Friday, November 27, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Dawn Correspondence

I had loads of fun, looking through DawnCorrespondence. I'm a lover of paper, like Amanda is, and am partial to exploring stationery stores. One thing that attracted me to her shops are all the classic motifs used in her papercrafts. I don't know anyone who's getting married, but if your looking for wedding invitations, DawnCorrespondence is a must stop. Amanda has custom ordering available, in addition to her unique stationary and gift tags. Here are a few things she had to say:

  • What's the name of your business/shop?
My shop is DawnCorrespondence. I can be found on Etsy and Art Fire .

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
I have a blog, and am working on getting a website of my own right now! My blog can be found at http://www.dawncorrespondence.blogspot.com

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I am passionate about paper, so I create customized stationery wedding invitations, announcements...basically, all things paper! I also create handmade envelopes, and have recently started selling boxed stationery that is personalized for gifts!

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
I've been listing my holiday line recently, and this is one of my favorites of the season:

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Right now I am working on getting all my holiday items listed! I've also started gathering ideas for my Valentine's Day cards. I don't have any sketches - I typically keep an ongoing list of ideas (a notebook that goes with me EVERYWHERE!) and I work straight from the computer! I'll be listing holiday items for the next couple of weeks, though, so stay tuned!

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?

I do all my advertising through word of mouth and social networking. I've found them to be really powerful resources and tools. My avatar is ever-changing. I use a photo of something I am currently working on, and it changes every couple of months or so.


  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I really enjoy the Facebook widget. It's a great way to get the basic Facebook info on a website. It also makes it super easy for people to fan me if they like my blog!

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
I use Etsy and Art Fire. I think they are both great in their own ways. Etsy admin work really hard to promote Etsy as a whole and get Etsy at the top of searches through strategic SEO. Art Fire, on the other hand, provides a variety of tools for sellers to market themselves - the Facebook kiosk, coupon codes, and ability to add widgets to your shop are all great tools.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I LOVE social networking. Number one: It's FREE! How can you not like that?! Number two: It's more personal than other forms of advertising. Number three: It's like the crabgrass theory - if someone sees me post a new listing on Facebook, they may give it a "thumbs up" or leave a comment, and that disperses to THEIR group of friends. I don't necessarily have a favorite, because I think all social networking tools work together to help create my "brand", and each help to promote me in different ways.

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


The most important tip I can give, that I absolutely live by, is to have STELLAR customer service. Communicate with your customers throughout the buying and shipping process. No matter how busy you are, or how many customers you have at any given time, it shows that customer that you are giving them one-on-one attention. And it only takes a minute to send them a quick progress update!

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.

Oh, no! No judging please!

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object?
Tell us your formula? That's something I have been working on lately. I calculate the cost to create one item (or one package of stationery) and I add a percentage to it. That percentage covers my time put into creating the item, and other various expenses (percentage of office space rent, tools, etc.)

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
In one year, I'd like to be creating full-time. I am getting closer and closer each day, and that is certainly my ultimate goal!

  • It's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
This pineapple thank you card says it all. It's beautiful and sweet - what more could you want?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

An afternoon with Eagles: Sia

I was invited Saturday with a group of museum friends to visit The Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative. The Initiative, called Sia for short (meaning “feather” in the Comanche language) states it’s mission as the "preservation through cultural understanding of the eagle in history, science and spirit." It was an unforgettable afternoon.

Sia's facilities are located in southwestern Oklahoma, where the Ohnononuh band of Comanches were allotted acreage at the turn of the century. The Cyril compound is open to the public by appointment and they offer visiting scholars a place to stay when researching. Although the founders travel worldwide, there’s always someone close at hand, since they live on the grounds. The Initiative also owns additional acreage nearby. The people who work with the birds enjoy reaching out to the local community, showing schoolchildren the characteristics of different species and how to identify them.

The compound is very unassuming from the outside; quite another world within.

After a delicious luncheon, we were given an introduction and tour by Bill Voelker, co-founder and director of Sia. First we visited the archives and storage area, which were quite impressive. Here’s one view of the archives reading room, with some friends from our group.


Bill showed us some Comanche tribal documents which I’ve never seen before, called “heirship” documents. They help families trace land ownership and include eyewitness accounts from the early 20th century. There is also a substantial photographic collection. The images show evidence of how feathers were used in everyday life and for ceremonies.

The artifacts at Sia include various feathers, independently and part of objects. Many of the items, such as staffs and musical instruments, hold significant meaning and possess powerful medicine because of the eagle feathers. The storage area was very high tech, with pressurized doors and a state-of-the-art air filtration system. Here you can see a few items behind glass, on display.




One of the most amazing things Sia does is to fertilize eagle eggs, helping to perpetuate the eagle population. The Initiative works in cooperative with regional, national and international groups, protecting the eagle worldwide.

This is a view from the habitat area, looking at their back door. I took photos of some of the birds, who had outdoor rooms, with screened ceilings.


Different species of eagles are usually not seen together. This Golden Eagle (below, right) accepted this Bald Eagle (left) when it was brought into the same area. They even perch on the same rock and preen each other. It's hard to imagine how large these birds are, without a reference point. They stand two to three feet high.


Here is a African black eagle that lives at Sia.



















This European Eagle Owl, "Ooah" was hooting up a storm, looking for attention, I supposed. We were told that many Comanches consider the owl bad medicine, and refuse to go into his area.





















Everyone who works here has a deep-felt love for the birds and their Comanche ties. Troy (below), co-founder of Sia, talks to a visitor with one of his “wives” (this is not an eagle; sorry Troy, I forget what species you told us)

I need to say thank you, Bill and Troy, for opening your home and Sia to us. And thank you, Debra, for asking me to join you. It was a very moving experience.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Etsybloggers Exposed in Treasury West

VickiDianeDesigns curated this Treasury West,
showing the artist instead of the artpiece.
Don't really like my pic (bottom right) but it was last moment!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November Featured Etsyblogger - thefabmissb

November's featured Etsyblogger is the fabmissb .... or is it beckykazana? Does she have a split personality? Let's check it out:

I've known the fabmissb (her name is Becky, BTW) since I joined the Etsybloggers, in the Spring of 2008. She's been with the team since December 2007! Becky lives in beautiful Hawaii - want to go visit? Me too! A click over to her blog is all I can afford right now. She and DH love to travel and you can tour with them vicariously. But who would want to leave the islands...

Here they are (correct me if I'm wrong) "On top of the World at Mauna Kea," the tallest mountain in Hawaii, measuring in at 13,000 feet.


Let's travel to her etsy shop, and see what we can find:

Really love that brooch!

Her other shop, Becky Kazana, she opened a little over a year ago. I don't believe I visited here before. It really shows the creative and artistic side of Becky. Love her cards and pipettes! You need to go over and check it out!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Cheryl's Purple Cow

I met Cheryl on a new Etsy group I joined called Facebook Fans on Etsy (FFEST). She is a very active member, and on the internet as a whole. When I saw her purple cow, I knew it would fun to get acquainted. Cheryl is supporting November's Epilepsy Awareness Month, and donating 15% of the sales of any purple item to Family Ties of Nevada to help families affected by epilepsy. So go by her shop this month, and look for her purple items!

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

Cheryl's Purple Cow

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog ?
http://cherylspurplecow.etsy.com
http://cherylspurplecow.blogspot.com

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
Jewelry. I make a lot of Awareness Jewelry. I have Epilepsy and November is Epilepsy Awareness Month so there will be a lot of purple Awareness Jewelry. I also have some hematite and metal-free jewelry. I am going to be adding my “Reflections”. Reflections are a candle arrangement that I make as a special order item.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I don’t make sketches. Most of my designs are trial and error. I am most creative when I don’t have a plan. When I started making my Swarovski Snowflake Earrings, I attached them to the Earwire with a figure 8 loop.









Then I noticed that I could change them and attach them with an Awareness Ribbon Most of my designs happen that way. I usually make something about 3 to 4 times before I get the design that I want.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
That would take about a week of cleaning.
  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising?


I am using an avatar that my Brother and niece designed for me.




  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I love widgets and I have a lot of them. I have 2 penguin widgets on my blog right now. I thought 3 would be overkill. But my favorite is the “Things to Ponder”. “Why isn't there mouse flavored cat food?” I think that is a question that needs to be answered.
  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
Facebook. I can stay up to date with family and friends there. I have also re-connected with friends from way back. A friend that lived next door to me as a child found me. Her family moved away around 1973.

http://facebook.com/Cheryls.Purple.Cow
http://www.twitter.com/cherylpurplecow


  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
I am a very impatient person and I try to remind myself every day. Rome was not built in a day. Don’t get discouraged.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I wish I could find one that worked for every item. But there are some items that just don’t fit into a mold.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
I really want to make and promote my Reflections”.





It's time
for the storybeader to pick a favorite!

I really like these earrings, that look like little candies.
They're so realistic, and cute!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - November 20, 2009

Mystic Wynd has two equally great topics that she gave us for the Etsybloggers Carnival this week. I didn't know which one to choose... OK, I decided on the second: What's your favorite holiday movie or special, and why?

It has to be the classic, It's a Wonderful Life. I love James Stewart and Donna Reed - they perform so well together. The dancing in the gym (over the swimming pool), and how Mary decorated her house up, when George Bailey came calling - Catch the Moon, and all... I like the whole “what if?“ aspect of the story, and how the town of Bedford Falls would have been Pottersville, if George wasn't around! Of course, you can’t forget Clarence, the angel that saves George. Geez, I want to watch it right now!



Two other movies have to get an honorable mention. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved the Peanuts movies that used to show on tv. One of my favorites was “A Charlie Brown’s Christmas.” There was always great music, thanks to Schroeder. Here's a cute segment from it



And then, the animated children’s movie, The Polar Express. I’m in love with Tom Hanks - don’t think he’s ever done a bad movie.

So there's three movies that I'll try to see this holiday season. I think "they" (whoever) took the Peanuts movies off television, sad to say. But you can always see snippets, on YouTube.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - The Beaded Lily

Sarah, owner and operator of thebeadedlily, uses a variety of techniques in her jewelry design. Many of her current pieces are complicated and minimalist at the same time. I started following Sarah's work in the Etsy Beadweavers challenges, about a year ago. If your love beadweaving like I do, the Etsy Beadweavers are something to see. After watching Sarah's shop on Etsy, I noticed her at other selling venues, many the same I belong to. There's lots of opportunity to see her work; I suggest taking a look at her blog first, and go from there.
  • What's the name of your business/shop?
thebeadedlily

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
http://thebeadedlily.blogspot.com/
  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
Pieces by thebeadedlily generally fall into three categories.

Stringing: bold, colorful, texture laden designs, often influenced by the artists and artisans who create the beads I work with.

Wirework: simple, clean, and highly primitive. I use ancient wire-working techniques and aim for what the earliest jewelry must have looked like, to create something timeless, like what you'd find in a museum's antiquities exhibit.


Beadwork: totally unique and original one of a kind art pieces.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
A collection of pieces inspired by the colors of Alphonse Mucha, my favorite artist. I don't sketch too much and I didn't sketch these at all-- but I am beading with my Mucha calendar right next to me!
  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
The graphics are my current ads and the face shot is my current avatar for most of my accounts.


  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I'm not too into them. I make sure that my Etsy mini, ArtFire kiosk and 1000Market shopfront are up and running! I worry that too many cool widgets will get distracting.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
Love Etsy's built in traffic!
ArtFire has some cool cutting edge features and is so reasonably priced!
1000Markets has such a gorgeous look and really upscale professional feel.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
Does Flickr count? If not, facebook! I just like knowing what everyone is up to. I'm not very skilled at leveraging social contacts.
Keep up with me:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/thebeadedlily/70612550008?ref=ts

http://twitter.com/thebeadedlily

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
Grab yourbusinessname.com and hold on to it!

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?

It depends on the item. For earrings and wirework I'm mainly concerned with what the market will bear. For beadweaving the key factor is how long the piece takes to create. With my strung pieces the biggest factor is the price of the materials that go into the piece.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Two shots -- the fairly organized wall and absolutely unorganized table!













  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
That's something I've been contemplating myself for a week or so as I've been thinking about tightening up some things. I really haven't decided on a firm direction.

OK, it's the storybeader's turn to pick one piece by thebeadedlily.
I just adore beadweaving, but guess I don't have the patience, or stamina, to stay with it. Maybe some day, when I have more time! Sarah's beaded cuffs are amazing; her "Hands Against Time" is one of my favorites:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bootcamp at iCraft - "Propositional Benefit"

In bootcamp day #4, we were asked to look at our "propositional benefit," or as our drill instructor, Christine, from PillowThrowDecor, explained, "why should I buy your necklace [or scarf, soap, etc.] instead of the other guys?" Well, that got me thinking...

Everyone says their product is one-of-a-kind, and unique. But why are my journals and sketchbooks more unique than others? Well, for one thing, they're handstitched. But close to half the books online that are handsewn, use the coptic stitch, like me. So why else are my books unique? My assignment was to look for three things that made them special.

1) My "any week" planner layout is not sold in stores. The object of this journal is to use the calendar only when you need to. It's a planner, date book and/or diary. One side has lined pages, the other, a weekly calendar block, for ANY week you want. I've only made one of these planners, but I intend to make many more.
2) I write a haiku for each book. This idea started with my jewelry design. Since I'm the storybeader, it goes without saying that I tell stories. Short stories. I attached the haiku in the front verso of each book.
3) half of the books I create are covered in beautiful Japanese Washi papers. Yes, I've seen others use these sheets, but they aren't very common. And they're absolutely beautiful!

There you have it. Why you should buy MY hand-sewn books and not somebody else's. Did I tell you I do special orders, too?
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