Sunday, August 2, 2009

August, Schmaugust

Some two or so months later, Sunday night, 9:44 p.m.

I thought a new post was in order, to let you all know that I reached my 100th sale on ETSY this past Monday (July 27)! And, I've got a fantastic feedback rating to boot. I was ecstatic to see the following on my shop page:

Feedback: 100, 100% positive

I think this was motivation to kick start me into gear again.

To my good fortune, my son's baseball coach mercifully moved our Saturday game to Monday evening, when we would have practiced anyway. That left Saturday as a completely free day--which made me wonder what I did on Saturdays before baseball. For the uninitiated, baseball for 5 year-olds entails two practices during the week, and two games on the weekend, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday.

Another sign that it was time to get going: the weather was beautiful on Saturday. But you live in Hawaii, you say! Yes, but this summer, it has been raining practically every day, to my son's chagrin--because his summer vacation was somewhat dampened, literally.

So, I set out to take yet another set of photos of my jewelry. I know. It has been excruciating, this process of working with my camera. First, I have zero photography skills and knowledge, which means that I generally leave the settings on automatic and press the button. Second, I don't have one of those fancy Canon SLR cameras that everyone talks about. And third, even if I had the fancy camera, I still wouldn't know how to use it.

In the end, I got some shots that I felt were not bad. Why all the fuss? At the moment, there are 48,421 pages of jewelry listings on ETSY, making it one of the most competitive categories on the site.

Then, I forced my two boys to go outside and play. No Wii! I said. No TV! I told them. And while they were outside entertaining themselves with Star Wars and CARS toys, I sat myself down at my desktop and started listing my first four jewelry pieces.

Here is a photo of one of the earrings I listed for sale:

And, just to see if it would be accepted, I submitted a different photo of the same earrings to a website called CRAFTGAWKER ( This is a spin-off of the uber popular FOODGAWKER site ( The name pretty much says it all...check it out and I promise you that you'll be hungry! This is a moderated site and after holding my breath all submission was accepted, and my photo made it to the Home Page of the site! Here is a preview of the photo that I submitted:

What do you think?

I couldn't figure out how to paste the Craftgawker HOME page for you all to see. Please check it out, the photos of everyone's work is beautifully done.

Remember way back--when I had hoped to get my jewelry posted in time for Mother's Day? Ha! Well, it's August. August, Schmaugust. The start of the fall season, the school year, and a seasonal reminder that yet another year is quickly moving along and will soon be over.

And, for those of us who craft and hope to sell our wares--the holiday season is quickly approaching. This, of course, means there are more pieces to make, and more photos to take!

Get busy, all you fellow artisans!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Monthlong Vacation

Saturday Night, 10:30 p.m.

I've had a long vacation from posting on this blog--my last post was on April 20, 2009. Perhaps you think I was up to my eyeballs doing something important and meaningful. Like making tons of new jewelry pieces. Or honing my photography skills for the web. Or organizing my craft room. And filing away all of my mail.

Truth be told, it wasn't any of that. The reality is....I simply ran out of steam. Lost momentum. During the past month, I chose to do all of the things that I haven't been able to do in a long, long time. Like sleep. Many nights I've turned in by 10:30 p.m. Unheard of! Obviously, I haven't been very productive (because my productive time is usually after everyone goes to bed....usually after 10 p.m.) but I sure do feel great in the morning!

Also, I rarely watch TV. Don't have the time, and besides, Luna doesn't like to relinquish control of the remote control. Well, over the last month, I've developed an addiction to the show "Without a Trace"--a crime drama starring Anthony LaPaglia that centers around the investigation of missing people. It's on practically every night on TNT. I just realized that I am actually watching really old re-runs of the show.

I told my Dad tonight, "I just saw the episode where Jack Malone got shot."

He said, "That's a really old episode".

That's how much I watch TV.

So, now we all know that I've been sleeping the time away and watching TV crime dramas. But, you ask, is there anything at all that I've done over the past month that is remotely productive?

Why, yes! We've started to paint the exterior of the house, and have continued our landscaping on the side of the house. In my last blog post, I posted a photo of our puakenikeni tree. Our tree is doing very well, we've had several flowers bloom already! Below is a photo of the first bloom from our tree:

In this photo, Luna, who has an incredible green thumb and great eye for landscape design, is putting orchid bark around our newly planted trees to define the area (with my son and niece as his audience):

Hopefully by my next post we'll be done with the repainting of the exterior. For now, I'm off to rest and elevate my right hand, which is cramping up from holding the paintbrush while doing the trim work around the house. Oh! Maybe I'll catch an episode of my favorite new (old) show....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Spring, Everyone!

Monday afternoon, 2:40 p.m.

Whether or not this is backed by any actual evidence, it seems as though we have had a very long winter--rain, rain and more rain! So when the sun made an appearance out the last two weekends, work got done around here!

In our front entryway, we laid the extra tile we had from our renovation. We chose a beautiful, warm limestone tile called "Inca Gold" to go throughout the entire house. The local supplier didn't have enough material, so we special ordered the balance from Saudi Arabia, and it pushed our move-in date back a whopping three months!

I should have taken a "before" photo. Anyway, this is how our new and improved entryway looks from the front door:

Don't you just love the kiddie bench?

And, we also started to take out the existing landscaping on the side of the house. We are leaving some of the plants, but removing 90% of what is already there. Our first task was planting our favorite tree, the puakenikeni. This flower is our favorite--it blooms a pale peach color, and turns bright, vibrant orange, and gives off a beautiful scent. We had three of these trees at our first house, and we were able to fill our house with bowls of these blooms. Simply said, these flowers make me happy.

Local wisdom says that you need to plant these trees in the front of your house, because they like to "show off". We will probably end up planting another one in the front, but we haven't worked our way there yet...

Here is a photo of my 16-month old, helping us with our spring gardening:

And a close-up photo of the beloved puakenikeni, now firmly planted in the ground:

I took this photo yesterday (Sunday) and this morning, one of the buds had started to bloom. So exciting! Also, I am thinking of somehow incorporating this image into my banner for my ETSY shop, if I can figure out how to do it....

In addition to the outside gardening that I have been tending to, I have been crafting my jewelry pieces like a mad lady! I still only have a few pieces, because if it is not absolutely right, I go back and take the entire thing apart. At a recent bead show, I purchased a strand of the most amazing rutilated quartz briolettes:

Let's see if the pieces I make can do these justice!

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Friday, 12:19 p.m.

I've had quite a long break from this blog. Since my last post, have you noticed that I've changed the layout of my blog? I've been experiencing some, ahem, technical difficulties with some of the fonts and colors in my older is a work in progress....

Here are some other status updates:

Shop sales- 90!
Bathroom renovation: no progress!
Outdoor fixes to our house: currently in progress but being hindered by inclement weather--photos to be posted later.

Now, moving along....

Two weeks ago, my mom retired from her Federal Government job. At the same time, it was also her birthday! We planned a lovely surprise birthday/retirement party for her. Amazingly, it remained a surprise up until the very end, although she became a bit suspicious that weekend because I insisted on going to brunch when I had a very bad head cold....

It was a small, intimate party with about 40 guests. The weather was perfect and all the guests were ON TIME! A thing of beauty when everything goes as planned. To dress up the tables, I decided on a very simple centerpiece, one that was both easy to put together and economical. Since my mom has a prolific green thumb, and her suburban back yard is lush with greenery, I decided to run with the "gardening" theme.

I bought some mint herb plants from Wal-Mart, placed them in a terra cotta pot, and tied a satin ribbon around the pot. Here is a photo of a row of the centerpieces in my kitchen before the party:

I thought they looked great--and I did receive many compliments at the party, so I guess they turned out okay!

Well, since spring has arrived, and because we are on the "gardening" theme, here are two items on my wish list, found while browsing on ETSY:

LOVE this birdhouse, cottage style, in butter yellow. I can see it somewhere in my backyard (or my Mom's!). This one is made by "baconsquarefarm" but sadly, it has sold. It's no was priced at just $15. They craft very cute birdhouses in other colors and styles, but this one was my favorite.

And, this pot by "PotteryPeddler" for some of my smaller plants. I have some dendrobium orchids that would fit in this and look great:

Hope this post makes everyone want to go outside and enjoy the start of spring. If I don't post before Sunday (what are the chances?), have a Happy Easter!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Delinquent, Again!

Friday Night, 11:12 p.m.

Well, I did it again. Two weeks in a row, neglecting to post my Thursday Night Picks timely. But I'm back, albeit late....

Shop update--71 sales!

And more shop talk: I had an order come in this past week for 11 wet bags and some fabric. Yes, 11 bags from a single order! I'd like to share a photo of the bags packaged up and ready to ship (with my personalized stamp, of course!):

Moving on. Since I'll be starting to list my jewelry soon (hopefully...I need to learn how to navigate the manual settings on my camera) I have been thinking about what kind of image I want to project in my shop. In my baby business, my logo and lettering were in soothing sage green and grey. Appropriate, I think, for the baby biz. For my jewelry, I wanted to do something different.

So--I decided on orange. Orange, you ask? OK, then, let's call it tangerine. Tangerine and espresso. I realize that in the order of things, this is probably not the most pressing issue facing me as I try to brand my shop. one ever called me a business genius.

Off to the craft store I go. I find the perfect color cardstock in 12"x12" sheets and buy 5 sheets. Then, I get a stamp pad in chocolate brown. At home, I cut cards the size of business cards (2" x 3 1/2") to use as calling cards, thank you cards, cards, of course! One sheet yielded me 15 business sized cards! Then, I hand-stamped the cards with my customized stamp.

Which brings me to my (now delinquent) "Thursday Night Pick"--my one scrapbooking tool that I cannot do without, the tool that I probably get the most use out of.....

My Marvy Uchida "Corner Punch"! This little punch costs about $7 but can give your projects, cards, etc. a beautiful finish. I love how the rounded edges look so....polished.

Here is a photo of my beloved Marvy Corner Punch:

And, here is a photo of my cards, complete with rounded edges, ready for business!

No, the stamping is not perfect. And the cards are not exactly uniform and the same size. But, hey, this is all about being handmade, right?

I'm sure hoping I get some orders for my jewelry. My second "pick" for the week are plain Kraft boxes that I found on ETSY. This listing was just what I was looking for, a lot
in a relatively small quantity (25). I couldn't find them locally at all, and other places online, although cheaper by the piece, required a minimum order of 100 pieces. That would be way bullish of me, to order 100, wouldn't it??? I plan on packaging my jewelry orders in these boxes, after I customize them with my shop name.

Here is a photo of the boxes that I ordered from "notablenotions":

Next on my agenda: finding unique (and hopefully economical!) ways to display my jewelry for my ETSY listings. Thanks for visiting and check back in for more updates!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sticker Mania!

Monday night, 9:33 p.m.

Surprisingly, I am finding some quiet time on a Monday night (it's usually so hectic!) to blog. It's been on my mind because I was supposed to post my "Thursday Night Picks" this past Friday, and well, never got around to it.

Just an update about my ETSY store my last post, I had 45 sales. Four days later, I now have 62 sales!!! As promised, I am having a celebratory sale....see my shop for details!

Another update...I received my custom stamp from a fellow Etsian from Hawaii, "foryoo". I'm going to use some leftover 2" round labels as seals for my packaging, stamped with my shop name. The stamp came packaged beautifully, in protective bubble wrap. After anxiously opening my package, here is what awaited me:

And, here is a photo of the stamped labels. I stamped them in lime green and in black. I think I prefer the contrast of the black better....

I've used them on a few orders that came in over the weekend, and I think it adds so much to the look and presentation!

So, continuing on with the paper theme, I've decided that my "Thursday Night Picks" from last week are for paper goods (and paper-related goods) that I'm going to use for my shop.

Confession: I am a Wal-Mart regular. There is always something to buy at Wal-Mart, whether it be necessity or...not so necessary. While browsing around the Internet, I'd seen many shops selling pretty stickers and I thought--(like crafters do), hey, I can do that myself! So, down the scrapbooking aisle at Wal-Mart I go. And, I find the Xyron 1.5" create-a-sticker (TM) doodad for $9.08. What a bargain for the hundreds of stickers I'll be making!

So, the Xyron is one of my picks--I've pictured it with some pretty scrapbooking paper from s.e.i. that I had lying around.

For those of you who don't know, here's how it works:

1. Put any cutout (1.5" maximum size) into the opening at the top of the "X".
2. Pull the tape at the bottom.
3. When you see your cutout, tear the tape.
4. Rub the film around the edges of your cutout. Peel the film off, and you've got your sticker!

It's super easy...literally, a 5-year old can do it--my son did!

And then, of course, you can't make your stickers without pretty paper. I found some beautiful Amy Butler paper from "paperpeddler" on Etsy (of course!). I've used Amy Butler fabrics in my baby line and have kept every single scrap piece of fabric. I cannot bring myself to part with even the teeniest piece of her fabrics....I always think that I can make something beautiful with it (when I have the time, of course!).

Here is a photo of the paper that I purchased on Etsy--also a "Thursday Night pick":

When I receive the paper, I'll be going sticker happy!

Thanks for tuning in. I'll be back in a few days--good night!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

So the Story Goes...

Thursday night, 11:53 p.m.

I'm going to back up a little. By now, you have probably surmised that at one point in time, I had a crafting business in which I made baby apparel and accessories. Before my sewing frenzy began, Luna let me buy a Bernina sewing machine. Not the top of the line embroidery/sewing machine combo, but the top of the line regular machine. It was pricey (compared to other brands you can find for a few hundred) but, oh, how I loved it! Every night after my 3-year old went to bed, there I was, at the sewing machine.....

But after making about 100 burp cloths, 200 wet bags, countless appliqued onesies, baby blankets and changing mats, Bernina and I had a bit of a falling out. Since we moved (in October of 2008), she has been recessed in my sewing machine cabinet and has not made a single appearance out to date!

After making all that inventory, I exhibited my line at the local "Baby Expo". It was great, there were tons of people, but it was expensive and I was pregnant!!! I wanted to share with you a photo of my booth at the local expo:

I had a successful show, but I was absolutely exhausted at the end of those two days and feeling sick (morning sickness). And that was when Bernina officially went into hiatus.

Then, many months later, I wandered into a local bead store and the rest, as they say, is history. I fell in love with beads, wire, chain....

Which brings us up to date. Since I had some leftover inventory from when Bernina and I were still friends, I opened my ETSY shop, where I am liquidating my current inventory:

So far, my sales from my ETSY shop have been great--since last Thursday (when I had 27 sales), I now log in at 45 sales! When I sell my 50th item, I think I'll have a celebratory sale!

Since my inventory is quickly being whittled down, I've devoted some time to think about the style and image I want for my jewelry shop. As you recall, I wanted to "brand" my store (which currently has no real brand or identity). Last week I ordered a custom stamp with my shop name on it. I didn't receive the actual stamp yet, but I'll show you the proof of the image so you can get a little preview....

I'm so happy with the way it looks and can't wait to get it--I have a stamp pad ready and waiting!

Well, I have some ideas for my Thursday night picks, but I'm going to defer my picks until tomorrow. I'm planning to go to the craft store to pick them up. (I know my 6 followers are so disappointed). Check back in!

Good night!