Another Reason for On-Line Craft Shops

Blogged under Crafty Biz by Tammy on Tuesday 31 August 2010 at 6:34 am

Vintage Style Mother of Pearl and Crystal Earrings

Vintage Style Mother of Pearl and Crystal Earrings

Like many crafters, I occasionally sell a piece or two of my jewelry to friends, family, or co-workers. While I do have a bag of jewelry priced and ready to hand to someone who is interested, I don’t always have it with me, or it might just be too awkward to load someone up with so much at one time.

Granted, some people will ask if you sell your work just as a way to be courteous, but very often they are sincerely interested in buying a piece or two, especially if they have been seeing you wear some of your work (like jewelry) around the office.

In comes the handy business card that includes the URL to your on-line shop. Even if you are like me and too busy to spend the amount of time necessary to run your shop at a high volume level, just having a small number of items in one of those free crafting networks like Artfire, Efreeme, or Etsy can be a good solution for this situation. Most shops allows like these are free to set up and charge a nominal fee for selling. Some, like, charge nothing, even if you list items for sale or make a sale.

Just the other day, I sold a few pair of earrings (one pictured above) to a co-worker who I directed to my Etsy shop. Both pieces were items I can easily remake, so I was still able to keep the listings. In fact, the earrings above are only in my shop as kits, but she wanted the finished earrings.

If you have been saying no to yourself about opening a web shop to sell your arts and crafts, maybe this is a reason to reconsider.

Creative Publishing’s New Web Site

Blogged under Around the Web,Publications from Moi by Tammy on Monday 30 August 2010 at 2:45 pm

Woot! Creative Publishing International, the publisher of my latest book, The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making (set to come out this December or January), has a new web site, and it is full of amazing book information. The site is called and is a portal to the various companies that are under the same publishing umbrella: Creative Publishing International, Quarry Books, Fair Winds Press, Motorbooks, MVP Books, Quiver, Rockport Publishers, and a number of others.

One of the extra cool touches to this site is that you’ll find videos embedded in it. Of course, I went right to the Crafts & Hobbies link first, and I was very pleased to discover a video that describes a new book, Sew Retro. This is definitely going on my book wish list, and I can think of a few people that this would be a great gift for as well. Along with videos, there is an RSS news feed from various crafting blogs.

This site covers lots of other topics, but it is full of craft and hobby information too. So it’s a must-visit site.

Craft Links with Vegie Stew on the Side

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 29 August 2010 at 2:18 pm

I’m not much of a meat eater, but I love this stew we make from time to time. It is also a great way to use up any leftover veggies in the frig, and you can freeze any leftovers of it (if you have any). I don’t eat the meat, just the vegetables, carrots, green beans, onions, and carrots, and then add some of the gravy over it. Basically, you put a piece of meat (like a pot roast) in a crock pot along with all the vegetables and a packet or two (depending on how much is in there) of onion soup mix. Let it cook away until the meat is done. If you have time, considering searing the meat before putting it in there because it will add some extra juice/gray stuff. Okay, onto my weekend crafting links:

About Family Crafts
Grandparent’s Day is September 12th… Now is the perfect time to start making gifts to give to your grandparents.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen teaches you how to make spectacular backgrounds using Krylon’s spray webbing and also shares with you what NOT to do.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi creates a faux metallic bead with quilted fabric she sews together herself.

Cathie Filian
Check out how Cathie turns an outdated holiday themed cookie stand and a cotton print thrift store skirt into a cupcake stand.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world

This week at Craftside there is a free knit leaf coaster pattern, a bunch of decorating with artwork suggestions from the book 500 Ideas for Small Spaces, iron safety and cleaning tips from the book 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts and Tips and an environmental labeling concept from Design School Confidential.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Here are directions for creating a hat-shaped card. Eileen made a Red Hat card but the directions can easily be adapted to make a cowboy hat, a Mexican sombrero, or a frilly lady’s hat for an afternoon tea or luncheon.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi is giving away a copy of “Dimensional Beading,” so hurry over and leave your comment!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how I melted sequins inspired by the sequin singeing technique in the book Dusty Diablos.

The Crochet Dude
Drew tries out his new video equipment!!

50th Etsy Sale, My Learning Curve

Blogged under Crafty Biz,etsy by Tammy on Tuesday 24 August 2010 at 11:14 am

Recently, I chalked up sale number 50 in the Crafty Princess Shop over at Etsy. For me, I find this a significant number. While I have  been an Etsy member since spring of 2006, I didn’t open a shop until a few years later in April 2008. Even then, I was just testing the waters and trying to learn more about how it all works. I was not seriously intent on trying to sell that much. Since I write about jewelry making and many jewelry people sell over there, I knew it was important to be part of the conversation. This was my primary incentive for finally opening a shop over there.

As it turned out, sales did trickle in, even when I was not actively promoting it. Some how or another, people found me, friends purchased items, and so on, and I did make a few sales over time, nothing huge but some sales at least.

This trickling in of sales made me realize that, gee, if I actually had time maybe I could make a go of this shop. I knew I didn’t have the time to go crazy over there, but if I could at least get the shop looking better, more listings, etc., then maybe I could get some semi-steady sales from it. So, that’s what I decided to do over my summer break from my teaching job this year.

I think the time I spent on it has paid off to a certain extent. Since May 8, 2010, when I started concentrating on my shop make-over, I have made 22 sales. Before that I had made 28 from March 2008 to January 2010. That means in 4 months I came pretty close to making the same number of sales I had made in almost two years.

Looking back, here are a few things I feel I learned that helped me:

  • Take critiques with a grain of salt. There is a critiques folder on the Etsy forum, and I have had a number of Etsians give me their 25 cents over there. Some of it has been really helpful, like when I got a big thumbs down on my banner. Some of it, well, not so much. For example, one recent suggestion was that I accept alchemy requests, which means you agree to make customized items for people.  Special orders take a great deal of time, which I don’t have, so that’s why I didn’t include that on my shop. Obviously, this person who suggested it wouldn’t know that.
  • Learn by looking. This is a little related to my previous lesson above. While people can tell you their opinions, I think you can learn much more by looking around Etsy (or whatever network you may be a part of) and taking note of successful shops. In fact, many of those who will give you critique suggestions aren’t necessarily burning it up in sales. Sure, things like photos are really important, but they are not the end all be all. I found plenty of successful shops that had one or two clear photos and that’s it. They aren’t some super fancy artistic artwork, just a clear photo of the product.
  • Success is relative. For me, a few sales a week would be what I consider successful (repeat, for me). I have a job, actually two jobs. I just want to make a little extra income from my shop. Also, there are lots of Etsy shops that have high sales, but when you look at their products, they are super low end as far as prices. Selling $1 items, even if you sell hundreds of them, well, is not a huge amount of money considering all the time you have to put in to list them.
  • Good photos do help. While I said previously that they don’t have to necessarily be perfect, still, you want clear photos of your work. You are asking someone to buy an item from you, and other than your textual description, all they have to base their purchasing decision on is a photograph. I spent a crazy amount of time working on getting my photographs clearer, better, etc., and they still aren’t necessarily perfect, but they are so much better.
  • Describe what the heck it is! I buy on Etsy too now and then, and boy, I’m amazed at how many sellers will have their super long, drawn-out stories about a product but almost no basic information: What are the materials it is made of? How big is it? Where did it come from? Don’t just tell me the earrings have pink beads. Are they plastic, wood, stone, crystal? I would rather know that the earrings I’m looking at are made of sterling silver and are 2 inches long than read a stupid story about how some fairy came down and inspired the artist to make them.
  • Have a decent selection. I don’t know what the magic number is for me or anyone else for that matter, but I can say that the more I have in my shop, the more I have available to buy. I’m not talking about a thousand items, but if you only have 10 listings, then you don’t have much there for people to look at or buy. If a person only has 10 items to look at, I would think that’s going to be a very brief trip to your store.
  • Define your shop the best you can. Most of the shops I find that have high sales seem to have a clear focus about what the shop is all about, a kind of personality to it. I don’t necessarily think you have to be super quirky, like one shop I found that sells women’s silk screened panties, but I do admit that when you go to a shop like that, there is no doubt about what the product is. She clearly has a strong focus and is doing well with her product line. For me, I try to focus on jewelry products: kits, tutorials, supplies, and finished jewelry. Sure, I crochet, but it would just not fit in to have my crocheted baby hats in there.
  • Price it right. I’m still working on this, but after making a few low-end sales, I realized that it is not worth my time to sell a $2 bead, pack it, and drive to the post office, even if I do add shipping and packaging costs to each sale. The PIA factor alone, for me, is not worth it. I sill have some low-end items in my shop, but as I list and relist, I try to make sure that my prices are at least within the $10 range. This may mean combining items, like creating a bead assortment rather than selling one or two beads alone.
  • Promote yourself. You don’t want your friends and family to run the other way when they see you, but do not expect the network housing your shop to promote you. Have business cards handy to pass out. Include a link to your shop in your email signature. If you blog, well, blog about it. Use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Twitpic. I can testify that it does bring in sales. How many sales? I can’t say for sure, but I have had the occasional immediate sale after mentioning a new listing on Facebook and Twitter.

Busy Crafting Weekend and Link Love

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 22 August 2010 at 9:58 am

I have been busy in the Etsy shop this weekend as well as surfing around the net for some crafting goodies. Enjoy today’s links.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Do you know how to avoid clay shrinkage and distortion with clays baked in the home oven? Let Eileen tell you.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares the third free project from her new book Bead Chic with a giveaway!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has one more metalcraft book to give away this summer. Come sign up for your last chance to win!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how to make an apron for an Amineko or an 18 inch doll from the book All Dolled Up.

About Family Crafts
Discover creative ways to personalize your notebooks and text books.

Aileen’s Musings
Join Aileen’s creative torso challenge–you can download and embellish your torso tag and enter to win a free collage sheet.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi test a new scoring tool to make a star book in one hour.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to paint faces on natural elements, two chances to win a copy of 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse in a “recycle your Swag contest”, the first sneak peek into the new book 1000 Artisan Textiles and an interview with the author of Sew Retro, Judi Ketteler.

Fused Glass Earrings

Blogged under etsy by Tammy on Saturday 21 August 2010 at 5:51 pm
Fused Glass Post Earrings

Fused Glass Post Earrings

I scratched out a little Etsy time this weekend, though I probably should be doing other things, sigh! I managed to sell a few items from my shop over the last week or so, which brought my item listings down below the 50 mark, and heck, I just really want to keep 50 items in there because I think the more you have the more you sell. So, here is one of the items added today, Fused Dichroic Glass and See Bead Post Earrings.

Become Bead Chic and Win a Bead Book Too!

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Thursday 19 August 2010 at 4:37 pm

Margot Potter’s new book is out, Bead Chic and available on Here’s the description:

Bead Chic, Chic You

Bead Chic will show you how to take inspiration that you love and forge your own creative path. After learning basic jewelry techniques, you’ll be launched into 36 gorgeous projects. Each project comes with a variation, so you’ll learn how easy it is to adapt virtually any project to suit your individual style, making you your own designer.

• Each of 36 stepped-out projects features an inspiring variation, including some from today’s hottest jewelry makers, including Jean Campbell, Tammy Powley, Cathie Filian and more.

• Clear step-by-step photography and instructions allow beaders of all skill levels create projects exactly “as-is” in the book, while variations show how swapping out just one or two elements can make an entirely different look.

• You’ll get to play with beads, a variety of stringing materials—from coated wire, to shapeable wire to commercial chain—and findings, all easily found at local and online craft retailers.

Let Bead Chic bring out the designer in you!

I have to admit that I have been anticipating this book for a while because (a) I made some variation pieces for it and (b) I know that Margot took a different approach with this latest book, and I have been very curious about what she did exactly. I literally got my copy the other day, and I’m looking forward to relaxing this weekend and sticking my nose in this awesome book.

But, I may not be the only one enjoying a good bead read; you may be too very soon if you enter this super easy, no-brainer blog give-a-way:

Starting today and ending through Friday September 3, 2010 12 midnight eastern time, post a comment answering the following question and you will be automatically entered to win a free copy of Bead Chic:

Margot’s book focuses a lot on these design concepts: scale, color, texture, pattern, foundations, and focal elements. Of these 6 concepts, which do you tend to focus on the most and why?

Comments will be held for approval, so it may be a little while before yours shows up as I have to release each one in order for it publish.

I will randomly draw names from all those who posted. Make sure you include an email because that is how I will notify the winner. If the winner does not respond 5 days after being notified, I will draw another name from the comments list. Only one entry per person, please.

Fiber Craft Cruises on the Horizon

Blogged under Shows by Tammy on Monday 16 August 2010 at 1:16 pm

One of the thoughts I had when I was on a Bahamas cruise earlier this summer (other than what the heck was I thinking!) was that I should have brought some crafting supplies with me. Even if I had just one skein of yarn and a crochet hook, I think that would have helped me keep my sanity a little. It was usually too loud most place to get much reading done, but if I had brought a little crochet work with me, I could have put my ipod on and chilled for awhile. This is one reason, even though I don’t see myself becoming a cruise convert any time soon, that I can understand how crafting and cruising might be a good combination. Alas, there is nothing close to where I live like this, but for those who are on the west coast of the US, there are a number of interesting sounding cruises coming up. They are run by a company called Craft Cruises and include a few to Hawaii and also to New Zealand.

14-Day ~ New Zealand & Australia Crocheting Cruise October 2010

14-Day ~ Hawaii Crocheting & Fiber Cruise (March 2011)

14-Day ~ New Zealand & Australia Knitting Cruise October 2010

14-Day ~ Hawaii Knitting & Fiber Cruise (March 2011)

Of course, none of these are as cheap as the little 3 day cruise I went on, and you have to add additional costs for classes and supplies, but if you have the money and time, this seems like a fun vacation. I also really like that they have separated the crochet and knitting into different cruises. So often I see these two put together for events, and though it depends on the event, I think it doesn’t usually work. Sure, some people do both, but more so you have hard-core crocheters and hard-core knitters, and other than yarn, they are worlds apart when it comes to crafting techniques.

Crafty Links

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Sunday 15 August 2010 at 12:36 pm

About Family Crafts
It is time to get serious about Halloween costumes. These resources will help you decide what to be for Halloween.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi uses another fab Plaid stencil for this newly embellished t-shirt!

Cathie Filian
Whip up tattered rose with scrap fabrics, gems and hot glue. They are simple to make and perfect for embellishing!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a polka dot wreath quilt block pattern, and a wild spin on the American Flag Quilt, a how-to on making a gelatin stamp print, a free bird card template download and more!

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Have you papier-mâchéd yet? Let Eileen tell you how.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares a second free project from her new book Bead Chic with another signed book giveaway!

Mixed Media Artist
Is it a whirli-gig or part of the solar system? Cyndi has been experimenting with needle felting.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
At Sweater Surgery there is a review of the new book: Jil Eaton’s Knitting School.

Walmart Yarn Alert!

Blogged under Charity Crafting,Crafty Products,Fiber Fun by Tammy on Wednesday 11 August 2010 at 4:59 pm

I’m working on some baby hats and booties for a local charity, and I need just a few more skeins to finish up some booties. Though I cringe at the thought of going to Walmart, it really has had the best prices on yarn in general and definitely Bernat baby yarn, which is my first choice for making crochet baby items. So today, I figured I’d stop by and just get a few skeins and be on my way home after school.

Low and behold, what do I find? Bernat Baby Softee in pink, yellow, and blue on clearance, $2 a skein. These are normally $3.28 at Walmart. For some reason the same type in purple and mint were $2.50. The Bernat Baby Jacquards were marked down to $3.

I quickly checked my wallet to see how much cash I had, and filled my arms up! However, I had the nagging feeling. Does this yarn clearance mean the end of Bernat yarn at Walmart? I posted the sale on a Yahoo crochet list, and ga-zing, I received a number of emails back that yes, indeed, other yarn crafters had heard that Walmart was planning on axing its yarn products!

So the good news is, more than likely you can score some great yarn deals at your local Walmart. The bad news is, this may be the beginning of the end of yarn at Walmart.

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