Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tea with Emma by Lindsay Art
Felt Elephant Embellishments by (me!) Little Lovables
Pudding Blue Baby Elephant by Jenny Loves Benny
I wish I had a friend like this! Such a sweet blessing. I must say first though, that it has always been my life long dream to work in animal rescue and at a sanctuary of exotic wild or ocean animals!! More elephant cuteness HERE on Mayhem Arts.
For two more of my favorite inspirational animal videos, see my LINK HERE.
Elephant Painting video...
Always by rkdsign88
I Love You Friend by Sarah Jane Studios
Ella and Matilda by EllaBlue
Blu Sky by Indigo Rain
Also, this video of Dennis Quaid on the Ellen show is hilarious!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Meep by Schmooks
Yesterday was my One Year Etsyversey (for my jewelry shop, Jeweled Ambrosia) I recently had a two year Etsyversery in my Little Lovables shop. This has been such a whirlwind and adventure for me, I am so happy to have found Etsy, and am so thankful for my customers and all who have helped me out along the way! I am going to share some thoughts with you on success on Etsy throughout the course of my blog, but today, I am going to focus on originality.
Cracker Jacks Recycled Notebook by Ivy Lane Designs
As a kid, I thought Original meant "mundane, commonplace, boring." How did I come up with these assumptions? Because on cereal and snacks boxes, The Original always had the giant words "plain" right under it. It was the new versions of the same cereal that had all the fun stuff, the extra rainbow shaped marshmallows, new cinnamon flavor, more scoops of raisins, honey nut Cheerios... you can see why I was confused.
Embarrassingly, I held these same assumptions until I was an adult. Why would a company claim an item to be their original, but then call it "plain" and release the "New and Improved" right next to the (frownyface) "The Original" ?
I think a lot of crafters/hobbyists/artisans are like that. We take an original idea, add to it and make it ours. I think, one reason my shop has had the success that is does, is because I do create interesting, beautiful and original pieces of work.
Colorful Royal Polymer Clay Cross by Labor of Love
However, I also follow trends. A lot of designers think following trends is a bad thing, that your "originality" is what sets you apart. I find this true, but false.
According to my Google Analytics, people find my shop through my Twilight jewelry. Original? No. I did not come up with the Twilight idea. But, I did create a line to compliment the story in my own fantastic world of jewelry and romance. By producing a line of "Inspired pieces", I stretched my mind on new designs that have improved me as a designer.
Also, by providing a popular and trendy concept into my shop, I have been able to come in search engines a little better than before, and I have invited those interested in Twilight jewelry, to my other jewels that are non Twilight related.
Sweet Vintage Ivory Rose Earrings by Jeweled Ambrosia
I didn't come up with the vintage flower cab earrings, or the vintage flower cab rings either. There are so many on Etsy, but they are beautiful, inexpensive and fun to make and wear. By having trendy and popular items in your online shop, you are inviting fun, trendy customers into your shop and they will find something unique and become trendsetters! Remember, that what may be popular on Etsy (like the octopus and love note necklaces) are not neccesarily popular outside of Etsy, so all of our customers are trendsetters! By also having lower costing trendy items in your shop, you will find that they can become add on items to multi purchase sells and introduce new customers to you.
Recycled Poppy Bobbypin Set by Foundling
Please, I am not telling you to find a popular artist and copy their original idea (this has happened to the lovely Foundling and her poppy pins!) I mean say, owls or babushkas are popular, perhaps have a few of those incorporated in your designs. I am telling you it is okay to run with a trend for a while, so long as you don't count on that trend to sustain you, because it will pass. You need to always be evolving as a designer.
Another note. Treat your customers kindly! They deserve it. They have chosen you out of THOUSANDS of others to entrust their money and time on your product and delivery promise. If a problem arises, take care of your customer. Resize the bracelet, exchange a charm, repay for shipping if you need to have it shipped back, answer convos!
Policies are a MUST have for shop owners, but there are times when you can bend your shop policies to help a customer out. There is a selller, that I absolutely love to go and read the feedback she leaves for her buyers when I need a chuckle. It is so rude and abrupt and scary, that I am amazed she gets the sales she does. If she would help a few of her buyers out, who are new to Etsy and maybe don't understand the checkout process, then she would have wonderful return customers.
Just a thought, return customers are the best! I love them, every single one. They are all so unique with custom design requests and loyalty to me, as well as the other sellers they are loyal too. I know, that I as a buyer become loyal to a seller when I find one I love.
Cardboard Blue and Gold Charlie Brooch by Poaplum Bags Jewelry
Monday, January 26, 2009
Look what my husband made me. A warm, buttery, ginormous blueberry muffin with a strawberry and milk in my (new) favorite vintage Popple's cup. I got it from SplishySplashCrafts, she has cute handcarved stamps and lots of vintage goodies. I still have my white Popple by the way... do/did you have one? If you are needing some memories of 80's toys and such, check here. I will find Rainbow Bright, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Ponies, Smurfs, Muppets...
Also, I was featured in two treasuries today! Thanks to the wonderful Etsy sellers, CreaShines and JanEleven.
My Victorian Blush Flower Necklace
Do you know how to take a screenshot? Me neither. But I DO know how to copy and paste a link, and that is all you need to do to get a screenshot. It won't work on password protected sites (like bank accounts, convos...) but it is great for other things. Just click on the size you want after "thumbalizing is complete", right click the image and save it in your photos. Easy. Go and play with it at Thumbalizr. (In the past, I was able to crop these so the weird white background wasn't all huge, but the format has changed, so it will take me some figuring out, but at least I have them.)
**UPDATE** I learned how to do a screenshot. Here is how:
Position your page you wish to copy, then find the keyboard button for Print Scr (top row, right hand side) hit that key, then open up your programs and find Paint, open it...
Open Edit, click on Paste, next open your File tab and click on Save as (save as a jpg.) then put it in any file you want on your computer.
My Compass Ring
Now, a final word on Etsy selling. Have you ever considered cross promoting? I saw on the lovely Talula's site that she had cross promoted a matching item with another seller and vice versa. I thought that was a wonderful idea, so I contacted Miss Indie and suggested we do the same. Her mom, Beautiful Bridget joined in, and now we are cross promoting!
My Tribal Goes to the Ball Earrings with Miss Indie's Old Manor Cowl
Here are some ideas for you:
How can you make this work for you? If you sell jewelery, then a bag, clothing or fiber accessories person would work well with you. If you sell soap, then a candle person would do well (like, if you love my vanilla soap, you will love these vanilla candles by...) If you make baked goods, then perhaps a lipgloss in a matching flavor (if you love my mint cookies, then you will love her mint lipgloss), if you make soap that looks like food, then maybe a seller of that food OR a polymer clay artist who make that food charms (if you love my bundt cake soap, then you wil love to eat this bundt cake OR you will love this bundt cake charm...) Anyways, those are some ideas for you. Sewn baby items can cross promote with baby nursery artists, mixed media and fine art can cross promote similar styles of others (like a painting/photo of an ocean lighthouse, can cross promote with someone who makes sea glass art.
I hope this gets everyone's head turning to think of people you may or may not know to cross promote with each other. Feel free to use one of my listings as an example to show to you who contact.
My Garden Love Necklace with Beautiful Bridget's Miss Marple hat.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
...and now he is this little man. He helped daddy mix the cake batter today, and sang the Bill Cosby, Himself song "Daddy is great, making me chocolate cake...!"
We did a Robot party. The robot I made with the colander hat was a hit, I think we will move it to Isaac's room for a while.
We then did the "robot" to Beastie Boys Intergalactic (chorus part), and paused the music and everyone had to freeze. We let the kids watch a you tube robot dancing video so they could pick up some moves and they started groovin. Then, our downstairs neighbors started banging on the ceiling. Now, come on, we weren't THAT loud?!?!
We moved on to something quieter, b/c we are good neighbors. I made a robot poster, and the kiddos played "pin the nose on the robot" it was a red "clown" nose, which is appropriate since my sis is a professional clown, Pookie the Clown.
The cake was fun, a robot, naturally. My cake skills seem to be diminishing, but that's okay by me. I did what I could with what I had. Wish I could apply those sentiments to other aspects of my life, (note to self, add to "to do list."
Caleb, the climber extraordinaire, got a huge chunk of cake (I think it was the robot's right arm) and devoured it. He wasn't feeling well, so he mostly sucked it to pacify him. He made little nursing coos and sighs with occasional giggles until that chocolate puppy was gone. Oh those blue eyes!! Notice the first, clean pic when Caleb snuck the cake, to the last pic, where the gooey, globbery mess won the battle.
The night ended with sticky slap hands, and bean bags. We (even the adults) partook of games of excellent beanbag tossing into various targets and sticky hand games with balloons, and seeing who could hit the other in the face first. It was quite hilarious and fun for all. ps, my sis, Bumblebee Baby made the robot bean bags, they are so soft and cute!
We had a good day. I was able to list tons of new jewelry in my shop, JeweledAmbrosia, (although the photos look yucky as I did a quick job on them this morning, so I will have to redo them) but at least the listings are up. I am excited to have my first Victorian inspired Steampunk necklace up!
I also attended an Etsy Fort Worth members meet up with my sis, BumblebeeBaby and mom, Pretty Nifty and exchanged thoughts on craft fairs and such. It was interesting and nice. We met at La Madelaine's and dined on their best ever tomato basil soup, perfect for the cool weather.
Those in attendance were: Tile Smile, Snuggle Junkie, The Paper Elephant, Flutter Bugg Creations, Blue Sky Sunburn and Good Scents.
Also, Funky Finds is hosting a spectacular Spring Fling Bazaar at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth Texas on Saturday, April 25 from 10 am - 6 pm. Funky Finds is a new little venue that has big dreams to support handmade artists, so check them out.
And one more thing... I found through Sea Dream Studio's blog (who made my JeweledAmbrosia shop banner) a cute blog called Gypsy Mermaid's blog which introduced me to the Easter Egg swap! And since I love swaps, but I don't do them very often, I signed up, so you should too! Details HERE on Viv's Whimsy.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
dentinst miniature shadowbox - the miniature
In April of 2008, I went to the dentist. I had cavities. Cavities that I could see with my eyes and touch with my fingers. I have no dental training.
I don't mind dentists, in fact, when I was 2.5 years old, my dentist, a lovely Polynesian man in Hawaii (his dental room had a bay window with tropical flowers/frogs/fountains...) was working on my teeth. I earlier had a bloody battle with my face on a hot cement floor, which earned me the nickname "Chip" until I lost my baby tooth. I was rather fond of my chip. I looked at my dentist and said "You are my friend."
He cried, just a little bit of manly tears, since children are not usually so happy to see dentists.
When I was about 6-8, I had a retainer that blew up in my mouth, wires everywhere, cutting deep into the sides and roof of my mouth. A plumber/electrician/handyman who was working on our house threw my dad a yucky wrench, rinsed it off, and held it in my mouth to keep the wires from stabbing me the entire drive to the ER. It was bloody, painful and I still have scars. I still loved my new dentist.
1. black bow and tooth necklace - the pudding store
2. sterling tooth and pearl necklace - its beautiful
3. gold tooth necklace - brookadelphia
4. rosy tooth tunic - unelephant rose
5. rotten tooth ring - keitosan
6. silver modern tooth necklace - missy industry
7. tooth fairy pillow - amy jo's handmade
8. happy kawaii teeth charms - komodokat
9. teeth key rings - majesty inc
This time, I did not love my dentist. The anti-dentite. It was our first meeting, I had a painful sore next to my cavity and was terrified I had some sort of fatal infection from the cavity. It was an ulcer it turns out, it went away the next day all on it's own without any meds.
When I asked my dentist about my two (very very visible but not yet totally painful cavities), he told me that I didn't have any. Perplexed, I said...
"Than what are those?" (I pointed at the two indented, blackish spots) -me
"Oh, those are just little spots, not cavities. Do you brush your teeth?" -dentist
"Yes, I brush my teeth." -me
"People your age who brush don't get cavities." -dentist
"That's funny, because I just had 4 cavities filled last year." -me
"Women like you don't get cavities." -dentist
We argued a bit. He denied me care. I left, and paid $90.
toothbrush holder - mossy rock pottery (Read my comments to hear David of Mossy Rock's terrifying dentist story!)
6 months later, my cavities have turned into very painful cavities. I could no longer dine on Oreos. Eating sweets became a chore that I bore with a burden. I go to a NEW dentist. She fills my cavities (the EXACT two I already had concerns about). Another $128 dollars. I am fixed. I am upset at the $90 wasted on a false diagnoses by a misogynist dentist.
But, oh happy day, I can eat CAKE!
Which is a good thing, b/c this weekend I am doing a robot party for Isaac, who will be turning 3! I googled robot cake ideas and found this blog segment by Seedpod, who also happens to have an Etsy shop. It is perfect, since we are also planning on doing a little robot costume craft, and maybe even a pin the ___ on the robot... what should we pin? A heart, arm, nose.... any suggestions?
Speaking of noses... I was down that my nose was looking a little big in some photos. My hubby pulled out the tape measure to show me that his nose, was in fact, bigger, and nubbier. I felt better.
ps... look, I made a photo mosaic! You can do it too and create lots of other photo type goodies at Big Huge Labs.
pss... stay tuned, I have a giveaway coming...
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
And now for my beloved Twilight jewelry fans... here is a sneak peek at the jewelry pieces I JUST GOT IN and a peek at some of my new designs. There are plenty more coming, I am waiting for more supplies to arrive for a couple of brand new designs. I am bringing back my loaded charm bracelets in a couple of weeks too! Also, I know money is tight for a lot of you, so I will also have a less expensive line coming out as well. Visit my jewelry shop, JeweledAmbrosia for updates! My pieces in my previous post HERE have sold out, so I am trying to recreate many of them.
Bella Twilight Inspired Bracelet with Swarovski Crystal Heart
Loaded Twilight Inspired Charm Bracelet
Handstamped Twilight Necklaces with Red and Topaz Vintage Jewels (click on photo for zoom view of the sayings on the charms)
Alice and Jasper Inspired Necklace
Alice and Jasper Inspired Necklace 2
And here is a sneek peek of some non Twilight jewelry I will have coming up! I have some Valentine's day pieces that I will be listing in the next couple of days. If you look closely, you will see some amazing cloisonne goats and beads, Czech glass owls, a Holly Hobby cameo locket, sparkly chandiler and Czech glass flowers, more vintage Japanese flowers, charms, vintage rhinestone brooches, unicorns, pirates, and Alice in Wonderland... yay! Also, not pictured, I have some STEAMPUNK pieces in the works, I am so excited about those!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Here is my little Valentine tutorial. I really wanted a more expensive topiary, but then I would of only had one, so I bought the supplies and made a whole set up for my faux mantle/decorating shelf. I kept it simple this time (for the boys) and I hope you like it b/c I know I do! I painted a wooden frame a creme color and added a pink flower and green vines. My candleabra project is HERE.
The hearts I just wound together, tied a bow and stuck it in foam and hot glued it to the bottom of my mom's vintage ice cream dishes. (The glue will peel right off when I need it b/c I used low temp glue). The foam heart I just used a pretty sage scrapbook paper, black marker for the words, glue, glitter, lace and a bow.
Speaking of cookies, did you know that Etsy has a plants and edibles category? It's true. So, if you want to spend some dough (get it?) on some boutique cookies for your sweetheart (or yourself), check some of these out:
I am an Etsy seller mentor, helping other sellers set up their shops and such, and I met this lovely seller, Stacey of CreaShines. She makes unique and wonderful polymer clay jewelry and I just can't figure out why her shop hasn't taken off yet! So, I am doing my second artist bio, b/c really she's awesome and her stuff rocks for Valentines goodies, and even some non holiday jewelry too. I really had a hard time deciding which pieces to show you, so go and get you some!
"My name is Stacey Hines.
I was active duty military in the Navy as a photojournalist for over 4 years. I now attend art school at Ringling College of Art in Florida where I am majoring in photography. I'm learning the artistic side of photography to compliment my technical military knowledge of it.
When I'm not doing freelance photo shoots or working on school projects, I'm spending every moment of free time creating jewelry and accessories out of polymer clay! I then promote my items on the most amazing ecommerce website [for handmade/vintage goods]Etsy! My jewelry shop is CreaShines, but I am also working on my newest shop where I will be selling my photography at CreaShinesPhotos so please stay tuned!
The drive to be a designer is in my blood, my grandmother was a jewelry designer for over 35 years and I remember hanging out in her store when I was a kid, just staring at her beautiful fine diamond jewelry. My mother was also a photographer and I remember learning darkroom techniques as a kid and falling in love with it. Who knew that I would grow up and do the same things?"
I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!