Friday, February 29, 2008

Greetings, As in Cards

I just cannot manage to keep my excitement stifled much longer about a project I have going! I hooked up with a greeting card company who is just getting off the ground. They like my designs and asked me to do some animal designs. Not my forte, but why not take on the challenge? Lo and behold they loved my dog and horse designs, too! Woo hoo!

I did paper cut outs of the dogs and horse. One is so cute I want to smooch his little ears! Due to copyright issues I am unable to share the designs with you right now. But I wish I could because they are so cute.

I got final approval for two digital proofs for custom pendants today as well. However, I am going out of town for my bestest friend’s wedding and they will have to wait to get made upon my return. I really enjoy the hard work that goes into doing custom pendants. Working in a one inch by one inch space of my own design is hard enough. Add someone else’s opinion and it gets harder but more fun.

Off to get ready to pack for my trip! I’ll miss you when I’m gone but will try to blog while away.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Felted Bead Necklaces

Remember the felt beads Mom and I made? We created many pretty things with them!

Black & Green Felted Necklace :: Close Up
Mom designed and made the Green and Black necklace.

Mom did most of the designing. I did some too, but I must say that I think her stuff is better. One of hers has little glass seed beads sewn onto the blue felt beads, and it’s so attractive and elegant.

Blue Sparkly Felt Bead Necklace

Fancy Purple Felt Bead Necklace :: Close Up
We made this one together.

The necklace with the purple beads was the hardest to make. Figuring out how to get the filigree parts in between the beads to stay put was a challenge. They are sewed onto the felt beads with purple thread. The rest is strung on tiger tail. Mom did the sewing and I did the holding so they wouldn’t get away from her. It was a two-person job.

One of the necklaces I made is my favorite. The tiger tail is woven in and out of the beads in a fancy way. It has a delicate look about it that I find lovely. The other beads are glass. I wanted to do something different, something decidedly non-felt-bead looking.

Weaved Felted Bead NecklaceThis one is sold!

Please see my Flickr page for more pictures. There are a lot more things to see!

Some of these will be posted to my Etsy shop soon. Mom and I are still discussing pricing and shipping costs. I’ll let you know when we roll them out. If you are interested in them now I can set something up just for you.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Da Plugboard Is In the House

Thanks to The Bitty Moose and Eli N Opus, I learned about something new today… plugboards! You can see one down at the bottom of my left column. They are little 88x31 pixel ads. Usually I frown at advertising thingys. But this is done by real people with real shops and I hope no one abuses my plugboard. Ahem to the porn people. I decided to put one up to return the favor of others allowing me to plug on their sites.

This all started with a forum thread on Etsy. Then I had to learn how to make an animated gif file in Photoshop. Tom with the international shipping cheat sheet is out. Eli N Opus is in with a very helpful tutorial on how to make animated gifs.

Please spend some time clicking the shop ads, especially those for Etsy shops!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Treasury West

I'm always trying to snag a Treasury at Etsy but it goes so fast. The lists never seem to drop down low enough. But Treasury West is a well kept secret and I got one tonight! Enjoy!

"That's What I Like" Treasury!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So Picky

Why does the Post Office have to be so picky about international shipping? Really. I think my 4” x 4” x 4” box will work out quite nicely for sturdiness and strength. But, no. They want at least 5 ½” x 3 ½”. Back to the box store for me… with a ruler.

I bought the boxes before I was able to locate the required dimensions at USPS online. You need a PhD in Obtuse Manual Reading to understand the International Mail Manual and find what you’re looking for. Thankfully, the always helpful folks at the Etsy forums provided me with the information I desired.

Each country has a list of what you cannot send to them. Did you know you are not allowed to ship jewelry into Mexico? Me neither. Most of the list is the generic stuff one would expect like firearms and hazardous waste. But one cannot ship extravagant clothes and other articles contrary to Albanians’ taste to Albania. Do not even try to send horror comics and matrices to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Zimbabwe requests that you keep your honey for yourself. Australia will not accept used bedding. Uganda requests that one not ship Japanese shaving brushes.

Postage rates are another thing I am perplexed by. But some guy named Tom made this chart to explain it all for you. So simple it’s elegant. This guy is my international shipping hero. He‘s got it broken down by zones and weight so I can list my shipping fees by location. As you would expect, rates vary by weight and round up to the nearest full ounce. For example, to ship 6 ounces to Canada it costs $2.24, Mexico is $2.84, and pretty much everywhere else is $5.40.

I’m trying to keep my postage fees low but it is difficult when they jump by almost a whole dollar per ounce for the “everywhere else” category. Bubble mailers are my main shipping package, but I just don’t trust them to hold up to a potential month long international shipping voyage. I decided to go with the aforementioned boxes. The pendants I make have fragile glass in them, and my heart would break if one broke during shipping. Also insurance is not an option with First Class International Mail. I’d have to take the plunge for Global Priority, which starts at around $11 and then you add insurance. Sheesh.

With a regulation size box I most likely cannot get below the 6 oz rate if I include appropriate packing materials. Are people going to pay that much for shipping? We will see.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Crafty Success!

I would first like to start by saying how much I admire the people who work their butts off doing art and craft show circuits. It is tough work! My appreciation for this group of artful toilers has increased tenfold.

I had a really enjoyable day at my first craft show today. Sales were good, “people watching” was in rare form, and I was treated to a free breakfast!

The other vendors near us were pleasant and talented. They offered plentiful and useful advice for my crafty future. The day went by quickly with my new-found friends. The quality of this show was outstanding as well. I can only hope all the other ones I do are held to this standard.

Making the decision to take credit cards was the right one. Forty three percent of my sales came via the ability to charge it. That number is higher than I was expecting. It paid for itself in one show! And I managed to not rip the skin off my knuckles using the imprint machine. Bonus!

So my sights are set on shows coming up in the Rochester area. I already made a call about one in particular. It is juried so cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I Heart You

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I hope you have someone to hug and kiss a bunch. I do! I’m not sure what our romantic plans are yet but I’m sure it will be nice because of the company.

I’ve listed a few new love-inspired pendants in my shop. Please stop by if you love “love”!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

A First!

I got blogged at Vintage Indie today! How cool is that?

They highlighted my Lucky Bingo Glass Collage Pendant along with other great vintage bingo finds.

Vintage Indie is all about just that... vintage and indie. From their website: "A Rockin' Shoppin' Place for the Vintage Indie Addict. Highlighting Vintage Indie Designers & Store Owners, Vintage Inspirations, Vintage Styles, Techniques and old school antiques and collectibles."

I'm flying!