Friday, September 28, 2007

Cheap or Safe?

This article about why some children's jewelry is made with lead is beyond disturbing. Who cares how safe it is as long as it's cheap?!? Ridiculous!

"The shiny tiaras and bracelets that little girls love to wear need to contain lead despite its dangers to keep the cost down for consumers, the Fashion Jewelry Trade Association told a congressional committee on Thursday."

How sick is that?

"If the plating is destroyed, the object should be destroyed," Gale told Reuters after testifying. "Plating renders the lead inaccessible."

And how often does plating wear off? How about ALL the freaking time? That is why I don't use plated items in my work. And why I found it ironic after reading this article to see all the children's jewelry recalls due to lead.

"Even small amounts of lead exposure can do permanent harm in kids, causing behavioral problems and reduced intelligence, said Dr. Dana Best, a pediatrician
at Children's National Medical Center who also testified before the panel said that even small amounts of lead exposure can cause permanent harm to children, including behavioral problems."

Don't go cheap - spend a few extra bucks and support independent designers. You'll be supporting great indie folks and making sure your kids (or you!) isn't exposed needlessly to harmful items.

Buy handmade! These cute hairbows are so precious.

My goal is to research and find safe toys and accessories for kids so stay tuned!

More recalled jewelry -
Spinning Wheel Necklace
Mood Necklace
PowerPuff Necklace

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm Addicted

Well, I'm addicted to a lot of things (ice cream, TV, the list goes on) but I am totally addicted to stationery and paper! When I was scrapbooking I was hopeless. A pretty piece of paper had no chance at the store - it came home with me!

Now I just fall in love with cards and paper that other people make. I found this designer on Indie Public and her Etsy store has some really amazing pieces. Her designs are really unique.

I am going to order these and use them as my thank you cards when people place a large order. They are just so cute! I know they are a tad expensive but a lot of my jewelry is expensive and deserves a special card to say thank you.

And she has the cutest baby shower announcements...maybe someday I'll get to order some of those too!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Silly Doggy

My dogs are so silly sometimes. It's never dull around here.

Trooper is now 14 months old and is very mischevious. He really wants to eat the cats and every time I open the garage door to go feed them he is right there by my side waiting for them to visit. And of course Mischief likes to sneak in when I open the door and he's not afraid of Trooper at all! Silly cat. He wants to eat you!!! He obviously has no idea and cozies up (you know how cats like to rub up agains things...he does that!) to the puppy boy who I am sternly commanding "leave it" with my hand poised above his neck in case he pounces.

So far we've been lucky. The other day though Jazmyn snuck in the house and he had her cornered under the bed in the spare room. On my hands and knees, as I tried to get her out and take her back to the garage he jumped OVER me to get to her. The rascal. Lots of screaming occured but the cats lived. Phew!

And somehow he must think if he gets low enough that mommy and daddy won't see him! I love this picture.

And of course he loves his brother and sister. It cracks me up when he cuddles up with brother.

Doesn't Kodiak look thrilled? That is a full sized couch...and they take up the whole dang thing!

Of course my favorite position Trooper takes up is his very cozy sleeping on his back position. It's impossible to resist.

We clearly need to have non-furry, two legged children! Ha!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Enlightened Women

I am not a fact I think the era of 1970s radical feminists is pretty much dead.

However...I am a proponent of female empowerment. And nothing cracks me up and make me cheer more than hearing about women in truly oppressive countries standing up for their rights.

THIS is freaking awesome!!!

I hope that they aren't "disappeared" at a later date. But by golly no woman should have to put up with Virtue police. Or be forced back into a burning building for lack of proper cover. Sheesh.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Stupid Smart People

I started this on Friday but it was too depressing to post on a happy Friday. So it's Monday and this is perfect Monday news.

Sometimes I really wonder how some people get to the successful positions they hold because they are so clearly and blatantly stupid and moronic.

Imagine a university professor in the late 1930s inviting Hitler to speak to the students. Can't imagine such a ridiculous thing can you? Oh basically HAPPENED and at the exact same university!!!!
" 1933, Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler invited Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, to speak on campus, and also hosted a reception for him." Butler insisted. He was "entitled to be received...with the greatest courtesy and respect. ... Students who criticized the Luther invitation were derided as "ill-mannered children" ..."

Unbelievable. Count me in as an ill-mannered child today! One of those "children" was even expelled! So there were people back then who saw the truth and stood up for what was right. Unlike those who hid their eyes from the obvious.

Today it is even worse - we have the president of Columbia University saying that it's okay to invite our actual modern day Hitler (not to mention Holocaust denier, wanting to destroy Israel, executing homosexuals and adulturers...oh and little girls who are raped) in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

WHAT?!?!? What is wrong with this picture? I'm all for open dialogue and listening to different ideas, but there comes a point where black is black, white is white, and wrong is just plain wrong. This man wants to destroy Israel, wants to get Nukes to do it, and denies the Holocaust ever took place. He heads a government who executes homosexuals and women who are raped. It's even thought that he has murdered people (Americans!) in his own terrorist past.

*** LALALALALALA *** Hands over eyes *** Head in the Sand *** Hear no evil...see no evil. He's just a man with an opinion and after all it's free speech and all that crap. But when he nukes Israel they'll blame the western world somehow. Instead of blaming the evil that they ignored.

It makes me sick that schools are such dens of "anything goes" and I'm glad that I never was subjected to on campus crap like this. [I got my degree online!] I wish I could fly out and help the protesters.

In all my history classes, reading, and watching documentaries about the evil Hitler brought into the world I wondered how I would have reacted if I were alive in that time. I always liked to believe that I would stand up and be against such obvious hatred and evil. Hitler never hid how he felt and never tried to hide what he wanted to do. And neither is Mahmoud. His intentions are clear and evil. Welcome to 1933.

Friday, September 21, 2007

When I have kids...

I was going to talk about something serious today, but it's Friday and it's a downer. So here are happie things to look at!

I love shopping for brand new babies. There are SOOO many cute things out there.

I would want these!

And this.


Other fabulous baby oriented websites...

Dishy Duds

A Mother's Gift


Hip Bebes

Tiny Tales

Punk N Pie

There are SO many great places out there.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Positively Positive

Do you have a positive attitude? Or are you a Negative Nelly?

Selling online, you may think that your attitude doeesn't matter, but I actually think it makes a huge difference. I believe that your personal self shows through in everything you do...from taking photos to writing descriptions.

Are you willing to take constructive criticism? Or are other people's suggestions 'stupid' and your way is the right way? All of that comes through in how you present yourself online.

Do you sell at arts and crafts shows? Negativity will drive away customers faster than a rainstorm. Are you sitting in your booth and glaring at people as they walk by? Are you complaining to your neighbor about bad sales?

Or are you sincerely smiling at everyone who walks by or enters your booth? Just a simple smile can make all the difference in the world. I found this fabulous artist's blog and she writes:

Another way to stay in the booth is to keep your bad mood and complaints to
yourself. Let me say that again, in big, bold letters:


I am astonished at artists who rant at the drop of a hat, especially during a fair. It’s bad enough to have to be around people like this in any circumstances. Set-up and breakdown are stressful enough. We all have our moments, of course. But someone who is unhappy and determined that everyone else needs to know that, is a total downer.

It’s hard enough to listen to this before and after a show. But during a show, it’s criminal. Nothing breaks a happy fair shopping mode than listening to someone else complain.

If you are a show complainer, you may think your fellow artisans are admiring you for your amazing insights and cutting words. They aren’t. They are sitting there wishing, hoping, praying that you will suddenly be struck down with laryngitis. Or worse.

Because you are bringing everybody down, down, down. And “down” people do
not buy stuff.

Well, of course! Seems logical doesn't it? You'd be surprised how many vendors enter my booth to complain. I try very hard not to...although noone is perfect. :)

It's hard to be positive when you aren't getting sales...but just remember that everything happens for a reason. Evaluate why you might not be seeing sales and try to adjust your approach accordingly. Sometimes sales just aren't hopping today ... but tomorrow is another day. You never know what will happen!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast, Ye Scurvy Scoundrel!

Ahoy! It be Talk Like A Pirate Day...arrrr.

Don't be a bilge rat! Grab some grog and drink up!

Top Ten Pirate Pickup Lines (as compiled by the official TLAPD site):
10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
8. Come on up and see me urchins.
7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?
4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.
2. Well blow me down?
And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day is …
1. Prepare to be boarded.

You can even get your own pirate name. I happen to be:

My pirate name is:
Bloody Morgan Kidd
Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Getting Your Name Out

Selling is hard work. And it's not all that fun for someone who is creating works from love and desire, at least it's not fun for me. Selling requires talking yourself up - or your work at least. It requires having confidence! I'm confident in almost every area except my own abilities.

Part of selling is advertising. How do you know when you're ready to advertise? I think anyone at any stage of their business can's just a matter of finding the right venue for your work.

I did not advertise when I first started selling my jewelry. I was so excited (and naive) that I thought everyone would love to buy my work - why wouldn't they? My mom loved it so everyone should right? Ha! Gotta love mom.

That's not the only reason I didn't advertise though - it didn't even occur to me. It should have. There are thousands upon thousands of independent jewelry "designers" competing for attention. Not to mention all the brand names like Tiffany's. The chances of people finding me are slim to none.

So who do you advertise with? Where? When? How much should you spend? Being the kind of person who doesn't think about silly questions like that I just dove right in...typical of me. No research. No plan. I pretty much live like that in all aspects of my life.

What have I learned? Know your audience! Who buys your work most? Women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s??? Men? People in bigger cities or suburbs? People who surf the internet?

If I'd had a plan I would have started out slower and done a little more research. I started advertising on a few random blogs without understanding how traffic and hits work online. It wasn't my audience.

Unique Advertising
I've had a lot of fun participating in some unique advertising opportunities. There are lots of ways to advertise but some of these are a little different from mainstream magazine ads.

Happily Handmade giveaway is a super way to build up your mailing list. You may not get direct sales immediately (or ever, all advertising is a risk) but you definitely get your name out there.

Totally Indie Coupons is another fun opportunity. It is very inexpensive and requires you to design a coupon and then cut up & assemble your coupons. You end up reaching 5,000 shoppers for $50. These are people who have already purchased something from one of the other coupon participants and so clearly are willing to shop Indie companies. I'm currently participating in my third round. It may be time for me to stop at three work has changed quite a bit and I don't know if I'm a good fit any longer. But it's definitely a great advertising venue.

I've been a member of Indie Finds for a year and a half or so. I love it...but it isn't right for everyone. There are rules about who is eligible to join...which is good. You have to have your own independent online store with a shopping cart. It can't be an Etsy or Ruby Lane store. Indie Finds members cooperate to buy ad space in magazines and online. So far I've been in Bust, East West, New York Magazine, InStyle Weddings, and several others. It's been a hit and miss sort of experiment to see what magazines give me the best return. So far New York Magazine is the best one. Expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $900 for ads depending on the magazine and the number of participants. Most ads are less than $200.

And if you think $200 is expensive then you need to start saving. That's just a drop in the bucket. You can advertise on the cheap, but not if you want to sell higher end items. You can always spend your time courting free press - probably the best return for the effort and something that I really need to work on.

A blog that is inexpensive to advertise on, and also features independent designers for free if something catches their eye, is Rare Bird Finds. I love these ladies and all their fun finds. I've purchased items that they've featured in the past so you know there is a buying audience here.

Another super fun blog is OhMyThatsAwesome! LOVE this blog and have seen so many cool things here. Also generated a couple of great sales when she featured my earrings last year. Advertising rates are also reasonable.

Phew...this is getting to be a really long post.

If you have a few extra dollars lying around (don't we all? HA!) try going for an ad all by your lonesome. You can see my ads in The Crafts Report (the last three months) and soon in New York Magazine. I'm also considering Niche and Jewelry Designers Showcase...although I'll need to sell some blood or something.

I'm not an expert and not all of these venues have worked spectacularly for me. I've done them all except for Niche and Jewelry Designers Showcase. Some were successful and some were not. But that's for me - some people had great successes where I had great failures. It's a matter of knowing your market and a little luck.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Michael Yon tells it like it is!

I love reading Michael Yon's work. He's straight up to the point no BS. If something isn't going well he reports it. When things are going well your heart sings to read his words. Sometimes I hold my breath as I read his gripping reports. Other times I tear up reading of broken children and families.

He gives the story that you never ever see in the mainstream media. He's there. He's living it.

Read "Hunting Al Qaeda" for his latest dispatch. It looks to be the first part of a three part series.

Read Part Two here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Security Blanket

Yesterday was rough. I was working at home (yay!) but had several expected interuptions so I started super early (barely awake enough to turn the computer on!) to get a leg up on some things. My mind was fairly preoccupied though...I had a meeting with a gallery.

*GASP* Horror of horrors...I had to go meet someone in person!

I am not shy or scared of people in general, but in new situations I get very nervous and ... ah ... well, a little sweaty. And it's embarrassing. For obvious reasons.

So by about 10 a.m. I'm starting to stress out because I haven't prepared in any way, shape, or form. Haven't even put together the items I want to show. I had, however, already showered, which is an improvement over most work at home days.

Fast forward three hours and now I'm really stressing because I have to leave in 30 minutes and I am not dressed, nor have I gotten things ready! So I rush around the house like a mad woman and by 1:30 I am in my car - although starting to hyperventilate. Just a *tiny* bit of anxiety.

And I don't know why, really. I am proud of my work. I think it's pretty darn good, if I do say so myself, and I've put a lot of hard work into learning new skills to get to the point where I even feel halfway comfortable approaching a gallery. Clearly not comfortable enough.

Arriving downtown Olympia and trying to find a parking space is ridiculous but I had factored extra time for that - and I found one that didn't require lacing up the hiking shoes. I was a few minutes early but marched forward into the gallery.

No customers were there, thank goodness, so we got started early. It was very informal, which was nice. I never really know how to "show" people my work. I'm slightly (ha!) disorganized with all of my jewelry in two cases like these. You may not believe that most of my work would fit in two of these, but if you stack things just get a jumbled mess but they all fit!

I was fairly surprised which pieces she liked and which ones she expressed interest in - but that was a good learning experience. And she was SOOOO nice! Very encouraging and supportive - I'm sure it was fairly obvious how nervous I was.

Her Feedback:
Let go of the beads - they are a security blanket. Which scares me! I love my beads. I love all the pretty colors and shapes and swirls that nature creates with gemstones. And pearls! And glass! But I know what she's saying...I need to challenge myself instead of falling back on the easy and comfortable.

Create a uniform "set" of work that has a unified theme. She knows her customer base and knows what they buy. She had several suggestions on pieces that she likes and would want to see more of in the future.

Relax. Ha! Easy for her to say. I'm not a "relaxed" kind of person. But she mostly meant that I have skills that are evident, but I need to push forward and be confident in those skills. Again, the challenging of myself.

She said that my work was good and that I had a lot of potential. I sometimes hate that word because it means I have more work to do!

And hopefully I am able to achieve that potential by mid-October because that is when she wants me to call her for another appointment. I feel the butterflies starting already!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I am a Bead Addict

I have issues. More so than some. I LOVE beads, gemstones, and findings. And they have taken over my living room. Some I don't use and won't use because they are no longer my style. Some I adore but probably won't ever use just because I have so many others that I love too.

So to share my lovelies with others I've started a new Etsy shop called Casto Gemstones. I just started adding items and will continue to add items as long as I have extra beads. Feel free to stop by - heart my shop - and enjoy! I want my extra beads to go to people who will enjoy and use them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Remember

I will never forget this day, six years ago. This day changed my life in a profound and prominent way. Before 9/11/01 I didn't know the difference between Palestine and Pakistan. I probably wouldn't have had any idea how to find Afghanistan on a map. I had never heard the name Osama bin Laden or the term Jihad.

I was carpooling at the time and was just getting ready to turn the TV off to pick up my carpool person when they announced that a plane had hit the world trade center. From the pictures on TV it looked like maybe a small commuter plane and I thought that someone was going to be in big trouble for mechanical failure or medical issues.

We listened to our regular country station on the way to work. As we neared the parking garage we heard the announcement that a second plane had hit. And then I knew it was no accident. It was war.

In my cube I logged in to the internet and tried finding as much information as I could. It wasn't enough. I finally remembered that our floor had several TVs hanging from the ceiling (we watch a lot of MSNBC ... and M's games!) so I ran over and turned it on. Several associates joined me and we watched...we watched as people jumped - willing to crash to the ground rather than burn to death.

We watched as the first tower fell. I was in shock. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. I think I sat down on some boxes outside someone's office. When the second tower fell I don't know what I said. A coworker said, 'No they're just replaying the first tower falling.' I think I said 'I don't think so...I think the other one fell." But I didn't want to argue with him since he is a high up associate. I was right, unfortunately. The shock was a bit too much for me. I only vaguely remember the rest of the day.

My company is global and we have an office in New York. Thank God no one was hurt and no one was in a meeting at WTC. The night before several associates had been there. Another associate was on the phone with someone who was in WTC...and who didn't make it. We had many contacts in the financial world who worked there and who never went home.

I went home early. And I slept. That's how I escape things. I was overloaded. Overwhelmed. It's hard for me to deal with such huge emotions. Anger. Shock. Outrage. Dispair. So I slept. And when I woke up I tried desperately to find a TV channel that wasn't dedicated to the day's events. I wanted to escape. I didn't want to see what had happened again.

It's been six years and when I woke up this morning the news was playing their broadcast from that same day. I changed it after they played the video of the "falling man". :( God bless that person and his family. I didn't need to see it again. It is an image that has never left my head. I changed the channel this morning to reruns on Nickelodean. I think they SHOULD play the videos and audio. I think America needs to see it and remember - because too many have forgotten. I'll never forget, and I can't deal with seeing it again. I'm a completely different person today than I was on 9/10/01. A better person.

God bless our Troops. God bless our Police Officers and Firemen. God Bless our hardworking men and women in the FBI and CIA who do a thankless and difficult job to keep us safe. Remember that this big thing we call "government" is made of human beings who are not perfect. God bless them all and give them strength and wisdom.

IndieFinds has a Blog!

I love IndieFinds! It's a great place for artists, crafters, and small businesses to combine their resources for advertising. Plus I've met a lot of great people.

And now we have a blog of our own!

Check out all the great happenings. What will you find today?

Happy Birthday.

It's hard to feel happy on this day. Six years ago our world was shaken beyond repair. But it's also my little cousin's birthday. She turned 16 on this day six years ago. Talk about a hard day to celebrate.

She is one of the most wonderful girls (arg...she's a woman now!). Kind, smart, and stunningly gorgeous. She could so easily be a model but her goal is to teach. And she is amazing with kids. I am in awe of her. Her strength and energy make me swell with pride.

When I was 7 this little girl came into our family and I hated her! I was the only girl until she came along and ruined everything for me. I was the princess. The oldest grandchild. Completely spoiled. But I fell in love with her so quickly. Her sister was born less than two years later and I enjoyed baby sitting and corrupting them both.

So Happy Birthday Jo Jo! I'll try to remember this day as a happy one for you. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Almost Famous!

Well, Happy Monday to me!

My friend and coworker, Karen, told me this morning that someone recognized my work! She was at a wedding expo this weekend and was wearing this bracelet that she bought from me a few weeks ago.

As she walked around a woman stopped her and said "I know who made your bracelet!" Apparently she had purchased a one of a kind necklace from me at the Harbor Days show in Olympia (one of my few sales!). And she recognized my work based on that necklace. I wish I had a good photo of it because it was gorgeous.

I feel famous! And pretty proud that all my efforts at a "look" have paid off - at least in this instance. It's so hard for me to stay consistent in my designs but this is exactly the reason why I have to continue down that road. :)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Confessions of a Wuss

Hello. My name is Megan. And I am a wuss.

Which is really hard for me because in most things I'm very assertive and self confident (sometimes too confident!) and not scared to do much of anything. But for some reason, the idea of approaching any kind of store to sell my jewelry scares the boogers out of me.

What do I say??? How do I approach? When do I approach? Who do I ask for? Do I call? Do I stop by first to set an appointment? Do I e-mail? Do I mail a letter with photos?

I'm at a complete loss and it's very frustrating. I really don't want to bug any business owners but I really want to get my work into some nice upscale stores. I do have my work in one, that I love! It's called Imelda's Fine Shoes and they have some amazingly adorable shoes and purses. And they were looking to expand their jewelry selection. But I didn't have to approach them. I was in the store shopping and the owner saw my bracelet and we started chatting. That wasn't stressful or difficult at all...well, it was stressful when she asked me to bring my work in, but I managed.

So my question is this? What do I do????!!!!???? My mom insists that I suck it up (and I think it freaks her out that I'm being this way because it's so unlike me in every other facet of my life) and start going to stores. I told her she'd have to go with me! I'm almost 30 and I still need my mommy!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Charoite Delight

I love Charoite. What is Charoite you ask?

"It has the appearance of purple marble, but really defies simply looks unnaturally beautiful."

Charoite is a gorgeous and rare stone, originating in Russia. Discovered by the west in the late 1970s, it was officially found in the late 1940s by a Soviet Geologist in the remote Chara Valley (Aldan, Russia). Due to the wild nature of Siberia it wasn't until the 1960s before more attention was given to the deposit and in the 70s the stone was finally mined and introduced to the market.

Because the only deposit ever found exists in such a remote location it is difficult to obtain Charoite. According to the Russian language Wikipedia (kindly translated for me by Zoya of My Lovely Beads), "the limit of charoite mining is set by 100,000 kilograms a year" and apparently is only supposed to be released in 'worked' form. In other words, no "raw" or rough Charoite is supposed to be released. "Supposed to be" is the key phrase there. Prohibitions like that rarely work. Even my grandfather has a few slabs of unworked Charoite. (He says it's very hard to work with and the one cab I saw in his collection was cracked.)

I have some amazing Charoite beads that I treasure. I've seen plenty of unattractive Charoite, but finding beads with swirls and brilliance is tough.

Another wonderful source says that one of the reasons for the scarcity is simply the lack of workable time in the year. The area is Siberia after all! There's only so many months when the weather will permit mining.

There are two different stories on how this stone was named. One, the most plausible to me, is that it is named after the Charo River where it was found. The other, more fanciful, story is that it is named after it's magical impression - "Chary" in Russian means charms or magic. It does look vaguely magical when it has great swirls.

And even though I don't believe in anything like magic, I love this quote: "It survived great trauma, rains, winds, heat and cold, only to become more beautiful over time."

Other Interesting Resources:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back to School!

Phew. The summer is officially over. At least that's how it feels here in Washington. Labor day hits and the sun disappears. It's now dark when I wake up at 5:30.

And the kids are back in school - fun times. As someone without children (of the non-furry kind) I don't yet know the joys of getting young ones ready for the first day. But I remember the first day as a kid. I LOVED it! I'm such a nerd and I've always loved school. Summer always seemed too long and I would have been one of those rare kids in favor of year round school.

It wasn't the new clothes that got me all atwitter. It was the new school supplies. Brand new fresh crayons (even in high school I had to have a fresh set!), a new binder, brand new pens and pencils...oh the joy!

I miss out on all that now. I have no real excuse for buying a binder or new crayons. When visiting Target I stare longingly at the school supply section...remembering the good ol' days.

Oh, don't forget to slow down in the school zones!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Third Time Was NOT a Charm

Well, so much for my last outdoor show of the year. This was my third year participating in the Olympia Harbor Days show. It's a great and fun show but it obviously isn't the right place for me to sell my jewelry. I don't know if I just suck at doing shows or if my work is just too expensive for these types of shows now. *sigh*

It wasn't a *total* loss! :) I met a bunch of great people, collected quite a few names for my newsletter, and got to spend lots of time with my little cousin Jordyn. And Trooper REALLY loved seeing her. He's practically as big as she is!

Friday I set up and opened up a little early - around 4 - and it went until 8 p.m. I did not sell one item. Saturday morning we opened up and the booth looked fabulous!

I spent quite a bit to get all matching display items from Rio Grande. That's the only place I could find that had these pretty natural colored displays.

I decided that my new TS Harrington photos HAD to be part of my display so I printed out two of them. I wish I could show them all off at the same time. Ha!

I think my booth looked fairly nice...classy and elegant. But apparently it wasn't enough to get people to buy. It cost $225 to be in the show. I need to pay my super duper helper at least $150 (and that doesn't seem like nearly enough for two full days work!). And we only sold $650. *sigh*

On the other hand I met someone who reads my blog!!! It is so weird to think that a stranger reads my words. And then get to meet them! :) She also makes jewelry - and I was so GREEN with envy when I saw her work. Her name is Susanna Tam and she works with silver. She was selling a lot every time I walked by her booth so I'm even more jealous!

I also got to see and chat with my friend Pam of Paper Scissors Rock. I got some of her goodies! And it was great talking with her...her advice for me is to get into higher end shows or just start going to retail stores. One of these days I will approach a store!

Beware the "Secret" Scam

Oh dear. Why do people think they can get away with these things? Probably because people fall for it. Please don't!

I have gotten two e-mails through my contact form on my website. It seems they found me through the Secret Pal shopping site and I'm not the only one they've contacted. I haven't changed any words or grammar at all.

want to send a gift to someone in edmenton canada , but i m living in other
country(egypt) is that possible and my second question is it possible to keep my
all information anonymous to the person reciving the gift like my name and
location and address thnx in advance .. and i would also like to ask .. in that
case of keeping my details anonymous if the person contact u up to ask about the
details will u hv to give it in that case

The second message, in the same day...

i want to send a gift to someone in edmenton canada.. but i m living in
egypt and i m gonna pay by visa card is it possible .. and if yes i want to send
it as an anonymous gift without my name or address or my location .. and where
to type that when i m signing out , and i got yr site through
.. will i get my free shipping.. and my last question ..if the person contact u
to ask about the sender will u hv to give the information out .. as i contacted
many sites regarding this .. i m not ordering right now ,, but for sure i m
going purchase many things from yr site its lovely
Apparently these scammers are trying to take advantage of us Independent artists and crafters. The same message was brought up on The Soap Forum (which I had no idea existed!).

I was uncertain when I got the first one. I mean, after all, someone from Egypt COULD want to send a secret gift. But I'm not so desperate for a sale that I won't question it.

Verdict: SCAM! Run far far away if you get this e-mail!