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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Challenging Times

We are in complete and utter shock to hear that Hallmark Magazine has ended it's publication with the Feb/Mar issue.

This is what was posted on their site:

We know the economy is bad.... but with all these magazines dropping like flies, we feel they must of had problems long before. What is really unsettling for us as a small business is that we rely on these creative magazines to market our product. (And don't get us wrong, we know with the ceasing of all these wonderful publications, hundreds of creative people are out of work and our hearts go out to them). Now we can see how this economy creates a chain reaction:

We are expecting our second baby in April, and we were discussing the idea that we would cut back on our show schedule and focus more on advertising. We had a lot of success with our past ads in MEHC magazine and it just seem to make more sense (we thought) if we can just advertise and stay in the studio working rather then spending every weekend during the busy holiday season at the craft shows.

What's making us a little worried is that with magazines, the ads need to be booked months in advance as do the craft shows. Say we booked a few ads for the upcoming holiday season and the magazine goes under, we'll have no ads AND all this merchandise... plus we missed out on the crafts show deadlines.

So far, two of our top magazines we decided to advertise with have ended without warning.
Just this week Hallmark magazine called the studio about advertising in the April/May issue and I told them we weren't able to make that ad deadline but we were definitely going to book the Sept/Oct and the Nov/Dec issue. I asked the sales rep how the magazine was doing and she was raving about the magazine and said because Hallmark is huge company with such a large following they weren't going anywhere. Well I guess we really need to rethink our marketing plans so we don't become the next casualty.

We hope that the coming year brings positive change for everyone in a tight spot, no matter what you do for work. Our hearts go out to all our fellow crafters especially, who I'm sure are finding this year to be one of the most challenging. Good luck!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day!

Here at the studio it seems like we have been celebrating and thinking about Valentine's forever (actually we have – since Dec 26th!). From designing our new collection to thinking of new projects our world has been reds and pinks and purples. So now the day is here, and we are all loved out.

But with having a three year old we are reminded of the fun Valentines day is again. From his cute little Valentine party at his preschool to the many Valentine themed projects (see below of one of Gryffin’s door hangers) we have been doing through out the month of February. Oh the fun of being young again.

Enjoy a day of sweet treats and and remember to give hugs and kisses to the people you love.
Hope everyone has a fun filled Valentine's day.
~Lianne & Paul

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Swirly Cupcake How-to

This project is for personal, non-commercial use.

This sweet little project is fitting for a Valentine's tree or you can make a string of garland of mini swirly cupcakes for you or your sweetie and with this treat you won't have to worry about the calories
• White Polymer clay (or you could use colored clay if you don't want to paint)
• Craft glue
• Bakers twine
• 3/4" eye pins
• pink, brown & metallic white craft paint
• Extra fine crystal glitter or pink glitter
• Glossy varinsh

• oven
• toothpick or plastic knife
• ceramic tile

Step 1.
Condition the white clay with your hands, roll it out to approximately 1/2 thickness.

Make it look like the shape of a mini marshmallow

Step 2.
Using a toothpick or a plastic knife, indent lines around the base to look like the cupcake wrapper.

Step 3.
Take another piece of clay and roll out with y our fingers again to be a long thin snake approx 6 - 10 inches long

the length will vary depending on the size of the base you make
Step 4.
Swirl the long piece of clay around the top of the top of the base of the cupcake

keep going around to build a peak like a soft serve ice cream cone

Step 5.
When you get to the top of the cupcake you pinch off the extra clay.

Step 6.
Take the eye pin and gently insert into the top of cupcake so that just the loop holder is showing.
Cut the eye pin to size, so it doesn't stick out the bottom

Step 7.
Then place your cupcake on the ceramic tile and bake in the oven according to the packaging.
(if you don't want to use baking clay, you can also try air-dry clay which could work too)

Step 8.
Once it is baked, let it cool for about 20 minutes or so. Give it a quick sand with fine sand paper.
This makes the paint adhere to the cupcake better. If you don't want to paint, you could use colored clay instead. Apply two coats of a glossy varnish.

Step 9.
So now you can add the glitter!
Paint the whole top of the cupcake frosting with craft glue and pour the glitter over it, shaking off the extra.

Step 10.
Take your baker's twine or linen and insert into the eye hole and tie a knot.

That's it - that is how you make your very own Swirly mini cupcake treat!
How sweet it is!!

Let us know how you did!
Happy Valentine's Day

Make your own Swirly Treat

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we thought we would post a fun little how-to project. The last one we did was back in October when we showed you how to create your own mini swirly ghost So check back on Tuesday the 10th, for our sweet treat post.

A Swirly GIVEAWAY for Valentine's Day

Would you like to win one of our limited edition 2009 Cupid Valentine ornaments?
Swirly Designs is a guest blogger hosting a "Guest" Giveaway post over at a fun and creative blog called Skip to My Lou. So go check out Cindy’s site and leave a comment to our question:

Where do you go to buy handmade gifts? And now, with the ending of such great publications like Country Home and Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, we would really love to know which magazines you will turn to now, to get your holiday fix?

But don't wait too long, this giveaway ends this Monday Feb 9th at midnight EST. We will choose one winner and send them one of our handmade limited edition Valentine Cupid ornament from our new 2009 collection.
Good Luck!
Lianne & Paul

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Show Swirly the love

Do you want to stay informed with all that is happening here at Swirly. We just added a way for you to stay in the loop. Simply click on "Follow this Blog" on bottom right, and whenever we add new posts, announce new collections or post any fun Swirly news you'll be one of the first to know!

On another note, we have been mentioned on a fun blog called "Passion for Pink". See the post here: http://www.decoratingpassion.blogspot.com/
Thanks to Karen for sharing our designs with her readers!

-Lianne & Paul

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Valentine's Collection is here

Our 2009 Valentine's Collection is now available online!
In this years limited collection, we have created 14 sweet designs. Perfect for the ones you love. Place your orders now because this collection is going fast and the deadline to order is this Monday February 9th.
Here is are some photos of the making of the collection:

We have such a small window of time for creating our Valentine collection. We are all about our Christmas designs right up till Dec 26, and then we switch gears and think Valentine's. We always start with sketching tons of designs and then choose which ones we think will work in the collection. Every year we like to add new embellishments to the ornaments and this year we were inspired by the old paper valentines. So we wanted to incorporate paper and crepe paper into our collection.

Happy Valentine's to you all!
Lianne & Paul
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