Friday, November 28, 2008

Ah, Black Friday

For many, Black Friday is a day full of crazy deals and exhaustive shopping. It was for me, that is until I worked in retail for a few too many years. Now black Friday is a day of hibernation, a day to avoid all retail outlets no matter what the deal may be. So here I sit, surrounded by the fading smells of Smallpox Blanket Day (thanks for that, Warren Ellis) with my laptop in hand searching out the few online deals that strike my husbands fancy.

With all that in mind, I struggled with the idea of a weekend sale. I assumed, as I seem to always do, that other people think like me and aren't really all that interested in crazy deals that are not meant to last more than a few days. However, I did decide to offer up a free gift with purchase until Monday and a free upgrade to Priority shipping for all orders over $25. This kind of deal is honestly the least amount of effort I can expend. I don't have to send new invoices and I will probably end up making only a couple of free gifts because these kinds of offer have never resulted in sales for me.

I'm not sure why I even bother given my history with offers. I'm starting to wonder if it's a feeble attempt to be a part of the Black Friday cultural event without subjecting myself to actual shopping. In any event, my deal is good through Monday and I may continue to offer the shipping upgrade through the holiday season. We might try to go see a movie later with the family if we get brave enough and of course the holiday decorations need to come in from the garage. In a couple of days, Christmas will have thrown up all over the house and I'll have to let the kids start watching the holiday DVDs. It is now officially that time of the year and I'm a little scared.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Oh, joyous day! I have finished the custom order collar I've been working on for what seems like forever. The piece was based on the Victorian Lace collar that I made to match a character in a Castlevania game. I was asked to make a caplet in the same style and I foolishly agreed to do so. Don't get me wrong, I love the way this piece came out, but I failed to take into account the ever increasing rows of the design. I quoted what I thought was a reasonable price for the amount of work, but as the caplet got longer, I realized that I should have thought of the piece more as an enormous doily than a collar.

I made most of the piece in a free form style, which is a fancy way of saying that I just made it up as I went along so i can never make another exactly like it, even if I wanted to. Now I just have to wait for the customer to see the piece and I have to tell you that I am more than a little apprehensive about that moment. I sent a message last night when I finished it, but I'm sure I will be waiting a while to hear if it passes muster. The wait will be murder.

I've just got a couple more pieces to list from the Steampowered stash and I should get that done today. I'm still not sure if I'm going to offer any kind of holiday offer this season. I'm thinking about offering a free priority shipping upgrade to all orders over a certain amount, but I don't know if that even appeals to people. I personally like cheap shipping, but I don't think it has ever swayed me into buying something that I wouldn't have otherwise.

I don't know if I'll write tomorrow, so if I don't have a great Thanksgiving, eat much and be merry.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Answer The Bloody Question

This is a bit of simple advice for anyone who has ever sold or ever plans on selling handmade goods or anything else really. Answer all your messages, emails, convos, whatever. Seriously, you need to do this in a timely manner unless you like to drive people away. Recently I sent a message to a seller because I really wanted to buy something from them and I simply wanted to know if they could make it in a different color. Several days later, I still haven't gotten a response and trust me this is not a good thing. I don't care if the answer to me question is yes or no or something in between, I just want an answer, it's important to me. I don't expect to get a response immediately or even the next day, but I do expect one. It has been so long now that even if I were to get a positive response, I wouldn't buy the item even though I really love it.

I accept that people have lives as well as unexpected events that take them away from the computer. The problem is that I often see these unresponsive people in the forums, listing new items and generally around online. If you have time to do all of that you have time to answer a simple question. You may think it's not a big deal to ignore one message, but I imagine that if you're ignoring one, you're ignoring more and while I'm not the sort to name names, other certainly might and really they should. If you got awful customer service from a major company, you would have no problem sharing that information with others, so really why should it be any different with a etsy or other handmade store.

I'm starting to think that this is turning into a tirade and I really didn't mean it to be one. I simply wanted to remind people to answer question, to generally communicate with others in a way you would want to be communicated with. I know I try to answer all my messages even if the questions are redundant or the questioner keeps asking questions that make me want to pull my hair out. I even answer the occasional,'how do you do that?' question. Of course I don't mean you should always give them the answer they want, but a polite, 'sorry, that's my secret' will suffice. The point is, you never know who is a potential customer and you should treat everyone as if they plan on spending hundreds of dollars with you.

Alright, that's all out of my system now. I'm on the last row of my custom order collar and I managed to list a bunch of stuff yesterday. I've got a few more pieces to list today and then I'm going into supply and demand mode. I'll just be remaking items that sell and custom orders so I don't overtax myself during the holiday season. All those crazy project ideas I've got swirling around will have to wait until after the holidays when the dust has finally settled.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Breath

It going to be one of those weeks. I just spent the better part of the weekend attending birthday celebrations, from parties for two 4 year olds on Saturday to the 70th birthday dinner of my father-in-law on Sunday. I got little rest with which to begin this week of chaos. We have volunteered to host thanksgiving at our house. As I don't do any of the cooking, aside from babysitting the turkey this simply means that I must clean the house. More importantly I must keep the house clean despite the considerable efforts of my children to keep the house otherwise. Normally I would simply wait until Wednesday night to clean to keep them form undoing it, but we shall have guests on Wednesday as well, so I might as well get started.

I also got back all the pieces I sent to the Steam Powered convention this weekend. I only sold three at the event so the stack was considerable. I relisted all the pieces that I had just taken out of the shop, but there were many pieces that I made just for the show that I need to take pictures of to get listed. The weather is not nice enough for live pics outside so I'm just having to settle for light box ones. If nothing else this is making me appreciate the live pictures I have taken a little more. I'm trying to space out the new listings, but I still feel like I'm listing too much too quick. I suppose I can't sell it if it's not listed so it really is better to get them up. I even got the tatted cuffs I made for Belle Armoire back too, so I'm listing those as well.

All this and I still have one big custom collar I'm been working on for what seems like forever and it is showing no signs of being finished as each row is longer than the last. I want to get a few of my recently sold items remade as well, especially my new Victorian corsage piece so I have as many pieces listed for the weekend as possible just in case I get any of the famed Black Friday or Cyber Monday traffic. I'm not planning any sales for the occasion mostly because I've never had any luck with sales. I usually end up with no one biting at all and a guilty feeling about any sales that occurred right before or after the sale. So yeah, it's going to be one of those weeks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Critical Mass

The locust swarm is on the move again. This time the fields they are devouring are the newest crop of handmade selling venues. It seems that every time I turn around there is someone touting the newest best thing they just discovered. Either the place is just so very reasonably priced or the folk running it are available for every question and comment you have. It appears that this new batch contains strictly juried sites and the masochist is me wants to see if I stand up to the scrutiny. I see the names fly by on twitter, Artfire, 1000 Market, etc. and I continue to be tempted, but I am holding strong on this one.

I can hear the protests now, 'It's not wise to leave all your eggs in one basket'. Sure I can and I think that metaphor works the other way around as well. If all my eggs are in one basket, not only do I always know where all my eggs are without much effort at all, I also have only one basket to take care of, promote and fill up with goods. I know that this potentially limits my audience, but honestly I'm tired as it is.

I really don't know much about these new sites except what I see on Twitter and quick curious glaces at the sites, so I'm not knocking any of them. I'm certain that some of them will do quite well, just as some are likely to gain no momentum beyond the already converted crafters. I just know that I don't have the time or energy to create multiple storefronts. Each storefront would require its own set of promotion efforts, pieces and networking. In fact even though I was already accepted to lollishops, I still don't know whether I'm going to bother with it at all. There has been so much time between signing up and the actually opening that I'm really lost enthusiasm for it at this point.

What I'd really like is to sell stuff at a tempo that allows me to create new pieces along with recreating sold ones. A tempo that allows me not only time to write this blog, but network at me leisure as well. I also have two small kids and a household to take care of and I fear that any more promotion would result in a neglected family to go along with the already neglected laundry and dishes. I'm afraid I have already reached critical mass.

When I first started writing this blog, I had a plethora on pent up opinions and wrote many in rapid fire succession. One of those was about whether you have a handmade business or a self sustaining hobby: Who Do You Want To Be Today. While breaking down the differences, in my opinion, I concluded that I have a self sustaining hobby and even though I'm doing much better than I was then, I still have a self sustaining hobby. I can only make so much stuff and keep up with my family and while they remain my time intensive priority that's the way it will remain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Etsy Does It

Let me start off today by pointing out that I have no business education or experience beyond a stint in retail management. I also have no 'in' with Etsy, real or imagined. Everything that follows is pure conjecture based on simple observation.

Now a little background, yesterday Etsy implemented a few changes. The most obvious of which was a front page face lift which had the temporary effect of a gift guide taking up the entire right side of the screen. While this glitch went away with a simple refresh and was in reality a small two picture box in the top corner it caused quite an uproar in the massive chat room that is twitter. Folks who have been vocal about their dislike of gift guides on the site were livid and the change just enhanced their argument.

Now for my analysis. First of all Etsy sellers, the front page, yeah, it's not there for you. Nope, not even a little bit. The front page is the face of Etsy the company, it is all about the buyers. It is there to set the bait for them, to entice them to shop. That is it's only purpose and as such it is in the best interest of the company to make that face pretty, interesting and above all to make people want to shop there. The shopper doesn't care if a seller is on the cover all the time or if a seller has never been featured, the buyer doesn't care about the perceived inequality of the gift guides, they just want to get a handmade gift for their sister and they want to get it fast and easy.
Etsy uses that front page to create an image that appeals to its core demographic, it uses gift guides to help people start shopping and really clicking through to items. It is the bait, you as a seller must set your own traps.

There is plenty that Etsy does for the seller. It creates a simple and inexpensive way to list items, it maintains forums, chat rooms, hosts tutorials and writes help articles. I know that there are plenty of other things that seller wish they would do like stats and a more efficient search system, but seriously, they appear to working their backsides off and there is just no way to please hundreds of thousands of people. I'm not trying to be an Etsy cheerleader, but I think that there are just so many people who don't 'get' it. Sure, Etsy started as a way for people to make a living selling handmade items and along the way they've had to compromise a bit of that to make a living themselves. Do I miss the old Etsy? Sometimes, but I'm more excited to see them grow and I understand why they have done the things they have, even if I sometimes disagree with them.

Well, I think I got that all out of my system. I've got a whole bunch of pieces to make right now and I'm getting a little nervous about the impending holiday season. The fog has started rolling in here in the Central Valley and even though it's still in the 70's, it won't be long until Christmas overtakes us all. Deep it comes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sure, That's What It Is

I used to be a pop culture expert, well perhaps not expert, but I knew way more than was necessary. This was of course before I stopped working at the retail end of the entertainment industry. Since then my knowledge has drifted toward the toddler end of the spectrum, so it wasn't really a surprise that I had not heard about the Twilight phenomenon until it started infiltrating just about everything in the last couple of months. When I heard it was about vampires, I was curious enough to do a little research. I think I learned just enough to know that I would not enjoy it and as an old school goth it was not about what I define as vampires even in the loosest sense. I can allow for a lot of changes to myths, but I'm afraid I must draw the line at fundamental changes to the legend that cause vampires to sparkle.

I am however getting away from the point of this post. I made a bracelet in the pattern I showed off yesterday. I chose to do the filigree looking base in black and I made the rose in a deep red. I think it looks positively Gothic and lovely, but something else struck me as I was taking pictures of my creation. It occurred to me that fans of this Twilight business might love this piece as it is made in the colors that appear on the novels covers and in all the Twilight inspired items saturating etsy. I was very tempted to slap a twilight tag on the sucker and exploited its success.

I'm not going to though, I just can't do it. I'm certain that others have done it and will continue to jump on any band wagon that comes along, but the piece certainly wasn't inspired by the books or movie and it just doesn't seem right to say it was. I have had the same dilemma regarding the term Lolita. I see it a lot as a tag on etsy and I have a passing knowledge of the movement and even though I could guess that my pieces would fit in with a Lolita style, I don't know enough to say that with any confidence. I guess I am trying to avoid being regarded as a poseur by assuming where my work fits in. So if a sparkly vampire lover finds my bracelet and like it, great, but I'm not going to pretend it was made just for them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Accidents

I spent most of yesterday in a sickness induced malaise. I literally sat staring at the computer screen for no reason other than I had no energy to do anything else. I really wanted to get something new tatted, but I didn't start feeling better until early evening. At that point I did pick up my needle and started working on some antique patterns just to get moving again.

I started with an edging that was too tight to lay straight, then I did a small rose from the center of a medallion. I wasn't happy with either piece until I threw them on the table next to me and I saw what they wanted to become. I added a small section of matching clusters on either side of the piece and I had this great romantic Victorian bracelet pattern.

It's a nice change of pace from the dark Gothic look of my last project. I also determined that the design will translate well to a choker as well. I think I may make the final piece up in the ecru or perhaps a light pick or lavender instead of my signature black, though I'm certain it will look great in black as well.

While staring at the computer screen yesterday, I also received not one, but two blog awards. I feel like I need to find something new to say when these arrive besides the usual, since I've said the same thing so many times already. I remember the first time I saw one of these awards on someones blog. I thought that there was actually some authority awarding these to merit worthy blogs. Of course since then I've discovered that there are as many of these things as there are people with rudimentary graphics skills and a desire to acknowledge others. Since they are awarded in a chain letter fashion, they are not so much an award that recognizes your skill as they are a thank you from a single person. Since I only read a few blogs with any regularity, and I have no desire in inundate those same people with awards every time I get one, I shall let these ones die with me as well.

I do want to thank those you gave them to me however. Lenox Knits was awarded the "Uber Amazing Blog" award and passed it on to me as wel as a few others. Congrats Lenox and thanks for thinking of me. You can also visit her etsy store here. Perpetualplum received the "Marie Antoinette" award and she passed it on to me and six others. Congrats and thanks to her as well and you can find her etsy store here. Thanks so much guys, I'm so glad that you enjoy my nonsense.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Presenting The Tatted Throat Corset

Aargh...what a weekend. It started out with me and both of my daughters catching a cold bug. My husband remains unfairly healthy for the time being. This resulted in a less than restful weekend, yet I still managed to get a lot done. We went out of town to get our Holiday shopping all done and all the children in our lives are sufficiently spoiled. All that's left for us to do is pick up a few gift certificates and we're finished with shopping. The sad side effect of all this shopping is my shrinking paypal balance. No more impulse shopping for me I'm afraid.

The big news for the weekend is of course the completion of my most recent project, the tatted throat corset. I finally finished it up yesterday, slathered on a bit of makeup and got some pictures taken just before I lost the sunlight. In a rush to get feedback, I uploaded the pictures to flickr and posted them on twitter. This is the single greatest thing twitter has done for me. Instant feedback and views pour in just as soon as I post a link to something. While I'm still not perfectly settled on a price for the piece, I will get it listed today. Though it was just a repeating pattern, it was quite time consuming and I think the final piece reflects the time spent on it.

I also had a middle of the night project idea. Of course this was one of the many sickness induced wakings, so I'm not sure that the idea is sound yet. I think I figured out a way to make my tatted goggles work, if the idea wasn't just delirium. I plan on making a removable goggle cover of tatted lace. That way, I don't have to working about the glue and rivets that I know nothing about and stick to my skill set. Hopefully I get around to testing out the idea this week after I get a bit more sleep.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tatted Neck Corset

The prototype is complete! After a few days of work and a rough patch at the end when I couldn't decide on keeping or tossing the top edging, I have completed the tatted neck or throat corset, clearly I haven't decided which to call it either. I took all the pictures on my mannequin head which had a ridiculously long neck, but I assure you it is comfortable and fits like a dream on my real human neck. I laced the ribbon directly through the rings and though the ribbon I used here was a bit thick for easy lacing, it worked better than expected.

I shall begin work on the final piece in black today, so there's a small chance I'll have it ready in time for Mondays post. It's going to be a busy weekend though, so don't hold me to it. Working on this piece has again given me a reason to love the twitter community. I asked for opinions on the top edging and was given many very quickly and my flickr saw quite a few more hits than usual as many more stopped by to see what on earth I was talking about.

I also got a note from the steamteam friend, Olorle who bought one of my prototype sale pieces. He had completely a gauntlet using the medallion. You can check out his creation on his blog, here: . It's always great to see what is created when a new set of hands takes over. I also recently sold a necklace to another etsy seller who embellished it almost beyond recognition into an incredible steampunk inspired piece. The seller is and I was surprised when I found the piece listed as I was stalking the tatting. I had actually forgotten that when I sold the piece to her she had said she was going to embellish it. It reminded me that I still haven't decided on a medallion or edging for the my Tatting Challenge. I plan on having the next one after the holidays to take advantage of the down time, but I'm a little afraid everyone will have forgotten about it by then. i guess I'll just have to keep mentioning it so it stays on the brain.

One last thing for this Friday, I was tagged by another blogger. While you are probably aware that I do not play these tag games, I do like to acknowledge those you like my stuff enough to bother tagging me. This time it was thespottedsparrow. You can find her blog here: Maybe one day I'll feel it necessary to share random facts about myself, but I just can't get into the chain letter nature of this stuff.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

From Locusts to Lemmings

Yesterday over at the twitter I witnessed quite the phenomenon. A new service to give you a numerical rank based on some secret formula regarding @replies and followers and whatnot was launched and like dominoes falling everyone in sight seemed to fall victim to curiosity and their twitteranks were tweeted into the world. At first the discussion centered on the usefulness of this number. What was a 'good' number and why do we even care? Then the focus began to shift and paranoia took over. Everyone was shouting phishing scam and changing their passwords and generally freaking out. I've since read a posting by its creator that explains his less than nefarious purpose, but even though it wasn't a social experiment, it certainly revealed much about public reactions and behaviours. Did I jump of the cliff with everyone else...yep I did. To quote from the most recent Hulk movie, 'I've always been more curious than cautious.'

I also did manage to get some tatting done as well. I finished and listed a set of earrings and pendant. This one was made from just the center of a medallion pattern and reminds me of gears. I think I'll make the set up in brown with brass finding for that more authentic steampunk look and I'm playing around with the idea of string gears together to form a scarf with the 'teeth' of the gears attached. Before I get around to that though I have an even more interesting project I'm working on.

I first heard about throat corsets from a steamteam friend who had used the name for a laced up choker and was shocked to get thousand of views. Once we all discovered what it actually was, I was determined to make a tatted one. I found some amazing ones on and off etsy, but I just couldn't seem to come up with the right pattern to make one that looked right. That was until yesterday, I was adapting a pattern from a one shuttle pattern ring only into needle tatting with rings and chains. My solution was to weave the chains together in a Celtic manner and the result was a strong thick braided look strip and I knew I had stumbled on the pattern for a neck corset. I'm still working it up in vintage ecru thread, otherwise known as my practice thread and the results are quite promising. I've only got a snippet to show you today, but I hope to have a prototype ready for tomorrows post. You can see the natural tapper of the design and it should fit comfortably around the neck and I'm still deciding whether it should lace like a 'real' corset or more simply like shoelaces. I'm sure the solution shall present itself as I get the final panels done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I've got a new toy! Yesterday afternoon it arrived in a large and rather heavy box. I removed it from its box and waited for my live in computer tech to return to set up my brand new 24" imac. I finally got to play with it this morning and it is huge and shiny and fast. I really didn't think my G4 had aged that much until I started working on the new one and I inevitable thought back to my first apple computer that sits still completely functional on a shelf. It was a mac classic and it had less computing power than my phone and a screen that seems barely bigger than an ipod, but I love that old beige box because it helped me catch my mac geek husband.

The rest of yesterday was odd as well, no mail and my husband had the day off in the middle of the week. Of course we spent most of the day just waiting for my computer to be delivered. I did manage to find another pattern to adapt from my antique books. I made up a pendant and earring set I should get photographed and listed today. I got to play with really long picots, which is a difficult exercise. It takes a bit of practice to eyeball the length of the loop. I try to measure against my finger, but it's still guess work.

We also went to a movie with the family and then watched the new Futurama dvd...excuse me, blu ray. I laughed really hard until I realized that there was really only one segment of the population laughing this hysterically with me...geeks. Yep, I'm a geek. I'm a mac geek, a drama geek, a sci-fi fantasy geek and a rpg geek. I'm sure I left off a few, but you get the idea. I've tried so hard to climb up to the subcategory of geek known as freak. I've got the tattoos, the piercings, the crazy hair as well as the ability to communicate with normals, but I'm really just a geek. I guess that's enough of a confession for today. Hopefully I'll have some tatting to show off tomorrow and the rest of the week will get back to normal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Plague Of Locusts

Locusts are a bit understood as a whole. In a normal season these grasshoppers spend most of their lives where they were born, only leaving to find a mate. It is only when the weather conditions are just right that they breed unchecked and form a cloud of mass devouring that moves from field to field leaving nothing in its wake. Why am I telling you about locusts? Well, I made an observation yesterday that will lead us back so let me start there.

I was playing with Twitter yesterday. If you have not yet been pulled into its wake, like even my husband now has, let me explain a little something. You see, you can click on a random name someone you follow 'tweets' to and then click through the people they follow and continue into infinity if you so choose. I was doing this is an attempt to find more interesting people to follow. I was getting bored of the same tweets that I am guilty of, I just listed...I got a treasury...did you see that forum thread...etc. During the search I made the observation that I mentioned: Etsians are a plague of locusts.

Before I discovered Etsy, I was generally competent online, but it was merely a tool for information and entertainment. I did not interact with others online and I felt no need to do so. After I discovered the forums, I began participating in mass attacks on online social outlets that were deemed useful for promotion by the etsian collective. This led me to myspace, flickr, indipublic, blogging and now twitter. With each new site the same thing occurs, hundreds of etsians flock there expecting to find a new audience and then they end up talking to each other...again.

I'm certain that each new endeavour finds a few new people, but then the sheer number of etsians overwhelms the new audience. They are devoured and the etsians eventually begin to complain that they are selling to each other again and the next big thing to try will be 'discovered'. I have also noticed that each new generation of sellers starts a new plague cloud and the threads asking who's on myspace, flickr, etc reemerge and the onslaught begins again. I don't mean to diminish the usefulness of networking in general, clearly talking to others that share our passions and experiences is good, but it's not the best promotion especially en mass.

I will likely continue to run with the locusts, but at least I will move forward aware of the bigger picture. Sure it might be more productive to find my own way, but at least with the locusts I'll always be in familiar company.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Good Monday

A string of interesting things occurred after I wrote on Friday. As soon as I published the post I felt much better, I received a few, 'there, there's' from twitter folk and I got what I can only assume was a pity sale and that was all I really needed to get out of the self pity cycle. The weekend just took off from there. I did feel bad that I wrote such a whiny post, but occasionally I think we all need to vent and that was mine for quite a while, I imagine. Of course I cannot anticipate future events that might irritate me enough to vent, but I can assure you it will not be my sales or lack thereof.

No longer hampered by doubt, I listed my prototype starburst bracelet and it sold immediately. Of course I did list it ridiculously cheap, but still. Then I managed to finish and list a pair of earrings, the perfected bracelet and another necklace all adapted from the starburst pattern. I felt creative and productive and I think the positive activity in my store increased my visibility just enough to achieve my year-end goal of 3000 store hearts. I had intended to do a countdown to 3000 this week because I had assumed I would reach the goal a bit later, but I certainly can't complain.

I also made an impulse purchase this weekend. We visited the closing Circuit City store for a usb hub and I found myself drawn to the discounted cameras. My current camera was purchased with size in mind. I wanted a small camera that was light and fit in a bag, so I paid little attention to quality. It is in no sense a bad camera, but I have been wanting a better one for a while. I picked up a new Sony Cybershot H-50 at lovely price. I think it will be a while before I learn how to effectively use all the features of the camera, but I already love it. Now I need to make some new pieces so I have something to take pictures of. Though it did get a trial run at my nieces birthday party yesterday.

I shall have another new acquisition to share with you later this week as well, but I shall save that for when it actually arrives. I don't have any projects lined up for the week, so I'll just be playing it by ear from this point and hopefully I'll come up with a little something to test out my new camera with.

Friday, November 7, 2008

You Just Didn't Listen

I warned you all, didn't I? I said that if you piled on the sales and attention that when it inevitably stopped, I would be an emotional wreck. So what did you do? You gave me consistent sales and attention for nearly two months and then you took it all away. As quickly as it came it was gone, now I sit at the end of a two week period that saw two whole sales. The fall was so quick from so high that I find myself terribly bruised. Sure, I tried to maintain my calm. I wasn't going to fall into the trap of self doubt and start whining about sales. I ignored the subject entirely, hoping that the problem would fix itself, but as this week comes to an end I find myself wondering what I can do to reengage a buying public and what I did to scare everyone away in the first place.

I've spent probably a little too much time on twitter lately and though it has proved a wonderful community environment for feedback and general, entertaining nonsense, it's getting me nowhere as far as sales are concerned. I've spent far more than I ever thought shopping through my twitter contacts, but as my funds have dwindled, it's become clear that I need to stop until my sales return. Twitter has almost completely replaced the etsy forums for me, but I wonder if I should go back and see if my absence there is a cause of my lack of sales.

I wonder too, if perhaps my appeal was solely Halloween based and there is nothing I can do to encourage sales outside that niche. Oh well, I guess that is enough complaining for now. I think I've gotten it all out of my system now. I shall resolve to go back to creating and ignore my sales or lack thereof. I think I will create a sales section in the store today and see if that helps jump start sales or at least clear out some dead weight and I do have a protype bracelet to list today, crazy cheap, as the design still needs work. I did make a second one with some minor changes that I feel much better about and I'll list that one at regular price later as well. I still have a couple of other ideas for the starburst design to try out and then I need to come up with something that gets me as much attention as my tatted masks did. I'm coming up blank right now, so it might be a while on the last thing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New And News

Ah, back to tatting. I spent yesterday afternoon discovering a new design to exploit from those antique pattern books. I think I've found a good one and I've finished the first piece using it and I'm well into the second which will be far more dramatic as is my way.

I'm calling this piece 'Starburst' because of the small star shape in the center, but it began life as a pattern for a lunch cloth, whatever that is. I was looking far to hard for a ready made medallion when I noticed this shape within another pattern. The next piece will be a choker and I think I'll work on a gauntlet or bracelet as well.

In other news, the etsy steam team has been back from Steampowered for a few days, but they're still getting great publicity for the team along with making more regretful that I did not go. The newest is a mention in the Make magazine blog. The picture links to the article, so click away.All the members present for the photo got a store link and they clearly had more fun than I did last weekend, though trick or treating with the family was important too. I however am terribly jealous and I vow that the next event the team attends on this coast will find me present, even if I have to drag my family along with me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Brave New World

I have made it a point to not mention religion or politics here as it has absolutely nothing to do with tatting or creating in general, though I suppose it could fall under the heading of nonsense. I am however finding it hard this morning to not at least acknowledge what happened last night. I feel like I am standing at a moment in history that will not only stand as a great historic event but a defining moment for a generation. I know that I will be talking about this time with my children as they grow up and I am hopeful that this will help to shape a better world for them to live in. I've no illusion of instant change and perfect solutions, but often the first step is the hardest part of the journey and we are walking now.

Alright, I think I've gotten that out of my system. I hope that didn't annoy anyone, but this is my one outlet for expression. Other than all the election drama yesterday was quite mellow. I started work on a new custom order that is proving to be quite enjoyable. I have been charged with recreating the design of a lost favorite necklace. The original was not of course tatted, but I really enjoy the challenge of trying to replicate other mediums with rings and chains. It is a gift, I believe, so I won't share anymore until after the gift has been given just in case.

I have also tried out a couple of the antique patterns I talked about yesterday though nothing has gelled quite yet. Sometimes I just need to be patient and look beyond the pattern. It is also quite a bit more difficult to read theses old patterns. It appears that there was no uniform method for pattern writing and many of them must be read all the way through repeatedly even before you begin to understand them In fact without the pictures, I think it might be impossible to tat some of these designs. I think I will have to rewrite them if I ever plan on remaking any of them more than once.

Oh, once more thing for the day. I have been gifted with another blogging award. I have also recently been 'tagged'. While I have no intention of playing along because I really dislike the chain letter nature of these things, I feel it is only right to thank and acknowledge those who like my blog and/or work enough to give them to me. I really am humbled by any acknowledgment of my rambling and my tatting. So thanks Jewelstreet for the award, that was lovely of you. Please visit her blog and store, she does make wonderful jewelry. Thanks also to CatherinetteRings from the steam team for tagging me, the rings at this shop are just so wonderfully unique and interesting. I do feel a bit bad about not playing by the rules, but since there's nothing anyone can do about it, I respectfully decline.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Something Old, Something New

I love old books. I love thinking about who else has held it in their hands and read its words. There is a sense of history that just cannot be conveyed in a pdf. This is why I keep buying old tatting booklets. I'm sure that I could find their pages scanned online, but it's just not the same. I just got four new ones so old they have no dates on them, though a little research has them dating to the turn of the century. As I sat down to pick new designs to reinvent, I realized that I am hard on books, very hard. I decided that it was in the best interest of the books that I scan them and print out the scans to use instead of using the actual books. My tech expert husband found me a nice pdf compiler for the project and I got my four new ones scanned in yesterday. Of course now I need to scan in my other ones, before there is nothing left of them to scan.

That was my something old for the day, my something new is goals for the etsy store. The last ones I set were 400 sales by the end of the year and 3000 hearts for the store. Well a spectacular October, spurred on by tatted masks no doubt, resulted in the early reaching of 400 sales. I was going to revise the goal to 500 by the end of the year, but then the sales all but stopped. Instead I shall revise it to a more attainable 450. The 3000 hearts was supposed to be a ridiculous number, but a few prominent front page stints resulted in short windfalls of them. I now stand just 50 or so shy of that goal. I remember when I was about to reach 1000, I joked that I didn't even know 1000 people. I had assumed that I had reached a saturation point where anyone who would like my thing enough to favorite them had already done so. I guess I was wrong then and I hope I keep finding new people to impress with my tatted pieces.

I hope to have a few new pieces in the next couple of weeks based on these amazing old designs and the store should soon fill back up with pieces returning from their Steampowered vacation this week. I'm still don't feel ready for the holidays, but I think after today's election is over I can shift into gear and get there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

At Least I Don't Have A Headache

I am finding myself in the hangover phase of endeavors both mundane and creative this morning. The Steampowered convention has wrapped up and even though I'm still waiting to find out whether I sold a single thing, it is all over and done with and outcome has been determined. My tatted Halloween costume has been worn and subsequently retired. I will probably remove the tatting from the corset and add it to a nicer one I just bought. On the mundane front, I have finally had all my doctor's appointments for the year from teeth to eyes and there are no big events on the horizon except birthdays that have already been shopped for. I have no new magazine articles waiting to come out or features coming up. I imagine that after tomorrow, I will experience an election hangover as well.

Though I don't have anything new for the store, I am working on a custom caplet order based on my Victorian Lace collar. It is proving to be a little more challenging than I thought to increase the diameter without changing the pattern. It's working out okay, but I'm having to resort to math which I do not enjoy. I should be done today, barring any unforeseen disasters.

While, I'm not loving this picture, I promised that I would share my tatted Halloween costume with you today, so here it is. A better shot is the picture of the family after we had returned from trick or treating. We had blissfully clear weather for the evening after it rained off and on all day. The kids had a great time and people seemed shocked to find me and my husband dressed up as most parents seemed to hand out on the sidewalk while the kids went to the houses. I figure there are so few opportunities for us to play dress up, that we ought to take advantage of every one. Well I think that's it for this Monday. Hopefully the hangover will be short and I'll find some great things to work on soon.