Saturday, May 16, 2015

US Post Office to change rates on May 31, 2015!!!
The chart below only show First Class rates. These are online Commercial Base rates like what you pay when you buy Etsy shipping labels. 
Etsy Sellers take note:
  • First Class domestic shipping increase - sellers who buy Etsy shipping labels should see an increase of 5.1%
  • No change for Domestic Priority and Express rates.
  • International rates will increase by an average of 6.4%
  • Canada is now split into 7 postal zones with Priority Mail International rates ranging from $26.75 to $32.63 for a 1 lb. package. 
Download the rates!
I reorganized the post office Excel worksheet with different colored tabs for different things. The red ones are Commercial base rates, blue are international and purple are counter rates.
 Or if you prefer, here is the file in Excel and CSV format if  you prefer to get them directly from the post office site....
REMEMBER: As an Etsy seller buying Etsy shipping labels you can ship First Class for Packages Weighing up to 16 Ounces. Below is the text directly from Etsy ( I could not find any information stating this will still apply after May 31, 2015.
As a result of our partnership with the USPS, we are able to offer First Class domestic postage for packages weighing up to 16 ounces. 
The actual new weight limit for First Class is 15.999 ounces. It is not possible to enter fractional values in the weight field on the label purchase form. Therefore, to take advantage of the full weight range, you may apply the typical rule of rounding up to the nearest ounce and enter 16 oz**.** as the weight for a package that weighs between 15 and 15.999 ounces. 
If your package actually weighs 16 ounces or over, it is not eligible for First Class postage. 
If you enter 16 oz. as your weight, 15.9 oz. will appear on your Shipping Label

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Valid April 20-24, 2015 only. Set your reminder now!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Earth Day is April 22

Edit: This coupon is now expired - you can like me on facebook or follow my blog for upcoming coupon opportunities.

Earth Day is April 22nd. Enjoy a 10% off EARTH DAY coupon in my DetroitKnitter shop on Etsy. 

Use coupon code EARTHDAY2014 and receive 10% discount off the total purchase price when you spend $20 or more at valid through 4/26/14

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Marshmallow Peep Necklaces

Marshmallow Peep Necklace? Sure why not!

See "Final Project Notes" below for an easier approach to this!

I emptied the ink out of the shaft of a ball point pen (warm water, blowing, rubbing alcohol, run a string through many times to clear). The tip of the pen was tossed so all I'm dealing with is the empty plastic tube. In retrospect as I type this a hollow plastic coffee stir would have been much less trouble!

I heated up the plastic tube under hot water. I Pierced the head of the bunny with the warm plastic tube from ear to ear through the head. Keep the "hole in the head" high otherwise bunny tips forward.

With tube inserted, quickly run the string through the tube. Pull out tube leaving the string inside. The string stays clean (unlike using a needle to pull it through; that was a sticky mess). Tie the ends together. I used a 27" piece of black waxed cotton cord. I did a simple wrap around the back of the head as I felt it helped keep bunny upright a bit more.

I did try tying the cord into a noose, but bunny wasn't hanging correctly and I didn't want to get too elaborate with this project.

I want to thank all Peep bunnies for making great sacrifices for the success of this project.

(I wonder if these will sell on Etsy... LOL)

FINAL PROJECT NOTES: The "Peep Necklaces" were very successful. BUT, I did make a few changes in the way I did it (actually I changed almost everything!).

Peeps, waxed dental floss, iron , large darning needle, cutting board, knife, bowl of water, towel,

Step 1: Put your Peeps in the freezer
Step 2: Pull out 33" of floss (adult size) and iron it. Place an old towel down and set the iron to "silk". Iron the floss flat. Do not use a higher setting or the wax on the floss will melt. I did an entire cassette of floss then measured and cut.
Step 3: Thread your needle with a piece of floss. Do not tie into a circle.
Step 4: When your Peeps are frozen (1 hour?) Pull them out and lay them on a cutting board and separate by cutting between each Peep with a knife. Put all but 1 Peep back in the freezer.
Step 5: Run the needle and floss through the Peep and quickly pull the floss so it is even on both sides of the Peep.  Remove needle.
Step 6:  Tie the two ends of the floss to make a circle and trim the excess after the knot.

Use the water and the towel to clean your needle between each piercing. 

I made about 20 Peep Necklaces with yellow and pink Peeps.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Comma Delimited State and How to use Etsy Pricing Variations

If you are a seller on Etsy, this list comes in really handy if you are using state destinations as a pricing variation. This is great for offering a stand alone shipping upgrade!

I use the pricing variation for Express upgrades when the customer has already checked out then sends me a message saying they need it quick. You can see my actual upgrade listings for Express Shipping Upgrade.

NOTE: You will be charged Etsy transaction fees when you list an upgrade as a listing with pricing variations! The cheaper way to do shipping upgrades is to incorporate the shipping upgrade into the shipping profile. But this method works well if you need to have a stand alone shipping upgrade.

1) Create a new listing.

2) Under "variations" select "Add a new property"; Let's call this "Select Your State". Click Add. Then a box comes up where you can enter the options for that property. After you enter a property you'll see the "add pricing" blue link pop up; click it to add pricing to these options.

Here are the state abbreviations with the state names. Copy and paste them in clumps (red then black, then red then black); you will copy and paste 4 times to get them all listed. Etsy has a limit on the number of characters that can be copied so I divided them up for you.

AK - Alaska, AL - Alabama, AR - Arkansas, AZ - Arizona, CA - California, CO - Colorado, CT - Connecticut, DC - Dist/ Columbia, DE - Delaware, FL - Florida, GA - Georgia, HI - Hawaii, IA - Iowa, ID - Idaho, IL - Illinois, IN - Indiana, 

KS - Kansas,KY - Kentucky, LA - Louisiana, MA - Massachusetts, MD - Maryland, ME - Maine, MI - Upper MI, MI - Lower MI, MN - Minnesota, MO - Missouri, MS - Mississippi, MT - Montana, NC - North Carolina, ND - North Dakota, 

NE - New England, NH - New Hampshire, NJ - New Jersey, NM - New Mexico, NV - Nevada, NY - New York, OH - Ohio, OK - Oklahoma, OR - Oregon, PA - Pennsylvania, RI - Rhode Island, SC - South Carolina, SD - South Dakota, 

TN - Tennessee, TX - Texas, UT - Utah, VA - Virginia, VT - Vermont, WA - Washington, WI - Wisconsin, WV - West Virginia, WY - Wyoming

You may want to also add Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, Other US territories
3) Now that you have your list. Click the "Add Pricing" link and boxes appear next to each option where you can enter the cost of that property option!

When your listing is published, this is how it will look in the drop down selection box for pricing variations. 

Note that the lowest variation price is shown in bold as the listing price with the "+" sign next to it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sewing Machine Needle Identification Tip

Ever switch sewing machine needles and then not know which one was which? Even worse is trying to read that super tiny embossed identification on the needle itself!

After 5 minutes of trying to get the magnifying glass at the perfect angle with the perfect amount of light so I could read the numbers, I thought "There has got to be an easier way!"

Singer needles identify themselves with colored posts, but Schmetz needles don't and that coloring is very helpful. Now I really only use two types of needles so If just one of those were marked that would make life so much easier!

Quick Tip: Paint a little nail polish on the shaft of your needle. You'll have to ID the case the same way or if you're like me I often have my loose needles that are still good pushed into a small piece of card stock so they don't get mixed up with the brand new ones. Use different colors for different needle types!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


It's that time of year again... USPS SHIPPING RATE INCREASES!

The new USPS shipping rates will go into effect on January 26, 2014. These rates are based on the online business rate; Etsy shipping, USPS Click N Ship and PayPal shipping. The rates are most likely the same for Ebay has it's own thing going on and I don't even bother to find their rate charts but generally their cost is less for international and the same for US domestic shipping. 

I've created a handy Excel Workbook with Spreadsheets for the 2014 rates for several popular USPS shipping service. You can download my Excel Workbook file from DropBox. The file shows the most popular USPS shipping services and has a comparison to the 2013 rates for most spreadsheets. Included are....

  • First Class Package Service (FCPS)
  • Priority Mail (PM)
  • Priority Mail Express (PME)
  • Priority Mail Regional Rate (PM Regional Rate)

  • First Class Parcel International Service (FCPIS)
  • Priority Mail International (PMI)
  • Priority Mail Express International Mail (PMEI)
This is a cropped screenshot of the Priority Mail spreadsheet.

Also found on the worksheet, but just as a blurb on each service is some information on the flat rate fees....


Flat Rate Envelopes


Legal Flat Rate Envelope

Padded Flat Rate Envelope

Small Flat Rate Box


Medium Flat Rate Boxes

Large Flat Rate Boxes

APO/FPO/DPO Large Flat Rate Box 13.80


Flat Rate Envelope

Legal Flat Rate Envelope 18.11

Padded Flat Rate Envelope 18.11

Flat Rate Boxes

ZONES: Express and Priority services rates are different by zip code. You can find out which zone the destination is with this USPS zone chart link.  The left tab will give you the zones to everywhere you may want to ship by referencing the first 3 digits of every zip code compared to the first 3 digits of your own zip code. If you have the exact zip code, use the right hand tab and enter your full zip and the full zip of the destination and it will spit out what zone that is!

More useful shipping calculators... - A super quick and handy tool for looking up the 2014 rate; just change the shipping type, destination and the weight an your on your way!

USPS Postal Calculator - This is a great tool for getting the ETA as well! The default is US shipping, but you can easily select a country from the drop down box. Enter the information (DON'T select a service yet, you can compare services on the next page). Click CONTINUE. Each blue bar is a different service - they default you to the most expensive one of course :)

Did you know that you can print your shipping labels online and get the business rate? You don't even have to stand in line at the post office; just drop them in a USPS collection box! Here are a few links I use if I'm not shipping through Etsy or eBay.

Best wishes for a very profitable 2014 - Happy Shipping!

TAGS: 2014, USPS, shipping, rate, increase, new, First Class, Priority, Express, Mail, Flat Rate, International, package, Brittany, Brittany's Best, online, estimate, Etsy, ebay, click n ship, January 26, ETA, calculator, estimator

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Refill your Fons & Porter chalk marker

I realize this is a specific post to a limited number of people, but what the heck.

If you have a Fons & Porter wheeled chalk marker you probably love it like I do. Unfortunately my local sewing supply store doesn't carry just white chalk to refill the little device. They do sell a four pack of four different colors for $9... yeah, I don't think so...

Time to go to work and make my own! Here's a list of things I used to make my own chalk:

Stick of chalk (yep, I used sidewalk chalk)
Fine grater (yes, like what you have in your kitchen)
Baby powder
Sheet of wax paper
Small square of paper towel
Small amount of rice
Ziploc type baggie

You'll have plenty of chalk supply on hand when this is over!

Chalk making equipment and supplies (baby powder not pictured)

1. Grate the chalk onto the sheet of wax paper; by lightly I mean don't use a lot of pressure since you don't want chunks at all. I did this on wax paper so the powder would slide off easy; you could use a regular sheet of paper of course.

2. I added some baby powder to help make the chalk a bit silkier. I think plain baby powder could be used, but it wouldn't brush away as easily as the chalk. Honestly you don't really need the baby powder, but it did help fill in my wheeled lines a bit. I added say 1 Tbsp to 1/2 C of chalk - no precise measuring here!

3. Mix it up, sift/push the chalk powder into the empty chalk tube. Then reinsert the tube into the wheeled carriage.

4. Draw a few test lines. There's no reason why it shouldn't draw, but go ahead and give it a try!

5. Store the extra chalk you made! Fold the rice up inside the paper towel and tape it shut. Put the rice and chalk powder into the baggie and seal. The rice will keep moisture from clumping up your powder much like silica gel packets you get in your new shoe box.

  I would advise labeling the powder to prevent someone seeing it and spreading rumors :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ebay: Request Total from Seller

There are some things that just aren't easy for both the buyer and the seller on eBay and one of them is definitely getting a new total to the buyer. There are many reasons to vary from the listed eBay price - perhaps to offer a discount, combine the shipping fees, maybe the item will be customized or your Aunt Fran wants one and you don't want to charge her full price.

The BUYER must do all the work BEFORE paying for the item and the SELLER must do the work after the sale (paid or unpaid).

There are two scenarios below: buying 1 item and buying more than 1 item.

======== Let's get started ========

BUYER: There are a couple scenarios. You want to buy one item. You want to buy more than one item and you either already committed to buy something or you have the items in your cart.

I WANT TO BUY ONE ITEM: Say you messaged the seller about a discount and it was agreed upon. The seller isn't going to create a special listing for you because, well, that costs money and is a lot of work. Here's what you do:

Select the item you want to purchase. Select "buy now" or "add to cart". Next you must "commit to buy". Then STOP - DON'T PAY YET!! Now that you've made the commitment to buy the item, the item will show up in your purchase history even though you haven't paid for it. Go to My Ebay then Purchase History and a "request total" on the more actions link. (see picture below)

This will open up a new window with a simple text box. Just type what it is you want "hey, it's me and we talked about a 10% discount" and send it. From there the seller will get the request and respond with an "invoice" which will have a new total for you to pay.



I WANT TO BUY MORE THAN ONE ITEM: Maybe you bought an item then decided to buy another item from the same seller OR you could have two items in your cart that you want to buy from the same seller. In either case and for what ever reason (combined shipping, multiple discount, friend of the family) you can "request a total from seller". Now in order to submit the request you must "commit to buy" the items. DON'T PAY FOR ALL THE ITEMS YET!! The new total request form is the same for 1 item as it is for 2 or more, just type in your message and send it. From there the seller will get the request and respond with an "invoice" which will have a new total for you to pay.



SELLER: Before the buyer pays he can send you a "request total" - use the information above if you aren't sure what to tell the buyer to do. After the buyer creates the request, you will get a notification of the request with a send invoice/reply button. Click on the button and it will open up a window that will allow you to enter new totals for the item(s) and shipping.

After the buyer has paid all you can do is issue a refund. Most likely the buyer paid with PayPal. Log on to your PayPal account. You should now be on Your Account page with your account activity. Find the transaction and use the drop down box to select "issue refund". Sometimes (after a few days or once you've shipped perhaps) the drop down box disappears and you might see the issue refund link right there and other times you may need to hit "details" and in the middle of the page you will see an "issue refund" link. If more than 60 days have passed, you will not be able to issue a refund this way. You can of course send the buyer money using the "send money" tab at the top of the page.

Sample of PayPal "Issue Refund"


Yep, that's it in a nutshell. Hopefully this answered a few questions!

I have no idea why ebay is so adamant on this; people change their minds online and in brick and mortar stores so this "contract" to buy is kind of dumb if you ask me.

I didn't have full knowledge of how to do this prior to my own little investigation. My one ebay account has now committed to buy several pads from my other ebay account :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

HP Officejet 6500 lights are flashing

Well, actually they WERE flashing. I really thought this trusty and very well used printer was on its last leg. Well, it came back from the dead!!! (crossing fingers it lasts).

I Googled the problem and read a few solutions telling me to power it off and on and unplug this and that and my problem seemed to be what others were saying: the printer won't really turn off, the ink cartridges won't come to the center, etc.

I have no idea if THIS is what worked, but something I did made it work again.

With the USB cord unplugged, I held the power button down for about 10 seconds. This time instead of hear a little *tink* like the cartridges tried to engage and initiate the cartridge carriage actually did AND it came to rest in the center when I opened the door (opened door while it was "initializing"). I pulled out all of the cartridges 3 were color ones I replaced just a few days prior and the black was very very low on ink. 

After I put the cartridges back in and closed the top I immediately got flashing lights. Again I pressed and held the power button. This resulted in a warning about the black ink being a used cartridge. I decided to replace the cartridge with a new black since I know from previous experience the HP 6500 doesn't like 1 cartridge to be nearly empty.

After replacing the cartridge the print head moved into position, a piece of paper was sucked in and it printed an alignment. Eager to try it out I quickly found something to print.... No flashing lights AND it printed!!!!

Happy day... (hope it lasts & perhaps this little post about the ink helps someone else!)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

House Warming - Sparrow moves in!

A few days ago I noticed that a sparrow has moved into the log cabin bird house! I really never anticipated this to happen since the log cabin bird house has been up there for 4 years now with no occupants! She's a chirpy little thing and probably chose that location due to the proximity of the bird feeder :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Fun

St. Patrick's Day is over, but the memories live on. I had a lot of fun wearing my new green nipple green boob scarf to Corktown!

This is me with my green-nipple green boob scarf

I white elephant gift exchanged this scarf at Christmas

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Angel Food St Pat's Day Desert

 Here's a yummy St Patrick's desert!

I started with a boxed angel food cake and cooked it according to the box directions while adding a splash of vanilla and almond extract to the batter and some green food coloring for this St Patty's day desert. The topping is basically whipped cream, crushed pineapple and vanilla instant pudding then I added some strawberries to one layer and blueberries to another. Top it with strawberry slices and blueberries. This was a big hit when I made it before!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Traveling Double Diamonds Chart

Here's a chart for the Traveling Double Diamonds pattern. The chart was made and shared by Ravelry member, IllinoisHawkeye!

Download it through DropBox or Google Drive.

Looking for the entire pattern? You can find my Traveling Double Diamonds modifications in the folders I linked to above or you can download the original from LionBrand or check out the Ravelry knitter's pictures and notes. 

I have not knit the throw by this chart so I cannot say if if is completely accurate or not.