Monday, September 28, 2009

***CLOSED*** Meandering Monday -- Kicking off the New Blog Schedule with an Awesome Giveaway

***This drawing closed at 10pm EST on 10/1/09. Thank you for your interest. Please check the main blog for information and updates on future giveaways.*** 

Good Monday Morning,
This post officially starts my latest round of improvements to my blog. In order to post more consistently, I have developed a recurrent schedule that I will use each week. The schedule is as follows:

Meandering Mondays: I chose to call this feature Meandering Mondays because the topics covered will vary from post to post and week to week. These posts will include general info about what is going on here at the studio, things that are coming to the shop, general editorials, occasional tutorials, and blog giveaways.

Wordless Wednesdays: Each Wednesday I will post a photograph or piece of artwork either from my personal collection or from someone's etsy shop with a link and reference made to the shop I chose the photo from, a cartoon strip, etc.

Featured Artist Fridays: On Friday of each week I will spotlight a different etsy shop with a full length meet the artist article.

I hope you all will enjoy the new changes and will be sure to visit all the great artists that you will be meeting.

So to get the ball rolling we are going to start things off with a great giveaway.

Please meet Sarah the wonderful artist/proprietor of Minnie Millery at
Sarah is from Austin, Tx and enjoys making and sharing her hand made needle felted animals. Although the primary focus of her shop is her needle felted items, she also offers a variety of handmade items such as gift bags, original art/prints, and pillows.

This weeks winner gets to choose one (1) of the following:

Set of "Nesting Bags": Adorable set of three handmade 100% cotton fabric bags in three different sizes. The bags are sized such that they can fit one inside of the other. Each bag is hand stamped with a beautiful birds nest motif and has a ribbon drawstring closure. Great idea for gift bags or for storing small valuables.

Set of "Pumpkin" bags: Perfect for the upcoming Halloween holidays this adorable set of five (5) hand made 100% cotton bags measure 3"W x 5"H and have a bright orange ribbon drawstring closure. Each bag is hand stamped with a great pumpkin design. These small bags would be great for use as goody bags for your upcoming Halloween parties.

Set of "Tree" bags: These pretty little bags are made of 100% cotten muslin fabric and have a ribbon drawstring closure. The set comes with four (4) bags each hand stamped with a different Tree design. The bags measure 4"W x 7"H. These would add that extra special touch to your handmade gift giving this year if used as gift bags.

How it Works
The giveaway rules are really simple.
All you have to do to enter is visit Sarah's shop and choose your favorite item from her currently listed selections. Then return here to this post and leave me a comment telling me which item you like best and a link to the item. 
It's that simple. Also make sure you leave me some means of contacting you (email address or link to your etsy shop) in case you are the lucky winner

Earn extra entries:
You can earn extra entries by doing the following:
* 1  extra entry: promoting this giveaway on your blog then leave me a comment with a link to the blog post.

* 1 extra entry: tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment with a link to the tweet **please do this only once per entrant. I don't want anyone to spam others with this giveaway**

* 1 extra entry: post about this give away on facebook then leave me a comment with a link to the post.  **please do this only once per entrant. I don't want anyone to spam others with this giveaway**

* 1 extra entry: Leave a comment with your contact info and follow my blog

**That's a total of 5 possible entries per person.**

The giveaway will run from today Monday September 28th until 10 pm (EST) Thurs October 1st. I will announce the winner on Friday Oct. 2nd.
The winner will be chosen by me using
I will contact the winner using the contact information that they provide and get their mailing address and ship to information. I will forward this information to directly to Sarah and she will send you your wonderful prize.

Thank you to Sarah for her wonderful donation. Thanks to all of you for your participation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thank you

I am so excited by the wonderful response I have gotten from all of my fellow etsians. You all are just wonderful. So far everyone that I have contacted has been willing to participate in my weekly artist feature. I have lined up some great shops for you all to look at and wonderful artisans for you all to meet. I have sent out several questionnaires and will be beginning the features as soon as I get some of them back. I will be sure to post here and let you all know ahead of time when the features will officially begin.

I have also decided to host some blog giveaways and have had a great response to that as well. So make sure you check back often to get the latest information on the giveaways and to enter to win some really nice free stuff. As of right now the giveaways will be included in the Meandering Mondays posts. I am not sure about the frequency yet it all just depends on how many more shops show interest. I hope that the interest in this feature will really take off and I will have enough contributors to do at least one a month. Ideally I would like to do two per month but that may just be a dream.  If you are a shop owner and would like to participate in the giveaway by donating an item please contact me and I will forward you all of the information. I am not asking that you send anything to me for the giveaway, rather I will notify you of the winner and it will be your responsibility to mail the item to the recipient. I think that the way I am planning to conduct the giveaways will be a great promotional opportunity for your shop. So please consider it and let me know if you are interested. The best way to contact me is via etsy convo.

Guess that is all for now. Catch ya later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Type A Personality Hard at Work

Yes I admit it. I am guilty as charged. I have been  a type A personality all my life. I need to be in control and have a plan at all times. I am the textbook over achiever, perfectionist, by the book type of person. I have always worried about everything and if by chance I had nothing to worry about then I worried that I was forgetting something. I have never been comfortable just getting by or flying by the seat of my pants. At least not until about 4 years ago when I first developed an onslaught of health issues following gallbladder surgery. Since then I have had to learn to adjust quite a bit. I can no longer plan everything down to the minute because I don't know how I will feel physically from one hour to the next.

That being said, I must admit old habits are very hard to break. I still need to feel in control. I have learned that making lists helps me quite a bit because if nothing else it gives me a sense of control over my time etc. Lists also seem to help stay on track better now because it I have written it down and I get exhausted or I have an exceptionally bad bout of pain and need to lie down then I can always come back to my list later and pick up where I left off. So I have decided to make a "list" for my blog to help me keep organized and hopefully post more regularly. Knowing what I am going to write about (sort of) ahead of time should allow me to make several posts when I feel well and save them as drafts. That way if I am having a bad day one day I should be able to still post with minimal effort by just publishing a previously written draft. I know, I know, I'm a genius (just kidding).

So here is the plan/schedule:
Meandering Mondays: Mondays will be a free day to pretty much talk about anything that I want to. I will probably post things such as tutorials, editorials like my post on Why Buy Handmade, things that are going on with my personal etsy shop and whatever else I feel needs to be said. LOL. See the definition and synonyms for meander below.

Main Entry:
Part of Speech:
wander, zigzag


be all over the map, change, drift, extravagate, gallivant, get sidetracked, peregrinate, ramble, range, recoil, roam, rove, snake, stray, stroll, traipse, turn, twine, twist, vagabond, wind

Wordless Wednesdays: Wednesdays will be a photograph post. Just something pretty, interesting, scary, humorous, who knows the sky is the limit right?

Feature Fridays: Every Friday I will be featuring a fellow Etsy artist and their items.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My goals for this blog

I have been thinking lately on how I can improve my blog and perhaps gain a greater fan base. I really want to give something back to the etsy community as well. As you all know I want to do some tutorials and have actually gotten one posted so far. The problem here is that I am afraid that tutorials would not be a sustainable topic, meaning I don't know if I could come up with enough of them to make it a weekly feature. So I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with ideas and I would really love your input and help. So far I have thought of maybe this type of schedule:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Buy Handmade? It's Way Too Expensive!

I have seen many forum posts on etsy with questions about PRICES. Yep, Oh yes I did! I said the P word. LOL. Now before you grimace and immediately jump to another page just hear me out. If you visit the etsy forums at all you have seen these same posts. You know the ones I am talking about. The ever popular ones asking how to determine prices for your items and then the ones that discuss comments like " I can get that same thing at xxx for half that price" or the terribly uncomfortable debates between shop x who is upset because shop y is "underselling real artists who are trying to run a business" (someone elses' words not mine). Well, for some reason this topic has been stuck in my head lately. I'm not sure why, maybe its the low views or non-existent sales but something about them has been kinda bothering me. So I decided to blog about it.

Now, don't change the channel just yet. This isn't going to be a big poor me pity rant or anything like it. Rather, I decided to do a little compare and contrast, completely unscientific, research. I am not even going to address the how do I price my items question because I can't tell you how to do that. You have to figure that out for yourself. And I won't go near the shop x and shop y debate with a ten foot pole. Nope, no way. What I do want to talk to you about is the " I can get the same thing at xxx for half the price" kind of comments.

As a handmade artist (I use that term very loosely in my case), comments like these really hurt my feelings. First of all, they are completely false. You may be able to find a similar item but I guarantee you it is not the same thing. The items that you see at xxx are made by a large company with many employees who are often working in substandard conditions. Also, they are often made in a cookie cutter way meaning every one is exactly alike without any personalization or unique character. Whereas with my items and with many of the artists items on etsy each item is made with a great deal of thought and design time invested. Each one is unique in some way simply because the human body cannot reproduce the same exact item over and over again, it just isn't possible. I can make 100 bead links and will never make a single one that is exactly like another no matter how hard I try IF I am truly doing everything by hand.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Items For the Shop

Good Morning,
It seems as though it has been forever since I last posted anything. Things have been really busy around here with all the family stuff going on. My grandmother is still in the hospital unfortunately. She is doing a little bit better though and I am thankful for that. We also got really great news concerning my dad's tests. Thank God it seems that the cancer is only on his vocal cords, both his chest x-ray and his neck CT were clear. I am very happy about that as well. We should hear something this week about what to do next. So anyway, in between running to the hospital and doctors appointments with my family, I have been trying to work on getting some new items made.

I finally finished a piece using the etching that I made in my tutorial on electrolytic etching (see the August 31, 2009 post). If you remember the final etched copper piece looked like this:

Well I decided to try etching other materials using this method so I tried a piece of nickel silver. I used the exact same technique as described in my blog tutorial EXCEPT I replaced the copper covered bolts that are attached to the negative terminal of the battery charger with a piece of scrap nickel silver sheet. I was very happy with the results.

My first piece, the copper etching, turned out a little too thin to work with by itself. I assume this is because the copper sheet I was working with was a 22 gauge so I would suggest to anyone who wants to try this technique that you start with at least a 20 gauge sheet or thicker of the metal that you want to etch. The nickel silver sheet was 20 gauge and remained quite sturdy after etching. So I decided to combine the two to make a single piece that would stand up to daily wear. Here is what I ended up with:

I hope to have this piece listed soon in my etsy shop. I have a few other new pieces completed as well. I will post pics as soon as I can get them. Well that's all for now. Hope you all have a great day. Catch ya later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thank You

Just wanted to make a quick post to thank all of you for your kind words or encouragement and for your well wishes and prayers. Sorry it has been so long since I last posted. Things are still a bit crazy around here. We are still waiting to hear the results of my dad's scans so everyone is still on edge there, and unfortunately we ended up taking my grandmother back to the hospital. They admitted her again so I have been going to and from the hospital all week. If all went well through the night last night she is supposed to get to come home today. I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone this am yet.

Anyway, I really appreciate your support and your willingness to stick with the blog during this slow period. I still have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head about where I want to go with this blog and I think it will be pretty good when I have a chance to really work at it. Please bear with me. Things will get better soon. In the meantime, please take a moment to check out all the awesome shops that are featured as etsy minis in my sidebars. You will find some really great artisans there. Also, I am working on new items, when time allows, and hope to have some of them listed in the shop this weekend so stop by and see what's new. I plan to post the piece that I made using the etching that I made in the tutorial a few posts ago. I finally got it completed and I think it turned out great. Depending on how things work out today I may post it later this evening.

Hope everyone has a great day. Thank you again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Am So Distracted

Hi everyone,

If you have been keeping up with any of my posts you may know that last Thursday I had some bad news concerning health issues with my grandmother and my dad. Well, I am very happy to report that my grandmother got to come home after spending 3 days in the hospital. So far she is doing a little better. However, the news concerning my dad was not as good.

Unfortunately, we found out Thursday that he has cancer. They found a tumor on his vocal cords and another in his neck. We are going to Winston Salem this Friday to see an oncology surgeon. I am so worried about him that I can't concentrate on anything it seems. I have never had ADD but I can imagine this is what it must feel like.

I am desperately trying to get new items made and listed in my etsy shop but I can't seem to get anything done. I also had a few more tutorials in mind but those will have to wait for a bit as well. I would like to thank all of my new followers and apologize for this slow period. I would also like to ask that you all keep my dad in your thoughts and prayers. Send as many prayers, good vibes, well wishes etc. his way that you can. We welcome them all. Please bear with me for a little while, hopefully I will be able to start posting some interesting things again soon. Thanks again and God Bless.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Check out my sidebars

After looking at some of my posts I realized that I tend to be what some may call "long winded", however I prefer to think of it as being thorough. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that some of my posts are quite long especially the tutorials. I noticed while looking over my blog earlier today that after a certain point the sidebars were completely empty and I thought to myself "that just won't do". It is a shame to waste all of that space so I put the word out that I was willing to post some other etsians etsy minis in my sidebars and I got a great response. Now you all have some beautiful things to look at while reading through my posts. So please take a little time to check out some of these wonderful shops while you peruse through my blog. These are some really great ETSY artists. Thanks a bunch.

P.S. If you would be interested in having your mini on my blog just leave me a comment and I will get back to you.