Saturday, October 31, 2009

weekly planner - Orange Circles

Introducing my first, all original, weekly planner, called Orange Circles

The object of this journal is to use it when you need it. I remember as a girl, all the senseless dribble I included in my diaries, just because there was a page with a date! This book can be used as a planner, datebook and diary. One side has lined pages, the other, a weekly calendar block, for ANY week you want.





"Each week the lady
Recorded the circle of
Events in her book."
- storybeader





Sewn together using the coptic stitch, the planner is 6.5" x 9" in size and has a total of 96 pages. The paper is 24lb, a little bit heavier than regular printer paper. There are 48 weekly blocks available.



Need a Special Order? Contact me at storybeader@gmail.com or reply to this post.

Delivery Confirmation available, upon request.

A storyland journal, brought to you from the Storybeader's Workshop.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Coffee Pot People

Anitra's blog is a favorite place for me to go. To keep the Coffee Pot People company, she introduced a line of Tea Kettle Characters. Too Funny! She has so many creative ideas, it's hard to keep up with them all (sorry, there are not links to every photo.) You just have to go by and see her creations - they always put a smile on my face. Even if you don't have the chance to buy one of these fabulous characters, you can also catch their escapades, on vacation notecards. Perfect for your coffee or tea drinking friends!

  • What's the name of your business/shop?
I call my business Coffee Pot People, but I actually have two etsy shops, http://www.coffeepotpeople.etsy.com and http://www.aniwatersprite.etsy.com








CoffeePotPeople is where I sell what I make, and AniWatersprite is where I sell beads, sewing patterns, a few vintage items, and, once in a while, aprons my mama makes. She's an expert seamstress, and I'd like to get her set up with her own shop, but we haven't had time to do that yet.

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
I have a blog

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
Hoo boy. I'm ADD. The short answer is, "Anything that pops into my head to make!"

The actual list includes Coffee Pot People and Tea Kettle Characters, who are garden and kitchen folk that start with either a coffee or tea pot for a head. The big ones have names and personality profiles/bios that tell about their jobs, hobbies, and idiosyncracies, and the little ones get just names.

Other things I sell are China and Mega Blossoms, which are "flowers" made from glass and china dishes and other shiny bits; greeting cards that feature the Coffee Pot People and Tea Kettle Characters; jewelry--button stack bracelets, cuffs, fabric pins, earrings; and fabric gift and wine bags from recycled fabrics.

As if that weren't enough, I have a long mental list of things I haven't made yet, but NEED to.


  • Show us a piece you recently finished
(She's in my Etsy shop!)


  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I get ideas, and then I sit down at the table with my materials and see if they work. Once in a while when I'm away from home something will pop into my head and I'll grab whatever piece of paper is handy and sketch it out, to keep myself from forgetting it. Then I forget about the piece of paper until it resurfaces, sometimes months later, which can leave me scratching my head, wondering what I meant to convey with that little drawing!

Right now, I'm working on cuff bracelets made from recycled belts. I've been using belts with double or triple rows of grommets, and lacing electrical wire through them in a crisscross pattern. Today I'm trying one that uses chain instead, to get a cuff with more shine. The belt inspired that change, as it is white and chrome; it seemed like gold would be nice on it.

With the Coffee Pot People, it's all in the assorted "Junk" on the shelves of my workroom. A piece that would make a great hat, or a coffee pot with exceptional character, a lamp that looks like a gown to me--those are what get my imagination running. I stack up the pieces until I get a person I like, and after that it's pure engineering to figure out how to connect everything. The last step it to paint the face on. When it's all done, I stand the person in the kitchen or on the dining table until s/he tells me who s/he is!

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
This is the avatar I use most:

It's Ari, an engineering major who got into designing her own retro fashions to wear swing dancing. They've become so popular, she's thinking about changing majors and careers!

I don't really advertise, per se. I do Twitter new posts, and I hand out a lot of business cards at art/craft shows. Posting on various websites puts my name out, too.

Oh, and recently a website, http://www.thinkcrafts.com invited me to be a regular contributor. They have my bio and link back to my blog.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
The Linked Within widget that puts, "You might also like:" after each post. I even click on those myself sometimes, because after a while you forget what you've written a year or two back!
  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
Right now, the only one I'm using is Etsy. The low fees are great, and it's pretty easy to list an item. I also love the fact that everything on the site is either handmade, or supplies. And I know some people get a little exercised over the vintage items that are sold, but I like those, too.

I used to use eBay, and may go back to it, since I have a store there. I'm even a power seller, but their fees seemed to get a little out of hand, and I quit listing there quite a while ago.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I do Twitter, where I let my Political Me out, and am intermittent on MySpace.

My favorite is Facebook, because I get to see what my family and friends are up to. It's like eavesdropping on a whole bunch of people who don't mind that you're doing it!

Last night there were new pictures of our great-grandson, from way over in New Zealand. It lets you feel like people aren't quite so far away, you know? Another example: During the 2008 election, I chatted back and forth with an old classmate who lives in Japan, and we watched the returns together that way. It was so cool.

I haven't figured out the Fan Page thing yet, but I'm not really sure I want to, since I'm not sure what it's good for, other than bothering people! (Bad Anitra! Bad!)

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
Don't quit, and stay active! With Etsy especially, the more you list, the more sales you'll have. (That's a business hint for me, too, since my shop isn't the hottest store on the planet. Yet.)

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I'm a member of an artists' co-op, Trillium Artisans. Their formula is: Cost of materials + (time X $12. per hour). If you're putting your items in a store or show, you add the percentage they're going to take to that. The idea is to make at least $12 an hour. I use that as a guideline, but it isn't carved in stone for me.

One thing that enters into it for me is affordability. I've spent most of my life not being able to afford many things I loved. When I price things, I want to include as many people in the "I can afford that!" Club as possible. It may not be the best business sense, but it puts a happy feeling in my heart.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
This is one end of my workshop, where I create the Coffee Pot People:

And here I am, out in the yard, my preferred place for making the China and Mega Blossoms:
















  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
Hallmark! Made in Oregon stores!

The greeting cards are a bit of a focus, since they let me market an image after the actual item has sold. I've got ideas for flip books, and my daughter is working on an organizer with Coffee Pot People images sprinkled throughout. We'd both like to see a coffee table book of Coffee Pot People.

The other thing I work on is lining up shows. Each new venue scares the bejeebers out of me, for fear I'll mess something up, or not be able to find it, or some other newbie disaster. My goal is to have a whole list of annual shows that are familiar and reliable, and not have to look for new ones ever again!

  • OK, the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite.
It definitely has to be a Coffee Pot Person.
I found Amos on one of Anitra's photo storage sites.

Isn't he a doll! I've always gone for the strong, silent type (hehe) And so handy. He's a bricklayer by day, firedancer by night. That's his lady friend, Angie. You can see more of Anitra's photos on a new (to me, at least) internet photo storage site called dropshots

http://www.dropshots.com/DifferentEyes
http://www.dropshots.com/CoffeePotPeople

and she also have a flickr account:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14925282@N08/

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In the middle of a handmade journal

Thought I'd show you the midpoint in this project.
Yes, it's a messy table.
I have the pages cut and folded.
And the outside covers flattened
(after using the glue, they always need to be flattened.)

OK, next is to sew the pages together.
And I need to write my haiku.
Hope to finish this journal by the weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Etsy Treasury for the Facebook Fans

Haven't snagged a treasury on Etsy for a long time.
This one is dedicated to my FFEST
(Facebook Fans street team.)
Interested in joining? Here's our Ning hangout
and of course our Facebook Fan team page .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Watercolor coptic stitch Sketchbook

New item!

Here's my latest sketchbook, made with acid-free, cold press paper. There are 40 heavy weight (140 lb.) pages, taken from a Strathmore 400 series spiral-bound notebook.

Trees and leaves adorn the covers. I used brown waxed thread and the coptic stitch to sew the large sheets together. Perfect gift for the artist!

And don't forget the haiku:


She waited until
Fall arrived to walk down the
Path they used to take.






Pages measure: 7.5" x 10"
Outside measurement of book: 8" x 10"



Handmade in the
storybeader's workshop.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Vintage Chenille

If you've a regular reader to my blog, you know my affinity for stuffed animals. What Leah (leahkl) has created are adorable soft toys and rattles, with individual personalities. I love her dogs, but they all have touched me in one way or another, whether it's my favorite foods, animals, or ethnic dolls from my family's past.
  • What's the name of your business/shop?
Vintage Chenille



  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog ?
here is my blog http://handmadebitsandpieces.blogspot.com/

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
mostly soft toys and quilts created from vintage chenille
  • Show us a piece you recently finished
  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I don't have any sketches, I have many ideas and not enough spare time! I am creating stock for 3 craft markets, some wholesale orders and hopefully some Christmas items.


  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I have an animated ad that I use for advertising on websites and project wonderful, it rotates between my logo and some of my toys.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
The followers widget, because I can click and visit their favourite blogs too (I spend too much time on my computer!)

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?




Etsy and Madeit, I love Etsy because of the huge variety of items for sale and the enormous amount of helpful info on the forums. Madeit is an Australian site and I am an Aussie, so I like to purchase Australian made when possible.



  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
Twitter is the one I use the most because it seems to be the quickest. I love browsing on Flickr.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
I think that my blog is a great business tool and I love connecting with other amazing creative bloggers through my blog.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I don't really have a formula, the cost of my materials varies greatly!

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
I create in all corners of my home, I don't think that I have a pic!
  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?


I have many new creations and "branding" ideas that I would like to try, I hope that my business continues to grow as it has in the past 12 months.



OK, it's the storybeader's turn. I think Spot has got to be my favorite. These are his two sides. I love the name and Leah's play on words. And, of course, I'm partial to doggies!
(Update: Spot has wandered out of the shop!)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't forget the packaging!


I was invited by a local art center to show some of my jewelry in their holiday sale.

WooHoo!

So I went in search for something appropriate to put my jewelry into. Not many boxes around the house, mostly Priority Mail.


I did find some old cigar boxes a friend gave me, and decided to put my larger necklaces in them..


Next stop, Hobby Lobby. I found some really colorful oval-shaped boxes that did nicely.

Jewelry, a poem, and a nice box.
What more could you want from a gift?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

almost wordless wednesday - magical fall beauty at Hunter Mountain


Jackie has been sharing some lovely photographs from her fire-tower hiking challenge. This was the final hike for her badge, "but certainly not our last fire tower." See HERE for her story and more beautiful photos.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - Oct. 23, 2009

I'm one of the houses in my neighborhood who always gives out sweets to pumpkin-carrying children on Halloween. I was thinking this year to find something healthier than the usual candy bar. So I went looking online to see what others were up to. Lots of sites are talking about making your own treats, but I'm staying away from that - don't want to be blamed for tampering with food.

Some other options available are:
*packaged trail mix - you can buy these in bulk, and the ones the kids don't take, you get to keep!
*granola and breakfast bars - these you can also buy in bulk - I love them, but kids might not
*dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, which is an excellent source of antioxidants. I've never like dark chocolate, but if you have to buy candy, at least there's something good about it
*toys and stickers - lots of sites are talking about stickers, something all kids love to get. Maybe little cars for boys, and crayons, for the budding artists.

Today I went grocery shopping. This is what I brought home for the trick-or-treaters: ScoobyDoo, Spiderman, and Dora the Explorer!


Each box comes with 10 bags of little figurines. They are made from concentrated fruit juice, have 90 calories, and you can find them in the breakfast aisle. Kinda like those wrap-ups that I remember as a kid. At least, I think I was a kid when I ate them... Not the best thing to hand out, but something a little different for their stash of goodies.

So, are you going to be stationed by the door this Halloween? What are you handing out?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Foxy G. Knits

I recently visited Lois' blog, and it is so very interesting. I later realized why it appeals to me: she's an organizatonal freak, just like me! Her blog, Foxy G's Den of i-KIT-quity, has a variety of weekly posts, featuring interesting artists and creative people who support good causes. And she's very business savvy. I didn't realize I was a scarf lover until I looked at Lois' unique handwork. Everyone needs to check out her Etsy page, especially now that winter’s coming... at least in the northern hemisphere.

  • What's the name of your business/shop?
Foxy G. Knits

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
Registered domain name: www.foxygknits.com

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
Foxy G. Knits features hand knit scarves, shawls and wraps for today’s woman.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
This is Pretty in Plush Purple Pluffs, certain to bring out your inner fabulous!
  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Currently, I am working on 200 children’s scarves. Recently, I wanted to build a Facebook Fan page and get to 100 fans so that I could secure my vanity name (http://www.facebook.com/foxygknits) So, I offered to knit a children’s scarf for the local homeless shelter for every new fan I received between July 15 – August 15. I posted that information on my Facebook page as well as tweeted about it. I thought that it would take me a month to reach 100, but it took only four days. By the time the promotion was over, I owed the shelter more than 200 scarves! Fortunately, I had built up a large inventory for my shop and am now in the process of taking photos, writing copy and listing those completed items.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I have not hosted any advertising on my blog to date and have advertised on others sites very little. When I did advertise, I participated in Project Wonderful on others’ sites. I have two avatars, one I use for etsy and my personal Facebook page. The other, I use for my Facebook biz page and online advertising. I have chosen to keep my shop name, Facebook vanity and twitter name the same to help build brand recognition.
  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
As I am on wordpress.com, I am at the mercy of the particular theme I am using for widgets. I would have to say that my favorite widget is “flickr.” I am very visual and enjoy having photos of my items in various colors on my blog. In addition, I like that when I add an item to flickr, it automatically adds to my blog.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
This is an easy question – I am only on etsy.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I am on Facebook and twitter . I post newly-listed items and other information on my Facebook biz page. I am a member of the Etsy Twitter Team, and we are very active in promoting our team as well as each other. Facebook is more narrative; you put information out there, and people respond or not. Twitter is way more interactive. I think each has its place in the marketing mix and also that both are effective if used to develop relationships.


I am also a member of two other teams: Etsy North Georgia Street Team and Etsy Bloggers Team and share useful information with them at every opportunity. I promote members of my teams, as well as other etsy sellers on my blog.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
Run your business like you are the customer – be that customer. What makes you want to shop in a particular place – service, attention to detail? And do get comfortable with promoting yourself.

I know that many artists and artisans do not like to promote themselves, and I truly understand. However, if you don’t promote yourself, it is like throwing a party and not sending out invitations. I bet no one shows up. But there are ways to promote yourself that are not distasteful. As I mentioned above, I use a variety of methods to market or promote Foxy G. Knits, and they all involve building relationships and trust. I share useful information with my team members at every opportunity. I generously heart sellers whose work I like. (OK, those were two helpful business hints!)

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I have been advised that I should be charging three times the cost of the yarn per item. Sometimes that works, and something it doesn’t. For example, I am currently working with yarn that costs $13 a skein retail, and the scarf I am knitting will take at least two skeins. Now, there is no way that I can sell that particular scarf for $78. By the same token, I have knit items with yarn that cost only $5 or $6, but that required a lot of time. Those scarves are worth way more $15-18, based on that formula.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
My knitting is so mobile that I take my little corner of the world with me wherever I go!

[Lois, I found this photo on Lois' blog, back in August, on a Monday morning. This is her beloved ashtray collection... or part of it. She has even started a designated blog about her collection - I personally have to commend you on this, being a curator in a museum and knowing the cataloging objects!]

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
I am absolutely doing what I am suppose to be doing right now – selling on etsy and producing a regular blog. Where that takes me in a year, I do not know, but I am confident that it will be to the right place. I am pretty sure that as someone who has been a writer for her entire life and been in the communication field for more than 25 years, I will have expanded my writing options.

OK, it's the storybeader's turn! I was trying to see if I had a favorite style, but there was such a fantastic choice, it was hard to say. The sassy wrap scarfs were the most appealing to me, with the different textiles and colors. Hate the say it, but it reminded me of an animal - check this out:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October Featured Etsyblogger - Made By Melissa

Made By Melissa is our Featured Etsyblogger for the month of October. And she has LOTS of links to October-recognized events and causes. If you're looking for topics to write about, you need to stop by her October Is... post. Great source.

Melissa has a wide variety of items for sale in her Etsy shop. I love the stuffed animals in her "Toys and Accessories" section. Yes, I was the stuffed animal sort of girl, growing up. She's even has a turtle - aawww! Here's a few of my favorites:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Request for my Dublin photo


Was I surprised to see a photo submission request sitting in my inbox at Flickr Mail. It was from Schmap, a "leading publisher of digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the US, Europe, Canada, Austraila and New Zealand."

The request: for this image of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin! As I remember, this was the first major building I photographed, after arriving in Ireland (after flying all day and night from the US!) I think I got 2-3 hours of sleep before we started touring the city.

The image request is only in the final selection phase, but I'm honored that someone thought enough of my photographic skills to pick it! There are more Dublin photos here.

(update: yes, they are using the photograph. I'm famous!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Miao Miao by Mysie

You can tell Mysie, from Miao Miao, has Halloween on her mind. I saw holiday colors and themes, when I visited her blog and Etsy shop recently. She uses lots of black and red gemstones, which I love together. And some of her wire wrapping techniques are so unique. Here's a look into her creative process:

  • What's the name of your business/shop?
Miao Miao by Mysie

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
http://miaomiao-jewelry.blogspot.com
  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
gemstone jewelry
  • Show us a piece you recently finished


I'm trying to incorporate more silver into my jewelry, and get back to delicate designs that first inspired my jewelry making.





  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Nope, no sketches, just half-finished designs:









  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I have my Etsy shop and my business blog, but I don't really have a concrete strategy for advertising. I'm trying to focus on blogging right now. Advertising on Etsy itself hasn't yielded any real results. I did buy a logo design however, which at least makes me happier about my shop! :)

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I have two widgets on my blog, and I love them both! The Etsy shop widget that displays my jewelry for sale is vital for connecting my readers to my shop. But the Heart counter from Yaami.com is really cute and links to other free statistics tools.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
I opened my shop in 2008 and haven't felt the need to go anywhere else. Etsy has a great look, a great community, and is incredibly easy to use.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I've been putting it off, but finally signed-up for Twitter and then Facebook . I can't keep up with the pace of Twitter, but I've learned how to manage Facebook in such a way that at least I go crazy from all the posting! I think my favorite thing about it is being able to update distant family members on my life more easily.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?

When things aren't going great or sales have stalled, remember why you started creating in the first place. Not why you started selling, but why you create. Deep down, you should be doing this for yourself, because you have ideas and visions of things that you just have to make, and you enjoy the feeling you have bringing those things to life. This may not help your business, but it can help you stay sane.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
Actually, I've been guilty of under pricing my work. I'm trying to move away from that. Right now it's kind of zen: costs + a few bucks for my time, compared to what similar things I've already made have been priced at, compared to what I would be willing to pay for the item.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Eek! It's really wherever there's space left. All my workspaces are cluttered with materials and half-finished projects, tools, magazines, mail, shipping supplies, camera stuff, things I have no idea why they've been left there. Currently I'm using the living room coffee-table because it's the one space my husband will not let me take over for more than a few hours at a time.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
By this time next year, I hope to be preparing for some holiday craft markets. Between early deadlines and illness, I haven't shown at a market in about a year. Also, I'd love to take a silver-smithing class. The jewelry itself? Well, that depends on the beads!

  • OK, it's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
I really like mysie's cluster work and her wire wrapping, especially her Starry WireWrapped Necklace.
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