Thursday, August 28, 2008

Artist Feature - hdawnparratt

Heather is a 36 year old embroidery machine operator originally from Nova Scotia. She moved to Alberta three years ago with her husband who is in the military. She loves movies, reading, camping, scrapbooking, making cards, and hockey.

Heather recently joined the newly formed Alberta Street Team which is where I met her. :) I interviewed Heather the other day. Here are my answers and her questions. (Click on the photos to view the listing.)

What first interested you in card making, and how long have you been doing it?

The first thing that interested me in card making was running out of pictures to scrapbook and not wanting to slow down in my crafting I decided to start making cards, I have been doing so for about 2.5 years now. :)

What inspires you?

My husband inspires me and gives me wonderful ideas if you can believe that or not, he goes through my stampin up catalogs and advises me on which sets would sell well, he recommended the fish stamps and the golfing stamps, I have sold enough fish cards to have paid for the stamp set. Another thing that inspires me is making people happy and smile from getting one of my handmade cards, I love reading my feedback on Etsy and that pushes me to do better.

Do you have a favourite colour or technique to work with?

One of my favorite colors are earth tones, oranges, reds, and browns, one of my favorite techniques is the embossing with my cuttlebug machine, I love the effect on the paper.

What is your most popular card category?

I would say the most popular category of cards in my shop are friendship and birthday.

Do you enjoy creating in one category of cards in particular?

Friendship cards are my most favorite to do, cause I can use a variety of stamps and dies for that category.

What is your favourite item currently for sale in your shop?

The most favorite item for sale in my shop right now is my bone jour dog card, I love the French card and love that stamp.

Which item are you most surprised hasn't sold yet?

I'm most surprised that my cat paperbag album hasn't sold, I have it reasonably priced and with the way people talk about their pets in chat I'm surprised it is still for sale and it has the most hearts as well.

How much time would you say you spend each day on your crafts?

I spend about an hour a night on my crafts during the week and maybe 3 hours a day on the weekends (I'm addicted).

How did you first discover Etsy?

I discovered Etsy through the Cricut scrapbooking website, I had someone comment on one of my cards saying that I should sell my cards on Etsy. I tried eBay and it wasn't working so I joined that day I was told about Etsy. So happy I did. :)

What do you wish you had known when you started selling?

I wish I had of known more about pricing my cards, when I first started I listed my cards at $1.99 and sold none, I got advice from other sellers to raise my prices, so I started listing them at $3.50 that is when I started to sell.

What advice do you have for new sellers?

Advice I have to new sellers, is to list daily or renew often and not to get your hopes up to join and start selling right away, every store is different and not everyone does well, and I think some sellers are getting depressed as they are not doing as well as they had hoped. I have met some wonderful sellers on Etsy through chat rooms and I enjoy coming home from work and getting in chat and seeing my Etsy friends, I go there to relax and have fun, I try not to worry about sales, if I do I would drive myself mad, if I sell great if not I'm thankful for having found this amazing site. :)

If you enjoyed this Artist Feature, check out the ones I did on jessijewels and CelticKnot!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Til the cows come home.

I got a convo tonight that my sister's Mamma Cow and Calves photo is in a Treasury! It was created by MysticStarTreasures. :)

Til the cows come home.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Featured Artist - CelticKnot

The Etsy forums are a wonderful place to meet talented artists and kind, warm people. I met one such lovely person, Kristine, from CelticKnot a few months ago and have subsequently purchased a pair of her gorgeous earrings as well as two jars of her origami Lucky Stars. :)

Kristine is currently having a really great sale to raise money for a camera. She has tons of beautiful things ready to list in her shop once she's able to take photos of them. So be sure to stop by her little corner of Etsy to check it out. :)

I recently interviewed Kristine, here are my questions and her answers. (Click the photos to view the items.)

What first interested you in jewelry and origami, and how long have you been doing each?

I first became interested in making jewelry during the summer of 2007. My husband was in the Navy at that time and was away on a deployment for several months. I needed a way to pass the time and satisfy my creative side. I researched how to make earrings and dove straight into it. Since then I have been making earrings, bracelets, necklaces, keychains, bookmarks, wine glass charms, cell phone charms, and zipper pulls.

I have been interested in origami for many years, but I was an admirer rather than a creator. I absolutely love stars, so I was extremely excited when I discovered origami lucky stars. In the one month since I made my first star, I have made thousands and they are filling up every possible container in my apartment. They’re very addictive!

What is your favourite colour to work with?

I love to work with silver, blue, and emerald green. Rainbows are frequently seen in my shop.

What style of jewelry do you prefer to make over the others?

I love to make all styles of jewelry, but I would describe the majority of my jewelry as vibrant and fun. My favorite earrings to make are shooting stars and cherry blossoms, and my favorite necklace is my planetary necklace.

What type of jewelry do you, yourself, wear most often?

I wear my gorgeous engagement and wedding rings, a diamond star necklace given to me by my husband when we were dating, and a variety of my own earrings. I love to wear shooting star, Celtic knot, cherry blossom, and rainbow helix earrings. I have recently started making memory wire bracelets, and I have been proudly wearing them.

How did you first discover Etsy?

I was first introduced to Etsy by a friend several years ago. She recommended the site to my in-laws who had a candle business at the time.

What convinced you to sell on Etsy?

I fell in love with Etsy immediately and opened an account when I was encouraged by family, friends, and strangers.

Are you happy with how your shop is going?

At the moment, things are very slow because I no longer have a camera. I have a ton of beautiful earrings and bracelets and lovely lucky stars that I can’t wait to add to my shop. I am currently having a 30% off sale to help buy a camera.

How much time would you say you spend each day on your crafts?

I spend several hours a day on my crafts. I love to make earrings and lucky stars while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy every evening. I also spend a lot of time in the forums talking to wonderful Etsians, helping to answer their questions, and promoting my shop. Chances are, if you see me in the forums, I’m typing and making lucky stars at the same time. Like I said, they’re addictive!

What advice do you have for new sellers?

My advice for new sellers is to believe in yourself and your crafts. Do not undersell your items; your time, creativity, materials, and talent are worth a lot! Good pictures are essential. Use all of your picture slots; they are very valuable. Photograph your items at different angles, and use size references, whether they are in the picture or described in units within the description. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Get to know your fellow Etsians. Etsy is the nicest, friendliest, most creative and diverse community in the world. I love Etsy!

If you enjoyed this post, check out the Artist Feature I did on jessijewels. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Hard Work Paid Off....

I discussed in one of my earlier blog posts titled "Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket " that I was creating jewelry to sell to a local bookstore who likes to showcase items by local artists. They bought a batch from me back in May, and were ready for more, so I worked nearly steadily through the whole month of July and into August creating a much larger order.

The tagging and labeling of the pieces actually took longer than creating them, I think! But I finally got it all done and had quite a bit to show for my hard work. :)

The most I made of any one thing was earrings, since they sold quite quickly at the bookstore last time. Here's a few photos of the different earrings laid out on the earring cards I worked so hard on:

This is a shot of them altogether so you can get an idea of how many there were:

A sampling of bracelets:

And all of them together.

A sampling of necklaces (I love the cherry and rose quartz one on the left, but they didn't buy that one):
And all of the necklaces together.

Although the bookstore didn't buy everything, they probably purchased about 3/5 of everything I had created. After my hard work with labeling and tagging, I couldn't bear to remove the tags and photograph the remaining items for my Etsy shop, so I've been finding other ways to use them.

Yesterday I packaged up 4 pairs of earrings, 3 necklaces and 2 bracelets to donate as prizes to a hand mowing competition in Nova Scotia. Sponsors of the competition will get a mention in the cross-country magazine Rural Delivery, which should provide some good exposure for my little Etsy shop. :)

The rest my dad will take down south with him to the town we used to live in to see if the health food store, which sells jewelry, might be interested in me as a supplier.

And when it comes to new items for my Etsy shop, I guess I'll just have to dive back into my bead supply and come up with some new designs. Oh, the humanity. ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Windchimes for Sale - 20% off!

My very dear Etsy friend, Sally, of sallyscreations makes the most amazing windchimes. I bought one a while ago for a friend and she was just thrilled with it! The chiming parts are handcrafted from stained glass and metal tubing, and dangle from a wide variety of objects,. Sally has no shortage of ideas when it comes to these beautiful creations. :)

(click image to view item)

Even though they're often thought of as seasonal (what better way to spend a summer evening than sitting on the porch listening to your windchime?), Sally's chimes are often bought for indoor decoration, especially by those without porches. ;)

Now, as the traditional windchime season comes to a close, Sally has decided to have a sale on all of her glorious windchimes. 20% off!!! Now who can pass that up? ;)

(click image to view item)

This bear chime is one of my personal favourites. My late great uncle would have gotten such a kick out of it!

(click image to view item)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

As Luck Would Have It....

No sooner do I write a blog post about always missing the Treasury than I manage to snag one! :) My luck has changed, whoo!


These are some very talented artists. Take a moment to check out these items and the shops they come from. :)

Top row:
Left - Paris Angels Photomontage
Middle - Memorial Custom Pet Purse
Right - High Heraldry
Second row:
Left - Loved Beach Angel Mermaid
Middle- Rainbow Peace Angel
Right - Orange Feather Angel Wings
Third row:
Left - firefly - necklace
Middle - Angel Heart Glass Necklace
Right- ACEO Lilac or Black Angel Print
Bottom row:
Left - All Dogs Go To Heaven
Middle - Flame Angel
Right - Aurora Hot Angel

Friday, August 8, 2008

Treasury- Swing and Miss

I love to make Treasuries. Sifting through Etsy looking for phenomenal products with great photos is a lot of fun. I realized that it's been quite a while since I actually made a Treasury, so I recently started checking both the Main Treasury and Treasury West to see if I could catch one.

But luck just isn't on my side. Every time I look they're both very full, meaning it will be awhile before either one opens up again. And when they get to be about an hour or two from opening up, I wind up distracted with a chore or end up going for a walk.

I used to have really good "Treasury Karma" and was able to catch one every time I put my mind to it. I learned a great trick from some people in the forums - never refresh the page. If you refresh it, you resend all of the info and are likely to lose your space. But if you just leave it open and you're patient enough, it will always open up for you. Using that technique, I've snagged a Treasury every time I've sat and waited and been on time.

My problem at the moment is never catching it at the right time to sit and wait. But I shall not give up! I'm sure that my luck will change back and I will once again be a Golden Treasury Snatcher. Oh yes..... I will snatch a Treasury......

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Polishing and Caring for Sterling Silver

I love working with sterling silver. It's beautiful, classic and best of all, quality. But as with any silver product, it will tarnish over time and with exposure to air, light and skin oils. This can be a frustrating process, watching your lovely pieces of shiny silver turn brown. I became quite frustrated with it myself, both with my finished jewelry and with my sterling wire supply, so I researched sterling silver polishing on the internet.

You can use regular silver polish on it, but I have sensitivities to chemical products like that, so I searched further for a more natural solution, and found two.

The first is a slightly more complicated method, but works very well in a hands-off fashion.

-Line the inside of a small bowl with tin foil.

-Put 1 tsp each of salt and baking soda into the bottom of the bowl.

-Fill it with tap water as hot as you can run it, stirring to dissolve the salt and baking soda.

-Add your sterling jewelry to the solution, making sure that the pieces are touching the tin foil as well as each other.

-Leave for about 5 minutes, then pour off the hot water and rinse well. Pat dry.

The second method is more time consuming, depending on how many pieces you're polishing, and it requires more hands-on involvement, but it seems to last longer and is, in my opinion, superior.

-Pour a bit of baking soda onto a plate.

-Make your fingers wet and dip them into the baking soda.

-Rub the paste gently on the sterling silver until it's shiny again.

-Rinse well and pat dry.

I've tried a couple of different brands of baking soda and have found that Arm and Hammer is the very best. It cut my polishing time down in half and worked twice as well as the President's Choice brand. :)

Note: use caution with pieces that incorporate dyed beads, beads covered in a coating or foil (I made this mistake with pink seed beads that had a fine coating), or pearls, which can be delicate. If you're the creator and have some spare beads of the type used in the jewelry, test the method on them alone before polishing the finished piece. If you've purchased the item and don't have spare beads, consider asking the seller about their polishing method if you're unsure.

Store the polished jewelry in a dark, airless place. I generally keep mine in a sealed plastic bag (with the air pressed out) in a tin container with the lid on, but I have found that some earrings I stored in a small plastic container with the lid on remained shiny for a very long time.

I wrote up care instructions cards in Print Shop with the second method, and I print them onto pre-perforated business card paper I buy at Staples. I include one in all of my Etsy packages. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Subscribe to New Posts

I think that there may always have been a little tiny, nondescript link at the very bottom of my blog that people could click to subscribe to my blog and receive an email when I make a new post, but to be honest, the Live Bookmark thing doesn't make much sense to me, so I don't see how anyone who isn't completely computer savvy would see and understand it.

I would like people to be able to easily subscribe to my posts if they find my blog interesting and useful, but wasn't sure what to do to make it simple and user-friendly. The other day, I ran across someone's blogger page, and they had in the side column something that looked exactly like what I was going for. So I came back here to my own blog and popped up the "add a page element" box and sure enough there was an easy-to-add subscription element.

So I now have over on the right, just under my About Me box, two subscription links. One to Posts and one to All Comments. I've tried to figure out exactly how it all works, but I'm not sure that I understand it. It seems that you need to have some kind of blog reading page set up already, rather than just receiving a simple email. So, in that respect, it isn't the instant fix that I was hoping for, however perhaps someone who reads this post will understand more and can explain it as a comment.

And for those who do understand it, I hope that you will subscribe to this blog and enjoy many more posts to come. :)