Friday, June 27, 2008

Busy Work

I've been busy working. Early on next week I will need to bring my items to the Gallery for display and sale. I've been busy making earring cards, item tags and items! This will continue throughout the weekend, but I just felt like I need to post something here to keep up with the blog.

So, I'll show you the new earrings I made. They're in the spirit of the Pink Fish Earrings. Like the pink fish beads, I've had these cute charms hanging around. I got them out of a clearance bin at the craft store. They were pre-made charm bracelets. Cheap bracelets, nice charms, so I bought them thinking to use the charms for something. Well, conveniently enough, there were two of each type of charm. Perfect for earrings!

There are three other pairs that are similar... one has a ladybug on a leaf, one is a ladybug on a yellow flower, and the other is just a flower. I plan on posting one other set on Etsy and the other two will go to the Gallery.

I'm getting pretty excited about having my stuff in the Gallery. Though, I'm not excited about the commission they're going to take if I sell something. 25%. And there are no more shifts left to work for this show so, I can't work it down at all. Oh well. That'll teach me to wait to sign up for those extra shifts.

Back to work!!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I made this necklace a long time ago. Okay, I guess it's more like a choker of sorts. It's 18" long, like most of my other necklaces, but, it's heavier and bigger than my other necklaces which makes it more like a choker.

It's also meant to be worn as a bondage/fetish piece... making it a ...choker. It closes with a padlock, rather than a standard clasp. It's got a key. Ideally, one would wear it and then one would give the key to their partner, dom, whatever.

No, I'm not into that sort of thing. But I was at the hardware store and saw the two-pack of small, gold-tone padlocks and was inspired to make a necklace like this. So I did. That was... oh... two years ago?

Yeah, this thing has been sitting on my studio table for that long. No, I don't bring it to craft shows. The sort of people at those things don't buy stuff like that. And the people who DO buy stuff like that would most likely ask me if I could make something like that, given the nature of my work (chainmaille... chains... get it?). But they haven't. So it sits.

I also wouldn't dare to bring this to the Gallery to try to sell. The sort of people that frequent the gallery would never buy something like this. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they refused to display it if I did bring it. I also wouldn't be surprised if they revoked my membership if I brought something like this to the Gallery!

Anyway, Etsy seemed the perfect place. There's no censorship there and all sorts of people buy and sell. I'm sure it'll get some sort of lovin' on Etsy.

Free Shipping!

Okay, so the Yart Sale thing didn't quite pan out for me. But I am going to continue to offer free shipping for the first five orders placed in my store.
I understand that it takes a leap of faith to order something from a store with no sales, so I'm rewarding that trust with free shipping.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm SO in.

So, I just got back from having my work juried to be accepted (or rejected) into the Artisans United Gallery. I dressed nicely, but not overly so. I put my hair up, put on my best smile and stood there showcasing several representative pieces of my work to five women in their mid 60s.
I explained how I open, weave, and close each ring by hand. I explained all the materials that I work with. I explained how I anodize my own titanium. I explained aspect ratio and how it is key to the final look of the piece.

Then, after a short period of me waiting out in the hallway while they discussed my future, they explained to me how happy they would be to have me in the Gallery. They totally loved my work. In fact, the one lady taking down the review notes and comments gave up trying to write all the glowing praise that was coming from each review board member and just ended up writing "Excellent!!" and "Beautiful work!" with arrows to extend those comments across all categories for each piece.

I signed up to work my first four shifts for the first show. I'd like to work more to earn a decreased commission percentage, but until my schedule frees up in August, that won't be possible. Besides, the available shifts were slim pickings for this next show. I assume there will be more to choose from for later shows.

So now I need to get some items ready for the Gallery! I need to have them there by 5pm on July 2nd. I'm so excited! I have no idea what I'll bring! Lots of stretch bracelets (gotta make more of those!), some pendants, wine skirts (and those!), hanging candle holders, and of course, a smattering of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and finger rings. Huh. Guess I DO have an idea of what I'll bring.

So there we go. One of my goals is half acheived! I can't wait to see how successful it will be.
As a treat for my new guild membership, I shall post a link.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Nephew!

Welcome to Thomas Warren Anderson! Born today, June 14, 2008 at 9:04am, 7lbs 8oz.

Now, I usually think that most newborns are ugly. In fact, if I tell you your baby is cute, then I mean it! And I think that I can honestly say that I'm not terribly biased about this baby, just because he's my nephew. My brother and I have always been the jokers and he would agree that I would have no problem telling even him that his baby is ugly.

This child is gorgeous. His head is a little misshapen, but, I guess most babies have that at first (except the C-section babies). And his fingers are long and wrinkly. So, there. See? That's honest.

Anyway, nothing to do with my jewelry or writing, but I just had to brag!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting Juried!

So I finally called to schedule a jury to look at my stuff. Wasn't necessarily due to laziness that I put it off. I honestly would tell myself in the morning to do it. But I thought that even though I know the lady works from home, I should wait until later in the day. Thinking it might be too early to call before 9am. But then I'd forget, because something or someone distracted me. And when I remembered it'd be dinner time and I'm NOT calling someone when there's a chance I'd interrupt dinner. And then I'd forget again after that. Next morning, lather, rinse, repeat.

But I finally remembered to call this morning! Spoke with Kathy. She's very nice and seems very excited to see my work. She said that they normally would have had a jury meeting already scheduled for this coming Wednesday. But since no one needed to be juried, they didn't schedule it. But she said she's so excited about seeing my stuff that she's going to immediately call all the jury members and make sure they come Wednesday after all. Nice!

So, I just gotta get stuff together. Clean it up, maybe run it through the tumbler. Whew. I'm excited!

Wednesday, June 18th, 7:30pm. Jury Day.

Oh, and I found a blog that lists all the etsy sellers that accept RME. Submitted my info for inclusion. Yay, RME!

To Yart or Not to Yart...?

Etsy is full of catchy (and kitschy) slang. "Destash." "I hearted you!" "PIF"

I promised myself I wouldn't adopt any of it. Well, it wasn't really a promise, just a internal decision not to use any of it. Especially not in any of my listings or descriptions, shop wording, etc. Not that I think it's stupid, or unintelligent. It's kind of cute. But I'm not guaranteed that my customers will know what "destash" is. So, rather than alienate and confuse them, I just decided to avoid the slang.
But there's an event going on now, started by a seller. She calls it a Yart Sale. Combining the words yard and art. The idea is for sellers to participate in the Yart Sale and offer discounts or other attractive offers.

Well, I haven't had any sales. And while I'm forcing myself to remain patient and knowing that it is a rare occurrance for people to make sales within the first two weeks of their shop opening, I decided a little promotion certainly couldn't hurt.

So, I joined the Yart Sale and I'm offering free shipping on all orders received during the sale... which is going on now through June 20th.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gut Instinct

Well, I posted another item. It's my Bronze Belt. I had pictures taken of it while wearing it. But my shirt was covering parts of the belt. So I tried to hold it out of the way, but that just looked silly. Ended up just going with pulling my shirt out of the frame. Looks better than having my hands holding my shirt up... made it look like I was in the process of stripping it off! Figured just omit it from the picture altogether.

I hope it's not too.... tacky. My gut out there for all to see. Bleh.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fishing LURE

Okay, so I'm really digging my earrings that I made (see below). But, I can't find any more of these fish beads anywhere! At least not ones I like.
I'm finding tons that have the hole drilled down through the length of the fish. I don't want that! I want the hole drilled through the eye (believe it or not, I do believe it's more aesthetically pleasing that way).
I'm also finding mostly glass beads. I prefer gemstone beads. Why? Well, I think it's a higher quality material than glass. And if I HAVE to have them drilled down the length instead of through the eye, I don't want to be able to see the drilled hole through the glass. Gemstones are opaque for the most part so you can't see the hole.

The pink fish shown below are ones I got from Fire Mountain in a grab bag sort of thing. But I can't find them now. They sell glass ones but they look pressed and... cheap.

I think I've decided to fire up my lampworking torch again and try to make them myself. Yes, I know I said I didn't really want glass. But I'd use boro in all those pretty colors and they'd be handmade and thus.... better than commercially made glass beads.

But I'm giving it one last try. My fishing lure is cast. Does ANYONE know where I can find beads like the ones below?
1.5 - 2cm Gemstone fish beads with the hole drilled through the eye.

Fishing Lure

I've had these rose quartz fish beads laying around for years now. I always thought they were cute and I should do something with them. So I did.

There are two of them, so the natural choice would be a pair of earrings. I thought the simple design of the fish and the pleasant but unassuming light pink color could use a little pizazz (there's a word I've never typed before).

I've got Swarovski crystals and now that I can make my own, there's no reason to hoard those head pins.

So, this is what I came up with:

(Click image for full size.)

Cute huh? Yeah, I think so too. If I wore pink... or earrings for that matter, I'd wear 'em myself. But alas, I don't, so I shall sell them.
Problem is, where?

Pretty soon I will have three different venues where I sell my jewelry: Craft Shows, Etsy, and the AU Gallery. I need to decide which items I think will sell best in each.
For example, my Arched Necklace. It's a large and pricey piece. I think it would be more likely to sell on Etsy, or at a craft show than at the Gallery. The gallery tends to have more "crafty" items in it, rather than "fine art" items. Now, who knows, maybe the people who shop there have been waiting for something more sophisticated. But my guess is not so much.

These earrings, I think would do well at any of the venues. So, while I think the majority of my items leans towards the more sophisticated class, I need to start setting aside (and creating more) items that would do well in the Gallery.
So, unless someone comes forth and says they absolutely must have these earrings and could I please put them in a reserved listing on Etsy for them, I think I'm going to save them for the Gallery.

Why not just make more? Yeah, I've considered that. Thing is, I don't have any more fish! Well, I have one, a clear glass one. But one fish does not a pair of earrings make. And I can't seem to find any more, even at the place where I got them from.
We shall first find out how these fish fare 'fore I forage for future fish.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Etsian Linkage

Are you a fellow Etsian with a blog of your own? Want your blog to be listed in my link section?


You'll find I'm pretty accomodating.
I don't require that you link my blog to yours in return. But if you want people to think you're nice, you would.

Money saved.

So, considering I'm planning to cut way back on hours at my "real" job, I've been trying to find ways to save money. Mostly around the house... using coupons, turning off the shower water while I lather up or shave, not buying non-necessities like this Honest Tea Pomegranate White Tea that I simply love. Have you tried it?! Oh my god, it's so refreshing and clean tasting! I don't know if that's a factor of it being white tea or if it's something else they do in the brewing proces---

Heh. I digress.
Anyway. I've always wondered if I could make my own silver headpins. I like the ones with the balls on the end. Which is perfect, because you'd think those would be the easiest to make on my own, right?
Wrong. Erm... I mean, right! They really are easy. I just sat down with my little torch and a few 1.5" segments of fine silver wire (24g) and made four balled headpins in 30 seconds. Sweet! I think I'd rather use sterling though... so I did a little comparison.
My supplier sells a 1 oz. roll of 24g half-hard sterling wire for $24.50. Another supplier I use sells 24g half-hard 1.25" head pins at $10.32 per pack of 50. According to my math (and math never has been my strong point), I can make the same kind of head pins for ~$4 per 50. That's huge savings! Even if I bought 7 packs of head pins from that place (which is about how many I could get from that roll of wire), they'd still cost me $8-something. So, at the very least, I'm saving $4 per 50 head pins I make.
What's $4, you say. Well... a gallon of gas. I dunno! Shut up! It's money saved, alright? It adds up! Besides, the feeling of accomplishment I get from knowing I made them myself is priceless.

The other decision I'd need to make is would I try to manufacture these headpins to sell? But that decision requires more research than I've done at this point, so, that's all you get for this post.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mas tiempo

Lots of it. I need more time to get serious about my jewelry business. So, I'm cutting WAY back on my hours at work. I'd already gone part time simply because I couldn't stand to be at that place for more than three or four days a week. But, starting August, I will be going to a schedule that's something like one weekend every three weeks. I'll still be bringing in some money, I'll still get my discount and paid CE, I'll still have my foot in the door just in case.

So, to make sure I stay focused, I've listed a few goals that I'd like to accomplish, or come close to accomplishing within a years time.

1) I'd like to have my jewelry placed in at least two brick and mortar shops or galleries. I'm already working on one gallery. I just need to get juried and accepted, which shouldn't be much of a problem. Unless they're holding out on me, I have yet to see any jewelry in that gallery that is at all similar to mine.

2) I'd like to sell 200 items. I originally had a dollar amount I wanted to reach, but for some reason I chose this goal instead. I'm not sure which would be easier to reach, or which is more realistic. My items vary in price, so I could sell only twenty high-priced items to easily reach a monetary goal, but fall very short of the item quantity goal. Likewise, I could sell 300 low-priced items and still not make very much money. Perhaps I should do both, and say "whichever comes first!"

3) I need to find my "niche". I want to expand my jewelry to include something truly unique or popular. I had some ideas for this, but the more I look at what other people are doing, the more I realize I need something even MORE unique. I think I might have to expand my repertoire of techniques, which would require some sort of schooling.

There are a few other smaller goals... better booth display, nicer business cards, etc. But I figure those are more of things I just need to DO, rather than work towards. Capice?

New Toy Chew Toy

Apparently, blogging is the thing to do.
Apparently, everyone's got one.
Apparently, it helps get the word out about what you do.
Apparently, I'm one of the few people remaining without a blog.


Okay, that's not true. I've got a blog. I've got two blogs, actually. One right here on Blogger. Yeah, well, this one is going to by my "professional" blog.

This is where I will discuss my doings. My creative juices. My attempt to be remembered for what I make and what I do.

What do I make and do?
I make jewelry.
I write. I try to write anyway. Oh damn, wait, I take that back. There is no "try", only "do". A wise man whom I respect deeply once told me that. No, he isn't short and green. Though, he is bald. And he IS a Jedi Knight. He's also the one with whom I am writing.

So yeah, this is the place where I will talk about those things. Just remember I didn't invite you here, you came of your own free will. And if I did invite you here, well, that probably means I respect your opinion. I'll write another post while your shock wears off.