Wednesday, December 31, 2008
One thing I noticed yesterday, on the front page was a gorgeous pair of earrings that were priced so low as to make me wonder why. So I clicked and was taken to a shop with very pretty jewelry, all priced way too low. These particular earrings were on sale, taken from a too low price to begin with to a ridiculous slave labor price.
This makes a big difference in perception as I've written about before. If you don't value your work no one else will either.
But the price wasn't even what made me raise my eyebrows. Looking at the listing I noticed that the artist had not included very many details.
She listed the material type but there were no measurements listed. There was no reference picture to show how they would hang. I went to look at another piece and there was only one photo.
Her photos were good but only showing one photo is a big no no. People want to see and touch and feel and smell. Selling online is hard because people can only see. That requires a little extra work on our parts.
Photos need to be from all angles. Details need to be included in each listing that gives the potential customer a good idea of how something wears, tastes, smells, and looks.
I'm not perfect in this and can get lazy when listing something that I think is obvious but that is something that needs to be addressed. Not everyone knows sizes in mm or even inches. Some people cannot visualize a size and need to see size referenced in a photo with an item they are familiar with.
So as a reminder - don't assume that potential customers will automatically know something that you know. Include as many details as you can think of with each item you want to sell - and that includes as many photos as you think necessary (which is almost always more than one).
Happy New Year!
Monday, December 29, 2008
It's not the most pleasant e-mail to receive ... the one asking how to return an item. For me it brings disappointment in myself and a bit of panic. Why don't they like the item? What's wrong with it? Is there enough in my Paypal account to issue a refund? (I don't keep my Paypal account stocked with money.) Did they read my policies before they made their purchase?
The one question that also sticks in my mind is - Do they understand the impact of returns on an artisan's business?
Returning items to a big store like Walmart is something people do all the time without a second thought (me included). Large stores factor returns into their bottom line and accepting returns is part of their good PR. People today are accustomed to buying on a whim with the thought in the back of their minds that they can always return it later. It's a cultural phenomenon that has a direct impact on artists and small businesses.
For artisans it can be a very challenging decision as to whether they can accept returns at all. When I first started my policy was - no returns unless there was an error in craftsmanship (i.e. the clasp broke or a bead broke or something like that) within the first 30 days. I have revised it several times and today my return policy is a little more liberal, but does include a "restocking" fee and a note about the difficulty of accepting returns. I also do not accept returns on custom orders.
This year I've had several returns and each one was personally painful. That is another big difference between big box stores and artisans. When you return something to an artisan it is personal because it feels like a direct rejection ... and we all know how fun rejection is. :)
I know in my mind that it isn't personal. But my heart doesn't always get that message. My mind, however, tries to learn something from each return. The latest returns were due to size.
My photos are always up close and larger than life in order to show details. I try to always state in my listings the measurements for each piece, but unfortunately people can get an unrealistic expectation in their mind from photos. I think that in the future I may add a disclaimer to all my listings in big bold letters *** ALL PHOTOS ARE ENLARGED TO SHOW DETAIL. NOT ACTUAL SIZE. *** That may help a bit.
Having a return policy that is spelled out very clearly is imperative for selling online. Customers need to feel confident that you know what your policies are and that if they are not satisified that they will be accommodated somehow - whether that means store credit, exchange, or money back.
I highly recommend thinking through some of these questions before you get your first return. Because if you're anything like me, when that first return comes you'll be a little more than flustered.
- Do you have a policy written down for customers to read?
- Have you thought about what it means to have someone ask to return something? What will the logistics be?
- Will you issue a refund via Paypal, check, money order, store credit, or... ?
- Will you have a restocking fee?
- Will you refund the shipping fees?
- Will you pay for return shipping?
- Can you resell the item?
Has anyone ever asked you if they could return something? How did you deal with it? And do you have any recommendations for avoiding returns in the future?
Monday, December 22, 2008
I find that taking a break from creating actually inspires me more later on. So I don't worry about creating new work, taking photos, or even posting to my store during these times. I just relax, enjoy the quiet, and spend time with family.
My hope for all of you is a peaceful and stress free Christmas with family and friends. Here's to lots of inspiring new ideas in the new year!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The "do something" disease is an epidemic in government. They have to try to make themselves seem relevant so anytime the slightest thing happens that might have a negative impact on their constituents, politicians rush to "do something" to prove that they can solve the problem.
Here we have the government trying to protect our children (it's always all about the children you know) with stringent new requirements for products intended for kids under 12.
Why does this matter? Because, once again, the politicians, in their rush to protect us, did not think through their new law.
One of my favorite things in the world is handmade items like the ones found on Etsy. I sell there and I buy there. When I have a baby I want to be able to buy clothing and toys made from the amazingly talented folks who sell their products on Etsy.
But this law may make that impossible. And it really ticks me off!
I can understand regulating manufacturers importing things in from China. But to affect the livelihoods of super small, sometimes one person, businesses who are crafters and artisans is unnecessary and harmful to the economy.
These are people who are trying to make it on their own by working for themselves. Many of the people on Etsy are understandably concerned that this law will make it impossible for them to sell their goods. And I'm worried that I won't be able to buy their products.
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.
- A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
- A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
- A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
- And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.
There is an alliance of artisans and crafts people who are trying to call to the attention of lawmakers the negative consequences of this overreaching bill. Can you help???
Write to your congress person and your senator. Post about this issue on your blog. Sign the petition.
Because the more government sticks its fingers in our lives the more they will do so in the future. First they came for the toy makers ... soon they'll come for the jewelry designers. After all, we know that Chinese jewelry will contain led.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Then I said she needs to set up a site on Etsy. I think she'd do really well! Of course I can't tell you what exactly she's doing but it's personalized and very affordable. =)
What are the first steps to take if you think you have a great idea that can be sold online?
First, research. Research. And research some more. I did not do this when I first started selling jewelry. As with most of my life, I jumped in with both feet without a second thought. In reality it would have been to my benefit to do research first.
Research the cost of supplies. Since her items will all pretty much be the same (with slight predictable variations) she can pretty easily estimate her costs. Knowing the cost to create a widget is vital.
Not only do you need to account for the precise cost to produce the widget, you need to think about the intangible costs...
- Power/Electricity - it costs money to turn your lights on and if you need other types of power it will cost that much more...and it can add up.
- Space - how much space will your work take up in your home? Or will you need to actually go out and rent space?
- Advertising - Business cards, fliers, and any ads you may take out can quickly add up. If you haven't factored in the cost of this into your product you may come up short of funds.
- Office Supplies - I go through a lot of pens. And order forms. Right now I am totally out and really need to go pick up more. They aren't super expensive but every penny adds up.
- Photos - Online sales can only be as good as the photos showing your widget. You should see some of the hideous photos I took when I first started. I cannot believe anyone ever bought a single thing from me (not that I had many online sales at first). I tried to pick a horrible one but this is the worst I could find...and it's a huge improvement from when I truly first started.And it costs money - real money and money in terms of time). A good digital camera is vital. For me, a photo 'tent' was a priceless investment as well. But it was an investment. You can build your own, but I could never make one as good as the one I bought.
Include all of the above expenses in the cost of each item. It doesn't have to be an exact cost for all of these intangibles, but they need to be accounted for somehow.
Once you figure out the actual cost of your widget you need to decide what sort of profit you want per widget. Some people figure out the hourly wage they want and then figure out how long each item takes to make.
Others just take the total cost of the widget and multiply it by a certain number. Sometimes two, sometimes three, it just depends on the person. The problem I find with doing it this way is not always accounting for time. Something that doesn't cost a lot in dollars may still take a long time to create.
I sometimes use a combination of the two pricing methods...figuring out a total cost and factoring in my time as well. I don't really want to work for less than minimum wage. =)
My juices are flowing now with ideas from my coworker ... and it's not even my business!
There are other factors to research and consider when starting up a new business but we can talk about those later.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sandee, at Comedy Plus, is such a wonderful virtual friend...one I'd love to meet in real life someday. And I appreciate her support and wonderful encouragement.
Here are the rules:
- Put the logo in your blog.
- Add a link to the person who shared it with you.
- Pass this award to your Blogger Friends
- Add your link to the list of participants below
- Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.
No one is required to play, of course, but I'd like to tag some bloggy friends who I don't visit often enough but who bring joy to my life.
So I'm tagging...
~ Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars ~
~ Daisy the Curly Cat ~
~ Beppy Cat ~
~ Posh Mama ~
~ Houndsgood ~
~ That Mutt ~
~ Gather Little by Little ~
~ Tip Tail ~
~ Pamibe ~
I should visit every day and I don't...and for that I apologize.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I recently shipped a $2,000+ jewelry package. You better believe I insured that puppy and it cost me over $35 to ship. Yes that is a lot of money just for shipping but the peace of mind it offered me was worth the cost. It arrived safely and with no issues. I'm sure if I had shipped it with no insurance it would have done the same. But I would not have been able to sleep until it arrived.
Generally, if an item is over $100 I will opt for insurance. But the fees can add up fast. Sometimes, I skip the insurance, which makes me nervous but generally there are no issues. If I insured every single item I shipped I'd increase my shipping fees and cut into my meager profit margin (because trust me, I do not price my stuff correctly LOL).
Another issue to consider though is tracking your package. If you work with Paypal for your payments you can add free delivery confirmation if you ship Priority. This is my standard shipping method. Plus you get a discounted rate if you print your label online. Just remember, if anyone disputes their order via Paypal, you as the shipper have to have proof that you shipped that item out or Paypal will side with the customer and refund their money from your account.
My advice - if an item is irreplaceable, even if it only costs $20, insure it. It can't hurt and will give you more peace of mind. If it is something you can replace easily and it doesn't cost too much go with Delivery Confirmation instead and save the money.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This morning on my way to work I was listening to my standard radio show on KVI, Mr. Kirby Wilbur. Apparently the Guvna had a big meeting with so called business "leaders" and educators to talk about what the government could do to increase the appeal of doing business here in Washington State.
First of all, the people she meets with are obviously those who have contacts or connections in order to get to the meeting in the first place. Second, I doubt there was one small business person in the crowd.
So Mr. Wilbur asked for business people to call in and give their ideas for how the government can truly ease pressures.
I decided to call in...Because a few months ago they started a new tax rule. For sales made in Washington State I have to charge sales tax. It used to be that I could charge the sales tax from my area for all sales. Now I have to charge tax based on where the customer lives. So someone in Seattle may have to pay 9.2% where someone in Tacoma only has to pay 8.8%.
Unfortunately, my website (and Paypal) isn't set up to do these kind of complicated things - I'd have to figure out the sales tax for every town in the State and then program the Paypal shipping for each one individually. It's insane.
Not only that but when I pay taxes at the end of the year I have to report on each town's sales tax. Trust me when I tell you that it sucks.
So that was my suggestion. And after the call was over I hung up and flipped back on the dial (you can't be on the radio while talking because there's a delay and they get feedback). Kirby was saying that he wished he'd gotten my business name and if I called back in he'd give me some free advertising.
You better believe I called RIGHT back. Thankfully I got through. And I got to give my website address out on the radio!!! OMG! I was so excited.
Will it result in any sales? No idea. But people listen to his show across the country on the internet and he's very popular here in Western Washington.
You just never know when you can get a plug in for your business. I didn't anticipate getting a plug here...I really do think the new tax rule is insane and wanted to express my opinion.
Keep your ears and eyes open. Free advertising can sometimes be found in the strangest places.
UPDATE: I just checked my stats and I definitely have a higher volume coming in from this area. =) I hope those who visit bookmark me for later or make a purchase. But it's nice that they checked me out at all. Woohoo!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Through networking sites I met and started working with Lightning Bug Designs - I was one of their very first clients. I LOVE their work. Things aren't always perfect because we're all very busy but I'm always happy with the final results. The first site was great but a year later I decided I wanted it changed again.
The second site is what I have now and I love it. We did a change again this year, but not a redesign. This time I decided to remove my shopping cart. It was not an easy decision to make. Having my own shopping cart allowed more flexibility and it also gave a more "professional" feel to the site.
However, sometimes life takes over and I ultimately decided that simplicity was more important than appearing "professional" (because I know some very unprofessional sites that have shopping carts).
I decided that Etsy will be my shopping cart. Have sales slowed? Yes, but it could have more to do with the economy than with my change over to Etsy. I know that some people will prefer not to shop via Etsy and pay via Paypal. So I also have to be a little more flexible with payments. I'll accept money orders but it will take longer for people to get their jewelry that way.
In the end, I may end up adding a cart back to my main website in the future. But for now Etsy is my main focus.
Which is better? I don't think that can be determined ... it is an individual choice and each person will have a different experience. I love Paypal and find it easy and secure to use. Others don't feel the
A website adds legitimacy. Even just having the address www.castocreations.com already gives that air ... but Etsy allows people to leave feedback publically. My rating so far is 100% and I hope it stays that way. To me, that feedback is super important.
I also love that I can see who 'hearts' me ( a way to add a favorite in the Etsy world). I do not contact people who heart me but it is nice to see new people finding my work.
Etsy has a built in audience. When you post a new item it is added to the front page, for at least 15 seconds, but is also added to the top of the list in your category. The list can move fast but for those few minutes you are at the top. To stay visible you need to post several times a day throughout the day.
On a website you can post new items and not be seen for days, weeks, or months depending on your sites SEO. Etsy items are able to be found via search engines as well.
Another huge benefit Etsy offers is affordability. It wasn't inexpensive to have my website built. I won't quote my figures but having an effective site can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 and more.
Etsy charges $0.20 for each item listed and then when the item sells takes 3.5% of the price. If you also use Paypal to receive payments you'll be charged a fee there too. But together they are still a decent cost of a business, in my opinion. It costs me at least $16 a month (that is with no sales) to have a merchant account to take credit cards. On top of that monthly minimum fee, when I do have sales to charge I get charged a percentage of each sale - a different one depending on the card used. Then there are other fees if the customer uses a rewards card or if they return something.
In the end, for small businesses like myself who hand make their products, Etsy is an amazing and wonderful option.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
But I got a bug in my booty last week with an idea for a ring using a gorgeous bright blue Topaz stone I bought a couple of weeks ago. This thing GLOWS.
I ordered a strip of sterling silver and dove in with my saw. I get sort of nervous when I do new things but I was determined to create this ring.
Using fine silver round wire, I soldered two circles together and hammered to get my size. 'Cause this ring is for me...did I mention that? *grin*
I created the bezel with fine silver bezel wire, a much harder task to do with a small stone than with a larger one. It kept moving around. Thankfully I managed to get a nice tight fit.
I wanted the light to be able to show through (from my finger? I know...illogical) so I also cut a hole in the piece of metal that form the bottom of the bezel. My fingers STILL hurt from the sawing and filing. I don't like filing.
But I'm thrilled with the results!!! I hope you like. This one is mine. =)
Maybe now I will keep working to saw metal. I do have a pendant with a gorgeous deep grey/purple Iolite tone that I'm working on next. It will be a pendant. =)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The request was a freshwater pearl necklace that modeled itself after the faux pearl Chanel necklace where the pearls varied in size.
I avoid designing anything to match another design so my take on the necklace is slightly different than the customer's Chanel necklace...but that is what makes it unique and handcrafted. =)
It's hard to tell in the photo but these have such a gorgeous luster that it's nearly like looking in a mirror.
It's long enough to wear as a single strand or to double up as a choker. It looks so beautiful on my little cousin. I might need to make a similar one for myself. =)
I pre-stretched 100% silk before hand knotting between each pearl. Silk will continue to stretch after being used in a necklace like this but if you pre-stretch it you will not get nearly as many gaps later on.
Knotting pearls is relaxing for me. I don't have to do it at my work desk, I can sit on the couch and work on a board. Plus the result is always so beautiful.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
The strand of pearls I bought to use in this necklace were labeled as Japanese Akoyas, but the reality is that many of the pearls labeled as Japanese are imported to Japan from another country.
Regardless, the strand I finally found was gorgeous. It was slightly above my budget but to stick to my budget would have required buying inferior pearls and I was not willing to do that.
Laying the Akoya strand next to a very high quality strand of Freshwater pearls, the difference was immediatley clear. The luster of the Akoyas is superior. The whole look is a step above even the nicest freshwater pearls.
Don't be fooled by cheap strands claiming to be high quality Akoya pearls. All the lower priced Akoyas I saw while searching were poor quality...lots of scratches, scuffs, dents, and mediocre luster. A GOOD quality strand of Akoka pearls will cost a lot of money. Mikimoto Akoya pearl necklaces start at $2,000 for smaller (not-round) necklaces and can go up to $20,000 and higher. Of course, there you are partly paying for a name. The benefit is that they have access to a lot of high quality pearls. It was very hard for me to find the strand I did.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I hadn't planned to offer a discount. I offered a huge discount to newsletter subscribers on Friday and that was fun.
I just heard that Best Buy is going to offer deals on iPods. I'll have to tell my aunt since she was going to get my cousin one.
I'm pretty much done shopping for everyone in my family. Although I do need to finish up a few pieces of jewelry to give as gifts too. And hubby and I have no idea what to get each other.
I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So my point ... you won't ever see one of my creations on this very funny and cute website Cake Wrecks.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
These aren't new...I made them earlier in the year. But for some reason I kept forgetting to post them. They're just so pretty ... the photos never really capture how beautiful they are in person. Faceted Peridot teardrops framed by handcrafted fine silver ovals.
I named these Abstract Peek-a-Boo. I don't know why. I am not so good at naming things. I actually made these in a class. They are copper topped with brass that I cut into these funky triangles with oval holes. We were practicing cutting holes in metal (which involved a drill) and cutting shapes with our hand saws. I think they turned out very funky and cool.
These were another classroom creation. We were practicing cutting shapes and soldering brass and copper. I was supposed to put them in the pickle solution and then tumble them but after firing they turned these amazing colors and I decided to leave them as is. :)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
And while sales overall in my jewelry shop are down from last year I'm still getting sales. I think that people are being pickier and more selective. I know that I am.
If you look at the Etsy Alchemy (a place to request custom items) there are people looking to spend money on their exact wish. I try to watch these requests, not just to bid on them but to see what people are looking for over all. If you see a pattern you may be able to pick up on trends and get ahead of the curve.
Even looking at the Etsy time machine you can see that people are still buying.
I guess I am just an optimist and really try to see the best news. It's been very hard lately and my industry is being hit especially hard. I'm hoping to keep my job but you just never know what will happen.
All I can do is stay focused and do the best job that I know how.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
And there's a new way to find hand crafted female owned businesses.
Created by Cee Cee of Womenprenuers it is a downloadable PDF file and is organized by type of business. Each one has a blurb about their business, a link to their website, and other important details. It's 73 pages long! There are a lot of us out there. =)
Get your Christmas shopping done and support hand crafting...your dollars will go directly to the artisan instead of to a merchant and a middle man. And it is a great way to know exactly where your money goes.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I'm actually more prepared than I think I am but I need to sit down and write a list of all the gifts I already have and who they are going to. If you haven't gotten all your gifts yet I'll be blogging about some of my favorite sites, stores, items, and artists over the next few weeks.
One gift that I'm super excited to give is for my Mother in Law. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I ordered this but it looked so beautiful that I couldn't resist. Once I got it in person I was awed.
Hand painted on silk by West Egg Studio this pillow is SO well made. I was truly impressed and I think my mother in law is going to love it. Even my hubby asked if we could get one for ourselves ... though I did veto that. With our dogs a gorgeous work like this would be destroyed.
She has so many different designs. I love this one too.
She's also started offering wonderful hand painted and one of a kind Baby Room art.
Here is a blurb from Lori's site. Her pillows being sold on Etsy are a steal!
I have been in the handpainted pillow business since 1995, and I am delighted to offer some of my retired designs on Etsy! You may recognize many of the designs. These pillows are individually handpainted on fine silk, each an original design, and they have sold around the country through the finest retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue.I definitely recommend Lori of West Egg Studio for a unique and treasured gift.
The pillows have been featured in numerous design and trade magazines, including Victoria, Veranda, Southern Accents, Colonial Homes and Florida Design. Retail on the pillows was from $200-400 EACH. The designs featured on Etsy are retired, so I am able to offer overstock at wholesale prices or below. Many of the pillows are no longer in production, and I have only one left of certain designs. I have noted "last one" if this is the case. I am also selling selected handpainted art on silk (not made into pillows), which you can frame or use as you wish. Thanks for visiting West Egg Studio.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I set my sales goal at $500. This is a 4 hour show and is only open to associates, contractors, and interns within the company. I think the company has around 1,000 people in our main location. So really, $500 is an ambitious goal for even the best of times. Especially when there are at least 5 other people selling jewelry.
Thankfully, I've been selling my jewelry for several years at this show and people know me. Some people I only see at this show.
I could definitely see a difference in traffic compared to previous years. Most shows find people standing in line 10 deep to make purchases. This year I did have two people lined up waiting at one point but I think that only happened a couple of times.
Thankfully I met my goal with a little over $550 in sales. Plus I traded a bracelet for some Christmas presents. So technically that would bump me over $600 but I'm not counting it as a sale.
Of course, this is still not a profit producing show. I mostly run at a deficit all year because my goal isn't to make enough money to pay my bills. My goal is to create and learn new skills. However I do need to continue to sell jewelry in order to fund that endeavor. I'm hoping this year to break even or close to it as I've been fairly frugal in my purchases all year.
After the show I went to a Gem and Jewelry wholesale show and spent half of my earnings. But that was actually my intention so it wasn't as painful as it sounds. I needed more silver wire and I found some sterling chain at a vendor having a clearance sale.
I know that craft shows are hurting for attendance and sales. I've saved all year to buy gifts for Christmas and I'm hoping to buy more this weekend at a nearby high school annual show. If you know of a show in your area I strongly encourage you to attend. Keep your money in your community by supporting local artists.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Because that is the state of my life. Amid clutter. =)
Woohoo!!! I'm really excited. I feel more organized already. It's like having separate folders for the various topics in my head. *grin*
If you feel like blessing me please join me over there to chat politics and culture. And of course stick around here so I can share all the fun crafty stuff in my head.
I tried thinking of a name for a new blog. I came up with one that I really liked but it's taken. A Cluttered Mind. It's a good one right? But it's taken. So now I'm not so sure. I have another one in mind but don't know if it's already taken too. And I don't have time to check.
Anyone else have some suggestions? I'm really not as creative as I pretend to be. =) It's not as if my business name is all that creative.
Have a fabulous day!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I have lots of thoughts in my head. About all sorts of subjects. I already split off my pet related blogging to Home Zookeeper ... though I don't blog there every day.
I've been pondering another split to start another blog that allows me to rant and rave about politics and cultural stuff. Then this blog, which would still be my main blog, would be solely focused on arts and crafts and my jewelry.
What do you think? I know I have at least two people who read me. :) *grin* Should I split up my politics from my craftiness?
I just can't think of what to call it. Something catchy and easy to remember.
Anyhoo...I am working at home and thankfully that gives me two extra hours today to get ready for my craft show tomorrow. I'm so glad that my work allows me to participate in this show without even taking vacation time. Since it's a company sponsored event the participants get paid to sell their goodies. =)
I really do like my company even when I get frustrated with some of the bureaucracy. I've been blessed with a lot of flexibility and challenging work, which I like.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
21) Summary: Beadmakers
Category: Lifestyle & Entertainment
Name: Cyndi L
Email: [I don't want her to get spam so contact me through my blog or website and I'll forward you her e-mail]
Media Outlet/Publication: b5Media.com blogging network
Specific Geographic Region? No
Deadline: 5:00 PM EASTERN - November 30
"I would like to hear from people who create beads, either from
lampworked or fused glass, polymer clay, metal, stone, or other
unique materials. I'm looking for those artists who would like to
share an artist statement of one to two paragraphs, and up to three
images (72dpi res) of their work, along with a link to their site.
www.jewelryandbeading.com is a blog with a very large readership.
The majority of the reader make handmade beaded jewelry, and they
are always looking for new sources of high quality artist beads. "
I'd love to see some of the very talented bead makers that I know get some PR.
My favorite pair of boots are 20+ years old (I've had them since the third grade!!!) and have gone through many resoles but the leather is now starting to fade and wear through. :( I'm so sad. They're my favorite!
I did splurge last weekend. I bought a pair of pants at Target for $12 and a shirt for $2. =) The shirt is for Christmas. It's silver and shimmery. Out of style? Probably. Although I don't generally cheap out when I buy new shoes. My current favorite pair I paid full price but they are rockin'! *grin* If I do say so myself. Sometimes you have to pay a little more for good quality and long lasting shoes.
All of this makes it uncomfortable for me to sell my jewelry to someone in person because I feel so out of step with fashion while at the same time trying to sell a fashion item. Do you think it is a hindrance to my design that I don't dress "in style?"
I've always been a little "off" fashion wise. In high school I would wear business suit jackets and skirts ... basically dressing about ten years above my age. At the time I refused to wear any brand name clothing. No Gap. I refused. No Tommy Hilfiger....which my mom called Tommy Hilf....never mind. I just felt that if I was going to wear a name brand across my chest then they should pay ME. :) I've lightened up a bit on that though. I love my Cabela's sweatshirt. *grin*
Yet I make jewelry for those who do have style. =) At least, that is my goal. And selling online makes it easier to work with those who would look at my clothes and cringe.
I have a show at work on Friday. Thankfully most folks see me every day and like my jewelry anyway. ha ha ha I'm glad they don't hold my lack of fashion against me.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Perhaps. Thankfully my livelihood is not tied to Christmas sales.
As a shopper though this situation may actually benefit me...and you.
Big sales promotions may yield some great savings this year.
I know that I plan to have the biggest discount - only to newsletter subscribers - than I've ever had in the past. (Sign up to get the code when the newsletter goes out later this month.) Not because I'm desperate for sales but because I have a LOT of jewelry in stock ... mostly because I tend to create in spurts and some of those spurts can yield dozens of pieces at a time. And it builds up. I just can't wear it all.
So be prepared for big sales soon. Black Friday is only 17 days away!
I balance the checkbook and pay the bills. So I notice when there are multiple trips to Burger King in one day. He hasn't quite figured out the 'take cash out of the savings account' bit to avoid my detection.
Not that I'm mean about it or anything. I am just cheap and would prefer he take a lunch for work. He says he's not mature enough to make his own lunch. That much I agree with. :) And I am NOT his mother.
I keep trying to remind him of this fact. I have enough work to do to get myself ready for work without making his lunch and coffee.
But when I added up how much he'd spent (just by himself) in the last ten days even he said "ouch."
Those little stops of $7 here and $10 there add up to real money. Money that he could use to buy bullets (something he's been asking to do and I keep saying no). Or hats. Or whatever he's interested in at the moment.
The problem coming up is that he's switching to nights and he often stops for his lunch break in the middle of the night at a 24 hour place like Jack in the Box. Nights suck so I usually don't bug him but we need to pinch some pennies. Maybe I will start making him sandwiches on the weekend...and peanut butter celery. He loves that.
After all my hard work to save using coupons and sales I don't want to see the savings blown on fast food.
Although I do love Burger King. :) Don't tell him I had breakfast there last Saturday, k?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Of course, we don't know what the guy did before but from the look of this video he was just there. Wearing a McCain/Palin shirt. NOTHING illegal about that. I thought dissent was the highest form of patriotism...unless it's against "the one."
I don't believe there was ANY reason to tell him to leave the area ... except that he is clearly insane and putting his life in danger. But the arrest was made because he refused an officer's orders and I have a hard time being angry at that particular point. But the fact that they did not defend his right to free speech and association scares me a bit.
I hope they just drove him back to his car. Hope. Change.
Edited to add...there is of course more to the story. The guy was apparently drunk and had a plastic sword. Stupid idiot. The part that scares me more is the chanting. *shudder*
Friday, November 7, 2008
Via Pamibe...I love this.
While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter. ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’
‘No problem, just let me in,’ says the man.
‘Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.’
‘Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,’ says the senator.
‘I’m sorry, but we have our rules.’
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises..
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
‘Now it’s time to visit heaven.’
So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
‘Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.’
The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: ‘Well, I would never have said it bef ore, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.’
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. ‘I don’t understand,’ stammers the senator. ‘Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, dr ank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.
The devil looks at him, smiles and says, ‘Yesterday we were campaigning…
Today you voted.’
*snort* Too funny.
And this should scare if you ... really. It should. Seriously. I'm not kidding. "REQUIRE" is the key word here.
"Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year."
Do you understand? You will be REQUIRED to perform services for your "community" whether you want to or not. If that does not scare you then you have not studied history. Nor have you learned from history.
Yet another reason why I refuse to remain unarmed. An unarmed citizenry is ripe for the taking. I'm not saying that we're approaching some revolutionary shift in fundamental civil rights akin to the horrific bloodshed that was China and Russia ... but it is there on the horizon and we can choose to allow it or fight it. I choose to fight. No one will FORCE me to do anything.
And if I had a teacher try to do this to me I would have been sick ... of course at the time when I was in school I probably agreed with all my teachers. And if I were this girl's mother I would be OUTRAGED. Beyond outraged. Furious and mama bear dangerous. I love the kids supporting Obama ... Why? *blank stares* They don't know. Because their parents do because that's what kids do. Duh. And way to try to put words in their mouths teacher. Force your opinions much?
I'm not feeling very optimistic right now. Can you tell? Which is NOT like me. I'm a very optimistic person by nature. So it ticks me off when I'm not.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
And the last two days have just been crazy. I'm exhausted and can't sleep. My migraine went away but a regular headache remained yesterday, though thankfully nothing today.
It's amazing how I can act normal on the outside but on the inside feel like slitting my wrists. Today is even worse. My logical side tells me it's bunk but my emotional side is banging around in my brain causing havoc. Stupid bipolar disorder.
I think it is a combination of lack of sleep and too much sugar. Sugar is evil you know. And I'm completely hooked on the stuff.
In the meantime, my Etsy shop is full of all kinds of new goodies. I'm really proud of some of my new pieces.
I had these Paua shell cabochons left over from a class I took last year...aren't they gorgeous?!?
I've had these coral beads for ages ... at least a year but probably much longer. All of a sudden I pull them out and start playing. I made two necklaces and two pairs of earrings. I love the true red of these babies.
I have my only craft show all year next Friday. It's at my work and usually does pretty good but my expectations will be lower than last year. The stock market activity doesn't do well for morale in my line of work. :)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I have managed to stay away from all news sources. I haven't even listened to my favorite talk radio shows ALL day. I'm quite proud of myself. Of course, hubby is now home and trying to tell me the "score" of the election but I'm going to try to tune him out. It's too stressful to watch all the speculation.
I watched two movies ... well, watch isn't the right word. I laid in bed with movies on in the background. Music and Lyrics was cute but kind of boring. Double Jeopardy was pretty cool. Ashley Judd was good and so was what's his name. Tommy Lee Jones? Is that right. He was in The Fugitive. Love that movie.
Now there's a House marathon on...LOVE that show. And no election news. :) Except from Rachel Lucas where I'm following the comments. Should be fun. Lots of alcohol and for me, ice cream.
Happy Election Day! Here's hoping we wake up to a sane country and no more migraine!
Monday, November 3, 2008
I'm a sucker for start up small businesses. Rizzo left a comment and offered a special discount of 20% off (use code 3JBEE84C) their super cool tees at Rizzo Tees. I really like the Cheerios t-shirt. *grin*
Good luck Rizzo!
I am laughing so hard. Via Rare Bird Finds I am directed to Snorg Tees and there are SO many t-shirts that I must have!
I don't drink but find this funny.
For all you The Office fans...love this one!
I wasn't really old enough to "get" this show but I would still vote Keaton.
heh ... for my war mongering side...
And if you "get" this ... you're hot too.
Oh my goodness...there's just so many that I can't decide which ten to get!!!
I love funny t-shirts. And I'd like to get some non-partisan ones. Or at least some non-controversial ones. I don't feel comfortable wearing my "Communism has only killed 100 Million people. Let's give it another chance." shirt at Agility training. *grin*
Yesterday it poured down rain for hours and then got sunny for an hour and then rained again and was windy and then sunny.
Today driving to work it was a monsoon and now it's sunny again.
I actually love our weather here in Washington. It's never the same thing twice. We've seen sun, rain, snow, and hail all in one day.
Of course people tend to forget how to drive around here when it's been more than a day without rain. At least there were no accidents on my way to work...but it was a slow drive.
And I'm tired. You'd think that extra hour would have given me extra sleep but I couldn't fall asleep last night. *sigh* It was hard to get up and get going. Maybe it was that two hour nap I took yesterday afternoon. *grin*
It's not like I didn't get anything done this weekend. Hubby and I went out on Saturday and looked at guns. =) It was so fun!!! I really liked the Beretta Tomcat. Nice and small for my girly hands. And it has a laser on it! Hubby thought that was neat. But until I actually shoot one we're not buying. So our next date might just be (finally) at a local gun range.
Oh and jewelry. Oh my gosh. I've been making SOOOOO much jewelry. I made at least 10 pairs of earrings, 5 or 6 necklaces, and a couple of bracelets. Photographing all of them took a couple of hours but of course my laptop crapped out on me. Arg! And I refuse to buy a new laptop until I absolutely have to. So as soon as I can get it working I'll upload my photos and start posting them. If I do say so myself, I made some pretty ones. =)
Oh...and Sandy at Comedy Plus shared this today...HILARIOUS!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Obama Kicks Off Disagreeing Reporters - No Dissent Allowed (and yes, the article mentions McCain not allowing access from the Dowd...but come on...it's the Dowd!)
It's Going to be like Christmas? Obama-Claus
Are You a Citizen, or a Subject?
This gave me chills!
It's Clearly the Government's Job. Not ours as individuals. Duh.
Read and Laugh
Be Afraid. Be VERY Afraid.
Who Would Iraqis Vote For?
Tipping Less? - I like the note idea.
Have a Happy Halloween and a great weekend!
Spell your name using these letters:
A: Best Gf/Bf any one could have
B: You love a certain someone
C: People cant help but check u out
D: You are really lovable
E: You Are Great
F: Easy to fall in love with
G: You never let people tell you what to do
H: You have a very good personality and good looks
I: People love you
J: People Adore you
K: You’re wild and crazy
L: AWESOME KISSER
N: Easy to fall in love with
O: Best kisser ever
P: You are popular with all types of people
Q: You are a hypocrite
R: You love to kiss
S: You are freakin crazy
T: You are loyal to the ones you love
U: You really like to chill
V: your not judgmental
W: You are popular
X: You never let people tell you
Y: Sexiest bitch alive
Z: Never good enough…
M-Handsome/Beautiful (um...not so much)
E- You Are Great (well, yes)
G- You never let people tell you what to do (ain't that the truth!)
A- AWESOME KISSER (hahahahahaha)
N- Easy to fall in love with (ahhh...I'll have to ask hubby but he says I had to trick him into marrying me! LOL)
Go grab and see what your name means.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government."~Thomas Jefferson~
I wonder what our great founding fathers would say about our government today.
Well, not really. I don't know why but they rotate that page crazy fast. I swear it must have been up for less than 5 minutes. But it was really exciting and Jen took a screen shot!
That's my necklace in the far bottom right corner. My mom wants that necklace and the matching earrings. Ha! I may have to take it out of my shop if she hasn't bought it before Christmas. It'll be hers if I can't think of anything else to get her.
This is my dad's mom ... and she's always treated my brother and I as special. Dad died when he was only 36 years old...I was 8 and brother was 5.
So I'll be heading down to the hospital to visit her for a little while. I'm really not looking forward to it though. :(
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
First off...Credit Unions... I am a member of a credit union and have been since I was 18 or 19. I love it. :)
Next Up...Starbucks! My SIL works for corporate and brings us coffee (for hubby...I don't drink coffee) sometimes. Plus I LOVE the new Salted Caramel hot chocolate. So yummy. And when we were there on Sunday there was a little card I picked up that had a free iTunes downloadable song on it. Neat.
And one that I swear I've already answered. Or at least some version of it.
Have a Happy Tuesday. And don't forget to check out the auction for Saving Shelter Pets!!!
Monday, October 27, 2008
But along with the coupon and frugal bug I've been bitten with the home maker bug apparently. I've actually ... *gulp* ... been enjoying myself!
Do NOT tell my husband. I'll never live it down.
Last week I made Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese caserole, Enchilada casserole, Ground Turkey Soft Tacos, and Parmesan Crusted Chicken. We had the mac and cheese two nights. And then Friday we both had frozen microwave meals. :)
So I've been trying to plan ahead and think about what we can make throughout the week. It's more relaxing to know that dinner is planned.
Last night I boiled a chicken and made chicken noodle soup. I got the carrots from my grandfather's garden (they are so yummy) and chopped up some celery. The result was super yummy so last night we had soup and sandwiches.
I'm not entirely sure what we're having tonight but hubby is home so he'd better be making dinner tonight. I'm guessing salmon will be involved.
I have a whole Glad container full of chicken from the chicken last night. I'll either use that for another macaroni casserole or Fajitas. I bought two peppers at the grocery store yesterday. I won't actually eat them but they add good flavor. :)
My recipe list is not very long. Since I wasn't raised to cook I am not very creative when it comes to what I should (or can) cook.
What's your favorite recipe? And remember...I am SUPER picky. I don't eat onions, lettuce, celery, tomatoes (except ketchup or soup), or most other vegetables.
Got any suggestions for easy to cook meals?
Starting today, October 27, they are holding an auction to raise funds and one of my necklaces is on the auction block for you to win!!!
Bid on goodies through November 21 and get them in time for Christmas. There's even a diamond pendant!!!
Their goal is to raise $2,500 and I hope we can help make it happen. I've already started bidding ... don't outbid me okay? *grin*
The State Patrol union "dissed" the Republican nominee last time ... I guess. They gave their support to the Dem. I didn't care. The unions almost always support the Democrats - after all the Dems are the ones who give them what they want. Money and power.
The current govna has done her best to buy the support of the unions and the tribes. But I refuse to be bribed. I know it would be in my family's "best interest" to vote for her this year. In the long term though it will NOT benefit us. Our economy has started to slow down just recently. Our unemployment in the state has started to rise. We are "behind" the rest of the country in this respect. Home prices are still pretty high but falling.
And our state budget is out of control - we have BILLIONS in deficits now. I have an inside contact in the Treasurer's office and know that the state budget is insane. And she wants to spend MORE and tax more. That is not going to help us in the long term.
But the powers that be in hubby's union are doing their best to sway him from his conservative standards. It's really sad.
I guess people think it's better to give the state control over their lives. Obama wants to take from the "rich" and give to the "poor" ... oh so Robinhood like ... except that Robinhood took from the GOVERNMENT and gave it back to the people. The exactly OPPOSITE of what he wants to do....taking from the productive in society and giving to the non-productive.
It means redistribution of wealth. Not the creation of wealth and certainly not the creation of opportunity, but simply taking money from the successful and hard-working and distributing it to those whom the government decides “deserve” it.
Socialism (more so than we already have) approaches and I dread the results for the country. I'm trying my hardest to be positive but it sure is difficult.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under the robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C.S. LewisPlease read Bill Whittle's article and think about your decision this coming Tuesday, November 4. McCain / Palin may not be the best choice out there but they are far and away the better choice than the "One".
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Hubby and I went out to Starbucks where we spent $10 on two of their new Salted Carmel Hot Chocolates and a newspaper. OH MY GOSH! Those new hot chocolates are A-Freaking-Mazing. Seriously. So yummy. Salty and sweet. Then we ran through Jack in the Box and then home. It was fun.
And then I went and saved a bunch of money on groceries. I paid just a little over $9 for 8 big things of juice. Hubby likes juice. Yesterday I got 12 things of Taco Seasoning for $1.25 and 12-packs of Dr Pepper for $1.25 a pack. Woohoo! I love couponing.
Anyhoo...so here's a quick survey. I'd love if you clicked on it. I'm almost at $10 with my DNeero account. *grin*
Thursday, October 23, 2008
As hubby drives home, some IDIOT decided he'd pass people in the center turn lane, kick up a bunch of dust, and then try to HIDE when he saw hubby do a U-ey to snag his butt. He jetted into an apartment complex, pulled into a parking spot, and started to get out. Yeah right PUNK.
Hubby handcuffed his A*S and what do you know? He found mary jane so now hubby has to go to the office and file a stupid report. ARG!
Is it selfish of me to want my hubby home? I'm glad he gets another slime ball off the road ... but for pity's sake. I want hubby home for dinner.
Rant over. :)
The dinner smells delicious by the way...if I do say so myself. I had two chicken breasts and found a recipe so easy that even I figured it out (making my own adjustments for lack of certain ingredients). They look really yummy. =)
I just love The Daily Dish. Another great find thanks to Entrecard. Other recipes on her blog that I want to try...Tator Tot Casserole, Crockpot Chicken with Bacon and Cheese, Funnel Cake (because I just can't spend more than $15 on a "kit" from Gooseberry Patch), and this yummy Soda Cake.
I'm really hungry. Do you think hubby would mind if I ate without him? LOL
I open up an envelope today and there's a check in it from some class action lawsuit against the State of Washington. I didn't even know I was part of it ... but I did work for the state for 5+ years. Or maybe it was 4. I can't remember.
And it was for over $200!!!! Which is good since I've spent about that much in the two days. I just made a trip to Jewelweaver and dropped $100. I've been resisting for MONTHS but finally just did it. It helps that they're having a sale. :)
Like I need more beads right? That's the problem with being a bead addict. You can never have enough.
So having this check drop in my lap helps alleviate some of my spending guilt. I guess I should go make some more jewelry now. :)
But I tell you what...my determination is breaking. I am really cold today. The little indoor thermostat says 62 but it feels like 42. Outside it's apparently 46.
So when should I turn the heat on? When I can't feel my fingers? Or should I resort to gloves?
I know I'm being stubborn. Hubby hates it. He would have turned the heat on weeks ago. But he also leaves his computer on 24-7 which ticks me off.
Anyone have stats on the power used by a computer left on 24-7? I know I should look it up myself. *grin* I'm being lazy.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Face Off Over Converted Garage
Really? REALLY!?! This is what we need code inspectors to waste their time on? Making sure an 83 year old woman spends money that she does not have to turn a bedroom back into a garage. Seriously!
The inspector who first noticed her "violations" must have been really bored that day ... or out looking for someone to slap with a violation.
This is just sick.
Almost as sick as the 89 year old woman arrested for not giving kids their ball back. Yeah ... kids are such angels aren't they? It's all about the kids. Or at least that's what they've been told their whole short lives.