Some new items coming to my Etsy shop this weekend...it's been a while, huh? Well, life has taken over these past few months...including a new kitten (see below), a bad bout of sickness, a big change in my day job responsibilities (for the good...yay!!) and finally, the holidays. But now it seems I'm finally catching up, and the creative wheels are spinning again.
This piece here is my first new one posted today, titled "In Clouds." The earrings will come later, along with a discount if you buy the set.
During this lovely little kickoff to the holiday season, I'm also offering free First Class shipping on all U.S. and international orders through Monday 12/1, so get your goodies while they're here!
I hope your Thanksgiving was bountiful and you have much to be thankful for.
Some new items coming to my Etsy shop this weekend...it's been a while, huh? Well, life has taken over these past few months...including a new kitten (see below), a bad bout of sickness, a big change in my day job responsibilities (for the good...yay!!) and finally, the holidays. But now it seems I'm finally catching up, and the creative wheels are spinning again.
Hello all! In case you haven't been to my shop lately, I'm having a rockin' sale to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Simply Wired Custom Jewelry. Discounts range from 15-50%, so get 'em while they're going on!
In other news, we have acquired a new family member, as shown here. Ain't he just the cutest thing? His name is Dexter and he is a Manx--meaning he has no tail. I had not heard of this type of cat before, until my mom told me about them when I told her I was going to get the little guy. My girlfriend actually showed up with him at my house; his previous home was a farm and they didn't mind if a few of the kittens could be taken to official homes. Of course I decided to adopt him ASAP! He's a little fragile...only 1.5 lbs, and he had some young kitty health problems, including round worms and a bad cold. But, we got him all fixed up, tested for everything, and he seems to be in good health. My big dogs, as well as my other kitty, seem to be adapting. Dexter likes to crawl on top of the dogs and sleep on them; sometimes, they let him. The size difference is really a site; I'll post more pics soon!
Nope, I've just been a really, really busy girl. My day job keeps me occupied and sometimes it exercises my brain so much that I run out of creativity (not to mention, energy)!
Over the past month or so, I've been slowly building up some stock, working on some new pieces, and fulfilling custom orders. Earlier this week I also got sick and had to shut down the shop for a few days, but I think I really made some progress this weekend. It's a relief, I tell you.
To prove I'm not lying, here's a little peak at what I've been working on...freshly oxidized and laid out to dry, but not yet tumbled or polished. Some you'll see in my Etsy shop, and some you'll just see on my Flickr when they're done, since they're based on orders (especially that super-sweet piece with the Egyptian Coils at the top left!). I plan to get them photographed and listed over the next month, so stay tuned. A couple pieces will also be listed at a really awesome price because they just didn't come out how I wanted them. LOL.
For all of you wondering about the pieces and the types of stones in the pic...I'll describe as best I can...here goes:
- Top left: As mentioned, Egyptian Coils and turquoise nuggets.
- Top right: Some lavender chalcedony faceted briolettes.
- To the left of the lavender chalcedony: All of those ear wires contain a different bead, wrapped or with a bead cap. Includes sterling silver with prehnite, smoky quartz, or a spiral design. Some copper ones are included as well, and feature prehnite as well as carnelian wrapped teardrop beads.
- Below the lavender chalcedony: A new piece that incorporates labradorite and garnet, as well as another new piece that includes vintage lucite beads (purchased from blacksheepbeads; awesome shop!).
- Right: Wire wrapped focal pendants.
- Bottom: A peak at a remake of my Egyptian Goddess necklace, a custom order from a customer.
Over the past few weeks, my computer has not liked me. My CD-ROM player decided to not let me open it up anymore (even when I use the "paper clip in the hole" magic trick), and Photoshop decided not to run due to insufficient RAM.
Both of these issues were mind-boggling to me, as my computer is only about a year old. So, since it is still under warranty, I was able to score a new CD-ROM drive at no cost to me. I also upgraded my RAM and bought 2GB extra from Crucial. I installed both of them over the last two weeks.
The CD-ROM drive was fine. Photoshop? Not so much. I'm running version 7, and after I installed the new RAM, it still wouldn't work. So, on a whim, I decided to Google the error, and sure enough, I found the solution: A teensy, weensy, tiny bit of code found in my settings for Photoshop (see Response Number 8). And that was all it took. I couldn't believe it. On a lighter note, my computer is now, as my friend calls it, "Wicked Fast!"
Anyway, now everything is up and running again, I have my camera back from my husband (who had it on a kayak trip on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine for about 15 days), and I'm slowly but surely creating some new pieces for fall. I'll keep you posted on new creations, dear readers. Thank you for your patience.
So, about a week or so ago, I signed up for a free trial of Endicia. What is it, you ask? It's a service that enables you to perform just about any and all mail services from your home/business...from printing postage to ordering supplies. The reason I was attracted to it is because it allows you to print postage for First Class International directly from your home (customs forms and all!), which saves me a trip to the Post Office. Given that I've had a recent influx of international orders, I decided to give it a try. Here's a summary of what I've learned so far:
- Once you learn to use it, it's quite easy; however, it's definitely not an intuitive program. You have to muddle your way through how to set up a label; once you learn it, it becomes second nature. I like how you can copy/paste an address directly from Etsy, without having to enter items in separate fields like you do with PayPal. In case you're considering giving it a try, here's the general steps I follow:
- Create a new address
- Choose the layout (you can skip this step once you create your first label of the session [and you don't switch to international mail])
- Print postage
- Print customs forms (if international)
- Apparently not compatible with Vista (which is what I [unfortunately] have). I have not witnessed these incompatibilities yet; however, one thing that irked me was that you don't know about them until after you sign up. Given that I'm fairly astute at doing my own research in troubleshooting compatibility issues, this didn't bother me so much. However, someone who is not very tech-savvy may have problems. Also, since Vista has been around for at least a year now, I think it's bad form for software companies and services to ignore the fact that they need to perform an upgrade. That's just my opinion. I'm dealing with it, though. Take it for what it's worth.
- The management of previous orders is a plus. Endicia saves a postage log for you, which I like. If someone needs to know where their order is, or you need to track something for yourself, all orders are available within the postage log. If you included Delivery Confirmation, that information is available as well.
- First Class International is a time-saver. I love not having to go to the Post Office. This is by far my favorite feature, and is probably the main reason why I'll stick with Endicia and pay the monthly access fee.
So there you have it. I'm not going to start a Forum thread claiming "I Love Endicia!" or put their banner on my blog, but for now I appreciate the convenience and availability of Endicia's services. Who knows? Maybe sometime in the near future, they'll make the software Vista-friendly, and incorporate the use of "wizards" (to us Instructional Design nerds -- "Electronic Performance Support") to guide us through the process of making labels. Until something better comes along, I think I'll stick with it for a while. If nothing else, I assure you that I'm saving fuel costs.
Good morning dear readers. This week's post brings a general update on the shopfront. I'm staying in the background a bit when it comes to promoting, as I have a number of custom orders to catch up with (at least six of them, to be exact). I hope to get back on track with those this week. I'm also in the process of making new creations for the fall, and reorganizing my store a little bit.
Look out for many a necklace coming your way, as well as matching earrings. Colors will include the soft, translucent shades of chalcedony -- greens and blues and pinks and lavenders -- plus bright, rich contrasting colors to set them off. I'll also be offering sets at discounted prices; when you buy items that coordinate, you can save some extra cash!
I plan to continue my exploration of metalsmithing, with hopes to have some more items by September; probably pendants. Finally come October, expect a rockin' sale to coordinate with my one-year anniversary as a seller on Etsy.
Have a great week, dear readers. I hope to post progress updates as I move along in completing these custom orders.
Hello readers, I made it back from my trip, safe and sound. Displayed below is my latest Treasury, scored earlier today. Yay! I happened across Treasury West and there were about 200+ lists open, so I made one. Since summertime is one of my favorite times, I put this collection together. You can see it live and leave a comment at:
The link will be active for the next few days. Enjoy!
Baddest news today, dear readers, as I just recently received word from our vet that our 8-year old cat has passed away.
We adopted Ernest from my Uncle; he's put in a long shift with us. He's been through three different dogs (Knute [also no longer with us]), Betza, and Gus, and one cat who he was especially fond of, Shammer.
As you're aware from previous posts, all of my pets live in harmony together, and I couldn't have asked for a cooler cat. He was a tough dude...he would get very big in the winter and then skinny in the summer. He had some missing teeth because they went bad. He also only had a half of an ear because it got ripped off in a fight.
Yesterday morning as I was standing out on my deck, Ernest emerged from the woods crying very loudly. He walked up slowly to my husband's truck and hid underneath it. Upon trying to pull him out, I noticed that his stomach was covered in blood. We rushed him to the vet's office, and they found two puncture wounds, though they do not know what from. It didn't look like teeth marks (they weren't close enough), and there was no bullet to be found. X-ray results showed five broken ribs and no damaged organs; however, his blood pressure and temperature were low, he was anemic, and he was in shock. They kept him overnight and tried to get his temperature to come up, but it did not improve. When I checked in this afternoon, he was still anemic and with low blood pressure. They also said he was breathing through his mouth, which apparently isn't very good. Shortly after that my vet called personally to let me know that Ernest had passed.
So now I'm sad. It just wasn't Ernest's time, given all that he's been through with us. He was young, and had many cat lives ahead of him. But I am glad, however, that he made it home. Some way, some how, with broken ribs and a bleeding belly, he got back here to let me know that he wasn't OK. And we were able to get him to a place where he could be given proper care, and upon moving on, he was made as comfortable as he could possibly be.
Rest in peace, Ernest. May you find an ever-stretching land full of green grass, catnip, and many animals to chase. May you find other cuddly cats to comfort you and clean your 1.5 ears, and may you find other giant dogs to rub up against and then run from as soon as they bark. May you be fed as soon as you start talking in your ErnieCat voice, and may you be pet as soon as you demand it. You deserve all of these things. You were a wonderful friend. I will miss you.
posted by Simply Wired Custom Jewelry at approximately Friday, July 18, 2008
Hello readers! Long time, no hear from me. My apologies. I've been swamped! Much work to do in the studio, plus very busy with my job, creating online learning courseware.
I've been trying to stock up as necessary on some of my items; it's a slow process. August will be tremendously busy, as I plan to get ready for the holidays. My supplier once again ran out of the beads I use for my Santa Fe Teardrops earrings and all of their different variations in Red and in Copper (available at Simply Wired Custom Jewelry on Etsy!), so I'll be making more and re-photographing with different beads, yet again. Why not give up? Because they are some of my best sellers. So, I don't want to ruin a good thing.
Amongst all of this activity, I have a show with the band next Saturday. You can see details on The Simple Groove web site. Or, you can certainly be our friend on The Simple Groove MySpace page. We welcome all of you!
Finally, as mentioned in the title of this post, I have another trip for work coming up...this time to Kansas City, MO. I'll be posting an announcement in my shop, and I'll be filling orders when I return on 7/26 (oh, how I wish Etsy would establish Vacation Mode for us!).
As promised in my previous post, I do have some pictures from vacation, but I still need to get the large amount of them off of my camera. That will come soon, but not tonight, as I have many things to get done over the next few days. You may not hear from me until I get back from Kansas City, so have a great 1.5 weeks!
I'm getting ready for a much needed vacation. A much, MUCH needed vacation, so my shop will be closed for the rest of the week through Sunday. Orders will be completed/fulfilled upon my return on June 30th.
This beauty here is called "Found Moss," named after all things earthy that I hope to uncover during my upcoming stay in the woods. I hope to get it listed today before I leave. The pendant is a type of gemstone called "Chinese 'Chrysoprase'" (at least that's what I think it is based upon my research). The blend of colors is quite lovely, and it coordinates nicely with the oxidized sterling silver wire that's wrapped around it.
I'll share some vacation photos upon my return...scenes from campsites and canoes. Cheers!
Hello readers...as you all may or may not know, occasionally I enjoy sharing my Etsy purchases with you by babbling about them on my blog.
Today's post is related to some of the things I've been buying for my home. Art, pottery/ceramics, and home decor are the biggest categories I shop from, so I thought I'd give these sellers some recognition for their beautiful work.
One of my latest is from ArzuMusa. See this lovely little candle holder? Yep, she created this "Trio of Shamans" piece all by herself, and shipped it to *ME* all the way from Fethiye, Turkey. I absolutely adore it, and it coordinates perfectly with the colors of my home. The glow is beautiful, the craftsmanship is superb, and I've received many compliments on it already! Thank you, ArzuMusa!
Another item that I purchased...in fact, purchased multiples of, are kokopelli prints from Etsy seller kathatart. I have my favorite displayed below. Much of my living room is done in a southwest theme, so these are perfect accompaniments! I also love kokopelli, so whenever I see something that captures its magic, I snag it immediately. Beautifully done, Kathy.
Yet another purchase that will coordinate perfectly with the colors of my home is this beautiful painting by treeartist. Stunning! It is an original, so I'm very excited about that. The warm oranges and yellows are stunning, and will be a fabulous addition to my kitchen or my office. Thank you, Jordanka!
Last but not least, you may have remembered me talking about khphillips a while back, during the holiday season. I had my eye on his chip and queso dip set, and I finally snagged one for me! This is going to be perfect for my summer parties, indeed. Keith also sends his recipe for black bean and chorizo queso with this set. Keith--have I told you lately that you ROCK!!??
That's all for now dear readers...some upcoming items I'll be looking for is place settings. I'm going out with the old and in with the new, and I'd like to have them all be handmade. I like rich, earthy colors, but they have to be unique. If you're a seller of pottery/ceramics and you'd like me to check out your shop, by all means leave me a comment. I'll be happy to look!
Today's post brings some news I'm excited about--two of my pieces have been chosen for inclusion in the November/December 2008 issue of Bead Trends magazine. Wheeeeeee!
A while ago I sent them some photos when they had their call for submissions, and about a week and a half ago they contacted me to ask me to send them my stuff! That's partially the reason why things have been so hectic...the one piece they requested had sold since I sent in my submission, so I had to create another one very quickly. I also had to write the instructions for each. For the earrings, it was easy, but for the lariat...not so much. There are many, many steps...about four pages worth! Apparently the editor revises them as necessary, and from looking at the magazine, it seems that directions are generalized for the most part. So, I gave them my text-based steps with as much detail as possible so they could edit as necessary. The hard part is, being an instructional designer, I'm VERY DETAILED with that kind of stuff! So, when I see the edited version, I'll probably cringe a little bit. If you're an ISD nerd, you'll know what I mean! ;0) I'll just have to get over it. LOL.
From what the kind folks at the magazine told me, the issue will be released some time in October. You can find copies of the magazine at Michael's.
My story today brings about some of the activities going on inside my home right now. As you may or may not know, my husband and I do some backpacking trips on occasion (he more so than I). Another one is coming up beginning this Thursday--the North Country Trail. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend because of work responsibilities as well as the lack of a babysitter for our kids (I mean, our dogs).
For this particular backpacking trip, my husband decided to invest in a food dehydrator, based on recipes recommended in The Back-Country Kitchen: Camp Cooking for Canoeists, Hikers, and Anglers. This is a big project, indeed, folks. For the past week he's been dehydrating things like vegetables, meat, and fruits. The vegetables and meats are part of his dehydrated meals, similar to the Mountain House brand (but without all of the sodium and preservatives).
The fruits go into his trail mix...which is why I posted this photo--this is what strawberries are NOT supposed to look like once they're dehydrated. Apparently we cut them too thin, and they basically shriveled up and stuck to the wax paper. I thought it would be a cool looking photo, though, so I thought I would share. Needless to say, the dried strawberries will not be making it into our mix--better luck next time!
In case you're interested, however, these are the things that ARE making it into his trail mix--it's our standard tried and true recipe:
- Strawberries (next time, we'll be cutting them in HALF rather than slicing; apparently this is the appropriate size/thickness for dehydrated strawberries)
- Candy store chocolate (like covered peanuts, pretzels, and raisins)--very important!!
I hope all of you get out into the woods this year--it's good for your soul. I have a canoe trip coming at the end of June that I can't sit still for. I'll post pics, I promise!
Swarovski crystals and pearls are surrounded by hand wrapped wire...the circular frames around the pearls were soldered and hammered for a textured look.
See how it lays on the neck at http://www.flickr.com/photos/simply_wired/2542003554/
Next is four pairs of earrings...and then they're ready!
More photos to come after that, but I'll be on break from today (6/1) through June 4th, as I'm going on a trip for work.
I shall love you again, dear blog, upon my return.
posted by Simply Wired Custom Jewelry at approximately Sunday, June 01, 2008
Congrats to thatpirategirl! She is the winner of a wire wrapped ring for my May Giveaway.
Thatpirategirl...I'll be contacting you shortly via e-mail to get your address and your ring size, as well as the type of ring you would like.
Thanks to all who entered! Oh, and sorry for the delay...I should have known better than to have an announcement on Saturday! I'm hardly ever home during the day. Duh.
Anyway, have a great Sunday, everyone!
Hi dear readers...
Just a reminder that today is the last day of my May Giveaway where you can enter to win a free wire wrapped ring! So, you should go ahead and get there now with your entry.
I've been light on my posting because I've been busy, busy, busy with work. In the coming weeks, though, I have some plans in mind:
- Rebranding: My sister-in-law is an advertising specialist/graphic designer, and she's going to be designing my new logo, all marketing materials, packaging, etc. She's also quite the creative/crafty one, so I'm certain she'll be bringing lots of great ideas to the establishment of the "look" of Simply Wired Custom Jewelry.
- Organization of shop: I'm going to be organizing my items into product lines to further establish said "branding." As of right now, these are my new tentative sections:
- Beneath the Moon
That's all for now...happy Friday, everyone!
It'll be posted later today in my shop. Until then, you can browse my selection of metal and wire wrapped jewelry, if you like.
See you soon...
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Our latest visitor to our bird feeders is an indigo bunting. I'm quite excited about this one; we never had one before! We actually have two of them that hover in a tree in our backyard. Yesterday during the rain and the terrible wind, this little fella just hung out at our feeders all day long. When they first arrived, they frequently visited our ground feeder, and would be startled if I would go near the window. Yesterday, however, he just didn't seem to mind, and let me stand there to watch him while snapping a few photos. In some of these, I think he might actually be posing.
In other news related to the jewelry stuff, be on the lookout for a new necklace and a new ring this week. Also, don't forget about my May Giveaway, where you can enter to win a wire wrapped ring.
Finally, I also got a treasury this morning where I highlighted many of my favorite jewelery stores on Etsy. Check it out and leave some love!
'Til next time...
A quick post on some new items coming to Etsy today.
The first is one of my rings I have pictured in my May Giveaway...except I oxidized it and polished it. It'll be titled "Aglow," named after a Sarah Harmer song. A discount will be offered if the ring is purchased with my Warmth in Turquoise earrings.
Also coming to my shop, Cherry Chocolate earrings. YUM. I had a special request from a customer to make these based on my Pink Chocolate earrings. The 8mm red garnet beads are so absolutely luscious I just had to make an extra pair for sale. I'm also going to be making a necklace to match, which will be titled "Cherry Chocolate Overdose," and will feature a "waterfall" of smoky quartz teardrop beads and red garnets dangling freely from sterling silver chain. I hope to finish it up this week.
Here are the photos of the earrings...tell me, dear readers, which one catches your eye first? This is always a dilemma of mine...white background or brown?
They're here! They're here! Our yearly visitors--the ruby-throated hummingbird. Forgive the not-so-great photos, as I didn't have my tripod out when they were visiting!
This morning as I was doing some work in my living room, I looked out our large glass window and I had one of them hovering outside, saying, "WHERE is our FOOD?" I hadn't put our feeders out yet; this coming weekend was going to be our planting/outdoor cleanup weekend. However, I didn't mind dropping what I was doing to accommodate these wonderful little visitors. I have about five different feeders, but I only put two out today. Luckily I had some nectar mix.
Are your hummingbirds flying about? If you haven't seen them, I bet they're close by. To bring them in, get your feeders out...red or red-orange colors attract them the most. Even if you don't have the red nectar that comes pre-mixed, you can make your own nectar using this recipe (note that it doesn't have to be red...just the feeder or part of the feeder that is red or red-orange will attract your hummingbirds!):
- Combine four parts water to one part table sugar in a pan
- Boil the sugar water mixture (do not leave it boil too long, or the water will evaporate)
- Cool in the refrigerator
- Fill your feeders; change the nectar as necessary to prevent bacteria buildup (clean your feeders, too!
- Store the remaining nectar in the refrigerator
Greetings, dear readers.
Today's post comes with my May Giveaway announcement -- a wire wrapped ring! As an added bonus, the winner gets to pick which one she wants from the group of rings shown here.
From top to bottom, left to right, they include:
- Chalk turquoise (not yet titled)
- Float (jasper)
- Flora (unakite)
- Delicate (peach moonstone)
- Renewal (garnet)
- Peach moonstone (a little different than Delicate; not yet titled)
- Blush (rhodonite)
So, here's what to do:
- Leave a comment on my blog that includes your contact info (Etsy address, e-mail address, whatevah)
- Include in the comment what gemstone(s) you would like to have included in any future rings I create.
Have fun, folks, and thanks for participating! As usual, the fine print is listed below.
(oh...and psssst...when you're done here, head on over to Bonghi Natura's blog, where you can enter into a contest to win soap! One of my favorite things to shop for! Here's the link: http://bonghinatura.blogspot.com/2008/04/its-giveaway-time-again.html)
One entry per person. Winner will be announced before noon EST on May 17, 2008, and will have three days to contact me with their ring preference, size, and mailing address. If no response, another name will be drawn. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 16, 2008.
"Hidden" is the title of the piece I'm working on now...chosen based on the design of the wire wrapped focal piece, as well as the last-minute decision on the featured gemstone. Originally, I wanted to hang a mixture of smoky quartz and rhodonite from the chain, but once I oxidized and polished the center piece, it just called out for the dark, shadowy, mysterious look of labradorite.
These photographs gave me some time to play with my camera, too.
I still need to wrap the beads and figure out where to hang them, and then I need to oxidize the chain, the wraps, and the focal piece once again. Rather than polishing, I'm going to tumble it, which will give it that shiny, smoky gray look, similar to the coloring you can see in my Jonelle Necklace.
How did I do the focal piece? Well, it started out as a plain ring, and I wanted to fuse fine silver spheres to the top of it. Well, I only used 16g wire for the ring, so it wasn't quite thick enough (even when hammered) to fuse the spheres. So when I did it, they ended up lopping over to the inside. This was fine with me, because I figured it would look pretty cool once I hammered them.
Then, I was going to do small wraps above the spheres on each side, ending with a spiral. However, I changed my mind right as I began wrapping, and thought it would be really cool to make a tangled mess of thin wire weaved around the flattened spheres. To add more texture, I melted my wire on each end to form the bulbs that you can see in the photo (BTW...I melted the wire before I wove it around the ring).
So...that's how I came up with the name, based on the flattened spheres "hidden" among the entangled wire, and as mentioned, the inclusion of labradorite. I hope to list this piece in my shop later this week.
This weekend's fun project involved playing with some copper, some solder, and these delicious pink candy "jade" beads. Yummy.
Available in my Etsy shop, it's called Cosmopolitan (I couldn't resist making the reference based on the color). I purchased the beads because of a custom request; in the end, the customer decided she didn't want them after all, but I loved their dainty, playful color so I got 'em anyway!
I'm very excited for this weekend; mainly because I have no responsibilities whatsoever with the exception of being creative. I'm about to get started, but I wanted to give the blog a little love before I head on down to the basement and fire up the torch.
I began last night...catching up on a wedding order, and working on two new focal pieces for some necklaces that I have in mind. I hope to get them to the point where I can post some pics later today or tomorrow; I'm pretty pumped up about all of them. I also need to fill some orders for rings this weekend; including Stepping Stones and Delicate.
The previous evening's jewelry making activities, however, bring me to my story for today...the other dog in my yard. Last night while I was soldering my pieces together, I heard my dogs--Betza and Gus (two St. Bernards)--flipping out in the kitchen. About a week ago, we had a bear visit us three times, so I figured the big guy was back. I went upstairs and found that the screen door was wide open, which I then realized my dogs had learned a new trick--how to open it themselves. Needless to say, I was a bit worried.
So, I went to the door and started calling for them, expecting to see a giant furry big guy walking on all fours, but instead I saw this halogen light coming from another four-legged creature who was definitely not bear-sized. He wasn't even St. Bernard-sized. I grabbed my Petzl headlamp and went outside in the dark, only partially nervous at this point. It turns out that the light was being worn by a Black and Tan Coonhound puppy named Samurai. What a cutie he was! My dogs liked him, too...but he had all of this equipment on and I was scared that during playtime with the big pups that it would get ripped off or hurt one of them. So, I sent my kids inside to their dismay.
I then called the phone number on Samurai's collar, and about ten minutes later, his owners showed up. It turns out that "Sam" the Coonhound was being trained to hunt raccoons, and this training was happening very near my back yard. The owner thanked me for not getting upset about Sam, and I got to meet their two other dogs, each of which were apparently avid raccoon hunters as well. I said my goodbyes and then I felt bad because I'm such a sap for dogs (and animals in general). In my opinion, I don't think Sam liked doing the job for which he was being trained for. He seemed a bit timid, and when I went inside to wash my hands, they were FILTHY from petting little Sam while I waited for his owners to arrive. This leads me to believe that he's just being groomed for hunting rather than being taken in as a family pet. I really hope that's not the case and that I'm 100% wrong. I know the purpose for hounds is hunting, but if I had one, you better believe he'd be squeaky clean. I'd also treat him like one of my kids, similar to how I treat Betza and Gus. Yes, as mentioned, I am a sap for animals. And that's fine with me.
I love Etsy's Treasury West, because on many occasions you can actually score a Treasury. This is mine, titled LILACS in the DIRT (click on the image to view a larger version). Notice how my gal marybird is getting many a click. I hope it finds you a sale, Mary!
Well, as mentioned, last week I was out of the shop because I had to go on another trip. This weekend I was able to fulfill some orders, as well as work on those stackable rings that I posted here a few weeks back.
Finally...they're done! They're called Stepping Stones, and they'll be listed in my Etsy shop sometime today (as soon as I get some time to sit down and write a clever little description!). I'll be offering these on a made-to-order basis, and I also plan to give my customers the flexibility to order three, four, or five rings. A basic design, really: 16g wire is soldered together to form the ring, and then a fine silver ball is also soldered to the ring. The fun part is flattening and texturing each ring with a chasing hammer. Even more fun is adding them to the tumbler and pulling them out after they're all shiny and sudsy from burnishing compound. Wheeeeee!
I'm sitting here right now looking at the set that I'm wearing on my pinky...the sparkle is fantastic! These ones are going to my little sister, as it was her birthday yesterday. Happy birthday sis!
So, I had a customer from Bahrain (yeah, Bahrain!) contact me about doing a custom order...a simple, classic style of earrings that includes hoops and small, dangling beads. Here they are! I call them Juice, and they're available in my shop. I really like how they turned out--the design is simple enough, but there's some flexibility there, too--you can change the beads on the earrings! As I get more made, I'll probably offer some sets that incorporate different types of beads, allowing my customers to choose their own design depending on the day, week, month, or mood. Fun stuff.
Wanna know how to make 'em? I followed the general guidelines that Sharilyn Miller provides in her book, Bead on a Wire. Enjoy!
First off, sorry for the delay. I have another deliverable for work next week so I've been working my butt off trying to get it wrapped up and finished. In other news, I had to rephotograph two of my best selling items recently, because the type of bead I used for them is no longer available. One of the products is shown here, my Santa Fe Teardrops earrings (available in my Etsy shop); the other is my Santa Fe Red Teardrops (also available in my shop). If you look closely, you'll notice the teardrop bead is flat rather than round. It's also a little more blue in color. Not big differences, but differences, nonetheless.
I have quite a few custom orders going on as well:
- A Reloj variation
- An Ocean Storm variation
- A set of stackable rings (sorry, not available yet, but soon I promise!)
- One plain hammered ring
- A pair of sterling silver hoops that have interchangeable beads (really fun to make!)
I'm happy to take requests! One of my favorite parts about custom orders is that the customer can give me an idea of what they want, and then I just go with it. It really helps spark creativity. If you're in a slump, I highly recommend going out and marketing the fact that you do custom work. You'll thank yourself for it, trust me.
In other news, I'm out of the studio all next week; another trip for work. I'll be fulfilling orders upon my return...4/19/08. If you don't hear from me until then, don't worry, I'm still around, and hope to be back working with much wire and metal upon my return. I also hope to do another giveaway beginning this month, which will probably trickle into early May. I'm considering a ring instead of earrings (that I would make for the winner, to fit her size). Which would you prefer, dear readers?
For the longest time, I had a terrible time with my camera while trying to photograph sterling silver on a white background. After some research and some reading on a few web sites, including CameraJim's Guide and TableTopStudio, I'm starting to figure it out.
Two key things needed to happen:
- I needed to move one of my lights from the top of my lightbox to the front of it. Previously, I had a total of three lights, one on each side, and one on top. I moved the one from the top to the front, without diffusing it. For right now it seems to be working, and the ugly dark gray shadow that was all over the bottom of the photo seems to have virtually disappeared.
- I needed to add a piece of black paper inside the light box to cast a reflection on the silver; doing so enabled the silver to stand out more against the light background.
So, if you're familiar with my shop, then you know about my Warmth Earrings. For a while now, I've been holding on to a few different variations of them, and finally decided to start listing them this weekend.
These are Warmth in Turquoise, and I'm pleased with their results. The turquoise against the copper brings out a nice, complementary mix. In addition, with the rising cost of sterling silver, I can offer these to my customers at a pleasant price. In the next few days, I'll also be listing the same style made with amber and ocean jasper.
I also finally got to work on some more metalsmithing techniques yesterday...the project: stackable rings. I love how you can make them all thin and delicate and hammered out, with lovely little sterling beads as accents. My first set turned out acceptable, but not "sell-able." I put too much solder in between the joint, so it gave a messy little bump, and I forgot that when you wrap thick wire and then hammer it, it expands by at least two sizes. I'm making practice sets for all of my friends, so once I'm done with those I should have the technique perfected by then. My goal is to have the first set for sale this week.
I'd like to give my customers options...I was of thinking offering them in groups of three, four, and five. Your thoughts are appreciated--tell me what YOUR favorite number of stackable rings would be!
So, that lovely little blog, Modish, has advertising opportunities where you can buy a spot for an ad as well as be included in the Modish Sponsor Spotlight. The wonderful Jena put up the Sponsor Spotlight: Simply Wired today. I like how she went with the pink theme! I've been loving that color lately. I'm hoping it will drive some traffic to my Etsy storefront.
In other news, have you heard about Indiepublic? I was sad to hear that it is for sale, but I hope a wonderful buyer will snag it up! I have an ad on their site, too--at a pretty reasonable rate, to boot.
That brings me to a recent discussion on Etsy about marketing/promoting/advertising, posted by littleputbooks. She asked about the "free" promotion activities that we all participate in, and whether or not they're worth it...and whether or not we're all chasing our tails. I have to say that when I first started hanging out in the Etsy community back in June, I hung out a LOT in the Forums. And I mean a LOT. And then when I set up my shop in October I STILL hung out in the Forums, and then I joined things like Indiepublic, Everything Skwiggle, and Talent Database. I already had my Flickr account set up, so I hung out there quite a bit as well. I also set up Simply Wired Custom Jewelry: The Blog. It was quite a bit of work, but I didn't mind.
Then I started realizing that I'd need to back off a little bit for several reasons:
- I wasn't creating enough. Too much of my focus was being spent on marketing.
- I think I really was running around in circles and chasing my tail.
- When the holidays came I was really busy filling orders, and I realized that it was much more fun than doing all of these promotional activities.
- Relist often. Very often. With the amount of new sellers, as well as how saturated the jewelry category is, I've found I can afford to relist about 6-10 times a day.
- Keep the blog. I like to write, and I like to read other blogs.
- Keep my Flickr account. I like to post pictures and I like to look at other people's work. What's nice about Flickr is that you're not really allowed to blatantly promote, so it kinda keeps the community focused on giving feedback to others without saying "look at me!! look at me!!" I dig it.
- Continue to be a volunteer for The Etsy Mini Blog. It's a beautiful site that promotes Etsy sellers and their products, all conveniently placed in one location. It's like a high-end shopping guide! And yes, I'll plug it here--it's free to join, and yes, it's free promotion for your shop. So, go there now and join--it's fast and easy.
- Use paid advertising if the budget allows. I use Project Wonderful and I've paid for spots on Modish as well as Indiepublic. I will probably rotate the sites I choose to place my ads on, but the effort is low and it does increase traffic.
Looking forward, I'm excited to be creating more than sitting in front of my computer. I'm interested in re-examining my goals and seeing where I am versus where I thought I'd be at this point. We shall see...
A real quick post for those who participated in my Springtime Giveaway...the winner is Bebemiqui! Bebemiqui keeps a lovely little blog over at http://bebemiqui.blogspot.com/, go ahead and give her a visit!
Thanks to all of you for participating; stay tuned for another one coming in the next month or so. These are so much fun to do!
You know how you want to pull in an image, from say, your Flickr account, and you can't get it to align properly and pretty along with your text? Well, here's the code that you can use:
<div style="float: right; margin-left: 0.5em; width: 125px; height: 125px;">PLACE THE HTML FOR YOUR IMAGE HERE</div>
What does it do? Well, it adds code that will enable your image to "float" at the right side (in my case) or left side of your text. To see what your image will look like, delete the text where I have "PLACE THE HTML FOR YOUR IMAGE HERE" and paste in the HTML for YOUR image.
- See where it says "float: right;"? Well, if you want it to float on the left, change it to "left".
- The "margin-left:" number tells how much of a "gap" between the text and the image you want to have. Play around with the number and you'll see.
- The "width" and "height" numbers, in my experience, should be a little bigger than the dimensions of your image. This will usually be a part of the HTML code for your image.
Try it and see if it works. I got it to show up successfully on my last post...hopefully it will work for you, too!
I occasionally like to use photos on my blog that I haven't taken with my camera; mostly for illustrative purposes or for things like banners, themed images, or photo montages. I also do some commissioned work for friends when I get the chance...but not so much since I opened up my Etsy site.
The other cool thing you can do is submit your own photos to the site; however, I haven't done that yet. So...perhaps you should check it out if you're into design services, or if you like to have access to a nicely sized, nicely organized photo library. Or, perhaps you can take one of your favorite Flickr photos, put them on Big Stock Photo, and make a few bucks for yourself. Have fun!
Remember being a kid on Easter morning, and the day included an egg hunt? How fun. Ours were usually hidden inside, since the weather is so iffy in my area of the country. The eggs would be filled with treats or money, and the day was basically focused on how much candy my siblings and I could eat without getting sick. My weakness was chocolate. My younger brothers and sister enjoyed my favorite, along with gummy stuff, Peeps, and basically anything with tons of sugar in it. To this day, my parents still make me a basket. It's quite hysterical. Only recently have they stopped hiding it and forcing me to find it in their house.
Today, Easter Eggs have gone high-tech. Referred to as Digital Easter Eggs, it's when software code contains a hidden surprise, like a game, a photo, or a reference to a character or item. They turn up in regular software applications, operating systems, movies, and TV shows, to name a few. You can find more information about these fun little things at The Easter Egg Archive. It's so fun!
Speaking of Easter Eggs, I was thinking of adding a digital one to my Etsy shop in honor of the upcoming holiday, and possibly pairing it with an extra percentage discount. I'll probably run it along with the Saturday Night Special...I just have to think of something cool to do. Nothing high tech or anything, but we'll see.
So, what about you? Any fun ideas for promotions/sales for the upcoming weekend? Which ones have worked? Thanks for sharing.
I added some teeny tiny sterling silver beads just to give it more of an asymmetrical, "messy" look; that way, it can be a little more casual when you want it to be. I had fun making this one, and especially photographing it. Rings are easy to photograph! You just place them in your light box and click away! I did have to mess with the f-stop just a little bit to get the right focus between the foreground and background, but I like how my pics turned out. Speaking of f-stop, The Storque has a great article about using this fabulous feature. I highly recommend it, as you can make some nice adjustments to your depth of field dependent upon how much detail you want to include in your photo.
I made a few other rings, one with peach moonstone and another with garnet, but I will wait until I return to post them. Which reminds me...when I say "when I return" I mean I'm going to be out of the shop. Yep, this week I have a trip for work, so I'm pretty much unavailable until late Friday evening. Updates have been posted in my store, and any orders placed will be processed ASAP after I get back. Until then, have you entered yourself in the Springtime Giveaway yet? If not, hurry up silly. Time is running out.
This li'l contest is EASY, All you have to do is leave a comment!
Here's some dirt about the earrings:
Their title is "Equinox," and they're not going to be available for sale in my shop. Nope, I made these especially for my contest and one happy winner! 7mm citrine teardrops and 4mm peridot beads are wrapped with delicate 24g wire and dangled from a soldered and hammered jump ring. The ear wires are nice and round and balance the design perfectly, looking oh-so-whimsy while they swing from your earlobes. Finally, a springy (get it??) spiral of seed beads is also added on for some "sunshiny" fun--I think of them as the breeze, flowing through flowers and green grass.
Length of earrings from top of ear wire to bottom of is approximately 2.25in (5.72cm).
So...what next? As mentioned, leave a comment on this post, and on the morning of March 20th, I'll put all of those who commented into a name drawing. Then, I'll post the winner in a new post that day! Just like my previous contest, if you're a seller, I'll also give a plug for your shop and post your Etsy Mini on my blog.
One entry per person. Winner will be announced before noon EST on March 20, 2008, and will have three days to contact me with their mailing address. If no response, another name will be drawn. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on March 19, 2008.
I'm pleased with the way the unakite one turned out (the one on top), because I liked adding those beads as an accent. Plus, since the focal bead is 8mm, it really "pops" against the copper ring.
I'll be listing these later today, along with some more to match with my Pinkleberry Drops, Pink Chocolate, Beneath the Moon (all versions), plus any others for which I can find some coordinating stuff.
Well, as promised, I mentioned that I'd put some stats on my page regarding the Showcase. I purchased a spot in the Springtime one; alas, no sales, but I did get some good counts. Here's the breakdown:
- At 11:30 p.m. on 3/4/08 (1/2 hour before the showcase began, I had 2630 views (this is the total of all items; I didn't do a per-item view count).
- At 7:28 a.m. on 3/6/08 (I didn't have time to check after midnight; too sleepy!), I had 601 additional views.
Speaking of views, I reset my counter yesterday evening, and about an hour later I had approximately 300 more views in my shop. The verdict? I made it to the Etsy front page. This was exciting, as it never happened before. The lovely FuzzyBunnyStew put together a Treasury called Persephone's Pomegranates and she featured my brooch in it (hurry up and check it out--it expires tonight!).
There it is, right in the 2nd row. Yeehaw!
So yeah, if you're looking to get lots and lots of views, try to make it to the front page. It resulted in about 800 in less than two hours!
Now for more exposure--I'm in the process of doing some more advertising. As mentioned, I'll have an ad on Modish beginning on March 15th. I'll also be spotlighted, which will of course enable me to run a sale in my shop, so be sure to go there beginning on 3/15 (don't worry, dear readers, I'll remind you!). I also did a Project Wonderful bid for an ad on EtsyLove. If I'm the high bidder, I'll be on there beginning mid-april.
And finally, I came up with a springtime theme for some earrings--incorporating some peridot and some yellow citrine. I hope to have the contest and the earrings posted today sometime, at the latest tomorrow.
Well, I broke down and purchased another showcase spot for today--the Springtime one on Etsy. I usually have fairly good luck with them since I've found the main items that draw customers to my shop, which are Beneath the Moon and Fire Gypsy.
While visiting the Blog Love forum post this morning, I ran across cicadastudio's blog as well as her giveaway, which is where she mentioned how it's funny what people are drawn to as far as products go. I couldn't agree more--I really like both of those necklaces, but it's just interesting to see what items get the most "clicks." LOL.
I'll be using the Majaba View Calculator to track views...as of last night I reset it, and this morning I had about 107 views since midnight without relisting anything. It doesn't track on a per item basis, just total visits per page of your items, but I might find it helpful in determining the ratio of hits versus sales. We shall see...in most cases I get at least one sale from a Showcase, but things have been kind of slow lately.
In other news, the lovely JessicaSharrah blogged about me yesterday; you'll have to read her writeup to find out how we discovered one another--it's kinda funny. Jessica has a ton of ceramic jewelry in her shop, and as of late, she has created these beautiful ceramic bands that I think are just lovely. One of them even made it to the front page on Etsy a few weeks ago! I hope these bring her much success. If you like them, she has a large range of colors, all available in her shop.
Finally--as promised--a quick run down of the Ani Difranco show. It rawked. The venue was absolutely amazing--very small and intimate (only 1,022 seats!), just like I like 'em. It was very quiet in the audience, another plus, and Ani just seemed to have a brand new energy about her. It was a pleasure to watch; and I hope I can see many more shows at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in the very near future.
Well, that's all for this morning. I'm a busy girl today; I have much work to do for my day job, so it might be a few days before another post. Over the weekend, be sure to tune in, as I'm having another giveaway for a pair of earrings.
Until then, keep thinking of spring...
I found these tasty little pink beads at Michael's, as well as a set of cerulean blue ones, too! I couldn't figure out what to do with them, and I decided that simple was the way to go.
I made a square frame, added a bail, and then attached the bead with a piece of wire coiled around the frame. I suspended it from copper chain and added an S-clasp.
I'm pleased with the result, because it's playful and fun because of the bead, but it can be dressed up, too.
If you get a chance, check it out in my shop. I was also wondering, do you like the main photo better than photo #2, or should I list photo #2 first? I prefer to go with a more funky photo, but sometimes I fear that it might be too closeup or abstract for someone to be able to determine what it is.
If you feel like giving some feedback, leave a comment and let me know.
The wonderful WanderLustMosaics picked my Pink Chocolate earrings for a treasury this week; here is the collection:
In other news, I finally got Bizzy Buzz posted last night, as well as a pair of earrings that I call Halcyon. I like that word. According to Merriam-Webster, it means calm and peaceful when used as an adjective. Yay for labradorite and rainbow moonstone, a perfect fit!
This weekend is going to be not-so-fun. As mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm looking at a major deliverable for work, and that means I'll be putting in some Saturday hours. This will hinder some of my creativity, as I really wanted to get a couple pairs of earrings done and work on my order for a set of bridal party necklaces. Oh well...can't complain. I love my job and the people I work with; every once in a while I need to suck it up and deal with the extra hours. I'll get it over it!
I think the part that is bothering me even more is the fact that I get my taxes done on Monday. I hate preparing for it! I have all of my stuff pretty much done for Simply Wired Custom Jewelry, but now I need to organize everything for our personal taxes. BOR-ing. Even though we have an accountant, there is still some organization that needs to be done, and it's not that it's hard, I just don't want to do it because it's not any fun. 'Nuff said.
Boohoo readers, boohoo. Tomorrow is looking better and better though, as I have an Ani Difranco show to attend. I haven't seen the li'l folksinger since the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2005, so I'm definitely looking forward to this treat. I'll post updates from the show next week.
Until then, keep on rockin'.
I have a major deliverable due for work over the next coming week, so my blog posts will be a little light. I've been having trouble with inspiration lately with what I do at work; I have to write, and occasionally I get a little case of the writer's block. What I'm working on isn't even really requiring me to write brand new material; I have to take existing content and change it up a bit. Then, I have to put it into a paper-based storyboard format so the content can be converted into e-learning. Not hard, right? Well, sometimes it is. And when it is, that's when I put in my "Get Sh-- Done" playlist on my iTunes. What is in it? It's full of a nice mix of thumpin' hard techno beats. Yum. Currently spinning is Misstress Barbara: Relentless Beats Vol. 1. My office is rockin', I need some coffee, and then I'm going to crank this sucka OUT. And then I have two more to do. Hmmmmmm...ooooh I just got rocked by some crazy-a-- beats. Gotta go...there's work to be done.
Don't you just LOVE when you have been looking and looking for something--the perfect thing--and then you find it on Etsy? And to top it off, don't you love even more that it's a handmade piece of art, crafted lovingly by someone who is so passionate you can see it in every aspect of their work? I do! I do!
That brings me to the shop I want to highlight today: The Hermitage.
Not long ago, in a little corner of my living room, I wandered across an Etsy front page collection filled with unique items. One in particular, however, brought me to Rima Staines's shop, and I'm so glad that I clicked on it so I could explore all of her wonderful pieces of work. Unique and mystical, magical and spellbound, all of her products make me want to close my eyes and live in the place that she has created, a place where conversations with faerie folk and magical creatures is an every day occurrence.
The reason why The Hermitage is such a fantastical find for me is because for months now I have been searching for the perfect piece of art that will adorn my entry way. It had to be that one perfect piece that would be situated above the coat hooks on my wall; the one piece that no matter whether someone was coming or going, they would be intrigued by its look and compelled to read it. You can imagine my delight when I came across this:
You can be a part of The Hermitage's world, too, by visiting Rima's Etsy store, The Hermitage web site (which houses a charming collection of characters, words, and creations), or for even more wondrous pleasure, visiting The Hermitage blog.
So what are you waiting for? Take some time for yourself, settle into your comfiest slippers and your coziest chair, and prepare to be enchanted. It's OK--The Hermitage's inhabitants welcome all wayfarers; see for yourself when you visit the Porch.