Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Selling at the Handmade Market

In an effort to increase my visibility online as much as possible, I've also rented a spot at the Handmade Market run by Yaami.  This site is the only virtual craft show I've come across so far that actually looks like a 3D craft store.  If you have a slow connection, you may have to wait a minute or two for the site to load but this is what the fair essentially looks like:

You can use your mouse to move around the market and browse different shops.  If you click on a product you like, you're given the option to tweet the item or to be connected to the listing of that item in the artist's online shop (Etsy, Artfire, etc.):


This is one of the items I've featured this week at my Handmade Market booth.  These earrings are really gorgeous!  This is what the Etsy page for them looked like:


I'd already sold these to a family member by the time the Week 49 market went live, but there are plenty more items to check out, so be sure to swing by my booth at

I'll be reviewing and together during one of my Friday Hotlist entries. Be sure to subscribe so you won't miss out on the follow-up information on what else can be done with these websites.

Know of another 3D or 2D virtual market like this?  Be sure to leave me the URL and your experience with them in the comments!

Vote for me! Cafe Handmade: Virtual Craft Show

I'm sure you've noticed the small image I've added to the top right hand corner of my blog.  It links to my page on Cafe Handmade:

This site allows artisans to participate in a virtual craft show where select photos, information about themselves and their creative process, and links to their store, blog, twitter, etc. are displayed on different "aisles."  I'm asking those of you who read this blog to please vote for me by clicking this link:  Below the "Around the Web" section and before the comments, there is a small heart to click on to submit a vote for me. 

Unlike many sites, you do not have to register to vote for my store and you can vote for more than one artisan if you browse the others in the show.  The person who receives the most votes at the end of the week will receive the honor of being Best in Show which includes free advertising and publicity on the site for the following week.  Voting just takes a few seconds, so I hope that you will all participate!

Until next time,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Video Post including Cyber Monday Details

So yesterday I decided to finish my "Black Friday" shopping by going to both Big Lots and Michaels for their Saturday sales.  Big Lots was insane.  I waited outside for 35-45 minutes and then when the doors opened, a ton of people rushed past my point in the crowd and bought up all of the $25 video cameras.  I couldn't have been more annoyed.  I was one of the three people who were sold a $35 video camera after another 15 minutes, so I will be able to do videos on the blog from now on.  This is the cheap camera I got:

And here's my first video blog for you:

Yes I'm perfectly aware I look like a huge dork in the video.  However, I that's just how and what I am.  I hope you will enjoy the video blog entries in the future!  Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a single one!

As I mentioned earlier I also went to Michaels.  Check out the pasta machine I bought at 50% off and what I played around with today:


The camera is clearly not as good with still pictures as with video.  What a shame since it has more megapixels than my digital camera.  There's always a good chance the problem is user error though.  Just like with the polymer clay, I'll keep working at it!

11/30/09 is Cyber Monday.  If you use the code EBFREEBIE during checkout, you will receive a free gift from me.  I'm giving away jewelry, mousepads, hats, totes, and all kinds of cool things.  Everything in the shop is also still 25% off.  It was going to go back to 20% off but I've since changed my mind.  Happy Shopping!

Until next time,

Friday, November 27, 2009

EB Friday Hotlist

I've decided to make a Hotlist of the websites I use to meet people.  No, I'm not talking about online dating sites, though feel free to recommend a good one in the comments. ;-)  I'm talking about websites where I can network, advertise, shop, sell, etc.  Each Friday I'll give information about a different website.  Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you'll be updated whenever I feature a new website that may benefit your business or help you find other artisans you'd love to purchase from.

Today I joined a web community called IndiePublic.  Actually, I joined several days ago but it took them a while to approve my account.  It's basically a place for those who buy and sell handmade, vintage, and other indie goods to connect, network, and get exposure for their products.

The site doesn't look very exciting with its design and its interface could be more user-friendly, but it still seems to pack a lot in substance.   I haven't been around long enough to tell whether or not the community is helpful and welcoming, but I did find 15 separate groups (voluntary collections of members who are interested in a particular topic, specific craft, etc.) which I found relevant to me.  That's well over 7,000 people with whom I can exchange ideas, share my craft, and (hopefully) make sales.

Other features include the ability to upload photos to the site which are then put in the general pool of photos available and can drive traffic to your profile page (which should include your shop info).  There is also a blog section, but unfortunately you can't sync your blog RSS feed to input information to the blog on the site.  However, a bit of copying and pasting and use of the link, photo, and file attachment features allows you to put your blog posts into the Indie Public Blog.  Sellers promote their sales, veteran Etsians and other artisans post tutorials, and services that would help aspiring sellers (i.e. advertisers, virtual craft show owners, etc.) post information about what they offer.  There is an online "Library" with tips on how to be successful as an artisan, an online market (supposedly - my computer couldn't load it), a forum, and a place to upload video content.

Overall the site may turn out to be a powerful networking tool as well as avenue to make sales, since it is targeted both to indie artisans as well as lovers and buyers of handmade goods.

Have you checked out before?  If so, please leave a comment and let me know what you think of it.  If you're interesting in joining, you can register on their site or I can send you an invitation link via email.

Until next time,

Black Friday Treats

Okay, so I need to admit a weakness here.  I'm part of the handmade movement with the jewelry I produce and sewing I do, but one time a year I allow myself to go retail crazy and bargain shop in regular stores with the best of them.  I took my teenage cousin with me and we hit up J.C. Penny at 4:15 am and only because I overslept.  Each year that I go shopping on Black Friday I always begin at J.C. Penny for my commemorative snow globe - it's a cute way to remember the madness of the holiday season.  We went to Walgreens (2 different ones - $0.49 paper towels! - go get your coupon!), Rite Aid, Walmart, Old Navy, Michaels, and Big Lots (where she waited with me in the cold in line for 30 minutes).  I think she's earned her stripes now; what a trooper!

Disclaimer: I didn't take this photo. I was too concerned about the towels.

You'd think that's where the shopping ended, but after dropping her off at home and eating breakfast I went to Sears, Belk, and Target with my mother and great aunt to help them carry bags and such.  All in all I think it was a pretty productive day.  Besides my paper towels, I'm most excited about my sterling silver and 14 kt gold earwires that I can use for making hypoallergenic earrings.  I also purchased some polymer clay to work with.  I'll have to remember to go back to Michaels in the morning to get the craft pasta machine at half price and to Big Lots for those $25 digital video camcorders!  I'll be able to make even more charms as well as upload more interesting content for my readers.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  I know there are going to be long lines!

If you haven't stopped by my ArtFire studio for the Black Friday sale, you're really missing out.  From now until 11/30/09 all of the items in my shop are marked down 25%!  I'm also giving out a special coupon code for those of you who read this blog.  Enter the code EBBLOG for an extra 10% off your entire purchase!

SAVE 10.00 % On
All Items
Use Coupon Code:
during checkout.

I hope you enjoy!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm very excited for the holiday tomorrow.  I'll be heading to my hometown to enjoy the company of family and friends.  Here's wishing everyone safe travels and a very happy holiday!

I knew I would not be able to make anything after tonight so I pushed back my cooking to tomorrow morning and fixed up several pairs of earrings this afternoon and evening.  Here are the ones I've listed on ArtFire (exclusively) so far:


Crystal Ice Earrings

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

EB is now on Artfire!

I've been investigating other places to sell online besides Etsy and I decided to go with Artfire.  Some of the features Artfire has that Etsy doesn't are as follows:

  • Immediate, real-time customer service
  • Global product editor
  • Cost efficient advertising
  • No seller fees ever
  • Basic and pro accounts so you can try it out before deciding whether or not to upgrade
  • Fewer sellers so newbies aren't dwarfed by tons of other sellers
  • Equitable promotion of items to the front pages of search so that even new sellers get exposure
  • Up to 10 images of each item (Etsy allows 5)
  • A welcoming community that is easier to interact with on the forums

These are just a few of the great benefits I'm enjoying now.  I'm hoping that Artfire will work well for me.  I haven't shut down my Etsy shop, but please check out my studio at:  Let me know what you think of it!

If you're interested in ArtFire yourself as either a buyer or seller (or both), you should follow them on Twitter.

Until next time,

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Freedom from Clutter

"The things you own end up owning you." - Fight Club

I am feeling most triumphant and proud today.  I'm a notorious "pack-rat" (I prefer the term "sentimental saver") so I had tons and tons of things in storage outdoors that I just didn't need.  I wish I had taken before-and-after pictures, but suffice to say before I started working this morning my entire living room was filled with boxes.  In some places, the boxes were stacked four and five deep.  I literally have things I made in first grade, notes from classes in middle and high school, and clothes I will never be able to fit into again.  Oh, and I should also mention that I've been trying to clean up this mess for well over a year now.  The boxes migrated from my floor and laundry room to my dining room to my outside patio (which was completely full when they were out there).  I have such a hard time parting with things that I've carried some items that can only be classified as junk from one house to another to my college dorm to my parents' home to my current apartment.  Luckily my aunt came to the rescue today and put me to work for about 8-9 hours along with a seriously wonderful friend of mine.  I don't know how many pounds of paper, cardboard, and other items were hauled to the dumpster throughout the day but the pain in my lower back seems to suggest it was quite a bit.  I was also able to get quite a few items to donate to charity.  My aunt took them with her to donate so unfortunately I won't get the receipt for tax benefits, but I'm hoping that some of what I gave her will make a child happy this Christmas.  I think we all can benefit by selfless giving and I'm so thrilled to have reduced my clutter by about 30%!  My workspace/dining room is still full of lotions, glass, beads, wire, card stock, paint, and just about any craft item you can think of but I think I like it that way.  I may not have people over for dinner any time soon, but come spring I will be able to entertain company on my patio for the first time since I've moved here.  That's such an empowering feeling!

Now, I'm much too sore and tired to bead tonight, but I did make a bottle cap charm yesterday:

Let me know what you think.  I'm also working on some bottle cap post earrings.  We'll see how those turn out!

Until next time,


Friday, November 20, 2009

And the Auction Results Are...

I donated 5 items to the North Carolina Conservation Network Auction which ended today at 5:00 pm (four pairs of earrings and one beaded keychain charm.  Even without the best photos in the world, three of my five items sold!  As a supporter of NCCN myself through volunteering and online activism, I'm extremely proud that I was able to contribute to their fundraising success.  With both sales and sponsor donations, the auction garnered over $16,000 that will go towards protecting the environment here in North Carolina, from our beaches where a proposed bill may increase damage to the shoreline, to our mountains where vocal opponents of wind energy are stonewalling efforts to move away from dirty coal to clean energy sources.

Other than the great reward of being able to contribute once again to an organization that stands for what I believe in, it was also very encouraging to see that items I donated were selected by bidders as worthy of purchase.  As Elle's Beads is still working towards that first sale, it was reassuring to see that consumers do appreciate the jewelry I make.  Persistence and perseverance are my goals from this point forward!

Here are some new items I added to my shop over the last two days:

See all of my new listings at  Please feel free to comment and critique what I've posted here and/or listed on Etsy.

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Birth of the Resin Collection

I went nuts yesterday at Ornamentea, going into triple-digit spending!  I've been itching to try something with polymer clay or resin.  There was no polymer clay to play around with, but there was an amplitude of resin so I picked some up and this is what I made:

 Check out individual photos of the charms on my Flickr page: EB Flickr.  Most of these charms will be available on Etsy so be sure to check out my shop if you like them.

Until next time,

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm definitely a "Beakfreak"

Ornamentea is my favorite bead shop in Raleigh.  This boutique has a great selection of supplies to make just about anything you can dream up.  For their 10th anniversary this year, they provided members of their "Beadfreak" club with any one select strand of beads.  I chose a beautiful strand of smoke quartz after much debate.  I used a few of the beads to make elegant but simple earrings for my two friends who are visiting this week:

I think I'm going to try to make as many of my presents this year as possible, or at least buy handmade.  I've already purchased some fantastic handmade gift tags from a fellow Etsian, The Tiny Fig.  Be sure to keep her in mind when you're shopping this year.

Stay tuned for my holiday gift guide!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Online Marketing

I am trying to develop my online image as an artisan, so I'm changing the way I do photographs.  I'm still having trouble with a blurry lens but I love the way these are developing. (Click on the photos to view the listings.)


I'm still trying to come up with creative ways to display the earrings and develop brighter, clearer pictures.  I think I may start shooting pictures in my kitchen or bathroom as they are the only rooms in my house with overhead lighting.  As you can see, even with four lamps with 75 watt bulbs, my workshop isn't quite bright enough for flashless pictures.

Until next time,