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Worry...Act...Relief...Repeat

March 26th, 2009 at 08:29 am

Being an 'A' type has it's advantages.

1. You can eat most anything with a hyperdrive metabolism without gaining weight. (But still have high cholesterol).

2. Lots of money gets saved on gym memberships (you don't need one).

3. Multi-tasking is for weenies, google-tasking is the norm. The house is clean, the yard is pretty tidy, the meals are planned for a week, laundry is going, etc.

But there are disadvantages too.

1. The brain is hard to calm, there's always a few things trying to get attention.

2. Sometimes, ok, most of the time, you overthink, over-analyze and worry about things too much.

Take the camera situation (see yesterday's post). For several years I have used a hand-me-down digital for all things photo'ed. Such as the items I sell on-line (left sidebar), family events, and more.

Being not only resistant to new technology, (who wants to relearn how to use a camera?), and armed with a 'If it ain't broke don't fix it!' mentality, I plodded along.

More and more I was faced with the limits of this camera. Especially: not able to photo closely with enough clarity; and a desire to get back to an old love of creative photography (I have a special friend in the closet, my Nikon SLR from 25 years ago).

Sooooo I got it. A beautiful little new love, Canon A590 IS.

It was only $124! And I splurged on a new high tech rechargeable battery pack for $25. (At least I don't have to relearn how to recharge batteries).

My hubby already had a spare 1 Gig chip. I am going to sew a sweet little case with space for extra batteries, and whatnot.

What spurred me to write this entry though-
What a relief to take this step. Like getting married, or buying a house, it feels like What Was the Big Deal?

So on my happy way I go today. Here are the first demo takes (watch for some spectacular wildflower scenes coming to this blog soon):





one of the Oldest Crafts in the world

March 10th, 2009 at 07:23 pm

And no, it's NOT what you're thinking.

And besides beading. What is it? Arranging and Pressing flowers.

Inexpensive
Flowers, leaves, plants can be gathered from most anywhere. Your yard is a beginning point. Street landscaping? Park bushes?

Three Pot Series - Geranium


All you need is card stock and a bottle of white glue. Pre-packaged blank cards in a pack of 20 or more can be found at the hobby store for under $5.

Or fold your own and make envelopes, it isn't that hard.

Historical
Without any research, common sense tells me this has been done by at least my great grandmother's generation in the early 1900s. (Off to look up some interesting facts on arranging dried flowers...)

Big Clay Pot Series - Spring Bouquet


I like the connection to the past and the satisfaction of continuing the tradition. My kids know how to press flowers now.

Practical
These cards are impressive to give on occasions ie, birthday, Mother's Day, friendship, condolences, etc. Very personal and unmass-made. Sign your name on the back!

Black Vase Series - Formal Bouquet


Notice in the above examples the little added touches of fancy edged borders (doesn't everyone have one of these scissors now?) and hand cut pots and vases. Scared of the scissors? Skip the vase and glue on a ribbon tied like a bow. Easy!

Waste Not - Want Not (or What's in Your Junk Drawer?)

February 4th, 2009 at 11:02 am

Even non frugal people keep those bits of yarn, twist ties, foreign coins, and old postcards just in case the need arises some day. Right?

I am certainly the anti pack rat but here's some of the things in my home office drawer:

... a harmonica (I always wanted to learn)
... a part used box of reinforcements for three ring binder paper (antique?!)
... a plug-in thingy which expands any electrical outlet into 3 more outlets
... a couple partly used AAA batteries
... a partly used roll of 2-sided tape
... an extra coin pouch
... another coin pouch filled with a variety of key chains
... a small container of thumbtacks
... a very small pink pocket knife

What brings this to mind is a good use I put to some jewelry supplies this past week.

As is not uncommon to many of us crafters, I bought some supplies which were not used completely or did not work out for their original intent.

In this case, it was some very thin, part-silver wire. I bought 2 rolls of silver wire, one thin and one thicker, and have found the heavier weight to be more suitable for much of my work. But the thin wire was just too good to waste.

Rather than sell, give away, or throw it out, there it lay in wait in my studio.

Then, I was invited to enter an upcoming exhibit themed 'Healing Arts'. Faster than a speeding bullet I retrieved a raw quartz point which I had made into a rough pendant a couple years ago. This, I thought, might fit the theme if I made it into a necklace. (Organic folks of past and present feel quartz crystal has healing properties).

Now for a chain. I have a few mass produced oval links and wanted to connect them and weave a strand of small beads in and out of them as a chain. But it needed intermediate links, so I decided to handform straight links with -- SILVER WIRE WRAP!.

Here's the technique I mean (these are earrings I made to practice):

GEOMETRIC DIAMOND SHAPE SILVER WIRE WRAPPED EARRINGS




So, there you have it. From waste not to want not. Another frugal success story.

And by the way, what's in YOUR junk drawer?

Can You Stand One More Product Photo?

January 29th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

This just might be my first $50 item, except I hesitate to put it in the art gallery shop because the salt air (we are in a harbor right off the beach) wreaks havoc on the goldplate:

TROPICAL MIX NECKLACE & EARRING SET


Desc: Many strands of freshwater pearl, glass, stone and metal gathered by gold(plated) cones hang on 18" fine link gold(plated) chain. Exotic tropical peaches, moss greens, creams, lavendar and golds. Matching earrings on 14K GF hooks.

I volunteer down there this weekend for a couple hours and will see how things are moving (or not) and how many visitors lately (usually January-March is very slow cause it's COLD down there).

A decision to put up or wait until summer, our high season, can be made after then.

btw, SA'ers, I autofeed these blog posts to twitter now, therefore the emphasis on and plethora of merchandise photos.

How I started my biz w/free supplies and more...

January 27th, 2009 at 01:01 pm

Silly other facts and truisms about Pretty Cheap Jewelry.

...why you should not start cross stitching EVER NEVER

...why I'm a carrot

...and see the cross between Leonardo daVinci and a flip flop

Text is http://dzfantasy.blogspot.com and Link is
http://dzfantasy.blogspot.com

it's a rich site, give it a minute to load. Thanks for lookin'.

Fun, Food, not to mention Profit!

January 26th, 2009 at 01:01 pm

It never rains in Southern California? Well it did on this past Saturday on a planned 'semi-private' home boutique I helped organize.

About 20 sellers of my internet craft club set up shop under a grand carport instead of the circular driveway of our gracious generous host.

We held workshops and demonstrations in the garage. We chatted and enjoyed each other's company immensely. (How often do you meet up with so many of your online buddies??)

And although the major numbers of visitors were deterred by the rain, most of us sold a few items anyway. Just the icing on the cake!

I sold a set of 6 of these embellished wine glasses I crafted:


And speaking of cake, the hostess fed us sweets and teas and cakes and lasagne and more!

Not bad for a rainy day!

Great Fun with the BigWigs

January 21st, 2009 at 11:58 am

Havin' fun over on Twitter finding celebrities, politicians, and other smarty pants to follow. For example:

- Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer)

- Yoko Ono

- my ABC evening news co-anchor (he followed me back, maybe they will notice my work?!)

- Barack O'Bama (ok, he has 164,000 followers, so I'm a little speck in the crowd, but he followed me back! Or at least some staffie did).

Found these folks using

Text is http://www.oddtwits.com and Link is
http://www.oddtwits.com

And just figured out how to autofeed my blog posts to twitter. Lessee if this one works.....

Made Small Investment in Advertising / Received nice big check from Dec show

January 17th, 2009 at 08:53 am

My internet craft club used 'Weebly.com' (free website host) last fall to promote gifts for the holidays. The site manager is a tech savvy whiz, a graphic designer by trade, and an angel in disguise.

This spring is the 2nd edition of the website and I am joining in the fray. We are contributing a nominal $8 for a 12 week period. The money will actually be used for small internet ads for the site, not toward any club member's pocket!

Only the front page is ready (I am in the 5th row at the moment, but the items change frequently). Have a look if you want:

Text is http://www.handmadeincalifornia.net/ and Link is
http://www.handmadeincalifornia.net/

Note the 'Chatterbox' (in the header for now but a tab at the top) - there will be announcements of special deals.

I already have a special deal to add (see it in my shop announcment also
Text is Pretty Cheap Jewelry and Link is http://www.prettycheapjewelry.com
Pretty Cheap Jewelry

----------------------------------

In other small biz news-

Sales from a small town show I participated in Dec 2008 came yesterday, $140. NICE. It was for a 2-weekend show which I did not have to be present (very very convenient). I believe they collected sales tax and that is part of the check so actual goods sold were worth about $127. ALL of this check has been applied to fees for 3 shows in 2009.

Soooooo, that just means I am sticking to my Resolution #2 - Make a Profit in 2009. (read: raise prices).

First big show is in April, the city sponsored Art Walk. Thousands stroll the downtown area and I have a table right smack in the thick of things. Wish me much luck, to be sure I will be blogging my preparations, hopes, dreams and results.

-----------------------------------

Just one last note: Google analytics giving me lots of good data! Folks using keywords 'guitar jewelry' clicking on these items consistently, so guess what I'm going to add to my webstore?

Pearly White Guitar Pick Earrings



Teal and Plum Guitar String Bracelets, Set of 3

Another widget from Google (any volunteers?)

January 13th, 2009 at 10:23 am

I maintain a private google group for my mailing list, ie no one can post or see your email address. It is simply for me to send 1ce or 2wc a month offers to fans.

Today I noticed google offers a widget for me to use on my blog for sign ups.

See it there in the lower left sidebar?

Maybe a visitor or two will be interested. I use this blog for more than SA'ers, such as announcements to craft members, features of artists, etc.

I try to make my email offers full of zany trivia, fun facts, and above-all really rock bottom specials and freebies. For example, I had a Gorham crystal sleigh frame to give away with any December order (click on the 'visit' part of the widget to have a look at some of my offers.)

So, once again, Google comes through! Maybe I'm just slow?.....

Can I, Will I, Dare I

January 5th, 2009 at 08:34 pm

charge $50 for something this year (and make the sale)?

......New Year's Res Status.......

RESOLVED
1. Refrain from reading/posting in the weekly Etsy team forum.
Why? Because:
a. huge time sink
b. return on the investment is poor
c. stressful to compare to others regarding their sales, new items, traffic to their shop, etc.
STATUS AOK so far, trying to re-use the time to twitter and spread out posts in other places more as a low cost promotion.

2. MAKE A PROFIT IN 2009
Yes, some of my prices are going up.
a. Items online remain reasonably priced. However, nothing can be listed so low as to undercut my in person sales.
b. Items sold in the art gallery lose 1/3 (they keep) and must be priced accordingly.
c. I keep all income from weekend fairs and specialty shows except for a few percent on credit sales. And need to make enough sales to cover the event fees!
STATUS GOING FOR IT with this new item!

Squiggle Doodle Scribble Chain Necklace
Pure imagination anchored with a heart locket. Fun to look at, inside and out.
A true original $48.00


3. Wear mascara most weekdays. OK, this one is just cause I am such a dolt when it comes to looks. Gotta do something easy! You would think it's a no brainer, but you don't know me!!
STATUS so far so good

Black Books @ Year's End

December 31st, 2008 at 03:24 pm

The numbers are crunched, the bottom line is in, and....

Pretty Cheap Jewelry finished the year in the black for the 3rd year in a row. And I promise there is very little creative (read 'crooked') book keeping involved.

The expenses? $2,000 for a long, but simple total of supplies, postage, some office items, event fees, and a very little bit of miscellaneous.

The income? $2,300 steady, sometimes small, sometimes moderate monthly sales in a good variety of venues including shops, weekend markets, internet site and specialty shows.

I'm happy with the results, but am committed to *increasing profit* in 2009.

Comments welcome, especially other home biz readers ....and of course, here is the other black book the title refers to!

BIG LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Hand bound, hard back slim journal filled with 24 pp of reclaimed office graph paper. Covered with faux suede, sexy to the touch. Ready for those important numbers, emails, appointments, and dates.



Quickbooks Pro 2009 FREE after rebate today (Mon) 12/22 only @ Staples

December 22nd, 2008 at 07:32 am

Just thought I'd pass along this offer, posted by a crafter on another forum.

Fairly high priced but powerful home accounting software.

Here is the Staples link for details:

Text is http://www.staples.com/office/supplies/StaplesProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogIdentifier=2&partNumber=758686&cm_sp=marketing-_-Half%2520Wow-_-QuickBooksPro and Link is
http://www.staples.com/office/supplies/StaplesProductDisplay...