Collection: We've Moved New Address Labels

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twas’ the Blog Before Christmas

Well this will be my last blog before Christmas day so I want to wish all of my readers and blog followers a very Merry Christmas and hope you all get to enjoy some relaxing time with your families! I hope you have all of the things on your to do list almost done and are just finishing up last minute things. I’m glad to say that I have had all my decorating, shopping and wrapping done for a couple of weeks now. I know you last minute shopper’s don’t get it but seriously I don’t like the crowds and being in the stores once it gets really busy. Just need to do a little more baking or perhaps keep my husband out of the butter tarts, I’ve made two batches of them already! Add to that peanut butter balls, sugar cookies and candy cane bark! Tis’ the season!

I thought I’d give you a recap of my business Designs by Shell for 2012. This has been my most successful year ever. This December I reached my highest sales month since I started back in 2008. It’s been quite a journey. I’ve learned so much about networking, how to market my designs, what type of products sell the best for me and so much more. It’s been an exciting year to see my store grow and reach new heights. I fully expect 2013 to be even more successful as I continue to build my business. 

As the new year approaches it’s good to set some goals for your business to keep you on track and moving in a forward direction. Smart goals, goals that you can think through and put into action are the way to go. The break down of SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So know your goals, write them down, review them often. I wish you a joyous and prosperous New Year in business but also in your daily life!

Here are some of my items and designs that we’re popular sellers in 2012.

Cute Giraffe Baby's First Christmas Christmas Ornament

Cozy House Change of Address Square Stickers

Purple Hippo Christmas Ornament

Zoo Animal Baby Shower Postage

Landscaping Design Business Card Templates

Official Cupcake Taste Tester Shirts


Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 10 Fun Family Holiday Activities

As I was thinking of what to write about for this post I must admit it was hard to decide on a specific theme.  I decided on a Top 10 List  of Fun Family Activities to do in the month of December.

1) Attend a Christmas production at a church, school or theatre.

2) Get a group of friends and families together and go Christmas carolling at a neighbours or even a Seniors facility.

3) Bundle everyone up and go skating at a local ice rink.

4) Invite friends over for a holiday movie night. Serve popcorn and hot chocolate.

5) Have a cookie swap. Making and decorating the cookies together with the kids.

6) Fill travel mugs with hot chocolate and take the family for a drive through the streets to see the homes decorated with Christmas lights.

7) Get everyone involved in packing up a Christmas hamper for a needy family. (The kids could make something special for the basket)

8) Visit a botanical garden that goes to town with their lights. Many cities have one that gets all decked up for December.

9) Skiing, tubing or snowboarding are good family outings. All ages can participate.

10) Choose a holiday themed book and read it together as a family.

Well there are some ideas to get you thinking. Depending on the age of your children or whether it’s just adults at your home I hope you’ll be inspired to do something fun this month.

I’ve been busy marketing and working on items for my store. Designs by Shell. Here are some of my favourite holiday designs below.

Surprised Penguin Christmas Tree Ornaments

Whimsical Christmas Tree

Weight Lifting Snowman Square Sticker

Holiday Ornaments Photo Card

Purple Christmas Trees iPhone 5 Case

Snowmen Decorating a Christmas Tree Party Plate


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bake It, Wrap It and Give It

Are you busy getting things checked off your list as Christmas is fast approaching? How's the decorating and shopping coming? What about those food gifts that you want to make for some of the folks on your list? As I was busy baking this weekend I thought it would be the perfect time to share a few recipes that could be packaged up in pretty containers and given as gifts. Food gifts are perfect for friends and family members that you like to give a little something too! Here is a list of yummy ideas for you... 1)Golden Butter Tarts 2)Chocolate Covered Pretzels Here you'll find some pretty ideas for packaging them. 3)Chocolate Toffee Squares 4)Candy Cane Bark (my personal favorite) 5)Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls 6)Snack Mix Recipes (Top 10) 7) Glazed Banana Loaf (Wrap in cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon)

Baked Heart Shaped Cookies Postcards

Well I've been doing lots of marketing and trying to get my designs out there as much as possible. November was a great month and I'm trusting December will be a profitable one too! So many things to keep us all busy from now through Christmas. Here are a few items from my store. Please stop by for a look around Designs by Shell Snowman with Snowflakes Wall Skins Sea Lion Baby's First Christmas Christmas Ornament Purple Christmas Decorations Postage Stamps

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Branding Yourself in Business

There has been a lot of talk about this topic as of late especially if you run a business and participate in marketing. What is meant when someone tells you that you need to build a brand for yourself or your business? I asked myself this question recently.

Branding is basically marketing yourself in the business world. It comes down to how you present yourself to others. Not just simply how you look although a professional look does tend to make a difference but also how you relate to people, your personality and what knowledge or experience you bring to the table. Here is where you want to gain respect and build trust with potential customers. Your attitude and methods of networking should represent you well.

Intended branding allows you to differentiate a service, product or yourself from the competition. We all know that competition is huge so we must be looking at what our potential customers need or desire in our particular field. Do you have something unique and attractive to offer? How can you make your business stand out from the crowd? Your brand should separate you or make you stand out at least a little from your competitors.

Some business’s are more difficult to put into a niche brand especially if you sell several different types of products. My Zazzle store, Designs by Shell falls into this type of business. I have to let my whimsical, warm, fun style speak somewhat for itself. As customers become familiar with my designs they tend to return for subsequent purchases which makes me very happy. This is where personal branding comes into play. As customers or people you network with begin to get a sense of who you are, what you have to offer and how you network they will become more comfortable and thus help spread the word about your business. Customers want to get a sense of who you are and I believe through my design style I can give them that!

Branding yourself in business is a concept that is familiar to those in the business world but has really become a ‘power word’ that has been used extensively lately. Just watch the topic trends on social and business networks for awhile you’ll see what I mean.

Well those are my thoughts on this topic. Hope I’ve given you something to think about.

Here are some of my products featuring my designs. Thanks for shopping at Designs by Shell. I appreciate all of my customers!

Tennis - Queen of the Court Ornament

Snowman in a Tall Black Hat Mug

Whimsical Tree for my Teacher Card

Christmas Mouse Refrigerator Magnet

Snowman Gifttag Round Sticker

Chocolate Lover Mug


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Putting it into Practice

This last week I was thinking about ‘acts of kindness’ whether random or thought out. I thought about people that have touched my life over the years with an act of kindness. It doesn’t take much to reach out to someone, to brighten someone’s day but do we do it often enough? That got me to creating a list of 50 Acts of Kindness. I’ll share the first 25 ideas on my list with you here, if you’d like to view the entire list you can see it here. The night after I finished my list I started to take notice of where I could execute my first thought out act of kindness. Lo and behold three city workers showed up in our cul de sac to replace some dead trees in several of the yards. It was pouring rain and cold out, I made three hot chocolates and took them outside to the workers. I motioned for one of the guys to come to my front door and offered him the mug, he had quite a shocked look on his face. I carried on a conversation with him for a few minutes as he thanked me. I left the two other mugs with him to give to his co-workers. It was a simple thing to do but enjoyable to pass on an act of kindness to these young guys.

1) Bake muffins or a loaf and take to a neighbour
2) Write a note of appreciation to a friend or someone who you appreciate
3) Bring someone's garbage cans/recycling bins up to their door or step
4) Gather up your spare change, put in a container and leave on someone's door step. Add take that says 'recipient of act of kindness'
5) Tip your newspaper delivery person
6) Invite a neighbour over for coffee
7) Help someone carry their groceries to their car
8) Buy a coffee for a co-worker
9) Offer do some house cleaning for a senior
10) Give a random person a Starbucks or Tim Horton's gift card

11) Give your empty cans and bottles to a homeless person
12) Clean out your closet and donate your clothes to a thrift store
13) Wash a neighbours vehicle
14) Leave a hamper of food on the doorstep of someone in need
15) Offer to babysit someone's children for nothing
16) Cook a meal and deliver it to someone who is sick or who has a sick family member
17) Buy a bouquet of flowers and leave it on a random person's doorstep
18) Hand out bottles of water to holiday shopper's coming out of the mall
19) Walk a neighbours dog
20) Let someone else have the parking stall you were waiting

21) Drop off a dozen or so donuts to your local fire station or police station
22) Tape a row of loonies to a hospital parking meter
23) Buy 10 scratch and wins and stick them on the windshields of 10 random vehicles
24) Rake leaves for a senior
25) Bake muffins or cupcakes for church staff

Well there is half the list. Have you recently done an act of kindness for someone or been the recipient of one? Please do share! 

I’ve been keeping busy marketing my store for the Christmas season as well as designing new products as often as possible. Pop by my shop to see what’s new…


Keep Calm and Run Coffee Mug

Cozy Home with Saying Aprons

We've Moved Cozy House Design Postcard

Tree of Hearts - Kindness Matters Stamp

Snowman with Saying Shirt

Cartoon Baby Monkey iPad Mini Cases


Sunday, November 18, 2012

December Preparations

As we near the end of November and December sneaks up on us our thoughts are turning to preparing and gearing up for Christmas. How do you celebrate the season?  Christmas for our family means celebrating the birth of our Saviour. A big highlight for us is attending the Christmas Eve service at the church we attend. A great evening of singing Christmas songs and hearing the Christmas message. Afterwards we usually head home to have some appetizers and goodies and watch a Christmas movie before I get busy filling the stockings for our boys. The guys may all be older now but they still like to open those stockings on Christmas morning.

I love to decorate our home for the Christmas season and the Christmas tree is a big piece of the decor. I usually choose a specific color theme for the tree. This year along with shimmery gold tones, chocolate brown and bronze I’ll be adding in a rich shade of purple. I can’t wait to see how it will look. 

I’ve written several pages about Christmas Decorating Tips and Ideas that I love to share. Here are a few of them for you to see…

Elegant Christmas Decorating Made Easy

Decorating with Ornaments and Glass Bowls

Classy Christmas Decorating Ideas

Decorating Christmas Wreaths

Elegant Purple Christmas Decor Ideas

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Do you have a big list or have you cut it down over the years? I’m about 1/2 way through my shopping now. Hope to finish it up before December. Then it will be time for some decorating and holiday baking and so forth…

I’ve been busy creating designs of all kinds for my store and adding them to appropriate items. Please come by anytime for a visit, you never know what you’ll find that may work for someone on your shopping list.

Sweet Snowman Christmas Ornament

Weight Lifting Snowman Square Sticker

Weight Lifting Snowman with Saying T-shirts

Snowman Let it Snow iPhone 5 Case

Cute Penguin Couple with Hearts Christmas Ornaments

Electric Guitar Business Card

Pretty Packages for a Special Teacher Christmas Ornaments

World's Best Music Teacher Ornaments

Chocolate Wedding Cake Save the Date Announcements


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pushing Through

Do you have those days when you know you need to hit the gym or go for a run but are having a hard time mustering up the energy? I think we all have days like that. I’ve learned that pushing through those tough workouts actually will benefit you in the long run. Even a light workout can help boost your mood, ease stress and put you in better spirits. If you’re having a hard time staying motivated to keep up your exercise routine there are ways you can change it up to continue maintaining your fitness. Scheduling it into your day, even putting out your exercise outfit the night before can be just the push you need too!

Whatever your age, fitness level or even if you’re just beginning a fitness routine there are ways to make it fun and enjoyable so you’ll continue doing it. Try doing something a little different for your cardio. Perhaps change cardio machines at the gym, seek the help of a personal trainer if you’re intimidated by these machines. Add light weights for muscle toning, grab a skipping rope or stability ball and use these to perk up your workout. If you’ve never joined a fitness class maybe now is the time to give one a try. There’s yoga classes, cardio and dance classes, spinning classes and other fun classes to try. Don’t forget the great outdoors, walking whether at a regular pace or fast speed can be another great exercise to keep you moving. I mean really, the main thing is to keep moving right, nobody stayed in shape and felt great by sitting on the couch munching on chips! So I want to give you a boost and motivate you with these words to keep on a moving! You know the saying ‘move it or lose it’ so let’s keep going! 

Well the busy season is fast approaching and shopper’s are coming to the store to see my new creations… so here’s a sampling below, come by my store see what else I’ve been working on.

Cupcakes - Taste Tester T Shirts

Cute Snowman Christmas Ornament

Christmas Cartoon Penguin Postcard

Snowman with Sweet Saying Apron

Surprised Cartoon Penguin T Shirt

Pink Tiger Baby Shower Stamp

Purple Designer Cake Business Card Templates

Classy Ornament Photo Card

Classy Blue Christmas Decorations Magnets


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Becoming a Successful Networker

To become a successful networker in business these days it takes a lot of hard work and patience. It isn’t something that happens over night it can take a great deal of persistence to be a success at this.

First off, you should find a great business  platform that will become your main channel for building your network.  Of course, one can join many networker sites but I personally like to have one that I check in with every single day. You’ll know it’s the right one for you when you are receiving advice and worthy information from fellow networkers as well as adding your own valuable content to help others grow. A good mindset of a successful networker is to be encouraging and willing to help anyone you can. Building trust and gaining respect from fellow networkers goes a long way in business.

I’ve chosen IBOTOOLBOX as the business networking platform where I can share and build my business. This platform is ‘free’ to join, no payment required! No hassling or pushing requests in your face to spend money on this platform. It offers amazing tools to help new and mature business owner’s grow. You can advertise your business or opportunity and get your business in front of 300,000 plus visitors a day. IBO Toolbox offers a social networking site as well as the business site so has great potential for connecting. So yes, if you’re looking for a business networking site to join, where you can add value and gain knowledge to grow your business this is a place I recommend. You have nothing to less and everything to gain!

Well as the busy shopping season starts to take hold, I’ve been working hard on adding new designs and products to my store. Please stop by and them out, great Christmas gifts and everyday items too!

Pretty Holiday Bow

Purple Whimsical Christmas Trees Stamps

Whimsical Christmas Trees Coffee Mugs

Classy Christmas Decorations Magnets

Keep Calm and Add Coffee Mug

Wide Mouth Frog in a Festive Hat T Shirt