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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life's A Beach!!

I am in the process of moving, which is never fun! To help make it through I am dreaming often of kicking back and relaxing at a beautiful, peaceful beach by the ocean. It seems only fitting to highlight some beautiful handmade works that can help bring a little bit of the beach to you, wherever you may be! All are from shops on Artfire.






This beautiful Beach Watch is by MySRCreations. They have watches made with all sorts of miniatures in every theme imaginable!











This Beach-in-a-Bottle Charm is made by Treasures from Hawaii. I think the shop name says it all!












This fun Summer Plate is by Nikkidoodle. Even the back of the plate is decorated and signed by the artist.



















Can you imagine this Ivory Beach Shell Frame by beachgrasscottage showcasing your favorite vacation from your latest beach venture?













Last, by not least by a mile, is this gorgeous Beach Comber bracelet by Freshwater Designs. The bracelet features artisan made lampwork and sterling beach-themed charms!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And the Winner is....

After dealing with my internet being down last night, I am back and ready to announce the winner and answers of the Lampwork Treasure Hunt!

The winner is: Susan Wells of swellsthings.etsy.com ! Susan wins a pair of my handmade lampwork earrings!

Were you wondering what the answers were to the treasure hunt? They are revealed below, with a photo and link to the Etsy listing!

Treasure #1
1) Stephen King wrote about a dark one.
2) Only mail deer have these (use the singular!)
3) Free term: lampwork

Tower of Strength by juliechristie



















Treasure #2
1) If you have too much of something, you are up to your...
2) These are meant to decorate your ears
3) Free term: divas
Add Image
Eyeball Earrings by JanelDudleyBeads














Treasure #3
1) A type of dark chocolate cake
2) A muffin's sweeter cousin
3) Free term: divas

Chocolate Devil's Food Cupcake by HollysFollyGlass





















Treasure #4
1) These are a girl's best friend
2) This can be cloudy, sunny or dark
3) Free term: divas

Diamonds in the Sky by Glass Addictions


















Treasure #5
1) Adjective for someone who loves their country
2) Jewelry that hangs from a necklace
3) Free term: divas

Three Cheers for the Red, White & Blue by LAJewelryDesigns




















Treasure #6
1) He brings happiness on his wings
2) She opened a box of trouble
3) Free term: divas

Bluebird of Happiness by islandgirl




















Treasure #7

1) Man's best friend
2) Beware the curse of the monkey's...
3) Free term: divas

Zoe's Friends Paw Print Focal by infernoglassbeads




















Thanks again to everyone who played with us! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Treasures Found!

Thank you to everyone who took part in my first Lampwork Treasure Hunt! I will be selecting the winner from the correct entries later today. Check back tonight to see who won!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fire Divas Treasure Hunt!

Welcome to my first treasure hunt! If you love lampwork beads, this will be a blast for you!

Here's how it works. I have 7 treasures for you to find (only 1 is mine, so you will get to see a lot of other artists' beautiful work). For each treasure, I will give you 2 clues--the answer to each clue is a tag you should use on Etsy to search for the item. I will also give you a third term for you to use as the third search term. Even better, if you find all the treasures, you will win a pair of my handmade lampwork earrings (see photo below).

For example:

This is one of my wine stoppers. Here are the clues & freebie search term:

1) Follow the Yellow... (2 words)
2) Another name for vino
3) Free term: Divas

You would go to Etsy and, under Handmade, search for "Brick Road Wine Divas". The only listing you will find is the wine stopper. You have found a treasure!

What you need to write down when you think you have found a treasure is the shop's name, and the name of the bead listing. For the above example, you would record "infernoglassbeads, Brick Road". Once you have all 7, email all of your info to handmadechicblog@gmail.com.

I will take all of the correct entries and have someone choose one at random. The prize, a pair of my handmade lampwork earrings, is pictured at left. The prize is valued at $21.00 USD.

All email entries must be sent by midnight EST on Tuesday, June 23rd. Entries sent after this time will not be eligible for the prize drawing. Your odds of winning the prize will be based on the number of correct entries received.


Enough with the rules! Are you ready for your clues? Good luck!

Treasure #1
1) Stephen King wrote about a dark one.
2) Only mail deer have these (use the singular!)
3) Free term: lampwork

Treasure #2
1) If you have too much of something, you are up to your...
2) These are meant to decorate your ears
3) Free term: divas


Treasure #3
1) A type of dark chocolate cake
2) A muffin's sweeter cousin
3) Free term: divas


Treasure #4
1) These are a girl's best friend
2) This can be cloudy, sunny or dark
3) Free term: divas


Treasure #5

1) Adjective for someone who loves their country
2) Jewelry that hangs from a necklace
3) Free term: divas


Treasure #6

1) He brings happiness on his wings
2) She opened a box of trouble
3) Free term: divas


Treasure #7

1) Man's best friend
2) Beware the curse of the monkey's...
3) Free term: divas

Remember to email me your list of all 7 treasures, and which shops they come from by midnight EST on Tuesday!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Handmadenews.org Must Reads!

Handmadenews.org has already had thousands of visitors come and read their pages. It's not surprising that the site is growing so quickly, as there is a ton of great content on the site. It's getting harder and harder each time to choose only 5 articles for my must reads!


First off, my columns from the previous week deal with a variety of business topics. First, is the popular, Secret to More Sales (and the secret is something you already have!). Next, I look at doing business in the information age, especially communicating through e-mail, in Manners 2009. Finally, we have the first in a two-part series about financing your business in Bank On It.


Now on to the other must reads for the week!

1) Favorably Green Wedding Favors Just in time for summer weddings, this article gives suggestions for some environmentally friendly wedding favors guests will love.

2) 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall: Gift Trends for Men Even though this Sunday is father's day, you still want to show dad you love him all year 'round, right? This article highlights some very cool handmade gifts dad, or any man in your life will enjoy.

3) Top 10 Sign You May Be Selling Yourself Short A humorous look at a serious subject for crafters and artists trying to support themselves on their creativity. Jenn Joyner gives the 10 signs that you may be underpricing your work.

4) Know Your Shoppers An excellent article that looks at how to provide the best customer service possible to all types of customers. You'll discover that you have all sorts of customers with different needs.

5) Craft Techniques Department Okay, so this time I am sending you to the department's table of contents. The reason is, this department publishes a great craft tip each day to help you run and enjoy your business. You will have a blast, and get great ideas, from browsing their many "Craft Tip of the Day" gems.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Featured Artist: Red Panda Chainmaille

This week's featured artist is a talented chainmaille artist. Jessica of Red Panda Chainmaille offers a wide spectrum of chainmaille jewelry, from the fun and funky to the sleek and classic. If you appreciate the art of chainmaille like I do, you absolutely have to check out her shop!


What does it mean to you to "buy handmade"?
Buying handmade is about supporting independent retailers, who make a living or at least supplement their income with the things they make. It's supporting your fellow person instead of a big box retailer.

How long have you been active in your craft?
I've been making chainmaille since my junior year of high school, in 2004. I remember weaving rings in English class, and I haven't stopped since!

What inspires your work?
I know most people say something cliche like nature or architecture inspires them. When I think about this question, it's honestly my work that inspires my work. I've never been on a nature walk and suddenly been inspired to create something. I do like to consider myself a photographer as well, so I see the beauty in nature and I capture it that way. As for my chainmaille, almost all of my ideas come from when I'm working on one item, and my mind wanders to other things that are similar to what I'm working on, but substantially different. I've invented new weaves of chainmaille by trying to make a weave with ring sizes that I know won't work for it and coming up with something completely new. Or just trying to create a pattern from memory that I haven't made in years. I might weave a ring into a slightly different place than the pattern calls for, and make something new. I'm always experimenting with color combinations and weave combinations, so there's always something I'm making, inspiring more things for me to make. As self-absorbed as that sounds, it's the truth!


Where do you sell your creations?
I primarily sell my chainmaille on my website, www.redpandajewelry.com, Etsy (http://redpanda.etsy.com), and Artfire (http://redpanda.artfire.com). I have my full stock listed on these three sites. I have one to five items listed on tons of other handmade sites across the web, mostly just to try them out. I'm also very active with social networking sites. Links to my twitter, myspace, facebook, indie public, plurk, and flickr sites can be found on my main domain site.

Are there any special accolades you have earned in your field?
I'm honestly not that involved with the "artist" community locally, as most all of my work is sold online. I am so busy with just creating things and the whole process of photographing and listing, that I don't feel that I have enough time to enter contests or write for magazines or anything of that nature. As previously stated, I have invented a few weaves recognized by the Maille Artisans International League. I'm also a paralegal full time while I'm not mailling, work on my hoop dancing skills on a regular basis (see hooping.org for more info on hoopdance), take pictures of abandoned buildings and other interesting things, and have a wonderful boyfriend, so my hands stay pretty full.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fun Finds: 6.12.09 School's out the the Yart Sale!

Since I am a teacher, the end of the year is just as exciting for me as it is for the students! I decided to celebrate with this Friday's Fun Finds. As an added bonus, all of these items are part of the Etsy Yart Sale, so they are on sale, offer free shipping, or both! Enjoy!










Teacher's Pet by The Grace Within















Graduation 2009 by the Paper Fairy















School Day by Jennifer Dennis Potter














ABC's Learning Alphabet by Cillia Home & Hearth






















High School Musical XL Handfolded Envelopes by Good Earth Paperie

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Etsy Yart Sale!!




Etsy is having an "unofficial" Yart Sale, June 10-14. I will be participating, with 20% off all items in my Etsy shop. Please check out my shop for details.

The Yart Sale is an "Art Yard Sale" that was first pulled together by an Etsy Street Team, the Etsy Supply Street Team. Now is a great time to take advantage of these specials on all sorts of handmade goods. Simply search "Yart" on Etsy and you should come up with all sorts of items on sale!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Free to List Online Marketplaces

We need to face it--there is nothing free anymore, except maybe smiles! When selling your handmade goods online, it's sometimes hard to pay the money upfront to list your items, without having that guarantee that they will sell.

Some of the newer online marketplaces are addressing this issue. Instead of the industry standard set by ebay and Etsy, which was to charge listing fees and commission, or selling, fees, these new venues are making it free to list your products. This is done to help alleviate some of the concern that you will be shelling out your hard-earned money just to have your item sit on a website somewhere. If your item does sell, then these venues take a small commission, usually 3-3.5% of the selling price. In this respect, it behooves the venue to make sure that their website is adequately publiciczed and is easy to use for buyers. It can be a win-win for artisan and webmaster alike.

Below are some of these new venues. I only have personal experience with one of them, but would love to hear from you if you sell on any of these sites!

Silkfair: US based site that sells handmade, as well as vintage and antique items. Their commission is 3% of the final selling price.

Made it Myself: US Based site that sells only handmade items. They claim they are waiving the listing fees right now, so at any point they could institute them. Currently, they also charge a 3% commission fee.

Lov.li: Another site for only handmade goods, but I find it a little difficult to navigate. They charge a 3.5% commission

1000 Markets: Only sells handmade goods by the artists themselves. This website is a little more expensive, 5.5% + .50, but the quality of the goods is very high. This is not grandma;s church bazaar craft table!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Fun Finds 6.5.2009

Thank God it's Friday! Nothing like relaxing on the weekend with a little music serenade. Each of these handmade items has music in it's soul, and is sure to nourish yours as you kick back and relax. All of these items were found on Artfire!






1957 Elegant Music Tags by PetitPoulailler

















Musical Throw Pillow Case by RLP Photo Press



















Shaded Strings by The Infinite Lens




















Electric Guitar Upcycled Domino Pendant by Ninja Jenn

















Hula Girls Guitar Pick Earrings by The Birds and the Beads














Summer Night Mixed Media Guitar by CT Studios

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Must Reads from Handmadenews.org





This past week on Handmadenews.org, I tackled the concept of branding. Branding 101 gives a background on exactly what branding consists of, and how it benefits the independent artisan. Once you have the basics down, move on to Branding Pitfalls, which highlights the most common branding mistakes made by small businesses. Both of these articles help you to get a handle on your business' public persona, and create an image that makes customers want to buy from you.

More Must Reads...

Love Bags for Father's Day looks at creating a sweet momento for dad on his special day, forgoing the traditional tie.

The Little Things Mean So Much gives a number of ideas submitted from other artisans on how to go that extra mile for their customers. These special touches help build customer relationships, which can be hard to do over the Internet.

Teakettle Weed Killer is a cool little article from the Green Wise department. If you love your lawn, but hate weeds, the author reveals how you can kill the weeds naturally with boiling water!

Are Your An Artist or a Crafter?
looks at the age-old debate with a clear perspective.

How to Market Fine Art Galleries Online offers some suggestions on marketing your fine art to possible collectors on the Internet, and how you can help them to find you.


Make sure you check out Handmadenews.org for your craft-info fix!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Featured Artist: KZM Facial Care Boutique

This week's featured artist creates all-natural, cruelty free indulgences for your skin. Karley, the owner of KZM Facial Care Boutique has a well-respected line of skin care products and make-up. Her products allow you guilt-free pleasure in treating yourself and your skin.



What does it mean to you to "buy handmade"?

Buying handmade, to me, means that I am choosing to purchase an item which has been handcrafted with someone's talent and passion. You can almost sense the passion one has for his or her art in each product, whether it be a photograph, a bar of soap or a handbag. Buying handmade means that I am not supporting a major giant who squashes the little guy; the mom and pop stores. It means I am supporting someone like me.


How long have you been active in your craft? What inspires your work?

I made my first lotion in 1999. I had a teeny tiny business selling to friends and family and life got in the way of the hobby. I have been actively involved in creating skin care since my son was born and suffered from severe eczema in 2003. I am inspired in so many ways by the different women I meet who see results in my products. That motivates me to keep plugging away. I started working in the cosmetics and skin care industry while I was a sophomore in college. I sold Mary Kay out of my dorm and did well at it. I then started freelancing for Lancome. I never looked back and continued in the field.


Where do you sell your creations?

I sell my creations online in my 1000 Markets shop, http://kzmface.1000markets.com.


Are there any special accolades you have earned in your field?

I am very proud of my achievements. My Goat's Milk Facial Cream was featured as a recommended product in the October 2008 issue of Martha Stewart's Body + Soul magazine. Before I just decided to offer facial products, I used to make a baby skin cream which was featured in Canvas Long Island magazine. My products are listed in The Good Guide, and my cleansers are ranked in the top 10% of all brands sold. I've been a signer of The Compact for Safe Cosmetics for quite some time, and my products can be found on the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetics Database. Most recently, May 28 in fact, I was approved by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics' Leaping Bunny program, making KZM Facial Care Boutique one of the few 100% truly cruelty free lines on the market. I am very proud of these accomplishments and I continue to strive to do the best I can for my customers.