Friday, February 27, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Magdalene Jewels

I'm so delighted to be able to interview one of my closest etsybloggers friends, Ms. MagdaleneJewels. I'm surprised to see that I've known Pam only half a year - it seems much longer. She isn't a newbie to etsy, though. Her shop's been open since August 2007. If your looking for crystal jewelry, you've come to the right place! Mag (as I've always called her) uses loads of bicones, which makes all her jewelry glimmer with beauty. Just take a look at this:

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
MagdaleneJewels




  • What types of products do you sell?
I primarily sell Jewelry in my shop; although during the winter months I have added a few knitted and crocheted items, such as scarfs and neck warmers. The jewelry in my shop consists of Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings – all of which I have designed and created myself. I primarily only use Swarovski Crystals for all my pieces. I recently added “personalized bracelets” to my shop, and so far I have done over 18 custom bracelets with the individuals’ names; and just received an order asking if I could make a “personalized” necklace to match one of the bracelets I had already made.

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
Oh Wow, that’s a tough one. I actually have two, “The Rose” (named after my favorite song by Janis Joplin), I love the femininity of this piece; my other is “Imagine” (named for John Lennon, another favorite), and again, I love the elegance and simplicity of this piece [see my favorite pick below!]. At the last Christmas Fair I did, someone had wished to purchase it, but I talked them into buying another piece, since I really couldn’t part with the necklace. If you notice when looking at each piece in my shop, almost all are named after a favorite song or song title.


  • How did you find out about Etsy? Were you a buyer before a seller?
I learned about Etsy through a friend who I have known since our daughter’s were babies (28 years ago!). We started quilting back then, which I still do also. Her shop on Etsy is “Mademarion.” I signed up with Etsy about 1 ½ yrs. ago as a seller. Truthfully when I started making jewelry it was basically for myself and friends, never thinking it would one day become a business.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
Besides Bloggers – which always keeps me busy with blogging Carnivals, etc – but since I love to write it is a great team to be involved with. I also belong to the Bbest (Boomers) Team, which was the first team I had signed up for through Alis Clair. I have made a lot of Bbest friends, since we can all relate to the same time in our lives.

I also recently joined Plugger’s United, which is involved with “Blockhead Radio” with Rod and Cassandra, my favorite “lil’ Witch.”

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I find my jewelry making to be more of a hobby then a job. If I looked at it as a job, I think I would lose the enjoyment of being creative. Having worked in the financial business (stock market) for many years, everything had to be done in a timely manner, esp. in the Stock Market where one second can make a difference of $1 or $1 million dollars, which was a lot of pressure. So I prefer to enjoy what I do, as I feel each piece of jewelry I make is an extension of inner self. Actually I have been on disability for 6 years, but as I say, I am the busiest unemployed person I know!
  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I do a lot of craft shows, which of course are seasonal. Mainly during the Spring and early Summer; then comes the Christmas Fairs. I love doing the Christmas Fair in my Parish since I know all the children, and love when the little children (ages 5-6) come shopping with their $1 (thinking it is a million dollars) and say they would love to buy a certain necklace for their mommy for Christmas, of course, it is always the most expensive they choose. I ask them how much they have, and will pick out a pair of earrings and say oh, these are only $2, etc. The smiles on their little faces are worth everything!
  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
I would have to say that my mediums have a great range – I started embroidering when I was young, that was the time when we would embroider everything we wore. From there I started crocheting, quilting, then I learned to knit; and only started making jewelry about 3 years ago. I can’t say which one of these crafts is my favorite; being one who never sits still, I am currently working on many different projects at once, knitting and crocheting and I am also working on a quilt. I am also just finishing up my quilting project which I started on Etsy about 1 year ago, called “Tragedy and Triumph”.

About 20 different people on Etsy, from Alaska to New Zealand, England, all across the US, volunteered to work on the project. Each of whom has contributed one square each of something that touched them either through tragically or triumphantly. Throughout the year I have been posting each square on my blog with a write up on each. I am in the final stages of assembling the quilts. Our goal is to hopefully auction off the quilts to raise money for Katrina or children of fallen soldiers.

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
Most important to any photo is your lighting. I am fortunate to get full sunlight everyday, but find the best outdoor lighting is about 2pm. I usually take about 10 different shots of each item. Once I upload them into my computer, and have narrowed down the few I have chosen, I then use two different programs to enhance each photo: Photo Gallery and Adobe Photoshop 7. Once that is done and my designs are perfectly cropped, I save them in my picture files until I moved them into my shop on Etsy.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
I find being myself is my best asset, as I love meeting people and talking with new people. This has also enabled me to sell more in the way of custom orders, as I am more of a one-on-one person. I always feel that each piece of jewelry I create shows a bit of my personality. So the best advice I can give is “Be Yourself” and the rest will fall into place.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
I do have an account on Flickr where I put some pictures, but mainly one can learn more about myself, family, friends, and my life from my many articles on my blogs, of which I currently have two: http://www.MagdaleneJewelspjk.blogspot.com and http://www.MagdaleneJewelsblogs.blogspot.com

  • OK, my turn! What's the storybeader's favorite piece?


"Imagine." One of my favorite songs, too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

almost wordless wednesday - Joyce

Joyce asks, "What walks down the stairs,
Alone or in Paris, and makes a
Slinkety sound?" Find out at her blog,
Over at I Am A Boomer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - Feb 27th

I chose the first topic from Stormy's carnival list:
1) Etsy. What made you open a shop on Etsy? What do you like about being a seller on Etsy? What don't you like?

Is this a long story? No, not really.

Let me go back to 1998 (lol), when I was buying Hawaiian shirts for DH and me. Our museum was having a luau to celebrate our new gallery opening. E-bay was great, and I bought more than two shirts, just in case my bids didn't pan out.

This was neat! I started spending money on ebay, buying stuff that I probably didn't need. Then I started stringing beads, and buying my beads on eBay. Yes, one thing led to another, and I opened a shop there. But why weren't people buying my one-of-a-kind jewelry, that I spent so much time making? Guess they were looking for deals, just like I used to do.

A few Ebay forums later, I saw someone talking about Etsy. What a great idea. All handmade! This is perfect! Well, exactly one year later, I'm still selling on Etsy. I've stayed because of the artist community, and my Etsybloggers family, not because I'm making big bucks! Yes, once in a while, someone will buy something (they're usually from New York or overseas.)

If you're selling or buying on Etsy, and haven't joined a team, I strongly urge you to. Just lurk in the Etsy forums for a while, and they will find you. Guaranteed! And it will change your life.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Giveaway - ends 3/7

Memory wire is a blast to work with, and there's so many designs, or non-designs, to create.

This GIVEAWAY is a treasure bracelet with red beads, strung together 3 x's around!

To enter this GIVEAWAY, you must leave a comment. Please tell me about your favorite type of jewelry and how it was made (beaded, fine metals, wire-wrapping, beadweaving, pendant.)

A winning name will be randomly drawn out of a baseball cap on 3/7. Don't forget to leave your email address, so I can contact you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Little Mo and Friends

I just love what Helena has done with her paper items, all of which are environmentally friendly. She makes sets of stationary and gift wraps. I haven't figured out how she put together her notebooks yet - maybe she'll give away her secret, if we're real good! All her drawings use outdoor motifs, and they are so cute - I just want to pick them up and hug them! I know, I'm beginning to sound crazy, but look here and see what I mean:

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
My Etsy shop is called Little Mo and Friends.




  • What types of products do you sell?
I sell cute illustrated stationery and gifts in my little shop! All of my paper goods are environmentally friendly and nature inspired!
  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
I love my picnic slumber in the afternoon notebook! On sunny days, I love going into the woods to draw and this notebook is my perfect companion!
  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I had a few friends who were selling on Etsy, they mentioned it to me and suggested that I should sell my illustrations here. That was about 4 years ago! I only opened my first etsy shop in mid November 2008! I was a really slow starter haha!
  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
I am with the Etsy Dust Team, a team of talented designers who live and work in Australia.


  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
Before I started Little Mo and Friends, I used to work as an Art Director in an advertising agency. So over the years I’ve pretty much worked on most mediums in the art and design field. I usually work on digital art using computers and design related software. But my favourite tools, (and they never fail me!) are always my black pen and paper…and my faithful scanner!
  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
I love visiting a shop that has great products and lovely presentation! So I try to capture good photographs with my products so that my customers will enjoy browsing through my shop. I take my photos outdoor so as to follow the nature-friendly theme of my products. I find that the golden hour (around 4pm -6pm) is always a good time to take my photos as the light is not so harsh and sometimes it gives a beautiful warm glow in my pictures.

Also, the outdoor makes a great backdrop so all I have to do is just place my product in a spot and snap away! After taking the photos, I do spend some time on Photoshop cropping them and adjusting the levels.
  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I actually quit my Art Directing job so that I could start up Little Mo and Friends. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I was still in my current job. Hence the reason why it took me so many years before I could even find the time or energy to create art for myself and not for clients!

Like all new businesses, it is hard and slow for me. So if money becomes a little tight for me, I may have to look for a part-time job. At the moment, I am using all my free time to design more products for my stationery line.
  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
So far, word of mouth is helping me with my shop promotion. I have some wonderful support from friends and families who are continually putting the good word around. At the moment I’m dedicating my energy and time into making a few more new products before I too try and promote my shop outside of Etsy!
  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
You can find me on flickr! Just search for me! Littlemoandfriends!
  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
As I’ve only just started my stationery line two months ago, Etsy is my main venue where I sell my work. My stationery is also being sold in a lovely Melbourne boutique called Bec & Dorothy. I have lots of marketing plans for 2009; I really want to participate in some markets and craft shows for more exposure.
  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
I have a website: http://www.littlemoandfriends.com

I plan to add lots of things to the website soon; [I also have] a blog page, some eco friendly tips, a recipe and garden section and some freebie treats! So please bookmark it and come visit us again!
  • My turn! What’s the storybeader’s favorite?


I love the little notebooks, but the stationary sets really intrigued me - there’s so much to look at! I think my favorite set is the paper airplanes, with Little Mo in her tree fort with Patch.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

almost wordless wednesday - time2cre8

thank you, time2cre8, for the beauty of your crochet rope.

It helped me take the plunge -
I got a kit from the Beadwrangler on making a crocheted rope.
Should arrive next week - I'll keep everyone informed how it goes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Geronimo dies of pneumonia

I was working today, cataloguing some donated negatives, and came across this image - a piece of history from an old Lawton newspaper - exactly 100 years old! Geronimo was the chief of the Chiricahua Apache Indian band, who fought against Mexico and the United States to keep their tribal lands. No such luck in the end... He was eventually captured by the US Army, and became a prisoner of war at Fort Sill.

Monday, February 16, 2009

February Featured Etsyblogger: donnapool

Meet DonnaPool, February's Featured Etsyblogger.
She's an historian, animal lover, mother, and recycler -
a woman after my own heart.
Donna uses vintage magazines and her own photographs
to make her buttons and cards,
and sews child-safe toys and puzzle balls by hand.



Thinking of advertising with buttons?

Donna will help you design custom buttons
to hand out to customers at craft show,
or include with your orders. Isn't that a great idea?

I just love the simple and unique items she pieces together.
You can check out her etsy shop here
and her blog, over at blogspot.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

vocabulary building #3

A new word, paragon.
Seems I've seen this word before, but never looked it up.
I found it in a L-O-N-G sentence:
"The last tiny shortcoming made Delphine grateful - in fact, it was a great help to her, for Eva appeared so fantastically skilled a being, so assured, the mother also (she soon learned) of four sturdy and intelligent sons, the wife of a master butcher, that she would have been an unapproachable paragon to Delphine otherwise."
- from The Master Butchers Singing Club, by Louise Erdrich.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Paper Affection

Suanne is an Etsy artist I met in the forums, who has a very unique shop full of beautiful items, mainly made out of paper. She "lives" over at another artist community on the internet, one I've never heard of before, called Deviant Art. This site looks to be more adult oriented than etsy, and includes not only fine art, but crafts, literature and film. I think some etsy artists might be interested in checking out Deviant Art, if they haven't seen it before. But first, let's look into Paperaffection:
  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
Paper Displays of Affection





  • What types of products do you sell?
origami jewelry, hair accessories, flowers, and ornaments

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?

I'm not on an Etsy team yet - I'm thinking about joining the New New Team (New York) but since this is a hobby for me, I was waiting until my shop was more settled. (I started in September). After life calms down a bit, I think I'll really look into it!

What is your favorite item in your shop today?






My favorite item is the bronze and gold butterfly necklace I love it's elegance, bold statement, and color scheme. I think it came out great!





  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I do commissions on DeviantArt, but that's all. Check out my gallery at http://pandacub143.deviantart.com/




  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?

I was on DeviantArt.com before I came to Etsy. I just made crafts for my own enjoyment and people started to ask me to make them things. After thinking about it, I realized my idea was unique enough to support a store and I had a ton of inventory that I could sell. So the Etsy was born! I was a seller first, but now I'm an active buyer too.

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
PAPER is by far my favorite. You can't get simpler than paper. I've also experimented with sculpture, I'm an avid drawer (pencils rule!), I'm fairly decent at photography. I fail at knitting though :) Now I'm more into wire work for the jewelry, but its a more recent addition to my retinue.


  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I'm a real estate consultant for an accounting firm right in the middle of Times Square, New York City. It keeps me really busy. My art keeps me sane :)

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
Can't beat natural light. I take photos next to my window - I have indirect light which is perfect because it doesn't bleach out my shots. A tripod is so useful, as well as a solid, uninterrupted background (a large sheet of white paper does the trick!). After I take my shots in macro mode, I go to photoshop, adjust the levels, contrast, hues, etc until I'm satisfied. Pretty often though, I'll put it up, realize its not good enough, and retake them all over again. It definitely takes time.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
My deviantart account - http://pandacub143.deviantart.com/ is my ongoing portfolio of creative things, from origami, to digital drawings, to photos from travel, etc. There are a few pictures of me, but I'd rather be behind a camera than in the shot.






  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?

Don't be shy. People won't know about your shop unless you tell them, and people don't buy unless they can see what you have to offer. Get business cards, tell all your friends, and don't be afraid!

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?

Deviantart is the best place to be honest. I also have a lazy MyCraft account at http://www.mycraft.com/paperaffection

  • OK, my turn! What's storybeader's favorite?




Well, I love the money rose, pictured above. But these small, origami earrings really grabbed my attention! Great photographs, too!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spring time festivals: a how-to

Though I have to admit, I don't have the fanciest booth set up on the block, I do have some experience with festivals. Since we're coming up on the nice weather, it's time many of us need to start thinking about the spring fairs. You might ask, "Should I take the time, and expense, to set up a booth?" I say YES, definitely!

Look around and apply to a few art shows or craft fairs in your state, even if you have to submit an artist statement and photographs. See if they offer booth prizes - you might surprise yourself! Another thing to look for is if the festival is selling gift tokens to their patrons, meaning the person will definitely be buying something at the fair. I had my best sales at a small town fair that sold tokens - women were flocking to my booth to buy themselves jewelry. If you don't have a large vehicle, consider getting a space with a tent provided. Yes, it might cost more, but it's a lot less hassle. If you don't have your own tent, and the event is outside, you'll have to borrow or rent one, like I have done in the past. This year, I'm getting the tent provided.

A few things you might want to think about when you set up your booth:

  • Getting a banner with your business and/or store name on it. There are many shops on Etsy that sell banners, like monster promos. You can even ask LazyT how she likes hers!
  • Include sales tax with your pricing. If you were selling consignment, the store would be asking for tax, unless you live in Texas, or something! And use even numbers - get away from change - it's so much easier.
  • Use props to display your smaller items. This helps to attract and hold people's attention. I use large gourds to drape necklaces around, and little ballerinas, specifically to hold earrings. I've even had some who wanted to buy my props!
  • Purchase tables that have extendable legs. I've found tables that fold out and expand to two different heights. And if that's not possible, bring different sized tables. You can also stack flat objects or use boxes to create depth and height.
  • At the festival itself, stay at the same height as your patrons. No one likes to look down to someone sitting in a lawn chair. Stand or get a bar stool to sit in when you're tired.
  • If you don't have a credit card machine, get a ProPay account. It's real easy, and you're charged only when you use it. You get the buyer's credit card information, and process it over the phone, for a small fee. People are apt to buy higher priced AND multiple items, using a credit card.
  • Have your business cards accessible. Stormy Designs makes personal business card holders, and I love mine. Now I put my postcards on it - they're great advertising, and people can put the card on their bulletin board or refrigerator.








Remember to bring some drinks and snacks for yourself. Food is so expensive at fairs, and you don't want to spend all your hard-earned money! Most of all, have fun and talk to people who go by your booth. They will remember you if they have a good time looking.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Panoptica

Jimena (Pan to me!) is a student living in Mexico, who sells found objects and repurposed items in her Etsy shop. She is quite active on the team scene in Etsy, including the Etsybloggers. Jimena tells us about her love of walking in the city with a camera, taking photographs. You need to check out her flickr site for an exclusive view of Mexico City. Here's the whole story about the woman behind Panoptica:

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
My etsy shop is called Panoptica




  • What types of products do you sell?
I am currently selling bottlecap brooches and vintage eyeglasses. However, I'm working to incorporate more vintage into the store, as well as some other accessories, bottlecap and other types.
  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
My favorite item is the Vintage Pan Am Stewardess Badge. It's positively beautiful, and to me it's so reminiscent of old times.

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I don't know how I stumbled upon Etsy!! I was into crafting before, so I frequented sites like getcrafty, supernaturale, and craftster. Probably I caught the link there. I was a stalker in Etsy for ages. I loved it; didn't buy much though. I became a seller just this summer.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
Yes, I am currently involved with 4 teams. My dearest are the EtsyBloggers and the Pluggers, but I'm also in the local Mexico team and Trashion.












  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
Yes, I do consignment in several local stores.

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
I have material and medium ADD. I write, collage, draw, glue and all sorts of things. I have been stuck with the bottlecaps for a while now though. The only thing I haven't caught up is knitting, which I've always admired.
  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I'm actually a student. My major is political science. I also work part-time sometimes.

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
It took me a while to get my pictures straight and even now I always change them and edit them a bit because I'm never happy with them. For taking pictures, I found a perfect spot in my living room which has a big window. I throw myself to the floor next to it and photograph. Seriously, it's the best light in the house especially at 4 o'clock, which is the time I always take my pics. Then when I upload them I see if they need tweaking or if they can go straight to the listing. I am still learning though!!!
My tip is to find the best daylight you can.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
Of course!! I love promoting my flickr. LOL. There's a lot of everything in there.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
The Etsy forums are terrific, but I have found that chat is more dynamic and actually gets people to your shop. And well, plugging your links out there for everyone to see.

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
Well, I have a blog and I'd love it if people checked it out. It really is my pride and joy.

  • My turn! What's Storybeader's favorite?


Well, I really like the stewardess wings too, but my next favorite is the license plate pin. I'm just wondering what car it came off of...
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