Monday, August 22, 2011

Be Yourself and Be Free!

Carmen Planking!!!
This is a picture of my friend Carmen making her kids say, "MOM!!!"  They were at Tropical Park and she wouldn't get up until they took the picture. 
Her daugher posted it on her Facebook page and my son caught me looking at it several times and called me a picture stalker! 
I couldn't help it.  It makes me giggle every time I look at it.  This is Carmen being totally free and being herself, caught up in the moment, teasing her kids. 
I felt just a little twinge of jealousy that I hadn't let myself feel that way.  I've been just too caught up and I must confess I started to forget a little about having fun.  (I've been a real stick.)
She has really inspired me.  This is how we are supposed to be, enjoying moments, being ourselves and enjoying our friends and family!  She reminds me of how I'm supposed to feel, and that's free - not encoumbered with the weight of the world, worry free and just allowing myself to enjoy the moment with friends and family.  I wanted to share her inspiration with you!  And, may I add, She's doing a perfect plank, too!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ideas Kind of Just Floating Around?

You know, I really believe its OK to have some random ideas if you are stuck and haven't really chosen a direction to go with your work. Get those ideas started even if its just a little here and a little there. You will discover little things along the way about each one. You might want to write them down in a journal or sketch them down.

Don't criticise yourself for working on a few or a lot of ideas all at once. I know we all have been criticized for starting several projects and not finishing them but if they all or some are moving forward in one way or another I don't think anyone should judge! We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves!
When you are experimenting with jewelry ideas you could use recycled wire snippets or base metal jump rings to hold your prototypes together so you don't have to worry about wasted materials should you choose to take your project apart and go another direction.
If you get stuck on an idea go as far as you can with it and stick it away in a plastic bag. Work on something else. You could get working on the new thing and suddenly get a bright idea about the project you are stuck on.

I thought these shoes were kind of cool. I found them above South Street in Philadelphia like someone just threw them up there kind of random over the power lines. In a strange way they sort of look like they belong up there like the art all around them.  We could view them as hopelessly stuck or we can view them as art!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Enlarge Your Photos Before You Publish Them!

How often are you in a hurry when you compose an ad and post your pictures on Etsy?

I know my pictures have much to be desired on my jewelry sites but this is not the angle I am going to discuss today. When I learn to take better pictures that will be another post!

This is about checking your work. I mean check your jewelry for obvious flaws in workmanship like scratches on stones, wires sticking out, mismatched colors, dirt, etc.

I got the idea when I was bringing my jewelry to work and the girls were bringing it to the bathroom. They weren't just trying it on. They were scrutinizing it really up close behind those closed doors!

This is what happens to our work on Etsy. We all publish our pictures so they will be enlarged. Etsy will let you publish a picture that is 1000 x 1000 pixels. That's pretty big! It's about 7 x 7 inches! (abouts) You can see everything! Everything! EVERYTHING!

Sometimes we all get in a hurry. That's why I am bring this up. Enlarging the pictures before and immediately after you post will save your butt from a lost customer, Regretsy, laughter, and out right humiliation or embarrassment!

You are putting yourself in the seat of the customer. You will find those deciding factors that make them buy your jewelry or not!

I clean my vintage jewelry well but I have enlarged pictures only to find that there are hairs stuck in a brooch or earrings. Or gross makeup caked on the side of a rhinestone. Ewwww!

I've made earrings using briolettes only to find a flaw in the front of the glass or the stone. This is my opportunity to remake the earring again and hide the flaw in the back behind the filigree. If I would not have enlarged the picture like the customer would have; I don't think I would have found it. (I constantly change glasses between bifocals and magnifiers.)

If you forgot to tuck in a wire in your wrap this is your chance. Tuck it in and take another picture. If your forgot that little bit of glue, well here's your chance to see it magnified 8 times! Enlarged pictures show all. ALL!!!!

Enclosed you will find another fly in the ointment so to speak. I take my pictures outside sometimes. I don't mind the occasional ant in the picture, those can be funny. I will even get a dragonfly to flirt with my dragonfly brass stampings. Take a look. What do you find?

If you love this little clown brooch he is clean and still available in my shop with several other figural type brooches!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Make Your Own Wire Guards and French Wire

I wanted to show you all an easy way to make your own attractive beading wire protectors that you can do in any type of metal. This picture here is taken with 20 gauge wire as the base wire and 24 gauge wire as the wrapped wire. You can make several wraps of your smaller gauge wire around wire that is at least 20 gauge wire. Use the 20 gauge because you can get your beading wire through the coil when it's done. Use a flat nose pair of pliers to hold the wire in place and use your fingers or another pair of pliers to do the wrapping. I recommend using the second pliers to help you because then you can pull the wraps nice and tight and close. Make the wraps nice and close. Your finished work will look like a tight little spring when you are done. The coil wrapping should be at least 14 mm for your finished piece until you get used to working with it then adjust according to your preference. Trim the excess and slide off the thicker wire. Use just like you would french wire or Accu-Guards. Slide on to your beading wire followed by a crimp and secure the crimp behind the loop you made. See my Dragonfly necklace as an example.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tell a Story to Go with your Work

Mrs. Owl Gets Rose for Honorable Mention
 I think that by letting your work tell a story or telling a story to go with your work captivates your customer audience and keeps them in your shop just a little longer. 

In the case of this articulated Owl necklace "Mrs. Owl Gets Rose for Honorable Mention" I tell a story to go with my work.

Your visitors will enjoy going to your Etsy shop just for the sheer pleasure of the visit, even if they might not purchase anything at that moment, they will love your shop and may at the very least heart your item or shop and come back.  They might also be inclined to visit your other items to see what you wrote in your descriptions.

When customers do searches on Etsy and use the "All Items" feature they might use search terms that are more theme oriented other than just what might be used for the tags and materials. 

"Mrs. Owl", as an example, when searched for under "All Items" brings up several owls with female personalities and cute whimsical features. 

This way of searching can be more helpful than the other ways in the Etsy search pull down menu because the tags are mostly used to describe the basics and get used up really fast. Other searches that my Mrs. Owl comes up in because of the story are "honorable mention" and "pageant".  Who knows maybe she will end up being an award for someone in her exact predicament!

The description that I used not only describes the owl necklace I made but tells a story so the reader knows that this is also a two part story which draws the consumer to possibly look at my sold items to see part one