Monday, March 30, 2009
I just love her ring, called Pebbles.. ..Summer http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=20646040 Such pretty colors! Ring making is on my list of things to learn this year.
I'm looking forward to Thursday this week as I'll be taking a class on riveting metals together. I think it will add a whole new diemnsion to what I can achieve in my designs. I have a boat load of ideas of things to make using rivets!
We hear a lot of requests these days urging people to get out and volunteer in their community. The need is so great. Today's quote was said by a 16 year old volunteer at a Seattle food bank, where I volunteer my time regularly. Her goal today, besides being helpful by packing and distributing food, was to say a perky "hello" to everyone she came in contact with and try to get them to at least smile back. In return, she received joy. And oh, she was overflowing with joy! She was genuinely surprised at how much she enjoyed being there.
There are times in our lives when we can give help, and times when we need to receive help. If you can give, do so. You'll be rewarded with unexpected joy.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Today we had an informal lunch and 9 sellers gathered to meet each other, network, share stories, ideas and suggestions. We all each brought a sample or two of our work; it was very cool to see what other people make. Beautiful items! I think I may have to go etsy shopping, soon!
Here's a list of the websites of those in attendance, so you can see what they make and sell. Visit their shops, and buy handmade - their quality and creativity is unbelievable!
Dana Durham - wonderful knitted and felted wool handbags and painted wine glasses
Suzanne Tidwell - creative handmade towels and clothing
Dina Templeman - fragrant handmade soaps - cloth diapers - and at Country Cuttins
Char - fabulous handmade stitchery
Kristin - happy hair accessories
Kasey - fun children's playthings and new things made from old T's and at NuetoME
Jill MacCorkle - beautiful beaded jewelry
Beth Newfeld - incredible felted bags, scarves, gloves
Marlo Miyashiro - clever fabric totes and jewelry
and me, Sandy - a shameless plug for my own jewelry shop!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This is a quote that I've come across 4 times this week; yes, 4! This is not a coincidence. The quote must be out there in the world, just waiting for me to sit up and take notice of it I've noticed!
So far, I've left my etsy site to basically market itself, with the exception of a few days of showcase slot purchases. I really need to figure out how to get more people to notice my site and to know that I'm out there in e-world. How? I'm not sure. Tomorrow I'm going to an etsyrain team lunch to meet and network with other etsy sellers in my area. My hope is to get a discussion going about how we market ourselves. Do we tell people about our site face to face? List and re-list daily? Pass out brochures and business cards to everyone we know? Ask for word of mouth advertising? Send out yet another mass email? There are so many excuses not to do any of these; I'm shy, I don't want to burden anyone, I can't afford it, I'm not tech savvy enough...yada yada... None of them really hold up, do they? Truth is, I need to do this myself. Figure it out and just do it.
It isn't as though I haven't been trying. I've listed new items, re-listed some, posted better photos. I plan to show many friends and family my new items when I visit MN in April. I'm going to networking events. I blog. I'm told I should facebook, but I haven't investigated that yet. I need to think of other things, but what I really want is magic!
In the past week, I've listed 13 new items on my etsy site and had about 50-60 visitors per day. Today, I haven't listed anything new and only had 18 visitors. Nothing new = no hits. I think I need to learn more about tagging and how to bring more new visitors to my site. I need to network more. Somehow, I need to make people aware of my work. I need, I need, I need. I sound like a broken record. Research, research.... off to research. Then - off to take action.
What do you find works the best for your shop in regards to boosting awareness of your site? Any suggestions?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I am honored to be nominated and thank Kathleen for including me in her list of inspiring artists/bloggers. Kathleen is a fabulous glass artist with a keen eye for color and design and even more importantly, to me, she has been a source of kind guidance, encouragement and inspiration in my venture into this artistic world. Be sure to view her work at http://www.kathleenkrucoff.com/.
What is a Lemonade Award? It is awarded to bloggers that show a positive attitude and gratitude. Now it's my turn to share....
Here are the rules for the award:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.
3. Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Nominate your favorites and link to your post.
My Choices for the Award:
Pam, The Blue Between http://bluebetween.blogspot.com/
Kristi, Dream Some Designs http://dreamsomedesigns.blogspot.com/
Kristin, Happy Flying Buttons http://happyflyingbuttons.blogspot.com/
Jewelry by Desireee http://jewelrybydesiree.blogspot.com/
Cathy Holden http://justsomethingimade.blogspot.com/
Kathleen, Reflections of a Glass Artist http://kathleenkrucoff.blogspot.com/
Havi Brooks http://www.fluentself.com/blog
Twisted Sister Arts http://twistedsisterarts.blogspot.com/
All of these bloggers have been an inspiration to me by their words, their art, their attitude and kind encouragement. My thanks to all of you!
When life hands you lemons, always make lemonade!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I got a nice shipment of wire last week, so I have many types and wire gauges in stock to do whatever I want to do! Options are a very thing! I put aside my sheet metal for the weekend and got back to wire work; a nice comfortable place to be for me. I made several items and got a good start on a few more. I did some fine silver fusing (fire! - my favorite) and need to finish some clasps for them and oxidize a few other items. I listed some this weekend and will continue to list other items throughout the week.
I had a strand of lapis beads and made a necklace out of them, but I'm just not happy with it. The edges of the spacer beads are blunt and scratch my neck when I tried it on, so I'll have to come with another plan. I hate taking things apart and re-doing them, but it always comes out better the second (or third) time around anyway.
I've also been working hard to make my photos better. I usually just use Office picture manager to edit my photos, but this weekend I downloaded Picassa photo editor, which I've used in the past for real estate photos. Can't quite get the hang of it yet and I need to review some of the software's basics before I can use the shots I've edited there. It does have some flexibility that office doesn't have, but it's missing the ability to have complete control over the size of the picture, which I don't want to give up. Maybe I'm just missing that part of the software.
The cats will sleep well tonight - I've put away my hammer and steel pounding block for the evening!
I hope you had a good weekend!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm still having a hard time just wrapping my head around the whole "artist" title, since I've never really made anything "artistic" until my recent (1.5 years) period of jewelry making. I have yet to call myself an "artist". But, I do spend an awful lot of time dreaming up ideas for my jewelry and even more time creating it. Admittedly, I am consumed and passionate about my "artistic" hobby. And it is not a cheap venture, so I need to sell my "art" in order to afford to make more. That's the practical, business major, former Realtor side of me. But then again, I do get warm fuzzies knowing that there are people out there wearing my jewelry and enjoying the way it makes them feel. Oh, I'm so conflicted!
Anyway, back to the photos... artistic photos... I went on a mission today to find props for my photos. I was going to take pictures of a bird nest pendant to be highlighted in my breast cancer awareness fundraiser collection. I wanted something pink for breast cancer identity, something earthy to coordinate with the bird nest, something soft looking for love and caring feelings. I found items in a scrapbooking dept at a craft store. Green leaves, pink rose petals, shimmery pink petals, pink paper, sheer hearts. All that for a tiny little photo! The props get so muted that they don't really show as anything defined, but I think they do add a certain fresh "feeling" to the photo. This took my afternoon, mind you. Time is valuable, too, isn't it? http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22518459
I have to wonder how much effect a "great" photo vs. a "good" photo has on a person's buying decision. The other night, I listed a pair of earrings with what I thought were quite good photos. Once they were in etsy however, they looked darker than they had on my computer while I was editing them. So, a few hours after I listed it, I lightened all of my pictures and re-entered them. In the middle of that process I got a convo from a buyer, saying she was trying to purchase the earrings but she got an error message saying that the listing was no longer available (it was because I was editing the listing). She assumed they had already sold and she wanted me to make another pair. But - she was buying them while looking at the too dark, original photos! Flyingbuttons' blog posts regarding photos are geared towards getting into a treasury, but ultimately, that boils down to being seen by buyers and being enticing enough to keep looking at the item in the photo and hopefully moving deeper to look at your entire shop; then to actually purchase an item!
So my question is, with 40,000+ jewelry listings on etsy.com, does a great photo make enough of a difference versus a just a good photo?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
In honor of all who struggle with this disease, I’m introducing a new line of fundraiser jewelry, “The Awareness Collection”. Some of these items will have pink awareness ribbons; others will just have a subtle hint of pink for those who prefer to honor the cause quietly. Other items may simply be jewelry that I create with intention of sending strength and courage. I will keep introducing new items throughout the year.
I will donate all of the proceeds of every item sold from my "Awareness Collection" to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. I will keep the total amount continuously posted on my website and will make the cumulative donation at the time of the walk in Sept, 2009.
I got the idea for this jewelry fundraiser from a dear friend who, as I was facing chemotherapy, had 4 identical bracelets made. Her intent was that I would wear mine and, she, my-sister-in law and my daughter would wear theirs every time I had chemo. They became our chemo day bracelets and a reminder that they were thinking of me and sending me strength (we live in separate states, so they couldn’t be close to me). The bracelets were made with the feng shui bagua colors, with intention to help put my life in balance and harmony. What a beautiful intent and I treasure that bracelet. I wear it on my breast cancer fundraiser walks & I even wore it to my recent mammogram!
To all who support this cause, I offer my sincere thank you. To all who have been touched by this disease, I offer my wishes of strength and courage and my heartfelt encouragement and prayer.
If you haven’t already, schedule your mammogram today!
Look for the Awareness Collection on my etsy site in the next few days!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
It was a productive week though; I made a bracelet utilizing a lamp work bead that I purchased last summer in MN. The bead just screamed to be joined with Viking knit and I think it turned out really well. I pushed a 14 gauge wire through the middle of the Viking knit and put the bead in the middle. Even though it has a clasp that I made a clasp with the ends of the 14g wire, it is really stiff and feels like a bangle bracelet. I still need to do a little finish polishing before I take final photos and put it on etsy. I wish my photography skills were better, I spend a lot of time taking and editing photos, and I'm usually still not happy with them. I'm trying to make my photos a little more colorful with background paper; sterling doesn't really grab one's eye very well all by itself and I don't use much color in my designs.
A while back I purchased some alphabet stamps and experimented with them today. It's really difficult to get everything lined up straight and as you can see, I need a lot more practice! I can get about 3 letters lined up, and then the 4th letter is never quite right. Maybe I should just make some discs that just say LOL on them.
A couple of mixed metal earrings sold on my etsy shop this week, so I made a couple more pairs and listed them. Check them out on my etsy shop - link is on the right!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Take a peek at her shop (above) and at her treasury (below) - bet you can't resist counting the focals in each picture! http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list_west.php?room_id=45933
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
It does seem that most of the time I make something, I go back and re-do it, sometimes several times, to get everything right - the right balance, color, shape, weight... While I sometimes find that tedious when I just want to get something finished quickly, I try to remind myself that it's all part of the process of making jewelry. It isn't about getting to the destination. It's about the journey. That's really what I love and find soothing about jewelry making.
My jewelry making day was made even better today because a dear friend joined me for the afternoon. She's a brilliant peyote beader! While we create, we more importantly build our friendship.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Look for my new earring series in my etsy shop. They all remind me of planets and such, so I named them accordingly. I like them so much I made 2 pairs to keep for myself. If anyone has any great name ideas for them, please let me know!
Sunday, March 1, 2009