Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sign of the Times

Every year I look forward to the Annual Art Shows that are held on Sanibel Island. They usually offer some very unique items and it is fun to see what every one is making this year. And the Art is usually phenomenal.

The Sanibel Rotary usually holds their 3 day show in February. This year I was away on the weekend it was held so I was not able to attend. The Lions Club has their show in March. This year it is this weekend. I visited the show yesterday.

As usual there were so many nice things to see. We did purchase a totem pole for out by the pool. The art and photography was exquisite as always. But as a person who makes jewelry, that is where my main focus was. My husband knows that he either has to wait or go on without me. I will be a while at the jewelry booths.

The first thing that caught my attention was the prices. Several of the designers had significantly lower prices than in past years. Some even had their original signage up with the price crossed through and the new price written in. At first glance you could think it was a marketing strategy. But judging by the prices I don't think that was the case entirely.

I did talk to several of the vendors. They did say that the traffic through the event was good and sales were fair to moderate depending on who I talked to. Some did tell me that sales were down at other shows and so they were marking down some items to move inventory. The one thing I did notice is that the vendors with lampwork beads and designs seemed to be doing a little better than those with gems and crystals. And for good reason because some of the lampwork designs were extraordinary.

So the message I came away with is that everyone is having to reduce prices on some items to entice sales. But for those who are still buying they are looking for something out of the ordinary and mid price range. The one purchase I witnessed as I was shopping was for a beautiful bracelet with lots of dangles made with lampwork beads (similar to the bracelets made by Risky Beads that is pictured at the top of this post) and the price was $65 which is a good price for the amount of time and beads in this particular piece.

For those of us selling we need to price our items fairly but not so low that we can not afford to continue to do what we do. And for those of us buying there are some good bargains to be had.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Adorable Hats

Aren't those the most adorable hats you have ever seen??? I thought they were. I certainly would have loved to have hats like that when my kids were young. OK, I know I raised them in Florida and it doesn't get that cold. But there were some days when I would have killed for them to keep something on their heads to keep their ears warm. All I could find were the knit caps and they pulled them off as fast as I put them on. At least if it looked cute and fun I might have stood a chance.

I know it is officially Spring and we are looking forward to warmer days and wearing shorts and tee shirts. But every time I see these hats on ArtFire they make me smile. And hopefully I have a few readers who are in the cooler parts of the globe. Not everyone is putting their sweaters away just yet.

So take a look at these adorable hats. They are made by Miss D at Custom Cosplay on ArtFire. I am sure she would be thrilled to send you one to keep your little ones ears warm and cozy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Craft Show

I have sold my jewelry at a couple of church bazaars during the holiday season last year. That was a great experience and really prepared me to launch out and try an honest to goodness Art Fair.

So yesterday I took my dog and pony show to an Arts and Craft Fair in the Park in Fort Myers, Florida. There were approximately 20 vendors at this fair. I was a little disappointed as I thought it would be a little bit bigger. But the park was on a main street and they did have a large banner out so it did attract a fair amount of traffic.

Prior to the this event I did read as much as I could about selling at fairs and I posted inquires in forum on ArtFire and the forum on ArtFire Jewelry Artists and Supplies Shops Guild of which I am a member. I received a wealth of good advice and hints from my fellow artisans which really helped me out. And whoever told me to bring duct tape was a real lifesaver. It was a breezy day and without the duct tape I would not have been able to use a couple of my displays. But the duct tape on the bottom kept them secured to the table cloth. And the table cloth clamps kept them in place so I was good to go.

I had a steady stream of people milling around under my tent. I had read somewhere that it is good to put your table at the back of your tent to get people to come in and look around. That did seem to work out well for me. And then I had items on both side of the tent so there was plenty to see and if someone was in one area when another person walked up there was still items they could look at too. The only thing I forgot, and it wasn't on my list, was my camera. I really wanted to get pictures of my booth all set up. So I guess that means I just have to do it again.

I sold a few necklaces and bracelets so it was a good day. I was able to cover my entry fee and still make some bead money. As I told someone, I can't buy the house on the beach yet but now I can buy more beads. And for me that is a good thing.

For my fellow artisans, the necklaces that I sold all had pendants on them. And the bracelets were all woven bead patterns. I didn't sell any earrings which was kind of surprising to me. It could have been the way they were displayed. I had them hanging from different items. I think for my next show I will take the time to put them on cards and get something to hang them on. I think that way people can get a better idea of how they will look on. Or maybe it's just how they are used to seeing them displayed.

Lastly, I was able to network with fellow artisans and I did get some good leads on some shows for the fall. And I just loved talking and interacting with all the people who came to see my jewelry. It was a very positive experience and I look forward to doing it again.

The picture above is one of the necklaces I sold. The pendant is pink turquoise magnesite and the necklace is salmon agate and onyx. I also sold a similar one that I had not even photographed yet. It had a yellow rectangle pendant and the necklace was oval yellow turquoise beads with silver spacers and green bicones. The pendant had some green in it as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ArtFire Jewelry Artists and Supply Shops Guild

One of the great parts of belonging to the ArtFire Community is that you get to interact with so many talented artists by participating in the forum discussions. And you also get to share ideas, learn from each other, support each other and just have fun. But for those times when you really want to ask questions, get help, share idea or just have fun with people who are engaged in the same craft activity you are you need to join a guild.

I have joined the ArtFire Jewelry Artists and Supply Shops Guild. It was started several weeks ago and is still in it's developing stages. We still are feeling our growing pains but I know it will grow, just like ArtFire has, and that it will provide me with the encouragement and support I often need. And I hope I can be there to offer the same to the other members.

So I would like to post a Spotlight that I made on By Hand with some of the featured items that members of our guild have posted. If you are a jewelry artist or a supplier on ArtFire and you would like to join this guild you can find info in the guild area on ArtFire. I think you will like it there and I look forward to meeting more artists along the way.

In this spotlight from right to left are

1. Nature Whispers
2. Liberty Doll
3. Bead Lady 5
4. Creative Haven
5. Suz Bax a.k.a. Jewelry To Keep
6. Gem Kitty
7. Bacis Creations
8. Catinalife
9. Caly's Jewelry Creations

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting Ready for Spring

Spring is right around the corner. I can see signs of it all around me. The biggest is that all of our orchids are blooming. That is probably the only thing I like about the cold snaps that we get here in SW Florida. Once we get a nice cold snap and then it warms back up all the orchids begin to bloom. They bloom at other times of the year but then they take turns. But now all of them are in one stage or another of blooming. So we will have beautiful blooms to look at for several more weeks.

Another sure sign that Spring is approaching is I have been able to wear shorts and a tee shirt all day long. And the flannel pajamas are washed and in the back of the pj drawer. So I am a very happy camper. I am not a winter person. I must say that it has warmed up very quickly though. It seems like I was just complaining about how cold it was and not I have the ceiling fans on and have seriously contemplated putting the air conditioning on.

So to get everyone in the mood for Spring I am going to post my new jewelry that I made with spring in mind. I am going to try and post using the spotlight that I created on By Hand. I am really having a good time on that site. I love to window shop and see what everyone has posted. And when you window shop it just shows you random items so you never know what is going to pop up. And sometimes you even see some of your own stuff. So that is one good reason to make spotlights. Hopefully others are seeing your stuff too. And another good thing about spotlights is they are an easy way to share several items at one time with someone. You can post them on your blog, on facebook, on found handmade and actually anywhere you can paste in an html code.

So here is my newest creations just for Spring. And start making your spotlights today and share them with everyone you know. I also make some with items from different artisans on ArtFire to show off a variety of items too. It's fun. And if you click on items in a spotlight it will take you to rapid cart so you can see details and even purchase it if you like. What more could you ask for.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Online Jewelry Party

I saw this idea in the ArtFire forums several weeks ago as a way to get people to your site and to boost sales. I thought it was an awesome idea. So I am launching it today.

Here is how it will work.....

Mary decides she will host an online jewelry party for my studio. She picks the dates she wants her party to run. I recommend one week. That gives her friends plenty of time to visit the site but doesn't drag on forever.

Next she sends out invitations to all her friends. I would recommend sending out both email and snail mail invitations. I will provide an invitation that can be printed out on your home computer and forwarded via email explaining how this process works.

For Mary's efforts she will receive any item worth $20 if she has at least 5 people who "attend" her party. She will receive an additional $10 to spend if 2 or more of her attendees book a party to host. Lastly, Mary will receive 10% of total sales at the party to spend as well. So if Mary has several friends purchase items, she will be able to get some nice jewelry free just for inviting her friends to an online party.

I will also give friends the option to show that they attended the party by sending me an email via my contact button in my studio. That way Mary gets credit for them viewing the site without the person having to purchase anything.

I invite everyone to feel free to try this out. We can all share ideas that work and those that didn't. I think this could help all of us to increase traffic to our own sites and to ArtFire in general.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March ArtFire Giveaway at Risky Beads

Risky Beads does the best giveaways. I know because I have been the lucky recipient of her generosity. That's in another blog if you want to know more about it.

Here is the March ArtFire Giveaway. Once again there are so many great items that you can win. And you get to view so many cool shops on ArtFire when you enter.

This month's prize consists of these fabulous gifts: Shamrock shaped Green Clover & Aloe Candles by Soy Scentual, a jar of Pamper Your Hiney Lime Cooler Lotion from Shine Your Hiney Soap, a bar of Lime Margarita Salt Bar Soap from soapdeli, The Birds, set of 6 cards by Barbara Neely Designs, Run of Luck Shamrock vinyl wall decal by studiojk, an Irish Flag Shamrock Luggage ID Handle Wrap from Binhog Designs, a 5x7 print of Dandelion by Joanna's Photography, a Swarovski Emerald and Clear Bicone Inline Bracelet by Alisun's Custom Crafted Jewelry, a Tiny Green Aventurine Pendant by RockyCreek Gems & Gifts, and Emerald Acorns earrings from my shop, Risky Beads. Finally, the products are being photographed on an Olive Green Baby Ruched Tote Bag from jennyndesigns. Please see this listing to see the style of the bag. It's just a smaller version! There's also a tube of Creme de Menthe lip balm from Nella Scents thrown in as a freebie! These products retail for $160.00!!!

So hurry on over to the Risky Beads blog and see what you have to do to enter. I guarantee it will be worth your time and effort.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hurray for the By Hand Giveaway

Enter through March 18th to win ALL of the following prizes listed: Choker Necklace with Glass Beads Set into a Greeting Card - $6.99 - from Twilight's Fancy, Tin of Breakfast Blend Tea and Tea Sacs - $19.50 - from LiberTeas, Two 9oz. Palm Wax Candles in Cran-Orange Delight and Pure Indulgence - $20 - from Jennuine Candles, Clean Cotton Soap - $4.50 - from Hartley Soap Co., Winner's Choice of Three Sheets of Personalized Labels - $16.50 - from Bohtieque Design, Square Glass Tile Wanderer Pendant - $8.50 - from Ela Steel, Needlefelted Bear - $15 - from EJ Crafts, Millefiori Polymer Clay Girl Doll Key Chain - $7 - from Ben-David's Art Studio, and a Matted 5"x7" Angel Amongst Us Photo Print - $10 - from Melissa Butler Photography. The grand total of all prizes is $103.49! This contest is open worldwide to participants age 18 and up. The winner is responsible for any taxes or custom fees that may be applied to receive their prize. The contest will end on March 18, 2009 at 11:59pm EST.
Go to for details on how to enter this giveaway.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Time For a Tea Party

I am sure you have seen all the news articles about the health benefits of drinking tea. I love the web page Real Age. It is written by Drs. Oz and Roizen. I like it because as a health care professional myself, I think the advice there is honest, practical and based on scientific findings and not just promotional in nature.

There are several postings there about the health benefits of drinking tea. There has been an abundance of writings about the benefits of drinking green tea. Some of the studies suggest that drinking green tea on a regular basis will help you to maintain your memory, improve your blood pressure and decrease your risk for developing cancer. There are some that suggest that drinking green tea can even help you to maintain a healthy weight although that link has not been as strongly proven as the others.

But just recently I read that black tea also has some nice health benefits, especially for women. It turns out that drinking black tea can reduce a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer. And drinking black tea also has been shown to reduce the risk, for both men and women, of developing Parkinson's Disease.

So, while just drinking tea because it tastes good is incentive enough for plenty of people, there are now more good reasons to enjoy this health improving drink.

And if you are looking for some really good tea to enjoy while you are reaping all the health benefits it has to offer, check out Liberteas studio on ArtFire. There are several blends to choose from and they all sound yummy to me. The pictures in this post are all from Liberteas studio as well. From top to bottom they are: Masterpiece Chai Spiced Black Tea, Breakfast in Bed Flavored Black Tea and Potpourri Gunpowder Green Tea. If you click on the pictures it will take you to them in Liberteas ArtFire Studio

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Handmade Sites

There are two new hand made sites making a splash on the Internet. And the best part is they are promoting handmade art work rather than selling which is refreshing.

The first site is By Hand. It can be found at

This site has so many features you could spend hours there and not be bored. There is an artisan directory where you can look up specific artisans and view what they have posted. There are community forums where discussions can take place on a variety of topics. And there are clubhouses where people with like interests can discuss specific topics and common interests.

But the features I like the most are window shopping and spotlights. You can click on window shopping and the site randomly displays items that are posted on the site. If you see something you like you click on it to get more information about it. Or you just keep clicking and get more items to view. It's like seeing the whole store from your chair.

Spotlights has to be my favorite part of By Hand. A spotlight is any group of nine items that you wish to display on the site. You give your spotlight a title and then post the items. For instance, I made a spotlight titled "It's a Dog's Life" and posted various items made by ArtFire artisans that were for dogs. I also made another one titled "Here Comes the Bride" with bridal related items. The possibilities are endless. And any spotlights you create can be viewed by anyone on By Hand.

Now this may sound complicated, but it isn't. The sites designers could not have made it any easier to use unless they actually listed the items for you. All you have to do is decide what you want to spotlight, give it a title, click on the boxes and pick the venue you are pulling the items from (ArtFire, Etsy, 1000 Markets etc) and the put the proper id number in and your item magically appears in the box. Fill all nine boxes and publish. And if that wasn't enough to have you jumping for joy..... all items that are from ArtFire have rapid cart automatically attached to them. What does that mean?? Well, if someone clicks on that item it displays with the rapid cart option which allows the person to purchase that item right there on the spot. What could be better than that??

This is an awesome site. I have been making spotlights and will continue to do so as often as my brain comes up with an idea.

The second site which I love is Found Handmade. It can be found at This site displays handmade items from all over the web in a window shopping format as well. And the best part is you can request to have your spotlights from By Hand displayed on Found Handmade. It is a great site for just looking around and seeing what is out there.

Both of these sites are great places to visit. I have found so many unique and awesome items on both of them. And the variety is what is so great about them. I visit both of them several times a day. You should too.