Thursday, July 31, 2008


I am, I'm afraid, one of those people who walks through a craft fair and quietly notes all the things I can make myself. I get ideas browsing through the stores at etsy and have on occasion, made items I've seen for myself and family. I would however, never make those things to sell. It just doesn't seem like the right thing to do, but I know there are plenty of people who have absolutely no problem knocking off everything they see for a chance at profit. They are often disguised as curious customers or beginners that claim they just need a little help and are huge fans of your work.

Nearly every day someone complains of being copied and even disregarding the natural hive mind that has many coming up with the same idea independently of each other, too many of the complaints are genuine. The other day I noted someone who was distraught that her product was being reproduced my many people using the name she came up with for it. At first blush it seems like a blatant case of theft until you read on to discover that she has published a how-to on her blog for this product. Seriously, are you kidding me, what did she think was going to happen with that?

It really is wonderful that the handmade community is so sharing with each other. We like to help others learn new crafts and improve their skills, but we can't afford to forget that not everyone is in the game to learn and grow. Lots of people are in it to make money and will take advantage of every opening they get. People are always asking how to respond to people who convo them asking how they make something or where they get supplies. Some are even bold enough to ask while explaining that they want to make your product to sell. Why on earth would you want to share the very details you may have spent years working on to a relative stranger to help them compete with you? I know that you want to help and you don't want to be rude, but the answer to the question should be, I'm sorry, but that is proprietary information. Then you can send them off to Google or the library so they can learn through hard work, like you probably did.

It is a fine line we walk between community and competition. I started my tatting challenge to not only expose tatting to new people as a way to sell more pieces, but also to populate the world with more tatters. I'm working on the principle that the craft getting more popular will allow us all to succeed. I am however acutely aware that the move may inevitable bite me in the arse by gifting me with more competition. Look, I don't tat to make money, but it is a motivating factor in the creation of new patterns and designs. I would be a liar, if I said that I wasn't happy that they aren't hundreds of tatters on etsy. I like that I don't have to worry about people copying me. I have no problem sharing a pattern or two, in fact I plan on offering a few here at some future point, but I'm certainly not going to sell my most popular designs as patterns to tempt fate. I'm glad to help and I like to share, but I've developed a degree of paranoia from watching others suffer that I just can't ignore. So for now, most of my patterns will remain proprietary information.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I'm tired, too tired I'm afraid to come up with something clever or even remotely interesting to write about today. I'm sorry to disappoint all those of you who expect more, but apparently, without the proper amount of rest, I am not a bottomless source of opinion and information. You see, my Grandfather was in town visiting the last couple of days from Utah. The visit created an opportunity for all my family in the area to get together at my house for the evening. While I am always happy to have all my siblings and nieces and nephews visit, this results in six children under the age of 9 running about my house. I became exhausted just watching them and more exhausted convincing them to clean up the enormous mess the 12 handed beast just created.

The mess was cleaned, they all went home, but I am still tired. So very tired. So I'm not feeling clever or even awake this morning. Tomorrow will be another day, in fact tomorrow is the last day for entries for the tatting challenge. I know there are still several left to be entered and I'm antsy to see them all and get some winners for this thing. So if you still need to list your piece, get on it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From the Top to the Bottom

Yesterday, I hung out for almost an hour waiting to get a treasury spot. I wouldn't normally spend that much time waiting, but I had an idea that I needed to bring to fruition. It didn't turn out quite as I imagined, but that's probably because I can't seem to spend hours picking the perfect items. I think it's still pretty good though and I love if this one would actually get popular. Mine never seem to get a whole lot of attention.

In other news, one of the challenge participants waterrose, wrote up a great little article for the challenge on a site I was not familiar with, but it looks great. So, thanks for that. I'll take all the free press I can get. You can check it out here at MyItThings.

There are just a couple of days left for the participants to get their entries listed and I have to say that I am getting antsy. As soon as all the entries are posted, I'll try and snag a treasury for the ones for sale at etsy for a little more attention. The forum thread I've been babysitting for the challenge has actually drawn a little late attention so I have hope that the next challenge will be even bigger. At this point, I think the next will be after the holidays and with most likely use a simple edging. I don't know how long or what design I'll use yet, but I've got plenty of time for that, right.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Non Paying Buyer

Well, I'm still doing a pretty good job of staying out of the forums, but as I lurked over the weekend, I ran across a very familiar topic. A term that I imagine makes sense only to those who frequent the etsy forum, the non buying buyer. Although I'm fairly certain that the term qualifies as an oxymoron, it is thrown around consistently. It refers to a customer that completes the buying process for an item, but then fails to click through to paypal to send payment for it. While I have had a few slow paying buyers, I've only experienced this phenomenon once. It seems that many other sellers attract these events like tuna attracts cats, because they seem to always be complaining about them. What, I wonder, makes some people marks for these uncertain shoppers?

I wish I had an answer to that question, but what I do have is a little perspective. When I worked in retail, we would hold items for customers. The items were taken off the shelf, labeled for the customer and held for three days. Most customers came back within the time frame and purchased the items, but many would not only not come back within the time frame, but would actually return weeks later and ask if it was still on hold for them. If the buyer came back, waiting a couple of days for a certain sale was no big deal and we generally did not lose any sales from those who did not buy their item either. The process of holding an item only hurt us when it was the last in stock of a hot selling item. This is the only way a non paying buyer can hurt you. If the item they purchased is the only one of your best selling item or a one of a kind item that someone inquires about right after the false sale. Be honest, how often are either of those the case.

A lot of people blame the non paying buyer problem on a confusing checkout process, but I think it's much more likely that they are the same kind of people who like to put things on hold and never come back to buy them. They don't see the seller as a person inconvenienced by their inaction. They see you as a shopping cart that still has something sitting in it, that they may return to or not. Instead of letting these events bother you, I suggest treating these unpaid purchases as held items. When a time limit you're comfortable with has expired, simply cancel the sale and put the item back on the shelf. Sure it's disappointing, but it's not the end of the world. I've been lucky that my slow paying buyers all made their payment before I felt the need to cancel the sale. I certainly hope I don't start smelling like tuna anytime soon, but if I do, I shall try to take it in stride.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Great Curator

I've been making a lot of treasuries over at the etsy lately. It all started innocently enough. I was trolling the treasuries for that coveted gold star that indicates one of my pieces has been featured when I realized that the ability to create new lists would be occurring in a couple of minutes. Since I was already there I figured, why not. I grabbed a list and quickly filled it with items from the Esty Steam Team. Then just a few days later virtually the same thing happened again. This time I had a few more minutes, so I came up with a theme and tried to create a cohesive image. Then I found myself figuring out when the next opening would be so I could return to make another list. Apparently, I am now hooked.

An interesting side effect to all this list curating has been an extreme decrease in my forum time. Sure, I've visited the forums, but mostly to just take a quick look around, drop my blog link and move on. Curating a Treasury takes far less energy than constantly posting in the forums and I think I will be adding it to my cycle of addiction. It seems to be acting as methadone to my forum addiction. Will I get sick of making lists? Of course I will. I can already feel the decrease in the need to snag a new list and I'm still out of the forums. The bonus of course, besides the free exposure to my team mates, is the extra time I have to actually create things. I've had a few large projects recently and I've managed to knock them out in record time.

I still have a few more treasury ideas to try out before I let this new addiction go, but I know that I will see it again. There is a decidedly cyclical nature to my relationship with etsy and all the ancillary activities that seem to go along with it. I seem to get addicted and subsequently sick of almost every aspect of it. I've gone through brief addictions to the forums, treasuries, shopping, running sales, other social networking sites and street teams. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this too shall pass and return and pass again. I'm sure it's the same for many of you, right? I've learned to just go with the flow, it just takes to much energy to fight the great cycle.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tatting Is Not A Lost Art

The Challenge

With one week to go until the July 31st deadline, I am already thinking about my next challenge. So far, the challenge has gone off without any major malfunctions and I feel like it's already gone a long way to exposing tatting to new eyes. I actually discovered a treasury at etsy full of tatting curated by beadsandpieces and thanks to the pieces already made and listed for the challenge, four of the pieces feature my tatting. While the challenge is certainly not making me any money and it was never intended to do so, it has had the side effect of garnering me some extra exposure.

I will be sending out convos to all the participants of the challenge later today with a deadline reminder and I would love if tons of people would visit the flickr group in the next week to view the entries. I will of course be posting them all here after the deadline as well. I would also love if any other bloggers would mention the challenge and post the winners when they are announced for a little further exposure. I might be tempted to offer a small discount at my store for anyone who takes me up on the posting offer.

As for the next challenge, I will be needing some input before I proceed. Should I start the challenge next month with a deadline in October or should I wait until after the holidays? Should the challenge piece be a square, snowflake, simple edging or should I stick with the medallions? I've also been trying to come up with a way to involve other tatters in the challenge, but so far I'm up coming up with a blank. So any ideas on that front would be appreciated as well. Thanks in advance for any opinions and check back for the entries and winners in the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Front Page

There are two coveted spots on the front page of etsy. One of those is the featured seller spot which runs for a few days and could definitely be considered your big break. While I have not completely given up hope that I will one day grace that spot, I'm not holding my breath. The other spot is in one of the many front page treasuries that cycle throughout the day. Now these used to last a lot longer, but recently they seem to change every hour or so. Yesterday I was lucky enough to grace the front page with my Ladies Who Lunch choker for just about an hour. In that space I received the same number of views I usually get in a week as well as 50 new hearts for my store. This is made even more wonderful by being the second time this month that one of my pieces has made it to the front page. I'm feeling pretty good this morning even though experience has taught me that front page glory fades with the images removal.

I also wanted to vent about some frustrations today. I'm a stay at home mom and anyone who has spent any length of time home alone with kids knows that after a while you have nothing to talk about but kids. This can take it's toll on the few adult relationships that you've managed to maintain. After I found etsy I admittedly went a little overboard with my new found community. I was talking to grownups about things I enjoyed and I may have over mentioned etsy to my husband. Okay, so it was every other word out of my mouth.

Over the last couple of years my devotion to etsy has waxed and waned countless times. Every time I reached the etsy saturation point, my husband reaches a point of extreme intolerance to the word etsy. I can't blame him really, but I simply have nothing else to talk about besides the kids. I often miss working outside the home just because I miss the topics of conversation I could bring up when I was exposed to the public all day long. I love staying home with the kids, I love tatting and I love the handmade community. I wouldn't want to give any of that up, but I struggle with sharing the days events when I know that they will fall on annoyed ears. I imgine it would be the same if instead of etsy, I watched soap operas all day or joined a book club or something. Sometimes I wonder if my stories would be better received if this was a legitimate job, not a mildly successful hobby. I'm sure there is a solution to my woes, but I haven't found a good one yet. The blog takes the edge off, but hasn't solved the problem. Oh well, it could be much worse, right?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Super Secret

I have a secret, well several actually, but it's not the secret that I wish to discuss, it's the reason I'm keeping it that has me concerned. A scenario, if you will: You've been asked by a magazine to feature your creations and to write an accompanying article for which you will be paid. Do you scream your good news from the hilltops to anyone who will listen on and offline? Do you tell everyone you know, but restrain yourself from announcing it all over the Internet? Or, are you like me and barely tell your significant other for fear that the opportunity will fall apart and you will feel like an idiot explaining that to everyone?

I wasn't always like this. It took quite a string of disappointments before I reached this point of extreme skepticism. Several opportunities were presented to me and then fell apart some time later, leaving me feeling like a chump. This has left me, well, a little gun shy about sharing. To be fair, I've had quite a few good things happen in recent history that never fell apart including the above scenario where I was published in the Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine, but I still refrained from sharing the news until the article was in print.

I happen to be sitting on quite a few pieces of information right now that have the potential to be great news. Even though I find this venue to be a wonderful place to say anything that I need to get out, I still can't seem to get the news out. Am I the only one that has not only a fear of failure, but also a fear of premature celebration? I can't be, I mean where did the whole, don't count your chicken until they've hatched thing come from? The guy that came up with that one must have had some next level disappointment befall him, so I'll take solace in the fact that I'm at least not the first person to wait for confirmation before being happy about something.

I bet that right now you're really annoyed that I'm going on and on about secret news that it seems I won't be sharing. Sorry about that, but I promise I'll let you know just as soon as I'm sure I won't have to later eat my words. Suffice it to say there is good news for me and you will eventually know what it is, I promise.

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Hundred

I didn't even realize that I was up to this momentous post until I actually logged on to write this morning. One hundred posts, wow, I haven't been this faithful about writing since I was an angst ridden teenager writing in my diary. I really don't know what to do to celebrate this milestone, but I guess I could share some numbers. I've had over 6000 different people read my words, even if it was just a half a second before they clicked on, they were here. Of those 3400 of them returned again and 1000 of those have returned an insane amount of times. I know that compared to some these numbers are really sad, but to me they are a lovely reminder that I occasionally have something interesting to say and I do a pretty good job of saying it. A sincere thank you to all of you who visit and read my ramblings, I hope that I continue to engage you with quality content.

Of course I was distracted by my milestone and now I can't remember what it was that I was going to write about this morning. You see, I usually come up with a few good ideas over the weekend and I write a rough draft of my posts in my head. I know that is not the most reliable place to store the information, but it usually works. If anything interesting happens before I reach the laptop in the morning, I can kiss all that creative thought goodbye and I end up babbling nonsensically about whatever I can come up with while I'm typing. The only reason I'm sharing this is because I felt you were entitled to an explanation for my short and sometimes off posts. So there you go, hopefully I'll return tomorrow with the good stuff. I'm sure I'll remember it all eventually.

Friday, July 18, 2008

All Better Now

Well, I fell better now, I always do after a life lesson post. So back to business then. The deadline for the tatting challenge is looming, just two weeks to go. If you're playing with me this time, don't forget to join the flickr group and get those entries up! I still have a few medallions sitting around as well, so if you're one of those people who thrives on a deadline, feel free to join us.

I have been impressed so far by the pieces created for the challenge and I'm really hoping that I get an even bigger response to the next one. No, I don't know what or when the next one will be, but feel free to let me know if you would be interested in participating in another of these challenges. My goal is to get a large exposure to tatting outside of the established tatting community. I think that the more people exposed to pieces made with tatting might actually result in more tatters and and upswing in the popularity of this unique and beautiful art form.

I think I will also take this opportunity to out the judges for the challenge. First, we have Jane Eborall, a wonderful tatter that I've had the pleasure to talk with on etsy and through her blog. Next we have Fetishghost, also know as Zygote from the Etsy Steam Team. He is an amazing ceramics artist as well as a jewelry artisan working primarily in silver. The tie breaking judge is also the original collaborator that inspired the challenge in the first place. Lily also known as Slvrlily. She's another member of the steam team, a wonderful steam punk jeweler and you may remember a fellow victim of the photo thief.

Once these wonderful people have chosen the winners, I will announce them here, at etsy, on flickr and anywhere else I have a place to post. Only with exposure can the challenge have any real impact on the popularity of tatting, so feel free to post about this challenge if you need something new to talk about. I'm certain to mention the challenge often as we get closer to the deadline but I will refrain from posting the entries until they are all listed. That's all for now, here's hoping this weekend helps me recover a little more from my vacation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me

I've been feeling a little needy lately. The last few days have been rough, sales dried up, blog views were way down and I found none of my pieces had been chosen for any treasuries. I was starting to go to that bad place where I thought nobody liked me anymore and I was a few ill chosen words away from starting a "I need sale" pity party thread. As I was hitting the bottom of this ego bruising time, I learned the lesson in it that I shall now share with you.

As I've previously mentioned, I was an actor for a time, a performer really. I started as a dancer, dabbled with singing and majored in theater in school. If you are even remotely familiar with the performance arts, you're aware that rejection is part of the deal. If you are wise and well adjusted you will quickly learn that not getting the part has very little to do with you as a person, it may even have little to do with your level of talent. Obviously I'm biased, but I think I'm a pretty good actor, however I am not what you would call leading lady material in appearance. Once I embraced that fact, it was easier to accept the rejection of those parts. I was simply not the right type or look for them.

So you're wondering what this has to do with sales, well what I failed to do is divorce my self worth from my tatting. I should have known better, but I allowed my validation to come from sales and blog hits, so when they dried up, I assumed that I had fallen out of favor, the streak was over and no one liked me anymore. The lesson I would like to share with you is this, as much of your own blood, sweat and tears is poured into your jewelry, art or creations, they are not you. As much as you wish that talent and skill was the only factor in sales, they are not. Taste is often the gorilla in the room. When someone isn't buying your jewelry it is most likely not because that don't like you, it may not even be because you're untalented. It is more likely that your pieces are simply not their style. So, to get all psycho-babbly, don't let your personal validation come from sales and external forces. Sure they are great, but they don't reflect on you as a person.

Well, my story has a happy ending, I found a few new treasuries featuring my pieces and this morning I woke to a sale. I guess I just needed a nice humbling blow to the old ego to get me back to a good place. I hope my lesson was well learned and I'm moving forward.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Have you ever wondered what it's like to actually be famous? I certainly have wondered, in fact it has always been a goal of mine to find some kind of fame. I got my AA in Drama and thought I'd get that fame acting, but I live in the middle of nowhere and I have no plans to move, so that's right out. As I've embraced my current identity as a Tatter, I've thought of how I can use this to garner that ever illusive fame, but never really thought I'd even get a little taste of it.

Yesterday, my family took a trip to the county fair. We love to take the kids to see all the animals, the art and the people watching is beyond good. I had noticed that they were having a tatting demonstration, so I thought I'd pop by and see who was there. I should mention that being self taught, I have never met a fellow tatter in the real world. I had a lovely conversation with the granddaughter of the tatter, Caroline Funkhouser while she was busy. I plugged etsy, left her my card, which she said she would share with her grandmother and then we moved on.

As we walked out of the building, we were called back by the granddaughter, who after showing my card to Caroline was informed that she had recognized my name and had seen my work in Belle Armoire Jewelry and she wanted to meet me. We returned to her table and I got that little taste of fame. She was obviously glad to meet me and recounted how excited she was to have seen my pieces in a magazine and so surprised to see that I was from Merced. We talked for a while and though she is not online, her granddaughter promised that she would help her get in contact with me if she wanted. Well, I left the fair with an extra spring in my step because I am now least to one nice lady.

On another subject, I managed to snag a Treasury at etsy after watching the first episode of Dr. Horrible, which you should also watch...seriously go watch it, I'll wait.

Anyway, I'm proud of my creation, so I wanted to share it. This is only the second list I'm made in recent history and I managed to fulfill my mad scientist theme almost entirely with member of the Etsy Steam Team. So go look and make a comment and feed my need for fame because I haven't had a sale in nearly a week and I need something to keep me going.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Want It Now!

One of the things I find so engaging about etsy is that it is such a microcosm. Everything that happens there seems to be an intensified version of something experienced in the real world. So many things that are taken for granted on a larger scale seem like life or death situations in the world according to etsy. My brief vacation allowed me to return to the forums with a fresh set of eyes and I saw a few new correlations to comment on.

My favorite thread was a rant about custom listings or listing that would only be made when ordered. The poster was upset that something she wanted to purchase was made to order and not actually available at the moment of order. Many people chimed in saying that they either did that themselves or that they had seen that practice a lot. This really spoke to the instant gratification of our society to me. I mean, this person was really upset about this. She could not understand why sellers would list something for sale that could not be shipped immediately. I of course have several made to order item listed in my store and I can tell you why I do it. Often it's because I have sold an item and I want to relist it right away and sometimes it's because I don't want to make a difficult piece unless someone buys it first.

I know that most sellers who do this do list all pertinent information in their listings ensuring that their customers know they will be waiting a short time for the item. I've actually not seen one who doesn't. I've also seen sellers that ship once a week or ones who make everything to order and all that is clearly explained in their stores. Etsy, as a handmade environment lends itself to crafts that require extra time to create and we have to adjust our instant Internet expectations accordingly, but what I don't get is why most people accept a long ship time for large companies, but are annoyed waiting a few extra days for a handmade item. It is definitely more important to be good than fast in my opinion and I think that a majority would agree if they really thought about it.

The modern world seems to be eating away at our ability to be patient. I know that I've said this before, but I keep being reminded of it. You don't need to know everything instantly. You probably don't need to get that necklace right now or that amazing scarf or piece of art this minute. Anything that is really worth having is worth waiting for. If you think you can't wait, you probably didn't really want it anyway.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm Back

Good Monday morning people! I wish that I could report that I had a wonderfully relaxing vacation, but I've come to realize that I will not be relaxing until the children are much older. Oh, don't get me wrong, we had a great time. The weather was amazing and the break from the usual schedule was much needed, but chasing a 1 year and a 4 year old around an aquarium for three days is a whole lot of work. I'm so exhausted that I think I need another vacation to recover from this vacation.

Well, back to business then. Over the weekend, a lovely etsian, Jess of LieblingDesigns began a new feature on her blog, Monthly Artisan Spotlight, and I was lucky to have caught her attention and am honored to be her first feature. You can check out the interview here. I was pleasantly surprised by her choice of questions that make for a much more interesting read than the stock artisan interview. I only managed to check it out on Sunday and I was also quite flattered by the comment left there. I'm consistently shocked to see people that I do not recognize, claim that they have seen me around and love my work.

Lets see, what else, well I was a little sad to come back from my trip and have no new sales to pack up. I guess I was a little relieved that I didn't have a stack of work waiting for me, but I had gotten so used to the nearly daily sales that 3 or 4 days with nothing has me all worried that my streak has been broken and I'll never get that back again. Of course a year ago I was happy with one a week or even every couple of weeks. I guess I've just been spoiled recently and I should chalk the consistent sales up to a fluke of timing. I haven't tatted in days either and even though my fingers are getting antsy, inspiration hasn't hit yet. I usually keep busy between new creations remaking things that I just sold, but since I haven't sold anything, I just need to imagine something new. Sadly, fish are not as artistically inspiring to tatting as you might think. Perhaps a net of some sort, oh I don't know...I'm so tired.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Happy Friday everyone! If everything is going according to plan, I imagine that I'm walking through the Monterey Bay Aquarium and allowing my daughters to buy a few too many souvenirs. It's my 10th anniversary and I'm nowhere near a computer, but I thought I would do a sort of Friday Finds post of fishy things so you can see what I'm seeing. First off, we have just a small section of one of my favorite paintings called Childhood by PaynesGrey.

Next we have the plush aquarium by weirdbuglady. I'm thinking that the kids would make much less of a mess with this one!

Then there's the fat penguin from sweetestpea. I've coveted her fat little plush creatures for an eternity.

Well, that should hold you over for a day or so. I know this is far cuter than you might me used to me doing, but I promise that my dark, elegant self will be back on Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


By the time you read this, I will be gone. I'm on my way to the coast and it's much cooler weather to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary with my family. I'm taking advantage of the schedule post option to keep up my blog in my absence. I have a very real fear that if I stop writing for more than the weekend, you will all leave me. This may sound very sad, but I've become horribly dependent on comments for my daily ego fix.

I'll use these pre-written posts to plug some other folk. First I'd like to give props to my youngest brother, James. When I first started at etsy, I manged to con both my brothers into starting store, but neither of them really clicked with the site. It's a shame really, because they are both amazing artists. James has recently broken down and started his very own blog and since he has moved far away to attend art school, this is my only real view into his world. Aside from his slight obsession with his cat proudly displayed through photography, he has some pictures of his pieces you should go check out. If you like his art, his defunct etsy site is here. I hope this gains him some fans!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

See You All Later

I'm feeling very impatient today. You see, tomorrow morning is the start of my very short family vacation. We're driving to the coast to spend some time in the cool ocean air of Monterey. We do this every year, but this is the first time I've done steady enough business through my etsy store to actually worry a little about the break. I won't be gone long, so it's really not a big deal, but I'm still anxious about it.

I've made my vacation banner, figured out my little profile blurb and now I wait. I guess I could start packing and clean up the house, but instead I'm sitting here stressing out about the Internet withdrawal I'm certain that I will be suffering. I know I need the break, but this all has become so much a part of my daily routine that I worry about the horribly important convo I'll miss or the special order that just can't wait. I know that it can all wait and we all need a break. The truth is, it's a good this I'm going so far away or I'd be like so many others hanging out in the forums with their avatars advertising their vacation. That's no vacation...get off the computer people, seriously.

I've got a couple of new things to finish today and hopefully list and I have a couple of challenge medallions to mail out. I am going to make a few more medallions for the tatting challenge if you still want to join in. As the deadline nears, I'm getting really excited to see all the creations. It has been a great experience so far and I plan on doing more of them in the future with edgings or squares or maybe even snowflakes for winter. Well, see you all later.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Arte Y Pico

On Sunday Morning I received a message from natureautumn on etsy. She was informing me that she was passing on the Arte y Pico Award. I had seen the award on a couple of other blogs recently, but had no idea what it was or why. Well, I'm only guessing because the blog is not in English, but it seems that it is basically the chain letter of blog awards. The award started was started by a blogger from Canelones named Eseya. It was to be awarded to bloggers who inspire others with their creative energy and their talents, be it writing or artwork in all media’s.

I personally loathe the chain letter and all it's incarnations, but since this one comes in award form, I figured I would comply with the "rules" and give it to a few bloggers that I actually read and enjoy. I apologize in advance if you hate this sort of thing or if you've already received one of these.
I wonder how long it will take for everyone I know to have gotten this thing more than once? Well, here goes:

1. Sara from IndustrialFairytale - her blog is new, but she has already inspired my work.
2. Diana from PaynesGrey - for her amazing art and supportive comments.
3. Jo and Dave of Grizzly Mountain Arts - for their amazing pieces and the artistic quality that they breath into basic tools.
4. Jennifer of Stiletto Heights - not only is her art amazing, but she's a fabulous writer and a comic book geek to boot.
5. Sara of Girlscantell - her creativity and randomness is always interesting to read.

Once you've been selected, please follow these guidelines and pay it forward:
1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.
2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.
3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.
4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the "Arte y pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) Please post these rules!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What A Weekend

What a roller coaster of a weekend! Friday afternoon as I lounged around, waiting for dinner and fireworks, I pulled out my laptop and discovered my Portrait of an Elegant Bride on the front page of Etsy. I watched as the hearts and views poured in during the duration of my stay. What's kind of funny, is that I was actually watching the views on that piece since I recently changed the picture to one of myself wearing the piece. It went from about 600 to almost 1400. That was an amazing rush. Then it got a little weird. On Saturday morning, I awoke to a a handful of sales. I know, why is that weird? Well it's all a little odd for me because until recently I averaged one or two sales a week. I also had a thread at etsy revived for the third day. I've never had a three day thread before. I started to freak out a little and I made a few mental jumps. I thought perhaps this was me taking off, but then I jinxed it, I ordered supplies. Sunday saw no sales, anemic views and basically no attention at all. This allowed me to float gently back to earth. I'm now breathing easy, no longer anxious about an impending fame.

On another note, I'd like you all to visit this site and view the glory that is maintenance mode! This is the site that stole mine and other tatters images in a blatant attempt to sell public domain patterns. I wrote all about it here. I've been watching the site like a hawk since all this occurred and about a week or so it went down. I don't know if we have won the war or just the battle, but since it hasn't come back up yet, I'm cautiously optimistic. The one thing that this drama has taught me, is to be truly proactive about protecting your images. If you missed my cautionary tale, I think it's worth a minute to read. I'd also like to make a public thanks to all the people who banded together to help stop this from happening. I received many emails from the tatting community at eTatters and Here Be Tatters, of which I'm not even a member as well as Lily from SteamTeam at etsy and her many friends that helped out with a guerilla style campaign. So, thanks everyone for taking the time to help stop this thief. I hope that it really worked, but only time will tell.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 232nd

I bet you find it odd that I know how old the country is, well I was born in '76 so it would be really sad if I didn't know. This really isn't a big holiday for me, as much as I enjoy blowing things up and eating lots of nearly burnt meat, I just can't get into it. So I thought I'd bring up my Tatting challenge this morning instead.

The deadline for the contest was set at July 31st, so there's still a few weeks left for creation of the pieces and are still a few medallions left if anyone still wants to join in. The entries are already starting to roll in and a few are already listed at etsy and in our flickr group. I am so pleased at what these wonderful artisans are going with my little pieces of tatting. You can see the entries that have already come in at our flickr group. I truly hope that this contest and the future ones that are secretly swirling around in my head give tatting the mainstream attention that I think it deserves.

Well if you live here in the states, have a great holiday, if you don't, feel free to ignore all this 4th of July business ans have a nice weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Perception Of Value

Ah, I'm finished. I haven't shared, but I've been tatting my fingers to the bone the last few days to finish one of my most interesting custom orders to date. I made a total of 72 inches of lace in the same pattern as this choker. I'm told this lace will adorn sleeves and a scarf edge and after all this work, I really should ask to see the finished garment, but I don't want to impose. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is, it got me thinking about pricing again. I know that many creators have a devil of a time pricing goods and I think I might know where the problem is coming from now.

I knew that it was going to take many, many hours to create this order of lace, so despite a small discount for being such a large order, I priced the lace accordingly and I assumed my customer would balk at the price and the request would be rescinded. I was pleasantly surprised to be told that the price was fair. As I completed the project and held all this lace in my hand, I thought, man I wouldn't pay that much for this. And there it is, right there, our whole problem! Of course we wouldn't pay that much for our products because we can make them, but we are not our target audience.

Okay, so here's my comparison. I don't sell my knitting anymore, but I have mad knitting skills. When I go to a craft fair, I take one look at the prices on knitted scarves and I laugh, not because they are over priced, but because I would never pay that much for one. I can make that scarf and I'm not just one of those people who just says that, I really can. I however take a look at the prices for metal worked jewelry and think wow, I wish I could afford that. See, I have no skills in that area so I would pay a premium for it. Here's another example, my husband is a computer tech, I know so is yours probably, but I digress. He fixes and updates all our computers without a second thought and he also works on the side for a few select folk on occasion. He had a really hard time decided how much to charge for his work too, because he would never pay someone to fix his computer he really didn't know how much his skill was worth to others.

It's always hard to step out of our skin and look at our goods as if we didn't know how to make them. My 72 inches of lace looked so amazing as I was wrapping it in tissue, like something imported from an exotic land, every knot made by hand one at a time. It is worth the price paid for it even if I would never pay that much for it. Perhaps we just need a fresh set of eyes every once and a while to remind us that while we are surrounded at etsy with other creators, it's not like that everywhere. Our concentrated numbers online has blinded us to a general population that does not actually create things everyday. It's easy to forget that not everyone knits, throws pottery, paints, tats, lathes, crochets, solders or sews as a hobby or for a living. We are still few and we have every right to charge what we're worth. So forget what you would pay for your goods and think about what you would pay for mine or for something else you don't make. Then maybe you can start to attach a real value to your pieces. It is, after all, all about perception.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Is Flesh Best?

Before I get into the reason for the title of this post, I have some news to share. Yesterday evening just as I was sitting down to dinner I made my 300th sale. It is official, I've now met all of my current goals. I have 400 feed backs left, over 1500 hearts and now over 300 sales. So if you would, please join in a brief moment of Woo-Hoo......Alright that's enough. I'm afraid to get too excited about things for fear that the Gods will find me too arrogant and take it all away. Is there an electronic equivalent to knocking on wood? I just don't want to jinx myself.

Now on to the reason for the strange title. Well it's partly because I've read that a provocative post title draws in new readers. Of course anyone drawn in by this title will probably be sorely disappointed and never return, so I guess that it's a wash in that category. The real reason is an honest question. You may have noticed that I have, in the past, taken advice from people without using my own judgement in an effort to better my little etsy shop. There was a big fuss awhile back about folk being icked out by jewelry, clothing and other accessories being photographed on people as opposed to mannequins. While this makes a certain amount of sense from a hygienic stance particularly for earrings, it is a bit silly for most things given that we all try on jewelry and clothes in stores without a second thought as to how many others have done the same thing. However, I decided to err on the side of caution and began taking all my photos on a fake head.

Just a few days ago I finished a new necklace design and when it was done I draped it over my own neck as I usually do to look at it in the mirror. I assume that I'm not the only done who does this. Well, it looked great and I proceeded to take pictures to list it, but the pictures just didn't make the piece look right. I decided to try out a live picture and posted the result for critique and the response was overwhelmingly positive. It appears people like looking at pictures of real people. I've since taken a few new pictures of old pieces on my very own neck. The question I pose to you is, does this really help? Will people be more likely to purchase the jewelry now that they've seen it worn or is this just another waste of time?

Please take a second to check out some of the new pictures and let me know what you think. There are a few in my etsy mini in the left column or you can visit my store for a few more. Thanks so much for your time and opinions. They are very much appreciated!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oh, How I Love Mail!

When I first began my blogging adventure, I spent a lot of time reading and commenting on other peoples' blogs. I suppose I had a bunch of different reasons for doing so, but partly it was very informal research. I wanted to write a blog worth reading. I would run down the lists of blogs left in threads at esty fairly quickly and I'm sorry to say most of them were not worth a second look. My free time has become a scarce commodity and I can't afford to waste time reading hundreds of blogs just because I listed mine in the blog roll call thread and it would be the polite thing to do.

There are a few that I return to when I get a few spare moments and those all have something special that makes me want to read again and again. It's not something I can quantify, they range in styles and content widely, but there is just something about the writing and the people that is engaging and real. When I do visit a blog whether it is for the first or fiftieth time, I like to comment. This is mostly because I have a big mouth and crave attention, but also partly because I like people to know that I've been there and I'm listening. I never assumed that a comment would pay off.

Okay, I know that this has been a really wordy segue, but I left a comment on the Girlscantell blog quite some time ago with a guess for a "how much change in the jar" contest. Apparently I was gifted with an amazing moment of foresight and I won. Yesterday the lovely postman brought me my prize. An exceptional and surprising collection of goodies was awaiting me inside. So, thank you Sara for your unabashed generosity. You made my day and I hope that I can do the same for someone else in the future.

Please visit Sara's blog and her etsy store, Girlscantell, I love her stuff, it is top shelf and she deserves the love!