Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trying out new Packaging

Back when I had my other Etsy shop I always posted a picture of my packaging. In an attempt to create a "branding" I purchased some stickers with a logo and, pairing with red ribbon thought I had decided on my packaging. Unfortunately, when viewed on Etsy, the black and red immediately made me think of the Nazi flag. I am sure you would say "no it doesn't", but to me that is what came to mind. Definately NOT what I was going for and so a change is in order.

I've come up with two completely different styles and would love to know your opinion. Which do you like better or should I keep going? I don't know.....sometimes it's all a bit much when all I want to do is heat metal!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't you just love it....

When things turn out better than you planned?

This week the weather here has been gorgeous. I caught a bad case of spring fever! Some people clean their house, some people play outside, some people do their own things when they have spring fever...I want to plant things!

I decided to try something new this year. Along with the usual annuals I plant I thought I'd try a little succulent garden.

I found this gorgeous pot at Walmart. It's one of the Better Homes and Gardens collection and was in my new favorite color. It was only $10~ What a bargain. I bought the two large plants in the back; harvested the rocks from my yard, and took cuttings from a plant I have for the row of succulents in the front. None of these I know the names of, but I do know the plant in the front is very hardy and grows and multiplies well.

Once all was done I was very happy with the results. It turned out better than I planned and should live a long time...it is low maintenance after all!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Today was the first time I could drag myself into the studio. Since we came back from vacation I have had zero motivation, creativity, desire to even walk into my studio. I only went in there today because of the orders I HAD to get out.

Once I started it was rejuvenating. I didn't really expect that but once I started I really got motivated. I got all my orders completed and then made this. Not complicated, but I wanted it simple so it wouldn't compete with the gorgeous focal.

So, I have some stones to set in the rings now they are out of the tumbler and are all nice and polished shiny. I'm looking forward to getting back in there tomorrow and make more stuff! My slump was cured by just getting in there and doing...huh..who'da guessed?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As seen on the streets of Victoria, B.C. installment 1.

We arrived back from Seattle/Victoria B.C. early Sunday morning but I still can't seem to get back up to speed. I have some wonderful and amazing photos and stories I want to share but it seems such a daunting task to write, edit photos, all while catching up on laundry, groceries, and yard work. Thankfully I put my shop into vacation mode so I have no pending orders except the three that trickled in this week.

Before the entire vacation becomes stale in my mind I will go ahead and share some of my favorite photos with you of the things I saw roaming the streets in Victoria.

More will come later as I get back into my regular routine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bluebird of Happiness is coming..

or maybe two..

I ordered these lovely little things from Mike at Mudpuppy.etsy.com. I've heard that bluebirds bring good luck so I should have some and a little left over to share!

I can't wait!

Here are a few more things from his shop I may need to have in the near future.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Custom Order Finished and a Friend Found

This was a custom order. A perfectly lovely girl living in France who had her own ideas of what would be a good design. We had many conversations back and forth and I found a friend along the way.
Aren't they lovely! She had amazing ideas! I try not to feel inadequate when my customers have better ideas than I do. I am blessed, however, to be able to do this and doubly blessed with a new friend. Thank you Thao!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Merchandising is Important

Merchandising goes under the header of "things I didn't know I needed to know". It isn't hard to figure out, but it does take a little work. And, I am not someone who knows proper business terminology so if my terms don't jive with what you learned in college, sorry, just bear with me.

The "merchandising" I am talking about is putting your items out there in a way that connect with relevant and current topics that are out there in the world.

Take this necklace for example. I made this necklace a few months ago before the Sherlock Holmes movie came out. Since it reminded me of a monacle or a magnifying glass it tagged it with detective, Sherlock Holmes, magnifying glass, novel, mystery. I also titled it "Watson Magnifying Lense Necklace". I also included a quote from the novel in the listing description. When the movie was being promoted and after it came out I was included in several treasuries and front pages with this theme.

Now, fast forward a few months. The Sherlock Holmes movie is over and Alice in Wonderland is the new up and coming movie. Last week I changed the title of this necklace to "Looking Glass Necklace". I changed the tags from the Sherlock Holmes theme to the Alice theme, cleaned up the description and left it.

Today it was featured in a "Down the Rabbit Hole" Etsy Finds Email here. How exciting is that? Would the EXACT SAME necklace had been featured if I hadn't changed the title? Nope, I can say definitely doubtful.

Etsy provides is with all the information we need to merchandise our items. They tell us what type of treasuries they will be looking for, the themes they will be using, holidays they will be highlighting and much more information. Another plus is that they give us a month's heads up so we can plan ahead. See this week's article here: April Showers. You can find more articles on the Storque Blog, under the "Selling" side bar header.

Some imagination is necessary, but we all have lots of that don't we? Think outside the box and read the articles. It may give you some inspiration and ideas.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Bright Spot in My Day

It's been four days now that I haven't felt well. It's not a horrible fever, sick, can't get out of bed not feeling well, but a stuffy nose, no fever, but feeling run down kind of sick. Not the kind of sick that someone waits on you and feeds you soup, but the kind of sick that still requires laundry to be done, groceries to be bought and dinner still to be made.

So, all that being said, I had a bright spot in my day today. My packages arrived. Yes, spending most of your time on the couch on the computer has its pluses. I found these lovely things on Etsy.

The pillow case came from ShabbyChicShack.etsy.com

It is so soft, pretty and smells so nice.

The salt and pepper are from a new etsy shop. CafeCotton.etsy.com. A cute vintage shop.
They are such a cute pair and the color is so beautiful! And, a huge plus, they arrived so quickly!

The pillow case and shakers match perfectly even if they weren't purchased together. Funny though that Salt and Pepper shakers and Pillow cases don't really belong together. Ah well, they will be bright spots in my day no matter where they are.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Attempt Number 1

This is my first attempt at a tube set ring. I learned a few things that I'll share and, if you have any pointers or suggestions I am all ears.

As intimidating as seat cutting seemed, I found that cutting the seat in the tube to be the easiest part. The bit got away from me once and horribly chewed up the end of my tube, but the second time, with a little more bur lube and going faster, it cut neatly.

It was more difficult to cut straight across the piece of the tube. I have ordered a tube cutting jig to solve that problem. I have seen tutorials that suggest you make the ring with a tube bezel first, then cut the seat in the bezel, but after my first attempt of cutting a seat, if that had happened, the entire piece of tube would have been lost. As it was, I only lost maybe 1/8th an inch of tubing. yay!

The hardest part was was the ring band. I made the ring band solid, then cut out a piece that was the same width of the bezel. Keeping the band in the same shape, size was a challenge while trying to file the ends in a half round shape to fit snugly against the bezel. Once soldered I did try to reshape the band on the mandrel only to find that the bezel stretched easier than the band did so I ended up with an oval bezel. Not good! With a little prodding and, thankfully, having dapping punches (the round ones) I could gently reshape so the stone would fit.

Setting the stone wasn't as easy, though. Even though I filed down the edges of the bezel, I don't think I filed enough because it was tough to burnish! I still don't have it quite right.

I apologize for the lack of pictures. I get into projects and photos are the last thing I think about.

I am planning on making a stacking set for myself with my daughter's birthstones (three daughters, one ring down) By then I'll have a great handle on how these go together and I'll share more.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Stones

Is there anything better, really, than the day you open your mailbox and see a package? Especially if it is a wonderful supply you have been waiting on.

Today I received stones I have been anxiously waiting for. Gorgeous faceted stones for my newest trial and error endeavor, tube setting.

I have the entire set of birthstones and hopefully, by the end of March, I'll be able to offer birthstone rings and stacked sets for mother's day.

Some of the larger stones were just pretty, caught my eye and, right now, I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. I'm thinking simple pendants, but we'll see.