Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Etsyloutions

Eight Resolutions for 2008

1. Make more than I spend. Now that I have most of the supplies and tools that I need, hopefully 2008 will bring more profits.

2. Create my own website. I basically have my Etsy Shop to my liking within the boundaries that Etsy sets, however, I'd like to get my own domain name and host and create a website that I have the ability to set up more creatively. I would like to link it to my Etsy shop at first, and eventually sell off my own website as well. Of course this will mean getting a Computer Lingo/English Dictionary.

3. Master the bead loom. My sister gave me a beautiful wood bead loom. By master the bead loom I mean have the ability to thread it up in less than an hour and I would like to eventually like to work up to pattens of people and objects. For now I am working on some basic patterns. Very, very basic patterns.

4. Wireworks. Santa brought me a wire jig for Christmas, and I've since been playing around with some patterns,and trying to come up with patterns of my own. It would be great if I could make my own hook clasps. I also have a Wire Gizmo for creating wire spiral designs which i have yet to open. Of course there are my crocheted wire pieces I'd like to improve. I still have no idea how much wire I need to pre-cut for them and I typically come up too short. Instead of simple chain stitch pieces, I'd love to make more involved chokers and bracelets. Wire wrapped stones create a beautiful look, so I'd like to get more involved in that as well.

5. Make more polymer clay beads and pendants. The great thing about making polymer clay is that while it is time consuming, you can make so many beads in your own style cheaper than what you can buy them for. I see polymer clay beads in bead stores and craft shops and I figure a bead that sells for 60 cents probably used only 5-10 cents worth of raw materials. Of course time and effort are accounted for in the price, as well as the cost of the tools to make them. I could help accomplish Etsyloution #1 by making my own supplies and pendants.

6. Educate myself. This is a broad goal. I would love to pick up a random gemstone and know what it is. There is a rock and mineral store in Maine near where my family lives, and next time I'm in the area I really want to check it out. The problem with gemstones for me is that when I list them in my store, I don't always know what they are. By giving them their correct name would generate more traffic to my items in customer searches. I never guess at a name, so if I don't know I just describe it by the color of the stone, and sometimes post the picture and ask for help naming it. I also need to educate myself on using certain websites for marketing and promotion, such as Flickr, my blog, and of course my future website. It would be a shame to pay for a domain name and leave it as a blank page.

7. Project a month. My sister got me an awesome project a month beading calendar for Christmas. Even if I can't find the same exact beads, I want to do something as similar as I can every month. She also got me some subscriptions for some beading magazines for my birthday, and my mother-in-law, Diane, got me a few magazines for Christmas too!!!

8. Not letting my work consume my life. While running my jewelry shop requires dedication, time, and work to get business coming, I don't want it to take up all my free time when I could be enjoying other hobbies and my family.

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's all about meme

"Seven things meme"

According to Webster's Online Dictionary

Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of mimeme, from mim- (as in mimesis) + -eme
Date: 1976
: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

Quixtar Blog: Blogging 101 - The Meme Game explains that it is an incomplete definition when used in the online context, as Internet meme "occurs when something relatively unknown becomes increasingly popular, often quite suddenly, through the mass propagation of media content made feasible by the Internet" technology.

Whatever the definition, I was tagged by my mother-in-law
Diane, and now I'm "it".

Did you know, or do you care?:
1. My weird body tricks include wiggling my ears, rolling my tongue, and raising one eyebrow -but just the left one - ask my husband, I give it to him a lot.
2. Pet peeves - if you ever want to make my head do a 360: put something back empty or ask me my opinion/advice and then argue with me about it
3. I have probably tried peanut butter with almost every food
4. I'm afraid to go to a drive through teller at the bank
5. I can't swim
6. Things that are borderline OCD: I check my alarm exactly three times before going to bed. My radio, windshield wipers, and heat have to be off before I turn the car off. If I have a handful of candy I have to eat all the same colors at the same time and in a particular order.
7. I don't have a belly button. Just kidding but I'm so lame I can't think of a seventh...

I tagged web host webhosting guide, angelic quirk, bren, knots 'n tangles, quiltnmama, deabusamor, and entchen

Here are the rules:
-Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Enchanting Entchen

Entchen: German for Duck...

There's your German lesson for the day!

I had the pleasure of talking with Entchen this week in between her travels throughout the United States. Entchen and her husband are currently in California, but they are Switzerland natives, from a small town named Brig. They have been touring the United States and Canada for a while now.

She sells mostly crocheted items, such as this adorable cheese fondue set seen in the picture link to the left. It is her favorite item in her shop right now, and I think it's also mine! Her crocheted items can be found in her Etsy shop Entchen's Giftshop. Her items include teabag holders, hand warmers, decorations, ornaments, purses, can cozies, album covers, lotion holders, and much more! She also has a new Etsy store called Entchen's Graphics, which is dedicated to selling graphic banners, which come with a FREE avatar! She only sells her graphics once so that you are guaranteed a unique design (eh-hem, nudge, nudge, to all the Etsy Sellers)

Here is part of the Q & A session I had with Entchen:

How did you come up with the shop name Entchen?
Entchen means duck in German and I love duckies very much! I asked my husband for a name for my shop and that's what came out... :-)

Where do you get your inspiration for your items that you sell?
I get inspired by what I see while I'm traveling or by something I see on TV or on the Internet. Sometimes there's just an idea that comes to my mind and I try to create it.

What is your favorite material to work with?
Yarn is my favorite material.

What is your favorite item that you've made, whether you've sold it on Etsy, or if it was a gift, or something for yourself?
My favorite item is a black sweater I made for my husband.

Tell me about your family.
I'm happily married for almost 4 years. I grew up with my brother and my sister, which are both younger then I am.

What do you do when you are not crafting?
At the moment, my husband and I are traveling across the States, but before that I worked in Information Technology. I also like reading, watching movies, snowboarding and cooking.

How did you learn how to crochet?
I learned it from my mother, when I was a child. Later we had to crochet at school too.

Where Entchen Hangs Out:
Entchen's Gift Shop
Entchen's Graphics
Entchen's Blog

Please check out this great Etsy seller!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Custom Bracelets

Read My Blog.

At the suggestion of my blog savy mother-in-law, I've started making blogger bracelets. They are custom made to your liking. I have pearly colored letter beads and white black letter beads that I can use to make unique bracelets just for you. You are not limited to bracelets of the blogger variety, however. Request one with your name, or even your signifcant other's name. Do you have an favorite phrase or sarcastic come-back? I can make whatever words and colors you want. Your words are only limited to the size of your wrist! To order, follow this link: Custom Name/Word/Phrase bracelets.

Your choices include elastic bracelets, or wire with clasps. Other examples are shown below:

Prices start at a mere $4.00, place your custom order now!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thanks Uni

My etsy buddy Uniccarrius was nice enough to interview me and post it in her blog. Check it out, and check out her shop too, she has lots of nice stuff!

Thanks Uni!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Many Names of Corin

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Corin, one of my Etsy buddies. Rinny, as she' s commonly known as has many talents. She's been involved in several forms of art throughout her life. She began crocheting at the age of 8, taught by her mom and grandmother. Her first project was crocheting a rose, and she's enjoyed working with yarn, particularly textured or unusual yarn, ever since. She's most popularly known on Etsy under the alias of Knotsntangles aka knots, or tangles as I like to call her. This shop features crocheted blankets, hats, scarves, and handbags.

Her love of graphic design, which she got involved in about 7 years ago and later chose that as her career path, inspired her to open a second Etsy shop called Kersplat. Here she sells her custom and pre-made avatars and banners, as well as photos. However, she still loves the traditional art form of pencil on paper!

When asked which shop she liks better she replied, "Oooh, tough question. I think I get a little more enjoyment in my crocheting, because I can do whatever I want, and it's very relaxing sometimes. I love my graphic design work, but sometimes you end up having to make something to someone else's specifications, and you don't always agree."

Shown here to the right is a picture link of her favorite item that she currently has for sale, the Fuschia Dream Bag. She says, "It's gotten a lot of great feedback and it was just something I tried one day. I wanted to make a really funky bag that stood out, and I think I achieved it. It's very soft and furry, hopefully it will have a home one day."

In the picture link to the left, Rinny's friend, Kim, models a crocheted hat titled Creamy Pink Hat. Kim makes several appearanecs in Rinny's Knots n Tangles shop. She also models a Very Berry Kerchief and the Navy Blue Hat.

Rinny's all time favorite project, however, was a not-for-profit piece she did. She crocheted a baby blanket as a donation for a mother and her newborn son as a special gift.

Her other baby is Kersplat where she sells things "for your design needs." Shown here is a custom made avatar that you could purchase for your own Etsy shop!

Enough business talk! Below is the rest of the interview, regarding what she does when she's not crafting:

Where do you live?
I live in New York, born here too, moved around a lot as a child, but ended up back in NY in the end. As much as I can't stand it here, I love it too!

Who do you live with?
I live with my fiance, we recently got engaged this past August and have been living together almost 3 years. We moved into a beautiful home a couple months ago, we live in the bottom portion while our landlords live in the top, and it's just fantastic, we really lucked out :)

Tell me about your family.
Ooooh, long story, so I'll sum up. Huge family, 28 first cousins just on my mother's side. I have 1 sister and 1 step sister and 3 step brothers, all great, and my step-dad is awesome too, just a great family. Great communication and my parents have been so helpful with advice and support over the years. K, enough of the mushy stuff, heh.

Do you have pets?
I have one beta fish named Lil' Jimmy, he's quite old but the little sucker is strong, cute little thing!

What is your regular non Etsy job?
I'm a full time graphic designer for a large company, I handle all print and web material.

What do you do when you are not crafting/designing, or at work?
I'm on the computer a lot, tv, books, friends house, dinner, movies, normal stuff I guess.

Thats about all I know about her! You can learn more by visiting her at:

Adventures With Polymer Clay: What I Learned from the Polymer Clay Experiment

Making polymer clay beads is like toasting marshmallows. In the picture on the right, see how nice and white the beads are? Like marshmallows, they are very white as you push the skewer through them. Upon toasting, however, they turn a golden brownish yellow in color. White polymer clay behaves the same way. Yes, I went in thinking I'd have nice white polymer clay beads. They came out looking like bone chips. Oh well, round one was a complete let down. The final product picture is too hideous to share. The metal rack in the picture is a tool I highly recommend. It comes with metal pins that serve the purpose of putting holes through the center of your beads, but it also keeps the beads from flattening during the baking process. I placed the rack on a cookie sheet for ease of putting the baking rack in and taking it out of the oven.

Round two: Sparkling red and green clay swirled together to make round and long tube beads, as well as a Christmas tree pendant. I used my clay plunger tube to make square and round shapes with the silvery gray clay. Turns out Christmas trees are a really good first timer's pendant to make. The mistakes end up looking like pine needles. I recommend investing in some bead rollers, because there was great variation in the sizes of the beads I made. I recently purchased a bead roller (AMACO Professional System, Set 1) . Don't let the picture on the box fool you, it only makes two sizes of oblong beads, 1/2" and 5/8". The picture implies about 4 different shapes of beads, but I guess that's what the other sets are for! Nonetheless, I can't wait to use my new toy. The plunger makes different shapes with your clay, and it is great for creating uniformly shaped beads or shapes to decorate pendants with, however, it requires a great deal of hand muscle power, which I lack.

The final product:

I used the tree polymer clay pendant and beads to create this braided green wire Christmas necklace. You can see the full item description and price in my Etsy shop here:
Like all of my other holiday items, it's on sale, buy one get one half off!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Attic

Enough about me, let's talk about someone else for a change.
I've made some friends through Etsy, and this is the first of several articles promoting someone else. Meet QuiltnMama.
What I like most about QuiltnMama's shop is the variety. As it says in her shop announcement, its filled with lots of hidden treasures, just like Grandma's attic. Although it's like Grandma's attic, it's NOT Grandma's attic, as everything is very modern (and of course not musty).

Don't let the name fool you. While she is a mama, of two beautiful children, she does a lot more than quilt. She is also an artist and a painter. This decorative painted slate has many uses, as a garden accent, a decoration on a chair rail, or a door stop.

She used her experience from years of preschool teaching to develop, not to mention illustrate, her children's books. Her books teach children how to read in a way that children learn best, and they can color and be creative at the same time:

And while she "Never Promised You a Rose Garden," she can promise beautiful high quality quilts, such as the lap quilt shown here:

As well as postcard quilts:

Aside from quilting, she's also a very talented children's clothing designer, as proven in this beautiful flower girl dress:

With all this variety, where does QuiltnMama get her inspiration? QuiltnMama replies, "Most of my inspiration comes from craft books or the craft shops. I see items and think I can do that, but better. I always put my spin on it." As the name implies, her favorite materials to craft with are textiles.

On a more personal note, QuiltnMama enjoys living in New England in a small town community with her husband, two children, and her dog. When she's not busy at the sewing machine or holding a paint brush, she enjoys being outside, whether she's water skiing, biking, snowmobiling, or hiking.

Want to know more about this amazing Etsy seller? Visit her blog and her Etsy shop and see for yourself!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Let It Snow!

Because it's going to anyway.

I went to JoAnn Fabrics today to pick up some more supplies. I guess if I'm going to be snowed in on my day off I might as well make it crafty and productive. Next project on my To Do List is to take a stab at making polymer clay beads. It would be nice to make some jewelry with my own beads and pendants for a change. Pictures of and updates on the inevitable mess to follow.