Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Start a Custom Order, Thoughts on Charm Bracelets, Reading, Revisiting the Past, Featured Artist: Donna Millard

Had a design idea today… can’t wait for a chance to try it out. Part of the design will depend on some silver fusing possibilities so I’d better read up on it or figure out how I’ll experiment or whatever. I’m excited!

Been thinking a bit about charm bracelets lately. They’re a design that Monica likes to do, but honestly… I gotta find some way of twisting them. I’m not overly fond of the traditional bead-loaded bracelet lately. So I’m giving some thought to figuring something out that may be a wee bit outside of the design box. Fingers crossed!

Although I will say that (as far as eBay is concerned at least… fairly impossible to see what’s selling on Etsy, ArtFire or RubyLane) artisan charm bracelets seem to be out of favor at the moment.


How to Start a Custom Order

Start with something like:

1) If your time is very limited, make sure they tell you ahead of time if they’re in a rush or not… and are they willing to accept a very long (weeks to months) wait for this order.

2) The more details they can give you about what they want, the better:
• Size
• Design
• Beads
• Colors
• Metal
• Clasp style

3) If you don't have the exact beads already on-hand, is your customer willing to wait while you search for them? And, are they prepared to pay a higher price than your normal jewelry because you won't be able to purchase items at a bulk rate?

4) Give them an estimated quote of the price and ask for a quasi-refundable (see explanation in #6) deposit of 50% of the price prior to any work (to order the necessary components as well as a security should they change their mind after you make the piece).

5) If you make the piece to their specifications and they change their mind about anything (actually want smaller beads, larger size, sterling instead of gold, different clasp, etc), charge them for reworking the piece. $10-30 per hour for alterations.

6) When the piece is finished, they have the option of purchasing it. If they do not want it, hold their deposit until the piece sells to someone else.


What Have I Been Reading Lately

Hm… Well, I’m taking a bit of a break from the usual in order to explore the world of particle physics. I have no idea why, but that and astronomy fascinate me.


Revisiting the Past

Spent some time this week working on my gallery pages (don’t look yet, they’re not up). In doing so, I have to say it is SO much fun revisiting some of my past designs. This one, for example, which actually uses my own Lampwork beads (if you knew my pathetic history of lampworking, you’d understand my enthusiasm).



Of course, in going through old photos, I also see some of the absolute abominations I made (and worse… sold!). Sigh… oh well. There has to be growth. Hopefully, I will continue to improve as an artist (or creator, or whatever nomenclature you want).


Masaru Emoto

His experiments are interesting. Basically, he photographed magnified water droplets during experiments in which the water had various things done to it, like having a Buddhist priest bless it, attaching one-word notes to the water bottle, or merely being polluted water.


(photo from http://www.life-enthusiast.com/twilight/research_emoto.htm)

His experiments have received a lot of criticism from the scientific community, but it’s interesting to see that when Emoto (along with Dean Radin) conducted a double-blind test in 2006, the write-up was published in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

If you’re interested, the full text is available here.

According to their website: “EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing addresses the scientific principles behind, and applications of, evidence-based healing practices from a wide variety of sources, including conventional, alternative, and cross-cultural medicine. It is an interdisciplinary journal that explores the healing arts, consciousness, spirituality, eco-environmental issues, and basic science as all these fields relate to health.”

And the journal is published by the same company I submit medical article to. :-)


Featured Artist

Today’s featured artist is Donna Millard of FyreBeadz*. She just rocks… plain and simple… on so many levels.

I mean, look at this photo on her home page (today… don’t know if she changes it often)…



Gorgeous beads! Gorgeous photography!

It was her bracelet connectors that first made my head spin and take notice of her.



Explore her Gallery as well as her current offerings. If you’re like me, you won’t be able to resist a purchase.

Look at this perfectly name “Bohemian Rhapsody” set:



Donna, thank you so much for allowing me to show some of your fantastic work on my blog.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Jewelry Listings, Auctions Ending Soon, Vintage German Art Deco, Kevin Sanderson

New Jewelry Listings, Auctions Ending Soon, Vintage German Art Deco

Okay, let’s see… what else have I listed since I last posted (click a pic for details)?





Those vermeil beads are so incredibly well made. I love when I find good Bali beads. :-)

I feel like I still have a bajillion things listed at super massive sale prices…

$9.99 starting bids!










And I listed another vintage item. This is a very cool early 20th century Art Deco pin, most likely German.



And yes, I took the first photo of it five years ago and then changed my mind about wanting to part with it. Ha ha ha!


Here are the items ending tomorrow (still at amazingly low prices):






Comments on Comments

Thanks Naomi! How did things go with your Etsy banner? BTW, your comment made me realize I could try to show many more little bits on photo-editing techniques. I’m glad there’s an interest.

Hi Sharon! Let’s see… (doing this from memory as I’m not at home right now, but…) I think I have a Canon PowerShot SX20. Before that I used a Nikon CoolPix 995 (most of the photos in my gallery are with the Nikon, and that was only 3 megapixels). Although I like the gradient background, I may go back to a set-up I used when I started (raised glass). We’ll see.


Jewelry Maker Spam ???

Anyone else get that special email from Kevin Sanderson (Kevin@IntoStores.com)?

I have no first-hand experience with this company, but would like to share with you some info I found from others.

BTW, the email that came to me reads as such:

A few months ago I sent you an email about selling your jewelry through our stores. We work with thousands of buyers from apparel and accessory retailers, gift stores, boutiques, department stores, independent shops and large chains around the country. I still think your jewelry would be a great fit. If you're interested in selling your jewelry to more stores visit us at http://www.intostores.com/sellers.php

So… before you jump right in, it may behoove you to see what others are saying on the subject…

http://www.startupnation.com/IntoStores/topic/

http://www.startupnation.com/Anyone-heard-of-IntoStores-/topic/
(same site, different thread)

http://beadedbadgelanyards.blogspot.com/2009/10/caveat-venditor-redux-intostorescom.html

http://www.potters.org/subject111567.htm

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6292322&page=1

BTW, it’s my understanding that IntoStores.com is the same company as www.wiserep.com

This one is pretty funny (and thoroughly goes to show they’re not paying the slightest attention to who they’re targeting… merely looking for keywords and an email addie): http://oc.metblogs.com/2009/09/15/i%E2%80%99m-very-impressed-with-your-douche-bags/

They are currently listed with the BBB here: http://www.la.bbb.org/Business-Report/IntoStores-100088152 ... with an “A” rating. My guess is that every company starts out with an A-rating and then that gets lowered if/when they have enough complaints against them. (In business for five months under this name… and already four complaints filed against them.)

But you should know that they are their previous business name was WiseRep, with a BBB rating of “F”: http://www.la.bbb.org/Business-Report/Wiserep-100083294

Anyway… enough beating a dead horse… just wanted to give you a heads-up by introducing you to other people’s experience and opinions on the subject.



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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Color Names and Removing Pet Hair from Photos

I was trying to come up with an accurate description for an eBay listing today. One has to be judicious with eBay auction titles due to the character constraints. I was listing these earrings…



… and wasn’t sure how to describe the color. I googled “What color is this” and on my second try found a really awesome list of color names (in a Wiki file):

List of Colors

So I settled on “Apricot”. Truthfully, there were several I could have gone with, including “Straw”… but “Apricot” sounded pleasant. :-)

BTW, the feedback has been rolling in today… five so far… and I’ve got to say, sometimes my customers bring tears to my eyes. They’re just so freakin’ nice! (Oh, and I’m a mush ball.)

Etsy made some improvements, I see. The nicest I’ve noticed so far is the new photo-uploading method.

Here are a few of my latest listing (CLICK A PIC for more details).

I’ll just show the earrings in a group…





I had occasion to try to show someone how *I* remove pet hair from a photo shoot, so I may as well share that here too.

Photoshop or Elements…

Select the CLONING tool, then select your brush size.








I shot a few photos during the last foster session. It was four little 6-week olds.









Okay, busy weekend… TTYL!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Photographing Earrings

Laura’s eternal struggle with earring photography. Sigh…

It suddenly dawned on me last night why 90% of the jewelry I make is bracelets. They’re so easy to photograph. Photographing necklaces is really hard for me. And photographing earrings is near impossible.

I tried photo’ing with the earrings with the wires punched through a piece of background paper.



Then I tried photo’ing them laying on gradient background.



Then I tried with them placed on an earring display.



Then I tried with them on the table top riser, with the riser at an angle so the drape of the earrings could be seen.



Blah! To all of them. Hmph!

Today, I got the photocube out and strung some string across the inside. I hung the earrings, one on each string (for levels and so that they don’t slide into one another).





When I finish with that, I’ll do one more shot of each, very close up, on the riser. These earrings aren’t going to be very expensive… I don’t want to spend hours photographing them.

New listing…



All the silver in this one gives it a nice heft.

Okay, TTYL!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Massive Sale on Artisan Jewelry

Wow, apparently I fell off the face of the earth. Hm.

The kids are taking up a fair portion of my time… and that usually means I’m away from home. Hard to work on any big projects, designs, or techniques so for the interim I’m having fun using up my current collection of beads making more simple jewelry.

After I finish struggling with trying to photograph earrings, I actually have a slew of them to be listed. Was up until 11:30 last night trying to get some decent shots. Ugh!

I really shouldn’t have done that seeing as how we won’t be home until midnight tonight after Monica’s game in San Jose. I can’t believe the HIGH SCHOOL league schedules games that start at 9pm on a school night. WTH?

Anyway, I currently have a humongous sale going on in my eBay shop. I was feeling nostalgic for the old “bidding wars” days and I just went crazy slashing the opening bids on everything.

Take advantage… it’ll probably be awhile before I reach that level of craziness again.

Click here to see the sale!



The items that end in a few hours include (and we’re talkin’ some SERIOUSLY LOW prices)… if you see a piece you really want make sure you put your max bid on it… there are snipers out there!:








Well, I’m going to cut this short so I can get this posting up. Dentist appointment soon.

TTYL!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Market Research, New Jewelry Listings, Foster Kitties

SELLING… OR NOT…

So, I was doing some market research. I was really saddened by what I saw in eBay.

I decided to look up a couple of artists I know who do high quality work. They both had Etsy stores. They both had websites, too, but their websites directed people to their Etsy stores.

Anyway, the first artist had nothing listed in her shop. Her sold items totaled three, two of which were during a half-price sale. This artist does beautiful work of such a quality I would be hard-pressed to find anyone her equal when it comes to metal (anyone I know, that is... I’m sure there are others out there who do the same extremely fine work).

The other artist was one known on eBay as always commanding high prices for her distinct and lovely creations.

Her prices now, however, seem so low to me. Is she, like most of us, catering to a pathetic market?


NEW JEWELRY

Got a few new things up… (click on the photos for more product details).















And to really make me feel fab, I sent out an email to my customer list and copied and pasted the links from my website and AFTER sending the email I see they don’t work like that (as copied and pasted). GGgggrrr! Oh well, learned something new about URLs in my website, I guess.


NEW FOSTERS

Here are two early pix (within an hour of bringing them home) of the new fosters. They’re about 21 ounces at the moment… they’ll go back when they’re about 32 ounces. Bear is being his usual mother hen self. They have no fear of Bear whatsoever. He’s very gentle when he plays with them.





And that’s it for now… TTYL!

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