Birthday Balloons

My new collection in Move the Needke is all about birthday balloons. I was inspired by an image I saw of watercolor like balloons and decided to make my own pattern of balloons in various color.

This birthday card is perfect to wish someone a happy birthday.

You can also get custom invitations on this pattern.

How do you celebrate your birthday?

10 Companies You Didn’t Know were Vegan

Vegans avoid all animal products when possible. Part of being a vegan is avoiding non vegan brands in other products besides food. It can be easy to shop vegan. Though it may not be possible to use vegan products 100% of the time, people who are vegan may come up with personal items they avoid (e.g. they avoid leather, but still buy beauty products with beeswax). Here are some vegan alternatives to products other than food.

  1. Did you know glue sometimes isn’t vegan? EcoGlue is a completely vegan glue you can use for daily use or any of your craft projects. Animal glue is traditionally used in paper and wood processing, bookbinding, painting, conservation/restoration and for making musical instruments and furniture. Making your own items or buying handmade or vegan brands is one way to make sure the glue used is vegan.
  2. Do you use beeswax? Beeswax is used in bookbinding and some beauty products. I found a vegan beeswax called
  3. Poppy’s Cleaners
  4. Faux leather, sometimes caused pleather, is not too hard to find. Did you know that products that qualify as vegan or faux leather can be made from materials as varied as cork, barkcloth, glazed cotton, waxed cotton, paper, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyurethane.
  5. Photos, both printed commercially and at-home, use paper that contains gelatin. Non-photo quality paper avoids gelatin.
  6. Bone fine china tableware can contain animal bones. Earthenware or porcelain that’s creamy white is usually vegan. Find china that’s origin is mineral.
  7. Many makeup brands are vegan if you check the labels. Urban Decay came out with a Vegan Palette that’s both vegan and uses vegan inspired colors. I have seen seen popular brands, like Bobbi Brown, carry vegan products. Looking for natural brands or handmade beauty products is always a good idea.
  8. Lush often has vegan bath products that use natural ingredients. I also love being soap on Etsy. Just search for “vegan” in the search bar and tag your items vegan if you carry vegan products in your shop.
  9. Vegan clothing is not hard to find. High end brands often carry vegan products. For example, Nine West carries some high end vegan products.
  10. Kat Mendenhall sells the first 100% vegan true Texas style cowboy boots on the market.
  11. Love shoes? Just type in the word vegan when searching for products on Zappos. vegan http://www.zappos.com/ Kat Mendenhall sells the first 100% vegan true Texas style cowboy boots on the market.

Want to find more vegan brands. Get my free printable with a list of vegan brands.

 

New Prints and Wall Art

Want a free printable quote? Just scroll to the bottom of this blog post!

I am now offering prints and wall art in my shop, Anna Leehey. The photos are mostly originally art, but I am also offering quote prints and cards.

I also relaunched my printables shop, Printables and Things, which will be selling digital printable PDF versions of the physical prints.

I like these printable quotes because you can print them out from home and use them in your binder, on your desk or even frame it as wall art. The possibilities are endless. If you want to see a blog post with ideas on how to use these quote prints, just let me know.

You can download a free printable quote here.

This quote says, “she created a life she knew she loved.” I love this quote because it shows how you can create any life you want. I have this quote on my Erin Condren and thought it was a good quote to giveaway for free.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you use prints.

10 Ways to Cleanse Your Body

If you are feeling sick or out of touch with your body, cleansing your body can be a good way to get rid of bad toxins and feel better again.

  • Dry skin brush before you take a bath or shower. I also like dry brushing my face, but use a brush made especially for your face so it has softer bristles.
  • Take a warm salt water bath or steam in the shower.
  • Deep breathing can help calm you down. Do yoga. Try just doing 20 minutes of yoga a day or picking up a yoga DVD or video series.
  • Drink water. Try adding a couple extra glasses a day.
  • Try eating healthier. Go on a cleanse or add a couple healthy foods in to your diet. Check out these 30 cleansing foods that naturally cleanse your body.
  • Use a neti pot to naturally cleanse your sinuses.
  • Try the hydro therapeutic technique of taking a shower with hot water and then switching to cold. Afyerwards, get under covers.
  • Go for a run or walk. Try exercising at least 20 minutes a day or move your body in some way.
  • Get a massage or do a self massage with your favorite oils.
  • Try drinking hot tea with herbs in it or taking an herbal soak bath.

What do you do to cleanse yourself? Let me know in the comments.

How to Sell Supplies on Etsy Studio

Have you heard of Etsy Studio? Etsy Studio is Etsy’s marketplace for craft supplies. If you sell supplies on Etsy, Etsy will automatically list your supply items on Etsy Studio.

Finding a Niche

There a ton of options for items to sell. If you already own an Etsy shop, think of what supplies you use or what products you think you could add to your shop. Here are a couple ideas:

  • Fabric
  • Paper supplies
  • Beauty and soapmaking supplies
  • Packaging materials
  • Beads
  • Cooking supplies
  • String, cord and wire
  • Yarn and fiber
  • Paints and dyes
  • Stickers
  • Washi tape
  • Craft show displays
  • Patterns and how tos
  • Custom business supplies like business cards

Sourcing Products

If you have an idea on where to source supplies, you just need to find the right products to sell. You can’t just buy products from a store and sell them on Etsy. You will need to look at stores that specifically sell products wholesale (bulk products at a discount price) or offer drop shipping when you purchase an item (they can ship an item to customer under your business name). You can also use vintage items you find. Some good places to start looking are eBay and SaleHoo.

Taking Photos

Many wholesale and drop shipping already offer photos of their items for you to use in your shop. This is a good way to start off. I recommend taking your own photos if you can to develop a consistent style in your images. You can also add your own interesting backdrops and details.

Promote Your Shop

There are many ways to promote your shop on Etsy. Make sure to have all your tags filled in and use good SEO. Post on the Etsy teams and forums to promote your items and get views on your listing. Make a tutorial out your supplies and post it on your blog. Customers love to see your product in action!

I have tried selling a couple supplies in the past. I would love to offer more supplies on my Etsy shop.

Do you sell supplies?

3 Vegan Cheese Sauces

Have you ever tried making vegan cheese sauces? I missed cheese when I became vegan and I am always looking for a good cheese alternative. These are three of my favorite cheese alternative recipes.

Basic Cheesy Nutritional Yeast Sauce 

The secret ingredient to this cheese sauce is the nutritional yeast which gives the sauce a cheesy flavor. You can find nutritional yeast at most grocery stores or health food stores.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance or butter alternative
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup soymilk
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (I have also used mustard powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Mix the flour and milk together in a medium bowl until all the flour clumps are gone.

2. In a large pot, melt the butter spread over medium heat.  Add soymilk and flour mixture and nutritional yeast to pot and stir.

3. Reduce heat to low-medium. Add additional ingredients and cook 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add additional flour to thicken sauce if needed.

Potato Carrot Cheese Sauce

This is similar to the above recipe, but it uses vegetables.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted Earth Balance or oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon jioce
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Chop the potatoes and carrots and boil them for about half hour or until tender.

2. Blend all ingredients together or combine or a large bowl.

Daiya Cheese Sauce

If you want to use a fake cheese alternative to make melted cheese sauce, I love the Daiya cheese brand,

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup cooked white cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1/3 cup Daiya vegan cheese shreds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or olive oil
  • 1 teaspooon turmeric (to give it color)

Instructions:

1. Mash or blend the beans with the soymilk, Earth Balance, turmeric and salt and pepper.

2. Heat on low over medium heat. Add the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted.

Let me know if you try any of these sauces out.

How to Work Remotely Anywhere You Want

Want to work wherever you want? I love working remotely because it allows you to travel or work from home. You don’t need to be tied down to one place to work and can work in locations other than an office.

What Work Do You Want to Do?

Some work you can do remotely or anywhere in the world is:

  • Work at home and remote jobs
  • Being a virtual assistant
  • Blogging or working as a writer
  • Selling digital products like eBooks or courses
  • Selling prints where you can get the prints directly to a customer
  • Selling any product on a site like Etsy or eBay using drop shipping (the company ships the item for you
  • Using affiliate programs or being a remote brand ambassador

Here are some tips for traveling while working:

  • Use AirBnb for vacation rentals. AirBnb is often affordable and you can stay in people’s homes. You can choose to get a room or a whole place to yourself. If you use my link, you can get $35 off your first night.
  • Prefer a hotel? Use HotelTonight to find the best deals and rates for hotel stays.
  • Bring a laptop (or tablet or smartphone). Use whatever technology helps you work best. A laptop is a great way to use a computer and keyboard without a desktop. I used a laptop all the time in college and I love the MacBook the best. A smartphone or tablet is great if you need a camera or just to check your email or phone. Keep an external battery and portable charger if you are going to be needing extended use for technology.
  • Keep a good calendar or planner to schedule events and get work done A to do list is helpful. Often times, you just need one or two hours to work and you spend the rest of the day traveling or exploring
  • Do you need to make art? There are still ways to create. Find an Airbnb with a studio. A sketchbook is a great portable way to create art. I also recommend keeping all your art supplies in a small art bin or bag.

How do you like to work remotely while you travel? Let me know in the comments.

Create Your Own Customized Products

If you love creating and customizing your own products, check out my new website for Move the Needle. 

  1. Find a decorative pattern you like.
  2. Choose an item to customize the pattern on.
  3. Select any other details or variations and checkout.

I am selling everything from notebooks to laptop cases. My Etsy shop is also restocked with a bunch of new items that I am hoping it will increase my sales.

Let me know your favorite pattern in the comments.

How to Come Up with Blog Post Ideas

Do you know what to blog about? You will need to come up with blog post ideas every time you create a new blog post. You may have a lot of ideas already. Other times, you might feel stuck. Here are some tips for staying inspired.

Write Outside of Your Blog

If you usually blog on the computer, why not try writing somewhere else? It helps to keep a list or notebook with ideas of what you want to blog about. I like to write draft posts of blog posts on a notebook and then edit them on the computer later. You can even draw or doodle when you write in a notebook to get ideas or what you want visual photos to look like. Another idea is to use an application like Bean to write without distraction.

Take Photos

Instead of writing a blog post first, take some photos. This can also help if your blog isn’t usually visual and you just want to get ideas. Try taking photos of your daily activities or things that inspire you for a day or a week. Go through the photos later and choose the best ones to inspire blog post ideas or add to your blog posts to make them more interesting.

Look at Other Blogs

Joining a blog community or looking st other blogs can help you stay inspired. Many other blogs encourage other bloggers to join them in blogging about the same topic or using a certain tag. Comment on a blog with a similar topic and let them know their blog post inspired a topic on your blog.

Search for Keywords

SEO can help you come up with popular blog topic ideas that will get you noticed in search engines. Try using Google Keyword Planner to find different keyword phrases that may be a good title for your blog post or a starting point when you write.

Look in Books

If you don’t care as much about writing this week’s trending topics, try looking in books or magazines. Pick an article in a magazine or a topic in a book to inspire a blog post. I like to look through old issues of magazines and see if I can find topics that would be interesting on my blog.

Look at an Old Blog Post

If you have old blog entries, find a couple popular posts you really like. See if you can rewrite them with a new spin, add on to them or write an additional blog post on the same topic.

Want specific ideas on what to write about? Download my free blog post idea printable here.

Here are some specific ideas on what to blog about if you are stuck:

  • Do a day in the life or post some personal photos that let people know more about you.
  • Post your favorite ways to promote your business. Write about your favorite tools, websites or applications to use.
  • Make a list of your top 10 favorite ________.
  • Do a survey or let viewers ask you questions.
  • Post what you ate that day or what you are planning to make for dinner.
  • Post what inspires you or what it on your wishlist.
  • Make a tutorial that gives step by step instructions how to make something or accomplish a task.
  • Write about your favorite blogs or give a shoutout to other bloggers.
  • Try to change up your media. Add a video if you usually don’t make videos or add a photos if you usually do mostly text entries.

How do you come up with blog post ideas?

8 Popsicle Recipes to Try Out

Homemade popsicles are perfect for hot weather. While it is still summer, why not trying making your own popsicles? They are not too hard to make. These are some popsicle recipes I found on Pinterest that I would love to try out.

Yellow Popsicles

I love the bright yellow color and hint of chocolate on these Chocolate Passionfruit Popsicles.

Cookies and Cream Popsicles

These Cookies and Coconut Cream Popsicles are vegan and use coconut milk and Oreo cookies for a cookies and cream flavor.

These Blackberry Ombre Popsicles get their natural color from the blackberries.

For a breakfast treat, try these Easy Breakfast Yogurt Popsicles

Try making Thai Iced Tea Popsicles.

Carrot Cake Popsicles

For something unique, try this Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Pudding Pops recipe.

Mint Popsicles

I would love to try these Mint Chocolate Dip Popsicles that are also vegan.

Berry Popsicles

These Pitaya Rosewater Berry Popsicles use frozen strawberries to give them a berry taste.

Have you ever made your own popsicles?