Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are You Ready for Holiday Shoppers?

I'm Getting Ready for the Holiday Shopping Season in my Etsy Shop. It’s Time! Here are some tips I used, I hope they will help you get going too…

1. First Take Inventory: of your stock, supplies, & time. Make lists of what you've got & what you need.

2. Stock-up:  head to your suppliers shops, websites, or markets; buy in bulk.  You don’t want to run out, suppliers get busy too during the holidays and some elements of your work may not be available later.

3. Look Back: did you have any top sellers last holiday season or something new that is selling now? Start planning ahead to make/create/prepare these items in particular.

4. Fill Your Shop Up:  Begin increasing your actual inventory now. You’ll have more to sell in the coming months. 

5. Clean Sweep:  Whilst taking your inventory & planning which supplies need to be purchased...clean out your work bench and photo area for better efficiency. Sell or store extra supplies, create a more streamlined "production line"...get inspired!

6. Save the Date: Consider having an open house to show off (and sell!) your designs to friends, family, neighbors, and whomever else shows up!

7. Bust Out the Red and Green: Plan on making specifically seasonal items. Get started now-experiment, revise, sell, & get noticed.

8. Wrap, Tie, Send:  Think now about adding wrapping or different packaging options for the holidays- in addition to your normal mailers, boxes, ribbon, etc.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mermaids' Tears

Running out of sea glass "mermaids' tears" seems impossible, and a little sad, like running out of seashells. But one man's collectible is another man's trash, in this case quite literally. Sea glass is essentially pretty litter, broken bottles and jars abandoned on the beach or heaved overboard years or decades or even centuries ago, then smoothed by the ocean's movements.

Attitudes toward oceanfront property and litter in general, have changed dramatically. Americans' new found reluctance to hurl junk into the sea has limited the supply of fresh glass, and with the arrival of plastic, glass is a much less popular packaging material than it used to be. There have been sweeping efforts to clean up existing beach garbage, even the collectible kind. In the years to come sea glass may be a relic of the past.

I'm currently work on a sea glass collection for my Etsy shop. The sea glass featured in the designs pictured here came from the Caribbean Seashore of Puerto Rico.  I love sea glass and I will be crafting several more items this week.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Logging my favorites...

This is the fourth installment of a ongoing log of my favorite things. Once a month I will post a favorite. It might be a person, or a place, or even a event. Hopefully it will help you get to know me a little better. I'd love your comments and I hope to make some connections through our mutual enjoyment of these treasures.

Tent Camping

I love to camp. Sitting around a campfire under a clear sky, gazing up at the stars, and listening to the sounds of the night can strengthen our bodies, pacify our minds, and restore our spirits. Camping is rejuvenating!  We camp 2 or 3 times a year; planning our next destination months in advance. 

For some camping purists, a backpack, pocket knife, two sticks and a tarp is all you need for a weekend camping trip.  Not us, we are in the growing group of 'luxury' campers. Our list of necessities includes a very large two room tent, camping cots with thick memory foam mattresses, luxury linens, a kitchen box that contains everything but the kitchen sink, a fondue pot and lots of candles for ambiance.  We probably look like the Beverly Hillbillies when we pull into a camp ground; our SUV piled high with all our camping gear. We are all about comfort, and taking the time to rest and replenish. It's wonderful, even with the bears lurking in the forest!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cleaning Copper Jewelry

I've been making a lot of jewelry using copper findings. I think copper is perfect for autumn accessorizing. I found this great article on how to clean copper jewelry. I'm off to the kitchen to try this...

Tips From Handmadeology:

Supplies: a small glass or ceramic dish, the acidic cleaning agent of your choice (I use lemon juice), a old toothbrush, soap and a drying towel

"Gather your supplies and your copper jewelry. Place one piece of jewelry in the dish and pour the cleaning agent over the item and allow it to set for a short time in the liquid, about 10 to 20 minutes. I usually use a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and turn the copper over every few minutes to assure an even cleaning. NOTE: You may have to change the cleaning liquid a couple of times if the copper is extremely dirty. To move the process along, you may use your old toothbrush to gently scrub into the cracks and crevasses of the design. When you have achieved the desired cleaning, run clear water over the jewelry to rinse. Then use a little soap and the toothbrush to clean just a little more, rinse and pat dry with a towel."

"Please DO NOT leave your jewelry in the acid soak for and extended period of time OR if your copper jewelry has pearls, or any other soft stone DO NOT use any of these ways of cleaning!"

Have a great Day! Thanks for stopping by.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Home" Business say no more.....

Most Esty shop owners can’t afford separate studio space so they set up their work space at home.  It might be a dedicated space just for crafting, or it could be the kitchen table.  Working from the kitchen table doesn’t mean your work isn’t marvelous!   Don’t tell people you run a “home” business. Although 53% of small businesses are home based, many people still think of home businesses as unprofessional. Think of it this way: if you rented studio space at 33 West Main St. for your design business, you wouldn’t tell people you were in a “West Main Street” business. So, why say you are in a home business. Home is just the location of your work space. It’s the business – the product you provide – that’s important.  When people ask about my small business I simply say that I’m a jewelry designer and hand them one of my business cards... Enough said…
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wanting Too Much Too Soon

Handmade Artists who do not feel successful seem to run into a common obstacle, mostly self-created. The good news is that the barrier has a remedy that you already have within your grasp.
Obstacle: Wanting Too Much Too Soon
  • Handmade Artists tend to be unrealistic about what is possible in a certain time frame and are impatient about the results they are getting.
  •  They want to sell immediately, sometimes before they even have a signature style.
  • They are not always open to critiques/suggestions about being more productive, creating work in different styles or creating multiples of their work to have more pieces available.
  •  They do not put in the hours. They are not consistent about what they do or how they do it, so their career never gains momentum.

The Remedy:
  • Be clear about where you are before you decide where you want to go. What amount of time do you have in your current schedule for production, listing, marketing, shipping, and paperwork? How will you make a change?
  • Once you are clear, decide where you want to be in your handmade career. Now look at the gap between your shop/sales today and where you’d like to be. Work backwards and write down the steps you need to take to get there. Then start taking one step at a time. Be realistic about what you can take on so that you can see progress and feel success as you build your handmade market place.

My task this week:  I’m working on better photos for my Etsy Shop this week.  Here are some examples of my original (left) and new (right) photos. Drop me a line and critique my new photos. Thanks!

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Metric Conversion Chart for Jewelry Makers

Converting mm to inches
Some people new to gemstones and beading have never come across the metric measuring system often used in jewelry making. Even some of us who have been at it for a long time need help figuring out just how big 11mm is.
Dr Karen Meador made this chart to help with these conversions.
Conversion of Units
25.4 millimeters (mm) = 1 inch
1 millimeter is less than 1/16 inch
To Convert Inches to Millimeters: Multiply Inches x 25.4
To Convert to Millimeters to Inches: Multiply millimeters x .03937
Conversion Chart: Millimeters to Inches

Inches in Decimals
*Inches in Fractions
1mm 0.04 inches
Less than 1/16 inch

2mm 0.08 inches Greater than 1/16 inch & less than 1/8 inch
3mm 0.12 inches Greater than 1/16 inch & less than 1/8 inch
4mm 0.16 inches Greater than 1/8 and less than 3/16
5mm 0.2 inches Greater than 3/16 and less than 1/4
6mm 0.24 inches Greater than 3/16 and less than 1/4
7mm 0.28 inches Greater than ¼ and less than 5/16
8mm 0.32 inches Greater than ¼ and less than 5/16
9mm 0.35inches Greater than 5/16 and less than 3/8
10mm 0.40 inches Greater than 3/8 and less than 7/16
12mm 0.47 inches Greater than 7/16 and less than 8/16
14mm 0.55 inches Greater than ½ and less than 9/16
16mm 0.63 inches Greater than 5/8 & less than 11/16
18mm 0.71 inches Greater than 11/16 and less than 3/4
*The third column of this conversion chart is offered to help anyone who thinks more clearly using fractions than using decimals.
Approximate Number of Round Beads on a 16” Strand

Every inch is 25mm so times the number of inches by 25mm and you have how long the strand is in millimeters. Then divide by the width of the bead.

Note: Copied with the permission of:
Karen Meador
Dream Catcher Designs
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Winner's Choice Giveaway

<span class=
Maria Grimes is having a Great Giveaway to celebrate
her 8th year of lampworking! She will make5 lampwork beads for you..
Don't miss out check this out!
Click on Maria's name above for more details.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wonderful colors for fall...

For each season of fashion, the world-renowned authority on color, Pantone, releases a palette of 10 colors (see color trends blog post) that inspires designers and artisans to create the clothes and accessories we all love.  My favorite color this Fall season is Purple Orchid.  I've included some of my designs featuring this color below; all are available now in my Etsy shop.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Carry a Hankie

Life Lessons......
While visiting Mexico many years ago as a teenager, I experienced my first seasonal allergy attack. Caught off guard and unprepared for the sniffles on a tour of the jungle, my Father handed me a fresh hankie and told me to keep it in my backpack/purse.  And so I have.  I keep it in one of the small inner pockets of my purse so it will stay clean and fresh.  I've found many uses for my Hankie; restroom dryer on the fritz...Hankie; sunglasses covered with sea-spray...Hankie; missing blindfold for "pin the tail on the donkey"...Hankie; wipe away tears at my best friends wedding...extra large hankie!

Hankies can say something about yourself. Like the accessories that you wear, and the music that you listen to, your hankie can add individuality to your identity.

Hankies found on Etsy pictured above:
(click description to go to Etsy Shop for more details)

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Color Trends for Fall 2010


The 2010 Fall Color Trends from Pantone, the industry standard on fashion color trends.

My new jewelry design rule is to make use of colors that make you feel good and breathe new life into your wardrobe. Now more than ever is the time to mix new colorful accessories with your classic silhouettes. You’ll be amazed at what a splash of color can do to both your ‘look’ and your ‘outlook.’  I hope to inspire Etsy shoppers by offering vibrant color hues and an array of potential new color combination to make getting dressed more exciting. Click here for the full Pantone Fall Report      

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Logging my favorites...

This is the third installment of a ongoing log of my favorite things. Once a month I will post a favorite. It might be a person, or a place, or even a event. Hopefully it will help you get to know me a little better. I'd love your comments and I hope to make some connections through our mutual enjoyment of these treasures.

The Chicago Style Hot Dog... 

  The periodic table of Vienna Chicago Style Hot Dog.

The "Chicago Style" hot dog got its start from street cart hot dog vendors during the hard times of the Great Depression. Money was scarce, but business was booming for these entrepreneurs who offered a delicious hot meal on a bun for only a nickel. The famous Chicago Style Hot Dog was born! They'd start with a Vienna Beef hot dog, nestle it in a steamed poppy seed bun and cover it with a wonderful combination of toppings: yellow mustard, bright green relish, fresh chopped onions, juicy red tomato wedges, a kosher-style pickle spear, a couple of spicy sport peppers and finally, a dash of celery salt. This unique hot dog creation with a "salad on top" and its memorable interplay of hot and cold, crisp and soft, sharp and smooth, became America's original fast food and a true Chicago institution.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fall Earring Preview

Fall is my favorite season, so I'm updating my Etsy shop with new items in fall colors. The items above are some of my recent designs. Take a peek and let me know what you think. All items are currently available in my Etsy shop and ready for immediate delivery.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Where are my Keys…….?

I’m constantly searching for my keys that have migrated to the bottom of my purse. I think many students also have this problem with their keys, lost inside their backpack. To help with this problem I made several key minders that will hook to the purse or tote, yet keep the keys securely inside the bag. Take a look and let me know what you think. The beads are my handmade lampwork. Available in my Etsy shop.
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Friday....

Most Friday's my husband I go to a little cantina for dinner and margaritas. It’s our way of releasing the tensions of the work week. The restaurant is called Bone Garden Cantina and it has a Day of the Dead theme. The art work and sculpture created by the owner Michael is fabulous, take a peek:

From pre Columbian times, El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead has been celebrated in Mexico, and other Latin countries. This is a very special ritual, since it is the day in which the living remember their departed relatives.  Sometimes, when people of other cultures hear for the first time about the celebration of the Day of the Dead, they mistakenly think it must be: gruesome, terrifying, scary, ugly and sad. Nothing further from the truth, Day of the Dead is a beautiful ritual in which Mexicans happily and lovingly remember their loved relatives that have died. 
Bone Garden Cantina is one of our favorite places to relax, the food is fabulous and the staff is top notch.  I love their Chili Rellenos, they are the best in Atlanta. Stop by sometime; I'm sure you won't be disappointed!
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hello Neighbor...

Shopping locally has become more and more popular, as consumers want to support local businesses. Etsy buyers can do this by utilizing the “Shop Local” feature on the home page. “Shop Local” shows the 100 most recently updated shops for a location. You can search for artists in your country, your state or even your own town. Who knows, you may find that a great talent lives right down the street from you!
Shopping local also has great benefits:
  • the environmental impact is reduced
  • you reinvest money in your own community 
  • you will support a local small business owner
  • chances are you will get great customer service
  • lower shipping cost (I love to save money!)
Please check your Etsy shop right now and make sure your “Location” is not blank. Buyers like knowing where you’re from. Your location helps personalize your shop a bit, and you will show up in any “Shop Local” searches that buyers might do for your geographic area.
If you are not familiar with this Etsy search – take a peek at ‘Shop Local’
Some of my favorites using "Shop Local" - Atlanta, GA:
Upper Left: New Washcloth Sock Cupcakes
Upper Right:  Half Apron in IKEA Fabric
Lower Left:  Bright Green, Pink, and Turquoise Daisy Twirl Skirt
Lower Right:  PEACOCK Beaded Charm Bracelet Handmade Altered Art

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Search and you will find...anything!

So, I thought I’d put my “you can find anything on Etsy ” theory to the test by focusing on my favorite natural sweet snack (at the same time trying to stay on track with my diet). While it took a little more time to find just the right pieces, Etsy once again proves that no matter what you’re looking for, with a little searching, they can always offer some inspiring finds.

Top Right:   Decadent Fig Jam

Middle Right:   Fig and Brown Sugar Goat's Milk Soap

Bottom Right:   A Felt Mission Fig Leaf

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gem of the Gods....

Turquoise has long been one of my favorite semi-precious gems.  I wore a simple turquoise necklace for many years while in High School and College.  In every class picture I have my favorite necklace on.  To celebrate my 30 year (unbelievable) class reunion I crafted a small Turquoise collection and listed the items on Etsy.  Within hours of listing, one of the items sold and two others have had a lot of views.  It seems to be my lucky charm!
Turquoise Facts and Fancy:
Fact: Turquoise is a hydrous copper aluminum sulfate found in every color of blue, greenish blue or deep green. The rich blues are due to the abundance of copper while green turquoise has more aluminum. It has been mined from at least 6000 BC by early Egyptians. Its history also includes beautiful ornamental creations by Native Americans and Persians.

Fancy: In the Orient, a turquoise ring was worn as a protector against all things evil. The Indians of Mexico and the Southwestern United States used turquoise to guard burial sites. To the prehistoric Indian, turquoise, worn on the body or used in ceremonies, always signified the god of the sky alive in the earth.
Fact: It is found in Arizona and New Mexico, USA; Australia; Iran; Afghanistan and other places in the Middle East.

Fancy: Turquoise is believed to relax the mind and relieve mental tensions, calming the emotions and easing stress.

Caring For Your Turquoise Jewelry:
• Natural turquoise should be kept away from exposure to chemicals, cosmetics, oils, perfume, high heat and natural sunlight as these can all cause changes in its color.
• Store your turquoise jewelry separate from other pieces as it may scratch.
• Should your turquoise piece need cleaning use warm water and a soft cloth. Be sure to thoroughly dry your turquoise before storing it.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Logging my favorites...

This is the second installment of a ongoing log of my favorite things. Once a month I will post a favorite. It might be a person, or a place, or even a event. Hopefully it will help you get to know me a little better. I'd love your comments and I hope to make some connections through our mutual enjoyment of these treasures.

Cumberland Island, GA

My greatest and most lasting memory of the Island is its ability to change me in just a few hours. It is my place of transformation. Whether sitting on the beach gazing out to sea, probing around the edges of the marsh as fiddler crabs scurry for cover, or simply walking down one of the many tree lined roads of the Island, I am changed. It is this intangible quality that seems to be the most important benefit which Cumberland Island holds for me. This spiritual quality is what, year after year, I seek and find comfort in. The most consistent message delivered by those who know Cumberland best is one of being "touched" by the Island and being somehow affected by all the natural, cultural, and historical values of this extraordinary place. It is my safe haven, my place of rest, and my favorite camping destination.

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Stand Out in a Crowd...

How many business cards have you received in the last year and how many do you still remember? I’m learning that business cards should look professional but still have flair to them. That means not having too much going on as far as graphics while still being attractive. My business card is an extension of my work and I want to be able to market myself the right way. Here are some tips I’ve learned while researching business cards:

• Only choose the best paper for your business cards. Thicker heavier paper is better as it looks more expensive and professional.

• Use colorful printing; prices have dropped, it does not cost much more than standard two color cards.

• Use a tagline that will quickly let the person know what your product/skill is.

• Put a picture on your business card. Studies have shown that people are more likely to hold on to a Business card with a photo on it. It could be your picture, a picture of your product, or a combination of both. Picture cards get attention!

• Do not use a premade business card design called templates. The more people who use these templates, the more your card starts to look like everybody else’s. You want to have a business card that stands out, not one that gets lost in the crowd.
I’ve learned that if I want to use good business etiquette and good marketing then I need to start handing out more of my business cards. This will help me to conduct my business in a much more professional and efficient manner. There is nothing easier or more profitable than using business cards in my marketing strategy.
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