Tag Archives: long distance relationship

Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you to all the service men and women who are serving or who have served this great country of ours!
Check out my Free Printables to help celebrate this great day!

As a thank you to all (veteran or not!) I am offering 20% off your purchase in my Etsy Shop for today only! Expires at midnight (central time zone) on 11/11/14. Use code ThankYouVets at checkout to save!

While you’re there, check out some of the new items I listed this week!

This is my favorite – anyone in the military will understand what ‘lima oscar victor echo’ means!


This necklace can be customized with whatever word you’d like (faith, hope, love, or your choice!)DSC_9276




Another one of my favorites! DSC_9362

Huge Etsy Shop Update!

I’ve been working like a busy little bee over the past few weeks and in between getting ready to move and getting all of my existing orders done, I’ve created so many new products!

(Make sure you read through all the way to the end – there might be a little surprise in it for you!)

All items can be found in my Etsy Shop or by clicking on my shop on the sidebar of this page.

I gear many of my items towards people who are looking for long distance relationship gifts, deployment or care package gifts, or just those who want to show support for those in the military, but many of them can be used in so many different ways! I’ve had customers who tell me that they’ve bought my items when they go off to college and are away from friends or family, or to mark a favorite vacation spot, and even someone who wanted to document the special location where she got engaged! There are just so many different possibilities!

On to the items!

First off, I now sell just plain stamped washers – perfect for if you want to hang it on your own chain, on a keychain, or attach it to a shadowbox, scrapbook or other form of memorabilia.  I offer 2 sizes and 2 formats.

1.1DSC_0586 copy


This general “my happy place” can be used in so many different ways! I used it to mark the coordinates of my favorite beach in NJ that I’m missing like crazy, but you could always use it to document where you got married, a favorite vacation location, your hometown, college, etc.



My “one day closer” necklace was so popular, I decided to put it in keychain form too!1DSC_7758


This was a custom request and it was so cute I thought others might like it as well.  “I carry your heart” “I carry it in my heart” is such an adorable quote – especially for those in a military or long distance relationship.1DSC01433


Not just Army Girlfriend, but I can make this in a variety of phrases – air force wife, navy girlfriend, and more!DSC_0505


This is a simple keychain to mark your favorite location – the smaller washer lists the location and the larger washer has the coordinates.



Same idea as my “my happy place” necklace above!DSC_2564


My “one day at a time” collection – bracelet, two necklaces and keychain.DSC_2959





And last, my “faith, trust and pixie dust” bracelet was so popular, I decided to make it into a necklace!1DSC_2574

As a thank you for reading and for checking out my new items, here’s a coupon code for 15% your total purchase (minus shipping) – just enter code HANDMADEISBETTER630 at checkout and the code will be applied!  This is valid through June 30th, 2014 and only in my shop, DanaElyse.

Let me know in the comments – which item is your favorite!  Do you have an idea for something else I should carry- let me know!

Valentine’s Day Care Package

I’ve done a few care packages in the past (my favorites were my Orange You Glad orange themed package, my 12 Days of Christmas holiday package and my Birthday/fall care package). They’ve been fairly elaborate, and I do take a great deal of pride in creating a themed package that will bring my husband a little morale boost when he’s deployed, but sometimes you just need something quick and easy.  He’s going to be deployed for Valentine’s Day, but I know that if I wait until after he leaves to mail something it might not make it to him in time, so I wanted to put together something small that I could sneak into his suitcase just before he leaves.  It was really difficult thinking of little things that would be meaningful, and wouldn’t take up too much space!

I came up with a “week of love” my Valentine’s Day Care Package – sending him 7 small things to open one day at a time until Valentine’s Day.

Here’s an overall shot of everything:


Day 1: Red Velvet Cheesecake fudge (link to recipe below)
Day 2: “Love Letters” (a box of conversation hearts)
Day 3: Long Distance Relationship keychain (can be found in my Etsy store here)
Day 4: Goodnight Kisses
Day 5: Valentines Day coupon book
Day 6: “Our Life” Crossword puzzle
Day 7: Valentine’s Day card

The red velvet cheesecake fudge (recipe) took up the most space, but it was too cute not to include! Plus, I figure he can share it with his crew.

The love letters is pretty self explanatory and easy – I just stuck a sign on a box of conversation hearts.

The keychain is a new item I developed for my Etsy shop and can be found here. It’s two washers stacked on top of one another- the top half says “half my <3 is deployed" and the bottom half has the coordinates of where your loved one is located. 1DSC_5566

The goodnight kisses was another easy peasy one- I grabbed a few Hersey kisses, put them in a bag and attached a little tag to it made from a paint chip.
Speaking of paint chips, I made him a little coupon book out of paint chips. I cut out I <3 U from a white paint chip, glued it onto a red one, and then stapled it to a few other paint chips. On each paint color, I wrote a little coupon such as "I'll do the dinner dishes" or "Saturday morning breakfast of your choice". 1DSC_5601


Next up, I made him a crossword puzzle. I used this site to type up a list of words and clues and it instantly generated a free crossword puzzle (there are fancier versions that you can purchase, but I printed out the free one). I then cut it out with decorative scissors and attached it to some card stock.

Last up is the card. I used a paper quilling technique to make the rose and wrote “Roses are red, sometimes they’re thorny, when I’m without you, I get….” and on the inside, it says “corny”. hehe. I think that will definitely put a smile on his face.


(PS- I’d say the Hand Lettering class I’m taking online is paying off – if you want to check it out, click here – it really is a great class, and if you click my link, you’ll save $10!)



I also added a little gift for his crew- Part of their deployment is to grow a deployment mustache, so I made up some chocolate mustache lollypops and printed out these cute little cards from Design Dazzle to attach them too. I know it’s corny, but when they’re away from home, the cornier the better!



It’s not my most elaborate care package, but I think it’ll cheer him up, and it’ll show him that I’m thinking of him while he’s away, plus it’s small- I can fit it all into a small lunch-sized paper bag (which I also decorated) and slip it into his suitcase before he heads out. Now for me, how should I spend Valentine’s Day? Spa? Pedicure? Any suggestions?

5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Seller on Etsy

Holy Cow! Where has the past year gone? I can’t believe today marks the one year anniversary of my Etsy shop.
I had tried selling on Etsy years ago, but didn’t sell a single thing. This time around I had a very successful first month, followed by two or three months of decline, and then in March my sales slowly but steadily rose.
To celebrate my one year anniversary, I’m going to share 5 tips for becoming a successful seller on Etsy, along with a coupon code to use in my shop this week!

Become A Successful Seller On Etsy

Five On Friday- Five Tips On How To Become A Successful Seller On Etsy

1. Be unique! This seems like a no-brainer, but you need to have something that sets your shop apart from the rest.
When I first started selling on Etsy, I sold melted record bowls, pillowcases and tote bags- real original, right? I know… yawn! There’s a reason I sold nothing that first time around- I had nothing unique, nothing that buyers couldn’t find somewhere else or make themselves!
Now, I sell customized metal stamped bracelets. While there is a lot of metal stamped jewelry on Etsy, what sets mine apart from the rest is that I customize it with coordinates- mostly I sell to military families who wear the coordinates of the location of where a loved one is deployed to or to those in a long distance relationship. I have my own niche of fellow military spouses and families and that has kept my following going!

2. Pictures pictures pictures!
Potential buyers can’t pick up and hold your item, so you have to accurately represent what it looks like in pictures. Etsy allows you to post up to 5 pictures- use all 5! Show it from the front, back, side, in use, with something that shows its size, etc. Also, learn how to properly use your camera. I have two posts here and here on how to take better product photos for Etsy or Ebay using just your point and shoot!


3. Good customer service.
I can’t tell you how many times a buyer has thanked me for my quick response to their questions, for the little touches such as the tissue paper and bakers twine I wrap their items in or for getting their item out ahead of schedule. I know when I purchase something I love it when the seller takes the time to carefully wrap it, or to include a little something extra.

Etsy has an app- if you have a smartphone, I highly recommend installing that app so you can get immediate notifications when someone purchases from you or messages you. When I get a purchase, I usually message the buyer to thank them for their purchase and to let them know when it will be mailed out. I also reply to conversations (messages in Etsy-speak) as soon as possible. I know when I buy on Etsy I like to be “kept in the loop”. Unfortunately, I have had far too many sellers never respond to my inquires, and that just means lost sales for them because I’ll move on to someone else!

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 4.29.42 PM

4. Shop Stats
Etsy has an area called “shop stats”. (You can find it by clicking on “Your Shop” in the upper right hand corner of the Etsy site, and then clicking “shop stats” from the drop down menu). Shop stats will turn out to be invaluable to you- it lists how much money you’ve made (and you can pick to show by year, month, week, day, etc), where your traffic is coming from (what websites people were on to bring them to your page) and what search terms people use to find your shop.
The first part is helpful for obvious reasons- you want to see how much money you’re making!
The second part is great to see what sites are trending- are lots of people coming to your site from Pinterest? Make sure to pin everything you post! Are you getting a lot of traffic from Facebook? Make sure to “share” your new items! You get the idea.
The last part is most crucial in my opinion. Here you can see what search terms bring people to your site- on my site (as you can see in the image below) the two most popular search terms that bring people to my shop are “long distance relationship” and “disney”, so I make sure to include those terms in my listings and use those terms in the tags for the listing.
Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 4.28.24 PM

5. SEO
I didn’t learn that Etsy had an SEO until a few months into my selling, but once I discovered it and how to use it, I saw a jump in my sales. Basically, SEO is how search engines find your shop. In order to optimize it, make sure you are using key words in the first sentence or two of your listing description. I made the mistake of writing general things such as “own a customizable, one of a kind metal stamped necklace” in my first sentence, which wasn’t bringing people to my shop. When I changed my first line to “this necklace is perfect for those in a long distance relationship or military families with a loved one who is deployed” it brought in more people because it focused on my top keywords. A snippet of what it looks like is in the below screenshot:

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 4.29.05 PM

There is so much more that goes into becoming a successful seller on Etsy, but those are my top five tips.

If you want to read more, check out a post I did a few months ago on how and why I got started with Etsy. You can find that post here!

Are you on Etsy? Leave me a comment with your shop name and I’ll be sure to stop by and follow you, and I’d appreciate anyone who follows me! As always, you can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. If you post something on Instagram that you’ve made from my tutorials, make sure to tag me so I can see it and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter !

If you read this far, thank you! You deserve a coupon! In honor of my one year of selling on Etsy I am offering you free shipping on any purchase of any size being shipped to a domestic address.
To get the free shipping, purchase anything from my shop between now and November 11, 2013 at 11:59 PST and enter the code 1YEARFREESHIP at checkout. Etsy will take care of the rest and deduct the shipping!

Long Distance Relationships

I’ve been in a long distance relationship for over 2 years now. My fiancé is in the Air Force and is stationed on the West Coast and I am still living in my (well, our) hometown on the East Coast. Over the past two years, we’ve managed to visit each other 11 times (mostly long weekends or week-long trips, but 3 of those were me going to visit him for a months time), but even so, the distance is there. Anyone who is in a long-distance relationship knows how tough it can be at times, and that prompted me to make long distance relationship jewelry. I aim mostly toward making it for military spouses, but over the past few months, I’ve “met” different people though Etsy who use my jewelry for other reasons (most recently it was for a young couple who was going off to different collages- not only are they starting a new chapter in life, but they’re doing it at a distance from their loved one!).
My most popular items in my Etsy Shop are my latitude and longitude keychain and necklace (seen here and here) but today I’m excited to announce that I now offer my popular coordinates collection in a bracelet as well! The latitude/longitude collection is the perfect way to subtly show support for your loved one/significant other who is far away from you. My fiancé is deployed right now and I proudly wear the coordinates of his base while he’s away from me, and now I can’t wait to wear them in a bracelet!
This can be found in my shop here!



Military Collage

Metal Stamping {Etsy}

If you have never heard of Etsy before, I’ll wait while you click here. Just promise me you won’t get lost in the handmade goodness and you come back and finish reading this!

Etsy is an amazing platform for crafters to sell their wares worldwide. It’s also a great place for people to find unique, handmade, one of a kind gifts, housewares, decorations, party/wedding supplies, etc.

As long as I can remember, I’ve dabbled in selling my crafts, I’ve tried craft shows, word of mouth, etc, but was never too successful. Back in 2007, I was a recent college grad looking for a way to supplement my income while I looked for a ‘big girl’ job and I signed up for Etsy. I listed my items on there for 3 months, with no success, and I pretty much gave up hope for the site.

Recently, the thought of re-opening my Etsy shop crossed my mind as I started to think about what kind of career I could have as a future military wife who will be moving around every few years. I thought about selling military themed metal stamped jewelry, and even went as far as to purchase all the supplies needed to make these items, but never really did anything other than make a few items for myself.

Fast forward to last October. Hurricane Sandy ripped through NJ/NY and more importantly, the Jersey Shore. In the days after Hurricane Sandy as the images of our destroyed beaches and boardwalks started to appear in the media, I went through my archives of pictures and began posting pictures of the now devastated areas to facebook. Friends began asking where they could get copies of my photographs, so Etsy was re-born for me. I listed my photos for $15, with $10 of the sale of each photo going to the American Red Cross, Jersey Shore chapter. I also began making Jersey Shore themed jewelry- bracelets that said “Jersey Strong” or “beach bum” and even “jersey shore” customized with your favorite shore town.

Before I knew it, my little shop, a dream I have had for so long, took off! After the first two months, the Jersey Shore items faded off (I still get an order here and there!), but I finally have added my original ideas– military themed jewelry, and they have proved to be very popular.
Click here to visit my shop. Below is just a sampling of the items for sale. I also have subway art, photographs of the Jersey Shore, and Disney-themed metal stamped jewelry, in addition to more military themed jewelry!
I love Etsy because it allows me to connect with people from all over the country. My most popular items are my latitude/longitude keychain and necklace. I created them because I am in a long distance relationship and it was a way to show my support in a subtle way. I get messages from people all the time telling me how they are in the same situation and we end up having great conversations on what helps us get through the time apart!

A small sampling of what is offered in my “Military Support” section:
Military Collage

And a small sampling of my Jersey Shore themed jewelry (side note: if you have your own particular beach, be it in Jersey or not, I can customize these to say whatever you want!)
Jersey Collage

I do hope you’ll take a moment to check out my Etsy Shop. As a thank you for doing so, here’s a coupon for free shipping to any domestic address: handmadeisbetter613
Enter the above code in the coupon code box at checkout. This code will expire in 2 weeks, on June 14, 2013.

Are you interested in starting to sell on Etsy? It can be overwhelming at first, but I have read many articles on tips for Etsy success, and I believe it has really helped me. Check out (and follow!) my Etsy board on Pinterest to read these articles. There’s so much helpful information out there!

*Please note– This post was not sponsored, I just love Etsy that much!

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