Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dare I Say It? The “V” Word?

As much as I dislike seeing Valentine's Day commercialism in stores right after Christmas, I must admit that it got me thinking about my business goals for 2008. Ashamedly, I write that I didn’t have any for 2007 other than to get a shop open on Etsy. I left the outcomes of that to the wind so as to not be disappointed. But I have been pleasantly surprised. Yesterday, I had my 9th sale happen in just over one month. If this keeps up I actually might be able to quit my day job!

For the past few days in the studio, I have been working on new pendant designs for the upcoming LOVE-ly day. Hearts, flowers, red, pink, and white permeate these designs. Making art about love makes me get all mushy inside about my hunny. Does that happen to you or am I the only one? I love him sooo much and I get to really show it in my art. Super fun!!

As a businesswoman do I get to rue brick & mortar shops that display Valentine's Day merchandise too early if I am making some of my own? I always liked thinking "Stop trying to sell me hearts in January!" and huffing out of the shop. Now I'm trying to do the same, just not in a hit-you-over-the-head kind of way. Ironic. I now realize some of the method behind the madness of marketing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Merry

This would have been the Christmas card I sent out this year had they been finished in time. Somehow I didn't get a lot of Christmas things done in time. I really love Christmas trees, but we didn't get one decorated. In fact, no stockings are hung by my chimney with care. At least I don't feel scroogy about it. It is what it is. Too much too do and too little time.

We went to my mother's for Christmas Eve. She always puts out a fabulous spread of food. I had a few Kahluas and milk. Wheeeeeeee! My niece was jazzed up for presents and helpfully assured us all of some assistance with opening our gifts. Three and a half is a great age for Christmas spirit and she is full of it. I wonder if she fell asleep yet.

So, I wish y'all holiday cheer and time with family and friends. Be safe on the roads, hug and kiss profusely, sing, laugh, love. ♥!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Busy Week

I'm so glad it's Friday! It's been such a busy week. Three custom orders had to be finished, one item had to be shipped, and three items were hand delivered. I'm waiting for another hand off to get back to me now for a pick up or delivery over the weekend. I wouldn't say business is booming, but it is definitely popping! I got my first repeat customer which was very validating.

My shopping is almost done! Trekking out to the stores this time of year makes my hair stand on end. Even the grocery store is too busy. I'm not a fan of crowds. Being just barely 5 feet tall makes a throng of people scary to walk through. People just do not see me and I get pushed and poked. Next year I'm wearing a big orange flag tied to my back that will stick up 3 feet into the air. Excuse me! Coming through! Honk honk!!

I listed a new design tonight that you all got a sneak peek of recently. The bingo pendant is one of my favorite designs. So kitschy! So fun! I gave one to my friend Joolie and she loves it, too. She's not a huge bingo player, but she enjoys fun things. I secretly envy her ownership of an air hockey table. Not so secretly anymore!

If you live in the Rochester, NY area I will be happy to let you pick up or I will deliver purchases from my Etsy shop through Sunday. If you decide to shop local for this holiday I will be happy to accommodate your need for speed!

Never Felt Better

My mom’s birthday was a few weeks ago. She mentioned wanting to make felt beads. I found this great kit from starathena at Etsy and could not pass it up. She loved it! The two of us have spent many days crafting at her house. I adore that we do that together. She taught me so much growing up, and I enjoy still learning from her.

For her birthday we had an old-fashioned sleep over! Girls only! Mom, me, my sister, my two nieces… we had a ball! Mom and I stayed up until 2 am making felt beads from wool roving. We rolled beads until our palms hurt! We started with a bit of wool in different colors and added hot water and dish soap to the mix. Then we rolled it between our hands gently and increased the pressure as the ball got firmer. We made big beads, little beads, red, blue, green, and multi-colored beads. She strung some together with beads from my stash and made a really nice red, black, and silver necklace.

Many Felt Beads

She bought some wool yarn that week and we knitted and crocheted that together to make a felted bag. It’s fun to shrink wool in the washer on purpose! I got some yarn, too, and have been knitting away at a soon-to-be zippered pouch. I’m going to ditch the pattern that calls for kitting on 4 double pointed needles because I cannot figure out how to do that. I knit it too tight anyway. A big rectangle folded and sewn up on the sides will do just fine. Different colored flowers go on the front made from knitted squares that are felted. The flowers are cut out and sewn on with little beads for accents. I don’t really need any more new projects right now but this is too fun!

Mom Sewing Our Felted Bag

Mom is stitching the felt bag together.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shipping Upgrades - Don't Miss Them!

Right now and through tomorrow, I am offering FREE shipping upgrades to USPS Priority shipping! Get your pendants in time for Christmas! That’s $5.00 in shipping for $2.50 for one pendant! More savings the more you buy! How can you beat that?

Sales must be completed and paid for by midnight Tuesday, December 18th.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Friday, December 7, 2007

Working Away Like An Elf

My studio work this week has been filing and sanding pendants until my elbows give out. I came up with some new designs and thought I would give y’all a sneaky peeky!

filing pendant

sanding bingo pendant

pendants in a row

Either something is wrong with my soldering iron or something is wrong with me. Probably the latter. All my lines are lumpy and require a lot of finishing to look nice and smooth. I’m beginning to think my iron is too hot or not hot enough. And I don’t know how to tell which it is. So a new soldering iron may be in my future. The time and expense this one is causing me is too much. I’m going though a tip every 10 pendants. The tips get very “eaten away” and don’t conduct heat well after that happens.

The Weller soldering irons seem to be more what I need as far as professional durability. They are made for the serious stained glass artist. Now I just need to decide which one I want to try. Anyone have suggestions? I am more likely to make the leap into stained glass if I have a better soldering iron, too.

Shopping for tools is fun! My significant other loves that I ask for power tools for presents. That way he gets to shop at manly stores and never has to enter the mall! Win, win! Last year he got me a Dremel and the current soldering iron I am using. This year he got me a sewing machine, which I consider a power tool. (You have to plug it in, right? You use it to make other things, which is the definition of “tool”, no?) I picked it out so he didn’t have to walk into the estrogen-filled JoAnns sewing center. He “gets” me as far as gifts go. No frilly or scented junk for me. I’m practical. But I have been known to gladly accept shiny things of the jewelry kind. Hee hee.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Founder of Interviewed

I thought this was really interesting about the start-up of by Robert Kalin. Software geek or genius? You decide.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Take the Pledge

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

This year I took the Handmade Pledge. Have you?

Being an artist, I feel very strongly about supporting other artists. This doesn’t just mean I provide verbal or written support or encouragement. To me it also means I put my money where my mouth is. I personally (and thankfully) know the feeling of having someone enjoy my work enough to invest money in it and me. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. So why not spread the love and the wealth?

That’s why I took the pledge to buy handmade this holiday season. While I may not be able to do this for my entire gift list (because someone on my list wants a hot plate for candle making), doing some of it this way and doing it consciously makes a difference to artists out there. It makes a difference to people on my gift list, too. It makes a difference to me. Win, win, win.

When you buy and give handmade items, a little love gets passed through the object itself. It means more to the giver and receiver because it is a unique item and took time and thought to make and pick out. The person to whom you give it really sees that you “get” them and what they are into. Giving someone an iPod or a digital camera may say you “get” that person is into music or photography. If you give them a handmade iPod cozy with a rhino on it you are saying, “I know you are into rhinos and collect them. I value that in you as a person." If you give them a handmade pendant with a camera on it, you say more about the connection to the person that you share. You know them. You know what moves them. They and their uniqueness move you. And you took the time to find something that was “made for them”, not manufactured in an assembly line.

The massive consumerism that the more industrialized cultures of the world live with is causing us to lose our connections with people. We buy from faceless big-box stores and grocers. We shop like sheep for the next big thing. When was the last time you spoke with the person who made what you are buying? Personally, I really enjoy making that connection with an artist. I enjoy creating that relationship with people who invest in my work. Some love gets passed through this exchange as well.

That’s why I encourage you to take the handmade pledge, even if you cannot do it for your entire list. Some of anything makes a difference. Help me spread the love.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list*!

Etsy – buy and sell all things handmade
Trunkt – art and design buyers guide
i shop indie - supporting independent designers
Artisans Market - unique handcrafted art and gifts
IndiePublic: not an online shop but a great way to find independent artists to buy from

(*I am not officially endorsing any of these sites. Use at your discretion.)