Monday, March 30, 2009

watercolor artists in the blogosphere

When I travel, I love going to art museums. But since I don't get out too much these days, the internet is the next best thing. Many of you know that I hang out in Entrecard. I like to look in the "art" category, and see who's blogging. There are a lot of talented artists out there, who write too!

One of my favorite mediums is watercolor. So I thought I'd introduce you to three watercolor artists that I've come across, who I visit regularly.

I've written about johnwrightart before, and was even lucky enough to win a print in one of his giveaways. Thanks John, for sending it to me, all the way from England. Here's his latest piece (left), Railside Industry.












Another artist I visit everyday is Linda Hammelman, at her blog Paintings in Watercolor. You can find her on Etsy and Bonanzle. She also has a gallery on ArtScuttlebutt, a great place to look at art.

Landscapes are a favorite of mine. This one is called Cliffs of Moher, which was in a post in early March.







Caroline, from Life's Little Wonders , has been away on vacation, but she's back now! She lives in South Africa and paints an array of subject matter that I, in the States, don't see everyday. I think the first thing that attracted me to her blog was her rural life paintings. This painting (left) is something new, from her bird series. Isn't it just beautiful?

Hope you enjoyed your visit in watercolors. I had so much fun, I think I'll make this into a series, and visit other mediums, which are favorites of mine.


So, what's your favorite art in the blogosphere?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - A Dusty Attic

A Dusty Attic came on the Etsy scene back in Feb 2007. You'll find vintage, supples, knitted items, and now, Alphabet photography. If you're a homeschooling mom, Lizzie is a perfect person to meet. She has a blog named A Dusty Frame, and can tell you about the groups she networks with. You may even get a few tips on soapmaking...

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?



  • What types of products do you sell?
I sell an eclectic mix of vintage items, hand knit items, supplies, and Alphabet photography. The photo letters allow you to spell words or names.



  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
Hand Knit Upcycled Recycled Wool Flower Pin in Red (there's free US shipping!)



  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I heard about it on the Ebay community boards actually. I signed up long ago and would come and look once in awhile but never really got my feet wet until Christmas 2008.


  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?

I am involved with SHE team. SHE is a group of artisans that have the common bond of schooling our children at home. We have met through a variety of home schooling forums and through Etsy. Selling on Etsy is an outlet for our creative endeavors as well as a chance to supplement our families' income.

Our Blog and Yahoo Group



  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
My Mom was always doing crafts so I think I've done everything. Shrinky Dinks, latch hook, quilting, sewing, you name it. Most recently I knit, scrapbook, make soap, and photograph interesting items.
  • 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?
Basically, I try to take photos in the daylight.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
No, I don't right now.

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I am home full time homeschooling my son. I'd love the online sales to be a full time income but I'm not there yet.

  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I sell also on my blog.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
I believe that selling on established sites is much more profitable than going it alone. So, find out how the platform you've chosen works and get on board.

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

I'm on Twitter and I blog at http://adustyframe.com/

OK. It's the storybeader's pick! Here's my favorite piece:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - March 27, 2009

I've never noticed how many special national groups and themes are celebrated in March. In this etsyblogger's carnival, we're being asked, which means the most to us?
(I love the list we were given to choose from - and here's some more!)

I think National Women's History Month is most important to me because Women's issues and History are two topics that I actively get involved with, in my life. This year's theme?
Women taking the lead to save our planet!


This issue makes it even more special. The organizers of the National Women's History Project are featuring Rachel Carson as their "iconic model," calling her the founder of the contemporary environmental movement. I read her book, Silent Spring, back in high school, in the early 1970s. I was so impressed with her knowledge and commitment.

She was an inspiration to women then, and I'm glad to see people are looking to her now as a role model. Here are a few places where you can read and learn about Rachel Carson:
http://www.rachelcarson.org/
http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-silentspring/
http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/carson.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_Njv5Ygg0g


I think the first sentence of her book, The Sea Around Us, says it all:

"Beginnings are apt to be shadowy and so it is with the beginnings of that great mother of life, the sea."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blogfire Carnival - March 27, 2009

I've always wanted to work with seed beads, after seeing so many beautiful beaded objects in museums. So I decided this spring, it was time for me to try.

A few weeks ago, I found instructions that were understandable for the peyote (or gourd) stitch. Here's what I wrote about my first attempt, with 6/0 beads (6 beads per inch).

This keychain (left) was the result of my first beadweaving project. I'm using it now for my keys, and am pleased with how well it's holding up.



Next, I decided to try smaller seed beads, size 11/0, which I like better. At home, I have a bunch of these, so I'm good to go.



I used the same basic pattern, but "tweeked" it, to fit the beads. The only problem is, I don't have enough TIME! I did make another small keychain, that I'm selling on Etsy. It's going for a really good price, seeing the amount of time I put into it!







My latest attempt is a peyote rope necklace. Now THIS is going to take ages to make, because if you make a mistake, it'll ruins the whole rope. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my jewelry, and if something doesn't look good, or there's a mistake, I won't put my name to it! But I figure if I take my time, and weave in between other projects, I won't get discouraged.


Here's to beautiful seed bead colors and springtime! I'm excited! Interested in a custom keychain? I'll make you one, similiar to the one for sale on Etsy. Just pick five colors and leave me a comment or convo me on Etsy.

almost wordless wednesday


Here's a surprise visit from Florida. A new BlogCatalog follower and friend. Her blog, self esteem for women.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

1000 markets: new selling venue

Yeah! My shop was approved today . Visit me and tell me what you think!

While dropping entrecards the other day, I came across a new selling venue that really piqued my interest. It's name: 1000 markets. CEO Matthew Trifiro says the site's mission is "about empowering small artisan merchants." The company launched its "Sneak Preview" mode in Sept 2008; the Grand Opening will be this spring. Matt and his team are looking for artisans now, to set up shop.

1000 Markets is a community of boutique-style artists. The layout has a unique marketplace feel. I think to sellers, the most noticeable difference is going through an approval process - like a juried art show. Since Storybeader is aiming at higher-end buyers, I immediately saw the benefit of this, and started the application process. When my banner and images weren't looking their best (yes, I was in a hurry...), I was asked to improve them, and reapply. There is a mixed reaction to this approval process in the online forums, but I appreciated the critique, and shot some of my photographs again.

Some other differences:
  • Each shop is required to join a Market, organized around a particular style or theme, which allows the site to keep an intimate feel.
  • One-of-a-kind product sales are stressed; no vintage or supplies allowed.
  • Each merchant has a blog area, where the artist can talk about their personal experience and processes - a great place to introduce new items and interact with buyers.
  • Instead of using PayPal, 1000 Markets uses Amazon exclusively as its "payment" partner. This allows buyers to pay with a major credit card. They are looking at adding international buyer capabilities soon.
  • You don't need an account with 1000 Markets to buy something from the site, like Etsy requires (a very handy device!)
You can read more about the business side of this site at 1000 Market's Minifesto : Things We Believe.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The book that I just finished for my book club this month, has a fun title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. But the subject actually is more serious. The story starts with Juliet Ashton, a London author, exchanging letters in 1946 with a gentleman living on Guernsey, an island in the English Channel. Juliet decides to visit, with the idea of doing research for a new book about the German occupation of the island during the war.

The story is very moving, and funny at times, as we get to know the members of the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club that was formed during the occupation. The narrative is told through letters between Juliet, members of the book club, and Juliet's friends in Great Britain. An unusual format, but certainly readable.

I never understood how one story could by written by two authors. At the end, in the acknowledgements, Shaffer tells about her niece, Annie Barrows (an author too), who "stepped in to finish this book after unexpected health issues interrupted my ability to work shortly after the manuscript was sold." The two wrote a wonderful story, and I would highly recommend it!

Looking for some good books to read? Ruthie, from RoseWorksJewelry just turned me onto this great nonfiction book review site over at NonFiction Book Reviews. Check it out!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Etsybloggers Featured Artist - DesignByNora

The Etsybloggers Featured Artist for the month is DesignByNora.

I've been wondering what her adorable little earring studs were made from - it's polymer clay! They are so cute, and she has a great array of colors. Talent must run in the family - in the fall, Nora started showing leather purses, made by her uncle, that are absolutely beautiful! By the way, she's offering $1.00 off anything in her shop, in recognition for publishing 100 posts on her blog! And there's free shipping. Check it out! The link to her shop is HERE.

Want to start up a conversation with Nora? She's on Facebook.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Nova Scotia Beach Glass Jewelry

Lori has a great business relationship with her dog. Willow finds the glass and Lori makes the jewelry. They have two shops you can access on Etsy. Actually, Willow's shop opened first, in November 2006, and now sells mostly sea glass and destash items. The other shop is Nova Scotia Beach Glass Jewelry. Makes sense! Check out both sites (see below), and tell us which you like best!
  • What's the name of your Etsy shops?

Nova Scotia Beach Glass


and

willowblacklab


  • What types of products do you sell?
I sell seaglass jewelry that Willow and I find on the shores of Nova Scotia. Also I recycle motorcycle jackets into scarves and key chains.














  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I was a buyer, then turned seller. A friend emailed me to tell me about this wonderful site with all handmade items.
  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I work outside the house but selling online allows me a little more freedom.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?





Yes , I belong to the Etsy Atlantic Provinces Street Team.

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?



I’ve done cross stitch, mosaic, seaglass, sewing, jewelry wrapping. My favorite so far is sea glass wire wrapping. I love the feel of the glass in my hands.








  • 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 try to take my pictures in natural sunlight first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I also sell on artfire , facebook and eBay but etsy is the biggest site that I sell on.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
Be pleasant to everybody online . You never know where your next buyer is.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
My blog is http://novascotiabeachseaglass.blogspot.com/

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5005865 [Etsy shop]

http://www.indiepublic.com/profile/Lori77

http://twitter.com/seajewelry


  • My turn! What's the storybeader's favorite item?
I love this double-sided pendant, with part of the maker's mark on the ceramic shard. A real piece of history!




Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

vocabulary building #5

This is a simple sounding word, but I was curious about it, because Dawsey is writing Juliet, describing his experiences on the island during the war:

"I have a slight limp from a badly set leg, and though it kept me from army service, it has never been bad enough to bother me. I was very hale, and so I began to deliver water around to some cottages."

From The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

Check my left column for the definition.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Beadweaving Project

This has been a long time coming...
but I FINALLY started my beadweaving lessons.
I decided not to crochet the beads -
didn't want to do that in the first place -
never was very good at using two sticks at one time.
I knew there had to be another way. SO



I got a needle and taught myself the peyote stitch. And used one stick. A chopstick! After a few hours, and many starts, something finally took shape - a rope!




I've seen keychains made with this stitch,
so I ended the beading before I messed up big time.



The perfect small project.

The beads look like they "relaxed" a bit. At least I know how to start and stop the rope.

I plan to keep the keychain and see how long it holds up! Will keep you informed...





(update: I think the cord I placed down the center was smaller than the chopstick. So I decided to put the beads back on the chopstick! Think it looks much better. I also used the "female" side of a barrel clasp on the end of the stick, where I will attach the ring. Lesson learned... or do we call that trial and error!?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - ptitebaloue

Say hi to a French Canadian etsy seller who spins and knits cute little creatures for the child in all of us. Isabelle opened her Etsy shop in October 2008. Her profile says she loves to "write and draw and knit and dream..." I see the makings of another etsyblogger in this shop! To all you readers out there, give Isabelle a warm welcome and tell her what you think of her adorable toys.

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
A-knit-thing

  • What types of products do you sell?
Cute soft toys!! :)

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
Definitively Easton :) He's such a perfect creature!!

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I first saw the name in a newspaper article devoted to handmade... The minute I started surfing the site I KNEW I had to open a shop :) I even converted my boyfriend!




  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?




I'm currently a member of Etsy Treasury Team (although I admit it's been a few days since I visited our forum... but I promise I'll do better, team!! ;) and I'd love to be part of Etsy natural kids... Let's say it's my goal for 2009 :)
  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
Not yet but in the next few months I'm planning to offer them to a few art and handcraft boutiques in old Quebec city! :)


  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
I started with acrylic (stuffed with polyfill) but more and more I'm spinning my own yarn (wool, alpaca, and even bamboo!!) and I just love it!! I'm also planning to try wool stuffing instead of polyfill :)

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
Not yet, but who knows... ;)
  • 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?
Taking them in natural light was probably THE major tip I received... and use a tripod (or anything stable to put the camera on) so the details won't be all blurry...




  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I've been a freelance journalist, a sales clerk in art boutiques, a communication assistant for an art biennial... Now I'm just looking for something that will last :)
  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
I'd say ANY step counts... Either you help someone on the forum and make friend with them, give away business cards in any particular occasion, thank a person for including you in his treasury... Marketing starts with one person at the time :)


  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
Might end up with a blog eventually... for now everything is in my shop :)


My turn! What's the storybeader's favorite?


Well, they're all so cute, and I've shown you some of my favorites. Let's see, I love penguins... and alliteration. Pedro the Penguin is so handsome, and he's pure wool - yum!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Since two different bloggers awarded me the
Kreativ Blogger Award (Precious Quilts and Islandgirl),
I thought I should be good enough to play along.

The rules are to list 7 things I love and pass it on to 7 people deserving of the award. Seven things I love:
1. my family, that would be my past, present and future
2. my job, not that many people can say they love their jobs!
3. words and the smooth sound of sentences
4. the smell and sound of the ocean
5. little bitty perennials, first coming out of the ground
6. those flashes of creativity that come when beginning a new art project
7. dropping in a chair, after a good hour of exercise

Now, seven blogs that I really enjoy, and I think you should check out too:
1. A Keeper's Jackpot, always entertaining and I good read for the nature lover
2. Two Zany Zebras, a woman who can always put a smile on my face
3. the weblog of artist athena workman, for some fun artwork
4. John Wright Art, I love your watercolors
5. Timothy Adams Designs, for all your helpful tips and tricks
6. Beaded Tail, my cat and dog love-in
7. Beading Mania, my inspiration

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

almost wordless wednesday

I usually don't play tag, but my good friend TiLT handed me this "six by six tag" and I couldn't pass it up. Though a bit overdue, you're right, Theresa, this was fun and there's a lot of fond memories. So, what was the "6th file in the 6th folder"? It's me and my dear Emma girl, who is no longer with us. The name of the file is "emma and mom eating shrimp."
The rules: pick the 6th file in the 6th folder of your picture file and post it.
Who needs to be tagged? Maybe some newbies to the etsybloggers team:
1) designsbyvanessa
2) Michael Grace Designs
3) mnhphotography
4) rubyshill
5) mrsdazo

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - March 13th

Even though I was going to pick the first carnival topic to write about "Spring and what I look forward to" (diging in the dirt), I decided to go with the second theme: "Month 3. We are already on March!! What have you accomplished this year in real life or on Etsy?? Have you followed your New Year's resolutions? What are your plans for the rest of 2009?"

I'm happy to report that I've accomplished one of my goals for 2009: organize house papers! That involved storing our 2008 household files and starting new folders for 2009. And I brought all our paperwork to our CPA - I decided this year with a new business, to let someone with experience prepare our taxes.

I'm also very pleased with my blogging goals. GoalForIt says I've completed 71% of my target (you need to check out Goal For It, if you haven't already.) I'm doing good, writing "at least 3 blog posts every week."

One thing I need to concentrate on is finding "new Etsy watercolor artists and write about them." John Wright, who I met through EntreCard, is one blog I now visit everyday. I wrote about him, a few weeks ago, here. I love his artwork. He has a great looking blog, and you might even win one his watercolors in a monthly giveaways. I won a signed print last month!

My weight loss and exercising goals have not been accomplished (not a surprise!) But now that the weather is nice, I'm looking forward to riding my bicycle and walking the dog - if I can tear myself away from the computer! Maybe I'll start walking to work, though that would means my lunchtime visits with the doggie would have to stop...

Another goal for 2009 is to look for consignment opportunities. I've been doing well in the Museum's Gift Shop, but I need to investigate other prospects. This would mean taking items out of my online shops - I'm not too happy with that. I'd love to know how others manage their online and consignment sales simultaneously - do you attempt to put the same item in your virtual shop and in a physical location at the same time? Please write me, or better yet, blog about this. {:-D

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blogfire Carnival - March 13, 2009

How often does Friday the 13th turn up in one year? Just once?

If the 13th lands on Friday in February, and it's leap year, you're going to have two in a row. That's what happened this year. And we have another Friday 13th to look forward to in November! Last month, everything worked out well, so I’m pretty confident.

But there’s still the question as to whether I’m superstitious or not. Well, I never walk under ladders - that's just plain dumb! And I don't like stepping on cracks in the sidewalk - but it's kinda hard when you live on a tree-lined street. Unlucky number 13 is something the western world thought up. I’d be interested in finding out who started the whole irrational idea...

The number thirteen (13) has the primary numerological meaning of abundance, certainty, and devotion. That’s not bad!

In traditional numerology, 13 represents someone who is reborn into a higher level of consciousness and has reached a state of transformation. This is reflected in the Christian world where there were twelve disciples and Jesus was considered the thirteenth. That sounds good, right? I doubt many Christians consider Jesus to be unlucky!

So, this March and November, I'm going to ignore any superstitious leanings, and just be glad it's Friday.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

And the Giveaway winner is...


Thank you everyone, who responded to the Giveaway. We had a total of 33 names to pick from. Thought I'd share with you a little information I gathered from the respondents.



In answer to my question, What is your favorite type of jewelry and how is it made?
Most everyone likes glass or beaded jewelry, specifically necklaces. This was a bit of a surprise to me... but then, the giveaway is a beaded bracelet. And pendants were real popular. Just a few mentioned rings and earrings. Some people talked about a particular piece that was bought or made for them, and I can understand why that would become a favorite - it's always special to receive a gift of jewelry.

And on that upbeat note, the winner of the Giveaway is lenoxknits. Congrats!
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