Friday, November 6, 2009

Calling All Artists: Repost


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Starting in August 2009, I began to feature an artist a week from any online selling venue. I only asked that they be handmade and homegrown sellers. The featured artists were presented in the order in which I receive this questionnaire from them. Also, along with a post about their shop, their smaller Etsy Mini or Artfire Shop Window remained in my sidebar for the entire week, and the larger Etsy Mini and Artfire Shop Window code they provided was attached to the end of their blog entry, permanently. Each blog entry was submitted to MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter via my personal and business profiles. (If your venue is not specifically spoken about above, still submit your questionnaire and any kind of shop window code that your venue supplies, if any. I will feature you, but if there is a code error, I will not be able to fix the code on my own. If your code is not on your feature when it is published, please check your mailbox and respond to my email.)

I'm asking again for more artists who are interested in a little free publicity. Below in the questionnaire. Please copy and paste it into an email, answer all the questions, and submit it to mortarnpestle@hotmail.com. November 13, 2009 is the first open Friday for a feature. The second person to submit the questionnaire to me will receive the following Friday, and so on. Your spot is chosen on a first come, first served basis, so please, send your questionnaire to me as soon as possible if you want to be promoted before the big holiday season.

Feel free also to submit the Featured Artist entries along your social networking channels. The more people who submit it, the more people that will see it and possibly purchase from the shops.


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[ Please provide a short biography about yourself/your shop. Also include a link to an item in your shop that you would like featured at the beginning of this entry.]

1. When and why did you start crafting?

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue & why?

7. Where else can you be found online?


Please include the following code(s) for your shop with your response:

Artfire:

1 x 5 Artfire Shop Window (for sidebar)
3 x 2 Artfire Shop Window (for blog post)

Etsy:

2 x 4 Thumbnail Etsy Mini
2 x 3 Gallery Etsy Mini

If you are not on these two, but your venue does have a shop window, please submit your code. If it does not fit my margins, I will send you an email as soon as I can to determine if the problem can be remedied or not. If it can't, I will "create my own" shop window at the bottom your entry pointing directly to your shop. If this is not okay with you, please let me know.

(You may include codes for all your venues, if you wish.)

Featured Artist: Tadd Hardy of Hawkwolf's Armory and Accoutrements


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Hello! My name is Tadd Hardy, and I'm the artist behind Hawkwolf's Armory and Accoutrements.
I've loved anything remotely medieval since I was very young, my lovely wife is the same way! We enjoy attending rennaisance faires, watching fantasy movies, and for the last ten years, making really special chain maille jewelry, accessories, and more.
Link:

1. When and why did you start crafting?

At first, it was just for myself and my wife, I thought it would be fun to make some accessories for our ren faire outfits. Soon after that, our friend from work saw my wife's headdress and ordered one for her medieval handfasting (wedding). Then people saw my stuff at the wedding and asked her where she got it! Kinda a big word of mouth thing.... By then I was hooked on maille, and how can you buy more supplies if you don't sell something once in a while? :D I started in 1999 and have been going strong ever since!

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Having people you've never even met want your handmade work is really exciting to me. And being able to work with people and make their dreams come true with a customized piece just for them is a lot of fun too. It's like they have the only piece like it in the world! Oh yeah, getting paid is nice, too..... :P

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

At first it was just my website in '93, then later I started hearing about selling venues like Etsy and artfire. I sell on multiple venues, just getting my name out there as much as possible. I even had limited success on Ebay for a while, I've tried quite a few....I still use quite a few!

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

Getting your name out there! It's a never ending thing, trying to advertise on every pertinent space about your product. It seems to be working, and it seems the longer I've been on the web, the more people are able to find me. Maybe it's working? I always get that little twinge of fear when I send something out to a person I've never really met or even seen, hoping the size is right, or that the piece is everything the customer hoped it would be. Actually I think that helps me, I pay extra attention to little details, I want everything to be perfect for the person receiving my wares.

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun; extra spending money?

It helps pay the bills, but mostly it feeds my addiction! (my chain maille, silly!)

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue; why?

Yes, I do a few art shows and faires every year, some in spring and some in fall. I had a lot of my stuff in a local shop (with a nice fan base too!), but unfortunately with the recent economy troubles, they had to close thier doors.
I enjoy both for different reasons, I'm really not sure if I enjoy one more than the other, though? I love offline selling to see how my things look on many different people, the smiling faces, shaking hands with someone after a sale, the kids (and adults) that say 'You made that? Wow!'. On the other hand, I can't imagine another way to get my jewelry and items into the hands of someone in Alaska, or Utah, or Paris, London, or Germany than online. The internet just opens so many doors that aren't available otherwise.

7. Where else can you be found online?

http://www.hawkwolfs.com
http://hawkwolf.etsy.com
http://www.artfire.com/users/Hawkwolf
http://maillemarket.com/
http://www.1000markets.com/users/hawkwolf





Friday, October 30, 2009

Featured Artist: Kelly Murphy of Kelly is Awesome


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Kelly Murphy is an artist who was born in Brooklyn and currently lives and works in the suburbs of New Jersey. She holds a B.F.A. in printmaking and art history from Mason Gross at Rutgers University. Kelly has exhibited work in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Her work is inspired by natural and man made structures, childhood memories and an overactive imagination.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I have always been making things whether it be for fun or more serious artwork. I started making this series of drawings of chickens singing rap songs and mailing them to my friends. They thought they were hysterical and wanted to pay for more! So I started an Etsy shop to sell my drawings and recently some jewelry.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Mainly I like to make things that amuse me and will amuse my friends. I'm pretty simple, I do it all for a smile.

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

I sell on Etsy which I had heard of through friends and felt comfortable with the paypal set up.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

Sometimes, I will get random purchases and appear on blogs of other Etsy goers which is nice. Otherwise I have no idea who or if anyone is looking to buy my stuff.

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

It's mainly for fun and a little extra beer money.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue & why?

I do sell at Urban Alchemist which is a super cool design collective in Park Slope Brooklyn.
I like both venues for selling. Sometimes it's nice to see things in person especially the scale of the drawings and the frames they come in, but online shopping is quick and easy and safe through Etsy.

7. Where else can you be found online?

Twitter: Kellyisawesome
Blog: http://suburbansabbatical.typepad.com/
Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6772803
Shop name: Kelly is awesome

Friday, October 23, 2009

Real Life's Ups and Downs


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Once again, I am sorry that I have not posted in here for a while beyond my Featured Artist of the week. I haven't even had a moment of peace to post the Top Ten Artists of the Week, and those are chosen by others. All I have to do is post. I will get them caught up though.

Life has been crazy. The little human is teething. She started showing signs of her first tooth almost a month before we ever saw a tooth, so she was miserable, even with Baby Tylenol and a frozen teething ring. And since that tooth has broken the gum, it's been like back to back teething. Not even a week after the first tooth peeked, her second bottom one appeared, and now that it's slightly out of the gum, she's chewing like a puppy on a chewbone to get pressure on her top gums. Poor little girl.

We've also been trying to find a new house. When we moved into this one, it was within our means to rent it and pay all our bills. Now that I'm staying at home and it's reached the slow season for Mortar & Pestle, the rent payment has become a little more than we can afford with baby necessities taking the foreground. Our neighborhood has also been very active lately with unsafe things (gunshots, racing cars, fights, etc.), so my parents offered to let us put a single-wide trailer on the back acre of their property where there is already a septic tank and electricity and water access is very nearby. We had found a trailer we wanted and tried several times to contact the people selling it (my cousin and his wife, to be honest). Each time we called them, the house was still available but they didn't have a time that day that they could be home to show it around. Understandable; people work. However, after four days of this, my mom finally called his mom to see if they would be able to get the key and let us see the house, and his mom informed my mom that he had already sold the trailer like a week beforehand. Now, I know the world seems to have forgotten common courtesy these days, but damnit, tell someone when they are calling about a house that it has already been sold. Don't string them along. We had our hopes up and everything.

So, after all of that, we are back to square one on finding a used single-wide to move to the back of my dad's property. But on a good note, as soon as we find the single-wide and get it moved and set-up, my dad has all his connections coming to hook up septic, water, electricity, and heat/air within a week.

Must go for now. Have to get my husband out the door so he can bail hay all day. Toodles!

Featured Artist: Kerry Wilkinson of Penny Dog


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1. When and why did you start crafting?

I have always crafted since I was at nursery, I guess I've always been creative, but not artistic as I can't work with pencils, paint, etc. I started making jewellery 11 years ago when I was 12 and haven't looked back.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I like coming up with my own techniques and having my own recognisable style. I think it's taught me a lot about myself; my likes and dislikes, etc. It also relaxes me, I get quite anxious and stressed sometimes, but never when at home crafting, or even promoting my work.

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

I first started selling on Etsy when I discovered it through Google a couple of years ago. I can't remember if I was looking to buy something or not but I found it completely by accident as it's not that well heard of here in the UK, and then I decided to see if I could sell some of my photography prints. I've closed that shop now, but it was a good taster to see if Etsy was for me or not.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

I dislike the irregularity of selling, and the fact that I sell more if people can actually touch my pieces and study them in real life. I don't mind promoting but struggling to get into Facebook!

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

I can't survive purely on my job because of debts that I need to pay off, though if I stopped buying supplies, who knows! I do now sort of rely on it, and I hope to gradually cut down my working hours to devote more time to my business as I'm doing quite well getting into bricks and mortar shops at the minute.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue & why?

I like selling offline because the customer can get a better idea of the product. Sometimes it has been more successful that others, but it's about finding the right location and the right market. I lie the feedback I get from the shop owners and the cheque in the post is quite nice to open too!

7. Where else can you be found online?

I have my own website: www.pennydog.com The UK has it's own versions of Etsy too, so I can be found at http://pennydog.folksy.com, http://pennydog.coriandr.com, and http://www.misi.co.uk/handmade/pennydog.html as well as on twitter: http://twitter.com/pennydog and my blog http://pennydog.wordpress.com.
There's also Facebook and Flickr but I think there's plenty of links to be getting on with there!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Featured Artist: Theresa Cole of Michigan Hemp


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I am 33 years old, married to the man of my dreams, mom of two boys, step mom of three boys, and am currently pursing my bachelors degree through Oregon State University's online program. I hope to transfer to The Academy of Art before the fall term starts. A few of my favorite things include sunsets over water, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the smile of a child.
My Etsy shop is full of high quality hemp items at affordable prices. While surfing my shop, you will find necklaces, anklets, bracelets, Soulful (barefoot) sandals, keychains, and just recently I began selling my photographs in ACEO form.
1. When and why did you start crafting?

Over the years, I have always enjoyed crafting and art.
All through school, art was my favorite subject, and I absolutely love to make things with my own two hands. It was about six years ago that I began making hemp jewelry.
My husband and I were at a small craft show here in Michigan and I fell in love with the cutest, simple little hemp necklace! It was at the point where I picked it up to purchase it that I noticed the price. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the value of handmade, but this little necklace was way overpriced. It was then and there that I knew that I could make better items from better supplies, and offer them at better prices. We stopped at the craft store on the way home from that show for hemp supplies, and I have been creating my jewelry ever since.
2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

The versitility of design and the beauty of the lampwork beads are my favorite aspects of making hemp items. I love the fact that if I can think up the idea for a different knot pattern, it is almost always possible to make it come to life with the hemp. Lampwork pendants and beads are amazing inspirations for my designs. It is usually the pendant and beads that inspire the design of the item I make.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

For six years I have been trying to find places to sell my items, with almost no luck at all. Only once did I find a shop willing to try my stuff, and I had to sell my items for less than what the supplies had cost just to get him to try them out! I wanted a place where I could sell my items and actually get out of them what I have put in. I had only heard of Etsy once before our local news channel had a small blurb about selling online one morning. After hearing it on the news, I figured "Why not?" and opened up shop that same afternoon.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

The hardest thing for me is promoting my shop. I have literally spent at least 8 hours per day, every day for the last 5 months, online trying to get the word out about my shop. So far, I am doing OK, but finding my target market is a little trickier for me than for most other people. Not everyone loves hemp the way I do, so it can be difficult.
5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

When I opened my shop, it was just for fun and a little extra spening money, but the economy has definitely gotten worse since then. Now, what ever money I make goes towards helping to pay the bills since both my husband and I have become unemployed.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

Only once did I find an offline shop that was willing to sell my items, and I had to sell my items to the owner for such a low price that I actually made nothing through the experience. I much prefer selling on Etsy even if my sales are slower because at least there, I feel that I am getting what my items are worth.
7. Where else can you be found online?

I also sell on Zibbet. http://www.zibbet.com/michiganhemp
I have a blog: http://michiganhemp.blogspot.com
and I twitter: http://twitter.com/michiganhemp

Friday, October 9, 2009

Featured Artist: Heather Gaff Mewis of Feathered Friends Mementos


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My name is Heather Mewis. I'm a full time paramedic and a life long artist who started Feathered Friends Mementos in August '08 and have been having a blast ever since! I specialize in feathered jewelry and personal items for the mainstream and not-so-mainstream. If you ever thought feathered jewelry was not for you then you haven't seen my shop!

http://jinx1764.artfire.com

I've always been an artist and crafter. Started when I was a small girl and have been picking up and putting down different crafts and hobbies ever since. I started making jewelry last summer and immediately became addicted!

I love crafting because it allows me to express all of the ideas banging around in my head! It's very therapeutic for me.

I first sold feather earrings on Ebay and when my first three pairs sold, one of the outbid buyers emailed me and asked if I was going to make more. She then referred me to a forum that was discussing my earrings, I joined and from there I was referred to Etsy and found Artfire from Craft Cult. It's been fast forward ever since!

The hardest part is staying in touch online with old and new contacts. I don't mind online promoting itself but it can be so time consuming and obsessive that it's easy to forget about everything.

My business is mainly for extra money to reinvest in the business. I fortunately have a stable, well paying job and my ultimate goal is to retire in 12 years and have this business well established and perhaps making extra money.

I haven't tried selling in other shops but have done several craft fairs. The fairs are a lot of work before and during but at the right venues I have always been very successful. My last fair I made more sales then any of the other vendors! I do really enjoy meeting my customers in person and my work sells extremely well in person. The online photos just don't ever do the pieces justice, unfortunately.

www.jinx1764.etsy.com
www.featheredfriendsmementos.com
http://jinx1764.blogspot.com

Friday, October 2, 2009

Featured Artist: Theresa Kwong of Studio 618


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I'm a practicing licensed architect and jewelry artisan/ metalsmith, using traditional metalsmithing techniques to create modern metal jewelry and Judaica gifts.

My inspiration comes from my past experiences in life, my cultures, my environment, or a specific moment in time. Sometimes interesting techniques will challenge me to come up with different designs too. My work keeps evolving, with fresh ideas all the time.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I took a class in the local bead shop back in 2005 and was instantly hooked. The piece I made in class gave me a feeling of accomplishment and total freedom of expression. It is so strange but I never had any interest in jewelry before that. Haha!

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Besides the satisfaction of “I made it myself”, I find the crafting community to be a warm and supportive group who eagerly help each other. We all know how hard and passionately we work towards our dreams. Since we often work in individually to create our art, it is great to have a larger community to tap into for support, exchange of ideas, motivation, inspiration, and much more.

3. How did you find out about Etsy/Artfire and why did you start selling there?

I found out about Etsy from a friend and joined July 2008. Then I saw Artfire’s button ad on Craft Cult and opened up shop there December 2008. Although I sell at local fairs, I’d like to have a wider audience that these two venues can provide. It would be a dream to be able to sell full-time online and not having to do physical shows. That, would be totally awesome!

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

I find marketing to be the challenging, especially I’m just not comfortable pushing my wares. Since I make jewelry, it is extremely important to create unique pieces and to market them and let people see my work. Joining teams on Etsy and Artfire is a great way to “work around” this because we promote each other’s work. I’m on the Twitter committee for Artfire Jewelers Guild where I tweet about our members’ shops and other committee members can tweet about mine.

5. Do you rely on Etsy/Artfire to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

Oh, how I wish I can – but I’m working towards that goal, where I can rely solely on Etsy and Artfire income.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy/Artfire & why?

No, I don’t have any retail presence at this time. I do participate in local fairs, and would enjoy the indoor shows more so I don’t have to deal with weather issues and transporting/setting up my canopy and such. The fees of fairs are getting quite high and with the current economy, I’d be ecstatic to make enough to pay for expenses only. I see each show as an investment (paying fees, my time away from production, gas mileage) and hoping that I see at least an equal return. I do enjoy meeting other artists at each show.

7. Where else can you be found online?

I can be found –
http://studio618.blogspot.com
http://studio618.artfire.com
http://studio618.etsy.com
http://twitter.com/studio618
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Studio-618/131484845570

Artfire:

* I was given an Artfire code for the main post and the sidebar. The sidebar code works fine, but this one just will not load. Please visit http://studio618.artfire.com to visit Theresa's Artfire shop. Thank you. - Jessica

Friday, September 25, 2009

Featured Artist: Sisi of Peacefully Folding


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Origami By SiSi is a shop where you will find origami items. I make things such as cards, flower decorations, and jewelry - all out of origami paper. All items are hand folded by me. I hope you will come by my shop and take a look sometime, you might find something very unique!

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I started playing with origami when I was a child. I remember using old strips from our calendars and making 'puffy stars'. I continued doing crafts and just decided to start selling recently.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I enjoyed using paper. It's very versatile and so easy to find - it's everywhere! I can get ahold of paper at home, at work, at the office... Being able to turn paper into something else is just cool.

3. How did you find out about Etsy/Artfire and why did you start selling there?

I found out about Artfire from a friend's blog post. It was very new back then, I started out with the 10 free listings. Eventually, I fell in love with the studio options and the fact that I could maybe have my shop for free eventually... :)

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

Taking pictures is the hardest thing for me to do for my shop. I have to take at least 10 pictures to get 3 good ones sometimes...

5. Do you rely on Etsy/Artfire to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

Well, right now, I can't say that my shop on Artfire has helped me pay the bills... yet. I guess I have it to support my paper and jewelry addiction :P

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy/Artfire & why?

I have not had the opportunity to sell in offline shops.

7. Where else can you be found online?

My Artfire shop: http://www.origamibysisi.artfire.com
My blog: http://www.origamibysisi.blogspot.com
My Twitter: http://twitter.com/origamibysisi








Sunday, September 20, 2009

Teething and New Recipes


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I'm sorry that I haven't left many posts lately that were personal. Most of them have been featured artists or ten items that I found that I wanted to share. My reason isn't the best of one, but it's very hard to concentrate when it's at its worst. Anna is teething. Now, some people are saying, "that can't be all that bad." Well, I've seen some kids handle it well. Anna is holding her own, but there are some days where she screamed and cries for what feels like an eternity as she tries to literally shove her entire teething ring in her mouth. It's very hard to concentrate and form sentences when she is like that, so I have just given blogging a rest.

And since I have spent more time away from my computer, I have been able to test out a few more recipes (mostly meat rubs and breads). Sam and I have been testing most of them out alone. I'm going to try to coerce my mom into using a rub or two at our next meal that we eat at her house, and possibly bring the stuff to bake bread while I am there. (I usually have to ride in with my husband and sit at my mom's house all day if we have to do something in that town before 5.) After that, if it all goes well, I may see if a few of my close friends want to try it on their own and give me some feedback. Then, I might just start selling them to the public.

We had an excellent meal last night with a rub not used for it's intended purpose. I put a pork roast in the crockpot around noon, sprinkled the bag of rub on top and filled it with water. After it cooked until 7:30, it was absolutely marvelous. Husband said it was a little strong in a particular herb, so I may tone that one back some, but after chopping the meat up and serving it over rice with mushrooms, with a side of bread, it was so good.

My Tutorial of the Week entry will be starting soon. It will appear every Wednesday first thing in the morning (to give you time to try it that day), so I hope that you enjoy.

And on that note, I bid you adieu until another day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Featured Artist: Michele K of MaruMaru


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MaruMaru.etsy.com is an online boutique that features retro and vintage inspired jewelry from flower cabochons and 70s kitsch to cute owl charms.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I started liking jewelry when I began working in the jewelry department at a well-known retail store. At first, I didn't see what the big hype was over jewelry until I would stand for hours at a time and become anxious to try a few things on. When I wasn't helping customers, I was trying on jewelry whenever I could and soon enough I put everything I liked on hold so nobody could buy them! I'm really picky about jewelry, so whenever I'd buy a necklace, I'd use my pliers to take off or add parts to it to make it just right.

I just opened up my shop two years ago on Etsy and recently one on Artfire :)

I love vintage-inspired and retro charms, and absolutely cannot live without color. I wanted my shop to reflect this, so I started using origami papers I had lying around to use as backgrounds. When I'm not playing around in my jewelry supply box, I'm at the movies or drinking champagne! I especially love independent/foreign films and annoying my tuxedo cat, Neko.


2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I enjoy crafting because I love putting little pieces together and being able to wear them and know that I made them. I like it even more when I receive compliments or have people ask me where they can get my pieces.

3. How did you find out about Etsy/Artfire and why did you start selling there?

I randomly came across Etsy by surfing through profiles on MySpace and saw them promoting their Etsy shop. I decided that it wouldn't hurt to try and it looked like a lot of work but fun, too!


4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

It's hard to sell jewelry! It's such a saturated category, there's just so many jewelry shops on Etsy, it's important to keep promoting and not let your shop sit there. I had some problems with people sending checks/money orders, so now I only accept payment via PayPal.


5. Do you rely on Etsy/Artfire to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

I wish I could rely on Etsy to pay my bills, but I work a part-time job elsewhere. I do this mostly for fun and to treat myself to some champagne and tickets to the movies :)

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy/Artfire & why?

I have sold many of my items wholesale to shops in the mainland as well as another website. I have yet to sell my items in person at a craft fair.


7. Where else can you be found online?

You can find me at:

Etsy: http://marumaru.etsy.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/marumarudesigns
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marumaru
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/marumarudesigns
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MaruMaruetsycom/45920829452


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
MaruMaru.etsy.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Featured Artist: Lorena Knezevic of Lolodaisy


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My apologies to Lorena and everyone who expected this to appear on the 11th. My computer gave up the ghost for about a week. But I am back online and playing catch up. Her feature will run today, and then I will resume normal schedule (I will not play catch up on the Top Ten editions, but I will instead push back the two I missed so that they will appear on a normal Tuesday schedule).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My name is Lorena and my shop is called Lolodaisy. (http://lolodaisy.etsy.com) I started it in May, but I am having tons of fun with it. Lolodaisy sells dolls, bags, and aprons.


1. When and why did you start crafting?

I can't even remember when I started crafting. I just know that I always loved making crafts!

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I love creating things. It gives me that instant happiness to see that what I had imagined came to life.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

A friend had told me about Etsy because she saw how I was always creating bags and dolls. She said she thought they were good enough to sell. So I just thought I might as well take a shot at it. I thought "what have i got to lose?"

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

I think the worst part about having a shop is waiting for people to hear about me and respond. But, I quickly fixed that by making something else I love.

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

Etsy is just something i started doing for fun. I thought it might be interesting. It turns out that i have had a few sales out of just having fun!

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

I haven't tried to sell in offline shops yet. I have a feeling that people are more eager to buy something if it is right in font of there eyes. I think they like that satisfaction of getting what they bought right away. Then again, being on the internet means that more people have the chance to see your work.
7. Where else can you be found online?

I can also be found on Face book and I have my own blog that is still a work in progress. I also have my own website (www.lolodaisy.com) but it is still under construction.



Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
lolodaisy.etsy.com

Friday, September 4, 2009

Featured Artist: Crista Grasso of Amber Tortoise Creations


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Artist/AmberTortoise Creations Bio:

I have always been a very creative person and studied art in college at both The University of Connecticut and Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I look for any opportunity to use creativity.
I started making jewelry as a small child, making string bracelets for myself and my friends, and never stopped! After years of making jewelry to wear and to give as gifts, I finally listened to the advice of my family and friends and started a business. AmberTortoise Creations was established in 2005, although it wasn't until 2008 that the business really took off when I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful shop in Storrs, CT to sell my jewelry. Since that time, I have focused all of my energy on making jewelry and now have a line of over 1,800 unique one-of-a-kind creations. I make new pieces every day and always challenge myself to create pieces which are different, timeless and beautiful!
The thing I like so much about jewelry is that it says so much about the person who wears it! It reflects your personality, your mood, your interests... It can say I am bold and adventurous, I am a little quiet and reserved, I am a happy person who loves life, or maybe that you are all of those things~ I know I am! A great piece of jewelry can reflect all of these characteristics and more but say different things on different individuals. It is the perfect start or finish to any outfit! Jewelry can be a great conversation starter, and the right piece of jewelry can draw people to you. Do you ever see a piece of jewelry and just know that you NEED to own it? It's as if it was designed specifically for you. That is what I am hoping my jewelry will be to those who see it!
My creations have evolved significantly since the string bracelets I used to make as a child. I offer a complete line of handmade jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, watches, matching jewelry sets, anklets, barefoot sandals, belly chains and handmade pendants. All of my jewelry is handcrafted using semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, corals, wood, shell, sterling silver, pewter, copper and green elements such as seeds and limestone coral. I also love to incorporate vintage beads or focal pieces for a completely unique look. I occasionally make handmade pendants and findings out of pure silver polymer clay to incorporate into my creations. I draw my inspirations from the world around me, primarily from the beautiful and sometimes surprising color combinations and textures in mother nature. All jewelry is crafted in my Tolland, CT studio.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I think I strated crafting as soon as I could move my hands! I have always been very creative and love making things with my hands. Textures and colors have always been very appealing to me, so I have done everything from sculpting to clothing deisgn to interior design to photography to jewelry making. I can first remember making jewelry as a kid- I used to make string bracelets for myself and my friends. I asked for a loom kit for my 8th birthday and learned how to make beaded bracelets. I made all my own jewelry (and clothes) for my prom and other formal events and eventually made jewelry for a few weddings, including my own. The main reason why I started making jewelry and doing many of the other crafts I have dabbled in over the years is that I like to be unique! I like to know that what I am wearing or doing is different from what everyone else is wearing or doing. I have never been afraid to stand out in a crowd and I always received so much positive attention and feedback from the jewelry I would create and wear, that I decided maybe I could turn my hobby into a career. I strive to keep my jewelry unique! Aside from a small line of limited edition pieces, each piece I create is a unique one-of-a-kind creation. That makes it hard for me to part with the pieces sometimes, but it makes me so happy to see something I created on someone who truly loves it, that it makes it okay.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Everything! I love everything from picking out the perfect materials to creating a new piece of jewelry. I love taking a walk outside to look for inspiration. I love the feeling of the natural stones in my fingers when I bead and against my skin when I wear the jewelry I create. I love getting to be creative and trying new materials and color combinations and constantly learning new things.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

A coworker told me this story about how her sister decided to quit her full-time job to pursue making pottery full-time. She told me a little about her, and all I could think was "this woman is living my dream". She sent me a link to her Etsy site- www.downtoearthceramics.etsy.com and I fell in love with her store and with Etsy. I loved that there was a place that creative minds could all come together to sell their crafts and ask eachother questions! I was so happy to have found Etsy and opened up my own Etsy store. I still tell everyone to check out Etsy since I think it is such as amazing place to go and browse, shop or spark creativity!

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

There isn't anything I particulary dislike about selling online, but I do find the photography to be the most challenging. Taking the pictures is fun, but I find it difficult to get the picture to reflect the true colors and textures of my jewelry. It usually takes me about 10 pictures to get 1 I am comfortable with, so there is a great deal of work that goes into every picture I post in my Etsy listings.

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

My goal is to eventually be able to design jewelry as my only full-time job and make a true career out of it. Right now, I rely on Etsy and the sales at Art Shows and the Offline Shops I sell at to purchase new supplies and market my jewelry. Every penny I make gets re-invested into AmberTortoise Creations.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

Yes, I sell in 3 stores across Connecticut. The nice thing about selling in the offline shops is that people get to know me and my jewelry. They get to pick it up and try it on and see each piece exactly as it is. I have a "following" (or so I am told- hehe) at the local shops where I sell and people look forward each week for me to bring in new items. I also get many custom orders, since people have gotten to know me and trust my work. The benefit to selling online is that I am able to reach people all across the world and there is so much potential to find customers who share in my love of stones and texture and everything jewelry! So, I don't know that I like one more than the other. They both have their unique benefits and I am so happy to be able to do both!

7. Where else can you be found online?

Website: www.ambertortoisecreations.com
Etsy: www.ambertortoise.etsy.com
Etsy Beadstore: www.ambertortoisebeads.com
Blog: www.ambertortoisejewelry.blogspot.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ambertortoise
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/AmberTortoise-Creations/68560683131


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
ambertortoise.etsy.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Calling All Artists


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Starting in August 2009, I began to feature an artist a week from any online selling venue. I only asked that they be handmade and homegrown sellers. The featured artists were presented in the order in which I receive this questionnaire from them. Also, along with a post about their shop, their smaller Etsy Mini or Artfire Shop Window remained in my sidebar for the entire week, and the larger Etsy Mini and Artfire Shop Window code they provided was attached to the end of their blog entry, permanently. Each blog entry was submitted to MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter via my personal and business profiles. (If your venue is not specifically spoken about above, still submit your questionnaire and any kind of shop window code that your venue supplies, if any. I will feature you, but if there is a code error, I will not be able to fix the code on my own. If your code is not on your feature when it is published, please check your mailbox and respond to my email.)

I'm asking again for more artists who are interested in a little free publicity. Below in the questionnaire. Please copy and paste it into an email, answer all the questions, and submit it to mortarnpestle@hotmail.com. October 23, 2009 is the first open Friday for a feature. The second person to submit the questionnaire to me will receive the following Friday, and so on. Your spot is chosen on a first come, first served basis, so please, send your questionnaire to me as soon as possible if you want to be promoted before the big holiday season.

Feel free also to submit the Featured Artist entries along your social networking channels. The more people who submit it, the more people that will see it and possibly purchase from the shops.


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[ Please provide a short biography about yourself/your shop. Also include a link to an item in your shop that you would like featured at the beginning of this entry.]

1. When and why did you start crafting?

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue & why?

7. Where else can you be found online?


Please include the following code(s) for your shop with your response:

Artfire:

1 x 5 Artfire Shop Window (for sidebar)
3 x 2 Artfire Shop Window (for blog post)

Etsy:

2 x 4 Thumbnail Etsy Mini
2 x 3 Gallery Etsy Mini

If you are not on these two, but your venue does have a shop window, please submit your code. If it does not fit my margins, I will send you an email as soon as I can to determine if the problem can be remedied or not. If it can't, I will "create my own" shop window at the bottom your entry pointing directly to your shop. If this is not okay with you, please let me know.

(You may include codes for all your venues, if you wish.)

September 1: Tuesday's Top Ten


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Today's Top Ten Artists really do not have much in common, other than their products are absolutely amazing. Enjoy!

1. Curious Robin: http://curiousrobin.artfire.com

2. DistinQue Jewelry: http://distinquejewelry.artfire.com

3. RMK Creations: http://rmkcreations.artfire.com

4. Karmeli Designs: http://karmelidesigns.artfire.com

5. Faye Farms: http://fayefarms.artfire.com

6. Flybird Designs: http://flybirddesigns.artfire.com

7. Handarbeitskram: http://handarbeitskram.artfire.com

8. Pink Quartz Minerals: http://pinkquartzminerals.artfire.com

9. Lanza Creations: http://lanzacreations.artfire.com

10. Valmade: http://valmade.artfire.com

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rooting Rosemary and Preparing the Greenhouse


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Three days ago, I took twelve cuttings from the rosemary bush in the front yard of our rental house. The plant was already well-established when we moved in, so I do not think it would survive an uprooting and re-potting, therefore, I took the cuttings. I followed the directions verbatim from a plant nursery that I found online, and I'll be danged if my cuttings are looking like they are dying. I'm going to give them a few more days to see if they suddenly perk up, but I'm doubting that they will. If they don't, I'll give twelve more cuttings a shot. If those die, I'll just buy a few plants from a nursery when the season starts next year.

On the greenhouse front, I'm still gathering supplies. I have many new seedlings starting for the winter for my indoor container garden. I'm still in the process of finding larger pots for re-potting time. My dad used to have an entire workshop full of old plastic pots from plants that he planted years ago, but his barn burned down several summers ago and all the pots went up with it. I'm hoping to hit up the End of the Summer sale at Walmart here soon to see if I can get some gardening supplies for fairly cheap.

The big plan is to either have a raised garden in 2010 (if we get our own house and property), or to make a huge container garden in the backyard (if we are still in this rental next summer). We have plenty of room in the backyard here now since our landlord came over and cut down a lot of our trees and shrubs. However, I can't plant an actual garden because the backyard is a 2 inch load of topsoil over an asphalt parking lot. Our grass barely survives, so container garden, it will have to be.

For now, however, I need to get the Lil' Lady down for her afternoon nap, and then I'll be preparing some more of my products labels. Stay in touch!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Featured Artist: Dongedy


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1. When and why did you start crafting?

I'm a french photographer. I began photographing tiny-people last year, when I was looking for an idea for greeting cards for one of my customers (I've own my own advertising agency). I found it funny and decided to open my own shop at Etsy to share them.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Imagining new mini-worlds . Often, when I find a fruit, a book, a bottle, I try to imagine how tiny people could interact with the item.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

I discovered Etsy when I opened a shop for my mother who creates wedding favors. I found this website incredible and decided to open my own shop too!

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

At the beginning, it was hard trying to understand all the ways I could promote my artwork, but now, that's ok. I think I spend too much time promoting for few results, but I hope I'll have more sales soon ;)

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

At the moment, it's for fun, but I'd like if it could become part of my day-to-day job because I love doing that!

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

I tried on Dawanda too... I'm a newbie in both shops, but I think that Etsy can give me more.

7. Where else can you be found online?

at Redbubble, Dawanda and Zazzle, Flickr.


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
dongedyframe.etsy.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

Featured Artist: Tracey Rediker of Red Linc Art


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My name is Tracey Rediker and I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. I love working on my own and with my children at my side creating their own masterpieces. For years I have created art for the homes of my friends and family but had never considered selling it for fear of rejection. Etsy, with its inexpensive start-up costs and easy promotions, has been a great way for me to get my work out there. My art tends to be interpreted as dark though i see it as introspective. It is generally figurative or natural in content.



1. When and why did you start crafting?

I started my training in oil painting when I was 8 and have dipped my brush in lots of tester pots since. I opened my shop to sell my handmade greeting cards which I illustrate and assemble myself. love trying out all different forms of expression which is why my shop has such a variety of items available. Knitting is probably my most recent form of expression.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I enjoy creating something new out of nothing. I love being able to put a spotlight on things that others may not notice and give emotion to inanimate objects.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

A friend was successfully selling her crocheted shawls on the site and suggested it would be a good venue for my wares. i figured for the low start up costs it was worth a try.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling on-line?

I am having trouble finding time to create and to keep up with my on-line promotions. I also find it frustrating that the sales are so inconsistent.

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

My goal is to pay for the material costs of creating my art, though it would be nice to be able to have an actual income from it!

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

I have my greeting cards available in some local shops in my area and I had some paintings on display available for sale as well. The personal level of rejection when things don't sell in those venues is much more painful then on-line where you rarely meet your customer. Though the joy of seeing them purchase an item with excitement cannot be matched.

7. Where else can you be found on-line?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eatontown-NJ/Red-Linc-Design-by-Tracey-Rediker/91698714501

Twitter: http://www,twitter.com/redlinc

Blogger: http://jello84.blogspot.com

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
redlinc.etsy.com

Friday, August 14, 2009

Featured Artist: Erin Mycroft of Rock Fern Designs


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My name is Erin and I'm a graduate student studying forest ecology. I have a passion for nature and the outdoors, and am grateful that I can use my education to further the education of the world about important issues such as conservation, climate change, and biodiversity. My other passion is crafting - I spend my summers at a remote research station, where I knit and crochet up a storm - making a new sweater, hat, or pair of socks - and teaching others to do the same. When back at school in the winter, I turn to jewelry-making! My Etsy shop is filled with elegant testaments to the inspiration of nature: http://rockfern.etsy.com.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

Crafty roots run in my family - both of my Grandmothers were avid sewers, as was my Mom. I learned to knit and crochet at the age of seven, and sew possibly earlier than that. Those women are the inspiration for some of my more unique pieces, such as my crocheted and woven bracelets and necklaces: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=23228793.
2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I love crafting because it allows me to use my hands. I'm a really tactile person, and am constantly touching things (I'm the girl that's wandering through the store touching ALL the fabrics). Crafting give me a creative escape, and forces me to slow down while I'm doing it. I love the feeling of making a beautiful piece and being incredibly proud of creating it with my own two hands!

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit; both my parents had own their own businesses. It's been a dream of mine since I was small to do the same.

When I started jewelery making, I would give jewelery to friends as gifts. However, the jewelery quickly started accumulating faster than I could give it away! It also became an expensive hobby. At the same time, a close friend introduced me to the Etsy community, and suggested I open a shop. What a great find - I love Etsy, and all the artistic talent it has to offer! I can spend hours browsing through all of the wonderful handmade and vintage items.

Opening my Etsy shop has fulfilled a bit of my entrepreneurial dream - now only if I could finish school and do this forever!

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

I think I miss face-to-face contact. Etsy takes a lot of my time - however it is also a lot of fun - and can be addictive! But above all, I think I would like to meet my customers face-to-face, and get to know the person who will be wearing my art!

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

Right now, Etsy helps me to recoup the costs of my crafting habits :) However, I have a small amount of profits tucked away in another bank account that I will use for my fiance and I to go traveling! We'd like to go to West Africa.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

I haven't tried selling in offline shops, but I am currently preparing a proposal for some nearby boutiques to see if they are willing to carry my jewelry.

7. Where else can you be found online?

I just started a blog! I'm hoping to find more time to update it later in the summer :) There will be giveaways and great discounts on my products, as well as features from other Etsy sellers. Feel free to check it out: http://www.rockferndesigns.blogspot.com


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
rockfern.etsy.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Featured Artist: Kym Tolson of Hypnotransformations


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My new blog feature was due to begin tomorrow, but since I will be leaving early in the morning and will not be returning until late in the evening, I will begin the new schedule one day early. Today, I present Kym Tolson of Hypnotransformations.

* * * * * * * * *

My name is Kym Tolson. I am a Hypnotherapist certified by the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists. My hypnotherapy sessions are available as a CD or as an mp3 download. The hypnosis sessions allow you to be hypnotized whenever you have a spare hour to spend transforming your life.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I actually have two shops on ETSY one for my pottery and one for my hypnosis CD and mp3 business. I started making pottery during the mid-90's and I became a hypnotherapist about five years ago.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

My favorite part is getting feedback about all the wonderful changes my hypnosis session make in people's lives. It actually makes my day =)

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

My sister told me about ETSY she is also a potter and started selling on ETSY about six months before I did.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

The hardest thing is actually recording my hypnosis sessions. I do literally make them at home and sometimes it's hard to get a quality recording. Recently, I got some really great software that allows me to edit the recordings more.

5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

The money I make from ETSY goes right into my travel fund. I have always had a strong desire to see other parts of the world and other cultures. So far, I've been able to go to Mexico. I'm planning to travel to Nicaragua in November.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy? Why?

I haven't tried to sell offline.

7. Where else can you be found online?

Artfire, 1000 markets, Zibbet, Bonanzle, and Shop Handmade.
I also have a blog at www.hypnotransformations.blogspot.com

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
hypnotransformations.etsy.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Joint Pain


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As I sit here early this morning, I realize that it has now been over two weeks since I have been able to make any jewelry. Every time I grip my pliers, pain shoots through every joint in my hands, wrists, and elbows. Tylenol doesn't help. Heating pads and hot salt soaks help some, but they don't make it go away permanently. Even typing is making my fingers hurt slightly. I really do not know what to do. Jewelry is my only creative outlet right now. Granted, I'm not making any money at it right now. I've not made single sale since November last year, even with me promoting it full-time now. I really don't want to quit at it, since not only is it my only outlet right now, but I also have jars and jars of rings, beads, and cabochons stored in my studio. I really think my husband would kill me if I gave it up since we have so much money tied up in my supplies.

I really just don't know what to do right now. I'm staying at home with my child, and she's getting full-time mom, but I feel that I need to be bringing in some money somehow.

For the time being, my shop will remain open. I am unable to restock it, so if anything happens to sell out, it's gone for a while. I have a few items I could list, but I'm not sure if I want to even bother.

For some, I'm going to go work in my garden and find some peace. Everyone have a good day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Updates and More


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I'm really not doing a good job keeping this blog up-to-date. To be honest, I'm a bit of a slacker here lately, and then I had a migraine for five straight days, so I was barely able to get through a day. And taking care of Anna always comes first and foremost. And now that I'm back in the saddle, so to speak, I've been playing catch up myself.

I have listed many new items on Artfire and Etsy. I will continue to list items on Artfire, but Etsy may once again become deactivated. There has been a lot of bad things happening over there since April, and a lot of it came to a head over the weekend. I'll explain shortly. I have a new necklace, three new bracelets, and many new earrings to list. I will also have a few pendants coming soon (will be working on them today once Anna goes down for her nap), and I will be releasing a new line of copper chainmaille soon. Bare copper, oh the beauty! I have been cutting copper rings off and on for several weeks, and I still have several strips of wire to coil. I may hit those tonight after Munchkin crashes for the night. (I so love that she sleeps from like 9 to 4 EVERY night).

Okay, to explain what has been going on with Etsy. This is based off what I have been reading over the weekend from several different threads that were getting closed out left and right, so it may sound a bit jumbled, but I'll do my best here. Back in April (right after Anna was born, so I really wasn't paying much attention), Etsy changed how it handled its' SEO optimization (IE, how they submitted their information to Google and other search engines). It was supposed to be changed to bring more buyers into our shops and get the sellers' names out there more. SUPPOSED TO. Everyone's views plummeted, and when everyone started to complain, Etsy just told us to list more often, renew more often, and relist, relist, relist. At 20 cents a listing, that added up, FAST. So as the sellers shoved more money into Etsy's pockets, they found that they were receiving even less incoming traffic. One of the top sellers on Etsy finally decided that she had had enough. (I'm assuming "She". Paperstreet, if you are a guy, I'm sorry, but I really don't know you that well.) She went digging to find out why she wasn't getting views. If it was something she was doing, then she could change tactics, but if it was out of her control, she knew she'd have to make some decisions. What she found out was appalling.

Before April, all of our items, when submitted to Google, appeared in your results as this: "Black and Red Anodized Aluminum Bracelet by Jessica C Jewelry on Etsy." This brought the item up by keyword and descriptions immediately, and even made it easy to find a particular seller. But in April, Etsy changed it so that all the results read as: "Handmade __________ (category) on Etsy - Black and Red Anodized Aluminum Bracelet by Jessica C Jewelry." Now, since Google only checks the first 60 characters of a title to match keywords that you are searching for, almost everyone had become lost. If you searched by "Jessica C Jewelry," you would never find an Etsy listing for me because my name was chopped off because it would be past the 60 character limit. You would find my Etsy shop because I had submitted to Google on my own accord, but if you wanted a specific item, you would have a hard time ever finding it. Most Etsy shops weren't even appearing in the Google searches until the fourth or fifth page. Sometimes, they were buried even further back. What this also means is that Etsy is shoving certain keywords down Google's throat when it comes to meta tags, which is a big "NO NO." We aren't sure yet, but it's possible that Google has begun to block Etsy submissions because certain keywords appear too many times. (This was NOT said by Paperstreet. This is my own assumption because I have made many websites and I know how easy it is to be blocked by search engines.)

What does this mean for sellers on Etsy? Well, one, you aren't going to get any views or shop traffic unless you bring them in yourself or someone who already knows about Etsy is looking for a specific item on Etsy and you just happen to be on the first page or two of results on Google. Two, if Google has blocked Etsy from anymore search engine submissions, then well, every seller on Etsy is screwed. Now, we can still get our items in a Google search but it will require more work on our part by creating an XML or TXT document and submitting it to Google via Google Base, which would completely negate the need of Etsy as a storefront because part of the deal with them is that they would submit us to Google for us to be seen.

So, for the time being, my Etsy shop is going to sit. If they get the problem fixed--and their one to two week time window is outrageously ridiculous. It's a two hour fix or a rollback. Not a two week escapade, but I digress. If they get the problem fixed, I may return and continue listing items in their shop, but I pretty much have decided that I will be on Artfire permanently. I've already been treated better on Artfire than I have ever been treated on Etsy, so it's just a matter of principle.

But on to brighter things. I'm thinking about setting up an actual webpage just for me. Something where I can post specific links to this blog, put up a calender of events, show you my workroom and current projects without restriction on how it can be laid out. It's just an idea I am tossing around right now. I can also link it to my Artfire shop and any other places my work may be appearing, and even if I change up venues again, that web address will never change.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dreary Saturday


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Well, it rained last night here in Kinston. And as is the habit of summer storms in North Carolina, the following day is cooler but overcast and dreary. Yay for the cooler, since we don't have any air conditioning this summer, but the overcast part has just left me feeling bleh. I have a lot to do this weekend, but I seem to be moving in slow motion. The only thing I have managed to complete is my 8:00 am and 12:00 pm listings on Etsy as I try to catch up my listings on Etsy with my Artfire listings.

However, on my To Do list, I have to coil three sizes of bright aluminum rings because I am dangerously low, but I can't do that until my husband wakes up. Anna is sleeping now, but she doesn't need to be near me when I have wire flailing around the room as I coil, so I need Sam to watch her. The drill is also loud, so I know it'll wake her up if I take her in the room but put her off in a corner where she'll be safe.

I also need to work on my spreadsheet to submit my items to Google Base. Artfire is doing it for me, but they are submitting the items under their name along with all the items of every other artist on Artfire. This means that my items are buried not just one or two pages in, but fifty or more pages in. They will never get seen unless someone knows the specific name of the item. Searching by my name doesn't bring it up. But, if I submit my items to Google Base on my own, they'll appear under my shop name with the rest of my items only, which isn't a very large list. Better visibility.

I also want to get a few pieces made this weekend. Most of them can't be done until I get more rings cut. But I can make a few pairs of earrings and maybe a couple of bracelets with my 16 gauge aluminum and my anodized aluminum.

Ongoing projects include getting the rest of my parts keyed into my Jewelry Design Manager, getting an accurate inventory count of parts and pieces, setting up an accurate supply and inventory list, and boxing and labeling all my inventory.

As soon as I finish keying in the parts that I am keeping to use, I will be listing a lot of supplies on Etsy that I no longer need. I have some stringing materials that I have partially used but I still have a lot of that I need to figure out what to do with. I tried to give them to a young lady that I know locally who used to bead, but she has learned about guys since last summer and is no longer interested in such things. (LOL) I'll probably offer them up in my guild group.

Going to run and try to get a few of the smaller things done before my husband wakes up. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Early Morning Exhaustion


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It's a very good thing that I am a morning person, or I'd be seriously cranky every day. Wait...I'm not a morning person. Anna has taken to waking up at 5:00 AM for her first meal of the day, which is followed by an hour or more of her jabbering on my shoulder and not going back to sleep. I love her, and she's fun to jabber with, but she's depriving mommy of what little sleep she gets.

I've been staying up past her bedtime to get a few things done each night that need to be handled business-wise: boxing items, making items, separating unneeded beads for my upcoming Inventory Destash Sale, etc. And she sleeps all night. We can usually get her down at 8 or so, and she's out until like 5, which is really good for an infant. But I ceased to be a morning person a long time ago. That's what happens when your husband is a night owl.

Right now, she is asleep in her swing. It's not swinging anymore, but I know the moment I try to pick her up and put her back in her crib so I can sleep, she'll startle herself awake, scream bloody murder, and I'll be back to square one.

Maybe I can sleep standing up....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Show your Team Spirit!


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I just listed my new "Team Spirit" line on Artfire! Check out my shop at http://jessicacjewelry.artfire.com to see pieces of jewelry that match your teams' colors. There are many more pieces coming, so be sure to bookmark my shop and check back if you can't find your team colors anywhere.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Etsy vs. Artfire: My Take on It


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Well, I've been on Artfire with listed items for two days now. So far, I'm loving it a lot more than Etsy. I haven't really promoted my Artfire shop yet, and many of my items already have views in the 20s and 30s. I had items on Etsy for a year that still had single digit views, and I promoted my Etsy shop like a mad woman.

I did have something occur today with Artfire that I am hoping is just a temporary glitch. I will find out for sure in the morning. When I woke up today and started listing a few more products, I checked out my shop to see if I had a full page yet, and it was empty. At first, I was all happy because I thought I had sold a lot of things, so I went hopping to my email box and was very disheartened to find it empty. I went back to my artfire and fiddled in my studio settings to see if I had turned something on or off that needed to be disabled or enabled for items to show properly. I couldn't get them back. I contacted admin and I dug in the forums for any help. Finally, I found a post where someone was having a similar problem that morning. They said that deactivating all and reactivating them worked. It took me three tries to get my items to reappear. I really hope this doesn't happen again because I probably lost an entire night of exposure because I naturally assumed that my items were displaying in my shop when I went to bed. :o(

I'll keep everyone updated on how Artfire is for me. Even with the glitch, I'm still liking it more than Etsy. It seems to be more up my alley.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Starting Today...


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As of today, I no longer have an Etsy shop. The address is still valid until the Etsy Admins decide to close it down, but my entire shop is now available at http://jessicacjewelry.artfire.com.

Many people have asked me why I am moving. For one, Etsy never really had the appeal that would bring people to my store. I felt as though my chainmaille works did not belong. For other major reasons, I couldn't run two shops with a baby, and Artfire just seems better to me. It's more customizable; my store doesn't look just like everyone else's.

So, please, update your bookmark for my shop and join me at http://jessicacjewelry.artfire.com for more great chainmaille designs.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Last Day


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Well, today is my last day of maternity leave. We still do not have a babysitter that has an opening or that we can ever plan to afford. (Why is daycare so damn expensive, seriously?) Since my husband doesn't have to go back to school until May 22, I am going to attempt to work the next two weeks and make the 21st of May my last day at work. We are not entirely sure as to what we are going to do, though. If I quit my job, we will only have Sam's GI Bill coming in money-wise until he can find a job, and he's been looking like a madman with no luck. I'm attempting to get my Etsy and Artfire stores completely revamped and replenished, but it's taking a lot of time when I am having to take care of Anna all day and my business stuff is still very disorganized.

On top of everything else, I've lost my inventory database. A few months ago, my husband replaced my little 40 GB harddrive with a 200 GB one (we game a lot). Well, when he copied my old harddrive to my new one, my inventory software locked me out. It took me until this last week to find my registration information and get the program unlocked so that I could use it again. However, when I tried to open it, my database was corrupted. So I went to my Flash drive and tried to copy my backup version of the database to my new harddrive. It still did not work. So I am having to retype all of my information back into a new database. The only good thing is that I can start the new fiscal year with an up-to-date inventory count, and I have taken the opportunity to clean out broken pieces, trash beads, and work on gathering pieces for a destash.

For now, I have to close. I'm trying to get the last of my thank-you cards written today before we go to my 6-week postpartem appointment.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Bracelet: Bright Aluminum Romanov Weave with Fire-Polished Beads


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This is the second part of my Romanov line of jewelry. The earrings were made a long time ago, and they have been listed on my Etsy for a while. (Well, the clip-on version has. I have regular earhook versions, but I have yet to take a picture or get them listed.) This bracelet took me a while to make, but it has already becoming a stunning favorite amongst my pieces. Everyone who has seen this piece is amazed at how light it is compared to it's bulkiness.

It will be listed on my Etsy and Artfire shortly, and the necklace will soon follow. :o)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Almost Functional: The Studio


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Well, I finally got everyone out of my house with the exception of my husband and the baby, so I have been able to start cleaning and arranging everything. It's been slow going because I am still recovering, but I am getting there.

The studio is coming along well. I got the floor swept and mopped (three moppings before I decided it was clean enough), and then I moved the two small tables and the large table in. Now, I'm the type of person who has to have everything in the room that will be in there before I can start organizing and setting things up, so the tables are now piled high with folders, notebooks, boxes of beads, bags of jump rings, and stacks and stacks of fabric. The only things that aren't in that room that will be in there eventually are my four 2-drawer file cabinets and my sewing machine. (And the few things that I have to save up for before I can buy them to put them in the room, but more on that later.)

One table has become my sorting table. It is piled high with papers and notebooks that have been sorted into a pile for each "craft" I do. (Cross-stitching, Jewelry, Drawing, Sewing, Writing, Knitting, Crocheting, etc.) That is that most organized table in the room. The other small table is about half cleared off, but I still have a long way to go on it because I have to carefully go through each group of papers so I can rebuild my database (my old harddrive ate my previous database).

And then we have the long table. Well, let's just not talk about that one right now. Everything is just piled on top of it. I'm actually quite surprised that it has not bowed in the middle and collapsed yet, to be honest. All my boxes of beads, my heavy duty tools, my office supplies, and random other things that my husband thought went with my crafting room are tossed on that table in one huge pile. I am going to try to tackle that tomorrow when Little Anna goes down for her long noon nap.

We decided not to bother with painting the room. We are trying to find a house to buy, so putting money into filling in holes and repainting a room that we might not be in much longer didn't really seem that important to us. I shall have to deal with the hideous Booger Green for a little while. I'll probably toss up some pictures or posters before long. That color is truly atrocious.

Well, Sam just demanded that I close this out and get a quick nap before I collapse in a heap of exhaustion. I will update again soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Three Weeks After Birth


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I never thought that a baby would be so exhausting. I didn't think my husband and I were going to make it through the first few weeks. It would have probably been a lot easier if we had been able to nap when she was finally asleep, but there was always someone here. Sam slept more than I did because I can't sleep in front of people that aren't immediate family.

Anna is doing well though. She can already roll to her side, and she can hold her head up for almost two minutes before she has to put it down. She almost has her days and nights sorted out. She crashes around 9 every night and sleeps until about 3 or so, if the neighborhood stays quiet. Then she naps a few times during the day.

It's while she is napping that I'm accomplishing things. I'm slowly organizing everything. Because we were still in the process of rearranging everything when I went in to be induced, there are still a lot of my crafting items sitting in boxes in our bedroom, two of my file cabinets are still in the baby's room, etc. But it's getting there.

Going to have to cut this short. Anna needs food. :o)

Monday, March 30, 2009

She's Here!!


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Anna Grace arrived on March 27, 2009 at 4:55 PM. She weighed in at 7 lbs and 8 oz, and she was 20 inches long. I've attached a short video that my husband took of her at the hospital while I was resting.


video

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quick Update!


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Sorry it has been so long since I have gotten in here and written. It's been very overwhelming here on my end of the world. Baby girl is due to arrive tomorrow, and we are beginning to think she'll actually be here then. I'm at home dealing with my nausea issues again, but I'm also timing and counting contractions. We really are hoping that she will be here within the next couple of days. My husband is so excited that he's practically beside himself.

We've almost gotten the baby's room ready, but we still have more time. She won't be sleeping in there for a while because that room doesn't have heat at the moment. She'll be camping out in a bassinet in our room for a while anyway until we can get into a routine with her of some sorts.

Just wanted to drop in real quick and let everyone know what is going on. I've been working some on my craft room, but I am having to be really careful since I am about to pop out a kid. It'll get done more quickly once I am home with her.

I will stop in again soon, hopefully with baby pictures. :o)