Tuesday, November 30, 2010

List it Tuesday 11/30 - celebrating the harvest

I love lists, so when I saw Aimee's weekly blog series List It Tuesday on artsyville, I was excited. 

"anyone want to play along?  i'd love the company.  scribble a list on an index card, create a list in your art journal, write a list on the back of a receipt." 

I was thinking of lists as I blogged along over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  And noticed all the people recording their blessings.  But then, just who celebrates this holiday?  Here's a list of countries, that celebrate Thanksgiving, duly noted in my sketchbook project journal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A journal for a special friend

When Sharla asked me to make a journal for her, I was thrilled... and scared.  I wanted it to come out just right.  So I asked a few questions, and got a good idea of what she was looking for.  

It's going out today in the mail.  Since Sharla has seen it, I thought I'd let you all see it too.  Some of you will recognize the kitty bead from my treasure necklace.  I thought it was an appropriate beadmark.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #10

"Thinking about things instead of acting can seriously eat up way too much time..."  Isn't that the truth!  I read this on the Blacksburg Belle blog last Friday, a site Boot Camp led me to.  This is actually very fitting to what's been happening in my life recently.  What should I do first?  How much time should I spend on this today?  Blacksburg Belle recommends setting up a calendar on Google to keep track of things, with the ease of repeated events and notifications.   

After checking out the calendars, I decided to by-pass Google and stick with paper, though it looks fun.  I love writing out my To Do lists and being able to strike through all I’ve accomplished.  One thing I need to do is prioritize more, which is an uncomfortable thing to do.

I decided my biggest problem is, I've found so many neat sites recently that are challenging me artistically.  Actually, it’s not really a problem - it’s a very good thing.  It’s helping me establish my new direction for next year:  MORE journaling and drawing!

Artsyville is definitely one of those sites.  I love this blog!  And when I saw "List it Tuesday" on the sidebar, I was intrigued.  What better way of combining something I love to do (list making), with something I want to do (flat art)!  You’ll be seeing this cute little icon on my blog .  Why not come and join us!

Ani, a fella etsyblogger at Coffee Pot People operates another site that I have growth to love.  I’ve joined the “Friday Fence Posts” blog party and now she has another great series, Tuesday Take-out.   Here are copyright free clip art images for people to use.  I‘ve decided to pick one image every week and use it to practice my drawing skills.  This first sketch was appropriate for Thanksgiving! 

 One more site I‘ll mention, especially useful for those who like to doodle, is called Tangle Patterns.  I joined their mailing list and get new patterns about three times a week.  It’s one way of getting me off the computer and visiting with DH.  While he watched football on Thursday, I read and practiced my Chillon Pattern:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Carved stone fetishes

 I'm wary of using the word "fetish" in describing my jewelry.  In the past, it's been kicked back, not accepted.  But let me explain.  I'm no sexual pervert!

My joy is in hand-carved objects, especially Native American stone fetishes.  The earliest fetishes were used by Zuni Indians and were naturally formed from stones.  Later, people started to carve stones to resemble people and animals.  It's believed that fetishes have both practical and spiritual powers, that they protect and assist individuals.  Fetishes are given a place of honor in the home.  Mine stand on my desk, keeping guard over my computer.

 There are two major groupings of fetishes: protective or healing animals, and hunting and prey animals.  Six Zuni fetish animals have been assigned to guard the six directions:
the mountain lion - north
the bear - west
the badger - south
the wolf - east
the eagle - sky (up)
the mole - underground (down)

Other tribes, like the Navajos, use fetishes in their dream catchers, chokers and necklaces.  I love using fetishes in my jewelry - they prompt the stories that become my necklace's haiku.  My dear black turtle fetish is the focal point of my favorite treasure necklace.  He represents the oldest symbol, Mother Earth and longevity.  Black Turtle used to guard my Etsy shop, and was my avatar.  Now I have the spine of a handmade journal, which  characterizes my other love, books.  My Turtle Treasure Necklace is in Norman, Oklahoma right now, keeping guard over my necklaces at the Firehouse Holiday Gift Gallery.  I miss him a lot.  He and his friends may sell, but I will always have his haiku and could never forget him.
Black turtle found the
Treasure chest, and made fast friends
With the fetish drops.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Fence Post #66

When I was visiting Mom last week, I decided to go for a walk, while the other "girls" went to the gym.  The alleys were fun to stroll through in her neighborhood.  These are probably my three favorite fences:

 The sign on the gate?  
Please close gate securely!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #9

 "An already well packaged item will impress your buyers, and it's a sure way to make them and their gift recipients super-fans."  This one sentence by Danielle summarizes what Week 9 is all about: packaging and shipping.  Stocking up on supplies isn't too much of a problem for me.  And books are fairly easy to send in the mail.  But I have been thinking about different ways to send jewelry.

In the past, I've mailed all my jewelry in padded envelopes, usually necklaces inside plastic bags.  Not the greatest impression...  I love all the jewelry travel rolls I see online, but they're not for one necklace.  So I'm thinking of buying some fabric, and rolling a necklace in that!  Buy silk fabric!  Something for my to-do list.

Boxes are a great way to ship, and they're easy to wrap and address.  There's a great how-to in the Storque by Mary, for making square boxes out of leftover paper.  Not so sure how sturdy they would be, but nice looking boxes are always handy, and I've got lots of paper!   To-do list #2, and I'm just reading one article! 

Something that really stuck out this week was mentioned by Danielle: branding.  I've been thinking about creating my own stamps for art journaling, not for shipping, so it was just one of those synchcronicity events that happens when you least expect it.  I don't know the first thing about stamping, but there's a link to a great article written by ArtMind, called "How to Make an Art Stamp" I am so jazzed!  Will HAVE to try this out (#3 on the to-do list; it will probably be pushed down on the list, because I have to buy supplies)

 There are other handy shipping tools in the Etsy forum, with lots of links and comments.  And for more marketing strategies, Beth at DiffractionFiber has some tried and true tips for the upcoming holiday sale.  The Etsybloggers are planning a group sale - buy a handmade item from your favorite blogger!  The storybeader is giving 20% off all items.

I did decided to add a special paragraph concerning gift mailing after reading Beth's article.  Just in time for the holiday sales; I'll be leaving it there:

"Need gift wrapping and gift tags? Delayed shipping, direct to the recipient?
Not a problem!
Special gift mailing is available at no extra cost.
Just send me an email or convo, and give me details.
I love gift giving!"

Good luck to everyone with sales this coming weekend and on Cyber Monday!
Feel free to include a link to your shop or website in the comments.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

non-team treasury challenge #6

Support the Treasury Challenge NonTeam blog and join the fun.  Here's my Non-Team Challenge, inspired by Acorn Alley Designs necklace, Autumn Leaves

I used to make twisted wire jewelry, and it was so much fun.  Here's some favorites I saw, to keep "Autumn Leaves" company over the holidays.  One already sold and I replaced it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November Featured Etsyblogger - Devine Designs Jewelry

Cindy, owner and operator of Devine Designs Jewelry, is our Etsybloggers Featured Artist for the month.  She has the most unique jewelry, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it.  And that's just one reason it's so appealing.  Her technique is so professional; she uses wire wrapping and freehand wire twisting, with precious and semi-precious stones.  

 Here's one beautiful bracelet with sterling silver, a turtle, and turquoise.
What more could a person ask for?

I know how intensive wire wrapping can be, and can appreciate the work that went into these lapis earrings.  Listed separately is a lapis bracelet with coils and washers. Mix and match, I always say!

You can tell by her blog that she is an avid reading and enjoys writing.  I go by all the time and thoroughly enjoy myself.  You can too!  Here's her address

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #8

I'm glad the activities for boot camp this week aren't as strenuous as last week.  Some things, like developing a marketing plan, I'm saving for January.  One thing I really want to emphasize next year is more treasure necklaces; planning to sell or take out all the other jewelry in my shop. I see a giveaway around the corner!  

But back to Boot Camp.  This week, there's a long list of tips you can follow in a new Storque article called The Holiday Rush.  If you're an Etsy seller, you probably have acted on many of the tips already, like offering international shipping, belonging to Etsy teams, filling out your profile and declaring your shop location (I'm in Oklahoma!)

Here's two things I need to look at:
 2. Consider offering special promotions.  

The Etsybloggers are planning to celebrate our annual Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale.  Our team captain, Joey, is getting together a list of participants now and has ads available for us to put on our blogs.  I decided to go with this large banner, shortened my posts to only 3 on a page, and placed the banner on the bottom of my blog.

I tested out the new "Etsy on Sale" application last Sunday, and it was real easy to use.  If you're interested in learning more about it, there's a video online - just go to the Storque link here then scroll down to the video, featuring Mitsu. 

4.  Make Treasury lists 
Putting together treasures on Etsy is a good way to stay in touch with team members and friends. I try to make a Treasury for the First Friday Art Walk team (tag = ffest team) each month.  The Etsybloggers have a team treasury every week now - haven't been in one for a while... did I say something wrong?  The first team I joined, when I opened shop on Etsy was the Oklahoma Disciples of Etsy.   I need to reconnect with them   And I'm a member of the Etsy Cultural Fusion Team, where many of my artist friends from (the now defunct) 1000markets hang out.  Their artwork really hits home for me.  Here's our team page

I mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating.  There's a new game in town, called Treasury Challenge NonTeam.  The whole idea is to create a treasury, whether you're a seller or buyer, from one inspiration piece that is picked each week.  It's a fun way to become a curator... even though I'm one anyways! 

Here's the challenge treasury I made a few weeks ago, called "gypsy." 

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Friday Fence Post #64

I love stone fences!  I've always wondered if there is an invisible house, beyond this fence.  Never walked inside.  It's smack in the middle of an old housing addition nearby.  Maybe the house burned down, many years ago, and all that's left is the fence?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wolf Hall : a novel

 I loved this book!  The story focuses on a poor blacksmith's son, Thomas Cromwell, who becomes one of the most powerful men in Henry VIII’s English court   Hillary Mantel takes you on a historical journey;  you travel with Cromwell, moment by moment, listening to what he has to say and what he’s thinking, seeing things reserved for only family, in this case, a royal family.  She does a fabulous job in keeping the reader informed of the political climate - 16th century England.

Note: all artwork in this post were painted by Hans Holbein, a character in the book.  

Henry VIII
Everyone in my book club agreed to one troubling writing technique of Mantel’s: her use of the first and third person narrative in the same paragraph.  This will keep you on your toes!  We all had different ideas to the significance of the title.  Interestingly, very little of the action occurs at Wolf Hall.  In one review, Wolf Hall is noted for being a reference to the old Latin saying "Man is wolf to man; a constant reminder of the dangerously opportunistic nature of the world through which Cromwell navigates.”  Hmmmm. 

In historical terms, Wolf Hall is the name of the Seymour family seat in Wiltshire, which no longer exists   I thought the title dealt more directly with the shy, unattractive Jane Seymour.  She is just a lady in waiting to Henry’s second wife (Anne Boleyn) in this book.  After Henry executes Anne, Jane becomes Henry’s third wife.  Not much is made of Jane, though she was probably one of Cromwell’s many spies. 
The author speaks about Jane Seymour as a "blank" in English history, except for the important fact that she is the one woman who gave Henry VIII a son.  "I decided that I was going to write up Jane Seymour.  As there is a blank, I can project something into it." In an video I came across, Mantel reads from her book, and it’s wonderful to hear.
   Jane Seymour

In Wolf Hall, the historical backdrop is barely noticeable, except for all the names; the author fortunately placed a list of characters with short descriptions at the front of the book.  I felt the fictional stories were the most fascinating.  My favorites were about Cromwell’s personal life, a fictional sub-plot to the novel, since not much is known about his actual family and background.  Mantel depicts Cromwell as a clever and intelligent man, a caring father and husband.  He took on many wards throughout his life, educating the girls and raising the boys to work for him. In one reminisce, we see his family:

“They have a big gilded star at the Austin Friars [home of Cromwell] which they hang in their great hall on New Year’s Eve.  For a week it shines out, to welcome their guests at Epiphany.  From summer onward, he and [wife] Liz would be thinking of costumes for the Three Kings, coveting and hoarding scraps of any strange cloth they saw, any new trimmings; then from October, Liz would be sewing in secrecy, improving on last year’s robes by patching them over with new shining panels, quilting a shoulder and weighting a hem, and building each year some fantastical new crowns.  His part was to think what the gifts would be, that the kings had in their boxes.”

Mantel won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for Wolf Hall (Booker is the English equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize in the United States.)  And she has begun working on the sequel, which she plans to title, “The Mirror and the Light.”  I can’t wait!

Friday, November 12, 2010

EtsybloggersCarnival - November 8th

Welcome to the Etsybloggers Carnival!  Sorry, this is so late - better late than not at all.... 
 I'm hosting for the week!

So I searched around for two topics that would cover all aspects of the first two weeks in November.  Finding a national holiday to write about is always helpful.  And, keeping in the spirit of successful sales, I thought we might help each other out with some holiday marketing tips.  So, without further ado (yes, I can be long-winded at times...) here are two topics for our first carnival of the month:

The first week of November is
1) "Give Wildlife a Brake" week. How are you celebrating?
2) time to get ready for holiday sales. We need some good working tips!

Edi presents Blog Carnival - A Holiday Tip posted at Memories for Life Scrapbooks

Erika presents Holiday Tips from a Shopper's Perspective posted at NICO* Designs.

Lydia Schrandt presents Tips for Handmade Photography posted at Glowbug Design, saying, "Tips for holiday photography"

Keishia Treber presents Autumn in British Columbia! posted at Keishia Treber.

Kathleen presents Fall is in the air! posted at tapestry316, saying, "here's my carnival for tips to get ready for fall from Storybeader =)"

J o e y & A l e e t h e a presents Autumn in British Columbia! posted at J o e y & A l e e t h e a.

HomeMadeOriginals presents Home Made Originals posted at Home Made Originals.

Storybeader presents Give Wildlife a Brake! at Stroll through Storyland

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition
using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our
blog carnival index page.
Got a blog? Love Etsy? Check us out! http://etsybloggers.com

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Etsy induced corners

The corner of my desk hold things that are near and dear to me.  My little box from Indira at DharmaKarmaArts is just settling in.  It feels much better than the large wooden CD holder I used to have there.  And now there's room to hang my wonderful watercolor print, purchased from Blue Dog Rose, another little something I found on Etsy, back when I was writing interviews.

Can you see my little bulletin board with inspirational pictures and reminders?  (this is like a treasure hunt {:-D)    Everyone needs a bulletin board near their computer, no matter what size.  For me, everything has to be small because my house is already bursting at the seams with beautiful reminders of people and places. I'm no  minimalist...

Here's a better view of the fabric notebook that always sits on my desk.  I purchased this beauty two years ago from another Etsy artist, littleworm.  Just could not pass it up...

Which brings me to the impetus of this post:  the Etysbloggers were just discussing what kinds of things sell on Etsy.  Are they handmade?  One of a kind?  Are other Etsy sellers getting tired of seeing mass produced items ending up in the handmade section?  Are some items just easier to produce, and they seem to flood the marketplace?  What are your thoughts about this?

I'm on Etsy all the time - posting messages, renewing and listing new items, gathering materials, dreaming and wishing.  Many things end up in my Favorites, because I love to look at them.  Some items have to wait, while others sweet little things I can't help from purchasing. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dharma Karma Arts giveaway

 One of my favorite online artist, Indira from DharmaKarmaArts, had a giveaway on her blog!  And I won!  I am SO JAZZED!  It's a little wooden box, that was stained and painted, then decoupaged.  Isn't it sweet?  Just arrived yesterday.   I'm going to keep it on my computer desk, and put little treasures in it!

 I love all her art work.  My favorite must be her Yoga Art Elephant paintings.
Here's a few, from her Etsy shop:
 Indira also has jewelry, mixed media, and accessories in her online shops.  Here's one of the mixed media pieces I couldn't take my mouse off of, when I was visiting her ArtFire shop:

The idea of different objects put together to form something new and beautiful...it's just so perfect in our age of non-cooperation!  As you might know, I love textiles, but can't sew.  Maybe one of these days, I'll get a sewing machine that works, and try my hand at mixed media with fabric  Go by and visit her. Namaste.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp - Week #7

Yes, I'm guilty of broadcast marketing, telling people on facebook and twitter all the wondering products available in my Etsy shop.  If you're like me, and looking for a friendlier approach, check out this week's first article on the boot camp reading list by Sister Diane, Holiday Season Marketing: How to Engage Your Buyers. 

Diane (whose etsy shop is bare, but her website isn't) had a number of solutions.  Making a connection with my buyers was the one idea I thought would work best for my jewelry and journals.  So instead of my usual, "turquoise Zuni bears and coral necklace on Etsy" tweet, I am going to try to connect with people about fetishes!  Hey, just thought that up by looking at the necklace.  Why don't you join me in going through your shop and looking for the uniqueness of your products, or the best way of making/storing/cleaning/packaging them, and use THAT for your tweet.  

I agree with Diane, the holidays are crazy for all of us.  So look at some of your Etsy items now, and write out little tweets for later.  Then go to your blog and facebook page, and expand on your tweet.  For me, it's coming at the whole marketing scheme in reverse.  This approach will definitely give you more topics to post about!   Tell me if it works for you!
This is actually Diane's third article.  I enjoyed reading her Storque article so much, I thought I'd pass along her series on social marketing for handmade businesses:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Fence Post #63

Been a little under the weather, so staying near the house.  Here's a pic of a section of backyard fence.  The doglets get to sniff each other through the little holes - very cute to watch, tails wagging, up to the fence.  Snuck (ok, sneaked) out there, when "no one" was around....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

River, by Joni Mitchell

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer

And singing songs of joy and peace

Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

- Joni Mitchell, my all-time favorite singer/songwriter

Monday, November 1, 2010

Etsybloggers Carnival - give wildlife a brake

This week's carnival is hosted by.... me!  Storybeader!  Here are my topics choices...
The first week of November is
1) "Give Wildlife a Brake" week. How are you celebrating?
2) time to get ready for holiday sales. We need some good working tips!

I'm writing about #1, slowing down when I drive and telling others about programs that can help wildlife.  As daylight saving time is almost upon us, many will be driving in darker conditions.  In the U.S. (except for Hawaii and Arizona), time "falls back" this year on November 7th.

So give wildlife a brake.     

 Wildlife in Crisis (WIC),  founded in 1989 and based in Connecticut, is one organization that cares for injured and orphaned wild animals.  They're run entirely by volunteers, and all their funding goes directly to the animals.  "Give Wildlife a Brake" is a program that stresses defensive driving, benefiting people in cars as well as animals crossing the road.  The WIC website states that according to government statistics, over one million animals a day are killed and maimed on US roadways each year.  Isn't that a staggering number?

 Animals are all around us and they're going to be nesting soon.  One WIC's website, you can find a FAQs section, for both mammals and birds.  It includes answers to many common questions, including what to do about the squirrels and raccoons trying to get into bird feeders.  I don't have a lot of wild animals in my backyard, but I always put out birdseed this time of year.

So let me invite you to take a visit to the website.  And you can help their organization by donating   or purchasing items, including books and bumper stickers, from their online shop.

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