Thursday, December 03, 2015

Thursday, 3 DEC 2015 :: Updating my efforts to make money!!


Here I am again... after such a long time !  Thank you for your patience as I figure out the best path to the future...

I have been making plans, gathering supplies, looking for solutions, and now I am trying to see what will work best.  I finally have a new camera that has a way to shut off the flash, and 16 mp for better pictures.  I am hoping to learn all the details this weekend and post some new listings and photos in a number of places, including Etsy, eBay, fiverr, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else I can upload them.  I need to check on my Pinterest pages, too... but my YouTube efforts will have to wait until I get my own computer.  :-(  

I will be very busy if the photos work out well.   I am excited about this opportunity to post a decent photo, and want to try new ways to present the things I want to sell.  I will share my lessons with you as soon as I can.

Today I also decided to revisit the website with Etsy shop and treasury widgets and will try to post one here.  If it doesn't work, I will have to edit and delete it.  We will see...  It didn't work on Facebook.  I may need to go through the website again... looking for the details.

If you want to check it out for your own marketing needs... go to   http://craftcult.com   and try one.

I do hope that your Christmas crafts and purchases are going well.  I haven't been able to buy too much over the years, so I have been learning about all the special sale days, like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.   I am collecting information for my 2016 plans, and trying to decide how much money I need to have a great memory next year.  :-) 

I'm not sure how much I can sell this year, but I will do what I can.  I have an Etsy COUPON for the holidays to increase sales as much as I can...  I decided to offer 25% off to everyone...  You can use the code CHRISTMAS2015 through the month.  I think I made it valid through the 31st.  I will let you know if that is not correct.

I am really hoping to sell my digital copy of SERVANTS.  It is only $5, but one of my favorite personal writings.  It prints nice and displays well in an 11 x 14 black mat board.  A simple frame would be best, to draw attention to the words more than the frame.  I hope you will consider making it one of your purchases for this year.  I believe it has the potential to become one of our Christian Classics...  and I hope it does.   :-)


I am looking forward to building my sales sites finally.  Photos are really a problem, on some sites more than others.

Enjoy your day, and I hope your holidays will be filled with joy and hope and peace.





NOTE :: I tried to make a link to the widget, but it doesn't function here...  I will get back to you on why after I find out myself. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Thursday, 1 OCT 2015 :: My FIRST video !!!

I am writing this blog to see how my first video uploads and displays here...  I tried to share it as a video on Facebook, but it brought up a window saying no for some reason... I have to figure that out.  I  wound up sharing it as a file with just a small group to see how it went.





As I enter this blog post, the place where my video is suppose to display is there, but the video doesn't appear until I publish it.  We will all be finding out at the same time!  :-)

It isn't a craft video... I chose the closest subject to me when I turned the camera on...  :-) ... I just wanted to try the camera and editing process.

I don't remember if I shared about the camera I finally chose to buy just to learn the process.  I understand these little cameras are popular for kids to get as gifts so they can film all the exciting things in their lives (for posterity, memories, fun).  I wanted a VIVITAR camera that I had seen online when I was searching out prices and options, but when I got to the store (Walmart in Portland, OR) there was only a JAZZ camera available.  It was about $20 for the camera, then I had to buy the recording card at almost $10, and a pack of AAA batteries at about $4, just to use it.  Still, $30 is a lot less than $300.  I will be able to learn with it and then will know more about what I want in a better camera.  I really want to work up to Documentary style camera, something like they use in media reporting, with software and all the other related equipment.

I don't use my own computer, so uploading the related files was a problem.  I don't think it has been fixed yet.  I have to wait for the owner of the computer to get home.  :-)  When I transferred the original content from the camera to the computer, it worked fine... opening up in a Windows Media file.  I tried to load it up again with the plain Window option and was able to save it to my desktop.

My first effort to edit the small portion I saved was a trial and error effort based on what I know about regular files and being willing to lose it to the trash bin.  I discovered the title page option, and the credits option, and also found some of the animations.  It was fun learning.  :-)

I am looking forward to my next effort!

==============================
It doesn't look like it is uploading... Maybe it will appear as I work on this.















Looks like I will have to leave you with this photo I took of a sunflower plant still growing... the first time I have seen one grow.  :-)

I will keep trying to figure out the video posting process.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, 28 SEP 2015 :: What matters in SHIPPING online?

I am beginning to make purchases more often at Etsy because I actually have money now and have been trying to budget for supplies.  It helps me to see the buying process at Etsy, the difference between shops, and the details that matter most.

The first thing I noticed is the shops that don't provide tracking for their shipments.  I just assumed everyone provided tracking.  Not having a place to check on your package left me hanging as a customer... wondering where it was, what day to watch for it, how long it would take to travel from another part of the country, and more.  This is all a learning experience for me as a seller as much as it is a learning experience for me as a buyer.


After the first few packages, I began to notice the shipping labels on the packages when they arrive.  I began to see Etsy shipping labels, and which carrier was chosen to deliver it, and what kind of shape the packages arrived in.  I tried to see the actual costs of mailing to compare with the charges I paid (not really available, and a wise route to go in because shipping is also about the packaging).

The product was part of the equation for packaging, so I had to keep that in mind.  The better packaging made me think of gift delivery, offering choices with a listing, and considering it a "branding" effort.  I am really working toward better solutions for my products and shop/s.


With the newest crime (especially at holiday times) being package theft at the delivery door, this issue of package tracking is very important.  We like to think that our neighborhoods are safe, but thieves don't care where you live or even know what is in an unwatched package.  I imagine the "nicer" neighborhoods are targeted more than poverty neighborhoods, but I don't really know.  Poor-on-poor crime is just as bad in some statistics.

Thieves steal first, and then discover what they got.

Wherever you live, the main problem is that YOU are the one that loses the item you have been waiting for, you or someone else paid for, and you want (hopefully).  As cybercrimes increase, thieves may begin to know what is coming and follow your tracking themselves.  I don't know what the perfect solution is, but tracking helps me.


A bad shopping experience really leaves a bad taste in your wallet.  It makes me not want to buy from any stores on the site.  I found it hard to buy online again after I had a bad purchasing experience.  What we do affects everyone else on our sales site.

It takes time to find the sellers you want to continue doing business with.  I am thinking that once I do find those online stores I like and want to buy from, I may not venture too far from them.  I won't have to worry about a new shop, if it's a fake, if it's a scam, etc.  I may only need to browse for items when I don't already have a source for it. 

Know this in myself makes me want to make sure my shop is consistent and trustworthy in lots of ways, including policies, shipping prices (and methods), listing details, and sales processes.  Once I get it all figured out, I want to be able to build on that foundation, to find permanent customers for my products. 

I think that is part of the reason I have been moving so slowly to build my Etsy shop and other online sales points.  I want income, I desperately NEED income, but I am hoping for long-term benefits instead of instant sales.  I am trying not to fret at the time it is taking, and hoping it will work out better in the future.



If you have a shop, I hope you provide package tracking for your customers.  I think it is a great investment.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday, 25 SEP 2015 :: My FIRST Quilting Expo

Yesterday I went to my first quilting expo. 

It is held locally every year, that I know of.  This year is was a three day span - Thursday through Saturday - at the Portland Expo Center.  I added links at the bottom of this post so you can explore the event.

I was only able to afford a one day ticket, which was $10 (the 3-day ticket was $27).  It was hard to decide whether to go on the opening day or the weekend day, but I finally decided to go on the opening day, which was yesterday.  They are generally open 9am to 5pm on all three days.

I didn't really know what to expect.  I knew there was going to be a display of quilts, vendors, and classes somewhere.  I hadn't even been to the Expo location before.  I had only seen it once before, many years ago, when I explored the MAX transit line that it is at the end of.

The best part for me was discovering some of the amazing quilt design, the ones that really stood out from the crowd.  It helped me to see that any designs I might want to create would be OK, that quilting isn't just about geometric shapes anymore, and that the computer really has changed our ability to create art on fabric. I'm not sure what directions I want to go in with fabrics, but I thought it was a really great experience to see some of the talent that is out there.

I also looked at the vendor spaces as I walked through each aisle.  I was trying to find out what quilters use and see if any of their tools would be good for other things I am working on. I found a small bundle of Insul-Bright to try, some small portions of beads to add to my supplies, and an iron-on sparkly thing with two red hearts...  I'm not sure what I want to do with that last one.

My most difficult financial mistake was not taking lunch with me.  I was really hungry and tired and didn't want to leave early, so I wound up spending $8 for a large baked potato with chili, cheese, bacon, sour cream, and then butter at the end when there was only potato left!  :-)  It was great to eat, but a lot to eat, too....and I didn't want to waste any of my food or money by throwing half of it away, so I managed to eat the entire portion. It was an expensive lesson for me, but that is how we figure these things out.

I discovered some prices on different types of sewing machines that would be nice to own.  The computerized models I was shown went from $5K to $15K, depending on what you wanted on them.  In order to make my own designs, the high-end model was ideal.  I think applique will have to do for awhile!

I recently discovered that my iron didn't work so a new one was on my list.  I discovered the fancy ones they have on TV craft shows are in the $200 range.  (Later on that day I purchase the least expensive one at a department store for $7.99...with a one year warrantee.  --  Maybe I can save up $200 for the high-end model before my new one wears out... or next year's show.  :-)

If I stay in the Portland area, I will try to enter a quilt for the exhibition.  Maybe ten years ago, or less, I began discovering the County Fair competitions and planned to continue submitting entries there, but this county doesn't seem to have a County Fair, so I was looking for alternatives.  This quilting exhibition will be perfect.  I am finding there are a lot of different quilting events, so I will have to find out the best ones to enter.

There were small and large quilts at the event.  I like small, so that will be fine for me.

I keep saying :  If I live long enough, I will be able to....   This is the same issue for me... as long as I am able to, I will keep on going in these directions  ( crafts, Etsy, other online and local sales options, and more...).   We'll have to see what GOD has planned for me.   :-)

Enjoy your weekend.  I hope to write more often in the future.  I'm just beginning to get my crafts going.  The photos are my biggest problem, but that will work out in time.

======================================

The event planners / hosts ::
NW Quilting Expo  --  http://www.nwquiltingexpo.com/

A great place to see photos of this year's quilts, etc. ::
NW Quilting Expo Facebook page (for photos)  --  https://www.facebook.com/nwquiltingexpo


The event location ::
Portland Expo Center  --  http://www.expocenter.org/


Thursday, August 20, 2015

20 AUG 2015 :: Christmas planning -- start NOW!

I was reading through some of my saved articles to read and one was about planning your Christmas season in August.  During my first holiday sales season with Etsy last year, I discovered that Christmas online begins in September... so that has been my mantra, my goal, for future years.  As I have been watching things unfold online, and learning about the process of selling online, I realized why the brick-and-mortar retail stores have been setting up their displays earlier every year... their competition begins with online sales, which begin in September on the internet.

Another great bit of information I discovered today was that Christmas Clubs, where people have a special bank account set up for holiday spending, deliver the contents of their accounts around the first weekend of October.  Another reason for early holiday sales displays everywhere.

I have been trying to decide what to do with my own Etsy shop for the holidays.  We have certain options available to us...and figuring out which ones to use and which to leave for another time, or not use at all, is part of the shop owner's responsibility.  I still have one of my ten allotted shop sections available for use... I haven't decided if I want to name it "HOLIDAYS" or go for the "Wholesale" designation (I have products I plan to offer as wholesale purchases).  I don't have any holiday photos yet... but I am thinking about it.

Here are the questions the article suggested every business owner ask themselves ::

  • What products and/or services will you offer discounts on?
  • Will you have enough inventory to meet shopper demand?
  • Will you advertise a loss leader to help drive sales of more profitable products and/or services?
  • What are your holiday revenue goals, and do they differ from last year's results?
  • What is your holiday advertising budget, and what marketing channels will you be using to maximize sales?
  • If your company can't compete on pricing during the holidays, can you develop a winning strategy that focuses on quality and highly personalized customer service?
Very good questions to think about, aren't they!

The internet is changing life for everyone, including businesses.  We can't make it go away so, if we want to flourish in the future, we have to learn how to cope with it.  It takes time to learn the process, to build up your customers, work out your shipping supplies (and limitations), but I consider it a long-term investment  --  one that has to carry me through my "retirement!"   :-)  

I don't think I will look at those early Christmas displays the same now...



=========================
For your information ::
https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/christmas-august-tis-season-plan-holiday-sales/?extlink=em-us-of-weeklytext-article2-readmore-20150814-o&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonuKnMcu%2FhmjTEU5z16OkuWaC0h5Z41El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcpqMr%2FYDBceEJhqyQJxPr3NKNkNyM9vRhHjCA%3D%3D













Tuesday, August 04, 2015

4 AUG 2015 :: Catching up with all that I have been discovering...

It has been so long since I entered a post.  It seems the once a week pattern hasn't been working, but I will find one that does.  Every time I discover new things that relate to crafts of some kind, I want to share it.  As I learn more about blogging, the link I am building here will get more organized and filled with great content.  I hope you can bear with me through this long process.  :-)


In my quest to overcome the problems I have with photos to upload, I have discovered that Microsoft software seems to work.  I must have tried it before and forgotten about it because when I went back to update my Etsy listings with non-lavender photos, I discovered there were photo versions already made.  It has been too long to remember all the details, but I am moving into a higher gear to get my writings available to purchase as digital and non-digital items.  This seems to be the month to focus on all my Christmas listing plans.

In the search for products to create, ones that matter to me, or seem achievable in my circumstances, I have been creating lists and gathering supplies and am working out a schedule to get them done and online.  I still haven't figured out my "studio" space, but it is getting a bit more functional. 

I was inspired today by an old magazine I found at the local recycled materials non-profit I go to here (SCRAP) in Portland (Oregon).  It is called STUDIOS, and it displays all kinds of artists and craftspeople in their studio spaces, and shares a little about their stories as people.  It helped me to be more motivated to find a workable solution to my housing and studio needs.  It looks like the magazine is only available in back issues, so I hope you find resources for your own quests under Interweave.com MAGAZINE tab. (link above)

When I look at the works of other people, I think about my own plans and the directions I want to go in.  I have never tried to earn a living with art or crafting, and never expected to be building a sales connection on the internet.  It is hard to decide whether you have enough talent to accomplish anything substantial.  When I look at other works, I see that they each have their own style and direction, and I can develop my own without worrying that it is good enough.  It is helping me to gather more courage and just get my works done and listed for people to see.  :-)   I suppose my style will change as I learn more and experiment and gather better supplies and equipment.

I hope so, anyway.

I rediscovered a free photo website I utilized for my main website a long while back.  I suppose there may be some of their photos still visible on my site, but I had trouble with the sizing last time I checked.  The other day I went ahead and saved the photos I wanted (again), and will try them again.  Maybe I will add one here, just to try it out.  :-)



This is a favorite photo of mine... I think they look like they are praying.  :-)
I love the design of this lion...  it is on a wall somewhere.  It reflects the "Lion of Judah" to me.








I decided to leave this photo at its original size.  I made the bottom one smaller.  Aren't they beautiful!   If I remember right, they are both from Glacier National Park. (They are.)

There is a lot to learn about posting, and just doing this text next to the photos I uploaded, and changing the size on two of them, has been another learning curve.  :-)   I think this will be a great activity for me as I keep going  --  I just have to live long enough to enjoy it and accomplish my goals for it.  :-)

This top mountain might be a great photo for my MOUNTAINS writing.  I need a good photo for it.  I may just play around with it.

"Mountains are rugged,
and difficult to climb,
but the strength you gain in the effort
will take you to placed that others will never see."
I can't seem to get the text to work next to the bottom photo, so we will have to learn that strategy soon.  I could get rid of the photo and never let you know what happened, but I like that photo and want you to see it.  I think being able to draw and paint nature is a great talent.  I don't know if I will ever get great at it, but I hope to find some way to incorporate nature into my creations.

I will try to post more regularly, but no promises.  I am busy with several issues and have blogs for all my topics of interest.  Food is a biggie right now, too.

As I create my Christmas products and new listings, I may go ahead and share them here.  It will help me figure out the photo and text problems.

I hope you are busy with all your dreams and crafts, too.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

19 JULY 2015 :: Checking in...

This blog, and some others I am trying to work into a routine, has not been attended to as I hoped.  I am sorry about that.  I am trying to find a way to share crafts, preferably beyond my own, but I keep seeing lots of personal blogs and am wondering how to develop this space and outreach.  I come across so many wonderful crafts and creators that I think we all need to know about. 

For now, you better just go to my  work2gather.etsy.com  shop's FAVORITES PAGE.  It looks like they (ETSY) have changed the favorites format so the one group that had all my very best favorites is gone, so you will have to decide which listings in my collections are for linking with later (for some reason) or a real favorite.

I haven't checked on my treasuries for some time, but will let you know when I update them.

I am working to develop an ongoing updating process for things like my shop announcement (updated today) and policies.

Thank you for your patience.  As I have said before, I am working toward Christmas inventories every year, with some products for a few other holidays during the year.  I am working toward a goal to list Christmas in September and October so customers can have time to browse and choose.  :-)  Christmas is my favorite holiday for giving, and I want to be a part of that special process of sharing with as many people as possible.

Enjoy your days... work on your budgets for the upcoming season...  it is always a blessing to both parties when we celebrate Christmas...the giver and the receiver.  :-)

Monday, May 25, 2015

25 MAY 2015 :: First Etsy purchase, and looking for supplies

I actually had to keep myself from writing a post over the weekend.  I have been trying to make myself hold to a schedule, which is forming as I discover the best way to get things done   :-), and have been trying to find a way to collect the topics and information I want to share here in a better way.  It is still a work in progress, but it IS getting better.


Last week I made my first purchases at Etsy -- one with regular Etsy checkout, one with PayPal.  I wanted to find out what it was like to be a customer.  One of the orders had an Etsy shipping label, both had tracking, one came within 3 or 4 days, the other took until Saturday's mail.  Both orders were made at the same time (something I didn't know about buying at Etsy :-) with the same shopping cart.

I would like to add that I sent a Mother's Day gift to California by Priority Flat Rate and it went all the way to New York before it went to California... and I live in Oregon!  The purchases I made had different reports with tracking than the USPS reports I had in the past.

I also have a FIVERR.com account and am trying to decide what to buy there so I can watch their sales system.  I have sold and purchased at eBay in the long past, but want to see what it is like now.  My money is tight, and I am working on a budget to take care of all these needs and more.  It will take time to get to all these things.


I followed a link from somewhere (my artbizcoach.com blog newsletter, I think) to a site called  -  difference.is - and it led to a printable form for developing a marketing strategy before or after you have your product.  :-)   I made copies to work on later, and have some I'm sending to others.  One page forms are good to focus the mental energy needed to plan something.  I hope you go to check it out, too.  It may change the way you think of your business.

It has been a busy weekend for me.  I discovered a bunch of sites to buy supplies from in the future, and discovered the difference in shipping options once I went to the checkout page.  It made me more aware of how great the shipping challenge is to online selling.  I have been looking for a good postal scale and commercial grade food scale.  They were part of my supplies hunt.  I'm getting closer buying both as I work through my product plans.

Christmas is closer than I realize... I need to get my inventory and draft listing ready!

I will share more as I go through my piles of papers and get them organized by blog topic.  I hope GOD blesses me with finances and health... then I can really keep going.  :-)

Monday, May 11, 2015

11 MAY 2015 :: Checking in for now

Just wanted to share the things that I am doing in the crafts and online selling areas.

I have been trying to sort through all my collected notes and have been transferring the details from my scratch paper to notebook pages I can eventually organize and review.  It has been reminding me of all the things I searched for and studied for last Christmas.  I am going to use this information to review my current listings and then work harder to create better listings in the future.

I have been sorting through my small space to make more room for crafts and artworks, trying to get more listings online.  It seems like a difficult task, but I am making a space that will last for some time.  I am also figuring out the right pieces of furniture and shelving that will fit in here and allow me to accomplish more.  Hopefully, it will all come together soon.

In the search for the best products for me to focus on, I am making a list that will provide a lot of options... in several craft categories...like art, fabrics, food, digital, etc.  I am searching for listings that will just need to be renewed, which means they will be available year-round and continue until deleted.  That will help my shop content and allow people to search my shop categories rather than browse page by page from the shop homepage.

It is a huge learning process to sell online...but it is beginning to make sense and all the pieces are coming together, including keywords and photos and shipping and pricing and sections and....  :-) 

Soon, I hope to build up regular customers at my etsy shop and other places on the internet, like fiverr.com and eBay.

And I am going to learn video!  (which I will learn to upload to my YOU TUBE account and other places.  :-)   There's always more to learn, to buy, to save for, to pray for, and to do. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

4 MAY 2015 :: Just checking in...

I wanted to check in with this blog so you don't think I have totally forgotten it.  For two weeks I have been working on changing my small living space (11x13) to try to make better spaces for my supplies and table space to work in.  I also am working on a shipping supplies area, and inventory options to save up for Christmas.  :-)

It takes a lot of time, energy, and money to get things organized. I am working on it.  I have a small amount of money and will keep working to increase that amount with my crafts.  I am always hoping to reach a goal amount and a living space that will take me to the end of my life... which isn't too far away now.  :-)

All this work at home has caused me to reduce my time on Etsy and other places online.  I have been able to see the effects of letting things go...and it is helping me to make a better plan for the future. 

I went out looking at cameras, camcorders, and tablets.  I plan to check on laptops and desktops soon.  Not having technology has always been a problem with my goal achievement.  I continue to pray that GOD will provide for me the things I have sought Him for all these years.

There will soon be a production process for me...finally!  I am looking forward to it.  I have habits for the days and nights, and have to find the balance between work and rest.  This is always a problem with home-based businesses, but I shall overcome!  Setting up SHOP HOURS is becoming a really good goal... and I am working out the details... I think making them my online hours will let me take care of customer contacts at a specific time and help me to limit activities that get away from me.

I was really encouraged to read that other people have the same issues with Facebook and other social media when they get online...  the problem with wanting to check on your account, thinking it will take only a few minutes, and then realizing you have been looking at posts for two hours!  :-)  A real problem when you are trying to work out a schedule.

Well, I hope you are organizing for the most important sales season in your goals  (mine is Christmas - September to December).  It is a challenge, but we can learn how to find the customers that matter to us, who will like our products and return to buy other things as time goes by.  Until next post, May GOD bless those who love Him, who struggle to make ends meet, who trust Him for their survival, and who want to help others.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

22 APR 2015 :: Catching Up

Just wanted to share that I am still reorganizing my living space into work areas... major changes, good changes... it looks more and more useful for my craft activities.  As I am able to create photos of my efforts, I will share them with you.

This week has been absorbed by all the sorting and changing, so this weekend should be a better effort at creating.

I am hoping that GOD is going to bless my life and efforts with all the things I need to accomplish a lot of my goals.  I keep moving in those directions the best I can.  Pray for me, pray for His blessings for me... thanks.

Monday, April 13, 2015

13 APR 2015 :: Just a quick note

I have been busy using up some recycled GESSO (finally) before it completely dries in the bottle!  :-)  I discovered that playing cards I found at the thrift store are the right size for ACEO art, so I am putting on layers of Gesso to create a painting surface.  I didn't get all the cards covered, so tomorrow I will check on them and try to finish.

With Mother's Day (the 10th of MAY) approaching, I am determined to get a gift in the mail this time.   Maybe and ACEO, maybe something else that I create.  I don't think she really likes hand crafted things, so I don't send them unless I have to.  I hope to live long enough to send here a bouquet of flowers... it's on my "bucket list."  :-)

Other than that, I am creating a list and a plan... and praying that GOD protects me until I get it done... I guess I'm asking to live forever!  :-)

I will keep you informed on my Gesso efforts. I haven't really created anything with a Gesso foundation, but I do vaguely remember trying to see how it worked.  Playing cards have 52 opportunities to see how it work... I'll put the best ones up at my shop.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

7 APR 2015 :: Sharing more of my shop development

I have been spending a lot of time developing forms that will help me keep track of my efforts and also let me evaluate everything on a small number of pages.  I am an Excel fan... I think it is one program with tons of applications, making it possible to organize several different size sections on one page. For me, that is a great option.  I learn more about how to set up the initial columns every time I make a new form.

With my listing goals, I have been trying to make a way to list the important information about what I have in my shop.  I keep revising the format because I don't find out if it works right until I try to put the information into the sections I have created.  Sometimes it looks good as a design, but doesn't really work well in tracking associated data.

I have read several blog articles about what to track at etsy.  If I remember right, they were mostly SEO oriented...about views and tags and search engine access.  I haven't totally dived into SEO yet, so I don't know which of those data groups matter to me. Later, after I get my listings caught up, I will begin to explore other shop data.

Shop development, to me, is creating my section titles, deciding on products that matter to me, and finding prices that will be both low and high so I have items for a larger group of customers.  It is making sure my links go to the right destinations, and learning how to promote my shop and products.  It is creating a schedule that will work for the long term, and flex for my health and income issues.  And it is finding other Christians who do the same things so we can learn from each other, and refer customers to other Christians who may have what I do not.

I haven't started my "price point" brainstorming yet... a lot of the reason is because I have no idea how much to charge for a lot of things yet...and shipping is a huge challenge for me.  Digital products can be delivered anywhere in the world with no shipping fees or limitations.  Actually mailing a package is a different story.  I am striving to understand Etsy's shipping profiles, and which countries can be shipped to safely.

I hope to create currency options that don't need to be exchanged, through PayPal, Etsy Checkout, or both, but I would like people to be able to purchase in their own currency and not have to pay fees to change the amount to USD.  I think PayPal is my only option for maintaining other currencies, but I haven't found that answer out yet.

It takes time to work all these details out for your own products, but the internet is the future of our world so finding a place to fit into its commerce is a necessity.  These efforts will last as long as I am able to operate my shop/s...hopefully, that will be a long time.


Saturday, April 04, 2015

3 APR 2015 :: Creating permanent directions

I don't remember all the things I wanted to share when I entered my post for yesterday, but I may remember them as I work on this one. Today I have been busy creating and revising my own forms to keep track of the important goals I have. I am learning what information helps me to improve my efforts and, eventually, my sales and income.

As I work to create a permanent foundation for my shop and other online sales activities, I am discovering information that will help me build a better income.  Hopefully, I will live long enough to enjoy the fruit of my efforts.  :-)


Deciding what to name my ten Etsy shop sections is one of the permanent foundations I am working on.  I have already committed to nine of the ten section titles I am allowed with a single Etsy shop, and need to find the best name for the final one.  I have also toyed with the idea of splitting my efforts into two shops, but decided to wait and see which of my products sell the best.

Below I have listed the titles I have decided to keep ::
  • Personal Writings
  • Art Original & Prints
  • Beads & Jewelry
  • Fabrics & Yarns
  • Recycled & Upcycled
  • Kits & Patterns
  • Ornaments & Collectibles
  • Food
  • Digital Delivery
These titles cover pretty much all of the craft areas I want to be involved in at some level.  My problem is Christmas.  My online (retirement) sales goal was to create the largest part of my yearly income with collections of Christmas ornaments.  I also want to find products for Valentine's Day (Love), 4th of July (America), and Earth Day (recycling).  Almost every day has an event focus of some kind... I don't want to become overwhelmed trying to create sales options for all of them.  I don't know how much I want to focus on Christian holidays and events either.

Other parts of my shop development efforts are creating a variety of products for each of my shop sections, and having those products fit into different price categories from $0-10 to over $1000.  I don't know which ones might sell better than the others, so creating a variety will help my chances of finding the right item with the right price for potential customers.

My goal to create 25 new listings each month is another part of this development effort. One of the forms I was working on today is a way to record the details of my listings in one place.  I can already see where more improvements need to be made with my current listing group.  Once I fix these problems, I can begin to create my new listings.  I have been gathering supplies and making lists of the products I want to make first.  I hope to make a huge dent in the 100 listings I need to have to catch up with my goal by the end of April.

Using my goals notebook, recording my activities, planning my strategies, reading and learning more each day, gathering supplies, making workspaces, and thinking about products to make  --  these all contribute to my long-term income goals, to permanent foundations that will grow as time passes.



Friday, April 03, 2015

for 2 APR 2015 :: Too late to post

I am sorry, I browsed a lot of internet as I headed toward my blogging, and will have to enter this one tomorrow...hope you don't mind... I can hardly think when I get really tired.  I had several things I wanted to share.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

26 MAR 2015 :: New blog day

Here I am again... another Thursday... and the decision to change is pretty final.  I will be limiting my blog activities to Monday through Thursday, but I don't know which day the Crafts blog will appear... it may have more than one entry a week if I find something inspiring to share.  :-)

I will probably connect all these blogs through the main blog I do for Working Together (working-together-inc.BlogSpot.com) by putting links to the new ones there.  I'm still working out the details.

I wish I had my photos done... I am working on creating new ones for listings that are getting done. It will have to wait. 

Having a more flexible schedule will help me deal with health issues I have. 

My big goal right now is creating artworks and putting them into frames I have from thrift stores and other places.  I am working on getting them into better shape, figuring out how to paint and seal and make them look new.  I will eventually create something of my own... but I like the recycled versions for now.  I hope to make both new and used framing options, as well as just matted for lighter mailing costs.

I think today is not a good blog day for crafts.  I hope you don't mind.
I am working on a lot of different parts of the process, and haven't got them organized yet. I will share them with you as soon as I can.

Thank you for your patience... enjoy your weekend.

Deb

Thursday, March 19, 2015

for 20 MAR 2015 :: Ongoing developments

I am writing this on Thursday because I want to make sure an entry gets posted.  I have felt good and don't know what the day will bring.

=========================

In the effort to develop my online income, I have been busy.  My goals are becoming more and more defined and organized, my supplies are getting built up, and my product options are beginning to find a path to the sales listing.

Most of my focus is on my Etsy shop, but my Fiverr gigs and eBay auctions are always on my mind as I learn new options for Etsy.  These are the three selling venues I have chosen for now.  I am also learning about social media and online marketing throughout this effort.  You have to remember I haven't been at this very long.  My previous efforts to sell online were PayPal links at my Working Together website -- and those need to be re-established, too.


My 25 listings a month goal is progressing.  :-)  I have been creating listings at Etsy that aren't actually NEW items, but they are separate listings that didn't exist before.  I am breaking my "conglomerate" listings into smaller parts, revising to improve other listings, renewing the ones that are expiring, and finding ways to present them better.  I am also making duplicates under different categories in my shop to see if it makes a difference.  I read about doing this in an Etsy forum, blog, or a team post. It's hard to remember when you read a lot of materials. I'm experimenting with what I am told are SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.  I'm not sure how that affects your search inclusion, but I will give it some time and then decide.

I guess the best example of what I am doing is my previous ACEO listing. It is/was for any option you might want, with different pricings.  I have already created separate listings for framed 5x7 and 8x10 artworks, and I will be developing new listings for mailing these works as art only or as a matted presentation.  Currently I have been using the same main photo with all of these related listings.  I may keep it that way, or replace these photos as I create new art and begin to photograph it for my listings.  I have two ways to present the ACEO, so I will make separate listings for each of them.  I am hoping this separating will show the variety of choices better, and also separate the prices so potential customers will know what each one costs.  After a time, I may combine them back up again, I'm not sure.


I found some really great craft supplies at the Salvation Army Thrift Store's 50% Sale Day yesterday. Plus, I was able to reach the local recycling organization's store and found great things there, too.  I have been cleaning it all up today.  I guess the best item at the Salvation Army was a silicone baking sheet, and the best thing I found at the recycling store was a stamp that is a pattern for making photo corners.  :-)   I found a lot more (that matters to me), but I wanted to share the two best things I found at really low prices.  I am happy.  The lower prices allow me to experiment with ideas at a reduced cost.  It may be that my experiments will produce something worthy of selling, but if they don't I am not losing too much money.

The search for a decent space to work in is getting better.  I still haven't reached that goal, but I am closer to it.  I need to take a lot of photos to post, so that will be a space that has to be figured out. I get encouraged when I see the spaces other people work in... I just need to make my small space work for me.

I looked at new cameras this week while I was out shopping.  The bigger, nicer ones are pretty expensive.  At least I have a price range for that goal... not to work out the details and try to figure out how long it will take to get on.  I guess a seller has to make their plans without counting on sales, because there is no guarantee you will sell anything.  If I do find a way to selling more, I will be able to reach my other goals sooner.  That would be really nice.


The comments on this site are active. If you have any suggestions, let me know. I will check on them and see if they might work for me, and then share them again in the future.

I wanted to share that I may change the day for this blog...  I will let you know.


Friday, March 13, 2015

13 MAR 2015 :: What is happening now?

I suppose I have already told you, but I write other blogs through the week and I am trying to develop a topic process and improve my outside information.  :-)   I am working on it... it is beginning to get sorted out.  Just hang in with me and we'll find out a lot of things together.  :-)

I was just at my Facebook page(s) and discovered a post about leadership quotes.  In an Entrepreneur Magazine online site, there is an article with 50 quotes on leadership.  I was inspired to share it today, since it is my CRAFTS Explored day... and we are all developing our crafts businesses.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243861
50 Quotes on Leadership Every Entrepreneur Should Follow
Contributed by JOHN RAMPTON
published on 13 MARCH 2015
It is suggested it is an 8-minute read.
I was led to the article by the Max Lucado quote on the post I saw... about an orchestra leader having to turn his (or her) back on the crowd in order to lead the orchestra.  :-)   I saved a copy of the article for future reference.  Some of them may appear here in the future.

This week has actually been productive... well, it FELT more productive.  I get things done all the time, they just don't feel directly related to gathering cash to live on.  This week I finally went through a few of my listings and worked out the revisions I have been thinking about.  Then I copied one, revised it for a new photo and item, and then added it to my list.  I officially have ONE more listing, but I really have more, because my revisions changed the original offers into new offers.

I haven't figured out all the details within the Etsy process, but two of my listings had to be renewed. The one I revised (edited) didn't need to be renewed so the end date stayed the same.  Once I get the listings to a permanent content, I will only renew them when they end.  That's 60 cents a year to make the effort to sell something that matters to me.  It is one of the reasons I decided to try an Etsy shop.  I know that listing doesn't mean a sale, but the 4 month timeframe and the 60 cents a year make trying a reasonable cause.

Another thing I accomplished this week was updating my Treasuries.  I had looked at one awhile back and discovered items were missing.  I don't know how they disappear, but I assume it is because the listing goes away.  Sold items will still show up in my Favorites section, but they can't be used in a Treasury.  I really love some of the things I favorite for one reason or another. I like to still have a picture of them to remind me I once knew them.

I am trying to find a new place to share my Craft Cult widget for treasuries since I removed it from the blog space.  I liked sharing all the great products I find on Etsy.  I'm not sure where I can do that.  If I can find a way to place it in my posts, maybe I can add it at the end.  I will let you know when I find out about that.

I have a son in prison right now, and I have been trying to encourage him to use the time there wisely, planning for the future, creating art or something to sell when he is released, and other things.  I have two pages I created some time ago about making goals for yourself.  I made new copies and sent them to him.  Prison is such a waste of time... I am hoping he will find a way to make it count in his life, to help him create a better future when he is released.  Having REAL goals, well-planned, well thought out, may help him.  Unrealistic goals just discourage us and make us give up.  Most of us don't realize how much work goes into achieving a goal... and that it can take many years.

The information I shared with my son was gathered from several sources, but it was mostly from Brian Tracy because I was experimenting with his suggestions at that time.  I followed his 10 Goals a Day for 30 Days suggestion and it showed me how to sort through all the different goals you have and find the ones that mean the most.  It also showed me how goals change.  What something like this does is help you keep focused on your goals. It is so easy to lose track of them.

I have been developing a weekly approach for myself.  It helps me keep focused at a different pace.  I have been developing my own forms to help me keep track of the information I need to make decisions.

Etsy has a great PDF I came across in one of their blogs ( https://blog.etsy.com/en/2014/12-ways-to-get-a-jumpstart-on-the-holidays/ ).  You can go directly to the PDF at this web link ::  https://blog.etsy.com/en/files/2014/07/Smart-Goals.pdf
I have printed many of them in my quest to create actual SMART Goals.  :-)    See if you can do better than I did with your goals.

The US Government has lots of information about goals, too.  I went to usa.gov really quick and found this page.  You can use it to compare with the Etsy worksheet.
http://www.extension.org/pages/11229/what-are-smart-goals#.VQOBL3wtHpN

I hope to have more information on developing your shop next week.  See you then.









Friday, March 06, 2015

6 MAR 2015 :: Getting a Deal on Supplies

I don't know where the time goes, but it sure flies away! 

I am close to the point of doing my blogging in the morning so I can get it out of the way  :-)   and not have to worry about it.... that would give me more time to figure out the photo problems, too.

I am fond of going to the Salvation Army Thrift Stores for their Wednesday 50% off everything in the store sale.  I use to try to go on other days, but I would always find something I really wanted that wasn't on sale... that would mess up my budget and reduce my pile of treasures.  Now I only go on the sale day so I won't have to deal with that frustration.

I found some great deals this week.  I always do.  I search for hours and try to spread my budget around the various things I need, or the sections of the store.  I didn't get near the clothes -- that will take hours just by itself. It was my first real shopping day in a long time... I wanted to search as much as possible.

I tend to grab anything I might want and then decide what to actually keep (pay for) when I am ready to go.  I always lament the things I can't purchase... sometimes for a long time.  It's a thrift store, and the items are at a discount price, but the dollars add up fast... I tend to go over my planned budget every time.  I look for craft item, kitchen items, books, VHS tapes, and whatever else they have in that part of the store. 

Since I am doing art now, I am trying to build up my picture frame collection. I only bought the ones I liked for 44cents this week, but I am looking at the larger ones and trying to figure out how to get them in the budget.  I limited myself to 4 picture frames, with one that I can use as a pattern to create my own later.  I haven't decided which is better for refurbishing yet, but wood can always be painted.  After you get done, it's like new.  Smaller ones don't cost as much to mail, and will fit into the small USPS Priority Flat-rate box.  Flat-rate shipping is good because it is reasonably priced and includes tracking.  I am trying to create items that will be low on shipping costs and still be flexible for the sizes I want to make.  It's a plan that I am working on still.

I am also working out food products to sell...so the kitchen aisles are a great place to explore.  I found a second heavy sauce pan this week.  I hope to try it out next week.  I also found some Tupperware that will work for either food or craft supply storage for me.  I love Tupperware!  Tried to sell it a couple times in my life...and hope to include it in my WT projects.

In the book section, which includes audio tapes and VHS tapes for my search, I only look at the soft cover books because they become 50 cents each on the sale day.  I discovered a Barron's Business Review Book on Accounting. It was published in 2000, but I took beginning accounting classes when I first was able to go to college in 1983, and math is math... I wanted to review the process, so this should be a great reference tool. I think it is wise to have a basic idea what is going on with the software programs you use for accounting, and I like to use Excel for my budgets.  I hope it will give me some of the formulas I need to use.  Barron's produce excellent books...if it was a name I didn't know, I doubt I would get it. 

Another book I decided on was a recipe book for people with diabetes.  I know the recipes will be healthy and I am working on my menus... looking for better recipes that I might like. Hope it works out to be a great find. 

Finally, I decided to take a little product recipe booklet by French's on mustard options.  There was a peanut sauce recipe, and a couple others that looked interesting, so I decided I would pay the 50 cents for it.  :-)   I usually have a $1 book budget.

One item I really had to debate myself about is an audio book package I found by Covey (author of the 7 Habits series).  It was missing one tape, but I thought it would be good for my collection on sales and success.  I have things from Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, and other people I tried out because they were at a sale price.  I have always loved Zig Ziglar...  Brian Tracy is new to me.  Before Zig Ziglar I use to listen to a lot of the Nightengale-Conant materials.  I could really get going about how great some of these materials are, but I can't right now.  I will make it a topic for future blogs.  I finally decided to get it... it was $1 on sale.

I guess the great thing is the reduced price for things that will be valuable to your work, your growth, your plans.  Once you use something, it's no longer new.  It doesn't really matter if something is used as long as it is in good shape and will meet your need.

Now that I have a little income with my Social Security Retirement payments, I will be going to the Salvation Army sale at least one week a month.  When I get my crafts done, and start selling them, I hope to have enough money to go more often.

Let me know how you save money on supplies... share that in the comments section.  I would love to find any way to save that I can...  In my really hard days I made up a saying about saving money ::

          The more you save,
               the more you have to spend.


It's kind of like the "penny saved, penny earned" saying we all know... which was the inspiration for my own application of it.  :-)

Craft supplies can be harder to find...but kitchen storage can work more than one job.  I found a great little wooden roller for my clay work.  I also found a great silicone baking sheet with doxen shapes.  I thought about sending it to someone that is very fond of doxens, but later decided to see what I can make for Etsy buyers with it.  I am trying to decide which direction to go with it.

I don't remember everything I bought there -- it was a heavy shopping day.  I spent more than my $10 planned budget, but less than $15.  It was a great day for finding treasures.  :-)


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Late post for Friday, 27 FEB 2015 :: Developing your craft business.

I am so sorry that this post is late, but it was the best thing for me to do in my situation... I haven't gotten to the point of pre-writing and scheduling blog posts, but I am heading in that direction for some topics.  So, I write on the day it appears, or as close to it as I can.  Last Friday I went out for some craft supplies and pricing, but it was too much for my body and made me ill... until pretty late in the evening...and I didn't think it would hurt anyone at this point in my blogging if I waited to write it later. 

Friday night and Saturday daytime is what I try to honor as the Sabbath. It is hard not to do anything, and I don't agree with some of the regulations I have heard about in the Jewish community, so I have been trying to find my way through the Sabbath questions on my own.  I decided to wait until the Sabbath was over before I even thought of blogging. 

As it turned out, I was preoccupied until now...about 10 pm on Sunday night... my planned curfew! 

I will get my schedule figured out... it is taking time and making me find the best use of my energies and resources as I search. In fact, that is part of what I was doing this weekend (Sunday)... going over my goals, organizing my records, trying to decide on the best options for selling.

I think I told you about the videos I watched from artbizcoach.com (Alyson B Stanfield) -- one was about establishing regular "studio hours" for making the things you want to sell.  I have a four hour goal for studio time.  I tried to get settled into a morning routine (8am to noon), but that didn't work well...once I get on the computer to check things, it's a lost cause. 

Today I decided to try an afternoon time - noon to 4pm.  My main workdays are Monday to Thursday, so that is the extent of my studio time commitment.  It should help with my challenge, but deciding what is considered studio activity has become another issue.  I do a lot of prep work, have a lot of different projects I want to do (besides art), so is that part of my studio commitment or does it have to lead to an item to sell?  I haven't decided yet.  I have to make my definition of studio time as I go along.

Deciding what to make and sell is also a challenge to selling online.  I have been creating a list of "price points" I want to build my inventory around so I can reach a lot of different customers with my products.  Mine currently go from "0 to $10" to "Over $500" -- I hope to sell art and jewelry in the upper levels when I can.

Pricing things is a BIG problem for me. I have been trying to find out the best way to do that as I wander around Etsy and other sales sites.  When I have a greater variety to offer, my sales will (I hope!) rise. After I make them, I will need to work on a marketing strategy.  Facebook and Twitter aren't all there is.  :-)

I do thank you for taking the time to visit and read.  I hope you will continue to follow my efforts here.  I am thinking of more and more topics to share as I go through the weeks.  In working on my own goals, I thought it was time to talk on some of the subject associated with running a craft business, with trying to sell online.

Until next time... May GOD help you find the way to your income goals.

In Christ, Deb



Saturday, February 21, 2015

20 FEB 2015 :: Transitioning

If you have visited this blog before, you will notice some of the changes I have made in the page format. I added my profile information to the end of each blog for two reasons. One, because I haven't been able to change it. (Blogger seems to force the same profile across all the blogs you start here... I am trying to find a solution for that.)  And two, because I decided to include my Working Together (WT) links to the reference section.  The profile I made for my WT blog many years ago reflects the meaning behind Working Together.

I suppose Working Together is connected to almost everything I do...even crafts. For most of my life I wanted to be an at-home mom, so when my kids came, even though I was a single parent, I tried to find a way to create income at home.  My efforts were never as successful as I wanted them to be -- NEEDED them to be! -- but I kept looking.  I am hoping to find ways to help other parents to work from home, with greater success than I had.

It is part of my efforts for Working Together - to create income opportunities to replace the ones Christians are expected to lose as the End Times progress toward the Antichrist.  I am always looking for products that will help fund WT's goals and programs, especially income, employment, and member survival benefits like financial options, shelter, food, etc.  Crafts will become a part of that survival picture -- we will need to make most of what we need.

On the current blog, I still have issues with the Etsy shop widget from craftcult.com. It is way larger than I would like it to be.  When I first noticed a craftcult widget on another site, it was a lot smaller on the page. I haven't been able to find that smaller size yet.  It will be changed when I finally do.  :-)  If you know where to find one, please share that information with me in the comments section below.

I like the Treasury widget because it replaced the revolving one from Blogger that I had before, which had nothing to do with me or my activities. I love the talent and creative products I find on Etsy. I like to share them. I hope you will explore the ones you notice in the treasuries I will place there as the months go by.  (To view the individual items at their shop listing, you just have to click on the photo.)

Another change I made was the amount of blogs you see when you arrive.  I didn't like the long list of blog entries. As I was looking around the Blogger options, I discovered the ability to limit the number of posts readers see.  I chose one.  I hope this will work out better for readers, too.  Printing information is important to me.  Blogger allows better printing than some blogs I have found. Having one post available at any one time will make printing easier.

The length of each blog is another element I have been trying to work out.  I think two printed, back-to-back pages of reasonably reduced text is enough for one blog.  It makes for easier storage and referencing, too.  One of my current efforts is to figure out how much blog to write, and how much writing and photos will keep me within that goal.  If the topic is especially important, or needs more space, then it won't matter.  But for most of my blogging, I want to keep the length at a reasonable limit.

Blogging is a big commitment of time and thought.  I want to make sure WT is able to share information to its members and others in the public. This is why I am breaking my blogs into topics.  Eventually, each topic will be written on when something needs to be shared.  How to organize this is another work in progress.  :-)  

I hope you don't mind my sharing these changes and why they are being made.  It is my process, but I think sharing that process may help others who are wondering what it would be like to start blogging.  Each week I am getting better at the process myself, and hope you will bear with me as I improve.  Thanks... if GOD allows, I will be handing off the duties of Working Together and focus on my own blogging at a personal level.  Right now I am doing what I can to create the basics.

In Christ.
Deb

Friday, February 13, 2015

13 FEB 2015 :: Widgets to help you sell

You can see some changes to the blog page if you have been here before...

I discovered two "widgets" to try...  both for my Etsy shop...  one shows my listings and looks like it will lead the viewer to a purchase, if they want to buy something they see...  the other one displays a chosen Treasury that is associated with my shop.   I also placed the shop widget on my website for Working Together.  It is an exciting new discovery for me, which I have been sharing as much as I could.

I have been trying to increase my shop listings for some time, but all the other things I have to get done seem to distract me.  I am working to set up specific "Studio" hours for building up my inventory, but haven't decided which hours to commit to.  I am, however, changing my sleeping pattern and trying to reach a work day schedule of  6am to 10pm... meaning I will go to bed at ten and start my work-related activities about 6.  I may start setting my alarm for either 4am or 5am...to let me regain my personal Bible time and to listen to a radio program with Praise and Worship music at 5am.  This seems like a lot of thought about simple events, but committing to a schedule as a person that works at home is really an important decision.

I am excited that this widget for my shop listings is inspiring me to make more listings.  It will go through up to 200 of them.  I am wondering how long it would take me to reach that level.  :-)

The TREASURY widget is important because it is replacing that revolving display I had earlier. It shows Etsy products that I personally like, and it allows me to share what other sellers are making.  For my blog, that diversity is a way to reflect my purpose.

All of this is making my crafts blog more of an Etsy adventure...but time will help me to decide how I want to handle the craft sharing process.  Many of the Etsy shops lead to other places via their blogs and other social media links.  It is a big world. There are many talented creative people to discover.

For my website, I am trying to find the smaller version of this widget. I first noticed it at a Russian site I linked to... I think it was Russian, it was over there somewhere.  It would be much better as a smaller item.  The larger version is fine for my blog.


I haven't explored all the links on the widgets, or the buying process through this widget.  I will be doing that in the days to come.  If there are any problems, I may update this post with the information or I may put the information in a new post.

You can explore all the options available at the widget site ( craftcult.com ) for yourself...   If you know anyone that can benefit by this marketing option, share this blog link with them so they can see how it looks and click through the links. 

Don't forget to also click the follow button for this blog to keep up with updates.  It's at the  networkedblogs.com  section by the archives.

Happy Marketing !!! 


Saturday, February 07, 2015

6 FEB 2015 :: Extraordinary Embroidery

I have discovered a large number of really great crafts and talented creators since I have become a seller at Etsy.  In my personal browsing through forums and networking games, I noticed the photo below.  I don't remember seeing anything this beautiful in embroidery.

The crafter is Lorna Bateman and she lives in the United Kingdom.  The item shown in the photo has been sold, but there are other examples of her work at  this link .  She offers kits to learn how to do this kind of art.  I am not familiar with "stumpwork," which may be the European name for it, but it is beautiful.



 
 This is a kit for an English Needlecase in Lorna's shop. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I discovered the next photos on Facebook posts.  Most of the creators seems to be in the area of Russia and Ukraine.  I wasn't able to tell if these are created from kits or made totally by the artists, but talent is still required to make these beautiful finished artworks.  I doubt I would be able to make anything near the quality of these works.  I hope you like these designs as much as I did.  You can follow the links to find more samples of this craft.
  
 This is her cover photo since 31 JAN 2015.        
Aren't the beaded berries wonderful.         
 
This photo has another name on it,
but came from Tetiana's page, I think.
Isn't it beautiful.... so fragile, muted, elegant.


 
   This photo identified the strawberries
     as an example of "crewel" embroidery.

 
Posted on Tetiana's FB page;
photo from Mehtap Gacar's FB page.
 
I thought these ribbon roses made this look elegant, special.
 
 
This looks like a wedding necklace....
  
Julya Vorontsova      
FB post on 3 FEB 2015;     
Tetiana Korobeinyk photo     
 

I could have searched for and posted many more examples of these kinds of embroidery... but I stopped myself with these. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

30 JAN 2015 :: Sharing some of my favorite crafted items from Etsy

This new effort in blogging is creating learning challenges for me...but I hope to find a way through as quickly as possible.  After a long week of trying to find a topic for this post, I will share some of my recent favorite item on Etsy, tell you how to find them, and share why I chose them.



Below is one item I hearted today as I was searching for a topic for this blog post.  It is from the Etsy shop titled :  Debra's Divine Designs.  She takes the wings of real butterflies and incorporates them into her jewelry designs.  The blue button that holds this wrap bracelet closed is the butterfly component.  What I liked about this listing is the great photo presentation, the faceted beads which are identified as smoky crystals, and the brown strands connecting everything together (which is noted as "distressed brown leather cord" in the description.  The additional photos only make it look even better.  In online selling, photos are everything.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/201558435/smoky-crystal-brown-leather-triple-wrap





Another item I discovered in my search for today's blog post is the stained glass box below.  Wendy Joy is the listed crafter at W Joy Designs.  She makes a variety of items, including other stained glass objects, jewelry, mosaics, and candles.  I originally went to her shop because of a sun catcher I noticed somewhere.  (I am thinking of my own kind of window elements and am trying to find a price range for this kind of product.)   I was greatly impressed with the box and the bright color.   It seemed like a wonderful item to possess -- and to hide personal treasures in.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/101548452/emerald-green-stained-glass-jewelry




Below is another item I really liked at the Etsy shop called Whispering Metalworks where Kelly Houle is listed as the shop crafter.  I am very fond of recycled creations, and the craft world is beginning to make amazing things out of wood, cloth, metal, glass, and other recyclable materials. I am  always looking for the best ones.

Creating new objects with old silverware is a developing craft.  I have seen all kinds of kitchen metal made into wind chimes, and now I have discovered a very talented person who makes forks into shapes that look good and are useful.  This business card holder is very unique looking and makes me smile.  It reminds me of an octopus with the wavy tines.  I love it! 

If you follow the link to her shop, you will be able to see many other items made with knives, forks, and spoons.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/189607275/funky-fork-business-card-holder-recipe




Finally, for today, I wanted to share a painted cup because of the design, which I think looks like a wolf.  Against the black of the cup, the design stands out.  This item is from the shop Jasmine's Treasures LLC, where Renee Stewart is listed as the shop owner, but the About page shares that it is a mother-daughter (and granddaughter) enterprise.  It makes me think of endangered animals and groups that protect animals, but you can make an order to have your pet painted on a cup for yourself if you want.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/194462685/wolf-coffee-mug-hand-painted-black


Creative talent is varied and diverse...varied by the craft, diverse in how the craft/talent is applied.  I am always inspired when I explore the shops at Etsy.  I hope you enjoyed this small sample.



Saturday, January 24, 2015

23 JAN 2015 :: Etsy shops

Since Etsy is a website for those who create art, jewelry, clothing, food, and other handcrafted items, it will be one of my frequent post topics.  I thought I may as well highlight some of the ways Etsy helps crafters to sell their products.  If you want to explore Etsy on your own, you can use the search box on the main page  ( http://www.etsy.com ) to find the listings that are available using the terms you choose to find your desired item.

In this blog post, I will be providing links to my shop pages as examples of the main sales and marketing presentations Etsy includes.  There are many parts of an Etsy shop that can be accessed by the public.  You will be able to follow more links from my pages to reach other shops and products.  I hope you will be as amazed by the talent at Etsy as I was. 



I officially signed up with Etsy as a sales opportunity at the end of May 2014.   My time since signing up has been busy learning how it works, and trying to plan what to do as 2015 unfolds.  I don't have many listing right now, I am working on building up my shop.

Commerce sites on the internet offer a variety of resources for their sellers.  Etsy offers a number of blogs that share information on developing your shop, seller forums to connect with other sellers, and teams for sellers to gather in smaller groups with similar interests.  There are also paid advertising opportunities to try.  These activities help sellers reach each other as well as the public.

How well you will sell on Etsy, and how quickly, can depend on a lot of different things, including what you sell and how you market it.  Everyone has to learn how to reach their customers, but helping each other to sell their products is also part of the process at Etsy.

One of the shared selling strategies at Etsy
is marking individual items or shops as your favorite.

These can be collected as categories like food, jewelry, crochet, kitchen, vintage.  You decide what categories of products are important to you.  My categories are changing, but the main ones are similar to the crafts I want to make and sell.  They help me to see what the competition is, what prices are like, what is selling, how to find the shop again, and other important information.  The favorite process also helps to market other seller's products (and yours).

You can see my favorite page here :: https://www.etsy.com/people/work2gather/favorites

Another way to let others know which Etsy products you like best is a "Treasury."  Treasuries are a special grouping of 16 listing photos with links to the item and to the shop.  Each photo includes the listing price or a note that it has sold.  Treasuries change as items are sold, as shops go on vacation, as listings are eliminated.


Etsy is going through a lot of changes it seems. I don't know what it was like before I became a seller, but it seems that when you link to a shop, it takes you to what is called the "Profile" page.

My profile page is  here ::  https://www.etsy.com/people/work2gather

You can see the Profile page offers links to the shop owners favorite listings and favorite shops, their Treasuries, teams they belong to, some of their shop listings and a link to their shop page, plus a description they have created to tell you about themselves.  You can see why Etsy has created this page as the first link to a seller... it lets you decide what you want to discover about the shop and the seller/s from this one page.

There are other links to explore on the shop's main page.  I love the About page because it is the personal story about the owner and what they make. It allows photos, rotating photos, to see what a seller wants to share about their craft or shop. If I had partners, employees, or a manufacturer for any of my items, they would be listed on the About page.

You can see my About page here ::  https://www.etsy.com/shop/work2gather/about

Connecting to social media and creating a blog that links to your Etsy shop are also efforts to reach customers.  Over the course of time, sellers are able to reach different kinds of people who may want to purchase their items for sale.  Etsy currently lets you connect with Facebook and Twitter on the main shop page, but is increasing its social media on the listings pages with Pinterest and Tumblr. I assume more links to social media will be available in the future. The About page also includes the opportunity to link to the sellers blog.



Try to explore the links to my shop and other Etsy sellers. 
I hope to share some of these shops more deeply in future blog posts. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

16 JAN 2015 :: Wall sculpting - amazing art

I was looking at a Facebook site today and I noticed a video link about making artistic designs directly on a wall. The title talked about wallboard designs and I couldn't figure out how that could be done to create the scene in the photo... a beautiful mountain scene with evergreens, rocks, and some kind of large fish I thought.

When I followed the link it went to a You Tube video demonstrating how the scene was created by the artist (Bernie Mitchell). The links are below for you to explore. I will try to add photos before I post.

At You Tube I notices a number of other videos to see... and that they were posted as far back as 2009. I had no idea this decorating option existed.

I hope this was OK to do, but I uploaded this photo from Bernie Mitchell's Facebook page. It is a great sample of what this blog is about. Isn't it amazing to see this kind of sculpture on a wall.




This is the link to this photo ::
https://www.facebook.com/ArtisticDrywallByBernieMitchell/photos/a.577084858988662.1073741828.577067368990411/905953692768442/?type=1


If you follow the ART RELIEF link you will find a short presentation of a variety of designs, some created to look like abstract framed art. I liked the first design, which looks like some kind of wave, and the second design that looks like a giant tulip or rose on a special wall. You will have to explore these designs links for yourself.

I added the Randy Detjen links because they were also on You Tube and offer another look into the creation of these art works in a home.


I hope you are as amazed as I am to see this opportunity and the talent that makes it.  I liked the idea of creating these designs for regular framing... and thought of shadow boxes that are deep and would protect these designs a little better.

I wondered what kind of design I would like to have in my home, and what room it would be best in. I always loved the world maps on walls that I have seen...but they were in marble. I can't remember the name of the store that had them, but it was an educational toys store. I'm not sure where I would put that size of a map, but if I had my own library, it might be on a wall there.

What would you like to see in your home?





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link to demonstration video with Bernie Mitchell
from mid 2012
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV4mxN8MLz0&feature=youtu.be

link to Bernie Mitchell's Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/ArtisticDrywallByBernieMitchell?fref=ts

=====================================================

You Tube link to
Art Relief   --  from 2011
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzWoHt_6qUU

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2009 interview with Randy Detjen showing some of his work
http://youtu.be/bhwoW28I-Zs

What A Relief  -  Randy Detjen  --  business page with videos about how he makes his artworks.
http://whatarelief.biz/index.html