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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finally... another silver metal clay piece


Yes, actually made in one weekend. Can you believe it?

I used a set of Anita Pepper's boro lampwork beads... er, half a set, actually... that I'd been hoarding for several years. You know, the kind of beads that you go, "I can't make just ANYTHING with these... it has to be something special." And so... four years later....


Watched the Gold Medal game at Stanley's. Mon got to watch the overtime win... still in her gear... she and her instructor left the ice for those last 7 minutes of the game.

Gabe's team made it through to states.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hockey, and lots of it...

Just watched Finland make a third-period comeback to take the Bronze.

Not happy that Mon's goalie session with James Jensen is tomorrow at 1pm. Geez... I would have LIKED to watch the Gold Medal game. Hmph!


Gabe's team is down south at the playdowns. There are some strange upsets... lower seeded teams stomping in higher seeded teams. Shrug

Unfortunately, we are one of those higher seeded teams.

Ryan started the first game and got pulled in the second when the score was 5-0. Gabe finished the game but they still lost 6-0.

Ryan started the second game and they lost 3-2, I think that final goal happened with only seconds left in the game. How painful.

Tomorrow morning will be the third game. Don't know if they'll have a fourth.

Mon, however, had a good game today... except that I doubt ANY goalie is happy about taking only four shots. Heh... but they were GOOD shots and she got a shutout, so that's fine. Her team has made two really nice showings in a row. 16-0 last week, 4-0 today.

Okay, Mon's watching Forest Gump and I'm going to go watch Fringe.

I made some silver metal clay pieces today. Monica calls them "sandwiches". I'll try to finish them up tomorrow, then bake them (hopefully before going to her goalie session).

Talk to you tomorrow!

Friday, February 26, 2010


VERY glad it's Friday.

Took Gabe to Dublin (for his ride to Valencia). Playdowns. I hope I get timely updates.

I'm texting him semi-final updates (Canada is up, 2-0).

Registered Mon for round two (Pacific Division?) of the girls selects tryouts. The price took me by surprise, but it is room and board. It's not really expensive when you think about it, I guess... I just wasn't ready for it. :-)

Next I'll make her flight arrangements.


I'm experimenting with some decopauge tonight.

I also want to plan a project that I can do in metal clay this weekend.

Here are the latest additions to the website (click on a pic for more photos):

And here are two from my Law of Attraction line:

Treat Yourself How You Want Others to Treat You

Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire in Glass Bottle on Sterling Silver Chain

Oh, I finally got into an Etsy team. Turns out I merely needed to apply to one who takes everyone. :-) They seem so super friendly and there's some awesome talent.

Well, I'm going to go back to the game now.

Just out of curiosity... if a wild animal (held in captivity) has already killed two people, why would you keep working with it? Perhaps I'm missing something, but that's how it seems from my angle. This is not commentary on working with wild animals. This is merely confusion over why you would allow animal trainers to work with something that has already killed two people. I certainly hope they don't end up killing the animal (for doing what I'm guessing comes naturally to it)... like they did with the Tiger at our zoo a few years back.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Home at midnight. Going to bed now.

Gabe's leaving for playdowns at Valencia tomorrow. And Mon and I are going for haircuts.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Sorry... no updates today... I'm exhausted.

Just got back from hockey (did SRAJD stuff for three hours there on Gabe's laptop).

Going to bed... still watching Fringe. I think I'm on episode 2 of season 2 now.

Okay, talk to you tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Jewelry

A few hours to kill before hockey.

Made tacos, did dishes, did laundry, uploaded files for a friend's website, and now I want to list.

I don't think I showed you these yet... they're new in my shop (click on either to see more pictures):

And I got some Lapis earrings up:

Did I show you these?

Still to list I've got two lampwork pendant necklaces and two Law of Attraction necklaces... stay tuned...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hockey, Jewelry, Rain, Olympics

Ooooh, almost missed a day.

Let's see... got up, had a shower, made some ball headpins ('cause Alex ALWAYS brings beads to trade and I don't currently have any jewelry that I think is her style), then drove to the secret clubhouse to meet up with Alex.

Had a fabulous lunch (but a little too much) with great company... then drove to the San Jose rink to watch our team take 62 shots on the Cougars who weren't able to get even one shot on our team.

Drove home and watched the rest of the USA/Canada hockey game. That was fun!

Took pictures and am listing now.

Listed this on eBay:

Oh and Gabe's team was filmed at practice tonight and should be on the news at 11:10.

And for the record, I'm opposed to guns in national parks or anywhere else.

Okay, TTYL!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just working on jewelry


Oops, sorry Alex… just snagged it from your eBay listing. I don’t know how to resize in here. The usual html codes don’t seem to take.

I’ll tell Mon what you said. :-) She was pretty tickled to hear that the Russian goalie is only 16 years old.

Hi Melanie! Chicago’s your kind of town? Next time I go, I’ll have to actually do some sight-seeing. I don’t think I had Geno’s, but I did have some kind of deep dish pizza. :-)


This week Alex and I spent a huge amount of time working on the SRAJD organization and website.

I’m going to do some additional marketing for the sponsor members. There’s some really cool jewelry in there and I’d love to introduce new customers to it.


Mom wanted to see what the new organizing supply cabinets look like. Here they are:

One sticks out further than the other because I have to accommodate the light switch (on the right) and the wall socket (on the left).

That’s my dapping set on top of the cabinets. And on the ground you can see my jewelry sizers, my kitty toys (for the fosters) and my fire extinquisher.

That black board behind the cabinet on the right is a foam poster board I picked up at a drug store for like two bucks… I use it as a backdrop for a lot of my photos.

I taped labels on each drawer so I can easily find what I’m looking for.

Here’s what my work area looked like last night after I didn’t feel like cleaning up. The dog gets the couch; I get the floor.


Last night, I made another quote pendant necklace. I really like these. My hope is that the people who buy them use them as daily reminders of the things they want to be reminded of.

It’s like when I did that survey of people who believe in the Law of Attraction… but don’t practice it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic details of everyday life and forget to take just a few minutes out of each day to work toward our own happiness.

This morning, I cut some more tubing and I have some new quotes all ready, so tonight I will make some more.

Here you can see some of the cut tubes.

You can also see how incredibly sensitive the material is… lots of chips and cracks… and those are then unusable tubes. The three on the top are okay; the three on the bottom are waste.

But I got to thinking of making smaller tubes and having them be charms on bracelets.

THAT led me to realizing I wanted some ball headpins, which led me to pulling out my fine silver and torch and making four ball headpins out of 20 gauge silver.

And that led me to realizing that while I had my torch and quenching cup out, I ought to grab the 14 gauge wire and make some ball headpins out of that so I can use a few of Alex’s lovely focal beads as pendants.

Ew… look at that thumbprint! I hope I remember to wipe the beads down before shooting.

I’m prepared for evening work now… meaning those things can wait until the late hours when I have less energy and do my work just sitting down (as opposed to getting up every five seconds).

Which means NOW I can do the work where I’m getting up every five seconds. :-)

I decide to try some metal clay. Problem is, I’m not prepared… mentally. I have no ideas. And pure silver isn’t something I can go into like I go into everything else… ‘cause it’s expensive if something doesn’t work and you have to abandon it. Ugh.

I want to make a section bracelet. I spend about an hour looking through stamps and objects I could use to make impressions… but nothing seems right. I listen to my intuition and move on to another idea.

Then I decide to try imbedding stones. Hey, I can still do a sectional bracelet… I’ll do it with imbedded stones, though, instead of impressions.

And of course I have no clue where the teeny tiny cz’s are that I bought from Hadar. After all, that was months ago. Sigh…

Okay, gonna try some real stones, I guess.

Now I have to decide if I want to work with bronze, copper, silver or a mix.

So I’m scrolling back through my blog entries, trying to find my kiln schedules (yes, it’s been THAT long). Totally got distracted looking at all the kitty photos. I love those!

Well, in the end I decided I didn’t feel like doing any metal clay. I want to be more prepared ahead of time (design idea, time, room, etc).

So I’m working on some necklace for the Alex bead pendants. Got one done so far. I’m a very slow worker. I like to savor my work with beads, not rush through it.

And… I may as well post this now. I’ll check back with you tomorrow for an update. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if I have photos and listings to show you by then too? :-)


Gonna go watch Mon play with the Tech team in Oakland (yay!) tonight. Then tomorrow afternoon with her Blackhawks team in San Jose.

Maybe I can even visit with a friend or two while I’m down there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

SRAJD Forum, and sharing some jewelry and beads

I want to start today off by showing you two things.

One, is a bead that was brought to my attention earlier this week. I’ve never been big on names for beads or jewelry… I mean, not at the expense of straining my brain to think of one. Know what I mean?

But sometimes words just flash into your mind when you see a piece. That’s what happened to me when I saw this bead. I got the phrase “high seas”. It was like looking at this bead I could instantly feel the cold water splashing over me with the salty foam at the tips of each wave.

Anyway, this is the bead… see if you agree with me.

(BTW, if you click on the picture, there are a couple more hours left for your bidding pleasure.)

Now, I have to tell you that I hadn’t read the beadmaker’s description until after I posted this. Heh… turns out she got the same impression from the bead as I did. See… I’m vindicated! :-)

Okay, here’s the second thing I wanted to show you…

My friend (now, let’s stop right there for a second… I’ve never met Jewlie… the one I just referred to as “my friend”… is it presumptuous of me to refer to a friendly virtual, acquaintance as “a friend” or is that acceptable and maybe even encouraged?)… anyway, today is Jewlie’s birthday and she’s having a special celebration sale on her Etsy store. The problem is her work is so dang cool that there probably won’t be much left by the time you read this. Eek!

Jam over to Jewlie Beads and have a look at her work… stuff like:


Alex and I have been working hard this week. It’s been a year since we started getting the website in proper order and began the ads on the site.

I hope to continue improving and expanding the website.

We’re rolling out new articles when time permits.

I’m going to be asking permission today of particular SRAJD members for us to use some of their photos on the site. I don’t like image-heavy websites, but I do think a little creativity here and there might be an improvement.


And since it still looks like there’s some interest, I’m going to see if we can resurrect the SRAJD FORUM. Come share your ideas, links, sales, etc.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back Home... it's like I never left

Y'know... what with hockey, hockey, and more hockey.

Actually, tonight I went after work to pick up bear. I think he had a great time at the baby sitter's. Not only did he have a cat to spend time with, he also had a little chihuahua.

How quiet it will be for him with just me here this weekend (the kids are at their dad's).


So I started watching this series. I think a major part of its success (and my interest) are the characters. One of the problems with watchng a bunch of episodes in a row rather than one a week is that it's much easier to see the similar pattern from episode to episode.

We'll see how it goes. I'm only on episode 17 and it's still very enjoyable.


I really have a hankering to do some art clay silver this weekend. Fingers crossed.

I want to email Hadar... stay in touch. I hope she'll still be doing local classes by the time the kids are out of school/hockey so I can start going there again.


Did I already mention that this trip to Chicago reaffirmed how much I don't like flying?

Have you been watching the Olympics? Mon and I were surprised to learn that the Russian goalie on the women's ice hockey team is only 16.

Okay, I can tell I'm tired now... I'm rambling.

G'night... hopefully talk to you more in depth soon. I'm considering a book... a collection of three subjects.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicago, Day 5?

Sorry I missed day 4... I let the kids have the laptop yesterday.

So day five was Chicago AND California as we're home now.

I think I'm a little sleep-deprived... I'll catch up this weekend, though.

And hopefully get s'more listings up.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicago, Day 3

Got very little sleep last night, but I'm not doing anything too active with my days so it doesn't really matter... I'm not even driving. Weird, huh? (Considering how much driving I do back at home.)

Today is Mon's birthday and I got to give her good news when she woke up (thank goodness in light of later events). We'd received an email from CAHA... Mon was one of three goalies selected from the district girls' select camp tryouts to move on to the next round (in Seattle in May). There are some alternates names, but I don't know if they only fill in if one of the three can't make it to the next round or if they just decide on those later (this is our first year trying out).

Anyway, the team played game two here in Chicago today and got squashed pretty well... but at least it was to the second place team in the nation.

They play again tonight. I don't think it'll be as brutal but it may still be a pretty tough game.

The coaches were really nice to the team and to us parents.

Gabe's team has had a tie a win and a loss so far in El Segundo.

Oh, btw, I tried to send that snow picture to myself and upload it here, but it won't go yet. I'll keep trying.

It really is amazing to think of all the technology I *am* able to use, though, to stay in touch, to talk with people immediately without TALKING to them, to find the right roads to drive on in a town you've never been in before... without a map. Very cool stuff.

Well, we're going to leave for game #3 soon so I'll sign off now.

Thanks for all the birthday shes for Monica!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chicago, Day 2

We won our first game, 4-2 against the Atlanta Thrashers from Duluth, GA. Tomorrow, our first game is against the Huskys (I believe they are the local team). Mon will be 15 when she next hits the ice... she'll turn 15 an hour and a half before the first of their two games.

Found myself watching a few minutes of hockey on tv, wondering what I was watching. They looked a bit small and a bit slow.... Bantams? Was I watching Bantams playing ice hockey... on an Olympic rink? Or... were they PeeWees? Oh wow... there are girls on one of the teams. Oh... they're ALL girls! OMG, this is a women's olympic hockey game. Wow! I'm not used to seeing women's hockey on tv... it was very different from what I usually watch (NHL), but it was interesting.

How lucky all these women are that they get to continue playing hockey beyond the youth level.

Anyway, after deep dish Chicago pizza, it was up to the top of the Sears Tower... 103 floors up.

Mon took some pictures with her phone (forgive the quality) so I thought I'd share...

That middle picture is Monica's feet as she stood on the all-glass pop-out. Eek!

Wow... they have hockey in car commercials here. Ha! I love it. A place where hockey isn't the outcast sport. :-)

I have a photo I took from the hotel window but I didn't upload it yet... I'll do that tomorrow.

Gabe's on the ice right now. Tomorrow morning I'll post the results of that game.

Okay, I guess that's it for now. TTYL!


Snow. Wow.

So here we are in Chicago, Monica and I.

She's still sleeping... I would be too had I not set an alarm. I don't like to rush in the mornings, so I gave myself plenty of time.

I'll try to take some photos later today (but only with my phone, sorry for the poor quality) and upload them so you can see some of the things we're seeing.

The first game's at 12:30... not sure what time we're leaving for the rink... and want to make sure we still have a ride there... didn't rent a car.

The "suite" we're in is big. The bed is very white and very crunchy. They don't use fabric softeners on the sheets. :-)

Oh... my laptop still says California time! My cell phone updated automatically... but unfortunately it also changed everything in my synced Google calendar up two hours. Ugh! "Hey Mon, your first game isn't until 2:3O. That's weird... I thought it was at 12:30." Thank goodness I realized what the phone had done. I had to go through the whole weekend and change everything back two hours.

Well, it's morning and I see no reason not to post this now and then write again later tonight and post then too.

The team itinerary seems to have us pretty busy. Here's what we're supposed to do today: Game at 12:30 then White Castle hamburgers, then taking a train to downtown Chicago (I think we're in the suburbs at the moment) for Chicago pizza then a tour of the skydeck of the Sears Tower.

And check it out... I'm using a laptop... actually ON my lap! For the first time ever. :-) Typing on the couch. Nice.

Okay, have a good day. I'll catch up with you later.

And for those who know I hate flying... it was tolerable. Thanks.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


I won't be home until midnight tonight.

Talk soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just saying hi

Sorry sorry sorry! It's been a few days of "straight from the office to hockey and home before midnight... then doing it again the next day".

As soon as I have a few spare minutes (which SHOULD be Thursday), I'll catch you up on stuff, etc.

My current thoughts are with my three best Bay Area friends who are currently going through some rough times. Hang in there, guys!


Monday, February 8, 2010

New Jewelry Listings, Featured Artist Vena, Passing Up An Opportunity for Less Time

(Sunday: Gabe’s using the internet at the moment and I’m not in the mood to try hooking up our router so we can both be online at the same time. Which explains why some of this blog entry was written yesterday.)

My body aches and is very tired. I spent the entire day doing some deep cleaning on the apartment. I wanted to take advantage of a rare day with no kids and no hockey. The place looks good now… but I’m beat.

Gabe ended up here even though he’s supposed to be at his dad’s tonight, but it’s okay… he even helped me with some of the cleaning.

He got home in time to watch the last half of the Superbowl game. I even think the team that he wanted to win was the one that won. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been interested in watching a football game, though.

New Jewelry Listings

I got three necklaces listed. I have two bracelets and a pair of earrings to go but they'll go up tonight or tomorrow.

Anyway, here are the necklaces… Lampwork by Alex Spinglaschell and Candice Mathewson.

Just click on one of the photos to see more info.

Featured Artist

I have a fabulous artist to introduce you to. Not only is her work beautiful in its own right, but check out the INSIDE of her pieces. This is the epitome of my motto: The Difference Is in the Details.

BTW, take advantage or her low prices… my guess is they will go way, way up as soon as her fantastic talent is recognized.

Her name is Vena and her Etsy store is VenaYvonne. Here are a few of her pieces.

Look at the inside!

Don't Do It!

Now, here's an example of the more "stream-lined", "minimalist", "non-cluttered" Laura. I saw a CraigsList posting today where someone was giving away two years worth of Photoshop magazine. And I'm thinking, "Wow, think of all the things you could learn about Photoshop that you're not making use of at the moment."

But… then sensibility hit me. A) I don't have room in the apartment for more things. B) I won't take time away from everything else I do in my life in order to READ these magazines. C) I must push from me the notion that I have to be perfect at everything and just learn something when I have a particular need for it.

That's one of the problems with the internet (that last one, there). It gives us the opportunity to know/learn about so many things, but that can get quite overwhelming quite fast.

I am one who spreads herself too thin. It's tempting… to have a finger in 8,000,000 pots. But it's not productive.

As a matter of fact, this past week I've been pretty scarce on a lot of the online venues where I hang, chat, and read.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Update

Hey all! Sorry about no real news today.

Mike, going to Chicago for a tournament (Monica).

Chris, that's good to hear (about the dapping set)!

The kids' teams had a total of three games today and they won all three.

Sharks won too. :-)

I spent the last five hours photographing and photo-editing. Pretty tired now so going to bed. Hope to have time tomorrow to list some of the new things.


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Friday, February 5, 2010

Coring a Bead, Ninja Cat, MRI's Show Signs of Awareness in Vegetative Patients, Fringe or Lost

Coring a Bead

There is a very generous and totally awesome video online showing how to core a bead with metal tubing.

Click here for video tutorial.

Now, speaking of dapping blocks and punches… if you can't yet afford a very high quality set but still want to get started with something, I'd like to pass along what I feel is a really good deal.

25 Piece Doming Block and Punch Set

I would try it myself, but I have to order some silver tubing first. And I think I'll wait for that until I get back from Chicago.

Ninja Cat

I know I've shown you this before, but I love it. :-)

Ninja cat comes closer while not moving!

Vegetative Patients Show Brain Activity, Awareness

Interesting new story in the news this week.

It all started in 2006, when researchers were studying a young woman considered to be in a vegetative state. Using MRI to scan her brain, they asked her to imagine herself playing tennis and touring her own home, and found that her brain behaved in much the way a normally functioning brain does.

The neuroscientists were shocked into action as news of what may have only been an anomaly prompted families to ask that the researchers study their own loved ones, too.

One of the neuroscientists, Adrian Owen at the University of Cambridge, alongside colleagues at the University of Liege in Belgium, have just published the results of their initial research on 54 patients--23 thought to be in vegetative states and 31 to be minimally conscious--in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

While the majority of the patients exhibited no brain activity via MRI scans, four considered to be in vegetative states did and one thought to be minimally conscious did. Three of these five patients actually showed signs of awareness during intensive standard bedside tests, while two did not.

Moreover one of the patients, a 29-year-old in Belgium asked to answer questions indicating "yes" by thinking about tennis and "no" by mentally touring his own home, answered every single question about his life--from his father's name to whether he had siblings--correctly.

"He could produce no communication with his body, but he could systematically and repeatedly change his brain activity to indicate 'yes' or 'no' with 100 percent accuracy," Owen says. "These are patients who are totally unable to perform functions with their bodies--even blink an eye or move an eyebrow--but yet are entirely conscious. It's quite distressing, really, to realize this."…


Anyone watch this? I've been looking for a new show to add to my MP3 player for those times when I'm away from home and killing time.

A couple years ago I was watching the LOST series this way, but I started getting rather "lost" somewhere around season 5. Then I thought, maybe I could just read the episode recaps and get caught up and have things make sense… but they didn't. Or not enough to interest me, anyway. Sigh.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jewelry Pricing Calculator Version 3, More Discussion about Pricing, Etsy Tagging and Categories, Webpage Copying, Paper Art

I’m pretty happy today. Well, okay, I’m pretty happy MOST days… but I’m particularly happy today because I finalized the third version of my jewelry pricing calculator.

Now… not only did I redo certain aspects of it, I’m going to try REALLY hard to actually stick to it myself. I went through my current items recently and had to raise some prices as well as lower some prices.

I can’t go into pricing with the idea of: “How much would I pay for that piece if I wanted it?” Maybe I can’t afford every piece I want. There’s no shame in that. But there is much shame in me selling my jewelry for the mere cost of the materials used in it.

I love Lampwork. I buy some really decent Lampwork from some amazing artists. I have to come to terms with the fact that that will significantly raise the price of an item I make with that Lampwork.

Not everyone can (or wants to) buy a necklace for $200… but if the lampwork beads cost me $100 and I take those beads, add gemstones and silver to them, spend time creating a design and then use my years of experience to craft a quality necklace… why on earth would I charge $100 for it?! That’s not even including the time to photograph and list as well as listing and selling fees. Eek!

We (jewelry makers) need to value our work more. We need more confidence. We need to not even THINK about competing with lower quality and/or mass produced jewelry because WE ARE NOT.

If you make it, they will come.

They, being the people who want quality. Who appreciate what you do. Who will realize your quality and continue to visit your shop year after year.

Oh, speaking of customers… Oh heavens, I have the absolute best customers on earth! On more than one occasion, I’ve been brought to tears (or at least VERY moist eyes) because of a nice email. I truly, truly appreciate each and every customer and their wonderful personalities.

Alright… enough schmaltz for one night.

I’m watching the Sharks right now… they’re up 2-1.

I made a couple pair of earrings last night and a necklace. I’ll probably do s’more beadwork (meaning not involved art clay or enameling, etc) tonight… then I can photo tomorrow or Saturday.

Oh, back to jewelry pricing for a second… the other day I ran across something that stunned me. And this is PRECISELY NOT how I intend for us to price our work decently.

It was a listing for a base-metal charm on a base-metal chain. This is the same charm that I purchased during a BABE class… it was like $1 or something. We colored the charm with various methods. The one in the listing was nekkid… just the exact charm as you buy it from the bead shop.

So anyway… I am not into taking a $1 something and putting it on a maybe $2 something… total work involved is maybe 30 seconds… and then selling this piece for $30.

Yeah, it’s an easy way to make money but is there any satisfaction in it?

Which makes me understand that I am not doing this for money (although I’m not doing it for free either). But I am doing it (making jewelry) for some kind of creative outlet reason. Make any sense?

So this isn’t really a big rant… more of an observation of what I do and do not want to do within my business.

But I guess that’s what building a business is. Trying things… and learning what works for you as an artist and as a business person.


Click here to see. I don’t (usually) hotlink photos of jewelry for sale without permission.

ETSY… really?

Wanna see something funny?

Guidelines & Tips: Tagging on Etsy

Don't pick any words that are related, but not what it is. Don't tag a tote bag with "clutch", even though you can clutch it in your hand. Don't tag anything but a dress with dress. Eg. Don't tag cookies with "tea" or "coffee", even though you can eat them with these drinks.

Don't tag with potential uses for the item. Don't use "stocking stuffer" or "gift" as tags. Do not tag a messenger bag with "backpack", even though you can wear it on your back. Don't tag a blank book with "poetry".

Yeah… well, maybe I’d care more if I had ANY indication that Etsy does jack when an item is reported for improper tagging.

Now, tags aside, what’s up with categories? Go to BUY, CATEGORIES, JEWELRY, EARRINGS, METALWORK… and then tell me what you see? ‘Cause what I see is 21 listings as such:
1-Earrings, beads
2-Earrings, resin
3-Earrings, beads
4-Earrings, metalwork
7-Earrings, metalwork
8-Earrings, metalwork
9- Earrings, metalwork
10-Earrings, mass produced charms
12-Earrings, beads
13-Earrings, beads
14-Earrings, resin
15-Earrings, metalwork
16- Earrings, metalwork
17- Earrings, metalwork
18- Earrings, metalwork
19-Earrings, stones
20- Earrings, metalwork
21- Earrings, metalwork

So 10 out of 21 listings in the metalwork earrings category were indeed metalwork earrings. I’ve seen worse, but if YOU were a selling site would YOU be happy/satisfied knowing less than half your items are categorized incorrectly?

Oh and I’ve applied to over half a dozen Etsy street teams and I have gotten not ONE SINGLE response (last one I contacted was over two weeks ago). So these street teams I applied to are either dead or extremely rude. I don’t mind being rejected, but at least do me the courtesy of acknowledging my initial inquiry/contact to you.

However, Etsy is still much more beautiful and more maneuverable than ArtFire. It’s also less expensive than RubyLane.

I just hate to see the sloppiness that we’ve come to expect with eBay. Etsy was supposed to be so much more.

Paper Art

Have you seen these? Very cool.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pricing Your Jewelry, Thoughts on Artisan Jewelry, New Jewelry

The Never-Ending Pricing Discussion

So… I've decided to try to practice what I preach (as far as pricing goes).

I'm a big advocate of artisans (don't get wiggie about semantics… I use "artisans" as a catch-all term to represent any of us who create things with our hands) getting a fair price for their wares.

I have often treated myself as a "hobbyist". Not that there's anything wrong with hobbyists (other than the fact they may be inadvertently undercutting the market, but that's not something I have a discussion about right now anyway).

BUT… we (btw, when I say "we" I am referring to Monica and me) don't make jewelry as a hobby… 100% for our own pleasure.

Although we THOROUGHLY enjoy making jewelry, we do need to make a profit from it.

So, back to the formulas with the materials costs and the overhead and the labor costs, etc.

Yeah, what I mean is I have to head back to my own pricing calculator. Ha ha ha!

I'm going to put prices fair to us (not outrageously in our favor by any means… merely fair to us as in we can cover our business expenses and make a small profit).

But there's something else… (this is also a change in version 3 of the pricing calculator… which I'm sending out free to all previous owners of it).

We have some of our work in a boutique and at an online consignment venue. When one sells at these types of places (also galleries), one must make sure NOT to undercut those selling venues.

If I sold a necklace to a gallery for at a wholesale price of $100 and they list it for $200 (standard formula), I can't sell that same design in my store for $150. It would piss off the gallery to know I'm undercutting them… and it would piss off any customer who bought from the gallery and then sees the same thing cheaper somewhere else.

So, as a business person, it is my responsibility to not undercut my own products (if I want to keep selling in galleries and boutiques, that is).

At first, I had a smidge of a problem thinking about the fact that if I sell to a gallery or boutique, I sell it for my wholesale price… but if I'm NOT selling to a gallery or boutique… if I'm keeping a piece to try to sell by myself, I want something closer to my retail price. That just seemed like too much discrepancy in price. It seemed odd in light of the fact that retail is pretty much twice the wholesale price.

But then I realized all the things I have to do if I retail my own pieces, versus what I don't have to do if I wholesale a piece.

Basically wholesale is the bottom price you would or could sell a piece for. It's like materials cost plus labor plus overhead plus profit (I use a pretty small profit calculation). BUT… if that's all you did… make the piece… then it makes sense that you could sell it for wholesale and continue to make profit.

However, if after you make the piece, you spend time photographing it, writing up a description, listing it online, taking it to shows, etc… all that stuff costs money (don't forget that time is also money). Sometimes a LOT of money.

So yeah, you'd better be getting the full retail price if you're doing all that.

If, however, you are basically having someone else sell the piece for you, then it's kind of like you're paying them for their time, their shop space, their marketing, etc.

Okay, that's all I had to say on that subject for the moment. Just… get serious about not underselling yourself.

About Creating

One of the other things I was musing about this past weekend had to do with the process of creating art (shall I say "art' or shall I say "things?).

I don't like being an extremist, but I think on this one I'm leaning pretty far in one direction. I can't say yet WHY… but I can say I'm following my intuition.

When you buy something (okay, fine… I'm going to use the word "art"… we are not open to discussion about the semantic use of that word in this blog), you may first be attracted to it based on your immediate reaction to its design. After that, I've noticed that I have another sense (intuition or snobbery, you be the judge) that tells me how I "feel" about the piece.

I see a lot of costume jewelry in department stores that looks really cool (design-wise, color-wise, etc) at first (and distant) glance. But upon closer inspection the pieces look like carp. Poorly made (aka will fall apart before too long), imitation-looking, glass rather than crystal, plastic rather than gems… stuff like that.

It just doesn't make me happy. I want to wear jewelry that makes me happy. So aside from quality materials, I want quality craftsmanship. And taking it even one step further, I want as much of the piece to have been made by hands… real hands… hands touching the beads, metals, etc.

I don't know if there's a vibrational difference or if it's all in my head, but I will always opt for a handmade anything over a perfectly formed machine-made something.

Just to know that someone took the time to file the edges, buff the metals, shape the beads, etc.... that's something that really appeals to me.

I also try to choose my own jewelry tools wisely. I've see quite a few ads recently for machines that do things as shortcuts to the jewelry-making process. Now, I'm not saying I want to use sharpened stones to do all my work, but I also don't want a machine that will form a clasp for me.

Know what I mean?

So… since I want to BUY jewelry and beads from people who had a lot of personal, physical input into what they made… it stands to reason that that's the kind of jewelry I'd want to be MAKING too.

I've always had great fortune with my customer base and I think I will continue to attract the kinds of people who, like me, want jewelry made by hands. Happy hands. :-)

Opal… MMMmmm…

BTW, I'm distracted by a ring I'm wearing today. It's one I'm borrowing from my mom… it's five bands of gold with small 2-3mm gemstones on each band. The center stone is an Opal and there's a sliver of sun shining right on it and wow… it's just so amazing, sparkly and colorful. VERY different from all the fake Opal I see on a monthly basis.

New Jewelry

We listed a few things recently…

Sunrise Colors One of a Kind Enamel Sections Copper Bracelet Upcycled

Purple Swarovski Crystals and Cultured Pearls in Loaded Sterling Silver Charm Bracelet

Understated Sterling Silver Bangle Wire-Wrapped with Tiny Lapis, Agate, and Carnelian Beads

That's it for now. Hope to have some new items to show you after the weekend.

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