Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Photo Updates

My order from PMC Supply! Isn't it lovely?!

And here are some shots of the hobby bench, finally. I got the room all straightened up and everything organized. Its a good feeling. The close up shot is of the Button Drawer.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Etsy Spotlight - February 18-24, 2007

If you're an artist trying to sell your work, you know that one very important and often difficult aspect of that is: PROMOTION! PROMOTION! PROMOTION! Getting the word out about your work, without exceeding an often minimal (if at all existent) budget. As I mentioned in a previous posting, I opened an Etsy shop this month. I only have two items in there for now, but over the coming months I'll add more. I didn't want to just open an empty shop. Since opening my shop I have had plenty of time to spend browsing their oh-so-helpful (and oh-so-addictive) forums. I have seen a lot of great shops and more beautiful handmade works than I can fully comprehend. I am learning so much from those friendly folks. I have also made a few purchases myself (beefing up the ol' feedback a little, create a presence for myself) and I am taking note of my buying experiences for future reference. From the convos with the sellers, to packaging, and the little extras sellers include as a thank you for your purchase, I'm taking note and getting ideas.

So this week I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite shops. Some of these I have purchased from, and some just have great works that I admire and love to look at, even though I may never actually purchase something from them. I hope to do a special Etsy Spotlight once or twice a month so I can help promote my fellow artists and craftspeople that are the Etsy Community.

The first shop I wanted to highlight belongs to insidedesign. Currently, insidedesign specializes in handmade jewelry and banners and avatars for Etsy sellers to use in their own shops. I purchased my awesome desert scene banner and cactus avatar from her. She created a custom design for me, based on a very vague idea, and came up with a great design for a very reasonable price.

The second shop I want to highlight is one I have not yet purchased from, but I love to browse and see what's new. uppity woman designs creates the cutest sock animals ever! Of course, she sells a number of other handmade crafty items, but its her sock animals that drew me in.

And the third shop I want to highlight this time is JPATPURSES. JPATPURSES specializes in quilted handbags and accessories. I have been drooling over one of her bags for a week or two now, but she has a number that I wouldn't mind owning.

Just going to spotlight three shops this week, as my hands and brain are tired from a long week of computer work.

But be sure to visit the shops I have linked to and then visit the Etsy homepage and check out the newest listings. Visit the forums, especially the Promotion and Critiques section (where sellers can post links to various items they want to promote at that time). I know you'll find something you'll love and will want to buy. And I know you'll find some favorite shops of your own. You'll be supporting artists across the country and around the world, and also just helping to further promote and keep alive the world of handmade arts and crafts.

Thanks for reading and happy beading!

What a Wonderful Week! - February 18-24

I had a wonderful week this week!

Last week I bought myself a number of lovely handmade items from Etsy. Two headbands by Nestlings, a resin pendant with a polymer clay koi in it by BabaYagaDesigns(its too cool), a cute dog print fabric zipper pouch by Christina's, and a soy candle (fresh cut grass scent) and some soaps by MartinsvilleEmporium,(which all smell amazing!!). These all arrived on the same day earlier this week. They also arrived on the same day that the box of beads from the Bead Circle Bead Swap arrived!! Oh the decisions I have with that. And the next day, my order from PMC Supply arrived!! I'm going to be home all weekend so I will get to play with all my new toys and treasures. Can't wait! I'll be able to cross off a Crafter's Resolution soon (buying the PMC starter kit and making some pieces). I'm still figuring out Bead Creator Pro. I've tried bringing some images in, but I have to read up on how to change the palettes and set it to only use certain colors and all that fun stuff. So no news on that front, no fun patterns yet.
Over the long weekend I managed to fill up the rest of the drawers in my new storage unit. And I got the room straightened up and organized. I can actually find the beads or tools or projects that I am looking for. What a concept! Now I just need to get some photos of it to share with you all. Its wonderful. I still have some space in some of the drawers, to grow. I did find I needed to keep most of my tackle boxes of beads for now, but that's okay. I was able to empty all of the plastic shoe boxes I was using so there's less stuff stacked up on the work space.

Obviously, it doesn't take much to make me a happy crafter.

I also managed to sign up for the sewing class this week. Starts March 5th. You can read about my sewing class angst in a previous post. I will need to do some shopping for some additional supplies I don't have yet, but otherwise, can't wait. I'm just so excited about taking the class. We can make either sleep pants, shorts, or a skirt. Think I'll go with the sleep pants. That way, if I mess up and make one leg longer than the other, I can still wear them (because no one but my husband and I will see them). So in a few more weeks, that will be yet another resolution I can cross off!!! Its the sort of thing that makes you feel good.

And to top it all off, our little foster dog Buttons went to her forever home on Tuesday. Her adopter was so excited to get her that he called earlier in the day to see if it would be alright for him to stop by earlier than planned to pick her up. He just couldn't wait. That was just so great to know she's going somewhere where they are just so excited and happy to have her. I know she'll be loved and spoiled rotten (but in a good way).

Add to all of that having Monday off work for the holiday and Tuesday off work to attend a seminar, leaving only 3 days of actual office time. So all in all, its been a wonderful week.

How was your week?

Thanks for reading and happy beading!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Website of the Week - PMC Supply

Yesterday I celebrated the big 3-0, so happy birthday to me. We celebrated by going out for dinner (steak, mmmmm) and when we got home, I ordered my birthday present - goodies from PMC Supply. So I figured, why not highlight them as Website of the Week?!

Since it was one of my Crafter's Resolutions for the year (see January post) to buy a starter kit and begin working with PMC, I figured I'd take advantage of my birthday and do just that. I purchased the basic kit and some other tools and a book, to get me started. Hopefully that will arrive next week and I can start sharing my experiences with that media.

The website itself is great. Not only can you shop (they require a minimum $25 order, but you get free shipping on orders of $100 or more), but they also have instructions, tip and tricks, and free online instructional videos. You can buy all you need to get started, from tools to metal clay to firing options (torches or kilns), and even extras like gemstones and dichroic cabochons and silver findings. There's even a Wholesale page for those of you out there lucky enough to have yourself a license.

There's a wonderful gallery of finished pieces by various artists. Its eye candy for hours and inspiration for days. And their instruction and project sheets are easy to follow and include plenty of photos so you can really see what they're talking about.

If you're even just interested in learning more about metal clay, check the site out. Do some reading, and see what you think. I enjoy working with clay in general, so I'm looking forward to using the metal clay. I already have some ideas for first projects floating around my head (and a few I've gotten down on paper).

Look for more entries on metal clay in the future!

As for beading this week, I managed to finish a choker I was asked to make. But I may rethink how I finished it. The choker is a simple even-count peyote band, using pearl-white, clear and clear-AB size 6 seed beads (its about 1 1/4 inch wide). It looks nice in general, but I'm not happy with the clasp attachment. I'll probably work on it some more tonight. I have that and a couple of other pieces I'm working on for someone, and my goal is to finish them before Sunday evening.

I also finished up some more of my Rawhide earrings. I'm going to put two pairs up for sale on my Etsy shop, see how they do. I'll donate the proceeds to RESCUE if they do sell. I plan to post those later today (if the photos I took last night turned out that is). So look for them later today or sometime over the weekend.

Speaking of RESCUE, our little foster dog Buttons was adopted on Saturday. She's spending the week with us while her new dad is out of town, but she'll be heading off to her forever home on Tuesday, so wish her luck.

That's all for this week's edition. Thanks for reading and happy beading!

Monday, February 05, 2007

New Organizational Tool, Etsy, Foster Dogs and So Much More!

Since my last post, I have not had a chance to touch my bead crochet. Maybe later this week. But I have good reason. On Thursday, I picked up our new foster dog. She's a stumpy legged little dog with a major overbite (her lower jaw is about almost and inch shorter than her upper, but she eats and destroys toys just fine). Her name is Buttons, and so far, she's been a great little foster dog. Good with our Miniature Pinscher and great with our two cats. She's even tried to help me bead a little bit. When we got home Thursday night, I spent the evening bathing her and then just watching her adjust to home life (ie. making sure she didn't pee anywhere she shouldn't and didn't have a desire to chase cats).

In a previous post I talked about these great little drawer units that came with a matching desktop. Well, I bought them, and over the weekend I set them up. They look great! They don't come with quite enough drawer dividers (you need two long and two short to have really stable separation, there are 8 drawers, 12 long dividers, 15 short dividers - - you do the math), but my FIL had said earlier that he didn't use all of his so I'm going to see if he still has any to spare. I filled a couple of drawers with my various seed and bugle beads (these beads were living in a clear shoebox before, as I ran out of tackle boxes), and one with all my wire and wire tools. Now I just need to fill the rest of the drawers, finish straightening up the room, and then I can take pictures. I didn't take any yet, because the rooms looks like a cyclone has passed through. And I didn't want you to see that. I want you to think I'm organized. Yeah, that's it. Anywho, moving on.

I also set up an Etsy Shop today. I called it Beaded Desert Designs, of course. I need to come up with a banner still. I tried creating one, but I had issues with sizing, so that is a work in progress. But I decided to post one item anyway, just so I had something there. My "Very Cherry Earrings" (not original, but its fun to say, so that's why I'm using it) are my first piece up for sale. Now I have that much more motivation to get some more nice pieces completed and offer them up for sale. Creating an Etsy shop was not on my official list of Crafter's Resolutions, but it was there in my mind, as something I wanted to do later this year. But I had other motivations to get it going now. More on that in the future (you'll just have to keep checking back now woncha ;D).

So did I get any beading done this weekend? But of course my dear, but of course. I am working on a little bracelet actually, that I designed myself. I used peyote stitch to create some beaded beads in a bright spring green. Then I dug out these large glass flower beads I have (almost like buttons). I'm attaching a vine of bead to each flower, then I'll string the beaded beads and flowers together, like a large vine/branch. I'm still working out some kinks with the flower and vine part. I have some other projects that MUST be done this week though, so this one will probably sit on the back burner for a bit.

Well, that's about it for now. Just trying to keep my resolution of weekly posts. Thanks for reading and happy beading!