the feeling of being away from home, writing everything down to remember it, and writing letters to those who aren't with you. I've made three books so far: one of my Daily Agendas, a medium-sized blank journal, and a small journal.

Small Handmade Sketchbook, from "Before I Forget" Series, $10

The paper is 100% recycled cream paper, which is ideally best with pen or pencil if you are thinking of using it as a sketchbook. The inside of the agenda is lined with recycled navy paper and speckled with 2 cent stamps. Inside the medium journal is bright red paper, and the smaller notebook has bright blue paper. Second editions of my handmade books are soon to follow!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goldfish Handmade Books

Another personal edition favorite, the Small Handmade Goldfish Book, $8 I remember when I first bought this paper after walking by it every day in the school store my last semester. I've made now 3 books with it, none too grand in size because of the intricate, tiny details of the bright orange fish in the pale blue water. This inside is lined with a lighter orange paper, which looks amazing against the pale blue water.

I've started an edition line with these small books: the first edition sold immediately at the Sidewalk Sale in May 2010, and I was so fond of the style that I made another. This actually was a product of recycling: after folding enough signatures, I realized I didn't want the book to be quite as long, so I cut the excess off and decided to make a book out of that.

As a result, the book can be used vertically, for to-do or grocery lists, or horizontal, which is great for quick, short writing - notes or for poets on the go. And it's size makes it great to throw in a purse, or even pocket.

I love not only the design of this particular edition, but also its size: I plan on making quite a few more color variation and themes. Trying to find a precious, handmade gift for a reasonable price? These mini notebooks are perfect! Get started on your personal book project today..

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Handmade Book With Japanese Screenprinted Paper

The latest online sale was a custom made handmade book that was modeled after a listing my my etsy shop, Handmade Journal, $16. The book was requested in an A5 size, which is pretty close to the original listing. I just shipped it to the customer in Taiwan.

This is one of my favorite handmade books, and I was actually inspired by the papers I used for the cover. While shipping for unrelated supplies, I picked out these two toned Japanese papers that go so perfect together and made this blank journal out of them.

The book is covered completely in a soft blue-green paper embellished with metallic gold dragons. The front cover is also embossed with a strip of pale blue paper with metallic gold leaf decorations.

The inside pages are made with 100% recycled paper - I chose a cream color to match the tones of the cover and I felt it was less harsh on the eyes. This particular, medium sized journal measures 5 3/4" by 7 1/4" with a little less than 200 pages. Available in smaller and larger sizes.

These journals with the cream paper are my signature handmade book, and come in many different color themes. Also be sure to check out my Daily Agenda editions to help keep you organized.

Contact me to get a custom made book today. Don't forget that the holidays are coming up... :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Calligraphy for Wedding Envelopes

Another recent calligraphy job for wedding invitation envelopes completed a few weeks back for a client that I actually met on Etsy, and did a Featured Etsy Shop Blog Post for! We connected when I interviewed her and featured her shop, ScrapHappyLyreBird, in a post over the summer. We re-connected when we found that we were local to each other, (Boston) and she happened to be getting married and needed a calligrapher to do her wedding invitations for her!

"Ashley did a fabulous job with our wedding invitations. We were so pleased with how they turned out. She was very easy to work with and we would highly recommend her to our friends and anyone looking for calligraphy services." - Tess, 2010 Wedding
I loved working with her envelopes: they were thick, and linked with a beautiful metallic gold scrolling detail on cream paper. I made the suggestion that she use the dots to embellish the spread out zip code (above) as it matched the theme of her invitations.

I've recently completed another outer envelope job and place cards over the past few weeks. Also in the works are commissioned professionally written invitations for a private party to be completed over the next few weeks on stationary. Stay tuned for updates and images!

If you are in need of calligraphy for a wedding, special event, or even to add a professional touch to party invitations, please contact me to get a job quote. Also be sure to visit my Calligraphy page to get more information!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seaglass Rings

Seaglass Rings, $12 are one of my favorite products that I offer. They are a huge hit at jewelry parties and craft shows, because I keep them inside a real shell "bowl" where customers can try them on until they find the one that fits them. I recently had the opportunity to make a custom ring last month through an order placed on Ash Tree Creations, and wanted to remind my followers that this is a total possibility.

I use found sea glass from my collection from the Boston Islands over the years. My rings are made with silver plate wire to keep the price reasonable, and no two rings are the same. If you'd like a Custom Seaglass Ring made just for you, please contact me with your ring size and preferred sea glass color and I will hand-wrap it for you!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Want But Really Need: Scented Candles

This is the latest installment in my What I Want But Really Need series, which inevitably happens when I'm about to make a purchase from the fine craftspeople on Etsy.

Candles are so much more fun to buy in person. Mostly because I stand there in candle shops like a crazy person sniffing all of the jars. My favorite scents are usually food related: I love Buttercream frosting, French Vanilla, and really like the Apple Pie or other delicious smelling noise like that.

Upon a first search for Buttercream Candle on Etsy, I found this great Buttercream Crunch Candle, $8 from an etsy shop called Auntie Di's Di-Lites. I like the price for the size, and the picture / presentation look great.

I also found these while doing a price search - the new feature on Etsy where you can input the two price points that you'd ideally like to pay. These Pink Sugar and Buttercream Candles, $5 for set of 4, are a bit different, but they totally look fun. There's sugar on it. Amazing. Great pic, Boardwalkcandles!

So that's all for my latest impulse buying post. I haven't blogged too much because I'm having some camera problems. I've got some great new Handmade Books, so check back often!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Commission Drawing for Birthday

Remember my charcoal drawing I did of Papa and I last month? Well, after seeing it at my graduation party, (mom framed it. And I think stole it.) a family friend commissioned me to do a drawing of her two daughters for their father's birthday. I've known the girls forever, so I have to admit I was a bit nervous drawing them - would I be able to capture who they were? Could I make the drawing actually look like them? The last drawing was for fun: this one meant business.

I loved how this came out. Better yet, I loved having an excuse to draw again: I haven't too much since I graduated: and even then, my last semester of art school I didn't take any drawing classes. I also LOVE drawing people!

So here is the original picture (it's very hard taking a photograph of a photograph, P.S.) Do you think I got close? On the day I started working on this, I lost power in my apartment. At 4:00 pm. So it was fine, as I had window light. Then it got dark. I tried the ye-olde drawing thing with a candle, but that didn't last long. But I'm sure it would have been funny to watch if I wasn't so pissed about it that I had to stop what I was doing.

Anyway, this really is a cool, unique gift idea, and I've been doing drawings like this (commissioned and for fun) for years. If you're interested to find out more or to talk about pricing, email me!

Oh yeah - and for those who roll their eyes at those who go to "art school", I seem to be doing a damn good job now that I'm out. And I had a delicious breakfast this morning: not even starving at all...;)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Apartment In Boston!

The Ash Tree's base of operations has moved ((only a few blocks!)) to a GORGEOUS apartment in the Fenway, Boston. The space and natural light in my room has already made a huge difference in my productivity and inspiration.

I've been busy working on wedding calligraphy place card jobs, and just finished a double portrait drawing commissioned by a family friend. It came out GREAT!

It's amazing how having a breathable, clean space to work in keeps you so much more organized and productive. My last apartment was fun, but I'm done with the crappy collegy apartments: well, I was done paying Boston rent for really crappy apartments. This place is a bit more expensive than my last place, but with the huge newly rennovated bathroom and huge 3 windows in my room, it's paid for itself. God I've been writing for realtors too Below is my "studio" area - I should have taken a picture DURING THE DAY with the light and not in the throes of art-making.But oh well.

I also got a delightful mix-up from the company I ordered my mattress and bed frame from - instead of the "not too bad" Hazelnut wire frame, they delivered a gorgeous chocolate brown and gold Tuscan Bedframe instead, which was $400 more than what I bought. And since they would have lost money if they came to get it and give me my correct frame, this helped me justify keeping it and being totally stoked about it. I also bought a sea-green/blue comforter with velvet, chocolate brown scrolling all over it. It's amazing. And my cat loves it. Does that make me a crazy cat lady? Do I care?

Now it's on to decorating and moving on to the living room. My roommate is borrowing the great futon that I bought until her bed arrives in a few days, so I figure I'll work from there. Plus we have a miniscule TV coming (oh, yay) But still, it's a TV.

More updates to come! In the meantime, anyone have any cool, modern decorating ideas?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Calligraphy for Quotes on Table Cards

After I finished her wedding invitations, this bride came to me with her place cards and table card calligraphy requests for her wedding. Her place cards were simple white cards on beautiful paper from the Paper Source - however, the paper used was really absorbent, so I had to use an acrylic ink with a dip quill pen so that the writing was crisp and wouldn't bleed into the card.

Then, the calligraphy for table cards were SO FUN to write out. She wanted romantic quotes from her favorite romantic movies underneath a prominent table number. THIS card took ink very well, so I was able to use my calligraphy pen with black ink cartridge for the fine font required for the quotes. I also used the acrylic again for the number, as I had to buy the biggest quill nib I could find to do the numbering, the "Thank you!" on the favor table, and "The Sweetheart Table". (The size was C-1, by the way. HUGE. I usually work with C-5's, C-4's max.

I was so pleased with how they came out - the black ink really popped on the pale pink of the cards, and it was beautiful. Enjoy!

Looking for affordable wedding calligraphy for your wedding's place cards or table cards? Contact me today!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Seaglass Pendants

Since I just finished an order for a Custom Seaglass Ring today, I figured I'd do a quick feature on my Seaglass Necklaces that I have available. As some of you know already, I do some work with sea glass that I used to find with my family when I was younger: we literally had bags and bags of what we found on the beaches. I recently decided to try and make these memories into some beautiful jewelry pieces, by wrapping them with silver plated wire (pictured here is a "cage" wire-wrapping technique) and stringing them onto a cord.

I usually try and create a pop with a brightly colored cord, although I have done pieces that are more subtle with a black satin or woven cord. The blue that is pictured is actually suede - saw it at Michael's and couldn't resist :) These necklaces are super popular when I have jewelry shows - they add a touch of summer to any outfit.

Want to see if I have a certain color? Need a custom piece for an upcoming birthday? Pissed that I apparently didn't wear enough sunscreen earlier in the day when I modeled this piece? Let me know!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wedding Calligraphy for Place Cards

I just got this image from a client's wedding and I was totally stoked about her calligraphy project so I wanted to share it with you. She came to me a few months back with this idea to have wedding calligraphy done on artist palettes as her wedding place cards, as she was getting married in the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Her father-in-law cut the palettes out of little wooden hearts that she found at Michael's, and her mother-in-law then dotted the edges with paint.

I tested out the wood when she first suggested this idea, and I asked her to coat the wood with some sort of clear coat of paint: this was because when I used ink on the surface, the wood was so soft that it bled and absorbed the ink around it, so I couldn't make crisp lines.

Looks like they all worked out! It was kind of difficult determining how the names "lined up", as there's no bottom edge of the card to compare it to. But, all pinned up on the board like this, on a navy background with paint splatters all around it looks completely amazing. I'm waiting for more professional images, as this was a quick shot taken by a friend, so I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, enjoy my calligraphy awesomeness.

If you have a creative place card / table card wedding calligraphy idea, please email me. Seriously. This stuff makes me really happy :D

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Making Art, Staying Creative: Handmade Jewelry

Ugh I've just had this nagging urge to create things recently. Maybe it's the closing of the summer, and I usually have to get creative when going back to art school: but now I've graduated. Hum. These next few months are going to be weird.

I started making jewelry by accident, actually: and still have to learn some basics of metal work and saudering. It started two years ago when I had to take full academics at Tufts University, and no art classes. Yeah, I was nervous about basically starting over my junior year at college, and after a few weeks I began to miss that creative challenge. Mostly I just needed to make...things. (I'm gesturing with my hands a lot as I write this. And yes, typing too. Call THAT skill.)

Lately, I've been doing most of my jewelry work when I go out on the boat. Maybe because I've become obsessed with keeping busy all the time. Also, I find that being away from the computer gives me a great opportunity and time to be creative, and the boat functions as kind of a "studio".

This is me working on the boat, (modeling my own pair of really cool Chandelier Earrings, $12, with freshwater pearls, I may add! Below is my current offering of earrings on my earring rack) and I'm going through a ring sizer that I have. This is basically a chain with different size hoops and determine your ring size, and this is especially helpful when I'm making my Sea Glass Rings. I find some sizes are more popular than others, but try to at least include one of every size.

I've also had this overwhelming need to paint, and I haven't done that for about three years. I sort of got "painted out" after sophomore year, as after high school I wanted to do and perfect the only thing I knew how: paint. So I took basically every painting class offered at the Museum School of Fine Arts, and as a result I got frustrated: not really sure why. My palette was becoming muddy, and I couldn't get the colors I wanted - or, the colors everyone else wanted. 

So I think painting will make a comeback. Maybe some small canvases, then working bigger to maybe paint some Italian landscapes to hang in my new apartment. Let's see how it goes.

Monday, August 9, 2010

100th Post for The Ash Tree!

This is officially my 100th post for this blog! I can't believe it. A lot of this has changed since I started this blog a year ago: I've learned a lot and have had so many great experiences. I started my own business, lived and studied in another country, graduated college, and got my first full time job. It hasn't always been easy, but it really has been worth it. Now I'm here with 61  subscribers, (thank you!), 56 followers on Twitter, and have 73 fans on Facebook. Think I can double those numbers by 200 posts? ;)

100 posts is also significant for SEO purposes. In addition to website age, inbound links, and relevant content, 100 posts is really when the search engines start taking you seriously when crawling your website. Which has led me to start thinking about new ideas on things to be writing about. I think I'll scale back on Featured Etsy sellers to once a month, and start doing featured products more. Which may be bad for me because I'll probably ending up buying a lot - but hey, it's for my fellow etsyians, right?

I also want to write more about adventures in Boston that I have, and maybe bring some flashbacks back from Italy. I kept a journal there, and really want to go back - I figured doing some nostalgic posts will get me excited and motivated again to make my way back there. Plus, it gives me something to dream about.

Since I've also started a job that basically revolves around SEO and marketing, I'll inevitably write a lot more about those topics, as it has been a greatly consuming yet interesting topic for me. I'll also try and do more adventure reviews of cool stuff that I do: this is a blog, after all! I am on Yelp as well, so that may absorb many of my restaurant ravings :)

Lastly, my art. I've graduated, and am feeling the pull to create now more than ever. This will range from drawings to designing handmade jewelry to more items in my Etsy shop. So look forward to more images of things I NEED to create. I'm going to try and commit to writing every day - see how quickly it will take me to reach 200 posts! Between all this stuff, some occasional book reviews, artist collaborations, and personal experiences, this next year will be the best for the Ash Tree ever. 

And please don't be shy! I really do want to hear from you and maybe start some more conversations. Feel free to comment, shoot me an email, or DM me on Twitter to give me your opinions, or ask questions about me and my work! Talk to you soon!

(p.s., these images are all based on a "100" search that I did on etsy!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blogging Tips

1. Do Blogging with Patience and Passion

Passion and Patience are the ultimate words for blogging. Always choose a niche for blogging about what you know (write what you know!) and are passionate enough to write about every day or twice a week. My blogging has really come into its own since I've started working for an online marketing company, where I blog basically every day. And, blogging won't make you money overnight, if that's your goal. You'll have to wait for the money and it will only come if you have a proper strategy.

2. Make Blogging Strategy

Make a schedule for blogging and stick to it. It's important to stay consistent with your blogging, as it will hold reader interest and encourage you to pump out fresh content for SEO purposes. Now, how many articles you will write in a day or a week? How much time you will spend in marketing your blog? How will you market your blog? For example, I now know I'm going to include my blog and twitter accounts the next time I order my business cards.

3. Make Social Media Marketing Strategy

Search engines are no longer the only source of generating traffic. If you target social media biggies(Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, etc.) then you can get a great amount of traffic from them. Sometimes it can be much more than search engine traffic: but again, it won't come easily. You'll have to interact with people in Social Media in your niche and you'll have to build valuable relationship with them.

This is ME! :)

4. Make Link Building Strategy

Link building is important when it comes to search engines. Make proper link building strategy and try to get more backlinks from the blogs in your niche especially the higher page rank blogs. Find DoFollow blogs in your niche and the blogs using Comluv and Top Commentators plugins. Comment on those blogs but DON'T spam. No one likes to see that on blogs you comment on, it diminishes your credibility, and breaches blogger/blogging etiquette. Try instead to add value to the article: it's fun to check back and see how people respond.
5. Make Your Blog a Community

The environment of your blog should be such that when new visitor comes to your blog he should feel it as a community and become the part of it. So solicit comments at the end of your posts, and start a conversation!
6. Make Good Relations with Niche Bloggers

Interact with other blogger in your niche by commenting on their blogs and through social media. You can learn a lot from your competition, get more ideas, and competition breeds innovation.

7. Write Unique Content

Content is king in blogging and any website. Copying and pasting content onto your blog can result in your website being penalized by the search engines. So come up with something original: it doesn't have to be long or perfect, just get it up there! (Bonus points if you add some keywords you'd like to rank for!)

8. Always Reply to Comments

Interact with your readers by replying to their comments. Readers love it when their comment is replied and they will come back and comment again to create another conversation. Also be sure that it is easy for readers to make comments: users will give up trying to post if it takes them forever to add a one-sentence reaction.
How to get more comments on your Blog

9. Use Article Marketing

Write articles related to your niche in high PR article submission directories such as Ezine Articles, Hubpages and Squidoo with the backlink to your blog. It will definitely increase your blog authority and your blog will rank well in search engines.

10. Enngage in Mutual Guest Blogging

Try to write at least one article in a week to other blogs in your niche who offer you to write for their blogs. Guest posting on high traffic and high PR blogs is more beneficial as it will give you more exposure and quality backlinks.

11. Ask Readers for their Opinions

Ask readers for their opinions in your articles. It will increase comments on your blog and your readers will not feel that they are reading an article written by someone who's not real. Adding personality and invoking a conersation will score major points.

12. Write for Readers

Ever heard the expression, "Write like a reader"? Always give priority to your readers. SEO of the article is also important but it will be of no use if you can’t make a loyal readership from your articles...and often too much SEO work will make a post read awkward, and low-quality writing discourages readers.

13. Make Your Blog Design Reader Friendly

Your Blog Design should have a clean design with proper navigation. It should be such that readers can easily find the content of their choice. Even now, a year later, I'm still fooling around with my blog. has come out with some great new features that I always make sure to explore, like new template designs and widgets to make my site more interactive.

14. Use SEO friendly Theme and Have Visual Consistency

Use SEO friendly theme on your blog with proper header (h1, h2,..) tags. Always use h1 or h2 tag for post title. You can try Thesis Theme. Also be consistent with fonts, font size, and font color within posts. AND NO HIGHLIGHTING. It looks gross, just don't do it. You guys are artists, you know what's up.

15. Use Effective Title

Title of the article should be both reader and SEO friendly. Title should be appealing to the readers and important keywords should also be used in the title.

I hope these tips help out! While I know the average blog reader has ADD (I know I do) and merely scans titles, I hope you gained something from those bold headlines (like how I did that? OoOh sneaky!) 

I'm interested to know if you guys do anything else to brand your blog. As always, feel free to email me with any questions! 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blue Gray Striped Shell Bracelet

You may remember my Blue Gray Shell Earrings, $10 - this bracelet is intended to be a match for the set! I blogged earlier about how drawn I was to these mother of pearl shell beads, and how much they reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Which is an awesome cereal.

Pictured below, again, for your reference.

Mmmmm. ANYWAY, this handmade bracelet is now available in my etsy shop, and it has definitely passed the "Ashley wears her own jewelry to work" phase. It matches black and white outfits, and the freshwater pearls, faceted glass, and hematite bead dangles make this piece almost reminiscent of a charm bracelet. And it goes without saying that its super dangly and fun.

I love working on handmade jewelry pieces :) Do you like the design? Not edgy enough for you? How do you feel emotionally about Cinnamon Toast Crunch? I want to know!

Share and Enjoy!

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