Monday, April 11, 2016

Is Five Years Long Enough To Leave A Blog Unattended?

I only dug up my old blog because I was looking for a very specific post.
I didn't find it but I ended up reading some of my old posts... and I kinda miss the newsletter style of many of them. The whole, "New Supplies/New Products/Project Updates/Commissions" format was fun to do and certainly got me more active when it came to making new things. Maybe I'll restart this one? Or maybe I'll just continue on at my Tumblr. Who knoooows~!
Not to leave anyone hanging who might still be subscribed and use this site, here are some of my more recent projects:
Dream catchers
 
Trying to use up my anodized titanium scales
 
More themed jewelry (Ninja Turtles!!)
 
20-sided dice jewelry
 
And an armored Beanie Baby!
 

But no seriously, go over to my Tumblr. I still update it semi-regularly.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On The Way To School

When its not going to rain, I walk to my college (about 1.5 miles away).

I take a service road that runs behind a bunch of houses backyards, and its apparently a great spot for the locals to dump their garbage. Old toilets, messed up book-shelves, and a bunch of other garbage.

But, then there's this statue.


Creepy, and yet it brightens my walks when I pass it.


I sure wouldn't want it in my front yard like that, but I think it found a perfect home by the service road.

There's probably a deep philosophical lesson in that somewhere :D

:edit: While we're visiting the trial :P


There are also a few really nice trees. Most of it is eucalyptus, pine, and cypress, but there are 2 or 3 of these flowered trees.



Not sure what they are (sakura? plum?) but they're really pretty.



P.S. I need to get a better camera...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Appeal of Handmade

"Handmade" items make people think of "home-grown", skill, and personality, that make the business feel more human and affable.

Story time!!

This last Christmas, I was at a 'white elephant' party where I opened a package with a floppy, knit wool hat and, truth be told, I thought to myself, "Yay? Another hat, and its not even as smooth looking as that other one. Maybe I'll steal it if someone takes this." Someone DID steal it, and I got a $15 Starbucks' gift card out of the pile. Sweet!

Then the girl next to me at some point commented that she had made the hat that day so she could contribute to the white elephant, and suddenly I was trying to pawn that stupid gift card off to the lowest bidder so I could steal her hat back. Finally, with the line of "hey handsome, you look like a sophisticated coffee drinker. Why take a gamble on the pile when you already know what you really want?", I got my chance to steal the hat back!

When I got the hat the first time, I didn't really want another cheap hat that someone picked up at Target for $7. But, when I heard that it was hand-made by a fellow artist, its value sky-rocketed! Compared to the other gifts that people brought (re-wrapped gifts from last year or boxes of chocolates they picked up on the way there), the hat was thoughtful. Granted, upon closer inspection, I found its not the highest quality. Its really floppy and a bit disproportionate, but there's something about it that's endearing.



I think it's also interesting to note that she didn't quite know how to react! :D She was honored that someone would go back for it. Then I explained the above, and that I understood the work that went into it, if not necessarily the craft. She was even more shocked when she found out what I make, and still went out of my way for what she didn't think had much value.

The long story has a purpose though!!

Photos:
Last week I started trying to get my product photography up and running again and I had the weird realization that I didn't really care for my spiffy, clean, white-background photos that I'd worked so hard to get. They were beautiful and crisp, but they also seemed sterile. The soul and personality I added (accidentally) to the pictures I used to take in the backyard was gone. I think I forgot that I'm selling handmade jewelry, not stuffy, white-collar bling. That's not what I want to market it as! Much like that first impression of the hat, I see my white pictures, and I don't evoke the love and soul that I have for my craft in the photos anymore.

Maybe I'm over thinking it, but I want people to feel at home when they catch that first glimpse.



So, rather than go back outside and get those shots of my front gate in the background, I tried out a fogged-glass desk I have. Not much of a difference, but I think the effect it has is tremendous.



I honestly don't know if I'll stick to the fogged glass look, or if I'll add to it (props?), or do something entirely different, but I think it added a much needed warmth.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Variety

I still don't have my light tent and its lights set up yet, so it's a little hard to list new items. With that, it's also a little hard to motivate myself to make new items or pump out bracelets and key chains when I know I can't get pictures of them yet. :D

Projects:
But, even if I'm not working on website related stuff, I still have custom neck-tie orders to work on *shudder*, and a few relatively daunting booth projects I need to get done before the convention I go to in May.
Oooo. Maybe I should look into selling at more conventions! What an idea... hmm...

Banner:
It's already been about a year since I started this project with a few months of no progress made at all. But, I know how quickly time can fly so I want to start getting it out of the way sooner than later.

Most recently I added the top halves of "CHA", so now I can finally start knocking out "SNEATH", letter by letter.
I'm partially excited to start working on the banner again, but I also dread it. Most project's have some "instant gratification" to them, like bracelets and key chains, because you can work on it for a few minutes and see noticeable progress that keeps you inspired and pressing on, but with larger projects, you can work on them for hours and only finish a small, hardly noticeable, dent.

That's where the title comes in. Variety.
It's important to create variety in your crafting. Mix it up a bit. Work on something else for a while. Or heck, browse through the work of other artists that you look up to for inspiration. Just don't burn out. I can say that all I want, but I'm the guiltiest of all. :D

So. While I don't have the light tent available I'll be blogging mostly about other related projects.

Monday, January 17, 2011

AWOL

*crickets*
Took an impromptu break just as the new year got going but I should be back to work soon!
All of my chainmaille and light-tent equipment was put away while I painted and reorganized my room. Today I finally finished building by new computer desk enough so I can use it, and other things can finally start filling back into their places.
Too bad school starts up again tomorrow :(

In the Life of Me:
Part of reorganizing my room was giving myself a separate area to do my work, because all of my maille (and packaging) in the past has been done at whatever desk was holding my computer.

See how worn out I look in that cramped messy environment?!
I needed more room to work!

So, here's the beginnings of my new set up.
Same desk. No computer.

Notice the new paint. :D

What do you think?
I'm trying to think of ideas on what to blog about besides just new items or custom orders I'm working on. Would anyone care to see basic chainmaille tutorials?

I really want to make printable tutorials that I can print out so I can sell kits for bracelets, or my caged marbles, so it would be a great learning experience to try to write and take pictures for tutorials.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings

- Prices have been changed! (For the most part)
- I've changed all of my websites to include international shipping.
- I've printed out and started on all the forms I need to make this an actual business (FBN/EIN/etc)
- and I've also started setting up a work schedule and have been waking up earlier to "go to work".

I think my work and craft is worth it, but we'll see how well sales do with the increased prices.

New Items:
A little while ago someone wanted to necklace with marbles in it so I made a way to make a 4-sided gibbet... which was pretty hard. I eventually ended up with this mess of different types, and different ways to connect multiple marbles end to end.


My client hasn't responded yes/no/maybe yet, so I decided to try to make a single marble choker in the meantime.
But, I only got a few units into the chain when I decided I liked it better as a keychain :D



What do you guys think? I've had some people say it would also look great as a bracelet. With that in mind I made a hand-flower in brown with a jade marble... which is for another blog post.


Custom Orders:
Thanks to fieldsde for ordering these :D
UV marbles too. They turned out really well.



New Listings:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Business Overhaul Pending

This is kinda scary to start...

I've been selling for over 3 years, and it's made for a decently profitable hobby and easily pays for itself (which I can't say the same for many other hobbies). But, as a job it takes A LOT of time and I make well below minimum wage.

So, in January I want to start turning this into a more viable occupation.

The first step is to raise prices. There's something called "perceived value" where someone may perceive an item to be lower quality than it actually is if the price is low (and vice versa with a high value item). My chainmaille is worth a lot more than what I've been pricing it at and, in effect, I've shafted my sales because people perceive it to be cheap, low quality workmanship. One quote that has kept reminding me I need to change things was "I only buy earrings that are over $10. Anything lower and they're probably really low-quality. You should raise your prices."

The second is to start shipping internationally! A lot of you will be happy to hear about that. :D
I've been getting a few messages asking if I ship internationally, and so far I've only been able to respond with "I just haven't yet." Now seems like a great time to start...

The third and more time taking step is that I will slowly be changing photos of other items, and listing new varieties of items. I've already been working in some of the new items and pictures over the last couple of months, but now I need to speed up the process to cover EVERYTHING listed. Yeesh...

I've sort of wanted to do this for a while, but I've been a full-time student. Now that I'm done with my degree requirements, I'll only be taking a handful of classes for job skills and "personal enrichment", so I plan on dedicating most of my time to the chainmaille business.