Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pup teaching the 'old' dog new tricks…

While at a recent bead show here in Atlanta, I was inspired by a young artist who was selling pretty hand forged copper jewelry interwoven with brass wire, gemstones, glass, turquoise and tiny copper beads.  He had a few lovely pieces on display, but selling the jewelry was not his focus; he was more interested in explaining the techniques he used and sharing his knowledge of working with copper.  It was obvious to me that teaching was more important to him than selling his finished jewelry.  I found this very refreshing from such a young (early 20s?) man.

Copper findings and cuffs.

So, I purchased some copper components from his booth and another vendor selling copper beads. Admittedly, I have very limited experience with copper, but I’m starting to like working with it.  Copper has such a warm and organic feel.  And my new favorite young man assured me that I could master the technique.  Stay tuned to see what I come up with using my new copper materials.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Meet the Fire Goddess...

Susan Barnes the “Fire Goddess” has dedicated the last 35 years to fashioning, designing and creating handmade jewelry and jewelry embellishments.  Initially inspired by many of the leading artists in lampwork glass and in jewelry design, Susan is self-taught and has fashioned her own style with an eclectic blend of colors, textures, designs and movement. 

Unlike many who begin by creating a single bead, Susan begins by visualizing the finished jewelry piece and then conceives and creates the beads and embellishments necessary to complete the final jewelry design. Susan’s success is the result of her passion to develop American made jewelry that is fun, functional and very wearable. 

Check out the fun pendants I purchased at a recent Bead Show in Atlanta…Can't wait to use them in a new design for my nieces.

 Pop over to Susan’s Website to see additional pendants and lampwork beads:  http://www.firegoddess.com/

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is in the air.......

"Love - a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker."
- Author Unknown.
 Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentines Day, swan, cloud, rock, flower

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Wine Down Weekend in Dahlonega, Georgia

Wine Tasting with fruit, cheese, and meat plate.

 My Husband and I were ready for a weekend getaway but we didn’t want to drive too far.  So, we followed the Georgia Wine Highway to the small town of Dahlonega, GA.  The weather was very chilly (27°) but it was a pleasant drive through southern Appalachia, and it’s only about an hour or so away.  What is there to do in Dahlonega?  A bunch!  (Note the “grape humor”)  If you are looking for a romantic getaway or just a fun experience with friends, this little town in North GA might just be the ticket.

Montaluce Winery and Estates

We joined friends who live in Dahlonega at a little bistro located on the charming town square. After a quick glass of wine at the bistro, we drove out to the rolling hills of Montaluce Winery and Estates. The land was stunning even on a chilly day. The property has been developed and designed to look like a Tuscan Village. It is reminiscent of a simpler time and place where life is celebrated and memories are treasured. If you’ve seen the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Montaluce Winery and Estates, wine glass, tasting menu, wine

 We decided to unwind with a late afternoon wine tasting in the relaxed tasting room where you can learn as much as you like or simply enjoy new flavors and casual conversation. At the end of the afternoon, we shared stories with friends and toasted the setting sun with one of our newly discovered wines. My husband loved the wine so much he purchased 6 bottles!

Our next stop was a memorable dinner at The Corkscrew Café; there wasn’t a strict dress code, fine crystal, or haughty waiters...this was an unpretentious little café that offered up a fantastic menu of first-rate fare and an excellent wine list. We felt exceedingly fortunate to have a wonderful meal in this little mountain town.

Our last stop was at a small bar just off the town square, we didn’t stay very long because the college age crowd was a bit too exuberant in their quest for fun on a Saturday night. One young lady in particular caught my attention, she kept belting out the same off key tune every few minutes.  Evidently she was confused, karaoke night is on Thursday. 
All and all, it was a great adventure and a great way to ‘wine’ down.  Cheers!
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Take a peek at my Bead Soup package!

Look at what I received from Maria Rosa, my partner for the March 2012 Bead Soup Blog Party. Maria Rosa from  Willow Street Shops creates vintage designs featuring distinct and colorful gemstones, her handmade pendants, art beads and vintage beads. Based on her eclectic style and vast collection of materials, I was excited to see what she would send. I was thrilled when I opened the package; so many wonderful beads to play with! I’ve had them spread out on my bead bench so I can think about how I will use them in my Bead Soup design. 
Just look at all my treasure!

I removed the individual packing bags to reveal the materials I will use for the challenge. The idea is to work outside our comfort zone to design a jewelry piece using the beads selected by a partner. Maria's selection for me included fabulous textures and colors...

The first bag I opened contained a pressed flower pendant handmade by Maria and complimenting colorful vintage Lucite and glass beads.

The second bag contained another of Maria's handmade pendants, this one is a little smaller with a pressed butterfly wing.  It also contained coordinating glass, ceramic, and Bali silver beads.

The third bag contained a handmade vintage button pendant, vintage brass beads, a vintage key, and pretty glass beads. I also received the two clasps shown below.

Check back on March 3rd when my finished design(s) will be revealed.  Then, hop around to the other participating blogs and see what they have created using their Blog Soup Beads.  Cheers!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Increase your impact as an Etsy seller…

Many times, when I go to another seller’s profile to decide if I want to follow their tweets, I find tweet after tweet saying, “Buy my (whatever)…”

Does that approach work for you? Dose it move you to purchase from that person? I believe Sellers need to recognize that hitting the potential buyer over the head with a sales pitch isn’t a good use of the limited time you have to connect with your reader. It’s time to come to terms with what social media can and can’t do for you.

(Necklace by one of my favorite Etsy shops: Tiger and Hare)
First of all, does your communication emphasize relationship building? I believe you'll become more successful with your Etsy sales if you concentrate on building a relationship with your followers/friends, circles, etc. Here are some ways to do that…

1. Don’t be a salesman. Refrain from peddling your wares to those you communicate with on the social media sites. (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Blogs, etc…)

2. Focus on communication. Don’t talk to others. Instead, talk with others. Twitter is not all about you. It’s about communicating with others. If you are sending random messages out into the world saying, “I made a necklace. Buy my necklace,” people will see your avatar and ignore it.

3. Understand that buying is not impulsive anymore. On average most people must hear about your work several times before they decide to take a look or make the purchase. They may hear about it through your blog, through the occasional reference to it on Twitter, through a facebook post, etc. Instead of sending potential customers running by hitting them with the hard sell, just make sure you have good exposure for your work by participating in a variety of activities on-line, such as forums, blog parties, giveaways, or submitting your work to publications.

4. Don’t be frantic about marketing. Rather, spend your time building relationships with those who read your blog or those who follow you on Twitter or Facebook. Let them get to know more about you through your blog posts or tweets. Once they know you, they’ll start pulling for you in your Etsy endeavors, and will help to bring other readers to your blog and shop.

5. Spend some time on others. Blog or tweet about the accomplishments of others, talking to and commenting about others is a good way to build good relationships on line. Be generous on line and you will build good and lasting relationships.

By putting emphasis on helping others and reducing the effort of hawking your wares, you just might build the relationships you need for repeat purchases from your shop.

If you have some good indirect sales tactics, leave a comment for others to try.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My new love...Pinterest!

I know many of my favorite bloggers are Etsians who use Pinterest, the online pinboard for organizing and sharing images of things you admire. I’m a big fan of pinterest and my Husband might even say that I’m totally addicted to “pinning”— check out what I’ve been pinning.

When I first heard about pinterest, I was not eager to jump on this newest bandwagon, but I have begun using it more and more lately as I’ve discovered how much fun it can be! (And, admittedly, when I recognized that it is sending traffic to my blog.)
I just found out it’s easier than ever to pin my favorite Etsy listings! Etsy has added a red “Pin It” button to the item listing pages. When you pin Etsy listings with the Pin It button, the required pin description field is prefilled with the item title and price. You can also add a note about why you like the item!

Like Etsy’s Treasury, Pinterest is a place for curating and sharing things you love, and is not intended for self-promotion. I’ve been using it to collect recipes, favorite travel destinations, clever DIY tips, etc…

Happy pinning!
 Follow Me on Pinterest

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